Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gordon - How “Evil Israeli Soldiers” Saved an Anti-Israel Filmmaker’s Life

Evelyn Gordon..
31 January '12..

“Five Broken Cameras” didn’t win the World Documentary competition at last week’s Sundance Film Festival, losing out to another anti-Israel film. But it has garnered plenty of international attention, including two awards at Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film Festival and a glowing write-up in the New York Times. The film, according to the Sundance synopsis, documents what happened after the West Bank village of Bil’in “famously chose nonviolent resistance” against Israel’s security fence: “an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements,” in which a child’s “loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors.” In short, another tale of good Palestinians versus evil Israelis.

You have to persevere to the end of the Times piece to find another angle to Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat’s story:

In late 2008, he accidently drove a truck into the separation barrier and was badly injured. A Palestinian ambulance arrived at the same time as Israeli soldiers, who saw what bad shape he was in and took him to an Israeli hospital.

“If I had been taken to a Palestinian hospital,” Mr. Burnat said, “I probably wouldn’t have survived.” He was unconscious for 20 days. Three months later he was back filming.

In short, Burnat is alive today to win prizes for a film about evil Israeli soldiers suppressing “nonviolent resistance” in Bil’in because those same evil Israeli soldiers saved his life four years earlier. And this is not an irrelevancy; it epitomizes the flaw in the “good Palestinians versus evil Israelis” trope: As anyone who makes any effort to discover the facts quickly learns, Israelis all too often refuse to play the part assigned to them.

Ettinger - Attack Iran – at all costs

Yoram Ettinger..
Israel Hayom..
30 January '12..

The discussion about the cost of a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities has added value only if it is intended to advance the attack and neutralize the potential response from Iran and its allies. The discussion becomes harmful, plays into Iran's hands and threatens Israel's existence if it appears hesitant and doubtful, if it denies the possibility of a pre-emptive attack and assumes that Israel can accept a nuclear-armed Iran.

On May 12, 1948, the People's Administration in pre-state Israel decided by a vote of six to four to announce the establishment of a state that would include Jerusalem, despite internal resistance and opposition from the U.S. and despite a terrible price: The U.S. withheld military aid, threatened economic punishment and surmised that the declaration would result in a second Holocaust, this time at the hands of the Arabs. Then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion refused to abide by the American request to postpone the announcement by a few years, knowing that such a delay would bring tragedy upon future generations and that independence exacts a painful price.

(Video) Israel & Nuclear Iran - Douglas Murray at his best

Uploaded by lector0003
26 January '12
H/T Elder of Ziyon

Probably Douglas Murray's finest speech delineating the inane moral fetor emanating from Western academicians on the Iranian nuclear crisis (and the Jewish state Europe hates).

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3dBzslDdQ_g

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Daphne Anson - Melbourne Zionist Uproots Sherwood's Forest Of Stones

The Age once carried this cartoon ...
Daphne Anson..
30 January '12..

Harriet Sherwood, Jerusalem correspondent of the notoriously anti-Israel Guardian, frequently features on the Guardian-monitoring website CiF Watch, and with good reason. The Melbourne Age, one of the worst offenders in Australia as far as bias against Israel is concerned, recently published an article of hers entitled "No Stone Left Unpunished".

Emily Gian, Israel Advocacy Analyst at the Zionist Council of Victoria and a doctoral candidate in Israeli literature at the University of Melbourne, has issued a riposte, carried in the latest J-Wire:

Writes Emily Gian:

'An article appeared in last Thursday’s Melbourne Age entitled "No stone left unpunished". Penned by Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian, it told the story of Palestinian children detained by Israeli authorities for committing crimes such as "throwing stones at soldiers or settlers… flinging petrol bombs… [or] more serious offenses such as links to militant organisations or using weapons".

I couldn’t help but sense from the way Sherwood dismissed such activities as stone throwing and flinging petrol bombs as not being serious, that the writer was preparing to unleash what is now becoming stock standard fare from this publication on matters relating to Israel. Plenty of one-sided accusations without context and a token response from the Israeli side usually derided or sneered at by the author in the next paragraph or somewhere further down the line.

In its original incarnation in the Guardian, it was a termed a “special report” but, to its credit, the Age avoided the embarrassment and described it more correctly as an “opinion piece”. Perhaps “propaganda” might have even been more apt.

Lerner - A Post Palestinian State Simulation

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
inFocus Quarterly..
Fall 2011..
H/T Chetz18

Simulations are important tools for policymakers. And there certainly have been numerous simulations of what may happen after the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state. The problem with simulations, however, is that they are, by their nature, driven by the assumptions made regarding the goals and interests of the various players. Of course, assumptions have to be made, but there is the danger that the outcome of the simulation may then take on a life of its own without the caveat that it is dependent on those assumed goals.

Take for example a simulation organized last May 16 by the Lauder School of Government to consider, among other things, how a nuclear Iran would act. Former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen (res.) Zeevi Farkash participated in that simulation playing the role of Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Khamenei is a "Twelver Shiite"—as is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and as such believes that incinerating Israel with nuclear weapons—even if followed by the incineration of Iran—would be a positive thing because the apocalyptic result would bring the return of the Hidden Imam.

But Farkash apparently maintains that deep down inside Ayatollah Khamenei actually subscribes to some sort of universal value system that considers the incineration of Iran an unacceptable outcome rather than a reasonable price to pay for the return of the Mahdi. As a result, the simulation found that Iran would only brandish its nukes for deterrence and never actually use them. As Farkash put it, "Iran would regard its bomb as a means of self-defense and strategic balance."

Was Farkash's critical assumption correct? Perhaps a more responsible approach would have been to run the simulation both ways to see how things play out in a world where the leaders of Iran genuinely believe what they claim to believe. It might have turned out that the results were so catastrophic that even if there were only a 10 percent chance that these Twelvers are true believers, policymakers would have to adjust their recommendations to account for it.

