Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gold - Legalizing targeted killings

Dore Gold..
Israel Hayom..
30 March '12..

For most of the last decade, Israel has absorbed incessant criticism for its policy of targeted killings against the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations. After the elimination of Sheik Ahmad Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantissi, both of whom had masterminded Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians during the Second Intifada, then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded that Israel “immediately end” its practice of “extrajudicial killings” – a convenient term for Annan, implying that military targets should be tried on the battlefield in the midst of a war.

At a meeting of the U.N. Security Council in April 2004 on this question, Israel was castigated by one country after another. The British representative said the practice was “unlawful.” The French spokesman said that Israel was violating “fundamental principles of international law.” The Russians said they rejected Israel’s policy. When Israel began using targeted killings more extensively to put an end to the wave of suicide attacks in the heart of Israel’s cities after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, even the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, adopted the same tough rhetoric against Israel. He appeared on Israeli television in July 2001, saying: “The United States government is very clearly on the record as against targeted assassinations.’’ He specifically added: “They are extrajudicial killings, and we do not support that.”

It is against that background that the speech by U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder on March 5 at Northwestern University School of Law appeared revolutionary. He announced: “It is entirely lawful ... to target specific senior operational leaders of Al-Qaida and associated forces.” Holder rejected calling these operations “assassinations.” He said, “They are not, and the use of that loaded term is misplaced,” because assassinations were “unlawful killings.” The context of his legal decision was significant, for he made clear: “We are at war with a stateless enemy.” This meant that the laws of war applied to the war on terrorism. It was not a police action, in which terrorists were to be arrested and read their rights. The terrorist masterminds that were being targeted were combatants, plain and simple.

(Video) Latma - The IDF's absolutely non-political general

Caroline Glick..
30 March '12..

This week on the Tribal Update, the satirical newscast produced every week by Latma, the Hebrew-language satirical media criticism website I run, we present IDF OC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon speaking about his non-political position on settlements, the Palestinians and everything in between.

We also bring you a new sketch with our favorite suicide bombers Jamil and Awad and a children't story about a man who forgot something and couldn't remember what it was.

Latma is funded through contributions to the Center for Security Policy in Washington. If you are in the United States and would like to support our efforts, you can contribute by clicking here. It takes you to the online contribution page for the Center for Security Policy through Network for Good. To earmark your donation to Latma, please write "Latma" in the box marked "designation."

Weinberg - Got our back? More like stabbing us in the back

David M. Weinberg..
A Citadel Defending Zion..
30 March '12..

In a deliberate American campaign to scuttle any planned Israeli hit on Iran, the Obama administration is leaking classified intelligence assessments and documents that rip deep into our most sensitive military zones.

“There should not be a shred of doubt by now that when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back,” proclaimed US President Barack Obama at the AIPAC conference earlier this month. “There is no good reason to doubt me on (Israel) issues,” he similarly grumbled to The Atlantic. “I have made a more full-throated defense of Israel and its legitimate security concerns than any president in history… I have kept every single commitment I have made to the state of Israel and its security… We’ve got Israel’s back.”

Well, Obama definitely has a thing with Israel’s back. But he doesn’t seem to “have” our back. He is “at” our back. Stabbing us in the back, it appears.

How else can one explain the blatant and bold sabotage of Israel’s security that the Obama administration is engaged in? All the adamant protestations of support for Israel don’t weigh up against the concrete damage that administration officials are doing to Israel’s deterrent power and operational military capabilities through purposeful leaks of information relating to Israel’s strike abilities against Iran.

In a deliberate American campaign to scuttle any planned Israeli hit on Iran, Washington is leaking classified intelligence assessments and documents that rip deep into our most sensitive military zones.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Glick - The State Department's Jerusalem syndrome

Caroline Glick..
30 March '12..

I went to the US Consulate this week to take care of certain family business. It was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I think it is ironic that two days after my extremely unpleasant experience at the consulate, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refused to say what the capital of Israel is. It was ironic because anyone who visits the consulate knows that the US's position on Jerusalem is in perfect alignment with that of Israel's worst enemies.

Last time I went to the consulate was in 2007. At that time the building was located in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. It was unpleasant. In fact it was fairly frightening. Once inside the building I couldn't shake the feeling that the Americans had gone out of their way to make Israeli-American Jews feel uncomfortable and vaguely threatened.

But then, I was able to console myself with the thought that the US has been upfront about its rejection of Israel's right to assert its sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem. By treating Jews as foreigners in their capital city and behaving as though it belongs to the Arabs by among other things hiring only Arabs as local employees, the US officials on site were simply implementing a known US policy. True, I deeply oppose the policy, but no one was asking me, and no one was hiding anything from me.

The new consulate is much different, and much worse. The State Department opened its new consulate in Jerusalem in October 2010. It is located in the Jewish neighborhood of Arnona. It was built on the plot that Israel allocated for the US Embassy after Congress passed Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 requiring the US government to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

It was an unvarnished act of aggression against Israel and Congress that the State Department built the new consulate on the plot that is supposed to be an expression of US recognition of Israel's capital in Jerusalem.

Shragai - Between a rock and a holy place: Jewish-owned property in Hebron

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
30 March '12..

Yosef Ezra’s ancestors arrived in the Land of Israel in 1492, choosing to settle in Gaza, then home to a thriving Jewish community. The family stayed there for nine months, but due to the spread of disease moved to Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs, and lived there for 454 years. After the 1929 riots, in which 67 Hebron Jews were butchered, the British evacuated the Jewish residents from the city. Still, despite the warnings sounded by the Jewish National Council, 36 Sephardic families, including the Ezra family, returned to their homes. They were received by the Arabs of Hebron with bread, salt and requests for forgiveness.

Yosef Ezra, now 80, was born two years after the Hebron massacre and was still a preschooler when the bloody events of the Great Arab Revolt broke out in 1936. Dozens of Sephardic families who had returned to Hebron after the 1929 massacre cleared out once again that year, this time for good. But the Ezra family stayed on, the last Jewish family in Hebron.

Ezra’s father continued to buy dairy products from Hebron villagers, which he used to make fine cheeses at the dairy production plant inside his home. Yet on the day after the U.N. approved the establishment of the state of Israel, when it became clear that Hebron would remain inside the political boundaries of the kingdom of Jordan, the Ezra family left Hebron for the newly created Jewish state. Yosef Ezra was a teenager at the time.

Now the Ezra family home is at the center of what on the surface appears to be a legal dispute which in the next few weeks will likely take the place of the Migron controversy as the most pressing issue in the government’s “settlements” file.

