Sunday, March 31, 2013

Propaganda dressed as scholarship - Welcome to BU

Richard L. Cravatts..
Times of Israel..
29 March '13..

Seeming to give credence to Orwell’s observation that “some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them,” in early April, Boston University will be hosting a Students for Justice in Palestine-run “Right of Return Conference,” yet another example of how purported scholarship about the Middle East is frequently biased and diluted by ideology.

Most sentient observers of the Palestinian issue know that the “right of return” issue is a core tactic in rendering real peace, any viable Arab/Israeli solution, effectively impossible, that the prospect of some 5-7 million Palestinian refugees flooding into what is now Israel would, as University of Haifa professor Steven Plaut put it, “derail Israel demographically and turn it into the Rwanda of the Levant.” That is exactly why every one of the participants of the BU conference are part of a retinue of the hate-Israel crowd, a traveling road-show of politicized scholars, propagandists, and pseudo- and non-academic activists with only a thinly-veiled animus towards Israel, Zionism, and Jews in general. What this conference clearly is not is a true academic or scholarly exercise designed to reveal some rational and reasonable solutions in the Middle East; instead, it is yet another opportunity for ideologues with an anti-Israel, anti-Western agenda to trumpet their perverse views under a cloak of academic respectability, and here even with Boston University’s imprimatur.

The demand for a right of return, a notion referred to by Palestinians and their supporters as “sacred” and an “enshrined” universal human right granted by UN resolutions and international law, in fact, has no legal or diplomatic standing at all, and is part of the propaganda campaign that is based on the thinking that if Israel cannot be eradicated by the Arabs through a military war, it can be effectively destroyed by forcing it to accept demographic subversion.

In the first place, it uses the fraud as its core notion that the Palestinians were “victimized” by the creation of Israel, and that they were expelled from a land of “Palestine” where they were the indigenous people “from time immemorial,” as historian Joan Peters put it in her book of the same name.

More importantly, far from being either a “sacred” or, for that matter, legal right, the right of return is a one-sided concoction that deliberately misreads United Nations resolutions for political advantage, and conveniently embraces only those portions that fit the intent of Arabs to make good on their intent to “drive Israel into the sea.” In continually repeating the lie that they are victims of the “Zionist regime” and that they were expelled from a country of their own and condemned to unending refugee status, the Palestinians ‒ and their Arab enablers ‒ have prolonged the myth of victimhood.

Next commander of Sayeret Matkal - Quiet, shy and a born leader

Uri Shabtai/Roi Amos..
Yisrael Hayom..
31 March '13..

Last month Lt. Col. S. celebrated his 38th birthday at his picturesque home in the Golan Heights. It was an intimate evening spent with his close family — his wife and three little boys. The modest celebration didn't disclose the big excitement in the family: S. and his wife had just learned that very soon, S. would be starting the most significant job of his career — he had been appointed the next commander of Sayeret Matkal (the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit), one of the most elite units in the IDF.

S. knows that the coming years will be more and more challenging for the elite IDF unit, considering the recent and ongoing changes in the Arab world, the threats emanating from neighboring countries and ones located further away, as well as the shifting battlefield of the future. S.'s mission will be to lead one of the most important military units in the IDF.

When the blue-eyed officer, named after his maternal grandfather, learned that he had been selected to head Sayeret Matkal, he didn't go out and celebrate. On the contrary — he preferred to meditate on the meaning of the position and the immense responsibility that it would entail. "His reaction was exactly proportional," recounts one of S.'s childhood friends, who has known him since kindergarten. "He knew that he was up against very high quality candidates for the position and said that it was not a given that he would be chosen."

"He was even a little surprised that he was selected for the job, and he didn't tell anyone about it," says one of his neighbors.

S.'s path to the top of the pyramid may have been relatively short, but it certainly wasn't simple or easy. It was a complex journey that required quite a bit of sacrifice. The journey began the day he donned his IDF uniform. S. grew up in the French Carmel neighborhood of Haifa. He was the youngest son to parents who will be turning 75 this year. When he turned 18, he decided not to enlist in the army right away. Guided by the spirit of volunteerism that had dominated his life since childhood, he began a year of national service. He left the big city in favor of a nature reserve in the Golan Heights, where he served as a counselor to groups of teens for a year. His love of trees, the earth and nature burned in him even then.

"It brings me great pride to hear that he will command this unit," says S.'s high school principal, who personally taught him in the 11th and 12th grades. "It was an experience to have known him — a value-driven young man of the highest order. From a very young age it was already apparent that he was born to lead. Even when he got mad, he was always patient and considerate. He also had an excellent sense of humor. I don't remember him as a brilliant and exceptional student, but he was definitely a good student, smart, one who makes sharp comments."

The military lifestyle occupied a big part of S.'s and his friends' daily lives. Most of them knew that they would join combat units. It wasn't just a product of youthful ambition — a tragedy had occurred in their town: Nahshon Leibowitz and his soldier brother Ophir had died of dehydration during a trip to the Judean Desert. The sole purpose of the brothers' trip was for Ophir, who was about to complete his military service, to prepare his younger brother Nahshon for service in an elite IDF unit. S. and his friends all took part in the search party that was set up when Ophir and Nahshon went missing. Ophir's body was found after several days. Four days later, Nahshon's body was also found. Even though almost 20 years have passed, S. still keeps in close touch with the bereaved parents, who lost all of their children to that trip.

The King of Palestine has been insulted

Jonathan S. Tobin..
29 March '13..

Last week President Obama used his speech in Jerusalem to Israeli students to once again prop up the idea that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is a reliable partner for peace. Despite his refusal to negotiate and his unwillingness to grab an Israeli offer of statehood in 2008, Abbas is still widely viewed in the West as a moderate and a good alternative to the extremists of Hamas. But, as was the case with his predecessor Yasir Arafat, the need to believe in the myth of Palestinian moderation tends to overshadow the truth about Abbas and his rule over the West Bank.

A little more light was shed on Abbas today as the New York Times—whose pages have been filled with cheerleading for the Palestinian Authority—published on its website last night a story about what happens to Palestinians who criticize the PA’s supremo. As Robert Mackey notes on the paper’s news blog The Lede:

A Palestinian court on Thursday upheld a one-year jail sentence for a journalist convicted of insulting President Mahmoud Abbas with a pastiche image posted on Facebook. Another Palestinian was given the same sentence last month for posting a humorous caption beneath an image of Mr. Abbas kicking a soccer ball on the social network.

The journalist, Mamdouh Hamamreh, said that he did not create or publish the composite image that compared Mr. Abbas to a character from a Syrian historical drama who collaborated with French colonialists. The court, applying part of the old Jordanian legal code that criminalizes insulting the king to an Internet jibe against the Palestinian president, was not swayed by Mr.Hamamreh’s s argument that he had played no part in the decision by the person who did upload the image to Facebook to draw it to his attention by adding his name as a tag to the text that accompanied it.

