Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Israel Fund bolsters Israel's enemies

The New Israel Fund Needs To Set Red Lines -Diane Meskin

The New Israel Fund funds highly problematic groups in Israel, some of which unapologetically promote the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state. Indeed, some of these groups are among the grantees that receive the largest sums of money from NIF — a fact about which many NIF donors are likely unaware.

Adalah, which was granted $510,150 by NIF in 2008, had the previous year drafted a “Democratic Constitution” that calls for the erasure of Israel’s Jewish character. It calls for implementing the right of return for Palestinian Arabs, while doing away with Israel’s Law of Return for Jews. More recently, Adalah’s staffers were listed as “principal contributors” to a pseudo-academic study which concludes that Israel’s “occupation of [Palestinian] territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

Another NIF grantee, Mada al-Carmel (which was allocated $200,000 in 2008) co-sponsored [a] November 2009 conference with two other NIF grantees [which] was publicized with an inflammatory poster showing an Israeli soldier reaching suggestively toward the chest of a Palestinian woman with the caption: “Her husband needs a permit to touch her. The occupation penetrates her life everyday.”

Mada al-Carmel also was behind the 2007 “Haifa Declaration,” which claims that Israel’s “policies of subjugation and oppression” are “in excess of those of the apartheid regime in South Africa” and accuses Israel of “exploiting” the tragedy of the Holocaust to “legitimize the right of the Jews to establish a state at the expense of the Palestinian people.”

Anticipating criticism of some of the most controversial grantees, NIF’s CEO, wrote in The Jerusalem Report: “We don’t support everything these organizations say, but we strongly support their right to say it.”

I also support “their right to say it.” Israel is a democracy, after all. But this is not the same as helping them “say it” with grants of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
[The Forward]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Obama hits Israel again over Tombs

Joseph's Tomb destroyed by Palestinian mob in 2000, after control of the area was given to the Palestinian Authority

U.S. Slams Israel over Heritage Sites -Matthew Lee

The Obama administration criticized Israel for designating the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the matriarch Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as Israeli national heritage sites.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as "provocative" and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the negotiating table. He said U.S. displeasure had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.
(AP-Washington Post)

Peres: Palestinians Creating "Artificial Conflicts"

Responding to recent Palestinian criticism of Israel's move to add West Bank sites to Israel's national heritage list, President Shimon Peres said that the Palestinians were trying to create an artificial conflict.

Peres [said] that the decision was a positive step, made in order to preserve the holy sites. He said Israel will invest resources to build infrastructure to increase worshippers' access to the sites, and that Israel will continue to respect all religions and allow complete religious freedom to everyone.

See also Netanyahu: We're Renovating for Muslims as Well
(Ynet News)


West silent on Palestinan sleazocracy

PA Still Stealing "Hundreds of Millions" -Khaled Abu Toameh

Donor countries have yet to respond to revelations by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh that some of Mahmoud Abbas' close aides had siphoned off to private bank accounts hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for financial aid to the Palestinians.

"Don't the Americans, Europeans and Arabs care about their money that is being stolen? If they continue to turn a blind eye to the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will eventually take over the West Bank the same way they took the Gaza Strip," he says.

A former PA minister convinced Abbas and Arafat to give him about $5 million of international aid so that he could purchase land in Jerusalem "before Jews lay their hands on them." Shabaneh's investigations showed that the minister deposited most of the money in his private bank account and built a huge, luxurious villa on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Shabaneh also discovered that a former PA finance minister had deposited $8 million in his private bank account.

Shabaneh is now "wanted" by the PA on charges of "collaboration with the Israeli enemy."
(Hudson Institute New York)

Netanyahu moves Italian Prime Minister to tears

Silvio Berlusconi [pictured above] was reduced to tears when Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to the Italian prime minister's mother for saving a Jewish child from arrest and deportation.

Mr Berlusconi, who was visiting Jerusalem appeared to wipe away tears when the Israeli leader recalled how Rosa Berlusconi, who died in 2008 at the age of 97, saw a German policeman trying to arrest a Jewish girl on a train in Milan.

"The Italian woman, who was then eight months pregnant, stood between the policeman and the girl. And without a grain of fear, she confronted the German policeman and said to him: 'You can kill me, but look at the faces of the people on the train, I promise you they won't let you get out alive'," Mr Netanyahu said.

