Friday, 2 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

Here's wunderkind Medad Tasa (that's a heh at the end of the name and not a heth) singing Kol Dodi (The Voice of My Beloved) from Shir HaShirim (the Song of Songs), which is read in many synagogues this Sabbath (we read it from a scroll in my synagogue).

Let's go to the videotape.



I will try to recover from my lack of sleep, caffeine overdose and ensuing stomach problems over the Sabbath and be back full force Saturday night.

Have a wonderful Sabbath everyone.


Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Israel Matzav: In Hebron, MK's call on Netanyahu to stand up to 'Hussein Obama'

In Hebron, MK's call on Netanyahu to stand up to 'Hussein Obama'

20,000 people heard MK's from several parties (not just the Likud - contrary to the JPost headline) urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to stand firm against "President Hussein Obama" at a rally in Hebron on Thursday.

“The prime minister must say ‘no!’ to Barack Hussein Obama and ‘yes!’ to the nation of Israel,” Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) told thousands of visitors who gathered in Hebron on Thursday.

A number of speakers addressed the holiday crowd, as part of a ceremony held by the Jewish community of Hebron to thank the government for adding the Cave of the Patriarchs to the national heritage list. At the ceremony, MKs who had pressured the ministers to vote for February’s cabinet decision were given certificates of thanks.

Palestinians and the international community protested the cabinet decision because they want the cave, which they call the Ibrahimi Mosque, and the entire West Bank city, as part of a Palestinian state.

Hebron’s Jewish community, settler leaders and MKs used the platform provided by the annual Pessah pilgrimage to the site to send a message to US President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the Jewish people did not intend to abandon Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria.

“The masses that came here today is the guarantee and the proof that no one will move us from this cave, not even Hussein Obama,” Kara said.

He and the other lawmakers who spoke urged Netanyahu not to cave in to American pressure to stop Jewish construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

“We have to authorize renewed building everywhere in the land,” said Kara, who is Druse.

“We, the descendents of Jethro, preserved the land for the nation of Israel when it was in the Diaspora. We will continue to watch over it together with them, today as well,” he said.

How's undermining Netanyahu working out, eh Barry?

Read it all.


Israel Matzav: In Hebron, MK's call on Netanyahu to stand up to 'Hussein Obama'

Israel Matzav: The Russians know how to handle terrorists

The Russians know how to handle terrorists

Can you imagine what the World's reaction would be if an Israeli leader reacted like this to terrorism?

“We’ve twisted off the heads of the most odious thugs, but clearly that’s not enough,” Medvedev said during a security meeting in the regional capital Makhachkala. “We’ll find them all in a timely manner and we’ll punish them all,” he said in comments broadcast on state television. “That’s the only way.”

...

Medvedev today issued a five-point plan for combating terrorism, starting with bolstering law enforcement agencies and delivering “sharp dagger blows” to terrorists. The government must help people who break ranks with the terrorists, develop the economy in the North Caucasus and promote morality and spiritual growth among its people, he said.

Medvedev said Russia must expand its arsenal of measures for fighting terrorism. “They must be not only more effective, but tougher, more brutal, if you like, with the goal of preventing terrorist attacks,” he said. “People must be punished for that.”

Something tells me that the Russians won't worry too much about civilian casualties if the terrorists try to use civilians in the North Caucasus as human shields. And I wouldn't expect to see Richard Goldstone there anytime soon either.

If only Israel would fight terrorism the same way.

More here.


Israel Matzav: The Russians know how to handle terrorists

Israel Matzav: Were all his liquids in a quart-size Ziploc bag?

Were all his liquids in a quart-size Ziploc bag?

Heh.

Great airport security. More here.

Israel Matzav: Were all his liquids in a quart-size Ziploc bag?

Israel Matzav: An 'accident'...

An 'accident'...

... or a deliberate?

The picture is of 'students' from the country in question burning an Israeli flag in October.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' helped kill Mughniyeh?

'Palestinians' helped kill Mughniyeh?

Israel Matzav: What fierce moral urgency?

What fierce moral urgency?

The Obama administration is spending its time on the 'Palestinian question' because they believe there's a 'fierce moral urgency' to settling it. There's just one catch. The Arabs themselves don't believe that. In fact, writes Michael Totten, other than Syria and Iran and Libya, which wish to stir up trouble for their own reasons, most of the Arba countries would just as soon see the Israeli - 'Palestinian' conflict put on ice.

So what we have here, for the most part, is an Arab Middle East that wants to put the Israeli conflict on ice and resist the resistance instead — which is more or less what the Israelis want to see happen. It’s an unusual alignment of interests, but it is authentic. Iran’s Khomeinist regime has been gunning for Arabs in the Middle East since it came to power — and not just in Lebanon and Iraq but also in the Gulf and North Africa.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are unreliable allies (and that’s being generous), but their interests really do overlap with our own and even with Israel’s once in a while. Assad, at the same time, can’t always be bothered even to pretend he shares interests with the U.S. and Israel. His government has been sanctioned and stigmatized for a reason, and it’s not because he’s misguided or misunderstood.

President Barack Obama clearly wants to tilt U.S. foreign policy more toward the Arabs, but he doesn’t have to do it at the expense of our alliance with Israel. Just start with what Washington, Jerusalem, and most of the Arab states have in common and build outward from there. The present alignment may only come round once in a century, so we best not blow it.



Israel Matzav: What fierce moral urgency?

Israel Matzav: Bashar al-Assad's awesomely wonderful week

Bashar al-Assad's awesomely wonderful week

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has had an awesome week. On Sunday, at the Arab League summit, he called for the 'Palestinians' to ditch negotiations with Israel. On Wednesday, old enemy Walid Jumblatt of Lebanon coming to kiss and make up. And on Thursday, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F.N. Kerry came for a shmooze and a disgusting display of hero worship with the terror supporter. Here's Jumblatt.

Improved ties between Walid Jumblatt and Damascus could boost Syria's role in Lebanese politics five years after its troops were forced out of Lebanon. The Syrians withdrew in April 2005, ending nearly three decades of domination of their smaller neighbor.

In 2007, Jumblatt told a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters that Assad was a "snake" and a "tyrant" and called for revenge against him.

About three weeks ago, he called those remarks "improper."

The leader of Lebanon's terror Hizbullah group Hassan Nasrallah mediated between the Syrians and Jumblatt for several months.

Like Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Assads were behind the murder of Jumblatt's father.

That was Wednesday. On Thursday, Kerry came to town.

Assad on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to ditch negotiations with Israel in favor of “armed resistance.”

Kerry, nonetheless, said in Damascus following a three-hour meeting with Assad that Syria was committed to engaging in peace-making and was essential to the Mideast process.

