Friday, January 31, 2014

Overnight rockets fired into Israel, barely noticed from afar and reported with little context

...Meanwhile, as if they were entirely oblivious of the phenomenal quantities of arms held by the Hamas regime, and studiously ignoring the incoming rocket attacks and the threat they pose to the lives of an entire society, reporters and editors from the agenda-driven parts of the news media continue to relate to Gaza as if it were some sort of innocent, impoverished step-child in a children's fairy tale.

Netivot  [Image Source: Panoramio]
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
31 January '14..

You would need to look long and hard to find any mention in any mainstream news channel anywhere of the fact that incoming-missile sirens wailed over much of southern Israel last night (Thursday). We posted a note on Twitter at the time (see below) before the outcome was known.

This morning, we know, according to a report via Times of Israel, that a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area just outside the southern city of Netivot (population: 27,000). Netivot has not heard those sirens since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. In Ynet's report, they say two rocket landings were detected in open areas of southern Israel in last night's attack.

9:40 pm: Incoming rocket warnings heard across Israel's south. Now waiting for reliable reports of what happened.

The terrorists who mount these lethal attacks have neither the capability nor the desire to point them at specific locations. Anywhere on the Israeli side of the fence, for them, is good enough, and if their prayers are answered with deaths or injury, then their many failed attempts are justified. In simple terms, this is the face of the terror faced by Israelis within firing range of the jihadists of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Fortunately there were neither injuries nor damage this time, but that is never the outcome sought by those who do the firing and the long supply chain that stands behind them.


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Trying to scare us again, and again... by Caroline Glick

...So far, Netanyahu, Bennett and Ya’alon have competently exposed the lies behind the threats. And they must continue on this course. As we learned from Oslo and Gaza, nothing good comes from surrendering our rights and our land. And with Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem hanging in the balance, the stakes have never been higher.

Caroline Glick..
30 January '14..

Finance Minister Yair Lapid delivered a scary speech on Wednesday. At the Institute of National Security Studies conference, Lapid warned that if we don’t accept US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for negotiations, the Europeans are going to take away our money.

Lapid claimed that Israel’s economic future is dependent on surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the PLO. If we don’t, he said, the EU will abrogate its economic association agreement with us. And such a move on Europe’s part will cause serious harm to our economy.

According to Lapid, “If negotiations with the Palestinians stall or blow up and we enter the reality of a European boycott, even a very partial one, the Israeli economy will retreat, the cost of living will rise, budgets for education, health, welfare and security will be cut [and] many international markets will be closed to us.”

On the other hand, if we give up Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Lapid promises that we will all get rich.

It took less than 10 minutes for Lapid’s remarks to be exposed as utter nonsense.

The EU delegation to Israel flatly denied that the EU is considering abrogating the association agreement.

“There has been absolutely no consideration in the EU of the abrogation of the association agreement. It is not in the cards,” a statement by the delegation said.

As for the economic benefits Lapid promised Israel would reap from giving in to the PLO, here too, his claims do not withstand scrutiny.

First of all, Israel’s economy will be dramatically weakened, not strengthened, by a deal with the PLO.

As Economy Minister Naftali Bennett explained last week, the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem would cause unprecedented damage to the economy. Like the de facto Palestinian state in Gaza, such a state would serve as a launching ground for missile attacks against Israel. And from Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians would have the capacity to destroy Israel’s economy with just a few, relatively primitive projectiles.

As Bennett out it, “Imagine if just one missile per day fell on [Israel’s technology hub in] Herzliya Pituah, what that would do to Israel’s economy. If even one plane which was supposed to land at Ben-Gurion Airport crashes [due to terrorism] per year, it would crush the Israeli economy.”

Beyond what the Palestinians would do, there is no reason to believe – and every reason to doubt – that Europe would reward Israel in any way for giving its capital and heartland to the PLO.

In remarks last week meant to counter Bennett’s statement, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni inadvertently explained the true situation Israel faces from Europe.

In Livni’s words, “Europe is boycotting [Israeli] products. And, true, it is starting with the settlements, but their problem is with Israel, which is perceived as a colonialist state, so it won’t only stop with the settlements but will [reach] Israel as a whole.”

As we learned from our experience with the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Israel’s actions play no role in Europe’s perception of the Jewish state.

Europe will not cease to perceive Israel as “a colonialist state” even if we remove ourselves, lock, stock and barrel to the 1949 armistice lines.

In the lead-up to the Gaza withdrawal, Livni promised that once Israel quit Gaza, its diplomatic position would improve dramatically. By ending the so-called occupation of Gaza, she argued, Israel would prove its good will, and the Europeans would stop attacking us and take our side against the Palestinians at the UN and other arenas.

In the event, not only did this not occur, but the EU refused to acknowledge that the so-called occupation of Gaza even ended. To this day, Europe castigates Israel for its mythical “occupation” of Gaza.

As Livni accidentally explained, as far as Europe is concerned, Israel’s size is not the issue. Israel is the issue. True, Israel surrendered Gaza to Palestinian terrorists and removed every Israeli civilian and soldier from the territory. But since Israel is still stronger than the terror state in Gaza, Israel is still the “occupier.”

By the same token, even if Israel were to quit Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem completely, as long as Israel remains more powerful than the Palestinians in the areas, Europe will castigate Israel as the “occupier.”

Reuters' erroneous headline and false accusation not merely a sloppy oversight

...CAMERA heard back from a Reuters editor who refuses to change the headline and suggests it is not "misleading" because the warning to Hezbollah does not "exclude" a threat against civilians, so no, this is not merely a sloppy oversight.

