Thursday, 25 February 2010

DoubleTapper: Dubai Hit Squad Facebook Group

Dubai Hit Squad Facebook Group

Feeling depressed that are aren't among the millions of people around the world who work for the Mossad?

Upset that the Dubai Police Chief hasn't personally named you as a chief assassin yet?

Now's your chance -- you too can join the "I was also in the Dubai hit-squad" Facebook group.

Click here to join.

Hat tip Jameel

DoubleTapper: Dubai Hit Squad Facebook Group

Israel Matzav: Dubai's comeuppance?

Dubai's comeuppance?

Dubai has reacted with a lot of righteous indignation to the death of Hamas murderer and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on its territory. With the Mossad being blamed for Mabhouh's death, there's been a lot of talk about how the heretofore secret relations between Israel and the UAE have been damaged.

But if you insist on playing both sides off against the middle, you are going to get stung once in a while. Dubai may have had secret relations with Israel, but that hasn't stopped them from being the major trading port for Iran or from hosting terrorists on its territory and protecting them. In fact, as this article points out, when Mabhouh's body was first found, a top police official in Dubai said that Mabhouh need not have traveled under a false passport because Dubai would have been happy to protect him. And he was not the only one.

Iran is the principal destination of goods re-exported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), of which Dubai is a member. The bulk of these goods go by sea -- the major Iranian port of Bandar Abbas is a mere 100 miles away from Dubai. The emirate boasts a busy dhow port for smaller vessels as well as a modern container port at Jebel Ali. It also offers numerous daily flights to and from several Iranian cities. Annual trade between the two jurisdictions has reportedly tripled to $12 billion over the past five years, and an estimated 8,000 Iranian businesses and 1,200 trading companies are currently based in Dubai.

UAE efforts to clamp down on illicit Iranian trade have grown in the face of U.S. pressure but are still a work in progress. The UAE passed its first national security export control law in 2007, and authorities have seized several illicit shipments destined for Iran. UAE officials say they are making it more difficult for Iranian businessmen to obtain and renew visas and commercial licenses. Similarly, Iranians are reportedly having trouble finding UAE banks to handle their transactions. In addition, plans have been announced to more closely regulate the dhow port on Dubai Creek, where customs supervision is currently nonexistent.

UAE initiatives do not necessarily mean cooperation from Dubai, however. Although the leading emirate, Abu Dhabi, holds nearly 8 percent of global oil reserves and often bankrolls the other six sheikhdoms, each emirate proudly preserves its independent status. Thus, while Abu Dhabi is clearly apprehensive about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, Dubai appears less so. In 2008, Sheikha Lubna al-Qasimi, the UAE's minister of economy and planning, explained why its authority and ability to act might be limited: "At the end of the day, Iran is still a neighbor."


Dubai also has experience with violent death. In 2008, an Egyptian politician paid a hit-man to kill Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim, who was living there in an exclusive apartment block. The hit man was tracked down and arrested because, reportedly, bloodstained footprints marked his escape. The Egyptian authorities imposed gag orders on reporting of the case.

Just weeks before the Mahbouh killing, the magazine Vanity Fair claimed that the CIA had tracked A. Q. Khan during his frequent visits to Dubai and had planned to assassinate him there. The magazine's source said the hit didn't happen "because of lack of political will" in Washington. A CIA spokesperson refused to discuss the question with the magazine.

Read the whole thing. Dubai has been trying to play both sides against the middle for too long. They need to decide if they want to be in the Western orbit or aligned with the likes of Tehran and Damascus.

Israel Matzav: Dubai's comeuppance?

Love of the Land: Jason Bourne, Call Your Office

Jason Bourne, Call Your Office

Emanuele Ottolenghi
25 February '10

Another day, and another Western government chastises Israel for the use of non-Israeli passports in the assassination of Hamas terrorist mastermind Mahmoud al-Mabhou. This time it’s Australia’s turn. Australia’s PM, Kevin Rudd, was quoted as saying that

Any state that has been complicit in use or abuse of the Australian passport system, let alone for the conduct of an assassination, is treating Australia with contempt and there will therefore be action by the Australian government in response.

Clearly, one needs to believe Dubai’s police on the revelations about the forged passports. There is no smoking gun yet about Israel’s responsibility. And hopefully, Israel will keep quiet about this. As Yossi Melman indicates in today’s Haaretz, the investigation is rising to comical levels, even as the evidence against Israel is thin.

Look, anyone familiar with James Bond, Jason Bourne, and the Mission Impossible franchise knows that secret agents travel on forged passports. And even assuming Israel is responsible, what did anyone expect — a bunch of Israelis to show up at Dubai airport waving their Israeli passports? Just imagine the conversation.

UAE immigration officer: Nationality?

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Jason Bourne, Call Your Office

DoubleTapper: IDF Women in Action

IDF Women in Action

DoubleTapper: IDF Women in Action

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: America Consists of Illegal Settlements!

Life in an American Fourth Grade: America Consists of Illegal Settlements!

By Barry Rubin

Today the kids were writing a paragraph on the coming of the settlers to North America. One girl said: The Europeans were not nice. A second added: The Europeans just came to America and said it’s our land and started killing Indians. Of course, they are just repeating the relentless indoctrination they have received almost every day for the last six months.

Since they haven’t been taught about the early colonists’ desire for liberty, democracy, religious freedom, a chance to own their own land, and an opportunity to build a better society, among other things, why shouldn’t they think of those Pilgrim Puritans and Virginian pioneers as rapacious imperialist plunderers?

I want to emphasize that we are not talking about a balanced approach, presenting the good with the bad, but an all-bad approach.

The irony is that both girls are from South America and are descended from European settlers who treated the Native Americans there far worse than was done in North America.

Since I have to spend a lot of time dealing with those in the West who deny that Israel has a right to exist, it is startling to realize that these people’s children are being taught that their own nations are equally illegitimate!

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: America Consists of Illegal Settlements!

RubinReports: The Real Arab Stuff: Hussain Abdul Hussain Explains It All To You

The Real Arab Stuff: Hussain Abdul Hussain Explains It All To You

How will you know what's going on if you don't become subscriber 9,161?

By Barry Rubin

Hussain Abdul Hussain gets it. He’s one of the most interesting Arab journalists and he also writes in English. His latest article—published in the “Huffington Post"—entitled “Lonely Obama vs. Popular Iran” [but you don't have to use the link as I quoted practically all of it] he points out what the most realistic people and more moderate rulers in the Arabic-speaking world are thinking.

