Thursday, 15 April 2010

Love of the Land: Yom Ha'Atzmaut 5770

Yom Ha'Atzmaut 5770


Marc Prowisor
Yesha Views
15 April '10

In 1948, miracles occurred. One of those was that of the unity amongst the Jewish People throughout the world. A result of that miracle was the rebirth of the Jewish homeland in the State of Israel. Against all odds and numbers and with the blessings from above, the Jewish People once again governed their own state. In the following years, our state was bombarded with numerous wars and constant attacks, yet we progressed as a country and a people beyond ours, and our enemy’s wildest dreams. Despite the massive acts of violence meant to destroy our country and throw our people out of our land, we continued to grow.

In 1967, another miracle occurred as we returned to the heartland of Israel, the cradle of our heritage and history as a nation. With our return to this heartland, our strength grew, as did our connection to Israel and one another. Once again Jews from all over the world could show their children the places that are mentioned throughout the Torah and our other Holy books. For the first time in over 2,000 years “seeing was believing”, and believing was real.

All to often we take the luxury of freedom for granted. Today in Israel, I can take my family to Hevron, Shilo, Kever Rachel, and in the past, to Kever Yosef to name just a few. I can take them to our eternal connection to the Holy Temple that once stood in Jerusalem and pray at the Kotel HaMa’aravi. I can say to them, see, they are real.

Our memories are too short, it wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t do that. That simple luxury of showing our families our history and our connection to this land of Israel is on the chopping block now.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Yom Ha'Atzmaut 5770

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's favorite court system executes two 'collaborators'

Goldstone's favorite court system executes two 'collaborators'

I'm sure you all remember Richard Richard Goldstone telling Christiane Amanpour of CNN (at least at the time) that Hamas has a 'court system' that is capable of investigating the war crimes they committed during Operation Cast Lead. That court system was in action early Thursday morning. In what's being billed as the first 'officially sanctioned' executions in Gaza in nearly a decade (except for the ones that were), Hamas summarily executed two 'Palestinians' for 'collaborating' with Israel early Thursday morning, and dumped their bodies outside Gaza's Shifa Hospital.

The executions were announced by Ahmed Atallah, the head of Gaza's military court. In a statement on the Interior Ministry Web site, Atallah said the two defendants had provided information to Israel and helped with attacks on Gaza militants for several years.

Atallah said Mohammed Ismail, 36, was convicted of planting devices in the cars of militants, presumably to help track them. Nasser Abu Freh, 33, a former Palestinian police captain before the Hamas takeover, allegedly started receiving money to work with Israel in 1998.

Collaboration with Israel is considered the highest crime in Palestinian society. In a sign of shame, the two men's families did not hold typical mourning ceremonies for them, instead burying them quietly in a brief funeral.

The executions were the first since 2001, when two collaborators were put to death by firing squad in Gaza during the reign of Abbas' predecessor, Yasser Arafat. The then-justice minister said at the time that the executions were meant as a warning to those thinking of betraying the homeland.

Hamas officials have made a similar argument in recent weeks, saying executions would deter spies. Thursday's executions were also seen as a move by Hamas to assert internal control and independence from Abbas.

'Palestinian' justice in action. Heh.

By the way, the picture at the top is from the execution of Fatah-affiliated prisoners by Hamas at the beginning of Operation Cast Lead.


Israel Matzav: Goldstone's favorite court system executes two 'collaborators'

Israel Matzav: Good news: IDF preparing soldiers to deal with 'Jewish demonstrations' and 'settler violence'

Good news: IDF preparing soldiers to deal with 'Jewish demonstrations' and 'settler violence'

Apparently anticipating government compliance with an Obama administration demand to extend the 'settlement freeze' when it expires at the end of September, the IDF is giving troops stationed in Judea and Samaria a 'crash course' on dealing with 'Jewish demonstrations' and 'settler violence.'

The IDF Central Command has prepared a special crash course for soldiers in the Judea and Samaria Division amid concern about a possible escalation in settler violence should the government extend the moratorium on new settlement construction in the West Bank beyond the end of September, senior officers have told The Jerusalem Post.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened top cabinet ministers earlier this week to discuss the US’s demands to extend the freeze, which were presented during his visit to the White House in March.

...

As a result, the Judea and Samaria Division decided recently that all military units deployed in the West Bank will undergo a crash course in dealing with Jewish demonstrations and settler violence.

As part of the course, soldiers will watch movies from past incidents and will hold discussions to determine potential flash points and learn how to neutralize them. The course will also include live simulations during which commanders and soldiers will learn how to confront and disperse Jewish demonstrations in the West Bank.

I suppose the government is trying to have less violence than the Olmert government had at Amona (pictured above).

The demand that the government extend the freeze was inevitable - I predicted it right after the freeze was announced. And apparently the IDF doesn't think the government will stand up to it.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Good news: IDF preparing soldiers to deal with 'Jewish demonstrations' and 'settler violence'

Chesler Chronicles » The Palestinians Already Have Two States: The Truth According to Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinians Already Have Two States: The Truth According to Khaled Abu Toameh

The Real War is Palestinian vs. Palestinian

The world has gone mad—or at least, the American leadership has now formally joined the Islamist and international madness about “peace in the Middle East.”

President Obama has just claimed that American “vital national security” is linked to finding—or even imposing—peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. South Africa’s revered Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu, has just praised the recent Berkeley student vote (which the university’s president later vetoed) to divest university money from companies that “profit from the injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land in violation of Palestinian human rights.” Tutu writes that what he witnessed in occupied Palestinian territory reminds him of the conditions he “experienced in South Africa under the racist system of apartheid.”

Tutu—this is really too much! Who exactly gave you a tour of the territories? The usual diabolically skilled propagandists? Did you, perchance, bother to visit Israel? If not, why not?

I strongly recommend that both President Obama and Archbishop Tutu consult with Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Arab Muslim/Palestinian journalist whom I was privileged to hear speak the other night in Manhattan. Abu Toameh lives in Jerusalem and he really “gets it.” He is a charming, urbane man, who speaks English perfectly; I assume he speaks Arabic and Hebrew just as well.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Abu Toameh used to work for the PLO newspaper as a translator and fledgling journalist, then attended Hebrew University, and decided that he wanted to be a real journalist, not a mere propagandist. That meant working for an Israeli newspaper where “freedom of the press” is respected. Abu Toameh confirmed that journalists and distinguished visitors to the “territories” cannot just go anywhere on their own; they risk being barred from future visits or even death if they report something that the various Palestinian militias do not want the world to know. “All the news is controlled in Gaza and on the West Bank.”