Ricki Hollander..
CAMERA Snapshots..
30 January '14..

A Reuters article about an Israeli military general’s warning to Hezbollah over its establishment of thousands of terrorist bases within residential buildings was published under the following erroneous headline:

In fact, the article makes clear that Israel did not threaten any Lebanese civilians. Rather, Israel's Air Force chief, Major General Amir Eshel called out Hezbollah for establishing thousands of terrorist bases within residential buildings and warned that the Israeli army would not be deterred from retaliating for attacks launched from within these quarters. The article quotes Maj.-Gen. Eshel:

"We will have to deal aggressively with thousands of Hezbollah bases which threaten the State of Israel and mainly our interior," Eshel said in a speech, citing Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and southern Lebanon among the locations of the bases.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

(Video) HERE IS ISRAEL - Israel Peacekeepers - Part III

HII dedicates its "Israeli Peacekeepers" series in honor of all the IDF who risk their lives to maintain peace and the continued safety of all Israeli citizens.

30 January '14..

Benjamin was a soldier for the UN stationed in Lebanon on the border of Israel. His experience there made him determined to serve as an Israeli Peacekeeper in the IDF.

In the second half of this video, Here Is Israel put together a Memoriam for four Israeli Peacekeepers who were murdered in cold blood by Muslim terrorists. HII dedicates its "Israeli Peacekeepers" series in honor of all the IDF who risk their lives to maintain peace and the continued safety of all Israeli citizens.
HERE IS ISRAEL - Israeli Peacekeepers - Part I
HERE IS ISRAEL - Israeli Peacekeepers - Part II


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 which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Check-it out! 

NY Times' Rudoren 'Roughly' Wrong about Mahmoud Abbas

...Rudoren apparently realizes that such Palestinian claims are non-starters, and thus injects that little world "roughly" to make Abbas seem more flexible than he really is. It's a semantic potion -- a bit like Mary Poppins chanting "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
30 January '14..

Sometimes, a single word can make a whole lot of difference. Witness the way Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, goes to extra length to fashion a statesmanlike image of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, showing him prepared to show flexibility in hammering out a two-state deal.

In a Jan. 29 article about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Rudoren reports that, when it comes to borders, Abbas wants to establish a Palestinian state "roughly along the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem at its capital." Her formulation leaves the distinct impression that Abbas might be willing to accept some alterations of the 1967 lines, perhaps land swaps, to make a deal more palatable to Israel. After all, Rudoren has Abbas declaring that he only wants borders "roughly" along the 1967 lines. ("Palestinian Leader Says He Can Accept Israeli Military in West Bank for 3 Years" page A9)

Except, Abbas' pronouncements of unchanging Palestinian territorial demands for statehood don't include "roughly" as a qualifier. That's a little word Rudoren adds to present Abbas and his demands in a more favorable light. Rather than showing flexibility, Abbas actually shows no sign of bending. He remains unyielding.

His most explicit remarks on Palestinian borders can be found in his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26 of last year. In that speech, Abbas declared that he will settle for nothing less than "all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967." Not "roughly all" but "all."

And to make his meaning and objective crystal-clear, Abbas reiterated in the same speech that a two-state solution must include "Palestine and Israel on the borders of 4 June, 1967." Not "roughly" on the 1967 lines.

Believe That Pigs Can Fly? The Pig Pilot Checklist

...A suggestion to Mr. Lapid and his fellow pig pilots: just for once show the Palestinians the respect that they deserve and consider the possibility that they mean what they say in Arabic. Give the Palestinians the credit that they are just as creative and determined - if not more - to reach their goals as we are. And in that moment, bereft of the typical patronizing of the Left, consider how you would exploit the existence of a sovereign Palestinian state to achieve your goals if you were a Palestinian who meant what he said in Arabic.

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
29 January '14..

It is both frustrating and disturbing.

There is a group of people pushing for the creation of an independent sovereign Palestinian state who have consistently been on the wrong side of history for over two decades and they are as haughty and conceited today as they were at the very beginning of the gross failure known as Oslo .

But the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state would truly only be in Israel’s interests if pigs could fly.

So here is an excerpt from the pig pilot checklist:

#1. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will remain stable and under moderate leadership in perpetuity.

#2. The Palestinian state will remain stable and under moderate leadership in perpetuity.

#3. No country or collection of countries will ever attempt, for any reason, to invade Israel.

#4. The Palestinians will act with due diligence and great efficacy to honor their treaty obligations, in particular security related obligations, at all times and under all circumstances.

#5. The nations of the world will give priority to Israel’s security needs and concerns over their own interests and agendas.

I could go on but its already clear that this pig isn’t flying anywhere.

Take note: proponents of a deal have yet to come up with a reasonable answer to Minister Naftali Bennett’s intuitive warning that the cost of the consequences of a Palestinian terror state dwarf the costs, no matter how great, of failed talks.

Minister Lapid took an unsuccessful stab at it on Wednesday night, asserting that the same nightmare of rocket and other attacks from the West Bank that Bennett warns might destroy the Israeli economy if a Palestinian state is created could plague Israel if a deal isn’t reached.

Silly is a generous adjective to describe this argument.

A teachable moment about reporting in yesterday's attempted (but foiled) terrorist attack

...Reminder: don't ever expect Reuters - or any of the other large media organizations that package the news in this area - to tell you this or anything like this. It just doesn't pay for them to be that frank and honest.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
29 January '14..