Does anyone in Washington see a contradiction between those two sentences? (I mean 'official Washington'). “

Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” said Kerry, who has long advocated US engagement with Damascus.

“He believes in engagement with Syria, and that through engagement the Syrians can be convinced to play a more helpful role in the Arab-Israeli process,” a Kerry aide noted. “This is part of his ongoing [efforts].”

In Israel last month, Kerry discussed Syria’s relationship with Iran, saying that “no one should be surprised, given the relationship of the last years, that discussions are continuing between Syria and Iran.”

The two countries are neighbors, he said, “and they have obviously been pushed somewhat together by the events of the last years. My hope is that we can offer a better alternative, a better set of choices.”

What's more likely is that Syria will pocket whatever the US (and Israel) gives them and continue their friendship with Iran and their financing of Hamas and Hezbullah.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Bashar al-Assad's awesomely wonderful week

Israel Matzav: Obama throwing the 'Palestinian Authority' under the bus?

Obama throwing the 'Palestinian Authority' under the bus?

In a sign that President Obama may be about to throw Fatah and the 'Palestinian Authority' under the bus, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that 'ex-officials' of the United States who are close with the Obama administration are meeting with Hamas with Obama's approval. The Journal goes on to name names:

In a meeting last summer in Zurich, Thomas Pickering, a former undersecretary of state and U.S. ambassador to Israel and Jordan, and Rob Malley, a top Mideast adviser to President Bill Clinton, met with Hamas's foreign minister, Mahmud Zahar, and Mr. Hamdan, the movement's top official in Lebanon. Recently retired European officials also were present. The meeting, detailed in minutes reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed by Messrs. Pickering and Malley.

The meeting focused largely on practical issues, such as scenarios for how Hamas could meet the three Quartet conditions, according to the minutes—which participants said accurately reflected the meeting. Participants also focused on how to establish a mechanism to ease the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip, an Obama priority.

"It was an effort to clarify what Washington's policy is and understand what Hamas's views are," Mr. Malley said.

Mr. Malley is currently director of the Mideast and North Africa program at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank. Mr. Pickering is co-chairman of the group's board, a post previously held by George Mitchell, the Obama administration's envoy to the Mideast peace talks.

...

In a separate move that raised eyebrows in the region, U.S. diplomat Rachel Schneller met Hamas's Mr. Hamdan in Doha last month for a debate sponsored by the Doha-based al Jazeera television channel. Ms. Schneller is on sabbatical from the State Department at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank.

Ms. Schneller said she alerted the State Department to the invitation, and Washington approved it. "They gave me permission to go, which I found interesting," she said. After the debate, she met one-on-one with Mr. Hamdan over tea, Ms. Schneller said.

"He was really genuinely interested in how to make a breakthrough in negotiations and how to engage constructively with the United States," she said.

Malley is a member of J Street's advisory council. Some of you may recall that he left Obama's campaign after it was disclosed that he was meeting with Hamas (on Obama's behalf?).

I also wonder whether Schneller is related to Israeli turncoat Otniel Schneller, the Yesha turncoat who is a Kadima MK.

But what's most curious about this is the following: If Obama can abandon Israel in favor of the 'Palestinians,' can he abandon Fatah and the 'Palestinian Authority' in favor of Hamas? You betcha.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Obama throwing the 'Palestinian Authority' under the bus?

Israel Matzav: Hamas to resume attacks?

Hamas to resume attacks?

With another Kassam rocket falling on the south on Friday morning, and with Hamas insisting that its troops, and not Islamic Jihad's, were responsible for the deaths of two IDF soldiers last Friday, analysts believe that we may soon see a resumption of hostilities by Hamas for the first time since Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009.

The current situation is complex and shifting. Increased Israeli-Palestinian tensions in the West Bank have produced increased rocket firing from Gaza as Palestinian factions there show support for those in the West Bank. Palestinian political competition both inside and outside Gaza could push Hamas, however reluctantly, to a more adventurous policy regarding attacks on Israel -- if not directly via Hamas strikes, then by giving other organizations a freer hand. Hamas may or may not have already relaxed suppression on such groups due to various pressures. Whatever the case, when rockets are fired into Israel, the IDF often responds by hitting Hamas targets, and when Palestinian operatives approach the border fence, the IDF responds aggressively.

Israel is attempting to reinforce the level of deterrence it established with Cast Lead via airstrikes and warnings, but there is a sense that this is not enough -- that deterrence is eroding under current conditions. Israeli civilians in the south are also increasingly uneasy about the spike in rocket attacks and border incidents, adding to the pressure on the government and military to respond strongly. Senior Israeli officials have mostly been cautious about the situation, although Likud minister Yuval Steinitz stated on March 28 that Israel might have to reoccupy Gaza to destroy the Hamas regime. In addition, some Southern Command officers have taken a tougher public line than IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who has been very cautious.

JPost adds:

Since Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, Hamas has mostly refrained from attacks. It has altogether stopped its rocket attacks – although other terrorist factions have fired intermittently. It has, however, reserved for itself the right to attack along the Gaza border.

The pressure on Hamas is believed to be coming from three main sources: the Palestinian street, radical Palestinian terrorist groups that are affiliated with al-Qaida and which continue to attack Israel, and finally, mid-level Hamas military commanders who are frustrated with the organization’s decision to hold its fire.

While Hamas has yet to completely resume its attacks, it is continuing to rebuild its military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and to smuggle in advanced weaponry.

An example was revealed on Thursday when Egyptian security forces announced that they had discovered a massive arms cache in the central Sinai Peninsula that was probably on its way to Hamas in Gaza. The cache, according to Egyptian media reports, included 100 anti-aircraft missiles, likely to be shoulder-launched, as well as 40 rocket-propelled grenades and 40 other explosive devices.

Hamas was believed to already have shoulder-to-air missiles before Cast Lead, but they were not used, leading Israeli intelligence analysts to conclude that while it had obtained the missiles, Hamas did not have a chance to train its fighters to use them before the IDF offensive. The same applied to anti-tank missiles.

Israel now believes that Hamas has trained its men to use the advanced weaponry, mostly by sending them to Iran and Lebanon.

News of the cache discovery comes after Egypt recently began a nationwide crackdown on Hamas’s smuggling industry and expanded its efforts to its southern border with Sudan, where trucks make their way from port cities along Africa’s Red Sea coast to the Philadelphi Corridor between Sinai and Gaza.

One of the main routes used by Iran to smuggle weapons to Hamas in the Strip starts at sea, with ships that dock in ports in Eritrea and Sudan. The cargo is transferred to trucks that travel through the Sudanese desert, up thorough Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula until they unload their cargo along the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14-kilometer strip along the Gaza border which is home to hundreds of smuggling tunnels used by Hamas to bring weaponry and explosives to the Strip.

