Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The New York Times self-delusional attack on Netanyahu

...Yes, Netanyahu's arguments aren't new. But the White House has never answered them to begin with.

Elder of Ziyon..
04 March '15..







The New York Times, predictably, has attacked Netanyahu's speech to Congress with some fairly unoriginal and false talking points:

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech offered nothing of substance that was new, making it clear that this performance was all about proving his toughness on security issues ahead of the parliamentary election he faces on March 17. He offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

There was nothing new - except it was perhaps the first time that the American people have had the opportunity to hear, in one brilliant speech, the arguments against the deal now being negotiated. Any sane person would be alarmed at how much Obama has caved to a genocidal, terrorist Iran over the years.

But not the NYT.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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The World of Haaretz Headlines, From Rock-Throwing 'Incidents' to Water-Pouring 'Attacks'

...Why is dumping water on someone's head, an act which did not cause any bodily harm, described as an "attack," but the hurling of rocks at a vehicle, which left a little girl permanently, seriously disabled labeled an "incident"?

Tamar Sternthal..
CAMERA Snapshots..
03 March '15..

When a Haaretz English edition page-one headline last month referred to the rock-throwing attack which left a toddler permanently, gravely disabled as a "stone-throwing incident," Jerusalem Post Op-Ed editor Seth Frantzman tweeted:
















The online headline for the same article was: "Toddler dies two years after stone-throwing incident left her critically injured." (Only the subheadline online refers to the "attack which also left her mother and two sisters wounded." Emphasis added.)

The article itself also adopts the term "incident" to describe the attack which left Adele Biton permanently wounded and which apparently led to her death. It began: "Adele Biton, the 4-year-old who was critically injured in a stone-throwing incident . . ."

Frantzman's criticism is particularly relevant again in light of the front-page headline in Haaretz's English edition today about an event yesterday in which right-wing protesters dumped a cup of water on the head of MK Haneen Zoabi. The headline is: "MK Haneen Zoabi attacked by right-wingers at political panel." (Emphasis added.)

The Truly Poor Arguments in Support of a Bad Deal with Iran

...Suddenly our choice is not a bad deal or no deal, it’s this deal or a conflict with Iran. The administration treats disagreement on this as a nearly form of sedition. Yet those who disagree include not only the government of Israel: many members of Congress in both parties fear the terms of this agreement that is apparently near conclusion. From the bitter experience of North Korea the administration has apparently learned little–and that was a bad deal that was surely worse than no deal at all.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
03 March '15..

For six years the mantra of the Obama administration about the Iran nuclear negotiations has been simple, direct, and powerful: “No deal is better than a bad deal.” One cannot count the number of times the President, his secretaries of state, his national security advisors, and his negotiators have said exactly this–including this week when Susan Rice repeated it to an AIPAC audience.

Some people believe the proposed deal is a bad deal, and therefore that no deal is better. One might have expected the administration to reply “No, here we disagree; on its merits this deal is a good one.”

The administration says that but cannot leave it there. We also hear, and have been hearing for months, that unless you accept the proposed deal you are choosing war. If you’re the prime minister of Israel and criticize the deal, you’re no longer an ally; you’re treated with vicious invective. If you object, you’re told you don’t really seek a better deal; you are seeking a collapse of the talks.

Evidently PM Netanyahu's Speech Already Bearing Fruit

...It’s also a tough sell because of the administration’s own rhetoric. AFP quotes a State Department official today as follows: “You can’t read into the nuclear negotiation any kind of determination of where the US relationship with Iran may go in the future.” In fact, you absolutely can. The administration’s posture toward Iran, as evident in this conciliatory deal on the table, is that Tehran is a power with legitimate “rights” to enrich uranium and have a nuclear program in place, and that it’s a country that can be trusted with a sunset clause to boot. Netanyahu’s speech clearly and convincingly laid out the case against that view. And Kerry knows it.

Seth Mandel..
Commentary Magazine..
03 March '15..

Part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s role today was as a representative of his region of the world. It tells you just how concerned those who deal with Iran are about the pending nuke deal that the Israeli leader was voicing–genuinely and accurately, by the way–the nervousness of not just Israel but Saudi Arabia, among other Gulf allies of the U.S. And on that front, Netanyahu may have already succeeded.

