Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Soldier's Mother: Passing the Elastic Band...

A Soldier's Mother: Passing the Elastic Band...

Israel Matzav: Torah dedication in memory of Shlomo Netiv HY"D

Torah dedication in memory of Shlomo Netiv HY"D

I was asked to pass this on:


Translation: A Torah scroll written by the people of Israel will be dedicated in memory of Shlomo Netiv HY"D (may God avenge his blood) on the first anniversary of his death, 8 Nissan 5770 (March 23, 2010) in the village of Bat Ayin in the Etzion bloc.

The schedule is above. If you are in Israel and do not understand the schedule, drop me an email.

For those who have forgotten, my liveblog of the terror attack in which Shlomo Netiv was murdered is here.

Israel Matzav: Torah dedication in memory of Shlomo Netiv HY"D

Love of the Land: The rationale behind censorship: “Moderate” Palestinian leadership honours mass terrorism as Joe Biden leaves town. And the BBC’s response is?

The rationale behind censorship: “Moderate” Palestinian leadership honours mass terrorism as Joe Biden leaves town. And the BBC’s response is?


Robin Shepherd
robinshepherdonline.com
14 March '10

So, let’s just accept that Israel’s handling of the Ramat Shlomo settlements announcement during US vice-president Joe Biden’s recent visit was cack handed and self-defeating. Prime Minister Netanyahu has admitted as much by apologising. It was a diplomatic faux pas, and it provoked a torrent of protest from the State Department to the Palestinian Authority. It also received saturation coverage in every major outlet in the western media. Hold that thought.

Now consider the response to the Palestinian Authority’s decision last week to celebrate the worst terrorist atrocity ever perpetrated inside Israel (the 1978 bus massacres which left 38 dead including 13 children) by naming a central square in Ramallah after its perpetrator, Dalal Mughrabi. That was a statement of values and intent, glorifying mass terrorism and signalling to Israel and the world that the Palestinians can never be trusted to abide by civilised norms. It tells you everything you really need to know about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and why peace with them has proved elusive for more than six decades. What follows is a list of the western news outlets that have covered what, I repeat, is an immensely significant and illustrative story:

1. The New York Times. 2. Nobody… That’s right, every other major media outlet in the western world has effectively censored it. Apart from the New York Times (and I am grateful to Tom Gross
for pointing that out) the story has been ignored.

If you really want to understand the reason why Israel faces such appalling demonisation and defamation across the western world, stop and think about this for a moment.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: The rationale behind censorship: “Moderate” Palestinian leadership honours mass terrorism as Joe Biden leaves town. And the BBC’s response is?

Israel Matzav: Egypt scraps Maimonides synagogue re-dedication

Egypt scraps Maimonides synagogue re-dedication

Egypt scrapped the official government ceremony that had been scheduled for Sunday to re-dedicate the Maimonides synagogue in Cairo. The ostensible reason was Israeli restrictions on Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount over the weekend. The real reason: There was singing and dancing at the Jewish community ceremony last Sunday.

Egypt’s top archeologist canceled today’s official inauguration of a restored Jewish synagogue in Cairo after singing and dancing broke out during a March 7 ceremony organized by the Jewish community.

The acts at the Moses Ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides, synagogue were a “provocation to the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims in Egypt and around the world,” said Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which oversees all monuments in the country, in an e-mailed statement in Arabic. Egypt’s government paid for the restoration, he said.

The decision to scrap the ceremony follows Israeli restrictions on Muslim access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem for prayers. Arab governments and Palestinians also condemned Israel’s move last month to put two religious sites in the West Bank on a list of Israeli national heritage sites.

In an English-language version of the sstatement, issued several hours after the original release, Hawass didn’t make any reference to dancing and drinking during the earlier ceremony, blaming only the actions of Israel against the Palestinians. Hawass couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The reality is that but for Farouk Hosni's candidacy for Secretary General of UNESCO, the synagogue would never have been restored. Hosni lost and lashed out at the Jews, blaming them for his loss. So this behavior by the Egyptians cannot be regarded as surprising.

Israel Matzav: Egypt scraps Maimonides synagogue re-dedication

Chester Chronicles-The Jihadi Feels Persecuted—His Aggression is Self-Defense

Chester Chronicles-The Jihadi Feels Persecuted—His Aggression is Self-Defense

Israel Matzav: As soon as Biden leaves, 'Palestinian Authority' honors mass murderer

As soon as Biden leaves, 'Palestinian Authority' honors mass murderer

Joe Biden left Israel on Thursday mid-day, and that same afternoon, the 'Palestinian Authority' honored mass murderer Dalal al-Mughrabi.

Dozens of Palestinian students from the youth division of Fatah, the party led by “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, gathered in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday to rename the main public square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the woman who in 1978 helped carry out the deadliest single terrorist attack in Israel’s history.

Mughrabi was the leader of a Fatah PLO terror squad armed with a stash of Kalashnikov rifles, RPG light mortars and high explosives, that sailed from Lebanon and landed on a beach between Haifa and Tel Aviv. They first killed an American photojournalist who was taking nature photos, then hijacked a bus and commandeered another, embarking on a bloody rampage that left 38 Israeli civilians dead, 13 of them children.

Fatah representatives at the ceremony on Thursday described Mughrabi as “a courageous fighter who held a proud place in Palestinian history.”

...

“We are all Dalal Mughrabi,” declared Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

An official PA ceremony was postponed due to the visit to the region by Vice President Joe Biden. The square, planted with greenery and flowers, is outside the Palestinian Authority’s National Political Guidance headquarters. Political guidance chief Gen. Adnan Damiri said a statue of Mughrabi would be erected in the square.

...

The White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, which issued statements almost every day last week lambasting Israel, have yet to voice any criticism of this latest inflammatory gesture by the Palestinian government which clearly discourages its population from wanting peace. Indeed, while rebuking Israel week after week has become one of the Obama administration’s most consistent foreign policies, I cannot recall a single occasion when it has criticized the Palestinian Authority for anything.

Two words: Double standard. And where there's a double standard, anti-Semitism is usually behind it.

Read it all.

