Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Elder of Ziyon: Iran fires back at UAE over "occupied" islands

Iran fires back at UAE over "occupied" islands

Last week, the UAE had the audacity of calling the islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa "occupied" by Iran, and the foreign minister said, "Occupation of any Arab land is occupation and is not a misunderstanding. Israeli occupation of Golan Heights, Southern Lebanon, West Bank or Gaza is called occupation and no Arab land is dearer than another."

This comparison of Iran to the Zionist entity must have really hurt, because now Iran has responded with, "Oh, yeah? Well, your Mom is a Zionist!"

From the Tehran Times:

It seems that UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has much to learn about the fine art of diplomacy.

Demonstrating his lack of diplomatic finesse and inexperience, the UAE foreign minister has exposed himself to the possibility of a harsh response from the Islamic Republic of Iran through his provocative remarks in which he explicitly questions the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic, the most tolerant and pacifist state of the Persian Gulf region.

With the surreptitious support of the Zionist, U.S., and British lobbies, the United Arab Emirates is now playing the role of a regional ally of the hegemonistic powers that have created a specter of Iranophobia for Arab states, which now consider Iran a serious threat to their security.

The United Arab Emirates, which in 2004 started negotiations with Tel Aviv over the establishment of an Israeli representative office in Abu Dhabi, is currently holding negotiations on a $20 million deal with the Zionist regime that would facilitate the UAE’s access to the Israeli-built satellite Eros B and its high-resolution imagery.

If you dare call insult Iran, just remember - they'll call you Zionist back.

So be prepared.

Elder of Ziyon: Iran fires back at UAE over "occupied" islands

Elder of Ziyon: Latest humiliation of Arabs: Traffic lights (VIDEO)

Latest humiliation of Arabs: Traffic lights (VIDEO)

Palestine Today says that Al Arabiya has a report claiming that traffic lights in Jerusalem are rigged to discriminate against Palestinian Arabs.

The purpose, of course, is simply to humiliate them, according to the article.

The article claims that traffic lights on roads leading to Arab towns in the West Bank are timed to be much shorter than the lights towards Jewish towns. It is described as "the occupation deliberately tightening the noose on the Palestinians." via their nefarious Zionist traffic light policy.

I would have loved to listen in on that Knesset debate.

UPDATE: Here's the Al Jazeera report of the racist signals. I must have mistranslated, these are traffic lights to Jerusalem from the West Bank.

Elder of Ziyon: Latest humiliation of Arabs: Traffic lights (VIDEO)

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas responds to criticism - by arresting critics

Hamas responds to criticism - by arresting critics

Hamas did not take kindly to the PFLP's ten-point critique of Hamas policies in Gaza.

First, Hamas reacted by saying that the PFLP was taking advantage of all those wonderful freedoms that citizens of Gaza enjoy by daring to say something truthful. Or, as they put it,

[The PFLP] exploited the vast area of freedoms granted in the Gaza Strip. The timing of this statement does not serve the interests of the Palestinian citizen, but is consistent with all the voices of tension in the air and meant to turn the public opinion [against the government.]

Then Hamas raided the PFLP headquarters and arrested a number of leaders of the group.

Hamas' definition of "freedom" in Gaza seems to be "the freedom to do whatever Hamas demands."

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas responds to criticism - by arresting critics

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (4/28/10)

Today's PalArab news (4/28/10)

Binyomin Netanyahu will meet with President Mubarak of Egypt next week to discuss the "peace process." Which means that Mahmoud Abbas is more right-wing, extremist and intransigent than Mubarak in refusing to talk to Netanyahu - not that you will ever see the Western press refer to him in those terms. They are reserved for Israeli leaders.

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshal revealed that he had secretly met with Suadi authorities recently. He said that the Arab nations are pressing Hamas to accede to the Quartet's demands for recognizing Israel, and that Hamas absolutely refuses.

A new type of mosquito is appearing in Gaza, and authorities are stumped how to get rid of it. Maybe it is divine punishment for something they did, the way that earthquakes and volcanoes are.

Egypt sentenced Hezbollah members to prison for attempts at terror attacks and for smuggling arms to Hamas. But Egypt's foreign minister reached out to Hezbollah to assure them that Egypt does not intend to harm its relationship with that group.

In other nature news, a bull on its way to slaughter got loose in Hebron and angrily ran around the town. Arab authorities were not successful in subduing it

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (4/28/10)

Elder of Ziyon: Fatah unhappy with Fayyad - but stuck with him

Fatah unhappy with Fayyad - but stuck with him

A former minister of the PA government says that Fatah is unhappy that the PA prime minister is not a member of their ranks, but that they do not dare to act to remove him because he brings in money.

Dr. Ibrahim Oprac [?] worked under Fayyad as culture minister. In an interview, he said that Fatah cannot force Fayyad out because he is loved by the US and Europe, and his very presence as prime minister is what keeps foreign money flowing into the PA and keeps the government afloat. Only if Abbas resigns and Fayyad runs for president could Fatah manage to reclaim the office.

Fayyad is showing political ambition and is no longer simply a technocrat, Oprac says. [Fayyad received only a tiny amount of the vote when he ran on his own for office a few years ago.]

Elder of Ziyon: Fatah unhappy with Fayyad - but stuck with him

Elder of Ziyon: The Unreported Troubles of Hamas

The Unreported Troubles of Hamas

As fixated as the world media is on Israel and the Palestinian Arab territories, there has been a huge story developing over recent months that they have all but ignored:

Hamas is in trouble.

We have already broken the story of the internal Hamas memo to Khaled Meshal describing the problems from Hamas' perspective, an earlier letter from the leader of the Qassam brigades that detailed other problems, and also the story of Hamas' cash crisis.

In addition, there are indications that at least part of the increase of "work accidents" in recent months were really from Hamas infighting.

There has been an increase of attacks from other Gaza groups on Hamas as well, which Hamas tried to dismiss as being from "teenagers."

Today, there are two more stories in the Arabic press that highlight Hamas' troubles.

Egyptian authorities are saying that they have made great strides in shutting down Hamas' illegal cash flow from places like Iran. Egypt has broken cash smugger networks and confiscated a lot of money that Hamas relies on to stay in power. Some experts think that the reason for Egypt's crackdown is frustration on Hamas' refusal to re-conciliate with the PA.

