Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bold move considering the neighborhood

The only Jewish woman lawmaker in Bahrain is a candidate to become this Persian Gulf kingdom's ambassador to Washington. Huda Nono, a legislator in the Shura Council, said she was among people being considered for the post. There are less than 10 Jewish families in Bahrain. Jews migrated here in the 19th century, mostly from Iran and Iraq.

If Nono was appointed, Bahrain would be the first Arab country to send a high-level Jewish diplomat to Washington. A pro-Western island nation with Sunni rulers and a Shiite majority, Bahrain is a close U.S. ally and hosts the base of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

[B]y considering Nono, Bahrain's ruler may be seeking to pave the way for opening formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
[Associated Press]

Arab Rejectionism: 2008 version...PA threatens terror

Palestinians Reject Israeli Peace Deal Map -Roni Sofer & Ali Waked

PA head negotiator Ahmed Qureia [pictured above] has rejected a[n] [Israeli] proposed map of a future agreement in which Israel would retain control of the larger settlement blocs in the West Bank as well as the Jordan River Valley and Jerusalem.

"[W]e know what our rights are and will fight for them using all means and ways. We reject any demand, any position, or any Israeli statement regarding territory outside the 1967 borders," Qureia said.
(Ynet News)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Image of Carter & Mashaal meeting emerges: but it's a fake

The very real Carter-Meshaal photo blackout just ended...sort of.
I spotted this photo of Jimmy Carter meeting with Hamas terror head Mashaal. However, it's a spoof by Aish which announces:

Shifting sands

Al-Qaeda as Enemy to the Muslim World -Walter Pincus

"More and more Muslim and Arab populations - [including] clerics and scholars - are questioning the value of al-Qaeda's program," Juan Carlos Zarate, deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, said.

Zarate said al-Qaeda "should be revealed as being at war with Muslims, especially those who do not believe as they do."

"Victims of al-Qaeda terrorism are beginning to organize and are exposing the human toll of al-Qaeda's tactics." "These challenges from within Muslim communities and even extremist circles will be insurmountable at the end of the day for al-Qaeda."
(Washington Post)

Assessing Syria

Syriana -Noah Pollak

When anything of international importance happens in or around Syria, there predictably follows a salivating at the prospect of "flipping" the Assad regime - of a peace deal with Israel, a renaissance in relations with the U.S., and a Syria that abandons, finally, its role as the Grand Central Station of terrorism in the Levant.

But if you're Bashar Assad [pictured above], why would you give up your alliance to the ascendant power in the Middle East and the connections to the terror groups that ensure your ability to dominate your neighbors?

Assad is in the enviable position of being the only Arab ally of Iran, which he believes will soon be the greatest regional power, and a nuclear one.

[O]nce Iran goes nuclear, Arab resentment will magically turn into obsequiousness.
is defined as showing servile complaisance or deference
Levant refers to the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Egypt


Assad Aide: Syria Won't Sever Iran Ties for Peace with Israel -Yoav Stern & Barak Ravid
Syria will not sever ties with Iran and Hizbullah even as part of a possible peace agreement with Israel, Dr. Samir Taqi, a senior Syrian analyst, said in an interview with Al-Manar television on Tuesday.

Israeli Leader Warns Against Golan Giveaway
- Eli Lake

Israel's deputy prime minister Shaul Mofaz said in an interview he believes the Golan Heights is a "strategic asset" and should not be relinquished to the Syrians, in part because of that country's close alliance with Iran.

"The moment that the Golan Heights gets into the Syrians' hands, it means Iran will be in the Golan Heights. Close your eyes and think about what kind of threat that is for Israel," he said.
(New York Sun)

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Wiping Gaza clean"

What does Hamas really want? -Yoram Getzler, Jerusalem

For years now, as I have been observing the process, I am convinced that only when the entire area between the Sea and the Israeli border is bulldozed clean as a baby’s ass will there possibly be a cessation to these foolish [terror] attacks.

