Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kushner - From Israel: A Time of Turmoil

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
31 August '11

Well, Kaitana Savta (Grandma Camp), which was great, is over. I am back to normal -- whatever that means -- and prepared to resume more frequent postings. The questions then are where to begin and what to focus on during this upside-down time.


Of primary importance is terrorism, attempted terrorism, and the threat of even more terrorism.

Late Sunday, Israel received concrete intelligence regarding Islamic Jihad plans for a second attack involving infiltration from Gaza into southern Israel via the Sinai; the plans reportedly are for the attack to be executed (once more!) along one of the roads running near the border with Sinai and to involve abduction of Israelis. More than 10 terrorists were said to be already in Sinai, preparing.

Several actions were then taken:

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered a sizeable deployment of infantry forces to the area.

Two major roads near the border (#10 and #12) were closed, while Israelis with high security clearance were forbidden to drive on roads in the area.

Two large Israeli Navy corvettes (war ships) were docked in Eilat.

And the possibility of the attack was made public.


On orders from General Gantz, the Egyptians were informed of IDF plans to deploy along the Sinai border. Because of the tenuous relationship with the Egyptian military, it was decided that there would be no IDF incursion into the Sinai in pursuit of the terrorists.

The Egyptians, for their part -- fearing an upswing in violence at the end of Ramadan (Aid el-Fitr), which was yesterday -- are in process of a military operation to hunt down jihadi groups in the northern Sinai. Launched on Monday with Israeli approval, the operation involves some 1,500 soldiers and police, utilizing tanks and armored vehicles, who have been operating in Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed, and Rafah, near the Gaza border.


There is considerable sentiment inside of Egypt for a re-writing of the peace treaty with Israel, in particular with regard to the demilitarization of the Sinai.

Last week, in the course of Egyptian demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, the Israeli flag was torn down from the roof of the building.

While the flog has been re-instated (this time in a safer locale on a balcony) on instructions from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the man who tore down that flag has become something of a national hero.

Warren - The republic of anti-Israel

David Warren
Ottawa Citizen
31 August '11

We are waiting patiently, as the fuse burns down on another Middle Eastern powder keg. On Sept. 20, as the next United Nations session opens, Mahmoud Abbas will present a declaration of statehood to the General Assembly, on behalf of the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank. Though unilateral, it will be welcomed by a voting majority which includes all the dictatorships of the Muslim world and Africa.

Full membership in the UN requires the sanction of the Security Council, where there is an American veto. That will almost certainly be exercised, even by the Obama administration. But for all practical purposes, the Palestinian Authority has been a member for a long time, and been behaving as a state. It has the ultimate hallmark of a state, for it conducts its own foreign policy, freely.

We live, I have argued, in a "postmodern" time, under post-modern conditions, including those created by post-modern wars and diplomacy. The difference between "de facto" and "de jure" has been lost. This may have seemed "academic" even to many in the past; and it could be said that the whole history of the nation state is de facto becoming de jure. But the attempt to preserve certain legal niceties was responsible for a great deal of peace and order. Even tyrants hesitated to cross taboo lines, in the days when those lines were enforced.

The Palestinians, so far as they are a people, have now a long history of being able to do things without consequences. (They are not ethnically distinct from neighbouring Arabs, but defined by family ties to a given location.) Under the direction of a succession of "reformed" or unreformed terrorist leaders, from the Mufti of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat to Hamas, they have "evolved" a polity which may itself be defined as "the Anti-Israel."

Israel is consistently held to account, both internally and externally, as an old-fashioned, formal nation state. When the Israelis respond to rocket attacks from Gaza, they are compelled to justify their action. But the people who sent the rockets are not. And supposing them to have been launched "freelance" by independent terror cells, the authority which governs Gaza is not held gravely responsible for having failed to stop them.

Imagine what the consequences would be, if Israeli citizens, acting independently, began lobbing missiles into the Palestinian territories, gratuitously at targets both civilian and military - whatever happened to be in range. And then, the Israeli authorities made no gesture to stop them. The diplomats of the world would spit up their sherry. Our peace-loving politicians would go berserk.

Yet they have nothing to say after each of many thousand Qassams comes down within Israeli borders of the strictest 1947 definition.

Take this mental exercise one step farther. What if a party in the Israeli Knesset - a party in a position to sweep any free election - announced in its very constitution that Israel's borders extend from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean, and include all deep-historical areas of Jewish settlement, including the entire West Bank. That, moreover, while Jews and perhaps a few quiet Christians are allowed to stay, all Muslims must get out. On pain of death.

Yet the reverse of this is the "final position" of Palestinian statecraft.

Hamas declares it openly, and swept the only election in which it was allowed to freely run. The operatives of the PLO used to declare it, but made an ambiguous recognition of Israel's "right to exist" - tactically, in exchange for substantial territories, and Israeli complaisance in their own "right" to enter and govern them.

