Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jewish Judge paints Hamas terrorists as hapless victims

Goldstone Disconnect -Yossi Alpher

Justice Richard Goldstone [pictured], commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, want[s] Israel to investigate all the war crimes they attribute to its military operation in Gaza last winter. Otherwise, Goldstone threatens, a global court that tries such cases should judge Israel for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Goldstone acknowledges that the Israeli military has been looking at a number of allegations of war crimes by its personnel in Gaza. But he belittles these proceedings as grossly inadequate because the Israeli armed forces are not incriminating themselves in accordance with his standards.

The problem is that Goldstone is judging Israel on the basis of totally different rules than those Israel applies to its warfare against terrorist enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas. Customary international humanitarian law was written for wars between the armies of sovereign states. These days, in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is confronting terrorist mini-states, each of whose territory is a sovereign black hole left behind by a failed governing authority. The Goldstone commission applies laws of war that ignore the necessities of fighting a terrorist enemy that attacks civilians from bases in non-sovereign territory, hides behind its own civilian population, then displays its own civilian casualties in order to appeal for international support.

Goldstone’s rules of war forbid attacking mosques, schools and hospitals; Israel encountered mosques used as arms depots, schools as forward command posts and the main Gaza hospital as Hamas’s central command post.

The fact that the Israeli military posted a lawyer in the command headquarters of every combat unit in Gaza to ensure that civilian casualties were kept to an absolute minimum would have made no impression on Goldstone whatsoever. Israeli military lawyers and commanders were enforcing a different set of rules — the ones used by the American military at Fallujah in Iraq, by NATO in Kosovo and by the Sri Lankans in Jaffna; in Israel’s case, the ones imposed on us by Hamas.

The Lebanon front has been more or less silent since the summer 2006 war against Hezbollah, just as the Gaza front was relatively muted by Israel’s use of the military tactics Goldstone condemns. [A] quiet front means fewer casualties on both sides.
[The Forward]


Goldstone Report Ignored Israeli Evidence -Dr. Elihu Richter

I personally submitted a nine-page, annotated and referenced brief to the Goldstone Commission last July showing that the high male-female ratio of fatalities among Palestinians in Gaza argues for the combatant status of many whom human rights organizations classified as non-combatants.

However, the Commission was not driven by the evidence, but by its preset agenda.
(Jerusalem Post)

A Farcical Attempt to Paint Israel Black -Ron Prosor

The Goldstone report's lack of credibility has not gone unnoticed in all quarters. Canada, Japan and the EU all refused to support Justice Richard Goldstone's mission from the start. Even Switzerland, which has often lavished red-carpet treatment on tyrants, acknowledged that the anti-Israel bigotry of Goldstone's team made it unsupportable. Mary Robinson, the former Irish President and a fierce critic of Israel, described Goldstone's mandate as "guided not by human rights but by politics."

It is no surprise, therefore, that the report wilfully ignores the context of Israel's Gaza operation. Israeli civilians were battered for eight years by thousands of missiles from Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, hoping the missiles would stop. Instead, the attacks increased, escalating further when Hamas seized power in a brutal coup in 2007. With a million Israelis under fire, and Hamas' range increasing, Israel did what any democratic state would do. It defended its citizens.


PhotoBite: Iranian Freedom Rally

Demonstrators gathered outside the United Nations September 24 for the Stand for Freedom in Iran Rally

Friday, September 25, 2009

Obama, Sarkozy & Brown talk tough on Iran

President Obama, flanked by France's Sarkozy & Britain's Brown, sternly warns Iran

Obama blasts Iran for secret nuclear facility

President Obama accused Iran of running a secret uranium enrichment plant for years in a "direct challenge" to the international community. "It is time for Iran to act immediately by fulfilling its international obligations" to shut down the weapons programs, Obama said.

Obama was flanked by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Brown said "it's time to draw a line in the sand," against Iran's nuclear programs...

Sarkozy hinted at a military option. "Everything, everything must now be on the table," he said.

