Monday, October 31, 2011

Tobin - The Left’s Palestinian Halloween Trick

Jonathan S. Tobin
30 October '11

Who destroyed Israel? That’s the question a cartoon by Eli Valley, the Forward’s artist-in-residence, asks in a Halloween-themed fantasy in which he poses in a graphic cartoon which begins with the Olympic Games taking place in Tel Aviv, Palestine in 2052. Going backward, he tells us the demise of the Jewish state was the fault of settlers, Israeli right-wingers and their American friends who refused to accede to a two-state solution, leading inevitably to the United States abandoning an “apartheid” Jewish state. The graphic, titled “Never Miss an Opportunity,” attempts to turn Abba Eban’s famous line about the Palestinians “never missing an opportunity” to make peace on the Jews. But his false narrative is an absurd distortion of both recent history and the current situation.

The problem here is not just that it is the Palestinians who refused an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state in 2000, 2001 and 2008 and have refused to negotiate with Prime Minister Netanyahu even during a settlement building freeze. Rather, it is that the Palestinians don’t really exist in the imagination of the Jewish left. Their actions, the reality of Hamas rule in Gaza, incitement, terrorism and inability to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders not only isn’t mentioned, it doesn’t even enter the debate. For Valley and other American Jewish leftists, peace is solely in the hands of the Jews; therefore the lack of an agreement is the fault of Israel and its enablers. In Valley’s vision, the true role of American Jewry should be in opposing Israeli policies and sending “reparations” to the Palestinians.

Fresnozionism - Mahmoud Abbas stays faithful to the Cause

Mahmoud Abbas gets a kiss from
his mentor, Original Terrorist
Yasser Arafat
30 October '11

News item:

The Arab nations should have accepted the U.N. partition plan in 1947, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday, about one month after he went to the U.N. to seek unilateral recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Abbas conceded that “it was our mistake” for not agreeing to U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in the British Mandate for Palestine. According to Abbas, Arabs as a whole are at fault for rejecting the plan and should have acted like the Jews and established a state. “But should they [the Israelis] punish us for this mistake for 64 years?” he said, speaking in English.

Does this mean that he wishes there were a peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel, as Resolution 181 envisioned? Does it mean that he recognizes the Jewish state, which was implied in resolution 181?

Of course not. If a separate state were all he wanted, he could have had it in 2008, when then-PM Olmert offered him 93.6% of Judea/Samaria plus swaps, and half of Jerusalem for a capital. Although he now claims that the opportunity was lost when Olmert left office, there is good evidence that the PA walked away from it. And even today he explicitly refuses to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

In 1947, the Palestinian Arabs believed that — with the help of the Arab nations — they would succeed in driving the Jews out of Palestine or killing them, and therefore they did not accept partition. But that isn’t what happened. Their strategy backfired in the worst possible way.

Leibler - Testing our resolve

Isi Leibler
Israel Hayom
30 October '11

Our tepid response to the latest stream of missiles launched against us from Gaza is chillingly reminiscent of our failure to adequately respond to this threat since the advent of the primitive Qassam missiles over a decade ago. The world was trained to take for granted the idea that the launching of missiles against Israeli civilians was an acceptable fact of life in this region. Since then, the missiles have become infinitely more lethal, especially now with the employment of Russian-made Grad multiple rocket launchers mounted on small trucks possibly originating from the Libyan arsenals of Gadhafi.

The source of this latest exchange was again a totally unprovoked Islamic Jihad attack from Gaza under Hamas jurisdiction. For a number of days, 1 million Israelis came under missile fire, forcing the closure of schools for 200,000 children and the postponement of university studies for 40,000 higher education students. Other activities were also curtailed and residents were required to stay close to shelters.

On this occasion, an Israeli father of four in Ashkelon was killed when he was hit by a missile as he got out of his car. Eight others were injured in other attacks; a rocket exploded into an empty school in Ashkelon; a Grad missile blew up nine cars in a multistory building in Ashdod.

Our initial response killed a number of Islamic Jihadists, including a senior officer, engaged in the launches, but close to 40 missiles were subsequently launched in retaliation against us. We then failed to respond with force and instead, the IDF exercised "restraint," effectively making a tit-for-tat response with IDF officials even stressing that responses would be “gradual.” The standard empty threats and dismal statements were made about not tolerating aggression.

Instead, we left it to the Egyptians to renew a truce at a time when an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood group was making its first visit to its fraternal ally Hamas in Gaza – an organization which they take pride in having created.

Stern - Liars, Just Liars

Paula R. Stern
A Soldier's Mother
28 October '11

I talk to my sons - Elie and Shmulik - about their time in the army and stories come out. This week, both Elie and Shmulik shared stories I had never heard. One made me laugh - one made me angry.

Here's the one that made me angry. Elie was accused of deliberately tripping a 10-year-old Arab girl at the checkpoint. According to the accusation, Elie pulled a wire that causes spikes to move across the road. The intention of the spikes is to immediately disable a car that crosses the checkpoint without permission. I suppose if a child were walking and crossing the path of the spikes as it was pulled by a soldier, she could trip and fall. I suppose because I have never seen it, never heard of it happening.

The truth is that earlier that morning, Elie stopped an Arab who was try to cross without permission and was caught smuggling items into Israel. Elie took the permit away; the Arab was not allowed to cross the checkpoint. Within minutes, the Arab called the army and the media, complained that Elie had abused an Arab child.

Several levels up, the complaint made an impact as the media began calling to inquire about the poor abused little girl. Up the complaint went...and then down. Elie's superiors were notified. YNET and others had the story and it was about to be printed - what a great story, sure to garner international condemnation, and human rights organizations would decry the abuse. No matter that it never happened - the story was the point. Mean Israeli soldier abuses poor Palestinian child.

Except there was no child and the soldier did nothing wrong.

