Friday, November 21, 2014

Palestinians Copy ISIS Butchery: Reflections

Palestinian social media celebration of murdering Jews

Tuesday's attack at a Jerusalem synagogue was the latest in a series of attacks on Jews by Palestinians in recent weeks, the same blood fever that has led hundreds of young men, and some young women, to travel from throughout the Muslim diaspora to join the butchery of Islamic State.
The core basis of hostility to Israel is a lack of acknowledgement that most of the constrictive actions Israel has taken in the Palestinian territories - the walls, roadblocks, security restrictions - have been in reaction to an intransigent Palestinian political culture.     
When the Western media reports about Israel's continued building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, it rarely presents Israel's position that no new settlements have been allowed since 1999 and that all construction since 2004 has been within pre-existing settlement boundaries.
Israel's arguments are routinely greeted with eye-rolling cynicism, as if the Israelis are the bullies of the Middle East, rather than the only functional democracy in the region, the only place in the Middle East where Jews can live in safety. This moral relativism extends to endless rationalizations for the missteps by the Palestinians, the corruption, the internecine conflict, the state-sponsored racism, and the rocket attacks.
(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
Responding to the slaughter - Caroline Glick
Israel can take steps to deter its hate-filled enemies from attacking.
With regard to the individual terrorists, the government has made much of its intention to destroy the homes of terrorists. While it sounds good, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of this punitive measure, which is a relic of the British mandate. Rather than destroy their homes, Israel should adopt the US anti-narcotics policy of asset seizure.

All assets directly or indirectly tied to terrorists, including their homes and any other structure where they planned their crimes, and all remittances to them should be seized and transferred to their victims, to do with what they will.

If Israel hands over the homes of the synagogue butchers to the 24 orphans of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky and Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, not only will justice be served. The children's inheritance of the homes of their fathers' killers will send a clear and demoralizing message to other would-be killers.

Not only will their atrocities fail to remove the Jews from Israel. Every terrorist will contribute to the Zionist project by donating his home to the Jewish settlement enterprise.

Just as Israel has repeatedly buckled under US pressure to release terrorists from jail, so it has bowed to US pressure to continue to fund the PA by transferring the tax revenues it collects on goods imported to the PA. Assuming that the government is too weak to stand up to the Americans, at a minimum it can see that the money is properly used. To that end, the Knesset should pass a law permitting Israeli terror victims to sue the PA for actual and punitive damages in Israel courts. The sums awarded to the victims should be taken from the tax revenues Israel collects for the PA. The law should apply retroactively to all victims of Palestinian terror carried out since the establishment of the PA in May 1994.

Israel should also revoke citizenship and residency rights not only from terrorists themselves, but from those who enjoy citizenship and residency rights by dint of their relationship with the terrorists. Wives who received Israeli residency or citizenship rights though marriage to terrorists should have their rights revoked as should the children of the terrorists.

The actions set forth above: asset seizure, revenue seizure and citizenship/residency abrogation for terrorists and their dependents are steps that Israel can take today, despite the hostile international climate.

If our leaders fail to take these or similar actions, and suffice with complaining about incitement, then their condemnations of the murder of Jews will ring as hollow as those sounded by the BBC, Obama and Abbas.
[Jewish World Review]

Three Israeli Arabs from northern Israel are in custody after taking possession of two shipping containers full of fireworks, knives, swords and electroshock weapons shipped from China under the guise of Christmas decorations, Israel Police announced. In addition to 18,000 fireworks, including those that are restricted in Israel, the containers held 5,200 commando knives, 4,300 flashlights that can be used as electro-shockers, 5,500 Taser electro-shockers, and 1,000 swords.
False Equivalence - Editorial
This administration has promoted a false moral equivalence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Did they really expect to create a stable platform for diplomacy by elevating Palestinian leaders' hate-filled ambitions to parity with Israel's right to exist? Hasn't the U.S. learned by now that befriending terrorists doesn't make them friends?

Proponents of a two-state solution must acknowledge Palestinians might have already had their own nation-state had they laid down their weapons long ago. The surest way for peace to occur is for Palestinian leaders to choose it. Until then, there is no moral equivalence to Palestinian terrorism and bloodshed.
(Augusta [Ga.] Chronicle)
Hamas Endorses a Massacre - Jeffrey Goldberg

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called on his people to protect the Temple Mount and has warned of a "holy war" if it is "contaminated" by Jews." The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism.
Abbas' belief that the presence of Jews "contaminates" the Mount speaks to his own susceptibility to Muslim supremacist ideology.
The events of the past couple of weeks in Jerusalem suggest that a core issue of the conflict remains the unwillingness of Palestinian Muslims to accept the idea that Jews have rights in their ancestral homeland.

