Monday, October 31, 2011

With Shalit Deal Complete, Rockets Resume from Gaza

Gaza Rocket Fire Kills Israeli Man in Ashkelon
Palestinians in Gaza fired at least 27 rockets at Israel. 

Moshe Ami, 56, a father of four, was killed in Ashkelon. Two rockets landed outside Beersheba. Schools were closed in towns within 40 km of Gaza, including Beersheba, Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi. 
(Ynet News)


Rockets Still Flying from the Real Palestinian State -Jonathan S. Tobin

While UNESCO has voted to admit Palestine as a member state, the actual Palestinian state in Gaza gave the world another reminder of what such statehood actually means when it showered southern Israel with a barrage of missiles, murdering one Israeli. Palestinian independence in Gaza has only meant one thing: the right of terrorists to shoot at Jews with impunity. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Painting a Lie: Sympathizing with Terrorists

A video decrying the media's equating Sgt. Shalit and Palestinian terrorists

Krauthammer: cosmic justice for Gaddafi

Libyan ‘crossfire’ -Charles Krauthammer

Libyan crossfire. That’s when a pistol is applied to the head and a bullet crosses from one temple to the other.

That’s apparently what happened to Moammar Gaddafi after he was captured by Libyan rebels — died in a “crossfire,” explains Libya’s new government. This has greatly agitated ACLU types, morally unemployed ever since a Democratic administration declared Guantanamo humane. The indignation has spread to human rights groups and Western governments, deeply concerned about the manner of Gaddafi’s demise.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Early in the revolution, Gaddafi could have had due process. Indeed, he could have had something better: asylum (in Nicaragua, for example) with a free pass for his crimes. If he stepped down, thereby avoiding the subsequent civil war that killed thousands of his countrymen, he could have enjoyed a nice, fat retirement, like that of Idi Amin in Saudi Arabia.

Like Amin, Gaddafi would not have deserved a single day of untroubled repose. Such an outcome would itself have been a gross violation of justice, as he’d have gone unpunished for his uncountable crimes. But it would have spared his country much bloodshed and suffering.

Gaddafi chose to fight to the death. He got what he chose.

That fateful decision to fight — and kill — is the prism through which to judge the cruel treatment Gaddafi received in his last hours. It is his refusal to forgo those final crimes, those final shellings of civilians, those final executions of prisoners that justifies his rotten death.

He could have taken a de facto amnesty for all his previous crimes, from Pan Am 103 to the 1996 massacre of 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison. To reject that option and proceed to create an entirely new catalogue of crimes — for that, there is no forgiveness. For that, you are sentenced to die by “crossfire.”

So he was killed by his captors. Big deal. So was Mussolini. [He] should have suffered far more, far longer. He inflicted unimaginable suffering upon thousands. What did he suffer? Perhaps an hour of torment and a shot through the head. By any standard of cosmic justice, that’s mercy.

Moreover, Gaddafi’s sorry end has one major virtue: deterrence. You are a murderous dictator with a rebellion on your hands. You have a choice. Relinquish power and spare your country further agony, and you can then live out your days like Amin — or like a more contemporary Saudi guest, Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Otherwise, you die like Gaddafi, dragged from a stinking sewer pipe, abused, taunted and shot.

It’s not pretty. But it’s a precedent. One that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, for example, might contemplate. Continue to fight and kill, and expect thereafter no belated offers of asylum...

Call it the Gaddafi Rule: Give it up and go, or one day find death by “Libyan crossfire.” Followed by a Libyan state funeral. That’s when you lie on public view for four days, half-naked in a meat locker.
[Washington Post]

Israel Bashing is Racism

The real racism -Martin Sherman

[T]he real racism that permeates the discourse on the Israel-Palestinian conflict [is]:

• The perverse portrayal of every coercive measure undertaken by the IDF to protect the lives of Jews against those striving to kill them, merely because they are Jews, as racially motivated, disproportionate violence.

• The disingenuous depiction of the inconvenience caused to Palestinians by these measures as a more heinous evil than the Jewish deaths they are designed to prevent.

• The attitude that shedding Jewish blood is more acceptable than the measures required to prevent it, an element that appears to be becoming increasingly internalized into the discourse on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Israel needs to once again convey, unapologetically, to the world the rationale for its founding: Jews will no longer die meekly.
[Jerusalem Post]
[Hat Tip: MartyP]

Glossary of MidEast Terms: News Spoof

Guide for the Perplexed -Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi

A glossary of the most pertinent terms and expressions connected to the politics of the Middle East
Aggression: Killing people who are trying to kill you.
Apartheid: The political/social system of the one and only country in the Middle East that integrates Jews, Beduins, Arabs, whites, blacks, Muslems, Ethiopians, Russians, Christians, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Bahai, et al.