Poller - The Muhammad al-Dura Hoax and Other Myths Revived

Nidra Poller
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2011, pp. 71-78

On September 30, 2000, a day after Yasser Arafat launched his war of terror, euphemized as the al-Aqsa intifada, state-owned France 2 Television broadcast a news report, filmed by a Palestinian cameraman, of the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old Palestinian identified as Muhammad al-Dura. The dramatic voice-over commentary by the station's long-time Jerusalem correspondent, Charles Enderlin, described how the boy and his father Jamal were pinned down by Israeli gunfire at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip. The father pleaded frantically with the soldiers to stop shooting, to no avail. "A last burst of gunfire," intoned Enderlin, "the boy is dead, his father critically wounded."

Despite a mountain of evidence disputing the charge of his intentional killing by Israeli soldiers in 2000, 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura, seen cowering with his father, became the poster child of the "Second Intifada." As seen in this billboard, his image soon attained iconic status in the Arab world and helped refuel myths of bloodthirsty Jews.

The bloodless images of Jamal and Muhammad al-Dura were instantly seared into the public mind. Distributed free of charge to international media, repeated endlessly like a raucous war cry, the Dura video provoked anti-Jewish violence in Israel and, on a scale not seen since the Holocaust, throughout Europe.[1] The recently-created al-Jazeera television—founded in 1996—was significantly boosted by exploiting the Dura death scene.

Benson - Red Cross Did Not Examine Gilad Shalit Before Controversial Egyptian Interview

Pesach Benson
Honest Reporting/Backspin
27 October '11

That Egyptian interview with Gilad Shalit took place before any medics had a chance to check his condition. Investigative journalist Robert Behar (Forbes) blows the lid:

Last week, I sent an email to the interviewer, Shahira Amin, Egypt’s most famous TV journalist – posted afterwards in a news story.

Three days ago, she responded at great length in an email, most of which she subsequently published in an open letter in the Jerusalem Post. In her email to me, Amin defends her decision to conduct the interview with Shalit – in part because she says the interview was conducted “AFTER [her caps] he had been released by Hamas and had a medical checkup by the Red Cross.”

But here’s the problem: Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan wrote me today that “ICRC representatives met Mr. Shalit briefly after his transfer to the Egyptian authorities. However, he was not met by an IRC doctor as this has [sic] not been solicited.”

And just what did that mean for the interview?

This was an illusion of choice,” says Dr. Nancy Zarse of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, an expert in hostage negotiations for the FBI, federal prisons, and the Chicago Police. “I watched the video of the interview. There was evidence of increased autonomic [nervous system] arousal, a lot of heavy breathing, and there were times that I thought he looked scared. This wasn’t really that you have the option to say no. I haven’t met or spoken with him, but I would understand that an individual like this still feels captive – that an interview like this would become part and parcel of the captivity.”

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 have long been used to protect the human dignity of current and former war prisoners. While those laws apply to governments, and not media organizations, keep in mind that the Shalit interview was conducted for Egyptian state TV – an arm of government. Since 2003, the British Red Cross and the British Government have made efforts to provide an updated interpretation of the requirement to protect prisoners of war or civilian internees against “insults and public curiosity” by TV media. For one thing, the Red Cross notes, publicity can humiliate the person and make his return to his own country more difficult. And many of those interviews are done “under duress.”

The interview wasn’t just exploitative, it was abusive and clearly a humiliating extension of Shalit’s captivity.

(Hat tip: HR reader GW)

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

IMRA - Time for A Road Map for Cleaning Out the Gaza Strip

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Weekly Commentary
27 October '11

Fact: A huge supply of rockets carrying various payloads, putting a large part of Israel within range, is already in place in the Gaza Strip. And with each passing day there is an increase in the quantity and quality of these weapons .

No one is denying this fact. Not Hamas in Gaza. Not the PA leadership in the West Bank. Not the Arab states. Not Iran. Not the Quartet members. No one.

What is Israel doing about it?

Our patrols in the waters off of the Gaza Strip do indeed make smuggling from the sea more difficult, but there is an essentially open border between the Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip traversed by hundreds of broad smuggling tunnels.

Add to that an ever growing domestic weapons production industry in Gaza.

So what is Israel doing about it?

Well, we keeps adding targets to our target bank so that when the Arabs fire something at us we can bomb something back.

Can Israel do more?

Let’s take on faith for a moment that cold reasoning rather than inertia is behind the decision so far not to order the IDF to clean out the Gaza Strip.

Can we do something in the absence of military action?

Let’s back up again and consider just how profound it is that there is a universal consensus that the Gaza Strip is packed with rockets and missiles.

This when the Palestinian leadership applying to the UN for support for statehood does not claim that either the current PA or even a sovereign Palestinian state has the right to be armed with these rockets and missiles.

Absolutely incredible.

The whole world knows that these weapons are in the Gaza Strip and the PA leadership itself concedes that these weapons aren’t supposed to be there.

The situation is ripe for a new “road map”.

A “road map” for cleaning out the Gaza Strip.

And with the simplest of arguments: a necessary condition for the establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel is that the illegal weapons be cleared out of the Gaza Strip before the state comes into existence.

Emphasis on “before”.

Because if and when a Palestinian state comes into existence with those weapons in place there will be a thousand and one excuses for their failure to disarm.

Anyone who supports the establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel should support the enforcement of a road map for cleaning out the Gaza Strip now.

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Ceren - Forum With Israeli Scientists “Offends Muslims”

Omri Ceren
26 October '11

It’s come to this:

University of Sydney scholars set to exchange ideas with visiting Israeli experts on neuroscience, tissue regeneration and other cutting-edge research areas are being warned the event will offend potential Muslim undergraduates.

Associate Professor Jake Lynch, director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, has urged his colleagues to withdraw from the research gathering, and the university administration to cancel it. Dr. Lynch has been a strong supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign designed to isolate Israel. He says he has been asked to intervene by the Campaign for Justice and Peace in Palestine….