Reuters reports that a Palestinian Arab man, identified by "a Palestinian medic", was killed today by Israeli soldiers. The nameless medic gives the dead man's name as Muhammad Mubarak. The Reuters report says, without actually quoting anyone, that the dead man was 21 and "a laborer from Jalazoun refugee camp near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, north of Jerusalem".

It's interesting to us that the Reuters editors, evidently not wishing to actually mix in, avoid expressing any view as to the circumstances in which Mubarak "was killed".

Perhaps they just want readers to make up their own minds about what happened. Thus, according to Reuters:

An Israeli military spokeswoman said a Palestinian gunman was shot after attacking troops stationed near the settlement of Ofra. "The soldiers responded immediately to eliminate the imminent threat to their lives and fired at the terrorist, identifying a hit," she said.

Two versions: an un-named "Palestinian medic". And the official spokesperson of the IDF.

Reuters is saying, as it often does in Israel-related stories, take your pick. As if its news gatherers have never before encountered the phenomenon of the obvious spinning of contentious facts by interested parties when the source is (a) anonymous) and (b) not especially well placed to know or to say.


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 which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Check-it out! 

Entering the World of Lies, Blood Libels and Omar Barghouti

...The lie that Israel targets children is a specialty of anti-Israel ‘journalists’ like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass of Ha’aretz and anti-Zionists like Alison Weir (the subject of a forthcoming post). It has particular resonance in the West, whose emotional buttons it pushes. But like most of what comes from the mouths and keyboards of Barghouti, Levy, Hass and Weir, it is a vicious lie.
29 January '14..

Recently Omar Barghouti has been speaking on college campuses in favor of BDS. One of the stories he likes to tell is about IDF soldiers allegedly

“hunting children,” saying that sharpshooter Israeli soldiers target Palestinian children and shoot to kill, and that the soldiers “entice them like mice” into playing football and then shoot them with silencers.

So how does Barghouti know this? The source is an article by viciously anti-Israel journalist Chris Hedges that appeared in Harper’s Magazine in 2001. Here is the relevant passage:

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

And he didn’t see it this time, either. What he reports is that he heard no shots, and then later saw injured children in the hospital whom the Palestinians said the Israelis shot. So of course the soldiers had to be using silencers! Hedges apparently didn’t consider the much simpler hypothesis that the the soldiers shot no one and the Palestinians were lying.

But here is a lie, like the one about the shooting of Mohammad Dura, which has traveled halfway around the world before the truth got its pants on. Barghouti made it even juicier by adding the part about playing football.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One more reason why Friedman’s columns should just be ignored

...Similarly, military parity between the Israelis and Palestinians is a foolish goal, because it cannot be brought about except through ways that would convince the Palestinian leadership that a peace deal isn’t necessary or in their interest. It should be an obvious point–one Friedman’s cab driver could have explained to him–but nonetheless bears repeating to counteract the dangerous, though predictable, misinformation of the New York Times op-ed page.

Seth Mandel..
Commentary Magazine..
29 January '14..

Ridiculing Tom Friedman’s famous habit of letting his cab drivers determine his column ideas is a popular pastime for foreign-policy commentators. But the truth is those columns are generally more sensible than the ones he comes up with all on his own. Today’s piece is a case in point, and it’s a convincing answer to those who say Friedman’s columns should just be ignored.

Getting the Middle East conflict wrong can be dangerous for those, unlike Friedman, who actually have to live with the consequences. So the following sentence should be printed and framed in the office of every aspiring Western diplomat, because it is about as wrong as you can get:

That is, has Israel become so much more powerful than its neighbors that a symmetrical negotiation is impossible, especially when the Palestinians do not seem willing or able to mount another intifada that might force Israel to withdraw?

Let’s take the second part of that sentence first. The idea that only another intifada can save Israel from itself, and thus save the peace process, is grotesque. Secretary of State John Kerry flirted with this assault on logic and morality in his tirade on Israeli TV. This is a form of blackmail: Israel must agree to the terms of Kerry’s peace deal or there will be bombs in cafes again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s not a surprise Friedman would wade into this territory either; once you’ve accepted the Walt-Mearsheimer conspiracy theories of furtive Jewish domination, as Friedman has, you’ll believe anything. But the first part of the sentence in question should not be overshadowed by the wistful phrasing on the intifada. Because it’s a mistake that warrants correcting.

The plain fact, demonstrated by the history of this conflict in every instance, is that the “symmetrical negotiation” Friedman hopes for would bury the chances for peace. Israel’s neighbors made peace with the Jewish state only when they learned once and for all that they could not destroy her militarily, and they could not isolate her, and thus strangle her economically, from the world.

That’s because Israel was always willing to make peace, as is still the case. The Arab states in the neighborhood were not, because they viewed a peace deal as a strategic defeat, a capitulation to the reality that their dream of annihilating the Jews in their midst was untenable. A peace deal was a consolation prize for them.

The Moral Obtuseness of Baroness Catherine Ashton & Company

...Perhaps Europe in general and Ashton in particular find Holocaust Remembrance Day a troublesome, even a disagreeable onus. Hence Ashton obscured the Jewish context with a short collection of hackneyed platitudes on tolerance and human rights. This is a cogent example of how Holocaust history is increasingly watered down, especially in Europe. Yesteryear’s physical destruction is followed up by today’s distortion of remembrance.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
29 January '14..

Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, issued a statement on January 27 marking international Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It was commendable that the EU at all chose to note the day, but what Ashton said on its behalf was surreal. She managed to use 121 words without ever mentioning Jews. Her glaring omission in the context of the Holocaust is quite remarkable.

Ashton even lauded “all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.” But who were these nameless “fellow citizens?”