These incidents are just one more reminder that since its inception 20 years ago, the PA has been a corrupt tyranny that tramples on the rights of those people under its control. But the truth is, as was also the case with Arafat, the desire of many in the West as well as in Israel to have a Palestinian interlocutor causes them to ignore the PA’s sins or to whitewash them. Since we need Abbas to be the moderate alternative to Hamas, we cling to the idea that he really wants peace and even imagine that Israel will be better off if he and his cronies are put in charge of an independent state and tell ourselves it doesn’t matter if he is a petty tyrant or even a criminal. Indeed, that is what a lot of hardheaded Israelis have been telling us for years. But are they right?

To awake from our slumber and say Dayenu! Enough!

I have a dream: Israelis awake from their slumber and say Dayenu: We have conceded enough for the sake of peace with the Palestinians.

David M. Weinberg..
Israel Hayom..
31 March '13..

Oh, how we have compromised and conceded so much for the sake of peace with the Palestinians!

Two decades ago they told us that talking directly to the PLO was necessary for peace, despite that organization’s monstrous terrorist record. Creating the first self-governing authority in Palestinian history, in Gaza and Jericho, also was necessary for peace, they told us.

And we said Dayenu – we’ve had enough of the conflict; we will live with this, for the sake of peace.

Arming Yasser Arafat’s police force with tens of thousands of rifles and other military equipment was said to be necessary for peace too. Even when this “police” force and other Palestinian Authority security forces mushroomed far beyond the numbers permitted by accord with Israel, and even when these “police” fired on IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, we said Dayenu – somehow, we will live with this. Peace requires us to look the other way.

Turning a blind eye to PA human rights abuses, Holocaust denial, and virulent anti-Semitic propaganda also was necessary for peace, it was explained to us. And we reluctantly said Dayenu – we will live with this.

Next, it was imperative to give Arafat more land in Judea and Samaria so that he could “solidify his regime.” So we signed the Oslo II accord, handing over more than 30 percent of the West Bank, despite the fact that the PA had failed to live up to its original Oslo treaty obligations. And again we said Dayenu – we will live with this.

The PA’s commitment to fighting terror proved spotty and sporadic. Pot-shot shootings at Israeli passenger cars and roadside bombing attempts became so routine that these ceased to make headlines. Next, the City of our Patriarchs was handed over to the PA, with minimalist security arrangements in place for the protection of Hebron Jewish residents.

But we said Dayenu – we will live with this, in the hope that peace will yet come.

Washington Post Columnists Fail 'Breath-a-lyzer' Test for Op-Eds

...The over-exposed Zakaria, briefly suspended in 2010 by TIME and CNN while they exonerated him of a plagiarism charge, attempts—as commentators must to appear worth heeding—to place Obama’s Middle East swing in a grand, new perspective. Having based his “analysis” on false or irrelevant generalizations, he fails.

Eric Rozenman..
CAMERA Media Analyses..
29 March '13..

Another Thursday, another Washington Post commentary about Israel that reminds readers there are no recertification exams for newspaper columnists. First came “A spark in Israel” (March 21) by Post syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. It squinted at the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and saw instead a clash between the Jewish state and America. Seven days later “An appeal to Israel’s conscience” (March 28) featured pundit Fareed Zakaria scattering self-contradictory generalities in the wake of President Obama’s trip to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Zakaria says “both hard-line supporters of Israel and advocates of peace have clung to the notion of the Jewish state as deeply vulnerable.” He never mentions Iran’s reported nuclear weapons program or its threats to destroy Israel. He omits that Israel, inside the pre-1967 armistice lines, was four miles wide just west of Jerusalem, less than nine miles just north of Tel Aviv.

Zakaria asserts that the argument “Israel is surrounded by enemies” is out-of-date, the country not having to fear Syrian or Iraqi armies backed by the Soviet Union. He never mentions the tens of thousands of short- and medium-range rockets and missiles possessed by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, those organizations’ genocidally anti-Jewish charters, or their past attacks on Israel and continued probing.

In addition to his bi-weekly Post column, Zakaria works as a TIME magazine editor-at-large and hosts a twice-weekly Cable News Network U.S. program and four-times-per-week CNN International show. In “An appeal to Israel’s conscience” he claims that “the wall separating Palestinians and Israelis and the ‘iron dome’ (he does not use the customary, capitalized Iron Dome) … have largely made Palestinian terrorism something … not actually experienced by most Israelis.” This even though the West Bank security barrier remains necessary because of continued Palestinian terrorist attempts or that Iron Dome protects only against short-range missiles. In reality, most Israelis have been targeted by terrorist attacks or know someone who has.

To gloss over this travesty of justice is journalism of the most amoral sort

Our daughter Malki z"l
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 March '13..

The editors of the New York Times Magazine chose two weeks ago to publish a partisan, tendentious and extraordinarily selective piece of advocacy journalism about the village of Nabi Saleh. Located a few kilometers north of our home in Jerusalem, it's a place that holds significance for us since almost all the residents have the same surname: Tamimi.

One of the Tamimis is the person who engineered the massacre of women and children in which our much-loved child Malki was murdered at the age of fifteen in August 2001 at Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant.

We published a response to that article ["17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"] on this blog. It evoked a response beyond anything else we have written before: many thousands of views here on our blog, and thousands more on several other magazines and blogs that cross-posted it on their sites.

The editors of the New York Times did not respond to it. Nor did they react to a letter that Frimet submitted to them ten days ago. Tomorrow's New York Times Magazine is now online, and with it the letters (3 of them) that the editors have chosen to publish. We assume they received many more. We're confident none would have spoken in the voice of a mother whose child was brutally killed by a woman from the village whose promoters revel in the use of the bogus descriptor "non-violent". It's the alleged non-violence of the village and its people that underpins the article's premise.

Here below is the letter Frimet submitted - and that was rejected at the New York Times. Please consider passing it along to your friends, particularly those friends who read the Times and fall victim to its highly selective presentation - over many years - of the realities of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel.


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

A “Mug Him Again” Moment

As Ruthie Blum aptly noted in her column in Israel Hayom, as awful as this incident was, it is also the sort of thing that it is hard not to laugh at. As she writes, one of the drawbacks about being an Israeli Israel-basher is that it doesn’t earn you much applause or even a hearing from European or Arab opponents of the country:

Jonathan S. Tobin..
29 March '13..

Last year when liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed, the New York Post editorial page used it to recall one of the late Ed Koch’s favorite anecdotes:

Back when he was first running for mayor, Ed Koch used to tell of the time he told some senior citizens about a judge he knew who’d been mugged.

The judge, said Koch, told a group that “this mugging will not influence any of my decisions from the bench” — whereupon a woman yelled, “Mug him again!”

While the Post was roundly criticized in some quarters for insensitivity, the lesson was apt. Those who can’t learn from their encounters with violent criminals lack credibility when they render judgment on dealing with related issues.