Obviously the main point of the speech was Iran’s nuclear program. But Netanyahu also sought to convey the kind of regime Iran is and what it does with its military and financial might. “If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,” Netanyahu said. He recited a litany of examples of Iranian troublemaking, and pointed out that these are all recent–that this is the regime on a path to a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu said:

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

Netanyahu wants the West’s negotiators to curb Iran’s terrorism and expansionism as part of the negotiations. And he’s not alone.

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry cannot dispute the characterization of Iran in Netanyahu’s speech, and don’t try to do so. What he said is the uncontested truth. Obama sees Iran’s regional influence as either inevitable or ultimately desirable. Yet those in the region are well aware that Obama’s view of Iran is a fantasy; Tehran is the prime agent of destabilization throughout the Middle East.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

(+ Full Video) Netanyahu’s Address to U.S. Congress. Brilliant, Clear and to the Point

...Try as they might to continue to abuse Netanyahu for a brilliant speech, the White House’s response demonstrates nothing but its intolerance for criticism and inability to defend a policy of capitulation to Iran. Rather than engage in pointless discussions about the president’s hurt feelings or Netanyahu’s chutzpah for telling the truth about the negotiations, it’s time for the press and Congress to start asking the administration tough questions about a reckless deal before it is too late.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
03 March '15..

If President Obama was hoping that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would lay an egg with his much-anticipated and controversial speech to a joint session of Congress, he was gravely disappointed. Netanyahu’s address was a triumph that put the administration on the defensive over its reckless pursuit of détente with Iran. But though the administration’s apologists are willing to admit that Netanyahu won on style points, they are wrong when they claim he offered no alternative to a deal with Iran that abandons the president’s previously stated principles about forcing the Islamist regime to abandon their nuclear ambitions. To the contrary, Netanyahu’s speech was more than stirring rhetoric. It laid out clear benchmarks for what must be achieved in any deal and pointed the way toward a return to tough sanctions and equally tough negotiating tactics. In doing so, he put the administration on the defensive and, no matter what happens in the talks, forces it to explain an indefensible deal and reminded Congress that it has a responsibility to weigh in on the issue to ensure the nation’s security.


Alba5431

What had to most frustrate the White House was Netanyahu’s ability to debunk their main talking point about the speech. After weeks of hyping the address as an injection of partisanship into the U.S.-Israel relationship, the prime minister’s willingness to give the president his due for past support of Israel and his refusal to mention the many instances in which Obama had undercut the Jewish state’s position and deliberately attempted to create more distance between the two allies made the White House’s angry reaction look petty. The prime minister’s initial decision to accept House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation gave the president the opening he needed to distract the country from his Iran policy. With the help of the president’s always helpful press cheering section, White House political operatives made Netanyahu’s supposed breach of protocol the issue rather than the appeasement of Iran. But they eventually succumbed to overkill in denouncing Netanyahu and by the time the prime minister took the podium at the Capitol, the administration’s efforts had the unintended effect of giving him a bigger audience than he might otherwise have had.

Thus, by the time the address was over, the issue was no longer whether he should have given the speech. Though the White House is doggedly trying to portray the speech as partisan, it was not. Now it is the substance of Netanyahu’s concerns about Iran’s behavior and the failure of the Western powers to negotiate a deal that would stop Iran from getting a weapon that is the subject of discussion. Which is to say that after winning news cycles at Netanyahu’s expense throughout February, the White House has set itself up to have to explain years of concessions to a dangerous regime with almost nothing to show for it in terms of making the world any safer.

Lessons Worth Remembering - Hidden Reactor, Silent Reaction

...Iraq’s sole nuclear plant was known and Israel’s attack was public. Syria’s nuclear facility was hidden and Israel’s attack was kept silent. Iran’s program is large and public and will demand a large and public response to halt the program from the global community.



FirstOneThrough..
03 March '15..

Summary: As the world negotiates with Iran about their nuclear program, it is worth remembering lessons from Syria’s nuclear plant in 2007.

In September 2007, something significant happened in the Middle East. While the details were very murky as the news reports were cryptic, it was clear that a major event came-and-went. Over the following months and years, more information emerged about Syria’s nascent nuclear program and Israel’s attack that destroyed it.

Syrian nuclear reactor, 2007

Failure to Detect

Syria began to investigate the feasibility of a nuclear program in the 1990s and by the mid-2000s it was building a nuclear facility with the help of North Korea. The facility was being constructed roughly 100 miles from the Iraqi border. During its construction, hundreds of thousands of American troops were busy a few miles from the construction site during the Iraq War. Many reconnaissance missions repeatedly flew over the Syrian site, but US intelligence failed to detect that Syria had embarked on plans to build a weapon of mass destruction. For years.