More tellingly, the terrorist group PFLP has written an open letter to Hamas officials warning that their latest moves to stay afloat are making the citizens of Gaza increasingly angry, warning of a "revolt and explosion" if Hamas doesn't ease up. It listed ten recent moves by Hamas that are adding pressure on citizens of Gaza:

1.New taxes on small shops, like falafel stands
2. Converting cars to taxis and levying large taxes on the owners
3. 60% tax on cigarettes
4. Confiscating private apartments owned by people outside Gaza and giving them to Hamas members
5. Restricting the activities on Gaza NGOs
6. Owners of apartments who had built (with permission) on government-owned lands now being taxed thousands of dollars
7. New taxes on groceries
8. Preventing many citizens from traveling outside Gaza
9. Restrictions on Gaza institutions and organizations
10. Violent and insulting treatment of Gaza citizens

Hamas is beset by internal divisions and external pressures. Arab governments have been largely critical of Hamas and even though it is trying to gain legitimacy in the Arab world (and in some ways Hamas is better organized than the PA with its huge Western backing) it has been failing.

Yet all of these facts have been flying in under the radar of practically the entire Western media and analysts.

Elder of Ziyon: The Unreported Troubles of Hamas

Elder of Ziyon: "Semi-nude women desecrating Al Aqsa" top story in UAE

"Semi-nude women desecrating Al Aqsa" top story in UAE

I mentioned that the Al Aqsa Foundation had accused Israel of desecrating the Al Aqsa Mosque with "semi-naked women" earlier today, in a story carried by the pro-Islamic Jihad Palestine Today site.

It turns out that this story is, at the moment, the top headline at the UAE-based Al Khaleej newspaper website, along with accusations that Israel uses pepper spray against rioters.

For those who want to see some semi-nude Israeli women, check out this article about Israeli advances in....women's underwear. (h/t L. King.)

Elder of Ziyon: "Semi-nude women desecrating Al Aqsa" top story in UAE

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Don't Divide Jerusalem: Abu Tor Preview

Don't Divide Jerusalem: Abu Tor Preview

I've been walking a lot along the suggested border through Jerusalem, making short videos of what it looks like. This evening I'm putting up a quick preview of Abu Tor:
This snapshot was taken from Mount Zion, near the cemetery where Oscar Schindler is buried, looking south. The neighborhood on the next hill is AbuTor, and the red line runs between Jewish residences on the right (Israel, according to the Clinton Diktat) and Arab ones on the left (Palestine, according to the same principle). The reality in Abu Tor is actually quite a bit worse than this snapshot makes it seem, but this is rather bad. Keep in mind: dividing the city might bring peace - but if not, that red line will be a hostile border.
Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Don't Divide Jerusalem: Abu Tor Preview

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Human Rights Watch Watch, next Installment

Human Rights Watch Watch, next Installment

Jeffrey Goldberg from center left, and Noah Pollak from sort of right, both warmly recommend Benjamin Birnbaum's long piece in The New Republic about Human Rights Watch and Israel.

Someday perhaps a historian will set out to unravel the sorry tale of Human Rights Watch and Israel. He or she will gain access to the organization's archive and will peruse all the reports, but also the story behind them. Who was put on which stories and with which intentions. What was said at which meeting. Which funds were solicited, and with which strings attached (there are always strings attached, make no mistake). She'll figure out what external players were important, why, and she'll track their paper trail (well, digital paper trail). Her study will probably be mildly devastating, and thereafter it will be cited in the footnotes of three separate books on the history of antisemitism in the early 21st century. Then the matter will sink into the oblivion it probably deserves. Israeli high-school students of the mid-22nd century will not have heard of HRW.

Birnbaum's report isn't that research. He's a journalist, not a researcher. His effort, however, is available now, not in that distant then, and it's important reading if you're of the opinion that HRW is a significant actor in the war of words against the Jewish state.

A short synopsis, if you lack the time or inclination to read the report:
1. The HRW folks who focus on Israel really really don't like us.
2. They scrupulously refuse to deal with the context of Israel's actions. This means, they are structurally dishonest.
3. The HRW folks have extremely thin skins - they can't stand criticism - which they guard by doing their best to shut out anyone who might offer any criticism.

You'd think that last point would be odd coming from people who's entire undertaking is the dishing out of criticism - but only if you've not been paying attention to any of them. If you have been paying attention, it's a banal observation. Of course they've got thin skins. They are holier than the rest of us, and aspersions on holy people are heretic.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Human Rights Watch Watch, next Installment

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: No Orthodox Women Rabbis. Yet.

No Orthodox Women Rabbis. Yet.

An important council of Modern Orthodox Rabbis in America has decreed that women may not be ordained as rabbis.

Well, given that 25 years ago it would never have occurred to them to even think of such an option, it's hard to deny that change is in the air. As a codicil to the intense discussion we had last week about American Jewish denominations in Israel, allow me to observe that to the best of my knowledge, this change will eventually happen in Israel before America, because the Jewish world's top-notch Jewish learning is happening here. And Jewish learning is far more important in forming Jewish identity than synagogue practices. Jewish learning is the entire story, the means and the ends, the wherewith-all, the context, the platform and the form itself. In what is definitely the major religious breakthrough of the age, Orthodox women are now learning the Jewish books with an intensity to rival the men. Not that many of them, yet, but ever more, and from early age.

An important halachic authority - a Gadol, in the parlance - takes about 50 (fifty) years of intensive study to acquire the stature, and has to have studied under previous Gedolim. This means that no woman will achieve the stature anytime soon. Conversely, however, it also means that 30 or 40 years from now the Jewish world will see the first women approaching it, and ever more thereafter. This is an unstoppable revolution, and of course, it will strengthen Judaism.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: No Orthodox Women Rabbis. Yet.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Self Perpetuating Sanctimony

Self Perpetuating Sanctimony

Haaretz tells of a recent poll to be presented tomorrow at a conference about the public's support for democracy. At first glance, it's findings are troubling.

They found that 57.6 percent of the respondents agreed that human rights organizations that expose immoral conduct by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely. Slightly more than half agreed that "there is too much freedom of expression" in Israel. The poll also found that most of the respondents favor punishing Israeli citizens who support sanctioning or boycotting the country, and support punishing journalists who report news that reflects badly on the actions of the defense establishment. Another 82 percent of respondents said they back stiff penalties for people who leak illegally obtained information exposing immoral conduct by the defense establishment.