He explains what I’ve been telling you but since he has “Abdul” in his name perhaps you’ll believe it when he says it.

Theme one: Popularity isn’t so important in the Middle East:

“A common perception is that under President Barack Obama, America's image has improved, and perhaps its friends have increased. But such claims are unfounded, as the opposite proves to be true.

“International relations, however, are about interests, not sweet talk. As Bush went out recruiting allies, and making enemies, Obama lost America's friends while failing to win over enemies.”

Theme two: What is important is that allies believe you will support and protect them. Obama isn’t doing that:

Example A, Iraq: “After losing more than 4,300 troops in battle and spending $700 billion [it says trillion but I assume that’s a typo] since 2003, America today cannot find a single politician or group that would express gratitude to Americans for ridding Iraq of its ruthless tyrant Saddam Hussein, and allowing these politicians to speak out freely.

“On the contrary, shy of making their excellent backdoor ties with Washington known since they fear Obama will depart Iraq and never look back, Iraqi politicians started expressing dissatisfaction with the United States in public.”

Example B, Lebanon, before Obama took office, more than one-third of the entire population—most of them Sunni Muslims-- demonstrated against Hizballah and Syrian occupation. And the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said on television “that he was proud to be part of America's plan to spread democracy in the Middle East.” Now Jumblatt has practically gone over to Hizballah or, at least, is heavily hedging his bets because he fears Iran and Syria more than he has faith in Obama's policy. And so:

“By the time Obama had made it to the White House, support of America's allies in Lebanon waned since Obama was determined to appease their foes in Syria and Iran. Hariri and Jumblatt were forced to abandon their fight for Lebanon's democracy and freedom as Hariri rushed to Damascus to ask his former enemies for forgiveness, while Jumblatt is still begging for audience with Syria's dictator Bashar Assad.

Example B, Iran: “The people revolted against their autocratic regime and took to the streets shouting death to the nation's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in what came to be known as the Green Revolution.

“But Obama's Washington was busy sending one letter of appeasement after another to Iran's tyrants, and accordingly failed to take the side of the Green Revolution for democracy and freedom. When Obama did show support for the Green Movement, it was too little and too late.”

You can add in Israel here, and Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia; the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait; Oman and Bahrain; Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria; along with most of Lebanon and those Turks who don't want Islamism.

Theme three: Iran helps its allies. Hence, Iran has more allies while the United States has fewer. Iran is going up; the United States is going down:

“Now compare America's friends around the Middle East to Iran's cronies, and you can immediately understand why Washington is in trouble, both diplomatically and on a popular level, while Iran is confident as it marches toward producing a nuclear weapon and expanding its influence across the Middle East.”

A good example of the ridiculous weakness of the U.S. response is this statement by State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley: "It is not our intent to have crippling sanctions that have...a significant impact on the Iranian people. Our actual intent find ways to pressure the government while protecting the people." Get it? Sanctions that don't really damage the economy and that hardly anyone feels! And that's what the White House is proposing before the Russians, Chinese, and Europeans start whittling it down to even less!

Iranian ally A, Hizballah [my preferred transliteration]:

“Since 1981, Iran has been funding its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, never defaulting on any of its pledged payments. Hezbollah went from an embryonic group into a state within a state, boasting a membership of several thousands and maintaining a private army, schools, hospitals, orphanages, satellite TV and a number of other facilities that have won it the hearts of Lebanon's Shiites, and have given Hezbollah an absolute command over them.

Iranian ally B, Syria:

“Iran has maintained a flow of cash and political support toward Syria for a similar amount of time. Obama has been begging Syria to switch sides and abandon Iran. Judging by the mishaps that always seem to befall America's friends with time, Syria does not seem likely to change, but is rather playing an Obama administration desperate for whatever it can claim as success in its foreign policy."

As if to prove the point, immediately after a big American delegation visited Damascus to restore full relations and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that U.S. policy is seeking to detach Syria from its alliance with Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Syria and the two leaders made strong anti-American statements while pledging eternal partnership. Here's the headline in the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat: "Syria and Iran defy Clinton in show of unity."

Iranian ally C, Iraqi insurgents:
“In Iraq, Iran does not only fund and train militias and violent groups, but they also fund electoral campaigns of Iraqi politicians, loyal media groups and political parties, thus expanding their influence over Iraq exponentially. Spending billions more than Iran in Iraq, America has seen its money spent to no or little effect.”

And here’s the bottom line:

“The comparison between Iran and Obama's America is simple.

“While Tehran never let down an ally, offering them consistent financial and political support, Washington's support of its allies around the world has always been intermittent, due to changes with administrations and an ever swinging mood among American voters, pundits and analysts.

“So while Iran has created a mini-Islamic republic in Lebanon, and is on its way to doing the same in Iraq, America has failed in keeping friends or maintaining influence both in Lebanon and in Iraq.

“And while Tehran brutally suppressed a growing peaceful revolution for change inside Iran, Washington's pacifism did not win any favors with the Iranian regime, or with its opponents in the Green Revolution.

“While Iran knows how to make friends, Obama's America has become an expert in losing them.”

Yes! That’s what it’s all about. You know, it’s an interesting point. Obama and company says we should listen to Muslim and Arab voices.

Ok, but which ones? Not, as they are doing, to the apologists for radicalism and the purveyors of conventional nonsense (all that matters is the Arab-Israeli conflict, America should just make concessions, you need to understand how Islamism isn’t a threat). If you want to know what a dozen Arab governments think and fear--and Israelis, too--plus Muslims horrified by the extremist faction in the religion and liberal or moderate intellectuals this is the real stuff.

RubinReports: The Real Arab Stuff: Hussain Abdul Hussain Explains It All To You

Israel Matzav: Syria too busy to meet with the IAEA

Syria too busy to meet with the IAEA

Syria has canceled a planned visit by IAEA inspectors next week because the Syrians are too busy to meet with them.

Syria has rejected a planned visit by officials of the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency, a statement by the agency said. In a letter, Syrian officials said they could not host inspectors because of preparations for the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors meeting next week.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Syria too busy to meet with the IAEA

Israel Matzav: Russia won't back 'crippling sanctions'

Russia won't back 'crippling sanctions'

So much for Russia being on board for sanctions.

A week after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu returned from Moscow, where he publicly called for “crippling sanctions” and “sanctions with teeth” against Iranian energy exports and imports, Oleg Rozhkov, the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department, said that Moscow would not back “crippling or paralyzing” sanctions that could lead to the “political or economic or financial isolation” of Iran.