The High Court of Justice has given the state one month to choose one of two options. It can either evict the two Jewish families who entered the home -- located in the city’s Triangle Market -- without authorization a few years ago, as Peace Now is demanding. Or it can offer an explanation to the judges as to why it will not evict these families.

This decision will, to a large extent, be precedent-setting. If the government opts for eviction, it will be the first eviction in the area since the 2008 evacuation of Beit Hashalom, located between Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The fate of this home is still being deliberated in the courts.

If the government decides to adopt a legal framework that would enable the Jews to remain there, it would be the first time since the first Netanyahu government that an Israeli administration officially sanctions the renewed settlement of Jews in the Israeli-controlled portion of Hebron.

Dweik - Salam Fayyad's Hypocrisy

Awarding journalists and Arresting Them

Mahmoud Dweik..
Gatestone Institute..
30 March '12..

The Palestinian Authority government of Salam Fayyad, announcing this week the launching of the 2012 Award for Press Freedom, invited Palestinian journalists to submit their candidacy for the prestigious award, the first if its kind in the Palestinian territories.

The award is intended to encourage freedom of media and speech in the Palestinian territories, where local journalists have long been facing a campaign of intimidation and harassment by the two Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Ironically, the news about the launching of the new award coincided with the arrest of Youssef Shayeb, a Palestinian journalist from Ramallah, on charges of "slander and defamation."

Fayyad's security forces in the West Bank arrested Shayeb after he published a report in a Jordanian newspaper exposing corruption in the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France.He was first detained for 48 hours, after which a Palestinian court extended his detention for an additional two weeks.

Honig - Batman and the Iron Dome

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
29 March '12..

Rare are the violent clashes from which all sides emerge positively cheery. But the latest exchange of fire with Gaza was just such an atypical conflict. When the smoke cleared, both combatants came away upbeat and sure their respective enemy was taught a painful lesson.

We are near-giddy with gladness over the technological wonders of our Iron Dome anti-missile missiles, while the Gazans are hoarse with victory whoops because they managed to fire off as many rockets as they did. We effusively congratulate ourselves because no major catastrophes were wrought on our side of the border. Nevertheless, the Gazans know that had we truly won, they wouldn’t be left standing and able to spark another conflagration at another time.

What does all the sound and fury signify in real terms? Most likely that no lessons at all were taught, that no one was punished and that in all probability we once more critically misread the signs. It’s as if somewhere along the line we’ve managed to lose sight of what constitutes triumph in our peculiar immediate environment. According to Mideastern conventions, the absence of incontrovertibly humiliating vanquishment denotes a degree of victory.

This local logic mustn’t be dismissed out of hand.

Harvardi - Global March to Jerusalem: a Distortion of the Historical Record for Political Purposes

Jeremy Harvardi..
The Commentator..
30 March '12..

The Palestinians and their backers have long resorted to diplomatic war in order to undermine Israel's legitimacy. The Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for March 30, is a classic example of this tactic. The organisers claim they are seeking "freedom for Jerusalem" and an "end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation" affecting the city.

In reality, they are distorting the historical record for political purposes. They seek to depict Israel as a malevolent custodian of the Holy places and a usurper of Muslim rights, so as to buttress an Arab and Islamic claim to the city. But as it happens, their claim does not stand up to serious scrutiny.

For starters, the city is not mentioned once in the Koran. Mohammed never visited Jerusalem and the only possible religious reference is to the prophet's night journey, which is essentially a matter of legend. Jerusalem has never been the capital of a sovereign Muslim state and for long periods under Islamic rule, was little more than a neglected backwater. Over the centuries, numerous accounts by travellers testify to Jerusalem’s degraded state under successive Arab empires.

Fresnozionism - US sabotages Israel’s deterrence
29 March '12..

Last week I asked “why is the administration helping Iran deter Israel from bombing its nuclear facilities?”

I suggested that the leak of a war game scenario that began with an Israeli attack on Iran and ended with several hundred dead Americans — of course this is only one possible outcome among an infinite number — was a deliberate attempt to influence sentiment in the US against Israel exercising its right of self-defense.

This particular leak is just one of many. But in addition to the proliferation of reports that an Israeli attack would be ineffective, Iranian retaliation would be devastating, etc., there is a much more dangerous tactic that is apparently being used. Ron Ben-Yishai tells us,

Indeed, in recent weeks the Administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis-à-vis decision-makers and Israel’s public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran. This “surgical strike” is undertaken via reports in the American and British media, but the campaign’s aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF to carry out a strike, and what’s even graver, to erode the IDF’s capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties…

IMRA - Iranian Nukes – Plain Talk on the Critical Assumption

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
29 March '12..

If the choice is between preventing a nuclear Iran and preventing the price of gasoline from skyrocketing before the November presidential elections it’s a no brainer for the Obama team.

A second term is without question more important than a nuclear Iran.

Before addressing the underlying logic of this position, a side note is warranted regarding barring Iranian banks from the SWIFT system.

At the time of the announcement it really seemed as if Iran was facing an unbearable sanction. In fact, Iranian officials compared the sanction to nothing less than the closing of the Strait of Hormuz.

But while the move has indeed made the movement of funds in transactions involving Iran considerably more cumbersome, we find ourselves already back to work for close to a week after the Persian New Year holidays and the story is well off the front pages. And it’s not just the barter arrangements between Iran and two of its large energy customers, India and China – deals that can readily extend to the Chinese and Indians paying third parties on behalf of Iran and not just swapping fuel for Chinese and Indian products. There is a lot of money out there to move around and a lot of smart people who are figuring out how they can profit from facilitating the transfer of funds without requiring a SWIFT connection to Iran.

So much for sanctions.

Hanson - The New Anti-Semitism

Why does the international community hate Israel so much?

Victor Davis Hanson..
28 March '12..

Not long ago, the Economist ran an unsigned editorial called the “Auschwitz Complex.” The unnamed author blamed serial Middle East tensions on both Israel’s unwarranted sense of victimhood, accrued from the Holocaust, and its unwillingness to “to give up its empire.” As far as Israel’s paranoid obsessions with the specter of a nuclear Iran, the author dismissed any real threat by announcing that “Iran makes an appealing enemy for Israelis,” and that “Israelis have psychologically displaced the source of their anxiety onto a more distant target: Iran.”

It is hard to fathom how a democracy of seven million people by any stretch of the imagination is an “empire.” Israel, after all, fought three existential wars over its 1947 borders, when the issue at hand was not manifest destiny, but the efforts of its many enemies to exterminate or deport its population. I would not otherwise know how to characterize the Arab promise of more than a half-century of “pushing the Jews into Mediterranean.”

