Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Love of the Land: Are They Being Smart Yet?

Are They Being Smart Yet?

Jennifer Rubin
09 March '10

Joe Biden arrived in Israel. A ticker-tape parade he did not receive. As this report notes:

Vice President Biden arrived in Israel on Monday to boost U.S. efforts to mediate talks between Israelis and Palestinians amid criticism that the Obama administration has set back the peace process.

Biden’s four-day visit — in addition to reassuring Israeli leaders about the U.S. commitment to curb Iran’s nuclear program — is designed to prod Israel and the Palestinians to get talks moving again. With a speech in Tel Aviv on Thursday, he will also try to court the Israeli public, some of whom felt snubbed in the past year by President Obama, who has visited Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia but has yet to come to Israel.

All George Mitchell could muster were so-called “proximity” talks, indirect discussions between parties that have little to discuss and, in the case of the Palestinians, little authority or willingness to make a “deal.” So the grousing has begun:

After so many years of direct talks that wrestled with the core issues of the future of Jerusalem, borders, security and Palestinian refugees, Mitchell’s announcement felt to some observers more like a setback than a success.

“It’s hardly a cause for celebration that after 17 years of direct official talks we are regressing to proximity talks,” said Yossi Alpher, co-editor of a Middle East blog and a former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Saeb Erekat, the longtime Palestinian negotiator, told Israel’s Army Radio that the indirect talks were a last attempt “to save the peace process.”

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Are They Being Smart Yet?

Israel Matzav: 'A serious threat to Venezuela's Jews

'A serious threat to Venezuela's Jews

A report issued in late February by the the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says that the Chavez regime constitutes a 'serious threat to Venezuela's Jews.'

A report by the human rights watchdog of the Organization of American States warns of a possible “threat to the life and physical integrity of the Jewish community in Venezuela” due to the Chavez regime’s violations of the political and human rights of its citizens.

In a lengthy report publicized in late February, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) accused the government of Venezuela of fostering an atmosphere of “political intolerance” and “a climate hostile to the free exercise of dissenting political participation.”

It blasted the prevailing “citizen insecurity” in the country and saved its harshest criticism for “the prevailing impunity affecting cases of human rights violations,” including in cases of police misconduct, abuse of authority, and even torture.

The Washington-based IACHR is an organ of the Organization of American States that monitors and investigates violations of human rights among the international umbrella’s members.

Read the whole thing.

Is anyone really surprised by this? I'm not. It was clear that all the Chavez regime's claims that 'thugs' were committing crimes against the Jewish community were nonsense.

Maybe Obama can try 'engaging' Chavez too - after all, it's worked so well with Ahmadinejad and Assad.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'A serious threat to Venezuela's Jews

Israel Matzav: Are the 'Palestinians' now susceptible to pressure?

Are the 'Palestinians' now susceptible to pressure?

Herb Keinon argues that the fact that the 'Palestinians' have agreed to participate in the 'proximity talks' without getting a full 'settlement freeze' that includes 'east' Jerusalem, shows that like Israel, the 'Palestinians' now have shifting red lines and that like Israel, the 'Palestinians' are susceptible to pressue.

So when Abbas said for months and months that he would not enter into negotiations with Israel unless and until there was a full settlement freeze, including east Jerusalem, it seemed this was a firm Palestinian red line – not one of those pliable Israeli ones – and that he meant what he said.

Well, now we see the Palestinians can also move red lines, which is worth noting as some kind of talks resume.

Equally important is to understand that the reason Abbas was willing to move his red line was because he came under intense pressure from the US, certain elements inside the EU, and from Arab states such as Egypt and Jordan to start talks, even though all his conditions were not met.

Keinon goes on to describe some of the possible scenarios when the round of 'proximity talks' end in July - at the same time that the Goldstone Report comes to the UN again and just before Israel has to decide whether to renew its 'settlement freeze.' Keinon argues that it shows that the 'Palestinians' can be pressured.

I disagree. I don't believe that Abu Mazen 'folding' on the 'settlement freeze' proves anything. The demand for a full 'settlement freeze' was never his - it was President Obama's. Abu Mazen could not afford to let President Obama be more 'Palestinian' than the 'Palestinians,' so he adopted President Obama's demand as his own. He has been looking for a way to climb down that tree ever since. The Arab League and the 'proximity talks' were Abu Mazen's ladder to climb down.

I don't expect Abu Mazen to be looking for a freeze in four months' time. I expect him to be looking for an Israeli commitment to a 'Palestinian state' 'based on' the 1967 borders. And I don't expect him to fold - even if it means that the 'talks' come to an end.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Are the 'Palestinians' now susceptible to pressure?

Israel Matzav: The 'proximity talks'

The 'proximity talks'

Laura Rozen reports that Israeli and 'Palestinian' analysts have put different spins on US Middle East envoy George Mitchell's Monday announcement regarding the commencement of 'proximity talks' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'

"I’m pleased that the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have accepted indirect talks," Mitchell said in a statement today. "We've begun to discuss the structure and scope of these talks and I will return to the region next week to continue our discussions. As we've said many times, we hope that these will lead to direct negotiations as soon as possible. We also again encourage the parties, and all concerned, to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks."

"The text indicates that he will NOT announce anything while Biden is here," the former Israeli official interprets.

"There will be a generic statement on the sides's 'willingness' to participate in 'indirect talks' but nothing on terms of reference, [specific] issues etc.," the former Israeli official interpreted. "Bulls***."

But the American Task Force for Palestine's Hussein Ibish says the indirect talks provide a bridging mechanism that could yield direct final status negotiations the Obama administration has long sought to get relaunched.

"I think they're going to be talking about how to resume full, direct negotiations," Ibish says. "The main topics [of the indirect proximity talks] will be terms of reference, schedule of topics, timeframe, and all that kind of thing."

"The Palestinians want specifics," Ibish continued. "The Israelis want the vagueness. That's a difficult gap to bridge. Also, the Palestinians are very keenly aware of the dangers of a complete meltdown at the diplomatic level and want and need some assurances that this will not be a complete catastrophe. ....Proximity talks allow them, and everyone to ease back into the negotiating process with some political protection."

If by 'terms of reference' and 'timeframe' Ibish means an Israeli commitment to expel all the Jews who are outside the 1949 armistice lines from their homes - let alone committing to a time frame for doing so - these talks aren't going to get very far.