"With this firm statement, the Italian woman saved the Jewish girl and lit, if only for a moment, a ray of humanistic light and bravery in the great darkness that pervaded all of Europe."

"That brave woman was named Rosa, and one of her sons is named Silvio Berlusconi, today the prime minister of Italy."

Mr Berlusconi wiped his hand across his eye and nodded in appreciation as Mr Netanyahu and Israeli MPs applauded.

"I am moved and thank the prime minister for recalling an episode involving my mother, who in that moment expressed the feelings of all Italian women," he said.

In true Italian style, Mr Berlusconi idolised his mother and devoted a chapter to her in a biography of his life that he sent to every Italian household while campaigning for re-election in 2001.
[Hat tip: VictoriaS]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Betraying Hamas: a brave Muslim speaks out

Hamas Founder's Son Worked for Israel Security Agency -Avi Issacharoff

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank, served for over a decade as the Israel Security Agency's most valuable source inside the organization's leadership, Ha'aretz has learned.

During the second intifada, the intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California. His memoir, Son of Hamas, will be released next week in the U.S.

Yousef's former handler says, "So many people owe him their life and don't even know it." "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money....He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives."

Yousef says: "Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire....The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis." "Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does."


A cartoon worth a thousand words

Livni: Support Israel's Effort to Fight Terrorism -Gil Hoffman

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called upon the international community to support Israel's effort to fight terrorism, saying that any comparison between terrorism and those fighting it is immoral.

Noting that U.S. forces in Afghanistan accidentally killed 27 civilians on Monday, she said it must be made clear that the world supports armies that are fighting terrorists, and not terrorists who target innocent civilians.
(Jerusalem Post)

Where Is Goldstone Now? -Eitan Haber

Earlier this week, NATO forces hit several vehicles in Afghanistan and killed 27 innocent Afghanis, including four women and a child. A short while ago, 13 other innocent Afghanis were killed after a missile mistakenly targeted a residential home instead of a Taliban position.

Now we a have a small question: Where are you, Goldstone?

No one should misunderstand and take these words to mean that we endorse misguided lethal fire. We are merely opposed to the hypocrisy of the world.
(Ynet News)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bible comes to life in Israel find

Archaeologist Finds Jerusalem Wall Matching Biblical Story
-Nir Hasson

A team of Israeli archaeologists has announced the discovery of a massive wall they say dates to the 10th century BCE in [a] Jerusalem's park [near] the Temple Mount.

The dig director, Dr. Eilat Mazar [pictured], dates the wall according to potshards found nearby, to the period of King Solomon and the major period of construction in Jerusalem in the First Temple period, as described in the Bible.

Along with the wall, which is 10 meters high and 70 meters long, other structures were found, including a monumental gatehouse and a tower. "This is the first time a structure has been found that could conform to descriptions of King Solomon's construction in Jerusalem," Mazar says.
[Hat Tip: LarryH]


Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elimination of Mahmoud brings Deterrence

Israel Is Back -Guy Bechor

The glory of Israel's secret services has been restored and the fear of them has increased. People in the region are telling themselves: "Israel is back."

It disappeared for about a decade and a half when it was perceived as weak, yet now it is back at full force.

This is called deterrence.
(Ynet News)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who killed Mahmoud?

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the butcher of Hamas, was cut down in Dubai. Who took him out is quite mysterious and a matter of some controversy

The Test Is in the Results -Eitan Haber

Let's assume for the moment that the [Israeli] Mossad indeed eliminated the arch-terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh [pictured] in Dubai.

Let's assume that the Mossad operatives were revealed. This is not an embarrassment, it is an impressive achievement. A bitter enemy was killed, not a single operative was arrested.
(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)

Dubai Hit Was Not a Botched Job -Yaakov Lappin

Irrespective of who carried out the assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, the operation was meticulously planned and successfully executed, and despite a surprisingly impressive investigation by Dubai police, the hit cannot be considered a botched job.

Mabhouh oversaw the smuggling of Iranian long-range rockets into Gaza, enabling Hamas to threaten the Tel Aviv region, home to more than three million Israelis.

