Sunday, September 30, 2012

Arlene Kushner From Israel - The Season of Our Gladness

Arlene Kushner..
30 September '12..

That gladness does not, in any way, refer to the current political situation (it should only be). It is, rather, a reference to the holiday of Sukkot, which begins tomorrow night and lasts for a week. It is, truly, a joyous time, with gathering of family and friends to eat within the temporary walls of the festively decorated sukkah, and, most properly, sleeping there as well. (More easily done in Israel than in colder climes, I know.)

A time, as well, for blessings said daily over the lulav and etrog, which are rich in symbolism and meaning.

Credit: nnhs65


Sukkot is my very favorite holiday, and I will be posting, at most, intermittently, in the week ahead.


I pick up here with an apology (and thanks to Buddy): in my rush to post about Prime Minister's speech at the UN last week, immediately after he spoke, I inadvertently picked up a URL for an old speech of his and not the one he had just given.

Here you have the proper link:


I will mention here, as well, that, for reasons not clear, transmission of my last post failed to just a handful of my recipients. If you did not receive my posting about the speeches at the UN, you can find it here:.


Now I would like to return to that speech by Netanyahu. First, to restate my original response, that it was an excellent speech.

I am seeing criticism that it was too simplistic, that the chart was silly, etc. And I most respectfully disagree. A clear and straightforward message has been delivered and this is what the world needed to hear. There has been too much double talk on the issue.

Consensus has it that the single most important point the prime minister made was with regard to the US position that waiting until components of a bomb were about to be assembled would be acceptable, because US Intelligence would pick this up. Netanyahu, I believe, demolished the credibility of such a position -- and this is critical. The Iranians have been operating under the assumption that they had a free hand to proceed.


It is important to be clear, conceptually, as to what Netanyahu was requesting with that "red line." He was not asking the US to commit to bombing Iran once the Iranians had proceeded in their nuclear development past that line (although ultimately that might be what happens).

Netanyahu's position is, rather, that once the Iranians understand that they would be bombed if they crossed that line -- that is, it finally becomes clear that the US is serious and will not let them get to the point of assembly -- then they will stop before reaching that point. His intention in having the US state the red line is to prevent and not provoke war.

***EXCLUSIVE*** New GraSS poem: Not Peeling the Onion in Iran

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

The news out of Germany is that Nobel Laureate Günter Grass continues to crave the kind of attention he got a few years ago when he revealed in his autobiography Peeling the Onion that he had served in the SS. Earlier this year, he managed to cause quite a stir when he published an awkward “poem” warning the world about the terrible danger posed by a belligerent Israel that was unduly worried by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Now he’s trying to do it again: Grass has reportedly published a new volume of “poetry” that includes not only a slightly revised version of his anguished warning from spring, but also an ode to Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician who served a long prison sentence for revealing details of Israel’s nuclear program to the British media in the mid-1980s.

There is no doubt in my mind that future editions of this poetry volume will include a poem that Grass must be working on right now – after all, how could he ignore the onion-themed bonds between himself and Iran???

In case you haven’t heard that Iran’s FARS news agency recently failed to realize that an exciting poll from the satirical news magazine The Onion was too good to be true, here’s Walter Russell Mead’s take on this incident:

Israel Should Know That On Iran, Israel Stands Alone

Gabriel Scheinmann..
The National Interest..
28 September '12..

The world’s best-known secret has finally been revealed: the United States and Israel do not see eye-to-eye on Iran’s nuclear program.

In an unusually public ping-pong, the Obama administration rebuffed an Israeli effort to clarify America’s Iranian “red lines,” the point at which it would agree that its negotiations-cum-sanctions strategy has failed and it would take military action to stop the Iranian nuclear project.

Rather than attempt to resolve the issue behind closed doors, Secretary Clinton brushed off the Israeli salvo, saying "we’re not setting deadlines," a message reiterated by her spokesperson, who called the setting of any redlines "not useful." Prime Minister Netanyahu was irate, implying that the United States didn’t "have a moral right to place a red light before Israel" if it was unwilling to set red lines. Israeli ambassador Michael Oren seemingly wondered if the administration thought Iranians were color-blind. On the dais of the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu actually brandished a Sharpie pen and literally drew a red line through a cartoon diagram of an Iranian bomb. The most Obama would muster was that "time is not unlimited."

The Persian gulf between Obama and Netanyahu, however, is unrelated to their different personal convictions, political ideologies or domestic situations. Instead, the United States and Israel historically have had vastly different nuclear-proliferation policies.

Whereas the United States has never taken preemptive military action to end a country’s nuclear program, Israel always has done what was necessary to stop nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of enemy states. From Truman to Bush, Democratic and Republican presidents alike have had opportunities to prevent hostile states from acquiring nuclear weapons and yet each time did not order military action. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders, from across the political spectrum, have often taken unilateral military action to forestall regional nuclear proliferation. Regardless of who occupies the White House in 2013, the United States is unlikely to veer from over six decades of non-action in the face of nuclear proliferation.

Red Lines, Red Zones, Green Lights, and the Color Blind.

Rick Richman..
29 September '12..

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to the UN should be evaluated in light of the new report issued this week by the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, authored by Patrick Clawson and David Makovsky and titled “Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout: U.S.-Israel Coordination.” At a policy forum held to discuss the report, Clawson explained why President Obama’s policy to “prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” is one that “sounds like a straightforward redline … but it is not.”