Arab Emir: Military dictator.

Arab King: Military dictator.

Arab President: Military dictator.

Arab Prime Minister: Military dictator.

Arab Spring: Replacement of one dictatorship with another, with the help of Western money and media cheerleading.

Bias: An expression of support for the existence of Israel.

Caliphate: The unification of lands ruled in the name of Islam, ruled by a Caliph. (See “Arab King,” “Arab President,” etc. above.)

Compromise: To give something palpable, such as land, in return for a promise not to keep on trying to annihilate you.

Developing Country: A country that is not developing.

Disproportionate Response: Winning.

Father of the Palestinian People: An Egyptian man, raised by his uncle, Hitler’s buddy, and one of the world’s most successful kleptocrats. (See “PLO” below.)

History: Having nothing whatsoever to do with what has actually happened, but rather being what has come to be called “narrative,” i.e., “storytelling.” For one example, allusions to the “Ancient Nation of Palestine"...

Jihad: The inner spiritual struggle for self-purification or the bloody military struggle for world domination depending on to which journalist and in what language one is speaking.

Moderate Palestinian Leader: Former KGB operative, Holocaust denier, and financier of Munich Olympic massacre.

PLO: Organization created in 1964 to end the 1967 occupation.

Refugee: Someone who has refused to take refuge, or who has not been allowed to take refuge.

War Crime: Retaliation and defense. Any action whose intent is victory.
[Front Page Magazine]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Unusual Video Montage of Israel

This Isreal an "impressionistic" video highlighting virtually every aspect of Israeli life

Video: "This IsReal" - A Road Trip Across Israel -Matthew Brown

Israel is a small country, but it has a spark in almost everything that people do or say about it. I decided that I wanted to find the beauty of the people and places, neglecting the tension for once. I wanted to prove that there are so many beautiful people in that country, of all religions, cultures, regions. It was not hard to do, actually.

My favorite part to shoot was the scene where all the people are frozen still in time. It was actually that everyone was standing still in a moment of silence for the Holocaust victims. I found one of the busiest intersections in Tel Aviv and stood in the middle of everyone. I think it was worth it to show the world how beautiful and eerie this amazing moment is.
(Atlantic Monthly)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Smiling Saudi Cleric Offers 100K for Kidnapping Israeli Soldiers

Saudi Cleric: Kidnap Israeli Soldier - Get $100,000 -Roee Nahmias

Top Saudi cleric Dr. Awad al-Qarni [pictured] is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who kidnaps Israeli soldiers. "I declare to the world that any Palestinian who will jail an Israeli soldier and exchange him for prisoners will be rewarded with a $100,000 prize," he wrote on his Facebook page.

The post has already received more than 1,000 likes and extensive coverage in Hamas-affiliated newspapers in Gaza.
(Ynet News)

Pipes cautions Obama

Obama's Misplaced Mideast Optimism: foreign-policy "successes" won't endure
-Daniel Pipes, PhD

Confidently commenting on the execution of Libya's long-time dictator, Barack Obama stated that "the death of Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do." About his own decision to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq in two months' time, Obama asserted that "In Iraq, we've succeeded in our strategy to end the war." He then drew triumphalist conclusions from these developments, bragging that they show "The tide of war is receding" and "we've renewed American leadership in the world."

But the Middle East teaches caution; much will probably go wrong in Libya and Iraq. Obama, I predict, will rue his rash boasts.

In Iraq, Obama's claim about ending the war reminds one of George W. Bush's much-ridiculed "Mission Accomplished" speech of May 1, 2003, when he prematurely announced that "In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed" just as the real war had just begun. With U.S. forces now pulling out, Tehran can begin in earnest to take over the country and turn it into a satrapy (the ancient Persian word for a subordinate polity).

Despite American warnings, Tehran already interferes in Iraq's politics, sponsors militias, supports terrorism, and has sent its own forces into the country – and is preparing to do more. As Max Boot writes, the withdrawal of American troops means that the "risks of a catastrophic failure in Iraq now rise appreciably..."

If Iranian efforts succeed quickly, they might do significant damage to Obama's electoral prospects a year from now. "Who lost Iraq?" could become a potent Republican battle cry. That [candidate] Obama declared American efforts to stabilize Iraq a "complete failure" sets him up to take the blame for that very failure.

Even if Iraq holds until the U.S. elections in 2012, I predict that in 5-10 years the American effort in Iraq (and, similarly, in Afghanistan), with all those expenditures and lives lost, will have been for naught. When future analysts seek what went wrong, they might well focus on Obama's clueless statements. 
[National Review Online]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tech Solution to Dog Poop

The problem

The solution, "AshPoopie"

A welcome scoop for dog owners -Abigail Klein Leichman

One Israeli who got fined for failing to pick up the droppings decided to contact Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University, a renowned biotech inventor, for a better solution. And Shoseyov rose to the challenge.