In a video made two weeks before his death and broadcast on Al-Jazeera earlier this month, Mabhouh [bragged] he had kidnapped and murdered two IDF soldiers in 1989. Mabhouh said he had disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew during the attack.
(Jerusalem Post)

Hamas Official Accused of Helping Dubai Hit Squad -Ian Black, et al

Palestinian sources in the Gulf confirmed that Nahro Massoud, a Hamas security official, was under arrest in Syria on suspicion of having helped a hit squad identify Mahmoud al-Mabhouh before he was assassinated in Dubai.

Palestinian Intelligence Linked to Dubai Killing -Avi Issacharoff

Ahmad Hasnin, a Palestinian intelligence operative, and Anwar Shekhaiber, an employee of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, were arrested in Jordan in connection with the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

I Can't Help Admiring Israel's Nerve -Melanie Reid

I should be wearing black and uttering pieties about the disgraceful "extrajudicial" killing of Hamas military chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who is rumored to have played a key role in smuggling Iranian-funded arms to Islamist militants in Gaza.

All nice people, quite rightly, are adopting the proper moral stance and expressing outrage and disgust at this affront to international law and justice.

But the rest of us...well, we simply can't wait until the movie comes out.

What the secret agents did was compelling and breathtaking in its cleverness. It is an unfashionable thing to say, but I have a considerable admiration for the Israeli way of doing things. They perceive someone as their deadly enemy, they kill them. They get hit, they hit back.

This absolutism, based on their history, carries its own moral weight; one that is rather electrifying in a Western world grown flabby with niceties.

Clearly, the Israelis could defend their policies if they wanted to, but they quite simply can't be bothered. It's a waste of breath. One admires them for that, too.

Maybe we need the Israelis to remind us that the world is not made according to our template.


Did Britain Know in Advance about Hit?

Intelligence sources say Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was lured to a meeting in Dubai by two men who had worked with him in Hamas in Gaza. He did not realize they had defected to Fatah, bitter enemies of Hamas, and were secretly working with the Israelis.
(Daily Mail-UK)


Clinton Reveals: No teeth in Iran policy

Clinton: U.S. Has No Plan for Military Action Against Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country has no plan for military action against Iran over its nuclear program. "Obviously, we don't want Iran to become a nuclear weapons power, but we are not planning anything other than going for sanctions," she told Al-Arabiya television.

Sanctions Alone Won't Stop Iran -Emily Landau

At the end of September, when the enrichment facility that was built near the Iranian city of Qom was disclosed, President Obama insisted that the situation was serious, and that if Iran did not alter its path there would be consequences. But there weren't.

In October, Secretary of State Clinton warned that the U.S. would not wait forever. In the meantime, however, the U.S. is waiting. The end of the year deadline that Obama set for evaluating diplomatic progress on Iran also came and went. And if we assume that ultimately there will be sanctions, so what?

[T]here is no sign that the Obama administration intends to mobilize the necessary political muscle to lead such a process. Without genuine American determination, there is no prospect of preventing the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons.
The writer is an associate at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University


Saudis: Solution to Iran Needed - Michael Young

It is painfully obvious that the international community has no idea how to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration is right to hesitate about going to war against Iran, but it is wrong to take the option off the table so explicitly. Doing so may actually make a military confrontation more likely by persuading the Iranian regime that it can pursue uranium enrichment with impunity.
(The National-UAE)

Clinton: Sanctions May Be Months Away -Lachlan Carmichael

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it could take months for new UN sanctions against Iran, appearing to back away from her contention before the Senate that a new resolution could be obtained in the "next 30 to 60 days."

What Does the U.S. Stand For in the Middle East? -Michael Young

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly declared that the U.S. would not use force against Iran. [F]or Clinton to rule out such an action so bluntly was not the best use she could have made of American military superiority.

Indeed, it clarified a situation that the Obama administration should not have clarified.
(Daily Star-Lebanon)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Washington Times: US "dawdling" enables Iran

American Dawdling Allowed the Mullahs to Get the Bomb

Iran has emerged as a nuclear state.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced that Tehran has the capability to produce weapons-grade uranium.

It is a measure of Western impotence that the U.S. went to war with Iraq in 2003 to prevent the very things Iran is announcing with pride in 2010. Had Saddam Hussein made the same claim, the question over weapons of mass destruction would have been settled at once.

Discussion swirls around various forms of sanctions: smart sanctions, focused sanctions, effective sanctions, sanctions that bite. However, there is no reason to think that any sanctions regime will dissuade Tehran.

