Wednesday, 10 March 2010

RubinReports: Announcing Construction of East Jerusalem Apartments: Stupid, Yes; Proof of Disinterest in Peace, No

Announcing Construction of East Jerusalem Apartments: Stupid, Yes; Proof of Disinterest in Peace, No

By Barry Rubin

There’s been a lot of nonsense written about an Israeli government announcement that 1600 apartments will be built in east Jerusalem. The timing was stupid, of course, since Vice-President Joe Biden was in town and didn’t like the idea. Moreover, to have such an announcement just when indirect talks were about to start between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn’t make Israel look helpful.

But that’s about it.

Anyone who knows Israel really well understands this to be what is called locally a “fashlan,” that is a stupid mess-up as often happens with the government there. Israel combines the candor of a First World country with the bureaucratic incompetence of a Third World one. The ministry simply didn’t think about what the impact would be nor did it consult with the prime minister’s office. It was sheer narrow-visioned incompetence.

Of course, though, Israel has announced since 1993, when the Oslo Agreement was signed, that it would continue building on existing settlements. And the government made clear all along that construction would continue in east Jerusalem. The action, if not the timing, was neither a provocation, the establishment of a “new settlement,” or proof that Israel didn’t want peace.

Actually, it’s sort of amusing that with the PA sabotaging negotiations for around 14 months while Israel was seeking them, the PA’s behavior isn’t taken as some proof that it doesn’t want peace while Israel’s single action demonstrates the opposite.

What this announcement really shows is that Israel doesn’t want or intend to give up all of east Jerusalem as part of a peace agreement, which is not exactly news.

Would it be better for Israel’s international position if the announcement had not been made? Yes. Because it allows the United States—which needs excuses for the failure to succeed at peacemaking—and the PA and Arab states—which need some rationale for their own policies to blame Israel

But does it really do any material harm to a peace process which is going nowhere due to Palestinian positions? Or does it make the PA and Arab states, which are supposedly salivating for a peace deal, change their mind? In both cases, no.

So, stupid yes. But deliberate sabotage or proof of warmongering? No.

RubinReports: Announcing Construction of East Jerusalem Apartments: Stupid, Yes; Proof of Disinterest in Peace, No

Love of the Land: Poor Old Joe & the Palestinian Status Quo

Poor Old Joe & the Palestinian Status Quo


David Calling
National Review Online
10 March '10

Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Israel, and the very next moment some Israeli minister announces that they'll be building 1,600 more homes in East Jerusalem. Poor old Joe! Settlements! More of those darned things! And just when he was going to play the conjurer, say abracadabra, and shake peace out of his sleeves. So upset is the VP that he turned up ninety minutes late for dinner with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Was he telephoning the geniuses in Washington who think these settlements are the key to the Middle East, or sobbing in the men's room?

Indirect negotiations, proximity talks, the Road Map, the Quartet, shelf agreements, the freelancing of Senator Mitchell and Tony Blair, and the drills of General Dayton have exhausted the lexicon of diplomacy and the ingenuity of lawyers. The reason for this should be crystal clear. The Palestinians are happy with the way things are; they see no reason for change; the present situation is playing profitably into their hands. If they'd really wanted a state, they could have had one any time since the 1992 Oslo Accords. Israel, the United States, the European Union, and even Saudi Arabia implore them to have a state.

But why should they? All these well-wishers are pumping money to them, and a state would force them to spend it on administration rather than themselves. They also have the pleasure of observing everyone — and specially Washington — putting pressure on Israel and making it unpopular. Sixteen-hundred more settlements gives them grounds for 1,600 more complaints, and then sitting down and rubbing their hands in expectation of commiseration and rewards. A state would oblige them to pull their own chestnuts out of the fire.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Poor Old Joe & the Palestinian Status Quo

Israel Matzav: A glutton for punishment

A glutton for punishment

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has actually asked to return to the University of California at Irvine.

Since then, videos of the incident at Irvine have proliferated on the Internet and attracted significant media attention. I have received heartfelt apologies from UC President Mark Yudof and Chancellor Drake. The response has been overwhelmingly favorable in defense of my right to free expression on campus and the students’ right to hear those remarks.

Still, I am not satisfied. I came to UCI for the opportunity to exchange ideas — a reasonable intention that was hijacked by a minority of students. The disruptive measures exhibited by these students only underscore the importance for dialogue, especially on the frontline of higher learning. The tragic fallout from this lecture is that those impassioned individuals most needing exposure to the Israeli perspective — and also needing to address their concerns in an appropriate manner — chose not to listen but rather to disrupt the event. Their methods, though championed by some, undermine the democratic principles on which the university system rests.

I have not given up hope on Irvine. I would willingly return to your campus and meet with those individuals whose views may not agree with mine as long as we respect the decorum of dialogue and free speech. Middle East issues are not devoid of emotion or nuance. Only with respect and sensitivity from all sides can we attain the conditions necessary to tackle one of the great issues of our time and realize the vision of peace.

Is this a case of insanity being to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? Or will Oren actually have a chance to be heard?

Either way, he's a glutton for punishment. I wouldn't be eager to see those people again.


Israel Matzav: A glutton for punishment

Israel Matzav: Karl in Washington: 'We didn't go to war for Israel'

Karl in Washington: 'We didn't go to war for Israel'

A new book hit the stores in Washington on Tuesday, and in it, former Bush adviser Karl Rove demolishes one of the central theses of another book, Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby. Rove asserts unequivocally that the United States did not go to war in Iraq for Israel.

Rove, Bush’s close confidante and a senior White House adviser at the time of the US invasion in 2003, describes several theories critics offered on why the president attacked Baghdad, among them “that he was doing the bidding of Israel”; teaching the Arab world a lesson; or finishing what his father started in the first Gulf War.

“None of these is true,” he writes. “The reason we turned our attention to Iraq was much more straightforward: We believed Saddam Hussein posed a threat to America’s national security.”

To back up his statement, Rove points to the less-than-complete international accounting Hussein had given of his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons program, his support of terrorists, his continued threatening of American pilots overseeing Iraq’s no-fly zone, his evasion of sanctions, and his flouting of 16 UN resolutions following the end of the Gulf War, among other issues.