Do they [Hamas] imagine that there will never be a government elected that will be required to respond decisively to these constant attacks. Do they not realize that elections can bring, in a flash, a new government that will understand the call of the people, and in desperation, respond massively until the possibility of attack is eliminated?

[W]hatever our response, it will be condemned by the world community. But eventually we and they should realize: there will be no alternative but to wiping Gaza clean.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Devilish deals

Voldemort, Harry Potter's devil

[S]hould [we] just talk to every devil, no matter how evil? No. There is a crucial difference between a bad man and a madman. If that line is crossed, there really isn't much sense in negotiating.

Hitler's rhetoric, fanatical anti-Semitism and palpable aggression were beyond debate, and it was self-delusion to think he could ever be remotely reasonable. The same can be said of the words and deeds of Osama bin Laden - and probably those of Ahmadinejad and Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, as well.

To deal with these detestable fanatics without any real prospects for a breakthrough serves only to legitimize and empower them.
(Washington Post)

Ross Issues Urgent Warning on Iran

By 2009, Iran "could be a nuclear power, if not a nuclear weapon state," former special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross said. If not stopped by next year, Iran will have "crossed the threshold of stockpiling fissionable material....Once they cross that threshold, we're going to be in a different ball game.

We have to approach this with a high degree of urgency. We're running out of time." Even former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami said it would "take only one bomb" to annihilate Israel, Ross said. "Can you ignore what they say?" he asked.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Carter-Meshaal photo blackout

The Carter-Meshaal photo blackout continues to baffle.

This post-meeting photo of Carter's limo was the only one I could was taken by a Hussein Malla and credited to the Associated Press.

So clearly there were photographers in the area...but oddly, no photos of a four hour Carter-Meshaal meeting...or of a handshake.

It would have been a Hamas dream to have such a photo, so it is likely that Carter himself nixed the photographers. Did Jimmy Carter worry that such a photo would bring shame to him, or his political party? Did he think McCain would use it in the general election? Did someone ask him to nix the photographers?

The AP uses the following caption for the above photo:

A member of Hamas security stands guards in front the vehicle of the former U.S president Jimmy Carter, partially seen behind the driver, as he leaves after his meeting with Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, at his office in Damascus, Syria, Friday April 18, 2008.

Carter defied U.S. and Israeli warnings and met Friday with the exiled leader of Hamas and the militant group's deputy chief, two men Washington labels as global terrorists and Israel accuses of masterminding suicide bombings and kidnappings.

Carter's 4-hour meeting with Mashaal was the first public contact between a prominent American figure and Hamas officials since the Rev. Jesse Jackson met with Mashaal in Syria in 2006.
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Below is a photo from the Jesse Jackson-Meshaal meeting in 2006...although it looks suspicious, Reverend Jackson is probably not picking his nose:

Brief backlash, or turning tide?

Gap Opens between Al-Qaeda and Allies -Josh Meyer

Al-Qaeda increasingly faces sharp criticism from once-loyal sympathizers who openly question its ideology and tactics, including attacks that kill innocent Muslims. [A]l-Qaeda's chief strategist, Ayman Zawahiri, released a 188-page Internet book to rebut complaints, particularly those saying Zawahiri and Bin Laden [pictured above] should be held accountable for violence against Muslims.
(Los Angeles Times)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Moderate Islam's newest fruit

Ex-Jihadis Form Foundation for Tolerance -Mark Rice-Oxley

They once plotted insurrection in Britain. Young, middle-class, and angry, they were the vanguard of a generation of disaffected Muslims that gave rise to the July 7, 2005 bombers.

But now, in one of the most visible assaults on political Islam, a network of ex-radicals launched a movement to fight the same ideology that they once worked to spread. The Quilliam Foundation aims to propagate a tolerant and pluralistic view of Islam.