The limited courses of action being discussed in Washington are irrelevant. The Iranian nuclear issue will be decided by others. Tehran will pursue its revolutionary interests. Israel will act to guarantee its national survival. Other states in the region will do what they need to do as events unfold.

The United States should begin planning for the inevitable. Conflict is coming; it won't be managed away.
(Washington Times)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Iranian opposition: a dud

Opposition in Iran Meets a Crossroads on Strategy -Robert F. Worth

Many of Iran’s opposition supporters expected last Thursday to be a moment of climactic triumph, with calls for a vast street protest on the 31st anniversary of the country’s Islamic Revolution.

Instead, the protest was disappointingly small — constrained by arrests, intimidation and simple crowd control — and overshadowed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s boasts about Iran’s nuclear program.

Many in the opposition have concluded that their lack of clear leadership, and their reliance on exiles who work through the Internet — factors that provided crucial resilience in the waves of brutal government crackdowns last summer and fall — may now be holding them back.

“A protest movement without a proper relationship with its own leaders is not a movement,” wrote an anonymous blogger. “It is no more than a blind rebellion in the streets which will vanish sooner than you can imagine.”
[New York Times]

VideoBite: Iran edging towards nuke

Video report on Iran's trek towards nuclear capacity

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Glick accuses Obama of "abandoning Israel"

Abandoning Strategic Sanity -Caroline Glick

[E]ven as Iran’s top leaders said they were expanding their illicit uranium enrichment activities, Obama wouldn’t admit that [his engagement policy] has failed.

The most he would do was acknowledge that the regime’s leaders “have made their choice so far, although the door is still open.” As for sanctions, well, Obama said it will take “several weeks” to put those together.

The distressing truth is that Obama’s aim has never been to prevent Teheran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

As one senior administration official told The New York Times, the purpose of the sanctions talk is to get the Iranians to agree to negotiate. As he put it, “This is about driving them back to negotiations, because the real goal here is to avoid war.”

Got that?

As far as Obama is concerned, Iran with nuclear weapons isn’t the main concern. Israel using force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is the main concern.

Obama’s failure to prevent Iran from moving forward with its nuclear program, and his stubborn refusal to support an Israeli move to deny Iran the ability to threaten Israel and global security, place Israel and core US national security interests in unprecedented jeopardy.
[Jerusalem Post]
[Note: Ms. Glick's piece paints controversial conservative Sarah Palin as a sincere friend of Israel. Such partisan material is beyond the interest of this blog. However, Ms. Glick's critique of President Obama is unique and thus blog-worthy]


When Muslims confront Muslims: moderates find their voice

Muslims Confront Islamism -David J. Rusin

French imam Hassen Chalghoumi recently learned firsthand that Islamists despise non-Islamist Muslims as much as they do anyone else.

Chalghoumi attracted their ire by coming out strongly in favor of a ban on face-covering veils, a prohibition that is moving closer to reality. Echoing [French] President Nicolas Sarkozy, he described the niqab as a "prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination" that "has no place in France."

Islamist reaction to his comments was swift and fierce, with a gang of nearly a hundred men storming his Paris mosque during a meeting: "They started to cry 'Allah akbar' and 'God is great,'" recounted Chalghoumi. "Then they insulted me, my mosque, the Jewish community, and the [French] republic. They left after an hour and a half."

According to a member of the Conference of Imams, the mob condemned Chalghoumi as an apostate and threatened him with "liquidation, this imam of the Jews."

Undeterred by this atmosphere of intimidation, many other Muslims have gone on offense against radicalism in recent months. Among them:

*The Muslim Canadian Congress called on lawmakers to ban the niqab, declaring it a "political issue promoted by extremists" that "has absolutely no place in Canada."

*The liberal Norwegian Muslim group LIM challenged fellow Muslims to rally in defense of free speech after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's home was attacked.

*Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Sufi Muslim organization operating in the UK, issued a fatwa against suicide bombings, labeling them "totally un-Islamic" and "violations of human rights."

As the above examples suggest, at the core of the resurgent jihad is a conflict between [differing] interpretation[s] of Islam. The fate of two worlds — the Western and the Islamic — will be shaped profoundly by the outcome.
[Islamist Watch]

Netanyahu turns visionary: Israel yawns

Netanyahu Picks the Right Topic -Michael Bar-Zohar

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at this year’s Herzliya Conference surprised Israelis by choosing to devote the bulk of his February 3 address not to Iran or to relations with the Palestinians — but rather to education.

