Sunday, 4 April 2010

Love of the Land: Back to an old game with Syria

Back to an old game with Syria

Michael Young
NOW Lebanon
02 April '10
Posted before Chag

By most accounts it was a confident Bashar al-Assad who received Walid Jumblatt in Damascus on Wednesday. When it comes to Damascus’ regional position, the Syrian president sees the stars aligned in his favor. Which means that, at worst, he can afford to do nothing at all, and, at best, negotiate to arrive at nothing at all.

John Kerry, the chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, returned to the Middle East this week, visiting both Lebanon and Syria, and it’s not difficult to see what he had in mind. With the prospect that the Palestinian-Israeli track will remain stalled, ambitious foreign policy players in Washington are looking to the Syrian-Israeli track for a possible breakthrough. And these days when Americans propose openings toward Syria, they come to Beirut first, as did Kerry, to insist that “anything we do with respect to the peace process in this region will not come at the expense of Lebanon.”

That’s good to hear, but also irrelevant since the Syrians have already managed to largely reimpose their writ in Beirut. And this they’ve done because of many factors, Lebanese divisions chief among them, but also because people like John Kerry have spent years feeding Assad political oxygen by lauding the advantages of engaging Syria, even when Syria was destabilizing its neighbors.

Kerry’s trip will likely yield few tangible results. But the senator already knows that. His primary aim is to register his political stake in a Syrian-Israeli negotiation process, if one eventually resumes.

That may sound familiar. The Syrian regime spent the decade of the ‘90s receiving buoyant Americans in Damascus wanting to talk about peace with Israel. And while it’s true that the Syrians were prepared at one stage to conclude a final settlement, which was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, it was always essential to their approach that peace should not undermine the Assad regime. Peace had to be on Syrian terms and defined in such a way that it would preserve Syria’s complex security scaffolding propping up the regime.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Back to an old game with Syria

Israel Matzav: Pesach music video

Pesach music video

This video is actually several golden oldies by Avraham Fried played by the Shlomie Dachs Orchestra. The first one (Hithyazvu u'R'oo) happens to come from Monday morning's Torah reading.

Let's go to the videotape.

Chag Sameyach (Happy Holiday) to everyone.

Because the holiday is only one day in Israel, I will be back with more on Monday night, God willing.

Israel Matzav: Pesach music video

Israel Matzav: Maybe Bibi just doesn't like roses

Maybe Bibi just doesn't like roses

When I was in yeshiva here some thirty years ago, my Rabbi used to invite us regularly to spend the Sabbath in his home. We were a nice group of boys, and we always brought something with us: flowers, wine, chocolates.... Well, the Rabbi didn't like the flowers (although I believe his wife did), and one day he harangued us about it during our daily lecture.

"What good are flowers?" He asked. "Can I eat them? Can I give them to my children to play with?"

I suspect our Prime Minister feels the same way about flowers that my Rabbi did (I don't know whether he still does feel that way - maybe he's softened in his old age). Either that or he's way too worried about offending Mr. Obumbler.

But before I tell you the story, let's go to the videotape to get into the mood:

The story is that a group of American Christians wanted to send Prime Minister Netanyahu 800 dozen yellow roses from Texas - at a low price of $19.48 per bouquet - as a gesture of solidarity with Israel against President Obumbler. Netanyahu turned them down.

Has the fight between US President Barack Obama and Israel become so fetid that it can overcome the fragrance of more than 10,000 roses?

That appeared to be the case on Thursday, when officials in the Prime Minister’s Office made clear that they cannot accept a donation of more than 1,000 dozen yellow roses from American Christians who were upset by reports of Obama’s treatment of Binyamin Netanyahu in the White House last week.

Florida-based radio host and author Janet Porter was so incensed by what she thought was Obama’s inappropriate behavior that she called upon her listeners to give Netanyahu yellow roses to symbolize friendship, with each bouquet costing a symbolic price of $19.48.

The response was overwhelming as Christian supporters of Israel went online to the Web site of Porter’s Faith2action organization and ordered the flowers, which were to be accompanied by a card with the words, “Be encouraged, Americans stand with you,” along with a quote from a psalm: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem.”

Porter contacted respected Beit Shemesh-based florist Richard Kovler, who would be ready to deliver the huge amount of flowers after Pessah ends next week. But he needs someone in the Prime Minister’s Office to receive them.

When Kovler contacted the appropriate Netanyahu adviser, he was told that the Prime Minister’s Office could not get involved, because Netanyahu must be very careful to avoid anything that smacks of disrespect for the president at such a sensitive time.

Mrs. Porter sounds like one heck of a lady. Read the whole thing.

I wonder if some of the children's cancer support groups (like Zichron Menachem and Chai Lifeline) would be interested in those flowers. Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Maybe Bibi just doesn't like roses

Israel Matzav: That was quick: Special screening on terror-supporting Muslim countries rolled back

That was quick: Special screening on terror-supporting Muslim countries rolled back

Well, that was quick. Just ten days after naming Nawar Shora, legal director of the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC), to serve as a senior adviser for the TSA's office of civil rights and civil liberties, the Obama administration has canceled the special restrictions that were imposed on travelers to the United States from fourteen terror-supporting countries after Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab arrived in Detroit on Christmas Day with a bomb in his underwear.

This is from Debbie Schlussel:

The extra checkpoint scrutiny for these people has been removed, and, predictably, applauded by the usual whiner suspects from CAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (whose chief honcho’s wife, Dr. Layla Al-Marayati, heads a HAMAS-enabling charity).

The Obama administration is lifting an emergency order that has required extra airport screening of all passengers flying to the USA from 14 terror-prone countries, two senior administration officials said Thursday.

The emergency order was implemented after the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.

The new system will treat all passengers flying into the USA the same way, regardless of nationality, said the officials, who were briefed on the policy. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy is not being announced until today.

Back to the same old failed “security” policy, which failed to catch the Undie-bomber.

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: That was quick: Special screening on terror-supporting Muslim countries rolled back

Israel Matzav: Gaza 'youth' resurrected

Gaza 'youth' resurrected

What an appropriate weekend for this story!