He says most Muslim students live in the west and feel “a sense of resentment and alienation resulting from the predominance of pro-Israeli voices in Australia’s political and media discourses.”

The poor dears. They feel “resentment and alienation” from “political and media discourses,” and because of that doctors aren’t allowed to make progress on curing brain diseases. Really, there’s nothing like having the director of a “Peace and Conflict Studies” program explain why the mere presence of Israelis at a scientific conference aimed at human betterment is an affront to Muslims. And to think, some people have suggested that anti-Israel viciousness in the Ivory Tower has allowed hatred to cloud clear thinking.

Australia has managed to nurture a fairly active – albeit still very fringe – anti-Israel boycott movement. The insanity has touched the country’s mainstream parties, but it remains a broad embarrassment to normal Australians and to mainstream Australian politicians. Australian media has been complicit in fomenting anti-Israel bias – taking articles about how Israel wants genuine, not indirect peace talks and headlining them, “Israel to reject new peace talks” – but even they couldn’t stomach [former Australian Prime Minister] Rudd’s hysterical overreaction to the use of Australian passports in the al-Mabhouh hit, which included abandoning Israel to the UN’s Goldstone lynch mob.

All of which is to say, don’t expect Lynch’s call to become anything but the passing disgrace that it is. His instinctive rhetorical appeal to multicultural victimhood – nonetheless – is deeply revelatory personally and institutionally. Pathetic appeals to Muslim resentment, marshaled as pretexts for halting scientific research and medical progress. Perfect.

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Lee Smith - Mob Tactics

Lee Smith
26 October '11

Egypt captured Israeli-American Ilan Grapel to generate popular support among the volatile anti-Western middle class at home  

(While Ilan Grapel has already been released, and arrived in Israel on Thursday afternoon, Lee Smith's points are still of interest Y.)

Headlines this week may be fixated on Libya’s embrace of Sharia law and Islamists’ electoral victory in Tunisia, but if you really want to gauge what the Arab Spring has wrought, forget about the drama in Tunis and Tripoli. Consider instead the unfolding story of 27-year-old Ilan Grapel, an Israeli-American law student who has been held on charges of espionage for the past four months in Cairo.

Yesterday Israel approved a deal, seemingly hastened by the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, which will free Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners. And if all goes according to plan, Grapel will be released Thursday. Some former U.S. intelligence officials believe Grapel may really have been an Israeli spy, but Israeli soldiers, never mind the Jewish state’s clandestine agents, are seldom returned alive. The Egyptians know he’s not a spy, but he’s a valuable card anyway, which is why they captured him. It is logic and behavior befitting a terrorist organization.

If Hamas and Hezbollah can get the Zionist entity to release their associates, the thinking goes, why can’t Egypt’s interim ruling body, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, do the same for Egyptian prisoners? The problem in the Middle East, then, isn’t that the Islamists are on the verge of taking over and thereby transforming Arab societies. The problem is that these societies are already governed by the passions that make the Islamists so popular.

Longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, would not have dreamed of taking an American citizen hostage. It’s true that things have changed in Egypt, but let’s not overstate the case: Grapel’s arrest is not a sign that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces is joining hands with Iranian-backed terror organizations. The purpose of the exchange, from Cairo’s perspective, is to placate the mobs that have already laid siege to the Israeli embassy, burned Coptic churches, and may in time cause even worse problems for the ruling military council. The way to calm the situation, they believe, is to show that Egypt’s problems are manufactured by the West, and that Cairo’s ever-competent rulers managed to unearth a plot before the foreigners could once again unleash their mayhem.

Traveling About!

Love of the Land
30 October '11

At the time this is posting, we hope to be sitting on a plane at Ben Gurion International, awaiting our annual trip to the U.S. for family visits. With all the travel this entails, I do hope to have the posts regularly updating, so please check the blog for the newest updates. We'll be visiting Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York respectively, and returning in time for Parshat Chayei Sarah.

                            Shavua Tov       Besorot Tovot


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Ceren - Israel-Cyprus Military Exercises Show Turkey is Increasingly Isolated

Omri Ceren
27 October '11

More evidence that Turkey’s neo-Ottoman campaign to isolate Israel is backfiring badly:

Cypriot media outlets reported last week that Israel was conducting Air Force exercises with its Greek Cypriot counterpart over the Mediterranean and Greek island. The exercise is being seen by some reports as a “message to Turkey,” which has repeatedly threatened both Israel and Cyprus over deep-sea drilling in the Mediterranean. Greek Daily Phileleftheros published a document detailing the Israeli-Cypriot exercise, which included mid-air refuelling of fighter jets and quick touchdown landings by Israel Air Force combat helicopters in Cyprus.

The exercises are particularly noteworthy in light of a rumored incident over Cypriot airspace, where Israeli and Turkish planes may or may not have almost had an “aerial encounter.” If there are to be incidents in the area as American influence precipitously declines, the signal is presumably being sent–Cyprus and Israel will be on one side and Turkey will be on the other. Israel and Cyprus’s newly forged ties are in line with recent moves made by Athens and Sofia to solidify their mutual defense interests with Israel.

In the Arab and Muslim world, Turkey finds itself at odds with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood over democratization, distanced from Iran over missile defense, and alienated from Syria over the Arab Spring. With Russia also alarmed at Turkey’s moves against energy exploration, seemingly the only reliable ally Erdogan has left is President Obama.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sherman - The real racism: Expecting Jews to die meekly

Martin Sherman
Into the Fray
28 October '11

Israel needs to once again convey, unapologetically, to the world the rationale for its founding.

The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state... 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. – Neve Gordon, “Boycott Israel,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2009.

Taken from an article by a senior Israeli academic, this excerpt typifies the racist Judeophobic rhetoric that has come to dominate the public discourse on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Sadly it is rhetoric that has been endorsed by many in the Israeli academia and media. Even more disturbing is the complicity — or at least complacency — of Israeli officialdom in allowing it to become the defining feature of this discourse.

