Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Livni Acknowledges That Abbas is Useless

Tzipi Livni, the most left leaning politician in the Israeli cabinet, publicly devalued Abbas.  This lends credience to the argument that there is no one to talk with on the Palestinian side.

Livni: Abbas Not Ideal Peace Partner - Robert Tait

Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief peace negotiator, has expressed doubts over the ability of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, to deliver an agreement.

Addressing foreign diplomats and journalists, Livni likened any agreement with Abbas to a signed check on an empty bank account because he does not control Gaza, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement. She also acknowledged doubts over Abbas' legitimacy in the West Bank - which his Fatah movement controls - because he has not held elections for several years.

"A legitimate question is with whom we are going to sign an agreement," Livni said in Jerusalem. "The Gaza Strip is being controlled by Hamas. They are not part of the peace. They are not accept Israel's right to exist, to renounce terrorism and to accept all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. And on the other side, we have Abu Mazen [Abbas], for many years without elections on the Palestinian side, without any possibility to change anything in Gaza, even if he wants to. So what's the use of signing an agreement?"

The Lies Terror Tells

The 'Muslims-Killed-by-the-West' Lie -Dennis Prager

The butcher of the off-duty British soldier, Lee Rigby, defended his carving up of a living human being by claiming that he was engaging in "an eye for an eye" because the British army is killing Muslims in Afghanistan.
Normally there is no reason to respond to the justifications offered by terrorists and other murderers of the innocent. But in this case it is important to do so because much of the Muslim world resonates to this argument and because much of the world's left offers this argument.

[T]hroughout the Muslim and leftist worlds it is believed that America, the UK. and other countries are targeted by Muslims because we kill Muslims.

The argument is morally perverse and a lie.

[T]he U.K. and others are in Afghanistan in order to defend Muslims. Brits and other Westerners are risking their lives, and dying, in that country on behalf of Muslims.

Here's a question for Muslims and leftists who buy this argument about the West killing Muslims in Afghanistan: Who are we fighting in Afghanistan?

I thought the Brits and Americans were fighting the Taliban, the people who throw acid in Muslim girls' faces for attending school, the people who murder nurses who inoculate Muslim children against disease. Now, if fighting the Taliban is to be equated with fighting Muslims, this is a real contradiction of everything much of the Islamic world and virtually all of the left have been contending for years — that the Taliban represent a tiny group of extremists in the Muslim world, and that they have so completely perverted Islam that they cannot even be called Muslims.

Well, you can't have it both ways. If killing the Taliban is the same as "killing Muslims," then you can't argue that the Taliban don't represent Islam or Muslims.

So, on the issue of the West fighting in Afghanistan, the Muslims and the left need to make up their minds: Is killing the Taliban a service or a disservice to Muslims? This is the first and last question both groups need to answer. Everything else is commentary.
[Jewish World Review]

Drone Warfare

With President Obama's recent and very public embrace of drone warfare, it is likely that complaints about Israel's drone policy will end.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

US Offers PA $4 Billion Just to Return to Negotiations

Can the U.S. Government Buy Moderation? -Barry Rubin, PhD

On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.

Actually, this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That's $4 billion to buy a negotiations'process that will meet a few times and break down in deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international institutions as an independent state.

What should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West Bank. Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on? What will Hamas think about the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists? The sale of alcohol? Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?
What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists? Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?
And while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank? Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?

Notice incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.

The supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result would be to:

“Increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.” Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this? Tony Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been the negotiator for the quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem? Answer: 87. And basically he's accomplished zero.

Kerry has chosen the worst possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to political unrest.
Question: If billions of dollars have not bought PA support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?

Predictably, the PA reaction was that Israel would have to give still more concessions before it would do Israel and the United States the favor of returning to negotiations so that it could obtain a state, even though it is so weak that these two have to prop it up and it only controls half the territory it is bargaining for. No matter how much time and money Kerry takes to restart the "peace process" nothing is going to happen. It is remarkable that the West still doesn't understand this. Or perhaps it does and is putting in all this effort for show?
[The Rubin Report]


Palestinian Poverty Is Related to Government Policy -Shoshana Bryen    

Secretary of State John Kerry has announced his determination to raise $4.2 billion in private investment for the West Bank.