According to Reuters, Rozhkov – when asked by a reporter what sanctions Russia might support – replied, “Those that are directed at resolving nonproliferation questions linked to Iran’s nuclear program.

“What relation to nonproliferation is there in forbidding banking activities with Iran?” he asked. “This is a financial blockade. And oil and gas. These sanctions are aimed only at paralyzing the country and paralyzing the regime.”

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Russia won't back 'crippling sanctions'

Love of the Land: Video Killer Thriller In Dubai

Video Killer Thriller In Dubai

The UAE has video of likely assassins. Where's the rest of its film collection?

Claudia Rosett
25 February '10

(She gets the award for asking the question that everyone else managed to avoid. Y.)

For starters, where's the full surveillance footage of al-Mabhouh himself? He was a killer from way back; a founding member of Hamas's violent Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, who bragged about his role in the 1989 kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers. The Wall Street Journal, among others, reports that al-Mabhouh at the time of his death "was a key link in smuggling operations ferrying Iranian weapons to Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip." He reportedly arrived in Dubai last month from Damascus, which serves as a haven of hospitality for Hamas' top terrorists. Dubai authorities say he was traveling on a false passport, but apparently they have been able to piece together enough of his trail to inform the press that just before he was murdered, he "met with members of his group and bought a pair of shoes."

Please, tell us more--or better yet, show us any accompanying video clips. In whose blood was al-Mabhouh planning to dip those new shoes? Who, exactly, did he meet in Dubai? What for? Did he do any banking in Dubai? How often had he visited before? In recent years have Dubai authorities perchance stored away enough video of al Mabhouh and his terrorist comrades for a full-length feature film? Queried about these matters, the U.A.E. embassy in Washington referred me to the Dubai Police, who did not respond to phone calls or emailed questions.

Clearly this is a complex scene. The U.A.E. tries to walk a line between dealing with Iran and its affiliates and cooperating with the U.S. On its Washington embassy Web site, the U.A.E. states that its support for the U.S. includes the hosting of more than 2,000 U.S. military personnel and the contribution of 250 special forces soldiers to the coalition in Afghanistan. Last August Dubai blew the whistle on a shipment of North Korean arms that made a stopover in their waters, en route to Iran. And U.S. authorities in recent times have credited the U.A.E. with starting to crack down on terrorist finance networks.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Video Killer Thriller In Dubai

Israel Matzav: Why 'engagement' failed

Why 'engagement' failed

Hillary Clinton has apparently put her foot in her mouth.

Secretary of State Clinton seems to be suggesting that engagement failed, not because it was inherently a bad idea, but rather because of the rise of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iranian society, a discovery Clinton voiced recently in Doha.

The problem is that the IRGC was in control well before Obama took over; its rise is nothing new. Here's my colleague Ali Alfoneh, back in February 2008 detailing just how the Revolutionary Guards had eviscerated Iranian society.

Read the whole thing.

Clinton may know something about foreign policy, but she apparently doesn't have the power to make decisions about it. Obama knows nothing about it.

Anyone want to bet that Hillary leaves the State Department sometime in 2011? I shudder at the thought of who might follow her. Maybe the incompetent Susan Rice.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Why 'engagement' failed

The Torah Revolution: Jews go by truth, not by numbers

The Torah Revolution: Jews go by truth, not by numbers

Lisboa - Tel Aviv: Remembering Ofra Haza - Recordando Ofra Haza

Recordando Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza, chai, (êxito da eurovisão), numa actuação para familiares dos militares da Força Aérea Israelita, 1983

Ofra Haza and Shechunat Ha'Tikva Theatre, Ehye asher ehye, 1978

Lisboa - Tel Aviv: Recordando Ofra Haza

Israel Matzav: Europe's Israel lobby

Europe's Israel lobby

Europe has its own Israel lobby. No, it's not a lobby for Israel in Europe. It's a European lobby that attempts to effect change in Israel by intervening in Israel's policies through funding of Arab and other leftist NGO's. And it's anti-Semitic, as I will show you toward the end of this post.

The EU may have realized during the second intifada that its concerns were not being listened to. Perhaps they heeded the increasingly alarmist statements of Israelis themselves, such as former Haaretz editor David Landau who in 2007 told US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that the US needed to "rape" Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians. Regardless of the exact cause, in 2002 the European Union began lavishly funding non-governmental organizations in Israel. It claimed that it was doing this because of "the vital contribution made by NGOs to the promotion and protection of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law."

Between 2002 and 2008, a total of $14 million was granted to various Israeli NGOs through the EIDHR. My investigation of the NGOs that received funding revealed that the lion's share of the money benefited two groups: Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. $5.5 million was directed specifically to causes for Palestinians such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's project "Building a Better Future: Empowering the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem to access their planning and house [sic] rights" which received $135,000. A further $7m. went specifically to programs that benefit only Israeli Arabs such as the al-Awna fund's "Master Plan for the Unrecognized Beduin Villages: Securing minority rights for housing and social services" which received $263,000. Even when the EIDHR funded programs for women it did so only for programs for Beduin or Israeli Arab women, except for a token $100,000 it gave to an organization called Isha le Isha (Woman to Woman) which helps fight women trafficking.

There was not one cent directed specifically towards any of the numerous and diverse Jewish communities in Israel: Ethiopians, Russians, Yemenites, Persians or Jews from the Caucasus. The only mention of Jewish citizens as potential recipients was in a grant to the Mossawa Center, the advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel. It received $402,000 for a project that "aims to combat racism and transform inter-communal relations between target groups who include the Jewish majority, Arab minority and ethnic groups including the Russian, Ethiopian, Mizrahi and Reform Jewish communities."

Around $73,000 was directed towards former IDF soldiers. It wasn't to help them with trauma or reward them for a "shared citizenship." It was to get them to "break the silence" about what they witnessed while in the army, to provide testimony that might lead to a process whereby European courts might put the soldiers or their officers on trial for war crimes. Of course that is not what Breaking the Silence stated for the public. They described their project as "personal encounters with former Israeli combat soldiers."

THE EIDHR's "instrument" to affect Israeli policy is merely the tip of the iceberg. In its November 2009 report "Trojan Horse: The impact of European government funding for Israeli NGOs" NGO Monitor illustrated that individual European embassies in Israel and other EU projects give lavishly to Israeli NGOs, sometimes even making up the majority of their budgets. In fact "foreign-funded local NGOs are responsible for a significant portion of the petitions brought before the Israeli High Court of Justice," says the report.