Expecting Jews to die meekly

This mode of rhetoric is no less than inciteful, Judeophobic racism, because in effect, it embodies the implicit delegitmization of the right of Jews to defend themselves.

It embodies the implicit expectation that Jews should consent to die meekly. And how can an expectation that Jews die meekly be characterized other than as “inciteful, Judeophobic racism?” For no matter what the measures Israel adopts to protect its citizens from those undisguisedly trying to murder and maim them — because they are Jews — they are widely condemned as “racist,” “disproportionate violence” or even “war crimes/crimes against humanity.”

It matters not whether these measures are administrative decisions or security operations, defensive responses or anticipatory initiatives, punitive retaliations or preemptive strikes. It matters not whether they entail the emplacement of physical barriers to block the infiltration of indiscriminate murderers; the imposition of restrictions to impede their lethal movements; the execution of preventive arrests to foil their deadly intentions; the conduct of targeted killings (with unprecedentedly low levels of collateral damage) to preempt their brutal plans; the launch of military campaigns to prevent the incessant shelling of civilians...

Lip service to Israel’s right to self-defense

The depiction of these measures as arbitrary acts of wrongdoing, whose only motivation is racially driven territorial avarice and discriminatory embitterment of the lives of the Palestinians, distorts reality and disregards context. But far more perturbing, is the moral implication of this condemnation.

For if all endeavors to prevent, protect or preempt are denounced as morally reprehensible, the inevitable conclusion is that they should not be employed. This implies a no less inevitable conclusion: To avoid the morally reprehensible, the Jewish state should — in effect — allow those who would attack its citizens, to do so with total impunity, and with total immunity from retribution.

True, many of Israel’s detractors protest with righteous indignation that they acknowledge that it “has a right to defend itself.” But this is quickly exposed as meaningless lip service, for whenever Israel exercises that allegedly acknowledged right, it is condemned for being excessively heavy-handed.

Fresnozionism - Germans want Israel to trade Jerusalem for a submarine
28 October '11

News item:

Germany is “reconsidering” its decision to sell Israel a sixth Dolphin class submarine, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the move was prompted by the tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Merkel’s frustration over the new housing plans approved in east Jerusalem.

Top political sources said that Merkel was irked with Netanyahu, who “gave her the impression that he would be willing to suspend settlement expansion in order to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”

Israel’s recent approval of 1,100 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem led Merkel to announce that Netanyahu “cannot be taken seriously and has no intention of complying with the basic terms needed to renew the negotiations with the Palestinian.” [my emphasis]

If I may elucidate the boldfaced phrase, Merkel means that Bibi refuses to submit to Palestinian preconditions for negotiations, which include a freeze on all construction outside the Green line, agreement on pre-1967 lines plus swaps as borders, and several other things.

It is quite remarkable: the Arabs demand — and Europe supports them — that Israel agree to their desired outcome before starting to talk. Keep in mind, of course, that even if there were negotiations they could not possibly succeed, because the Palestinians have made it clear that they will never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people or give up the so-called ‘right’ of return.

So the whole ‘negotiation’ ploy is just an attempt to squeeze concessions out of Israel.

I’ve discussed the Gilo project before:

Glick - Whither the IDF?

Caroline Glick
28 October '11

It was a normal Shabbat afternoon in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood. Children were outside visiting with their friends and playing in the empty streets. But the tranquility of the scene was destroyed in a moment, when a Palestinian terrorist crept up on 17- year-old Yehuda Ne'emad and his friend and began stabbing Ne'emad in the abdomen and shoulder.

Ne'emad's neighbor, a 12-year-old girl, told reporters that there but by the grace of God both she and her six-year-old brother would have also been attacked. After stabbing Ne'emad, the Palestinian terrorist began chasing the two children.

"It was only due to God's help that I was able to escape," she said. "I am sure that I couldn't have escaped alone, because he was much faster than me."

The IDF, which failed to prevent the attack, played no role in saving their lives. One week later, the terrorist was still at large.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the IDF would view Ne'emad's stabbing, along with the steep escalation of terror and sabotage from Ashdod to the Galilee to Gush Etzion over the past several days as a wake-up call. The time has come to ratchet up the IDF's counterterror operations in Judea and Samaria to end the current wave of terror before the Palestinians have the opportunity to get their killing machines back in gear.

But shockingly, it appears that defeating terrorists is at the bottom of the IDF's to-do list. Statements emanating from the IDF's top echelons indicate its commanders are unaware that it is their job to fight and defeat terrorists.

Israel's release of hundreds of convicted Palestinian mass murderers in exchange for Gilad Schalit was a shot of adrenalin for Hamas and Fatah alike. Hamas views the swap as a vindication of its path of murder in the name of jihad. Fatah sees the swap as a challenge to its power that can be surmounted only by proving it can mount its own renewed terror assault against Israel.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Amrousi - It's okay to say 'disengagement'

Emily Amroussi
Israel Hayom
28 October '11

If I wanted to lose readers, the surest way to do so would be to mention the word “disengagement” in the first paragraph, and most readers would already start turning the page. The most significant domestic Israeli event in our history occurred only six years ago, but it feels like 600. A human story with octopus-like implications, ignored by art and television, a close-to-home trauma swept energetically under the public discourse, a collective shudder. Its direct results are reported as if they were a report about the weather, a force of nature, while the contemporary context has been erased from the regularly scheduled broadcast.

This week, the word slipped into prime time when Gilad Sharon gave an interview abroad marking the publication of his father's biography, but that was a one-off show. Generally, even an offhand mention of the uprooting is enough to kill any interview: Our time is up.