Anti-Zionist ideology now exercises profound influence in our culture. At the heart of the ideology is an often unconscious assumption about the natures of Israelis and Palestinians that warps our understanding of the conflict. Here it is: Palestinians (and Arabs in general) do not have agency and choice, and so cannot be held accountable and responsible. Israelis do and can; always, and exclusively.
Palestinians are understood as a driven people, dominated by circumstance and emotion, lacking choice, below the age of responsibility, never to be held accountable. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating, the root cause of everything, responsible for everything.
The Palestinians are affirmed as noble savages. It's a bit racist, to be honest
For example, the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP tweeted that the Palestinian synagogue terrorists had been "driven to madness" - which not only removes agency from them but also sanity.
This groupthink is the reason that parts of the media are reluctant to challenge the Palestinian national movement when it is guilty of rejectionism, terrorism, authoritarianism, corruption and the promotion of a vile culture of incitement, demonization and antisemitism. 

In recent weeks, the usual hum of low-grade Palestinian incitement has been raised to a fever pitch. There have been allegations of murder and paranoid rumors of Israeli plans to dismantle Muslim sanctuaries.
The murder of Torah scholars is an attack on Jews more than Israel, and explaining it requires an understanding of hatred, not of politics. Rarely has it been clearer: these men were killed simply because they were Jews living in the land of Israel. 
(New Republic)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Butchery in Jerusalem: The Aftermath

Rabbi Avi Weiss at a New York protest against the attack
Poster from The Israel Project

Victims of Massacre Were "Wise Scholars"
- Isabel Kershner, Timothy Williams & Joseph Berger

Rabbi Yitzhak Mordechai Rubin, the rabbi of Kehilat Bnei Torah, where the attack took place, said: "We are here, standing before three sacred men, the best of our congregation, wise scholars whose blood was spilled like water. As we count the number of widows and orphans who have been added today to the nation of Israel, we tally four widows and 24 orphans all on one street."  
(New York Times)

Jerusalem Massacre Was Planned, Not Random - Ben Caspit    

"We are no longer looking at random incidents by isolated individuals," said a high-placed Jerusalem police source, "because these cousins planned the massacre, got hold of a gun, collected intelligence information, knew exactly where they were going and at exactly what time."   

BBC Shows Pictures of Dead Palestinians But Not Dead Israelis
- Tom Gross 

BBC World TV, which was happy to broadcast Hamas-supplied pictures of dead children in Gaza almost round the clock all summer, declared: "we don't want to actually see that picture....Take that down!" as an Israeli minister showed them a picture of one of the Jewish worshippers butchered by Palestinians in a Jerusalem synagogue.     

The BBC has a long-standing (undeclared) policy of showing, often in graphic detail, pictures of dead Palestinians, but not of dead Israelis, which is why the Israeli minister held up the photo.

The BBC also failed to mention that one of the rabbis axed to death was British, born in the UK. The other three were all American citizens.    
(Mideast Dispatch Archive)

Abbas Forced by Kerry to Condemn Synagogue Attack
- Khaled Abu Toameh

As Abbas spoke out against the synagogue attack, several senior PA and Fatah officials went on Arab TV stations to declare that it was a "natural response to Israeli crimes." 
(Jerusalem Post)

Abbas Advisor and Fatah Praise Murders
- Itamar Marcus & Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Following Tuesday's murder of four Jewish worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue, PA Chairman Abbas' advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein immediately praised the attack as a "heroic operation" on his Facebook page. He posted graphic images showing pools of blood and dead Jews in prayer shawls, as well as a photo of the dead terrorists with a bloody butcher's knife on the ground next to them. Al-Einein referred to them as "martyrs."