Israel Matzav: The 'proximity talks'

Israel Matzav: Applying lessons learned from Iraq to Iran

Applying lessons learned from Iraq to Iran

Moshe Arens, who was Israel's Defense Minister during the 1991 Gulf War (sometimes called the First Gulf War), talks about some of the lessons learned from the Israeli strike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and from the First Gulf War.

Here's a summary:

* The Iranians learned a great deal from the destruction of Iraq's Osirak reactor by the Israel Air Force in 1981. The Osirak reactor was the key element in the Iraqi nuclear program: a single target which, when it was destroyed, set that program back very substantially. The Iranians saw this and they dispersed their nuclear program. Much of it is deep underground. There is no single target which, if destroyed, would substantially set back the Iranian nuclear program

* When I came to Washington as Israel's ambassador in 1982, the atmosphere was one of hostility and there was talk of imposing sanctions against Israel as a reaction to its unilateral action against the Osirak reactor. Yet after a few years the view in Washington changed completely. It is difficult to envision the Americans undertaking Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf in 1991 if the Iraqi nuclear program had continued beyond 1981 and had not been so seriously set back by the Israeli action.

* Some say that while the missiles Israel faces are relatively cheap weapons, we are launching a very expensive missile interceptor system against it, which does not seem very wise at first sight. However, the damage that might be caused by the incoming missile may far exceed the cost of the anti-missile system.

* Israel's missile interceptor system poses a dilemma to anybody who decides to launch missiles against Israel, especially a missile that has a nuclear warhead. The dilemma is that the missile may very well be intercepted and thus expose the launching of a nuclear missile, even if it didn't reach its target, which could bring about the response that could be expected for committing this deed.

* At the start of the Gulf War, the Americans said they expected that within 48 hours the U.S. Air Force would eliminate the missile launch capability of the Iraqis. If they did not succeed, Israel would be free to take whatever action it considered appropriate. Although there was intensive aerial activity directed at hitting the Scud launchers, not a single Scud launcher was hit or immobilized during the Gulf War. Furthermore, the U.S.-made Patriot missiles in Israel did not succeed in intercepting a single Scud missile.

The thing I found most surprising about this article is the fact that not one Iraqi missile was shot down by a Patriot missile. I was still living in the US during that war (we made aliya - immigrated to Israel - a few months later) and was under the impression that the Patriots had shot down some missiles.

I also found this paragraph in the main article a bit disconcerting:

Some people like to think that Israel has nothing to worry about because of the sizable Muslim population in the area and that the Iranians would not dare to cause massive destruction in an area where many Muslims might get injured or killed. However, as Prof. Bernard Lewis has said on a number of occasions, this kind of immunity is imaginary because radical Muslims are convinced that God knows how to tell the difference between Jews and Muslims.

Living in Jerusalem, I thought it less likely that Ahmadinejad would shoot at us than at other parts of the country.

One the other hand, if radical Islam claims that their god knows the difference between Jews and Muslims, how can they explain the high number of 'Israeli Arabs' killed by Hezbullah rockets during the Second Lebanon War? (I don't have the exact number but I remember that it was disproportionate). Hmmm.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Applying lessons learned from Iraq to Iran

Israel Matzav: Oil traders dump Iran

Oil traders dump Iran

Arutz Sheva quotes a report from the Financial Times of London that says that the World's three largest (a claim for which I will not vouch) oil trading companies will no longer do business with Iran.

The three largest oil trading firms in the world – Glencore, Trafigura and Vitol – announced Monday that they would no longer do business with Iran. A report in the London Financial Times said that the companies had concluded that there was too much risk and not enough profit in supplying Iran. The three companies had been responsible for supplying Iran with about half its daily oil use.


Israel Matzav: Oil traders dump Iran

Israel Matzav: Why no one robs a 7-11 in Israel

Why no one robs a 7-11 in Israel

Heh. (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad).

Israel Matzav: Why no one robs a 7-11 in Israel

Israel Matzav: Rachel Corrie died to get the World's attention

Rachel Corrie died to get the World's attention

Rachel Corrie's parents are here this week with four ISM terror supporters to testify in a lawsuit that the Corries have filed over their daughter's death. Lenny Ben David writes a letter to the Corries which, if they actually read it, might give them some second thoughts over who was responsible for their daughter's death.

And the third picture is of your earlier visit to the region to see where your daughter lived and died. You were met and honored by Yasser Arafat:

That is where you should have realized that you daughter was his pawn, another young idealist brainwashed into hating Israel. Arafat regaled in his “shahids,” the suicide bombers who blew up Israeli civilians. The New York Times documented the training of 25,000 Palestinian teens in the summer prior to launching the September 2000 intifada. Your daughter Rachel was another impressionable youth recruited for the Palestinian cause. I’m sure that is hard for you to believe, but read what her ISM buddy Joseph Smith believed:
“We knew there was a risk,” Smith said, “but we also knew it never happened in the two years that we (the ISM) have been working here. I knew we take lots of precautions so that it doesn’t happen, that if it did happen it would have to be an intentional act by a soldier, in which case it would bring a lot of publicity and significance to the cause.”
According to another account:
“Her death serves me more than it served her,” said one activist [unclear if the speaker is an IMS activist or a Hamas activist] at a Hamas funeral. “Going in front of the tanks was heroic. Her death will bring more attention than the other 2,000 martyrs.”
And Corrie herself discussed the possibility of an American activist’s death as a propaganda tool:
You just can’t imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed U.S. citizen.
Finally, who sent your daughter into Gaza? The International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led group, founded in August 2001 by Huwwaida Arraf, Adam Shapiro, Ghassan Andoni, Neta Golan, and George Rishmawi.

In July of 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Rishmawi said the ISM’s main purpose is to increase international awareness of Palestinian suffering through the involvement of foreign activists, who pay their own way to the West Bank, where they are trained in various methods of nonviolent direct action.

“When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore,” Rishmawi said. “But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”
Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, leave Israel with our deep condolences. It may be easier for you to live with the belief that Rachel was an idealistic fighter for peace. Maybe she was, but she was also used as a tool and discarded. ISM actually tried to market her as the “new Anne Frank.” Her life was wasted by a cruel, opportunistic, radical movement for whom the ends justify the means.

Sue them.
Rachel Corrie was used as canon fodder. Possibly willing canon fodder, but canon fodder all the same.