The New York Times stated that “the Americans were somewhat blindsided…. By their own account, they…only identified the plant at Al Kibar, named for the nearest town, after they received photos of the interior of the plant last spring from Israel… But even this victory [of destroying the plant], some experts note, raises questions about the [CIA]’s focus. The reactor was built within 100 miles of the Iraqi border yet never identified even though the administration was searching for any form of such arms programs in Iraq…. Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and author of “Nuclear Terrorism,” who was in Washington on Thursday to testify about Iran’s nuclear program [said] ‘if you can build a reactor in Syria without being detected for eight years, how hard can it be to sell a little plutonium to Osama bin Laden?’”

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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Surprise! The Guardian Electrifies Israeli Security Barrier

...Not a huge surprise that The Guardian has unilaterally given a non-existent Palestinian state ownership over the West Bank. However, the report also contains a glaring factual error

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
02 March '15..

It appears that Israel isn’t the only state preventing terror through the construction of a physical barrier. The Guardian reports that Kenya is to build a wall on the Somali border to keep out al-Shabaab terrorists.

The report also makes comparisons with Israel’s security barrier:

Kenya is going to build a wall. Not just any wall, but a “separation barrier”, to employ the euphemism coined by Israel to describe the towering, snaking structure that now separates it from Palestine’s West Bank.

Not a huge surprise that The Guardian has unilaterally given a non-existent Palestinian state ownership over the West Bank. However, the report also contains a glaring factual error:

Does Anyone Believe Obama Has a Strategy to Stop Iran?

...The president’s critics can’t be sure that their strategy of a return to sanctions and tough pressure on Iran aimed at bringing the regime to its knees will succeed. But, despite the president’s claims, he never tried it before he prematurely abandoned pressure for appeasement. But we can be almost certain that a strategy that aims at entente with Iran is guaranteed to fail miserably. Indeed, it is not so much a recipe for failure as it is one for a completely different approach to Iran that is ready to acquiesce to their demands. That is a position that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu does well to protest tomorrow (today) in his speech to Congress. So should Democrats and Republicans who take their pledges to stop Iran more seriously than the president.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
02 March '15..

In an interview with Reuters intended as a rebuttal to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow, President Obama claims that his critics are not only wrong about his negotiating strategy with Iran, but that they lack one of their own other than to declare war. The attempt to depict his critics as warmongers is a classic Obama straw man. Opponents of his policy do have an alternative: returning to the policy of pressure and sanctions that the president discarded in 2013 which offered the only way, short of the use of force, to force Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. But the real fallacy here is not so much the typical administration smears of critics. It is the fact that the president has an Iran strategy at all. Having made concession after concession to Iran in the last two years, there is little reason to believe that the current negotiations will stop Iran. To the contrary, the president appears set on a path that ensures that, sooner or later, Iran will get its bomb.

Let’s examine the president’s claims.

Both the president and Secretary of State John Kerry have insisted that agreeing to let Iran keep its nuclear program—something that he specifically promised he would never do in his 2012 foreign-policy debate with Mitt Romney—was unavoidable. They claim that Western pressure would never have forced Iran to surrender its nukes. More than that, they assert that their concessions have enticed Iran to agree to strictures that have halted Tehran’s progress toward a bomb.

The answer to the first claim is that we don’t know if that would have worked because Obama never tried it. By abandoning sanctions just at the moment when Iran seemed to be feeling the pressure—and prior to an oil price collapse that would have made them even less capable of resisting foreign pressure—the president ensured that the Islamist regime never had to face a worst-case scenario. Instead of waiting for them to fold, he did, and the result was a nuclear deal that undid years of diplomacy aimed at building an international consensus against Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

The president and Kerry are now boasting that their interim deal hasn’t been violated by Iran and that it has stopped their progress in its tracks. But given the poor intelligence that the U.S. has about Iran and the regime’s lack of cooperation with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, this is purely a matter of conjecture and faith on the part of the president and his apologists. But even if we were to believe, in spite of Iran’s long record of cheating on nuclear issues, that somehow the interim deal was succeeding, even the president concedes that allowing them to keep their nuclear infrastructure means that Iran could always go back on its promises, re-activate the stockpile of nuclear fuel still in its possession, and “break out” to a bomb in short order.

