Monday, December 31, 2012

Clue: "A southern Palestinian city" Solution: "Be'er Sheva"

Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik..
Palestinian Media Watch..
30 December '12..

In its weekly crossword puzzle, the Palestinian Authority official daily presented the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva as a "Palestinian city":

Clue: "A southern Palestinian city"
Solution: "Be'er Sheva"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2012]

Palestinian Media Watch has reported in the past that the PA daily presents many Israeli cities and sites as parts of "Palestine." Lod, Acre, Tiberias, and even Tel Aviv have all been presented as "Palestinian" or "occupied" cities, as have places like Mount Carmel and Mount Meron.

Clue: "A modern city in occupied Palestine"
Solution: "Tel Aviv"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 10, 2009]

Earlier this year, another crossword puzzle presented Israel's southernmost city and port Eilat as a "Jordanian port" and Jaffa as a "Palestinian port."

Clue: "A Jordanian port on the Red Sea north of Akaba"
Solution: "Eilat"

Clue: "A Palestinian port on the Mediterranean [Sea]"
Solution: "Jaffa"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 21, 2012]

With its crossword clues, the official PA paper continues the PA policy of denying Israel's existence.


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The Less Than "Nobel" Policy of the EU on the Middle East

Michael Curtis..
Gatestone Institute..
31 December '12..

Although the Nobel Prize for Peace, which was awarded to the European Union, the economic and political amalgamation of 27 European states, on December 10, 2012, can be proud of some of its successes -- peace has certainly been kept after centuries of warfare among the European nations; France and Germany have been reconciled after long enmity, and the former Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe have been harmoniously integrated into the European structure -- the EU has failed to achieve a genuine economic and monetary union; has been unable to complete its currency union, and it is even more dubious that the EU has contributed to peace in the Middle East in any way that warrants a prestigious award, or that it has been helpful in efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The latest example of the last failures occurred in the vote on November 29, 2012, in the UN General Assembly, on the Resolution to accord the Palestinian Authority the status of a "non-member observer state." All the EU members voted for the Resolution, which was approved 138-9 with 41 abstentions, except for the Czech Republic which voted against, and other countries, especially Germany which abstained. Ironically, the Resolution is counterproductive: instead of promoting peace, it encourages the Palestinian Authority not to negotiate with the Israelis or compromise on a reasonable solution -- in the belief that it can get more from bypassing Israel and going straight to the EU and the UN.

Even though the EU lacks a coherent foreign policy, and the member states have taken different positions on various issues, such as the Lebanese war in 1982; the 1996 proposals on a peace plan, and the Iraq war in 2003, the various declarations of the EU have led to a certain kind of coherence in the attitude towards Israel in particular, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in general. The EU has favored peaceful negotiations and a two state solution, but it has continually criticized the building of Israeli settlements, and considered them illegal under international law.

The Israeli settlements, which exist on state or public land, are under dispute as the question of sovereignty over them remains to be decided by direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. They are not an obstacle to peace; rather, they have been, and are being, newly used by the United Sates, and consequently the Palestinians, to excuse the Palestinians for refusing to enter into peace negotiations. This land was often offered in exchange for negotiations, peace and recognition, all three of which have been continually rejected by the Arabs since the Khartoum Conference of September 1967, three months after the Six Day War. In a defensive action, Israel took possession of east Jerusalem and the West Bank [of the Jordan River} , following its capture by Jordan in the 1948-49 five-nation Arab invasion of Israel on the day after its birth.

As Important as Ever - The "W" in UNRWA

Elder of Ziyon..
31 December '12..

UNRWA stands for the "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East."

In the early days of UNRWA in the 1950s, a large part of its mandate was to work with Middle Eastern nations to find jobs for the refugees, the "Works" part of its title. UNRWA worked on some projects to build roads in Jordan and to create and market small handicrafts in 1950; and in 1953 they created a farming cooperative in Jordan for the refugees. In general, however, Arab nations did not support these works programs because they did not want to do anything to make the Palestinian Arab population permanent residents in their countries.

The refugees themselves also showed little interest in the programs because they were already getting free housing, medical aid, food and education from UNRWA.

By the late 1950s, UNRWA all but abandoned their attempts at finding decent, honorable work for the refugees, and the "W" in its name became anachronistic.

However, one accidental works program has become a "success," and that is employment at UNRWA itself.

Some 99% of UNRWA employees are Palestinian Arabs themselves, meaning that UNRWA employs about 29,000 Palestinian Arabs. The employees and their families do not regard these jobs as normal work; rather they regard them as yet another entitlement that the West owes them.

Which is why when UNRWA announced it would not be renewing the contracts of some workers, the camps are in a virtual uprising.


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The New Middle East - Never arrived, and never will.

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
31 December '12..

After years at the center of various political storms, President Shimon Peres has entered the public's good graces and won their admiration in his role as president. That's all fine and good, but admiration does not excuse his colossal mistakes.

Peres entered the Prime Minister's Office directly after Rabin's murder. Week after week he transferred another city to the Palestinian Authority. Then our buses started exploding. Dozens were killed in each attack. He gave them cities and they blew things up. About a year earlier, Benny Begin provided trustworthy information about Arafat's true intentions. Peres dismissed him.

At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered too much, and Arafat proceeded to rain blood and fire on Israel. He never intended to end the conflict. Begin was right. But this was not sufficient proof for the Oslo gang and their blind followers in the media.

Peres joined forces with Sharon, who caused the Likud to collapse and deceived its voters. Together they destroyed 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in Samaria. They promised that Gaza would turn into a mini-Singapore. Instead, we got a cross between Saudi Arabia and Iran and thousands of missiles fell on our heads.

Let's review the promises of Peres and his wise men, how they correctly predicted events beginning with Oslo until the disengagement and how they silenced the protesters at their gates. Nor have we mentioned the far-sighted opposition to bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 ...

Abbas's Latest Threats - What Do They Really Mean?

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
31 December '12..

Mahmoud Abbas has once again threatened to dismantle the Palestinian Authority which he heads in the West Bank. This time he chose to make his new old threat in an interview with the daily Haaretz.