In the real world, investment flows organically to places that have an educated population, security, and rule of law that protects intellectual property and the repatriation of profits. It flows, for example, to Israel.

Areas with corrupt financial practices, a dictatorial government, multiple security services and an education system that is heavy on ideology and the veneration of violence get less.

Palestinian poverty is intimately related to Palestinian government policy.

Palestinian leadership is at war with the country best able to employ its people - Israel - which has, in fact, periodically employed a great many of them. In 1992, 115,600 Palestinian workers entered Israel every day.
(Gatestone Institute)
Palestinians Want U.S. Cash, Not Peace - Jonathan S. Tobin

Secretary of State John Kerry offered a $4 billion plan to the PA to quit its boycott of peace negotiations. The Palestinian response was "no." The Palestinians say thanks for the cash but no talks except those that guarantee they get everything they're asking for while giving nothing in return and even then there's no guarantee they won't continue the conflict.
Almost from the beginning of the Jewish return to their ancient homeland, many Zionists thought the Arabs inside the country would be won over to the new reality once they realized that the Jews brought development and prosperity with them. But the underlying Arab animosity was always based in a refusal to accept the legitimacy of the idea that Jews would now be equal partners, let alone have sovereignty over part of the land.
Only a few Jewish leaders understood that the Arabs could not be bought with prosperity. For them the conflict was about honor and religion, not money. Only when they gave up their last hope that the Jews could be pushed out would they ever make peace.

More Peace, Less Process -Ben Cohen
  • Every day, it seems, an American politician declares that time is running out, that windows of opportunity are closing, that the Israeli-Palestinian dimension of the broader Middle East conflict is propelling the region towards apocalypse.
  • Negotiations that are not preceded by meaningful, internal political reform in the Palestinian entity will share the fate of the Oslo Agreement. The path to peace begins not with discussions about settlements, water rights or the size of the Palestinian security forces, but with what the Palestinians themselves believe about the world around them - and whether they are capable of change.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jerusalem's Temple Mount

Palestinians riot on Temple Mount

Who is Really Desecrating Holy Sites in Jerusalem?
-Khaled Abu Toameh

  • Tensions have been mounting in recent months in Jerusalem over visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, or al-Haram al-Sharif [the Noble Sanctuary]. The visits to the holy site, which have been taking place since 1967 in coordination with the Israeli authorities, have triggered many confrontations between the Israeli police and Palestinian protesters.
  • Palestinians claim that the mere presence of Jewish visitors is a "desecration" of the holy site. In resorting to violence to stop Jews from visiting, the Palestinians say they are only trying to prevent Jews from destroying the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and rebuilding the Third Holy Temple.
  • But the truth is that the vast majority of Jews visiting the site are no different from other non-Muslim tourists who come to the area every day. The Israeli authorities require all visitors to the site to respect the feelings of Muslims by appearing in modest dress and without weapons. Moreover, Jews are not allowed to bring sacred Jewish objects [prayer shawls, prayer books, etc].
  • Yet for some Palestinians, throwing stones, empty bottles, shoes and petrol bombs at the Jewish visitors and the policemen accompanying them has become almost a daily practice.
  • If anyone is desecrating the holy site, it is those who smuggle petrol bombs and stones into the compound to use against visitors.
(Gatestone Institute)

Stunning Video: Protecting Passenger Planes from Terror

Video: How Israel Defends Commercial Airliners Against Shoulder-Fired Rockets    

Today, aviation is facing a new challenge - protecting planes and helicopters from shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles.

Elbit Systems presents MUSIC - Multi-spectral infra-red countermeasures.
Commercial airlines are extremely vulnerable to ground-based attacks. From missile launch to target impact takes 6 to 10 seconds - no time for pilot reaction. 


Israeli Settlements Are Legal

The Legality of Israeli Settlements -Michael Curtis

There is no clear, universally-accepted international law on the question of the settlements. A simple definition of an Israeli settlement is a residential area built across the so-called "Green Line," the 1949 cease-fire line. This ignores the existence of Jewish settlements before the State of Israel was established. They include Hebron, many centuries old, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and those established during the British Mandate, such as Neve Ya'acov, north of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank, and some north of the Dead Sea.

Critics of the settlements often refer to Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." About this argument a number of responses can be made. Most important, no Israeli is being deported or transferred to the settlements; for various reasons Israelis are going to them voluntarily.