A Palestinian Simulation

What is a reasonable assumption regarding the goals of the Palestinians? Is it indeed the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel, or is such a state no more than a step towards reaching the ultimate goal of replacing Israel with a Palestinian state spanning from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River? The evidence weighs heavily in favor of the latter.

Gordon - So, You Think the Palestinians Are Actually Interested in Negotiating?

Evelyn Gordon..
30 January '12..

As I noted earlier, one area in which Palestinians need no help from anyone is finding excuses to shun negotiations. Currently, of course, they are claiming Israel’s position on borders leaves no room for progress. But if you want to see the real reason talks are stalemated, take a look at what happened last week, when Israel tried to present its position on security arrangements at a negotiating session in Amman: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat refused to even let the Israeli official speak, saying he had no “mandate to negotiate security arrangements” until Israel presented “detailed documents” with its position on borders.

Everyone involved in the peace process has always understood that borders and security are intimately connected, because how much territory Israel is willing to cede will depend on the robustness of the compensatory security arrangements. That’s why even President Barack Obama, in his May 2011 speech calling for a “borders first” approach that would defer issues like Jerusalem and the refugees until later, didn’t propose deferring security; he suggested that talks focus first on “territory and security.” Thus, if the Palestinians aren’t even willing to listen to Israel’s positions on security arrangements, they clearly aren’t interested in conducting serious negotiations at all. As Israel’s chief negotiator aptly told Erekat, “If you do not have the mandate to discuss this, maybe you should leave and bring someone in your place who does have the mandate.”

Glick - Hamas and the Washington establishment

Caroline Glick..
Our World/JPost..
30 January '12..

To date, the Republican presidential primary race has been the only place to have generated any useful contributions to America’s collective understanding of current events in the Middle East. Last month, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich became the first major political figure in more than a generation to pour cold water over the Palestinian myth of indigenous peoplehood by stating the truth, that the Palestinians are an “invented people.”

As Gingrich explained, their invention came in response to Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement. Since they were created somewhere around 1920, the Palestinians’ main purpose has not been the establishment of a Palestinian state but the obliteration of the Jewish state.

For his truth telling, Gingrich was attacked by fellow politicians and policy hands on both sides of the ideological divide. To his credit, Gingrich has not backed away from the truth he spoke. Rather he has repeated it in two subsequent Republican candidates’ debates.

The second important contribution that Republican presidential candidates have made to the discourse on the Middle East was undertaken by Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a candidates’ debate in South Carolina on January 17, shortly before he pulled out of the race. When asked about Turkey, Perry said that country “is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” He went on to say that the US ought to be having a debate about whether Turkey should continue to serve as a member of NATO.

Like Gingrich, Perry was pilloried by all right thinking people in the US foreign policy elite. And like Gingrich, Perry was right. The hoopla his statement generated showed just how destructive so much of America’s received wisdom about the Middle East has become. Moreover, it demonstrated the extent to which the US has adopted Middle East policies that are inimical to its national interests.

Tobin - Echoes of 1967 in Israel’s Iran Dilemma

Jonathan S. Tobin..
30 January '12..

One of the interesting aspects of yesterday’s New York Times Magazine cover story about Israel’s decision whether or not to strike at Iran’s nuclear program came from a passage in which author Ronen Bergman describes his meeting with former Mossad chief Meir Amit. Amit, who headed Israel’s intelligence agency at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War, described a meeting with the CIA station chief in Tel Aviv during the lead up to that conflict. According to the transcript of the meeting, which was given to Bergman, the American spy threatened Israel and did all in his power to prevent the Jewish state from acting to forestall the threat to its existence from Egypt and other Arab states that were poised to strike.

The lessons of this confrontation certainly put Israel’s current dilemma about attempting to pre-empt Iran’s ability to threaten the Jewish state with extinction via a nuclear weapon in perspective. Bergman provides no firm answer to the question of whether or not Israel will go ahead and strike Iran even if, as was initially the case in 1967, it must happen over the objections of the United States. But he does attempt to give a coherent framework for how the decision can be made as well as providing a bit more background on the chief Israeli critic of a strike on Iran.

According to Bergman, Israel has three criteria for deciding to act on their own on Iran:

Dr. Shmuel Bar - Western Hopes And Dreams, And Iranian Reality

A Nuclear Iran and the Ramifications of a
Poly-Nuclear Middle East

Dr. Shmuel Bar..
Working Paper..
The 12th Herzliya Conference..
January 2012..

The failure of the international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a military nuclear capability has raised debate in the academic and strategic communities regarding the possibility that such a development may still be averted and regarding the ramifications of a nuclear Iran.

The classic European thesis which has now been adopted in Washington is that there is some – yet undiscovered - enticement that can be offered to Iran which would hold greater value than becoming a nuclear power. A cursory examination of what Iran believes it can achieve with even the image of being a threshold state will show that nothing the West can offer Iran (short of total hegemony over the Gulf and parts of Central Asia) can give Iran more. Furthermore, the basic Iranian perception of the conspiratorial West – including perfidious Albion – is that such offers are no more than a ruse to disarm Iran of the only capability that can protect it from western subterfuge.