His novel idea is AshPoopie, a pooper-scooper with a critical difference: After it gathers the droppings, it turns them into odorless, sterile ash within seconds. All the dog-walker has to do is push a button to release an activation capsule from the cartridge inside the unit.

Recently, AshPoopie earned patents in Europe and the United States. Ramat Gan-based Paulee CleanTec, the company founded to develop this and related products, is working with engineers to finalize the design ahead of a 2012 US launch. 

Apparently, American retailers can't wait to start stocking the product. "Where have you been all this time?" was the reaction most often heard by executives of the privately funded company when they introduced AshPoopie in September at SuperZoo 2011, the major US pet products exhibition in Las Vegas.

The easy-to-carry device contains special tablets that drop into the collection chamber via a button. Within 10 seconds, the feces is transformed into a small amount of odorless sterile ash that can be deposited harmlessly anywhere, even on plants.

The cost of AshPoopie hasn't yet been determined, but Hibel expects it to be relatively inexpensive. A monthly supply of capsules will cost $10 to $20, depending on the size of the dog.

Paulee CleanTec is already looking to the future of the invention, planning to apply it to cat litter boxes and human waste treatment systems.

The same technology has potential for transforming the unpleasant world of portable chemical johns and airplane, boat and train toilets into an odor-free and environmentally beneficial system.

The Abuse of their Arab brethren

A new video highlighting Palestinian abuse at the hands of their Arab brethren

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gaddafi Dies Like a Rat

Qaddafi's Ignominious End -Daniel Pipes, PhD

Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi, Libya's leader since 1969, is defunct, gunned down in his home town of Sirte.

How fitting that he called the rebels against him "rats," yet his final moments were spent in a reeking drainage pipe under a highway, just like a rat, like his fellow Arab despot Saddam Hussein. Indeed, he is the sixth tyrant on the lam in the past decade to be captured or executed; that leaves only Mullah Omar, the former Taliban leader, on the loose, hiding like a common criminal.

Looking ahead, I nervously wish the Libyans well, hoping that the NATO-enabled overthrow of a brutal eccentric does not lead to the empowerment of brutal Islamist ideologues who do even more damage to Libya and beyond.
[National Review Online]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Abbas, ever the moderate, greets terrorists as heros

Abbas Greets Palestinian Prisoners: You Are Freedom Fighters

Palestinian prisoners freed in a prisoner exchange crossed into the West Bank and Gaza, where large crowds and dignitaries greeted them in ecstatic celebration.

In the West Bank, released prisoners were taken to the grave of Yasser Arafat, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told them: "You are freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of God and the homeland."

Palestinians Chant: "The People Want a New Shalit"

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the West Bank to celebrate the release of prisoners, chanting: "The people want a new Shalit," Israel Channel 2 TV reported.

"I think that straight away there will be two or three more Shalits," said Muhammed Isawiyeh, a relative of a prisoner. "There are still 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in jail."
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reflections on Shalit-Terror Deal

Doing Business with Terrorists -Daniel Pipes, PhD [pictured]

That Gilad Schalit has been released after five years of captivity by Hamas brings joy to anyone who watches the Israeli soldier's reunion with his parents and the ecstatic welcome he received by his countrymen. It also reminds one of the Israel Defense Forces' noble purpose in doing all it can to stand by its men.

But joy is tempered by bitter realities...

Leaders who place the concerns of one individual over the interests of the country betray their mandate and poison its future. Israeli politicians have been making these lopsided swaps since 1982, releasing over ten thousand Palestinians serving prison sentences for terrorist or other hostile actions. Each time they do, they forsake principle and common sense for short-term benefits.

Shame on them.
[National Review Online]

Gilad Shalit's Release: A Heavy Hearted Celebration -Rabbi Avi Weiss [pictured]

Gilad Shalit has come home. Is this a time for euphoria or upset?

The head tells us that this is a terrible deal.

The lopsided exchange may lead to more terrorism, more Israeli deaths. Nadav Shragi, in a report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs analyzed the aftermath of the exchange in 2004 of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive. According to Shragi, "those freed in the deal murdered 35 Israelis" by 2007. And of course, the lopsided exchange may inspire more hostage takings, more kidnappings, more ransoms to be paid.
But, the heart -- the heart feels differently.   Today, Gilad Shalit is not just a soldier. Today, Gilad is not only the son of Aviva and Noam, he is everyone's son. He is everyone's brother. The exchange is not only an exchange of over a thousand terrorists for one soldier, it is an exchange of a thousand for Gilad-- the symbol of every soldier.
So which is it? Is the release of Gilad a time of sadness, or joy? Is it a time of upset, or elation? Is it the time to mourn with the mind or celebrate with the heart.