"The ideology of Islamism has sadly become the default for political discourse among young British Muslims," says the foundation's director, Maajid Nawaz [pictured above], a former radical.
(Christian Science Monitor)

Hamas kicks Carter in rear: still no photos of Carter-Mashaal meeting

Meshaal corrects Carter's claim of a Hamas concession.
Note the total absence of photos from the Carter-Meshaal meeting.

Hamas rebuts Carter's claim of concession -Joshua Mitnick

Hamas contradicted a statement by former President Jimmy Carter that it would accept Israel's right to exist if that was the will of the Palestinian people.
[Washington Times]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sickening: Palestinian docs

Gazans Pay Doctors to Declare Them Ill -Dan Izenberg

Palestinians from Gaza bribed local doctors to declare that they were seriously ill and required treatment in Israel, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) charged.

"Recently there has been an increase in the exploitation of Israel's humanitarian policy by way of fraudulent medical permits in return for bribes to doctors in the Gaza Strip," a Shin Bet spokesman said. "[T]he requests of terrorist activists to enter Israel for medical treatment, increases the danger to state security."

The statement came in response to allegations that Israel has been preventing patients from receiving life-saving treatment.
(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carter meets Meshaal: no pictures

Jimmy Carter Meets Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal in Syria -James Hider

Former President Jimmy Carter held a controversial meeting Friday with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, the Islamist movement whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

Palestinians Attack Gaza Crossing -Isabel Kershner

Palestinian suicide bombers from Gaza drove three explosives-laden vehicles into the Kerem Shalom goods crossing on the border with Israel, detonating two of them. Three bombers were killed in the blasts and 13 Israeli soldiers were wounded.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, the fifth along the border with Israel in the last ten days.
[New York Times]

Hamas Foiled Again -Amir Oren

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's mission to see Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is placed in a particularly ludicrous light when Hamas operatives set out to take more Israeli soldiers hostage [in Saturday's attack on Kerem Shalom].

Friday, April 18, 2008

Developing Islam

A Democratic Islam? -Daniel Pipes

[I]t [is] tempting to conclude that the religion of Islam is itself incompatible with democracy. I disagree with that conclusion.

Today's Muslim predicament, rather, reflects historical circumstances more than innate features of Islam. [Islam] has the potential to evolve in a democratic direction.

In the Christian case, the battle to limit the Catholic Church's political role lasted painfully long.

[Radical] Islamists respond two ways to democracy. First, they denounce it as un-Islamic. Despite this scorn, Islamists are eager to use elections to attain power, and have proven themselves to be agile vote-getters... As [Turkey's elected radical Islamist] Erdo─čan has revealingly explained, "Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off."
[Jerusalem Post]

Israel as Rainbow

"Faces of Israel" Highlights Nation's Different Colors -Herb Keinon

Pictures of 83 white, black and yellow Israelis will blow in the Manhattan wind in May, trying to knock the often one-dimensional perception of the Israeli, and instead present the country's people as a rainbow.

[T]he campaign of huge banners featuring Israeli faces fluttering from light posts on Fifth Avenue [is] aimed at showing Americans that Israelis were just like them - a variegated, multi-ethnic, immigrant society.

The campaign is part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations in the city.
(Jerusalem Post)

PhotoBite: Matza is for everyone

[Associated Press: Tel Aviv]

Smoke on the water: Hamas gathers the tools with Carter's embrace

Carter at Arafat's grave

Iran Smuggling Arms into Gaza by Sea -Yaakov Katz & Herb Keinon

Iran has stepped up its efforts to smuggle weapons into Gaza by using floatable devices that it drops near the waters off the Gaza coast to be picked up by Palestinian fisherman.

Iran is now sending rockets and other advanced weaponry to Hamas and Islamic Jihad by sea as well as via tunnels dug under the border to Egyptian Sinai.