The dramatic disclosure by Obama transformed "engagement" talks with Iran scheduled to begin in Geneva next Thursday, from a feeling-out session into a showdown.
[New York Daily News]

VideoBite: Dramatic Netanyahu speech at UN attacks Ahmadinejad

The VideoBite above is just a taste of Netanyahu's dramatic UN speech. For the full text click HERE. To watch video of the speech [in three 10 minute segments] click HERE.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

VideoBite: Ahmadinejad protests

Protests greeting Iranian President, bring
Jewish-Muslim solidarity

Walk out: Ahmadinejad speaks to half-empty chamber

Ahmandinejad talks to UN General Assembly. At least 50% of delegates walked out on his talk, including the United States.

Walkout proves Israel's success

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman [said] the walkout by Western delegates, showed that Israel's diplomatic efforts were working. "Most countries of the free world got up and left, and that proves that our determination pays off," he told Army Radio.

In his speech, Iran's president assailed Israel for what he said was a "barbaric" attack on the Gaza Strip last winter, and claimed that the "brutalities in Gaza have not all been published."

In an apparent anti-Semitic reference, Ahmadinejad complained that a "small minority" controls politics, economics and culture across much of the world.

Western delegates, including those of Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, France, the UK, Italy and Germany left the chamber when Ahmadinejad accused Israel of committing a genocide in Gaza.

Representatives of the US, Israel and Canada were already outside the hall, having boycotted the speech in protest of Ahmadinejad's persistent denial of the Holocaust.
[Jerusalem Post]

Anti-Ahmadinejad commercial airs

This 30 second spot "Shame" will run nationally on CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama delivers a dud

Obama gets a cold photo op at UN meeting
but, after months of maneuvering, delivers nothing of substance

President Obama Is Learning Peacemaking Isn't Easy -Editorial

President Obama and his aides assumed that an aggressive effort by the new U.S. president would [be] welcome[d]. [T]hat hasn't proved true.

The administration concluded, wrongly, that obtaining an unconditional Israeli settlement freeze was an essential first step. In fact settlements are no longer a strategic obstacle to peace; most of the construction is in areas that will not be part of a Palestinian state.

The administration's inflexible stance led to an unwinnable confrontation with Netanyahu, turned Israeli public opinion against Obama, and prompted Palestinians to harden their own position.
(Washington Post)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Will Iran's clerics rebel?

Dissident Ayatollah Montazeri Unleashes His Wrath -Michael Theodoulou

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, 87 [pictured above], was once the heir apparent to lead Iran. Today he wields considerable moral authority as the country's highest-ranking and most fearless dissident cleric.

Last week Montazeri said Iran had become a "military regime" and that his fellow clerics had the responsibility to come out publicly against the regime and the "crimes" it had committed.

"The grand ayatollahs...know quite well the regime needs their approval for its legitimacy. They also know the regime is exploiting their silence." Hours later, three of Montazeri's grandchildren were arrested for taking part in political rallies. Four sons of three other reformist clerics were also arrested.
(The National-Abu Dhabi)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Iran street protests reappear

Opposition leader Moussavi [black suit, with glasses], attacked during Friday's protests in Iran

Iranian Opposition Turns Anti-Israel Rally into Anti-Regime Rally

Tens of thousands of opposition protesters swarmed the streets of Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan Friday, turning an annual rally in support of the Palestinians into the first major demonstration against the government of President Ahmadinejad in six weeks.

"I'll sacrifice my life for Iran," chanted protesters in the capital.

State-controlled Iranian television showed thousands of Quds Day attendees holding posters of Lebanese Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and chanting "Death to Israel," but the opposition stole the day.
(Chicago Tribune)

Activists Unite Ahead of UN Parley -Hilary Leila Krieger

When Iranian President Ahmadinejad is in New York this week, he will face an unprecedented coalition of Jewish, Iranian, labor, African-American and other activists demonstrating against his regime.

His government's brutal crackdown on dissidents has led many progressive Jews to take a more aggressive stance on Iran and helped ally non-Jewish groups with campaigns against the Iranian regime.
(Jerusalem Post)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama "headed for an iceberg"

Stuck in the Middle East -Steven J. Rosen

Eight months into his presidency, Barack Obama is fast approaching his first real moment of truth on the Middle East. At the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session, the U.S. president will host a ceremonial summit between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Then, a week later on Oct. 1, Undersecretary of State William Burns will join representatives of Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China for the first talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator to see whether an agreement can be reached to curtail President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear weapons program.