Israel Matzav: As soon as Biden leaves, 'Palestinian Authority' honors mass murderer

Israel Matzav: Government suspends all home planning in Jerusalem

Government suspends all home planning in Jerusalem

Well, the Netanyahu government has excessively panicked (Bibi's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding) if this story is correct. Jerusalem is now united: There is building nowhere.

An informed source told Arutz 7 Sunday that the government has frozen all construction planning in Jerusalem. Officials who were on their way to meetings of planning committees covering the Jerusalem area Sunday were informed that the meetings were cancelled. One individual who was on his way to such a meeting told Arutz 7 that his cancelled meeting was supposed to discuss building in Old Katamon – within the green line. “What is going on here? One phone call from Washington has disrupted our lives,” he said.

At the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanayhu advised Israelis not to panic over the tension between Israel and the U.S. over construction of 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Government suspends all home planning in Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Petraeus betrays us

Petraeus betrays us

And now we have the background for why Biden went berserk on Tuesday.

On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief JCS Chairman Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) "too old, too slow...and too late."

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus's instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. "Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling," a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. "America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding." But Petraeus wasn't finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command - or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus's reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region's most troublesome conflict.

The Mullen briefing and Petraeus's request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus's request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied ("it was dead on arrival," a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama Administration decided it would redouble its efforts - pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with Chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen's trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had to see its conflict with the Palestinians "in a larger, regional, context" - as having a direct impact on America's status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.

Read the whole thing.

Three comments:

This is why Generals are supposed to stay out of politics. What did Petraeus think the Arabs would say if he asked them the question? They will be satisfied with nothing short of the end of the Jewish state.

And why did Petraeus repeat what the Arabs said at face value without trying to analyze it?

Sorry, but Israel is not going to roll over and die because the Arabs are unhappy with us.


Israel Matzav: Petraeus betrays us

Israel Matzav: Key Hamas terrorist arrested, Hamas threatens to retaliate

Key Hamas terrorist arrested, Hamas threatens to retaliate

Over the weekend, the IDF arrested Mahar Udda, who is responsible for the deaths of some 70 Israelis, including Dr. David and Nava Appelbaum HY"D who were murdered in Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem on the night before her wedding.

Hamas is furious, and although they accuse the 'Palestinian Authority' of assisting Israel (which may or may not be true), they are threatening to take revenge against Israel.

Hamas said in a statement that “conflict is our strategic choice, and it will awaken in full power in the West Bank, despite this setback.” The statement also accused the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority administration of telling Israel where to find Udda, whom Israeli security forces have been searching for over the past ten years.

I don't know what Hamas is so upset about. Udda will just be released in some future 'prisoner exchange' anyway.

For more details on the terror attacks that Udda planned see this post about his partner in murder, Ibrahim Hamid, who was arrested four years ago. They share responsibility for many of the same attacks.

Israel Matzav: Key Hamas terrorist arrested, Hamas threatens to retaliate

Israel Matzav: Good news: 'Palestinians' have new demands for resuming talks

Good news: 'Palestinians' have new demands for resuming talks

You could see this coming:

The Palestinian Authority is expecting US Middle East envoy George Mitchell to bring assurances that Israel will cancel plans to build homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

PA officials said over the weekend that without such assurances, the PA leadership would “find it very hard” to resume any form of talks with Israel.

“We hope Mitchell will bring with him the assurances we want,” said Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas. “We want assurances that Israel will cancel plans to build 1,600 new homes [in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood] and that Israel would not continue with its arbitrary policies.”

...

He said that if the US wants the indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians to be launched in the near future, it should see to it that Israel halts all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Good news: 'Palestinians' have new demands for resuming talks

Israel Matzav: Ridiculous: Barghouti gets PhD in jail, Shalit still incommunicado

Ridiculous: Barghouti gets PhD in jail, Shalit still incommunicado

This is beyond absurd. Marwan Barghouti, the leader of the Fatah Tanzim terror organization, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli jail (at least until he is released) has completed a PhD in Political Science at the University of Cairo.

Meanwhile, kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit has been held almost incommunicado with no outside visitors for nearly four years.

When are we going to stop treating terrorists being held in our prisons as juvenile delinquents who need to be reformed? When are we going to start demanding that the 'Palestinians' give the kidnapped Gilad Shalit at least the same privileges we give to 'Palestinian' terrorists or withhold those privileges?

The Prisons' Authority action in allowing Barghouti to complete academic studies is disgraceful. He should be starting at four walls and a ceiling all day long.

Israel Matzav: Ridiculous: Barghouti gets PhD in jail, Shalit still incommunicado

Israel Matzav: How the Arabs take care of their own

How the Arabs take care of their own

The New York Times tells us that Jordan is stripping Jordanian citizenship from 'some' Jordanian citizens who are of 'Palestinian' origin.

Muhannad Haddad grew up here, went to school here, got a job in a bank here and traveled to foreign countries with a passport from here. Then one day the authorities said he was no longer Jordanian, and with that one stroke they took away his citizenship and compromised his ability to travel, study, work, seek health care, buy property or even drive.

The authorities effectively told him they were doing it for his own good. They said that like thousands of other Jordanians of Palestinian descent, he was being stripped of his citizenship to preserve his right to someday return to the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem.

“They gave me a paper that said, ‘You are now Palestinian,’ ” he said, recalling the day three years ago that his life changed.

In a report titled “Stateless Again,” issued last month, Human Rights Watch said that 2,700 people in Jordan lost their citizenship from 2004 to 2008, and that at least another 200,000 remained vulnerable, largely those who moved abroad at some point in search of work.

The government says it is trying to help by requiring Jordanians of Palestinian descent who fled the West Bank or Jerusalem after the war in 1967 to keep their Israeli documents valid. This has become a more urgent matter recently, political analysts and government officials said, with the accession of a right-wing Israeli government and its ultraconservative foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

But the Times is cagey about the real reason this is happening.

Critics and human rights advocates, however, see a different motivation. They said the Jordanian government acted to preserve its own interest, trying to appease non-Palestinian Jordanians concerned about the growing economic and political influence of citizens of Palestinian descent, a charge Mr. Sharif denied. They say it also appears that Jordan is frightened by talk of declaring Jordan a Palestinian homeland as an alternative to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

The real motivation isn't to placate 'non-Palestinian Jordanians' but the royal family itself. You see, the royal family was transplanted itself from the Saudi Arabian desert:

Jordan is governed by the royal family and its Bedouin elite. Here's how it happened.