On Tuesday, it was reported that a 15-year old in Gaza had been shot dead by IDF forces at a 'Land Day' demonstration (Land Day - March 31 - is the day that the 'Palestinians' and their 'Israeli Arab' brothers protest the alleged confiscation of 'Palestinian land' by Israel). The IDF denied the story, and therefore I didn't run it on Tuesday night.

Now Maan, the same outlet that reported the story in the first place, is reporting that the kid had been arrested by the Egyptians at the Egyptian end of a smuggling tunnel, and has returned home to his family on the Gaza side of Rafah.

According to the Ma’an report, Farmawi arrived in Gazan Rafah on Friday alive and well. He was discovered to be part of a group of 17 Palestinian youths who were arrested after trying to infiltrate Egypt via smuggling tunnels. Gaza police facilitated the boys’ return to their homes.

Farmawi’s mother had “wept for days at the loss of her son,” whom she considered a martyr, Ma’an reported.

The IDF had stressed that although the protesters in southern Gaza – among them Farmawi – had moved their demonstration to a dangerous zone close to the security fence, no soldier had shot to kill.

“The demonstrators knowingly occupied a zone in which movement is forbidden and attempted several times to reach the security barrier,” read a statement by the IDF Spokesman’s Office released on Tuesday evening. “As a result, it is possible that a number of demonstrators were hurt.”

The 'Palestinian' who was never dead came back to life.

But look how 'detailed' the 'Palestinian' reports of his death were:

Dr Muawiya Hassanein, of Gaza's health ministry, announced on Tuesday that the teenager had been killed during protests near to the Gaza border to mark Palestinian Land Day.

The day commemorates the deaths of six Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who were killed at a demonstration over land seizures 34 years ago.


He said the boy had been left "bleeding for hours" before a medical team was allowed to collect his body.

However, amid confusing reports, unnamed Palestinian sources also said the boy's death "may have been an internal matter", without giving further details.

After Muhammad returned home, Dr Hasanien said: "We were getting wrong reports from the officer in the field and we announced later in the day that we did not find the body."

He added: "Anyway, thank God the boy is alive."

The motto of the story is never to believe 'Palestinian' reports unless they've been solidly confirmed. But then, we knew that already, didn't we?

Oh and by the way, if the 'Palestinians' are so anxious for their children to become 'martyrs,' why was the family so relieved to find him alive?

Israel Matzav: Gaza 'youth' resurrected

Israel Matzav: Fooling most of the 'Jewish leaders' most of the time

Fooling most of the 'Jewish leaders' most of the time

Late Friday night Israel time, Laura Rozen reported on a Friday conference call between Dan Shapiro of the National Security Council and American 'Jewish leaders' in a bid to calm the storm that the White House created over the Ramat Shlomo announcement three weeks ago.

What was the message?

“Not much,” one source, who declined to be identified, said. “No crisis. Media reports are wrong. More agreement than disagreement” inside the administration, regarding how to advance the Middle East peace process. [The administration’s] “hand was forced [with regard to] Jerusalem by circumstances during Biden’s trip,” the source said, referring to the Israeli government’s announcement last month during Vice President Joe Biden's good-will trip to Israel that it had approved construction of another 1,600 homes to be built in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

[In other words, big internal debate some hack reported on last weekend? Overblown. All is harmony inside the administration on its approach, how hard to push, who to push, what to push for, etc. To which another source who'd been on the call Friday said, Oh that report? "It is so obviously true.”]


The content of the call was “just a reiteration of administration's policies/statements from the last few weeks,” another source who declined to be identified said. “Shapiro was asked about cutting aid, which he assured was not even on table."

So was the 'Jewish leadership' really taken in? Apparently, not entirely.

Those on the call also said he spent a considerable amount of time pushing back against media reports calling the recent tensions a crisis or characterizing Netanyahu’s White House visit – conducted under a media blackout without even an official photograph released – as a snub.

He faulted the “fog” of press reports for portraying the meeting as negative, which he pointed out was arranged hastily after the president canceled an overseas trip to work on health care legislation and made for the fourth visit of Obama with Netanyahu in the US, the most of any foreign leader.

Shapiro also referred to the media’s bias toward the more “sexy” news story of US criticism of Israel over American criticism of the Palestinians to claim that the Obama administration has been equally demanding of both sides.

One caller later asked that he produce a compendium detailing American censure of the Palestinian Authority alongside Israel to provide documentation to the wider Jewish community, which has been critical of the US administration for coming down more heavily on Israel than on the PA.

The National Security Council hand also noted that Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama dealt significantly with Iran, on which he said there is close coordination between the two countries and that there is no foreign policy issue the US is working harder on, according to call participants.


Yet he questioned the White House take on the recent tensions. “They created the storm. Why are they surprised?”

Another participant also expressed skepticism at what he heard, particularly the effort to blame the media for blowing things out of proportion.

“It wasn’t incredibly reassuring, but it was unclear whether the White House was downplaying the crisis because they erroneously think there isn’t a crisis, or they’re downplaying the crisis as means of ending the crisis,” he said. “If it’s the latter it’s a positive thing, but if they really are clueless and have their heads in the sand, that’s bad.”

One Jewish official on the call, though, expressed more criticism at his colleagues than at the White House, taking them to task for not speaking more forcefully during the call against what had happened.

“They didn’t challenge the administration on this,” he said. “It was very disappointing, really very disappointing.”

The JPost also notes a White House claim that much of the 'meeting' between Netanyahu and Obama dealt with Iran. If so, you can bet it was Obama threatening Bibi with all the terrible things that would happen to Israel if we dare to strike Iran without His Lordship's approval.

Paul Mirengoff notes that one reason why there may have been so little pushback from the 'Jewish leaders' is that they don't expect much pushback from Netanyahu against the President.

Unfortunately, according to one participant in the conference, the Jewish leaders did not push back very much while the call was taking place. Then again, it's far from clear that Netanyahu himself is going to push back.

It's not clear yet that he won't either. The country has been pretty much shut down all week for Pesach (Passover) and my guess is that we'll start to see a lot more activity come Tuesday morning.

I would bet that Netanyahu will offer some sort of package: a terrorist release, and some suspension of Jewish building in the predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem in exchange for scrapping the proximity talks and moving to direct talks. Maybe they'll take down a few more roadblocks and endanger some more Jewish lives. Whether that will satisfy Obama or the 'Palestinians' remains to be seen. But I don't think he can get a whole lot more than that through his cabinet even if he wanted to try.