Speaking in the name of MPs from Abbas' Fatah movement, spokesman Jamal Tirawi announced that they "welcomed the martyrdom-seeking operation in Jerusalem." On its Facebook page, Fatah described "handing out candy in the cities of the West Bank in celebration of the Jerusalem operation."  
(Palestinian Media Watch)

Jihad in Jerusalem - Editorial

To understand why peace in Palestine is years if not decades away, consider the Palestinian celebrations after Tuesday's murder in a Jerusalem synagogue of five Israelis, including three with joint U.S. citizenship. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killings, but not without calling for Israel to halt what he called "invasions" of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The goal of this new jihad is to frighten Israelis into agreeing to a divided Jerusalem. Yet it is only under Israeli rule that all religions have been respected in Jerusalem. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world should not be dividing cities. The Palestinians will never have a homeland as long as they cultivate a society that celebrates murdering the innocent in the name of religion
(Wall Street Journal)

Jerusalem's New Holy War - Rabbi Daniel Gordis

[T]he images of Jewish bodies hacked to death on a blood-soaked synagogue floor are about a hatred too deep to be assuaged by territorial concessions.

While Hamas has praised the butchery and Palestinians have celebrated by handing out candies to children and posing with hatchets and photographs of the killers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for restraint, urging Jews not to take the law into their own hands.

Yet while Netanyahu seeks restraint on the part of private Israelis, he is unlikely to show restraint himself. For if this horror cannot be stopped, the fundamental premise of Zionism and the promises that it bore for the Jewish people -- that the butchery was over -- will be upended. And no Israeli prime minister can willingly allow that to happen on his or her watch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Palestinians Cross A Red Line

Aftermath of Jerusalem synagogue attack
Blood soaked tallit [prayer shawl] can be seen
Palestinians in Rafah celebrate the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue on
November 18, 2014 (REUTERS)
Cartoon celebrates synagogue attack

Photos from synagogue massacre placed under weaponry to celebrate the attack

The left photo is a blood trail from the synagogue attack. 
The right image ["the red carpet"] was inserted to celebrate the attack
Three images above are from Palestinian social media

Palestinian Red Line - Rabbi Shraga Simmons

The synagogue is a place of intimate communion with God, where we strive to understand God's ultimate perfection and the meaning of our world. Today that sanctity was desecrated as Jews – in the Holy City of Jerusalem, immersed in morning prayers, adorned in tallit and tefillin – were slaughtered in cold blood by jihadists.
The synagogue held dozens of worshipers at 7 a.m. when the terrorists struck with guns and axes, leaving the synagogue floor drenched with blood.
Four rabbis [were] murdered, may the Almighty avenge their blood...
Responding police officer Zidan Sayif, a 27-year-old Israeli Druze, was also killed by the terrorists. We mourn this grossly horrific act of inhumanity.

Anyone who doesn't recognize that jihadists are fighting a "holy war," has yet to recognize the true root of this conflict.

Even in the wake of this horrific synagogue massacre, official PA television showed images of Bethlehem residents handing out candy in support of the attack, and the official Fatah website praised the attack as a "heroic operation."

[T]oday, as mass murder invades the synagogue, a red line has been crossed.
Our hearts wrench at the horror of this attack.
Our love and concern goes out to the victims and their families.
We pray for the recovery of those wounded.
And we pray that soon, our land will be blessed with peace.
[Aish HaTorah]

Riding the tiger - Shmuel Rosner

The more the Palestinians behave like ISIS – butchering worshipers with an axe triggered such comparisons – the less they [will] find empathy or understanding for any political cause. The more the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looks like a religious war (Temple Mount strife, synagogue terror), the more it looks like a part of a larger trend in Middle East affairs that is not susceptible to diplomatic solutions.

The tiger of violence is dangerous enough – but the tiger of religious wars is even more dangerous. We got a glimpse of him today.
[Jewish Journal]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Palestinians Love ISIS: 24% Hold Positive View

Click graphic for larger view

Palestinians: Biggest Arab Supporters of ISIS

A recent survey found that the Palestinians show the most support for the Islamic State terror group among Arabs in the Middle East.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, based in Doha, Qatar, surveyed the opinions in the Arab world in relation to IS and the international coalition against it. Their findings were published on November 11. The poll found that a majority of Arabs oppose IS and are supportive of air strikes on the terror group.

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of Palestinians demonstrate a positive view of IS.