Ecclesiastes writes: "everything has its season...a time to weep and a time to laugh...a time to wail and a time to dance,...a time to rent garments and a time to mend." Ecclesiastes seems to be saying that there are distinct times for each of these emotions.

Yehuda Amichai, the great Israeli poet, understands it differently. He writes: "Ecclesiastes was wrong about that...A person needs to love and hate at the same moment. To laugh and cry with the same eyes..."

Jewish Law marks this phenomenon when it asks that at the height of our greatest joy, at a wedding itself, that we break a glass to remember the shattered Temples, the shattered human temples, that need fixing.
[Huffington Post]

A mother’s pain -Sherri Mandell [pictured]

Why is it that terror victims are seemingly the only ones against the prisoner exchange? While other Israelis are rejoicing, we are in despair. 

Arnold and Frimet Roth circulated a petition against the release of Ahlam Tamimi, an accomplice in their daughter Malki’s murder at the Sbarro pizza shop.

Why are so many of us against the exchange? Because we know the suffering that these murderers leave in their wake.  Yes, I want Gilad Schalit released. But not at any price. Not at the price we have experienced.

My son Koby Mandell and his friend Yosef Ish Ran were murdered by terrorists 10 years ago when they were 13 and 14 years old. They had been hiking in the wadi near our home when they were set upon by a Palestinian mob and stoned to death. It was a brutal, vicious murder.

Most people don’t understand the continuing devastation of grief: the pain that doesn’t diminish with time.

Cheapening our loved ones’ deaths only enhances the pain. If Israel is willing to free our loved ones’ murderers, then the rest of the world can look on and assume that the terrorists are really freedom fighters or militants. If Palestinians were murdering Jews in cold blood without justification, surely the Israeli government wouldn’t release them.

No sane government would.

When we were sitting shiva for Koby, a general in the army told us: “We will bring the killers to justice.” I believed him. I took his words to heart. Today I am thankful my son’s killers have not been found. So are my children. Of course, I don’t want the terrorists to kill again. But if they were to be released in this prisoner exchange, I don’t think I could bear it.

We have been betrayed. To pardon terrorists mocks our love and our pain.
The writer is the mother of Koby Mandell, who was stoned to death near his home in Tekoa in 2001.
[Jerusalem Post]

Will the World Ask Why Palestinians Celebrate Murder? -Jonathan S. Tobin [pictured]

Mass rallies and celebrations are being planned in Ramallah to celebrate the freedom of those who were convicted of mass murders.
What ought to be discussed is the upside-down ethos of Palestinian political culture in which the spilling of Jewish blood grants the killer not only absolution but also heroic status. Rather than ask why Israel is willing to trade so many terrorists for one soldier, the world should be asking why the Palestinians are cheering the release of sociopaths.

Israel's Deals with the Devils -Robert H. Mnookin [pictured]

What explains Israel's decision to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli corporal kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid in 2006 and held hostage in Gaza?

There is a long line of psychological research showing that, in making decisions, human beings will incur far greater costs to save one identifiable being from immediate peril than to enact safety measures that might save many more statistical lives. While no expense will be spared to save an identifiable miner trapped in a coal mine, there is often great political reluctance to spend an equal amount on mine safety. Such a response is entirely human, but it is not rational.
The writer is chair of Harvard University's Program on Negotiation. His most recent book is Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight (2010).
(Wall Street Journal Europe)

Gilad Shalit free [updated with dramatic photos & videos]

Gilad Shalit being greeted by IDF officers immediately following his release

Gilad Shalit calls his family


Gilad emerges looking dapper in IDF uniform

Saluting Netanyahu

One of his first family embraces

Gilad flanked by father Noam Shalit and Netanyahu & Barak

Israeli Arab supporters of Gilad welcome him home

Welcome at the Shalit home

This shot is my favorite

Media Bias Slideshow

An informative slideshow on Media Bias against Israel, by Honest Reporting

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blood Soaked Deal

A short video highlighting the murderous crowd being freed for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Iranian Plot Imitates Art

Joe Smiga's book was published well before this past week's Iranian terror plot was unveiled by the Obama administration.  This gripping novel seems to predict the Iranian plot and serves as a warning of things to come. 

Manssor Arbabsiar, the Iranian-American at the center of the plot

U.S. Disrupts Iranian-Backed Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador -Brian Bennett

Members of an elite Iranian security force planned to detonate a bomb at a busy Washington, D.C., restaurant, killing Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. and possibly over one hundred bystanders, according to court documents filed in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. The plot was infiltrated by a Drug Enforcement Agency informant posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel. The plotters planned to pay a member of the Zetas cartel $1.5 million to carry out the attack.