The Emirate of Transjordan was an autonomous political division of the British Mandate of Palestine, created as an administrative entity in April 1921 before the Mandate came into effect. It was geographically equivalent to today's Kingdom of Jordan, and remained under the nominal auspices of the League of Nations, until its independence in 1946.

Initially, both the territory to the East and the West of the Jordan river were the British Mandate of Palestine. "Transjordan" was a word coined as a reference to the part of Palestine "across the Jordan", i.e. on the far (eastern) side of the Jordan River. On the western side of the Jordan River was the remaining 21% of the Palestine Mandate, Palestine which contained many places of historical and religious significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

In other words, 'Jordan' is 79% of the Palestine Mandate. Not only is it 'Palestine' - it is the vast majority of the area covered by the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

The Mandate for Palestine, while specifying actions in support of Jewish immigration and political status, stated that in the territory to the east of the Jordan River, Britain could 'postpone or withhold' those articles of the Mandate concerning a 'Jewish National Home'.... In September 1922, the British government presented a memorandum to the League of Nations stating that Transjordan would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement, and this memorandum was approved by the League on 11 September. From that point onwards, Britain administered the part west of the Jordan as Palestine, and the part east of the Jordan as Transjordan....

...

The Hashemite Emir Abdullah, [Abdullah's great-grandfather, who was assasinated by 'Palestinians' in 1951 at the Dome of the Rock. Incredibly, Wikipedia omits this. CiJ] elder son of Britain's wartime Arab ally Sharif Hussein of Mecca [the Saudi royal family. CiJ], was placed on the throne of Transjordan [by the British. CiJ].... In March 1946, under the Treaty of London, Transjordan became a kingdom and on May 25, 1946, the parliament of Transjordan proclaimed the emir king, and formally changed the name of the country from the Emirate of Transjordan to the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. In December 1948, Abdullah took the title King of Jordan, and he officially changed the country's name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949.

Two thirds of Jordan's population is described as 'descendants of 'Palestinian refugees.''

In other words, the cousin of the Saudi Arabian rulers, whose 'Kingdom' was a creation of colonialism so that his great-grandfather would not fight with his great great uncle, is now denying that two thirds of his population is entitled to call his country their home.

And did I mention that Jews were expelled from Jordan in 1923 and denied citizenship since?

So you see, it's real simple. Jordan is 'Palestine.' But the 'royal family' doesn't want to let the 'Palestinians' live there.

Israel Matzav: How the Arabs take care of their own

Israel Matzav: A smart and necessary move?

A smart and necessary move?

Jeffrey Goldberg is living in the wrong decade (Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan).

Hillary has picked a smart fight, which is to say, a fight that is not about Iran, a subject on which Israelis are unified, but a fight about East Jerusalem housing growth, a subject on which the majority of Israelis are ambivalent, or worse.

It has been a truism that no Israeli prime minister can survive long in the job after having angered America; Bibi had been proving this truism wrong, because Israelis are more frightened of Iran's nuclear program than they are of alienating the Obama Administration. But the majority of Israelis see settlements as a possible impediment to peace (to the degree that they even believe peace is possible), and they certainly don't see a settlement freeze as an existential threat to their country. So Hillary has picked the right fight, and the Obama Administration has picked the right person to pick the fight: A former senator from New York who is married to one of Israel's favorite ex-presidents.

Bzzzzt. Wrong, Jeffrey. She's actually picked a fight she has no chance of winning unless the Obama administration is going to force Israel to do what it wants - which is not a great idea seven months before a midterm election in which the Democrats look like hogs about to be slaughtered. Why is this is a bad move? Let me count the ways:

1. The majority of Israeli Jews are not ambivalent about housing growth or any other growth in 'east' Jerusalem. Far from it. That statement may be correct about the growth of Jewish cities and towns across the 'green line' outside Jerusalem, but there is virtually wall-to-wall support among Israel's Jews for keeping Jerusalem unified under Israeli control. If this were not the case, you wouldn't be seeing the exercises of Jewish sovereignty that are taking place in areas like Shimon HaTzadik/Sheikh Jarrah, the Mount of Olives and the City of David/Silwan. None of these moves has aroused any opposition in the Knesset. In fact, Netanyahu scored points among the Israeli public for standing up to Obama on 'east' Jerusalem.

2. Israelis generally accepted the 'settlement freeze' because (a) it didn't apply to Jerusalem, (b) they didn't want to tick off the Obama administration any more than necessary. However, surveys that were done in Israel at the time showed that most Israelis favored allowing 'natural growth' to continue, and there was almost no opposition that said let's freeze construction that's already in progress. That's why, despite the 'freeze,' construction is continuing almost unabated.

3. Most Israeli Jews no longer believe that peace is possible with the 'Palestinians,' at least for the foreseeable future. We saw what happened to Ehud Barak in 2000 and in 2001. We saw what we got for expelling 10,000 Jews from their homes in 2005. We now know what Abu Mazen turned down at the end of 2008. Almost no one wants Netanyahu to offer the 'Palestinians' more than was offered by Barak and Olmert. And even if it was offered, almost no one believes it would be accepted or that if it were accepted that it would lead to peace. Even forgetting for a moment that Abu Mazen is incapable of delivering even if he wants to deliver (which he does not). Have you looked at how many seats the Jewish Left won in the last election? Leave Kadima out of it, because Livni would offer more than Netanyahu and far less than Barak or Olmert offered. The Jewish Left won 15 seats out of 120 in the last election. Meretz, the only true Jewish Leftist party, won 3 seats (the rest went to Labor which is in the government). All of this suggests that Israelis are fed up with the 'peace process' and with 16 years of giving and giving and getting nothing in return.

4. No one is going to mix up Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was a popular President here - you're right on that - but Obama is the most unpopular President ever. No President of the United States has ever alienated Israelis more totally than Obama. Not even George H.W. Bush.