Clawson gave three reasons, but there is actually a fourth one, even more persuasive. Here are the three reasons Clawson gave:

First, ambiguity. Iran could imitate its neighbor Pakistan by producing all the parts for a nuclear weapon — indeed, for several such weapons — and almost entirely assembling them. Yet because the last screw had not been tightened, the U.S. government certified to Congress each year that Pakistan did not have a nuclear weapon … In Iran’s case, it is possible a U.S. president would find it so inconvenient to say Iran had nuclear weapons that he would use a lawyerly subterfuge to evade an unpleasant truth.

Second, uncertainty. … [T]he intelligence community is going to be very cautious about stating with high confidence Iran has a nuclear weapon. The I.C. will search for every possible alternative explanation of whatever it has found, because it will want to avoid sending yet another president off to war on the basis of wrong information. …

Third, preoccupation. … Iran can wait to cross the nuclear threshold at a propitious moment, such as when the world is preoccupied elsewhere or when Iran’s help is needed with some other international problem. … No matter how much the president may be determined to stop Iran from going nuclear, if he is preoccupied when Iran goes for a breakout, he may have to hold off.

Let’s remember that in 2007, Israel brought unmistakable evidence to the White House that North Korea was assisting Syria in building an undeclared nuclear plant, and asked the U.S. to strike it — a military action President Bush wrote in his memoir would have been “no sweat.” Vice President Cheney believed a U.S. strike would send a signal not only to Syria and North Korea, but also to Iran, that the U.S. was serious about its warnings against nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist states, and that they faced the possibility of military action if diplomacy failed. But Bush decided he could not strike, because the U.S. intelligence community certified only a “low degree of confidence” that Syria had a nuclear weapons program.

Let’s also remember that in 2011 the director of national intelligence for the Obama administration reported that “we do not know whether [North Korea] has produced nuclear weapons, but we assess it has the capability to do so” — and then in 2012 the DNI, citing the same evidence cited the year before, reported that “North Korea has produced nuclear weapons.” The 2012 assessment apparently reflected a revised intelligence judgment, rather than new evidence — showing that once a nuclear weapons capability is achieved, the decision to move to actual production is made in secret, and discovered (like the Iranian underground facility at Qom) after the fact.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gentlemen, history cyclically reappears. Nothing is forgotten, nothing disappears.

"...Wherever we turn, we seem to encounter daily reminders that indeed “history cyclically reappears.” So it was on the fifth day of this new year. Heavily armed terrorists opened fire on Israeli soldiers at the border with Sinai. Such naked aggression in itself was sure to excite no condemnation from pompous pontificators overseas, to say nothing of even generating plain press coverage.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
28 September '12..

The entire country mourned the passing of iconic songwriter Haim Hefer on this new year’s second day. We were awash in a deluge of nostalgia, which was only fitting, bearing in mind that Hefer was a master of nostalgia. His ability to home in and seize on the singular sentiment of the era proved the hallmark of his prolific output.

And so in 1948, as the Palmach achieved its greatest feats but was already threatened with dismantlement by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Hefer wrote a somewhat premature self-lamenting eulogy for the Hagana’s elite strike force. I translated its opening stanza:

Gentlemen, history cyclically reappears.
Nothing is forgotten, nothing disappears.
We’ll yet remember how under a lead barrage,
The Palmach in Syria did march

Hefer tugged hard at the Palmach stalwarts’ heartstrings by recalling its earliest campaigns, like the summer of 1941 missions on behalf of the Allies to prepare for Operation Exporter – the assault on the Levant’s Vichy French forces. (It was then, while capturing strategic bridges, that Moshe Dayan lost his eye).

But Hefer’s observations on the repetitive nature of history apply far more broadly than just to the specifics he lists in his rhyming elegiac. Wherever we turn, we seem to encounter daily reminders that indeed “history cyclically reappears.” So it was on the fifth day of this new year.

Heavily armed terrorists opened fire on Israeli soldiers at the border with Sinai. Such naked aggression in itself was sure to excite no condemnation from pompous pontificators overseas, to say nothing of even generating plain press coverage.

No one abroad paid attention, most likely because no one cared that a 20-year-old corporal, Netanel Yahalomi, was slain by a bullet to the head and that another trooper was wounded. World opinion’s capacity to tolerate the cold-blooded murder of Israelis knows no bounds.

But there was no such equanimity about the results of the ensuing chase in which IDF soldiers – female sharpshooters included – got three of the terrorists. “Israelis kill three in Sinai,” screamed the headlines on foreign news outlets. It was all presented as a random skirmish. The unprovoked nature of the attack on the Israelis was never acknowledged.

Not a word was said about the fact that the Israelis were set upon by a group intent on a large-scale homicidal spree. Its members carried explosives, suicide belts, an RPD machine gun, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, Kalashnikovs and ammunition. These men, though in civilian garb, weren’t out on a leisurely stroll.

Neither, for that matter, were the Israelis. The difference was that instead of aiming to terminate life, the Israelis aimed to preserve life. The IDF soldiers brought water to some 15 African illegals who were attempting to cross into Israel at one of the points where the construction of the border fence hadn’t yet been completed.

We Israelis are soft-hearted. We may seek to stem the influx of African infiltrators that threatens us with inundation and has already rendered large urban swaths into Third World no-man’s lands. But we simultaneously take pity on the individuals trying to gain unlawful access into our country. And so a number of soldiers took vital supplies to the economic migrants stuck on our doorstep.

All that while, the terrorists followed the Africans, keeping tabs on their movements from a short distance away. Their assumption was that at some point Israelis would make contact with the infiltrators and offer them succor. The Arabs didn’t have to speculate. They had studied Israeli habits carefully and had reason to expect humanitarian “duty of care.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Illegal Housing Built on Private Land and the Silence of Peace Now

Theirs could be the latest battle in the ongoing war over building on private land and its place at the heart of the conflict on both sides of the Green Line....“Does the government have a consistent policy of dealing with land that is privately owned or do they have double-standards?