An Iranian-American, Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, has been arrested in the case and confessed to the charges. An Iran-based member of the secret Quds Force unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gholam Shakuri, was also charged but is not in custody.
(Los Angeles Times)

Iran's Terror Plot a Sobering Wake-Up Call -Editorial

The Department of Justice has charged that "factions of the Iranian government" plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. by blowing him up inside a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Had it succeeded, this would have constituted an act of terror by the Islamic Republic of Iran on U.S. soil, and arguably an act of war.
(Wall Street Journal)

Is Exposure of a Direct Iranian Plot to Launch Terror Attacks in Washington DC A Turning Point?
-Barry Rubin

What’s most important here is not the innate sensationalism of this dramatic story, but its political implications. An Iranian official -- perhaps two according to the indictment -- is directly linked with a plan to stage terrorist attacks on American soil in which Americans would certainly have been killed or injured.
This amounts to an act of war.
[Pajamas Media]

Bloody Deal: 1000+ Terrorists to be Freed for Gilad Shalit

Israel to Exchange 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners for One Israeli Soldier
-Ethan Bronner

Israel and Hamas announced an agreement to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza for five years - Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit. In Damascus, Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, called the deal "a national accomplishment" for the Palestinians, who he said hoped to "cleanse the land, and liberate Jerusalem." Thousands poured into the streets in Gaza and the West Bank in celebration.
(New York Times)

Israel Approves Agreement for Release of Gilad Shalit

The Israeli Cabinet approved the agreement for the release of Gilad Shalit by a vote of 26 to 3. Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet: "I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all." "I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives....The Nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other."
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Anatomy of a Deal -Ron Ben-Yishai
The fate of the talks was in the hands of Egypt's military rulers. Israeli officials were gravely concerned that this regime could lose its ability to serve as mediator within a few months and come under the Muslim Brotherhood's influence. This is the "window of opportunity" officials in Jerusalem spoke of. This window could have been closed, given further upheaval in the Arab world.
(Ynet News)
Hamas Boosted, Fatah Weakened by Deal -Yaakov Lappin

Hamas will be significantly boosted by the Shalit deal. Hamas has been able to force Jerusalem to negotiate with it as an equal partner, and has achieved the release of a large number of terrorists - some of whom were sentenced to life terms for personally murdering Israeli civilians.

This is bad news for the Fatah government in Ramallah. Fatah's grip on power in the West Bank is likely more shaky than meets the eye. The Shalit deal will be used by Hamas to claim that it is the most effective representative of the Palestinians. Images of freed Palestinian prisoners will likely convince many Palestinians that Hamas is right.
(Jerusalem Post)

Hamas Steals Abbas Thunder with Prisoner Deal -Tom Perry

Hamas has jumped back into the Middle East spotlight with a prisoner swap deal with Israel that will score points over President Abbas and steal some of the thunder he generated by pushing for Palestinian statehood at the UN. "Hamas proves again that it has cards and they can pull them out at the speed of light," said Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian political commentator. "It's about scoring goals. It isn't a matter of elections, it's about credibility."

Talal Okal, a Gaza-based commentator, said: "This has restored the shine to Hamas." "The Hamas movement is sending a message: that negotiations are not worth it, and its method, resistance, is the one that produces results."

Strategic Notes on the Gilad Shalit Prisoner Exchange -Barry Rubin

Hamas did a politically clever thing by demanding that half of the named prisoners be non-Hamas people. The goal is to make Hamas more popular among Fatah supporters and on the West Bank.
[Pajamas Media]

A Victory for Israeli Solidarity -Ari Shavit

There are many good reasons to oppose the deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. The deal is a surrender by Israel to terror. It will empower extremists, spur Hamas on and weaken the PA. It will increase the risk of Israeli soldiers being kidnapped in the future. The deal will strengthen the feeling that sensitivity to human life is Israel's Achilles' heel. The deal that saves the life of Gilad Shalit could cost the lives of many Israelis whose names and faces we do not yet know.

Yet, there is one decisive reason to support the deal: Israeli solidarity. Israel's main asset in human and security terms is the sense of mutual responsibility that its citizens and soldiers feel toward one another. Rightly or not, Shalit has become a symbol of mutual responsibility and his release will be the realization of Israeli solidarity. Only with time will we know what the proper balance was between what was correct and what was dangerous in the deal to release Shalit.

Israel Had No Choice But to Save Shalit -Jonathan S. Tobin

The Shalit deal will undoubtedly come back to haunt Israel, letting 1,000 Palestinians, including convicted mass murderers, go free. Objectively viewed, the decision makes no sense because the only winner here is Hamas, whose prestige will soar.

But all that pales in comparison to the overwhelming sentiment among Israelis that Shalit cannot be allowed to rot in captivity if there is a chance he might be ransomed. Israelis will rue the price of that ransom, but also take some perverse satisfaction in the fact they value the life of one Jew as being worth that of 1,000 Arab terrorists and killers.