If an identifiable Jew from Israel wanders, unguarded, into any part of the Palestinian territories, he is a dead man. This is a fact of life, and everyone knows it. Leftist and Islamist rhetoric about Israeli "apartheid" masks a very big truth: that more than a million Muslim Arabs live, work, and move freely around Israel, with full citizenship and protection under Israel's laws (enforced by very liberal courts). Whereas, the number of Jews enjoying this status under the Palestinian Authority is zero.

The western position has been, settle a boundary, let Israel live in peace within it, let Palestinians live in peace on the other side. Let all past claims be resolved by direct negotiations, under international supervision. This is called "the two state solution."

It sounds plausible, but only so long as we avert our eyes from the reality.

The UN will be granting Palestinian statehood without a resolution of anything. It will be a reward for consistent Palestinian refusal to negotiate in good faith, or to deliver on any significant undertakings made under the various Madrid, Oslo, and other "peace agreements" reached in the past.

Israel was told to exchange Gaza for peace. All the Jewish settlements in Gaza were uprooted. All the Israeli troops were withdrawn. Observe what happened.

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Arens - Iron Dome is not enough to protect Israeli citizens

Moshe Arens
31 August '11

[Moshe Arens, Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher, and former Defense Minister of Israel three times, weighs the pros and cons of Iron Dome, but his final paragraph says it all. Y.]

While Iron Dome can effectively defend small militarily important targets, it does not provide the protection that our civilian population in the south, and maybe tomorrow in the north, is entitled to.

As the walrus said to the carpenter in Lewis Carroll's fable, "the time has come to talk of many things." In Israel, after the pounding Israel's citizens in the south took from assorted rockets and mortar shells in the past weeks, the time has come to talk of that great Israeli development, the Iron Dome rocket interception system.

It successfully engaged a good number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip against the south, and was a source of justified pride for all Israelis. But before we make this system the linchpin of Israel's defensive strategy it might be well to analyze the performance of the system during the recent attacks, and the final result. Who was the winner in the duel, the Iron Dome or the combination of Grads, Qassams and mortar shells fired against the civilian population in southern Israel?

The Iron Dome, developed by Rafael, is a superb technological achievement. It follows Israel's first technological breakthrough in ballistic missile interception - the Arrow, developed by IAI. For years the interception of ballistic missiles was considered next to impossible, until the Arrow, designed to intercept missiles launched from a distance of hundreds of kilometers, proved otherwise.

Obviously, intercepting missiles launched from shorter ranges is a far more difficult task. The Iron Dome is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles launched from a distance of 5-70 kilometers, no mean feat. It is an achievement unequaled anywhere in the world. All Israelis can take pride in this achievement. Over and above its military value, and it has substantial military value, it enhances Israel's image in the eyes of friends and foes alike.

As should be expected, it is a very expensive system, which at this point intercepts simple, very cheap, rockets. If valued in terms of out-of-pocket costs, for attacker and defender, it cannot win the battle against the incoming missiles. But, of course, that is not the only consideration in acquiring the system.

An Iron Dome battery is capable of providing defense for an area of about 150 square kilometers against incoming ballistic missiles. That is its "footprint." That means that it cannot provide protection for all of the Israeli civilians living in southern Israel, even if a substantial number of additional batteries were added to the two batteries presently deployed. Also, if a large number of rockets are directed into the area protected by an Iron Dome battery the system can be saturated, and thus penetrated. It does not provide protection against mortar shell launched at short range. In other words, it is only a very partial answer to the rocket threat against Israeli civilians coming from the Gaza Strip.

This became clear last week. The incoming rockets forced Israelis throughout the south to run for shelter. That is the bottom line - and in that sense the rockets were the winners in the duel with the Iron Dome. The terrorists in the Gaza Strip understand that, and more rockets will surely be coming our way. Thus the Iron Dome is a source of pride and gives us the feeling that we are not completely helpless against the rocket threat. It gives mayors in the south a chance to compete against each other in pressuring the government to acquire more Iron Dome batteries and deploy them near their cities, and it seemingly provides justification to increase the defense budget.

But to be honest, whereas the Iron Dome can effectively defend small militarily important targets, it does not provide the protection that our civilian population in the south, and maybe tomorrow in the north, is entitled to. The idea that missile interception systems, when eventually deployed throughout Israel, will provide an impenetrable umbrella under which Israelis will be able to peacefully carry on their daily lives even when Israel is attacked by rockets, is an illusion. There are other ways to put an end to the rocket threat, and the government will sooner or later have to resort to them.

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Rennert - Israel's flag back over Cairo Embassy not fit to print in NY Times

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
31 August '11

In its Aug. 30 edition, the New York Times runs a lengthy article about what happened in Cairo since anti-Israel demonstrators pulled down and desecrated the Israeli flag flown over the Israeli Embassy a week ago. But leave it to the Times to omit the most important development -- of which more later ("In Egypt, An Act of Boldness Is Disputed" page A4).

The article, reported by no fewer than two Times correspondents in the Egyptian capital -- Heba Afify and Stephen Farrell -- runs the full length of a column on the main international-news page.

It starts off by recounting in great detail the feat of a Spiderman-like protester, who climbed up the side of the Embassy building, ripped away the flag and tossed it down, thus becoming an instant hero. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter took it from there.