Ilene Prusher..
28 September '12.

Mark Ismailoff, who moved to Israel from the UK in 1979, lives in Jerusalem. But his sights are on the Negev, where he owns 6.25 percent of a 640,000-square meter plot of land southeast of Beersheba that he inherited from his grandfather – who bought it in 1935.

Standing on the plot today, however, is the unrecognized Beduin village El-Zarnoug. Ismailoff, aided by Regavim – a group which defines itself as having a “Zionist agenda to protect national lands” – is trying to force the state to stop building on the land, vacate a school and a kindergarten built there, and eventually relocate all of the residents.

Regavim filed a complaint on September 9 with the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court, demanding the state evacuate and dismantle 14 educational buildings.

Earlier, in May, Regavim and Ismailoff – along with three cousins who also own land there, and other landowners who live in the UK – filed a separate complaint with the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court requesting the demolition of 300 homes built on the land.

Theirs could be the latest battle in the ongoing war over building on private land and its place at the heart of the conflict on both sides of the Green Line.

Ismailoff compared his legal wrangle to the recent controversy over the West Bank settlement outpost of Migron. The 50 Israeli families who lived there were evacuated at the beginning of the month because the outpost was proved to have been built on privately owned Palestinian land.

“Does the government have a consistent policy of dealing with land that is privately owned or do they have double-standards?” asked Ismailoff, a former legal adviser for the Jewish Agency, in a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post.

How Irrelevant is the Palestinian Authority? Very.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
27 September '12..

The key phrase in Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today didn't mention Israel. He had promised Jewish leaders he would recognize Jewish rights to the land that is disputed by Israelis and Palestinians. He moved a little closer to such recognition with his mention of the ties of the three monotheistic religions to the country and did say he didn’t want to delegitimize Israel–though much of his speech was clearly aiming at just such a goal. But the most important sentence was the one where he complained about the Palestinians being moved “to the bottom of the global agenda.” He then went on to claim that the PA alone was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians and that there could not be two such bodies.

It was those sentences, in which he vainly banged his head against the wall of world indifference to his cause, that were telling. The fact is the Palestinians are at the bottom of the world agenda. That’s because, contrary to his boast, the PA is a corrupt, ineffective state which doesn’t control all of the territory it claims since Gaza is ruled by Hamas. Thus, while much of the world applauds Abbas’s imprecation of Israel as a racist, colonialist state and his outright lies about the fomenting of hatred that his government promotes, they have no interest in supporting him. It was for that reason that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave Abbas’s speech barely a mention as he went on to concentrate on his country’s real problem: a nuclear Iran.

PM Netanyahu's Red Line

P. David Hornik..
28 September '12..

At the start of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, he seemed less than fully focused, at times a little creaky in his delivery.

The content of his words was unobjectionable. It had not been the easiest week for the Israeli Jewish people. The UN had picked Wednesday—Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar—to schedule yet another address by Iran’s Holocaust-denying, genocide-inciting president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with only Israel itself, and the United States and Canada, seeing fit to have their delegates absent themselves from the harangue.

And just before Netanyahu’s speech, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas had taken the podium for yet another anti-Israeli screed, saying Palestinians were “facing relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli government”—and much more of the same.

In Abbas’s case, the irony is that the target of his vituperation, Israel, is now the main force keeping his Palestinian Authority from financial collapse. Israel continues to see the PA as the lesser evil compared to a breakdown resulting in chaos, riots, attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians, and a further strengthening of Hamas. Abbas, despite the indispensable helping hand from Jerusalem, keeps pushing the standard, decades-old Fatah line of across-the-board demonization of the Jewish state—while seeking a nonmember status in the UN that flouts all the Israeli-Palestinian agreements so diligently produced with the help of earnest American peace processors.

To angry Obama supporters about red lines

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
27 September '12..

A note from Aaron Lerner to angry Obama supporters about red lines

I appreciate how passionate your support is for President Obama and his re-election.

I can assure you that the "red lines-deadlines" campaign was in no way and is in no way intended as a move to either help Romney or hurt Mr. Obama. And frankly speaking I think that if you step back for a moment and consider the circumstances you can at least concede that there's logic behind it even if you do not agree:

#1. It was genuinely believed that at some point – possibly at the address to the UN General Assembly – President Obama was going to adopt some version of red lines – deadlines with Netanyahu then praising him for doing it. In fact, don't rule out the possibility that when President Obama has his telephone call with Netanyahu that he endorses a form of the red line Netanyahu set in his address to the UN General Assembly today.

#2. If anything the expectation was that this would play out to hurt Romney since – again – the purpose of the exercise was and is not to make some negative point about Mr. Obama but instead to stop Iran from building nukes via a red line for Iran on nukes – just as the US set a red line with Iran when Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormouz. .

Again. We aren't pushing red lines deadlines because of the presidential elections. We are doing it despite the elections. And we are doing this because of the situation with Iran: That they are moving at breakneck speed towards getting nukes and that sanctions aren't going to stop them but an ultimatum would.

Abbas with another thrill-and-spill

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
27 September '12..

Of late, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority appears to be staging recurrent verbal thrills-and-spills extravaganzas. It’s almost as if, when nothing else works, generating headlines constitutes a viable alternative to actual policy and governance.