The Reasons for Hamas' "Flexibility" on Shalit Swap -Herb Keinon

At Tuesday's cabinet meeting, the ministers were presented with three reasons for Hamas' "flexibility."

The weakened position of Syria, where Hamas has its headquarters, means it needed to start worrying about where it can move. Finding another host country, according to assessments in Jerusalem, might be more complicated as long as it continued to hold Shalit.

The cabinet was also told that the changes in Egypt have had a huge impact on Hamas, giving the Egyptians a degree of leverage over the organization that President Hosni Mubarak never had. Egypt pressed Hamas to moderate its position, and Hamas responded.

Finally, the cabinet was told that Israel's recent stiffening of the prison conditions for security prisoners also had an impact.
(Jerusalem Post)

A pact signed in Jewish blood -Caroline Glick

It is a statistical certainty that the release of 1,027 terrorists for Schalit will lead to the murder of untold numbers of Israelis. It has happened every single time that these blood ransoms have been paid. It will happen now.

Untold numbers of Israelis who are now sitting in their succas and celebrating Jewish freedom, who are driving in their cars, who are standing on line at the bank, who are sitting in their nursery school classrooms painting pictures of Torah scrolls for Simhat Torah will be killed for being Jewish while in Israel because Netanyahu has made this deal. The unrelenting pain of their families, left to cope with their absence, will be unimaginable.

This is a simple fact and it is beyond dispute.

It is also beyond dispute that untold numbers of IDF soldiers and officers will be abducted and held hostage. Soldiers now training for war or scrubbing the floors of their barracks, or sitting at a pub with their friends on holiday leave will one day find themselves in a dungeon in Gaza or Sinai or Lebanon undergoing unspeakable mental and physical torture for years. Their families will suffer inhuman agony.

The only thing we don't know about these future victims is their names. But we know what will become of them as surely as we know that night follows day.

Netanyahu has proven once again that taking IDF soldiers hostage is a sure bet for our Palestinian neighbors. In his public statement on the Schalit deal, Netanyahu invoked the Jewish tradition of pidyon shevuim, or the redemption of captives. But the Talmudic writ is not unconditional. The rabbinic sages were very clear. The ransom to be paid cannot involve the murder of other Jews.

This deal - like its predecessors - is not in line with Jewish tradition. It stands in opposition to Jewish tradition. Even in our darkest hours of powerlessness in the ghettos and the pales of exile, our leaders did not agree to pay for a life with other life. Judaism has always rejected human sacrifice.
[Jerusalem Post]


Who Are the Palestinian Prisoners Set for Release in Shalit Deal?
-Chaim Levinson, Yaniv Kubovich, & Revital Hovel

The list released by the Israel Prison Service of the Palestinian prisoners set to be released in exchange for abducted soldier Gilad Shalit include more than 280 Palestinians serving life sentences. More than 100 are serving multiple life sentences for high-casualty suicide bombings they were convicted of helping to plan and implement. Included for release is Nasser Yataima, who was sentenced to 29 life sentences for the 2002 bombing of a Netanya hotel on Passover.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Palestinians Rachet Up Anti-US Rhetoric

Tawfik Tirawi

Fatah Official: U.S. Is #1 Palestinian Enemy -Khaled Abu Toameh

The U.S. is the number one enemy of the Palestinians because it supports Israeli "oppression," Tawfik Tirawi [pictured], a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, said.

Tirawi, former commander of the PA General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, also said Fatah has not abandoned the armed struggle option against Israel. "Fatah hasn't thrown the rifle aside,"
(Jerusalem Post)

Egyptian Christians Under Attack

Egypt: Destroying Churches, One at a Time -Raymond Ibrahim

What clearer sign that Egypt is turning rabidly Islamist than the fact that hardly a week goes by without a church being destroyed, or without protesting Christians being attacked and slaughtered by the military?

The latest chaos in Egypt—where the military opened fire on unarmed protesters, and ran armored vehicles over them— killing 35 and injuring over 300, with the count still rising --originated in Edfu, a onetime tourist destination renowned for its pharaonic antiquities, but now known as the latest region to see a church destroyed by a Muslim mob.

This destruction, which spurred the unrest in Egypt, is itself eye-opening as to the situation in Egypt. To sum it up, St. George Coptic church, built nearly a century ago, was so dilapidated that the local council and governor of Aswan approved renovating it, and signed off on the design.

It was not long before local Muslims began complaining and making various demands, including that the church be devoid of crosses and bells—even though the permit had approved them—citing that "the Cross irritates Muslims and their children."