"His rebellious ascent thrilled the crowd and many across the nation," Afify and Farrell write. "To them, it seemed to epitomize a new Egyptian boldness." But the jubilation didn't last long. A rival soon emerged claiming to be the real Flagman. He insisted that it was he who got to the flag and tossed it to the other guy a few stories below, who then proceeded to reach bottom first and to falsely claim his moment of glory.

So for the next few days, Egyptian media served up the "Battle of the Flagmen." And now the Times obliges.

But in its fascination with and emphasis on the anti-Israel mood in Cairo, the Times omits an important final act in this bit of political theater -- as of Aug. 29, the day before the Times' went to press with its story, the Israeli flag proudly flew again outside the Cairo Embassy. This was understandably news in both the Egyptian and Israeli media -- but not for the Times and its Cairo correspondents .

An example of Israeli resilience in the face of adversity just doesn't comport with the paper's anti-Israel bent. The Times, which boasts on its front-page masthead that it provides "all the news that's fit to print" did not see fit to print the most recent and most newsworthy development about the Israeli flag proudly fluttering again at the Embassy of the Jewish state in the capital of Egypt.

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Fresnozionism - Rein in the UN!

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
gets ready to lay a wreath at the
tomb of murderous terrorist
Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah, 2007
30 August '11

Today, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the “UN Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act of 2011,” HR 2829.

It combines an approach to US funding for the UN which supports American goals and interests with provisions that specifically target some of the UN’s bullying tactics against Israel, which — it should be remembered — is allegedly an ally of the US.

The bill says that the US will not fund UN activities that are in opposition to our interests by making our contributions for various programs voluntary rather than assessed. It states that the UN cannot use our money for purposes other than those for which it was intended. It withholds US contributions for any program that will upgrade the status of the Palestine observer mission, and ends US funding for the Hamas-friendly UNRWA refugee agency, the corrupt UN Human Rights Council, and the “Durban process.” It also includes a provision condemning the Goldstone report and calling for its revocation.

A summary of the bill is here and a news report about the bill and reactions to it is here.

It has 57 original co-sponsors. They are all Republicans. The Obama Administration opposes the bill because “This draft legislation is dated, tired, and frankly unresponsive to the positive role being played by the UN,” according to a spokesperson.

The reference is to UN support of US actions in Afghanistan and Libya. But the Ros-Lehtinen bill wouldn’t prevent that kind of cooperation — indeed, it would make it more likely, since UN officials would have an interest in pleasing the US (and of course it depends on individual nations, not the UN bureaucracy).

In actuality, the UN does not play a positive role in almost anything. Many of the useful specialized agencies like the International Telecommunications Union, the World Health Organization, etc. could be spun off, at which point the rest of it could profitably disappear. Short of that, by tying US funding to the actual activities of the units funded, Ros-Lehtinen’s bill could provide some accountability.

Just as an example, how many Americans enjoy having their taxes support the UN’s Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (UNISPAL) and its annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (every November 29, the anniversary of the partition resolution that they rejected)? Not too many, I’ll bet. What about the paying the salary of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, who has publicly accused the US government of complicity in 9/11 and recently apologized to dogs for comparing them to Jews?

There is no reason why this has to be a partisan issue. Aren’t there Democrats who resent having their money ($3.35 billion in 2010) spent by an unaccountable organization which as often as not opposes our national interests? Or Democrats who would like to see the UN reined in from attacking Israel?

We’ll see.

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Praeger - Israel — an Apartheid State?

Dennis Praeger
National Review Online
30 August '11

Of the world’s many great lies, this is among the greatest.

Next month, the U.N.-sponsored Hate-Israel Festival known as Durban III takes place. Under the heading “Anti-Racism,” the great bulk of the conference, like its Durban I and II predecessors, consists of condemning Israel for racism and equating it with an apartheid state.

Of the world’s many great lies, this is among the greatest.

How do we know it is a lie? Because when South Africa was an apartheid state, no one accused Israel of being one. Even the U.N. would have regarded the accusation as absurd.

Israel has nothing in common with an apartheid state, but few people know enough about Israel — or about apartheid South Africa — to refute the libel. So let’s respond.

First, what is an apartheid state? And, does Israel fit that definition?

From 1948 to 1994, South Africa, the country that came up with this term, had an official policy that declared blacks second-class citizens in every aspect of that nation’s life. Among many other prohibitions on the country’s blacks, they could not vote; could not hold political office; were forced to reside in certain locations; could not marry whites; and couldn’t even use the same public restrooms as whites.

Not one of those restrictions applies to Arabs living in Israel.

One and a half million Arabs live in Israel, constituting about 20 percent of the country’s population. They have the same rights as all other Israeli citizens. They can vote, and they do. They can serve in the Israeli parliament, and they do. They can own property, businesses, and work in professions alongside other Israelis, and they do. They can be judges, and they are. Here’s one telling example: It was an Arab judge on Israel’s supreme court who sentenced the former president of Israel, a Jew, to jail on a rape charge.