Archbishop, President, are you listening?

Abu Toameh began working for the Jerusalem Post in 1988. He is not seen as a “traitor” for working for the free Israeli press in Jerusalem—but he has been attacked for doing so on campuses in California! He understands how fundamentalist and dangerous Hamas really is, and yet he reads that Hamas is becoming moderate—where? In Toronto’s Globe and Mail!

I urge—nay, I implore, I demand, that all those who keep talking about a “peace process” listen to what Abu Toameh has to say. I feel so strongly about this that I am presenting what he said, almost verbatim.

He spoke on the Upper West Side, at Aish HaTorah. Yes, an Orthodox Jewish religious center graciously gave Abu Toameh his platform and were very grateful to have him.

First, Abu Toameh confirms that the worst possible thing for the Palestinian people were the various peace processes which were highly misguided, insincere, and unworkable. “Before the Oslo Accords, Palestinians had high hopes that we would have a democratic Parliament just as the Israelis do and a free media. Since Oslo, things have gone in the wrong direction.”

In Abu Toameh’s view, “Oslo was based on the assumption that Arafat and Fatah were reliable peace partners.” That was far from the case. Once Arafat was returned in triumph—“the show began, a one man show. Thirteen to fifteen militias roamed the streets. Most of the money given to Arafat for Palestine went down the drain, into secret Swiss bank accounts, and to his wife, Suha, in France. He built a casino—right across from a refugee camp.”

According to Abu Toameh, all those who were giving money to Arafat “simply refused to believe that he was corrupt.” Because Abu Toameh reported this, he was repeatedly asked if he was “on the payroll of the Jewish Lobby.” But, he said, it became more and more difficult to file stories abroad because “newspaper editors all wanted stories against the Occupation. They did not want to confuse their readers with facts.”

In his view, everyone was afraid to report the truth because Arafat and his goon squads would kill the truth tellers. Thus, Arafat and the mythic peace process embittered and “radicalized” the Palestinian people and they turned to Hamas, an Islamist organization funded by Iran. “People lost faith in the peace process.” Abu Toameh also confirmed that Arafat kept saying one thing in English about peace and in Arabic, kept inciting people against Israel.

Israeli President Shimon Peres defended Arafat. Peres refused to factor in what Arafat was saying in Arabic. Abu Toameh thought to himself: “How stupid can this man be? Doesn’t he know that Arafat is describing the Jews as the descendants of pigs and monkeys. Why make peace with the Jews if they are this terrible?”

And so, in 2006, Hamas won a democratic election—an election which was held under American supervision and which was strongly supported by both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Rice did not expect Hamas to win. Abu Toameh knew they would win; the people were angry at their hopeless situation at the hands of their own leaders. According to Abu Toameh, “Israel also facilitated the election of Hamas by allowing Arabs in Jerusalem to vote in that election. Israel did not know what every Palestinian child knew: That Hamas would win.”

And so now, Fatah has lost, Mahmoud Abbas cannot deliver peace nor can he make peace with Hamas. In turn, Hamas is not stepping down. Thus far, “this civil war among the Palestinians has so far claimed 2000 lives.”

Ironically, those who once clamored for a free and open election are now trying to bring down the duly elected with guns and bombs. Hamas kicked Fatah out of Gaza. Abu Toameh reports that he personally “saw Palestinians running away from Hamas towards Egypt, saw Egypt close the border to those in flight. Only Israel helped Muslims who were about to be slaughtered by Muslims.”

And so, wryly, ironically, Abu Toameh concludes: “We got our two-state solution. The Palestinians got two states. Hamas is funded by the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, and Iran and I would not want to live there. The West Bank is being run by Arafat’s former cronies. But Mahmoud Abbas is afraid of his own people. I have not once seen him in a village. He has no credibility. He cannot deliver peace.

“If Israel withdraws from the West Bank, Hamas will take over. The IDF is keeping Abbas from being hung. Israel is also keeping Fatah and Hamas from killing each other. They hate each other more than they hate Israel.”

In his view, “we cannot move forward with a peace process. There is no Palestinian partner…Did you know? Mahmoud Abbas’s office expired in 2009 but Secretary of State Rice told him to simply stay on. Look: Abbas has lost control of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. Abbas is also seen as corrupt and ineffective. To whom will Abbas sell his peace agreement? Hamas will hang him at the entrance to Gaza, they will not wait.”

What does Abu Toameh suggest is the way forward?

“Dismantle all the Palestinian militias, start building Palestinian infra-structures, solve the Palestinian-Palestinian problems—and only then, sit down with the Jews. Obama thinks the ball is in the Israeli court. That is not true.”

Abu Toameh pauses, then says: “If I were Netanyahu, I would offer Palestinians ten states. Bring Obama over, ask him: To whom do I give the Palestinian states? To Hamas? Abbas? Islamic Jihad? He cautions Israel to be “careful about unilateral measures. Any land you give back, any land you give to Abbas, will end up in Iran’s hand. See how Gaza ended up. The same thing will repeat itself. The majority of Jews support the Palestinian state not because they love Palestinians but because they want to get rid of them.”

And then he issued a warning—to Israel which had nothing to do with two state solutions or with a peace process. “Israeli Arabs have been loyal to Israel. They are still discriminated against. No, Israel is not an apartheid state, but discrimination exists against 1.4 million of its own citizens. If Israel does not implement an emergency plan to solve this then the radicalization of the Arab and Muslim world will explode. The next Intifada will be in Haifa, Umm al-Fahm, Nazareth, Rahat, Yaffo.”

President Obama: Please do not keep making the same mistakes that both your Republican and Democratic predecessors have made.


Chesler Chronicles » The Palestinians Already Have Two States: The Truth According to Khaled Abu Toameh

RubinReports: China's Government Sells Iran More Oil, So Much for Sanctions

China's Government Sells Iran More Oil, So Much for Sanctions

By Barry Rubin

Many Western media outlets are spinning stories to imply that China might support sanctions against Iran. No. Reuters has an exclusive story--why exclusive? because no one else covered it--reporting that the state Chinaoil company is stepping up sales, 600,000 barrels in the first half of April. Other Chinese companies are probably doing more, in fact China is building Iran a big oil refinery.


RubinReports: China's Government Sells Iran More Oil, So Much for Sanctions

Israel Matzav: What's terrorism?