Coptic leaders had no choice but to acquiesce...Acquiescence breeds more demands: Muslim leaders next insisted that the very dome of the church be removed—so that the building might not even resemble a church—and that it be referred to as a "hospitality home." Stating that removing the dome would, most likely collapse the church, the bishop refused.

The cries of "Allahu Akbar!" began: Muslims threatened to raze the church and build a mosque in its place; Copts were "forbidden to leave their homes or buy food until they remove the dome of St. George's Church;" many starved for weeks.

Then, after Friday prayers on Sept. 31, some three thousand Muslims rampaged through the church, torched it, and demolished the dome; flames from the wreckage burned nearby Coptic homes, which were further ransacked by rioting Muslims.

According to witnesses, security forces, which were present during the Edfu attack, "stood there watching."

Aware that they are untouchable, at least when it comes to making infidel Christians miserable, anti-Christian Muslims have a simple strategy: destroy churches, even if one at a time, safe in the knowledge that not only will they never be prosecuted, but also that Egypt's military and security apparatus will punish the infidel victims should they dare to protest.
[Hudson New York]

No Arab Spring, Says U.S. Intelligence Analyst -Barcin Yinanc

"The Arab spring did not happen. No regime fell except Libya and that's because of NATO," says George Friedman, head of the global intelligence firm STRATFOR Institute.

"In Egypt, one general is replaced by four generals. In Syria, Bashar al–Assad is still in power. There is tremendous excitement but...very little outcome."

Christians Fear Islamist Pressure in Egypt -Maggie Michael

On her first day to school, 15-year-old Christian student Ferial Habib was stopped at the doorstep of her new high school with clear instructions: either put on a headscarf or no school this year. The move by administrators to force a Christian student to don a headscarf was unprecedented. In the past weeks, riots have broken out at two churches in southern Egypt, prompted by Muslim crowds angered by church construction.

Egypt Wants 78 Prisoners in Exchange for Israeli-American "Spy"" -Roee Nahmias

Egypt wants Israel to free 78 Egyptian prisoners in exchange for Ilan Grapel, an Israeli-American national accused of spying and held by Cairo since June. The demand was presented during U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit to Cairo, according to al-Ahram, a newspaper associated with the Egyptian government.
(Ynet News)

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Golden Gate was not just a sleazy motel in Brooklyn

The somewhat sleazy Golden Gate Motor Inn, now out of business

The original Golden Gate was not a lodging

Photos: The Golden Gate of Jerusalem -Lenny Ben-David

The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs taken in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. They include photos of the Golden Gate (Sha'ar Harachamim, Gate of Mercy) of Jerusalem's Old City wall. If the gate were opened, it would lead directly onto the Temple Mount.

Unlike most of Jerusalem's other gates, the Golden Gate was originally built at least a millennium before Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 1540. Indeed, some archeologists believe that the original gate, dating back to Herod's construction or even Nehemiah's period (440 BCE), still exists beneath the current gate. Perhaps because of the great religious significance of the gate to Jews and Christians as the Messiah's route into Jerusalem, it is believed Suleiman sealed the gate and permitted the construction of a Muslim cemetery in front of the gate.

The theory of an ancient gate received support in 1969 when archeological student James Fleming was inspecting the current gate. Suddenly the rain-soaked ground beneath him opened and he found himself in a pit of bones looking at the top of another gate eight feet beneath the surface. Fleming photographed his discovery. When he returned the next day, the tomb had been sealed with a cement slab by the Islamic custodians of the cemetery.
(Jerusalem Post)

Bravo David Letterman

David Letterman gets it exactly right -Adam Turner

Kudos to American television comedian David Letterman!

On June 5, 2011, Letterman smiled and drew his finger across his own throat on his CBS program "Late Show with David Letterman" to celebrate the U.S. military's reported killing of Ilyas Kashmiri, an Islamist terrorist who was a senior al-Qaeda leader.

Kashmiri reportedly was one of the leading organizers of the deadly November 2008 Mumbai attacks in India, which killed 164 innocent people and wounded at least 308. He was also recently indicted in U.S. federal court for conspiring with other terrorists to plan a Mumbai-style attack in Denmark, directed at the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that had published the infamous Mohammed cartoons. For good measure, Letterman also insulted Osama bin Laden during the same broadcast.

Letterman's understandable sentiment provoked a serious reaction from a group of radical Islamists. These Islamists — who themselves frequently express their joy at the murder of Americans — took offense at Letterman celebrating the killings of two mass murderers. In a posting on the Islamist web forum Shumukh al-Islam, they called for Letterman's murder, and encouraged the killer to cut off Letterman's offending tongue. The posting also mistakenly labeled Letterman a "Jew," which to millions of Islamists is the ultimate insult.

To his immense credit, David Letterman did not back down.