Specifically, he spoke at length about “educating children about the values connected to our identity and heritage, teaching children to know our people’s history, educating young people and adults to deepen our ties to one another and to this place [Israel].”

Netanyahu discussed the urgency of connecting Israelis to Jewish and Zionist history, of studying the Bible, of encouraging visits to sites of national importance and of enabling Israelis to hike and explore their country. “A people must know its past in order to ensure its future,” he said.

The response from the pundits was predictable:
Ridiculous! Irrelevant! Lame! Covering the conference for Tablet, Judith Miller described reactions to Netanyahu’s speech as “angry” and “furious.” According to journalist Lisa Goldman, one conference organizer remarked, “That was embarrassing.”

But if Netanyahu’s speech is cause for “embarrassment,” it only shows how far some of his critics have fallen from the ideals of those who founded and built the state.

Israel’s founders realized the importance of education in the forging of the new nation. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion [pictured at right], hosted a weekly Bible study group and often met with academics, philosophers and writers to discuss the contributions of the Jewish people to the world.

Ben-Gurion is gone, and his successors didn’t carry on his efforts to instill Jewish and Zionist values in the younger generations. Some believed that Zionism naturally flowed in the veins of every young Israeli, and that such efforts were thus superfluous. Others were of the opinion that education in Jewish values was too nationalistic, and that it would be better to concentrate on universal rights.

The Israeli media, cynical, nihilistic and often vicious, contributed to the fading of the idealistic — and often endearingly na├»ve — beliefs of the state’s founding generations.

The results are clear: We have seen a drop in Zionist motivation and a legitimization of emigration from Israel, with 35% of Israeli youths saying in a 2007 poll that they would consider moving abroad. Growing numbers of Israelis — including popular actors, singers and sports figures — evade military service. Worst of all, there has been an erosion in our certitude in the righteousness of our cause and a diminishing of the feeling that we can be proud of our state, of our army, of our national institutions.

In the last poem he wrote before his death, Israel’s national poet, Nathan Alterman, described Satan’s efforts to destroy the people of Israel:

Then Satan said: I will not take his strength/Nor fetter nor restrain him/I will not weaken his will/Nor dampen his spirit/This will I do: Dull his brain — until he forgets that justice is his.”

A return to strong Zionist motivation is possible only through education.

The Iranian menace is real and ominous; Syria’s threats are distressing; the Palestinians’ reluctance on peace talks is disturbing; the Goldstone Report is revolting. But in order to face these dangers we need to have a highly motivated nation, aware of the miraculous nature of her revival in her land, dedicated to the goals of Zionism and to eternal Jewish values.
Michael Bar-Zohar is the official biographer of David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres and a former member of the Knesset
[The Forward]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Palestinian Sleazocracy

PA Issues Arrest Warrant for Anti-Corruption Whistleblower
-Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinian Authority issued a warrant for the arrest of former intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh for "collaboration" with Israel.

Shabaneh, who was in charge of the anti-corruption unit in the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, was forced to quit his job after revealing dozens of cases of financial, administrative and sexual corruption among PA leader Mahmoud Abbas' inner circle.

Shabaneh presented the Jerusalem Post with hundreds of documents implicating many of Abbas' close aides in embezzlement, land theft and fraud.

He also showed video footage of Rafik Husseini, the director of Abbas' bureau, in the bedroom of a Christian woman from Jerusalem who had sought work with the PA.

Shabaneh said that he decided to talk to the Post after Palestinian, Arab and foreign media organizations refused to interview him out of fear of being "punished" by the PA.
(Jerusalem Post)


Rafiq Husseini says he's a victim of Israeli conspiracy

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has suspended one of his top aides under investigation for allegations of being involved in a sex scandal.

Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, said that a three-member committee will check out the conduct of Rafiq Husseini, accused of seeking to trade influence for sex.

Footage of Husseini undressing, getting into bed and calling a woman to join him were broadcast on Israeli TV last week, sending shock waves through conservative Palestinian society.