Here's that Hamas video of the attack on IDF troops last Friday. Let's go to the videotape.



You can watch a longer version of that video here.


Israel Matzav: Hamas to resume attacks?

Bab elWad

Bab elWad

Many shirim ivri'im deal with bereavement. The mother of them all is Bab elWad. Bab elWad is the Arab name for the narrow pass when the road to Jerusalem first enters the Judean Hills on its way up from the coast: a perfect place to block traffic, if you're of that mind. Which is precisely what the Palestinian's decided to do in the early months of 1948, as the British control of Mandatory Palestine was winding down: bring the Jewish majority in Jerusalem to starvation. I suppose the assumption was that they'd then pick up and leave or something like that. Today this would be a major breach of international law and all that, but in 1948 it wasn't anything special. The British allowed it to happen, but the Hagana didn't. Eventually a second road was paved, and then the Palestinians villages were conquered and the threat removed, but for a while in early 1948 100,000 Jewish civilians in Jerusalem were supplied by occasional convoys which managed to shoot their way through the pass. Remnants of the vehicles which didn't make it are still scattered along the roadside to remind us not to take things for granted.

Words:
Here I am passing, standing by the stone.
An asphalt road, rocks and ridges.
Day goes down slowly, sea-wind blows
Light of a first star, over Beit Maschir.

Bab-el-wad,
Do remember our names forever,
Convoys broke through, on the way to the City.
Our deads lay on the road edges.
The iron skeleton is silent like my comrade.

Here pitch and lead fumed under the sun,
Here nights passed with fire and knives.
Here sorrow and glory live together
With a burnt armoured car and the name of an unknown.

Bab-el-wad

And I walk, passing here silently,
And I remember them, one by one.
Here we fought together on cliffs and boulders
Here we were one family.

Bab-el-wad

A spring day will come, the cyclamens will bloom,
Red of anemone on the mountain and on the slope.
He, who will go on the road we went,
He will not forget us, Bab-el-wad.


Haim Guri (born 1923) wrote the song; we'll talk about him later. It has been sung over the years by lots of singers and groups, but here's an old recording by the original, Yaffa Yarkoni. Yarkoni, born in 1925, was widowed in WW2 when her husband, Yossef Gutstein, was killed fighting for the British. She eventually became famous as "the singer of all the wars", since she sang in and about all of them until the 1980s at least. (She remarried, and one of her daughters writes for Haaretz.




And here's a much later recording, by Shlomo Gronich. More about him some other day, when I write about the Ethiopian immigrants, perhaps.

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Think Tanks as a Continuation of Politics

Think Tanks as a Continuation of Politics

Barry Rubin has a story about how the Obama administration is preparing to change American policy on Hizballah and engage them in talks; he himself has been invited to participate in preparing the ground, but prefers to spill the beans.

I'm not enough of an insider to know. The interesting part of the story is actually the glimpse it gives us regular folks about how such policy changes are engineered, and the role played by think tanks, which are given a goal which needs to be academically justified, and duly produce a report coincidentally recommending just what someone was hoping for.

Do you think that's possible?
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Fayyad on Palestinian Independence

Fayyad on Palestinian Independence

Akiva Eldar, always certain the Arabs are eager for peace and the Israeli Right is against, interviews West-Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. As you'd expect, it's all nice and positive. True, Eldar asks no hard questions except one ("what about the incitement"), so Fayyad has no need to respond to them (and his response to the incitement question is, how to put it, inadequate).

Still, were it possible to have a peaceful sovereign Palestine in less than two years, alongside Israel, who'd argue? If, mind you.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Love of the Land: Target Israel

Target Israel


Jamie Glazov
Frontpagemag.com
01 April '10

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Kenneth Levin, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Princeton-trained historian, and a commentator on Israeli politics. He is the author of The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege.

FP: Kenneth Levin, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about the Obama administration waging war on Israel. Tell us the ingredients of this war and why it is being waged.

Levin: Let’s first consider the elements of policy that are evidence of Obama’s anti-Israel animus. Virtually his first step in Arab-Israeli diplomacy was to demand a total freeze of all Jewish construction beyond the pre-1967 cease-fire lines. This is something which no previous American administration has ever demanded. In addition, it has never been a pre-condition to previous Israeli-Palestinian talks, nor has it ever been undertaken or agreed upon by any previous Israeli government. At the same time, the Obama administration made no comparable demands of the Palestinians or their Arab supporters.

Somewhat as an afterthought, and with much less fanfare, the Administration did suggest the Palestinians ought to refrain from anti-Israel incitement and that Arab states ought to make some gestures of openness towards Israel. The former request was ignored and the latter was explicitly rejected, but the Administration remained focused on pressuring Israel.

Noteworthy in this regard was Jackson Diehl’s article in the Washington Post on an interview with PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas in Washington at the time of Abbas’s first meeting with President Obama after the president’s inauguration. Abbas conveyed to Diehl that he did not feel the need to make any gestures towards Israel to advance the search for “peace”; that, for example, the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Israel incitement and rejection of compromise on key issues were not problems he had to address. Rather, he could wait until sufficient Israeli concessions were delivered to him. The impression was clearly that this stance derived from what Abbas learned of the Administration’s attitudes: The pressure was going to be focused on Israel and nothing of significance was expected of the Palestinians. Indeed, this was Diehl’s explicit conclusion: “[President Obama] has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud.”

(Read full interview)


Love of the Land: Target Israel

Love of the Land: Arab League Rejects Israel's Right To Survive

Arab League Rejects Israel's Right To Survive


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
Weekly Commentary
01 April '10

The most generous interpretation of the position of the Arab League is that if Israel meets all Arab demands that the member states would recognize Israel's existence at that point in time but not its right to survive.

There is a critical difference between recognizing Israel's temporary existence and its right to survive.

The former is no more than a form of the traditional "hudna". A temporary ceasefire until such time that conditions make possible the defeat of the enemy

The 28 March Arab League Sirte Declaration rejecting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a rejection of Israel's right to survive.

The Arab states should have no problem with the idea that a country is associated with a religion. After all, the constitutions of the member states in the Arab League all explicitly state that Islam is their official state religion - as is also the case with the draft Palestinian constitution.

But when the Arabs - including the Israeli Arabs - oppose Israel's designation as being a "Jewish State" the issue goes far beyond Judaism being reflected in Israel's national calendar and other facets of the State. The core feature of Israel as a Jewish State that they find unacceptable is that Jews around the world have the right to immigrate to Israeli and become citizens.

If the Arabs recognized Israel's right to survive then it would not be so critical to them to want to stop Jewish immigration.

Instead they press for an end to Jewish immigration along with the right of Arabs with family ties to Israel to flood the country.