And no one is going to confuse Hillary with Bill either. This is Israel's enduring image of Hillary Clinton - it's not one that engenders trust or good faith:


Can Hillary Clinton shove a 'peace deal' with the 'Palestinians' down Israel's throat? No. Was this a smart fight for her to pick? No. As Aaron David Miller pointed out:
Obama has no Middle East policy without the Israelis. As frustrated as the president and vice president may be with Israel, any chance Washington has of moving negotiations forward requires Israeli cooperation. And the administration does not want to lose its influence with Israel when it comes to Iran — particularly now, with sanctions in the works.

But most important, for this very busy president, the Arab-Israeli issue now has little to do with his stock at home. Frankly, it isn’t even the most important priority in the region.

Obama is presiding over two costly and unpopular wars and a jobless recovery and is on the verge of the endgame on health care. He doesn’t need additional diversions and distractions.

Moreover, Obama now knows the settlements issue is a dog’s lunch. He can’t win — particularly when it involves Jerusalem.
So while Clinton undoubtedly picked this fight with Obama's consent and encouragement (it was widely reported that they planned Clinton's call to Netanyahu together), it wasn't a wise fight to pick, and it certainly wasn't a 'smart and necessary move.' It's only going to escalate the shouting match until someone backs down. I wouldn't bet on it being Netanyahu. The lesson he learned from 1999 wasn't that he has to maintain good relations with America: It's that he has to keep his coalition together.

Israel Matzav: A smart and necessary move?

Israel Matzav: Are America and Israel drifting apart?

Are America and Israel drifting apart?

The Washington Post has a symposium in Sunday's edition that asks whether America and Israel are drifting apart. Elliott Abrams and Danielle Pletka both say yes, David Makovsky and Hussein Agha and Robert Malley (the latter two writing together) say no, and Aaron David Miller comes out in the middle. Here are some highlights.

Abrams: The current friction in U.S.-Israel relations has one source: the mishandling of those relations by the Obama administration. Poll data show that Israel is as popular as ever among Americans. Strategically we face the same enemies -- such as terrorism and the Iranian regime -- a fact that is not lost on Americans who know we have one single reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.

I'm inclined to agree with Abrams, in which case the problems are with the Obama administration and not with the United States. If Abrams is correct, when a different administration takes power (God willing, speedily and in our times), relations between Israel and the United States will improve.

Danielle Pletka: Ultimately, the more serious problem for the United States is not a distancing between us and Israel but a failure to grasp that the shared threats to both nations -- the Islamist totalitarianism that has flourished in the oxygen-free environment of the Arab world and the rise of the Revolutionary Guard class in Iran -- will not be mitigated with the resolution of the Palestinians' fate. That President Obama misses this key point is troubling indeed.

I don't believe he misses the point - I believe he's happy with the rise of Islam. Pletka also says that the drifting apart has been going on for some time. Indeed, other than the period between 2002-04 the Bush administration was not favorable to Israel. But they were far less antagonistic than the Obama administration.

David Makovsky: The incident may require more fence-mending of a different sort, but it does not mark a historic low in ties. Take the critical area of Iran. One needs a scorecard to tally the number of distinct visits back and forth at the top of the national security and foreign-policy apparatus of both countries -- just in the past two months. Among those going to Israel -- apart from Biden -- were national security adviser Jim Jones; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen; CIA Director Leon Panetta; and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry. Among the Israelis coming to the United States were Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and national security adviser Uzi Arad. This does not even count lower-level working visits on this issue.

I'd be a little more confident in this if one got the sense that the Obama administration feels the urgency of dealing with Iran that Israel feels. The reason why there has been so much back and forth is because the Obama administration feels that what's urgent is preventing Israel from attacking Iran and not preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. That is hardly indicative of a close relationship.

Aaron David Miller: Israel is still a small country that feels it's living on the knife's edge. Any American who doesn't get this doesn't get very far.

Funny, I never got the feeling that Miller got that when he was a negotiator. I always felt he was way too hard and showed way too little understanding for our predicament. Has he mellowed now that he is out of government?

But perhaps the most curious response of all comes from Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, who have written that Israel was to blame for the collapse of Camp David in 2000 and not the 'Palestinians' (a thesis that contradicts what Bill Clinton himself has written):

The episode's more meaningful consequence lies elsewhere. Unhappy timing aside, the most telling aspect of the announcement was that it represented the Israeli government's stance on East Jerusalem in all its clarity -- unvarnished and without deceit. In this, it was less act of betrayal than moment of truth, more a message to meditate than a mistake to correct. If the United States intends to bring about an agreement between the two sides, far better that it be aware of their actual positions rather than proceed on the basis of imaginary ones. It might not be pleasant. But at least it would be real.

The announcement did indeed represent Israel's honest position. And while it would be interesting to hear whether Ehud Barak said otherwise in 2000, one cannot help but wonder whether the Obama administration will accept Israel's position for what it is or continue to try to shove their version of a deal down our throats. I'd bet on the latter, which is why I believe that as low as things are now, they could yet go lower after the 2010 elections.


Israel Matzav: Are America and Israel drifting apart?

Israel Matzav: A 'new low'?

A 'new low'?

A Washington Post headline on Saturday, since changed, described the current state of affairs between Israel and the United States as a 'new low.' Whether it is a 'new low' or not, it is clear that relations between Israel and the Obama administration are at the lowest point they have been since James ("F**k the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway") Baker gave the White House switchboard number at a press conference and said that Israel should call when it is serious about peace during the George H.W. Bush administration twenty years ago.

Jennifer Rubin points out that what is now the biggest obstacle to peace is not mistrust between Israel and the 'Palestinians,' but mistrust between Israel and the United States.

Actually, it is the mistrust between Israel and the U.S. that is at the nub of the problem. We hear that the Obami intend to use this incident to pressure Israel to “something that could restore confidence in the process and to restore confidence in the relationship with the United States.” And it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Obami are escalating the fight — making relations more tense and strained — to achieve their misguided objective, namely to extract some sort of unilateral concessions they imagine would pick the lock on the moribund “peace process.”

It’s mind boggling, really, that after this public bullying, the Obami expect the Israelis to cough up more concessions and show their faith in the American negotiators. And if by some miracle they did, what would that change? Where is the Palestinian willingness or ability to make a meaningful peace agreement?