"If there is no progress [in the peace process] even after the election I will take the phone and call [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu," Abbas said. "I'll tell him…Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

Abbas's threat was made shortly after he met in his Ramallah office with Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On ahead of the January 22 election in Israel.

The threat to disband the Palestinian Authority should be seen as yet another attempt attempt on the part of Abbas to influence Israeli voters. Abbas is trying to scare Israeli voters by warning them that the re-election of Netanyahu would be a disaster for the "peace process" and would result in anarchy and chaos in the West Bank after the Palestinian Authority is dismantled.

In private, Abbas and his top aides have been talking about the need to strengthen the left-wing in Israel. They were hoping that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would run in the election at the head of a left-wing block that would remove Netanyahu from power.

But since Olmert has decided not to run in the upcoming election, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have resorted to a new tactic to convince voters not to vote for Netanyahu and other right-wing parties. This tactic is based on sowing fear and panic among Israelis of what could happen if they voted for Netanyahu once again.

Buchanan still alive and ranting against....Israel

CAMERA Snapshots..
31 December '12..

President Obama's possible nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense has prompted various pundits and analysts to weigh in for or against the move. Among those vehemently in favor of the candidate is Pat Buchanan who asked in a December 28 Townhall column ("Why the War Party Fears Hagel)":

If a senator or defense secretary believes an Israeli action -- like bisecting the West Bank with new settlements that will kill any chance for a Palestinian state and guarantee another intifada -- what should he do?

Defend the U.S. position, or make sure there is "no daylight" between him and the Israeli prime minister?

There WERE a lot of inaccurate media accounts of the E1 settlement developments to which he refers that may have confused Mr. Buchanan. But there were also lots of prominent corrections in places like The New York Times that clarified the issue and made clear the area would not be bisected, nor would a Palestinian state be prevented. Mr. Buchanan must have glided over the full, accurate story for some reason.

A specialty to work Nazi-symbolism into his cartoons relating to Israel

Petra Marquadt-Bigman..
The Warped Mirror/JPost..
30 December '12..

Among “pro-Palestinian” activists, the cartoonist Carlos Latuff is a widely admired artist. Like most of his fans, Latuff expresses his support for the Palestinian cause with an intense hatred for Israel, which is reflected in his large output of images comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Unsurprisingly, Latuff’s achievements also include a winning entry for the 2006 Iranian “International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.

The fact that comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are generally regarded as antisemitic doesn’t seem to bother Latuff and his fans – quite the contrary: for them, it’s apparently just another reason for ridicule and amusement.

This flippant reaction was well illustrated when Latuff responded to his inclusion in a list of this past year’s “Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurs” compiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Tweeting his “Thanks to Rabbi Marvin Hier and @simonwiesenthal for the award for my toons on #Gaza slaughter,” Latuff attached a cartoon depicting himself being “awarded” a third-place medal by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Wiesenthal Center.

As you can see in the screenshot of Latuff’s cartoon above, there is an unmistakable SS-symbol next to Rabbi Hier’s head. When I noted this in a tweet, Latuff quickly responded, claiming that I was wrong and that the “bolts are cartoon representation of headache.” To support his claim, he linked to the following picture:

Slow news day - Haaretz resurrects the Khazar Jews theory

Dore Gold..
Israel Hayom..
28 December '12..

Every number of years the theory is advanced that the Jews of Europe are actually descendants of the Khazar kingdom, a mostly Turkic people whose king and nobility converted to Judaism in the early eighth century, allowing them to become a buffer state between Islam and Christendom.

When the Khazar kingdom collapsed in the 13th century, according to the believers in the Khazar theory, its population fled into Eastern Europe and served as the core of European Jewry. Most Jewish historians argued for centuries that after the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kokhba Revolt, many Jews who had been exiled moved up the Italian peninsula north of the Alps into the trading cities along the Rhine River in Germany. From there, European Jewry began to populate the countries of Eastern Europe in the centuries that followed.

In his monumental work, "Arab Attitudes to Israel," written in the early 1970s, Professor Yehoshafat Harkabi described the Khazar theory as one of the arguments marshaled in the Arab world to assert that the Jews of the modern period were not the descendents of the biblical of children of Israel and hence had no historical right to recover their land. This position is also voiced in the Palestinian media today.

For example, Jarir al-Qidwa, who was an educational adviser to Yasser Arafat and later chairman of the Palestinian Authority Public Library, appeared on PA television on August 2, 2004 and explained that the original Jews of the biblical period were dispersed among the nations and that it was the "Khazar Jews who live in Palestine today." Prominent voices within the Muslim Brotherhood have also advanced the idea that modern Jews are descendants of the Khazars, as well.

The Khazar theory was strange. If only a small number of Khazars in the court of their king converted to Judaism, then how could they become the basis for the masses of European Jewry? Arab historians in the 10th century reported that most of the Khazars were Muslims, in any case. Moreover, if the Khazars, whose language was close to Turkish, were the source for European Jews, then why did Yiddish evolve as a European Jewish language that was linguistically close to German and Hebrew, but not to Turkish or any other Central Asian language?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another in a long, long line of so-called rock-throwing attacks

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 December '12..

We write here about the war being waged by the terrorists, an ongoing war. We mention the circumstances that impelled us to want to write: the cruel and painful loss of the beautiful life of our daughter Malki who was fifteen when she was murdered in an act of Hamas savagery. Neither here in our blog, nor elsewhere, do we dwell on the events themselves: how we felt that day, what it looked like from up close.

In trying to give an as-it-happens overview of the events in this ongoing war, we mention attacks that most people often don't know anything about. The reporting of the acts of terrorism, as we have said here often, is poor, sporadic and mostly not informative or analytic. People far from the scene usually don't know what happened (unless it turns out to be an especially expensive attack) because the mainstream news organizations no longer see much value in the reporting. And they rarely comprehend what these attacks do to the people exposed to them, the survivors.

Earlier today (Sunday), another in a long, long line of so-called rock-throwing attacks landed on top of a young family from the small pioneering community of Rehalim in the Binyamin region of Judea, north of Jerusalem. (It's close to the older and larger Shiloh community and has a population of about 40 young families, including some 50 pre-school children.) Arutz Sheva/Israel National News published a first-person account some hours ago, accompanying it with photos of some aspects of the aftermath.