The EU, realizing it could not get Israel to change its laws through diplomatic means, has resorted to creating an internal lobby within Israel to get Israel to bend to the will of Europe.

Now those don't sound like huge amounts of money. But for the NGO's in question, they are huge percentages of the annual budgets.

Now, I told you that the EU's lobby is anti-Semitic - let me prove that statement.

Recall that on Saturday night I posted Natan Sharansky's 3D test for anti-Semitism.

The second “D” is the test of double standards. From discriminatory laws many nations enacted against Jews to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick, this differential treatment of Jews was always a clear sign of antisemitism. Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies pursued by other governments produce similar criticism?

It is antisemitic discrimination, for instance, when Israel is singled out for condemnation by the United Nations for perceived human rights abuses while proven obliterators of human rights on a massive scale — like China, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria, to name just a few — are not even mentioned. Likewise, it is antisemitism when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.

The Europeans run EIDHR (European Initiative Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights - see the original article to see why I changed Initiative to Instrument) all over the world out of the belief that "democracy and human rights are universal values that should be vigorously promoted around the world." Let's look at how Europe promotes those values elsewhere.

In every other country in the world, the EIDHR directs its funding towards large-scale projects supporting "democracy" and "civil society." In Egypt it gave $10m. (2003-2008), none of which went specifically towards projects for the minority Coptic Christians.

Anti-Semitic? You betcha.

There's lots more. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Europe's Israel lobby

Elder of Ziyon: Mabhouh's use of passports and disguises

Elder of Ziyon: Mabhouh's use of passports and disguises

Israel Matzav: This too shall pass

This too shall pass

Eli Lake has spoken with some of his contacts in the intelligence community, and has published his results in Thursday's Washington Times. The bottom line is that although there is some evidence that the Mossad was not behind Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's liquidation (notably, the fact that two of the alleged liquidators went to Iran from Dubai, and that 26 people were used for a job that needed far less participants), most of the world believes that the Mossad was behind the liquidation and that this too shall pass. There's only one slight problem:

Frances Townsend, a homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, said the Obama administration should work discreetly to resolve the issue with the United Arab Emirates.

"I think it's important to the extent that Mossad is believed to be behind the Mabhouh assassination, it is important for the United States to lead the international community to a quiet resolution of this issue," she said.

"The United States can go to the [emirates] and the British behind the scenes and exert their power and influence. That is what they ought to do."

But will the Obama administration do this? After all, it might be seen as taking sides....

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: This too shall pass

Love of the Land: NIF and the Addiction to Power

NIF and the Addiction to Power

Gerald Steinberg
NGO Monitor
24 February '10

Officials of the New Israel Fund (NIF) and of affiliated NGOs have been attacking critics following revelations regarding their contributions to the assault on Israel, particularly in the Goldstone Report. Rather than addressing the severe problems that have been exposed, NIF and its supporters have targeted NGO Monitor with hysterical attacks and irrational mudslinging.

Defenders of NIF, such as Gershon Baskin (“A dark day for democracy,” Feb. 8, 2010) and David Newman (“The politics of delegitimization,” Feb. 9, 2010), as well as NGO officials (Mitchell Plitnick of B’Tselem, Hagai El-ad of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yossi Alpher of Peace Now, and others), have painted an image that puts NGO Monitor’s research at the center of a vast right-wing conspiracy and “witch hunt” intent on sabotaging democracy and blocking free speech through “McCarthyite” tactics.

While it is tempting throw some mud back, I will refrain. It is more constructive to provide an alternative to the hysteria used by both political fringes.
I have known Baskin, Newman, Alpher, and NIF President Naomi Chazan for many years, and while I believe their self-interests and narrow ideologies blind them to reality, they are committed Zionists who believe in the importance of Jewish national self-determination.

Why, then, are these Zionists contributing to the war against Israel, using the strategies adopted in the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference and embodied in the Goldstone process? How can we explain their roles in “apartheid” propaganda and exploitation of the language of international law and human rights to demonize Israel?

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: NIF and the Addiction to Power

RubinReports: Syria Welcomes Turkey to the Iran-Led, Anti-American Bloc

Syria Welcomes Turkey to the Iran-Led, Anti-American Bloc

By Barry Rubin

In its editorial welcoming President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Syria, the Syrian government newspaper al-Ba’th makes an interesting point buried at the end. One should note, of course, that this and just about everything else coming out of Syria also makes ridiculous the U.S. policy of engaging the dictatorship there with some illusion of splitting it away from its patron Iran.

But there’s something else going on here of the greatest importance. The editorial speaks of people in the Middle East who are coming together in an alliance rejecting Westernization, artificial borders, America, Israel, and various conspiracies. What countries are in this new alliance?

“Syria, Iran and Turkey, with their great peoples and their lively peoples and their rejectionist [the Syrian term for radical and anti-Israel, anti-American [policies are moving toward brotherhood….Welcome, President Ahmadinejad, in Syria.”

The Syrian regime is thus publicly trumpeting an Iran-Syria-Turkey alliance. The Turkish government's policy, in theory, is one of getting along with everyone. But while one should not exaggerate how far this has gone—and, of course, this is a Syrian, not a Turkish statement—the fact is that Ankara is now politically as well as geographically much closer to Damascus and Tehran than to Washington DC.

RubinReports: Syria Welcomes Turkey to the Iran-Led, Anti-American Bloc

Israel Matzav: Another fine example of Israel's Leftist media

Another fine example of Israel's Leftist media

And you wonder why the Right in Israel cannot get fair coverage in Israel's mainstream media....

Controversial television reporter, Illana Dayan, who was recently found guilty of character defamation of an IDF officer, was awarded a prize in 2008 by the New Israel Fund.

Dayan decided to donate the prize money to the group Itach – Lawyers for Social Justice. The group was involved in providing material for the Goldstone report.

I don't watch TV, so I cannot tell you which channel she is on, but if it's Channel 1, she's a government employee.

Israel Matzav: Another fine example of Israel's Leftist media

Elder of Ziyon: Today's hypocrisy by Jonathan Cook

Elder of Ziyon: Today's hypocrisy by Jonathan Cook

Love of the Land: Brant Rosen, rejectionist

Brant Rosen, rejectionist
24 February '10

I’m still thinking about the phenomenon of left-wing anti-Zionist Jews.