Another popular hypothesis draws an analogy between Iran today and the Soviet Union in the mid 1980’s. It focuses on Iran’s economic situation, the behavior of the younger generation who are attracted to Western culture, and what appears to be the decline of the clerical authority in Qom, comparable to the disintegration of the Communist party’s authority. Those who believe that it was the detante and the American engagement opposition in the former USSR that encouraged the internal opposition to the regime and ultimately contributed to the fall of the Soviet Empire now advocate Western “engagement” with civil society in Iran, which will, they believe, ultimately produce a similar Iranian “counterrevolution”. Unfortunately, this “deus ex machina” will not appear. The disparity between the Soviet Union before its collapse and Iran today is vast. The Communist ideology that went bankrupt in the Soviet Union was a secular ideology superimposed on the nation’s root religion. Its abandonment did not entail giving up basic cultural beliefs. In contrast, while the Islamic regime in Iran may not be liked by the populace, it does represent a strong tradition in Iran that existed before the revolution and retains the devotion even of those who oppose the regime. Furthermore, the Soviet Union did not fall overnight: its collapse can be traced to first stages of détente in the 1970’s when it became clear to the Kremlin that it had to reach a strategic accommodation with the US. The Soviet Union also went through a series of destabilizing leadership changes with one octogenarian coming fast on the heels of another. Other forces that had no little effect on the fall of the Soviet Union were the SDI and the defeat in Afghanistan. There is no analogy in Iran for any of these forces.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gordon - Encouraging Aggression by Making it Cost-Free

How Egypt's economic turmoil and Western positions on the peace process combine to increase the risk of another Arab-Israeli war

Evelyn Gordon..
JINSA Visiting Fellow..
30 January '12..

Last month, Victor Davis Hanson published a fascinating article on why Iran might nevertheless decide to start a war it can't win. In it, he analyzed several cases in which countries did exactly that, including the Korean War in 1950, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Falklands War and the 1991 Gulf War, and found three common factors: pressing domestic crises, belief that the West might acquiesce in their aggression, and conviction that even if it didn't, the Western response would stop well short of regime change. In short, their leaders had something to gain (domestic distraction) and nothing irreversible to lose.

While surely relevant to Iran, Hanson's analysis is equally relevant to another Mideast powder keg - one created by the combination of Egypt's revolution and a troubling change in Western attitudes toward the Israeli-Arab peace process. The former left Egypt with a major economic crisis. And the latter has assured Arab states that attacking Israel carries no risk of irreversible losses: Even if a war results in Israel capturing Arab territory, the West will demand that it return every last inch.

Kushner - From Israel: Frenetic Times

Arlene Kushner..
30 January '12..

Afraid it's "that time" again: Time for a review of what's going on with our "partners for peace" and their brothers in Hamas. Hate doing this. But every so many days...

As was totally predictable, the "talks" supervised by Jordan have gone nowhere and are likely finished. (Although, as I write there is an unconfirmed report that the low level talks may continue for another month. We'll see.)

You realize, of course, that the lack of progress in the talks is all Israel's fault. Must be, because that's what PA leaders are saying. We failed to submit a detailed plan of our demands for security and borders (to which I say, Baruch Hashem!); we merely submitted principles of what we think must be dealt with. The PA says the deadline for us to do so was January 26. Israel says the PA is counting wrong. The Quartet had said both side were to submit plans within three months. The PA calculates that three months as having ended now. Israel says it ends three months after the Jordanian talks began.


For background information: It is Israel's policy generally (not always adhered to as perfectly as might be desired) not to reveal specifics of what might be conceded until everything is on the table and dealt with -- "nothing is decided until everything is decided."


At the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Netanyahu reported, "As things stand now, according to what happened over the past few days - when the Palestinians refused even to discuss Israel's security needs with us - the signs are not particularly good."

Naturally, we will continue to see pressure brought to bear, to bring the parties back to the table. Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, was in the region last week, meeting with Israeli and PA officials.


What particularly enrages -- although this is hardly new -- is that the Western world knows full well that Israel has no "partner for peace." It's simply that leaders are mindful of their relationship with Arab nations, and pander to the growing number of Muslims within their own nations, as well as to the left wing pro-Palestinian segment of their electorates. And so, they have an agenda that has nothing to do with facts or justice.

Please see this Palestinian Media Watch bulletin revealing the fact -- complete with video clip -- that Palestinian Authority TV twice last week broadcast greetings to Hakim Awad, convicted of murdering five members of the Fogel family last year, from members of his family and from the TV host. From his mother, who calls him the "apple of my eye," and his aunt, who refers to him as "the hero, the legend."


Weinberg - Throwing good euros after bad

David M. Weinberg..
Israel Hayom..
30 January '12..

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein unearthed the nefarious dealings behind Watergate by following the advice of their mysterious source, nicknamed Deep Throat. “Follow the money,” counseled Deep Throat. And so they did – all the way up to President Richard Nixon in the White House.

So, too, with the Palestinian Authority. The money trail – which pays for stalemates, rejectionism, and diplomatic assault on Israel – leads directly from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to his central banker: the European Union.

Last week, the EU announced that it would to transfer another $70 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) – the largest single donation ever to UNRWA. EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton said that the donation “represents our ongoing commitment to the Palestine refugees.”

It is an old story. Ask yourself: Who has been the primary financier of the PA and all its so-called refugees?

Mostly, it has not been Israel – although in the days of Rabin and Peres, Israel sinned by propping up the PA with direct payments into a secret Tel Aviv bank account held by Yasser Arafat himself.

The Sharon government held back on some $1.5 billion in various taxes and customs duties collected by the Israel Finance Ministry on behalf of the PA. Then Finance Minister Silvan Shalom used the embargoed funds to cover PA debts owed to Israeli firms and organizations like the Israel Electric Company. Current Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz tried to do the same last year after the PA angled for unilateral recognition at the U.N., but the Cabinet released the funds under international pressure.

Who, then, has bankrolled the PA and UNRWA? The U.S. and Canada cut most of their funding to UNRWA years ago, when its ubiquitous corruption and unhelpful perpetuation of Palestinian victimhood became clear. They have restricted their funding of development programs in the PA to Western-administered projects that advance governmental and security-sector reform.