The areas of the settlements are neither under the legitimate sovereignty of any state, nor on private Arab land. They are also not intended to displace any Arab inhabitants nor have they done so. No Palestinian Arab is being deported from place of residence to anywhere else.

The competing claims of Israel and Palestinians can only be resolved by peaceful negotiations. If Palestinians can make legitimate claims to the disputed land, so can Israel by virtue of its historic and religious connections. The Israeli presence in the disputed areas is lawful until a peace settlement, because Israel entered them lawfully in self-defense.
The writer is distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University.
(American Thinker)

West Bank Mosque Flies Nazi Flag

Nazi flag flies over mosque in West Bank

Nazi flag flies south of Jerusalem

Residents of the Arab town of Beit Omar between Jerusalem and Hebron strung up a large Nazi flag adjacent to their local mosque on Monday in a clear message to the Jews living nearby.

A resident of the nearby Jewish communities of the Etzion Bloc said the incident was very jarring. "I felt we were going back 75 years, losing our hold on the land," he told the Tazpit News Agency. "The Arabs no longer feel the need to hide their murderous intentions, announcing out loud that they wish to annihilate us."

The Israeli army was notified about the Nazi flag, and sent in a team to remove it.

The Nazis and Adolf Hitler have long been idolized in much of Palestinian society. Hitler's "Mein Kampf" remains one of the 10 bestselling books in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories today, and has a local distributor.
During World War II, the Palestinian leader in the Middle East, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a close confidante of Hitler, and actively recruited fellow Muslims to the Nazi cause.
[Israel Today]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Iran Wants to Be "Nuclear Superpower"

Yuval Steinitz calls Iran out

Israel: Iran Wants Dozens of Bombs - Herb Keinon 

Iran is not looking for just a few nuclear bombs "in the basement," but rather to produce dozens each year, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

Steinitz told a security conference that Iran's nuclear industry was "many times larger than that of either North Korea or Pakistan." He described the Iranian nuclear industry as designed "not to produce a few bombs, but to produce fissionable material for dozens and hundreds of nuclear bombs."

The issue, he said, is not only of Iran becoming a nuclear state, but rather becoming a "nuclear superpower."

According to Steinitz, Iran plans to expand the capability of the Natanz nuclear facility to enrich enough uranium to produce between 20 to 30 atomic bombs a year.
(Jerusalem Post)

Steinitz Discusses Iranian Threat

Steinitz said that within a decade, the Iranians will be able to have over 100 nuclear bombs.

Moreover, Iran is making a concentrated effort to develop a satellite launch vehicle, which is, in effect, cover for developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Obama's Turkish Folly

Erdogan Praised at White House as He Subverts U.S. Interests
-Barry Rubin, PhD

While the U.S. government has pressured Erdogan not to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Erdogan announced in the White House Rose Garden that he would do so. An alleged U.S. ally says publicly in front of Obama while being hosted by him that he is going to defy the United States.
This is not some routine matter. With previous presidents, if an ally was going to do something like that he would say nothing at the time and then months later would subvert U.S. policy. Or better yet the foreign leader would not do so. To announce defiance in such a way is a serious sign of how little respect Middle East leaders have for Obama—and U.S. policy nowadays—and how little Obama will do about it.

Meanwhile, Obama has praised Erdogan unstintingly. Obama thinks Erdogan is the very model of a “moderate Islamist” and since Obama's strategy is to support such people in much of the Arab world, Erdogan has been his guide to the region, though this has meant supporting the radical Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood.
What is especially ironic is that Obama believed that Erdogan's goals were essentially the same as those of the United States while Erdogan was in fact following a profoundly anti-American policy designed to bring hostile Islamist governments to power. Remember this is no longer the old Western-oriented Turkey of previous decades but a radical--if concealed--Islamist regime.
[PJ Media]

Friday, May 17, 2013

Iran Goading Syria to Attack Israel

Israel Hints at New Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Hit Back
- Mark Landler

In a clear warning to Syria, a senior Israeli official told the New York Times: "Israel is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizbullah....If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies, he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate."