This anecdote came to mind when reading of the encounter of leftist Israeli filmmaker Yariv Horowitz–who was in Aubagne, France to pick up an award at a film festival for his film Rock the Casbah–had with a gang of Arab toughs. Though his movie is a cinematic attack on Israeli policies and a bouquet thrown in the direction of the Palestinians, the Arabs proved to be uninterested in his politics and instead subjected him to the same treatment they have accorded to many another Jew: he was badly beaten.

Time to close the lights and come home

Guy Millière..
Gatestone Institute..
28 March '13..

Exactly one year ago, a killer entered the courtyard of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, and shot in cold blood a rabbi and three children. He said he had wanted to kill more, and to perpetrate a massacre, but that his gun jammed.

During the previous days, he had shot three French soldiers of Arab origin.

The killer was quickly located, besieged by the police for thirty two hours, then riddled with bullets when he tried to escape.

A few weeks later, his statements to the police during the siege were leaked. They showed that he defined himself as a "soldier of Islam" and that he was trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan by al Qaeda affiliates. He said that he wanted to kill French Arab soldiers because they were "traitors to their religion" and that "all traitors" had to be "eliminated." He also said that he hated "Jews," that Jews had to be "removed form the face of the earth" and that his only regret was that he did not have "the opportunity to kill more Jews." Political leaders and the mainstream media immediately said that these statements did not make sense, and they tried to describe him as a "lone wolf" and a "lost boy" who acted "irrationally." Sociologists explained that he'd had a "hard childhood," and that he'd had to face "French prejudices" all of his life. Radical Islam and hatred of Jews were almost never evoked.

In the months that followed, he became a hero -- almost a legend -- in all French Muslim suburbs. His name, Mohamed Merah, appeared on leaflets and graffiti, and was quoted with praise in rap songs. The number of anti-Semitic attacks increased all over the country: reports show that most perpetrators were young Muslims citing "Mohamed" as an "example" to follow. Two jihadist terrorist cells planning anti-Semitic attacks and assassinations of prominent Jews were dismantled: their members declared after their arrest that they wanted to die as martyrs, and kill Jews, "like Mohamed," who "showed the way." Political leaders and the mainstream media did not speak of leaflets, graffiti, rap songs, anti-Semitic attacks, or references to "Mohamed." They spoke of the dismantling of "terrorist cells" -- as if the cells had no relation to "Mohamed."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ronnie Fraser was defeated, as well as British justice and fair play

Ben Cohen..
29 March '13..

On Monday night, as Jews around the world sat down for the first seder of the Passover holiday, anti-Zionists in the United Kingdom and elsewhere held a very different celebration to mark the comprehensive dismissal of a discrimination case brought by Ronnie Fraser, a Jewish math teacher, to an employment tribunal in London.

As I reported back in November, Fraser’s courageous battle against anti-Semitism in the labor union to which he belongs, the University and College Union (UCU), propelled him into a courtroom showdown with the advocates of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education. Fraser’s argument rested on the contention that the union’s obsessive pursuit of a boycott negatively impacted its Jewish members. A series of ugly episodes–among them the posting of a claim, on a private listserv run by the UCU, that millions of dollars from the failed Lehman Brothers’ bank were transferred to Israel, as well as the address given by a leading South African anti-Semite, Bongani Masuku, to a UCU conference–convinced both Fraser and his lawyer, the prominent scholar of anti-Semitism Anthony Julius, that the union had become institutionally anti-Semitic and was therefore in violation of British laws protecting religious and ethnic minorities.

The tribunal’s judges, however, didn’t agree, issuing what London’s Jewish Chronicle described as a “blistering rejection” of the entire case. As the news spread, anti-Semites on the far left and extreme right crowed that the verdict was a “crushing defeat” for the “Israel lobby” (in the words of the Electronic Intifada) and the just deserts of a “whiny Jew” (in the inimitable phrase of the neo-Nazi bulletin board, Stormfront). The miniscule Jewish anti-Zionist organization Jews for Justice for Palestinians dutifully lined up behind this chorus, declaring that Fraser’s “mission” to prove himself a “victim” had failed.

Why did the Fraser case collapse in such spectacular fashion? In part, the problems were technical and procedural; several passages in the verdict argued that the UCU’s officers were not themselves responsible for the specific instances of anti-Semitism Fraser’s complaints highlighted, while another lazily bemoaned the “gargantuan scale” of the case, asserting that it was wrong of Julius and Fraser to abuse the “limited resources” of the “hard-pressed public service” that is a British employment tribunal. The verdict also contained extraordinary personal attacks on the integrity of Fraser’s witnesses, among them Jewish communal leader Jeremy Newmark and Labor Party parliamentarian John Mann, and even insinuated that the plain-speaking Fraser was unwittingly being used as a vassal by the articulate and florid Julius!

Ultimately, though, highly partisan political considerations decided the outcome. After dismissing all 10 of Fraser’s complaints as an “impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litiginous means,” the honorable judges then leveled some acutely politicized accusations of their own. Fraser and his supporters were accused of showing a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression.” Their broader conclusion, that it “would be very unfortunate if an exercise of this sort were ever repeated,” is clearly designed to discourage other potential plaintiffs from pursuing complaints against the UCU.

Most disturbing of all is paragraph 150 of the verdict, which will doubtless become shorthand for one of the most insidious attempts to redefine anti-Semitism ever devised. After accepting that British law does protect “Jewishness” as a characteristic of individuals, the judges went on to say that “a belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel … cannot amount to a protected characteristic.”

Kfir Brigade - A conversation with the commanders

"At the end of the day, we are judged by results," he said. "The might that we demonstrate in Judea and Samaria is also manifest in other areas. Every commander in the field as well as division commander who has received one of our battalions for a mission wants us again.

Lilach Shoval..
Israel Hayom..
29 March '13..

In November 2012, shortly before the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Kfir Brigade pulled away from its familiar, customary position along the Judea and Samaria front and for the first time in its history redeployed to the Golan Heights, where it took part in a massive exercise designed to simulate the conditions of a war in Lebanon.

A few weeks later, Kfir returned to its original positions in the territories. Upon its redeployment, the brigade discovered that the prevailing conditions in Judea and Samaria had altered significantly. The number of incidents in which stones were hurled and Molotov cocktails were flung in their direction had skyrocketed. There was widespread chaos and disorder. Worst of all, there was a sharp jump in the number of incidents in which live ammunition was fired at IDF troops.

To get a clearer sense of the situation, we gathered the commander of the brigade and the seven most senior deputies for a wide-ranging interview. They painted an ominous picture.

"Our mission in Judea and Samaria is challenging," said Col. Yoav Zukron, who commands Kfir's Haruv battalion. "In Gaza, if you wanted to harm civilians, you needed to smuggle a missile through a tunnel. In Judea and Samaria, you just need a glass bottle, a half-liter of gasoline that costs 4 shekels ($1), a fuse, and you could burn an entire family alive, all at the cost of just a few shekels."

This chilling scenario encapsulates the complexity of the challenge the brigade is grappling with.

"[Nachshon Battalion commander] Shay Shemesh doesn't have to just worry about Molotov cocktails and stones," Zukron said. "We've had 10 instances in which our civilians have been fired upon. These are terrorist attacks in the fullest sense of the term. I'm happy to see that civilians in Tel Aviv are drinking coffee on a daily basis without hearing anything about it."