Pointing out cause and effect is a basic expression of journalistic work, but in the six years of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip they have simply "fallen in Israeli territory." Even during Operation Cast Lead (the Israeli air and ground operation against Gaza in 2008 to 2009), the word was hardly pronounced explicitly. Only 10 months have passed between our flight from there and Gilad Shalit's being smuggled in there -- but shhhh. Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad said in an interview this week that the disengagement helped keep Shalit “well-hidden.” Hamad has yet to understand the size of the mistake: Razi (Barkai, a well-known radio talk show host) might stop calling.

I consulted the Internet, the ultimate chronicle. The number of pages dealing with Gilad Shalit is exactly 10 times the number of pages that mention the disengagement. Putting aside the fact that we are talking about one Israeli who was removed from his home, compared to 8,500 Israelis who were removed from their homes (both he and them went sent by the state), and that Shalit’s suffering was infinitely greater, the disturbing thing is the blurring of the causal link between the two. Hands on our ears and our eyes: We don't want to know.

Honig - Saccharine for the masses

Sarah Honig
Another Tack
27 October '11

On the first anniversary of the October 26, 2005, suicide-bombing in Hadera’s open-air marketplace, the city organized a memorial for the six victims (the seventh lingered and died of her injuries four years after the blast). The families expected a solemn, respectful occasion. It was anything but.

Michal Machlouf, who lost her mother Pirhiya in that atrocity, came away feeling alienated: “Municipal politicians heartily slapped each other on the back for having successfully reconstructed the market. Our tragedy became their vehicle for unabashed campaigning and expedient self-congratulation. Mom’s name was misspelled on the commemorative monument, and we felt surplus to requirements. It was obvious that the organizers couldn’t wait for the bereaved relatives to go away, because we were killjoys. We focused on the blood, while they had very nimbly moved on.”

The same sense of alienation resurfaced during the exhilaration sparked by Gilad Schalit’s release: “I’m pleased he’s back, but this outburst of euphoric festivity is so out of place, so unseemly and so unfeeling. Again we, families of terror victims, were made to feel like killjoys, like burdens who remind the celebrants of horrors-that-were and of horrors-to-come. Despite obligatory lip service, nobody wanted to remember the past or think about the future.”

Michal, one of my daughter’s best friends, homed in on the Israeli collective’s most pervasive syndrome – the yearning for instant wish-fulfillment. “It’s Peace Now, stripped of history and neglectful of consequences,” she notes. “Our opinion-molders peddle saccharine for the masses. Saccharine becomes an ideal, and anyone who probes the price is pilloried.”

This breeds short memories and belittles sacrifices. “We were told it doesn’t matter how many mass-murderers are set loose in return for Gilad because the victims are already dead. Dead corresponds to forgotten/irrelevant,” Michal remarks. “Nobody knows the names and nobody knows the persons. But these were living individuals with faces and identities. They aren’t disposable statistics.”

Fresnozionism - Dump the Oslo paradigm, part II
27 October '11

Caroline Glick discusses dumping the Oslo paradigm:

The vast majority [of Israelis] love the country, want to defend it, don’t want to surrender, don’t want to establish a Palestinian state that’s going to be the death of the country, and don’t want to be beholden to foreign powers, but this view is never expressed.

One of the reasons we have a situation where we are going back time and time again, beating our heads against the wall with this false paradigm of peace on the basis of the establishment of a Palestinian state, is because the left has discounted any alternative policy. Every time we say it doesn’t work, the left always comes back and says, “What’s your alternative?”

Well, the alternative of course is to annex Judea and Samaria, but we haven’t had any discussion of that possible alternative for the past thirty years. It’s been discredited by the left because they don’t want to discuss it. So most Israelis, because we never talk about it, just assume it’s not a possibility.

The paradigm is even stronger in the US. The recent ‘unity pledge’ for American Jews promoted by the ADL explicitly calls for a “two-state solution.” Similarly, some time ago a synagogue that I belong to appointed a committee to vet suggested speakers. Some of the members were afraid of pro-Palestinian activists, and others of ‘right-wing extremists’. The compromise that they reached was that an acceptable speaker on Israel had to support the “two-state solution!”

Since Oslo, the ‘centrist’ position has been that the only way to end the conflict is to establish a Palestinian state in essentially all of the territories and re-divide Jerusalem. But this was not always the case. During the 1970′s and 80′s, the moderate point of view was that Israel could trade some — but definitely not all — of the territories for a peace agreement. It was generally thought that Jordan would receive the parts of Judea and Samaria that Israel did not retain, or perhaps some kind of Palestinian autonomous entity would be created. But after the desecrations of the Jordanian occupation, almost nobody imagined splitting Jerusalem again. Few conceived of a sovereign Palestinian state, ruled by the murderous PLO.

Kahana - An immutable faith

Rav Nachman Kahana
28 October '11

(This is Part B from the Rav's commentary on this weeks Torah portion, Noach. I've heard him speak more than once, and been left with the feeling of having heard something that I should be holding onto. I think this piece also meets that criteria. The full piece can be read by clicking here. Y.)

The College for National Security is Israel’s most prestigious school for the training of our future military and other security organization leaders. It is here where the participants are trained in thinking “out of the box”; where people who are used to think in terms of “millions” are trained to think in terms of “trillions”.

One cannot apply to attend this course. The participants are recommended by their superiors based on mental acumen and accomplishments in their respective fields.

We now have a very close relative presently in the course.

On Monday of this week, the entire course came to the Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City, where I serve as the rabbi.

They were dressed casually. No no one could have guessed that among them were high-ranking soldiers, as well as men whose activities will never be revealed. Several wore kippot and others requested kippot. They had very intense looks on their faces, and their questions showed that every detail of my talk was being carefully scrutinized.

It is at times like this and with people like these, where I perceive the great distinction between religious practice and faith.

A religious person is one who goes through all the movements and motions of the halacha. Yet it is possible that he or she possesses little or no faith in HaShem. And the opposite is also true. One can maintain a huge degree of faith in HaShem, yet not practice the do’s and do not’s of the Torah.