“In the wake of 9/11, these actions made Saddam Hussein a unique threat,” says Rove in his 520-page book xxCourage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.



Israel Matzav: Karl in Washington: 'We didn't go to war for Israel'

Israel Matzav: Arab foreign ministers make a gutsy move (not)

Arab foreign ministers make a gutsy move (not)

You could see this one coming a mile away. Arab foreign ministers have withdrawn their approval for the 'proximity talks.'

The Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam reports that in response to Israel's decision to construct 1,600 housing units in northern Jerusalem, several Arab foreign ministers informed senior U.S. elements that the Arab Monitoring Committee had rescinded its approval for indirect Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that the Arabs respond urgently to Israel's "dangerous" move, which he said would torpedo negotiations.

A gutsy move would have meant telling Abu Mazen that either he compromises (and that they will support those compromises) or he gets nothing. Sadly, no one in these parts can remember the last time Abu Mazen or the Arab foreign ministers did anything of the sort.

What could go wrong?

UPDATE THURSDAY 12:01 AM

Israel Radio just reported that this was not Arab Foreign Ministers but an Arab League monitoring committee that recommended to the foreign ministers that they withdraw support from the talks.

Israel Matzav: Arab foreign ministers make a gutsy move (not)

Israel Matzav: Has America lost its power over Israel?

Has America lost its power over Israel?

Well, I didn't get on the BBC show, but I thought I would do a post telling you what I told them when they called me this afternoon, and what I would have said had I gotten onto the show.

It was never correct to say that America (sorry Canadians for referring to 'America' and not to the US) had 'power' over Israel in the sense that one normally conceives of power. America never had the ability to 'deliver' Israel although the Arab world always thought that they did. And given that Israel is a democracy, albeit an imperfect one, it's unlikely that America ever will have power over Israel.

What America did have was the ability to influence Israel. It was able to persuade Israel to act in ways that were in both America's and Israel's self-interest. Sometimes, American influence was sufficient to persuade Israel to act in ways that were clearly in America's self-interest, but less clearly in Israel's self-interest (see, for example, Israel's not responding to Iraqi scud missiles during the First Gulf War).

However, America under Obama has lost its ability to influence Israel. America has lost its ability to influence Israel because Jewish Israelis, who make up 80% of the population and an even higher percentage of the electorate (many Arabs don't vote), see Barack Obama as hostile to Israel. In a poll released in August, only 4%(!) of Jewish Israelis saw Obama as pro-Israel. 4% with a 4.5% margin of error. If you saw that kind of percentage in an election, you would think it came from a totalitarian country! But that's how most Israelis see Obama. His numbers nosedived here after the Cairo speech, and no one even bothers to check them anymore. By comparison, George Bush had an approval rating of 88% among Jewish Israelis when he left office. Guess which one had more influence over Israel.

The fact that Obama sent Biden here rather than coming himself simply adds to the mistrust. Obama has not come here since he became President, although he has visited Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. Why? Is he afraid of the spectacle of a country where people would take to the streets to demonstrate against him? If so, maybe he ought to think about why they are demonstrating.

Biden's trip here, as I have noted several times, is designed to pressure Netanyahu to hold his fire against Iran. I can't believe Tuesday's announcement was a coincidence. Israelis are very dissatisfied with Obama's policies on Iran, as is our government. I believe, as one lady in the audience said, that the announcement about building in Ramat Shlomo was a message to Iran as much as it was a message to Obama. The message said, "Watch out. No one owns us. If Obama doesn't take care of Iran, we will."

By the way, the Middle East studies professor from the University of Miami was excellent.

Israel Matzav: Has America lost its power over Israel?

Israel Matzav: Knesset panel slaps Barak on 'settlement freeze'

Knesset panel slaps Barak on 'settlement freeze'

The Knesset Defense Budget Committee, a special panel consisting of members of the Knesset Finance Committee and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has turned down a request from Ehud Barak and the Defense Ministry to redirect NIS 12 million from security to 'coordinating activities' in Judea and Samaria. The 'coordinating activities' consist of enforcing the 'settlement freeze'and would have added 29 inspectors to monitor Jewish building in Judea and Samaria and 11 persons within the Defense Ministry. The vote against was 4-2.

The three government representatives on the panel all voted against. Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), and coalition MKs Miri Regev (Likud) and Amnon Cohen (Shas) joined MK Uri Ariel (National Union) in voting against the transfer, while Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) and MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) voted to support Labor chairman Barak’s proposal.

“The committee acted correctly in rejecting Barak’s request,” concluded Ariel, who was responsible for coordinating the opposition to the initiative.

“While the Palestinians build illegal estates without anyone doing anything, Barak is busy rounding up a budget for inspection of his draconian moratorium,” Ariel said.

He emphasized that when the 10-month moratorium against new settlement construction was put in place on November 29, he had warned Barak that his plan to add new inspectors and staff to enforce it was illegal as long as Barak had not received an okay from the joint committee.

But it gets worse. The 'settlement freeze' is scheduled to last ten months. Barak wanted the new employees for longer. A lot longer.

Shortly afterwards, Ariel noticed that the Defense Ministry had published ads for the not-yet funded positions, which according to the advertisements would last for “two years,” and not for 10 months.

Ariel submitted an official request for clarification to the ministry, and the advertisements soon disappeared.

Of course, the Defense Ministry has already hired the 40 new employees. Thirty of them are in the field and the other 10 are in training. Now, the government will have to figure out how to pay them and whether to lay them off.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Knesset panel slaps Barak on 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: Andrew Sullivan goes off the deep end

Andrew Sullivan goes off the deep end

Popular blogger Andrew Sullivan goes off the deep end again (Hat Tip: Memeorandum

Having forcibly evicted Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, the new inhabitants sing songs in praise of the mass murderer Baruch Goldstein. And you really think the decision to make the site of that massacre a national heritage site for Israel had nothing to do with this association?