It's a sanitized report: no screaming toddlers here; no photos of family members comforting each other; no facial close-ups showing the shock, the relief, the fear. Instead, we have some dispassionate photos of the family's car and of the rock that came within inches of killing the family's youngest child.


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IMRA Observation - President Peres Cannot have It Both Ways

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
30 December '12..

When representatives of the Likud Party responded today to public remarks made by President Shimon Peres that criticized Netanyahu for not finding a partner for peace in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich responded by saying that "The Likud's lashing out at the president of the country, one of the symbols of the state of Israel, is aggressive and contemptible."

But Mr. Peres cannot have it both ways.

If he wants to enjoy the immunity from criticism of a president of Israel, he has to limit himself to his apolitical presidential functions.

But if Mr. Peres wants to participate in the rough and tumble of the policy debate – in particular in weeks before the national elections, then it is an affront to the very lifeblood of the democratic process for those who disagree with his views to be forced into silence.

Because the moment that we enter the policy debate, then to be frank about it, Mr. Peres is painfully short on depth.

(+Video) The crime - Wanting to leave the USSR and live freely as Jews in Israel

Renee Ghert-Zand..
Times of Israel..
29 December '12..

Anat Kutznetzov-Zalmanson’s parents hijacked a plane, and she wants the world to know about it.

Sylva Zalmanson and Eduard Kuznetzov’s only real crime was that they wanted to leave the USSR and live freely as Jews in Israel.

To their daughter, a filmmaker, they are heroes who jumpstarted the movement to free Soviet Jewry, not the criminals the Soviet government made them out to be, sentencing one to death and the other to years of hard labor.

When Kuznetzov-Zalmanson, 32, was a child in Israel, people would approach her parents in the street and embrace them. Teachers would ask her to tell their story in class. But now, several decades later, most people, especially young ones, know very little, if anything, about the Prisoners of Zion who fought for human rights and permission to emigrate from the behind the Iron Curtain. If they are asked about refuseniks, the only name to spring to mind is often that of former Israeli politician Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky, now chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

They almost certainly have no knowledge of the 16 people (14 of them Jews) led by Zalmanson and Kuznetzov, who attempted to hijack a plane from the USSR to Sweden on June 13, 1970, in a desperate bid to attract the world’s attention to their plight.

The attempt, known as “Operation Wedding,” failed, and all the members of the group were arrested. Most were tried Dec. 15 of that year, and on Dec. 24, Kuznetzov and Mark Dymshits, a Red Army pilot from Leningrad who was going to fly the plane, were sentenced to death. Zalmanson was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor, and the others were sentenced to between four and 15 years.

A Very Special 4%

Brian of London..
30 December '12..

According to a new report from a London based Arab human rights group:

From 2007-2011, the PA detained 13,271 Palestinians, and tortured 96% of them resulting in six deaths, report says.

(Jonathan E. did raise a question on the fact that only 6 died, seemingly very low considering the large number involved here. My guess would be that in a number of the cases abused may have been a more appropriate category, however giving those subjected to abusive treatment the choice of description, the "T" word would be their preference.)

Which leads us to ask: what is so special about the 4% who didn’t get beaten to within an inch of their lives? Just wondering.

And with such a huge level of torture you’d think there was something for Amnesty International to look at. Here’s what you get if you look for representatives of Amnesty in the Palestinian Authority.

Amnesty doesn’t just operate in Israel, however, it seems to operate in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. So on the one hand they don’t cover the Palestinian Authority (which seems to occupy a great deal of Palestinian Territory today) but they do operate in the only free and democratic non-Apartheid state in the Middle East.


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Who's Seeking Ties With Hezbollah?

Daniel Greenfield..
29 December '12..

Aside from the Shiite vs. Sunni thing they do have a lot in common. They’re both Islamist terrorists and they both want to destroy Israel.

Egypt’s ambassador to Lebanon said his country will pursue a relationship with Hezbollah, a “real political and military force,” The Daily Star reported Saturday. If implemented, the decision would constitute a dramatic policy shift from that of the former Hosni Mubarak administration.

Egypt’s relations with Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Islamic group that is considered a terror organization by the United States, have been strained, in large part, by Cairo’s 1979 peace accord with Israel. The ambassador’s comments on a possible Hezbollah-Egyptian rapprochement came on the heels of the passage of the controversial Muslim Brotherhood-backed constitution by President Mohammed Morsi last week.

“In discussions we said we want Hezbollah to remain as a political force in Lebanon acting in the interests of the Lebanese first and not others,” Hamdy continued. “Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory … That’s their primary role. We … think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job defending Lebanese territory, and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate.”

He warned, however, of mixing the “legitimate” goals of resistance with the Lebanese political process — something Egypt and other Arab countries wouldn’t welcome, he said. Elections and a democratic process are imperative for Lebanon, he added.

Touching on Hezbollah’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hamdy stated: “We want to keep all the parties in Lebanon away from what is happening in Syria. Not only Hezbollah.”

This is a not so complicated way of saying that

How did Israel fight back against Hamas with such painstaking accuracy and yet...

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
29 December '12..

Paul Alster, writing on the Fox News website, asks a question that - had it been asked - would have done credit to the news teams of the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters and/or the New York Times who, though they have their people scattered all over the Middle East, somehow are unable to formulate things quite this way:

A single Syrian missile strike on a bakery near Hama killed more than 60 innocent civilians last week, so how did Israel manage to fire more than 1,500 high powered missiles into densely-populated Gaza in November, with the total loss of 161 lives, of which 90 have been acknowledged by Hamas itself as active combatants?

About that bakery attack, and numerous other bakery attacks, we posted our thoughts just four days ago [see "25-Dec-12: Know your barbarians"]

Alster's answer, certainly worth your click, starts this way:

The numbers speak for themselves, but very little credit has so far been given by foreign governments, NGOs, and the international media for the care taken by the Israeli military to avoid collateral damage during its recent vicious engagement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. [more]


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"No, please stamp my passport. It is an honor for me to be in Israel."

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
28 December '12..