If any of you reading this knows Craig and Cindy Corrie, you might encourage them to read the whole thing.
Israel Matzav: Rachel Corrie died to get the World's attention

Israel Matzav: Eight Senators express concern over US ambassador to Syria

Eight Senators express concern over US ambassador to Syria

Eight Republican Senators have sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing concern over the possibility that the United States will return an ambassador to Syria. The eight are Jon Kyl, Pat Roberts, Kit Bond, Tom Coburn, John Barrasso, Mike Johanns, Robert Bennett, and an eighth whose name I cannot make out for certain, but looks to be Jim Inhofe. The letter is below.

You can see a clearer copy of the letter here.

There are a lot of good reasons why sending an ambassador to Syria is bad policy. Let's hope the Republicans can prevent it from happening.
Israel Matzav: Eight Senators express concern over US ambassador to Syria

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinians' don't want a state

The 'Palestinians' don't want a state

Laura Rozen posts what is apparently a translation of a column by Nachum Barnea that appeared in Monday's Yediot Aharonot. I don't agree with Barnea that we should force the 'Palestinians' to accept an interim state (the last thing we should be doing is giving them land in exchange for an agreement that would lack an end of conflict provision), but what he says about the 'Palestinians' not wanting a state is spot-on.

Yaari’s basic assumption is that the Palestinians do not really want a state, not if it entails resigning themselves to dividing the land. The Palestinian strategy is to collapse into the arms of Israel. From Israel’s perspective, that is disastrous. It must force them to establish a state. Since they are incapable of signing a comprehensive agreement, they must be compelled to establish a state as part of an interim agreement.

It appears that Yaari’s basic assumption is correct. Abu Mazen and his colleagues in Fatah are missing two vital ingredients for the establishment of a state—willingness to impose painful concessions, and the desire and ability to take responsibility for everything that the day-to-day running of a state requires. The only one in the Palestinian leadership who is working seriously in this direction is Salam Fayyad. It is no accident that he is not a member of Fatah. It is no accident that he sees David Ben-Gurion, rather than Yasser Arafat, as a model to emulate. ....

Abu Mazen does not want a Palestinian state. He is willing, perhaps, to accept it on a silver platter, but he is not willing to pay the required price for it. Netanyahu does not want a Palestinian state either. He is willing to support the idea for public-relations reasons, but is not willing to pay the required price. And perhaps both of them have come secretly to the recognition that it is too late. The die has been cast....

And no, I don't believe that Netanyahu wants a 'Palestinian state' either. Why would he?

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinians' don't want a state

Israel Matzav: Maybe they should run their employees through those full body scanners

Maybe they should run their employees through those full body scanners

I've mentioned many times on this blog my July 2003 conversation with an El Al security person at London's Heathrow Airport, who told me that since Heathrow employees were involved in a suicide bombing at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv in April 2003, El Al no longer trusts Heathrow security. Apparently, the Mike's place bombers were not an isolated incident.

Then, last week, a second British Airways employee who was apparently part of the same plot was taken into police custody. This man worked at Heathrow Airport — one of the busiest international airports in the world. “No specific target has emerged but the airport link is obviously on our minds,” a security official told the Sun. But more arrests may be coming, the official added.

This second man, whose name has not been released, is not the first jihadist to work at an airport. Jawad Akbar, one of the five men convicted in 2007 of plotting to blow up the Ministry of Sound nightclub with fertilizer bombs, worked part-time at Gatwick Airport and had a security clearance “for working airside.” One of the members of the cell that planned August 2006 London plane bombing plot worked at Heathrow Airport with an all-area access pass.


Then there is convicted al-Qaeda member Dhiren Barot, who worked for Air Malta in its central London office from 1991-1995. Barot appealed to the air carrier to transfer him to the company’s Heathrow Airport office, but his transfer application was turned down. During his trial, Scotland Yard called Barot a “determined and experienced terrorist,” whose plans included setting off a dirty bomb in London and detonating a bomb under the Thames River in order to flood the subways system and drown thousands of commuters. Whether or not Barot had plans to attack an airline is unknown; evidence as such never materialized during the trial.

In February, the British government announced that it was installing full body scanners at Heathrow and Manchester, and later at all British airports. The rule is that if you're picked for the scanner and refuse, you can't fly. Just a week later, Heathrow employees passed around nude pictures of an actor taken from the scanner. Perhaps it's not the passengers who need to go through the full body scanner, but the British airports' employees. Daily.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Maybe they should run their employees through those full body scanners

Israel Matzav: A hit and run 'accident' or a terror attack?

A hit and run 'accident' or a terror attack?

A bulldozer hit an Israeli car near Havat Gilad on Monday night, and forced another Israeli car into a ditch alongside the road. The driver, a 'Palestinian,' fled, but was later caught. The IDF is saying it was a hit and run 'accident' and not a terror attack.

Police on Monday night said that an initial investigation suggested that an incident in which a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian man struck an Israeli vehicle and caused a second motorist to swerve into a road ditch was not an attempted terror attack.

Two people were lightly injured in the Monday evening incident, near the Havat Gilad outpost, southwest of Nablus.

The driver whose vehicle was struck, a resident of Kadumim, was lightly injured, and continued onwards, stopping only after he reached the Jeit junction.

A second Israeli vehicle driven by a woman, a resident of Yitzhar, swerved to the side of the road after noticing the tractor parked in the middle of her path, in an effort to avoid a collision, police said.

Conflicting reports emerged in the minutes after the incident, with some reports saying the second vehicle was chased and deliberately struck by the tractor driver.

The man from Kedumim, who unlike police was there when the incident took place, claims that the bulldozer driver tried to kill him.

Shai Kisler, the Kedumim resident who was injured when a tractor driven by an Arab hit his vehicle near Havat Gilad Monday night, disputes the contention of the IDF that the incident was a “hit and run accident.” Kisler said that he had been driving near Havat Gilad, with the Arab driving the tractor right in front of him. “All of the sudden he stopped, blocking the road,” Kisler said. “I stopped as well and made a u-turn, because I was afraid he was setting up a terror attack. The tractor then made a u-turn as well, and started pursuing me very quickly, eventually hitting me. Afterwards he kept driving and hit several more cars. A jeep that he hit fell 20 meters off the side of the road,” Kisler said.

In a statement, the IDF said Monday night that the incident, in which 2 Israelis were hurt, was a “hit and run accident,” not a terror attack. The statement said that the Arab was shaken up by the first accident and fled the scene on foot. He was arrested a short time after the incident and is in police custody.