It’s highly doubtful that Ashton’s lapse is inadvertent.

Not everything can be plausibly ascribed to unintentional slip-ups. The bizarre homage Europe’s spokesperson paid to “every one of those brutally murdered in the darkest period of European history,” without even minimal reference to their identity, constitutes too great a strain on the commonsense.

Perhaps Europe in general and Ashton in particular find Holocaust Remembrance Day a troublesome, even a disagreeable onus. Hence Ashton obscured the Jewish context with a short collection of hackneyed platitudes on tolerance and human rights.

This is a cogent example of how Holocaust history is increasingly watered down, especially in Europe. Yesteryear’s physical destruction is followed up by today’s distortion of remembrance.

This serves two purposes.

It firstly seems to cleanse European nations – not just the chief genocide perpetrators, but all those who collaborated and/or profited from the industrial extermination of the Jews. By dwarfing the Holocaust, robbing it of its uniqueness and likening it to any subsequent, yet essentially very different inter-ethnic massacre – it becomes less of a moral stain. Any corollary obligation to the Jewish people is also thereby expunged.

Secondly, the disingenuous pretense that the Holocaust’s victims were anonymous and faceless reduces friction with the Arab/Muslim world, which chafes against Holocaust commemoration lest it even theoretically imply sympathy for Jews.

It Takes Talent to Consistently See What Isn't There

...And so you have a representative of the Government of the United States -- a spokesperson for the Secretary of State -- suggesting that two foreign leaders hide plans for their respective futures from their own people, to hide the parameters from the people who will live with the results. That would be the ultimate man who wasn't there.

Shoshana Bryen..
28 January '14..

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away

William Hughes Mearns could have been speaking for the American government's proclivity to see an Israeli-Palestinian peace that doesn't exist. Secretary of State Kerry at Davos rendered the 2014 version. "The truth is that after decades of struggling with this conflict, we all know what the endgame looks like." Like Mearns, he was speaking of the man -- or endgame -- that isn't there.

It's simple, said Mr. Kerry. "The Palestinians need to know that at the end of the day, their territory is going to be free of Israeli troops; that occupation ends. But the Israelis, rightfully, will not withdraw unless they know that the West Bank will not become a new Gaza." The "endgame" includes a "phased but complete" withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank, where the Palestinian state would be established, Kerry said, and added that "mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Palestinian people and the nation-state of the Jewish people," is part of the plan.

Break out the specifics, though, and there is less there than he would have us believe; in fact there is nothing there.

"Mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Palestinian people and the nation-state of the Jewish people." Prime Minister Netanyahu recognized the Palestinian nation publicly in a televised speech in 2009 with the proviso that the Palestinians recognize the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in Israel. Mahmoud Abbas announced as late as January 2014 that he wouldn't accept Israel as a "Jewish State." Without entering the discussion of the merits, it is clear that Secretary Kerry sees a circumstance the rest of us have no reason to believe exists.

"Palestinian territory is going to be free of Israeli troops" in a "phased but complete" withdrawal." This engenders several problems. First, Mr. Kerry implies there will be "other" troops to protect Israel, and indeed, this is at least the third time an American General has engaged in talks with Israel about how to secure Israel in the absence of a peace treaty and in the absence of the IDF on the West Bank. But Israel has never agreed to remove the IDF troops from the Jordan Valley; neither has the King of Jordan. Second, announcing in advance that the withdrawal will be "phased but complete" leaves no room for Israel to change its mind should the Palestinians prove to be less than honorable partners.

"We don't want to see rockets and missiles streaming into a Palestinian state and placed on the hills above Tel Aviv and the hills encircling Jerusalem. If Israel does not maintain a credible military and security presence in the Jordan Valley for the foreseeable future, this is exactly what could happen again," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. Defense Minister Ya'alon, Minister for Security Steinitz, and West Bank Commander Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon have echoed the prime minister's remarks. Essentially the entire Israeli security establishment is telling Secretary Kerry that this man isn't there either.

Confronting An Ultimate Double Standard

...Israel is being stripped of its sovereign claims even before the advent of a negotiated two-nation peace. The media are in a hurry to put their own stamp on the outcome. In the meantime, 57 Islamic nations don't evoke questions or challenges of their religious identity. Only Israel's religious identity remains in play. A double standard to ponder.

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
27 January '14..

The Organization of the Islamic Conference is a joint enterprise of 57 member states dedicated to pursuing "the interests of all Muslims in the world." Each member proudly identifies itself as an Islamic nation. The Muslim list ranges across the alphabet -- from Afghanistan to Yemen. And nobody questions their professed adherence to Islam.

Yet, when it comes to Israel, there is unceasing debate and controversy about classifying it as a Jewish state.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been absolutely emphatic in ruling out recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as part of any peace agreement. In fact, Abbas has gone one better, vowing that a Palestinian state will be cleansed of all Jews. Even though the United Nations, in its 1947 partition plan, explicitly called for the division of mandatory Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state -- a position also espoused by Secretary of State John Kerry in his reported framework for a two-state solution. The latest manifestation of Abbas's unbending stance against any Jewish presence in "Palestine" popped up in connection with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that Israel, as a basic security measure, must have boots on the ground --Jewish soldiers -- in the Jordan Valley.

Otherwise, Israel would be highly vulnerable and exposed to attacks on its eastern flank. Again, Abbas remains absolutely intransigent against any Jews in the entire West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. Yet, this same Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have no problem and see no inconsistency about being card-carrying Islamic members of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC lists one of its Islamic member states as the "proposed Palestinian state."