Upon his arrival to Israel, Afshin Ellian was informed by Immigration that they would waive the stamping of his passport. He could not understand. "You were born in Iran," he was explained. "Despite holding a Dutch passport, you are also Iranian, and an Israeli entry stamp in your passport is a punishable offense in Iran." Ellian insisted. "No, please stamp my passport. It is an honor for me to be in Israel."

Dr. Afshin Ellian, a Dutch professor of law, philosopher, poet and sharp critic of Islam, was born in Iran in 1966. The Iranian Revolution broke out when he was thirteen, and three years later he became a fugitive, wanted by the Ayatollah regime for forbidden political activity. He fled to Pakistan and from there to Soviet-ruled Afghanistan. In 1989, Ellian received political asylum in the Netherlands and subsequently pursued a career in legal academia. He also writes columns for several newspapers in the Netherlands and abroad. Due to his consistent criticism of the Iranian regime and certain aspects of Islam, a death fatwa has been issued against him.

Ellian's visit to Israel was made possible by a joint initiative of the Dutch Speakers Oleh Association, the Netherlands Embassy in Israel, Haifa University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He lectured on "courage in troubled times" in memory of Rudolph Cleveringa a law professor from Leiden University, who in 1940 dared to publicly denounce the Nazi occupier's dismissal of the university's Jewish lecturers and sanctions against its Jewish students, which led to his detention and arrest.

Q: Is this your first visit to Israel?

"Yes, this is indeed my first visit to Israel. Surprising as it may be to those who see me as a mercenary of Israel and the Jewish people.

"It was an amazing experience to see Jerusalem. I now see how much Israel's image is warped by Western media. This is a multicultural society, with normal people, working people. Western journalists say that Israel is an occupier, that Israel is evil, and that it deploys heavy weapons against the Palestinians. But that is not the whole reality of Israel. Look at Tel Aviv. It is a very normal city just like The Hague, just like Amsterdam. Israel is the one spot of abnormality in the Middle East. At the same time it is like Europe at the heart of the region. I can understand why Israel arouses such fury among radical Muslims.

"I visited many Arab villages as well as the city of Haifa. My recollection of Iran upon visiting Haifa left me quite emotional. My thoughts turned to the goals of our struggle, how we aim to return to pre-revolution Iran, to bring back democracy, human rights, freedom of speech. I thought to myself that the kind of society I met in Israel would be of great interest to secular Iranian students and citizens. Israel actually serves a very important example for other Middle Eastern countries. But this is not something I hear from Western journalists. They take the perspective of radical Muslims, actually."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

When hostility itself is an “obstacle to peace.”

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
28 December '12..

The newest threat to peace in the Middle East is a college–at least according to the government of the United Kingdom.

The educational institution in question is Ariel College, now Ariel University, in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank. Ariel was founded in 1978 and now has about 20,000 residents. Ariel College was founded in 1982 as a branch of Bar Ilan University, became independent in 2005, and now has a remarkable 14,000 students from all over Israel and even a branch in Tel Aviv. It also has the largest group of Ethiopian-born immigrant students of any university in Israel, and hundreds of Israeli Arab students. The university has five faculties as of now: architecture, natural science, engineering, health sciences, and humanities and social sciences, and plans to add more. In 2008 Ariel College applied for upgrading from college to university, and despite strong opposition in some parts of Israel’s educational establishment, that change was just approved.

Here is a comment on the college from last summer:

Speaking to the BBC, the Israeli Nobel Laureate Robert Aumann stated that there was “a really strong need” for an upgraded institution in Ariel. He was a member of a committee that evaluated the performance of the Ariel University Centre. “I was very impressed by the quality of the place as an academic institution and I think Israel needs another university,” said Mr Aumann, a mathematician. “The last time when an additional university was added to the roster of Israeli universities was in 1972. At the time the population was three and a quarter million. The population of Israel today is almost eight million.”

The better plan - Standing firm and insist on Israel’s legitimate rights
28 December '12..

We are often warned about the dangers of the “extreme right” in Israel — as Thomas Friedman called them, those who “actually want to annex the West Bank.” I presume that Friedman was referring to people like Naftali Bennett, who has made a proposal to annex Area C — the parts of Judea and Samaria where almost all the Jewish residents and few Arabs live.

Even Daniel Gordis, who — unlike Friedman — actually cares about Israel’s future, has suggested that Israeli voters should beware of, er, excessive Zionism, because it could lead to the isolation and ultimate destruction of the Jewish state. In a recent article, Gordis presents a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ scenario for the Israel of 2063. In the ‘bad’ one,

European hostility to Israel never subsided, and successive Israeli governments turned irritating both the EU and the US into a national sport. In response to repeated European and American demands that building projects cease, the government assured Israelis, “They’ll learn to live with it. We just have to show them we can’t be bullied.” 

Germany changed the rules first. Lufthansa stopped flying to Israel, and a year later, Germany refused El Al landing rights. After subsequent dustups, Air France and France followed suit, as did British Airways and the UK. Soon, the only way to get to Europe was by sea. Israelis could still fly to Turkey, though.

Both Friedman and Gordis seem to be saying that Israel must not defy the Europeans and Obama Administration on the issue of Israel’s rights in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. By playing along — despite the fact that an excellent case can be made for the legality of Jewish settlement in these places — Israel can avoid potentially disastrous punishment.

There are two problems with this position, one philosophical and the other practical. The philosophical problem is that it represents an abdication of sovereignty, the sovereignty that Jews have been fighting and dying to preserve since the beginning of the Zionist enterprise. It represents a return to the ghetto mentality by which Jewish survival was dependent on the good will of the local gentile prince. Once we agree to the principle, where does it stop?

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Israeli state of mind - Top heavy on realism and low on wishful-thinking

Yoram Ettinger..
Israel Hayom..
28 December '12..

On the eve of the January 22, 2013 Israeli election, the Israeli public demonstrates more realism than its politicians. Israelis highlight security imperatives when responding to reality-driven polls, which pose questions based on the stormy Arab Winter and not on the mirage of the Arab Spring.

Increasingly, Israelis recognize that — in the Middle East — bolstered security constitutes a solid base for survival and for the pursuit of peace. They realize that the pursuit of peace, by lowering the threshold of security, could jeopardize survival, as well as the slim chance for peace.

Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly dovish Israeli media and academia, most Israelis — Right, Center and Left — have concluded that security-driven peace supersedes peace-driven security.

In December 2012, a most thorough and detailed poll was conducted by one of the deans of Israeli pollsters, Mina Tzemach, on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The poll demonstrates that Israelis respond to real local and regional developments — more than to wishful thinking — when shaping positions on the peace process, security requirements, land for peace, the two-state-solution and Iran.

Such positions are directly impacted by the 20-year track record of the 1993 Oslo Accords: an unprecedented Israeli gesture met by unprecedented Palestinian hate education, terrorism and noncompliance. Israeli opinions are also influenced by the current turbulence, unpredictability, unreliability, treachery and instability on the Arab street. The Israeli state of mind is also shaped by the violent Palestinian response (thousands of missiles launched at Israel) to the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip — a tormenting, painful concession of uprooting 25 thriving Jewish communities.

According to the December Mina Tzemach (Dahaf Polling Institute) poll, most Israelis assume that Palestinians are concerned about the existence — and not the size — of Israel, and therefore are very skeptical about the land-for-peace formula. Most Israelis do not trust Palestinian compliance with agreements, and therefore are dubious about the two-state solution, which they increasingly consider a two-state delusion.

Two-states - A solution that will never be a solution.

What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction?

Barry Shaw..
Opinion Columnist/JPost..
27 December '12..

There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation. – Mahmoud Zahar.

Death to Israel! – Heard at most anti-Israel demonstrations.

I will never recognize the Jewish state, not in a thousand years! – Mahmoud Abbas

From the river to the sea, from the north to the south, this is our land, our homeland. There will be no relinquishing even an inch of it. Israel is illegitimate and will remain so throughout the passage of time. It belongs to us and not the Zionists – Khaled Mashaal

Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah. After that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa – Ismail Haniyeh.

Which part of that do you not understand? For decades we have been bombarded by expert opinion telling us why the two-state paradigm is the only solution for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians, and for the survival of a democratic Jewish state.

Having spent this period researching and studying the paths outlined for this road map, and analyzing the basic character and intentions of Israel’s adversary in this journey, it has brought me, irrevocably and inevitably, to the definite conclusion that it will never happen and, if it did, it would end in disaster for Israel.

If it did happen it would be the death knell for the Jewish state of Israel.

It would be the death knell because it would be the final stage, when Israel would have been reduced to a withered rump of a strategically weakened state, impossible to defend or protect itself from certain onslaught by a threatening circle of radical Islam. A Palestinian state would not be the buffer zone against such an assault; rather it would be the spearhead over whose territory a major attack would take place.

Whenever I discuss the subject with Israeli politicians, experts, European diplomats and journalists, all of whom foster the utopian dream of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with parts of Jerusalem given to the Palestinians as their new capital, I ask them one question, one critical question, that gnaws away at me. It gnaws away at me all the more so because I never receive an answer from them that assuages my concerns and fears.

Friendly advice to American ‘experts’: listen to ordinary Israelis first
27 December '12..

I am not one who thinks that only Israelis have the right to comment about Israel. After all, I’m an American and I write about it all the time. But I do think that foreigners should at least pay attention to what Israelis think when forming their opinions, and even more so when proposing ‘solutions’. After all, Israelis are the ones who suffer the consequences of outside meddling.

Can there be a worse example than Thomas L. Friedman of the NY Times? Recently he wrote,

Israel’s friends need to understand that the center-left in Israel is dying. The Israeli election in January will bring to power Israeli rightists who never spoke at your local Israel Bonds dinner. These are people who want to annex the West Bank. Bibi Netanyahu is a dove in this crowd. The only thing standing between Israel and national suicide any more is America and its willingness to tell Israel the truth. [emphasis in original]

It’s hard to imagine a more arrogant attitude! For Friedman’s information, Israel is a democracy, and if right-wing politicians are elected, it is — gasp — because Israelis voted for them. And probably the single most important issue driving votes today — not the only issue, by any means, but the most important — is security.

Anybody surprised? New Palestinian rift erupts after Fatah cancels Gaza event

Fatah officials decide to cancel anniversary celebrations in Gaza citing Hamas refusal to hold rallies in two of Strip's main squares, marring positive atmosphere that followed Palestinian statehood bid at UNGA.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Middle East/JPost..
27 December '12..

The positive atmosphere that prevailed between Fatah and Hamas following Operation Pillar of Defense and the UN vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status appeared to have ended Thursday, as the two rival parties resumed their verbal attacks on each other.

The new crisis erupted after Fatah announced the cancellation of celebrations in the Gaza Strip that were scheduled for the end of this month to mark the 48th anniversary of its founding. Fatah officials in Gaza said they had decided to cancel the events because the Hamas government would not allow them to hold rallies in two of Gaza City’s main squares.

Hamas has banned Fatah from holding major rallies in Gaza ever since the Islamist movement took control of the area in 2007. Fatah, in contrast, recently permitted Hamas to celebrate its anniversary in several West Bank cities for the first time since that year.

In the wake of the recent rapprochement between the two parties, the Hamas government announced two weeks ago that it had given Fatah permission to celebrate the event in the Gaza Strip. However, it rejected Fatah’s demand to hold the rallies in two squares and offered alternative venues, including the Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City and the site of former Jewish settlements.

Usable advice from Thomas Friedman? - Not for the United States, not for Israel

Ron Radosh..
26 December '12..

On Christmas Day, Tom Friedman gave his readers what may possibly be his worst columns ever (having written so many bad columns, this is of course a judgment call). Here he joins the less influential John B. Judis of The New Republic in defending the status of Chuck Hagel as the leading nominee for the position of secretary of Defense.

Like Judis, Friedman argues that it is precisely because Hagel’s views are not “mainstream” that he would be the perfect secretary of Defense. He is upset that Hagel has been “smeared as an Israel-hater at best and an anti-Semite at worst.” He buys the line of the Obama administration that Hagel is “committed to Israel’s survival” but is to be praised because he, like Friedman himself, knows what is best for Israel — a besieged nation trying to defend its right to exist in a world composed of implacable enemies. Thus, Friedman writes, Hagel is to be praised for arguing that favoring Israel’s survival does not mean “going along with Israel’s self-destructive drift into settling the West Bank and obviating a two-state solution.”