Some other examples of Arabs in Israeli life: Reda Mansour was the youngest ambassador in Israel’s history, and is now Consul General at Israel’s Atlanta Consulate; Walid Badir is an international soccer star on Israel’s national team, and captain of one of Tel Aviv’s major teams; Rana Raslan is a former Miss Israel; Ishmael Khaldi was until recently the deputy consul of Israel in San Francisco; Khaled Abu Toameh is a major journalist with the Jerusalem Post; Ghaleb Majadele was until recently a minister in the Israeli Government. They are all Israeli Arabs. Not one is a Jew.

Arabs in Israel live freer lives than Arabs living anywhere in the Arab world. No Arab in any Arab country has the civil rights and personal liberty that Arabs in Israel have.

Now one might counter, “Yes, Palestinians who live inside Israel have all these rights, but what about the Palestinians who live in what are known as the occupied territories? Aren’t they treated differently?”

Yes, of course, they are — they are not citizens of Israel. They are governed by either the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) or by Hamas. The control Israel has over these people’s lives is largely manifested when they want to enter Israel. Then they are subjected to long lines and strict searches because Israel must weed out potential terrorists.

Otherwise, Israel has little control over the day-to-day life of Palestinians, and was prepared to have no control in 2000 when it agreed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to which it gave 97 percent of the land it had conquered in the 1967 War. The Palestinian response was to unleash an intifada of terror against Israeli civilians.

And what about the security wall that divides Israel and the West Bank? Is that an example of apartheid?

That this is even raised as an issue is remarkable. One might as well mention the security fence between the United States and Mexico an example of apartheid. There is no difference between the American wall at its southern border and the Israeli wall on its eastern border. Both barriers have been built to keep unwanted people from entering the country.

Israel built its security wall in order to keep terrorists from entering Israel and murdering its citizens. What appears to bother those who work to delegitimize Israel by calling it an apartheid state is that the barrier has worked. The wall separating Israel from the West Bank has probably been the most successful terrorism-prevention program ever enacted.

So, then, why is Israel called an apartheid state?

Because by comparing the freest, most equitable country in the Middle East to the former South Africa, those who seek Israel’s demise hope they can persuade uninformed people that Israel doesn’t deserve to exist just as apartheid South Africa didn’t deserve to exist.

Yet, the people who know better than anyone else what a lie the apartheid accusation is are Israel’s Arabs — which is why they prefer to live in the Jewish state than in any Arab state.

There are lies, and then there are loathsome lies. “Israel is an apartheid state” is in the latter category. Its only aim is to hasten the extermination of Israel.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website,

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Elder - Terrorists fired at the Erez Crossing last week. Did you hear anything?

Elder of Ziyon
29 August '11

From the MFA:

On Thursday night (August 25th), the terror organizations from the Gaza Strip continued launching rockets and mortar shells towards Israel.

During the attack several mortar shells hit the Erez Crossing, just as three Palestinian women and two infants were crossing back into the Gaza Strip after receiving medical treatment in Israel, causing damage to the crossing's infrastructure and an electrical shutdown. The power outage disabled gates at the crossing. Two of the women passed through safely but a third woman, along with her infant daughter, got caught between two disabled gates while rockets were falling.

The commander of the Erez crossing and another security officer rescued the woman and her daughter. All of the Palestinian women were brought to a protected shelter at the crossing where they were given a meal for the end of the daily Ramadan fast.

Those horrible Israelis!

This attack is not an anomaly. In the past the Gaza terrorists have repeatedly attacked all the crossings between Israel and Gaza - the same crossings that the international community insists must be wide open for unlimited transit of goods and people. These attacks often result in suspension of the crossings and delays for those people and goods scheduled to go through.

The Erez crossing in particular allows hundreds of Gazans to travel to Israel for medical treatment, as well as for NGOs to enter Gaza to help people there.

How often do you hear anyone - including these same NGOs - condemning attacks on the crossings? The international media all but ignored it (exceptions: CNN in context of Israel's response and Shanghai Daily behind a paywall.)

I cannot recall a single statement of condemnation by any NGO ever for terror attacks on crossings. Shouldn't people whose supposed main concern is the welfare of the people of Gaza strongly condemn those who attack the very means needed to help them?

(h/t Ian)

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Paula Stern - Women in Combat

Paula R. Stern
A Soldier's Mother
30 August '11

There's an article on the Arutz 7 website about women in combat units. Not just any unit - Elie's unit - # 55. And not just any women - three commanders and a soldier and the complaint they filed with their commanders...and then leaked to an Israeli reporter. The soldiers are against the army's handling of some incoming soldiers (a unit of religious soldiers who do not want to serve with women). No, these incoming soldiers weren't asked and didn't voice any opposition. Before they even come into the unit, the army is preparing the way by removing the women to other units. The women are angry and feel the men should go elsewhere.

When Elie entered the army, he was asked if he was willing to serve with women. He told them that he preferred not to - serving in a combat unit puts soldiers in very close quarters; the Israeli army is a very physical one. I cannot tell you how many times I saw soldiers pat each other on the back, give a quick hug of greeting or to say goodbye. Hugs when they finished training; hugs when they said goodbye for a week's vacation after the war ended. It is an amazing site to see, to realize it is done with such affection. This was what Elie felt was inappropriate between a man and a woman and so he opted out of this.