"Israel has so far refrained from intervening in Syria's civil war and will maintain this policy as long as Assad refrains from attacking Israel directly or indirectly....Israel will continue its policy of interdicting attempts to strengthen Hizbullah, but will not intercede in the Syrian civil war as long as Assad desists from direct or indirect attacks against Israel."
(New York Times)

Report: Assad to Allow Hizbullah to Attack Israel from Golan
- Jack Khoury

Iran has convinced Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow Hizbullah to open a front against Israel in the Golan Heights, Al-Hayat reported.

Report: Iranian Commander to Lead Fight Against Israel
- Nimdor Sabal

Officials in Baghdad said that Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has given Maj.-Gen. Qasem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, the responsibility of managing the struggle against Israel via Syrian territory, the Lebanese newspaper Almustaqbal reported.
(Ynet News)

Iran's Plans to Take Over Syria - Shimon Shapira 

Gen. Suleimani has prepared an operational plan for the establishment of a 150,000-man force for Syria, the majority of whom will come from Iran, Iraq, and a smaller number from Hizbullah and the Gulf states.

(ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Debate on the Nature of Radical Islam

The above video features a debate on the nature of Radical Islam. 
Rabbi Mark Golub of Shalom TV [cable] leads this excellent debate between Daniel Pipes, PhD and Rabbi Eric Yoffie.  Dr. Pipes is a MidEast Scholar; Rabbi Yoffie is the former head of Reform Judaism.  While this one hour video is clearly not a "soundbite," I feel my readers would benefit from this fascinating exchange.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Israel's Syria Attack Viewed Postively by Some Arabs


Some in Arab World Happy Israel Attacked Syria - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Despite Egyptian and Iranian condemnation, it is certain that the Syrian people were happy that Assad's warehouses and forces were shelled, regardless of Israel's reasoning. We were happy that Israel attacked Assad's forces and warehouses because the attack will speed up the collapse of the regime. It will also deprive the regime of weapons that would have been used to kill more Syrians. Two years' worth of massacres against tens of thousands of unarmed Syrians has revealed the biggest lie in this nation's history: the lie of resistance.
(Al Arabiya)

Israel Strikes a Blow to Conventional Arab Thinking - Elhanan Miller

The Israeli strikes on Syria have left Arab observers conflicted. While many have been hoping for a decisive military strike against President Assad, few expected or wished for it to come from Israel. One Damascus-based Twitter commentator wrote: Israel "is still my enemy....But when an enemy does a neat job, I admit it."
(Times of Israel)


After the Damascus Attack - Amos Yadlin
  • The Israeli attack enjoyed a relatively high degree of legitimacy, from Western recognition of the move as one of self-defense (President Obama) to the Sunni world's pleasure at the distress of the Syrian and Iranian regimes and Hizbullah. The satisfaction with the attack in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia was hard to hide.
    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin is director of INSS.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Israel's Goal in Syria Hit

Preparing for next war -Edmund Sanders & Patrick McDonnell

Israel has inserted itself forcefully into the Arab Spring's most intractable conflict...

The bombings of targets near the Syrian capital — including two strikes in a 48-hour period beginning Friday — represent a risk-laden strategy based on the calculation that retaliatory attacks against Israel by Syria or its allies are unlikely.

But even as some Israeli officials confirmed their military's involvement in Sunday's pre-dawn assault on a reported weapons compound, they insisted their goals in Syria are narrow, and portrayed the engagement as defensive and largely unrelated to the two-year uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.  Rather than trying to weaken Assad or tilt the scales for either side, Israelis say they have an eye on the prospective next war — against the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is backed by both Iran and Syria.
The aim of the airstrikes, Israeli officials say, is to prevent Syria's advanced weaponry, much of it made in Iran, from being transferred to Lebanon and Hezbollah.

"If we don't take action now, we will be on the receiving end of those missiles," said a senior Israeli government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Israel has not officially confirmed unleashing the attacks.
[Jewish World Review]

A Message for Iran -Blake Hounshell

Taking out Iran's fortified and far-flung nuclear facilities would be vastly more challenging than hitting a few warehouses in nearby Damascus.

But the intended lesson here for Tehran (and Washington) is clear: Israel will defend itself when threatened, and we mean what we say.
(Foreign Policy)

Israel Targeted Iranian Missiles
-Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon & Jodi Rudoren

The airstrike that Israel carried out in Syria was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hizbullah, American officials said.