Most of the men who were sitting in the bet knesset are not “religious” in the accepted sense; yet each and every one believes in the God of Israel, and has immutable faith in the eternal future of the Jewish people in Medinat Yisrael.

On the other side of the spiritual spectrum, many “religious” Jews in the galut, including well-known rabbinic figures, are halachic practitioners but they question the miracles occurring in front of their eyes. They have little faith in HaShem’s promise as stated in the words of the prophets that He will return the scattered of Am Yisrael home to Eretz Yisrael. They prefer the warmth and comfort of the galut rather than expose their family and students to the unsure and “dangerous” realities of life in the Holy Land. They are religious but have no faith. There are very many people in the Medina who are not “religious” for a myriad of reasons, but 99% carry in their heart the unexplainable faith that we have miraculously returned home never to be exiled again.

My message to the unique men attending this course was one that they will take with them in the future.

CiF Watch - Jonathan Freedland’s Intifada delusions.

Memorial for the 16 Israelis killed
in first suicide attack of 1st Intifada,
 in 1989. The attack occurred
 when the 405 bus from Tel Aviv
 to Jerusalem was forced off
 the road by a Palestinian terrorist
 named Abd al-Hadi Ghanayem.
 Ghanayem is to be released in
 the deal for Gilad Shalit.
CiF Watch
27 October '11

It was disappointing to say the least to see that in his October 25th article on CiF Jonathan Freedland appears to have succumbed to the myth of a non-violent First Intifada.

“ There is hopeful talk of a “Palestinian spring”, a popular movement demanding independence that world opinion would find hard to oppose, one inspired by the first, stone-throwing intifada begun in 1987 rather than by the murderous second one that began in 2000. Such an uprising would also put pressure on the Israeli government to make the concessions necessary for peace, much as the first intifada pushed Israel into the Madrid and Oslo processes.”

Ironically, the event which seems to have prompted Freedland’s article is the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, several of whom were serving sentences as a result of having been convicted for rather more than ‘stone-throwing’ during the First Intifada.

Whilst it is of course true that the Second Intifada was considerably more violent than the first one, (partly at least due to the fact that by September 2000 the Palestinian terror organisations had much easier access to weapons as a result of the Oslo process), it is by no means accurate to claim that the First Intifada was not ‘murderous’, both in its intent and results.

The First Intifada began on December 9th 1987, but its end is more difficult to date. Some sources define it as ending with the Madrid Conference of October 1991. Others consider it to have continued until the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993. Between December 1987 and September 1993, Palestinian terrorists carried out some 3,600 attacks with Molotov cocktails, 100 attacks with hand grenades and 600 attacks with guns or explosives. Below is a partial list of some of the events which Freedland and others who attempt to airbrush the First Intifada prefer to ignore.

(Read full "Jonathan Freedland’s Intifada delusions")

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Green-Lined - The true illegitimacy

Yisrael Medad
27 October '11

The JPost reports now, that US Ambassador Dan Shapiro has requested of Israel to temporarily freeze settlement construction in order to promote peace talks with the Palestinians. This request has been denied.

We should recall that earlier the United States had criticized a Likud-sponsored plan to legalize rogue settlement outposts, saying it does not recognize the "legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity", a semantic term that the Obama-led Administration has consistently hammered away at, while confusing, purposefully I can only presume, the public with a closely related other term as here in a State Department statement:

"We oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts, which is unhelpful to our peace efforts and would contradict Israeli commitments and obligations"

There is nothing illegal in a Jewish presence in the territory international law recognized as the geographical area that was to become the reconstituted Jewish national home, especially as all decisions and agreements between 1915 and 1924, including the Anglo-American Convention and various US Congressional resolutions and Presidential signatures, never mentioned Arabs in connection with this territory. The term was always "non-Jews".

In other words, in addition to the legal opinions of the many, including Rostow, Schwebel, Baum and others such as...Madeline Albright:

Kushner - From Israel: No Surprises

Arlene Kushner
Arlene from Israel
27 October '11

Negotiators representing the Quartet parties -- the US, the UN, the EU, and Russia -- along with Quartet Envoy Tony Blair have now met separately with an Israeli team headed by Yitzhak Molcho, and a PA team headed by Saeb Erekat.

And guess what? There was no breakthrough. The PA is holding to its line of no talks unless Israel freezes all building beyond the Green Line and agrees to that '67 line as the "term of reference" for negotiations.

Israel's response is negative on both scores (see more below).


What both parties did agree to do is present "comprehensive proposals" for their respective positions with regard to security and territory within three months.

Even this makes me uneasy, for without a broader context going on record at all might not be wise. But what is so incredible to me is that the Quartet acts as if this is "progress" towards their goal of a full peace by the end of next year.

Blair has said that once proposals are received it would be possible to see how wide the gaps are and whether there was a basis for negotiations. But Tony should pack it in.

It simply cannot be (can it?) that the representatives of the Quartet don't perceive how far apart the parties are, and how impossible it would be to bridge the gaps. But they don't give up. A "full negotiated peace between Israel and the PA" remains the holy grail of the Middle East.


Yesterday, straight-talking Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman sent a letter to foreign embassies in Israel.

It said that he has reached the "inescapable" conclusion that "no agreement will ever be possible as long as Mahmoud Abbas leads the Palestinian Authority... It would be a "blessing" if Abbas carried out his frequently made threat and resigned.

Most interesting to me was that there was no repudiation of this from the prime minister's office, which remained mum. One government source (not from the pmo) is quoted as saying, "the fact that the Palestinian Authority continues to raise new obstacles to direct talks would seem to reinforce the foreign minister's point."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(PMW Video) - Hamas TV: Kidnap 6 more Israeli soldiers and free remaining 6,000 prisoners

Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Palestinian Media Watch
27 October '11

On October 17, 2011, Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners, the first of 1,027 Palestinians prisoners to be released in exchange for the return of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Hundreds of the released Palestinian prisoners were serving life sentences for murder.