While it is true that Israeli forces stayed put on neighboring lands after the 1967 war, subsequent governments eventually withdrew from the Sinai, southern Lebanon, and Gaza—areas from which attacks were and are still staged against it. The Economist’s choice of “appealing” is an odd modifying adjective of the noun “enemy,” particularly for Iran, which has both promised to wipe out Israel and is desperately attempting to find the nuclear means to reify that boast.

The Economist article is fairly representative of European anger at Israel, a country that is despised by most of the nations that make up the UN roster. Or as Nicky Larkin, an Irish documentary filmmaker and once vehement anti-Israel activist, recently confessed, “An Irish artist is supposed to sign boycotts, wear a PLO scarf, and remonstrate loudly about The Occupation. But it’s not just artists who are supposed to hate Israel. Being anti-Israel is supposed to be part of our Irish identity, the same way we are supposed to resent the English.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ceren - State Department Spin on Jerusalem Meltdown is Already Wrong

Omri Ceren..
29 March '12..

This morning, the State Department will begin to walk back the spectacular meltdown that was yesterday’s press briefing, wherein State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland gave the Palestinians a de facto retroactive veto over Israel’s 1949 decision to make Jerusalem its capital.

The talking point will be that the Obama administration, by insisting that the status of West Jerusalem is subject to final-status negotiations, was only reiterating the explicit policies of past administrations. If that were true, then Obama critics would be making the same points they’ve made throughout this White House’s diplomatic campaign against Israel: that Obama, by making controversies out of issues everyone had been content to leave quietly buried, was unnecessarily damaging the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the prospects for long-term Middle East peace.

As it so happens, the claim is false. Previous administrations have recognized Israel’s right to at least part of its capital city. The debate has turned on whether the Jewish State is entitled to “all” of Jerusalem, not whether it’s entitled to any part of the city. It was always about not prejudicing whether Israel would have share Jerusalem with a Palestinian state, not whether the entire city was up for grabs (let alone whether the Palestinians can retroactively veto Israel’s sovereign decision to make the parts of Jerusalem it controlled pre-1967 its capital).

White Houses have declined to move the embassy out of Tel Aviv because it would be treated as a symbolic acknowledgement of Israel’s rights over all Jerusalem, e.g. a statement that Israel wouldn’t have to share the city. Sitting on their hands on the embassy allowed presidents to dodge broader questions, which had the benefit of not running contrary to black-letter American law going back to 1995 recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Kay - Global March to Jerusalem: Hateful ignorance on parade

Jonathan Kay..
National Post..
28 March '12..

When Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six-Day War of 1967, they had to rely on a passing bystander — an old Arab Jerusalemite — to guide them to the Western Wall of Herod’s long-destroyed Jewish Temple.

Why did these soldiers not know the way to the holiest place in all Judaism? Because none had ever visited it. When the Jordanians ruled Jerusalem, Jewish visitors were persona non grata, and many synagogues were bulldozed.

I recite these facts in anticipation of March 30, the date picked by activists for what they call the “Global March to Jerusalem.”

“The march will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem,” the web site informs us. “We aim to highlight the cause of Jerusalem (the City of Peace) which is considered the key to peace and war in the region and the world. The march will confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.”

With just a few sentences, the web site summarizes the dominant strains of anti-Israeli propaganda that circulate in the Arab and Muslim worlds (as well as at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which just adopted five new resolutions against Israel, including one written by Syria). In regard to Jerusalem, in particular, the Global March organizers emphasize the image of the city as a sort of once-peaceful, once-tolerant Eden, that recently has become corrupted and desecrated by hateful Jews.

And so it is worth taking a moment to remember what Jerusalem and the surroundings looked like before the Israelis took control of the area 45 years ago.

Far from the thriving centre of tourism and spiritual life that the city has become under the Israelis, Hashemite Jerusalem was something of a backwater. Even the Temple Mount — then, as now, controlled by Muslims — attracted few Islamic visitors. Jewish prayer at the Western Wall was practically non-existent: The faithful were confined to a tiny, constrained pit the size of a bowling lane.

And what about now? From the manner by which Israel’s shrillest enemies describe the Jewish state, one would think that the mosques had all been destroyed or turned into pig stys. And yet al-Aqsa and the holy Muslim buildings it contains have become an active place of worship for Muslims from around the world. Indeed, Muslims are free to pray at mosques all over Israel (and, unlike in many Muslim nations, Shiite and Sunni worshipers do not have to worry bout being blown up by their opposite number as they pray), just as Christians gather and worship freely at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Bahá’ís congregate freely at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa.

Mazel - Lawlessness and terror: The Beduin kingdom of Sinai

Israel watches with growing concern as peninsula is turning into lawless territory used by Hamas, jihadi organizations.

Zvi Mazel..
Op-Ed Contributor/JPost..
28 March '12..

Some 300,000 Beduin live in the vast Sinai peninsula – nearly three times the size of Israel – and more than a quarter of them still lead a nomadic existence. The country is difficult of access, harsh, mostly mountainous and desert wilderness. Egypt has been finding it increasingly difficult to maintain its authority there.

Though Sinai has been part of Egypt from the dawn of history, Beduin tribes who settled there hundreds of years ago lived according to their own traditions and enjoyed a relative autonomy, mainly left alone by the central government. They have their own judicial system based on ancient customs and traditions which ensure the homogeneity of their society. There was no real attempt to penetrate this society and subordinate it to the judicial system of the country until the middle of the 19th century.

Even then Cairo was essentially interested in ensuring the safety of the trade routes and protecting Muslims making their way to Mecca and Christian pilgrims going to the Santa Katharina monastery. Local personal and tribal conflicts and property issues were left to the traditional Beduin system. Even today, the uneasy coexistence between the Egyptian and Beduin judicial systems goes on.

When Sinai was under Israeli rule – from the Six Day War in 1967 to the evacuation of Sinai in 1982 according to the peace treaty, it laid down the basis of a tourist infrastructure which was later developed by Egypt and which turned the peninsula into one of the main source of foreign currency. Israeli authorities enjoyed good relations with the Beduin and tried to improve their lot.

Once returned to Egypt, there was greater attention paid to the peninsula, now perceived as a buffer zone, while its tourist potential was being recognized. Efforts were made to develop the northern part of Sinai while new tourist infrastructure was built in the south. Special regulations were passed to prevent foreigners – i.e. Israelis – from purchasing land. The Beduin, however, were not part of that economic boom.

Fresnozionism - Jerusalem … on Mars?

Jerusalem, from Space
(NASA Photo)
29 March 12..