'Insulting' Abbas? Palestinian journalist jailed

Mike Lumish..
Israel Thrives..
28 March '13..

Palestinian journalist Mamdouh Hamamreh from Bethlehem was sentenced on Thursday to one year in prison for “insulting” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook.

He is the second Palestinian to be sentenced to prison for one year on the same charges since the beginning of the year. for “insulting” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook.

Hamamreh, who works for the Palestinian Al-Quds TV station, was found guilty of sharing a photo on Facebook that compared Abbas with a villain who played the role of a French spy in a popular Syrian TV series.

Those who call for a single democratic state between the river and the sea with equal rights for all always seem to ignore the fact that there is nothing within Arab political culture to suggest that what the Arab-Muslim world wants is democracy.

They don't want democracy.

From a political standpoint the Arab world tends to be theocratic and authoritarian. Mahmoud Abbas is a dictator, not a president as we generally understand that word in the west. Palestinian-Arab political culture is not so different, if it is any different, from Arab political culture more generally. Its defining feature is that of coercion and force. When well-meaning westerners talk about a single democratic state they are asking the Jewish people, who are among the most persecuted people in recorded history, to place their fate in the hands of a majority population who do not share our values and who have continually harassed Jews for the last fourteen centuries.

This is why we will not go for these utopian dreams. They sound nice on paper, but we do not live life on paper.

The Islamic Winter Blows into Jerusalem by Mordechai Kedar

It could be that the Israeli legislature will have to use the Basic Law on Jerusalem in order to widen the authorities of the state in a way that will be able to cope effectively with the threats of Qatar to bring an "Islamic winter" to Jerusalem that it has been supporting since December of 2010. Democracy does not have to allow jihad to be waged against it, even if this jihad uses means that appear to be legal.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar..
Middle East and Terrorism..
29 March '13..

One of the biggest complaints of the Syrian regime against the involvement of Qatar in Syria during the past two years is that the Emir of Qatar has been utilizing all of his wealth in fighting the wrong enemy: instead of fighting Israel, which is the true problem of Arabs and Muslims, the Emir of Qatar uses his strength and wealth in a fight against the "resistance" regimes, mainly Syria and Libya, who take a strong stand against Israel and Zionism. Qatar does not usually respond to accusations of this sort, because everyone knows that Israel has always been used to hide the real problems of the Arab and Muslim world, which center around corrupt, rotten, cruel and illegitimate regimes.

However, the Syrian propaganda has ultimately succeeded. Last Tuesday [March 26], while the Jewish people celebrated the first day of the holiday of Freedom, the Arab League summit met in Doha, the capital of Qatar and took two important decisions: one was to arm the Syrian opposition, which also includes - as everyone knows - some al-Qaeda style jihadi groups, such as " Jabhat al-Nusrah", to oust Bashar Asad and his regime from the institutions of the League and to make the Syrian opposition the official representation of Syria in these institutions. And indeed, behind the sign for "the Syrian Arab Republic" in the summit conference, sat Muath al-Khatib, head of the coalition of Syrian opposition organizations.

The second decision was to establish a fund of a billion dollars in order to strengthen the Arab and Muslim character of Jerusalem, and to add a sense of validity and resolve to this decision, Qatar announced that it is donating a half billion dollars to the fund. According to the decision, the fund will serve to finance projects and plans to strengthen the resolve of the residents of Jerusalem and to strengthen the Palestinian economy so that it will be able to free itself from dependence on the Israeli economy. "The Islamic Development Bank" was appointed to manage the fund. in parallel, the summit conference decided to form a delegation of ministers headed by the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Taib, and it will include members from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Egypt and Morocco as well as the secretary-general of the League. The function of this delegation will be to pressure the American government in the Palestinian matter in general and the issue of Jerusalem in particular.

The question at the moment is whether to relate seriously to Qatar's intentions, especially in light of the fact that in about one more month we will mark forty six years of the unification of Jerusalem. This number is important, because in another four years the Islamic world will mark fifty years of the loss of Jerusalem and its return to the Jewish bosom, and an era of fifty years has a symbolic significance of permanence and perpetuity. Our assumption must be that Qatar relates to the matter of Jerusalem with total seriousness, for several reasons:

Blood libels, Hanan Ashrawi and the Miftah antisemitism story

Elder of Ziyon..
28 March '13..

On Thursday, I reported exclusively that Miftah, an NGO that was founded by Palestinian Arab media darling Hanan Ashrawi, had published as pure an anti-semitic screed as is imaginable - resurrecting the reprehensible blood libel that Jews ritually slaughter Christian children and consume their blood on Passover.

Miftah is an organization that is ostensibly dedicated to promoting Western, liberal idea like democracy and equal rights for women. At least, that's what they tell their donors, which in 2011 included Oxfam, the Anna Lindh Foundation, Norway, Ireland, UNESCO and the US-based National Endowment for Democracy:

Miftah presents itself as a transparent NGO dedicated to its ideals and principles.

Yet, within hours of my publicizing the disgusting article on its website, Miftah simply deleted it - no explanation, no apologies, no excuses. It simply pretended that the hugely offensive piece never existed, hoping that no one would notice their cover-up.

This is not how a transparent organization should act.

Here we see what happens when a supposedly liberal Arab organization is faced with the exposure of bigotry and hate in its midst: it sweeps it under the rug. And, so far, the NGOs that fund Miftah have been complicit in this silence, hoping that the controversy will go away.

And this is the problem.

While these same liberal organizations would be the first ones to complain when they see an example of anti-blackracism, Arab antisemitism is not regarded as nearly as toxic an issue. They know, as all observers of the Middle East know, that Arab antisemitism is endemic. It is the rule, not the exception.

(Read full post)

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The Qatari Apartheid Fund

Seth Mandel..
28 March '13..

As Jews in America were preparing for their second seder (or perhaps recovering from the first), during which they sang “next year in Jerusalem,” representatives of the states that make up the Arab League were trying to figure out how to prevent that from occurring. Specifically, Mahmoud Abbas–the man some people still fancifully claim is a brave man of peace–was pleading for help from the Arab states to stop Jews from being able to live in their eternal capital and the spiritual center of their universe.

His hateful speechifying was not in vain. Qatar–a country on a singular mission to empower jihadists throughout the region–pledged to establish a special apartheid fund in the hopes of raising $1 billion. It won’t be called an apartheid fund, obviously, but its beneficiaries speak the language of bigotry. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Abbas hailed Qatar’s announcement that it would establish a special fund for Jerusalem with a $1 billion budget to support the Arab residents of the city and foil Israel’s attempts to “judaize” east Jerusalem.

This has been a Palestinian complaint for some time. Under Israeli control, both Jews and non-Jews are permitted to live throughout Jerusalem. Between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan invaded and captured the city, Jews were not permitted to enter Jordanian territory. When Israel regained the Jewish capital, the apartheid policies were of course lifted and worshipers of any religion could live in the city and visit their respective holy sites.