Reporting for the Gatestone Institute, journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports that IS has already arrived at Israel’s border with Gaza. Writing in July, Abu Toameh asserts that despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that IS has begun operating in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli security officials are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.
[United With Israel]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stellar Analysis by Daniel Gordis

Rabbi Daniel Gordis

Gaza War's Final Victim: Two-State Solution - Rabbi Daniel Gordis

The mood in Israel today is simply bleak. With acrimony over this summer’s Gaza War still consuming the security services, and Palestinian attacks on Israelis raising the specter of a Third Intifada, there is a feeling that things may go very wrong, very soon.

[T]he two-state solution, if not dead, is on life support.

There are many reasons for this. Although the Barack Obama administration insists on referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate, Israelis believe he is inciting his street and has no interest in a deal.

Critics of Israel’s policies point out that the Netanyahu government has long infuriated Palestinians in many ways, including the continued construction of settlements. This is true, to a degree.

Netanyahu would, indeed, have placated some of his critics had he pointed out that all the newly approved construction is in areas so heavily populated by Jews that there’s little chance they would be given to the Palestinians in any deal. And had he formally stated that he would not build in areas that are genuinely contested, he might have made matters somewhat better. But any such statement would have infuriated his right flank, and given that he, too, knows that the two-state solution is dead, he sees no reason to commit political suicide simply to provide better optics. Israelis and Palestinians are thus infuriating each other.

Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party and economy minister -- who when running for office posted a wildly popular video explaining why he was opposed to a Palestinian state -- is now so confident that the two-state solution is dead that he took his argument to the international community on the op-ed page of the New York Times, "For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution." When he was running for office, he said in a speech that “the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be solved." Now, both many Israelis and Palestinians are convinced that he was sadly right.

There is simply no incentive for Israelis to compromise. What’s in it for them? they ask. Would a deal neutralize Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon? Would it stop Islamic State? Then why move the border closer to Israel’s capital and international airport?

And with the Arab street ever more radicalized, the other side is no more inclined to be accommodating.

Ironically, those who insist on pushing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are actually doing the Palestinians damage. The talks would fail, Palestinian frustration would boil over, violence would ensue and Israel, not in the mood for another four-year Intifada, would likely use overwhelming force much earlier than it did in 2000 to 2004.

Strange as it may sound, in today’s Middle East, those most anxious to see violence averted would be well-served to stop pressing for peace. 

Fear and Loathing in Jerusalem - Jonathan Spyer

[A] familiar, stoic melancholy has returned.

The wave of shootings, automobile attacks and stabbings that hit the city this month has had a profound affect. The faces of the innocents murdered are all over the news. Talk of a Third Intifada is everywhere.

Yet atmospherics notwithstanding, in a number of substantive ways the current reality differs sharply from the time of the two intifadas (1987-92 and 2000-04).

The new violence, though indiscriminate, brutal and murderous, is more narrowly focused. It is limited, for now, to specific areas of the country and to specific parts of Jerusalem. But the West Bank, the cauldron of so much violence and hatred during the last two intifadas, has so far stayed largely quiet.

[W]hile Abbas spouts incendiary rhetoric, his security forces are continuing to cooperate with the Israelis in ensuring relative quiet on the West Bank. This reflects the general lack of Palestinian enthusiasm to provoke another mass confrontation with Israel.

While the attacks on Israeli civilians have been presented in some news reports as spontaneous acts of rage, an examination of the biographies of the perpetrators so far suggests something quite different. All of them are or were committed members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, both groups that have been fanning the flames of anger over the trumped up threat to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Why now? Maybe Hamas and Islamic Jihad hope to launch themselves back to regional and global attention by trumping up an Israeli threat to a Muslim holy site.

The memories of the recent past have produced a mood of gloom in Jerusalem. This, amid the stories of the latest lives to be snuffed out, is entirely understandable. But as of now, the spark set by Hamas and the Jihad has yet to fully catch. Let us hope it never does.
[New York Daily News]

Achmed the Dead Terrorist In Israel

 Jeff Dunham's famous character "Achmed the Dead Terrorist" made an appearance in the Tel Aviv Opera House