There were two terror attacks using bulldozers in Jerusalem in July 2008, and one in March 2009. I'd bet on Monday night's incident being a terror attack.

Israel Matzav: A hit and run 'accident' or a terror attack?

Israel Matzav: If you don't like the results, appoint a new commission; Shebaneh's new web site

If you don't like the results, appoint a new commission; Shebaneh's new web site

I've discussed the exposes of corruption in the 'Palestinian Authority' by Abu Mazen's former anti-corruption czar Fahmi Shebaneh several times on this blog. Because Shebaneh actually started exposing corruption, he was forced to resign, and now 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has appointed a committee consisting of three of his closest friends to investigate whitewash corruption in the 'Palestinian Authority.'

A special commission of inquiry established by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to investigate a series of corruption cases in the PA has begun summoning suspects and witnesses, Rafik Natsheh, a senior PA official, announced on Monday.

The commission was set up after former PA intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh, who was in charge of the anti-corruption unit in the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in the West Bank, exposed several cases implicating top officials in sexual, financial and administrative corruption.

Remember Rafiq Husseini, the close Abbas aide who was caught with his pants down? Well, Husseini was suspended, but not because he solicited sex from a Christian woman who sought Abu Mazen's assistance with a personal problem.

Both Husseini and the secretary were also caught on tape bad-mouthing Abbas and his two sons, Tarek and Yasser, whom they dubbed “crooks and thieves.” Husseini is also heard on the tape referring to Yasser Arafat as the “biggest swindler.”

That will get you fired, won't it?

Shebaneh has opened up a web site on which he is publicizing a scandal of the week (I trust he's somewhere in Israel under the protection of the Israeli security forces). The website is here and I put a Google translation of it here. It would be nice if JPost's Khaled Abu Toameh (who is an Arabic speaker and has been following this story closely) could let us know each week what scandal Shebaneh posts.

By the way, I did a little looking around with the Google translation and the Fatah people also hate Mosab Hassan Yousef, the Hamas leader's son who converted to Christianity and became an Israeli collaborator.

Israel Matzav: If you don't like the results, appoint a new commission; Shebaneh's new web site

Israel Matzav: Moon, Ashton to enter Gaza from Israel see results of Barack Obama school of budgeting

Moon, Ashton to enter Gaza from Israel see results of Barack Obama school of budgeting

They don't listen to me.

It seems like just yesterday that I advised the Israeli government not to let EU Chief Foreign Policy Adviser Baroness Catherine Ashton enter Gaza from Israel. Instead, the government has decided to let both Ashton enter next week and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to enter in several weeks.

"In response to the special requests ... Israel has decided to facilitate their entry [into Gaza] in order to allow them to get a first-hand impression of humanitarian activities taking place in that area," the Foreign Ministry said.

Ashton said that she wants to inspect first-hand where the EU’s "huge amount of aid” is going.

In December, Israel refused to allow a group of European legislators to enter the Gaza region, but Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin last month entered via Egypt and was the first European in his position to travel there since Operation Cast Lead. Several U.S. members of Congress, including Senator John Kelly, traveled to Gaza last year.

Hamas has claimed for three years that it faces a humanitarian crisis, but U.N. officials stated categorically to Israel earlier this week that no such situation exists today.

Do you mean to tell me that this UN statement (which has largely been ignored) is actually leading the government to believe that someone in the 'international community' will give us a fair shake? I wouldn't count on that.

JPost adds:

One diplomatic official said an exception to the policy had been made for the two because they represented multilateral organizations, not individual nations. According to the official, the concern in Jerusalem was that a flood of foreign ministers into the area would give Hamas a degree of legitimacy.

Neither Ban nor Ashton, the official said, would be meeting Hamas representatives.

While Ashton is looking into where Europe's 'huge amount of aid' is going, she might want to check here and here. It seems that Salam Fayyad went to the Barack Obama school of budgeting:

The Palestinian Authority's income rose 20% in 2009, and passed for the first time the $2 billion mark. According to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the PA's budget for 2010 will grow further, to around $3.8 billion. $1.2 billion of that will be derived from international donations.

That's growth, isn't it? Well, Fayyad went to the Barack Obama school of budgeting, but in the 'Palestinian Authority' taxes are still optional. With all the 'international aid' the 'Palestinians' are getting, who needs to pay taxes?

Israel Matzav: Moon, Ashton to enter Gaza from Israel see results of Barack Obama school of budgeting

Israel Matzav: The Jonathan Pollard Haggadah

The Jonathan Pollard Haggadah

A new Haggadah has been issued, which is dedicated to Jonathan Pollard, who has now spent 25 years in a US prison for spying for Israel. The Haggadah is being sold door-to-door in Israel. Unfortunately, something tells me that means it's not going to be sold outside Judea, Samaria and certain neighborhoods in some of Israel's large cities - if someone can get me one, please let me know, as my neighborhood is unlikely to be one in which it is sold. Some 20,000 copies have been printed and they say they will print more if necessary. The price is NIS 10 - about $2.75 at today's exchange rates. You can order 50 or more by sending an email to hagada770@gmail.com.

The Haggadah was edited by Rabbi Gabi Kadosh, the rabbi of the northern Negev town Shomriyah, where several dozens expelled Gush Katif families have made their home; he was the rabbi of the Gush Katif community of Ganei Tal for many years. Rabbi Kadosh compiled what many rabbis and public figures have said about Pollard, as well as Torah thoughts on the tremendous importance in Judaism of Redemption of Captives.

Passover was traditionally a time when extra efforts were made to redeem captives. The Book of Our Heritage, by Rabbi Eliyahu Ki-Tov, cites a traditional practice in many Jewish communities “that on the morning of Passover eve, the leaders of the community would go to the jails in and around their town, checking to see if there were any Jewish prisoners, whom they would then attempt to free.”

Asked why no English edition is available, Mivtzari explained that the first priority in the campaign to free Pollard is Israel, where it is hoped that public pressure will be exerted on the government to work for his release. “In addition, the entire project was done amazingly quickly and there was no time to think of adding anything else,” Mivtzari said.

The name of the new publication is “Freedom Haggadah: Let's not 'pass over' our brother Jonathan.” Volunteers will sell it door-to-door, and copies can be ordered at www.freepollard.net.

I went to that web site, which is how I eventually found that email address.

Something tells me that if they did this with an English translation, they could sell it for several times as much and raise some money to campaign for Pollard's release. Just a thought.