So, it's okay for there to be 57 countries, including a proposed one, proudly identifying themselves as Islamic. But it's not okay for Israel to be recognized as the only Jewish nation in the entire world.

A glaring double standard, if there ever was one.

And it's not only Palestinian leaders who want their cake (Islamic identification) and eat it too (all Jews out of Palestine). Mainstream media, in reporting on negotiating disagreements about the Jordan Valley, are starting to bend against Israel's position, while accepting or tolerating a peace deal more in line with Palestinian demands for total removal of Jews from the West Bank.

The Fatal Flaw of International Holocaust Memorial Day by Caroline Glick

... But as Wisse notes, like the Jews in exilic communities, the Jewish state cannot end other people’s hatred of Jews, because we didn’t cause it. Only the anti-Semites, through their own moral reckoning with their anti-Semitic past and present, can do that. In light of the Europeans’ continued refusal to undertake such a moral reckoning, far from combating anti-Semitism, International Holocaust Remembrance Day serves as a cover for it.

Caroline Glick..
28 January '14..

On the surface, it is very moving to see half of the members of Knesset at Auschwitz marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But in a larger sense, it is not at all clear why this is necessary.

The Jewish people have Yom HaShoah V’Hagevura, our own national day of mourning for the genocide of our people in Europe. More importantly, we carry the legacy of the Holocaust inside of us.

Every day, at some level, we experience the ulcerative loss of a third of the Jewish people in the hell of Europe, because we feel the hollow absence of the victims.
The six million murdered have become 10 million descendants who were never born. And we miss them.

We remember them too, every day, when we look at our children and thank God we can protect them.

Israel does not need this extra Holocaust memorial day. And before we send another delegation of elected officials to Auschwitz next January 27, we need to ask whether this extra day serves any positive purpose.

In November 2005, Israel was one of the co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution that made January 27, the day Auschwitz was liberated, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the time, Israeli politicians and American Jewish leaders extolled the resolution as signaling a new era of UN relations with the Jewish state.

They also proclaimed that the educational materials that would be disseminated worldwide under the auspices of International Holocaust Remembrance Day would make a significant contribution to the combat of anti-Semitism.

But eight years later none of this has happened.

To the contrary, the UN has escalated even further its official anti-Semitism through its diplomatic, cultural and educational aggression against the Jewish state.

Consider for instance that a week before its duly mandated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN ushered in 2014 as the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The occasion was marked among other things, by the January 20 opening of a yearlong exhibit at the UN Headquarters in New York portraying Israelis as Nazis and Palestinians as Jews.

Since 2005, anti-Semitism has risen throughout Europe, as have levels of anti-Semitism among Europhilic Americans.

Jews throughout Europe feel under assault, and unprotected. The situation is so bad that Jews don’t even bother reporting most of the anti-Semitic attacks they suffer.

The more closely we consider events, the more clearly we see that ironically and obscenely, Holocaust memorializing in Europe is enabling anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Scarlett Johansson, Soda Stream and a Who's Who of leftist and anti-Semitic activism

...Along the way to Israel's destruction, the left, its radical Muslim allies, and their fellow travelers will destroy others, even if, like Scarlett Johansson, the motivations for an Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement, are sincere. The ends justify the means, after all.

J. Robert Smith..
American Thinker..
28 January '14..

As Michael Curtis wrote yesterday for American Thinker, Scarlett Johansson finds herself crosswise Oxfam International, a global nonprofit outfit with a decidedly left-wing perspective. Johansson serves as an "ambassador" for Oxfam.

Johansson's endorsement of SodaStream, an Israeli-based beverage company with a West Bank facility, has drawn the ire of the informal leftist-anti-Israel alliance. Oxfam is just the tip of the iceberg in the attack on Johansson.

At this writing, Oxfam hasn't jettisoned Johansson. But the pressure on Oxfam to do so continues. Those groups and organizations arrayed against Johansson read like a Who's Who of leftist and anti-Semitic activism.

Agree with Johansson's politics or not, enjoy her movies or not, the coordinated effort to intimidate Johansson to abandon her support for SodaStream by the left and its anti-Israel allies illustrates starkly the hardball tactics they'll employ. Boycotts and blacklisting are tools that this alliance not only uses against Israel and its friends, but is willing to use against those who typically support their causes. On the left, departure or dissent isn't tolerated; either is met with harsh reprisals.

Kerry, Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid Palestine

...What Kerry and other supporters of a Palestinian state fail to grasp is that something so basic that it should not even need to be said. Simply put: a peace based on immorality and injustice is one that cannot, will not and should not stand. And nothing would be more immoral or unjust than the creation of Apartheid Palestine and the exile of its Jews from their homes.

Michael Freund..
28 January '14..

Nearly 15 years ago, a tall, lanky legislator from Massachusetts arose in the US Senate and delivered a brief yet impassioned call to stop what was deemed to be ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

With a concurrent resolution on the table authorizing US president Bill Clinton to launch air operations and missile strikes against Yugoslavia, the lawmaker turned to his wavering colleagues and implored them to vote in favor.

"The essential objective," he said, according to the March 23, 1999, Congressional record, is to "minimize the capacity for ethnic cleansing. That is the overpowering strategic and, I think also, humanitarian interest here."

The veteran senators' words, and his emphasis on the need to stop ethnic cleansing, helped to carry the day, with the Senate voting to pass the non-binding resolution by a margin of 58-41. The following day, NATO , with American participation, launched a ruthless and bloody bombing campaign against Belgrade.