Let’s skip the doctrinaire Marxists stuck in their closed system like Noam Chomsky, the opportunists like Jeremy Ben-Ami, the mentally unbalanced like Norman Finklestein and those obsessed by hatred like Philip Weiss (note that some of the above fall into more than one category).

Let’s talk about the non-pathological ones who have nevertheless come to think that the existence of a Jewish state is fundamentally unjust. Sometimes they even say that Jewish ethics precludes Zionism.

A good example is Rabbi Brant Rosen. A reconstructionist rabbi, he calls himself a member of the “co-existence community.” This sounds like a good thing; Jews and Arabs should co-exist. But Rosen’s approach turns out to be one-sided.

He stopped celebrating Yom ha’Atzmaut last year because, in his words,

As a Jew, as someone who has identified with Israel for his entire life, it is profoundly painful to me to admit the honest truth of this day: that Israel’s founding is inextricably bound up with its dispossession of the indigenous inhabitants of the land. In the end, Yom Ha’atzmaut and what the Palestinian people refer to as the Nakba are two inseparable sides of the same coin. And I simply cannot separate these two realities any more.

Obviously there are some serious historical issues buried here. ‘Indigenous’ carries a lot of freight. Were Arabs who came to Ottoman Palestine in the 1830’s from Egypt with Muhammed Ali so much more ‘indigenous’ than the Zionists of the 1890’s? What about Arabs who arrived after the turn of the 20th century to take advantage of economic development fertilized by Jews? What about the Jews who had been in ‘Palestine’ since the exit of the crusaders?

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Brant Rosen, rejectionist

Israel Matzav: Israeli government to open hasbara site in English

Israeli government to open hasbara site in English

You will recall that when I blogged the announcement of the government's new hasbara website last week, I was critical of the fact that the site was Hebrew-only. Someone in the government must read my blog, because they have now announced that they will be opening an English-language website in April. Hopefully, the English on the website will be better than the following (lifted word-for-word from the article):

The interest there has been is too good to be true,” Edelstein said. “This shows that we pressed the right buttons.”

Edelstein said the main complaint he had received was the lack of an English-language site.

Notwithstanding my criticism, there are positive things to point out:

Training sessions have begun, and a pamphlet about how to defend the country is being distributed at Ben-Gurion Airport.


Edelstein said Israelis should feel free to advocate for a Palestinian state if that was their opinion, but that his ministry would concentrate on giving Israelis facts and techniques for representing Israel abroad.

As I have said previously, you can represent Israel abroad from your living room or home office. Targeting those Israelis who travel a lot is not necessarily the best thing. And while we're all happy to have materials, they have to be timely and the government cannot dictate to the people doing it how they should explain Israel's positions.

“The campaign doesn’t encourage people to give speeches on the Palestinian conflict but to talk about their lives and that we don’t take our wives out to fight Palestinians but to concerts,” Edelstein said.

“If people talk about the beautiful Israel and are ready for the tough questions, it can change the atmosphere for Israel internationally.”

Uh oh. That sounds a lot more like that awful 're-branding Israel' stuff we heard a year and a half ago. I hope not.

Israel Matzav: Israeli government to open hasbara site in English

Israel Matzav: Obama's new missile defense logo

Obama's new missile defense logo

Notice the Islamic crescent? More here.

Israel Matzav: Obama's new missile defense logo

Israel Matzav: The Goreacle invests in Israel

The Goreacle invests in Israel

Al Gore does something smart for a change.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former American Vice President Al Gore has invested $10 million in the Israeli start-up company Green Road Technologies Ltd. The money comes from Gore’s cleantech fund, Generation Investment Management LLP. In making this move, Gore joins other big names who have invested in the Israeli company such as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Ventures, Balderton Capital, and DAG Ventures.

So what exactly is this Israeli start-up doing that is generating so much buzz? Green Road Technologies has figured out a way to make driving both safer and greener. The company has created the “GreenRoad 360 service” that provides drivers and their fleet managers with real-time feedback on the manner in which a person is driving. When the driver starts the day, the device shows a green light. If the driver displays erratic driving such as slamming on the breaks or swerving, the light becomes yellow. If the reckless driving continues, the light turns red. While it may sound simple, the algorithms can analyze more than 120 different driving maneuvers providing life-saving, and money-saving, feedback to the driver’s supervisor.

Green Road Technologies says their customers can experience a 50% reduction in accident related costs and a 10% reduction in fuel costs. Billions of dollars could be saved every year by improving driving behavior, the most significant factor in determining fuel efficiency. By improving driving behavior, this Israeli start-up is hoping to make companies more efficient, more green, and safer. According to TechCrunch, “fuel savings just from driving less aggressively can save a company some $300 per vehicle per year, and when you factor in crash savings it’s more like $1000 to $4000 in savings per vehicle per year.”

The company has its headquarters near San Francisco as well as its 90-person research and development center in Or Yehuda in Israel. Chief of Safety Hod Fleishman, one of the company’s founders, told Globes that he believes that the company could become profitable very soon. He explained, “This may be our final financing round.”

I assume they're selling this service in San Francisco and not in Or Yehuda or anyplace else in Israel. Most Israeli drivers would be red. Here's one example.

Let's go to the videotape.

/And you thought this blog was about politics.

Israel Matzav: The Goreacle invests in Israel

Israel Matzav: Two interesting tidbits from Dubai

Two interesting tidbits from Dubai

Two interesting tidbits about the Dubai investigation in this New York Times article. Here's the first one.

The Dubai police statement issued Wednesday included a striking detail: two of the new suspects, identified as Nicole Sandra McCabe and Adam Marcus Korman and carrying Australian passports, left Dubai on a ship bound for Iran. All the others traveled by plane to European and Asian countries, according to the statement. The statement included no further information about the two suspects or why they would have gone to Iran.

Maybe they went to blow up a nuke plant.

Now the second one. Remember this report that said that everyone who enters Dubai gets a retinal scan that they keep on file? Remember how the Dubai police told us that they were going to find the assassins because they have their retinal scans? Well, it turns out - according to the New York Times - that's wrong:

All 26 suspects appear to have traveled on passports from countries that do not need prior visas to travel to the United Arab Emirates, and do not need travelers to go through eye scans or provide other biometric data required of some nationalities. Emirati officials said this week that they might revise their visa guidelines.

The Mossad is looking smarter by the day. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Two interesting tidbits from Dubai

Israel Matzav: The Mossad's mistake?

The Mossad's mistake?

Moshe Feiglin says that the uproar over the liquidation of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh - allegedly by the Mossad - is not going away.