The preferred Palestinian policy is one in which Arabs are permitted to live in any part of Jerusalem but Jews are forbidden from living in certain parts of the city. The State of Israel, obviously, rejects this. It isn’t quite clear how the Qatari apartheid fund is supposed to work. It can’t control housing policy in Israeli territory, but Qatari money is quite often put to violent purposes, so this is sure to raise alarm. On Monday, Haaretz had previewed the conference:

The poor track record of the doomsayers

Passover is a festival of hope, optimism and freedom. The Israeli public can continue to sleep at night without fear of the doomsayers. Actually, it would sleep better if it did what should be done, namely hold the doomsayers who dominate our media accountable for their unjustified fear-mongering.

Yisrael Medad/Eli Pollak..
Media Comments/JPost..
27 March '13..

One of the outstanding aspects of last week’s visit by President Barack Obama was the demonstration of the depth of our media’s misconception and lack of understanding with regard to the international scene. Let’s review some of our media gurus’ pronouncements prior to the visit with respect to the relationship between the United States and Israel and between Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Amos Harel of Haaretz, back on September 4, 2012, had this to say: “The negative scenario is that Obama resorts to a general, foggy statement about Iran, but remembers to close his account with Netanyahu in response to the happenings of the past few months, right after his election victory (if he is victorious). It is difficult to discount the huge damage incurred to the strategic relations between Israel and the United States resulting from the wave of Israeli pronunciations.”

Barak Ravid, on January 15, 2013, reports that Jeffrey Goldberg, supposedly an Obama administration insider, cites Obama as saying that Netanyahu “does not understand Israel’s interests” and that furthermore, “Netanyahu’s actions will lead Israel towards serious international isolation.” Ravid goes on to remind us that Goldberg’s Bloomberg column is “very similar to Peter Beinart’s recent column which described the White House’s lack of trust in and frustration with Binyamin Netanyahu.”

Ynet’s Washington correspondent Yitzchak Ben-Chorin wrote an article on January 25, 2011, headlined “Obama-Netanyahu relations are worse than ever,” in which he wrote: “The level of personal relationships between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama is tending towards zero... During Thanksgiving, the attitude has changed due to the refusal to continue a building freeze in Judea and Samaria.”

Thomas Friedman, the darling of Israel’s Left, whose political analyses with regard to the Middle East have been more often off the mark than on it, wrote in The New York Times last November 10: “Israeli friends have been asking me whether a re-elected President Obama will take revenge on Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for the way he and Sheldon Adelson, his foolhardy financier, openly backed Mitt Romney. My answer to Israelis is this: You should be so lucky.”

Not all journalists got it all so wrong. For example, in the aftermath of Obama’s re-election, Tal Shalev, on the Walla website, had a much more sober and realistic description of the Netanyahu-Obama relationship. He correctly predicted President Obama would visit Israel to mend his tarnished image in the eyes of the Israeli public. He noted that Obama is a pragmatist motivated by goals, not personal feelings.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baker Bombers Bring Taste of West Bank to Gaza

Were the point of the article to show us how these terrorists have changed their ways and traded murder for pastry, it might have been a tale of redemption. But there is nothing of the sort in the piece. Instead, we are left with the impression that the two dessert-makers are merely biding their time selling nabulsia simply because their main occupation—trying to kill Jews—has been taken away from them by being deposited in Gaza.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 March '13..

In recent weeks, the New York Times has been working hard to paint those bent on using violence against Israel in the most attractive light as possible. It memorably used the cover story of its Sunday magazine on March 18 to allow a dedicated opponent of Zionism to falsely portray the architects of the next intifada as civil rights advocates. That polemic eclipses their most recent attempt to humanize terrorists, in terms of the story’s political intent. But today’s feature on the latest pastry craze in Gaza is in its own way just as outrageous.

The piece, slugged under the category of “Gaza Journal” with the headline “Ex-Prisoners Bring Taste of West Bank to Gaza,” concerns the activities of two Palestinians who were released from Israeli jails as part of the ransom deal in which kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit was freed. The pair opened a beachfront shop in which they sell a particular dessert that is associated with the West Bank city of Nablus, from which they have been exiled. The Times portrays the two as a couple of Horatio Alger-style strivers who are not only working hard but whose efforts illustrate the fact that Gazans no longer have easy access to the cuisine of Nablus because of Israeli restrictions. But anyone seeking to use this as either an illustration of Israeli perfidy or the pluck of the Palestinians needs to sift through most of the Times pastry puffery to the bottom of the piece to see why Nadu Abu Turki and Hamouda Sala were the guests of the Israeli prison service until their Hamas overlords sprung them: they were both convicted of planting bombs and conspiring to commit murder as members of Hamas terror cells.

The conceit of the piece is to show how plucky Palestinians have adapted to onerous Israeli measures that have prevented people in Gaza from consuming nabulsia, a variant of the kenafeh dessert popular in Nablus. This is a special hardship for those West Bankers whose terrorist activities have led to actions that stranded them in Gaza. So for the apparently not inconsiderable number of homesick bomb builders and snipers stuck in the strip, the two ex-prisoners’ bakery is a godsend.

Were the point of the article to show us how these terrorists have changed their ways and traded murder for pastry, it might have been a tale of redemption. But there is nothing of the sort in the piece. Instead, we are left with the impression that the two dessert-makers are merely biding their time selling nabulsia simply because their main occupation—trying to kill Jews—has been taken away from them by being deposited in Gaza.

How about Flotilla 3.0?

The Commentator..
27 March '13..

A new propaganda initiative designed to test the resolve of the Israeli blockade on Hamas in Gaza is seeking to highlight how trade from Gaza has been affected by Israel.

The focus of the 'Gaza Ark' is the fact that while goods do indeed enter the Hamas-run, Palestinian enclave, goods are said to rarely ever leave. The premise of the trip is that Gaza wants to trade with the world, rather than receive aid. Critics have called the trip "intentionally misleading", pointing to the fact that on a weekly basis, dozens of trucks export products from Gaza.

These facts haven't stopped the 'Gaza Ark' committee, however, a group which is supported by the hard-Left Noam Chomsky and disgraced Baroness Jenny Tonge. The organisation's "Who We Are" section also lists the public relations head of the Hamas-run Gaza Chamber of Commerce, Maher Al-Tabaa, and 'one-state solution' advocates such as Haidar Eid, who also works at the Al-Aqsa University, an institution that Hamas boasted about 'taking over' in 2009.

The Gaza Ark initiative is led by international anti-Israel activists, rather than ordinary Palestinians. Gaza’s Ark entails “purchasing a run-down boat from a local fishing family,” says Michael Coleman, a member of Free Gaza Australia and on the Gaza’s Ark steering committee.

Honor Killing in Gaza on International Women's Day - Where's the Coverage?

CAMERA Snapshots..
27 March '13..