And so the latest bombshell Abbas attempted to toss was the suggestion that Ramallah might abrogate the Oslo Accords with Israel. It is difficult to fathom who Abbas supposes he may be frightening. If any side has benefitted from Oslo, it is his. After 19 years, Israel can definitely pronounce itself the outright loser of its own risky experiment.

From our vantage point, not only was there no gain but there was a surfeit of inordinate pain. We lost over 1,500 lives – once cynically referred to as “victims of peace.” We nose-dived into a diplomatic nadir of unparalleled detriment.

We constructed two inimical entities – Ramallah and Gaza – within a stone’s throw from Israel’s vulnerable population centers.

We imported between 40,000 to 50,000 armed Fatah terrorists from Tunis (Abbas prominently among them) and had given them and their Hamas rivals legitimacy at the expense of our own legitimacy. We made the creation of a Palestinian state axiomatically accepted everywhere while our own existence is being increasingly questioned.

Arlene Kushner From Israel - The Speeches

Arlene Kushner..
27 September '12..

It's the season of speeches at the UN. As some of what has been going on coincided with my preparations for and observance of Yom Kippur, I will need to back-track a bit before moving forward. And forward is where I truly want to go (see the last of this posting!).

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually spoke twice at the UN this week. He kicked off his visit with an address on Monday at a UN session on the rule of law -- itself a travesty of everything fair and reasonable. And his comments there were every bit as vile as might have been expected. He said that Israel had "no roots" in the Middle East. "We don’t even count them [Israelis] as any part of any equation for Iran,” he declared. "They represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated." Eliminated.


This should have elicited denunciation by every Western democracy and a determination to fully ostracize him. But such was not the case. Of course.

In point of fact, when the president of one UN member speaks about the "elimination" of another UN member, he should not be provided with a UN podium at all:

Among the principles of the UN, as outlined in its Charter, Chapter I, Article 2 (1), "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." (2) "All Members...shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter. (4) "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat...against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

But, hey, who pays attention to all of this?


When Ahmadinejad spoke at the General Assembly yesterday, the delegations of only three nations were absent. That of Israel, of course. They would have stayed away in any event, but were additionally observing Yom Kippur. Canada's delegation was in the hall but left when Ahmadinejad came forward to speak -- and bravo to them for doing this.

The US was not present at all, having made the announcement in advance that it would not be attending. On the one hand, the reason given for why the US would not be present was quite excellent.

Explained a spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN: "Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the UN not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel."

This is to the point I made above, precisely! But then there was more:

"It's particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the UN General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend."

So what does this mean? That "repulsive slurs" against Israel are tolerable when it is not Yom Kippur? I was left scratching my head, and feeling an unease with this rationale.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

(Video) The Iranian Red Line (in One Chart)

Alana Goodman..
Commentary Contentions..
27 September '12..

At the United Nations this afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sought to clarify an issue that has confounded President Obama for months — where to place “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program — by using one simple, easy-to-read chart:

As you can see, that is a drawing of a bomb. It is divided into three stages. Iran has completed the first stage (amassing enough 70 percent-enriched uranium for a bomb), and, according to Netanyahu, can complete the second stage (amassing enough 90 percent-enriched uranium) as soon as next summer. The key here — and this is important — is to stop Iran before it enters the final stage, i.e. the completion of the bomb. Let’s hope the White House was paying attention.

Of course, the bomb drawing got its share of criticism on Twitter, as BuzzFeed reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu punctuated his attempt to rally the international community against Iran’s nuclear program with a crude illustration of a bomb in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York today — a move that drew him an immediate wave of mockery, but also reflected an astute grasp of the changing media climate.

The chart wasn’t unserious, it was simple. And it’s precisely what the public needs to see at this point. The White House has been able to drag their feet on the debate, in part, because they’ve portrayed it as murky and complicated. It isn’t. There will be debates, if and when the time comes, over whether Iran has actually reached the red line, and whether the intelligence is accurate or complete. But there’s no question that a clear and firm line needs to be drawn.


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook.

Meet Moustafa Geha - Lebanese Reformer Seeks Safe Haven

...To have a real Spring in the Middle East we must support all groups [and] their rights,” he states. Thus, he is supportive of Israel. “The Jewish people have the right to have a good life without terror and wars, and I believe that if we make good peaceful relations between Israel and Lebanon we can have an amazing region,” he contends.

Arnold Ahlert..
27 September '12..

The outspoken and courageous son of an equally outspoken and courageous father is making waves of his own. Moustafa Geha is a Lebanese political activist and journalist who has openly opposed the meddling of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in his country’s affairs. As a result, an attempt was made to assassinate him on April 14th. Luckily, he survived. His father wasn’t as lucky. The elder Geha’s outspoken opposition to Syrian and Iranian intervention in Lebanon, as well his criticism of violent Islamists during the 1970s and 1980s, precipitated his assassination by pro-Syrian terrorists in 1992.

“I cannot forget my father’s pictures when he was assassinated by Hezbollah in 1992 and I cannot forget the sound of shooting at me in April,” Geha told FrontPage. “I want to have peace [for me] and my family too, because we have a long, bad history with killing and oppression. I want to have the right to write and publish my ideas and to be safe at the same time. For this I left Lebanon and I don’t want to come back, because I know they will kill me,” he added. Geha currently seeking political asylum in Sweden. “It’s a good country for human rights,” he notes.

The same can hardly be said for Lebanon, where the murderous machinations of Hezbollah–backed by Syria and Iran–continue to be perpetrated with impunity. In an article for Arutz Sheva’s op-ed page, Geha illuminates that history, even as he remains rightly incredulous that the European Union refuses to categorize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah “is now running world public opinion,” he writes.