As Jennifer points out in another post, a lot of Israel supporters' pent up frustration with the Obama administration is coming out this weekend. Here's the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman - when was the last time you heard him speak without mentioning anti-Semitism?

We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem. We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table.

It is especially troubling that this harsh statement came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly and privately explained to Vice President Biden the bureaucratic nature in making the announcement of proposed new building in Jerusalem, and Biden accepted the prime minister’s apology for it. Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends.

The Administration should have confidence and trust in Israel whose tireless pursuit for peace is repeatedly rebuffed by the Palestinians and whose interests remain in line with the United States.

Jennifer also points to this statement by Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), which I am sure will only be the first of many:

“I call on President Obama to censure Secretary Clinton’s rebuke of Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirm our longstanding friendship with Israel. Past U.S. administrations have recognized the unique relationship between Israel and the United States and made support for Israel a cornerstone of our foreign policy. The United States has a moral and strategic obligation to support this beacon of democracy in the Middle East. For the Obama administration to question the internal decisions of one of our closest allies is both disrespectful and unhelpful. Prime Minister Netanyahu has the authority and responsibility to care for the people of Israel, and it is inappropriate for Secretary Clinton to openly question these decisions. I hope her statements do not weaken the vital U.S.-Israel relationship. Any attempt to cut or restrict military aid to Israel by the administration would severely damage both U.S. and Israeli security. And any effort to cut aid would lead to fierce resistance in Congress.”

Good luck with that Todd. Unfortunately, as Jennifer Rubin points out, the orders for this came straight from the White House.

Worse, says Noah Pollak, the hysterical reaction of the Obama administration is likely an attempt to prevent Israel from attacking Iran.

When we follow this logic chain to its conclusion, we find that Obama’s only option for restraining an Israeli attack is the one that we’re seeing unfold before our eyes: a U.S. effort to methodically weaken the relationship; provoke crises; consume the Netanyahu government with managing this deterioration; and most important, create an ambiance of unpredictability by making the Israelis fear that an attack on Iran would not just be met with American disapproval but also a veto and perhaps active resistance.

The Obama administration’s reaction to the Biden visit has been too eagerly petulant to simply be a response to an insult — especially when it is clear that Netanyahu didn’t know the housing announcement was coming, and when the U.S. had already accepted the terms of the settlement freeze, which allows for precisely such construction in Jerusalem. That said, the announcement was a sucker-punch of epic proportions that was sure to cause an angry reaction from an administration that has made criticism of Israel one of its most consistent policies. It seems to me that this reaction is intended to help solve one of its biggest problems in the Middle East — the possibility that Israel may attack Iran.

Read the whole thing.

While George W. Bush's treatment of Israel wasn't always perfect, it was certainly much warmer than what we're getting now. I hope that the 78% of American Jews who couldn't bring themselves not to vote for a Democrat are happy with what they have wrought.


Israel Matzav: A 'new low'?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Authority' textbooks continue to incite

'Palestinian Authority' textbooks continue to incite

Over the years, I have written several posts about 'Palestinian' textbooks and how they are educating a new generation of 'Palestinians' to hate Israel. Unsurprisingly, nothing has changed.

Part of the original — circa 1994 — Oslo agreements was the commitment on both sides to refrain from incitement, as well as the agreement to amend the educational systems to reflect the new reality of peaceful coexistence. Clearly this was turned squarely on its head with the “election” of Hamas in Gaza several years ago. But what has happened in the territories under Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority on the West Bank? Has the PA turned over a new leaf in educating its young people to be progressive in the pursuit of coexistence alongside Israel?

Emphatically, not at all.

...

One might be unsurprised, if appalled, by the persistence of hate in Hamas-sponsored curricula. But from the Palestinian Authority, improvements in the state of the educational curricula should not only be anticipated; they should be expected and required. Unfortunately, the PA’s uncooperativeness was cheered by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who said (after transferring $200 million in aid to the PA in June 2009) she had been assured that President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad “have put in place the foundations of a responsible, transparent, accountable government.”

Yet, according to the most recent study commissioned by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzliya, a new generation of Palestinian students is being inculcated in rejectionism. For example, here is a listing of just a few items:

...

6. The new Palestinian school books teach that Palestinians must use war and violence — especially martyrdom — to accomplish their goals:

The heroic mother, “who incessantly presents one sacrifice [fida'] after another.” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 31).

“The warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or martyrdom in battle for the sake of Allah.” (Ibid. Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 70).

“Allah gave the people of this land (Al-Sham and Palestine) an important task: they must stand on the forefront of the Muslim campaign against their enemies, and only if they fulfill their duty to their religion, nation, and land will they be rewarded as stated in the scriptures.” (Al-Tarbiya al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol 2, 10th grade textbook, p. 50).

With 42% of 'Palestinians' under the age of 15, it is clear that the 'Palestinian Authority' is well on its way to educating another generation in its unique replacement theology wherein Israel will (God forbid) be replaced by 'Palestine.' Even Hamas' schools are under greater oversight.

Ironically, there may actually be more oversight of U.S. funds currently spent in Hamas’ Gaza — at least those funneled through the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA). Following a firestorm of outrage over American funds being funneled into terrorist-sponsored activities, several key U.S. congressmen authored a bill requiring transparency for those monies.

As recently as last October, U.S. Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ) said:

UNRWA has come a “long way” in redressing gaps in how it spends its money in Palestinian areas …[revamping] its vetting processes and mechanisms, firing more than 100 employees over the past 10 years that have been found to violate U.S. and UN policies regarding associating with Hamas or other terrorist groups.

I don't consider that a 'long way,' but considering that the US decided to give UNRWA another $55 million on Friday (to compensate them for the Ramat Shlomo building announcement?), perhaps this would be a good time to make those controls a little tighter.

The picture is from a 12th grade 'Palestinian' textbook that replaces Israel with 'Palestine.'


Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Authority' textbooks continue to incite

Israel Matzav: Report: Israel asked Egypt to get back into Shalit negotiations?

Report: Israel asked Egypt to get back into Shalit negotiations?