"They throw the weapons overboard in waterproof, sealed tubes which then float into the Gaza waters and are picked up by fishermen," one official said. "Sometimes Navy boats intercept them and sometimes they get through."
(Jerusalem Post)

Carter's Confusion -Clifford D. May

When Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in Munich, he no doubt believed he could reason with him because he also no doubt believed that the Fuhrer was a reasonable man like himself. Offer Hitler a good deal - land, power, prestige - and surely he'd take it rather than plunge his nation into a terrible war.

What this leaves out is ideology. Hitler's ideas inspired millions to fight and die for the glory of the Third Reich. And Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist ideology inspired millions to fight and die for the illusion of a Communist utopia.
(National Review)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sbarro terrorist honored by Abbas

Abbas Honors Women Who Helped Kill Israeli Civilians

The Al Kuds Mark of Honor, the PLO's highest medal, will be given to two female terrorists who helped kill Israelis, Israel Radio reported.

Mahmoud Abbas has the final say when choosing the Palestinians to be honored with the medal.

They include Ahlam Tamimi [pictured above], who drove the suicide bomber that exploded in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, killing 15 people, and Amra Muna, who seduced Ophir Rahum over the Internet and then lured him to Ramallah where he was murdered.
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rocky Mountain High: Happy Birthday Israel

Israel's Life Beyond the Headlines -John Temple

The land of Israel that I found on a spring break visit this year was bursting with energy, in the midst of a boom.

I returned home with great admiration for the energy and intensity of the people, for the feeling that, despite their differences, they are all in it together. There's a love of life, a passion for living, that's unforgettable.

As Israel approaches its 60th birthday in May, I am filled with the feeling that something special is still taking place in this sliver of a nation, something worth appreciating and supporting.
The writer is editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News.
(Denver Rocky Mountain News)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Displaying their feathers

Once We Get Jerusalem, We'll Drive Israelis Out of All of Palestine

Abbas Zaki, PA representative in Lebanon, told Lebanon's NBN TV on April 9:

The PLO "has not changed its platform even one iota....When the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Worth a thousand words

Terror wars can be won

Winning Counterinsurgency War -Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror

Contrary to popular belief, conventional armies can indeed defeat terrorist insurgencies.

This study will detail the six basic conditions which, if met, enable an army to fight and win the war against terrorism, among which are control of the ground where the insurgency is being waged, acquiring relevant intelligence for operations against the terrorists themselves, and isolating the insurgency from cross-border reinforcement with manpower or material.

It also examines the factors that can help drive a wedge between the local population and the insurgent forces seeking its support.

[I]f the U.S., Israel, or their Western allies incorrectly conclude that they have no real military option against terrorist insurgencies - out of a fear that these conflicts inevitably result in an unwinnable quagmire - then the war on terrorism will be lost even before it is fully waged.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
(World War II Poster: Winston Churchill)

Stranger than fiction

Hamas Seizing Fuel, Creating False Gas Crisis -Barak Ravid & Avi Issacharoff

Hamas seizes half the fuel Israel sends to Gaza and uses it for its military vehicles, Israeli and PA officials said Thursday.

Israeli sources said Hamas was preventing gasoline from reaching Gaza gas stations. "Hamas is trying to create a false fuel crisis in Gaza," a senior government source said. "They want to create long lines for gas and a feeling that Israel is tightening the siege on Gaza, although this is not the case," he said.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Strong Christian support for Israel

Poll: U.S. Christians Support Israel -Etgar Lefkovits

84% of Protestants (including 89% of evangelicals), as well as 76% of Catholics, said they had a "moral and biblical obligation to love and support Israel and pray for Jerusalem," according to a survey released Thursday.

While evangelical Christians are the strongest supporters of the Jewish state, strong pro-Israel convictions cut across all key Christian denominations.

49% of American Christians said they were interested in visiting Israel.
(Jerusalem Post)

A gulp moment

Five Hours at Tel Aviv Airport -Nicolien den Boer

It's 4 a.m. at Tel Aviv Airport and this is the third time I've been questioned so far. My passport has stamps from various Arab countries: Dubai, Yemen and archenemy Syria. Finally I get my passport back and am allowed to enter.