Let us pause to dissect the above paragraph. Israel, in Friedman’s eyes, is the nation that is doing all it can to stop a two-state solution.

This, of course, is his first major error. Prime Minister Netanyahu has reversed the course of previous Israeli leaders in publicly supporting that goal. What really irks Friedman, however, is Netanyahu’s clear-sighted realization that the Palestinian leadership has been consistently intransigent from 1948 on in proclaiming its lifelong opposition to any agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. In the eyes of its leaders, from those of Fatah to the so-called worse extremists of Hamas, all of Israel is a settlement that must eventually return to Palestinian Arab control. A one-state solution, with an Arab majority eliminating a Jewish nation and creating a subordinate Jewish population.

Livni's Folly – UN Security Council 1701

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
27 December '12..

Fans of Tzipi Livni like to assert that she demonstrated her skills in diplomacy when she ostensibly stood firm on the right of return in her talks with Palestinians – refusing to allow any refugees in. But the fact is that those talks were only a cover for the real negotiations the Prime Minister Olmert was carrying out at the very same time with Mahmoud Abbas. Negotiations during which Olmert offered incredible concessions – including the return of refugees. So given that the Livni talks weren’t the real talks, and that it is reasonable to assume that Livni also knew that this was the case, it’s stretch to draw any conclusions about Livni's true capabilities from these essentially fake talks.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that concluded the Lebanon war, on the other hand, is a different story. Then Foreign Minister Livni was Israel's point man on 1701.

1701 has been a farce. The international force never stopped the flow of weapons. Hizbullah deployed up to the fence. In fact, when their weapons blow up they bar the international force from even approaching the area. It is interesting to read what Livni said herself about UNSC 1701 in a briefing she held on August 13, 2006 following Israel's acceptance of 1701.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Video) They say Israelis provoke the Palestinians, so surely it's so.

27 December '12..

The latest from firstonethrough:

Israelis provoke the Palestinians (The Clash)

The Palestinians accuse Israel of provoking their ire and attacks for such activities as rebuilding a destroyed synagogue and archaeological digs. Those claims continue to this day.

However at the 1:48 mark one of the most famous "provocations" that was not, is highlighted. It was to become known as the "Al Aqsa Intifada" killing more than 1,137 Israelis from September 2000-2005. While mistakenly or more often deliberately being attributed to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount as the contributing cause, the truth was known to lie elsewhere.

For those still unaware, Suha Arafat's, widow of Yasser Arafat, recent interview on Dubai TV, 16 December '12, could not be clearer.


Note: The Camp David negotiations he returned from and his meeting with Suha in Paris was actually July 2000, thus the (sic) next to her July 2001 reference.

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When an NGO counts Hamas terrorists as "children" killed in Gaza

Elder of Ziyon..
27 December '12..

The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, a Geneva-based NGO, has released a 72-page report (Arabic-only) detailing the names, photos and details of 41 children they claim were killed in Gaza by Israel.

Some of the "children" listed were, in fact, adults.

Some were Hamas terrorists.

And at least one was killed by a Hamas rocket.

Here are some details:

Muhammad Hani Ibrahim Hani Al-Kaseeh was - according to Euro-Mid! - born on July 29, 1994, making him 18 years old when he was killed on November 14, 2012. PCHR admits that he was a terrorist, as the motorcycle he was on together with Essam al-Meiza was targeted.

(Read in full)

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Oslo Accords - Recognizing the failure but not learning from it

Ze'ev Jabotinsky..
Israel Hayom..
27 December '12..

The Meretz party's new political platform proposes overturning the Oslo Accords. The leaders of this party were among the original initiators of the agreements, and the most active in getting them approved, yet even they admit now that the Oslo Accords are a failure.

Oslo caused enormous damage: It upgraded the Palestine Liberation Organization's status from a terrorist organization to an internationally recognized legitimate political organization. Two weeks before the exposure of the secret Oslo talks, huge headlines emerged suggesting that the PLO was nearing final dissolution due to its senior members' desperation and the lack of funds for continued terrorism against Israel. It was at that point that then PLO leader Yasser Arafat was given a lifeline, and he used it to establish an armed presence inside Israel, a move that until then he had only dreamed about.

Under the protection of Oslo, Arafat's emissaries murdered more than 1,600 Israelis and caused crippling injuries to thousands more, while the Israeli economy sustained losses in the billions, thousands of families became refugees in their own land, and, worst of all, Israel lost legitimacy in the world. The legitimacy was lost because Israel built an international stage for Arafat, which he used to disseminate his lies about invented rights that come at the expense of the rights to which we are entitled to by international law.

How Iran arms its allies - Smugglers galore

Lee Smith..
The Weekly Standard..
31 December '12..

An explosion in southern Lebanon last week destroyed what is believed to have been a Hezbollah weapons depot. This latest in a series of mysterious “accidents” in Hezbollah-controlled precincts proved, as one Israeli official wryly remarked, that those who “sleep with rockets and amass large stockpiles of weapons are in a very unsafe place.” With the Party of God’s overland supply route through Syria choked off by the 22-month-long uprising against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and Israel virtually in total control of the maritime route, Hezbollah’s stockpile is being systematically degraded.

Yet the arsenal of Iran’s other regional proxy force, Hamas, is growing. The Israeli Defense Forces’ campaign against Hamas last month in Gaza targeted Iranian missiles, including the Fajr-5, capable of reaching Tel Aviv and other points north, and destroyed most of them within the first hours of the conflict. But Hamas is already rearming, and it’s not clear that Israel or even Muslim Brotherhood-governed Egypt, which is ostensibly capable of controlling the Sinai tunnel networks through which Hamas receives its arms, can do much about it.

Israel’s next war with Hamas—a further confrontation is almost inevitable—may well feature not only Iranian missiles smuggled through Sudan, but NATO-quality small arms and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles that come by way of Hamas’s most recent weapons supplier, post-Qaddafi Libya.

Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense also zeroed in on Hamas commanders, most notably Ahmed al-Jabari, Hamas’s chief of staff, responsible for the group’s military operations. It was Jabari who replaced Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, assassinated in a Dubai hotel room almost three years ago in an operation usually attributed to Israel. In a sense, then, Pillar of Defense began back in January 2010 in that most profligate of the United Arab Emirates—which is also a veritable weapons bazaar.

West Longs for "Judenfrei" Zones in Jerusalem

P. David Hornik..
27 December '12..

Israel plans to step up the building of residences within the settlement blocs and—drawing particular ire—in parts of Jerusalem that were under Jordanian occupation from 1949 to 1967. The Jerusalem plans include housing for both Jews and Arabs.

In this holiday season, those plans should be cause for rejoicing instead of heightened rebukes. The city’s status as a hub of three religions, and also of tolerance, pluralism, and across-the-board demographic growth, is being strengthened.

Instead, official Western reactions have been harshly critical (reports here, here, and here).

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action.” The French Foreign Ministry called the building plans “a provocation that further undermines…trust…and leads us to question Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution.” British foreign secretary William Hague called the plans “a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton even hinted at repercussions, saying the EU would “closely monitor the situation…and act accordingly.”

And 14 of the 15 countries on the UN Security Council—with the U.S. as the only exception—issued condemnations as well. Four of them—Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal—said in a joint statement that they were “extremely concerned by, and strongly opposed, the plans…all settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately.”

It should be noted that, except the U.S., all of the above mentioned countries either voted aye or abstained in last month’s UN General Assembly vote conferring a watered-down form of statehood on the Palestinian Authority. It was partly in reaction to the Palestinians’ move, which blatantly violated the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords that the EU once sanctioned, that Israel announced the new building plans.

Israel, though, couldn’t win. It couldn’t persuade the European states to oppose the Palestinian move; and once it reacted to the move, it was roundly condemned.

Israel was particularly disappointed by Germany’s abstention in the UN vote, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had seemed to be intending to vote nay. Germany, as already mentioned, then joined three other countries in demanding that even “East Jerusalem”—where 200,000 Jews now live, 40 percent of Jerusalem’s total Jewish population—be treated as a Jew-free zone.

Beyond these specific points, though, stands the ongoing spectacle of the world’s leading Western powers seeming to pine for a redivided Jerusalem, this time with the Palestinians ruling the Jew-free part. Even if a Palestinian sovereign entity were to arise in the West Bank, “Ramallah,” as David Solway notes in his new book, “…is a good enough Palestinian capital.” Why, then, the insistence on East Jerusalem?

Arlene Kushner from Israel - A Mixed Bag

Arlene Kushner..
26 December '12..

Today we'll start with the good news.

Ariel University has been an institution of higher learning, situated in Ariel -- a major city in Samaria, 25 miles east of Tel Aviv -- since 2005. At that time it was Ariel College and had the highest student enrollment of any public college in Israel. But the school's intention was to seek full university status -- which would provide it with the ability to grant doctoral degrees, as well as increase its funding for research and its prestige.

In 2010, it was granted the title Ariel University Center of Samaria, but was not yet accorded official university status. In July of this year, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria granted it this status. In September, the Cabinet approved it.


But it wasn't yet a done deal. Since Judea and Samaria are governed by a civil administration under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense, yet another approval was needed. And this was not forthcoming.

It was politics. Ariel College had met all criteria for becoming a university. But, shock, horrors: A full Israeli university in Samaria? That suggests permanency and will lead to expansion of a "settlement." British Foreign Secretary William Hague actually had the gall to say in September that Israel should reconsider its decision on this school.

His attitude was not new. In 2009, for example, the Spanish Housing Ministry disqualified the university center from participation in an international architectural competition because it was located in "occupied territories."

At any rate, this week Defense Minister Barak instructed Major General Nitzan Alon, the Head of the IDF's Central Command, to grant the school final approval. This was after the attorney general had said there was no legal obstacle to doing so. General Alon signed the appropriate document yesterday, and it's a done deal.

I have been advised by someone directly involved in Ariel that this did not represent a softening of Barak's heart on this issue: a great deal of hard work behind the scenes went into achieving this.

However it was achieved, this is a cause for celebration. And I think it's good to know that with hard work nationalists can hold sway at least part of the time.

What's Compelling Saudi Arabia to Begin to Tell the Truth About Israel?

Evelyn Gordon..
JINSA Fellow..
26 December '12..

If there were a prize for the Arab country that has done most to promote Arab-Israeli peace recently, I'd seriously consider nominating Saudi Arabia. Admittedly, that's a counterintuitive choice: Riyadh doesn't even recognize Israel and shows no signs of doing so anytime soon; moreover, it finances the spread of extremist Islamic ideology. But Saudi-funded papers have been doing something that may be far more important than another handshake on the White House lawn: providing a platform for Arab journalists and public figures to challenge the dominant Middle Eastern narrative of Israel as the root of all evil.

Consider, for instance, a column published last month in Asharq Al-Awsat, a paper owned by a member of the Saudi royal family and known for its support of the Saudi monarchy. Written by the paper's then-deputy editor-in-chief, Adel Al Toraifi, and titled "Who holds Hamas' terrorism to account?" the column blamed not Israel, but Hamas, for Palestinian casualties during both the second intifada and the recent fighting in Gaza.

During the intifada, wrote Al Toraifi, "Only a small number of Palestinians died in the first weeks." But then, "Hamas and other factions decided to militarize the intifada through the use of suicide attacks, costing the Palestinians nearly 2,000 lives in less than two years."

Similarly, when smaller factions began "sabotaging the truce in Gaza," Hamas "did not condemn their attacks, rather its leaders talked about the victory that was achieved through the missile fire." Consequently, "a hundred Palestinians have died and what remains of the dilapidated infrastructure there has been destroyed."

Now contrast this with the reaction of Israel's "peace partner," Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. In his speech to the UN last month, Abbas accused Israel of committing "barbaric and horrific" crimes in Gaza in retaliation for ... his UN bid! The thousands of missiles launched at Israel weren't even mentioned, much less condemned. And other senior PA officials openly praised the missile fire. Moreover, the two Arab states with which Israel has peace treaties, Egypt and Jordan, similarly accused Israel of unprovoked aggression while refusing to condemn the rocket fire.