Kuntzel - The Wannsee Legacy: Lessons for Genocide Prevention

By Matthias Küntzel

Henry Jackson Society Event in the House of Commons, London, January 19, 2012

Let me please start with Fanny Englard, an active survivor of the Holocaust and a friend of mine. She grew up in Germany/Cologne and lives now south of Tel Aviv. Fanny wrote in a letter:

“As a twenty-year-old, on 8 May 1945 I was liberated from hell and tried to find my family, but without success. Eventually I had to accept that my father had lost his life in the Warsaw Ghetto, while my mother and ten-year-old brother had been poisoned in the gas chambers at Belzec along with my grandmother, aunts and cousins. Two brothers, aged 15 and 13, had been shot in Belarussia not far from Minsk and buried in shallow graves in 1942, but in 1943 the corpses had been dug up and burned – their ashes scattered to the four winds. In May 1947 I came to Israel and married in order to create a new family as a replacement for the murdered one that had fallen victim to Jew-hatred.”

I know the photos and the faces of Fanny’s murdered siblings and parents and I want to contrast her personal letter with the bare numbers and the monstrous language of the Wannsee-protocol which talks about “the complete clearing up of the problem” and continues: “this final solution of the European Jewish question concerns about 11 million Jews, distributed among the various countries.”[1]

However, the Final Solution was not limited to Europe.

In 1941, the 700.000 Jews of the Middle East attracted Hitler’s attention as well.[2] As Hitler envisaged it, after the assault on the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht would also occupy the Caucasus and so open the way to the Middle East. Then Iran, Iraq and Egypt would be conquered and the British Empire destroyed from the south. Pro-German movements would prepare for the German invasions of that countries. Part of this scenario was the killing of the Jews.

At the end of November 1941 – in the run-up to the Wannsee-Conference – Hitler received Hajj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti and leader of the Palestinians. On this occasion Hitler stated that, after the defeat of the Soviet Union, “the hour of liberation” would arrive for the Arab world. “The German goal would then be the annihilation of the Jews … living in the Arab region.”[3] These were’t mere words.

By summer 1942 the Nazis had drawn up concrete plans to murder the Jews of the Yishuv. They expected their genocidal endeavor to be substantially assisted by Arab collaborators.

Roth - Reality bites and the Palestinian Arab future is not what it used to be

The double-headed world of Palestinian
Arab politics 
has gotten one-head
more complicated, and that's just
the start 
[Image source]
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 January '12..

We wrote recently about the triumphant tour of Middle East capitals by the "prime minister" of the Hamas terrorist regime, Ismail Haniyeh. His speeches in Ankara and such Arab capitals as Tunis, Cairo and Khartoum were filled with threats of the destruction to shortly rain down on Israel's head and promised "difficult days" for Israel.

"We are saying to the Zionist enemies that times have changed and that the time of the Arab Spring, the time of the revolution, of dignity and of pride has arrived."

But what's actually happening to Hamas, though, is more interesting than their bombastic war talk. Because inside Hamas, and in its immediate surroundings, things have changed, are changing and are certain to lead to even larger changes. Gay Bechor, an Israeli political commentator, lays some of this out in a Ynet op ed article today entitled "Hamas in deep trouble: Op-ed: Despite pompous declarations, terror group faces problems on multiple fronts"

Bechor points out that Haniyeh has lately been rousing the crowds with pretentious calls for the establishment of a Palestinian jihadist army of liberation, but reality is imposing some real challenges on him and his organization.

Marquadt-Bigman - The progressive quest for comparative consolations

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror..
30 January '12..

The folks who expected that the “Arab Spring” would lead to a Tweeples-government in Egypt are understandably disappointed by the landslide victory of the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists.

But progressives were quick to find a formula that offers comparative consolation: the basic recipe is to simply claim that Egypt’s Islamists are really no worse – and maybe even better!!! – than disagreeable political figures or forces in your own country.

Following this recipe, Lisa Goldman, writing for the Israeli left-wing blog +972, claims:

citizens of the democratic state of Israel […] freely elected, as the largest faction in its governing coalition after the Likud, the quasi-fascist Yisrael Beitenu party. […] In our Knesset, we also have Kahanists and a large contingent from Shas, which is quite similar to the [Salafist] Nour party.

Unsurprisingly, Goldman’s comment was promptly quoted by The Arabist, where Issandr El Amrani added that “Israelis might mind their own business about Egypt and other post-uprising countries” because “they won’t be doing much business with them at all for some time to come.” Since the post was entitled “Israel and the new Egypt”, I can’t resist the temptation to take Amrani’s comment as a validation of the point I made when I wrote some two months ago that it would be the “Same old story in the new Middle East” because “when it comes to anti-Western and ‘anti-Zionist’ sentiments, the new rulers of the Middle East will be at least as eager as their predecessors to put them to demagogic use.” And as Amrani’s comment illustrates, even supposed Arab liberals seem happy to hold on to the “anti-Zionism” that provided Arab dictators for decades with a useful tool to distract the masses.

But naturally, Goldman was very pleased to be quoted by The Arabist, and tweeted:

.arabist linked to my +972 piece, ‘Egypt’s election results are none of Israel’s business.’ I can die happy now. http://tinyurl.com/6u58lzs

Tobin - Obama’s ’67 Borders Mistake Haunts Talks

Jonathan S. Tobin..
29 January '12..

The Palestinian reaction to Israel’s position about West Bank settlement blocs once again demonstrates that rather seeking an agreement that will lead to a Palestinian state, what they are doing is looking for an excuse to avoid ever having to sign a peace deal. Even worse, it is evidence that President Obama’s misguided intervention into the question of future borders last May is still having a harmful effect on the effort to revive negotiations.

The Israeli position in the discussions taking place in Jordan is they want the major settlement blocs (which comprise a tiny portion of the West Bank’s territory but also the vast majority of the more than 250,000 Jews who live there) to be incorporated into Israel as part of a deal. But rather than negotiate this point, the Palestinians have rejected it out of hand and said they won’t talk if the Israelis stick to their position. Israel’s position is compatible even with President Obama’s stand on the issue which allows for territorial swaps that would enable Israel to retain these blocs. But even though the president’s Jewish defenders claim his May 2011 speech merely restated existing policies, the Palestinian interpretation seems to illustrate how damaging his mention of the 1967 lines has been.