I save my complaint for the government press office in Jerusalem, where I go to pick up my press card the next day.

"Security measures," is the explanation I get from the press officer, a tired looking woman by the name of Pnina Aizenman. "What do you think it's like for us, waking up each morning and never knowing what the day will bring?" she says, clearly referring to Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians.

While Pnina's busy getting my press card ready, I take a look at the photos of children and a newspaper article on the wall behind me. The article is about a woman who lost her mother and her five-year-old child in a Palestinian suicide bombing. The name of the woman is Pnina Aizenman. I get the shivers.

"That's you," I stammer. "Yes. Do you understand now what I mean by security measures?" she replies. I suddenly feel ashamed that I've just been complaining about being kept waiting for five hours when this woman's life has been totally wrecked by a bomb.
(Radio Netherlands)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hamas rising

Hamas in Largest Arms Buildup Yet -Ethan Bronner

Hamas is engaged in the broadest and most significant military buildup in its history with help from Syria and Iran, according to a study by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an independent research group with ties to the Israeli military.

Hamas has obtained advanced anti-tank devices like those used by Hizbullah against Israel in its war in 2006, as well as powerful roadside bombs for use against Israeli vehicles. Hundreds of fighters have been trained in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

The study asserts that any kind of truce would allow Hamas to build its military structure further.
(New York Times)

The Report
(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

Carter to elevate Hamas

Former President Carter to Meet with Hamas Chief -Glenn Kessler

Former president Jimmy Carter plans to meet next week in Damascus with Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
No senior American representative, in or out of the government, has met with Hamas' leadership since it was named a terrorist group in the mid-1990s.
(Washington Post )

The Trouble with Talking to Hamas -Lee Smith

Next week Jimmy Carter is headed to Damascus to speak with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Meshaal is the man who calls the shots.

[But] Meshaal gets his marching orders from Tehran, which means that the former American president, during whose tenure the U.S. lost a pillar of its Persian Gulf security strategy to the Khomeinist revolution, will effectively be talking to a representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

[T]he 1978 Camp David accords, and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is the one foreign policy achievement the Carter White House can point to with pride. Hamas [plans] to force Cairo into a situation that would lead to it breaking the treaty with Israel. Jimmy Carter will be sitting down with [the man who] is plotting to turn his legacy into dust.
(Power Line)

Increasing Suffering for Islamist Gains -Yisrael Ne'eman

One of the pillars of Israeli security and stability in the Middle East is the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. Hamas and the Islamists must not be allowed to remove that cornerstone.
[MidEast on Target]

Gov't against Carter, Mashaal meeting -Gil Hoffman

Rep. Mark Kirk (Illinois) pleaded with Carter from the floor of the US House of Representatives not to meet with Mashaal, who he said was responsible for the murders of at least 26 Americans.

"President Carter, the voices from the grave beseech you - do not meet with the man who ordered the murder of these American citizens," Kirk said.
[Jerualem Post]

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It may not have been Israel

Syria Arrests Saudi Official Over Mughniyeh Assassination

In a move that could have far reaching consequences, Syria arrested a Saudi official in connection with the [February] assassination of top Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Report: Assad's Brother-in-Law Attempted Coup

Die Welt reports that Syrian military intelligence chief Assaf Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law, attempted to seize power by force in February, but was arrested after Hizbullah leader Imad Mugniyah informed Assad of the plot. Shawkat was detained along with a hundred other Syrian intelligence officers. Mugniyah was assassinated in Damascus days later.

(Ynet News)

Miracle by the sea

Eilat is a thriving port city and resort destination on the Red Sea. Since 1982, the local desalination plant has met all the city's water needs.

Eilat has no natural fresh water supply and the barest rainfall. Yet today Eilat is dotted with trees, decorated with flowerbeds and green grass, and awash in swimming pools.