What's terrorism?

Anne Bayefsky points to the disconnect between the positions being taken by Muslim countries at President Obama's conference on preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, and the positions being taken by the same countries, 200 miles up Interstate 95, at a UN Conference on defining terrorism.

In Washington, the image is of President Obama sitting on a chair beaming like a Cheshire cat, opposite some lucky head of state. The two are surrounded by smiling Obama appointees and everyone agrees that terrorism is bad. In New York, the very same states agree terrorism is naughty. It’s just that “resistance,” “armed struggle,” and “liberation” are not terrorism.

The major stumbling-block to the conclusion of a draft comprehensive convention against terrorism at the UN has been a concerted effort by Islamic states to carve out an exception for murdering civilians of their choosing. Israelis top the list, but Americans are not far behind.

The terrorism convention of the Organization of the Islamic States accordingly creates an exception to its phony denunciation of terrorism. Exempt from “terrorist crimes” are “peoples' struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination.”

So let’s compare the simultaneous Washington and New York performances. In Washington, the president invited many “anti-terrorism” invitees from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Presumably, he decided to showcase his close ties with Muslim nations. In New York, OIC members chose Syria, nuclear arms wannabe and state sponsor of terrorism, to do their talking. Speaking on behalf of the OIC, therefore, Syria declared yesterday: “The group reiterates once again the need to make a distinction…between terrorism and the struggle for the right of self-determination by people under foreign occupation, and colonial or alien domination.”

In Washington, the president invited many additional “anti-terrorism” invitees from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – such as China, India, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. At the UN, the 117 NAM members selected as their spokesperson for the drafting of an anti-terrorism convention none other than Iran. Iranian UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the following on behalf of NAM states – almost half of Obama’s invitees coming from this group: “Terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination…for self-determination and national liberation.” (The issue of self-determination for the Iranian people was somehow not raised.)

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani wallowed in Obama’s attention in D.C. and declared that any nuclear terrorism fears arising from Pakistani actions or inactions were unjustified. Meanwhile, his UN representative was saying in New York: “My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives of Syria and Iran.”

The government of Algeria was especially pleased by Obama’s invitation. But a few hours before Foreign Affairs Minister Mourad Medelci dined in D.C. last night, his government told the UN: “Algeria endorses the statements made by Syria and Iran…International law should make sure that we avoid generalizations that Algeria has always denounced between terrorism and the armed struggle of people in supporting their right to self-determination and their liberation…”

Bayefsky then rips Obama:

President Obama’s security summit takes grandstanding to a whole new level. The White House calls it “the largest gathering of countries hosted by an American President…since the conference in San Francisco around the United Nations” in 1945. Of course, back then the number meant most of the world’s states, while today it is less than a quarter.

True friends of America like the British and Israeli prime ministers have stayed away, while double-talking and double-dealing non-democrats have their run of the place. Shutting down Iran – the leading threat to nuclear security and state sponsor of terrorism – is not even on the table.

And half of the attendees at this anti-terrorism extravaganza can’t recognize terrorism when it stares them in the face.

Read it all.

It would seem that the OIC would be okay with nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists at least so long as they are only used in 'wars of liberation' or against 'occupation.' Anyone who doubts that Iran or its proxies would use nuclear weapons against Israel should take note once again.


Israel Matzav: What's terrorism?

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: Teacher Explains, The Statue of Liberty Lies!

Life in an American Fourth Grade: Teacher Explains, The Statue of Liberty Lies!

By Barry Rubin

Today, the teacher read the fourth-grade class the magnificent Statue of Liberty poem by Emma Lazarus, written in the 1880s:

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Inspiring, no? A tremendous opportunity to explain the greatness of America, including to those new immigrants in the class, right?
Well, no. Because then the teacher told the class that America hadn’t done what the poem promised, or at least not until quite recently. But since the date of the poem excludes the question of slavery, in fact the words were fulfilled, including for Asian and Latin American immigrants, quite brilliantly.

The irony is that the school is full of kids (including, it’s pretty likely, the principal) whose grandparents or great-grandparents arrived in America penniless and over time the families worked hard to enjoy living standards unequalled for non-aristocrats in world history.

(Personal note: The immigration record shows that my great-grandfather arrived in America exactly a century ago with $10 in his wallet. He died, 23 years later, a wealthy man because he and my grandmother worked around the clock, saved every penny they could, invested, and became entrepreneurs.)

Incidentally, please don’t think I am exaggerating about what goes on in this class, though of course different parts of the United States have quite different schools. But I am not leaving out material taught in the class because it doesn’t fit with the thesis that the kids are being indoctrinated into anti-Americanism. There simply is no such material.


RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: Teacher Explains, The Statue of Liberty Lies!

Love of the Land: The Times Makes It Official: Obama Has Shifted U.S. Policy Against Israel

The Times Makes It Official: Obama Has Shifted U.S. Policy Against Israel


Jonathan Tobin
Contentions/Commentary
15 April '10

If there were any lingering doubts in the minds of Democrats who care about Israel that the president they helped elect has fundamentally altered American foreign policy to the Jewish state’s disadvantage, they are now gone. The New York Times officially proclaimed the administration’s changed attitude in a front-page story this morning that ought to send chills down the spine of anyone who believed Barack Obama when he pledged in 2008 that he would be a loyal friend of Israel.

In the view of the paper’s Washington correspondents, the moment that signaled what had already been apparent to anyone who was paying attention was the president’s declaration at a Tuesday news conference that resolving the Middle East conflict was “a vital national security interest of the United States.” Mr. Obama went on to state that the conflict is “costing us significantly in terms of blood and treasure,” thus attempting to draw a link between Israel’s attempts to defend itself with the safety of American troops who are fighting Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. By claiming the Arab-Israeli conflict to be a “vital national security interest” that must be resolved, the “frustrated” Obama is making it clear that he will push hard to impose a solution on the parties.

The significance of this false argument is that it not only seeks to wrongly put the onus on Israel for the lack of a peace agreement but that it also now attempts to paint any Israeli refusal to accede to Obama’s demands as a betrayal in which a selfish Israel is stabbing America in the back. The response from Obama to this will be, the Times predicts, “tougher policies toward Israel,” since it is, in this view, ignoring America’s interests and even costing American lives.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: The Times Makes It Official: Obama Has Shifted U.S. Policy Against Israel

Israel Matzav: This time, it's personal

This time, it's personal

Roger Simon talks about President Obama's irrational rage at Israel.