Following the deal, Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV broadcast a video which presents this exchange as a prototype for future Hamas strategy and action. The clip presents the kidnapping of another 6 Israeli soldiers as the key to the release of the remaining 6,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Text on screen:

"1 Zionist soldier = 1,000 prisoners.
6 Zionist soldiers = 6,000 prisoners.
Capture of 6 Zionist soldiers = release of remaining prisoners.
We are still thinking about you. Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas military wing)."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Oct. 21, 2011]

In November 2008, Palestinian Media Watch was invited to give testimony before the Israeli government committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar, entitled "The Committee for Establishing Principles of Negotiation for Release of [Israeli] Prisoners."

PMW documented that Israel's willingness to exchange large numbers of imprisoned terrorists for the release of a small number of Israeli hostages was understood by Palestinians to indicate that kidnapping is the most effective tool for freeing terrorists. These sentiments were expressed by the Palestinian Authority as well as by Fatah and Hamas leaders and members. The PMW Special Report to the commission documented the Palestinian reactions immediately after exchanges that took place since 2004 and reached clear conclusions about how Palestinians view these exchanges. In the introduction PMW wrote:

"Israel's release of prisoners in exchange for hostages is not seen by Palestinian society as merely the last stage of one kidnapping, but as the first act of the next kidnapping."

Click here for PMW report (PDF) from December 2009: Palestinian kidnap-for-hostage policy 2004 - 2009

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Ha'Ivri - Lies won’t bring peace

David Ha'Ivri
Israel Opinion/Ynet
25 October '11,7340,L-4139226,00.html

Peace won’t materialize before Arabs admit Zionism is a blessing for Mideast

At one of the sessions of the UN dealing with a motion to condemn Israel, the Israeli ambassador got up to speak. He said, "Before I reply, I would like to tell you a story from the Bible. When Moses was leading the Jewish people in the desert, he came to a stream and decided that it would be a good opportunity to take a bath. So he walked to a site where no one could see him, took off all of his clothes and went into the stream to bathe.

When he came out, he couldn't find his clothes. A Palestinian had stolen them." As the ambassador said this, the PLO Representative jumped up and shouted “I object! There were no Palestinians then!” At that, the Israeli ambassador announced, “I rest my case,” and stepped down from the podium.

The point of this joke is the reality that a major part of the Palestinian propaganda strategy is based on establishing lies as truths by repeating them with a straight face and getting others to repeat them too. Over the past few years the anti-Israel machine has developed an annual libel, claiming that Jews are systemically burning down all the olive groves in Judea and Samaria. Foreign aid, human rights and peace groups are tripping over each other in a competition for who can tell the story best, thereby making the Israelis look the worst.

Arab Lies

Britain's Oxfam has even published a price tag, claiming that half a million dollars' worth of damage has been caused by Jews vandalizing Arab residents' olive crops. To translate that into actual product, that would mean that some 60,000 liters of olive oil have been lost. There would have to be approximately 15,000 trees in 200 acres of olive groves burnt to cause that amount of damage.

News reports and anti-Israel websites that repeatedly report on the alleged arson very rarely post pictures of a fire, and those that do often repost the same few pictures that have been used again and again over the last few years - pictures that do not show a clear scene of a major fire. Some 200 acres of burnt olive groves is not a small issue that could easily be hidden in tiny Israel. I live in Samaria and travel the roads daily. If the olive groves were burning regularly, as reported by Palestinian propagandists, I would have seen some smoke and fire. But in actuality, the only place that I am seeing it is on Twitter and Arab blogs.

Leibler - On distinguishing between good and evil

Palestinian children
recreate Ramallah lynch
Isi Leibler
Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem
27 October '11

Good deeds and the spurning of evil preoccupied us throughout the Days of Awe and the festival period, climaxing with the redemption of Gilad Schalit.

We live in times when concepts such as good and evil are deliberately blurred. For example, the mass murder of Norwegians in July by a demented neo-Nazi psychopath – a diabolically evil act – was globally exploited by far-left and Muslim groups to suppress legitimate condemnation or designation of extremist Islamic behavior as evil, even accusing critics of inciting mass murder.

Yet throughout the Arab world we are now witnessing the sickening elevation to hero status of some of the world’s most demented killers.

This is hardly a new phenomenon.

Can you recall the last time you had a serious discussion in which the word “evil” was mentioned? It’s unlikely, because employing such a term today is often regarded as politically incorrect and likely to lead to accusations of bias or bigotry.

During World War II, that the Nazis were evil was never in dispute. That knowledge did not imply that the Allies were pure. The Versailles settlement was unjust. Mistakes were made. There were undoubtedly degenerates in our ranks who committed crimes, and we were certainly conscious of the moral shortcomings of our Soviet allies.

But we unequivocally recognized that the Nazis represented evil incarnate and were willing to stake our lives in the struggle against the forces of darkness which sought to undermine freedom and civilization.

OVER THE past half-century, as post-modernism enveloped the new Europe, conflicts became increasingly viewed from the perspective of moral equivalency. Today, it is considered bigoted to define religious or nationalist crimes as evil.

Phillips - True face of moderate leaders

Melanie Phillips
Published in: Jewish Chronicle
25 October '11

For many years, Professor Sari Nusseibeh has been regarded as the epitome of Palestinian moderation. The urbane president of al Quds university in east Jerusalem, he has been regarded as a “two-state solution” moderate. His actual advocacy of a one-state solution and the swallowing up of Israel has been unaccountably ignored.

Yet now he has let down his guard to reveal more starkly what lies beneath this polished veneer. Considering the Israeli government’s requirement that the Palestinians must acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, Nusseibeh declared in an al Jazeera article (in English on its website) that this was inherently “problematic” because of its “legal, religious, historical and social implications”.