Israel Matzav: The Jonathan Pollard Haggadah

Israel Matzav: Who's lying?

Who's lying?

On Monday, I reported that the US had denied that it had given the 'Palestinians' written guarantees that it would assign blame in the event that the four-month 'proximity talks' fail. But I noted that Politico's Laura Rozen reported that oral assurances may have been given that the 'Palestinians' wrote down which served as the basis for such claims.

On Monday night, 'Palestinian' chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was quite specific about what assurances the 'Palestinians' had received.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas was given a letter by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which said, among other things, that the U.S. would “blame the appropriate party” if Israel refused to withdraw to the 1967 borders at the end of the four month “proximity talks” that are set to begin between Israel and the PA. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Abbas was given the letter with that statement, one of several answers to questions the PA had posed to the U.S. before agreeing to enter the latest round of talks.

Speaking in Ramallah at the conclusion of a meeting between Abbas and U.S. envoy George Mitchell, Erekat hinted that the U.S. would blame Israel if the talks “failed” - ie, if Israel did not capitulate to the PA's demands for a full withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and much of Jerusalem. Erekat said that the letter makes clear that “the United States will publicly announce who wrecked the talks.” Erekat did not specify who that might be, but Israeli officials took it to mean Israel.

Someone is lying. Either assurances were given or they were not given. Whether they were oral or written is almost irrelevant. But if assurances were given to the 'Palestinians,' Israel is surly entitled to know about them. If Erekat is telling the truth, Israel seems surprisingly complaisant about this.

Someone's lying. Who is it? Clinton? Erekat? Netanyahu? The future of the US - Israel relationship may depend on the answer.

Someone in the State Department press corps needs to ask this question point blank so that it cannot be avoided. Any volunteers?

Israel Matzav: Who's lying?

Israel Matzav: New Video: The liquidation of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Israel Matzav: New Video: The liquidation of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Israel Matzav: Democratic candidate in Fla. afraid to defend Obama's Middle East policies

Democratic candidate in Fla. afraid to defend Obama's Middle East policies

I got this press release during the night from the the campaign of Ed Lynch for Congress in the 19th district in Florida.




Ted Deutch- Running Scared, Afraid To Defend His Support Of Obama's Reckless Israel Policy

West Palm Beach FL, March 8, 2010-- Not long ago, Senator Ted Deutch proudly declared that he would be a "loyal supporter of President Barack Obama's domestic efforts as well as his international efforts on Iran and Afghanistan." But given the opportunity to defend those international efforts on Iran and its implications for Israel, Senator Deutch seems to have lost the courage of his convictions. With Israel's national security directly threatened by an Iranian regime that proudly broadcasts to the world that it is now a nuclear power, it is a very troubling development when a candidate for Congress cannot even summon the minimum amount of courage to display leadership on matters that can affect the lives of millions.

The fact of the matter is that by embracing President Obama's policy towards Iran, Senator Deutch also embraces President Obama's policy towards Israel- a policy which has effectively scuttled our historic strategic alliance with Israel and marginalized our ally in an attempt to curry favor with oppressive Arab states, some of which still support terrorism. While President Obama offers his rhetoric to the contrary, the fact remains that not only is President Obama content to allow Iran to acquire nuclear arms, he goes to great lengths dictate to Israel, our historic ally, as to what their domestic policies should be, while only giving lip service to the Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians regarding their obligation to reject terrorism. It was the naïveté of President Obama who foolishly believed that engagement with the current Iranian without preconditions would lead to better relations with Iran. President Obama's moral equivalence has led him to the conclusion that Israel, our longstanding democratic ally, deserves no more deference than do the oppressive, terror sponsoring regimes throughout the Middle East.

Regardless of Senator Deutch's lack of leadership on this issue, the fact remains that Israel is confronted with a very real danger from the current Iranian regime which desires nothing less than its destruction. President Obama continues to make conciliatory gestures to the Iranians even as its leadership and its mullahs continue developing nuclear weapons, sponsoring terrorism, and oppressing freedom-seeking Iranians. If Senator Deutch can't summon the courage to speak at a public forum to discuss the imminent threat that now confronts Israel and explain why the Obama Administration's policy towards Israel is misinformed and reckless- how can anyone expect Senator Deutch to display the necessary leadership in Congress to stand on principle and stand with Israel, rather than vouch for a naïve American President whose policies are jeopardizing Israel's national security?

You can find Lynch's answers to my questions here.

I urge any of you who have the right to vote in Florida's 19th district to overcome your instinct to vote Democrat and pull the lever for Republican Ed Lynch on April 13.

Israel Matzav: Democratic candidate in Fla. afraid to defend Obama's Middle East policies

Love of the Land: The extortion process

The extortion process

Soccer Dad
09 March '10

A few months ago Barry Rubin wrote:

Of course it is all political but this is a step toward delegitimization. The Arabic-speaking, Muslim-majority, and left-wing governments that supported the resolution see this as a step not toward a compromise peace but an elimination of Israel altogether.

I am not saying that this is going to happen, or that the resolution will have any actual negative impact on Israel itself. Yet what is most important is that having tasted blood, these forces will not be interested in getting less. Why should they--including the Palestinian Authority--settle for a stable two-state solution when they believe they can get far more without giving up anything?

Now here's "moderate" Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The extortion process

Love of the Land: Anti-Israeli student 'activists' don't take risks – they just give smug interviews to Iranian TV

Anti-Israeli student 'activists' don't take risks – they just give smug interviews to Iranian TV

Stephanie Gutmann
09 March '10

“Stand with the Irvine 11!” blared the email in my inbox this morning. “OK,” I thought groggily, “but which one of the dozens of activists sending me email are you and why are you appropriating the jargon of Sixties activism?”

As I read the bold type and caps-filled missive it turned out that the Irvine 11 are some of the students, the ones who were actually arrested, a few weeks ago at the University of California, Irvine campus when they refused to let an audience of nearly 500 hear Israeli ambassador Michael Oren deliver a speech.

The young activists used a tactic I’d never seen before, one that can superficially represent it self as “vocalizing dissent” in a “non-violent and non-threatening manner” (as their press release puts it) but actually works quite effectively to silence.