Somebody in the Mossad and the echelon that authorized the Mabhouh mission is still living in the eighties. They didn't notice that the Western world, and particularly the British, no longer sees Israel as the good guy in the story. For them, Mabhouh is a freedom fighter.

If you didn't notice, Israel's most senior ministers are wanted in Europe's capitals for war crimes. No need for sophisticated electronics. All that you have to do is open your eyes to reality. If Israel's leaders are wanted for crimes against humanity, what does that say about our country? In the eyes of much of the world, Israel is no more than a pirate ship sailing on borrowed time.

The world has changed, ladies and gentlemen. Israel can no longer expect the international community to wink its eye and look the other way.

To the esteemed Meir Dagan. Please turn off your computer and your telephones - and think for a moment about Israel's place in the world today.

For once, I hope that Moshe is wrong. But having read parts of the Goldstone Report, it's very difficult to argue with him.

Israel Matzav: The Mossad's mistake?

Israel Matzav: Hamas: Media reports on Yousef 'fabricated lies'

Hamas: Media reports on Yousef 'fabricated lies'

Hamas has reacted to a report published in Haaretz on Wednesday, which claimed that Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son a senior Hamas official, was an Israeli informant for ten years.

"We came to the conclusion that Israeli media have become yet another tool against our people; that is why we will not comment on reports. What has been published, does not deserve a reply," Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas leader, said.

"This is fabricated lies, which Israeli media deploy to shake Palestinians' fortitude," he said.

What will they say when the book comes out?


Israel Matzav: Hamas: Media reports on Yousef 'fabricated lies'

Israel Matzav: Good luck with that!

Good luck with that!

The Obama administration is demanding that Syria distance itself from Iran.

The US asked that Syria distance itself from Iran, claiming that the tight relations between the two countries causes problems in the entire region.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Syria must stop intervening in Lebanon's affairs, stop providing weapons to Hezbollah, and promote renewed peace talks with Israel.

Good luck with that!

By the way, please note what's not on the list. It seems that continuing to house Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk of Hamas in Damascus is okay, as is allowing Damascus Airport to serve as a transit point for terrorists entering Iraq.

Israel Matzav: Good luck with that!

Israel Matzav: A skillfully planned assassination

A skillfully planned assassination

With all of the fuss over the false passports that were used, Samuel Segev reminds us that there is a lot to be admired about the skillfully planned assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The most important lesson is the penetration of Hamas, Syrian and Iranian security services. From information gathered from the media and other sources, it's clear that the killers visited Dubai several times in the past and knew all the security arrangements in the country. They were aware, of course, of the videos and the sophisticated monitoring equipment in the airport and the various hotels. Hence, they took into consideration the possibility that their passport photos could be exposed.

But they trusted the skills of the professionals who specialize in creating fictional identities and different looks. The use of the false passports was dictated by the nature of the operation's site. Dubai, a flourishing open city, has a border policy that granted the U.S., the European Union and other countries visa waivers and other facilities. Because of its location, Dubai is often used by foreign intelligence services as a "listening post" to Iran.

Like most of the Arab countries, Dubai doesn't recognize Israel. However, like other countries in the Persian Gulf, Dubai is part of the western anti-terror coalition and as such allows low-level contacts with Israel. Israeli tourists carrying foreign passports and on their way to Asian destinations often stop at Dubai airport and frequent the magnificent duty-free stores that are considered among the cheapest in the world.

And the bottom line?

An objective analysis of the Dubai operation would lead to the conclusion that the benefits of Mabhouh's killing outweigh the political cost. Despite the European demand for Israeli explanations, no one really believes that there will be any diplomatic consequences. All countries use fake passports in their anti-terror struggle and all will continue to use them in future.

There is also no operational damage. All 11 members of the team are safe and all will continue to be active, although with a slight change in their disguise.

As the number of suspects increases to a point where it seems like half of Dubai was in on the killing, all I can think of is this.

Let's go to the videotape.

How many of you remember when tapes looked like that?

By the way, for those who were wondering, al-Mabhouh was traveling on an Iraqi passport that was arranged by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: A skillfully planned assassination

Israel Matzav: Even Richard Cohen thinks Obama must act on Iran

Even Richard Cohen thinks Obama must act on Iran

Even Richard Cohen believes that President Obumbler has to start acting tougher on Iran or all hell will break loose here.

Israel, of all countries, has little faith in the rationality of mankind. It simply knows better. So the question of whether Ahmadinejad is playing the madman or really is a madman is not an academic exercise. It has a real and frightening immediacy that too often, in too many precincts, gets belittled as a form of paranoia. For instance, when Israeli leaders warn that they might take preemptive action against Iran -- say, an attempt to bomb its nuclear facilities as they did in Iraq in 1981 -- it is dismissed as irresponsible saber-rattling. Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski even suggested that if Israel tried such a thing, the United States might have to back it down with force. The Brzezinski Doctrine is refreshing in its perverse boldness: We shoot our friends to defend our enemies.

An Iranian bomb is not a matter that concerns only Israel. It would upend the balance of power throughout the Middle East and encourage radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas to ratchet up their war against Israel. Other Middle East nations, not content to rely on an American nuclear umbrella, would seek their own bombs. An unstable region would go nuclear. (It speaks volumes about Middle Eastern reality and hypocrisy that Egypt serenely lives with an Israeli bomb but breaks out in diplomatic hives at the prospect of an Iranian one.) Have a good night's sleep.

I have no idea whether Ahmadinejad merely acts crazy or is crazy. I do know, though, that Iran seems intent on getting nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I also know that nothing the United States and its allies have done has dissuaded Ahmadinejad (or the mullahs or the Revolutionary Guard Corps) from his goal. It may be time for Barack Obama, ever the soul of moderation, to borrow a tactic from Richard Nixon and fight crazy with crazy. The way things are going, it would be crazy not to.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Even Richard Cohen thinks Obama must act on Iran

Israel Matzav: Highest level of American support for Israel since 1991

Highest level of American support for Israel since 1991

A Gallup poll shows that 63% of Americans support Israel as compared with 15% that favor the 'Palestinians.' That's the highest level of support for Israel since 1991 when 64% of Americans supported Israel in light of the country absorbing scud missile attacks in the First Gulf War.

Unfortunately, support for Israel is rapidly becoming a partisan issue.

Over the last five years, support for Israel has increased slightly among Republicans (rising from about 77% for each of the past several years to 85% today) and independents, but has stayed roughly the same among Democrats. Since 2001, however, there has been a more dramatic shift in partisan attitudes: a 25-point increase in sympathy for Israel among Republicans and an 18-point increase among independents. Even on this longer-term basis, support for Israel among Democrats has been relatively flat.