Love of the Land: Arab League Rejects Israel's Right To Survive

Love of the Land: AP: Arab States Bowing To Iran Because Of Israeli Settlement Construction

AP: Arab States Bowing To Iran Because Of Israeli Settlement Construction


Omri Ceren
Mere Rhetoric
31 March '10

Jews building homes for their families and schools for their kids? Is there anything it can't do?

The head of the Arab League urged the 22-nation bloc on Saturday to engage Iran directly over concerns about its growing influence in the region and its disputed nuclear program... The push to engage Tehran seems to be at least partly fueled by Arab frustration over Washington's failure to get Israel to back down on plans for more Jewish settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state. It also suggests that Arab nations are increasingly less likely to align with the U.S. strategy on Iran if they feel they are getting nothing in return in Mideast peace efforts.


This comes courtesy of the AP's Khaled al-Deeb. Because that's why they're doing it. It has nothing to do with how Iran is steadily growing more powerful in the region, forcing millennial-old antagonists like Turkey into their orbit and Finlandizing Arab states one by one. It's that Israelis are building supermarkets in the West Bank and condos in East Jerusalem. Obviously.

The real question is whether it was an editor or al-Deeb himself who inserted the weasel phrase "at least partly" into the copy. Smart money's on the editor, who couldn't really cut out the entire analysis section but also couldn't get over how transparent and stupid the stunt was.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: AP: Arab States Bowing To Iran Because Of Israeli Settlement Construction

Love of the Land: The Ongoing Tragedy of Gilad Shalit

The Ongoing Tragedy of Gilad Shalit


P. David Hornik
Frontpagemag.com
1 April '10

This year for the Passover Seder some Israeli families left a symbolic empty chair for Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was abducted by Hamas on June 25, 2006, and remains in captivity today. Nineteen years old at the time, he is described as “well-mannered, quiet and introverted”—an account that fits the clips of him that have been shown, in some periods with high regularity, on Israeli TV since his kidnapping.

Apparently both the Olmert and Netanyahu governments have judged that there is no military option for rescuing Shalit even though he’s located, so to speak, next door to Israel in Gaza. The Israeli defense establishment either doesn’t know more precisely where he is, or does know but regards the spot, and his situation—heavily guarded? surrounded by explosives?—as infeasible for a rescue attempt.

Somewhat surprisingly, about half a year ago the Netanyahu government was involved in negotiations with Hamas for Shalit’s release in return for a draconian number of terrorists, generally reported as about a thousand. It still wasn’t enough for Hamas and the negotiations broke down. Before they did Hamas released a coerced video of Shalit, made on September 14, 2009, in which he addressed his family members and spoke of his desire for freedom. In a segment this week on Israel’s Channel 2 news, Shalit’s parents said they had heard nothing of him since then, and possibly no one else in Israel has either.

As Shalit’s captivity approaches four years, the cruelty of what is being inflicted on him and his family—even if completely to be expected from a group like Hamas—is limitless. In stark contravention of international law, even the International Red Cross has not been allowed to visit him. Although Hamas has practical aims—coercing a higher price out of Israel, pressuring its government and its society more generally—the cruelty is also an expression of sheer hatred, a phenomenon in itself.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Ongoing Tragedy of Gilad Shalit

Love of the Land: The decline of the West

The decline of the West

UK’s move against Israel fits into the European trend of appeasing Islam.


Zvi Mazel
Op-Ed/JPost
01 April '10

Osama bin Laden must be laughing his head off while plotting his next action against Europe in his dusty cave somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once again Great Britain has demonstrated what a staunch ally it can be. One can trust the West; democracy is good for terrorists. It views terror as an ordinary offense against society and deals with it accordingly. Never mind that Bin Laden, Khaled Mashaal, Hassan Nasrallah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the like have basically declared war on Western society and its values, and are making a concerted effort to achieve their aim. First on their list is Israel.

This is not a conventional war but something far more insidious and dangerous. Terrorists hide among civilians to target civilians. This is a gross violation of international law and all the conventions dealing with the rules of engagement should be addressed as such, with Western nations banding together to fight this modern scourge. They have to search and neutralize terrorists.

Like the US, England sends its very own secret service people to search out and kill terrorists wherever they are – from Ireland to Gibraltar to Afghanistan. Of course, they have their pick of Commonwealth passports. But let a master terrorist, a man who has killed, a man who has been masterminding the steady flow of arms into Gaza, the arms used against Israeli citizens, die in suspicious circumstances and all fingers are pointed at the assumed culprit – Israel.

GREAT BRITAIN, a country which has made so many Muslim arch-murderers welcome (Abu Hamza al-Masri, Abu Qatada who was considered Bin Laden’s representative in Europe, to name just two), granting them political asylum on the grounds they would be put to death in their own countries because of their crimes there; Great Britain where the disciples of these murderers launched deadly attacks against British civilians in 2005, decided that now was the time to make a stand.

By expelling an Israeli diplomat it would show the world that it would not let an alleged misuse of its passports go unpunished.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The decline of the West

Love of the Land: When Ben-Gurion said no to JFK

When Ben-Gurion said no to JFK

The "don’t ask, don’t tell" compromise served both Israel and the US well.


Gerald Steinberg
Op-Ed/JPost
28 March '10

It’s official – there is a major crisis in relations between Jerusalem and Washington. This is not an emotional response or passing tiff over the timing of Jerusalem building announcements, but a full-blown dispute on issues effecting vital Israeli and American interests. And although the personalities of Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu may influence the conflict at the margins, the real clash is over policies and goals.

In these situations, both the president and the prime minister are aware of the huge asymmetry in the relationship. America is Israel’s only reliable ally, and while there is some reciprocity through military technology and anti-terror intelligence, there is no balance. No other country – certainly not any European one – provides the sophisticated and costly weapons platforms needed to protect Israeli lives. As a result, the White House holds most of the cards, particularly with a majority in Congress (as is the case now).

But history shows that some issues are so critical that even the president of the United States cannot force Israel’s hand. Important examples include Menachem Begin’s rejection of Jimmy Carter’s demand for an indefinite settlement freeze in the 1978 Camp David summit, and Ariel Sharon’s refusal to accept George W. Bush’s demand to end anti-terror operations in March 2002, following the Passover attacks, including the Park Hotel. The sharpest example took place almost 50 years ago, when John F. Kennedy demanded that David Ben-Gurion end Israel’s nuclear deterrent program, deemed necessary to ensure Jewish survival in a very hostile world.

THE CLASH began in 1960, when the outgoing Eisenhower administration sought an explanation for the mysterious construction near Dimona. It was told that this top-secret activity in the middle of the desert was a harmless textile plant, and no, it could not come and visit. Classified spy photos were then published on the front page of The New York Times (yes, the CIA spied on the Jewish state, with or without forged passports).