Iran and Hizbullah have a powerful interest in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The Iranian missiles were being stored in a warehouse at Damascus International Airport when they were struck, according to an American official. Israel has repeatedly cautioned that it will not allow Hizbullah to receive "game changing" weapons that could threaten the Israeli heartland. "The Israelis are saying, 'O.K., whichever way the civil war is going, we are going to keep our red lines, which are different from Obama's,'" said Ehud Yaari, a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

An American official said the targeted shipment consisted of Iranian-made Fateh-110s - a mobile, accurate, solid-fueled missile that has the range to strike Tel Aviv. Two prominent Israeli defense analysts said the shipment included Scud Ds with a range long enough to reach Eilat. An American official said the warehouse struck was believed to be under the control of Hizbullah and Iran's Quds Force.

President Obama said, "The Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah." 
(New York Times)

Israeli Airstrikes Expose Flaws in Syrian Air Defenses, Embolden U.S.
-Brian Bennett

"The Russian-supplied air defense systems are not as good as said," Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) told NBC's "Meet the Press."  Leahy said the Israel Defense Forces was using American-made F-16 jets to launch the missiles against Syrian targets. "Keep in mind the Israelis are using weapons supplied by us," Leahy said. "They have enormous prowess with those weapons."
(Los Angeles Times)

Messages from the Israeli Air Strikes in Syria -Tariq Alhomayed

Israel is unconcerned by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's threats.

The Syrian regime is like a dead body waiting to be buried - this is what the Israeli air strikes demonstrated.
(Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)

Israel Enforcing Red Lines on Syria -Yaakov Lappin

The two aerial strikes on Damascus reportedly carried out by the Israel Air Force are likely the result of intelligence indicating an imminent attempt to transfer strategic weapons from Syria to Hizbullah.

With Hizbullah deploying up to half of its fighting force to Syria to help Assad, it will be seeking reward for its actions. Hizbullah and its patron Iran may have asked Assad to make the advanced weapons available.

Israel is prepared to enforce its red lines on weapons proliferation with Hizbullah and take a calculated risk now, to avoid facing a significantly worse strategic situation later.
(Jerusalem Post)

Message to Iran -Ron Ben-Yishai

According to foreign sources, the Assad regime already succeeded to transfer a small number of Scud D missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon two-and-a-half years ago. Israel was aware but refrained from acting due to Washington's objection. The Americans feared an Israeli attack would undermine stability in the Middle East, and the Israeli jets, which were already in the air, returned to base.

It is safe to assume that since then the Obama administration has changed its position on the issue.

Washington is making sure to leak to all American media outlets that Israel attacked and what the target was, after Assad's regime tried to "save face" and conceal the blow it had received. The Obama administration, in accordance with its new agreements with Israel, is trying to show Syria and its supporters - Iran, Russia and China - that the U.S. stands by Israel when it protects itself.
(Ynet News)


Friday, May 03, 2013

US-Israel Secret Understanding on Iran

Pentagon Redesigns "Bunker Buster" Bomb to Combat Iran -Adam Entous & Julian Barnes

U.S. officials said the U.S. and Israel have reached an understanding that they will assess the intentions of Iran's leaders after the June elections, and then, barring progress on the diplomatic track, shift to a detailed discussion of military options.
(Wall Street Journal)


Obama and Netanyahu's New Red Line on Iran -Ron Ben-Yishai

According to various reports, the American president and Israeli prime minister agreed on a new plan to block Iran's nuclear program, which calls for narrowing the gap between the Israeli and American red lines. Obama promised Netanyahu that if diplomatic efforts fail and the economic sanctions do not dissuade Iran from building an atomic bomb, the U.S. would act militarily to thwart these efforts.

The American leader also gave Netanyahu the "yellow light" for a unilateral operation against Iran. The light will turn green should the Israeli government conclude, after consulting with Washington, that it must bomb Iran in order to defend itself. Israel's promise to consult with the U.S. prior to a go-it-alone attack will secure Washington's diplomatic, military and logistical support - even if the White House believes the time has not yet come for military action in Iran.