The poll goes on to show that most Americans don't believe that peace is coming between Israel and the Arabs anytime soon, although (surprise!) a higher percentage of Democrats believes in peace than Republicans or Independents.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Highest level of American support for Israel since 1991

Israel Matzav: Obama votes 'present' on Iran

Obama votes 'present' on Iran

When he was a Senator and he wanted to avoid taking stands on controversial issues, Barack Hussein Obama would please all of the people all of the time by voting 'present.' He's trying to do the same thing on Iran. It's not working.

Team Obama has spent the year dithering and hoping that doing nothing would allow the opposition inside Iran time to peacefully bring down Ahmadinejad's government. But while the Obama team nervously talks among themselves, they have missed the opportunity to make the Internet available to the thousands of student protesters inside Iran or to implement harsh sanctions on the government that could push Ahmadinejad over the cliff and deliver the fatal blow to his presidency. The Obama administration should cease making the old, tired claim that American involvement would undermine the opposition by playing into the hands of Ahmadinejad's re-cycled message that this is an American CIA coup on his presidency. We are well past the point of the Arab world thinking thousands of Iranian students and opposition leaders are in the streets of Tehran because of American enticement. Many in the Arab world would privately cheer if Ahmadinejad's government fell or if the Iranian nuclear sites were destroyed. The lack of Obama leadership and assistance to the opposition inside Iran is now prohibiting the fall of a dictatorship on the brink. When White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs complains more often about former Vice President Dick Cheney than about Ahmadinejad it sends the wrong message to the Iranians, Chinese and Russians.

Team Obama's robotic and bland pronouncements citing general themes and re-cycled talking points from the Bush Administration will not stop Iran's march toward a nuclear weapon. It is time for even Obama to admit that he failed to convince the Iranians to give up their illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons and has failed to motivate the cheering crowds of Germany and Egypt to do more than celebrate the kinder, gentler, weaker American President. There may still be time to make sure Iran doesn't acquire the nuclear weapons that they will surely use, but it will require quick and sustained action by the White House. An immediate combination of paralyzing UN sanctions, aggressive support for the struggling opposition inside Iran, firm pressure on Europeans to implement the current financial sanctions and a credible use of a military deterrence must all be realized -- and soon.

Don't hold your breaths waiting for it to happen.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama votes 'present' on Iran

Israel Matzav: How to make sanctions on Iran work

How to make sanctions on Iran work

I'm not sure I agree with the explanation of why Obama won't bomb Iran (I believe he's an anti-Israel pacifist), but the rest of this is correct.

The president will not bomb Iran's nuclear installations for precisely the same reasons that George W. Bush did not bomb Iran's nuclear installations: Because we don't know exactly where they all are, because we don't know whether such a raid could stop the Iranian nuclear program for more than a few months, and because Iran's threatened response -- against Israelis and U.S. troops, via Iranian allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon -- isn't one we want to cope with at this moment. Nor do we want the higher oil prices that would instantly follow. No American president doing a sober calculation would start a war of choice now, while U.S. troops are actively engaged on two other fronts, and no American president could expect public support for more than a nanosecond.

But even if Obama does not bomb Iran, that doesn't mean that no one else will. At the moment, when Washington is consumed by health care and the implications of Massachusetts, it may seem as if Obama's most important legacy, positive or negative, will be domestic. In the future, we might not consider any of this important at all. The defining moment of his presidency may well come at 2 a.m. some day when he picks up the phone and is told that the Israeli prime minister is on the line: Israel has just carried out a raid on Iranian nuclear sites. What then?

This is hardly an inevitable scenario: If the Israelis were as enthusiastic about bombing raids as some believe, they would have carried them out already. They had no qualms about sending eight jets to take out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, or about bombing a purported Syrian facility in 2007. Both are now considered model operations. They were brief and successful, they provoked no serious retaliation, and they even won de facto acceptance from the outside world as legitimate defensive measures.

The Iranian context is different, as Zeev Raz, the squadron leader of the 1981 raid, readily concedes. "There is no single target that you could bomb with eight aircraft," he told the Economist (in a strangely tragic article that says Raz "exudes gloom" while his children apply for foreign passports). The Israelis have the same doubts as everyone else about the efficacy of raids, which is why they have focused on covert sabotage and even off-the-record diplomacy, despite having no diplomatic relations with Iran, in the hopes of slowing down the nuclear development process. They have also quietly studied the ways in which Iran could be deterred, knowing that they will have the advantage in nuclear technology for the next couple of decades. Although they keep all options on the table, they have so far concluded that bombing raids aren't worth the consequences.

At some point, that calculation could change. Because Americans often assume that everyone else perceives the world the way we do, it is worth repeating the obvious here: Many Israelis regard the Iranian nuclear program as a matter of life and death. The prospect of a nuclear Iran isn't an irritant or a distant threat. It is understood directly in the context of the Iranian president's provocative attacks on Israel's right to exist and his public support for historians who deny the Holocaust. If you want to make Israelis paranoid, hint that they might be the target of an attempted mass murder. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does exactly that.

No, no one here really wants to bomb Iran. But we're rapidly reaching the point where there will be no choice. The prospect of a nuclear Iran is worse than facing the consequences of a bombing campaign against them.

Israel Matzav: How to make sanctions on Iran work

Elder of Ziyon: "Death of those who support mingling men and women"

Elder of Ziyon: "Death of those who support mingling men and women"

Elder of Ziyon: EoZ: The official J-blog of the 2010 Winter Olympics

Elder of Ziyon: EoZ: The official J-blog of the 2010 Winter Olympics

Elder of Ziyon: Mabhouh circus update

Elder of Ziyon: Mabhouh circus update

Elder of Ziyon: PalArabs are protesting Jewish ties to ancient sites, not Israeli

Elder of Ziyon: PalArabs are protesting Jewish ties to ancient sites, not Israeli

Love of the Land: Yosef Trumpeldor

Yosef Trumpeldor

Zionist Freedom Alliance
11 Adar

On the morning of the eleventh of Adar 5680 (March 1st 1920), a mob of several hundred Arab raiders made their first attack on Tel Chai.