The length of a “break out” is a key point in the president’s defense of his strategy. He told Reuters that as long as long as this period was at least a year, the U.S. would be able to detect it in time to re-impose sanctions or use force to stop them from obtaining a bomb. But this is another argument based more on faith than facts and which, even in the unlikely event it is vindicated, still makes Iran stronger and puts U.S. allies in the region as well as the West in peril.

The prediction of a year is an optimistic conjecture embraced by the president because it sounds better than the few months some others think is a more sensible estimate. The lack of credible inspections of Iran’s military research makes any predictions about the length of a breakout a guess, and not even an educated one. U.S. intelligence in Iran is negligible. Even the IAEA concedes that Iran may have extensive nuclear facilities that the West knows nothing about.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oxfam bleating versus the enterprising Gazans who build solid, beautiful homes without concrete

...And you will be hard pressed to find an NGO that condemns Hamas for building terror tunnels using materials that could be building new apartment buildings in Gaza City. The opportunities are there to build thousands of homes today. In six months, not a single NGO has stepped up to help push a solution that some admirable Gazans are doing on their own. Instead they are bleating about "blockade" as if Israel is capriciously punishing Gazans for no reason. NGOs like Oxfam care less about human lives than they do about demonizing Israel.

Look ma! No concrete!
Elder of Ziyon..
02 March '15..







Last week's press release from Oxfam was typical:

Rebuilding the Gaza Strip after last summer's war with Israel will take at least a century at the current rate of progress, Oxfam warned on Thursday.

Israel restricts the flow of steel and concrete into the Palestinian territory because Hamas, the radical Islamist movement, has diverted material of this kind to build tunnels and bunkers.

Only 1,677 lorries carrying construction material were allowed to enter Gaza between November and January. The territory needs about 800,000 lorry-loads to repair the physical damage inflicted during the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel last year. At the current rate, this would take about 119 years.

Oxfam urged Israel to allow the unrestricted inflow of building material.

"Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure that people can rebuild their lives. Families have been living in homes without roofs, walls or windows for the past six months,” said Catherine Essoyan, Oxfam's Regional Director. “Many have just six hours of electricity a day and are without running water.”

That last sentence shows that we need to be skeptical about the rest. The "blockade" is not limiting fuel or electricity to Gaza; it is the ability of Gazans to pay for fuel and the infrastructure. Since Oxfam lies about that, their "119 years" figure is probably just as inaccurate.

And indeed it is. In January alone, 15,000 tons of construction material entered Gaza, and assuming a high 8 tons per truck that's about 1900 trucks in one month, a number that is increasing steadily.

Oxfam claims that only 579 trucks of construction materials entered Gaza in all of January. Yet COGAT says that they sent in 140 trucks of construction material on January 27, 243 on January 28 and 173 on January 29 - about the same number in three days that Oxfam claims Israel allowed in an entire month.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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A Big Thumbs-Up as AFP Sets Record Straight on Gaza Flooding

...AFP's commendable move to set the record set the record straight followed the agency's decision to pull the video from many Web sites last week. It also came after a full retraction from Al Jazeera, another media outlet which CAMERA had contacted seeking correction of the bogus charge blaming the alleged opening of Israeli dams for flooding in Gaza.

CAMERA Media Analysis..
01 March '15..

Following extensive communication from CAMERA with Agence France Presse, the French wire service has retracted its video claiming that a "Gaza village flooded as Israel opens dam gates," and has published a comprehensive article confirming that "no such dam exists in Israel that could control the flow of water into Gaza, according to a team of AFP reporters on the ground as well as interviews with Israeli and international experts," ("Gaza floods: dispelling the myth about Israel 'dams'," Feb. 27).

AFP's commendable move to set the record set the record straight followed the agency's decision to pull the video from many Web sites last week. It also came after a full retraction from Al Jazeera, another media outlet which CAMERA had contacted seeking correction of the bogus charge blaming the alleged opening of Israeli dams for flooding in Gaza.

AFP's Feb. 27 article, about the "shattering [of] a long-held Palestinian myth," explains:

Following the latest flood at the weekend, the local authorities in Gaza on Sunday published an "urgent" statement which reiterated the claim that Israel was to blame.

AFP reported these allegations on Sunday February 22, in the form of a video and photos showing the flooding in the village of Al-Mughraqa in central Gaza.