[T]he former Palestinian intelligence officer who secretly took the footage in collusion with the unidentified woman said that he does not trust the commission of inquiry because one if its members was implicated in a corruption scandal.
[Associated Press]

"Fatahgate" -Khaled Abu Toameh

By telling Palestinians that the current sex scandal in the PA is an Israeli "conspiracy" to weaken Mahmoud Abbas and force him to make political and territorial concessions, the Palestinian leaders are generating still more hatred among Palestinians against the Jewish state.

Rafik Husseini, was caught with his pants down in the bedroom of an Arab woman and, of course, it's the Jews' fault.

The Palestinian Authority's claim that the Israelis are behind the latest sex scandal in Ramallah should be seen in the context of the campaign of incitement that began under Yasser Arafat against Israel and Jews, and what dictators use to "change the subject" at home.
(Hudson Institute New York)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Does Obama have what it takes to take on a belligerent Iran?

Obama's Bid to Defuse Nuke Standoff -David E. Sanger

As President Obama adds economic pressure and military containment to force Iran's leadership to negotiate on its nuclear program, he is betting that he can win global agreement on a set of sanctions that are strong enough to convince Iran that its nuclear ambitions are not worth the price.

But "isolating" a country diplomatically does not necessarily translate into changing its behavior. North Korea, Cuba and Myanmar have been economically isolated for decades, with little effect.
(New York Times)

Iran Claims New Success in Uranium Enrichment
-Alan Cowell & Michael Slackman

President Ahmadinejad was quoted Thursday as saying his country had produced a first batch of uranium enriched to a level of 20%, taunting the West.

Iran, he said, was now "a nuclear state."
(New York Times)


Tehran Has Little Reason to Fear Sanctions - Ulrike Putz

President Ahmadinejad allowed every ultimatum to expire, and each time he came away without so much as a scratch.

The Iranians' tactics are always the same. First, they give the impression they are going to make concessions. But then they just continue as before.

Without a military option, which the West has repeatedly ruled out, Iran feels safe. And the Islamic Republic is likewise not at all concerned about economic sanctions - a sentiment, say Iran observers, that is not only justified, but backed by decades of experience.

Officials in Washington are all too familiar with the fact that the Iranians have become masterful at navigating their way around trade restrictions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently conceded that the U.S. economic embargo against Iran was "leaky."
(Der Spiegel-Germany)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Will there be an Iranian bloodbath?

Will Tehran Choose the Tiananmen Solution? -Amir Taheri

On Feb. 11, the anniversary of the Khomeinist seizure of power, two rival marches will be held to mark the anniversary and we will learn how much blood the regime is willing to spill on Iran's streets. The more radical elements within the Revolutionary Guard have publicly argued for a "Chinese solution" - a bloodbath modeled on the Tiananmen massacre of students in Beijing in 1989.

Yet during the past few weeks, more than a dozen top ayatollahs, including some close to the regime, have publicly broken with it, warning against any bloody repression.
[Picture above is probably a Photoshop creation, but its existence is newsworthy]


Iran's Revolution Devoured by Its Own Children - Saba Farzan

The Islamic Republic is now preparing for a hard crackdown on Thursday's expected anti-government protests. Dictators in panic always resort to violence. But so far the regime's brutality has not silenced these brave Iranian protesters. Despite the beatings and killings, they have not given up on their goal to end this tyranny.

History is on their side, as no tyranny lasts forever.
(Wall Street Journal)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Arab woman soldier in the Israel Defense Force

A Female Arab Combat Soldier in the IDF -Chen Kotas Bar

IDF Cpl. Elinor Joseph was born in Gush Halav in the Galilee to an Arab Christian family. Her father served as a paratrooper in the IDF. She identifies herself as "Arab, Christian, and Israeli."

"I was born here. The people I love live here - my parents, my friends. This is a Jewish state? True. But it's also my country. I can't imagine living anywhere else."

"I believe that everyone should enlist. You live here? Go defend your country. So what if I'm Arab?"

[Elinor] Joseph serves in the Caracal battalion, which operates on the Egyptian border to block the entry of terrorists and smugglers into Israel.

IDF Establishes Two Arab Search and Rescue Units

The IDF Home Front Command has recently established two new rescue units composed of Arab citizens of Israel who chose to volunteer.

Each unit will have about 25 volunteers, 70% of them men. Last week, the units went through a series of training exercises, rescuing wounded from rubble after earthquakes or rockets.