During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu clarified that Israel realizes the U.S. has superior capabilities which can delay or even destroy Iran's nuclear program - capabilities Israel does not have. Therefore, Israel prefers to wait for America to act on its own against Iran. Should Israel feel that it must act unilaterally, it wants to do so only after securing America's assistance.
(Ynet News)


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Depressing Stats on Palestinians

40% of Palestinian Muslims See Suicide Bombing as Justified    

Out of all the Muslim respondents to a new Pew Research Center global survey, Palestinian Muslims polled the highest in favor of suicide bombings as a justifiable means "to defend Islam."

40% of Palestinian Muslims see suicide bombings as often or sometimes justified, while 49% take the opposite view.
(Israel Hayom)

The son of murdered Israeli Evyatar Borowsky, clings to the body of his dead father

Fatah Proclaims Arab Murderer a Hero - Adiv Sterman

Fatah representatives praised as a hero Salam As'ad Zaghal, the Palestinian attacker who stabbed to death Evyatar Borowsky, a 31-year-old father of five, at a West Bank bus stop. Fatah posted pictures from the scene of the attack on its official Facebook page, accompanying each image with a caption boasting of the stabber's "success." Officials also expressed hope that he would be quickly released from prison.
(Times of Israel)


Poll: Israelis Believe in Peaceful Coexistence, Palestinians Don't    

According to a Pew poll released May 9, Israelis, on balance, believe a way can be found for an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully with their country.
Palestinians, on the other hand, overwhelmingly do not think this is possible, and a plurality believes armed struggle rather than negotiations or nonviolent resistance is the best way to achieve statehood.
83% of Israelis view the U.S. favorably, while 79% of Palestinians view it unfavorably.
In the region, 86% or more in Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have an unfavorable view of Israel.
Majorities in France, Germany and China also express negative opinions of the Jewish state.
The U.S. is the only country surveyed where a majority (57%) gives Israel a favorable rating.
(Pew Research Center)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Obama's Red Line

Pentagon Planning for Military Intervention in Syria - Barbara Starr

The Pentagon has stepped up planning for potential military intervention in the Syrian civil war. A senior administration official said U.S. intervention is not likely to involve troops on the ground in Syria. Two other officials say the most likely options would be using cruise missiles to try to destroy chemical sites or the headquarters of Syrian military elements linked to them. U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has told Congress the military could not secure the entire chemical stockpile because it does not know where it's all located.

Report of Israeli Strike on Syrian Chemical Weapons Site

After the United States revealed last week that it now believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against rebel forces, the Israel Air Force reportedly struck a Syrian chemical weapons site near Damascus over the weekend.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group posted a video of smoke rising from a chemical weapons site that it claims Israeli jets struck on Saturday, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported. FSA said the jets flew over the palace of Assad before the strike, and that a Syrian air defense battery went on to fire at the jets. Neither Israeli nor Syrian officials have confirmed the reported strike. 
[The Algemeiner]

Blame Obama, Not Israel for Syria Push -Jonathan Tobin

It was [Obama] who stated that Syrian use of chemical weapons constituted a red line that warrant American action. It was he, and not the Israelis, who publicly expressed the belief that Assad had to go. If, even after the White House admitted proof existed of the use of deadly poisons like sarin, the United States does nothing, it will effectively destroy his credibility.

Friends of Israel are watching to see what happens when a foreign leader crosses what President Obama defined as a red line, as he did in Syria. If the answer is nothing, they'll have a better grasp of what they can expect out of the administration on Iran. But there should be no doubt about who set this red line about what is going on in Damascus. It wasn't Israel, Netanyahu or the pro-Israel community in the United States. The impetus to take a stand on Syria came from a president who was eager to place himself on the side of Arab Spring protesters against authoritarian regimes. No one was more vocal than Obama when it came to supporting the ouster of dictators...
[Jewish World Review]


Syria's Civil War: The Empire Strikes Back -Barry Rubin, PhD

[W]ho used the nerve gas? UN investigators are concluding that the rebels might have used it. I am no expert but I think it is possible that this is true on the following basis: The attack was on a very small scale in a non-critical area of fighting.

If the Syrian government was going to use chemical weapons it would be in a critical battle where victory was imperative and there were lots of enemy soldiers to kill and to terrify. This is what happened in the Iran-Iraq war.

Again, I want to stress that I am not claiming to know which side did it in a conflict where events are often mysterious and it is hard to be certain whether, for example, a claimed massacre did take place. There are no good guys, if we're speaking of the two sides in general.
[The Rubin Report]