After being in the army for a year, finishing his basic training, advanced training, several months on a combat position and then the Commander's course, he was asked to command a unit of incoming soldiers. He was thrilled. He trained, he prepared...and then the night before he was to travel to the training base, he was told that his unit had female soldiers.

I wrote about this experience (Two Rights Don't Make a Wrong), after agonizing how two rights could be wrong. Elie should have the right to his religious beliefs; women should have the right to serve, if the army feels they can. We have a friend whose daughter went into an artillery combat unit. During basic training, she was carrying another soldier (a female). She dropped the other soldier on her leg - both were injured, but our friend's daughter was hurt more seriously. She shattered the bone in her leg in three places and it took her many, many months of pain and rehabilitation to get back to where she was.

I discussed this article in today's news with Elie, curious to see how he would react. He was annoyed, impatient. Please excuse his use of the word "girls" here - he doesn't mean it in a nasty or derogatory way. Elie did not think of these girls in a sexual way but rather as a commander with added complications that, to his way of thinking, did not deliver justifiable value.

That's not to say that he does not see a place for women in the army - there were many roles that they fulfilled with honor and equaled any of the contributions made by males. But he has little patience for those who feel it necessary to go against the army by leaking their complaints to a reporter, especially the one these female soldiers chose. To Elie, this is a betrayal of an army that has done a tremendous amount to find ways to accept the tremendous service these women wish to give.

Here's what Elie said:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tobin - Abbas Won’t Give Way on Refugee “Return” Even If He Gets State

Jonathan S. Tobin
29 August '11

Those inclined to blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East like to talk about the necessity of a two-state solution. But as much as a scheme that left Jewish and Palestinian Arab states living in peace with each other might seem like the only way out of the century-long conflict, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas gave us yet another reminder yesterday about the problem with merely focusing on the creation of a Palestinian state. As the Jerusalem Post reports, in an interview with a Jordanian newspaper, Abbas made it clear even if the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the 1967 lines, the PA would continue to insist on the “right of return” for Arab refugees to swamp Israel.

If he gets his way, Abbas will have a Jew-free state in the West Bank and Gaza next to a Jewish state that will have to live under the threat of being deluged with Palestinians who would transform it into yet another Arab state. That helps explain why he continues to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state. But, along with this promise of unending strife, Abbas’ statement also points to another issue that explains why his UN initiative represents more of a danger to the PA than it does to Israel.

As Khaled Abu Toameh explains in the Post, if the General Assembly does vote in favor of the Palestinian statehood resolution, it won’t actually create such a state, but it will raise the question of whether or not the PA could be said to still represent the interests of the millions of descendants of the 1948-49 refugees who are still kept in camps by Arab nations. They are currently represented in New York by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s UN observer office. But if the GA votes in favor of statehood then that status will be transferred to the PA, which is the putative government of the West Bank, though not Gaza, which remains under the thrall of the Hamas terrorist movement.

Considering the PLO created the PA after Israel allowed Yasir Arafat back into the territories after the 1993 Oslo Accords, this may strike those not immersed in the legalisms of the UN as confusing. But the transference of representation from the PLO to the PA may actually complicate the efforts of Abbas to try to legally represent the refugees.

Abbas’ remarks about not giving up the right of return also illustrate the zero-sum nature of the conflict from the Palestinian frame of reference. Abbas still balks at recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. Left-wing critics of Israel dismiss this as a non-issue, but the PLO and the PA it spawned came into being fighting against the existence of Israel before the so-called “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian national identity is inseparable from the idea of opposing Zionist sovereignty over any part of the country and of returning refugees to pre-1967 Israel.

This is why Abbas and his predecessor Yasir Arafat have always refused Israeli offers of an independent state no matter the terms. Though their UN gambit is creating legal problems for the PA, the refugee issue shows it must nonetheless stick to it simply because Abbas’ overriding imperative is to avoid peace talks at any price.

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Glick - The perils of a remilitarized Sinai

Caroline Glick
30 August '11

Will the Egyptian military be permitted to remilitarize the Sinai? Since Palestinian and Egyptian terrorists crossed into Israel from Sinai on August 18 and murdered eight Israelis this has been a central issue under discussion at senior echelons of the government and the IDF.

Under the terms of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Egypt is prohibited from deploying military forces in the Sinai. Israel must approve any Egyptian military mobilization in the area. Today, Egypt is asking to permanently deploy its forces in the Sinai. Such a move requires an amendment to the treaty.

Supported by the Obama administration, the Egyptians say they need to deploy forces in the Sinai in order to rein in and defeat the jihadist forces now running rampant throughout the peninsula. Aside from attacking Israel, these jihadists have openly challenged Egyptian governmental control over the territory.

So far the Israeli government has given conflicting responses to the Egyptian request. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told The Economist last week that he supports the deployment of Egyptian forces. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he would consider such deployment but that Israel should not rush into amending the peace treaty with Egypt.