Qatari-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday that Uzi Arad, Prime Minister Netanyahu's National Security Adviser, has requested Egyptian help in restarting negotiations for the release of kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit.

The Qatar-based newspaper, A-Sharq Al-Awsat, reported that National Security Advisor, Uzi Arad, requested Egypt's help in mediation over Shalit, but Egypt has yet to contact Hamas regarding Israel's request.

The senior Hamas official quoted in the report stressed that Hamas and Cairo have been in continuous contact over Shalit negotiations.

Let's say I have my doubts about this report. If Egypt hasn't contacted Hamas yet, how would Hamas know about it? You can bet that Arad didn't call them!

In any event, the gaps between Israel and Hamas on this issue remain: To the extent that Israel is willing to release senior terrorists it wants them expelled from the region. In the absence of some earth-shaking eventl, I don't see anything moving on this anytime soon.

On the other hand, the question needs to be asked: Is this one of the 'specific requests' that Hillary Clinton allegedly made of Netanyahu? To make a deal on Shalit to facilitate smoothing the way to a Hamas-Fatah 'reconciliation? If so, and Bibi is acceding to it, that's awfully bad news.


Israel Matzav: Report: Israel asked Egypt to get back into Shalit negotiations?

Israel Matzav: How's this for hysteria?

How's this for hysteria?

YNet cites an unnamed US official with this bit of hysteria:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political standing is "perilous" because of divisions within his coalition over efforts to pursue peace with the Palestinians, a senior US official said on Friday.

"The Israelis know the only way to stay on the positive side of the ledger, internationally and with us, is to not have them recurring," the senior Obama administration official said of announcements of plans to build 1,600 Jewish homes in east Jerusalem.

Please. Once again the Obama administration is showing its total boorishness when it comes to understanding Israeli politics. It wasn't Clinton that brought Netanyahu down eleven years ago - it was the Israeli Right. Until now, Netanyahu was able to walk between the raindrops.

But Netanyahu has no ideological commitment to the 'peace process.' And unlike Obama with healthcare, there is no indication that Netanyahu is willing to commit political suicide (and worse) to keep the Obama administration happy by pushing the 'peace process' ahead. Most Israeli Jews understand that we are alone and our conflict with the 'Palestinians' and their Arab patrons is an existential one. If Netanyahu continues to build in Jerusalem, most of his coalition will support him (Labor is making noises about quitting, but with the possible exception of Ehud Barak they are no great loss) and the voters will support him.

Israel Matzav: How's this for hysteria?

Israel Matzav: How to market Israel

How to market Israel

London-based marketing expert Jonathan Gabbay is ridiculing the hasbara (public diplomacy) website set up by the government, and says that we have to explain Israel's positions and not try to smooth things over by talking about Bar Rephaeli and tourism.

For Gabay, this is "too fluffy." Rather, such a campaign should work according to his basic branding model, for which he draws the interior of an egg. The values - the white - draw their strength from its core idea, the yolk. Masbirim, Gabay contests, focuses too much on Israel's values - such as tourism, culture and science. "What is Israel about? It's not just about Bar Refaeli, as beautiful as she is," he said. "Without the central bit, all this stuff is fluff and doesn't mean anything."

Gabay proposes Israel to be more straightforward about the one issue people connect with the brand Israel - the conflict with the Palestinians. Instead of merely reacting to accusations of oppression or war crimes, Jerusalem should actively and confidently - but not arrogantly - explain why it's acting the way it does, Gabay suggests. "Treat people intelligently and they will respond. Treat people as if you're selling soap powder and people won't believe you. That's the bottom line."

As you all can guess, I'm with Gabbay on this.


Israel Matzav: How to market Israel

Israel Matzav: Ramat Shlomo: What happened?

Ramat Shlomo: What happened?

In the Friday JPost, Gil Hoffman explains how the announcement regarding new building in Ramat Shlomo hit Netanyahu in the face.

NETANYAHU FIRST heard about the Ramat Shlomo building project when Hefetz interrupted a meeting at the prime minister’s Knesset office with Kadima MK Nachman Shai, who presented his doctorate to Netanyahu, his former colleague at the embassy in Washington.

Hefetz informed Netanyahu that he had read about the decision to build in the northeastern Jerusalem haredi neighborhood on the Internet. The prime minister apparently had not heard of Ramat Shlomo and asked where it was. [THAT strains credibility. He's a Jerusalemite. CiJ]

Had direct talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas begun, perhaps Netanyahu would have heard about the neighborhood from him, because it was one of the few places over the Green Line that Abbas told former prime minister Ehud Olmert that Israel could keep in a final-status agreement.

According to a December 8 Channel 10 report, when Olmert offered the Palestinians 94.5 percent of the West Bank and another 5.5% of pre-1967 Israel, Abbas responded with his own map in which Israel would keep only 1.9% of the area over the Green Line. Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and some Jewish Jerusalem neighborhoods were not included in the 1.9%, but Ramat Shlomo specifically was.

When informed of the announcement about Ramat Shlomo, Netanyahu immediately called Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who told him that he knew a decision about the neighborhood was expected eventually but that he did not know the planning committee would be meeting while Biden was in town.

Yishai told Netanyahu that he would take responsibility for his ministry’s decision and deflect blame from the prime minister himself. But Yishai also said he thought the public would not understand why Israel was apologizing for building in Jerusalem, which is not included in the 10-month construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria.

The article then goes on for several paragraphs implying that Yishai is to blame and that he prepared a 'surprise' for Biden. Maybe. But you can bet that no one in Yishai's office will talk about it.

Hoffman also contradicts Laura Rozen's report in Politico - which was apparently sourced in the Israeli media who allegedly heard from Dennis Ross - about how angry Biden was. This is Hoffman on the hour and a half delay before dinner on Tuesday night.

During that time, Biden met with his staff at the David Citadel Hotel and was in touch with Washington to decide how to respond to the Ramat Shlomo announcement. Netanyahu’s associates said the dinner was still warm in more ways than one, and that Biden was apologetic about condemning the building project.

“They felt forced to respond and they [also] don’t like that [the Ramat Shlomo controversy] overshadowed other elements of the visit,” a senior Israeli official said. “This is the last thing you want in a vice presidential visit. It’s an unfortunate bump in the road, but the same values [of Israel and the US] are still in place. There is an ongoing disagreement between Israel and the US on building in Jerusalem and that would have been true whether this was announced the week before or the week after.”