This much is for sure: Sometime between Tuesday and when Netanyahu departs for that nuclear disarmament conference in Washington next week, some kind of offer will be made.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Fooling most of the 'Jewish leaders' most of the time

Israel Matzav: Ahmadinejad smiling all the way to the bank?

Ahmadinejad smiling all the way to the bank?

Unfortunately, the nightmare pictured at the top of this post seems well on its way to becoming reality.

On Saturday night, Israel once again urged 'international action' on Iran.

An announcement by Iran’s nuclear chief of plans to build new atomic facilities in the country, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s newest warning regarding Israel’s demise, underline the need for “determined and effective international action,” a senior government official said on Saturday night.

“Ahmadinejad’s continuous outbursts of extremist rhetoric only prove to the entire international community the seriousness of the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and heightens the need for determined and effective international action,” the official said.

Ahmadinejad, referring on Saturday to escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip, said IDF action would “cost” Israel “too much.”

“I say to the Zionists and their supporters that they have already committed enough crimes,” he told an Iranian crowd. “A new adventure in Gaza will not save you, but hasten your demise.”

Faced with the prospect of new sanctions because of Iran’s nuclear defiance, Ahmadinejad said that such penalties would only strengthen his country’s technological advancement and help it to become more self-sufficient.

“Don’t imagine that you can stop Iran’s progress,” Ahmadinejad said in remarks broadcast live on state television. “The more you reveal your animosity, the more it will increase our people’s motivation to double efforts for construction and progress of Iran.”

The Iranian president claimed US pressure on Iran had backfired and made Washington more isolated in the eyes of the world.

In fact, according to Arutz Sheva, Ahmadinejad's threat against Israel was even more explicit.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again threatened Israel with annihilation, saying over the weekend that if Israel attacks Gaza again, it will bring Israel “closer to certain death. I want to tell the Zionists and their supporters that they have committed enough crimes already,” he said adding that “the new adventure will not save you.”

But the sanctions being touted by the Obama administration are too little and too late. If China doesn't veto them in the Security Council.

Restricting the movement of leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (such as preventing them from taking ski vacations in Europe), or enforcing various insignificant financial restrictions, will certainly not stop the uranium enrichment programs at Iranian nuclear facilities.

Just yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama announced that there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and warned that the entire Middle East would be 'destabilized' if they succeed in attaining nuclear arms, and further trigger an arms race in the region.

Yet it is highly unlikely that Obama's chosen line of action to stop this growing trend will prove to be the right one. In an interview on CBS Obama stressed that a united international community will back the soon-to-be-approved sanctions against Iran.

That is true.

The President said that a nuclear Iran is not only bad for America's national security, but also for the entire world. An impelling proclamation, but not what is going to stop the Iranians.

The President went on to say that in time Iran's economy will be influenced by their actions. "We're going to ratchet up the pressure and examine how they respond but we're going to do so with a unified international community," Obama said.

The trouble is that time is exactly what is lacking in the equation. According to analysts across the globe, Iran will be able to manufacture nuclear warheads by the end of this year. Perhaps Tehran is not in any particular rush to produce nuclear weapons so as to avoid provocation. Yet while the Americans debate what to do with Iran after the expected failure of the current sanctions, the centrifuges will continue to enrich uranium in either the Natanz or Qom nuclear plants.

Will Prime Minister Netanyahu run Obama's red light on Iran? Will a new Congress with more Republicans and fewer Democrats make a difference? Or will we be facing a nuclear Iran nine months from now - a prospect that might cause 23% of Israelis to leave the country?

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Ahmadinejad smiling all the way to the bank?

Israel Matzav: Partisan gap on Israel widens to 50%

Partisan gap on Israel widens to 50%

The partisan gap on Israel between Democrats and Republicans has widened to 50% according to a Zogby poll taken for the Arab-American Institute.

* 42% of Democrats had a favorable rating of Israel compared to 92 of Republicans resulting in a 50% gap between the parties.
* While the gap is higher in this poll, the finding is consistent with a recent Gallup poll that had 53% of Democrats with a favorable view compared to 80% of Republicans.

Especially if the earlier poll was taken before President Obama abused Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House.

But don't expect that to change how Jews vote in the next elections. The new Democratic motto is F**k the Jews, they'll vote for us anyway.

Israel Matzav: Partisan gap on Israel widens to 50%

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah next target to be 'engaged' by Obama?

Hezbullah next target to be 'engaged' by Obama?

The next terrorist to be 'engaged' by Barack Hussein Obama is apparently Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbullah (Hat Tip: Elder of Ziyon).

Here's where I come in. I have received a letter asking me personally to help with a research project. I have spoken to well-informed people who tell me that the statements I am about to quote are accurate. It is highly possible that the link with the Obama Administration is exaggerated, but this indeed does come from the White House's favorite think tank.

While not mentioning the names of those involved they are known for supporting the idea that Hizballah is really quite moderate. The letter says that this is a project for the Center for American Progress and that the results "will be presented to senior U.S. policymakers in the administration."

I am asked to participate by giving my opinions on how the United States can deal with Hizballah "short of engagement" and "would Israeli leaders see benefit in the U.S. talking with Hizballah about issues which are of crucial importance to Israel?"

Answer to first question: Oppose it in every way possible.

Answer to second question: What the [insert obscene words I don't use] do you think they would say!

The letter continues:

"As you've noted, some like John Brennan [advisor to the president on terrorism] is already thinking about a more flexible policy towards Hizballah and it would be extremely useful to get your views on this to ensure anything decided is done properly."

I read this letter-and that impression is confirmed by those knowledgeable about this project and those involved-as saying that the Center for American Progress is going to issue a report calling for U.S. engagement with Hizballah, and that it has been encouraged to do so by important officials in the Obama Administration.

The phrase "to ensure anything decided is done properly," I take as a give-away to the fact that they are going to push for direct dealing with Hizballah but want to be able to say that they had listened to alternative views.

They merely, I am told by those who know about this project, intend to talk to some who disagree for appearances' sake and throw in a sentence or two to give the report the slightest tinge of balance.