Lest we not appreciate how dire our situation is, the report offers the platform to some professors to clarify:

"Israelis have a distorted perception of democracy," said Daniel Bar-Tal, a professor at the university's school of education, and one of the conference's organizers. "The public recognizes the importance of democratic values, but when they need to be applied, it turns out most people are almost anti-democratic." Another conference participant, Ben-Gurion University's David Newman, called the polling results "very worrying," adding that there has been an assault on freedom of expression in recent years. "We say Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, but in Europe they are beginning to think of us otherwise," he said.

Note Prof. Newman's point of reference, because it may inform us about his broader worldview: though not asked in this poll, it's unlikely most Israelis are in awe of European political opinions - which is fine, it's a free world.

Here's a suggestion not remotely hinted at in the news item, and probably in the poll itself. When Israelis express support for the principles of freedom of speech, along with simultaneous displeasure with some expressions of it, might this somehow be connected to the fact that much of the expression has been dishonest, fraudulent, and inadvertently played directly into the eager hands of our enemies at a time of war? Take the most recent concrete case, which had to be at the top of peoples' minds as they responded to this poll: Haaretz published a story based on stolen documents which proved that the IDF had been adhering to the laws of the land and the strictures of the High Court, yet Haaretz cast the story as proof of the opposite, with no factual base for this allegation beyond an ideological conviction that "it must be so". Or the steady stream of allegations last year that the IDF had engaged in massive and intentional war crimes or worse, for which no conclusive evidence was ever produced. Might it be that the run of the mill Israeli democrat dislikes being lied about by his compatriots to the court of international public opinion?

Admittedly, they are free to say whatever they wish, our homegrown critics - though stealing thousands of secret military documents may cross a reasonable line. Yet notice that no-one is advocating any real measures against these people. There's lots of kvetching, a bit of cynical political grandstanding, and that's it. The critics are as free to act today as they ever were, which is as it should be. That they are disliked for it is merely something they've honestly earned.

If one were truly to be interested in Israelis' support for practical applications of freedom of speech, it would be better to test it where it matters. I dare anyone to bring evidence that many Israelis would advocate shutting down of informants, internal or other, who informed us of unpleasant realities. Criminal activities by figures of power, say, or life-endangering idiocy in the armed forces, or massive corruption in the government, civil service and banks.... Wot, those are all reported on? Huh?

(My apologies that the sources are all in Hebrew, but that's the language we have our free speech in, not English)
Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Self Perpetuating Sanctimony

Torat HaRav Aviner: Parashat Emor: Cohanim and Kivrei Tzaddikim (the graves of the righteous)

Parashat Emor: Cohanim and Kivrei Tzaddikim (the graves of the righteous)


In this week's Parashah – Parashat Emor, we learn that it is forbidden for cohanim to become impure by coming in contact with the dead, except in the case of close relatives. A small minority of authorities hold that the Kivrei Tzaddikim do not transmit impurity (see Pitchei Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 372:2).
Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, told the following story about Maran Ha-Rav Kook (Le-Shelosha Ba-Elul vol.1 #76), that during his travels to oversee Jewish matters in the Galil, he did not visit Kivrei Tzadkim when he was in Tzefat, because he was a Cohain.
Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliyahu wrote (Parashah Sheet "Kol Tzofa’ich" #279), "In his time, I told Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, peace be upon him, that it is written in the book ‘Kuntres Yechi’eli’ that it is permissible for cohanim to enter Kever Rachel. He asked me: what do they say there? I said that they read the verses about our mother Rachel there. He travelled there, but only went as far as the door. When he returned, I asked him: why didn’t you enter? He answered: My father did not enter, therefore I did not enter."
In the book Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah - Eretz Yisrael (edited by Rav Shlomo Aviner, p. 142 note 1), it relates that after the Six-Day War, the students of our Rabbi organized a trip to the liberated areas in the Shomron. One of the places they visted was Kever Yosef. The students entered inside, but our Rabbi remained outside, because he was a cohain.
And on Maran Ha-Rav Kook's yahrtzeit, our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, would visit his grave on the Mt. of Olives, but would stand at a distance since he was a cohain (Be-Derech Ha-Torah Ha-Goelet p. 170).
In Iturei Cohanim (Sivan 5766 #261), Rav Aviner was asked, is it permissible for a cohain to enter Ma’arat Ha-Machpelah? He answered that there is a dispute, but Maran Ha-Rav Kook did not enter. In Shut She’eilat Shlomo (vol. 3 #329), Rav Aviner also writes that although there are authorities who permit cohanim to enter "Kivrei Tzaddikim," since the righteous are called "living even in their death," the accepted halachah is that it is forbidden. There are also authorities who allow cohanim to visit Maarat Ha-Machpelah and Kever Rachel, because they were built in a way that the cohanim would not become impure; but the acceptable halachah for this is also that it is forbidden. Therefore, we say that cohanim should not enter "Kivrei Tzaddikim," but we can defend the practice of those who act in this way, especially entering Maarat Ha-Machpelah and Kever Rachel (note: Rav Aviner – who is also a cohain – has not and does not visit any of the "Kivrei Tzaddikim").

Torat HaRav Aviner: Parashat Emor: Cohanim and Kivrei Tzaddikim (the graves of the righteous)

Chesler Chronicles » The Female Face of France: Banned Beneath the Burqa

The Female Face of France: Banned Beneath the Burqa

All across Europe, government leaders are deciding whether to fine, restrict, or ban the wearing of the Islamic veil. France’s Prime Minister Sarkozy wants a full ban—one that will also apply to Muslim tourists. Belgium wants one too–although it has been warned that doing so “will violate the rights of those who choose to wear the veil and do nothing to help those who are compelled to do so.” (That vote has not taken place due to the collapse of the government). Recently, a Madrid school expelled a girl for wearing hijab; the government is backing the school, but four of the girl’s classmates have been coming to school wearing hijab “as a sign of support for her.”

Of course, Tariq Ramadan has condemned Sarkozy’s attempt to ban the burqa. On his recent American tour, he said:

“The French … are responding to the burqa, the niqab by restricting freedom and I think that’s not going to work. … We have to be very cautious not to translate every sensitive issue into a legal issue. … Don’t go that direction, speak more about education, psychology, changing mentality. It takes time but … for me, we can do the job as Muslims by saying the burqa and niqab are not Islamic prescriptions.

Clever, isn’t he? Ramadan adopts a soft and peaceful tone, one which lulls us into believing that he, personally, will undertake the “job” of educating Muslims that the burqa and niqab are not religiously mandatory.