The script of the video and the photo captions said Israel had opened the sluice gates of a dam. And the video included interviews with residents openly accusing the Jewish state.

But no such dam exists in Israel that could control the flow of water into Gaza, according to a team of AFP reporters on the ground as well as interviews with Israeli and international experts.

The AFP images, in particular the video, unleashed a scathing reponse on social networks.

The Israeli authorities denied the information and said they had allowed four high-power water pumps into Gaza ahead of the storm in order to cope with any potential flooding.

The criticism was even more acute because Israel itself had suffered from flooding in the south. . . .

Julie Trottier, a Belgian hydrology expert, also said there were no dams over the border.

"To my knowledge there is no dam on the Israeli side and terrain is not suited to the constructions of a dam," she told AFP.

Trottier believes that due to the heavy rains, "the water gathered naturally and it flooded."

She said there were "a lot of myths about the question of water in the Palestinian territories and Israel." . . .

What does exist here [in Nahal Besor, 19 miles from the flooded Wadi Gaza] is a low stone structure, barely a metre high, next to a shallow concrete channel, which is sometimes referred to as a "diversion dam" -- whose purpose is to slow the flow of water so some of it can be diverted into a nearby reservoir for irrigation purposes, [Boaz] Kretschmer [head of strategy at Eshkol Regional Council] explained.

It has no gates, nor openings, and when the flood waters hit, they simply glide over it as if it did not exist.

"If it does anything, it actually reduces the quantity of water flowing towards Gaza, and not the opposite," [Nehemia] Shahaf [head of the Drainage and River Authority in the Negev] said.

Trying to Avert War - Netanyahu, Churchill and Congress

...There are striking similarities between the objectives of Churchill's speech nearly 75 years ago and Netanyahu's today; both with no less purpose than to avert global conflagration. And, like Churchill's in the 1930s, Netanyahu's is the lone voice among world leaders today. There is no doubt abut Iran's intent. It has been described as a nuclear Auschwitz. Israel is not the only target of Iranian violence. Iran has long been making good on its promises to mobilize Islamic forces against the US, as well as the UK and other American allies. Attacks directed and supported by Iran have killed an estimated 1,100 American troops in Iraq in recent years. Iran provided direct support to Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks....It is not yet too late to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. In his 1941 speech to Congress, Churchill reminded the American people that five or six years previously it would have been easy to prevent Germany from rearming without bloodshed. But by then it was too late.

Richard Kemp..
Gatestone Institute..
01 March '15..

In a few days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress for the third time. The only other foreign leader to have had that privilege was Winston Churchill. Like Churchill when he first spoke to Congress in December 1941, Netanyahu is taking a risk.

For Churchill the risk was to his life -- he had to make a hazardous transatlantic voyage aboard the battleship HMS Duke of York through stormy, U-boat infested waters. For Netanyahu the risk is to his own political life and to his country's relationship with the United States, given the intense presidential opposition to his speech.

But like Churchill was, Netanyahu is a fighting soldier and, like Churchill, a tough political leader, unafraid to shoulder such risks when so much is at stake. And in both cases, the stakes could not be higher, greater than their own lives, political fortunes or rivalries and affecting not just their own countries and the United States, but the whole of the world.

There are striking similarities between the objectives of Churchill's speech nearly 75 years ago and Netanyahu's today: both with no less a purpose than to avert global conflagration.

Speaking days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill summarized the course of the war thus far but then concluded with a dramatic appeal to the American people for Anglo-American unity to prevent conflict in the future, reminding them that "twice in a single generation, the catastrophe of world war has fallen upon us."

"Do we not owe it to ourselves, to our children, and to mankind," he asked, "to make sure that these catastrophes do not engulf us for the third time?"

No less profound, and no less far-reaching, will be Netanyahu's appeal for American-Israeli unity in the face of a new danger. A danger perhaps even greater than Churchill was able to comprehend in pre-nuclear 1941. Whereas Churchill spoke of a future, as yet unknown peril, Netanyahu will focus on the clear and present threat to world peace if Iran is allowed to produce nuclear weapons.

And like Churchill in the 1930s, Netanyahu's is a lone voice among world leaders today.

In pursuit of both uranium and plutonium tracks to a bomb, as well as the development of long-range ballistic missiles, there is no doubt about Iran's intent. It has been described as a nuclear Auschwitz.

It is Netanyahu's duty to sound the alarm against such a prospect. It is Israel's survival that is at stake. It is Israel that will have to conduct military intervention if the US will not. And it is Israelis who will die in any subsequent regional conflagration.