The claim that the designation of the Machpeila Cave (the Cave of the Patriarchs) as a Jewish heritage site had anything to do with Baruch Goldstein is offensive. It's on a par with the claim that the Jewish people's right to the land of Israel is based upon the Holocaust.

If we rank-ordered holy sites, the Machpeila Cave is the second holiest site in Judaism. And it was holy for thousands of years before Goldstein and 29 'Palestinians' died there in 1994. It is the burial place of the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people, Abraham and his wife Sara, Isaac and his wife Rebbecca, and Jacob and his wife Leah. It is also the burial place of Adam and Eve. The Machpeila Cave's holiness and its place as a Jewish heritage site have nothing to do with Baruch Goldstein. The Cave is holy and is a Jewish heritage site because Jews have gone to the Machpeila Cave to pray for centuries.

See Genesis 23 and Numbers 13 among others.

Goldstein is not buried in the Machpeila Cave and his family never asked to bury him there. His family asked to bury him in the old Hebron cemetery, where he would have been one grave among many. Instead, the Rabin government insisted that he had to be buried alone. So they had him buried on the outskirts of Kiryat Arba, where there is no cemetery, and where his grave is alone. The result was precisely the opposite of what the government intended: Goldstein's grave became a shrine and Goldstein's mystique was enhanced.


Israel Matzav: Andrew Sullivan goes off the deep end

Israel Matzav: Another concession to the 'Palestinians' that you won't hear about

Another concession to the 'Palestinians' that you won't hear about

Lost in the deluge of news since Tuesday about Israel building apartments for young couples in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, is a unilateral and dangerous concession that Israel made to the 'Palestinians' on Tuesday: Israel has informed the 'Palestinian Authority' that it will stop pursuing 77 'good terrorists' from Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs organization. Some of the terrorists are being allowed to go free altogether, while others are not allowed out at night or must sleep in 'Palestinian police' headquarters.

The latest Israeli move is seen as a reward for the PA leadership for its increased security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.

A PA official in Ramallah claimed that in recent months the Palestinian security forces managed to foil several terrorist attacks on Israel. The official pointed out that in one case PA policemen confiscated a home-made rocket that was supposed to be fired at Israel from the Ramallah area.

In a related development, the PA security forces arrested 28 Hamas supporters in the West Bank in the past 24 hours, Hamas sources said on Tuesday.

The sources accused the PA of stepping up its measures against Hamas supporters in the West Bank and warned that the crackdown would jeopardize efforts to achieve reconciliation between the Islamist movement and Fatah.

According to the sources, the PA security forces also raided a number of mosques in the Ramallah area over the past few days in search of weapons. Residents of Kharbata Bani Harith, 15 km. west of Ramallah, said the policemen destroyed furniture and windows inside a mosque.

Why shouldn't Israel do this? After all, it's been so successful in the past. What could go wrong?

P.S. Kharbata Bani Harith is right off Route 443 near Modiin. Barring a Knesset override of the Supreme Court, Route 443 will open to 'Palestinian' traffic in a couple of months. What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Another concession to the 'Palestinians' that you won't hear about

Israel Matzav: Lebanon: Pot calls Kettle black

Lebanon: Pot calls Kettle black

This is rich. Hezbullah accuses the United States embassy in Beirut of running a state within a state.

Following the publication of an item in the Lebanese daily Al-Safir stating that the U.S. Embassy in Beirut had asked elements in Lebanon to give it information about Lebanon's communications network, MP Nawaf Al-Musawi, from Hizbullah, said that the embassy was operating as a state within a state, and was maintaining private militias.

Hashem Safi Al-Din, chairman of Hizbullah's executive council, said that the American intelligence and security infiltration was more dangerous for Lebanon security than Israel.

I guess Big Satan is still more dangerous than Little Satan.

Heh.


Israel Matzav: Lebanon: Pot calls Kettle black

Israel Matzav: A dangerous freeze

A dangerous freeze

A major road in the Gush Etzion area has no cellular service, and the Defense Ministry is refusing to repair the cellular service due to the 'settlement freeze.'

A major road in Gush Etzion is disconnected from cellular access, even for the IDF. MK Amsalem demanded the dangerous flaw be corrected. The Defense Ministry responded: "The freeze also applies to this."

When someone, God forbid, is killed on that road because they cannot reach the security forces, I trust the Defense Minister will take the blame.

Just kidding. Of course he won't.

The picture at the top is an old picture of the city of Efrat (and I'm old enough to remember when the entire city was one mobile home on the top right of that mountain).

Israel Matzav: A dangerous freeze

Israel Matzav: Egyptians boycott Cairo synagogue re-dedication

Egyptians boycott Cairo synagogue re-dedication

Elder of Ziyon reports that the Egyptian government boycotted the re-dedication of the Maimonides synagogue in Cairo earlier this week, because they were angry that 'Israeli representatives' were invited to the ceremony by Cairo's tiny Jewish community.

You may recall that the invited guests included "members of the Cairo Jewish community, the Egyptian diplomatic corps, former Israeli ambassadors and representatives of the state. A group of Chabad Hassidim will also attend the ceremony and help in rededicating the synagogue."

I'm not even sure whether 'representatives of the state' in that list means Israel or Egypt. But even if it means Israel, I still don't understand the objection. Don't we have a 'peace treaty' with Egypt? Would the Egyptians expect to be invited if a large Islamic museum were dedicated in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?


Israel Matzav: Egyptians boycott Cairo synagogue re-dedication

Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Olmert's offers off the table

Confirmed: Olmert's offers off the table

Haaretz confirms that US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell told both sides during his recent visit that former Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's giveaway to the 'Palestinians,' which 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen never bothered to answer, is off the table (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).

Mitchell told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during talks this week that the understandings reached following the 2007 Annapolis Conference are non-binding in the current round of negotiations, Haaretz has learned.

...

In a Jerusalem meeting with quartet envoys on Friday, Mitchell's deputy David Hale said the negotiations after Annapolis and the understandings reached by Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qureia, as well as Ehud Olmert and Abbas, would not be binding.

The talks will be based on agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including the road map.