Really, will he? And, how long might such an educational process take? And, why is he suddenly opposed to the rule of law and its educational potential? Is he willing to spurn Shari’a law as well and for this same reason? Or is it only certain—not all–Western laws that he opposes?

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

The Masked Stranger

According to my French friend and former college-mate, Guy Ducornet, “One thing is sure. The ‘Islamists’ have been very clever in testing the weak spots of our democratic system as they keep yelling that they are discriminated against. … But they’d be the FIRST ones to abolish the very laws they invoke!!! (That OLD favorite fascist trick!).”

Compare Ramadan to Drancy-based Imam Hassen Chalgoumy, who “dared publicly condemn the wearing of the full veil and who welcomed the idea of outlawing it.” The Tunisian born Chalgoumy also acknowledges “the horror of the Holocaust” and has reached out to France’s Jews. Chalgoumy works in a very poor suburb of Paris—not in the hallowed halls of Oxford University where Ramadan teaches. Chalgoumy requires two bodyguards.

A final draft of the burqa ban legislation is slated to be approved by the cabinet on May 19.

Really, what’s the fuss all about? Isn’t the West committed to tolerance—even towards the intolerant? But aren’t we also in favor of women’s rights, human rights, and the right to pursue our individual destinies?

Brigitte Bardot

The Masked Stranger

Wherever there are burqas, there are also radical Islamists who believe in polygamy, arranged child marriage, cousin marriage, militant jihad, and in the subordination of Muslim women and infidels. Also, please understand that the full Islamic veil means sensory deprivation, social isolation, and various Vitamin D deficiency diseases for its wearer. And don’t discount the effect the full veil is meant to have on infidels and other naked-faced women (this is how we are described); it is meant to terrify us, like the sight of a severed head on a pole, or of a prisoner publicly chained for years to a stake.

Then, there is always the security aspect: a common thief can hide a gun and a homicide bomber can hide an explosive device under such flowing garments — and “she” can just as easily be a “he.”

Thus, it is no coincidence that the French woman who was fined for wearing her niqab while driving turns out to be one of four wives, all married to the same Algerian-French man who has fathered twelve children. If not this polygamist then the next polygamist will turn out to have ties to an Islamist group or will be indoctrinating his French citizen children into Islamism. This French polygamist is also a welfare fraud since all four wives collect government subsidies as single mothers. And, no surprise here, our polygamist is also leading the drive to build a mosque.

And, by the way: The veiled women are not only victims. Yes, of course, they are “choosing” not to be honor-murdered or rejected by their communities. But, they are also proudly, aggressively, defiantly, marking out Islamist territory in infidel countries; the fact that they have been brainwashed or not given a free choice makes no difference. These Veiled Crusaders view themselves as superior to an allegedly (and often truly) “racist” infidel population. They are choosing a glorified group identity as opposed to an unknown, difficult, lonely or dangerous individual identity. Finally, as I’ve explained in Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, women are empowered to break the spirits of young girls and female rebels. Even more than men, women are conformists who are supposed to keep other women in line.

In Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women, Algerian-American Marnia Lazreg argues that, when the state bans the burqa, how is that different from when the family forces a girl to wear it? In neither case do individual will and choice exist. She makes a compelling point—and yet, I hope that both Lazreg and Ramadan read Samia Labidi’s chapter in The Other Muslims: Moderate and Secular. Labidi herself was indoctrinated into Islamism and into the Islamic veil by a new and rabidly Islamist brother-in-law. In turn, Labidi proudly indoctrinated hundreds of other girls to veil “as a feminist gesture against the Western idea of woman as a sexual object.” However, once Labidi saw “the full horror of the Islamist strategy,” she fled Tunisia and joined her mother in France. She came to understand that “the veil is used as a symbol to spread political Islam among girls,” as are arranged marriages which subordinate women.

Labidi never expected that she would “face the same struggle two decades later in the heart of the West.” And why? Partly because Islamists, who were expelled from their countries of origin, came to the West and assumed influence over and control of immigrant communities. Labidi has now concluded that the veil oppresses rather than liberates women. She is a feminist Muslim who opposes Islamism and who knows more about how it operates than do most non-Muslim critics of political Islam.

We had better listen to her and to others like her before it is too late. Yes, I am suggesting that we include Muslim and ex-Muslim anti-Islamists in our battle against political Islam. I would rather be in the trenches with those Iranian feminists who are risking death to march for freedom in Teheran than with most Western Ivory Tower pseudo-fascists.

By the way, Lazreg implores her readers not to veil, but she does so in terms of their making an individual choice. If only Lazreg had Ramadan’s platform–I would trust her to educate Muslim women about the Islamic veil. Ramadan—I would not trust to even spell his own name accurately.

Yesterday, I posted a version of this piece at NewsRealBlog at their Feminist Hawk’s Nest. I’ve expanded it here for my Pajamas readers.

I also wish to acknowledge the important work being done by “Esther” at her blog Islam in Europe.

George Sand


Marguerite Yourcenar

Coco Chanel

Simone Signoret

Catherine Deneuve

Francoise Sagan

Chesler Chronicles » The Female Face of France: Banned Beneath the Burqa

War with Iran Could Last Years, Says Bar-Ilan U. Researcher - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

War with Iran Could Last Years, Says Bar-Ilan U. Researcher - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Danon: Netanyahu Lulling Likud to Sleep - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Danon: Netanyahu Lulling Likud to Sleep - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Jewish Hospital in Tangiers Torn Down - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Jewish Hospital in Tangiers Torn Down - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

US: Hizbullah Has One of World's Largest Missile Arsenals - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

US: Hizbullah Has One of World's Largest Missile Arsenals - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Sounds and Smells Challenge New Intifada - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Sounds and Smells Challenge New Intifada - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Caution: Growing Threat to Jews on California Campuses - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Caution: Growing Threat to Jews on California Campuses - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Entebbe Hero - Bereaved Brother, Dedicated Dad - Speaks to TNL - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Entebbe Hero - Bereaved Brother, Dedicated Dad - Speaks to TNL - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News's "Jewish Thought of The Day" - I Won the Lottery I won the lottery

I Won the Lottery

Yes, it’s me. You may not have heard about it but I’ve won millions of dollars. I’m so excited! I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.

I prefer to take my prizes in small doses so that I can enjoy each one. I can’t wait until tomorrow morning to claim them.