Meet Oren Almog: Blind Terror Victim Volunteers to the IDF

29 January '12..

Every soldier of the IDF has a unique background and story, yet some soldiers have a truly astonishing tale to tell. Meet Oren Almog:

“[It is] true that I suffer from blindness and have scars, but I decided that I’m still 
like everyone and so I enlisted.”
                                                                                Credit: Yediot Ahronot

Oren lost five members of his family as well his eyesight in the 2003 Maxim Restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa, where 21 people were killed and 51 were wounded. Oren quickly became the face of the second intifada, and despite losing his eyesight at a very young age, he insisted over the years on being treated just like his friends.

Three days ago, nine years after the atrocity, Oren walked up to the ceremonial stage unassisted by either a walking cane or a seeing-eye dog, and swore an oath to the IDF to the applause and the tears of everyone in attendance.

Fresnozionism - ‘Palestine’ adores vicious murderers

The murdered Fogel family:
Ruth, Udi, Yoav (11), Elad (4),
Hadas (4 mo.).
29 January '12..

The absolute vileness of the “Palestinian movement” is hard for those of us who grew up in civilized societies like the US and Israel to comprehend. As a result, many of us may be prepared to listen when they say that it is about human rights or justice.

But every once in awhile we get a window into what’s really behind it.

Even Israeli police and security personnel, who have seen some terrible things, were shocked last year by the sadistic murder of five members of the Fogel family including a 4-month-old baby whose throat was cut, committed by two Palestinian Arab teenagers, Amjad and Hakim Awad, cousins from the village of Awarta.

Captured after an intensive manhunt, the Awads were both convicted and given multiple life sentences. There was even consideration of applying the death penalty, something not done in Israel since Eichmann was hanged in 1962. Unfortunately, the court decided against it.

One might expect that the official Palestinian reaction — after all, they are preparing to petition the UN for statehood again — would have been something like “we condemn violent extremism, although we understand their frustration, etc.”

But they are past pretending even that much.The official reaction is that the butchers are heroes!

Watch the following video, from official Palestinian TV, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Navon - The EU is an Obstacle to Peace

Emmanuel Navon..
For the Sake of Zion..
29 January '12..

The claim that Israeli “settlements” constitute “an obstacle to peace” has become a self-evident European dogma. The truth, of course, is that there was no peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors when none of those “settlements” existed (between 1949 and 1967); that the Palestinian leadership rejected twice Israel’s offer to dismantle most of its settlements (by Ehud Barak in July 2000 and by Ehud Olmert in September 2008); and that when Israel unilaterally dismantled all its settlements in Gaza in 2005, it was “rewarded” by thousands of rockets.

Rather than settlements, one of the major obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the so-called “right of return.” By this euphemism, the Palestinians want to flood Israel with about 7 million immigrants who are the descendants, or alleged descendants, of the 600,000 Arabs who left their homes during Israel’s War of Independence. This would turn Israel into a bi-national state with an Arab majority. Except for a minority of post and anti-Zionist Israelis, even the most dovish members of the Israeli Left consider the “right of return” a non-starter.

While the Zionist Left generally pooh-poohs the “right of return” as a mere rhetorical tool in which the Palestinians themselves don’t actually believe, the fact is that the Palestinian refusal to give in on that issue is what caused the rejection of Barak and Olmert’s peace proposals. Moreover, neither Arafat nor Abbas ever tried to educate their people into admitting that the “right of return” is unrealistic; on the contrary: both leaders have made the “right of return” a central tenet of Palestinian nationalism and an issue whose abandonment is an act of high treason.

Kushner - From Israel: Pushing Back, Pushing Forward

Arlene Kushner..
29 January '12..

There's a good deal happening, and much to respond to. Please read this through and act. I like to think of my readers as also actors in the important fights we are fighting -- against some things, for others. Your assistance does make a difference.


I begin with a link to my latest article on Front Page Magazine, "Answering Obama's Israel Lies."


It exposes the distortions and half-truths that have been put out in a campaign video purporting to show what a good friend to Israel Obama is. Please, circulate broadly.

Here's the link to the original video, in case you haven't seen it. It's making the rounds big time and must be responded to in a serious fashion, for it's so easy to be taken in if you don't know the facts. When you DO know the facts, the response to this is some combination of rage and deep disgust.

(My thanks to Debbie B.)


A very significant vote is coming up in the Knesset this week. The issues are complex and YOUR COOPERATION HERE IS EXCEEDINGLY IMPORTANT.

You've heard about this legislation from me previously: Proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), it would forbid the dismantling of communities of more than 20 families in Judea and Samaria without properly filed documentation that the land was Arab-owned. This would negate the vague, unsubstantiated claims of land being "Arab" that are currently filed in court by Peace Now.

What is more, this legislation stipulates that if the documentation of Arab ownership is filed after a specified period of time (four years, as I understand it), the community still wouldn't be taken down and instead the Arab land owner would be provided with monetary compensation.

CAMERA - NPR Lament: Palestinians Watching Sesame Street Reruns

Steven Stotsky..
CAMERA Media Analysis..
27 January '12..

CAMERA has documented extensively NPR's advocacy on behalf of Palestinian views and grievances. A glaring example of NPR's selective bias in the stories it carries was evident in its decision to air a 4 minute segment on All Things Considered (Jan. 17, 2012) about Palestinian children being deprived of a new season of Sesame Street programming because of a delay in U.S. funding, while ignoring the public call to murder the Jews by the Palestinian Authority's most prominent religious official.

The All Things Considered segment, introduced by Robert Siegel and reported by Daniel Estrin, claims House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is punishing Palestinian children by withholding funds for production of new segments of the Palestinian Sesame Street, Shara'a Simsim. This followed an earlier article on the same topic (Jan. 7) by the Associated Press published on NPR's Web Site. Compounding NPR's skewed judgement in focusing intensively on such a minor issue, the public radio network also failed to place the story in its essential context regarding the large amount of aid the U.S. provided to the Palestinians in 2011.