He and CBS tightened security at the Manhattan theater where they tape the "Late Show," and Letterman increased his own security. Then, rather than buckle under, he made light of the threat in a subsequent appearance on his show. Among other things, he thanked his audience, saying: "You people are more than an audience tonight. You're more like a human shield." He even drew up one of his famous "Top Ten" Lists for the occasion.

David Letterman should be saluted for his courage. He did everything exactly right. Even while taking prudent protective precautions, he refused to apologize for his free speech, or to censor himself. He even went a step further, by returning to the sensitive topic and actually making fun of those who would harm him. Considering how comically challenged Islamists can be, and how bloodthirsty, this took extraordinary courage.

Hopefully, this is the start of a new trend. The past is littered with examples of Westerners — including other comedians — who shied away from expressing their opinions, or apologized in the aftermath, out of fear of Islamist threats.
[The Daily Caller]

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

US Rewards Turkey

U.S. to Give Super Cobra Helicopters to Turkey 

U.S. Ambassador in Ankara Francis Ricciardone said that the U.S will give three Super Cobra helicopters to Turkey to replace the helicopters it lost during its campaign against the PKK.

Why Is Obama Rewarding Turkey? -Michael Rubin

During the last few months, Turkey has acted far more as an adversary than as an ally. Maintenance of military relations through NATO does not mean the U.S. should supply Turkey with weaponry it might share with Iran or use against American allies.

Turkey's change is ideological; it is not a country the U.S. can co-opt. No more cutting edge weaponry for Turkey.

Bingo: Another al-Qaeda Leader Falls

Gotcha! Video highlighting a successful CIA drone strike

Obama Administration Maintains Pro-Israel Stance for Less Than a Week

Clinton: Gilo Construction Counter-Productive to Peace -Melanie Lidman

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "We believe that [the] announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is counter-productive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties."
(Jerusalem Post)

Administration Refights the Battle of Gilo -Jonathan S. Tobin

Those who believed the Obama administration's attitude toward Israel has changed for the better got a rude wakeup call when Washington condemned the start of a housing project in Jerusalem.

Gilo is no settlement. Built on the southern border of the city, it was established more than 40 years ago and is the home of approximately 40,000 residents of Israel's capital. Up until Barack Obama took office, it was not the subject of much comment by any previous administration. By seeking to force Israel to cease building houses in existing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Obama has legitimized Palestinian demands for not only a re-division of the city but also their desire to evict more than 200,000 Jews.

During the second intifada, Gilo was under constant murderous sniper fire from the nearby Arab village of Beit Jala. Despite murderous attacks for many months, the Jews of Gilo stood their ground. Gilo became one of many symbols of the courage of the Israeli people and their determination to hold onto Jerusalem.

Building in Gilo - or any other part of Jerusalem - would have no effect on the creation of a Palestinian state if a peace deal should ever be signed. The only way homes in Gilo could be construed as an obstacle to peace is if the vision of peace being pursued is one in which every Jew is thrown out of Jerusalem.

Despite the hopeful signs about a rapprochement between the administration and Israel during the debate in the UN, the president is still holding on to dangerous misconceptions about Jerusalem.


Panetta's Pointless Warning to Israel -Jonathan S. Tobin

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Israel that its increasing isolation in the region means it must take "risks for peace." But this is not likely to make much of an impression with the Israeli people for the simple reason that Israel has been taking risks for peace for 18 years. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, the peace offers that both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas rejected, and the withdrawal from Gaza that turned that area into a terrorist state, Israel has taken terrible risks for which it has gotten little reward.

Jerusalem Mayor Defends Housing Plan  -Tani Goldstein

Last week the Jerusalem Planning Committee approved the construction of 1,100 apartments in the Gilo neighborhood, a move that drew widespread criticism from abroad. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stressed the importance of ongoing construction in the city "as the only solution to the housing crisis." "The Gilo construction critics expect that we will discriminate against Jews and only allow Arabs to build....When I talk to U.S. government officials, it appears they are not aware that we approve construction both for Arabs and Jews."

"We build for Arabs in east Jerusalem, including legalization of unregulated housing. In the neighborhood of Arnona, we recently authorized 1,000 apartments for Jews and 1,500 for Arabs. So what do they want? That we freeze construction for everyone? For Arabs too? And leave the natural growth issue unanswered? Or only ban Jewish construction?"
(Ynet News)

Coptics Flee Arab Spring

Coptic Church in Cairo, Egypt

Report: 93,000 Egyptian Christians Left Egypt since March -Emad Khalil

Nearly 93,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since March, a report by the Coptic Egyptian Federation of Human Rights has said.

Naguib Gabriel, the head of the NGO, attributed the Coptic emigration to hardline Salafi groups seeking to apply Islamic law, to attacks on Coptic churches, and the government's failure to bring attackers to justice.

He said Copts have emigrated to America, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Austria, Germany and France.
(Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)