The person heading this project has already endangered the lives of brave Lebanese. For example, he claimed without foundation that Christians were planning to launch a war on Hizballah, providing a splendid rationale for Hizballah to murder opponents on the excuse of doing so in self-defense. Accepting Hizballah rule is defined as the Christians recognizing they are a minority and trying to get along with their Muslim neighbors.

In other words, those opposing Hizballah are presented as aggressors while Hizballah is just the reasonable party that wants to get along. Moreover all this leaves out the community, about the same size as the Christians and Shia Muslims, that has been leading the resistance to Syria, Iran, and Hizballah: the Sunni Muslims.

In short, the person directing the project talks like a virtual agent of Hizballah and its allies, basically repeating what they tell him.

Aside from the fact that Hizballah is not and will not be moderate there are two other problems that these silly people don't comprehend.

The first is the signal that such statements send to Arabs and especially Lebanese. Concluding that the United States is selling them out and jumping onto the side of the Islamist revolutionaries (an idea that sounds implausible in Washington but very easily accepted as true in Riyadh, Beirut, Amman, and Cairo), Arab moderates will be demoralized, rush to become appeasers, and seek to cut their own deals with what they perceive as the winning side.

The second is the signal that such statements send to the radicals themselves. Concluding that the United States fears them and acknowledges their moral superiority and strategic success, they will be more arrogant and aggressive.

Read it all. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah next target to be 'engaged' by Obama?

Israel Matzav: Ethiopian Airlines 'interested' in report of bomb aboard crashed jet

Ethiopian Airlines 'interested' in report of bomb aboard crashed jet

On a stormy night in late January, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed on takeoff from Beirut International Airport. At the time, terrorism was ruled out as a cause of the crash, and the authorities attributed the crash to the weather.

Subsequently, it was disclosed that the crew had ignored control tower instructions and flown right into a storm cloud, and that a Hezbullah delegation was supposed to be on board the flight but never boarded.

The cause of the crash has never been determined, but Ethiopian Airlines is said to be 'interested' in reports that there was a bomb aboard the plane (Hat Tip: Will).

The "G2 Bulletin" Web site, which calls itself an independent online intelligence newsletter reports an operative of the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula told interrogators the aircraft was destroyed by a suicide bomber trained in Yemen.

The operative is said to be among more than 100 terrorism suspects recently arrested in Saudi Arabia. He is reported to have told his captors the Beirut bomber trained in the same camp as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to set off a bomb in his underwear on a plane landing in Detroit on Christmas Day.

Ethiopian Airlines chief Girma Wake has been critical of what he called premature and misleading speculation about the cause of the Beirut crash. In a telephone interview, he cautioned that this latest report must be checked thoroughly. But he said it raises questions about why Lebanese politicians were so quick to rule out foul play and blame pilot error.

G2 Bulletin is a paid subscription site put out by World Net Daily.

Israel Matzav: Ethiopian Airlines 'interested' in report of bomb aboard crashed jet

Israel Matzav: 'When will this student government stand up for me?'

'When will this student government stand up for me?'

As part of the fallout from the shouting down of Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, at the University of California at Irvine on February 8, the UC Irvine student government passed a resolution condemning the 'excessive punishment' of the Muslim students who disrupted the event.

The following week, 35 Jewish students showed up at the student government meeting to speak it out. At least if the reactions can be believed, it seems most of the student government had no idea what it was supporting.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Solomonia).

Those kids are quite impressive. And I'm sure they did it without any help from the Israeli government. Because when it hits you in the gut you respond from the gut. And that's far more effective than any canned speeches.

Here's hoping that more people feel that what's going on in Israel today hits them in the gut. Just like these kids did.

Good show, guys.

Israel Matzav: 'When will this student government stand up for me?'

Israel Matzav: And he lives to see another birthday

And he lives to see another birthday

And you thought this piece of human garbage would be dead by now.

When will they ever learn?


Here's a claim that al-Megrahi's life might have been saved by leaving the British health care system. Aren't you glad that Obamacare is coming to you?


Israel Matzav: And he lives to see another birthday

Israel Matzav: Don't feel too sorry for the Russians

Don't feel too sorry for the Russians

Most of us have felt some empathy with Russia after Monday's double suicide terror attack aboard the city subway (pictured). Well, maybe we shouldn't feel quite so sorry for the Russian government. You see, they've brought it on themselves.

Dmitri Medvedev has retaliated just in words for now. But he does promise “a harsher, crueler terror crackdown.” Still, we all feel a sense of fraternity with the citizens of greater Russia. They are today’s victims. But Russia has been complicit with so many of the world’s terror systems that it is not innocent. It cannot be.

Yes, 99.44% of the World's terrorists are Muslims, but Russia cooperated with them for years, largely out of anti-Semitism.

Read the whole thing (and if anyone wants to send me a review copy of the book, please drop a note and I will send you an address).

Israel Matzav: Don't feel too sorry for the Russians

Israel Matzav: Special Pesach edition of 'News of the Tribe'

Special Pesach edition of 'News of the Tribe'

From Caroline Glick's Latma, here's the special Pesach (Passover) edition of 'News of the Tribe.'

For the record, Yariv Googleheimer's real name is Yariv Oppenheimer and he's the head of Piece by Piece Now.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).

Israel Matzav: Special Pesach edition of 'News of the Tribe'

Israel Matzav: Fayyad tells Haaretz: There will be a 'Palestinian state' in 2011

Fayyad tells Haaretz: There will be a 'Palestinian state' in 2011

In an interview published on Friday in Haaretz, 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Salam Fayyad claimed that there will be a 'Palestinian state' in 2011. The interview is a series of softball questions with no followup. Here's an example:

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."


Israel Matzav: Fayyad tells Haaretz: There will be a 'Palestinian state' in 2011

Israel Matzav: The Sun King's foreign policy

The Sun King's foreign policy

Marty Peretz clues us in on a big secret: President Obumbler spends 45 minutes a day on foreign policy.

Luce and Dombey cite an authoritative official: “If you were to ask me who the real national security adviser is, I would say there were three or four, of whom Rahm is one and of which Gen. Jones is probably the least important.” None of them is a Kissinger. But, thank God, none of them is an Albright either.