A week or so ago, I wrote a post describing Barack Obama as President Weirdo. Indeed here we have more evidence of this psychological disturbance, because this response to Israel is not in the realm of the rational. It is highly neurotic. Somewhere in the unconscious of Barack Obama are a stew of forces now directed (or cathected) on the Jewish state and its leader. Not a healthy state of affairs for anyone. (Well, maybe for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

...

As Michael Ledeen wrote in these pages, he is like an undergraduate at a bull session, sucking on a joint as he nods in agreement with the clichéd jargon of an “anti-imperialist” foreign exchange student. He hid this, to some extent, during his political campaign but now, under stress, the Tea Party parvenus more popular than he, he can no longer repress his true impulses. Out they have popped, ungoverned as dreams.

One wonders what his advisors, my landsmen Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, must think. My guess is they are very confused fellows with many sleepless nights. They deserve them. Whatever advice they may have given their President, it appears not to have been good. Or perhaps he has completely overrun their advice. Who knows? Whatever the case, his behavior has certainly not won the hearts and minds of the Israeli public. A gigantic 91% oppose Obama’s possible attempt to impose a deal on Israel, an unheard of number in opposition to an American president – and that from a populace that tends to the liberal, a country where one of the few, if only, socialist successes ever flourished, the kibbutz.

Of course, Obama’s actions are making every Israeli into a dreaded Likudnik. Why wouldn’t they? When a man acts on inchoate impulses tinged with rage, there’s no telling what he will do. If this goes on much longer, he may even change the voting patterns of the American Jewish public. Stranger things have happened. Just wait.

Sorry, but I don't see American Jewish voting patterns changing anytime soon. I'd be happy if we got to the point where the Democrats at least couldn't just take the Jewish vote for granted. But we're not there yet.

Israel Matzav: This time, it's personal

Israel Matzav: Devastating video: McCain rips Obama on Iran and on being a superpower

Devastating video: McCain rips Obama on Iran and on being a superpower

Senator (and former Presidential candidate) John McCain rips President Obama's comments at the conclusion of the nuclear summit on Tuesday in a Fox News interview (Hat Tip: glo2q in comments).

Let's go to the videotape.



Why didn't McCain say things like this two years ago? If he had, he might have had a chance of winning.

Israel Matzav: Devastating video: McCain rips Obama on Iran and on being a superpower

Israel Matzav: They're concerned about Lebanon?

They're concerned about Lebanon?

On Wednesday, I reported that Syria has sent long-range scud missiles to Hezbullah in Lebanon. Jonah Goldberg provides a transcript from a discussion about those missiles that took place during Wednesday's State Department press briefing. Notice Mr. Crowley's (State Department press spokesman) concerns. Note how Hezbullah is discussed as if it has nothing to do with the government of Lebanon of which it is a part. Note when and how Israel comes into the discussion.

QUESTION: Yeah, on the Middle East. Again, these reports about the Syrians moving Scud missiles into southern Lebanon and are giving them to Hezbollah have emerged. Senator McCain raised the issue at the hearing on Iran this morning and Under Secretary of Defense Flournoy said that the U.S. is very concerned by these reports. Do you have anything to add to that? And – well, that’s the end of the question.
MR. CROWLEY: We are concerned about it. And if such an action has been taken – and we continue to analyze this issue – it would represent a failure by the parties in the region to honor UN Security Council Resolution 1701. And clearly, it potentially puts Lebanon at significant risk. We have been concerned enough that in recent weeks, during one of our regular meetings with the Syrian ambassador here in Washington, that we’ve raised the issue with the Syrian Government and continue to study the issue. But obviously, it’s something of great concern to us.
QUESTION: Well, the Syrians deny that they have any – (a) that this is happening, but (b) that they have anything to do with it. Do you accept that denial?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s – I mean, there’s a broader issue here. Regardless of the issue of Scuds, we are – we remain concerned about the provision of increasingly sophisticated weaponry to parties in – to Hezbollah. And this is an issue that we continue to raise with Syria, other parties in the region. And this is a clear threat to Lebanon’s security.
QUESTION: Well, does that – this is a clear threat to Lebanon’s security? That means you’re – so you believe or you know that these Scuds have been transferred?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to talk about intelligence matters. I don’t think at this point, we have a clear —
QUESTION: Well, you just did. You just said that you’re —
QUESTION: Wait, could you finish your sentence? You said at this point, you don’t think you have a clear indication?
MR. CROWLEY: A clear picture.
QUESTION: A clear picture.
QUESTION: But you just did. You just said that this – that the transfer of increasingly sophisticated weaponry, as if it was a fact.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, there is —
QUESTION: Is it a fact?
MR. CROWLEY: — a flow of weaponry into Lebanon. I’m not talking about systems as large as Scuds, but we are concerned about it and we have raised it with various parties, including the Syrians.
QUESTION: So are you saying that the Scud reports are wrong?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not commenting on – specifically on scud reports.
QUESTION: Could this issue affect the dispatch of the ambassador designate to Damascus?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – no. We hope to have an ambassador placed in Damascus because it’s in our national interest to do so, that – so we have the opportunity to raise on a continual basis not only our concerns about Syria’s behavior but also work, we hope, over time more constructively with Syria on our areas of mutual interest, including potentially Syria’s important role, should it choose, in the peace process.
QUESTION: Is Lebanon the only country that is affected by this, if Scuds were placed in southern Lebanon? Are there other concerns?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, obviously a concern that we would have if you hearken back to a brief discussion that Matt and I had on Monday over what is the nature of a state, one of the essential ingredients of a state is monopoly in terms of the significant use of force. And if you have non-state actors that are armed to the teeth, that actually – that threatens the security of that particular country and stability across the region. That is something that we have been concerned about for some time. And we would be looking for countries in the region, including Syria, to play a more constructive role in taking responsibility for regional security.
QUESTION: But you don’t – you’re not afraid that this could jeopardize Israel’s security? I mean, you’re talking about Lebanon.
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, it’s a clear risk to a number of countries in the region, given the range – and again, I’m not confirming anything.
QUESTION: Well, and given the mission of Hezbollah, right?
MR. CROWLEY: But given the range of those particular systems, if that report proved to be true, that would be a threat to a number of countries in the region, including Israel.

Anyone need more proof of how much this administration 'cares' about Israel?

UPDATE 8:34 PM

Two more good questions from Michael Rubin about those scuds here.