Ros-Lehtinen held back $190 million of USAID funds designated for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because of the recent Palestinian decision to bypass negotiations and pursue statehood in the UN and her concerns with how U.S. funds were being utilized. A small portion of this money (about $2.5 million) has for several years supported the production of the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.

Ros-Lehtinen's motive in withholding the funding is phrased deceptively. Estrin reports:

Hornik - ‘Peace Now’ Faults Israel For Palestinians’ Genocidal Urges

P. David Hornik..
27 January '12..

Last week Palestinian Media Watch revealed that the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, top cleric of the Palestinian Authority, had approvingly quoted a hadith calling for the genocide of Jews. Hussein, who was appointed to his post by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, did so at a ceremony marking the 47th anniversary of the Fatah movement. The moderator at the ceremony chimed in that “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs [i.e., Jews] is a war of religion and faith.” As for Mufti Hussein, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered Israel’s attorney-general to investigate him for incitement.

Palestinian Media Watch now reports that the mufti’s words have drawn international condemnation. This, actually, doesn’t amount to much—far less than, for instance, the typical round of condemnations when Israel announces plans to build homes in parts of Jerusalem that the enlightened world thinks should be Judenrein.

Alistair Burt, the UK minister for the Middle East, said: “I condemn the inflammatory words used by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and others…. To refer to the Jewish people in such a way and to talk of killing Jews is anti-semitism, pure and simple.” More surprisingly—seemingly—Palestinian Media Watch also offers a quote from Americans for Peace Now. This organization, founded in 1981 to drum up support for its Israeli parent-organization, Peace Now, states that it

strongly condemns the belligerent anti-Jewish comments made by the Palestinian Authority’s Mufti of Jerusalem at a public event in the West Bank earlier this month…. “We are appalled by these comments, coming from the most senior Muslim cleric on the Palestinian Authority’s payroll,” said Debra DeLee, APN’s President and CEO. DeLee added, “What we find particularly disturbing is that these vile comments were broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s official television channel, amplifying their inciting [e]ffect.”

I was surprised by those seemingly unequivocal words, and checked the original statement on APN’s website.

Indeed, the context reveals that they weren’t unequivocal at all. Immediately after her above-quoted words, DeLee said further:

Rennert - Wash. Post funnels Palestinian lies to readers

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
27 January '12..

After a series of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan, Palestinian President Mahdoud Abbas has called a time out so he can consult with the Arab League on next steps. In the meantime, the Washington Post is quick to report that the talks have been "foundering" and that diplomacy has reached a crisis stage. It also, predictably, blames mainly Israel for lack of progress, while uncritically purveying a slew of Palestinian propaganda lies ("Efforts under way to try to save Mideast negotiations - Israel, Palestinians at standstill over borders and security" by Joel Greenberg, Jan. 27, page A12).

The headline, of course, is misleading. There haven't been any "negotiations" that need saving. The Jordanian-sponsored meetings amounted to preliminary contacts to find a way toward negotiations -- so far without discernible success.

However flawed the headline may be, the article by Greenberg, the Post's Jerusalem correspondent, deviates even more from straight reporting, as he relies primarily on Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian propagandist, for commentary about the current lull. Ashrawi, who served brilliantly in that capacity during the second intifada when Western reporters could rely on her for snappy sound bites, is not part of the Amman discussions. Reporting from Jerusalem, Greenberg goes out of his way to reach her by telephone from Ramallah to feast on her anti-Israel diatribes.

Roth - Uncommonly plain talk about the nightmare being plotted in Iran

Iran: Messianic, religious, military,
and nuclear issues all
rolled into one unholy complex dilemma.  
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 January '12..

Richard N. Haass is the former Director of Policy Planning in the U.S. State Department and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations. In a short essay entitled "Answering Iran", he makes some very straight-forward assertions about what is being plotted from Teheran. Here's the main statement:

We know quite a bit about Iran's nuclear program, and what we know is not encouraging. Iran is reported to be enriching uranium at two sites - some of it to levels of 20%, far beyond what is required for civilian purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency also reports that Iran is carrying out research to develop designs for nuclear warheads. In short, Iranian officials' claims that their nuclear program is aimed solely at power generation or medical research lacks all plausibility.

Unless one's head is firmly thrust into a hole in the ground, there are some other aspects of this evolving catastrophe that ought to interest - well, just about everyone, since just about everyone stands to lose if the crazies of Teheran win. Haass points out what we don't know:

CAMERA - International Herald Tribune Falls for AFP Fauxtography

Tamar Sternthal..
CAMERA Media Analysis..
28 January '12..

In the past, Reuters was the wire service most associated with "fauxtography" of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it seems that Agence France-Presse may also be getting in the act. On Jan. 25, the AFP photo service carried an image by photographer Hazem Bader in which a Palestinian construction worker is said to be screaming in pain after he was run over by a trailer driven by an Israeli soldier. The photo appeared on page 4 of the International Herald Tribune (at least in the Israeli edition) on Thursday (Jan. 26). The image and captions (both AFP and IHT follow).

The original AFP caption reads:

An injured Palestinian construction worker screams in pain after an Israeli army driver drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs, as he tried to block him when Israeli forces stopped workers on January 25, 2012 from building a house in al-Dirat village, south of Yatta in the southern Bank town Hebron region. The Israeli forces were seizing the equipment and trailer from the construction workers as the site falls in the occupied zone C in which Israel prevents Palestinians from building on their land.

Similarly, the IHT caption states:

A Palestinian construction worker screamed in pain Wednesday after he tried to block an Israeli Army driver who drove a trailer over his legs near Hebron. Israeli forces were seizing the trailer from construction workers because the site was in a zone where Israel prohibits Palestinians from building on their land.