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: When Ben-Gurion said no to JFK

Elder of Ziyon: Incredible Reuters bias in article on Easter in Jerusalem

Incredible Reuters bias in article on Easter in Jerusalem

From Reuters:

As a boy growing up in Jerusalem, Yacoub Dahdal saw Christians from all over the Middle East converge on the city at Easter time to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

Thousands would be hosted in the homes of the city's residents. Many would depart the city as godparents to newly born Jerusalemites baptized during the pilgrimage season.

"It was a festival with every meaning of the word," said Dahdal, now aged 72 and a senior member of the Palestinian Christian community in Jerusalem. "The Egyptians would come by train, the Lebanese and Syrians by bus," he said.

"Imagine when you were down in the Old City, you would hear all the different accents: Lebanese, Jordanian, Egyptian, Syrian, mixed together," he said. "It was a real joy."

Today, he reflects on a very different Easter atmosphere in a city where tension is often more apparent than spirituality.

OK, let's see how things are different:

The home where he was born in the Old City's Muslim quarter, just a short walk from the First Station of the Cross, is today adorned with Israeli flags and houses settlers who have moved in since Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.

So the existence of Jews in a city that they had lived in for centuries is a major problem for people who celebrate Easter?

What else?

Since that conflict, the flow of pilgrims from neighboring Arab states has dried up. Syria and Lebanon remain in a state of war with Israel. Few Egyptians or Jordanians make the trip, though their governments have made peace with the Jewish state.

And who, exactly, is stopping them from making this trip? It certainly isn't Israel, which would welcome them. Yet the tone of the article, especially the previous paragraph non-sequitor, implies that it is Israel.

Christian pilgrims still fly in for Easter, from Germany, Peru or Russia, as tourists on a once-in-a-lifetime visit who are largely unaware of Israeli restrictions -- apart from the obvious fact that police seem to be around every corner.

Reuters has not as of yet mentioned any restrictions. And, in fact, thousands of Christians do fly in from other countries - Christians who would have had much more difficulty in visiting Jerusalem before Israeli rule.

But the number of Palestinian pilgrims has fallen to a fraction of its former level. Local Christians warn that centuries-old traditions are at risk of dying out.

Israeli security measures, they say, have obstructed their access to Jerusalem and its holy sites, chief among them the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Ah, so Israeli restrictions are supposedly keeping the Palestinian Christians out. Of course, Israeli restrictions apply to Jews and Muslims as well as to where they could safely go in Jerusalem, and security is a real issue, as there were riots in Jerusalem a mere couple of weeks ago. But Reuters can't be bothered to believe that Israel is justified in what is clearly an injustice, even one that Reuters cannot quite define.

Palestinians who live in the West Bank, including Bethlehem, and the Gaza Strip -- also occupied by Israel in 1967 -- need a permit to get into Jerusalem.

Israel says it has issued 10,000 permits to West Bank residents this year as an Easter goodwill gesture. Five hundred were issued to Christians in Gaza, who number several thousand.

Israel has given out over 10,000 permits for Palestinian Christians to come to Jerusalem. The implication is that this is a huge reduction from the number that came in the 1940s. We'll see if that is true.

As a result, there has been a big drop in local participation in Easter week ceremonies, say Christian figures. Last year, for example, no more than a few hundred Palestinians made it to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the ceremony of Holy Fire, when believers gather to witness the emergence of candles lit by a miracle in the tomb of Jesus.

Though it falls on the Saturday before Orthodox Easter, local Christians of all denominations have attended the ceremony for generations in what has always been a major community event.

But how many?

"There used to be thousands, or tens of thousands," said Qupty. "Today, last year, if I said hundreds, I'd be exaggerating," he said.

If tens of thousands of Palestinian Christians descended on Jerusalem in the good old days, it should have been mentioned in the newspapers.

Here is a report from 1955, when Jordan controlled the Old City of Jerusalem:

So in the good old days, some 5000 pilgrims from all nations managed to get to Jerusalem for the festivities - half of the number of permits that Israel gives to Palestinian Christians alone this year!

Palestine Post archives from the 1930s and 1940s mirror the same facts - a few thousand pilgrims would come every year.
Some years the turnout would be worse than usual for various reasons - construction, or war, or riots.

In 1938, for example, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed due to to public safety concerns over the danger of parts of ot collapsing. That year they had expected 4000 Copts and 700 Orthodox pilgrims.

(Before the British took control of Palestine, the annual Easter services would often turn violent as the competing Christian sects would fight over who has ownership and precedence of various holy sites.)

In other words, contrary to what Reuters writes, the number of pilgrims attending Holy Week services has increased significantly under Israeli rule. And even the number of Palestinian Christians allowed to participate is higher than the number that attended when Jerusalem was under British or Jordanian rule.

All of this is happening at the same time that the number of Christians in the Palestinian Arab territories has been reduced significantly in recent years because of Islamic persecution. This little fact was also omitted by Reuters.

Reuters has put together a hugely inflammatory and biased report that uncritically parrots the complaints of Palestinian Arabs without even bothering to check the most basic facts.



Elder of Ziyon: Incredible Reuters bias in article on Easter in Jerusalem

Elder of Ziyon: Revisiting the elephants in the room, plus one more

Revisiting the elephants in the room, plus one more

PA prime minister Salam Fayyad was interviewed in Ha'aretz where he went into some detail about his plan to unilaterally declare a Palestinian Arab state next year.

His plan has dovetailed with noises coming out of the White House and the EU, and there seems to be growing enthusiasm for this move.

A couple of times over the past two years I published lists of "elephants in the room" that the wishful thinkers like to ignore. Fayyad is saying all the right things for Western consumption, but how do his statements hold up against the elephants?

Elephant 1: Hamas controls Gaza
Fayyad dismisses this in two paragraphs that don't say anything of substance:

People in Gaza are looking at us as well, and saying they also want to have a better life. Look at how fragmented we are in the West Bank, but Gaza you can cover from north, south, east, and west 10-20 times a day. What took us a year to do in the West Bank can be accomplished in two months in Gaza.

"Who would have thought a couple years ago there would be this transformation in the mind-set? Not many thought that possible. All you have to do is travel beyond Ramallah and see for yourself. It's a changed reality.

He is ignoring Hamas completely, implying that a declared state will magically make Hamas disappear and melt into the PA. The only problem is that there is no basis to believe that in reality. His declared "state" would include a territory that is ruled by terrorists, and he would demand that the world recognize it as if it was under PA control.

In addition, the only change in PalArab West Bank mindset, as far as I could tell, is economic, not political. I have yet to see a single example of Arabic comments on stories about Gaza aggression that are remotely peaceful. Plenty of people hate Hamas but no one is against killing Jews to the extent that they would say so publicly.