Olmert had offered Abbas an Israeli withdrawal from 94 percent of the West Bank, and Israeli territory in exchange for the remaining 6 percent. In addition, Israel would symbolically accept 5,000 Palestinian refugees and enable international governance for the holy sites in the Old City.

Abbas never responded to Olmert's offer, but the Palestinians insisted that the negotiations resume from where they stopped during Olmert's term as prime minister.

The U.S. apparently accepted Israel's position on the matter, which was to ignore everything that was not signed as part of an agreement.

The talks will also be based on the Obama administration's two statements from the past year: President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations, which described the goal of a secure, Jewish state in Israel alongside a viable, independent Palestine and an end to the 1967 occupation; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement regarding a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with territory exchanges, combined with Israel's desire for a secure Jewish state that includes "recent developments," meaning the settlement blocs.

Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Olmert's offers off the table

Israel Matzav: Biden's distractions

Biden's distractions

I'd like to share with you some random thoughts I've had today (Wednesday) about Tuesday's announcement that 1,600 new apartments have been approved for Ramat Shlomo, a neighborhood I know well, while Joe Biden is here visiting. For the record, while there are well over 2,000 apartments already in Ramat Shlomo, this is a significant expansion.

Recall this from Caroline Glick's Friday column last week:

In light of the gaping disparity between the Obama administration’s policies and those of the Israeli government, the apparent goal of Biden’s address is to shore up the position of the Israeli Left as an alternative to Netanyahu. Apparently, the picture emerging from all of the senior US officials’ meetings with Netanyahu is that Israel’s leader still feels comfortable defying them.

So can we label Biden's mission an epic fail yet? Yes, I know, there's no proof that Bibi knew this was going to happen - after all it was technically a decision of the Jerusalem District Planning Commission and the Interior Ministry. The Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, went on the radio Wednesday morning and denounced the timing. Come on. Even I don't believe that they didn't know this was going to happen in Biden's face. This reminds me of the Shamir days when every time a Bush administration envoy showed up here, a new 'settlement' went up. Not that I am objecting.

Second, the purpose of this mission is supposed to be getting on the 'same page' about Iran. Yes, Biden is going to see the 'Palestinians' as long as he is in the neighborhood. But with US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell having left here around the same time Biden arrived, it was clear that this mission really was supposed to be about Iran. Could it be that Netanyahu is more comfortable defending Jewish housing in 'east' Jerusalem (which he never promised to freeze anyway) than he is about telling Biden to his face that Israel will make its own decision when and if to attack Iran? Maybe.

Third, as Wesley Pruden points out, the Israeli public is not buying what Biden has to sell (Hat Tip: OyVayBlog via Soccer Dad via Twitter):

A full decade ago, Bill Clinton, posing as the best friend the Jews ever had — feeling their pain, pointing with pride to his undying love for Israel and viewing with alarm the occasional venal sins of the Palestinians — imposed some of the most hostile policies the United State ever foisted on Israel. This so effectively undermined Mr. Netanyahu that he was booted from office.

But that was then, and the Israeli public, like the government, has scant appetite for saccharine this time. It's just as well. Mr. Obama reserves his sweet talk for Arab provocateurs; he made his apology tour of the Muslim world early in his presidency but still can't find time to visit America's only reliably democratic ally in the Middle East. Good old Joe is the best messenger the president can find to take the bitter medicine to Jerusalem. He's regarded, at least by himself, as the best friend Israel has at the White House. Some friend. As a senator, he voted against sanctions against Iran, said he didn't see anything necessarily wrong with Iranian nuclear ambitions and grumbled that George W. Bush should be impeached if he sent Americans to bomb the Iranian nuclear plants. He'll blow some kisses at Israel this week, but none of them will be wet. Good old Joe will only be going through the motions of a duty dance.

Fourth, Kadima MK Yoel Hasson blasted the Netanyahu government for approving the new housing units.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said "Humiliating the vice president of the US, Joe Bidden, is far worse than the humiliation of the Turkish ambassador by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon." Hasson added, "They humiliated the Turkish ambassador with a low chair, but the US vice president they humiliated with 1,600 housing units."

"Netanyahu runs the government amateurishly, in a way that is reminiscent of the way a Likud branch is run in some godforsaken town," he said.

If anyone has an appropriate photoshop to depict Biden's humiliation I'd love to see it.

But more importantly, Hasson conveniently forgets that during the last government, which was led by his party, the Housing Ministry approved 1,300 units (I guess the number has increased since then) in Ramat Shlomo on a Friday, when then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was due to arrive in Israel on Saturday night of the same week. Rice condemned us then too. Where was Hasson? Or is he saying that if the Interior Ministry and the planning council had made their move the day before Biden got here it would have been okay?

And for the record, when the talks between Olmert and Abu Mazen fell apart at the end of 2008, one of the places on the list that the 'Palestinians' had agreed that Israel could keep was... Ramat Shlomo.

Fifth, Andrew Sullivan is having conniptions over poor, humiliated Joe Biden. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Biden's distractions

Israel Matzav: Kurtzer rips Obama administration on Israel

Kurtzer rips Obama administration on Israel

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer, who served as an adviser to the Obama campaign in 2008, has criticized the Obama administration for its approach to the 'peace process.'

Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. mediator and ambassador to Israel and Egypt who served both Democrat and Republican presidents, took a more skeptical view. He said it's "not understandable why we would now have them sit in separate rooms and move between them."

"I have been disappointed this past year with the lack of boldness and the lack of creativity and the lack of strength in our diplomacy with respect to this peace process. We have not articulated a policy, and we don't have a strategy," Kurtzer, who advised Obama's presidential campaign, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.

Kurtzer is right. Obama has bowed to every Arab dictator in the region, but has refused to speak to Israel or to visit here. In his last meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Prime Minister came and left late at night through a backdoor of the White House, and all photographers were barred other than the White House's own photographer. It goes without saying that there was no press conference.

Obama's first act upon taking office was to appoint retread George Mitchell as his 'special envoy.' Mitchell's biases against Israel were known before he ever assumed his position. Obama's second act was to be more 'Palestinian' than the 'Palestinians' by demanding a 'settlement freeze' when the 'Palestinians' had been talking to Israel without one for 16 years. Worse, he demanded that it include Jerusalem, to which no Israeli government could agree.