Ironically, the senator who spoke out so firmly against ethnic cleansing in the Balkans in 1999 – John Kerry – is now leading the charge as US secretary of state to implement it in the Middle East of 2014.

By pushing for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, Kerry is effectively calling for the systematic and compulsory removal of a particular religious and ethnic group – in this case, Jews – from their homes.

He is attempting to lend a hand to Palestinian efforts to remove any and all Jews from their midst, for the simple reason that they are Jews.

Starting to quantify the outcomes of the Shalit Transaction

...Freeing convicted and unrepentant murderers has predictable and very negative outcomes. No politician should ever again dare to deny this. Nor may they ignore the moral, constitutional and legal consequences that flow from this truth.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
28 January '14

Of the more than 190 terror attacks on Israeli targets thwarted during the year just ended by the various Israeli security services, no fewer than 40 of them were co-ordinated by Gaza-based terrorists who walked free in the 2011 Shalit Transaction.

The Israel Security Agency's annual terror report was published today, Monday. It's accessible online here, so far in Hebrew only. Commonly known as the Shin Bet or the Shabak, its annual summaries provide an authoritative barometer reading of the terror threat facing ordinary Israelis. (Terror is almost always directed at ordinary people.)

Last year's 190+ thwarted attacks included 52 attempted kidnappings (perhaps inspired by the Shalit hostage taking that delivered such abundant results to Hamas); 52 shooting attacks, 67 bombings and 16 human-bomb assaults.

Any further discussion of future plans to release still more convicted terrorists must focus on today's data. It belongs at the center of the analysis.


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Who Would've Thought? Abbas Says No to Israel as a Jewish State

...On the Israeli left, in Washington—including, in recent times, the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations—there is great resistance to internalizing that lesson. Finally assimilating it, however, would mean getting over the pointless obsession with the Palestinian issue and taking the U.S.-Israeli alliance out of its baneful shadow.

P. David Hornik..
27 January '14..

At Davos, Switzerland on Friday, at the meeting of the World Economic Forum, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu again sounded the Jewish-state theme.

After meeting there with U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, Netanyahu told reporters:

The meeting was very good. … I restated the two principal issues that concern us: mutual recognition of two nation states—with one of them being recognized as the Jewish people’s nation state—and of course, security.

The next day on Israeli TV, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, a dove and outspoken believer in a “two-state solution” who is also chief Israeli negotiator in the current Israeli-Palestinian talks, made a surprising, uncharacteristically stern statement of her own:

If [Palestinian Authority president] Mahmoud Abbas continues to insist on positions that we and the rest of the world consider unacceptable, the Palestinians will be the ones who pay the price.

At least one of the “positions” she was referring to was undoubtedly one that Abbas voiced yet again—as on many other occasions—last week. In an interview to Moroccan TV, Abbas said quite plainly: “Palestine can never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Just a week before that he had received backing from nine foreign ministers of the Arab League, who notified Kerry that they, too, would not accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Some believe the Jewish-state issue is no big deal in itself, a hitch created by Netanyahu to foil the negotiations. Didn’t the Palestinians already recognize Israel in 1993 at the start of the Oslo process?

That was, of course, the “peace process” that resulted in the creation of the Palestinian Authority, waves of terror against Israel, and repeated attempts—up to the present one driven by the Obama administration—to reach a final agreement.

The process was officially launched by an exchange of letters, dated September 9, 1993, between the then leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and the then Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Arafat’s letter stated:

The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security…. [T]he PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid.

The PLO in fact never invalidated those articles and provisions of its Covenant. Even more significantly, though, the meaning of Arafat’s “recognition” of Israel emerged in the 2000 Camp David Summit, which basically broke down over Arafat’s insistence on the “right” of millions of descendants of refugees to “return” to Israel.

In other words, Israel could exist—so long as it was flooded by Arabs and, by demographic fiat, ceased being the Jewish state.

Tzipi Livni, too, is looking for a position from which to weather the storm

...But if Secretary of State John Kerry should have seen this coming–and he really should have–then all the more so for Livni. As a staunch believer in negotiations, Livni almost certainly wouldn’t have come out with these damaging revelations unless she felt she absolutely had to. Yet, trying to get in early and level the blame at Abbas before the blame is leveled at her is unlikely to save her career now.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
27 January '14..

Few serious observers held out much hope for the current round of U.S. sponsored negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Even proponents conceded this was always going to be extremely difficult. But things in that negotiating room must now be going especially badly. Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator and longtime advocate of the two-state solution and a negotiated peace, has for the first time come out publicly to condemn Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s negotiating positions.

For someone like Livni to have gone public on what are supposed to be closed-door negotiations, we can assume that her back must really be against the wall this time. With just three months to go before the current round of negotiations are due to expire, it seems that everyone, even the talks’ most enthusiastic supporters, are now preparing for the fallout from negotiations collapsing. And clearly Livni, too, is looking for a position from which to weather the storm.

Speaking over the weekend, Livni openly condemned what she referred to as Abbas’s “unacceptable positions” in the negotiations. We are told that Abbas is demanding all of east Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital, including the Old City and its holy sites, that he has refused to recognize the Jewish state, and in contradiction to what many believed to be his position in the past, Abbas is insisting that the millions of descendants of the Palestinian refugees return, not to a future Palestinian state, but to the very Jewish state that he refuses to recognize.

None of these demands are that surprising; Abbas knows full well that these are things that Israel will never be able to concede. But then Abbas also knows that his own political survival depends on not reaching an agreement with Israel, just as Livni’s political survival always depended on these talks yielding some modicum of success.