Israel Matzav: They're concerned about Lebanon?

Israel Matzav: 'Smart diplomacy': Turkey still opposes sanctions

'Smart diplomacy': Turkey still opposes sanctions

President Obama may have met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Washington this week, but if he tried to convince him to support sanctions against Iran the impact was precisely zero.

Turkey's foreign minister said Wednesday that he did not support new U.N. sanctions against Iran, indicating there were still important holdouts as the Obama administration tries to win approval for a new resolution aimed at punishing the Islamic Republic over its nuclear activities.

China, which holds a veto on the Security Council, as well as Brazil and Lebanon, two other members on the 15-member body, also have stressed the need for additional diplomacy.

"We don't want to see sanctions. It will affect us. It will affect the region," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.

Davutoglu declined to say how his government would vote when a sanctions measure comes to the Security Council. But his remarks suggest the Obama administration will have difficulty meeting its goal of new sanctions by the end of April in order to demonstrate unified international opposition to Iran's program. Three previous sanctions resolutions on Iran had near-unanimous approval.

What 'end of April'? It's already the 15th and the sanctions aren't even on the agenda. In May, Lebanon is chairing the Security Council, so you can bet they won't come up then either. So that puts us into June. Maybe Iran will be a nuclear power by then. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'Smart diplomacy': Turkey still opposes sanctions

Israel Matzav: Iran enriches five kilos of uranium

Iran enriches five kilos of uranium

Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Wednesday that his country has enriched five kilos of uranium to the 20% level. While this might not seem significant, the technological battle in enriching uranium is in getting from the (low) 3.5% level to the 20% level. The technology for getting from 20% to 90% (bomb level) is not difficult. In February, Iran announced that it had enriched a few grams of uranium to the 20% level. This is from the first link above:

Salehi's announcement was a sign Iran was determined to move ahead in the program.

He said so far 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of 20 percent enriched uranium has been produced. He said just over 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) a month was needed to run the research reactor in Tehran.

On Feb. 11, days after the further enriching began, Iran announced that it had succeeded in producing a few ounces (grams) of the material.

However, Iran must first process the material into fuel rods, and it is not clear if it yet has the know-how to do so. The research reactor produces medical isotopes, including material for treating cancer and other diseases that the government says will go to treating some 850,000 people.

You only need to process it into fuel rods if you're going to run a medical reactor with it. You don't need to do that to make bombs. And with the new centrifuges Iran unveiled last Friday, they can enrich uranium six times faster.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Iran enriches five kilos of uranium

Israel Matzav: Ron Lauder writes a letter

Ron Lauder writes a letter

World Jewish Congress Chairman Ron Lauder has written a letter to President Obama (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Mr. President, we are concerned about the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.

The Israeli housing bureaucracy made a poorly timed announcement and your Administration branded it an “insult.” This diplomatic faux pas was over the fourth stage of a seven stage planning permission process – a plan to build homes years from now in a Jewish area of Jerusalem that under any peace agreement would remain an integral part of Israel.

Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.

Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.

Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

The conflict’s root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Every American President who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton’s anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then.

They are not the key issue now.

Another important question is this: what is the Administration’s position on Israel’s borders in any final status agreement? Ambiguity on this matter has provoked a wave of rumors and anxiety. Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel? Is a new course being charted that would leave Israel with the indefensible borders that invited invasion prior to 1967?

There are significant moves from the Palestinian side to use those indefensible borders as the basis for a future unilateral declaration of independence. How would the United States respond to such a reckless course of action?

And what are America’s strategic ambitions in the broader Middle East? The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.

And what about the most dangerous player in the region? Shouldn’t the United States remain focused on the single biggest threat that confronts the world today? That threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East, it is the one most committed to this Administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

I would say that's a fair summary of the Jewish people's concerns right now.

And the answer is that yes, part of this 'strategy' is distancing the US from Israel by creating friction. It's part of Obama's moral code. As Victor Davis Hanson wrote several months ago regarding what Obama's views on the Middle East might be (and I would argue that a year later we can say pretty definitely that these are Obama's views):

Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East.

And that's why Lauder's letter will unfortunately have little effect on Obama, but will hopefully have some effect on a sleeping Jewish people.


Israel Matzav: Ron Lauder writes a letter

Israel Matzav: And then what?

And then what?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it should give the Givat HaYovel neighborhood in Eli a six-month reprieve.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has appealed to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, asking her to postpone the planned demolition of houses in the Yovel neighborhood by six months.

Barak noted in his request that the neighborhood is home to the widows and orphans of two soldiers who recently fell in battle defending the state - Major Eliraz Peretz and Major Roy Klein. Barak said this necessitates sensitive and humane treatment in this affair.

And then? Six months from now it would be okay to destroy the homes of widows and orphans? Or would the media be less likely to notice and therefore less people would show up to protest?


Israel Matzav: And then what?

Israel Matzav: The Rodney Dangerfield of American politics practices 'smart diplomacy'

The Rodney Dangerfield of American politics practices 'smart diplomacy'

President Obama can't get no respect in the 'international community.' One sign of that is the way that China has been jerking him around on the sanctions issue. John Lehman thinks he knows why.

One statesman entirely unsurprised by China’s holdout is John Lehman, the secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission. Lehman tells National Review Online that Obama’s strategic handling of the summit was “so naïve as to be almost comical.”

“President Obama believes that diplomacy is the ultimate intellectual tool to solve world problems,” Lehman tells us. “What he doesn’t realize is that diplomacy is the shadow that is cast by a strong and capable military and an administration that knows how to use if effectively. It’s not some blunt instrument.”

Lehman says Obama’s struggle to convince China to support Iranian sanctions is due to China’s inability to believe Obama’s seriousness on the issue, “given his administration’s fawning and almost obsequious approach and attitude toward the Iranian government.” Both China and Iran “know that the president abjures the use of force or even the threat of force to achieve diplomacy, so they will continue to give the United Nations and the U.S. the slow roll.”

“Why should China pull our chestnuts out of the fire?” Lehman asks. “Iran is no threat to them. It’s naïve of the president to think that somehow he can create a common interest with China or somehow persuade them to bring pressure on Iran when Iran supplies a significant portion of its oil. When Iran is tying us in knots that actually suits the Chinese down to a T.”

If the consequences weren't so serious, it would almost be comical. Unfortunately, the consequences are very serious. And Obama got another slap in the face from China on Wednesday.