But this is not only an existential threat to Israel -- it is a danger to other states in the Middle East and to us all. Doubtful of Western resolve, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey are already investigating the development of their own nuclear capabilities.

An agreement that leaves Iran with the potential to achieve nuclear breakout will trigger a Middle East arms race that will exponentially increase the risks of global nuclear war, a risk multiplied by the vulnerability of regional governments to overthrow by extremists.

Iran's ballistic missile program, inexplicably outside the scope of current P5+1 negotiations, brings Europe into Iran's range, and future development will extend Tehran's nuclear reach to the US. The world's number one sponsor of terrorism, the regime of the ayatollahs would have no qualms about supplying their terrorist proxies with nuclear weapons.

This is the greatest threat the world faces today. Yet all the signals suggest that the P5+1, driven by President Obama's apparent desperation for détente with Tehran, is already set on a path towards 1930s-style appeasement that will end with Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Quite Clearly a Problem of Nuclear Proportions

...At the end of the day, Israel must make it clear it has not signed the agreement and is not bound by it. In the future, Israel must formulate its policy on the basis that “a bad agreement is worse than no agreement,” “all options are on the table” and “Israel must protect itself on its own.”


Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror..
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 290..
01 March '15..

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The proposed agreement with Iran is very bad. We should bear in mind that Iran’s leaders openly state that Israel must be destroyed, calling it a “one-bomb state.” But the truth is that even without using nuclear arms against Israel, a nuclear Iran will make the Middle East far more dangerous.

Tension over the Iranian nuclear program is at an all-time high. Among the reasons for this tension are the framework agreement between the United States and Iran, which is supposedly nearing completion, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the American Congress early next week, during which he will speak against the agreement and against the will of President Barack Obama.

Why is the Iranian nuclear program so important? Why is the prime minister of Israel, who knows Israel-U.S. relations so well, willing to risk a head-on conflict with the president of the United States over Iran, of all things? Why is the Iranian threat a matter of prime concern for the State of Israel? The answers to all these questions are complex.

The first question is whether the Iranian regime ever intended, or still intends, to obtain nuclear weapons. This question has been asked for some time, and anyone who has ever worked, or still works, on the issue and is familiar with the information that many of the world’s intelligence agencies have gathered has an unequivocal answer to it.

Almost every intelligence agency interprets the Iranians’ unrelenting efforts in the same way: Their intention is to obtain nuclear arms. Their efforts to construct a plutogenic reactor and enrich uranium in large amounts, and at their current level of enrichment, also add up to one thing: Nuclear weapons. There is no other way to explain the herculean efforts they have been engaged in for so many years.

Any disagreements that remain are solely about the timetable. Some claim that in light of the international pressure and the price that Iran is paying, the Iranians are willing to suspend their efforts and are taking care not to engage in arming at present. For this reason, it will take longer than previously thought until they possess nuclear weapons.

Even those who believe in the Iranians’ intentions claim that at some unknown point in the future, the Iranians will go back to what they did in the past to obtain a nuclear bomb with a reliable way to launch it.

“Hold on a moment,” say those who disagree that the Iranians are headed toward obtaining nuclear arms — mainly media writers and spokespeople in Israel and around the world. Fifteen or 20 years ago, you said the Iranians would have nuclear weapons within 10 years. It has been 20 years, and there are no such weapons. Perhaps you are mistaken now, as you were then.

Those who say this are ignoring the world’s efforts to impede the Iranians’ progress. From the moment the world realized Iran was serious about its intention to obtain nuclear arms, it started, with a great deal of Israeli involvement, to stop Iran’s race to the bomb, and there were quite a few successes. But these efforts only moved Iran’s timetable back. Their desire for nuclear arms remained.

Why the Manufactured Crisis Between the United States and Israel?

...Perhaps this manufactured crisis will diminish after Netanyahu’s speech, where he is likely to say things that many Democrats still agree with. Perhaps it will diminish if Iran rejects any deal, even on the terms the Obama administration is offering. Perhaps Netanyahu will lose his election and a new Labor Party-led government will appear in Jerusalem. But more likely, the remaining 23 months of the Obama administration will be months of continuing tension between Israel and the United States. That is because the administration desires that tension and views it as productive. The problem is not Netanyahu’s speech, which right or wrong to deliver should be a minor and passing factor in bilateral relations. The real issues are deeper and far more serious. This president has fostered a crisis in relations because it advances his own political and policy goals. That is what his subordinates and many Democrats in Congress are trying very hard, and with real success, to obfuscate.