Geha is on the mark. As recently as July, Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis, who presently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, contended that “there is no consensus on the [terror] issue,” because Hezbollah “also has an active political arm.” She added that the matter might be reconsidered if ”tangible evidence” reveals otherwise.

Geha offers this clueless EU bureaucrat and other like-minded Europeans a brief history of such “tangible evidence,” beginning in 1983, when Hezbollah carried out three operations. They bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 Americans, and a camp of French soldiers in the Bekaa Valley, killing 58 Frenchmen. Furthermore, they were responsible for the now infamous bombing of the U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut, where 241 American soldiers lost their lives. Geha’s historically inspired indictment continues, as he lists several assassinations carried out by Hezbollah over the course of decades, including the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, as well as their attack against Israel in 2006 that precipitated an all-out war. Even now, Hezbollah remains “a huge threat to Lebanese society through the group’s control of the security network, where false accusations and charges can be levied against those who oppose the fabrication of files putting them in prisons or worse,” writes Geha.

Geha went into the issue even deeper for FrontPage. After noting that neither he nor his father were followers of Islam, he explains why. “I do not believe Islam can be characterized as a religion,” he contends. “Islam is concerned only about spreading Islam. It is not concerned about the welfare of the Muslim. In the Hadith, unbelievers have three choices: accept Islam, [go to] war with Muslims, or pay a tax and live a humiliating inferior status. Living as equals in peaceful coexistence is not a choice!” He further notes the long line of civilizations destroyed by Islam on the Arabian Peninsula, and in Africa and Asia. “How many Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Bahaists and others were killed by Muslims only because they are not Muslims?” he asks. “And don’t believe those who say Islam is religion of peace,” he adds.

Lawsuit Highlights Abbas Corruption

Jonathan S. Tobin..
27 September '12..

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the General Assembly of the United Nations today. In doing so he will resume his disastrous campaign to get the world body to enable him to avoid peace negotiations with Israel by recognizing Palestinian independence. Though he will get more applause than Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will follow him at the podium, he will not succeed. There are many reasons why the so-called “diplomatic tsunami” flopped last year and why the same thing will happen at this session. But high on the list is the fact that the rest of the world knows that the PA doesn’t control all the territory it claims (Gaza is ruled by Hamas), survives only by foreign charity, and is utterly corrupt and dysfunctional. That corruption again came to the notice of the American media in the days prior to Abbas’s speech. That the issue was highlighted through an initiative undertaken by Abbas’s family rather than friends of Israel is ironic but telling.

The Blog of Legal Times reported earlier this week (h/t Politico), that Abbas’s son Yasser has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Foreign Policy magazine and author and COMMENTARY contributor Jonathan Schanzer for his June 2012 article “The Brothers Abbas,” about the way that Yasser and Tarek Abbas have become wealthy in the Palestinian territories through the use of their contacts and legal monopolies awarded to them by their father’s government, as well as from foreign aid from countries like the United States. The truth of Schanzer’s assertions is self-evident because of the circumstances of the Abbas family’s hold on such lucrative deals as the monopoly on selling American cigarettes and being awarded numerous public works contracts by the PA. But given the widespread corruption that began under his father’s predecessor Yasir Arafat, the only question to be posed about the lawsuit is why the Abbas clan would bother to sue in an American court when the only thing such a proceeding could possibly do is to shine a brighter spotlight on their shady activities.

Honest Reporting Turns Triple Play Over Israel’s Capital

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
27 September '12..

HonestReporting is taking a zero tolerance policy against media promoting the falsehood that Tel Aviv, and not Jerusalem, is Israel’s capital. We launched legal proceedings against The Guardian, forcing it, in August, to unequivocally state:

we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital.

But that was just the beginning. We promised that we would not rest until the Press Complaints Commission, that had originally sided with The Guardian, also issued a precedent-setting ruling that The Guardian had violated principles of accuracy when it stated that Tel Aviv was the capital of Israel.

The PCC has now done exactly that, stating:

the Commission concluded that … the unequivocal statement that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel had the potential to mislead readers and raised a breach of Clause 1 (i) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

(Clause 1(i) of the Editors’ Code states: “The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.”)

Commenting on this latest achievement, HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams said:

Together with Asserson Law Offices, Israel’s leading English law firm, HonestReporting has successfully persuaded the PCC that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital. This sets an important precedent that brings to an end any further debate in the British media on this issue. Fatuous claims over the status of Tel Aviv as a means to delegitimize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital will no longer be acceptable.

The PCC has sent a clear message for the UK media to uphold standards on accuracy while HonestReporting has demonstrated the efficacy of pursuing legal action when necessary to defend Israel against media bias.

Daily Mail admits Israeli government is in Jerusalem

While the PCC was considering its position, we caught the Daily Mail, whose website has the world’s largest readership for a news site, making the following error:

This article is continued on Page 2

Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook.

Palestinian Authority? Let it collapse.

Michael Freund..
27 September '12..

With the Palestinian Authority teetering on the brink of financial ruin, an unlikely deliverer has stepped in seeking to save the day. The would-be rescuer is neither a wealthy Gulf Arab sheikh nor a playboy Saudi prince with money to burn, nor even a misguided European government looking to curry favor with the Muslim world. Believe it or not, it is Israel that is now scrambling to salvage the PA from folding.

Yes, you read that correctly. At the very same time that Mahmoud Abbas is defying Jerusalem by threatening to ask the United Nations General Assembly to upgrade the status of "Palestine," Israel is trying to save his regime from oblivion.

As Haaretz reported on Monday, "Israel has taken significant steps to ease the Palestinian Authority's financial difficulties, fearing that instability in the West Bank threatens the PA's future."