Spit in our face, Mr. Obama, and we'll spit in yours. Don't treat our Prime Minister like your butler and expect your Vice President to be treated like a king here.

What could go wrong?

UPDATE 2:44 PM

Kurtzer expands on the WaPo remarks here.


Israel Matzav: Kurtzer rips Obama administration on Israel

Israel Matzav: Congress losing patience with Obama on sanctions

Congress losing patience with Obama on sanctions

On Saturday night, I reported on the Obama administration's efforts to gain an exemption from the United States' own sanctions against Iran's energy supply for Chinese and Russian companies. It seems that Congress has now had enough of Obama on this issue.

And while the conference could last a long time and no final vote push is imminent, several congressional aides told The Cable Friday that their bosses were getting impatient with the ever-slipping deadline for U.N. action and that a large exemption that includes Russia and China would not fly on Capitol Hill.

"When we had the discussions in December about cooperating countries, it boiled down to the fact that the administration was demanding an exemption that was large enough to drive a truck through and that was not well received in the Congress," said one senior congressional aide close to the discussions.

The administration had pledged to wrap up at the U.N. in February during the French rotating presidency, then that slipped to March, and now lawmakers are being told April. The timing and the strength of the U.N. sanctions will directly affect what Congress does, the aide said.

"People on both sides want to give the administration the time they need and there's a genuine desire to be helpful, but the more this things drags on, the more there is going to be growing pressure in Congress about this," said the aide.

The aide spelled out two hypothetical scenarios: In Scenario A, the Security Council puts in place a very tough sanctions regime with China's signoff. In that case, the imperative for stringent congressionally mandated sanctions could diminish.

In Scenario B, despite a year spent on engagement, sold as necessary to rally the international community, sanctions are weak and China is not forced to change its behavior. In that case, the aide said, it will be very hard for the administration to turn to Congress and say "You don't need to move on tough sanctions now."

Midterm elections are approaching. We are watching how you vote.


Israel Matzav: Congress losing patience with Obama on sanctions

Israel Matzav: Who is intransigent?

Who is intransigent?

Isn't it amazing how the media continually calls Binyamin Netanyahu 'intransigent' but doesn't even stop to consider whether that adjective more aptly applies to Abu Mazen?

The Post's editors can lament that Netanyahu isn't as generous as his predecessors. But the reason there is no peace that Abbas and Arafat before him rejected generous offers. If they are demanding that Netanyahu accept deals that were previously rejected by the other side they are in fact rewarding intransigence, not advocating for peace.



Israel Matzav: Who is intransigent?

Israel Matzav: Mahmoud's kind of guy

Mahmoud's kind of guy

And you thought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn't care about anyone. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is apparently quite upset over the sudden demise of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and is doing everything he can to keep the murderer's memory alive.

WHEN THE Iranian foreign minister raises the issue at the UN, it illustrates that they are attempting to keep the story alive, since most European politicians received appropriate intelligence briefings on the matter and are now back-pedaling to distance themselves from their initial reactions. Fanning the flames further benefits Iranians in ensuring such eliminations do not happen in the future, as they would like to protect their network of arms dealers. These select reliable agents and facilitators are quite valuable, not to mention extraordinarily expensive to sustain. Even with a large delegation of foreign nationals on their payroll across the world, it is difficult to groom stable contacts and facilitators to replace Mabhouh.

Awww....

By the way, the rest of the article is fascinating, including the fact that the author's name was changed to protect his/her identity (first time I've seen that in the JPost). It also solves the mystery of the Arctic Sea, the Russian ship that was 'hijacked' last September.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Mahmoud's kind of guy

Israel Matzav: Mutual goal

Mutual goal

Israel and the 'Palestinians' have one thing in common regarding the upcoming round of 'proximity talks.'

[B]oth sides know better than to expect that U.S. special envoy Senator George Mitchell's shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah will be able to bridge the chasm between their demands. Instead, the mutual goal in the latest round of talks is to avoid being blamed for their failure.

Indeed.

The Obama administration should have left well enough alone. Instead, it pushed for these 'talks' that are likely to result in the following scenario:

While in theory a peace process might require that the protagonists make tough choices, the "proximity" process being initiated by the Obama Administration will, in fact, land the tough choices on the desk in the Oval Office. Four months or more from now, it will probably become clear that the gap between Israel and Palestine is unlikely to be bridged by simply talking. And then the question will be, Is the U.S. willing to force the issue by putting on the table its own views of an acceptable settlement and beginning to press both sides toward accepting it?

Three months before elections that are likely to result in the Democrats losing their majority in Congress? You've got to be kidding.

Add in that - unlike the 'Palestinians' - Israel is a democracy and that there is almost no support among Jewish Israelis for anything close to the 'settlement' that the 'Palestinians' are demanding.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Mutual goal

Israel Matzav: Some blockade, isn't it?

Some blockade, isn't it?

The World keeps complaining about the 'blockade' of Gaza. Here are some statistics from this week's 'blockade.'

Gaza exported more flowers to Europe last week, while receiving nearly 14,000 tons of humanitarian aid through Israel via the various crossings. Business owners in the region shipped out eight truckloads of carnations to be sold in the European market. The Gaza region is famous for its fragrant and highly-prized carnations.

Meanwhile, at the same time, hundreds of trucks laden with wheat, flour, meat, chicken, fish, legumes and other agricultural produce made deliveries in Gaza. Animal feed, hygiene products and medical supplies were among the non-food items that were packed on to the trucks that made their way into the region from Israel.

A total of 533 trucks transferred 13,919 tons of essential humanitarian food products and non-food items into Gaza just last week alone, according to the IDF spokesperson.

In addition, 1,308,260 liters of diesel fuel and 832 tons of cooking gas were pumped through the fuel terminal at the Nahal Oz crossing.

At the Erez Crossing, 190 medical patients and their escorts crossed into Israel from Gaza, many of whom continued on into the Palestinian Authority areas. Moving in the opposite direction, 190 staff members of international organizations crossed through Erez from Israel in to Gaza.