This is the diplomatic offensive that Obama promised the U.S. public last year -- the investment in "soft power" that the president's supporters deemed lacking during the George W. Bush administration. But the White House is facing tough prospects on both fronts. All that fantastical thinking about the transformative power of diplomacy is now headed straight for the iceberg that is the Middle East.

One immovable object is Abbas, who has participated in hundreds of peace negotiations over 15 years with six previous Israeli governments...Obama will be lucky if he can just keep negotiations alive for more than a few weeks.

There is yet one more wild card in all of this: Obama's door is open to advisors who want to break with Israel. Many on the left of the Democratic Party believe that Israel is the obstacle to peace and that a breakthrough could be achieved if Obama just twisted Israel's arm. Their goal is to lobby the U.S. president to "save Israel from herself" by imposing terms on Israel that the great majority of Israelis would reject.

[A]ll that is clear is that Obama's big Mideast moment is coming. Now the world waits to see what kind of U.S. president he wants to be.
[Foreign Policy]

Alexander the Great unearthed in Israel

Gemstone with Alexander The Great Discovered

An archaeological team at Tel Dor has discovered a gemstone engraved with the portrait of Alexander the Great [pictured above].

"The engraver was able to depict the bust of Alexander on the gem without omitting any of the ruler's characteristics....The emperor is portrayed as young and forceful, with a strong chin, straight nose and long curly hair," notes Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, Chair of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Haifa.

The researchers have noted that it is surprising that a work of art such as this would be found in Israel, on the periphery of the Hellenistic world.

Alexander was probably the first Greek to commission artists to depict his image – as part of a personality cult that was transformed into a propaganda tool. Rulers and dictators have implemented this form of propaganda ever since.
(Red Orbit)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

New York City Rally for Iranian Freedom; UPDATE: protests in other cities

Click on flyer above for information
on the Thursday, September 24th "Stand for Freedom in Iran Rally"
12 noon, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th Street & 2nd Avenue

Click HERE for protests in other cities

Natalie Portman & Jerry Seinfeld come to Israel's defense

Toronto Film Festival Counter Protest

Jerry Seinfeld, Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander and Lenny Kravitz are among a prominent list of
celebrities opposing a group that has criticized the Toronto International Film Festival's spotlight on Tel Aviv.

Titled "We Don't Need Another Blacklist," their statement applauds the festival's decision to spotlight Tel Aviv.

Al-Qaeda tries to hit New York City again

New York Terror Raids: Cell Plotting Attack on 9/11 Scale
-James Gordon Meek & Simone Weichselbaum

A suspected al-Qaeda cell - the first uncovered in the U.S. since 9/11 - drew round-the-clock FBI surveillance as authorities said they thwarted its plans for a major terror attack.

One of the suspects visited New York last week toting bomb-making plans after a trip to Pakistan - home to most of al-Qaeda's leadership, sources said.

"The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys," a former senior counterterrorism official said. "This is the real thing."

FBI agents swarmed into three apartments in New York this week, bashing down doors and carrying search warrants seeking bomb-making materials.
(New York Daily News)
[File photo]


Will Obama let Iran deadline pass?

What Happened to the U.S. Deadline on Iran? -Dore Gold

Iran's new proposal to the West did not provide any opening for serious negotiations on the nuclear issue. Back in July, most international observers understood that there was a hard September deadline that Iran had to meet to begin serious nuclear negotiations.

Unfortunately, at this stage, there is little evidence that the Obama administration is about to adopt effective action in a timely manner.

[T]he time for diplomatic experimentation is extremely limited.
The writer was Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-1999. He is the author of the newly-released book The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009).
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Dramatic Rescue: US Citizen freed from West Bank

U.S. Woman Rescued from Palestinian Captivity

Ten former IDF combat soldiers rescued a U.S. citizen and her two-and-a-half-year-old son from a [West Bank] Palestinian village in the Tulkarm area where they had been held captive for three years, Israel Radio revealed.

The woman, who had married a Palestinian man she met in the U.S., was prevented from leaving the house. The man's first wife and four children also live in the house.

After efforts to bring about the woman's release through the Palestinian Authority failed, the woman's parents contacted a Jewish American man who had served in a combat unit in the IDF. He contacted friends in Israel who planned the rescue operation, gathered intelligence, and carried it out successfully.