Cpt. Sami Halabi, Deputy Commander of the Unit said: "We can be proud that we have these units with such knowledge and experience."
(Israel Defense Forces)

What are Palestinians thinking?

Palestinians Support Terror Groups

While 61% of Palestinians and 51% of Jordanians have a favorable view of Hizbullah, only 43% agree in Egypt and 35% in Lebanon.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad was generally unpopular among most of the Muslim publics surveyed, with his highest ratings in the Palestinian territories.

51% of Palestinians expressed confidence in al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
(Pew Research Center)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Lancet morphs into: Palestinian Medical Journal

Medical Journals with Palestinian Glasses -Barbara Kay

Lancet, once an impeccable source for authoritative medical research, has in recent years become more and more "Palestinianized."

In a just-published article, "Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory," Palestinian husbands were found to be more violent towards their wives as a function of the Israeli "occupation." Very clever. Being a Palestinian means you get to beat your wife because the Israelis made me do it!

The statistics were gathered and the study was funded by the Palestinian Authority. This is propaganda, not research.

It's too bad these medical journals don't choose to highlight the amazing medical benefits Israel has brought to Palestinians. As detailed in a May 30, 2009, study by U.S. medical researchers, Palestinians in the territories boast the lowest mortality rate per 100,000 of all Middle Eastern Arab populations. Since 1972, immunization coverage in the territories has reached 99%. Polio and measles have been eradicated. Life expectancy rose from 54 in 1970 to 73 in 2007.

A non-political group called Save a Child's Heart, based at Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv, has operated on 2,100 children from 35 different countries at a cost of about $10,000 per child. Almost half were from neighboring Arab countries, including the West Bank.

During the Gazan conflict, an infant nephew of the Hamas minister of defense was brought in for urgent heart surgery.
(Pajamas Media)

Palestinian Authority backs violent "non-violent" protests

PA Backing a Violent "Popular Struggle" -Joseph Krauss

With the peace process at an impasse for over a year, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority has vowed to escalate "popular struggle" by supporting weekly protests [pictured above] in villages across the West Bank.

Senior Fatah officials have started turning up at the protests, but few are turning out for the demonstrations, both because of heightened Israeli efforts to suppress the gatherings and growing disenchantment with the fractured Palestinian movement.

Violence frequently erupts, with Palestinian youths hurling stones and Israeli troops firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The military rejects the idea that the protests are non-violent and says that in the last two years more than 100 security forces have been wounded in "violent riots."

"We have a soldier with a smashed eye socket," says Major Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesman. "We're not talking about sit-ins. We're not talking about an atmosphere of peaceful demonstration."

Bambi meets James Bond

A 4 minute video highlighting the return of biblical deer to Israel from revolutionary Iran

How Bambi Met James Bond to Save Israel's "Extinct" Deer
-Charles Levinson

On Nov. 28, 1978, as Iran was hurtling toward Islamic revolution, zoologist Mike Van Grevenbroek landed in Tehran carrying a blow-dart gun disguised as a cane and secret orders from an Israeli general. His mission: to capture four Persian fallow deer and deliver them to Israel before the shah's government collapsed.

It marked the daring climax of a years-long cloak-and-dagger effort to reintroduce the animals of the Bible to Israel.

The last of the fallow deer in Israel were believed to have been hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. The species was thought to be extinct until the late 1950s, when the deer were rediscovered in Iran.
(Wall Street Journal)

VideoBite: CNN on women in the Israeli military

CNN's short report about women in the Israel Defense Forces

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Did the MidEast Peace Process bring war?

The Good Old Days Before Peace -Khaled Abu Toameh

Many Jews and Arabs really miss the good old days before the Middle East peace process began - before Arafat and the PLO were brought to the West Bank and Gaza after the signing of the Oslo Accords.

In the days before the peace process began, anyone living in the West Bank and Gaza could drive to any place inside Israel. Suicide and car bombings were unheard of. Not a single rocket was fired into Israel. About 200,000 Palestinians used to work in Israel on a daily basis. There was no security fence and no wall in the West Bank.

There were no armed militias like Fatah's Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Battalions roaming the streets of Palestinian communities. Thousands of Palestinian merchants used to converge on Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities almost every day to do business. Thousands of Palestinian families would be seen enjoying their time at Israeli beaches, public parks and restaurants.
(Hudson Institute New York)