Still, there is, the reporters tell us, only 45 minutes a day for foreign policy. This is not much time. Since Obama dithers (take the 90 days-long decision on troops to Afghanistan), he’d better have good advice over which to dither.

But the problem may be that he doesn’t like advice at all. This is the meaning of the “sun king” metaphor. Indeed, he has strong instincts. Yet he does not know much about the countries and regions about which he offers obiter dicta,which he turns into orders.

Leslie Gelb, one of our wise senior diplomats and senior diplomatic commentators, poses this query: “The question is which bright spark advised the president to demand a settlement freeze without working out what the next step should be when Netanyahu inevitably said ‘No’?” Well, it was no bright spark but Barack Obama. And he is now stuck.

I would bet that it really came from Obama. As did the blow up of the housing announcement while Vice President Biden into the greatest spat between the US and Israel since 1956.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: The Sun King's foreign policy

Israel Matzav: Heh....


The 'Palestinians' want to boycott Israeli cellphone technology.

Director-General Saliman Al-Zahrir of the Palestinian Authority Communications and Technology office revealed this week that his office plans to prevent trade in Israeli cell phone technology or products in the PA-assigned areas.

Al-Zahrir claims they reach the PA via the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. He also charges the Israeli companies with $120 million in pirate sales at the expense of PA companies and says the action is to get back at Israel for taking acton against PA companies. He allowed for honoring agreements with Israeli cell companies in order to avoid isolating PA residents.

I don't think al-Zahrir is going far enough.

Let's go to the videotape.


Israel Matzav: Heh....

Israel Matzav: A 'peaceful' intifada?

A 'peaceful' intifada?

Speaking in a Johannesburg mosque in May 1994, and thinking he was only among friends, Yasser Arafat called for a jihad to 'liberate' Jerusalem. When it turned out that there was an Israeli reporter inside the mosque who had recorded his words, both Arafat and his aides claimed that he meant a 'peaceful' jihad. Of course, he meant nothing of the sort. Six years later, it all came crashing down on us.

I was reminded of that story when I saw last week that aides to Arafat's successor, the Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Abbas, are claiming that they are planning a 'peaceful' intifada. You know, the kind where all the 'Palestinians' will sit in the streets wearing their keffiyahs and singing Kumbaya.

The new “popular intifada” that Fatah is planning in the West Bank won’t be an armed one, Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official, said on Thursday.

Shaath’s clarification came a day after he and some of his colleagues in Fatah called on Palestinians to escalate the “popular resistance” in protest against the settlements, the West Bank security barrier and the decision to build new homes in east Jerusalem.

“Apparently the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are in control of the situation to make sure that the intifada is not transformed into an armed confrontation,” Shaath explained. “This was not the case during the second intifada.”

Shaath ruled out the possibility that the “popular resistance” would deteriorate into an armed confrontation “in spite of continued Israeli attempts to drag the Palestinians in this direction by using excessive force to confront the protesters.”

According to Shaath, the option of an armed intifada under the current circumstances, where Israel “fully occupies the West Bank and is besieging the Gaza Strip, is impossible.”

However, he stressed that this does not mean that the Palestinians don’t have the right to launch an armed intifada “against an armed occupation and an armed settlement on Palestinian lands.”

He added: “We’re not talking here about whether we have the right to do so or not; obviously, we have the right, but we are talking about whether it would be effective and whether we have the capabilities and desire.”

Whether the 'Palestinians' can or cannot launch an armed intifada (and if they can't it only shows how wise it is to keep the IDF in Judea and Samaria), that line about the leadership being in control is totally disingenuous. The leadership was in control from 2000 to 2003 as well, as we found out when IDF troops raided Arafat's Ramallah headquarters known as the Mukhata. Although the 'Palestinians' had claimed that the shooters were not under their control, it turns out that they were being paid and orchestrated by none other than Yasser Arafat himself.

If there is another intifada, it will be violent. There is no such thing as a 'peaceful' intifada. The 'Palestinians' don't know how to sing Kumbaya.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: A 'peaceful' intifada?

Israel Matzav: In Gaza, life is good, for now

In Gaza, life is good, for now

Life is pretty good in Gaza right now believe it or not. Fuel is cheap, cement for building is abundant (don't believe that nonsense about it not getting in). Yes, things are going great in Gaza. Really.

The tunnels that snake under Gaza’s border with Egypt have multiplied so fast that supply sometimes exceeds demand. So stiff is commercial competition that tunnel-diggers complain that their work is no longer profitable. As a British parliamentary report recently noted, Israel officially allows Gaza to import only 73 of more than 4,000 items that are available in the strip. The rest is home-made—or acquired illicitly. For instance, cement, which cost 300 Israeli shekels ($80) a sack two years ago, has dropped almost tenfold in price, precipitating a spate of building for the first time since Israel’s attack a year ago reduced 4,000 houses to ruins. And eyewitnesses say that flashy 4x4 vehicles can actually drive through tunnels built from shipping containers.

Israel’s siege still causes misery. Yet some economists say the strip is growing faster than the West Bank run by Hamas’s rival Palestinian Authority (PA), albeit from a far lower base. The petrol pumped into Gaza by underground pipes and hoses from Egypt costs a third of what it does in Ramallah, the Palestinians’ West Bank capital, where Israel supplies it. Free health care is more widely available in Gaza. Imports travel faster through the tunnels than via Israel’s thickets of bureaucracy. The web of Israeli checkpoints that still impedes Palestinian movements and commerce on the West Bank is absent in Gaza.

As well as lower prices, Gazans benefit from civil-service payrolls. Several outfits pump cash into the strip’s economy: the local Hamas government; the UN, which employs 10,000 Gazans; and Salam Fayyad’s West Bank government, which is the largest employer of all. Payments to Hamas and its connected tunnel-operators boost the economy too. A car-dealer bringing in a new Hyundai saloon through the tunnels stands to make a profit of $13,000.

Above ground things look better, too. In the 14 months since the war ended, Hamas has swept up much of the wreckage. The Islamic University, bombed by Israel’s aircraft, sparkles again. New cafés have opened across Gaza City. Power cuts dog Gazan life, but Hamas profits from the taxes it collects on the fuel that powers a noisy surfeit of generators. America recently imposed sanctions on the main Hamas-owned bank, but the informal hawala banking system that straddles the border keeps the strip solvent. Whereas Gaza was once plugged into Western economies, the siege has forced it to find other financial moorings. So confident is Hamas that it can survive without the PA’s banking system that it has just, for the first time, sent its police to raid a bank that had obeyed a PA order preventing a Hamas-run charity from having access to deposits.