Some blockade, isn't it?


Israel Matzav: Some blockade, isn't it?

Love of the Land: Alexander Maistrovoy: Jews in the Holy Land ? What Jews?

Alexander Maistrovoy: Jews in the Holy Land ? What Jews?


Alexander Maistrovoy
Solomonia
10 March '10

Welcome to the Holy Land: Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi in Hebron, Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque in Bethlehem and Al-Burak Wall...

The Israeli government announced that it would include the Cave of the Patriarchs (Me'arat HaMachpelah) in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as part of a comprehensive plan to preserve Israel's national heritage and religious sites ("Moreshet"). The reaction of the Arab (and all Islamic) world to the decision has once again shown the real essence of the "Arab-Israeli conflict", which actually is the holy war that Arabs had proclaimed against the Jews.

Any conflict can be resolved if the conflicting parties recognize each other's right of existence. It becomes basically irresolvable if one of parties refuses to recognize the other. The key questions of borders, the status of Jerusalem and refugees are difficult but could be resolved in case Arabs recognized the right of the Jews to live in their land.

Arabs do not recognize it. All their policy, strategy, and ideology is directed to depriving the Jews of any connection with the land of Israel: virtually, and then physically to uproot the Jews from the history of the Holy Land. Jews have neither antiquities nor holy sites, they have no past. In other words, they do not belong to this land and have no right to exist at all.

It is this genocidal approach that is characteristic of Islam. Power and possession are inherent parts of religious attitude in Islam. This approach extends to all other religions, not only to Judaism. The idea consists in depriving other cultures of their spiritual base to achieve total physical domination over them.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Alexander Maistrovoy: Jews in the Holy Land ? What Jews?

Love of the Land: Jerusalem: It’s All in the Timing

Jerusalem: It’s All in the Timing


David Hazony
Contentions/Commentary
10 March '10

The New York Times has taken the plunge. In a report today about the Israeli government’s decision to build 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood — which, like most of Jerusalem, lies across the “Green Line” separating pre- and post-1967 territory, the NYT headline proudly refers to the “new settlements” that are, according to another NYT headline about the responses to the declaration, “clouding” the visit of Vice President Biden to the Middle East, who had arrived to announce the renewal of indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians. An earlier version of the piece, which has since been edited, described Jerusalem as home to “thousands of settlers.” This whole terminology is fairly new, but we can hardly blame the Times. It is, after all, the official position of the U.S. government.

Netanyahu is denying that he knew of the decision, and the NYT piece takes him at his word. Many commentators in Israel are not so quick to believe it, seeing in his denial a classic Bibi move to fake Left, go Right, deny and obfuscate whenever it serves his purposes. Assuming he really did know about the decision, why did he do it? And if he didn’t, why doesn’t he intervene to stop it?

The NYT puts the blame on his coalition partners: ”when he formed his coalition a year ago,” we are told, “he joined forces with several right-wing parties, and has since found it hard to keep them in line.” This is, of course, a bizarre distortion: Netanyahu chose his coalition partners as a product of their strength, which in turn reflects what the voters actually wanted on issues like these. It’s also a distortion because the left-wing Labor party, which is in the coalition, doesn’t seem to be pulling out any time soon. And it’s a distortion because the Kadima party, the leading opposition party and the only alternative to Netanyahu’s coalition partners, was founded on a platform that included the indivisibility of Jerusalem.

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Love of the Land: Jerusalem: It’s All in the Timing

Love of the Land: No equality before the law

No equality before the law

Construction laws in Jerusalem applied differently to Jews, Arabs


Hagai Segal
Opinion/Ynet
10 March '10

I felt two very dear people were missing in last week’s press conference where Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat presented his King Garden’s plan: The city’s Legal Advisor, Yossi Havilio, and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador.

They were supposed to be there to praise the plan, or at least show moral support with their very presence. After all, one of the plan’s most prominent aims is to impose law and order in the wild construction market of east Jerusalem, and both of them thus far appeared to be zealous supporters of this challenge. Yet they did not show up.

Havilio, as we know, is the uncompromising fighter against Beit Yehonatan in Kfar HaShiloah. His office has been turned into a war room against the mayor’s aspirations to legalize the building. Havilio did not agree to any compromise on the matter, even when the overall regularization of construction in the area – both Jewish and Arab – was discussed.

Meretz’s representative in City Council actually endorsed the compromise, yet Havilio objected on behalf of the law.

At a certain point, Lador too joined the campaign. Some very harsh warning letters were sent from Lador’s office on Salah al-Din Street to Barkat. The Mayor was asked to immediately seal Beit Yehonatan. “Any further delay constitutes grave damage to the values of the rule of law,” Lador reprimanded Barkat recently.

Sudden patience

King’s Garden, an ancient site that in the past was declared a green zone, includes 44 illegal structures. Their status is identical to that of Beit Yehonatan. Final demolition orders were issued against all of them.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: No equality before the law

Love of the Land: Is Israel a Colonial State?

Is Israel a Colonial State?

The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature


Irwin J. Mansdorf
JCPA
Institute for Contemporary Affairs
#576 March-April '10

Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire Middle East, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

What is not popularly recognized is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it served the Arab world in their nationalist goals and helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France.

Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial," with the term "settler-colonialist" applied to the Zionist enterprise.

This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "setters" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. The notion of "settler" dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.

Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948. The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological denial of any Jewish connection to the ancient Land of Israel.


Psychological factors often play a role in the development of political views. In the Israel-Arab conflict, one of the ways in which psychological factors operate is in the formation of "mantras" that do not necessarily reflect either the historical record or applicable international law.1 Examples include the use of descriptions of occupation as "illegal"2 and the determination that there is a "right" of resistance3 or a "right" of return.4 When used over and over again, these descriptions, despite their questionable legitimacy, can alter perceptions. Once perceptions change, attitudes and behavior change as well, leading to partial and ultimately biased views of historical and political reality.

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Love of the Land: Is Israel a Colonial State?