Oren had just began his lecture when a solitary student popped out of the crowd and began yelling (”killer”, “war criminal” etc.). Eventually an obsequious campus officials persuaded him to leave the room. Oren resumed, but then another howler sprung to his feet from a different part of the room. Calm was restored – for a second. And then, again: a man, popping throat veins, pumping fist, screaming, unintelligibly but very loud.

It was a particularly nerve-jangling tactic because one had no idea when and where the next screamer would pop up, if the disruption was really over or just on hiatus. This tension alone was enough to thoroughly shift the focus away from Oren even when the room seemed to be under control. The activists had, in effect, made themselves the subject. There was, of course (due process and all) no way to remove them en bloc, so the audience had to wait till each and every demonstrator had done his bit.

(Read full article)

Related: Muslim students disrupt Israel Amb. Michael Oren's talk

Love of the Land: Anti-Israeli student 'activists' don't take risks – they just give smug interviews to Iranian TV

RubinReports: Going Backward? Understanding and Attempts to Resolve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Going Backward? Understanding and Attempts to Resolve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

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By Barry Rubin

Last September, President Barack Obama said before a large audience at the UN that within two months there would be intensive, direct, final status talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Sort of a Camp David III. Now, six months later we are back in the pre-1992 era of indirect talks.

Yet reporters still ask, and write, that this might be the prelude to some grand breakthrough and a comprehensive peace deal. When will they ever learn? Never, apparently.

Note that it is important for the two sides to meet but the reason is to deal with far more immediate tasks: coordination on economic and security issues particularly. I guess I'm going to have to go on for decades saying that there won't be a comprehensive peace agreement for decades.

Before we start, though, one more point that is very important. When I say that the continuation of the conflict is mainly the fault of the Palestinian side, I'm not doing that to score political points. Who cares? The world will go on in precisely the same way whatever people think after reading articles.

You need to understand whose fault it is because it's impossible to understand what's going on without comprehending that reality. Nothing makes sense. After all, if Palestinians yearn for their own country and are suffering so horribly, why do they keep rejecting a peace agreement on the basis that they might--at worst--have to give up, say, five percent of the territory they claim?

But to return to the timeline, a simple reminder about one small point regarding Israel-Palestinian issues tell more than 100 op-eds. The Palestinian Authority (PA) will now probably engage in indirect talks with Israel and this will be hailed as a great step forward by Western media and governments, a triumph for the Obama Administration.

In fact, however, this sets the conflict back to around 1992, before direct talks began in Washington for the first time. And the PA must be dragged, kicking and screaming, into doing even that much.

Aren’t they in a hurry to get a state? No.

Here are four misunderstandings that block Western understanding of the issue:

--The importance of the Arab-Israeli conflict has fallen steadily in the Middle East. Yet it is widely viewed in the West as the central issue in the region.

--The Israel-Palestinian conflict is not solvable at present. Yet it is widely viewed in the West as easily and quickly solvable.

--The reason the conflict is not solvable at present is because of the extremism of Hamas and the intransigence of the PA. Yet it is widely viewed in the West as all being Israel’s fault.

While some Israeli positions would certainly cause problems in reaching a compromise peace agreement—most notably over small areas of east Jerusalem—the PA’s official leadership is too weak to make the necessary deals, the PA’s ruling party is too radical and has the goal of total victory, and the PA’s public has not been prepared for the necessary steps.

The best way to stop building on, and even fully remove, settlements on the West Bank would be to make a peace treaty in which all settlements would be removed from the territory of a Palestinian state. (Though, with Palestinian agreement, some could be incorporated into Israel as part of territory swaps. Indeed, the Obama Administration has accepted this idea.)

--Finally, the PA has full control over all the Palestinians in the West Bank except in about 20 percent of Hebron controlled by Israel according to an agreement made by the PA in 1997 . West Bank. While Israel still occupies part of the land and east Jerusalem, there is no occupation regarding the Palestinian population itself. Israeli soldiers and roadblocks only appear in response to periods of high terrorism. It is in the hands of the PA to avoid these problems.

Come to think of it, while the PA, and its supporters abroad, constantly complain about the arrangements on the ground as being unfair and oppressive, every aspect of these things was agreed to by the PA in exchange for other concessions in previous agreements.

If the Palestinians are so desperately oppressed by the settlements and so miserable because of the occupation, why has it taken 16 years, until March 2010, for the PA to get around to ordering 30,000 Palestinian workers not to hold jobs on the settlements and to bar settlement products from Palestinian stores?

And if the Palestinians are under such Israeli control how could it do so with no Israeli effort to block the PA from doing so?

Indeed, even this step comes only after the PA was embarrassed into doing so by internal political criticism and the fact that it has fallen behind European countries in their stance.

Incidentally, the PA will do nothing to help these additional unemployed, nor will oil-rich Arab states kick in additional money for the creation of jobs. Perhaps Western donors will support them through welfare payments. If someone is found working despite the ban he might be killed, either by the PA’s militias or after a trial for collaboration.

At any rate, these misunderstandings and realities shows the difference between the image and reality of the issues which bedevils any comprehension of what’s going on and hence any possibility of improving the situation.

RubinReports: Going Backward? Understanding and Attempts to Resolve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Israel Matzav: Twitter Fayad

Twitter Fayad

'Palestinian' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is on Twitter. Well, maybe. 'Palestinian' comedian Ray Hanania does a pretty good job of deconstructing Fayyad, the Twitter account.

I connected with Fayyad after he started to "follow" me. But how do I know any of the Palestinians are who they claim to be?

"Twitter Fayyad" writes fascinating posts like this one: "I think Rafik al-Husseini should take a page from Tiger Woods and do a press conference admitting his actions and taking responsibility."

Or this exchange with "Twitter Dahlan" over who was responsible for the Mabhouh murder: "Ya man. Beards are only OK if you are mujahideen on holiday or Mossad tennis stars?"

And another from "Twitter Fayyad" to "Twitter Dahlan." "Bas ya zelameh. I heard you were in Dubai pulling in old favors to get your ex-mukhabarat construction workers' release, no?"

There is a real sense of humor in that last one.

The posts seem to suggest "Twitter Fayyad" is a regular guy with a good sense of humor, which is why he is so favored by many in the West, and scolded by Hamas and Jabha fanatics.

Or is it fake? Is this the waitress telling my wife what she wants to hear, or real honesty from a politician willing to jeopardize his job by telling the truth?

I like to think people who have a sense of humor are also likely to embrace peace. No sense of humor means no chance of ever making peace.