For PA, Kerry talks are "futile" and "only martyrdom" will fix the problems

...This message is brought as another reminder of what's at stake when convicted terrorists, who play a central role in the PA leadership's narrative, are released from prison without any regard for the length of the terms to which they were sentenced.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 January '14..

What should we expect from those peace moves now underway? Here a few updated clues.

Yasser Abed Rabbo is "one of only two Palestinian officials authorized to comment on the negotiations with Israel" [source]. So it's significant that, according to Haaretz today, he is calling the current talks

futile and said they would not even produce the framework agreement U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working to secure... "No Palestinian leadership can accept Kerry's formula for a framework deal" which he says "is vague when it comes to issues important to Palestinians and detailed regarding Israeli concerns... All the illusions that existed in the beginning have since drowned at sea... Israel wants to erase any element of Palestinian sovereignty." [Haaretz]

Tawfik Tirawi, described by Haaretz today as "a senior Fatah official" and a man remembered for his deep personal involvement in terror, is quoted in the same article saying that under current conditions, a Palestinian state would not be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the next two decades. The Palestinians would not accept Kerry's framework deal. Therefore

"We must go back to initiating and become part of a circle of action... I'm talking about all kinds of resistance, but within a unified Palestinian framework that is agreed to by all sides in Fatah and factions outside of it. As part of our plan, we will choose the correct form of resistance and act accordingly... Anyone who thinks there will be a state is sorely mistaken... The negotiations won’t lead anywhere." [Haaretz]


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Monday, January 27, 2014

A Disturbing Paradox - Holocaust Remembrance Day at the UN

...Of course, it is no secret that the U.N. has failed miserably to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity in countries from Africa, to Europe and Asia. The explanation, however, does not lie with general incompetence. For the organization has managed to devote its energy, time and resources to the denunciation and delegitimization of Israel – the embodiment of Jewish self-determination.

Anne Bayefsky..
Human Rights Voices..
27 January '14..

It is Holocaust remembrance time at the United Nations. Once a year, Jews from around New York, a dwindling number of Holocaust survivors, occasional celebrities, and precious few friends, file into the General Assembly Hall and grant the U.N. the privilege of appearing to care.

This year’s speakers include Steven Spielberg. When it is over, the year-round ritual censure of the Jewish state will resume.

Characteristic of “International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust” is the scarcity of express emphasis on Israel, save for the remarks of the Israeli ambassador.

Modern Israel, if it had existed, would not have allowed six million Jews or one million children to perish while railway lines delivering human cargo to their final destination were left intact. And yet, the well-being of the only country dedicated to saving the Jewish people is generally peripheral.

At first, the pattern seems odd, given that the U.N.’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and associated activities of its “Holocaust Outreach Programme,” are supposed to be about ‘never again’ and a U.N. commitment to genocide prevention.

Strange also, since the U.N. member state of Iran is openly pursuing the annihilation of Israel, and a repeat of the Holocaust that it denies.

Of course, it is no secret that the U.N. has failed miserably to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity in countries from Africa, to Europe and Asia.

The explanation, however, does not lie with general incompetence. For the organization has managed to devote its energy, time and resources to the denunciation and delegitimization of Israel – the embodiment of Jewish self-determination.

The behind-the-scenes story of the 2005 General Assembly resolution creating a U.N. Holocaust remembrance day sheds light on the connection between Holocaust remembrance and Israel-bashing at the U.N.

Despite the fact that the U.N. was erected on the ashes of the Jewish people, the General Assembly has never adopted a resolution dedicated specifically to anti-semitism. Periodic mentions of the word antisemitism appear in lists. By contrast, for instance, there have been resolutions and reports focusing on Muslims, Arabs and Islamophobia.

In 2004, Israel proposed the adoption of a General Assembly resolution on antisemitism. And off-camera all hell broke loose.

For its initial backing, Germany was given to understand that such a role would jeopardize its hoped-for permanent seat on the Security Council, and its support vanished.

The State Department was content to leave the matter to the Europeans. Arab and Muslim opposition led the European Union to condition support on garnering consensus, thus handing a veto to antisemites. The idea went no further.

Why was an anti-semitism resolution so vociferously opposed?

And for that reason, I very much love my army

...I love my tefillin because they are my otherworldly tool of spiritual enhancement (I even have two pairs!). But I also love my land, my country and my people. And for that reason, I very much love my army – it defends all that I hold dear, and it is the place where you actually get to meet the land (because the army exists in places where people barely do), and you get to meet the people (outside of your social and geographical bubble).

Yishai Fleisher..
26 January '14..

It’s 6:30 a.m., super cold in the desert, and we just went to sleep a few hours ago after a full night of hiking, maneuvering and positioning on IDF reserve duty.

But we are up, and there’s even a fire warming our frozen feet, and a cup of coffee proudly made by a buddy.

I take out my special tefillin bag, and start by donning my tallit, the white cloth starkly contrasting with olive green of the uniform and the jeeps.

Immediately, I sense a change in the atmosphere. Most of my fellow soldiers are secular, or more accurately, do not put on tefillin regularly. We don’t talk about it much, just a word or two here and there. They all know someone who does it. A friend, a brother, a grandfather; someone in their life does this strange bit of wrapping leather boxes and mumbling while swaying.

As I pray, one guy turns up the rock music coming from his phone but I don’t let it disturb me, and soon he turns it off. Another silently pushes a stick in the fire. The sun is coming out, and the desert cold begins to be replaced (mercifully) by desert heat.