So what could go wrong?

Hamas’s success in keeping Gaza’s economy and administration going testifies to its resilience. But old-timers speak of a familiar cycle. When Yasser Arafat returned to Gaza in 1994 to set up the Palestinian Authority, he brought a sense of order, security and hope. But his wayward henchmen began to spar over spoils, igniting feuds between rival security forces. Israel’s counter-attack against the intifada (uprising) that broke out in 2000 pulverised the PA’s security apparatus and punctured central authority. A year after Israel’s assault on Gaza, some in the territory fear a similar cycle may soon ensue.

Just give them a 'state' and everything will be solved - right?

Israel Matzav: In Gaza, life is good, for now

Love of the Land: Former New York Mayor Ed Koch: Obama is willing to 'throw Israel under a bus to please Muslims'

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch: Obama is willing to 'throw Israel under a bus to please Muslims'

Stephanie Gutmann
03 April '10
Posted before Chag

Last week saw Julian Kossoff blogging ebulliently about the strength of American Jewish support for Barack Obama. Not even “the unprecedented tension between the White House and Israel [can] break the bond,” he trilled.
Now I realize Julian seems to see his role in life as reassurer to the goyim that Jews are Kumbaya-singing liberals — nothing like what he calls “the noisy neo cons and the Commentary crowd” and especially those cheeky, pushy Israelis. So I’m almost a little sorry to rain on his parade, but, sorry JK… not so fast.

One of New York City’s most famous and influential Jews, former mayor Ed Koch, a longtime Democrat — and longtime mayor (he governed New York for eleven years) — is showing distinct signs of buyer’s remorse. And anecdotal evidence gathered by him — and me in my sojourns around New York and New Jersey — suggest that Hiz Honor’s emotional trajectory is fairly representative of a growing disenchantment among Jews who voted for Obama.

The “falling out of love,” the term Mayor Koch used in an August commentary where he began expressing doubts, has been gradual. First there was the handling of the health care bill. Then the President’s failure to extract quid pro quos from Russia and China, then the “underwear bomber” affair. But it was Obama’s recent treatment of Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House (refusing to allow photographs, sequestering the world leader in a room and then leaving him there while he went to have dinner with his family with the instruction “call me if anything changes”) that seems to have pushed the rambunctious former mayor over a kind of edge.

Several days ago Koch, who is still a practising lawyer, caused a media stir by publishing a commentary titled “Never Again Should We Be Silent”. The essay, which declares that “President Obama’s abysmal attitude toward the state of Israel and his humiliating treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu is shocking” was widely reproduced in other media. He received about 500 emails (overwhelmingly supportive of his point, he told me), and then there was the kicker, on April 1, (and, no it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke). He went on the Fox Business News network where he told host Neil Cavuto, “I believe the Obama administration is willing to throw Israel under the bus in order to please the Muslim nations.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Former New York Mayor Ed Koch: Obama is willing to 'throw Israel under a bus to please Muslims'

Love of the Land: Obamanauts ignore facts, defame dedicated former Mideast envoy

Obamanauts ignore facts, defame dedicated former Mideast envoy
03 April '10

I’ve said that there are elements in the Obama Administration that are seriously hostile to Israel. Here’s one example, provided by Laura Rozen of (March 28):

“He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu’s coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn’t seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this administration…”

Last week, during U.S.-Israeli negotiations while Netanyahu was in town and subsequent internal U.S. government meetings, the first official said, Ross “was always saying [sic] about how far Bibi could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi’s coalition’s red lines.”

When the U.S. and Israel are seen to publicly diverge on an issue such as East Jerusalem construction, the official characterized Ross’s argument as: “the Arabs increase their demands … therefore we must rush to close gaps … no matter what the cost to our broader credibility…”

As to which argument best reflects the wishes of the president, the first official said, “As for POTUS, what happens in practice is that POTUS, rightly, gives broad direction. He doesn’t, and shouldn’t, get bogged down in minutiae. But Dennis uses the minutiae to blur the big picture … And no one asks the question: Why, since his approach in the Oslo years was such an abysmal failure, is he back, peddling the same snake oil?” [my emphasis]

I’ve boldfaced two statements that I want to discuss.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Obamanauts ignore facts, defame dedicated former Mideast envoy

Love of the Land: What The NYTimes Didn't Find Fit or, The Arab Easter Incident

What The NYTimes Didn't Find Fit or, The Arab Easter Incident

Yisrael Medad
My Right Word
04 April '10

A miracle! On Easter! A resurrection!

From the august and reliable New York Times:

A 14-year-old boy thought to have been killed either by Israeli gunfire or from internal Palestinian violence last week turned up unharmed at his family’s house after trying to sneak into Egypt via smuggler tunnels and being held by Egyptian security officials, his parents said Saturday.

The boy, Muhammad al-Farmawi, disappeared on Tuesday...[and] it was revealed that Muhammad, along with 16 other teenagers, had sneaked into smuggler tunnels to try to get into Egypt and was then picked up by Egyptian security forces.

“It was a very big shock for us,” Mr. Farmawi said. “We were told that he had been killed by Israeli fire and that his body had been left near the fence at Rafah,” in southern Gaza.


Were told?

By whom?

Why would the NYTimes leave it out?

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: What The NYTimes Didn't Find Fit or, The Arab Easter Incident

Love of the Land: Build Now! The Antidote to Appease AKA Peace sic Now

Build Now! The Antidote to Appease AKA Peace sic Now

Batya Medad
Shiloh Musings
04 April '10

Things have always been a bit "cockeyed" here in the Holy Land. The "Laws of Nature" and Mathematics, conventional logic don't always work.

According to conventional logic, the Jewish People should be a postscript in history, but we're not. We're still around, as feisty and unpredictable as ever. That's why we celebrate our על הניסים Al HaNissim, Because of the Miracles... holidays, Chanukah and Purim.