Saturday Barak tempered his earlier statement, claiming that no decision had been made about Egyptian deployment in the Sinai.

The government's confused statements about Egyptian troop deployments indicate that at a minimum, the government is unsure of the best course of action. This uncertainty owes in large part to confusion about Egypt's intentions.

Egypt's military leaders do have an interest in preventing jihadist attacks on Egyptian installations and other interests in the Sinai. But does that interest translate into an interest in defending Israeli installations and interests? If the interests overlap, then deploying Egyptian forces may be a reasonable option. If Egypt's military leaders view these interests as mutually exclusive, then Israel has no interest in such a deployment.

Rennert - NY Times sanitizes, rationalizes terror attack at Tel Aviv nightclub

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
30 August '11

In the early Monday morning hours, a Palestinian terrorist commandeered a taxi in Tel Aviv, drove it to a packed nightclub and ran over several policemen before coming to a halt and stabbing several bystanders. As he repeatedly stabbed Israelis, the terrorist shouted in Arabic, "God is great."

But that's not exactly how the New York Times is reporting this terrorist rampage in the heart of Israel.

In a dispatch posted on the Times' website, Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner is ever so careful not to impute any terrorist impulses to this bloody-minded terrorist. In fact, Bronner bends over backwards to rationalize what may have prompted him to aim for a nightclub packed with a thousand teens at an end-of-summer celebration.

In his lead paragraph, Bronner reports that "a Palestinian man from the occupied West Bank wounded eight Israelis early Monday...."

Note that the attack was not carried out by a "terrorist" on a murderous rampage. It was a "Palestinian man" -- a neat euphemism to hide his terrorist tactics.

Also, Bronner hints that there may be a good and sufficient reason for his repeated use of a lethal knife -- after all, this "Palestinian man" hails from the "occupied West Bank." That immediately puts Israel -- not the terrorist -- in the dock.

According to Bronner, Israel is an "occupier" and thus has no business in the West Bank because presumably that's Palestinian territory. But that's not the case. There never was a sovereign Palestine that somehow has been displaced by the Israeli "occupier." At most the terrorist's Nablus home is in "disputed" territory -- the Palestinians may claim it for a future state, but that doesn't give them a recognized right of possession. If anything, Israel's claims are much stronger.

But none of this bothers or interests Bronner. By appending the "occupier" label on Israel, he provides a rationalization for the attacker's bloody motives.

Thus, Bronner proceeds to write about the "Tel Aviv attack" and about "the man accused of mounting the attack." Anything to avoid use of the T-for-terrorist word in writing about this terrorist attack. In Bronner parlance, the terrorist is not a terrorist and Nablus is not "disputed" territory but in Israeli "occupied" Palestine. His is a semantic attack on Israel, with an apologia of Palestinian terrorism

It's not that the T-word is totally absent from Bronner's dispatch. He writes about Israel stepping up security against "terrorist" attacks and that "terror" attacks were relatively common during the Palestinian intifada but rare in Tel Aviv in recent years. But that's all in the abstract. It's when an actual terrorist rampage stares him in the face that he feels compelled to avert his eyes.

Thus, a specific terrorist attack in the heart of Tel Aviv by a fully committed terrorist still can't be reported as such in the pages of the New York Times.

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Visser/Shaked - The devastating truth about water and Palestinian statehood

The owner of the local Snow bar,
swimming in his pool in the hills of
Ramallah: quite a decent place
Yochanan Visser/Sharon Shaked
JPost Opinion
28 August '11

Documents prove PA claims are all wet.

On June 15, 2011 The Jerusalem Post published an article about the Palestinian water crisis, written by the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Dr. Shaddad Atilli.

In his article, Atilli wrote that Israel’s ‘discriminatory policies’ are to blame for the lack of water in Palestinian society. He claimed that Israel uses the Joint Israeli Palestinian Water Committee (JWC) to veto and delay Palestinian water projects. He also wrote that Israel illegally exploits 90% of the shared water sources.

Furthermore, he claimed that because of the Israeli theft of water and the destruction of water wells and treatment plants, people realize that the two-state solution is rapidly fading. His libelous article, full of distortions, outright lies and false accusations, was yet another proof of the PA’s intransigence.

Recently our organization, Missing Peace, obtained authentic papers documenting meetings of the Joint Israeli Palestinian Water Committee (JWC), and correspondence between Colonel Avi Shalev, head of the International relations branch of COGAT, and Dr.Atilli. These documents paint an entirely different picture.

Contrary to Atilli’s outrageous accusations, the Palestinian Authority has been sabotaging the two-state solution by preventing the development of an independent water infrastructure for the future Palestinian state.

Let’s examine some of the claims in Atilli’s article and compare them with the picture that emerges from the JWC and COGAT documents.

‘Israel delayed and vetoed Palestinian water projects,’ says Atilli.

First of all, article 40 (14) in the Oslo Accords clearly states that all JWC decisions about water projects in the West Bank need mutual agreement. Once approved, JWC projects for the territories under Palestinian control (Areas A and B) do not need any further Israeli involvement. Projects in Area C, where Israel is in control, need approval from the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA).