"What is a pioneer? Is he a worker only? No! The definition includes much more. The pioneers should be workers but that is not all. We shall need people who will be “everything” – everything that Eretz Yisrael needs. A worker has his labor interests, a soldier his “esprit de corps”, a doctor and an engineer, their special inclinations. A generation of iron-men; iron from which you can forge everything the national machinery needs. You need a wheel? Here I am. A nail, a screw, a block? – here take me. You need a man to till the soil? – I’m ready. A soldier? I am here. Policeman, doctor, lawyer, artist, teacher, water carrier? Here I am. I have no form. I have no psychology. I have no personal feeling, no name. I am a servant of Zion. Ready to do everything, not bound to do anything. I have only one aim – creation."
- Yosef Trumpeldor

Throughout Israel’s history, from the time of Avraham until today, there has been one single phrase that has consistently expressed the willingness to accept responsibility and work towards the collective good. Hineini – “here I am” – has forever been the watchword of readiness to answer a call. Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook writes in Musar Avicha that the words hineini use the language of modesty and hastened enthusiasm. It is an expression that connotes total readiness to carry out the will of the caller. A person who says hineini is not only prepared to complete a task, he approaches it with a zealous enthusiasm. Whether in response to a prophetic calling from G-D or to one deep in a man’s own conscience, hineini forever symbolizes selfless and heroic dedication on behalf of Israel’s collective destiny.

Not every person can truly say hineini. The statement alone is a great sacrifice because it automatically opens one up to a higher calling. A person who feels hineini is one who, deep in his soul, is idealistically charged to complete an essential task. For most it is impractical as it takes people away from their personal aspirations. In today’s cynical world, people often calculate interests rather than answer Divine calls. But there was one man – a symbol of courage – in Israel’s recent history that made hineini his trademark and lived up to its connotation. He always heard the call of Israel’s needs and valiantly rose to the challenge of easing the national burden.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Yosef Trumpeldor

Love of the Land: Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

David Wilder
23 February '10

Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

Introduction: International organizations declared Thursday, February 25, 2010 as 'Open Shuhada Street Day.' Shuhada, in Arabic, means martyr. This is, according to the Arabs, a road named in memory of 'martyrs' who have murdered Jews. The street's real name is King David Street, in honor of King David, who began his monarchy, the Kingdom of Judea, and later the Kingdom of Israel, in Hebron, over 3,000 years ago. Parts of this road have been closed to Arab traffic for security reasons. Gadi and Dina Levy were murdered on this road by a homicide bomber. Aharon Gross was stabbed to death on this road. Sixteen year old Eliya Meshulam was stabbed and critically wounded on the road. Six men were killed and twenty others wounded on the road in a major terror attack on this road. Two retired men were stabbed by an Arab terrorist on the road. Three young men had acid thrown at them on this road. Others were attacked, but escaped injury.

1. The settlers say they only have 3% of Hebron. They say they’re not allowed to go to H1 or most of H2. Given that they are restricted from the vast majority of the city, why shouldn’t Palestinians be restricted from the tiny portion of H2 that the settlers claim?

Hebron is a city deep inside the Palestinian territories. Israeli settlements in any of these territories are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The issue is not that the settlers have only 3% of the city, but rather that they are controlling part of an occupied city.

H1, an area which consists of about 80% of Hebron, is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. H2, the remaining 20%, is controlled by Israel. Israeli settlers, who make up less than 1% of the population of Hebron, control 20% of the city, which is not only incredibly disproportionate but also illegal.

In order to allow the settlers to live in a small part of H2, the Israeli army exerts control over a much larger proportion of the city in order to secure a buffer zone for the settlement. While the settlers themselves do not travel around most of H2, the Israeli military does patrol the entirety of H2, thereby placing restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout this part of Hebron. If Israeli settlers were allowed to walk in all of H2, the Israeli military would likely control an even larger percentage of the city in order to keep them safe.

Although H2 is a relatively small portion of the city, it is Hebron's true city centre where the industrial and commercial zones, as well as the most important landmarks, are located. H2 is an important passageway between the northern and southern parts of the city. Therefore, restricting movement in H2 significantly affects the freedom of movement of all residents of Hebron.

1. Response:
a) Concerning H1 and H2: Israelis presently have access to three percent of Hebron. Arabs have access to 98% of Hebron. Jews are forbidden from entering H1. Arabs may travel freely between H1 and H2.

Concerning the city center: As can be seen above, Hebron city center is certainly not in H2. Arab Hebron is a large, thriving city, with continued construction, factories, businesses, markets, and all elements of metropolitan life. This area, much larger than H2, is certainly more conducive to businesses and markets; therefore the claim that H2 is actually the city center is false.
Concerning access to all areas of Hebron, Hebron's Arab population has access to over 98% of the city. All areas can be accessed without any major issues.

(Continue to read full article)

Love of the Land: Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

Love of the Land: James Carroll Misrepresents Jerusalem Evictions Story

James Carroll Misrepresents Jerusalem Evictions Story

Steven Stotsky
CAMERA Media Analysis
24 February '10

Boston Globe columnist James Carroll has done it again. On February 22, 2010, he penned another highly biased opinion piece about Israel, relying heavily on personal claims leveled by Palestinians. The topic is evictions of several Palestinian families from disputed property in eastern Jerusalem. The writer promotes falsehoods about the disposition of the property and trashes Israeli legal proceedings that preceded the evictions. Beyond misrepresenting the facts and history of the case, Carroll offers a skewed portrayal of the two sides. Though he's written forthrightly and eloquently (in Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews) about the history of Christian hostility towards Jews, he has long seemed unable to apply the same approach to Israel. The February 22 commentary about supposed "creeping annexation" of Arab land echoes recent similar bias and error about Jerusalem.

The column focuses on the eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Carroll describes the land on which the homes were built for the Palestinian families in the 1950s as "vacant," obscuring a crucial element of this story. The land had been purchased by two Jewish organizations in the late 1800s, but was siezed by the Jordanians during the 1948 war. Regrettably, Carroll, who once wrote of being troubled that a clock owned by his mother in Germany might have previously been stolen from Jews, does not reflect on how the Arab families he champions were similarly the beneficiaries of violent dispossession of property from Jewish owners. He dismisses out of hand the history of Jewish ownership while giving voice in detail to the claim by the Arab occupants that their failure to secure the property deed was due to the 1967 war in which Israel took control of the land.

The 700 word piece also never mentions the salient fact that even after Jewish claims of ownership were confirmed, the evictions only came about because the Arab families stopped paying rent.

(Read full article)

Related: The Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik Neighborhood

Love of the Land: James Carroll Misrepresents Jerusalem Evictions Story
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