The woman and her son were transferred to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and left for Ohio.
(Jerusalem Post)

Osama bin Laden endorses Jimmy Carter

Bin Laden's Suggested Reading: Jimmy Carter

From a translation of bin Laden's latest address:

"Things will become clearer if you read what your former president, Carter, wrote about the racism of the Israelis against our kinfolk in Palestine. Upon reading, you will discover the truth."
(Ansar al-Mujahideen/Al-Qaeda)

Osama Gets Desperate -Ralph Peters

Osama bin Laden is changing his tune in a frantic attempt to get the Muslim world to pay attention again. In his new tape, Osama conveniently forgot his past claims that his movement was spawned by the presence of Christian "Crusaders" in "holy" Saudi Arabia. Now it's all about the Palestinian problem - an issue that's never topped al-Qaeda's agenda.

When you can't get applause any other way, blame the Jews.
(New York Post)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama picks one off

U.S. Kills Top Qaeda Leader -Jeffrey Bettleman & Eric Schmitt

American commandos killed one of the most wanted Islamic militants in Africa in a daylight raid in Somalia, an indication of the Obama administration’s willingness to use combat troops strategically against Al Qaeda's growing influence in the region.

Western intelligence agents have described the militant, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan [pictured above], as the ringleader of a Qaeda cell in Kenya responsible for the bombing of an Israeli hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002. Mr. Nabhan may have also played a role in the attacks on two American embassies in East Africa in 1998.

American military forces have been hunting him for years, and on Monday, around 1 p.m., villagers near the town of Baraawe said four military helicopters suddenly materialized over the horizon and shot at two trucks rumbling through the desert.

American officials confirmed that Special Operations forces, operating from a nearby American warship, participated in the helicopter raid.
[New York Times]

Iran - US talks likely

U.S. to Accept Iran's Proposal to Hold Face-to-Face Talks
-Mark Landler & David E. Sanger

The Obama administration said that the U.S. would accept Iran's offer to meet, fulfilling President Obama's pledge to hold unconditional talks despite the Iranian government's insistence that it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear program.

At the same time, administration officials said their expectations were extremely low.
(New York Times)

Rethinking Our Iran Strategy -Robin Wright & Robert Litwak

Under the current circumstances, the regime is more likely to engage in a process - largely to get the world off its back - that would not produce enduring substance or real resolution.
(Los Angeles Times)

No Dialogue with the Deaf Neighbor -Abdullah Al Shayji

The Iranians have employed these tactics for years. [A]ny dialogue with Iran will be a waste of time and nothing more than a dialogue with the deaf.
The writer is a professor of International Relations and the head of the American Studies Unit at Kuwait University.
(Gulf News-UAE)


Don't Dismiss Regime Change in Iran -John P. Hannah

It is ironic that just as the Obama administration seemed prepared to write off regime change forever, the Iranian people have made it a distinct possibility.

It would be tragic indeed if the U.S. took steps to bolster the staying power of Iran's dictatorship at precisely the moment when so many Iranians appear prepared to risk everything to be rid of it.

It would also seem strategically shortsighted to risk throwing this regime a lifeline, because nothing seems more likely to enhance the prospects for peacefully resolving the nuclear issue than the Islamic Republic's replacement by a more democratic government.
(Foreign Policy)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jon Voight spits fire at former co-star Jane Fonda in defense of Israel

Jon Voight Feuds with Fonda over Israel -Michael Posner

Actor Jon Voight [pictured above] is accusing actress Jane Fonda - his co-star in the Oscar-winning anti-Vietnam war film Coming Home - of "aiding and abetting those who seek the destruction of Israel."

In a letter released Tuesday, Voight said, "Jane Fonda is backing the wrong people again" by signing her name to a letter of protest against the Toronto International Film Festival's decision to shine a cinematic spotlight on Tel Aviv and ten Israeli filmmakers.

Voight, 71, maintains that "people like Jane Fonda and all the names on that letter are assisting the Palestinian propagandists against the State of Israel..."
(Globe and Mail-Canada)
[Photo above/right: Jon Voight & Jane Fonda in "Coming Home"]


Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th Memorial Post

Scip Barnhart's chilling 2002 tribute to 9-11

9/11 - Eight Years Later -Elliot Chodoff

The world was shocked by the events of September 11, 2001...