And the economic boom in the West Bank is because of Netanyahu, not Fayyad.

Elephant 2: Palestinian Arabs elected a terror government
Elephant 3: The current PA government was not elected
Elephant 4: The current PA government has almost no power
Elephant 5: The PA is being kept alive by artificial methods

All of these issues are continuously ignored. There are no elections on the horizon. The last elections not only chose Hamas for a national government but also for practically every local government outside Ramallah. The legality of the current PA is questionable even within the PA's own laws. And the PA still gets the bulk of its support from the West, not from its own people.

Fayyad has been working on building institutions, a move that was decades overdue. But he has no political support from within. He has no following. He is not a member of Fatah, and in the end, Fatah is the power behind the PA - and the PA is not independent but it answers to the PLO, another little fact that the West is unaware of or ignores.

Elephant 6: Fatah remains a terrorist group paid by the PA

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades has been keeping a lower profile but it has not been dismantled. In Gaza, Hamas has arrested much of its leadership, but in the West Bank it is simply waiting for the opportunity to re-emerge.

Elephant 7: The first - and second - stages of the roadmap were never implemented

Fayyad's plan is explicitly rejecting the roadmap and is a unilateral action. This means, of course, that Israel could do the same. If Israel annexes the large settlement blocs - a move that the vast majority of Israelis support - then the declared Palestinian Arab state would start off without any borders.

Elephant 8: The PA's goal remains the destruction of Israel


I don't believe that this is Fayyad's goal, but it is Abbas' goal, as can be seen by his actions. It is Fatah's goal and it is the PLO's goal. And in the end, Abbas is Fayyad's boss.

Elephant 9: Jerusalem

It might have moved to the forefront, so it is not as ignored as it was, but it remains the major point of disagreement. The PA's requirements on Jerusalem is an indication that a state is not its goal, as a state could function just fine with Ramallah as its capital. Their insistence on Jerusalem is simply meant to disassociate Jerusalem from Judaism.

Elephant 10: What happened to Gaza when Israel withdrew

Gaza could have become a Singapore when Israel left. Instead, it became Afghanistan. The only thing that has kept the West Bank relatively stable over the past few years has been the presence and threat of the IDF - but the world has forgotten what the West Bank was like while the intifada raged and the "peaceful" PA was in charge.

Elephant 11: Palestinian Arab "unity"

Unless the PA gives up on Gaza, Hamas has effective veto power over any moves made by the PA. Any "unification" agreement - which is no closer today than it was last year or two years ago - would inevitably mean that the PA positions would harden to accommodate Hamas. And Hamas is never going to give up on its desire for destroying Israel sooner rather than later. Just they would then have access to more American weapons.

Elephant 12: The Palestinian Arab "diaspora" and Arab intransigence

Fayyad states that his state would welcome Palestinian "refugees." This means that the Arab policy of not granting statehood to those who choose not to move to "Palestine" would become untenable. This would mean that Arab nations like Syria and Lebanon would have a choice: offer citizenship to the hundreds of thousands of "Palestinians" who live within their borders, or force them all to move to "Palestine" where they would quickly overwhelm the existing infrastructure.

And very possibly radicalize the minority who really does accept Israel.

This elephant will grow large indeed.

Elephant 13: Economics

This is something that has improved. Even so, the Palestinian Arab economy is far from self-sustaining and the attitude of entitlement is still there, especially in the camps that many still live in - even under PA control. Add the thousands of new residents and we have a big problem.

Elephant 14: Gaza demographics

Gazans are still having lots of kids, and nowhere to put them. Most will not want to move to the West Bank, where the culture is different, and Egypt won't take them. they will continue to use this to pressure Israel even if somehow Gaza comes under the PA.

Elephant 15: Palestinian Arab leaders never showed interest in independence

If we take Fayyad at his word, then exactly one has. As mentioned, he has no constituency within his own people. He was never even elected.

And it is hard to take Fayyad at his word, when he answers a question this vaguely:

Q: What are you doing to stop incitement against Israel?

A: Incitement can take the form of many things - things said, things done, provocations - but there are ways for dealing with this. We are dealing with this.

Too bad he cannot give a single example.

Fayyad points to another very large elephant that hadn't been mentioned:

Elephant 16: A unilateral Palestinian Arab state would be militarized

In the interview Fayyad says the Palestinians want an independent and sovereign state, emphasizing they are "not looking for a state of leftovers - a Mickey Mouse state."

This is a codeword for a full army and full control over airspace. Fayyad's state would allow him or his radical successor to invite Syria to position anti-aircraft weapons within its territory; to shoot missiles at El Al planes landing a few miles from the Green Line, or to get a few thousand tanks poised to cut Israel in half.

Iran already effectively controls Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. They would use the nascent state of Palestine to position themselves on the West Bank as well. Just like the PA ran away from Gaza at the first sign of trouble, so would they abandon their state to Iranian proxies and Islamic terrorists.

Their will to defend themselves is not nearly as strong as their will to destroy Israel, a desire that has been inculcated in them for generations. Palestinian Arab nationalism is a fundamentally weak and externally-imposed construct. Iran is poised and anxious to take advantage of the chaos that would follow a unilaterally declared state.

But the West is ready to risk Israel for that elephant as well.



Elder of Ziyon: Revisiting the elephants in the room, plus one more

DoubleTapper: Explosive Breast Implants in use by al Qaeda

Explosive Breast Implants in use by al Qaeda

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

Fox News and the Sun have reported that Female suicide bombers are being equipped with explosive breast implants.

It started with Richard Reid aka the Shoe bomber. Then we had Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aka the crotch bomber. Now, Boob bombers!

This new al Qaeda tactic involves implanting the explosives in women's breasts during plastic surgery — making them "virtually impossible to detect by the usual airport scanning machines".

The explosive devices are made of pentaerythritol tetranitrate—also known as PETN—one of the most powerful explosives in existence. The surgeons performing the operations place the PETN devices inside bags, just like the ones used to hold the silicone gel inside breast implants. PETN has an explosive energy of 5.810 kilojoules per gram, which means that an explosive cup C—with just a few grams of PETN inside—would be able to open a large hole in an airplane's fuselage, effectively causing a crash.

It is believed the doctors have been trained at some of Britain's leading teaching hospitals before returning to their own countries to perform the surgical procedures.





See more at:
DoubleTapper: Explosive Breast Implants in use by al Qaeda

RubinReports: How George Armstrong Custer's scouts can help us understand the Middle East

How George Armstrong Custer's scouts can help us understand the Middle East

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By Barry Rubin

As I reflect on how U.S. history is being distorted into seeming like one long hate crime, I recall how interesting it is if one really presents it in three dimensions rather than as a cartoon. It can even teach us about contemporary issues.