Elliott Abrams..
The Weekly Standard..
26 February '15..

The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.

Suppose for a moment that the Netanyahu speech before Congress is a mistake, a breach of protocol, a campaign maneuver, indeed all the bad things the White House is calling it. Grant all of that for a moment for the sake of argument and the behavior of the Obama administration is still inexplicable. Clearly more is behind its conduct than mere pique over the speech.

First comes the personal relationship and the desire to see Netanyahu lose the election. Recall that Obama became president before Netanyahu became prime minister, and it is obvious that the dislike was both personal and political before Netanyahu had done anything. Obama does not like people on the right, period—Americans, Israelis, Australians, you name it. Obama also decided immediately on taking office to pick a fight with Israel and make construction in settlements and in Jerusalem the central issue in U.S.-Israeli relations. Remember that he appointed George Mitchell as his special negotiator one day after assuming the presidency, and Mitchell was the father of the demand that construction—including even construction to accommodate what Mitchell called “natural growth” of families in settlement populations—be stopped dead. A confrontation was inevitable, and was desired by the White House.

Obama has overplayed his hand, in the sense that in poll after poll Israelis say that they do not support his Middle East policies. Historically, an Israeli prime minister loses domestic support when he cannot manage relations with Washington. This year may be the exception, the time when Israelis want a prime minister to oppose U.S. policies they view as dangerous. They may also believe that the Obama administration is simply so hostile that no prime minister could avoid confrontations.

More Than Flawed, More Than Wrong - Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

...Attacking the Jewish faith is not a path to peace. Antisemitic calls for banning Jews from anywhere – let alone places they consider holy and lived in for thousands of years – is disgraceful. The “Human Stain” is Kristof’s and those that share such sentiments.

Judean Desert down to the Jordan Valley
FirstOneThrough..
Israel Analysis..
27 February '15..

On February 26, 2015, Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed in the New York Times called “The Human Stain” that was more than flawed- it was wrong; it was more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.

Among the many incorrect and racist statements were his claims that the “West Bank” and “East Jerusalem” were Arab. Here are some quick thoughts about his statement that “nibbling of Arab land is just plain wrong.”

Geography

The west bank of the Jordan and eastern Jerusalem are not part of the Arabian Peninsula. That landmass is located east of Israel. The borders of the region are surrounded by water on three sides (the peninsula) and the northwestern edge of Saudi Arabia is the land border.

The countries that constitute the Arab land in addition to Saudi Arabia are: Oman; Kuwait; UAE; Bahrain; Qatar; and Yemen. The Arabian Plate on which the peninsula rests includes parts of southern Jordan and southern Iraq.

Neither the Arabian Peninsula nor the Arabian plate cross the Jordan River, hence there is no geographical basis for referring to any land west of the Jordan as “Arab Land.”

Population

The “Arab Nation” spread beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th and 8th centuries when Muslim invasion of neighboring lands brought Islam and Arabs to those areas. Those Muslim conquests brought Arabs to southern Spain called Andalusia. No one refers to Spain as Arab land today.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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Facts, dam facts, and non-factual inventions aimed at the gullible

Affairs like the attack-dam myth get propagated widely because, for the professionals of the news reporting industry, their anti-Israel character is enough to overcome the absence of a factual basis and the nonsense logic underpinning them. For those of us who depend on them (to whatever extent) for information and ideas, we have much to fear from today's industrialized mainstream news channels.

Friday's revised AFP report on that Gaza flooding
[Screen capture from this source]
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
01 March '15..

A number of news channels reported this past Monday ["23-Feb-15: Dam!"] about a malicious Israeli "attack dam" strategy. With Hamas regime spokespeople in Gaza as their source, they dutifully repeated serious charges about Israel opening the gates of its dams in southern Israel so that floodwaters would pour into the teeming communities of the wretched Gaza Strip.

Not a single reporter saw anything to confirm the claims. Nor were the dams named or located. None of this, however, prevented some of the most respected names in journalism from reporting that Israel's actions were malicious and calculated to increase Gazan suffering.

We followed up a day later ["24-Feb-15: The mess that the receding flood waters reveal"] with some observations about how some of the silly media people were dealing with having been conned:

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter
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