Bright and early at 7AM, the sound waves of my radio will strike my ears as I wake to the sound of the weatherman telling me that there’s a 50% chance of partly cloudy or sunny or rainy weather.

The I’ll open my eyes, those two perfectly synchronized, coordinated, full color cameras that process a billion-million images per second.

Then I’ll sit up and wait those 12 seconds it takes for the blood of my system to fully return to my head. While I drink in the thoughts of a new day, I recite the 12 words of the Hebrew morning prayer that begins with - Modeh Ani Lefanechah - I give thanks before You.

I stretch my legs and put them on the floor. Muscles are fully functional. Nervous system is operating well. Heart is pumping. Lungs are breathing.

Priceless prizes each one!

But that’s just the beginning.

I stand up and head for the bathroom. The all-important digestive system is working as planned - especially that urinary tract (at my age, that’s very important).

Then I get to treasure the simple prizes of life - hot running water, clothing, shoes, belt (with multiple holes for before and after lunch), taste buds that pick up the smallest nuances of flavor from everything I eat. Food! Coffee! Water!

It’s almost too good to believe!

And the best part is I win this lottery everyday. And you know what, it doesn’t even cost a dollar.

No. I wouldn’t trade my prizes for all the money in the world.

Judaism I won the lottery

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's Mordechai Ben David singing Ad Mosai (Until When?).

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Surprise: 'Palestinians' have no King or Gandhi

Surprise: 'Palestinians' have no King or Gandhi

Some 'Palestinians' are trying to promote a non-violent protest movement. They want to try to the King - Gandhi approach of civil disobedience against Israel. There's only one problem. It's kind of like when they tried 'peace' but kept the violence in their back pocket 'in case we don't get what we want.' It's happening again.

Unlike Ghandi or the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., however, the Palestinians who support this approach for the most part don’t appear to be embracing nonviolence as a philosophy. Rather they see it as part of a calculated strategy to achieve Palestinian goals.

“It's about seeing benefits,” Burnat said. “If we don't see them, it's up to us to decide what kind of resistance we would then use next."

To be sure, the movement encompasses only a narrow swath of Palestinian society, and even the movement’s own protests aren’t completely free of violence. In weekly demonstrations in Bil’in against Israel’s West Bank security fence, for example, the Palestinians throw stones. Demonstrators say the stones are a response to Israeli soldiers shooting tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the gatherings.

The shift to nonviolence began in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, about six years ago, and it was in Bil’in last week that Palestinians held a three-day conference on Palestinian popular resistance.

Sounds real 'peaceful,' doesn't it? What 'shift to non-violence'? Have you seen pictures of what Bil'in looks like every week? This is from two weeks ago.

Let's go to the videotape. The violence starts around the 2:00 mark and for the most part you will not see what the 'demonstrators' throw at the soldiers - only teargas canisters landing around them.

Doesn't look like a Martin Luther King demonstration, does it?

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Surprise: 'Palestinians' have no King or Gandhi

Israel Matzav: New PA 'law' bans 'settlement products'

New PA 'law' bans 'settlement products'

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen issued a diktat on Monday, banning 'settlement products' from areas controlled by the 'Palestinians.'

Hassan al-Ouri, a legal adviser to Abbas, said that the new law was based on the grounds that the settlements were “cancers in the Palestinian body.” He said the law signed by Abbas was designed to confront the settlements with all means available to the Palestinians.

Ouri said Palestinians who purchased such products helped to “fatten and legitimize” settlements.

The new law also calls for punitive measures against any Palestinian who violates it, including confiscation of the merchandise.

The adviser said Abbas had been forced to issue the law in the absence of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the only body entitled to do so.

The PLC has been effectively paralyzed since Hamas seized full control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: New PA 'law' bans 'settlement products'

Israel Matzav: A man of peace?

A man of peace?

In case you've forgotten, here's a reminder of who Abu Bluff is.

In 1994 Abbas instituted – as Arafat’s Deputy - an unprecedented system of hate-education through the PA-controlled school, media and mosque systems. Since January 2005 – when he replaced Arafat – Abbas has perpetuated the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-US hate education. Mein Kampf and the anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are best sellers. Hitler and suicide-bombers are folk heroes.

Hate-education, and not a dialogue with Western policy-makers and public-opinion molders, reflects Abbas’ ideology/strategy. Hate-education cements Palestinian national identity. It feeds the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict: the de-legitimization of the existence – and not the size – of the Jewish state. Hate-education has been the main manufacturing line of terrorists in general and suicide bombers in particular

Abbas’ education system de-humanizes the Jewish state, heralds a religious war against the Jewish State, idolizes martyrs/suicide bombers who “live next to Allah” and “whose blood is pure,” denies the Mideast roots of the Jewish state, fuels anti-Semitism, glorifies "the claim of return" (code name for Israel's destruction) and promotes Holocaust denial.


On August 13, 2009 Abbas ratified the resolutions of Fatah’s 6th General Conference. For instance, “Armed struggle is a strategy, not a tactic… for the elimination of the Zionist presence. The struggle shall not end until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated (article 19)…Popular armed revolution is the only way to liberate Palestine…Opposing the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State…”

Abbas was Arafat’s top confidant and first deputy for 50 years, partaking in the betrayal of Arab host countries: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait. He enrolled in KGB courses and submitted a doctorate thesis on Holocaust denial at the Moscow University.

Abbas coordinated PLO ties with ruthless Communist regimes, supervised the logistics of the 1972 Munich Massacre (11 Israeli athletes murdered), co-supervised the March 1973 murder of two US ambassadors in Sudan, was a key member of the Palestinian cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and earned the nickname – “Mr. 20%” - due to his corruption.

Ignoring Abbas’ horrific track record of the last 50 years, and applying moral equivalence and even-handedness, constitutes a victory to wishful-thinking, rewarding terrorism, adding fuel to the fire of terrorism and Middle East turbulence, at the expense of peace and vital US interests.

Israel Matzav: A man of peace?

Israel Matzav: Iran claims it can close the Strait of Hormuz

Iran claims it can close the Strait of Hormuz

Iran claims that it can close the Strait of Hormuz - shutting off a large portion of the World's energy supply - in the even that new sanctions are imposed on it.

"The Strait of Hormuz can provide (us with) potentials that if necessary they will be used," Sarvari added in a meeting dubbed as "the Future of Iran's Nuclear Case, the Threats and Opportunities" here in Tehran today.

The Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route. A major part of world's energy supply passes through the waterway.

"If the Strait of Hormuz is closed, which is a practical thing to happen, 62 percent of the world energy will be kept away from them. In this case the world economy will face a big problem," he reiterated.

Sarvari also underlined that Iran's 'Ya Mahdi' speedboats, which went on display during the recent wargames by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, have transformed Iran's weak points in naval combats to strong points.

Do you think the Iranians have figured out how weak Obama is and figure they can scare him with this kind of nonsense?

Israel Matzav: Iran claims it can close the Strait of Hormuz

Israel Matzav: If anyone is going to attack Iran...

If anyone is going to attack Iran...

... it should be the United States and not Israel, writes Michael Crowley.

The main reason is simple: America is in a far better position to cripple Iran’s nuclear program. Consider the analysis of a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities published last year by Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The authors imagined a scenario where Israeli jets flew through southern Turkish airspace and then cut across Iraq’s northern tip to strike several facilities within Iran. Toukan and Cordesman were not optimistic about the results. “[I]t would be complex and high risk in the operational level and would lack any assurances of a high mission success rate,” they concluded. Israel would face an array of problems, they argue, from the limited range of its aircraft—requiring multiple refuelings—to the limited ability of its warheads to penetrate Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities.

By contrast, last month Toukan and Cordesman released a similar report, this one examining a possible American attack on Iran. Their assessment was far more bullish. Such an attack would involve U.S. B-2 stealth bombers based in Diego Garcia. The B-2 has exponentially longer range than Israel’s F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers. Conveniently, last summer the B-2 completed an upgrade allowing it to carry the GPS-guided 5,300-pound Massive Ordinance Penetrator bomb. And the bomber’s stealth nature will make it far less vulnerable to Iran’s air-defense system than the Israeli Air Force’s traditional jets. As Cordesman and Toukan conclude, the U.S. is “the only country that can launch a successful Military Solution."

No one in Israel doubts this. We'd be thrilled to see the US attack Iran. But if they won't attack Iran and Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, Israel will, at some point, attack Iran. That's no bluff. But perhaps, just perhaps, it might make the Obama administration think about doing the job themselves.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: If anyone is going to attack Iran...

Israel Matzav: Fear and loathing of Obama

Fear and loathing of Obama

The Financial Times' Gideon Rachman tries to explain why Israel shouldn't fear Obama (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on “talking to the terrorists” of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperilled.

Rachman goes on to explain in the usual manner why we really must make a deal with the 'Palestinians,' ignoring the fact that there is no deal to be had because the 'Palestinians' have yet to show a willingness to do anything to bring one about.

The other thing Rachman does is to compare Israel to Northern Ireland. As Shmuel Rosner notes, this is the most problematic flaw with Rosner's piece.

Rachman, being a writer for British publication, think everything in the world is just like Britain (my grandmother used to think everything is like Poland).

Israel is nothing like Northern Ireland for reasons I discussed at length here.

Mitchell's main qualification for the position isn't his 'commission.' It's his role as a negotiator in 'resolving' the ethnic dispute in Northern Ireland earlier this decade. That plays into Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's constant comparisons of the Middle East with Northern Ireland and former Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema's desire to see Hamas and Hezbullah metamorphose into from terror groups into political groups like the IRA and ETA. Apparently the Hopenchange administration hopes to turn Israel into Northern Ireland.

This prophetic article from 2004 shows how the British (and Tony Blair in particular) have been trying to bring Northern Ireland-type 'conflict resolution' to the Israeli-Arab 'Palestinian' conflict and why all Israelis had better pray that it not work here. Here's the bottom line with some comments about why it's so bad for Israel interspersed.

The arguments for indulging insurgent, revolutionary movements are wonderfully flexible. In the first phase, the "oppressors" must indulge the "moderates." [That would be Fatah. CiJ] As time goes on, that changes to the "pragmatic hardliners," [Hamas. CiJ] who are the only faction that can deliver. There are vague echoes here of the mission of Alistair Crooke, the former MI6 officer who served in Northern Ireland and who has been seeking to bring Hamas into the fold as the only people who can "deliver" on a settlement. Judging by past form, future British and EU diplomatic efforts may focus increasingly upon influencing the less "ideological" element within Likud [That would be Kadima. This was written a year before Kadima broke off from the Likud. CiJ]. Many British officials see Hamas and Likud as mutually reinforcing "hardliners."

A key theme in this mindset is that there can be no purely military defeat of insurgents [Is this why Israel was pressured not to finish the job in Gaza? CiJ]. If this is true, then one has to make a massive number of political concessions. Some of the more robust elements within the British system believe that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force which was at the cutting edge of the struggle against terrorism, was stopping between 7 and 8, and in some cases even 9 out of 10 IRA operations during the latter years of the Troubles. Indeed, year by year we learn just how riddled the IRA was with British informers [Just like Israel has put an almost total stop to 'Palestinian' terror originating in Judea and Samaria since 2003. CiJ]. But notwithstanding that achievement, the British government decided to give disproportionate political concessions to ensure that the IRA never had "an excuse" to go back to armed struggle. In other words, they believe that the IRA, like the Palestinians, has a great number of very good excuses to go back "to war." That process, of depriving the insurgents of "excuses," inevitably comes at the expense of Unionists and the Israelis.

But what is the definition of victory in Northern Ireland? The British do not define "victory" as the military defeat of the IRA. Firstly, they do not believe it was possible, but even if it was possible, they do not believe in such a defeat as a matter of principle. Victory, as far as they see it in Northern Ireland, is to persuade Sinn Fein/IRA to accept the use of democratic methods. In other words, they have a methodological definition of victory, but have no particular end point of a settlement in mind (which reinforces instability by convincing Republicans that "one last heave," whether politically or militarily, will do the trick).

Indeed, one unique aspect of policy in Northern Ireland is that the British state is well-nigh unique in advertising, quite openly, that it does not really mind if it is dismembered - subject, of course, to the consent principle. All it wants is that the IRA and the Republican movement - in the main - abandon full-scale violence, and then all other roads are open. To ensure that abandonment of violence, the British will maintain the pace of concessions, at least for as long as the Unionists are prepared to tolerate them. And because the British have been working on the Unionist community for so long, they reckon that they have a very good chance of maintaining that grip on events.

This all sounds familiar, doesn't it? If it doesn't, I think I have pointed out enough striking similarities for you. Do we really want Israel dismembered?