In the run-up to President Obama’s visit to Israel, The New York Times found room on the front page to write about how Jews living in Jerusalem “fundamentally undermine” the so-called “peace process.” The newspaper also found place for an 8,000-word New York Times Magazine cover story celebrating violent Palestinian protesters. What editors didn’t find room for was any mention of the brutal murder of a young woman at the hands of her brother and father in Gaza.

Al-Monitor reports on Hiyam’s murder, after a young man was found in the house:

According to the police and the family, the father and brother strangled Hiyam. The young man, Ahmed, was beaten and thrown from a high structure and presumed dead. Neighbors were asked to witness the act and reported it to the police.

[Hiyam’s 13-year-old brother] Mohammed added, sadly, “The police came too late. They arrived after one and a half hours. If they had come earlier, they would have saved my sister Hiyam.”
It was later revealed that the father and his son had first strangled Hiyam with a rope, and when that failed to kill her, they used a double wire instead.

The murder took place on March 8. That also happened to be International Women’s Day. While The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post and other news outlets commendably covered the day, neither these nor other news media found time or space to report on Hiyam’s murder. Other than Al-Monitor, only blogger Elder of Ziyon mentioned it.

Praying for Adele

Whether this was a trip aimed at improving the president’s public relations and popularity, or if the intention was truly to discuss and implement decisions regarding important matters such as Iran, Syria and the Palestinians, while the world’s attention was on Jerusalem, another significant and interconnected story, albeit a tragic one, was developing just an hour away in a Petah Tikva hospital.

Josh Hasten..
A View From the Hills/JPost..
26 March '13..

US President Barack Obama was welcomed in Israel last week with the expected fanfare.

Honor guards and photo-ops, handshakes and press conferences. State dinners and children’s choirs, speeches to university students (unless you study in Ariel), and wreath-laying ceremonies were also on the agenda.

Whether this was a trip aimed at improving the president’s public relations and popularity, or if the intention was truly to discuss and implement decisions regarding important matters such as Iran, Syria and the Palestinians, while the world’s attention was on Jerusalem, another significant and interconnected story, albeit a tragic one, was developing just an hour away in a Petah Tikva hospital.

While receiving only limited media coverage, as of this writing, two-year-old Adele Biton, the youngest daughter and child of Yakir residents Rafi and Adva Biton, remains fighting for life.

Driving home from Ariel on Route 5 after a visit with their mother and grandmother, Adva and three of her daughters were wounded (the oldest daughter was not in the car at the time) when Palestinian terrorists hurled not pebbles, or small rocks, but what looks like large concrete blocks at the Bitons’ car, causing it to swerve and ram into a truck parked on the side of the road.

The impact was so severe that the Bitons’ car became trapped under the truck, with emergency services requiring an extended period of time to extricate the victims.

While Adva and the two older daughters in the car were moderately wounded, little Adele suffered severe trauma and was listed in critical condition.

A Lie Told Often Enough... by Paula Stern

Paula R. Stern..
A Soldier's Mother..
28 March '13.. really, really, really still a lie.

Last week, hoping to impress Obama and really make a point, Hamas fired 5 rockets at Israel. At least one or two landed in Gaza - for which others will probably manage to blame us. But three landed in Israel, including one that damaged a house in Sderot. Message delivered.

Not wanting to start an all-out-war over something that probably was more about making a point than actually trying to escalate something, Israel decided to respond by cutting the available fishing area for Gaza fisherman. It was partially a symbolic act and partially one that would cause some distress while not inflicting major discomfort.

Notice that the cutting of the fishing area occurred AFTER Israel had been hit by Gaza rockets.

Hamas is apparently claiming that WE broke the ceasefire agreement, which specified increased fishing rights for Palestinian fisherman. WE broke the agreement? We BROKE it? Huh?

Yes, that's right - we broke it, not them. Their firing rockets was acceptable, you see - but our cutting out part of the fishing area is not...and what we learn from that is that the world can be fooled if you manage to tell a lie with a straight face.

Israel and Turkey - Looking Toward the Future by Mordechai Kedar

Mordechai Kedar..
Middle East and Terrorism..
28 March '13..

Two days after Obama left Israel, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu phoned his Turkish counterpart, Recep Erdoğan, to apologize for killing Turkish citizens in the Mavi Marmara event. The apology put an end to a long period - some may say too long - of a frozen relationship between the two countries that in the past were, and today could still be much warmer, especially in light of the significant changes occurring in the Middle East that began with the jolt called the "Arab Spring".

Clearly, Netanyahu's apology is the result of Obama's visit, but it can be interpreted in two different ways, as a minor, marginal scenario, or, in contrast, an important and major scenario, but since I was not invited to be present in the closed meetings between Obama and Netanyahu, I am deliberating between the two scenarios, and I would thank any of my readers who can enlighten me on the subject.

The Minor Scenario

The minor scenario suggests that President Obama was displeased with the tense relations between Israel and Turkey, because this tension encourages radical groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who feel that Turkey stands behind their battle - open or covert - against Israel. Worse, the break-off in communications between the Israeli and Turkish governments does not allow them to share intelligence and work together regarding the deterioration in Syria, and as a result of this it is not possible to form a coherent and correct regional operational policy regarding the stores of chemical weapons which could fall into the hands of jihad organizations that might use these weapons against Turkey, Israel or any other country in Europe or indeed any place in the world, including the United States.

If there is any chance that the United States might be harmed, President Obama - and rightfully, to a large extent - wants to minimize this danger. And if this necessitates pressuring Netanyahu into apologizing to Erdoğan then he should apologize. The national security of the United States is more important to Obama than the honor of Netanyahu or Israel's interests, so he wrung out a promise from Netanyahu that "this week" the matter will be closed. And since Netanyahu didn't want his apology to be open to public debate in the weekend newspapers, he waited to phone Erdoğan until Friday at twilight, after he and his sons returned from the ritual bath and before Sarah lit Sabbath candles*.

Obama has another reason to want to negotiate peace between Netanyahu and Erdoğan, which is his desire to appear as someone who is capable (Yes, we can) of bringing peace between two sides in the Middle East who are quarreling with each other. And we must mention here that two days before Netanyahu rang Erdoğan, Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), announced a cease-fire after thirty years of struggle and forty thousand Kurdish and Turkish casualties. My heart tells me that Ocalan's announcement did not come out of nowhere, but rather after the United States had softened up Erdoğan in order to arrive at an agreement with Ocalan. It could also be that Netanyahu's apology was the sweet reward that Obama awarded to Erdoğan for his agreement with Ocalan.

Another sweet reward relates to Erdoğan's ego, because he has been trying for some time to change Turkey's governmental system into a presidential type, like that of France or the United States. Since he cannot be a candidate for prime minister again, he would like to be elected as president, and if he can change the form of government to a presidential type, he could continue to rule the country as president. But for this, the constitution must be changed, and this is accomplished by way of a public referendum. His success in wringing out an apology from Israel improves his public image and increases his chances to make the changes to the constitution by referendum.