Since 2000 the PWA submitted 76 requests for permits to the office of the Civil Administration. Subsequently 73 permits were issued by ICA and three denied because there was no master plan.

In a letter of June 8 2009, Shalev responded to Atilli’s complaint that ICA did not honor a PWA request to issue 12 of these permits. Shalev wrote that these permits had already been issued in 2001, and that ICA wondered why the PWA did not execute these projects.

Another 44 JWC-approved projects, the majority in Areas A and B, like the construction of a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) in Jenin that received approval in 2008 - have not been implemented. The German government even withdraw a plan to build a WWTP in Tulkarm when it concluded that the PWA could not handle the project. When, back in November 2009, the PWA complained about a lack of funds, the Israeli government offered to finance water projects for Palestinian communities. The PA has yet to respond to this offer.

Tobin - Pressure Shalit’s Kidnappers, Not Netanyahu

Jonathan S. Tobin
29 August '11

Yesterday, many Israelis and Jews around the world marked the 25th birthday of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas five years ago. Israeli demonstrators demanded his release but seemed to focus more on the unwillingness of the Israeli government to release 1,000 imprisoned terrorists — including many with Jewish blood on their hands — than on the killers who are holding Shalit.

That is the irony of all such activist efforts undertaken on behalf of a hostage being held by terrorists. It is the democratic governments who are forced to weigh the dangers of releasing terrorists against the imperative to ransom a captive who wind up being in the crosshairs of the controversy rather than the criminals. Our own Evelyn Gordon summed up this dilemma neatly last year when in writing about the case in the May 2010 issue of COMMENTARY she stated that despair over peace had led to defeatism about dealing with such instances of terror:

So long as the only factors in the equation that determine Israeli thinking are love of their children and the imperative to ransom captives, no political leader is likely to have the courage to resist the overwhelming public pressure for a deal. So there will be more Gilad Shalits, and the price the country will pay for their freedom will go even higher.

As much as we should all sympathize with the Shalit family, those seeking to increase the pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to give in to extortionate ransom demands are aiding Hamas, not Gilad Shalit. The only legitimate point of discussion about this issue should be the determination of the civilized world to isolate and bring down the independent terrorist state in Gaza that is holding the 25-year-old prisoner. So long as this group is able to exert sovereignty over that territory and continue to launch terror strikes at Israel with impunity, there will indeed be no end to the number of Israelis killed or kidnapped.

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Fresnozionism - The Palestinians and the ‘process’
29 August '11

Especially now, when the world is preparing to award the Palestinians a state — and, if things go according to plan, ethnically cleanse as many as 650,000 Jews from the land ‘that the Palestinians want for their state’ (as the media repetitiously intone) — we need to remind ourselves of who the Palestinian Arabs are:

They are the personification of the atavistic Arab culture that does not abide an alien element in its midst.

They are the bearers of the myth of Arab expulsion and the reality of refugeehood — although the Jews aren’t responsible for this, we are the ones who are paying for it.

They are the popularizers of terrorism as a means to achieve political goals, the inspiration for Al Qaeda and others.

They are a source of manpower for some of the world’s most vicious terrorist gangs.

They are remarkably cruel, to their enemies and to each other. They consider cruelty ‘masculine’.

They are the focus for the mental disorders of Jews like Larry Derfner (see here and here), who confuse their irrational guilt and suicidal impulses with morality.

They are the primary tool of Arab, Muslim, European and world-wide antisemitism, which aims above all to end the Jewish state so that the Jewish people can be persecuted out of existence.

Today the world’s leading Jew hater is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who — like Hitler — combines geopolitical goals with antisemitic ones. His objective is to remove US influence in the Middle East, get control of the region’s resources and establish a Shiite caliphate. He sees the existence of Israel as a major stumbling block for all of these enterprises, as well as an affront to Islam.

Iran is developing nuclear weapons to strengthen its hand, but Ahmadinejad has said on several occasions that the Palestinian Arabs will be the weapon that will ultimately destroy Israel.

TEHRAN — The creation of a universally-recognized Palestinian state would be just a first step towards wiping out Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday…

“Recognizing the Palestinian state is not the last goal. It is only one step forward towards liberating the whole of Palestine,” Ahmadinejad told worshippers at Friday prayers on international Qods Day — an annual show of support for the Palestinian cause.

“The Zionist regime is a center of microbes, a cancer cell and if it exists in one iota of Palestine it will mobilize again and hurt everyone.”

“It is not enough for [the Palestinians] to have a weak, powerless state in a very small piece of Palestine. They should unite to establish a state but the ultimate goal is the liberation of the whole of Palestine,” he said.

“I urge the Palestinians never to forget this ideal. Forgetting this ideal is equal to committing suicide. It would be giving an opportunity to an enemy which is on the verge of collapse and disappearance.”

It should be obvious that the threat to peace emanates from Iran, not from the lack of a Palestinian state.