In the 1947 UN partition resolution, the General Assembly recommended that Jerusalem be made a corpus separatum, a political entity under international control, apart from the proposed Jewish and Arab states. This was reaffirmed at the time of the 1949 armistice agreements, but nobody paid attention to it — Jordan annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem, and Israel of course included the western part, which became its capital.

The US did not vote for the corpus separatum resolution in 1949 , but nevertheless was not happy with the situation. In 1962, the State Department issued a statement which said, in part,

The United States undertook, however, to give due recognition to the formal acts of the General Assembly and the Trusteeship Council relating to Jerusalem and has since maintained its position that the Holy Places in the Jerusalem area are of international interest to a degree which transcends ordinary considerations of sovereignty.

…the status of Jerusalem is a matter of United Nations concern and no member of the United Nations should take any action to prejudice the United Nations interest in this question. Our objective has been to keep the Jerusalem question an open one and to prevent its being settled solely through the processes of attrition and fait accompli to the exclusion of international interest and an eventual final expression thereof presumably through the United Nations.

I have always suspected that the State Department — many of whose employees were the children of missionaries — simply couldn’t handle the idea of the holy places in the hands of Jews and Muslims. Be that as it may, at some point the position changed — probably with the passage of UNSC resolution 242 in 1967 — so that the status of Jerusalem would be decided by negotiations between the parties concerned, and not by the UN.

The parties, in 1967, were Israel and Jordan. With the Oslo agreements, the status of Jerusalem became a “final status issue” to be negotiated by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This is today’s official State Department line.

Note that in respect to sovereignty, the State Department has never distinguished between the eastern and western parts. Neither are part of Israel. The 1962 statement explains that

Anbar - The Changing Face of Sinai

With a new regime governing Egypt, the lawless Sinai Peninsula has become a breeding ground for Israel's enemies and their proxies. After more than thirty years of relative quiet on the border, Israel has a new potential threat to manage

Ariel Anbar..
28 March '12..

Iran seldom misses an opportunity to exploit the weaknesses of its adversaries. As the power vacuum in Egypt may result in political and military changes that pose a threat to Israel, it is imperative for the Jewish state to re-evaluate and re-gentrify its strategy, and accordingly, re-allocate resources to its southwestern border.

With the Obama administration welcoming the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the post-Mubarak Egyptian government, Iran's proxy operations will flourish in the Sinai Peninsula – the new safe haven for global jihad – which is becoming an integral part of Iran’s expanding terror network and infrastructure.

Akin to its cultivation of ties with Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran is determined to increase its influence wherever it can. It appears that Iran has successfully seized the opportunity in Egypt and Sinai.

The West’s miscalculation of Egypt's strategic trajectory (as with Turkey’s) has resulted in the Sinai Peninsula becoming a front for Iranian terrorist activity. In addition, as the rift between the Egyptian civilian government and the military closes, Iran will have a fertile breeding ground to further its interests and intensify its operations.

Since the toppling of Mubarak's regime, the Egyptian military has permitted events to occur that can only lead one to conclude that Egypt is seeking to strengthen ties with Israel's enemies, rather than maintaining strategic cooperation with Israel.

Sapir - Love for Iran Takes Ayatollahs Off the Hook

Leor Sapir..
28 March '12..

A peculiar phenomenon has been dominating Israeli social media. As tensions between Israel and Iran reach fever pitch, a young Israeli couple has launched a campaign showing pictures of couples kissing under the heading “Iran, we love you, we will never bomb your country.” Some Iranians have reciprocated with rosy memes of their own carrying a similar message to their Israeli courtiers. Cute. Last Saturday, the campaign hit the streets of Tel Aviv. Hundreds waved banners and shouted into megaphones their disapproval of what they perceive to be Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “needless” warmongering. Calls for Netanyahu’s resignation were heard over chants for “social justice instead of war.”

Most pundits would agree that Iran’s nuclear program has little, if anything, to do with Israel, even though a nuclear Iran would certainly make the region more unstable and dangerous for the Jewish state. The demonstrators’ claims aren’t likely to be taken seriously by Israeli decision makers who are focused more on intelligence evaluations of the Iranian challenge than social media.

Saturday’s demonstration is most remarkable for its curious intellectual undercurrent. The protesters seemed to have expressed a remarkable sense of inflated self-importance that stems from the fallacy that all of the Middle East’s problems are the result of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Contrary to this myth, Israel doesn’t hold the key to regional stability and peace. The blind faith that a little less bellicosity from Israel will solve everything is based on a premise that treats Iranian domestic politics, American interests in Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, the rise of Sunni neo-Ottomanism on Iran’s western front, and Iran’s paranoia over its disgruntled non-Persian minorities as if they were problems that can all be resolved by a wave of the Jewish magic wand.

Nisan - The politics of Jerusalem

By Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Mordechai Nisan..
Op-Ed Contributor/JPost..
28 March '12..

A satisfactory and consensual political resolution of the question of Jerusalem has eluded diplomats and statesmen. The British Peel Commission of 1937 recommended a two-state solution in the land that included a Jewish state and an Arab state, with greater Jerusalem to be administered by the British authorities. In 1947 the United Nations Partition Resolution also proposed that Jerusalem be a separate entity under international trusteeship, thus excluded from the sovereign domain of the Jewish and Arab states as proposed. When the Israeli-Jordanian fighting ended in Jerusalem in late 1948, the city was effectively divided between Jewish west Jerusalem and Arab east Jerusalem. This was a result of war and not a prescription for peace.

The division of the city did not prevent the Israeli government from declaring it the capital of the state, nor obstruct Jewish demographic growth which doubled to 200,000 by 1967. Jordan meanwhile proved to be the serial violator of its obligations under the Armistice Agreement, destroying Jewish synagogues and desecrating the Mount of Olives cemetery, denying Jewish access to the Western Wall while sniping at Jewish residents and buildings adjacent to the Old City in western Jerusalem.

Ceren - Final Blow to Anti-Israel Linkage Myths?

Omri Ceren..
28 March '12..

Of the two pivots in debates about Middle East geopolitics – which side is responsible for continued Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, and in which direction does the “linkage” between those hostilities and Iranian-driven instability run – the Obama administration entered office taking an anti-Israel position on both.

The White House immediately identified the Israelis as the intransigent party. The president put the onus for new concessions on Jerusalem, established “daylight” between the U.S. and the Jewish State, and demanded that Israel implement a full construction freeze beyond the Green Line. Built as it was on shrill ideology rather than sober analysis, that diplomatic offensive failed to the tune of detonating the peace process. The White House eventually grudgingly reversed course.