From the few words we have exchanged on the issue, I try to imagine what my fellow soldiers think as they see me praying: Do I believe in God? Does God talk to man? Does He really command man to put on these things? Am I still a Jew if I am not observant? Is it important for me to self-identify as a Jew, or does my Israeli identity suffice? I finish my session and begin to wrap up the tefillin, and fold the tallit. I don’t prod anyone to borrow my tefillin. I do my thing proudly, but without missionizing.

If anybody asked, I would be happy to lend my tefillin. But they don’t ask, and I am content to just to be there among these great men.

While they may not consider themselves observant, to me, they observe so many of our people’s essential values, like “Ve’ahavta l’reacha kamocha” – loving the other as much as one loves oneself. They show this by volunteering to take a week out of their busy lives to practice the art of war in the service of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

Actually, many of them appreciate me for putting on my tefillin – I take care of that department for them.

Our unit has many departments: sharpshooters, light artillery, scouts, anti-tank, and explosives, but someone has to be the praying guy, the good luck charm, the shaliah tzibur. So along with our other duties, a few of the guys and I have praying duty, and just like our whole unit has to operate the many departments with one goal in mind, I make sure to pray for all the other men as well.

A death cult celebrates its graduating class in Gaza

"The best way for us to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday is to walk in his footsteps and provide the future generations a Jihadi education. We shall walk in his footsteps in educating the future generation to love death for the sake of Allah as much as our enemies love life... This is the generation of stone, the generation of the missile, the generation of tunnels, and the generation of martyrdom operations....

Hamas leader Hanieyeh: From the Al-Aqsa TV coverage 
of the graduation event
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 January '14..

A January 16 ceremony took place in the terror rich atmosphere of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip marking the graduation of several thousand high-school children from a government-imposed, paramilitary indoctrination course in which the goal of self-destruction played a central role. It would have done the North Koreans proud.

But unlike in North Korea, what took place on a sports field in Gaza was based explicitly on the values of a religion with hundreds of millions of adherents throughout the world. The Hamas satellite channel Al-Aqsa TV broadcast the ceremony throughout the Arabic speaking world where it was viewed in real-time and via recordings by a global audience. This was no mere flower show or Friday morning local sermon.

The translation team at MEMRI published the English-language text of the television coverage today. From experience, it's unlikely to get much airplay in the conventional media channels. This is a shame since watching the video [online here] and reading its transcript [here] is a sobering, shocking experience.

Viewers watching it understand, in ways that reports alone rarely convey, that what is in evidence here is a failed state in the tragic grip of a massively-intrusive religious cult consuming its own children. The hatred and zeal, the recurring calls to kill and be killed (the one evidently no less praiseworthy than the other), claim to be derived from Islam. They explicitly invoke its tenets and values.


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An Alternate Reality - NY Times Guide to Negotiation Coverage

...In the real world, negotiations involve demands and counter-demands by each party. Success is accompanied by give and take on both sides. But in the alternate universe of the New York Times, where opinion is injected into news reports, only Palestinian demands and positions are relayed as valid, while those of Israel are labeled "obstacles."

Ricki Hollander..
American Thinker..
24 January '14..

"Heads, I win; tails, you lose" is a trope that informs the New York Times' news coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Whether discussing Palestinian demands or Israeli demands, Palestinian rejection of Israeli positions or Israeli rejection of Palestinian positions, one party is blamed by the newspaper as the obstacle to successful peace talks -- Israel.

Consider a headline (Jan. 11) about Israel's rejection of the Palestinian demand to cease building Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem:

In Blow to Peace Effort, Israel Publishes Plans for New Housing in Settlements

Yet, the newspaper does not cast the Palestinian rejection of a key Israeli demand -- to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state in the region -- as a "blow" to peace. On the contrary, a headline (Jan. 2) put it this way:

Sticking Point in Peace Talks: Recognition of a Jewish State

The same article appeared the following day in the international edition of the newspaper with a different headline:

New obstacle to peace: Recognizing Jewish state

In other words, it is not the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state, but Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state that is blamed as a "sticking point" or "obstacle." This indictment is further emphasized in the article:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Getting to the true nature of the conflict

...Unlike certain members of the Israeli public, who believe the root of the conflict lies with our victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and the settlement enterprise across Judea and Samaria, Abbas' words reveal their own fundamental truth about how the Palestinians view Israel's existence.

MK Ofir Akunis..
Israel Hayom..
24 January '14..

This is not about one specific piece of paper or another. It is also not that important whether a framework agreement is crafted, or a just a frame to an agreement. The title is not what matters, and neither is the debate on whether or not such a deal should or should not be accepted. One thing, however, is becoming clear: The true obstacle for peace is the Palestinians themselves.

The Palestinians' insistent refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish people's rightful homeland exposes the most sensitive nerve in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is not a territorial dispute, but rather one that focuses on the very essence and existence of the State of Israel.

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly says, "Palestine could never recognize Israel as a Jewish state," he reveals the most basic truth about the very nature of the conflict. In a way, we should welcome his honesty.

Unlike certain members of the Israeli public, who believe the root of the conflict lies with our victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and the settlement enterprise across Judea and Samaria, Abbas' words reveal their own fundamental truth about how the Palestinians view Israel's existence.

This means that the flawed "two states for two peoples" formula is not applicable. The Palestinians themselves denounce it, and in this case -- they only reinforce the perception that forming a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would be a mistake.

We have been here for 4,000 years. The hills of Judea and Samaria are the very cradle of the Jewish people's history, and unlike the lies the Arab MKs incessantly foster, the Jewish settlement of the land of Israel has always been continuous.