The job of Israel’s government is to protect the Jewish state, and by extension the Jewish people. It is not to provide a solution for the Palestinian Arabs. The Oslo agreement of 1993 represented a disastrous deviation from its purpose, and has already resulted in thousands of Israeli (and Arab) victims. Oslo was negotiated in secret and foisted on the public — and I think on Yitzhak Rabin as well — by a cabal of politicians who understood that it would never be accepted by the great majority of Israelis, who (correctly, it turned out) didn’t trust the PLO.

Whether or not it was originally intended to do so, the Oslo-initiated process has come to stand for the uprooting of Jews from the area east of the Green Line — the wholly arbitrary 1949 armistice line. The Palestine Mandate encouraged the ‘close settlement’ of Jews on the land — all of the land. And Jews lived in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem until they were forced out at gunpoint by Jordanian soldiers in 1948. Now the ‘process’ as interpreted by Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas calls for yet another expulsion.

When 8,000 Jews were removed from the Gaza strip, it was a national catastrophe which still, 6 years later, hasn’t healed. When Avigdor Lieberman suggested that a peace treaty could include ‘land swaps’ in which Arab populated areas west of the line would become part of Palestine while Jewish settlements east of it would be joined to Israel, the Arabs screamed bloody murder — even though Lieberman was considering only a change of sovereignty in which nobody would have to leave their homes. That was a non-starter, but transfer of 650,000 Jews is considered reasonable!

At this critical point, Israel must take a turn toward reality and officially recognize the following:

 - The ‘peace process’ never had a chance because the Arabs never wanted less than to replace Israel. It will officially end when the Palestinians go to the UN.

 - The Palestinian Arabs are not the ‘other side’ in the conflict — they are primarily a tool of Israel’s more powerful enemies. Concessions to them are intended to weaken Israel strategically.

 - European and Obama Administration efforts to force negotiations for a ‘two-state solution’ constitute hostile diplomacy. Israel should resist, not support them. They won’t go anywhere, and are simply a way to force concessions.

 - The expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria would be a disaster. It would wreck Israeli society, even if the resources were available to house the refugees inside the Green Line, which they aren’t. It cannot be allowed to happen.

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Gordon - Gaza’s Terrorist Regime Must Be Destroyed

Evelyn Gordon
29 August '11

Today’s (Sunday) terror attack in Tel Aviv was unusual in that it originated in the West Bank, where a continuous, proactive Israel Defense Forces presence has virtually eradicated terror. In contrast, Israel suffers daily terrorism from Gaza, which the IDF left six years ago, and repeated “cease-fires” never actually cease the fire: This weekend, for instance, three rockets hit southern Israel despite the “cease-fire” announced last week by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees.

During the last six years, Gazan terrorists have fired more than 7,000 rockets and mortars at Israel. That successive Israeli governments have allowed this terror to continue is an abdication of any government’s primary responsibility: ensuring its citizens’ security. But it has also had devastating strategic consequences.

As former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer noted, it acclimated the world to the idea rocket fire on Israel is perfectly acceptable, with the result that when Israel finally did strike back in 2008, it suffered universal condemnation, culminating in the infamous Goldstone Report. As Haaretz Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff noted, it has convinced the terrorists Israel fears them, emboldening them to escalate their terror. As Rabbi Eric Yoffie noted, it undermines the raison d’etre of a Jewish state, which is to protect Jews. And you needn’t be “right-wing” to reach these conclusions; all of the above are outspoken liberal doves.

Now, as I’ve written elsewhere, the terrorist enclave in Gaza also threatens Israel’s peace with Egypt. This month’s terror attacks near Eilat, perpetrated by Gazans who traversed the Sinai to attack across the Egyptian-Israeli border, sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Cairo when several Egyptian soldiers were killed in the cross-fire; this success will surely prompt the terrorists to try to repeat it. And if enough Israelis and Egyptians are killed along their mutual border, an Egyptian-Israeli war could erupt.

For all these reasons, eliminating the Gazan terrorist enclave is imperative. But this can’t be done via a short-term operation like 2008’s; only a long-term IDF presence in Gaza will do.

The claim “there’s no military solution to rocket fire” is patently absurd. During those same years when Gazan terrorists fired more than 7,000 missiles at Israel, not a single rocket was fired from the West Bank. So unless you believe that West Bank terrorists, unlike their Gazan counterparts, never wanted to launch rockets, the obvious conclusion is the IDF’s continuous, proactive presence has thus far prevented West Bank terrorists from acquiring rocket-launching capabilities.

The diplomatic arguments against such a move are far more serious: The international outcry would be enormous. But continued delay will only further embolden the terrorists, further accustom the world to the idea terrorists are entitled to shoot rockets at Israel with impunity, and make war with Egypt more likely. Indeed, the Eilat attacks put the diplomatic consequences of inaction on stark display: Though Israel had precise intelligence about the attacks, its government rejected a Shin Bet security service recommendation to thwart them via a preventive strike on Gaza, fearing Egypt’s anger. In consequence, the attacks went ahead and several Egyptians were killed – outraging Egyptian public opinion far more than a strike on Gaza would have.

Gaza’s terrorist regime must be destroyed. Israel can no longer afford any other outcome.

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