Yet, after checking with both Palestinian and Israeli sources, it seems that the man was not at all injured, and there is no evidence that he was run over.

Marquardt-Bigman - Same message, different mufti: the rhetoric of the 1940s in 2012

Petra Marquardt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror..
27 January '12..

When Sheik Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, who is the Palestinian Authority’s senior religious official, recently recited a traditional Islamic text urging Muslims to “fight and kill the Jews” during a ceremony celebrating the 47th anniversary of Fatah’s establishment, he unintentionally revealed how little the messages of Palestinian religious leaders have changed since the days of another Palestinian mufti by the name of Husseini.

This deplorable rhetorical continuity also serves as a timely reminder that words are usually spoken to inspire deeds. Palestinians, eagerly echoed by many of their world-wide supporters, like to claim that they had no part whatsoever in the Holocaust, and that they should indeed be seen as indirect victims of the Jews who fled Europe.

This “narrative,” which seems particularly popular among Germany’s progressive elites, requires that the historical record of Amin Al-Husseini – the predecessor of the current Palestinian mufti – is ignored. While both muftis call for killing the Jews, Husseini sought and seized the opportunity to contribute to the Nazi’s genocidal undertaking to kill as many Jews as possible.

Kushner - Answering Obama’s Israel Lies

Arlene Kushner..
27 January '12..

On January 19, President Barack Obama’s campaign staff released a video, “America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond” – a piece rife with half-truths and distortions. As patently false as it seems to anyone with a properly jaundiced eye, it nonetheless requires a response. For one suspects that those American Jews eager to find a reason to vote for Obama may be all too ready to stand convinced of what they are being told.

Recently elected NY Congressman Bob Turner gave an interview in Israel last week, in which he said, “I think American support militarily has been more an investment in our own defense..” It was a refreshingly honest and significant observation that directly applies here.

Obama likes to claim – as he does in this video – that US military cooperation with Israel makes him a huge supporter of Israel. But this cooperation serves US needs and goals in important ways: the US requires an Israel that is militarily solid. Nothing wrong with that. It means US interests coincide with Israeli interests in this respect. But Obama misrepresents when he claims the US does this for Israel. And it should be noted here that it is the Pentagon, which understands the military situation, that has always been the major promoter within the US of cooperation with Israel.

This same principle applies to other, related, matters. Last year the Israeli embassy in Cairo was attacked. The ambassador and his staff got out, but two Israeli security guards were caught in the building and in danger of being killed. Obama (and I note here there were others from elsewhere involved as well) intervened and helped get those guards out safely. He then made a great deal about how he worked on Israel’s behalf. Nonsense. Imagine what would have happened if those guards had been killed, when, according to international law, a country is responsible for the safety of foreign embassy personnel within its borders. Israel would have had to respond very strongly – perhaps there would have been war. Obama knew this, knew that there was risk of a disastrous turn of events in the Middle East and he had to try to cool things. All to the good. But he didn’t do this for Israel.

Did Israelis, including Netanyahu, thank him for his actions here and elsewhere? Of course. That’s the diplomatic thing to do. But the Israeli prime minister did not do so with the expectation that Obama would use this expression of appreciation as an endorsement come election time. The Obama team merely borrowed an earlier clip and added it to their video. I haven’t discussed this with Netanyahu personally, but I am reasonably confident that the prime minister is privately praying that Obama loses – for Obama has been rude to him and a thorn in his side in many respects. But it’s neither politic nor appropriate for him to voice any opinion in the matter.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Levin - The U.S. view of Israel's Supreme Court

Kenneth Levin..
Israel Hayom..
27 January '12..

Much of the Israeli Left – including cultural and political leaders, journalists and academics – have in the last several months engaged in hyperbolic, defamatory claims that the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to destroy Israel’s democracy through proposed legislation, such as that aimed at modifying how Supreme Court justices are selected.

In fact, the anti-government arguments set truth on its head. Israel’s Supreme Court, and its judiciary more broadly, are the most anti-democratic elements of Israel’s governing bodies and perhaps the most anti-democratic court system among Western democracies.

It was not some right-wing extremist who wrote in 2000, "I think that [then] Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has not, and does not, accept the rightful place that the court should have among the various authorities in our regime... [Instead, he is seeking] to interject [into all areas of Israeli life] certain moral values as he deems appropriate. And this amounts to a kind of judicial dictatorship that I find completely inappropriate." The words were those of former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau.

Barak’s appropriating, to himself and his court, extraordinary powers unique within Western democracies is illustrated by, for example, his declaring in 1992 that the new Basic Law established that same year conferred upon the Supreme Court the right to strike down any legislation it considers "unconstitutional." Israel has no formal constitution, meaning that, in effect, Barak was claiming for the Supreme Court the right to nullify any law it deems in violation of its own concept – more particularly, his own concept – of a proper Israeli constitution.

Honig - The Perry Mason school of life

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
26 January '12..

Back in 1940, as whodunit author Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of the Baited Hook got typically tangled, fictional legal wizard Perry Mason opined to his trusty secretary Della Street that “Every time you stop to figure what the other fellow’s going to do, you unconsciously figure what you’d do in his place.

“The result is that you’re not fighting him, but yourself. You always come to a stalemate. Every time you think of a move, you think of a perfect defense. The best fighters don’t worry about what the other man may do.”

Words to live by – unless, like America’s current commander-in-chief, the last thing you want is to conceive of yourself as a fighter.

Clearly, President Barack Obama didn’t attend the Perry Mason School of Law. Instead he honed his attitudes at Harvard Law. It’s a crucial difference – quite possibly the single biggest danger to global peace and, most immediately and acutely, to Israel.

Glick - The Arab Spring, Israel, and the United States (Audio)

Uploaded by carolineglick..
Jan 26, 2012..