Eight years later, it appears that complacent amnesia has overtaken the countries that marched shoulder to shoulder just a few years ago.

The new American administration has begun, ironically, on the same foot as its predecessor, and for the same reasons. When George W. Bush entered the White House, he put the fight against terrorists on the back burner, since this had been a central theme of the Clinton Administration. Unwilling to give any credit to the defeated party, the Bush team cut back on counterterrorist activity. This shift contributed to the surprise of 9/11, as repeated warnings were either ignored or prevented from moving up the chain of command. Osama Bin Laden graphically and tragically reminded America that terrorism deserved greater attention.

The Obama Administration, seeking to distance itself from its predecessor, has repeated the errors of the early Bush Administration. This time, with a policy of “engagement”, the US is attempting to convince regimes, like Syria, that support terrorists, to change their course, so far, with little success.

[T]he move to investigate, and perhaps indict, counterterrorist agents and others for “war crimes” points to a severe case of amnesia in respect to the well-founded fears of further attacks in the days and months after 9/11.

[I]f we continue on the path of amnesia and ignorance, the terrorists will remind and teach us, using their traditionally bloody graphic methods, what we should have bothered to learn on our own.
[MidEast On Target]

Bipartisan call for "new Iran strategy"

Taking Iran Seriously -Daniel R. Coats, Charles S. Robb, & Charles Wald

Last year, a high-level Bipartisan Policy Center task force in which we participated concluded that a nuclear weapons-capable Iran would be "strategically untenable." Not only has Iran continued its nuclear program unabated, but its regime has emerged from post-election turmoil more radical than ever.

A nuclear-armed Iran would not only pose a security threat to the U.S. and its allies. It would embolden Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups, destabilize the region, upset global energy markets, and spark a wave of proliferation across the Middle East.

We understand the reluctance of Americans to consider confronting the Iranian nuclear threat, given their weariness from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continued economic hardships.

But after eight months of diplomatic overtures, numerous rebuffs and a brutal crackdown on its own people, Tehran's willingness to negotiate in good faith is subject to considerable doubt. We believe it is now time to devise a new strategy.
Mr. Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, Mr. Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, and Mr. Wald, a retired general and air commander in Operation Enduring Freedom, are authors of a new
Bipartisan Policy Center report on Iran, "Meeting the Challenge: Time Is Running Out."
(Wall Street Journal)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Israeli Humor: VideoBite

Note from the video above, that you do not need to understand Hebrew to get the humor...enjoy my friends, enjoy.

Assessing al-Qaeda: VideoBite

The fascinating video above can not be considered a "soundbite" because of it's relative length.
However, viewing it, is time well spent.

Al-Qaeda's Threat Has Not Gone Away -Andy Hayman

The magnitude and savagery of the attack eight years ago on Sept. 11 announced the arrival of al-Qaeda on the global stage - a terrorist group with the desire and capacity to mount indiscriminate suicide attacks causing mass loss of life.

Between 2003 and 2006, not a year passed without the UK being the target of a serious al-Qaeda-directed plot.

Some commentators argue that the worst is over. That is a theory I cannot buy into. The threat level has been reduced because known intelligence is telling the authorities that al-Qaeda is not as potent as it was a few years ago. But that should be seen as a short-term position. This is a lull, not a cessation.
The writer was Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at Scotland Yard.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Learning Lies: Hamas' children

Hamas and the Holocaust -Editorial

Palestinian refugee camp committees complained to the UN that a proposed change to the Gaza school curriculum "confirms the Holocaust [occurred] and raises sympathy for Jews."

The camp committees said they "categorically refuse to let our children be taught this lie created by the Jews and intensified by their media." Children in Gaza are raised on a diet of unreasoning, bitter hatred against Jews, the better to inspire them to grow up to be radicals, terrorists and suicide bombers.

Learning about the Holocaust might introduce more beneficial emotions, like empathy, understanding and compassion. Start down that road, and who knows where it could lead. Peace, perhaps.
(Washington Times)

Iran quietly docks in South America, and other moves toward superpower status

Iranian Missiles in South America? -Robert M. Morgenthau

Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [pictured above] have created a cozy financial, political and military partnership rooted in a shared anti-American animus.

Over the past three years a number of Iranian-owned and controlled factories have sprung up in remote and undeveloped parts of Venezuela - ideal locations for the illicit production of weapons.