Rachman apparently wouldn't mind.

Israel Matzav: Fear and loathing of Obama

Israel Matzav: Hamas TV sermon: Icelandic volcano was God's punishment for 'infidels'

Hamas TV sermon: Icelandic volcano was God's punishment for 'infidels'

And you thought last week's volcano eruption in Iceland was because of promiscuous women. No, it was punishment for all the 'infidels.' Especially America. Why most of the burden of the punishment was borne by Islamizing Europe is left to the reader to guess.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Hamas TV sermon: Icelandic volcano was God's punishment for 'infidels'

Israel Matzav: Civil war at Human Rights Watch

Civil war at Human Rights Watch

Benjamin Birnbaum publishes a lengthy and devastating critique of Human Rights Watch and their treatment of Israel at The New Republic. I urge you all to read the whole thing (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter and Memeorandum). It's apparent from reading this report that internal arguments over Israel have been going on for a long time, and that there has been a systematic campaign to silence those who would treat the Jewish state more even-handedly. Ironically, according to Birnbaum, when Omri Ceren and the rest of our group of bloggers went after Marc Garlasco last fall, we may have gone after one of the few staffers in the Middle East and North African division of Human Rights Watch who might have been willing to give Israel a fair shake.

Steve Apkon was watching the entire episode with regret. Apkon liked Garlasco personally and respected his expertise. He thought that Garlasco—far from being a Nazi fetishist out to demonize Israel—actually had thoughtful views on the Middle East conflict. Both men lived in Pleasantville, New York, a quaint Westchester town, and they had gotten to know each other through Apkon’s film center, where one of Garlasco’s daughters had taken a class. Back in February 2009, shortly after Garlasco had returned from Gaza, the two met for coffee at the Pleasantville Starbucks (there is only one). Apkon found what Garlasco had to say striking: Garlasco told him that he had reservations about HRW’s approach to covering warfare, and specifically some of its work on Israel—including research for which he had been the point person.


In many ways, Garlasco was an odd fit at HRW. Prior to being hired in 2003, he had served as the head of “high-value targeting” at the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Iraq war. He opposed the invasion, however, and joined HRW shortly after the fall of Baghdad. His first assignment at his new job was to investigate collateral damage from the airstrikes he had helped plan. Whitson told me that Garlasco (who was one of only a handful of people at HRW with military experience) brought unique skills to the organization and enhanced its credibility. “He could look at the plumes in the sky and know exactly what weapon that was,” she says. “He could look at a canister and know what kind of a munition it was. He could look and see where the guidance system is.”

Garlasco was hardly a reflexive apologist for Israel. His time on the ground in Gaza convinced him that the IDF had a lot to answer for—using Palestinians as human shields, heavy artillery fire in densely populated areas, and rules of engagement so lax that large numbers of civilian deaths were inevitable. And he thought that both sides, Hamas and Israel, had committed war crimes during the conflict. Still, he believed that there was a fog of war that most of his colleagues failed to appreciate. “He said ... ‘If I were an Israeli, I’d be so frustrated,’” recalls one friend. “You are trying to get people who are shooting from civilian areas, and how do you deal with that? I mean, I remember him talking about that—that it’s an impossible quandary for a soldier. Sometimes, they actually turn out to be kids playing on the roof, and sometimes they’re guys with missiles.”

During the war, Garlasco had gotten a lot of attention for discussing Israel’s use of a chemical agent called white phosphorous. CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera ran segments featuring Garlasco explaining the dangers white phosphorous posed to civilians: On contact with skin, it could cause second- and third-degree burns; it could even burn down houses. Soon, news reports all around the world were repeating the story.

But Garlasco would later tell Apkon and others that he thought the white phosphorous controversy had been blown out of proportion. From his experience at the Pentagon, Garlasco knew that U.S. and British forces had used white phosphorous in Iraq and Afghanistan, and usually for the same purpose that the IDF used it in Gaza: as a smokescreen to obscure troop movements on the ground—a permissible use under international law. To be sure, Garlasco did not believe that the IDF had used white phosphorous properly in every instance. But he told multiple people that he thought HRW had placed too much emphasis on this issue—specifically telling one person that he had been pushed by HRW headquarters to focus on white phosphorous at the expense of topics he thought more deserving of attention because, he suspected, it was regarded as a headline-generating story. (HRW denies that it pushed Garlasco on the subject.) What’s more, while making legal judgments was not within Garlasco’s jurisdiction, he told Apkon that he did not think Israel’s use of white phosphorous amounted to a war crime. (In a subsequent report on white phosphorous, the first of six thus far on the Gaza war, HRW would say that evidence “indicates the commission of war crimes.”)

Beyond these disagreements, Garlasco had larger critiques of HRW. He thought that the organization had a habit of ignoring necessary context when covering war, he told Apkon; and he told multiple sources that he thought Whitson and others at MENA had far-left political views. As someone who didn’t have strong ideological commitments of his own on the Middle East, this bothered him. “When he reported on Georgia, his firm feeling was he could report whatever he wanted,” says one source close to Garlasco. “And, when he was talking to headquarters, the feeling was, let the chips fall where they may. He did not feel that way dealing with the Middle East division.” In addition, Garlasco alleged in conversations with multiple people that HRW officials in New York did not understand how fighting actually looked from the ground and that they had unrealistic expectations for how wars could be fought. To Garlasco, the reality of war was far more complicated. “He looks at that organization as one big attempt to outlaw warfare,” says the person close to Garlasco. Around the time he had coffee with Apkon last February, he was beginning to look for another job.

At one time, I was employed by the Israeli government. No, not in the foreign ministry or in diplomacy, but in the capital markets. When they hired me, I was shocked to find out that I was the only person they had ever hired in that particular agency (I hope that there have been others since) who had any private sector experience before coming there. But I often felt that no one else there understood the consequences of their actions for the private sector. So when Garlasco describes himself as the only one at HRW with military experience and laments that others there had no appreciation for how complicated war really is, I understand his critique.

That's not to say that he should not have anticipated (as he apparently did anticipate) that his hobby would arouse suspicion if it ever came to light. And that's not to say that the suspicion wasn't justified - it was. And it's not to say that I have any regrets over my small role in exposing it - I don't. Because had the entire Garlasco story not come to light, I have doubt how long it would have taken Robert Bernstein's damning op-ed to be published and whether Birnbaum's expose ever would have seen the light of day.