A state-owned Chinese refiner plans to ship 30,000 metric tons of gasoline to Iran after European traders halted shipments ahead of possible new UN sanctions, according to Singapore ship brokers.

Beijing has growing commercial and political ties with Iran and has resisted US pressure for sanctions to press Teheran to abandon its nuclear program. Chinese officials say the country is entitled to energy trade.

Unipec, the trading arm of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, plans to load the oil tanker Hongbo with the gasoline Thursday in Singapore, said the brokers, who asked not to be identified further to avoid jeopardizing customer relations.

They said the tanker will likely go directly to Iran.

The gasoline shipment suggests Chinese refiners are moving to fill the void left by European suppliers, who halted sales to Iran earlier this year.

30,000 metric tons sounds like a lot, but the truth is that it's not. However, the point here isn't the quantity. The point is that China has announced that if the US unilaterally imposes energy sanctions on Iran, China will circumvent them and Obama won't do a thing about it.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: The Rodney Dangerfield of American politics practices 'smart diplomacy'

Israel Matzav: iPads banned from Israel

iPads banned from Israel

For the time being, at least, the picture below is about as close as Israelis are likely to get to an iPad.

Every once in a while, the government does something to remind us that at heart, they really would prefer to run the country like a banana republic. This is one of those times. The government has banned iPads, and if you try to bring one in and are caught, customs will confiscate them at the airport (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).

Officials said the iPad's broadcast WiFi power levels are not compatible with Israeli standards, which are closer to European standards than American ones. The Communications Ministry is in the process of acquiring information on the iPad to begin the process of approving importation.

In the meantime, anyone found in possession of an iPad, such as business people coming into the country, are having their computers confiscated by customs. Customs is charging a storage fee to those who leave their iPads in its care while in country. Anyone trying to sneak an iPad into Israel may be subject to a fine.
If the United States' WiFi power levels aren't compatible with Israel's, why does have the country use IBM Think Pads and their successors from Lenovo? Israeltech.net explains that there are other factors at work here.
Once again Israeli buyers of a hip gadget are about to get ripped off – with the “authorities” doing everything they can to make sure they get “theirs” (as in their money) out of the pockets of the schnook customer.

I know it sounds cynical, but it’s the only logical explanation I can come up with for why the Communications Ministry is banning iPads from Israel. In this age of instant communications, fast and efficient shipping, and open markets (ie nearly zero customs duties), getting a device like an iPad should be a piece of cake. For example, at this site, with shipping costs and taxes, you would be able to have a $499 iPad delivered directly from Apple in the U.S. to any Israeli address for $660 – a pretty reasonable price.

But like with so many other items (coincidentally, mostly from Apple), the markup is going to be much higher, because “they” are going to do their best to prevent customers from getting reasonably priced iPads – basically forcing Israelis who want one to get it from the local Apple license-holder (the iDigital retail store, which is NOT an Apple store!) for a premium price, just like they did with the iPhone. The difference is that the iPhone was a lot easier to hide, so the customs people have a much better chance of nabbing iPads when people try to smuggle them in!

He also attempts to answer my question about the WiFi standards (basically I was right) and provides an entertaining video. Read the whole thing.

Israeltech didn't do one thing: He didn't follow the money.
iDigital Ltd., owned by Nehemia Peres, has bought the exclusive franchise rights in Israel for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:APPL) products from Yeda Computers and Software (Israel 1982) Ltd., which has had the franchise for 25 years. Market sources had predicted in July that Peres would buy the franchise.

The size of the deal was not disclosed, but Peres Yeda Computers owner and managing director Yitzhak Radoshkewitz reportedly negotiated at a price tag of several million dollars.

iDigital said that it planned to open several stores across Israel with the goal of “accelerating marketing, sales, and the user experience of the Apple brand.” iDigital CEO Eran Tor was formerly the general manager of Reckitt Benckiser (Near East). The company is owned by a group of private investors headed by partners of Pitango Venture Capital.
Nehemia Peres is one of the lead partners in Pitango. You may not recognize his name, but you might recognize his father's name: Shimon Peres. Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: iPads banned from Israel

Israel Matzav: Goldstone banned from grandson's Bar Mitzva

Goldstone banned from grandson's Bar Mitzva

Judaism has a concept of excommunication which is known as cherem.

Although developed from the Biblical ban, excommunication, as employed by the Rabbis during Talmudic times and during the Middle Ages, it became a rabbinic institution, the object of which was to preserve Jewish solidarity. A system of laws was gradually developed by Rabbis, by means of which this power was limited, so that it became one of the modes of legal punishment by rabbinic courts. While it did not entirely lose its arbitrary character, since individuals were allowed to pronounce the ban of excommunication on particular occasions, it became chiefly a legal measure resorted to by a judicial court for certain prescribed offenses.

It seems that Richard Goldstone has been placed in cherem by the South African Jewish community. He has therefore been banned from attending his grandson's Bar Mitzvah.

Following negotiations between the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in Sandton, where the event is due to take place, an agreement has been reached with the family. As a result, Justice Goldstone will not be attending the synagogue service.

Some of the role-players were tight-lipped. Avrom Krengel, chairman of the SAZF, said: “We understand there’s a barmitzvah boy involved – we’re very sensitive to the issues; at this stage there’s nothing further to say.” While Krengel said the SAZF had “interacted” on the matter with the chief rabbi, the Beth Din and others, his organisation was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel”.

Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag confirmed that the Beth Din had not been officially involved – though there had been “private talks” – and had not been asked by the synagogue to give a ruling on the matter. “But I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul, a lot of anger (around the issue of Justice Goldstone attending).

“I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organise a protest outside the shul – (there were) all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed.”

Rabbi Kurtstag apparently agreed with the decision to ban Justice Goldstone from attending.

Signalling his agreement with the turn of events, Rabbi Kurtstag said he believed Justice Goldstone had done “a tremendous disservice not only to Israel but to the Jewish world. His name is used by hostile elements in the world against Israel and this can increase anti-Semitic waves.

“I understand that he is a judge, but he should have had the sense to understand that whatever he said wouldn’t be good and he should have just recused himself. People have got feelings about it, they believe he put Israel in danger and they wouldn’t like him to be getting honour (in synagogue).

“I think (the agreement) was quite a sensible thing to avert all this unpleasantness.”

The Left is up in arms over this, as you will see if you follow the link above.