These have included transferring tax money to the Palestinians ahead of schedule, issuing thousands of new permits for Palestinians to work within pre-1967 Israel and removing IDF checkpoints in Judea and Samaria. The Jewish state is also said to be lobbying various foreign governments to provide additional financial aid to the Palestinians, "as several Arab countries that had pledged $300 million to the PA have yet to fulfill their pledges," Haaretz noted.

Yossi Kuperwasser, the director-general of Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry, was even more blunt in describing the government's attitude. In a recent interview he declared that, "we want the PA to have stability and prosperity even if we have to fund it."

It is difficult to describe this approach as anything other than sheer folly bordering on masochistic madness.

After all, the PA has made it abundantly clear that they view Israel not as their ally but as their nemesis. So why on earth shouldn't we just allow the PA to crumble? Consider what the Palestinians are seeking to do at the UN.

Israel’s Territorial Security and Obama’s Ominous Stance

P. David Hornik..
25 September '12..

In this election year President Obama has been quiet about the Palestinian issue. Rough treatment of Israel has continued, but mainly on the Iranian front—with a drumbeat of hollow promises as Iran keeps making nuclear progress, a series of security leaks harmful to Israel, disparaging remarks about Israel’s military capabilities from top administration officials, and now Obama’s refusal to meet Netanyahu in New York while being more than willing to meet with Egypt’s Morsi.

It should not be forgotten, though, that not long ago Obama was engaging in harsh confrontations with Israel over the Palestinian issue. Particularly, on May 19, 2011, he let loose a bombshell.

Blindsiding Netanyahu just as he was on his way to Washington, Obama called for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but decreed in advance what their outcome would be: “two states…based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps…with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt….” Obama further specified that the Palestinian state would be “contiguous.”

With these statements he broke with previous U.S. policy on the issue, which had left the matter of borders up to the parties themselves. And he caused shockwaves in Israel and the pro-Israeli community by outlining a security nightmare for the Jewish state.

That was particularly clear from Obama’s stipulation of a Palestinian border with Jordan—which meant no Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley even though all previous Israeli security doctrine had posited such a presence as indispensable to Israel’s defensibility from infiltrations and attack from the east.

Breaks the heart. Fayyad's Last Stand?

Jonathan Schanzer..
Weekly Standard Blog..
25 September '12..

"Bir Halek, Ya Fayyad" is not a catchy tune. But the popularity of Palestinian singer Kassem Najar's song, which translates to "Get A Grip, Fayyad," is an indication that Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, may be on the way out. Najar, however, is the least of Fayyad's problems.

In recent weeks, protesters in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, and beyond have surrounded and threatened him, burned him in effigy, and thrown shoes at his likeness. "Yalla irhal ya Fayyad" ("let's go, Fayyad get out") was a recurring chant.

While the protests have subsided, Fayyad's fate still hangs in the balance. His position is weak because he lacks the political machinery and street-level support to withstand his enemies' efforts to undermine him. A former Fayyad advisor told me that his former boss has received "a flood of phone calls from the State Department and Capitol Hill," imploring him to stand firm. Nonetheless, he concedes that the prime minister's American supporters can do nothing for him "on the ground."

Fayyad knows full well that Palestinian politics is a blood sport. In an act of ironic defiance, he posted the Najar song on his own Facebook page. The embattled premier has also announced that he is prepared to step aside. But he's not going down without a fight. Recently he announced that his government would reduce fuel prices and cut the value added tax, two of the issues that first sparked the protests. Fayyad also announced cuts to high-ranking officials' salaries and budgets.

However, it has become clear that these protests will not end with cost-cutting measures. The PA is under the gun amid an economic crisis stemming from rising fuel prices, a precipitous drop-off in foreign assistance, and endemic corruption that drives down private enterprise, spurs capital flight, and decreases government collection. The high cost of maintaining side-by-side administrations in the West Bank and Gaza (where Hamas wrested control by force in 2007) is also taking its toll on the Palestinian treasury. The resulting decline in government revenues from both taxes and international donations has led to the PA's recurring inability to cover its civil service salaries.

President Obama, Judaism, and the Holocaust

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
25 September '12..

In June 2009, President Obama addressed the Muslim world in a speech in Cairo. About Israel, he said this:

America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.

At the time, there were objections from Israelis and from many Jews in the United States that he appeared to believe Israel was the product of the Holocaust, period. The “tragic history” to which he referred appeared to be not two millennia of anti-Semitism but the Holocaust alone, and he seemed to ignore two millenia of Jewish longing for a return to Jerusalem.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(Video) Hate Israel Day at the UN Human Rights Council

UN Watch..
25 September '12..

The UN's highest human rights body sadly stoked the flames of hatred by devoting an entire day to attacking the Jewish state, a permanent feature of all its sessions. UN Watch's Hillel Neuer took the floor to respond.

Published on Sep 25, 2012 by 

Learn more at


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook.

Another possibilty - Israel should preempt Hizballah now.

25 September '12..

As Israel comes closer to a confrontation with Iran, we should note that Iran’s primary strategy is unlikely to be direct conflict with Israel. Iran’s air and missile forces, despite their bragging, are not sufficiently well-developed to support such a conflict.

Instead, I expect that they will depend on their main proxy, Hizballah. Hizballah can be expected to attack with its considerable missile forces and even to attempt ground incursions into Israeli territory. At the same time, Iran will try to leverage Western fears of terrorism and oil-supply disruption into pressure on Israel; so we can also expect to see terrorist attacks against Western targets.