“Linkage” is an analytic disagreement over direction and a pragmatic question of sequencing. Meeting with Obama in 2009, Netanyahu insisted no progress could be made on Israeli-Palestinian peace as long as Iran had a free hand regionally, since the mullahs would always use their Hamas and Hezbollah proxies to spoil negotiations. Obama answered by explicitly declaring “if there is a linkage… it actually runs the other way,” and that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations built on Israeli concessions were necessary for mobilizing a regional coalition against Iran.

It used to be that these competing theories were up for debate, with at least coherent arguments on both sides and insufficient evidence to choose one over the other. Not so much any more.

Gordon - Where 8,000 Rocket Launches Are Not a Casus Belli

Evelyn Gordon..
JINSA Visiting Fellow..
29 March '12..

The most chilling comment I've seen on the mid-March surge of violence from Gaza, when terrorists fired 300 rockets at Israel in four days, was made almost three weeks earlier. The rocket fire had been steadily increasing, indicating that the deterrent effect of Israel's 2009 war in Gaza was fading, and Israel Defense Forces officers were discussing whether another large-scale operation in Gaza was needed. "The debate within the IDF," The Jerusalem Post reported, "is whether it needs to wait for a successful attack by Gaza terrorists - be it a rocket attack that causes casualties or a successful cross border attack - or if the sporadic rocket fire is enough of a justification to launch an operation today."

Think about that: Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets at Israel since its mid-2005 pullout from Gaza, along with thousands of mortar shells; even in 2011, a "quiet" year, there were 680 rocket and mortar launches, almost two a day. A million residents of Israel's south live in permanent fear, punctuated every few months by more intensive bouts of violence that, like the one in mid-March, close schools for days and empty workplaces of parents, who must stay home with their kids. In Sderot, the town closest to Gaza, an incredible 45% of children under six have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as have 41% of mothers and 33% of fathers; these statistics will presumably be replicated elsewhere as the rockets' increasing range brings ever more locales under regular fire.

In any other country, such relentless shelling would unquestionably be a casus belli. But Israel's army was seriously debating whether this alone justified military action, or whether it had to wait until the rockets caused a mass-casualty incident.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plosker - Who Supports Marwan Barghouti?

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting/Backsin..
28 March '12..

“Birds of a feather flock together.” This phrase could be applied to many journalists plying their trade in Israel. They hang out with other journalists and those who share a similar political viewpoint on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It also means that many foreign journalists are unable to discern the multitude of opinions held by ordinary Israelis other than to make sweeping generalizations.

Perhaps that’s why The Independent’s Catrina Stewart wrote the following about convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti:

Many Israelis also support him, seeing him as a pragmatist who has indicated he would recognise a Jewish state alongside an independent Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

There is no qualitative or quantitative evidence to back this assertion. Actual electoral statistics and polls, however, would suggest that the only Israelis “supporting” the campaign to free Barghouti (not, hopefully, justifying his terrorist activities) are those on the political fringes such as Gush Shalom, which even the mainstream Israeli press has termed as “radical” and even “extreme”.

Sorry Catrina – maybe it’s about time you visited an Israeli market or even a major city thoroughfare to find out what the Israeli “street” really thinks. Or does sitting in the bar of the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem agreeing with fellow journalists, NGO workers and Palestinians constitute taking the pulse of the Israeli people these days?


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Tobin - The Fall of Obama’s Favorite Israeli

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 March '12..

For the past three years, figures in America’s foreign policy establishment as well as media kibbitzers who knew little about Israel had a constant refrain: Tzipi Livni, the glamorous head of the Kadmia Party, should replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister. In the aftermath of Netanyahu’s election in February 2009, the Obama administration openly plotted to topple the new leader and replace him with Livni, whom they viewed as more pliable on the Palestinian issue. Once that ploy failed as President Obama’s attacks on Netanyahu only strengthened him at home, Netanyahu’s American critics could only sit back and wait patiently until Livni defeated him on her own. But the wait is going to be a lot longer than many in Washington thought.

Last night, Livni lost her perch as opposition leader as the members of her rapidly shrinking party rejected her in favor of former General Shaul Mofaz in a primary to determine who will top the party’s list in the next election that is currently scheduled for October 2013. That Livni, who was feted abroad and was prominently placed on lists of the world’s most important women, was defeated at all will come as a shock to her foreign admirers. But this was no ordinary defeat. The lady who only a couple of weeks ago was lauded as Israel’s “voice of reason” in a fawning piece by John Avlon in the Daily Beast, was slaughtered by Mofaz, 62-38 percent. The question now is whether Americans who were under the delusion that Livni represented a viable alternative to Netanyahu’s popular government will get the message.

Shalabi - Olmert's "Peace Partner" Cannot Deliver and Has No Mandate

Abdel Karim Shalabi..
Gatestone Institute..
28 March '12..

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted this week that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a "partner for peace."

"No one can say to me after hundreds of hours of discussing peace with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] that he is not a partner because he doesn't want peace," Olmert said in a speech at J Street's annual conference. "He wants peace with Israel and he accepts the existence of Israel as Israel declares itself to be."

But if Abbas were really a "partner for peace," how come he did not accept the generous offer he received from the Olmert government in 2008?

At that time, Olmert presented Abbas with a map that would have given the Palestinians control over most of the West Bank, and that also included the transfer of 327 square kilometers of territory from inside Israel to the Palestinians. In return, Israel would have annexed 6.3% of the West Bank to Israel.

Olmert's peace plan would have involved the evacuation of dozens of settlements and the creation of a safe passage route connecting the West Bank to the Gaza Strip via a highway. But as Abbas never responded to Olmert's plan, the negotiations between the two sides ended.

Rennert - J Street gets comeuppance from Israeli diplomat at its annual conference

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
28 March '12..

J Street, the leftist group that describes itself as "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace" but is more deserving of an "anti-Israel' and "anti-peace" label, got a long overdue comeuppance at its annual conference in Washington, D.C. this week.

Administering a forceful spanking of J Street was none other than the No. 2 diplomat at the Israeli Embassy, Deputy Ambassador Barukh Bina. While his address to thousands of J Street supporters was couched in diplomatic language, it turned into a ringing indictment of J Street's agenda.

Financed by the likes of George Soros, J Street has positioned itself as an all-out opponent of AIPAC, a genuine pro-Israel advocacy group that represents a far bigger slice of American Jewry than upstart J Street and, for its efforts, was repeatedly vilified during the conference.