But I have to say that I agree with it. Actions have consequences. One who purposely removes himself from the Jewish community and endangers the lives and well-being of fellow Jews deserves to be shunned. And that includes not being allowed into the synagogue and not being allowed to have a public honor. We do it to recalcitrant husbands who refuse to give their wives writs of divorce. Why shouldn't we do it to someone who has brought opprobrium upon Israel and upon Jews worldwide?



Israel Matzav: Goldstone banned from grandson's Bar Mitzva

Israel Matzav: No funding for freeze inspectors

No funding for freeze inspectors

Building in Judea and Samaria isn't the only thing that's frozen in Israel. So is funding for inspectors to enforce the 'freeze.'

At a meeting of the Knesset’s Finance Committee, Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) refused to discuss the transfer of addition funding for inspectors of the freeze on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

The move was made in cooperation with MKs Uri Ariel, Tzion Finian and Uri Orbach.

I'm still wondering how they have the time to go digging up porch foundations if there's no money for inspectors.

Israel Matzav: No funding for freeze inspectors

Israel Matzav: Krauthammer: 'Obama hasn't done a damn thing about Iran or North Korea'

Krauthammer: 'Obama hasn't done a damn thing about Iran or North Korea'

Here's a devastating Fox News (O'Reilly) interview with Charles Krauthammer about President Obama's nuclear conference. The bottom line, according to Krauthammer, is that Obama hasn't done a 'damn thing' about Iran or North Korea. The START treaty and the nuclear conference are both irrelevant.

I'd love to see Krauthammer debate Obama on this.

Let's go to the videotape.



But we still have two and a half years of Obama to get through....


Israel Matzav: Krauthammer: 'Obama hasn't done a damn thing about Iran or North Korea'

Israel Matzav: Digging in for the long haul?

Digging in for the long haul?

They're digging in at the trenches. President Obama and his advisers are on one side (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Prime Minister Netanyahu and an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews (who are holding him there) are on the other side.

President Obama let slip on Tuesday that his administration is now trying to 'balance' its 'friendship' with Israel and its 'other priorities.' This is from the first link above.

When Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States,” he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.

This shift, described by administration officials who did not want to be quoted by name when discussing internal discussions, is driving the White House’s urgency to help broker a Middle East peace deal. It increases the likelihood that Mr. Obama, frustrated by the inability of the Israelis and the Palestinians to come to terms, will offer his own proposed parameters for an eventual Palestinian state.

Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Mr. Obama’s words reverberated through diplomatic circles in large part because they echoed those of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the military commander overseeing America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent Congressional testimony, the general said that the lack of progress in the Middle East created a hostile environment for the United States. He has denied reports that he was suggesting that soldiers were being put in harm’s way by American support for Israel.

But the impasse in negotiations “does create an environment,” he said Tuesday in a speech in Washington. “It does contribute, if you will, to the overall environment within which we operate.”

Petraeus continues to be used and abused. And note that he doesn't blame Israel for the impasse in negotiations.

But on Wednesday Alejandro Wolff, the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, followed up with a lengthy diatribe about how the current situation - mostly in effect for 43 years - is 'unsustainable.'

Meanwhile, a new survey that came out on Wednesday shows that the vast majority of Israeli Jews don't believe that the current situation is 'unsustainable' or at least are not willing to take President Obama's prescription for curing it.

Telephone poll of a representative sample of 503 adult Israeli Jews, by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz) carried out 11-12 April 2010. Poll commissioned by Independent Media Review & Analysis (IMRA).

Survey error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

#1 In your opinion, should Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agree to the demand of President Obama, according to which Israel should freeze construction in Jerusalem for an unlimited period of time?

Yes 19% No 70% Don’t know/other replies 11%

#2 How would you describe the physical situation existing today in Jerusalem?

31% There is separation between western Jerusalem that is composed of Jewish
neighborhoods and eastern Jerusalem that is composed of Arab neighborhoods.

52% Jerusalem is a mosaic of Jewish and Arab neighborhood that are located
very close to each other.

17% Don’t know/other replies

#3 One of the proposals for a peace arrangement is the proposal to divide Jerusalem between Jewish neighborhood under Israeli sovereignty, Palestinian neighborhoods under the sovereignty of a Palestinian state and the Old City under international administration. Would this arrangement bring peace for generations or ongoing conflict?

Peace for generations 13% Ongoing conflict 69% Don’t know/other replies 18%

#4 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu argues that Israeli must make sure that in any arrangement with the Palestinians Israel controls the Jordan Valley in order to prevent the transfer of rockets and missiles to the Palestinians in the West Bank. The Palestinians also demand control of the Jordan Valley and part of the Dead Sea. Should Israel insist that Israel control this area in any arrangement with the Palestinians?

Yes 79% No 9% Don’t know/other replies 12%

#5 There are those who claim that if the United States guarantees that the Palestinian State will not be armed that Israel can be certain that the Palestinian State really won’t arm itself with weapons. Do you agree with this claim?

Yes 12% No 80% Don’t know/other replies 8%

#6 There are those who claim that Israel can forego territories that today are considered critical for its security if Israel signs a peace pact with the United States. Do you agree?

Yes 22% No 69% Don’t know/other replies 9%

#7 According to various reports, President Obama will try to impose an arrangement on the sides according to which, among other things, Israel does not control the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem is divided. Do you want President Obama to impose his plan on the parties?

Yes 8% No 83% Don’t know/other replies 9%

#8 Is it proper for Israelis who support arrangements with the Palestinians that do not agree with Binyamin Netanyahu’s position to encourage President Obama to impose their positions on the parties?

Proper 16% Improper 68% Don’t know/other replies 16%

That's pretty clear, isn't it?

This much seems certain: If Netanyahu stands up to Obama, Israeli Jews will support him. Most of us are not buying what our own media are trying to feed us.


Israel Matzav: Digging in for the long haul?

Israel Matzav: Petraeus calls Israel a 'vital strategic ally'

Petraeus calls Israel a 'vital strategic ally'

The David Petraeus saga continues. Petraeus, who is continuing his efforts to refute comments attributed to him by former Arafat aide Mark Perry in a blog post last month, told the Woodrow Wilson Center on Tuesday that "Israel is - has been, is and will be a - an important strategic ally of the United States."

Petraeus referred to the above episodes in his address Wednesday, saying, "I think rightly, seized on was the inclusion of the comment about insignificant progress or insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Mideast peace process".

"It did not say anything about settlements, didn't say anything about putting our soldiers at risk or something like that," he stressed.