In short, all told their people that Israel is simply an evil country that kills innocent Arabs for no good reason. And why would anyone make peace with a country like that?

Al Toraifi, in contrast, told his readers that Israel isn't inherently evil; it was just responding to being attacked. He also told his readers that Palestinians aren't wholly innocent; their behavior, too, will have to change for peace to be possible. These are obviously messages far more conducive to peace.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

(+Video) Lost no more - The return of the Bnei Menashe

The return of the Bnei Menashe to our people is a tangible reminder of the power of Jewish memory to overcome all obstacles, and the inevitability of Jewish destiny to prevail.

Michael Freund..
Fundamentally Freund/JPost..
26 December '12..

This past Monday, as the Uzbekistan Airways flight began its descent to Tel Aviv, over 50 pairs of eyes looked out the plane’s windows, anxious to catch a glimpse of their new home.

For more than 27 centuries, their ancestors had wandered in exile, clinging to the dream that one day, despite the odds, they would somehow be able to return. And now, at last, that age-old ambition was poised to become reality, as 53 new immigrants from the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India came in for a safe landing at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Who says we don’t live in an age of miracles? The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel exiled by the Assyrian empire in 722 BCE. Despite being cut off from the rest of the Jewish people for so many centuries, the Bnei Menashe remained dedicated to their heritage, stubbornly cleaving to the faith of their forefathers. They observed the Sabbath and kept kosher, celebrated the festivals, practiced the sacrificial rites and even argued a lot among themselves, just as Jews have done since time immemorial.

Indeed, the Bnei Menashe never forgot who they are or where they came from, or where they one day dreamt of returning.

That fidelity is now being rewarded as their remarkable odyssey comes full circle and they make their way back to their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.

THE 53 new arrivals constituted the first group of Bnei Menashe that Shavei Israel, the organization I founded and chair, has been able to bring on aliya since 2007, when the Olmert government inexplicably decided to freeze the immigration of these precious souls. But after five long and often lonely years of pounding the pavement as well as a number of bureaucrats’ desks, we were able at last to persuade the powers that be to open the door once again for the Bnei Menashe.

Why Israel-Bashers and Thomas Friedman All Love Chuck

Jonathan S. Tobin..
26 December '12..

With President Obama still letting Chuck Hagel’s putative nomination as Secretary of Defense hang in the wind, it’s not clear whether the former Nebraska senator’s stock is up or down. But so long as he remains in the running, critics of Israel are going to keep doing everything they can to keep his name in play. Today’s column on Hagel by the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman cuts to the heart of their motivation.

As far as Friedman is concerned, Hagel has two qualifications for high office: his distaste for Israel and a willingness to make nice with Iran and Hamas. That makes sense to those who share his distaste for the bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel alliance that prevents the Obama administration (egged on by kibitzers like Friedman) from pressuring the Jewish state to make pointless concessions that undermine its security. It also fits in with the desire of those who want a nuclear Iran to be contained or accommodated rather than forestalled and for the U.S. to embrace Hamas the way it has the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. But these are good reasons why Hagel’s views — which Friedman rightly characterizes as out of the mainstream — ought to disqualify him from leading the Pentagon.

Friedman thinks its “disgusting” that many friends of Israel hold it against Hagel that he attacked what he called the “Jewish lobby” in language that resonated with specious charges of dual loyalty that rightly bring to mind anti-Semitism. It’s hardly surprising that Friedman would think calling Hagel to account for this is a “smear” since he has been guilty of the same tactic in his quest to delegitimize those Americans who oppose his stands on Israel.

Overlooking southern Lebanon? The Iranian proxy force up there has not

Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah leader, addresses the faithful 
from a hidden (and secure) location, August 2012 [Image Source]
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
25 December '12..

It's relatively quiet on Israel's Lebanon border for the moment and a good time to pay attention to the things going on their that don't get reported outside of Israel.

Things like this matter of explosions in rural villages that have the grim misfortune of being occupied by the Hizbullah terrorist forces.

In the early morning of 17 December, a loud explosion was heard in the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon... 2.5 kilometers from the Israeli border. Lebanese media did not report any injuries, and this was confirmed by the mayor of Tair Harfa... The explosion occurred in a munitions depot belonging to Hizbullah. The building where the munitions were stored is located on the outskirts of the town near residential dwellings. There is a school about 300 meters from the munitions depot. Immediately following the explosion, dozens of Hizbullah men sealed off the area and proceeded to erase all evidence of the incident, flattening the warehouse and removing what was left of the arms and explosives that had been stored there. UNIFIL soldiers arrived in the area, but access to the actual site of the blast was blocked by HizbullahLebanese army soldiers were also denied access to the site.

This is the fourth explosion that has occurred in the last few years in Hizbullah munitions depots in South Lebanon... UN Security Council Resolution 1701... calls for the disarmament of the Hizbullah and prohibits the storage of arms near the border with Israel. The Hizbullah's military network in southern Lebanon includes munitions depots as well as military outposts. Most of the military infrastructure is located in populated areas, in dozens of Shiite villages in the south... The arms, missiles and explosives are stored near residential homes and other civilian buildings such as schools and mosques. Hizbullah is endangering innocent Lebanese civilians, in order to conceal its military activity in southern Lebanon, in direct contravention of UN Resolution 1701.

Experience tells us no one in the international news media is going to pay any attention to yet another series of Arab-on-Arab attacks. They will rouse themselves only when Hizbullah's well-entrenched and armed-up-the-wazoo irregulars open fire on Israel villages, towns and cities whereupon Israel will hit back. [more]
The presence of Iran-funded and Iran-inspired Hizbullah is hardly new. A bevy of UN conventions, multilateral agreements and Lebanese undertakings mean nothing if we are thinking of disarmament and supervision (the UN's soldiers are told by the Hizbullah that they can't look in - and no one does anything about it). When Hizbullah decides it's time to open fire, there will be war, and Israel - which cannot absorb the mass damage that will follow from the firing of even parts of the vast Hizbullah arsenal of south-pointing rockets (an astounding 50,000 of them, according to a report this week) will have no military or political option other than to deliver devastation to the places from which Hizbullah is firing.


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