Now, after he has killed two birds in one week, Obama can declare to all, that he who can succeed to make peace between Israel and Turkey and between Turkey and the Kurds can repeat his success between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites, between the Kurds and the Arabs, and even between Israel and the Palestinians. John Kerry will be the one who remains in the region to run between the different sides and work out the details after President Obama has drawn the general lines of peace in the Middle East. This is how Obama can justify the Nobel Peace Prize that he received in the beginning of his first term, and Iran can wait as an unrelated matter. This describes the minor scenario.

Israel is the Jewish state of the Jewish people

There is a simple solution. Israel must insist that there can be no negotiations until all parties agree that Israel is the Jewish state of the Jewish people.
27 March '13..

Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish stateBarack Obama, March 21, 2013

The ‘Jewish state.’ What is a ‘Jewish state?’ We call it, the ‘State of Israel.’ You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. And I say this on a live broadcast… It’s not my job to define it, to provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like. I don’t care.Mahmoud Abbas, 2009

When some 120 Israeli figures came here, they said, ‘What’s your opinion concerning the Jewish state?’, and I said that we wouldn’t agree to it. We know what they mean by it, and therefore we shall not agree to a Jewish state…Abbas, 2011

We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims — that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE — we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: ‘Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.Abbas, 2011

Obama did not suggest that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state be a precondition for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), and PM Netanyahu has called for “negotiations without preconditions.” But there is no doubt that it must be a precondition — not just for talking to the PA, but for diplomacy with anybody about anything. How can a nation have a give and take discussion with someone who thinks that it is fundamentally illegitimate?

The Arab League initiative, for example, which I discussed here, does not include any mention of recognition. This is not merely an oversight: the initiative was conceived and is understood as an admission by the “Zionist regime” that is fully responsible for the conflict. The initiative calls for a redress of their historic grievance in part by means of the ‘return’ of almost 5 million Arabs who claim hereditary refugee status — something unheard of in the annals of diplomacy — which is incompatible with a Jewish state of Israel.

This is not a symbolic issue. Like Turkey’s Erdoğan, the Arabs have a narrative that they are not willing to compromise, not even a little. It includes the propositions that

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ms. Rudoren - Visiting becomes difficult because Israelis are lynched and killed

Ronn Torossian..
Times of Israel..
26 March '13..

Continued bias today from The New York Times with the newest installment in an article about Israelis visiting Ramallah, including Arafat’s grave and elsewhere.

Jody Rudoren, the New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief, wrote in prose more apt for Tikkun Magazine about how an Israeli from Haifa used to venture to the “West Bank” to buy “Ovaltine, licorice, 7-Up, Wrigley’s gum,”, and “A woman who lives in a Jerusalem suburb said she used to come in the 1980s for political demonstrations.” Readers are then informed that visiting has become difficult due to “.. Israel’s separation barrier and network of checkpoints long a fixture of the landscape, contacts between the two peoples have dwindled. Fewer Palestinians work inside Israel. Dialogue groups have broken up. Camps connecting children are harder to find. The communities increasingly function as if in alternate universes.”

Ms. Rudoren: The reason “visiting” has become difficult is because Israelis are lynched and killed if they dare to visit. Suicide bombers attack Israeli cities. There is no lack of Israelis who seek “dialogue” with Arabs – yet there’s no Arab “Peace Now”. One could go on and on – but that is why “..several Palestinian cities have been officially off-limits to most Israeli citizens for more than a decade.”

Preaching to Israel’s converted

But in order to make peace between peoples you have to demand the same things of both peoples and get both peoples on board to support peace. Recognizing this would mean speaking to Palestinian students as well. Not only Israel’s young generation can make peace.

Seth J. Frantzman..
Terra Incognita/JPost..
27 March '13..

‘Have you come here to give Israel more weapons to kill Palestinians?” shouted a lone heckler during President Barack Obama’s speech in Jerusalem on March 21. When the heckler interrupted Obama’s speech many people assumed it was a “free Pollard” protester. However it turned out it was a Balad activist from Eilabun in northern Israel who had been selected by the University of Haifa to attend the speech.

The presence of a Balad activist at the speech is interesting, considering that Ariel University students were excluded. But the absence of right-wing hecklers was only one element of Obama’s speech that should lead us to question its long-term effect.

Obama seemed to imitate Mark Anthony’s funeral oration in his speech, beginning by praising the status quo, only to change direction at the end. Mohammed Khalaily told The New York Times that “When he started talking about security I felt as if [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu had disguised himself as Obama and was giving the speech.”

Obama seemed to be trying to channel John F. Kennedy in Berlin when he said in Hebrew, “you are not alone.”

But after hitting the right points to make the Israeli center feel good, he then set about challenging Israel’s policy in the West Bank: “Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”

In mentioning the demographic issue Obama wanted to speak to the pragmatists. Then he sought to encourage the audience of students that the time for peace had come. “The days when Israel could seek peace with a handful of autocratic leaders are over. Peace must be made among peoples, not just governments.”

He talked about the plight of Palestinian students and farmers and mentioned “justice.” Obama recalled his Cairo speech, when he had similarly appealed to young people: “The things they want – they’re not so different from you. The ability to make their own decisions, to get an education and a good job.”

Then president sought to encourage the students to force their leaders to make the hard decisions. “Political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.” To roaring applause he claimed, “the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war – because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough.”

The applause at every line was odd for anyone familiar with the diversity of Israel. Israel is a divided society, between secular and religious, Jewish and Arab, poor and rich. How could so many agree on so many things? The relatively homogenous applause and lack of protests in the audience was indicative of an audience that was relatively homogenous, ethnically, religiously and economically.

It was drawn from Israel’s major universities.

The Next Five Years - Israel's Strategic Challenges

Yossi Kuperwasser..
inFocus Quarterly..
Spring 2013..

Israel will face a complicated and challenging strategic landscape in the years to come. This, of course, could have been said at any point since 1948. Ever since the Zionist idea took the shape of a political movement, there have been several times at which the situation was even more dire than it is today. Yet the combination of recent developments in the region, in the broader international arena, and within Israel and the Jewish people, suggests that another demanding period lies ahead. And these challenges will make it more difficult for Israel to secure the nation state of the Jewish people and build peaceful relations with its neighbors.

The Threat from Iran

The most demanding challenge is the progress of Iran's military nuclear project, aimed at equipping the fanatical messianic regime in Tehran with an arsenal of atomic bombs that is intended to enable it to be a regional hegemon and a world power, and to threaten Israel's security attempting, ultimately, to wipe it off the map. At this stage, the Iranians have accumulated uranium enriched at a level that is 40-50 percent of the full enrichment process needed for military grade uranium, enough for the production of at least six bombs. It should be noted that most experts, including the IAEA, refer to this level as 3.5-5 percent enrichment. They refer to the amount of the enriched component in the material produced instead of emphasizing the degree of progress toward military grade enriched uranium that it represents. The Iranians are also carefully and consistently enriching uranium to the point that is 70-75 percent of the work needed to enrich uranium to military grade, commonly referred to as 20 percent enriched uranium and they have accumulated about two-thirds of the amount needed for the first bomb after further enrichment.