In the summer of 1876, the U.S. army sent an expedition to fight the Sioux who had left the reservation where they had been forced to live. One of the units sent in this task force was the Seventh Cavalry, commanded by the Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer.

Instead of waiting for the other forces to join him outside the giant encampment whose warriors outnumbered his troops by at least six-to-one, Custer took about one-third of his men and charged. Custer quickly became even more famous for foolishly getting himself and five companies of his soldiers wiped out by the Sioux. This battle at the Little Big Horn river became known as Custer's Last Stand.

But that's not the point of this story.

Among his forces were a number of "Indian scouts," men like Hairy Moccasin, Yellow Robe, and Iron Hawk who knew the ways and languages of the enemy. They were smart enough to warn Custer not to attack. Not only did he ignore their good advice but--luckily for them--angered by their opposition, he sent them off with another part of his force.

On a discussion group about these events last year, someone wrote the kind of note typical of thinking today. Shame on those scouts, the anonymous correspondent virtually shouted, for betraying their Native American brothers and not fighting together against the white man in national solidarity.

Sort of sounds like the equivalent of Arab nationalist and Islamist arguments today in the Middle East.

But, as the regular members of the discussion group quickly pointed out, those scouts did not see themselves as "Native Americans" and certainly not as brothers to the Sioux. They were in fact members of the Crow or other tribes which were traditional enemies of the Sioux. Indeed, it was the Sioux who--though today they hold the treasured designation of victim, the highest rank in present-day radical or post-modernist thinking--had been relentlessly aggressive, attacking the Crow and taking away their lands. The Crow were merely looking after their own interests.

One of these men's descendants, himself a Crow tribal historian, puts it this way: "Crow survival was at stake. The Crows believed then--and still believe--that they honorably used the white man as allies in their continuing intertribal struggle with their worthy traditional enemies."

Custer's chief scout was a very impressive man named Bloody Knife. He was the son of a Sioux father and a mother from another tribe. Because of this mixed parentage, his family had been persecuted by the Sioux. In fact, one of the main Sioux commanders at the battle had personally murdered Bloody Knife's two brothers. A proud man, Bloody Knife was nobody's mercenary. He was in the fight for his own reasons.

This is a political phenomenon we see over and over again. In 1519, Francisco Cortez had invaded Mexico with a few hundred Spanish soldiers. Certainly, the fact that he was extremely ruthless and had guns plus the locals thinking himself and his men were gods, helped him conquer a huge empire.

But Cortez had another weapon that helped him win: the support of many of Mexico's tribes. They did not appreciate the fact that the Aztec rulers seized large numbers of their people, marched them up to the top of pyramid temples, tied them down, and cut out their hearts. Cortez may have been a real bastard and his skin was a different color from theirs, but they preferred him to the Aztecs for sure.

In the Middle East today, the ideologues think it is enough to appeal to Arab or Islamic solidarity against all outsiders, whether living in the neighborhood or coming from afar. Some years ago in Istanbul, I visited an elderly, veteran head of a Middle East research center. He told me proudly that he had dedicated his life to maintaining good Turkish-Arab relations. All his writings and publications proclaimed this brotherhood.

To my surprise, though, after a few cups of tea, he started loudly complaining that the Turks were blamed by their neighbors for everything wrong in the region and provided many vivid anecdotes to prove it. Solidarity among the insiders and blaming the outsiders has long been regarded as a winning political strategy.

But what happens when these supposed lines of loyalty fall apart? In Iraq, it turned out that Muslim Kurds and Muslim Arab Shias did not love big brother Saddam Hussein. Nor are they fond of Sunni Arabs outside Iraq who loudly proclaim "Arab" and "Islamic" solidarity but cheer on the forces murdering them with terrorism.

This should not be surprising. Fifteen years earlier, in 1991, Arab, Sunni Muslim Kuwaitis and Saudis did not feel themselves obligated to support Saddam Hussein, a fellow Arab and Sunni Muslim, in stealing their possessions and murdering them. Lebanese Christians, Druze, and Sunni Muslims got tired of being victimized by Syria in the name of Arab nationalism and bullied by Hizballah, a Shia Muslim group, in the name of Islamism. Many other examples could be cited.

Throughout the area, people are fed up with being mistreated by dictatorships and threatened by revolutionary groups which simultaneously exploit them and demand their support. They can no longer be depended on to identify with their oppressors. As the Saudis and Kuwaitis did in 1991 and the Shia and Kurds are doing today they may well decide to side with outsiders or at least fight for their own interests.

Bloody Knife, Hairy Moccasin, Yellow Robe, and Iron Hawk would understand that perfectly.

RubinReports: How George Armstrong Custer's scouts can help us understand the Middle East

Report: Obama Administration Backs Arab Rallies in Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Report: Obama Administration Backs Arab Rallies in Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

IAF Responds to Rocket Strikes - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

IAF Responds to Rocket Strikes - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Man Suffers Fractured Skull in Rock Attack - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Man Suffers Fractured Skull in Rock Attack - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Tibi Bails Out PA Rioters - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Tibi Bails Out PA Rioters - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Vast Majority in Gaza Favors Death for Spies - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Vast Majority in Gaza Favors Death for Spies - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Thousands Celebrated 'Heritage' Status at Patriarchs' Cave - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Thousands Celebrated 'Heritage' Status at Patriarchs' Cave - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

High Court Deadline for Razing Heroes' Homes Draws Near - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

High Court Deadline for Razing Heroes' Homes Draws Near - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's another Hallel video: Mordechai Ben David singing Lo Amus (from Psalm 118).

Let's go to the videotape.


Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: Israel: Obama misses the point, deliberately

Israel: Obama misses the point, deliberately


Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Orange County Register
31 March '10

Why is President Obama so obviously humiliating Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu? Why is Secretary of State Clinton negating everything she said when she represented New York state and piling on the Jewish state?

They want Benjamin Netanyahu out. Specifically, they want him to feel such pressure that he dumps his right-wing coalition partners and forms a new government with the center-left party Kadima headed by former Prime Minister Tzipi Livni. Livni, who thinks nothing of trading land for peace, no matter how flawed the peace might be, will then hold Netanyahu's government hostage and force it to bend to the will of Washington and sign a deal with the Palestinians that cedes them land in return for a handful of vague vapors and promises none of which will be kept.

On March 3, Livni said in a Knesset debate that since Netanyahu took control, "Israel has become a pariah country in the world." She is trying to use Obama's and Clinton's rejection of Netanyahu's course to force her way into the government. And Obama and Clinton are intent on helping her do so by publicly humiliating Netanyahu.
But Netanyahu insists that he'd be happy to negotiate a peace accord. But, as he told me last year, "I just don't have a peace partner with whom to negotiate."