Two of the world's most dangerous regimes will be acting together in our backyard on the development of nuclear and missile technology.
The writer, the Manhattan district attorney, adapted this from a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
(Wall Street Journal)

Venezuela to Export Gasoline to Iran -Ali Akbar Dareini

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [above right] sealed an agreement to export 20,000 barrels per day of gasoline to Iran, state TV reported.
[Note: Iran, while living in a pool of oil, can not yet refine it's own raw product, making it temporarily dependent on imported gasoline...and making it temporarily vulnerable to international sanctions.]

Iran's Revolution? -Simon Tisdall

What happened to the Iranian revolution of 2009? The hardliners won.

Ahmadinejad's reviving confidence is evident in his mockery of Western countries keen to revive talks about Iran's nuclear program. Is Iran taking Western concerns seriously? No, it is not.

Two choices remain. One is to admit the Israelis may be right in arguing that military action is the only sure way to hinder or stop Iran's nuclear advances. The other is to do nothing - and hope that Iran's repeated assurances that it does not seek the atom bomb are true.

Israeli General: "Fatah is rotten"

U.S. Training Will Not Prevent West Bank Threat -Yaakov Lappin

General Yaakov Amidror, former head of the IDF's Research and Assessment Division, said "If we leave Judea and Samaria, Hamas will overthrow Fatah again. Fatah is so rotten that no amount of U.S. training of its security personnel will help. The threat will arrive at Tel Aviv's gate."
(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hollywood spits at Israel

Jane Fonda, Danny Glover heat up anti-Israel sentiment

Some 50 celebrities, artists and filmmakers, including actors Jane Fonda [pictured above] and Danny Glover, musician David Byrne and filmmaker Ken Loach, have accused the Toronto International Film Festival of "complicity with the Israeli propaganda machine" over its spotlight this year on Tel Aviv.

The 2009 festival will present 10 films by local filmmakers on the Israeli metropolis, which each year focuses its lens on a different city.

The choice led to protests that the film festival was "staging a propaganda campaign" on Israel's behalf, given "the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program," said an open letter to festival organizers.

Among the films being screened [is] Eytan Fox's The Bubble. "Anyone who would call The Bubble pro-Israeli propaganda, when it focuses on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has a hero who falls in love with a Palestinian, is so absurd as to defy any logic," said Jerusalem Post film critic Hannah Brown.
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, September 04, 2009

What did Netanyahu get from Obama? Action on Iran?

U.S. Sees Iran More Urgent than Palestinian State -Aluf Benn

Later this month, President Obama will take the podium at the UN General Assembly and declare the resumption of the Middle East peace process.

But by presenting a two-year timetable, Obama will make it clear that dealing with Iran is more urgent than establishing an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

Next year, 2010, will be the "year of Iran." In return for advancing action on Iran, Netanyahu agreed to freeze construction in the West Bank settlements for a period of nine months, according to leaks from his talks with U.S. envoy George Mitchell.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

VideoBite: Madonna wraps herself in Israeli flag

Madonna with her daughter & Israeli flag
during the last moments of her Tel Aviv show

Madonna loves Israel: Arabs unhappy

Madonna wrapped up her world tour with two shows in Tel Aviv, but while the pop star received thunderous cheers from her Israeli public, wrapping herself in an Israeli flag at the end of both shows was a move that raised the ire of Palestinians and their supporters.

Madonna was given a large blue and white Israeli flag, apparently by someone in the front rows, minutes before the end of the shows, and wrapped it around herself.

Earlier in the shows, she said Tel Aviv was "the energy capital of the world."
[Jerusalem Post]

Dershowitz spits fire: "a pack of lies"

Can a State Be Built on a Pack of Lies?
-Alan M. Dershowitz [pictured above with ball]

The people of Gaza really believe that the Holocaust never occurred. They really believe that firing rockets at school children is God's command. They really believe that Jews are a combination of the devil, monkeys, pigs and vermin.

It is difficult to build an enduring peace on such a structure of lies. That is why the Oslo Accords insisted that the Palestinians stop teaching their children to hate, stop teaching their teachers to lie and stop inciting violence against the Jews. In this respect, the Palestinian leadership, both in Gaza and the West Bank, has been an utter failure. Not much can be expected from the Hamas leadership, but even the Palestinian Authority has failed miserably in this regard.