Love of the Land: I Hate That Verb "Stand By"

I Hate That Verb "Stand By"


Batya Medad
Shilo Musings
10 March '10

And I consider the idea of "taking risks for peace" a very dangerous oxymoron. Yes, you have to be quite a moron to think that there will be peace if you take risks like the ones those American politicians keep demanding from us. Yes, they promise to "stand by" us and watch the #!%#&!! fly.

Biden: U.S. will always stand by those who take risks for peace


As a certified/diploma-ed (not cuckoo) English teacher I know that there are idioms which don't mean what the words taken separately mean. That's no comfort when I hear American politicians promising to "stand by Israel," because one of that verb's accepted meanings is just to observe:
I don't want the world to watch us being attacked and then debate suitable response, judge who's guilty and then sympathize with our enemies. We all know that the world--including the United States of America-- is more concerned with satisfying the Arabs than defending our needs.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: I Hate That Verb "Stand By"

Love of the Land: The First Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day - March 16

The First Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day - March 16


The people of Israel and the nations of the world are longing for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and awakening to the grave and imminent danger that exists today on the Temple Mount, where non-Moslems are forbidden to pray, where Mosques are being constructed and where destruction of the remnants of the Holy Temple at the hands of the Moslem "custodians" of the Mount, continues apace. It is in our power to change this reality.

Join us on March 16th, (Rosh Chodesh Nisan), for THE FIRST ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL TEMPLE MOUNT AWARENESS DAY. Whether you are living in Israel or you are living abroad, you can participate.



For more details: The First Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day - March 16


Love of the Land: The First Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day - March 16

Love of the Land: Conspiracy and conflict

Conspiracy and conflict


NOW Lebanon
09 March '10

According to a recent survey conducted by the Dubai-based public relations firm ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, young Arabs want democracy, jobs and affordable homes. The findings imply that the vast majority – 85 to 99 percent of the 2,000 18-to-24 year-olds polled in nine countries including the GCC, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon – share the same aspirations as their counterparts in the globalized community, clearly rejecting a hidebound Arab world that has failed to get with the program.

Still, old habits die hard. This weekend, while young Arabs were no doubt downloading music from iTunes and wondering how the job interview with the multinational went, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again bored us by announcing that the 9/11 attacks were a “big lie”, while in Lebanon, on the eve of the national dialogue, his proxy army, Hezbollah, gave the middle finger to Lebanon’s shaky democratic principles by announcing that its weapons, which have apparently tripled in number since the 2006 war with Israel, were non-negotiable.

Ahmadinejad is no stranger to sharing with the world his take on history. He infamously declared that the extermination of six million Jews during the Second World War was a myth. His latest theory, that the US engineered the flying of three commercial aircraft into national landmarks just to have an excuse invade Afghanistan and control the world’s oil reserves, is part of this world view.

It would be funny if so many people didn’t believe him. Tragically, the Arab world is built on suspicion and conspiracy, a paranoia fuelled by one very powerful drug: Israel. Ahmadinejad is a potent peddler of the line that Israeli and US ambitions are inextricably tied, and that a secret Jewish cabal controls Washington and concocts the most outrageous evil to achieve common goals.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Conspiracy and conflict

RubinReports: Nations Must Know When to Cringe and Crawl—But for the West It’s Becoming Routine

Nations Must Know When to Cringe and Crawl—But for the West It’s Becoming Routine

By Barry Rubin

Sometimes selective appeasement is necessary in foreign policy. But when and just how far should a democratic country go in such behavior? Here’s a brilliant defense of giving in at times—which doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it, but I do respect it—and a recent example of how it’s overdone and mistakenly carried out nowadays.

The Times of London article is by George Walden, a former British diplomat and Conservative member of parliament with a lot of international experience. Let’s consider what he says and how we should interpret it.
The title tells a great deal: “We can’t afford the moral high ground: "In tough economic times, Britain cannot be too picky about whom it does business with.” In other words, the West is much weaker than it used to be and is often the beggar in these relationships with Third World dictatorships.

At times this is true, but at other times craven behavior is unnecessary and dangerous. Indeed, as I’ve often pointed out, the sense of Western weakness (the West cannot do anything) and cowardice (it won’t do anything) is Viagra for aggressive regimes—from Venezuela through Russia and the Middle East to North Korea--and revolutionary groups.

Here are Walden’s vivid examples:

1. The British government had to persuade an enraged Saudi king that the showing on television of a program about his government’s nasty beheading of a princess did not reflect official British views. He writes: “Being careful not to apologize for something over which the Government had no control, in the hope of reversing a devastating trade ban and other sanctions.” This is the right way to handle it, explaining without apologizing and also, one might add, without censoring. Note, however, how often this line has been crossed more recently by the United States and European governments.

2. A cordial meeting with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, “Despite what we knew of Saddam’s crimes, not just against his own people but in London, where his goons were busy poisoning dissidents.” In this case the action was strategic as well as trade-oriented. The British government did it, “Because he was at war with Iran, because the Russians were in Afghanistan and — who knew? — en route for the Gulf; and because, for historical reasons, our exports to Iraq were rather large.”

Supporting Iraq against Iran during the 1980-1988 war was a correct decision. The great mistake though, as I have argued in great detail elsewhere (Cauldron of Turmoil; The Tragedy of the Middle East) was to continue that behavior after 1988, errors that helped produce Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. In other words, strategic appeasement has to be carefully limited and, of course, used only with countries which are actually doing something useful to you, not your enemies (Iran) or those who promise benefits and never deliver (Syria).
3. The British government also “countenanced with little more than a noisy protest the barbarously sophisticated assassination of a British citizen in London, Alexander Litvinenko. Why? Partly because to have taken it farther would have jeopardized our exports to a fast-growing market, where the largest company in Britain, BP, had extensive investments.” The same thing happened in the case of a Libyan embassy employee murdering a British policewoman in cold blood.

I’d say this is going too far. Looking the other way while one of your citizens—and especially one of your own civil servants--is murdered on your territory out of purely commercial considerations seems too craven and a violation of the government’s promise to protect its own people.