Yossi Shmaya, manager of Eilat's desalination facility, puts it bluntly: "Without the plant, there would be no town." [A]bout 15% of Israel's usable water comes from the sea.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

VideoBite: Tribute to Charlton Heston

This 1.5 minute videobite of The Ten Commandments is posted in memory of Charlton Heston. He died on April 5th. He was 84.

Glick: Iraq is a regional conflict; Petreaus gets it

Covering for the enemy -Caroline Glick

[T]he Bush administration has finally buckled under Congressional pressure and is ready to give US lawmakers a full briefing on the September 6 IDF bombing raid against the North Korean-built nuclear installation in Syria.

[R]ather than make clear to Congress and to the US public that the war in Iraq is not an Iraqi war per se but a key battleground in a regional war in which Iran and Syria have combined forces on multiple fronts in a bid to defeat the US and its allies, the Bush administration obfuscates that central truth.

For the past five years, key administration officials have repeated the bizarre claim that Iran and Syria share the US's interest in bringing stability to Iraq...

[Thus] the administration itself holds a major portion of responsibility for the fact that five years after US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's regime, the majority of Americans believes that the US doesn't have an interest in what happens in post-Saddam Iraq and should simply remove its forces from the country at the first opportunity.

If the [Bush] administration was less concerned about obfuscating Syrian and Iranian centrality in the war, more Americans would understand why it is essential that the US not allow Iraq to fall into their hands. Indeed, a larger number of Americans would understand that Iran and Syria are waging this proxy war against coalition forces and Iraqis in a bid to advance their goal of regional dominance.

[T]he US official who has been most consistent in highlighting Iran's central role in Iraq is US Commander General David Petreaus. Petreaus, whose job it is to win the war in Iraq, apparently understand[s] what the administration has spent the past five years ignoring. [T]o secure public support to fight a long war, they need to tell the American public what the war is about, who the US is fighting and what is at stake.

[A]s it wages war against the US in Iraq and against Israel in Lebanon and Gaza, supported by its Syrian and North Korean allies, Iran moves brazenly and swiftly forward in its bid to acquire nuclear weapons. [A]s it moves, it drags the US and Israel ever closer to a great war.

[H]ow can the US be expected to handle the coming conflagration when it demurs from explaining [the] current situation to its public?
[Jerusalem Post]

Arab American: "I am ashamed"

Arabs Must Take a Look in the Mirror -Emilio Karim Dabul

Without the ability to look inward, Arab blame for problems is projected outward, at Israel and the U.S. By having such a pathological, externally focused sense of blame, aimed exclusively at Americans and Jews, no sense of reasoning or decency applies.

Gaza celebrated - yes, celebrated - the cold-blooded and ethnically motivated massacre of yeshiva students in Jerusalem, most of whom were teenagers, by a Palestinian Muslim. Why are we, as Arabs and Arab-Americans, not lining the streets in Ramallah and all the way to New York to decry this sort of barbarism?

Let me say unequivocally that I am ashamed. And I am angry. Nothing, nothing in the world justifies these sorts of actions. Tell me, when have you ever heard of Israelis celebrating the killing of Palestinians?

At this point in Arab history, we must finally renounce these fatally flawed tendencies to blame everyone but ourselves. Let us begin anew the path toward our own glorious Renaissance abandoned long ago, and pursue the higher road that will be ours when we finally look more deeply and critically at ourselves.
(New York Daily News)

Assessing Abbas

An Abbas of Failure -Barry Rubin

Consider PA leader Mahmoud Abbas' March 29 speech to the Arab summit in Damascus. According to Abbas, Israel's aggression is unprovoked. He speaks of "barbaric attacks, causing hundreds of defenseless victims," and its evil intent to "undermine the possibility of reaching a peace agreement." He ignores constant attacks on Israel from Gaza and offers no credible way to deal with them. Hamas (and elements in Fatah) attack Israel, Israel responds, and Abbas cites this as proof that Israel doesn't want peace and that negotiations cannot succeed.