Petraeus highlighted various contributions to Middle East instability, including "militant Islamist movements; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; ungoverned, poorly governed and alternatively governed spaces; insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Mideast peace process; significant sources of terrorist financing and facilitation; piracy; ethnic, tribal and sectarian rivalries; criminal activities, such as weapons, narcotics and human trafficking; uneven economic development and lack of employment opportunities; and lack of regional and global economic integration."

Unfortunately, Petraeus didn't go this far - yet.


Israel Matzav: Petraeus calls Israel a 'vital strategic ally'

Israel Matzav: 50 SWAT policemen carry out important and dangerous mission

50 SWAT policemen carry out important and dangerous mission

50 SWAT policemen were sent on an important and dangerous mission yesterday in Israel. They were sent to destroy the concrete foundation for a porch that had been poured by an American immigrant family in the City of Efrat on which their son's Bar Mitzva was to be held. I kid you not.

Some 50 special Yassam unit policemen burst into a yard in Efrat Wednesday morning and destroyed a patio that had been built in violation of the construction freeze.

The cement for the patio, 25 meters square and 3 centimeters thick, was poured by a family of new immigrants for the purpose of hosting their son’s Bar Mitzvah there. The family was not at home at the time of the demolition, which involved a large tractor. It occurred in the Dekel neighborhood, in central Efrat.

Efrat’s Deputy Mayor Josh Adler was briefly detained during the course of the demolition, after he attempted to stand in front of the tractor.

Mayor Oded Ravivi told Arutz-7 what transpired: “When we saw such a large force of policemen bursting into the town, we feared that a security incident was underway, so we rushed to the site together with them. But we soon understood that it was nothing more than a concrete square. It doesn’t look at all like a construction start or anything that should bother anyone – but it turns out that despite the fact that we have enemies from right and left and from up and down, our security forces have nothing better to do than destroy a patio.”

Our tax shekels at work, fellow Israelis. If they keep using 50 policemen to destroy every porch in Judea and Samaria look for our tax freedom day to move back into August where it used to be - at least.

The picture at the top is Yassam police with Bill Clinton.

Israel Matzav: 50 SWAT policemen carry out important and dangerous mission

Israel Matzav: 'Peace Now' bows to political reality - for now

'Peace Now' bows to political reality - for now

I've written several times about the Givat HaYovel neighborhood of the town of Eli. Givat HaYovel is under a May 1 deadline for the government to demolish it as an 'illegal outpost.'

But Givat HaYovel has two families (out of 12) who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the State of Israel. And because of those two sacrifices, the neighborhood those two families' homes may be saved.

Three weeks ago, Eliraz Peretz HY"D (may God avenge his blood) was killed in action along the Gaza border fence in a battle with 'Palestinian' terrorists. And four years ago, Roi Klein HY"D fell on a hand grenade during the battle of Bint Jbeil, causing his own death but saving the lives of his men. When word got out that the homes of their widows and orphans were to be destroyed, it caused an uproar among the public. Now, 'Peace Now,' which brought the High Court petition asking that the homes be destroyed, is bowing to the political reality that insisting on these homes' destruction will destroy whatever credibility they have left. 'Peace Now' is going to ask the court not to order the homes destroyed. For now.

“We, too, are attentive to the families’ suffering and the delicate situation,” Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer said. “We are not insensitive; the thought that soldiers may come to evacuate those homes is difficult to bear, also for us.”


But Oppenheimer said there was also a political consideration involved.

“There is a campaign by right-wing officials trying to exploit difficult cases to prevent the evacuation of any outpost and we do not want to step into this trap,” he said.

“It is important to clarify that we still demand the demolition of illegal homes, but at this time we will ask the High Court of Justice not to discuss these two specific homes.”

Not good enough. What, you're going to leave the Klein and Peretz children with no playmates?

National Union MK Michael Ben Ari lambasted Peace Now’s revision to its petition, originally submitted five years ago, as “a cruel evasion.”

“The heroes of the outposts do not need to get killed so that their homes are spared demolition,” he said.

No, they don't. But unfortunately, I suspect that if that becomes the official policy, there will be a lot more homes saved in the 'outposts.' You see, the same people who live in the 'outposts' are much of the young officer corps in the IDF's elite combat units. And although Yariv Oppenheimer himself was a combat soldier (yes, really), most of his followers today are not and were not combat soldiers.

Just who does 'Peace Now' think will expel Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria? Probably the military police, who include many 'Israeli Arabs' among their ranks. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'Peace Now' bows to political reality - for now

Elder of Ziyon: Full text of open letter from Ronald Lauder to Obama

Full text of open letter from Ronald Lauder to Obama

From the WJC website, the text of the full-page ad in today's Wall Street Journal and Washington Post:


15 April 2010

Dear President Obama:
I write today as a proud American and a proud Jew.

Jews around the world are concerned today. We are concerned about the nuclear ambitions of an Iranian regime that brags about its genocidal intentions against Israel. We are concerned that the Jewish state is being isolated and delegitimized.
Mr. President, we are concerned about the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.

The Israeli housing bureaucracy made a poorly timed announcement and your Administration branded it an “insult.” This diplomatic faux pas was over the fourth stage of a seven stage planning permission process – a plan to build homes years from now in a Jewish area of Jerusalem that under any peace agreement would remain an integral part of Israel.

Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.

Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.

Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
The conflict’s root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Every American President who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton’s anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then.

They are not the key issue now.

Another important question is this: what is the Administration’s position on Israel’s borders in any final status agreement? Ambiguity on this matter has provoked a wave of rumors and anxiety. Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel? Is a new course being charted that would leave Israel with the indefensible borders that invited invasion prior to 1967?

There are significant moves from the Palestinian side to use those indefensible borders as the basis for a future unilateral declaration of independence. How would the United States respond to such a reckless course of action?
And what are America’s strategic ambitions in the broader Middle East? The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.

And what about the most dangerous player in the region? Shouldn’t the United States remain focused on the single biggest threat that confronts the world today? That threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East, it is the one most committed to this Administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, we embrace your sincerity in your quest to seek a lasting peace. But we urge you to take into consideration the concerns expressed above. Our great country and the tiny State of Israel have long shared the core values of freedom and democracy. It is a bond much treasured by the Jewish people. In that spirit I submit, most respectfully, that it is time to end our public feud with Israel and to confront the real challenges that we face together.

Yours sincerely,

Ronald S. Lauder
President
World Jewish Congress


Elder of Ziyon: Full text of open letter from Ronald Lauder to Obama
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