In the Twentieth Century, Hitler's Nazi Germany was sure that it could destroy the Jewish People. Remember that the world didn't care. Not a single nation did anything to oppose the Final Solution. The fight against the Nazis was for the other nations, not to protect Jews. The world really didn't care if every Jew was wiped out, off the face of the earth.

After World War II, the Zionists in the Promised Land AKA Palestine had to fight the British who wouldn't end the Mandate and give us independence. We succeeded and promptly defeated the Arabs who attacked the nascent Jewish State. Though the State of Israel was "approved" by the infant United Nations, we had no real support. I have no doubt that most countries only voted in favor because they were certain that we'd be defeated.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Build Now! The Antidote to Appease AKA Peace sic Now

Love of the Land: An Unhappy Passover for Hussein Obama

An Unhappy Passover for Hussein Obama

Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
03 April '10

Obama delivered the expected Passover greeting in which he informed Jews that our holiday is really about social justice and "our ongoing responsibility to fight against all forms of suffering and discrimination", which sounds a lot more like the job of a Community Organizer or the party platform of the Democratic Party, than the actual Biblical commandment which calls on the Jews to remember when G-d took them out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

But of course it has always been in the interests of the left to reinvent Judaism and Christianity as religions of social justice, and not much else. This conveniently jettisons any actual theology and belief system, replacing it with their own party platform. And in any such arrangement, god becomes the leading social justice campaigner. And who else could Barack Obama could be thinking of in that role of fighting "against all forms of suffering and discrimination", but himself. If he left out any reference to ObamaCare, it was only because it had already become redundant by then.

But let's pause a minute to remember the real message of Passover. It is about a people being redeemed through faith from slavery to freedom. By contrast Barack Hussein Obama would like to take a free people from freedom to slavery, convincing them to have faith in him. The Biblical Pharaoh insisted on his own supremacy, his own godhood, which justified his oppression. Obama's "I Won" serves the same function. His mockery of a Passover message is an echo of that same arrogance. It's not about G-d anymore. It's about Obama and the centrality of his own values, even in a Passover greeting.

The climax of the Passover Seder is the proclamation, "Next Year in Jerusalem". At a pre-election Seder that he hosted, Obama proclaimed, "Next Year in the White House," his own idea of a holy city, because it is the seat of power. Before Passover, Obama conducted a hate campaign against Jews in Israel for daring to realize that old proclamation repeated over thousands of years, "Next Year in Jerusalem." Obama would much rather see it replaced by, "Next Year in Al Quds". But the power of "Next Year in Jerusalem" is that it is a statement of freedom in which we insist that whatever oppression we may be living under, we have faith once again in G-d's redemption, just as our ancestors in Egyptian slavery did. That whatever our circumstances now, whatever temporal rulers may in their arrogance believe in their own omnipotence, if G-d wills, next year we will be in Jerusalem.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: An Unhappy Passover for Hussein Obama

Love of the Land: BBC Blurs Israeli Motives In Gaza Strike

BBC Blurs Israeli Motives In Gaza Strike

02 April '10

Readers often don't get past a headline -- or, at best, the first few lines of a news story. That's why journalism 101 calls for providing the essentials about an event -- who, what, where, when, why -- at the very beginning of an article. An April 2 BBC Web site posting flunked the test in a story about an Israeli strike on Gaza.

The Israeli air force attacked weapons and training facilities in the Gaza strip, in retaliation for the recent firing of Qassam rockets into Israel, as well as the killing of two IDF soldiers in Khan Younis last Friday.

However, readers of the BBC website will have a hard time fully understanding Israel’s motives and actions.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: BBC Blurs Israeli Motives In Gaza Strike

Love of the Land: Putty in his hands

Putty in his hands

Obama’s pressure is all about attempting to make Israel more of an international pariah than it already is.

Sarah Honig
Another Tack/JPost
02 April '10

Lonely, vulnerable, affection-craving Israel always yearned for friends. It always also liked to kid itself that it has friends. Hence, at a ceremony half-a-century ago, standing alongside Charles de Gaulle, David Ben-Gurion extolled French friendship for little, renascent, plucky Israel. With no compunctions, haughty de Gaulle doused BG’s warm sentiments. “In international affairs,” he intoned superciliously, “there are no friends, only interests.”

Though unpleasant and untactful, de Gaulle was at least honest, which is more than can be said for Barack Obama.

It doesn’t take a paranoid conspiracy-theory promoter to speculate that the pressure brought to bear by the US president on Israel has little to do with furthering the peace process. Obama’s pressure in fact contradicts the cause of peace. It’s no conjecture to argue that it has everything to do with attempting to diminish Israel, shoving it into a corner, intensifying the ostracism to which it’s subjected and making it more of an international pariah than it already is.


Because that would weaken and demoralize Israel to such an extent that it would become putty in Obama’s hands. He could then appease the Arab world at its expense.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Putty in his hands

Love of the Land: Shi'a Wakf claims that Ezekiel's shrine is Muslim

Shi'a Wakf claims that Ezekiel's shrine is Muslim

Point of No Return
02 April '10

In the week that Jews read the Biblical story of Ezekiel's valley of dry bones, there are resurgent fears that the Shi'a Wakf (religious endowment) wishes to turn the shrine of the Jewish Prophet Ezekiel into a mosque.

Two activists on behalf of the preservation of the shrine, at Kifl south of Baghdad, Mr Maurice Shohet from New York and Professor Shmuel Moreh, an Israeli emeritus professor of Iraqi origin, sent Point of No Return an article published on 2 April in the respected Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat in London and on the Sawt al-'Iraq site (The Voice of Iraq) in Baghdad. The article proves that the Islamic authorities consider that the tomb of the Jewish prophet Ezekiel is an exclusively Muslim shrine.

"That being the case, we find that we have to appeal to international authorities such as UNESCO, the US and European governments to redouble their efforts to save the Jewish character of Ezekiel's tomb," says Professor Moreh.

Religious authorities in Iraq are determined to convert the tomb of the Jewish prophet Ezekiel into a mosque after deleting Hebrew inscriptions, according to Al-Hayat and Sawt al-'Iraq. But a debate is still raging about the ownership of the shrine, and some Iraqis are prepared to stand up for Jewish interests.