We've become so used to this behavior that we forget there's an alternative. Abbas could say: "Israel is ready to make peace with us if we prove we'll keep our pledges. Let's defeat the radical Islamists, stop the attacks on Israel that breed conflict, end incitement, reform our own regimes, and get an independent state."

Israel needs to work with Abbas and keep him afloat as the lesser of two evils. But Abbas is incapable of making peace.

By not demanding and getting PA concessions, and by giving money unconditionally, the U.S. and the West ensure not only that peace will fail but that there will be decades of conflict ahead.
(Jerusalem Post)

Kissinger: radicals play on weakness of MidEast states

The Three Revolutions -Henry A. Kissinger

The declining role of the state in the Middle East is inherent in the way those states were founded. Unlike the European states, their borders did not reflect ethnic principles or linguistic distinctiveness but the balances between the European powers.

Radical Islam threatens the already brittle state structure in the region via a fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran as the basis of a universal political organization. Jihadist Islam rejects national sovereignty based on secular state models; it seeks to extend its reach to wherever significant populations profess the Muslim faith.

The U.S. does not have the option of withdrawal. We can retreat from any one place, such as Iraq, but only to be obliged to resist from new positions, probably more disadvantageously. Even advocates of unilateral withdrawal from Iraq speak of retaining residual forces to prevent a resurgence of al-Qaeda or radicalism.

[T]he Middle East does not fit the nation-state model and faces a religiously motivated revolution...
(Washington Post)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Great Poster celebrating Israel's 60th

Sderot: Israel's future?

A Town Under Fire Becomes a Symbol for Israel -Ethan Bronner

Sderot, an Israeli town a mile from Gaza, has been pounded by Palestinian rockets for the past seven years.
Sderot is a bitter sample of what more distant parts of Israel may face if the threat here is ignored.
(New York Times)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Rice puts Israelis in danger

Taking Calculated Risks for Abbas -Yaakov Katz

On Monday, IDF troops began dismantling the Rimonim checkpoint in the West Bank. Less than five hours later, and 15 kilometers away, a Palestinian tried to stab hitchhikers near Shilo.

The sequence of events demonstrates the risks involved in altering the tight security envelope the IDF has created in the West Bank. From a military perspective, the checkpoints are a crucial tool in the war against terror, with troops catching Palestinians on a daily basis trying to cross them carrying weapons or explosives.

As demonstrated by the list of gestures that Defense Minister Barak presented Secretary of State Rice with on Sunday, Israel's primary objective is to bolster Mahmoud Abbas. But bolstering Abbas comes with a degree of danger.
(Jerusalem Post)

Terrorism Created Need for Roadblocks -Julie Stahl

Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror said West Bank roadblocks wouldn't exist if the Palestinians hadn't started using terrorism. Because terrorists cannot be distinguished from civilians, the only way to block an infiltration into Israel is by using physical barriers, he said.

In the 1970s, there was not a single roadblock in the West Bank. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians worked freely inside Israel every day without passing any checkpoints, he said. "[The roadblocks] were needed only after Oslo, when the Palestinians became rulers of themselves."
(CNS News)

Impotent international community

Isn't it strange that thus far not a single truly painful and serious economic sanction has been leveled against Iran? Iran may be one of the largest producers of oil, but it is a big consumer of refined petroleum products that it does not itself produce. One can only imagine what would happen in that country were it to be denied refinery products in one fell swoop.

Saudi father murders daughter

Saudi Woman Killed for Chatting on Facebook -Damien McElroy

A young Saudi Arabian woman from Riyadh was murdered by her father after she was discovered in the middle of an online conversation with a man on the social network site Facebook.

Phillips: "genocidal hysteria" - Toameh: "don't hold your breath"

The War Against the Jews -Melanie Phillips

Palestinian children are taught from the cradle to hate and to murder Jews. This Nazi-style indoctrination in hatred of the Jews and incitement to murder, fired by the rocket fuel of purportedly divine authority to produce mass genocidal hysteria, is the real cause of the Middle East impasse. Yet such continuous incitement scarcely figures in the deliberations of a Western world determined to force Israel into a "compromise" with those who would destroy it.