Hoffman has more to say about the warm relations between Netanyahu and Biden. Read the whole thing.

Haaretz claims that Netanyahu was surprised by the American condemnation of the Ramat Shlomo building plan. Haaretz also says that the Israeli government believes that the White House is orchestrating the 'crisis.'

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said the crisis appeared to be orchestrated by the U.S. administration, as Netanyahu apologized to U.S. Vice President Biden and believed that the crisis was behind the two allies.


And there is certainly reason to believe that's correct.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday called Israel's announcement "insulting" to the United States.

"I mean, it was just really a very unfortunate and difficult moment for everyone - the United States, our vice president who had gone to reassert our strong support for Israeli security - and I regret deeply that that occurred and made that known," Clinton said during the CNN interview.

Clinton did not blame Netanyahu personally for the announcement, but she said, "He is the prime minister. Like the president or secretary of state...ultimately, you are responsible."

I guess she ought to know that from when her husband was President.

Look, it's no secret that Obama hates Israel and that Hillary Clinton - whose closest friends in the American Jewish community all belong to American Friends of Peace Now - is not exactly enamored of us either. But there's someone else who's been orchestrating this 'crisis': The Israeli media. The lead headline in every newscast I've heard this morning and in all the newspapers I heard read on the 5:00 am news magazine were about Clinton's call to Netanyahu on Friday. Clearly, someone has an interest in this crisis not blowing over. And it's not just the 'Palestinians.'

What could go wrong?



Israel Matzav: Ramat Shlomo: What happened?

Israel Matzav: Clinton links Iran to Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

Clinton links Iran to Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reports that Hillary Clinton is at least hinting at a link between United States support for Israel on Iran and Israeli construction in 'east' Jerusalem.

In her call, Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians view as the site for their future capital. "The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security," Crowley said. "She made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate, not just through words but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."

U.S. officials said Clinton made specific requests of Netanyahu to get the peace process back on track and to repair the damage to the relationship. They declined to identify the steps she demanded or to spell out possible consequences. Officials noted the length of the call -- such diplomatic conversations usually last about 10 minutes -- and said Clinton did most of the talking.

"We think the burden is on the Israelis to do something that could restore confidence in the process and to restore confidence in the relationship with the United States," said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

Kessler also reports that the mess may be of Netanyahu's own making.

U.S. officials were especially furious about the announcement because they thought they had reached a private understanding with Netanyahu that even though East Jerusalem was not officially included in the moratorium, he would prevent any provocative actions there.

In other words, if Netanyahu had been consistent in his refusal to apply the 'settlement freeze' to Jerusalem, the US would have had no expectation that Israel would not announce new housing and nothing about which to be 'furious' other than the timing. Given that at the time Netanyahu agreed to the freeze, the US really had very little leverage over him, one has to wonder why he made that decision in the first place.


Israel Matzav: Clinton links Iran to Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Bibi 'botched the relationship with Clinton'?

Bibi 'botched the relationship with Clinton'?

Ben Smith repeats what has become a mantra in the United States and in certain circles in Israel.

In today's briefing, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Secretary Clinton had chided the Israeli prime minister:

Secretary Clinton also spoke this morning with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to reiterate the United States’ strong objections to Tuesday’s announcement, not just in terms of timing, but also in its substance; to make clear that the United States considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship — and counter to the spirit of the Vice President’s trip; and to reinforce that this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America’s interests. The Secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security. And she made clear that the Israeli Government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process.

Netanyahu's first premiership foundered amid the impression that, among other things, he'd botched the relationship with Clinton, and this is a political shot across his bow.

Except that what Smith and others forget is what Bibi remembers: His premiership fell because the parties on the Right who put him in power were angry at him for the concessions that he made to Clinton at Wye. While it's true that once Bibi was 'in play' Clinton did everything he could to defeat him (including sending James Carville to advise Ehud Barak), Bibi wasn't brought down by the Left. He was brought down by the Right.

If anything, the Right today is much stronger than it was in 1999. Tempered by the 'second intifada' and by the results of the Gaza expulsion, much fewer Israeli Jews believe in the 'peace process' today than believed in it in 1999. The Right has gotten stronger. Bibi is under threat within his own party from Moshe Feiglin, who is well to his Right. The Left here is reeling.

Additionally, Clinton was a very popular President here. People saw him as being very much on our side (even though he wasn't, but that's a separate story). Obama is viewed here with hostility and venom. 4%! 4%! Need I say more? Bibi scored points here last year when he stood up to Obama on building in 'east' Jerusalem. And while no one in Israel was very happy with the way the Ramat Shlomo announcement played out this past week, you will also notice that there is no indication that the approval for the housing units there will be canceled.

So if you're looking for Netanyahu's government to fold because he has problems getting along with Obama, I'd say it's unlikely. Bibi is far more likely to get into hot water by cowering to Obama.


Israel Matzav: Bibi 'botched the relationship with Clinton'?

RubinReports: The UN Gives an Award Named After a Murdered Man to One of His Murderer's Best Friends

The UN Gives an Award Named After a Murdered Man to One of His Murderer's Best Friends

By Barry Rubin

If you want a good example of the ridiculous, shameful ironies in the terrible era we're living in here it is. The UN-Habitat organization, part of the United Nations, has initiated a Rafik Hariri Memorial Award. The award is named after the former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated by Syria in February 2005.

The first winner is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Of course, Erdogan is an Islamist who is an ally of Syria, the murderer of Hariri.

Why did Erdogan get the $200,000 award? According to the announcement, the reason is that he organized the first conference of mayors that led to the creation of a worldwide organization of mayors, thus creating another round of meetings so that the budgets of cities can be spent on plane fare and luxury hotels for mayors to travel around the world. How’s that for making the lives of urban people better?

Apparently, the fact that Erdogan is closely cooperating with the people who killed Hariri, after whom the award was named, did not strike the panel as ironic.

And of course Erdogan has also taken Turkey into alignment with Iran and Hizballah, the other forces which are trying to control Hariri’s country and against whom the late prime minister fought.