While J Street has made only relatively few inroads among American Jewry and Israel supporters, its unrestrained criticism of Israeli policies has been a treasure trove for mainstream media eager to quote a "pro-Israel" group to flog Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

For this year's conference, J Street corralled several prominent leftist American and Israeli personalities, but its main "get" was the No.2 diplomat in the Israeli Embassy. Last year, the Embassy stayed away from AIPAC's conference and the year before, it sent only a low-level observer. This time, it was going to be different.

Kushner - From Israel: Standing Tough

Arlene Kushner..
28 March '12..

First matters first: I have an update on Zakkai, the baby boy with the tumor along his spine and in his thoracic cavity, that is not positive. When he originally was discovered to have a tumor on his spine that had caused him to stop walking, surgery was done to relieve the pressure on his spine and his improvement was immediate and gratifying. Then came the news that what they had been told was a malignant tumor was in fact benign. His most diligent parents, in seeking consultations from a variety of top-notch sources, were overwhelmed by a vast array of different opinions -- everything from leaving it alone for now to different approaches to surgery. But essentially it was all very promising. Until now. They have learned that this tumor, although it is benign, is very aggressively growing. It has returned to the spine and is eating into vertebrae. Surgery is recommended quickly -- although they will do some speedily consults first --and they fear for his recovery and for the prospect of his being paralyzed for life. In fact, they fear for his life. And so please, pray for him: Rafael Zakkai Avraham ben Yakira Avigael, and put out the word as broadly as you can.

For those wanting more details, as the parents are able to post:


As to standing tough:

Now, perhaps more than ever, it is important for Israel to stand tall and convey our convictions of what is right. Following the news about Israel breaking ties with the Human Rights Council came this, as described by Israel Hayom:

JCPA - Poll: 77 Percent of Israelis See Iran Nukes as Existential Threat

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs..
March 2012..

A survey of 505 Jewish Israelis conducted in March 2012 by Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs sought answers to the following questions:

1. How do Israeli citizens understand the Iranian threat?

2. Is the use of force the only way to stop Iran's nuclear plans?

3. How do the U.S. and Israel compare in their abilities to prevent a nuclear Iran?

- An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that the Iranian nuclear threat constitutes an existential threat to the State of Israel and that the only way to stop Iran's nuclearization is by a military attack.

- Two-thirds of Israelis (65%) think the price Israel would have to pay for living under the shadow of the Iranian nuclear bomb is higher than the price it would pay for attacking Iran's nuclear capability.

- 60% agree that the only way to stop Iran's nuclear program is by a military attack; 66% believe in the IDF's ability to damage Iran's nuclear program substantially.

- 63% believe that the price the Israeli home front will pay if the United States attacks Iran is similar to the price it will pay if Israel does so.

- A 60% majority agree with the statement that the only way to stop Iran's nuclearization is by a military attack.

The survey reveals that a substantial majority of Israelis (60% vs. 36%) believe that the United States will act militarily against Iran if the sanctions do not suffice to stop it from nuclearizing. While a huge majority (80% vs. 9%) of Israelis agree that the American military is capable of damaging Iran's nuclear program substantially, Israeli citizens' level of belief in the IDF is very high: a very sizable majority (66% vs. 29%) believes that the IDF, too, has the ability to considerably damage Iran's nuclear program.

Marquadt-Bigman - MJ Rosenberg, Media Matters and misinformation

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror..
27 March '12..

Media Matters for America (MMfA) describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” As a partner project, it operates Media Matters Action Network (MMAN), which is described in very similar terms as “a progressive research and information center dedicated to analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation; ensuring accuracy, appropriate balance, and accountability in the media through targeted public action campaigns; empowering and expanding progressive voices in the media by providing a full range of resources to assist the larger progressive community in creating and disseminating progressive information and views; and engaging in other activities at the confluence of progressive thought, policy, and media.”

It should go without saying that anyone who works for an outfit that is monitoring political opponents for “misinformation” will obviously be expected to be very careful about the information they are putting out. However, this is apparently not a standard embraced by Media Matters.

One of the people who work for MMAN is MJ Rosenberg. He holds the position of Senior Foreign Policy Fellow, writes a blog at the Huffington Post and contributes regularly to Al Jazeera – including a recent piece that promotes the demagogic trope that the Israel Lobby controls Washington.

Unfortunately, it seems that Rosenberg is prone to spreading even worse misinformation about Israel. As I documented in a blog post yesterday, Rosenberg claimed in a tweet that Ha’aretz had reported that a “Palestinian infant died in incubator which went dead due to Israeli electricity shutdown.”

Dann - Who makes the law?

Moshe Dann..
27 March '12..

Once again former chief justice Dorit Beinisch and a few of her colleagues have usurped the role and powers of the legislature and sought to create new law.

In a ruling last week, Beinisch and a panel that included Justices Edna Arbel and Miriam Naor, vehement opponents of settlements, held that Michael Lessans, a Jewish plumber who lives in Kedumim, in the Shomron, must evacuate 45 dunams (approx. 11 acres) of land on which he had planted 1,300 trees because Arabs claimed this area belonged to them.

The court ordered Lessans to remove the trees immediately and compensate the Arab claimants and the Civil Administration. The court ruled that Jews, unlike Arabs, could not claim land by chazaka (acquired right of possession) – an Ottoman statute under which working the land for three to 10 years could be a basis for claiming ownership.

Lessans, who immigrated from Baltimore 40 years ago, planted the area with wheat, corn and barley in 1996, and in 2006 planted olive trees. A year later Arabs objected and in 2009 – assisted and represented by Peace Now and Yesh Din – filed a petition against Lessans. The land was never registered in tabu and the Arab claimants offered no proof of ownership.

According to Lessans, a document from the Ottoman period presented by the Arab claimants refers to the right to rent “a place” in the area – but no precise location is specified and the alleged owner is not listed. Therefore, it is impossible to know if Lessans’ orchard is “the place,” or not. Although the lower court rejected Arab claims of ownership, Peace Now and Yesh Din went directly to the Supreme Court, where they knew they could win on politics, rather than law.

In his appearance before the Supreme Court, Lessans offered to give the entire orchard to the Arabs if they could prove ownership. The court refused the deal. If the Arabs can’t prove they own the land, however, why did the court order the trees removed and likely destroyed? These crucial facts were not reported in the media, which accepted the court’s decision without question.

Bayefsky - Israel & The UN "Human Rights" Council

Does Obama have Israel's back or just the UN's?

Anne Bayefsky..
27 March '12..

The UN’s top human rights body ended its latest session in Geneva on Friday by dealing a body blow to one of President Obama’s signature foreign policy moves. The extreme anti-Israel extravaganza has prompted Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to cut ties with the body intimating Americans should also withdraw support, while administration officials have hit the airwaves to make the case that the demonization of Israel is troubling but tolerable. The message communicated: the President has the UN’s back, not Israel’s.