4. Prime Minister Tony Blair overrode, “The law of the land in unprecedented fashion to protect the Saudi Royal Family from a corruption investigation in connection with a BAE deal. Legally it was a scandal, but to do otherwise would have put a huge defense contract at risk (you could hear the French salivating), not to speak of the incidental disadvantage of severing anti-terrorist cooperation with Riyadh, which the Saudis had blatantly threatened.”

I think this was a mistake, though perhaps the investigation might have been slowed or reduced in scope. When dictatorships get you to break your own laws like that it is subverting your own society. As for anti-terrorist cooperation, I suspect reasonably that this was more a Saudi than a British benefit. Beware of letting a dictatorship charge you for a service which is more useful to them than to you.

5. The deal allowing a Libyan terrorist in the Lockerbie plane incident go free in exchange for an oil deal with Libya. This is a serious error because not only does it make clear you can be bought and sold but also encourages future terrorist attacks. This—not the attack on Iraq—is the real blood for oil scandal.

Ironically, of course, when once Western states conducted gunboat diplomacy to protect investments and citizens while also to open markets, today the exact opposite occurs. (Is a terrorist attack the equivalent of a modern gunboat?) Walden rightly notes, “We would do well to understand this, because the international moral climate seems destined to become more brutal at roughly the same rate as our economic vulnerability increases.”

One should ask if Western imperialism has been replaced by Third World imperialism. Wow, that’s a good subject to study, isn’t it? Let’s get the academics , journalists, and intellectuals on it right away: Once upon a time North America and Europe were at times aggressive bullies but now that torch has been passed to a variety of radical dictatorships in the Third World. They are guilty of Westophobia, anti-Western racism, opposition to diversity, and a variety of other sins. I hope you can see the potential in this line of inquiry for turning the contemporary Western debate upside down.

But I digress. Walden makes clear regarding his examples: “I am not talking about wars, so much as how sovereign nations deal with one another in conditions of formal peace. “ But I’d go further than this: one can justify concessions or even what seems like appeasement in exchange for something tangible provided by an ally, even if somewhat odious and temporary. (The prime example is the alliance with Stalin’s USSR during World War Two.)

Yet such gifts should never be given to enemies—even in conditions of formal peace—who are trying to destroy the friends and influence of one’s own countries. The reason is that given the most practical considerations, such steps will strengthen the enemies and make them redouble their efforts to attack and undermine.

While acknowledging that Great Britain and America have done wrong things themselves, Walden explains—this should be obvious but unfortunately isn’t:

“Those who look forward eagerly (pop stars and theatre folk very much included) to the demise of the Anglo-American model and the emergence of a multipolar world should pause and consider where exactly these new poles of power are to be located, and how they are likely to behave when they feel the post-colonial boot transferring to the other foot.”

He also notes that some Western countries will merely step in even if others engage in sanctions. Of course, this is a problem in the Iran case with Russia and China.

One error I think Walden makes is to attribute the demand for more moralism as coming from pop stars and cosmopolitan elitists. Yet while such groups may find a cause like saving the whales or freeing Tibet congenial, it seems that nowadays they are more often on the other side, demanding kindness to dictatorships and tolerance of terrorists.

Indeed, given the five cases he cites above, I cannot identity a single one of the “beautiful people” who were outraged and demanded tougher action against Saddam, the Saudis, Libya, or for that matter Venezuela, Russia (over its attack on Georgia, for instance), Iran, or Syria (given its terrorist intimidation of Lebanon.

Tellingly he concludes:

“I am not suggesting we ease our moral joints in preparation to incline the knee in multiple directions. I simply draw attention to the widening gap between our predilection for national outrage and our power for action, and inquire how we propose to bridge it….Above all ask yourself how you would explain your ethical one-upmanship to an-out-of-work aviation technician/oil man/fork lift truck driver in the North of England.”

This made me think of the impoverished British mill workers who demanded sanctions against the Confederacy during the American Civil War because they opposed slavery, even though refusing to buy Southern cotton made them unemployed. Are today's workers made of the same stuff as their ancestors, even if the elite doesn't live up to its forbears?

So often we see that what is going on, though, is not dictated by clever strategy but a belief system in which “my country right or wrong” (yes I know the rest of the quote about putting it right if it isn’t) becomes “my country always wrong.” This is what the late J.B. Kelly called the “preemptive cringe” as policy.

And so State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley who never apologized to undermining a democratic friend of the United States did so to Libya. After that country’s daffy dictator Muammar Qadhafi threatened jihad against Switzerland because that country merely wanted to sustain its rule of law against his son’s criminal behavior while on a visit, Crowley made some mildly derogatory remarks.

But once Libya threatened actions against U.S. businesses he backed down. So let’s get this straight. Switzerland briefly arrested one of Qadhafi’s sons on the charge of beating up hotel workers, Libya then kidnapped two Swiss businessmen, imposed a trade embargo on Switzerland, and barred EU citizens from visiting but the United States is apologizing to Libya.

Shouldn’t the United States be backing up brave little Switzerland? Apologizing, crawling, and appeasing should be reserved for those times when it is really required by a compelling national interest. Doing it too often can be habit-forming; teaching others that they can walk all over you to their profit.

Optional footnotes:

I resisted the temptation to make some reference about Walden's pond being turned into a swamp by excessive appeasement.

I also resisted the temptation to quip that P.J. O'Rourke would certainly make a better--certainly a more entertaining--State Department spokesman than P.J. Crowley. For those who don't know, O'Rourke is a bitterly acerbic and funny satirical writer.

RubinReports: Nations Must Know When to Cringe and Crawl—But for the West It’s Becoming Routine

DoubleTapper: IDF APC Innovation

IDF APC Innovation

APC's in the IDF are used as armored transport and fighting vehicles.

The IDF mainly uses 2 APC Platforms the M-113, which was first imported from the USA in 1972 as part of the Yom Kippur war aid program, and the Merkava (Israeli Centurion Tank platform).




The IDF M-113 has undergone various upgrades, in order to improve its resistance to hazardous materials, and to protect it from anti-tank fire, IEDs, and machine-gun fire and to enable the APC to participate in urban warfare.


















DoubleTapper: IDF APC Innovation
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