Monday, November 10, 2014

Obama & Israel: the next two years


Obama's Outreach to Iran - Suzanne Maloney

President Barack Obama reportedly penned a personal appeal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last month. The move betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Iranian leadership, and is likely to hinder rather than help achieve a durable resolution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Khamenei's mistrust and antipathy toward Washington has been a consistent feature of his public rhetoric. Anti-Americanism is Khamenei's bedrock, engrained in his worldview, and as such it is not susceptible to blandishments - particularly not from the very object of his loathing. Obama's appeal at this critical juncture in the nuclear diplomacy will surely be read as a supplication - and as further confirmation of American desperation and weakness in the face of Iran's position of advantage. As he explained recently, "the reason why we are stronger is that [America] retreats step by step in all the arenas which we and the Americans have confronted each other."
There is simply no plausible scenario in which a letter from the U.S. President to Ali Khamenei generates greater Iranian flexibility on the nuclear program, which the regime has paid an exorbitant price to preserve. Just the opposite - the letter undoubtedly intensified Khamenei's contempt for Washington and reinforced his longstanding determination to extract maximalist concessions.
The writer, a former U.S. State Department policy advisor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
(Brookings Institution)
Obama's Bet on Iran - Jackson Diehl

Since Jimmy Carter, presidents have sought to fashion an Arab coalition to contain the Islamic regime in Iran and thwart its aim to establish itself as a regional hegemon. Obama's final push, if it works, would allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure while ceding Tehran a role in the pacification and political reconstruction of the lands from Baghdad to Beirut.
The Israeli government and most leaders of the Persian Gulf states continue to view Iran as an existential threat, best treated with crippling economic sanctions, proxy war against its allies in Syria and Lebanon and, if necessary, direct military action against its nuclear installations. A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress agrees with them.
(Washington Post)
-David M. Weinberg

To my mind, we are not far from the day when the Obama administration will support a Palestinian Authority resolution demanding a timetable for Israeli withdrawals to specific borders and endorsing punitive measures unless Israel complies. I don’t think this far-fetched at all.

So you see, Abbas can brutally mock American peace proposals, accuse Israel of “genocide,” glorify terrorism against Israel, cuddle with Hamas, and cozy-up to Iranian officials in preparation for battle against Israel. Yet Obama remains mum about Abbas, while his “officials” call Netanyahu “chicken-shit.”

Abbas says he will “never” recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, “never” forgo the so-called right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, “never” accept Israeli security control of Jordan Valley and other key air and ground security assets, “never” allow Jews to live in Judea, “never” accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of Old Jerusalem, and call for riots to prevent Jews from “desecrating” the Temple Mount by visiting there.

Yet Obama issues no warnings of PA diplomatic isolation or economic collapse if Abbas doesn’t compromise and advance the peace process. He pins nothing on the defiant Palestinian Authority and its radical Islamic allies. He is mum on all this, while his “officials” call Netanyahu a “coward.”

But of course, Obama truly “wishes” he had the “influence” to arrest the isolation of Israel. Yeah, sure. Obama is purposefully engineering the denouement of the special relationship between America and Israel...

Over the past year, Obama has granted Putin gargantuan international victories, given Assad a new lease on life, re-legitimized Iran and re-energized the morally-bankrupt UN – while playing Hamlet about his own authority to strike Syria or defend Israel. He has made only a ridiculously-miniscule effort at confronting ISIL. He leaves America’s reputation in the world “unbelievably small.”
[Israel Hayom]

U.S. May Renew Ties with Iran if Nuke Deal Reached    

The London Times reported that the U.S. was ready to discuss renewing diplomatic ties with Iran if a nuclear deal was reached. The report states that talks between officials from both sides were happening this week in Baku, Azerbaijan, in addition to the nuclear talks. The U.S. has denied the report.     
(Jerusalem Post)


If Iran Says ‘Yes’ - Bret Stephens

Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.
[Wall Street Journal]

Friday, November 07, 2014

"Car Intifada"

Terror Attacks in Jerusalem Receive Abbas' Blessing - Ron Ben-Yishai

Wednesday's two hit-and-run terrorist attacks were carried out in the framework of efforts by Palestinian Islamist elements to affect a change in their favor in the status quo on the Temple Mount.

The attacks in Jerusalem receive Mahmoud Abbas' explicit blessing. The PA leader uses the alleged danger posed to the Al Aqsa Mosque as a means of promoting his political strategy.

Israel's government doesn't want a widespread conflagration that would mobilize the entire Muslim world against us, and has relayed explicit instructions to security forces to avoid killing Palestinian rioters - despite the fact that the rioters are doing all they can to create more martyrs to help spark a regional flare-up. The Americans must pressure Abbas to stop trying to take advantage of this flare-up for his own purposes.
(Ynet News)

"Car Intifada" Cartoon Campaign Encourages More Palestinian Vehicle Attacks
- Elior Levy 
After a number of terror attacks using vehicles as lethal weapons, Palestinians have termed these efforts a "car intifada" and are posting cartoons [see above] online likening vehicles to rockets launched by Hamas.
(Ynet News)

East Jerusalem Camp a Terrorist Stronghold - Jonathan Lis and Gili Cohen       

The Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, home of Ibrahim Akari, the perpetrator of an attack on Wednesday that killed two Israelis, has been the source of many of the terror attacks in recent months in the Jerusalem area, security sources say.           

Palestinian Radicals Are Desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque

In the past few months, Palestinian radicals have been trying to breach the status quo by preventing Christians and Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. Palestinian rioters - incited by Hamas and the radical branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel - have attacked visitors as well as the police with stones and fireworks, using the Al-Aqsa Mosque as their base of operations. 

On Nov. 5, several dozen masked Arabs again rioted on the Temple Mount. The rioters came out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and launched stones and fireworks at police. The police responded with non-lethal measures to prevent injuries.

The rioters then returned to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, positioning themselves behind barricades they built the night before. They targeted the police with hundreds of fireworks, rocks and iron bars prepared beforehand, all from within the mosque itself. Several police officers were injured.

Following the escalation of attacks from inside the mosque, a small number of officers walked a few steps into the mosque's entrance to remove the barricades that were preventing the mosque's doors from being shut. By closing these doors, the police separated the rioters from their targets, thereby restoring calm to the Temple Mount and enabling peaceful visits to the plaza.

A video filmed by the Israel Police clearly shows the Palestinian rioters at the entrance to the mosque, which they have taken over and desecrated as a launching base for their attacks.

Israel has made no move to change the decades-old status-quo on the Temple Mount, to which the Government of Israel is committed. Its goals are to allow Muslims to pray peacefully and for Jews and others to visit safely.

(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


Riots Seen Lacking Popular Support on Arab Street

An Israeli military official said that the Palestinian public "is still indifferent and uninvolved in the escalation and is not coming out in great numbers to protest and create unrest, as was the case at the beginning of the Second Intifada." Security officials also said they were satisfied with security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. Coordination on the ground was strong and Palestinian police were efficient in controlling crowds and keeping demonstrations from sweeping through the West Bank.

(Times of Israel)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Obama Bullies Israel Again

Report: Obama Threatened No UN Vetos - Dave Bender

President Obama threatened Prime Minister Netanyahu that the U.S. may opt not to oppose future hostile UN Security Council votes, unless Israel accedes to American policy demands, Israel's NRG News reported. "The prime minister told colleagues in recent days...that his office's understanding of the issue and the government's take on it is that the Americans will not cast a veto against a resolution that reaches the Security Council," Ariel Kahana, diplomatic correspondent for the Makor Rishon and NRG dailies, said.

"Beyond the abandonment of Israel, it also flies in the face of previous agreements with the Americans, including vis-a-vis the Egyptian peace deal, in which the U.S. would hold the line against such maneuvers," Kahana noted.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Could Egypt Invade Gaza Next?

Egyptian soldiers keep watch in Sinai

Sinai: Terrorist Insurgency Against Egypt - Abdallah Schleifer

Egypt is still reeling from the coordinated attack in the Sinai last week that cost 33 soldiers their lives. Army investigators said dozens were involved in this highly-coordinated attack, which benefited from experienced and possibly foreign hands. According to rumors circulating among Sinai tribesmen, there is now a working relationship between the Islamic State and a rejuvenated, enlarged Ansar al-Maqdis that has incorporated other local jihadist groups. There are reports from Syria that former Egyptian officers with jihadist
sympathies, who had fled Egypt and now serve as a mainstay for ISIS intelligence, are involved.

In other words, Sinai is now home to a full-fledged insurgency, in all likelihood operating from bases in Gaza close to the border with Egypt, and staffed increasingly by Egyptians and Gazans who are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq and have now returned. The threat of a Hamas-tolerated or clandestinely-aided jihadist insurgency based in Gaza and raiding the Sinai would be cause for the Egyptian military to enter Gaza and destroy the insurgency
The writer, a veteran American journalist covering the Middle East, is professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

"Incoherence of Western Policy"

Dr. Jonathan Spyer

Islamic State and the incoherence of Western policy - Jonathan Spyer, PhD

This war has come about because of some fundamental and unresolved problems inherent in the creation of the states of Iraq and Syria. Neither are historic entities. Both were carved out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire by the British and French. Disparate and incompatible populations were contained within their borders.

Once the conflict is understood in this way, its cross-border dynamics become clearer and more predictable, and the role of the West also becomes clear. Most importantly – in the core Sunni-Shia war, the West has no ally.

The Shia bloc constitutes the most powerful anti-Western alliance currently in existence in the Middle East. Among the Sunni Arabs, meanwhile, are some of the most floridly brutal organisations ever to have emerged anywhere – such as ISIS – as well as others who rank among the most ineffectual. The victory of either camp would not constitute progress in any form for the people living in the states in question.

Rather, a Western policy which seeks to mobilise allies to contain both forms of political Islam would be prudent. This would involve support for the states and entities surrounding the arena of the war – including Israel, Jordan, the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the Kurds of Syria.

Such a policy is unlikely to emerge until policy-makers have a clear picture of the dynamics at work. The Middle East is currently in the midst of a historic process, in which rival versions of political Islam are battling over the ruins of the post-war regional order. The outcome is not yet clear. The task is to reduce and contain the damage.
[GLORIA Center]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chickenshit-gate: Obama-Israel Feud Heats Up

Rabbi Marvin Hier

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has called on President Barack Obama to “name, apologize for, and repudiate” the anonymous official who was quoted, in an Atlantic Magazine article by Jeffrey Goldberg, describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit.”

In a telephone call with The Algemeiner from his Los Angeles office, an incensed Rabbi Hier declared: “It is rather ironic that a senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it comes to the mortal enemies of the United States – as the Iranians discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation – praise is heaped on them.”

Another senior official, Goldberg wrote, “agreed that Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit’ on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a ‘coward’ on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat.”

Commenting on the remarks of this second official, Hier asserted: “He said Netanyahu is a coward for not taking pre-emptive action against Iran, but I suppose this anonymous official who is hiding behind his desk is very brave.”

Asked whether he thought Obama should fire the officials who made these comments, Hier said “that’s up to the president.” However, he added, “a senior American official who doesn’t name himself and then hurls curse words at one of our strongest allies should be repudiated by the president. President Obama needs to make it clear that these officials don’t speak for him. Most of all, an apology is in order: That is not the way a senior American official should speak to the Prime Minister of Israel, that is not the way to conduct foreign policy.”

Hier noted that similar sentiments were not forthcoming from the administration about Qatar, a putative American ally that nevertheless backs Hamas and has allegedly been a conduit for funding the Islamic State terrorist organization. “There are no curse words on or off the record about the emir of Qatar for supporting Hamas and supporting Islamic State,” Hier noted. “The emir of Qatar is being rewarded for supporting Hamas and Islamic State. He is certainly not being treated in the way that Netanyahu is now.”
[The Algemeiner]

Cursing Israel’s prime minister - Jennifer Rubin

The [anonymous official's] statement is ignorant or an intentionally false accusation on so many different levels it is hard to know where to begin.

Netanyahu has confirmed Israel will pursue a two-state solution, voluntarily entered into a housing freeze and has been willing to negotiate without precondition. Moreover, it is not simply the far right but the large majority of Israelis who now see the Oslo process as a failure. From the Labor Party to Likud, the political spectrum in Israel on this issue is in sync. And finally, Israel is getting along fine with the Sunni states, better than the latter are with the Obama administration, since both understand the threat posed by Iran and its surrogates.

The immature and deplorable insult is nothing all that new. Whether it is former negotiator Martin Indyk accusing Israel of killing the peace process or the president off-mike complaining about having to deal with Netanyahu constantly, the administration’s animosity is never far from the surface. That such a senior official could feel so confident in his slur says volumes about the environment at the White House. Even more telling, a White House spokesman would only say that the comments were “inappropriate and counterproductive,” not false or unfair or outrageous.

This is yet one more reason to rebuke the president, his foreign policy and his staff. If the president were truly upset about the speech, he would find the staff member who made the remarks and fire that person. By the White House’s initial statement, however, it seems like business as usual around there.
[Washington Post]

Netanyahu is a 'chickensh*t'? - Rabbi Abraham Cooper

A top, unnamed Obama administration official calls an important leader, a “chickensh*t.”