They have installed thousands of centrifuges in well-protected facilities, declaring and following through on their intention to install more efficient ones. Once they start operating them, the time they will have to spend closing the enrichment gap to military grade will be much shorter than it is today. It is not totally clear to the international community how much progress they have made on preparation for turning the enriched uranium into a weapon, but their insistence on denying IAEA access to the facility at Parchin is one of many indicators that makes everyone suspect they have a lot to hide.

Economic sanctions are finally increasing the pain and difficulty of Iran's progress toward an atomic arsenal, but Ayatollah Khamenei is determined to continue the march. From his perspective, giving up at this late stage of the project wouldn't make sense. He believes the regime's stability has been ensured by the ruthless and effective suppression of the Iranian population by his security forces. He is following the international community, and in his view, it will not have the guts and will definitely not have a consensus to take the necessary steps to stop Iran. Based on the timid approach of the West and its regional allies thus far, he believes Western society is weak and hollow. If the Ayatollahs manage to buy more time and establish Iran as a military nuclear arsenal threshold state, Iran may start to change the regional order in the Persian Gulf area. It is already working intensively to embarrass the U.S. in the region and the global arena, and then may swiftly move toward producing the weapons, thus promoting its goals and at the same time starting a regional arms race.

The Rise of Non-State Actors

Regional upheaval and instability, the rising influence of radical groups, and the development of "less than governed" areas along Israel's borders and elsewhere in the region all mean that the coming years will be characterized by more uncertainty, and more animosity and hostility toward Israel. A more complicated capability will be required to deter some of the hostile elements as the nation state system established after World War II becomes less relevant, and effective accountable addresses become harder to find. The rise to power of Islamic parties seems to be a lasting phenomenon that will make the chance of promoting new peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors minimal at best.

To designate Hezb'allah what it truly is: a terrorist organization

Michael Curtis..
American Thinker..
26 March '13..

During his visit to Israel in March 2013, President Obama made clear his opinion on a crucial issue which went relatively unnoticed. In Jerusalem on March 21, 2013, implicitly speaking to the European Union (EU), he said, "Every country that values justice should call Hezb'allah what it truly is: a terrorist organization."

The president is not the first American politician or official to make such a call. The U.S. State Department designated Hezb'allah as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997, as the U.S. government did in January 1995, and John Brennan did in October 2012. In September 2012, more than 250 members of Congress, led by Representative Henry A. Waxman, sent letters to leaders of the EU asking them to designate Hezb'allah as a terrorist organization. At a meeting on February 14, 2013, Waxman, speaking to Catherine Ashton, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy in Brussels, recommended that the EU take immediate action to make such a designation.

The U.S. Senate in Resolution 613, on December 21, 2012, similarly urged the governments of Europe and the EU organization to declare Hezb'allah a terrorist organization and to impose sanctions against it.

It remains disappointing that at this point the countries in the EU, apart from the Netherlands totally and Britain partially, have refused to make such a declaration.

At its origin in 1982, Hezb'allah appeared to be an umbrella organization of different groups. But its real nature soon became apparent. It may be a complex organization with an extensive social network and some beneficial welfare activities, but its main objective is to establish an Islamist state with close ties to Iran. It cannot be regarded as part of a Lebanese nationalist movement or as a resistance group.

One of the arguments made by the EU is that there is no tangible evidence to link Hezb'allah to terrorism. Yet for almost thirty years, this has flown in the face of any objective analysis. Some of its activities have been particularly notorious. In April and in October 1983, soon after Hezb'allah was established, it was responsible, partly as a surrogate of Iran, for the bombing of the United States Embassy and military barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in which 258 U.S. personnel and 58 French paratroopers were killed.

In July 1994 it bombed the Argentine Israelite Mutual Assistance building in Buenos Aires and killed 85
people and injured more than one hundred. It assassinated Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, and 21 others in Beirut in February 2005. In this case, the U.N. special tribunal investigating the murders linked them to Hezb'allah. It was almost certainly responsible, together with Syria, for a number of bomb attacks on the members of UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) in 2011.

(Video) From the Best - Chag Sameach!

26 March '13..

Watch a special holiday greeting from our soldiers in honor of Passover. Chag Sameach!

For more from the IDF:

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.

The Palestinian Authority - Just like any other dictatorship

This latest restriction serves as a reminder that the Palestinian Authority is not much different from other dictatorships, which assign "minders" so the journalists see and hear only what the dictators want. Representatives of the international media — as well as human rights organizations and groups that claim to defend freedom of the press -- have not protested against the PA's threat to restrict journalists' work and even arrest them. One can only imagine the response had Israel issued a similar ban or threat.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
26 March '13..

It's official: the Palestinian Authority does not want foreign journalists to work in territories under its control in the West Bank unless they receive permission in advance from the Palestinian Ministry of Information. The decision was taken earlier this week by the Palestinian Ministry of Information and the Palestinian Journalist's Syndicate -- a body controlled by Fatah-affiliated journalists.

Foreign journalists who ignore the latest restriction face arrest by Palestinian Authority security forces, said Jihad Qawassmeh, member of the Palestinian Journalist's' Syndicate. He warned that any Palestinian journalist who helps international media representatives enter the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories without permission would face punitive measures. "The Palestinian security forces are entitled to arrest any person who enters the State of Palestine without permission," Qawassmeh added.

The new decision is directed primarily against Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs. Recently, many Palestinian journalists complained that it was unacceptable that their Israeli colleagues were being allowed to operate freely in Palestinian territories while they did not have permission to enter Israel. They also complained that the Israeli Government Press Office was refusing to issue them press credentials.

The Palestinian journalists demanded that the Palestinian Authority impose restrictions on the work of both Israeli and international reporters. The Palestinian journalists' claim that they are not free to work in Israel and are being deprived of Israeli press cards stands in contrast to their calls for boycotting Israel.

The Palestinian Journalist's Syndicate has long been opposed to "normalization" with Israel, and bans its members from holding meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who defied the ban were recently expelled from the syndicate. So while the Palestinian journalists are promoting a boycott of Israel, they are also demanding that the Israeli government issue them with press cards so they can enter Israel. Besides reflecting hypocrisy on the part of these Palestinian journalists, the latest restriction serves as a reminder that the Palestinian Authority is not much different from most Arab dictatorships.

A minor footnote but could have been today's main headline

IDF security checkpoint [Image Source]
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 March '13..

It's a tiny story; insignificant really, except for those of us with some imagination... and personal experience. It very likely was not reported at all in the news channels which reach most of our readers. But it happened, and it has implications.

A Palestinian Arab male (at this stage, no further details) was stopped at the IDF security checkpoint at Bekaot, south-east of Sh'chem (Nablus) in the northern Jordan Valley yesterday (Tuesday), the first day of Passover.

The personnel manning the checkpoint found four improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on him [Times of Israel]. Army sappers safely detonated the IEDs in a controlled explosion. The man is in the custody of the security forces who have some questions for him.


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.