The Bush administration refused to lend the UN “Human Rights” Council the credibility offered by U.S. membership and withheld taxpayer dollars accordingly.

In 2009 President Obama, signed on, paid the dues, and is currently seeking a second three-year term for the United States on the Council.

The only trouble is, in just six short years the body created in 2006 as a reform of the discredited UN Human Rights Commission, has gone from very bad to even worse.

As of this past Friday, 42% of all the resolutions and decisions critical of the human rights records of specific states ever adopted by the Council have been directed at Israel. The scorecard was 44 resolutions against Israel and 61 resolutions directed at all of the other 192 UN members combined. And Council resolutions never even mention “Hamas.”

The Council has a permanent agenda governing every regular session composed of ten items, one reserved for criticizing Israel and one for “human rights situations that require the Council’s attention” anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Martino - Europe In Denial Yet Again

Peter Martino..
Gatestone Institute..
27 March '12..

It is a familiar pattern. Whenever a terrorist commits an atrocity, his apologists start blaming society or, even worse, the victims. Hence, it was not surprising that after Mohamed Merah, a French jihadist of Algerian descent, killed a rabbi and three Jewish children in Toulouse last week, some immediately blamed the Jews.

Merah had cold-bloodedly videotaped how he chased an eight-year old girl across a school playground and murdered her with three bullets in the head, and how he executed Rabbi Sandler and his three- and six-year old sons. Even so, some did not hesitate to compare his acts to military operations of the Israeli army in Gaza.

That alone is shocking, but that the comparison was made by the head of foreign policy of the European Union makes matters even worse. And yet, one week after comparing the Jewish children that were intentionally murdered in Toulouse with young Palestinian victims of the Israeli army's defensive air strikes in Gaza, Catherine Ashton, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is still in function. Not a single one of the 27 governments of the member states of the European Union is asking for her resignation.

Israeli politicians reacted with indignation to Ashton's comparison. Her remarks, however, are not surprising given her past as an activist who belonged to the "Blame the West first" crowd. Some people, when confronted with sociopathic behavior, collaborate with it or look for arguments to prove that it is actually not a symptom of emotional disorder, but an attempt to right a wrong which someone has committed.

The European Union is one of the most outspoken and frequent international critics of Israel. Last week, this column pointed out its frequent unfair and biased reports about Israel. As Israel is a Western country, it is hated by anti-Western elements in the EU who depict the Palestinians as permanent victims of Israeli aggression.

Kushner - From Israel: The Only Proper Response

Arlene Kushner..
27 March '12..

It was last Thursday that the UN Human Rights Council voted to send a "mission" to investigate the way in which the "settlements" infringe on the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs, prompting a very angry response from Prime Minister Netanyahu. Shades of Goldstone.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Lieberman, after consulting with top staff in his ministry, decided to severe all ties with the council. For this I say Bravo! as no other response would have been appropriate.

From now on, said a senior diplomatic official sited by the JPost, Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva (which is where that HRC sits) will not appear before the council, answer any of its phone calls or cooperate with Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay in any way.

Israel will also bar the settlement "fact finding mission" from entering Israel.

This all sounds right to me.

Benson - The Palestinian Spring: A Sobering Look

Pesach Benson..
Honest Reporting/Backspin..
27 March '12..

Marwan Barghouti joins the UNHRC/Global March on Jerusalem/PLO dog-pile on Israel.

Haaretz describes the Tanzim militia leader’s missive from prison calling for “popular resistance against Israel,” including an end to PA security and economic cooperation, diplomatic and economic boycotts, and a plug for unilateral statehood via the UN.

But this all may have more to do with distracting Palestinians from discontent with their own leaders. In Gaza, Ynet reports of Palestinian efforts on Facebook to organize a general strike protesting Hamas and Fatah handling of the fuel crisis.

You know the Islamists can never allow that to happen.

And in the West Bank, Washington Post reporter Karin Brulliard takes a sobering look at the PA’s plummeting popularity:

(Video) Antisemitism at UN "Human Rights" Council - March 2012

Eye on the UN..
Anne Bayefsky..
27 March '12..

The blood libel -- the UN's idea of human rights

***the UN "Human Rights" Council in action***

Geneva  - March 2012

For more United Nations coverage see

EYEontheUN brings to light the real UN record on the key threats to democracy, human rights, and peace and security in our time. EYEontheUN provides a unique information base for the re-evaluation of priorities and directions for modern-day democratic societies.

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Hornik - The Palestinian Human Rights Nightmare

P. David Hornik..
27 March '12..

The notion that Israel is victimizing the Palestinians is one of the cardinal—perhaps the cardinal—paradigms of international politics since the 1967 Six-Day War. Not only the left, both in Israel and abroad, subscribes to it, but also a large part of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, and just about all of official Europe. It goes without saying that the paradigm is regnant in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

It is hard, then, to get anyone interested in Palestinians victimizing Palestinians—suggesting that the seeming preoccupation with Israeli-ruled territories has something to do with the great value many people find in the Jew-as-victimizer prototype. Similarly, once the United States—supposedly the oppressor—had left Southeast Asia in the early 1970s, it was hard to get any but a few of the opponents of that presence interested in the ensuing horrendous victimization of Vietnamese and Cambodians by other Vietnamese and Cambodians.

Last week, though, an Israeli outfit called the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) tried to buck the trend. It presented to the European Parliament a report on “The Status of Human Rights on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The reports notes that “a surprising silence prevails regarding the violation of human rights by the Palestinian government authorities in the Territories,” and that, even though these are by now widely documented, “the EU continues to push for full and immediate statehood for the [Palestinian Authority].”

And while the JIJ focuses mainly on Europe, it could, naturally, also have said similar things regarding the Obama administration’s preoccupation with getting statehood for the Palestinians—fast; which seems to have waned only recently in an election year.

CAMERA - UPI Captions Fueling the Conflict

26 March '12..

A series of United Press International (UPI) photos yesterday of a Gaza bakery are accompanied by captions which falsely place the blame on Israel for the Gaza Strip's current fuel crisis. For instance,

A Palestinian baker prepares bread in a wood burning stove at a traditional bakery in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on March 25, 2012. Gaza is experiencing a major electricity crisis because of a shortage of fuel for the power plant. Israel blockaded fuel to Gaza after Hamas seized control of Gaza by force in 2007. UPI/Ismael Mohamad

A Palestinian baker prepares pita bread in a wood burning stove at a traditional bakery in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on March 25, 2012. Gaza is experiencing a major electricity crisis because of a shortage of fuel for the power plant. Israel blockaded fuel to Gaza after Hamas seized control of Gaza by force in 2007. UPI/Ismael Mohamad

But the current fuel crisis is caused by a dispute between Hamas and Egypt, and is not related to Israeli policy. As reported in the New York Times:

Fresnozionism - Can the world afford the Palestinians?
26 March '12..