Israel, on the other hand, has a free and open press in which the Palestinian narrative is presented honestly and fully - indeed sometimes more favorably to the Palestinians than is warranted by the facts. It should come as no surprise therefore that far more Israelis than Palestinians favor a compromise peace.

The two-state solution cannot be built on lies.
(Hudson Institute New York)

Basic Assumptions on the Peace Process Revisited -Ron Tira

The peace process represents a legitimate strategic move, but the complement to its risks should have been the strengthening of the IDF.

Israel's military power was what created the context and motivation of leaders like President Sadat to abandon the path of war in the first place. However, Israel's leadership believed that the peace process represented a substitute for military power, and did not understand that military power was the foundation of peace.

Israel sought to cash in on the peace dividend several decades too early.
The writer is formerly the head of a unit in Israel Air Force Intelligence.
(Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Peace Dance

Back to Reality: excited about upcoming peace talks? -Shmuel Rosner

Obama, Netanyahu, and Abbas are reportedly planning to meet next month on the sidelines of a UN conference in New York.

In what has become almost an annual ritual, peace talks are "relaunched" with much fanfare and enthusiasm, only to yield little in the way of substantive progress.
(New Republic)
[Top photo: Broadway revival of Hair]


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Palestinian problem: "hopeless, but not serious"

Palestine Problem Hopeless, But Not Serious -Spengler

"The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable," declared United States President Barack Obama in his June 4 Cairo address.

Really? Compared to what?

The Palestinians are one of many groups displaced by the population exchanges that followed World War II, and the only ones whose great-grandchildren still have the legal status of refugees. Why are they still there? The simplest explanation is that they like it there, because they are much better off than people of similar capacities in other Arab countries.

The gross domestic product (GDP) show the West Bank and Gaza at US$1,700, just below Egypt's $1,900. [H]owever, GDP does not include foreign aid, which adds roughly 30% to spendable funds in the Palestinian territories.

Adjusting for the Begin-Sadat Center population count and adding in foreign aid, GDP per capita in the West Bank and Gaza comes to $3,380, much higher than in Egypt and significantly higher than in Syria or Jordan. Why should any Palestinian refugee resettle in a neighboring Arab country?

Other data confirm that Palestinians enjoy a higher living standard than their Arab neighbors. A fail-safe gauge is life expectancy. The West Bank and Gaza show better numbers [74.3 years] than most of the Muslim world.

Literacy in the Palestinian Authority domain is 92.4%, equal to that of Singapore. That is far better than the 71.4% in Egypt, or 80.8% in Syria.

Palestinian Arabs are highly literate, richer and healthier than people in most other Arab countries, thanks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the blackmail payments of Western as well as Arab governments. As refugees, they live longer and better than their counterparts in adjacent Arab countries. It is not surprising that they do not want to be absorbed into other Arab countries and cease to be refugees.

[One] alternative is for the Palestinians to continue to live off subsidies. But why should Western taxpayers subsidize an Arab in Ramallah, when Arabs in Egypt are needier?

The answer is that they represent a security concern for Western countries, who believe that they are paying to limit violence. [But] that only makes sense if the threat of violence remains present in the background and flares up frequently enough to be credible.

To contain the potential violence of an armed population, donors to the Palestinian authority hire a very large proportion of young men as policemen or police officer for every 42-70 citizens , an unprecedented concentration of police presence.

Add to this bloated police force the numerous other state security organizations as well as private militias, and it is clear that security is the biggest business in the Palestinian territories and the largest employer of young men. The number of armed Palestinian fighters is estimated at around 80,000. About one out of four Palestinian men between the ages of 20 and 40 makes a living carrying a gun.

The Palestinians cannot form a normal state. They cannot emigrate to Arab countries without accepting a catastrophic decline in living standards, and very few can emigrate to Western countries.

The optimal solution for the Palestinians is to demand a state and blackmail Western and Arab donors with the threat of violence, but never actually get one.

That is why the Palestinian issue is "hopeless, but not serious", in the words of my old mentor Norman A Bailey, a former national security official.

As long as all concerned understand that the comedy is not supposed to have an ending, the Palestinians can persist quite tolerably in their "intolerable" predicament.
(Asia Times)