The Palestinians are expert at playing "good cop/bad cop" with Israel. The good cop – the Palestinian Authority – wants to negotiate a peace deal and insists on signs of Israeli good faith to do so. Meanwhile, the bad cop – Hamas – fires missiles at Israel from Gaza, land Israel ceded to the Palestinians to promote the peace process earlier in the decade.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Israel: Obama misses the point, deliberately

Love of the Land: Encouraging Palestinian Rejectionism

Encouraging Palestinian Rejectionism


Jennifer Rubin
Contentions/Commentary
01 April '10

How’s Obama’s Jerusalem gambit working out? (By the way, note to White House: don’t assail Israel by concocting an international incident centered on Jerusalem, the most emotional symbol of the Jewish people, in the weeks before Pesach — it gets even liberal Jews very riled up.) Well, as anyone who has been following Palestinian rejectionism and victimology for the past few decades anticipated (no, this doesn’t include the Obami), the Palestinians now perceive an opportunity to extract even more concessions from Israel and to gin up the violence:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction on Wednesday called for escalating the “popular struggle” against the security barrier and the settlements in the West Bank. … Veteran members of the Fatah Central Committee, including Nabil Shaath, Mahmoud al-Aloul, Muhammad Dahlan, Hussein al-Sheikh and Jibril Rajoub, said that the decision to escalate popular protests against the security fence and settlements was part of the faction’s political platform

They said the Sixth General Assembly of Fatah, which met last year in Bethlehem for the first time in over 20 years, had endorsed “popular resistance” as a means of confronting Israel’s measures in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.



By seizing upon and escalating an issue on which no Israeli government could relent, the Obami have made clear that the “game” here is not compromise or resolution but rather high-pressure tactics directed against the Israeli government.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Encouraging Palestinian Rejectionism

Love of the Land: Woe will be a divided Jerusalem

Woe will be a divided Jerusalem


David M. Weinberg
Op-Ed/JPost
01 April '10

The upshot of last week’s Obama-Netanyahu confrontation is that the White House wants to move Israel rapidly towards a division of Jerusalem.

However, the widely held presumption that splitting Jerusalem will lead to prosperity for the city and to peace for Jews and Arabs is an egregious error. Partitioning Jerusalem will destroy the city. It will die, in every way – culturally, religiously, economically and more. And politically, the shearing of Jerusalem into Arab and Jewish sovereignties will turn it into the bull’s eye of Mideast battle – a city that will make Belfast at its worst look like paradise.

The main reason for this is that any section of the city handed over to Arab rule will immediately become ground zero for the fierce war being waged within the Arab world over Islamic lifestyle, ideology and legitimacy.

Just who is going to rule in Arab eastern Jerusalem? Will it be the declining secular Palestinian national movement (whose sway in the West Bank is tentative at best), or the radical Islamist Hamas (which openly seeks Israel’s destruction), or the annihilationist al-Qaida affiliated forces (who are growing in strength in the territories), or the increasingly radical and violent Israeli Arab Islamic movement (which has been the main force behind recent unrest on the Temple Mount), or the Jordanians (who have a superior claim to Arab leadership in Jerusalem under the 1994 peace treaty with Israel), or the Moroccans (who head the Arab League’s Supreme Jerusalem Committee), or the Saudis (who see themselves as the true custodians of Islamic holy sites)?

EACH OF these forces will seek to prove its supremacy and bolster its legitimacy in the Islamic world through control of Arab Jerusalem and aggression against what remains of Jewish Jerusalem. What better way to prove one’s loyalty to the Islamic cause than to attack the rump Israeli presence in the city? And with bases of operations to work from in the eastern half of the city (whose neighborhoods will no longer be under Israeli security control) – locations that are bare meters away from Israeli homes and government and commercial centers – such terrorism will be oh, so very easy, so irresistibly tantalizing.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Woe will be a divided Jerusalem

Love of the Land: Power plays between friends in Beirut

Power plays between friends in Beirut


Michael Young
Daily Star (Beirut)
01 April '10

(As we were sitting on the border somewhat earlier today, my thoughts were directed northward. Obama by far, is still the novice in the neighborhood. Y.)

No one could fail to notice that it was a Syrian spokesperson, Wi’am Wahhab, who spilled the beans recently about Hizbullah members being called in for questioning by investigators working on behalf of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. It was also Wahhab alone who mentioned the possibility of a link between the late Imad Mughniyeh and the Hariri assassination. This has raised interesting questions about what Syria is trying to achieve.

Of course, Wahhab’s professed purpose was to warn against what an accusation directed against Hizbullah might mean for Lebanon’s stability. This has been a recurrent theme sounded by the Syrians and their allies in recent years. However, party officials must also have suspected that Wahhab’s comments, by providing information no one else had, threw the light, uncomfortably, on Hizbullah to avoid it falling elsewhere.

Beyond the tribunal, there are other dynamics at play specifically related to the Syria-Hizbullah relationship. In its effort to reassert its hegemony in Lebanon, Damascus has not only sought to wear down its one-time adversaries in March 14; it also seems to be looking for ways to tighten its control over its more autonomous allies, above all Hizbullah.

It’s not difficult to grasp why. In the five years after Syrian soldiers left Lebanon in April 2005, the party became the pre-eminent defender of Syria’s interests in Lebanon. With no soldiers on the ground the regime of President Bashar Assad had to watch as Iran’s sway over events in Beirut increased, because although Hizbullah remained close to Syria, there was never any question that it was, above all, an Iranian venture.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Power plays between friends in Beirut

Love of the Land: The Palestinians: Why Negotiate? The US Will Extract Concessions For You

The Palestinians: Why Negotiate? The US Will Extract Concessions For You


Mark Sillverberg
Hudson New York
01 April '10

When Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post attacks Obama’s outrage over the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee’s decision to approve the construction of 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo (a post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhood) as “ideological - and vindictive,” you know that Obama has made a serious political blunder.

The administration has apparently decided to provoke a diplomatic crisis with Israel over a construction project that was plainly in keeping with past U.S.-Israeli undertakings concerning East Jerusalem.

Israel’s official position for the last forty years has been that East Jerusalem’s status will not be negotiable in any future land-swap agreement with the Palestinians.

This policy, however distasteful it may be to the Obama Administration, did not prevent the conclusion of peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, nor did it preclude the Palestinians from negotiating with Israel for more than fifteen years after the Oslo Accords of 1993. Now, suddenly, it has become a major issue with this administration, and an impediment to world peace.

Apparently, a zoning dispute in Israel’s capital city is more important than addressing the nuclear threat posed by Iran.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Palestinians: Why Negotiate? The US Will Extract Concessions For You
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