Caroline Glick's lecture from January 21st at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, Israel. More than 1000 people turned out to hear Caroline Glick's comments on world affairs.

Last Saturday night I gave a lecture at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue. Unfortunately, it wasn't videotaped but my talented assistant Neta Dror took still photographs and Rabbi George Finklestein taped the program.

Neta worked hard putting the photos together with the recording.

Here it is and a big thanks to both of them.

And no, I'm not obese. Just waiting for the new arrival! (B"H)

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Roth - Quote of the day: Are the Iranians bluffing?

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 January '12..

Ethan Bronner in yesterday's New York Times writes ["Israel Senses Bluffing in Iran’s Threats of Retaliation"] about the calculations of certain decision-makers in Israel:

“Take every scenario of confrontation and attack by Iran and its proxies and then ask yourself, ‘How would it look if they had a nuclear weapon?’ ” a senior official said. “In nearly every scenario, the situation looks worse...” No issue in Israel is more fraught than the debate over the wisdom and feasibility of a strike on Iran. Some argue that even a successful military strike would do no more than delay any Iranian nuclear weapons program, and perhaps increase Iran’s determination to acquire the capability... Speaking of the former leaders of Libya and Iraq, he [Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, chief of the IDF’s planning division] said, “Who would have dared deal with Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein if they had a nuclear capability? No way..." When a senior Indian officer was visiting recently, he was asked why the Indians had done so little in response to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. “When the other side has a nuclear capability and is prepared to use it, you think twice,” the officer replied, referring to Pakistan.

Link: http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.com/2012/01/27-jan-12-quote-of-day-are-iranians.html

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Glick - The Zionist Imperative

Caroline Glick..
27 January '12..

European and American perfidy in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons program apparently has no end. This week we were subject to banner headlines announcing that the EU has decided to place an oil embargo on Iran. It was only when we got past the bombast that we discovered that the embargo is only set to come into force on July 1.

Following its European colleagues, the Obama administration announced it is also ratcheting up its sanctions against Iran... in two months. Sometime in late March, the US will begin sanctioning Iran's third largest bank.

At the same time as the Europeans and the Americans announced their phony sanctions, they reportedly dispatched their Turkish colleagues to Tehran to set up a new round of nuclear talks with the ayatollahs. If the past is any guide, we can expect for the Iranians to agree to sit down and talk just before the oil embargo is scheduled to be enforced. And the Europeans - with US support - will use the existence of talks to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the embargo.

There is nothing new in this game of fake sanctions. And what it shows more than anything is that the Europeans and the Americans are more concerned with pressuring Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear installations than they are in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Obama has a second target audience - American Jews. He is using his fake sanctions as a means of convincing American Jews that he is a pro-Israel president and that in the current election season, not only should they cast their votes in his favor, they should sign their checks for his campaign.

Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were quick this week to make clear that these moves are insufficient. They will not force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. More is needed.

As to American Jewry, the jury is still out.

In truth, American Jewry's diffidence towards taking a stand on Iran, or recognizing Obama's dishonesty on this issue specifically and his dishonesty regarding his position on US-Israel ties generally is not rooted primarily in American Jews' devotion to Obama. It isn't even specifically related to American Jewry's devotion to the political Left. Rather it has to do with American Jewish ambivalence to Israel.

The roots of that ambivalence - which is shared by other Western Jewish communities to varying degrees - predate Obama's presidency.

Indeed, they predate the establishment of the State of Israel. And now, as the US and the EU have given Iran at least another six months to a year to develop its nuclear bombs unchecked, it is worth considering the nature and influence of this ambivalence.

Ettinger - Settlement freeze – an obstacle to peace

Yoram Ettinger..
Israel Hayom..
27 January '12..

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the U.N. on Sept. 23 and the Palestinian Authority’s education system reaffirm the fact that Jewish settlements within pre-1967 Israel – and not in Judea and Samaria – are the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In his U.N. speech, Abbas highlighted the “63-year-old occupation” since 1948. This message is reinforced throughout the Palestinian school education system. He heralded the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was established three years before the 1967 war and before the establishment of contemporary Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, as his supreme authority. Abbas denies that Jewish history has any roots between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Thus, the primary cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the Judea and Samaria settlements, but the existence of the Jewish state.

Freezing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria diverts attention away from the core cause of the conflict. Moreover, it constitutes an obstacle to peace by reflecting submission to pressure, thus fueling further pressure, radicalizing Arab demands, intensifying Arab terrorism and eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence, while the only peace that is possible is deterrence-driven peace.

The pre-1967 area of Israel was the focus of the systematic campaign of Arab terrorism during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, as well as of the conventional Arab wars on Israel in 1948, 1956 and 1967.

Medad - Are there any 'Palestine Firsters?'

Yisrael Medad..
24 January '12..

JPost correspondent Benjamin Weinthal did a yeoman's job highlighting the apparent latent anti-Semitism at CAP and the use of the term "Israel Firster", and, because of all the apologetica, I guess we can now adopt the corresponding term "Palestine Firsters" and it would be acceptable to those progressive radical liberal forces who can't stand Israel.

One definition of "Palestine Firster" would be to support, aid and abet the Palestinian Authority and groups claiming to represent the interests of what is called the "Palestinian people," even though that assistance apparently is injurious to Israel, is helping foment terror and violence and moreover, is not benefiting the Arabs of the former territories of the Palestine Mandate.

What's an example of "Palestine First" activity? Well, at the end of December we had this:

The US State Department said Congress has released $40 million in aid to the Palestinians, part of the nearly $200 million that was frozen over their bid for full UN recognition.

"We have been working with Congress for some time, because we don't think it's in US national interests to keep this money frozen," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, saying US diplomats were "gratified" by the move. The monies, provided through the Economic Support Fund, are targeted for economic and humanitarian support.

What could be "Palestine First" about this, in a negative sense? I ask you to read this from January 3: