Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Swimming against the tide"

Fouad Ajami

We should not fall for the Persian bluff. It is important that we do all we can to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions and to checkmate it in arenas that count, but we should always remember that this is a society swimming against the tide of history and confronting the limits of its capabilities. The Iranians dwell virtually alone in the House of Islam, separated by language and culture, marked by their Shiism.

There is swagger in Iran, and there is menace, for its rulers are without scruples. But theirs is a vulnerable and brittle society. There is no need to "engage" them and bail them out as they stumble. The regime should be harassed, contained, and held to account.
(U.S. News)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Erez Levanon, of blessed memory

Erez Levanon, of blessed memory

Shin Bet Arrests Israeli's Killers - Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Katz

Israeli security forces on Monday arrested two Palestinians in Beit Omar in the West Bank who confessed that they stabbed Erez Levanon, 42, to death in a forest outside his home in Bat Ayin on Sunday.

Levanon was a popular songwriter and singer who played music for patients in Jerusalem-area hospitals and would entertain for free at bar mitzvas and weddings of those who lacked money.

He was a follower of the 18th century Hassidic master Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. In pursuit of the Bratslav tradition of personal prayer, Levanon and others in the community would often go [alone to pray] in the forest, where he was slain.
(Jerusalem Post)

IsraellyCool notes the following about the news blackout around this story:

"Can you imagine the uproar if anyone murdered a Muslim in prayer, especially an Israeli? Besides the ensuing riots and intifada, the mainstream media would be all over the story like a rash. But because here we are dealing with a dead Israeli this has not scored a mention in the (non-Israeli) mainstream media."

Deadly irony

Netzarim synagogue being sacked in Gaza

Destroyed Synagogues Used as Bases to Fire on Israel - Aaron Klein

The ruins of two large synagogues in evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip have been transformed into military bases used by Palestinians to fire rockets at Israeli cities, according to Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees.
(New York Sun)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Preparing warhead technology?

Iranian advances in building missiles capable of reaching space are watched closely by the West because the same technology could be used to build intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Israel to Hold Nationwide Nuclear Attack Drill Israel will next month stage its first-ever nationwide drill simulating a nuclear missile attack

Intentions are everything

[T]he problem is not that the Arabs cannot see a Palestinian state, but that they can see a Jewish one.
(Jerusalem Post)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Promises, promises

Jibril Rajoub

Jibril Rajoub, a former head of PA Preventive Security in the West Bank who is considered a "moderate" Palestinian, has now appeared on television and shocked his Israeli acquaintances with the remark that in the end, the Palestinians will recover every inch of land between the river and the sea.

With all due respect to my Palestinian friends, I can only conclude from these remarks that we must shut our ears when the Palestinians scatter promises about wanting to live alongside Israel. It is not words that matter, but deeds, and deeds alone.

There is only one conclusion, and Moshe Dayan already said it in his eulogy over the grave of Roi Rutenberg, who was murdered by Arabs from Gaza in the 1950s: "This is our life's choice: to be prepared and armed, strong and determined, lest the sword slip from our hand and our lives be cut down."

Intelligent intelligence

The more successful Israel's army and security services are in preventing deadly acts of Palestinian terror against Israelis, the more the world looks upon the means of prevention as vindictive and unnecessary harassment of Palestinians on Israel's part.

Take Wednesday's thwarted suicide bombing. An Islamic Jihad operative from the West Bank city of Jenin was arrested in a Palestinian "safe house" near Tel Aviv. How did Israel's intelligence services know that someone from Jenin was on his way with a bomb? And how did they know where he was hiding so that they were able to get to him in time?

Israeli intelligence must have known about the bomb because of security-related operations that include roadblocks, raids on houses, dragnets, and sweeps - all those operations that have given Israel a reputation for being an unconscionable oppressor. "Dozens of Israeli lives saved yesterday" doesn't play well...

We in Israel, who know those lives could have been our own, our friends', or our family's, have a different take on it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tension building

It appears that Hamas has smuggled an especially large number of these [anti-tank] missiles into Gaza from Sinai. The Sagger is a significant advance that poses a serious threat to the IDF...

Since the war in Lebanon, the Palestinians are busy learning the lessons of the conflict and they are using data and experts from Hizbullah.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rice's gamble

One Harmful Handshake - Danielle Pletka

The American secretary of state believes that a Sunni Arab world unified by fear of a radical [Shi'ite] Iran may finally force the Palestinians into peace with Israel. In other words, the Arabs will deliver the Palestinians, and the Americans will deliver the Israelis. This is old think at its worst.

[E]mbracing one terrorist to weaken another is not a foreign policy strategy, it's just unprincipled gamesmanship.
(New York Daily News)

While the Bush administration has a view that pits America, its [Sunni] Arab allies, Israel and Europe against [Shi'ite] Iran [and] Syria...this is not necessarily how America's Sunni Arab allies view the world.
In the past year, Shiite Iran has been wooing Hamas, which is Sunni. The Saudis did not like that, so they fought to get Hamas back on the Sunni side. The Mecca pact put an end, at least temporarily, to the Hamas-Fatah bloodletting. It also put an end, at least temporarily, to Rice's attempt to restart peace talks.
(New York Times)

"Idiotic Masochism"

The War Within Islam - Christopher Hitchens

[W]e hear incessant demands that those who believe in the literal truth of the Koran be granted "respect." We are supposed to watch what we say about Islam, lest by any chance we be considered "offensive."

A fair number of authors and academics in the West now have to live under police protection or endure prosecution in the courts for not observing this taboo with sufficient care. A stupid term - Islamophobia - has been put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam's infallible "message." This idiotic masochism has to be dropped.

The civilized world - yes I do mean to say that - should find its own voice and state firmly to Muslim leaders and citizens that respect is something to be earned and not demanded with menace.

Looming threat

Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on Tuesday morning called for precautionary steps to be taken against a potential escalation of violence along the northern border. "Hizbullah has returned to its pre-war status, re-arming and returning to southern Lebanon," he said.

Ben-Eliezer advised Defense Minister Amir Peretz to listen to Intelligence assessments and not "turn a blind eye," Army Radio reported.
[Jerusalem Post]

'IDF ready to implement lessons of war'
The new IDF chief [General Gabi Ashkenazi] implied that Israel may have to confront Hizbullah to halt the guerrilla group's attempts to rearm.

Nice to hear

U.S. "Iran Attack Plans" Revealed

U.S. Central Command have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

The trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon.

A high-casualty attack on U.S. forces in Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.
(BBC News)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jacoby's poignant words

The wonder is not that the Palestinian Authority seethes with violence and instability; there are other places too where bloodshed is the daily fare. The wonder is not that the Palestinians, who receive copious amounts of international aid channel so much of their resources into weapons and warfare. The wonder is that so many voices still push for a Palestinian state.

But has any population ever been less suited for statehood than the Palestinians? From the terrorists they choose as leaders to the jihad promoted in their schools, their culture is drenched in violence and hatred.

Each time the world has offered them sovereignty - an offer that the Kurds or the Chechens or the Tibetans would leap at - the Palestinians have opted instead for bloodshed and rejectionism.
(Boston Globe)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ms. Manji takes on Carter

Absurd to Call Israel an Apartheid State
-Irshad Manji

I respectfully challenge Jimmy Carter's recent critique of Israel as an apartheid state.

Would an apartheid state have several Arab political parties, as Israel does? Would the vast majority of Arab Israeli citizens turn out to vote in national elections? Would an apartheid state extend voting rights to women and the poor in local elections? Would an apartheid state award its top literary prize to an Arab? Would an apartheid state encourage Hebrew-speaking schoolchildren to learn Arabic? Would an apartheid state be home to universities where Arabs and Jews mingle at will, or apartment blocks where they live side by side? Would an apartheid state ensure conditions for the freest Arabic press in the Middle East?

Ms. Manji is the author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith.

Carter UPDATE:

Emory University Professors Protest Carter Visit - Ernie Suggs
Nine distinguished Emory University professors...wrote a letter titled, "What's Jimmy Afraid Of?" - to protest the fact that Carter is scheduled to speak at the campus, but has refused to debate.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

General Gabi Ashkenazi

New IDF Chief's Acceptance Speech
-General Gabi Ashkenazi

[D]espite our yearning for peace...the time has not yet come to sheath our sword. It must remain sharpened and honed...
[Jerusalem Post]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Correcting Barak's mistake

The sacking of the Tomb of Biblical Patriarch Joseph in Nablus.
All photos October 2000, after the Palestinian Authority was given control of the city.

35 MKs want Joseph's Tomb reopened -Matthew Wagner

Thirty-five MKs [are] asking [the IDF] to [re]open Joseph's Tomb to Jewish visitors for prayer.

The tomb, located inside Nablus, was abandoned in 2000 at the behest of then prime minister Ehud Barak. Palestinians destroyed the Torah scroll, holy books and other Judaica on the premises.

In May 2002, as part of Operation Defense Shield, the tomb was recaptured...
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sharansky calls us to Washington

Mobilize Now, Save the World - Natan Sharansky

Anti-Semitism has taken a quantum leap from isolated attacks against Jews to incitement to genocide - the actual elimination of the Jewish state.

The idea of a world without Israel is more acceptable in polite company, the media, and academia today than Hitler's expressed goal of a Europe without Jews was in 1939.

[W]e need to return to the Mall in Washington on Israel's Independence Day in May with two messages: Support Israel and Stop Iran.
(Jerusalem Post)

Mubarak's man curses Israel

A young Hosni Mubarak in military regalia

Egyptian MP: Nothing Will Work with Israel Except Nuclear Bomb

"That cursed Israel is trying to destroy al-Aqsa mosque," Mohammed el-Katatny of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party told a heated Egyptian parliament session on Monday.

"Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence," he said.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hamas swallows Fatah in Mecca Accord

Partners in crime: Abbas, Mashaal and Haniyeh smiling in Mecca

Why Hamas came out clear winner from Mecca summit -Khaled Abu Toameh

A careful reading of the understandings between the two parties shows that Fatah has moved closer to Hamas, and not vice-versa.

Hamas's 4,000-strong paramilitary Executive Force will be incorporated into the Palestinian security forces, which means that their salaries will be paid by the US and the European Union. This is the same force that was recently outlawed by Abbas and condemned by his aides as a "bunch of murderers and gangsters."

The Mecca summit has enhanced Hamas's role as a major political force in the Middle East. The fact that Hamas leaders are put on equal footing with the heads of the Saudi royal family and the Palestinian Authority carries symbolic importance.

Hamas returned from Mecca with a pledge from Abbas that the Fatah-dominated PLO would open its doors for the Islamic movement to join the organization. This will turn Hamas into the second largest faction in the PLO after Fatah, and Mashaal will become Abbas's deputy once a deal is finalized.
[Jerusalem Post]


Hamas Won the Jackpot - Ronny Shaked
The agreement will help Hamas recover from its economic crisis, strengthen its hold on government, and arrive at the next elections in a position to win the presidency as well as the elections for the legislative council.

(Ynet News)

The Mecca Deal and Beyond - Ron Ben-Yishai
Hamas will continue building its new military infrastructure in Gaza based on the second Lebanon War's lessons. The smuggling tunnels on the Philadelphi route are operating with no interruptions and the lack of monitoring at the Rafah crossing allows arms, technological know-how and terrorists to constantly pour into Gaza.
Therefore, it would be appropriate to keep expectations low in Israel and prepare for a situation where in a few months Israel will have no choice but to launch a wide-scale operation in Gaza.

(Ynet News)

The Mecca Accord (Part I): The Victory of Unity over Progress - Robert Satloff
With Mahmoud Abbas compromising on almost every critical issue to reach accord with the leadership of Hamas, the Mecca agreement blurs the distinction between moderate and extremist in the Palestinian camp.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Arabs Betray America - Nahum Barnea
In the Mecca agreement the American administration was betrayed three times: by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, by Saudi King Abdullah, and by Abbas. These three American allies ignored Condoleezza Rice's pleas and negotiated with Khaled Mashaal.
(Ynet News)

Congress Freezes $86M Meant for Abbas - Eli Lake
[The] chairwoman of the House subcommittee that funds the federal foreign operations budget, has placed a hold on $86 million in proposed security assistance to Mahmoud Abbas...
(New York Sun)

Another UPDATE:

The Islamification of Palestine - Father Raymond J. De Souza
The feuding Palestinian parties met in Mecca, an odd choice for a summit site because Palestinian Christians - a small minority, but historically active in Palestinian leadership - are not permitted to enter the city. Perhaps it is now simply accepted that the Palestinian question is to be understood as an exclusively Islamic question.
(National Post-Canada)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"For the time being"

Iranian Chutzpah - Editorial

Get this: Iran is griping that one of its envoys was kidnapped in Baghdad.

Iran - complaining of a kidnapping. We're talking the world's leading terror sponsor - a regime that practically invented modern-day terror-snatching. What do the mullahs expect...?

Tehran can complain all it wants about a single kidnapping. But it's only reaping what it has sown. The mullahs should thank Allah that the world has been so restrained in confronting its terror. For the time being, that is.
(New York Post)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Battle for Jerusalem

Bridge Over Troubled Water - Editorial

Palestinian leaders, whether from Fatah or Hamas, have been keen to find an excuse to divert attention from their internal problems. So it is not surprising that many have jumped on Israel's reconstruction of an access bridge to Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

The truth, of course, is that the bridge is simply a pedestrian walkway replacing the stone ramp leading up to the Mughrabi Gate that partially collapsed in a storm three years ago and was deemed unsafe by city engineers.

By law, the Antiquities Authority is required to carry out a salvage excavation before any construction at the site. Yuval Baruch, the authority's chief archeologist for Jerusalem, said the dig was at least 60 meters from the Mount. "We invite everyone to come see," he told Israel Radio.

Cynical appeals for a renewed intifada and violent resistance discredit the purported Palestinian moderates, who are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with extremists' efforts to whip up hostility.
(Jerusalem Post)

UPDATE: I was able to locate these detailed photos of the excavation/construction.

Discovery of Mosaic Halts Work at Jerusalem Walkway - Donald Macintyre
A geometric patterned fifth or sixth century AD Byzantine mosaic fragment was exposed by archaeological workers Wednesday at the bottom of an underground shaft where one of the pillars for a walkway connecting to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is intended to go.

The Israeli authorities are arranging for webcam pictures of the dig to prove [that the dig is no danger to the Temple Mount]

Dr. Gideon Avni in a 1.5 minute video clip, shows exactly what is taking place at the Mugrabi Ramp:

Live Webcam: The Excavation at the Mughrabi Ramp in Jerusalem
(Israel Antiquities Authority)

Defending Israel

Israeli Musician Yoram Getzler

In an unpublished letter to the Christian Science Monitor defending Israel, Jerusalemite Yoram Getzler penned the following:
"[O]nly when the the Arab/Moslem world accepts the justice of the historical claim of the Jewish people [to Israel] can there possibly be true reconciliation and peace."

"Historically the Jewish people have been willing to share not only its God but also its land."

The Lion & the Lamb

Disproving the Law of Displacement -Daryl Temkin, Ph.D.

Forcing a lion and a lamb to lie down together is not a problem for the lion, but it is a big problem for the lamb.

No matter how many promises of peaceful behavior the lion should claim to commit, upon its first violation, the world will immediately excuse the lion for acting like a lion.

All that the lamb can do is wait to be a victim, and the world will say, "Why should the lion be expected to be so perfect?"
[Israel Institute]

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl...Israeli style

U.S. Gets Israeli Security for Super Bowl - David Machlis

An Israeli-developed system for identifying potential security threats has been adopted at Miami International Airport to help keep Super Bowl and other visitors to South Florida safe.

Rafi Ron, CEO of New Age Security Solutions and former director of security at Ben-Gurion Airport and the Israel Airports Authority, developed Behavior Pattern Recognition as an answer to the problem of racial profiling.

BPR outlines a long list of behavioral cues that should draw the attention of everyone working at the airport. Airports that have adopted the program include Boston, Indianapolis, Houston, and San Francisco.
(Jerusalem Post)


Who's afraid of 'Israelization'?

MK Azmi Bishara told a well-attended rally of young Israeli Arabs in Nazareth that if they do civic service in their own communities they will thereby become "accomplices in the Zionist establishment's schemes to fragment the national Arab minority, divest it of its national identity and integrate it in the Israelization project geared to disperse the Arab existence."

It was agreed to make the strictly voluntary one-year civic service opportunities available to Arab youths, who by assisting their own communities would accrue rights to a variety of benefits available to IDF veterans. These perks are routinely pointed to by Israeli Arabs as manifestations of discrimination against them because they are not subject to conscription.

Those who planned to give Israeli Arabs advantages and new avenues of personal advancement were understandably taken aback by the hostile rebuff with which their outstretched hand was met. Unfortunately, Bishara isn't alone. Condemnation [of the program] was fast and widespread among Israeli Arab leaders...
[Jerusalem Post]

April 8, 2007 UPDATE:
Bishara will quit the Knesset

MK Azmi Bishara will resign in the coming days...

Bishara plan[s] to announce his resignation in a televised Al Jazeera interview from Jordan in the coming days... The resignation could be connected to suspicions that Bishara had violated a 2001 law forbidding political officials from traveling to enemy states.
Bishara was questioned in September 2006 for making visits to both Syria and Lebanon.
[Jerusalem Post]

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reasonable proposal

Not One Thin Dime for Abbas - Andrew C. McCarthy

Before Congress gives Abbas a dime, let's first hear him unambiguously condemn the Aqsa Brigades [who carried out the attack in Eilat] and purge them from Fatah.
(National Review)