Of course, "Twitter Fayyad" may not be the real Salam Fayyad at all. That's what my friend Hussein Ibish at the American Task Force on Palestine insists, and I believe him.

"Twitter Fayyad" has only 160 followers, and is following 305 others. That's a clue.

Among people he is following are Shakira, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

In a region of the world where anger, hate and violence dominate the headlines, we could use more humor and a lot more of Shakira, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and especially Lady Gaga.

Of course, "Twitter Fayyad" could just be another Mossad strategy to throw Palestinians into internal turmoil. It's not hard to believe, and certainly more effective than killing some obscure Hamas operative in Dubai.


For the record, I currently follow 93 people and have 639 followers, so I'm doing a bit better than Twitter Fayyad. You can follow me by going here. I do not follow Shakira, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna or especially Lady Gaga. They're not my style.

Israel Matzav: Twitter Fayad

Elder of Ziyon: Holocaust denial and Jew-hatred in Jordanian newspaper

Elder of Ziyon: Holocaust denial and Jew-hatred in Jordanian newspaper

Love of the Land: The Upcoming Rachel Corrie Trial: Go After Her Real Killers

The Upcoming Rachel Corrie Trial: Go After Her Real Killers

An open letter to Rachel Corrie's parents from an Israeli parent.

Lenny Ben-David
09 March '10

Jerusalem — Craig and Cindy Corrie, I welcome you to Israel where, I understand, you plan to bring a civil suit before an Israeli court on March 10 “to put on public record,” the British Guardian wrote, “the events that led to [your] daughter Rachel’s death in March 2003.”

I thank God for the well-being of my children and grandchildren, and I cannot imagine the pain and anger you feel over the loss of your daughter, Rachel.

My sons have served as combat soldiers, and may have actually fought on the very ground where your daughter died. The area was laced with tunnels to smuggle weapons and explosives for use against Israelis. My children are Israelis who ride in buses and eat in pizzerias, and by the grace of God they have been spared attacks by the suicide bombers your daughter championed.

Some may see the irony in your using the courts and the free press of Israel in your attempt to pursue and denounce the nation your daughter loathed. I see the tragedy in your allying with the International Solidarity Movement — the very people and organization who led and, in a sense, really pushed Rachel to her death.

According to news accounts, Israel will permit four of Corrie’s colleagues from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) to enter Israel to give testimony on what occurred that day. Actually, I believe it’s a good decision to permit the four into Israel’s jurisdiction where the ISM members could and should be arrested for reckless endangerment, fraud, manslaughter, aiding terrorists, and a host of other charges. The public may also discover who paid for your lawsuit and the expenses of bringing you and ISM witnesses to Israel.

Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, three pictures relating to your daughter are etched in my memory.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Upcoming Rachel Corrie Trial: Go After Her Real Killers

Love of the Land: For Israel's Arabs It Is Not Apartheid

For Israel's Arabs It Is Not Apartheid

Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
09 March '10

(As usual, number of good points.)

An Arab member of the Knesset who goes all the way to the US and Canada to tell university students and professors that Israel is an apartheid state is not only a hypocrite and a liar, but is also causing huge damage to the interests of his own Arab voters and constituents.

If Israel were an apartheid state, what is this Arab doing in the Knesset? Doesn't apartheid mean that someone like this Knesset member would not, in the first place, even be permitted to run in an election?

Fortunately, Arab citizens can go to the same beaches, restaurants and shopping malls as Jews in this "apartheid" state. Moreover, they can run in any election and even have a minister in the government [Ghaleb Majadlah] for the first time.

In this "apartheid" state, the Arab community has a free media that many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip envy. Ironically, an Arab newspaper in Nazareth or Haifa that is licensed by Israel enjoys more freedom than the media controlled by Hamas and Fatah, as well as most corrupt Arab dictatorships.

Ironically, this Knesset member who is complaining about apartheid enjoys more privileges than most Jews and Arabs in Israel. As a parliamentarian, he is entitled to do many things that an ordinary citizen cannot do, thanks largely to the immunity he enjoys as an elected official.

His parliamentary immunity allows him to enter areas that ordinary Jewish and Arab citizens do not have access to. This Knesset member, for example, travels to the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories which, for many years, have been off-limits to ordinary Israeli citizens.

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Love of the Land: For Israel's Arabs It Is Not Apartheid

Love of the Land: B'Tselem complains that Israel actually prosecuting Arab teenage rock throwers

B'Tselem complains that Israel actually prosecuting Arab teenage rock throwers

Dr. Aaron Lerner
09 March '10

When I read this I could only conclude that attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem doesn't follow the news in Israel:

"These incidents constitute a most severe breach of minors' human rights," attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem wrote to Jerusalem District Commander Aharon Franco.

"A military-like crackdown in the middle of the night to interrogate 12- to 14-year-old children on suspicions of throwing stones runs contrary to all reason, and cannot be justified. It's hard to imagine the security forces taking such measures against Jewish minors," she wrote, accusing police of breaking the law governing treatment of youth.

#1. The arrests she is describing match exactly what the Israeli authorities have done numerous times in detaining Jewish kids in the "occupied territories" - and elsewhere when carrying out the arrests could be a problem.

#2. The arrests are carried out in the middle of the night to avoid a clash in the neighborhood. Would attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem prefer that every arrest carry with it the "cost" of a riot? Or would attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem argue then that it isn't worth the cost of a riot to prosecute the stone throwers.

Or perhaps, does attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem not think that stone throwing is something that should even be prosecuted? Maybe attorney Yael Stein of B'Tselem thinks that stone throwing is simply another form of "nonviolent protest"?

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Love of the Land: B'Tselem complains that Israel actually prosecuting Arab teenage rock throwers

Love of the Land: Gaza Q&A: Palestinians answer

Gaza Q&A: Palestinians answer

Martin Kramer
09 March '10

Q: Martin Kramer spoke of Gaza’s “superfluous young men.” Is anyone in Gaza “superfluous”?

A: “I don’t mind if Gazans continue producing babies, but they will have to move somewhere else. They simply will not fit into their current geography—forgetting about feeding and employing them, too.” (Dr. Hassan Abu Libdeh, president, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2000.)

Q: Okay… Well, if that’s the situation, wouldn’t it make sense for Gaza’s government to promote family planning?

A: “Unlike the West that practices family planning, we encourage having children for political reasons.” (Dr. Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, co-founder of Hamas in Gaza, 2003.)

Q: Political reasons? For couples having children?