News item:

In a surprising decision, the High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected a compromise agreement struck between the government and residents of Migron, the largest illegal outpost in Judea and Samaria. The agreement would have allowed the residents to remain in their outpost several years after a mandatory evacuation deadline, but was struck down on the grounds that no group of people is above the law…

This 50-family community, located several miles north of Jerusalem, has become a bone of contention since its establishment in 1999. Left-wing groups claimed the families who set up the community’s first bungalows had illegally trespassed onto privately owned Palestinian land, whereas the residents claimed that they had obtained the necessary authorization to establish the new community. Last August, the High Court of Justice ruled in favor of the left-wing organization Peace Now, which petitioned the court on behalf of the alleged Palestinians [sic] owners of the property. The state was ordered to evacuate the residents and dismantle the site by April 2012, in what was hailed by some as the most important court decision on disputed construction in Judea and Samaria in years.

Without going into all the details, I want to note a few facts.

First, only a small part of the community is built on land that may belong to Palestinians, but the government decided that all of it must be ‘dismantled’.

Second, no Israeli court ruled on the substance of the case — on the question of whose land it was. The government made its decision on the basis of a report written in 2005 by one Talia Sasson, who was head of the state prosecutor’s office at the time.

Sasson is a board member of the New Israel Fund, a member of the Public Council of Yesh Din, a foreign-funded left-wing NGO which carries out ‘lawfare’ against Israel in the name of ‘human rights’, and a Knesset candidate of the fringe New Movement-Meretz party (which has 3 seats out of 120 in the Knesset). She is a professional opponent of the Jewish presence in the territories. Her objectivity is more than questionable, it is non-existent.

Tobin - Is the Brotherhood Moderating Hamas?

Jonathan S. Tobin..
26 March '12..

During the weekend, the New York Times reported that the Muslim Brotherhood, a rising force in post-Mubarak Egypt, is exerting pressure on its Hamas allies to do what is necessary to make its unity pact with Fatah work. The upshot of the report is that by seeking to influence the terrorist movement to join the Palestinian Authority, the Brotherhood is advancing the cause of peace. But the assumption that either Fatah or the newly moderate Hamas is actually interested in signing a peace agreement with Israel is utterly without foundation.

The Times buys into the Brotherhood’s spin that its effort to induce its ally to become a partner in the PA is a sign it has evolved from its fundamentalist origins. Rather than merely asserting its goal of destroying Israel and unceasing war with the West, these Islamist parties seek to co-opt existing Arab institutions such as the Egyptian government and the Palestinian Authority. In the sense that the Egyptian party is taking a more nuanced approach to power, they’re right. But the assumption that the ultimate aim of this tactic is peace, is a mistake.

Like Hamas, the Brotherhood’s long-term goal is still the eradication of Israel. But it knows that even if it could command the loyalty of the Egyptian Army — whose acquiescence it needs to consolidate its hold on a share of power in Cairo — this isn’t realistic. Rather, it seeks to govern Egypt and impose its ideology on the largest Arab nation. If it is advising Hamas to try to do the same thing, it does so on the assumption that sooner or later its ally will marginalize Fatah.

Gerecht - How Washington Encourages Israel to Bomb Iran

Israel knows sanctions aren't likely to work and is increasingly aware of the poor quality of U.S. intelligence.

Reuel Marc Gerecht..
Wall Street Journal..
25 March '12..

In recent speeches, interviews and private meetings, President Obama has been trying hard to dissuade Israel from bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. All along, however, he's actually made it much easier for Israel to attack. The capabilities and will of Israel's military remain unclear, but the critical parts of the administration's Iran policy (plus the behavior of the Islamic Republic's ruler, Ali Khamenei) have combined to encourage the Israelis to strike.

Public statements define a president's diplomacy, and in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this month Mr. Obama intensely affirmed "Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs." He added that "no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction."

By so framing the Iranian nuclear debate, the president has forced a spotlight on two things that his administration has wanted to leave vague: the efficacy of sanctions and the quality of American intelligence on Tehran's nuclear program. The Israelis are sure to draw attention to both in the coming months.

Given Mr. Khamanei's rejection of engagement, Mr. Obama has backed sanctions because they are the only plausible alternative to war or surrender. Ditto Congress, which has been the real driver of sanctions. But the timeline for economic coercion to work has always depended on Israeli or American military capabilities and the quality of Western intelligence. Neither factor engenders much patience.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yes Dr. Shine - It is "wrong and manifestly unjust"

Love of the Land..

In a piece entitled "The politics of Migron", in today's Israel Hayom (26 March '12), Dr Haim Shine writes the following:

The citizens of Israel have no choice but to abide by Supreme Court judgements, even if they are wrong and manifestly unjust. If people didn’t fear the court system, they would surely raise their hands against their brothers, especially in such a divided and polarized society as this one. Compliance with the rules of democracy is a cornerstone of Israel’s existence as both a Jewish and a democratic state.
At a certain point, the Supreme Court decided that they were occupying privately-owned Arab land. Surprisingly, no Palestinian has yet proven ownership of the land. But the Supreme Court decided that we are obligated to evacuate the residents.The Israeli government, understanding how harsh evacuation can be, especially after the evacuation of Gush Katif in 2005, reached an agreement with the residents to move them to an alternative location. The Supreme Court opposed the agreement between the government and the residents and set a date for the evacuation within three months. This decision is especially puzzling given the fact that the Supreme Court has yet to decide who owns the land.

Dr. Shine concludes:

Nevertheless and despite everything, we must uphold the court’s ruling.

Dr Shine, and perhaps Minister Benny Begin, a question or two, a comment or two, if I may.

If even in the case of "Justice delayed is justice denied" ... meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all, then in what way does "to abide by Supreme Court judgements, even if they are wrong and manifestly unjust" become "a cornerstone of Israel’s existence as both a Jewish and a democratic state."?  Is it possible, perhaps, that it's merely a mockery of both.

Chief Justice Burger wrote the following, in the ABA Journal October 1970:

A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law - in the larger sense - cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets. 

To re-quote one more time: "That people come to believe the law - in the larger sense - cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets, is that which can do incalculable damage to society. And with that, Dr. Shine, we must say, nevertheless and despite everything, we must not uphold the court’s ruling.

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