The difficulty of destroying or seriously damaging Iran’s nuclear capability is much-discussed, but I think the neutralization of Hizballah will also be a major task, and one of more immediate importance. In the short term, the number of Israeli casualties and the amount of damage to the home front in a conflict with Iran will be proportional to the time it takes the IDF to end Hizballah’s ability to fight.

Hizballah is also an essential component of Iran’s long-term strategy, whether or not she succeeds in building a bomb. A nuclear Iran is more likely to pursue her interests in the region by threats and low-intensity conventional conflict under a nuclear umbrella than by actual use of atomic weapons, which would expose her to devastating retaliation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(Video) Adon Haselihot - Erez Yechiel

Love of the Land
09 Tishrei 5772

Adon HaSelichot epitomizes for me everything that the time period leading up to, and including Yom Kippur is about. This rendition has both Hebrew and English subtitles.

With wishes of a G'mar Chatima Tova, Besorot Tovot, and a Shana Tovah.

Uploaded by  on Sep 13, 2009

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.

European Union Backs Iran's Hezbollah - Kick Me

Peter Martino..
Gatestone Institute..
25 September '12..

The Lebanon-based Islamic organization Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous groups in the world. Recently, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah incited violence against American and European interests over the movie The Innocence of Muslims. And yet, the European Union refuses to follow America's example and classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a move that would enable the EU to freeze the group's assets in Europe.

Several people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the movie, which is perceived to be critical of Muhammad, the 7th century Arab warlord who founded Islam. Instead of calling for calm, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah called for prolonged protests: "The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts."

Hezbollah is also involved in terrorist activities in Syria. During a meeting on September 7 in Paphos, Cyprus, the foreign ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) discussed the situation in Syria, including the position which the EU should take regarding Hezbollah. While Britain and the Netherlands urged other EU governments to join the United States in imposing sanctions on Hezbollah, they were unable to convince the other EU members. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said that Hezbollah should, further, be branded a terrorist organization; he was, however, was isolated with this stance.

This does not come as a surprise, considering the EU's earlier refusal to condemn Hezbollah for terrorism. Last July, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the EU capital, Brussels, to persuade the EU to follow America's example and classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Lieberman met with resistance – a lot. He was attempting to isolate Hezbollah after the July 18 suicide bombing at the airport of the Bulgarian coastal resort of Burgas – an attack, and clearly a terrorist one – in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed.

According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, the terrorist attack was the work of Hezbollah, upon orders from Iran. Nevertheless, the Cypriot minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency said that there is "no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism;" hence, there was "no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations." He emphasized that Hezbollah was an organization with a political as well as an armed wing and that it has representatives in the Lebanese parliament and government.

Incoming fire from Syria on the northern border

Syrian woman takes a picture of an Israeli community located on the Golan Heights [Image Source
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
25 September '12..

It's the eve of Yom Kippur and though the mood here in Jerusalem is calm (thankfully) and the weather glorious (of course), the reverberations of the war that broke out on that day in 1973 are in the air (inevitably).

In the past hour, mortar fire erupted on Israel's northern border, causing explosions in what appear, for now, to be open fields. No injuries, but some property damage that's not yet detailed in the news here. It's reported that the fire is a kind of spillover from the barbarism unfolding over the past year inside Syria: the source is believed to be forces of the Syrian army "engaged" - as the journalists like to put it - with rebel forces near Syria's border with Israel. AFP says the mortars crashed into Israel "by accident". They were intended to hit civilian villages inside Syria.

That ongoing engagement has caused thousands of deaths since it broke out in March 2011. Wikipedia says various sources, including the UN, place the rising death toll at between 26,000 [source] and 39,120 [source] people killed, about half of them civilians. Where is the outrage?

Israel - What is truly amazing about the Middle East

Kasim Hafeez..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
24 September '12..

The recent decision by the Canadian government to close the Iranian embassy and expel all Iranian diplomats, citing "Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today," is as courageous as it is logical. It has been apparent from its very ascent to power that the regime in Tehran has been a sponsor of terror all over the globe - particularly targeting Israel and Jews.

Equally apparent is that the so called "Arab Spring" has rapidly descended into an Islamist winter, Assad’s regime will continue murdering its own people until it silences all opposition, the Saudi-funded Islamist ideology despises all other ideologies and, saddest of all, no one cares because the pathological obsession with Israel seems to mute the real human rights tragedies around the world.

Here in Europe and more so the Muslim world, people have bought into this obsession, seeing Israel and the Jews as the root of all evil, in droves we have taken part in flytillas, flotillas and every other publicity stunt meant to vilify Israel, citing human rights, while disregarding the fact that these stunts are performed under the patronage of the Iranian regime and the support of the Assad regime in Damascus.

Islamists who present themselves as the guardians of Islam have destroyed the Mausoleum of the Sufi saint Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, accusing Muslims of engaging in idolatry. Similar acts have taken place in Mali, Pakistan and Iraq, as well as in Mecca and Medina over a century ago. The actual eradication of Muslim history takes place with no objection, yet Israel is repeatedly accused of conspiring to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque – an accusation that leads to condemnation from the Arab league and acts of violence.

While these are just a few examples some of the true atrocities that are taking in place in the world, one could be fooled into believing that the only nation perpetrating any sort of wrongdoing is, you guessed it, Israel.

Obama terms Israeli concerns noise – broad ramifications

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
24 September '12..


+ Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's call for President Obama to set red lines and deadlines is not a move on his part to put Israel's security interests over those of the United States. After all, it most certainly would not serve America's security for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

+ Mr. Netanyahu isn't asking for Mr. Obama to declare war on Iran today but rather to show the kind of determination that JFK showed in the missile crisis with Russia in order to ensure America's security. Determination and will today that could very well prevent the loss of American and other lives should Iran's nuclear weapons program succeed.