A: “Marriage is the same as jihad. With marriage, you are producing another generation that believes in resistance.” (Muhammad Yousef, member of the Qassam Brigades in Gaza, the Hamas underground, 2008.)

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Gaza Q&A: Palestinians answer

Love of the Land: Seriously! Isn't There Anyone Associated With The Goldstone Report Who Didn't Condemn Israel In Advance

Seriously! Isn't There Anyone Associated With The Goldstone Report Who Didn't Condemn Israel In Advance

Daled Amos
08 March '10

It's not a difficult question--but as you read the following article, it's hard to avoid the obvious answer, and wonder why it had to be this way.

There is a common thread that ties together

Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on "The situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967"

Judge Richard Goldstone, head of Goldstone Commission

Desmond Travers, member of Goldstone Commission

Christine Chinkin, member of Goldstone Commission

Hina Jilani, member of Goldstone Commission

Francesca Marotta, a senior member of the UN staff that helped compile the Goldstone Report

UN Inquiry Accused of Anti Israel Bias

A controversial United Nations report called the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and more commonly known as "The Goldstone Report," is under fire for being biased against Israel. Among its conclusions was an accusation that Israel had committed "war crimes" during its twenty-two day war with Palestinian terrorists that ended in January, 2009. Critics discredit this finding - saying key members of the report were clearly biased in favor of the Palestinians.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Seriously! Isn't There Anyone Associated With The Goldstone Report Who Didn't Condemn Israel In Advance

Love of the Land: The erasure of Jewish history and heritage

The erasure of Jewish history and heritage

Point of No Return
09 March '10

The Arab and Muslim outcry against Israel's proposed restoration of Jewish heritage sites in Hebron is symptomatic of a campaign to deny and erase Jewish history and heritage in the region as a whole. Read my guest post on CiFwatch.

The rebuilt Hurva synagogue in the old city of Jerusalem (With thanks: Eliyahu)

Rising from the ashes like a phoenix, the rebuilt Hurva synagogue is about to be inaugurated in Jerusalem’s Jewish quarter.

The synagogue, restored to 19th century magnificence with its finely carved wooden pillars, gilt ornamentation and frescoes of Jerusalem, is a rare symbol of the revival of Jewish life after Israel’s post-1967 reunification of the city. The synagogue was razed to the ground in 1948, dynamited by the Transjordanian Arab Legion, along with scores of other synagogues. The old city was depopulated of thousands of its Jewish inhabitants, their homes looted, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives desecrated and its tombstones used for latrines and as paving stones.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: The erasure of Jewish history and heritage

Love of the Land: Refuting ‘Re-Examining The Pollard Case’ – A Blood Libel Against Jonathan Pollard

Refuting ‘Re-Examining The Pollard Case’ – A Blood Libel Against Jonathan Pollard

Pesach Lerner
Yeshiva World News
08 March '10

Even a cursory glance at the facts which Yair Hoffman totally ignores in his article, “Re-examining the Pollard Issue” (5 Towns Jewish Times on March 4, 2010) reveals a case which Appellate Court Justice Steven Williams described as “a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” Jonathan Pollard is currently serving his 25th year of a life sentence for an offence — that of spying for an ally– that has a median sentence of 2-4 years.

Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. He received his life sentence as the result of a plea agreement which he honored and the US Government violated. In spite of the fact that he pled guilty and cooperated fully with the prosecution, at the last minute, the sentencing judge ignored the plea deal and sentenced Pollard to life.

“Pollard’s plea agreement required him to plead guilty and to cooperate. On its side, the government made three promises of significance here. First, it would bring to the court’s attention “the nature, extent and value of [Pollard's] cooperation and testimony” and would represent that the information supplied was of “considerable value to the Government’s damage assessment analysis, its investigation of this criminal case, and the enforcement of the espionage laws.” Second, it would not ask for a life sentence (this promise was implicit but is not contested by the government), though it would be free to recommend a “substantial period of incarceration”. Third, the government limited its reserved right of allocution to “the facts and circumstances” of Pollard’s crimes. The government complied in spirit with none of its promises; with the third, it complied in neither letter nor spirit…”

“…Pollard’s sentence should be vacated and the case remanded for resentencing.”


September 10, 1991, Argued March 20, 1992, Decided

Dissent by: Justice Steven Williams

Jonathan was indicted on one charge only: one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States. There were no additional charges against him.

Ever since Pollard was able to obtain the unclassified titles of the documents that were used as evidence against him, and these titles were published in a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice, there can be no doubt that the information Pollard passed to Israel concerned Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical and biological warfare capabilities – all being developed for use against Israel. The US was deliberately withholding this vital information, despite a legal commitment to share this data with its ally, Israel.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Refuting ‘Re-Examining The Pollard Case’ – A Blood Libel Against Jonathan Pollard

Love of the Land: The Saudi Foreign Minister Explains the New Middle East

The Saudi Foreign Minister Explains the New Middle East

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
08 March '10

Here's today's evidence that we are now living in Middle East 2.0 instead of the old version.

First, a definition:

Middle East 1.0: Characterized by Arab nationalist domination, competition among the strongerArab states to lead the region and by the weaker ones trying to survive those campaigns. Arab-Israeli conflict is a real enterprise. Roughly 1952-2000 or so. International aspect: Cold War competition between the United States and USSR and, near the end, US as sole superpower.

Middle East 2.0: Characterized by a battle between Arab nationalist regimes and revolutionary Islamists. An Iran-led bloc (Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, Iraqi insurgents) seeking regional hegemony. Israel and most Arab states have parallel interests; Arab states (except for Syria) put low priority on conflict. International aspect: Will the West support the moderates or appease the radicals.

The latest occasion is an interview of Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. Of course, there are the usual rhetorical flourishes about Israel but the passion and focus is clearly on Iran and various Islamist terrorists. (“There is nothing wrong with keeping the terrorists on the run,” says the prince.)

This is the same man who told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that sanctions would be too slow in stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons and the United States better do something quick. Here he says he prefers a resolution through the UN but it isn't clear what that means.

It's funny that in the West the region is being discussed, written about, and taught as if we were back in the 1970s. There is a particular obsession with the idea that everything is about the Arab-Israeli conflict. But if the Saudis talk like this publicly (you can imagine what they say privately) it's a sign of how changed everything is in Middle East 2.0's world.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Saudi Foreign Minister Explains the New Middle East
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