Arab-Israeli Journalist: Education is Peace Key -Anastasia Strgar

In light of the continuing stalemate, Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh [pictured above] told a University of Oregon audience he believes that change must come from teaching the next generation of children not to hate their neighbors.

One audience member asked how many generations will need to be educated before peace can ever be found; he replied, at least two, if not three.
(University of Oregon Daily Emerald)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The face of Moderate Islam in America

Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim, a professor of law at Emory University, tells his co-religionists that a secular state and human rights are essential for all societies so that Muslims and others can practice their faith freely. "I need the state to be neutral about religious doctrine so that I can be the Muslim I choose to be."

He helped organize the first "Muslim Heretics Conference" in Atlanta over the weekend to discuss issues related to sharia (Islamic law), democracy, and women's rights - and how to cope with dissent and its consequences.

While a law student at the University of Khartoum in 1967, Naim heard a talk by a Sufi Muslim thinker, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. "That lecture turned my life around," he says.

The essence of the Sufi's message had been that certain verses in the Koran represented the universal, eternal message of Islam, while others were relevant to a particular historical context and no longer viable.
(Christian Science Monitor)

The Talk-To-Hamas Chorus

There is a specter haunting diplomatic groupthink today in the U.S. that holds that where there is a problem, there must be American and international "engagement." A problem with Iran? Engage Iran. With Syria? Engage Syria. Blockage in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations? Well, let's try something different and talk to Hamas.

But almost never does anyone think this through. Negotiating with Hamas will also mean indirectly negotiating with Iran and Syria. Does the international community really want to bargain with Iran and Syria to resolve the Palestinian conflict? Do Damascus and Tehran have any aim other than to use Palestinians to advance their own agendas?

[W]hat do those engaging Hamas get in exchange for doing so? After all, Hamas would be rewarded by recognition; but what would it be willing to give up? To avoid imposing on Hamas the condition of recognition that it imposed on the PLO in the past seems absurd.
(Washington Post)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Al-Qaida predicts US exit from Iraq

Al-Qaida No. 2 vows group will attack Jews across world -Associated Press

Al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahri pledged that the group would attack Jews in Israel and throughout the world.

"I expect the Jihadi influence to spread after the Americans' exit from Iraq, and to move towards Jerusalem," he said to those asking when attacks on Israel would take place.

Zawahri also addressed the issue of al-Qaida's founder, Osama bin Laden, assuring supporters that the reclusive leader was in good health.
[Jerusalem Post]

Comparative refugees

U.S. Congress Recognizes Jewish Refugees -Shlomo Shamir

According to the unprecedented resolution, U.S. officials involved in Middle East peace negotiations which also reference the Palestinian refugee question are [mandated] to "also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

"Jewish refugees outnumbered Palestinian refugees, and their forced exile from Arab lands must not be omitted from public discussion on the peace process," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

The Palestinian Refugee Issue: Rhetoric vs. Reality -Sidney Zabludoff

Number of Jewish refugees in 1948 and following years:
close to 1,000,000.
Number of Palestinian refugees in 1948:
550,000, plus 100,000 in 1967.

Jewish refugees' assets lost in Middle East and North Africa:
$6 billion.
Palestinian refugees' assets lost:
$3.9 billion.
(Jewish Political Studies Review)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hamas: no color for women

Hamas police and supporters beat professors and students of Al Azhar University, wounding several, witnesses said. The school has been raided five times since Hamas took control of Gaza.

A number of female students were attacked by outsiders, many armed with clubs. The women who were wounded were all wearing colorful headscarves, in deference to Islamic rules of modesty, but not the more conservative uniform worn by female students at the nearby Islamic University that is run by Hamas.
(New York Times)