+ We are all adults and appreciate that in a dynamic and fluid situation, circumstances can develop in which the unthinkable transforms to being the acceptable. Anyone who spends more than a few minutes reading the narratives of many of the Western analysts writing about nuclear Iran knows that the day Iran announces they have nukes, the temptation will be great in both Foggy Bottom and the White House - given the very high costs of facing off against a nuclear Iran - to embrace the view that the nukes are only a deterrent, to preserve the ruling regime. Unfortunately, this could very well be a policy of "appeasement to apocalypse".

+ The question is not if it would be more appropriate for Mr. Netanyahu to lobby President Obama behind closed doors rather than publicly. Israel has engaged in discussions of these matters for months and years behind closed doors. The public talk only reflects the unfortunate failure to date of the mutually preferable alternative mode of communications in the face of the rapidly closing window of opportunity.

A reminder:

Living without solutions in Samaria - The local situation is hopeless, but not serious.

Asia Times..
25 September '12..

SAMARIA - I am in Samaria, the northern half of the West Bank, inside a cement shed in a drab industrial park loaded with high-tech equipment, hearing a harangue by a fiftyish fellow wearing a knit skullcap , a torn t-shirt, shorts and sandals. His name is Amichai Lourie, and he points to a slim glass container holding an ominous-looking amber liquid.

"I'll never do it again," sighs Lourie. "I had to sleep in the vineyard and tell the growers exactly when to harvest every bunch of grapes. But I ended up with 8% residual sugar. Chardonnay is a tough grape for a late harvest wine. Getting the sugar is one thing, but it's especially hard to get the right balance of fruit acid." Clearly this man is a dangerous fanatic.

Lourie is referring to a late harvest Chardonnay dessert wine wrung out of the Samarian hills, one of wine-making's trickiest products in a region that has made wine for less than a generation, in the present millennium, that is. His specialty is Merlot.

"It's an unforgiving grape. With Cabernet, you can make a mistake or two and still get a decent wine, but Merlot requires perfection from harvest to fermenting to aging." Anything easier wouldn't interest the Pennsylvania-born vintner, who won't be deprived of the chance to be part of a miracle.

Wine might seem a distraction as the Oslo accords disintegrate. Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to annual the 20-year-old foundation for the "peace process". Now that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi has embraced Hamas - the Brotherhood's Palestinian wing - over the protests of the Palestine Authority, [1] the Fatah-led PA has lost its main Arab supporter. Earlier this month, West Bank Palestinians rioted against the PA over economic grievances.

In vino veritas, though not in the way the proverb is usually understood. Wine has geopolitical significance on the West Bank. Samaria's wine boutiques help explain why the Jewish presence in ancient Judea and Samaria has become a permanent fact of life in the region. Like Mr Lourie, the winemakers of Samaria are on a mission from God. The region is in ferment, but not the way you might think.

(Read full "Living without solutions in Samaria - The local situation is hopeless, but not serious.")

Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hanan Ashrawi’s Revealing Statement on Refugees

Evelyn Gordon..
24 September '12..

You know Israel is doing something right when it manages to put both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas on the PR defensive. And it evidently did exactly that with last week’s conference in New York to raise awareness of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

Yesterday, Hamas lambasted the conference as a “dangerous, unprecedented move,” clearly outraged by anything that could undermine the false idea Palestinians have successfully implanted in the world’s consciousness for decades: that they are the only refugees, the only victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict; hence the world should grant them endless sympathy while treating Israel as the villain.

But Hamas’s pathetic attempt to rewrite history — it claimed the Jews “secretly migrated from Arab countries” before Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and were responsible for the Palestinians’ displacement during that war, whereas in truth, most arrived only after 1948, driven by persecution in their former homes – is far less interesting than the response of Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran PA legislator, member of the PLO’s executive committee and former minister, who once served as spokeswoman of the Palestinian negotiating team and currently functions as a PA envoy-at-large.

Feel It In the Air - Israel’s Yom Kippur

Judy Balint..
Times of Israel..
24 September '12..

Have you ever spent Yom Kippur in Israel? If so, go on to the next blog right now–if not, here’s a taste of the atmosphere as an entire country gets ready to retreat into itself for 25 hours.

Preparations for Yom Kippur are in the air. Whether it’s the Gmar Chatima Tova (May you be inscribed for good) digital greeting on the face of every Egged bus, or the radio ads from the Natal organization that helps veterans of the Yom Kippur War still suffering from PTSD, there’s no way any Israeli can escape the lead-up to Yom Kippur.

Ben Gurion Airport closes at 1 p.m on erev Yom Kippur and won’t reopen until three hours after the fast is over the next evening. Public transportation all over Israel grinds to a halt by 2:30 p.m. Men of all ages can be seen on the streets of Jerusalem with towels thrown over their shoulders as they head to and from the mikve.

Many have already started building their sukkot in readiness for Sukkot, the one-week festival that starts the week after Yom Kippur. Sukkot structures of all kinds have sprung up on balconies, street corners and in front of cafes. The final decorations and the schach covering will be added right after the conclusion of Yom Kippur.

Over the past few days, the streets in and around the Old City, Nachlaot, the Bukharan Quarter and Meah Shearim have been completely packed with people hurrying to and from selichot. Curious secular Israelis by the hundreds take part in pre-dawn Selichot tours, where they look in on dozens of congregations where the faithful are immersed in penitential prayers chanted to ancient melodies.