Meanwhile, the UN-sponsored investigation of Hariri’s murder has come to a dead halt and probably will never be pushed forward by that international organization.

By the way, the panel giving the award was headed by former UN Under Secretary General, Mervat Tallawy, an Egyptian who, I'm told, was known to express doubts as to whether Usama bin Ladin was really responsible for the September 11 attack on New York.

I think granting an award to the close friend of those who murdered the man it’s named after, a backer of those who he fought against, and who is aiding those seeking to take over his country definitely qualifies for being granted our own award for ironic and disgraceful behavior.


RubinReports: The UN Gives an Award Named After a Murdered Man to One of His Murderer's Best Friends

Love of the Land: How to please the Arab League

How to please the Arab League


Petra Marquardt-Bigman
The Warped Mirror/JPost
14 March '10

Right from the beginning of his administration, President Obama made it a priority to win over the Arab and Muslim world. So here's a thought: while you struggle to keep up with the flood of commentary about the "new low" in US-Israeli relations, it's perhaps worthwhile to keep in mind that the next Arab League summit is scheduled for the end of March.

The summit will be held in Tripoli, Libya's capital, where the Arab League representatives will be hosted by Muammar Gaddafi, who just last month called for a "jihad" against Switzerland - well, actually, not just Switzerland, because he reportedly added: "Let us fight against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression."

A quip about this call for "jihad" from a State Department spokesman required an official apology that apparently seemed warranted after the head of Libya's state oil company summoned executives from US energy companies Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Occidental, Hess and Marathon and warned them that "the dispute could hurt US businesses in Libya."

Arab commentators don't seem to expect much from the meeting in Tripoli: "Another lame summit" was the dismissive headline in a recent issue of Al-Ahram. Nevertheless, the related article offered a lot of advice on how to overcome the "lameness", and unsurprisingly, Israel was an important issue in this context. One piece of advice was that the Arab League should consider revoking any support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; instead, the Arab League was urged to endorse the so-called "one-state solution" resulting in "a single state covering the whole of historic Palestine in which all inhabitants would be guaranteed full and equal rights as citizens, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation." Another piece of advice was that the Arabs should realize that with regard to the tensions with Iran, "Israel is the chief instigator."

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: How to please the Arab League

Love of the Land: They Haven’t Learned the Lesson

They Haven’t Learned the Lesson


Evelyn Gordon
Contentions/Commentary
14 March '10

Last week, I wrote that American, European, and Arab success in pressuring the Palestinians to resume negotiations could prove a turnabout in the peace process, if the world learned the lesson and began pressing the Palestinians for necessary concessions on substantive issues. But based on its response to last week’s announcement of new construction in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, the world clearly hasn’t learned the lesson.

All the parties concerned were understandably upset by the announcement’s timing: just as proximity talks were about to begin, and while Vice President Joe Biden was in the region. But substantively, the new construction makes absolutely no difference to the prospects of an agreement — because any agreement would unquestionably leave this neighborhood in Israel’s hands.

Ramat Shlomo already has more than 20,000 residents — far too big to be uprooted even without the planned 1,600 new houses. It is also, as Rick noted, of considerable strategic importance, dominating all of Jerusalem’s major roads; thus Israel would insist on retaining it, even if not a single Jew lived there. Finally, its location in no way precludes the division of Jerusalem, which is what both Washington and Europe claim to want: situated in the corner formed by two other huge Jewish neighborhoods to its west and south, it does not block a single Arab neighborhood from contiguity with a future Palestinian state.

Thus if Washington and Europe were serious about wanting an agreement, they would essentially tell the Palestinians:

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: They Haven’t Learned the Lesson

Love of the Land: AP’s Historical Revisionism on Jerusalem

AP’s Historical Revisionism on Jerusalem


Gilead Ini
CAMERA
12 March '10

Revisionism is big, at least when it comes to Jerusalem. For example, Ikrima Sabri, until recently the Palestinian Authority-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, told the German daily Die Welt in 1997 that "In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history... The Jews cannot legitimately claim [the Western] wall, neither religiously nor historically."

But revisionism is not limited to Holocaust-denying Palestinian religious leaders. A somewhat less absurd, but nonetheless outrageously false, version of the city's history has recently been promoted by major Western news organizations.

On CNN, Christiane Amanpour had insisted that the "tug of war over Jerusalem" began in 1967, when Israel removed homes abutting the Western Wall. "The 40-year tug of war over Jerusalem began when Israel bulldozed the Arab neighborhood next to the Western Wall and built a plaza where Jews now pray," she said in the original version of CNN's 2007 program God's Jewish Warriors.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: AP’s Historical Revisionism on Jerusalem

Love of the Land: The March of the Red-Green Brigades

The March of the Red-Green Brigades


Caroline Glick
carolineglick.com
12 March '10

The Red-Green alliance is on the march. On Wednesday, the leftist-controlled European Parliament in Strasbourg passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone Report. That report, it will be recalled, denies Israel's right to self-defense by alleging that Israel's actions to defend itself from illegal Palestinian aggression during the course of Operation Cast Lead were war crimes.

The resolution did more than accept the Goldstone Report's baseless claims. It sought to silence those who are trying to make the Red portion of the Red-Green alliance pay a price for its abetment of jihad.

The resolution "expresses its concern about pressure placed on NGOs involved in the preparation of the Goldstone Report and in follow-up investigations, and calls on authorities on all sides to refrain from any measures restricting the activities of these organizations."

This statement was inserted to defend the EU-supported Israeli organizations - overwhelmingly associated with the far-Left New Israel Fund - that took a lead role in providing Richard Goldstone and his associates with false allegations of illegal actions by IDF soldiers. Those organizations - and the New Israel Fund - have rightly been the subject of scrutiny in Israel after their role in compiling the Goldstone Report was revealed in January by the Israeli student organization Im Tirzu.

Israel is not the only target of the Red-Green alliance. Its operations span the globe. Sometimes, as in the case of the Goldstone Report, the Left leads the charge. Sometimes, as with the Hamas-led missile offensive against Israel that preceded Cast Lead, the jihadists move first.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The March of the Red-Green Brigades
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