Read the whole thing. There's going to be lots of fallout from this one. It will leave you more suspicious of HRW than you are already.

Israel Matzav: Civil war at Human Rights Watch

Israel Matzav: Oh, that foreign policy

Oh, that foreign policy

Hussain Abdul-Hussain argues that the Obama administration has no policy on the Middle East.

During a recent panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), America's top columnists, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and David Ignatius of the Washington Post, debated foreign policy. While Friedman argued that he was not sure any American was in charge of a Middle East policy, Ignatius said there was someone. "His name is Barack Obama."

If Ignatius is right, it means that Feltman was reiterating talking points on Syria that he had received from above, perhaps from Obama himself. But what is Barack Obama's strategy on Syria and the Middle East? He does not have one. The memo by Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying that America has no strategy on Iran affirms this view. Obama has no policy on Iran, Syria, Israel or the rest of the world.

Unlike American presidents since World War II, Obama does not believe the US should run the world. Focused on domestic issues, this president thinks foreign policy is a mere tool to serve domestic interests. As such, the world only matters to Obama as long as there are no more suicide bombers heading for American cities.

This means that American foreign policy today has only two czars: CENTCOM Commander David Petraeus, who is in charge of chasing al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere, and Daniel Benjamin, Director of the unit for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) at the State Department. Benjamin has visited Damascus. Petraeus might be on his way.

Since Obama's sole interest in Syria is its cooperation over CVE, a term that has replaced "Islamist radicalism", America is not interested in elaborating a full strategy on Damascus or its behavior.

In the absence of such a strategy, Washington's parties compete to impose their different agendas. In the case of Syria, hardcore pro-Assad senators John Kerry and Arlen Specter both have Obama's ear, and, ergo, Damascus gets its way in Washington.

Scuds to Hezbollah or no Scuds. It makes no difference. America has no vision for the Middle East. Until a policy on Syria is drafted, Washington will be improvising on how to deal with Damascus, and Jeff Feltman will sound shaky on the Hill.

Abdul-Hussein is right that the United States has no policy on Syria. But he's wrong when he tries to extend that that label to the entire Middle East. Obama has a one-dimensional policy on the Middle East that can be summed up in two words: 'Palestinian state.' It's the only policy goal that interests him here.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Oh, that foreign policy

Israel Matzav: Even more good news: Syria and Turkey to conduct joint military exercises

Even more good news: Syria and Turkey to conduct joint military exercises

For the second year in a row, Syria and Turkey will conduct joint military exercises for three days starting on Tuesday.

A joint Turkish-Syrian military exercise along the border the two countries share is scheduled to commence on Tuesday along similar lines to a drill conducted a year ago. The tightening of Turkish-Syrian relations raises concerns in Israel, primarily due to their political significance and the possibility that such relations could expand to full military cooperation. Such cooperation would likely include the transfer of technology Turkey received from Israel into Syrian hands.

Israel finished upgrading 170 tanks for Turkey earlier this month. Turkey is also a NATO member and a member of the consortium of countries building the F-35 joint strike fighter, which means that US technology could also fall into Syrian hands.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Even more good news: Syria and Turkey to conduct joint military exercises

Israel Matzav: Report: Arab League to reject 'proximity talks' proposal unless US guarantees 'east' Jerusalem freeze

Report: Arab League to reject 'proximity talks' proposal unless US guarantees 'east' Jerusalem freeze

Earlier, I reported that Israel has agreed to a de facto building freeze in 'east' Jerusalem and that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen says that he's ready for 'proximity talks,' provided, of course, that the Arab League approves them in its May 1 (Saturday) meeting.

Now, there's a Syrian report that claims that approval may not be forthcoming.

The Arab League is expected to reject the Obama administration's proposal to begin indirect Middle East peace negotiations in the coming weeks, sources from the 22-state body Syria's Al-Watan daily on Tuesday.

The league's Monitoring Committee for the Arab Peace Initiative is scheduled to meet on Saturday to vote on the proposal, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to accept any offer for peace talks that does not meet the panel's approval.

Business Week reports that the Arab League is holding out for a full freeze (not a de facto freeze) in 'east' Jerusalem guaranteed by the United States.

The Arab League will only support new Middle East peace talks if the U.S. guarantees there is a freeze on Israeli construction in east Jerusalem, the spokesman for Secretary-General Amre Moussa said.


“We have heard lots of stories about freezes,” Moussa’s spokesman, Hisham Youssef, said in phone interview. “We will wait for U.S. guarantees before deciding to support the talks.”

The Arab League endorsed peace talks on March 3, providing Abbas with political cover to take part. The next day, Israel announced expanded construction in east Jerusalem and negotiation plans evaporated.

“We were burned before and we don’t want to be burned again,” Youssef said.

What does a US guarantee mean? Do they want Obama to put US troops on the ground here to enforce it? That's insane. It sounds like the Arab League is taking advice from Samantha Power.


Eight of the factions represented in the 'Palestinian Authority' have also rejected the talks.

Israel Matzav: Report: Arab League to reject 'proximity talks' proposal unless US guarantees 'east' Jerusalem freeze

Israel Matzav: Even more good news: Abu Bluff says Netanyahu agreed to 'settlement freeze' in Jerusalem

Even more good news: Abu Bluff says Netanyahu agreed to 'settlement freeze' in Jerusalem

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen says that he's ready for 'proximity talks' and the reason for that move is quite simple: Prime Minister Netanyahu has given away the store.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s readiness to enter proximity talks with Israel, which he announced during an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, follows assurances the Palestinians received from US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell that the Israeli government would effectively freeze construction of new homes in some of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, a PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post.

“[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has promised the Americans that the Ramat Shlomo housing project won’t take place, at least not in the near future,” the official told the Post. “Netanyahu has also promised to refrain from taking provocative measures in the city, such as publishing new house tenures or demolishing Arab houses under the pretext that they were built without permission.”

The official added that Abbas’s new stance was the result of heavy pressure from the US administration and that the interview had been conducted at the request of the Americans, who advised Abbas to send a “conciliatory” message to Netanyahu and the Israeli public to pave the way for the resumption of the “proximity talks.”

During the Channel 2 interview, Abbas said he would seek the Arab League’s assent to such talks on May 1, and hoped the league’s decision would be “positive.”

Read the whole thing.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Even more good news: Abu Bluff says Netanyahu agreed to 'settlement freeze' in Jerusalem
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