The newspaper quotes the official in charge of the Shi'a Waqf (Endowment), Salih al-Haydari, who denies that the shrine belongs to the Jews. He says that the tomb is that of Dhu al-Kifl, a prophet mentioned in the Koran - proof enough that the site belongs to the Muslims. Recent excavations at the site, he claims, prove that it is not a Jewish site, although the findings have not yet been published!

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Shi'a Wakf claims that Ezekiel's shrine is Muslim

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Only in Israel

Only in Israel

When did shirim Ivri'im become shirim Ivri'im? By which I mean, when did they take on the significant role they eventually acquired? I'm not certain - and anyway, there are a number of roles, and each has its own time-line. Take our shir of the day, Rak BaYisrael (Only in Israel). It was written and recorded in 1968, I think. The lyrics are by Ehud Manor (we'll be hearing quite a bit about him), the melody is by Nurit Hirsh, and the recording is by the Navy Band. Personally, I wouldn't put it particularly high on my list of preferences, though it's definitely cute. It doesn't fit in the coping-with-bereavement strand of shirim: it's a goofy song, nor in the love-of-the-land strand (ditto). I'm posting it because Alex Stein requested it, and there-in lies a tale, I think.

Alex is an Israeli who wrote a blog for a while as he wandered around India. in his late 20's, he's quite a bit younger than I. From his occasional comments on this blog he comes off as considerably to my political left. I haven't read much of his blog, but I expect he's secular, and lives in or around Tel Aviv. (He'll correct me where I'm wrong). And yet, no sooner had I announced this project of posting shirim, but he requested this particular one. It was written long before he was born, it can't much relate to his day-to-day life because it's so hopelessly anachronistic, yet he and I both immediately recognized it and hummed it to ourselves.

So this particular shir is an example of the broader these-are-the-songs-all-Israelis-recognize category. The broad category that goes part of the way to define the cultural baggage that automatically goes into being an Israeli, no matter who they are. (Probably including the Haredi, and likely including even the Arabs).

Words: (follow the link, since they've only put up a picture of the words).

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Only in Israel

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The American President and Israeli Settlements

The American President and Israeli Settlements

C-Span seems to have a new online video library. A valuable resource indeed.

For example, here's an American president publicly going on record with positions the present president pretends never existed.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The American President and Israeli Settlements

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Has Obama Given Up?

Has Obama Given Up?

Greg Sheridan, in far-away Australia, reads the tea leaves and learns that Obama has reconciled himself to Iran's going nuclear; his wild over-reaction to Israeli building in East Jerusalem is a ploy to isolate Israel to such an extent it won't even dream of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

US President Barack Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.

This is the shifting tectonic plate in the Middle East.

This is the giant story of the past few weeks which the world has largely missed, distracted by the theatre of the absurd of Obama's contrived and mock confrontation with Israel over 1600 apartments to be built in three years' time in a Jewish suburb in East Jerusalem.

Iran is the only semi-intelligible explanation for Obama's bizarre over-reaction against the Israelis.

I don't know if this is true - how could I? Except the part about how Obama calculated his over-reaction to Israeli actions which his administration had previously agreed to: that part everyone could see without recourse to classified documents and secret discussions. Still, it's as likely as any other interpretation swirling around.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Has Obama Given Up?

A Soldier's Mother: Holiday of Freedom

A Soldier's Mother: Holiday of Freedom

Elder of Ziyon: Muslims arrested trying to pray in Cordoba church

Muslims arrested trying to pray in Cordoba church

An interesting story:

A confrontation between Muslim tourists and guards employed by the Roman Catholic bishop at the world-famous Cordoba mosque saw two people arrested and two guards injured last night.

Trouble broke out when the visitors knelt to pray in the building, a former mosque turned into a Christian cathedral in the 13th century, where a local bishop, Demetrio Fernández, recently insisted that a ban on Muslim prayers must remain.

Half a dozen members of a group of more than 100 Muslims from Austria had started praying among the marble columns and coloured arches of the vast building when security guards ordered them to stop.

"They provoked in a pre-planned fashion what was a deplorable episode of violence," the bishop's office said in a statement.

Cathedral authorities said the guards had invited the visitors to continue viewing the inside of a 24,000 sq metre building that was once the world's second biggest mosque, but without praying.

"They replied by attacking the security guards, two of whom suffered serious injuries," the bishop's office said.

Local newspapers reported that a dozen police officers had been called into the building and that these, too, had been attacked when they tried to arrest the two visitors.

The local Diario de Cordoba newspaper quoted anonymous police sources as saying that a knife had been taken off one of those arrested.

The former mosque was itself built on top of a previous church, although it looks as if the church was purchased, not taken by force.

Look at the arguments that the Muslim community advances to justify their right to pray there:

A group of local Muslim converts have long campaigned for the right to pray at the mosque building. "The building is very big and the main cathedral occupies only a part of it," said Mansur Escudero of the Junta Islamica group.

"They publicise the building as a mosque because that brings in tourists, but they do not allow the Muslims who pay money to go inside to pray," he said.

Escudero said a space for Muslim prayers would not inconvenience visitors or disturb the cathedral and would promote dialogue and understanding between the two religions. He said there were frequent incidents of Muslims being prevented from praying.

So would these same Muslims support the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, which is large enough to accommodate a synagogue?

Elder of Ziyon: Muslims arrested trying to pray in Cordoba church

Elder of Ziyon: Sunday Chol HaMoed links

Sunday Chol HaMoed links

Latma's latest humorous video

Bibi rejecting 12,000 roses from American Christians so as not to offend Obama???

A "student brawl" at An Najah University causes the campus to close down. Sounds like it might not have been so minor...

Nice new reference site: 10 Facts about the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Israel allowing cement into Gaza, and Free Gaza buys a cargo ship at auction to bring more. Israel's is meant for the UNRWA, Free Gaza's cement is a bit more likely to go straight to Hamas.

And a couple of the links I have tweeted in the past few days (I tweet interesting articles and links that don't merit a full posting)-

Bad Hebrew Tattoos is an amusing site with at least one very funny example.

Jordanian arrested for organ trafficking from Yemen to Egypt. Egypt is an epicenter of organ trafficking.

Elder of Ziyon: Sunday Chol HaMoed links
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