Those problematic implications are that, for Nusseibeh, a Jewish state would necessarily either be a theocracy or practise apartheid -- stripping Israeli Arabs of their civic rights and ethnically cleansing them from Israel, on the basis that in a Jewish state the only people with civic rights would be Jews.

His argument is as bizarre as it is disgusting. He appears to regard the idea of Israel as a Jewish state as an outlandish hypothesis which has suddenly been sprung upon the world. But Israel is a Jewish state, just as France is French or America is American.

Ceren - New Palestinian Precondition Is Shameless

Omri Ceren
26 October '11

Yesterday, Seth covered the substance of the newest entry on the Palestinian list of preconditions. They’ve now added “freeing mass murderers” to their two other demands that Israel halt settlement construction and start talks from the 1967 armistice lines. Those issues used to be topics for negotiation rather than preconditions, but the Obama administration’s Smart Power forced Abbas’s hand, and so they became pretexts for rejecting talks despite Netanyahu’s readiness to engage.

Now the Palestinians have found a new poison pill, although this time – in a poignant metaphor – they freelanced rather than follow America’s lead. The imprisoned Marwan Barghouti is a remorseless mass murderer and Ahmad Sa’adat is a sociopathic killer, even if international media outlets and foreign policy magazines label the former a “dissident” and coo over the latter as a gray-haired grandfather. There’s no appetite in Israel for letting them out.

On the other hand, this is a remarkably shameless poison pill, even by the Palestinians’ usual standards. The situation before was one where Abbas was demanding, in advance, concessions that were supposed to be subjects of negotiations. The “free mass murderers” precondition is one qualitative step bolder. It’s a concession that the Palestinians were supposed to get for negotiating as such, which they’re now holding hostage to restarting talks. It was supposed to bolster the negotiations that Abbas is refusing to have.

There’s an old Chris Rock routine about men who expect sex from their divorced wives, because that’s how it used to be when they were married. This is like that, except foreign policy analysts and mainstream journalists will soon be explaining why it’s a perfectly reasonable Palestinian expectation.

Apparently, the issue stretches back three years. At the time, Olmert verbally promised Abbas that, should Gilad Shalit ever be swapped for Hamas prisoners, Israel would also release some prisoners at Fatah’s behest. The rationale was that Olmert would want to boost Fatah versus Hamas, because Fatah was Israel’s Oslo negotiating partner while Hamas was a genocidal Iranian proxy.

Plosker - Deborah Orr’s Disgusting Excuse For an “Apology”

Deborah Orr
Simon Plosker
Honest Reporting
27 October '11

Deborah Orr’s obscene abuse of the concept of the “chosen people” in a Guardian commentary deriding Israel’s efforts to bring back Gilad Shalit as motivated by Jewish racism rightly upset many people.

Such language is regularly employed by anti-Semites to falsely assert that Jews claim to be superior to non-Jews not only in a theological sense but also in a racial one and it was no surprise that Orr found herself in the eye of a storm of criticism.

This and the deluge of emails from HonestReporting subscribers and other concerned parties to The Guardian has had some effect. The October 27 print edition contains a response from none other than Deborah Orr herself:

Last week, I upset a lot of people by suggesting Zionists saw themselves as “chosen”. My words were badly chosen and poorly used, and I’m sorry for it. But accusations of antisemitism have also been intemperate. One can accept the right of Israel to exist, while still believing that the manner in which the nation was created – against the wishes of many of the people already living there, hundreds of thousands of whom became refugees – was problematic and made a contribution to Israel’s subsequent and terrible troubles. (This, in turn, does not imply that the violence against Israel has been either justified or deserved. It has done the Palestinian cause much damage, and rightly so.)

Nevertheless, it would be absurd to believe that Jewish people are any more or less capable of making geo-political miscalculations than anybody else, or any more or less likely to be called to account for them. Evidence from every corner of the world, throughout the ages, attests to the fact that such behaviour is all too typical of humans, as is reluctance to accept that such actions are bound to have their critics.

Deborah Orr’s response is revealing. Does she even know what she has been accused of?

Meltzer - Israel’s Missing Red Lines

Yoel Meltzer
26 October '11

Long before the Shalit deal or immediately following it, Israel should have declared any of the following: the Israeli military will respond immediately and overwhelmingly to any future kidnapping; Israel will not supply any food, electricity, medical supplies or other essential items to Gaza in the event of a future kidnapping emanating from there; any future prisoner swaps will be on an equal basis – one for one.

The fact that Israel doesn’t make such declarations is indicative of a much larger problem plaguing Israel, namely it has no red lines. For instance, once upon a time Israel’s leaders proudly declared that Israel does not negotiate with terrorists. Then over the course of years this was modified to “Israel does not release prisoners with blood on their hands”. Needless to say, the Shalit deal proved that this last red line was just as hollow as its predecessors.

The problem however is not limited to negotiating with kidnappers. For example, before the beginning of the Oslo process eighteen years ago, nearly every political and military leader agreed that the Golan Heights was not negotiable because of its strategic importance to Israel. Nevertheless, once the Oslo process was launched, the alleged strategic necessity of maintaining the Golan Heights faded away as many of the same leaders began saying that Israel can survive without the Golan. Thus, the purported Israeli red line that there was nothing to discuss regarding an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights simply vanished into thin air.

(Video) Gilad Shalit - Who's Blurring the Lines?

Oct 26, 2011

The international media is both subtly and overtly blurring the lines between Israel and Hamas, equating terrorists with the Israel Defense Forces and manipulating the public's view by distorting the difference between good and evil.

In this powerful video, Ari Abramowitz, Jeremy Gimpel, Eli Ben-Ze'ev & The Land of team expose the true story behind the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Be a Part of the solution and share the truth about Israel with everyone you know.

Would you like to learn more? Please visit us at

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