Was this a hard-nosed warning aimed at the Ayatollah Khamenei to pressure Iran to destroy those 23,000 centrifuges before next month’s nuclear negotiating deadline?

Or just maybe, a well-deserved barb at our Turkish “ally” Erdo─čan to stop acting like a regional bully and more like the eastern guardian of NATO?

Of course not. No one in this White House or State Department would ever deign to insult America’s enemies. Unfortunately, and all too often such special treatment has been dished out against our only reliable friend and ally in a region that is rapidly self-destructing—Israel.
[Fox News]



Obama is seeking a confrontation with Israel - Isi Leibler

In an interview with American journalist Jeffery Goldberg published in The Atlantic, a senior US official referred to Prime Minister Netanyahu as “chickenshit” and described him as “the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most.” More than Assad, Erdogan, the Iranian ayatollah, Putin and the “peace loving” Abbas?

This is just the latest in a series of vindictive acts by the Obama administration because Israel has dared to reject its diktats. Nothing illustrates President Obama’s contemptuous attitude toward Israel more than his directive to withhold arms to Israel during wartime because Israel had rejected Kerry’s initiative to engage Qatar as the mediator to end the Gaza hostilities.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas humiliated the US administration by merging with Hamas without prior consultation. But the US failed to criticize this move, has not responded to Abbas’ stated policy of ethnic cleansing, nor condemned him for executing any Palestinian found selling land to an Israeli.

The US did not reprimand him for failing to denounce the act of terror in which a baby and a young woman were killed last week in Jerusalem. Yet when an Arab teenager was shot to death while hurling potentially lethal firebombs at Israeli automobiles, the US immediately conveyed its condolences to the family and urged Israelis to initiate an investigation.

Israel, the principal regional ally of the US, is the only country consistently facing criticism and has become the punching bag for the inept Obama administration, even being denunciated for opposing a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Only recently, Kerry again conveyed to an Arab audience the absurd allegation that the Arab-Israel conflict fanned IS and Islamic extremism.

Netanyahu should be commended for his extraordinary diplomatic balancing act in withstanding the unreasonable pressure from Obama and Kerry, avoiding outright confrontations and in so doing, retaining the support of American public opinion and Congress.
[Jerusalem Post]

Chickenshit-gate; Insulting Netanyahu: Spontaneous combustion or intelligent design?
- Herb Keinon

[One] option for those who see that there was an invisible hand behind these insulting comments is that they were tied to Iran.

According to this school of thought, adhered to by some senior Israeli officials, these comments indicate that the US is on the verge of signing a nuclear deal with Iran, and is trying to preempt what is certain to be Netanyahu’s withering criticism by “discrediting the messenger” and saying in advance that he had his chance to act on Iran but blew it because he is a coward.

[Jerusalem Post]

The perils of allying with America - Michael Rubin

Here's the rub: back in 2010 and 2011, Netanyahu did not launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure and weapons laboratories in large part because the Obama administration had asked him repeatedly not to do so. So, first Obama makes a request of Netanyahu. Netanyahu acquiesces against his better judgment because Obama and his emissaries swear that the United States will never let Iran get nuclear weapons. Then, Obama seeks to strike a deal that effective reneges on that promise and has the audacity to have his senior aides ridicule Netanyahu for being a good ally and listening to Obama in the first place.
[American Enterprise Institute]

Jewish Democrats Disapointed in Obama Administration - Press Release

The National Jewish Democratic Council expresses surprise and disappointment at the profane and inappropriate language attributed to a senior administration official in describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The personal frustration that is reflected in the anonymous source’s ad hominem attack should be channeled to constructive engagement rather than rhetorical flourishes.
[National Jewish Democratic Council]


U.S. Policy, Viewed from the Middle East - Elliott Abrams

The damage done by administration officials who savaged Prime Minister Netanyahu is deep, including among Arab leaders. That's not because they like Netanyahu, but because it suggests that administration officials are undisciplined and untrustworthy.

After all, those remarks were made with the intention that they be published; they were not off the record. The speakers obviously thought that trashing allied leaders in the press is fine. The officials who made those remarks did serious damage to U.S. credibility, and not just in Israel.

(Council on Foreign Relations)