Monday, July 29, 2013

Release of Murderous Terrorists buys United States a Useless Negotiation

Israeli woman holds a photo of her murdered relative, along with a sign indicating her disgust at the release of terrorists

Would Americans Release Terrorist Killers? - Jonathan S. Tobin

Americans should pause and wonder whether they would ever give a moment's consideration to doing what their government is twisting Israel's arm to do. Would we ever think of releasing any of those convicted and currently serving long jail sentences for involvement in the 9/11 attacks or any other terrorist assault on the United States and its citizens? Not a chance.

The American position is, as the Obama administration likes to put it, that anyone who attacks U.S. citizens will be chased down to the ends of the earth and either be snuffed by a drone attack that has the personal approval of the commander in chief or be locked away for good if they are captured. How can Americans justify demanding that Israel do something they would never do themselves.

Prisoner Release - Here We Go Again - Herb Keinon

At the end of the day, with all the pain and agony that it entails, Israel will release Palestinian terrorists who murdered scores of innocent people. And these murderers will be hailed as heroes in Hebron and Ramallah and Jenin. Parades will be held in their honor, flowers thrown at the bus carrying them home, poems written about their "glorious" exploits. It matters how they are received. It sets tone and atmosphere. It says something about our peacemaking partners.
(Jerusalem Post)

The Decision to Release Palestinian Prisoners - Ron Ben-Yishai

There is no doubt that the increase in the number of prisoners slated for release constitutes a capitulation to American pressure.

The most important reason behind the decision has to do with the Iranian nuclear program. Over the next few months, apparently by next spring, Iran will become a country on the brink of weapons capability. During this time Israel will be able to stop the Iranian nuclear program, should it receive support and legitimacy from the West, and mainly from the U.S. The release of Palestinian prisoners is a reasonable price to pay for something that is so crucial for the State of Israel, according to Netanyahu's security doctrine.
(Ynet News)

Prisoner Release Prevents Serious Diplomatic Crisis with the U.S.
- Barak Ravid

Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar says he supported the prisoner release at the cabinet meeting to prevent a serious diplomatic crisis with the U.S.

Gradual Release of Prisoners to Keep Palestinians at Negotiations
- Herb Keinon

The idea behind the gradual release of prisoners, according to Israeli officials, is to ensure that the Palestinians uphold their commitments during the initial nine months of negotiations not to take unilateral actions against Israel in the UN, and not to immediately walk away from the negotiating table.
(Jerusalem Post)

Identities of Palestinian Prisoners Up for Release Revealed
- Yaron Druckman

They murdered Israeli men and women as well as Palestinian collaborators and were jailed prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords or immediately after.
(Ynet News)


Back on the Peace Train - Editorial

Gathering at John Kerry's home in Washington, Israeli and Palestinian officials on Monday relaunched peace negotiations. Syria is burning, Egypt is in turmoil and Jordan's king is under siege, but the Secretary of State will try to push this stone up the hill one more time.

The biggest obstacle as ever will be the inability of the Palestinian leadership to compromise. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority for nearly a decade, inspires little confidence as a negotiating partner. His chief accomplishment has been to lose control of Gaza to Hamas, the terrorist group that denies Israel's right to exist.

The U.S. role should be as an honest broker, not as a backstage arm-twister of Netanyahu. Peace isn't possible if Palestinians aren't ready to make it on terms Israelis can live with.
(Wall Street Journal)

How the Peace Process May Affect Jordan - Lee Smith     

Were Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would rout the PA in a matter of months and leave Jordan's King Abdullah with an Islamist group on his Western border.

What keeps Abdullah up at night is the recurring nightmare of Kerry getting a deal for a failed Palestinian state. 
(Weekly Standard)

Palestinians Dismiss Prisoner Release - Khaled Abu Toameh

Of course Abbas and Fatah will present the prisoner release as a "huge achievement" by Abbas. But some Palestinians, including Abbas loyalists, see the release as a "bribe" to entice Abbas to return to the talks.

[And t]here are also Palestinians who see the release of 100 prisoners as a "minor" achievement compared to Hamas' success in securing the release of more than 1,000 inmates in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
(Gatestone Institute)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Demise of Radical Islam

Islamism's Likely Doom -Daniel Pipes, PhD

As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities — sectarian (Sunni, Shiite), political (monarchical, republican), tactical (political, violent) or attitudes toward modernity (Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood) — and cooperate.

But Islamists have in recent months abruptly and overwhelmingly thrown themselves at each others’ throats. Islamists still constitute a single movement who share similar supremacist and utopian goals, but they also have different personnel, ethnic affiliations, methods and philosophies.

Islamist internecine hostilities have flared up in many other Muslim-majority countries. Sunni versus Shia tensions can be seen in Turkey versus Iran, also due to different approaches to Islamism; in Lebanon, where it’s Sunni versus Shiite Islamists and Sunni Islamists versus the army; Sunni versus Shiite Islamists in Syria; Sunni versus Shiite Islamists in Iraq; Sunni Islamists versus Shiites in Egypt; and Houthis versus Salafis in Yemen.

[M]embers of the same sect fight each other...This pattern of fracturing brings to mind the 1950s divisions of pan-Arab nationalists. They aspired to unify all Arabic-speaking peoples, as the expression then went, “From the [Atlantic] ocean to the [Persian] gulf.” However appealing the dream, its leaders fell out as the movement grew in power, dooming pan-Arab nationalism to the point that it eventually collapsed under the weight of kaleidoscopic and ever-more minute clashes.

In fact, every effort at forming an Arab union failed...

Reflecting deep Middle East patterns, dissension among Islamists likewise prevents them from working together. As the movement surges, as its members approach power and actually rule, its cracks become increasingly divisive. Rivalries papered over when Islamists languish in the opposition emerge when they wield power.

Should this divisive tendency hold, the Islamist movement is doomed, like fascism and communism, to be no more than a civilizational threat inflicting immense damage but never prevailing. This possible limit on Islamist power, which became visible only in 2013, offers grounds for optimism but not for relaxation.
[The Washington Times]


Monday, July 22, 2013

Yawn: Kerry's Hollow Victory

The High Price of Kerry's Victory - Jonathan S. Tobin

Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member, told AP that Kerry would endorse the 1967 lines as the starting point of negotiations and assured the Palestinians that Israel would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months. Thus, the Palestinians have already made it abundantly clear that they won't actually negotiate in good faith but will only show up expecting the U.S. to deliver Israeli concessions to them on a silver platter.

The Palestinians had no interest in returning to negotiations they've been boycotting for four and a half years. But both Israel and the Palestinians didn't wish to obstruct Kerry's desire for talks. He might have left off once the Palestinians demonstrated their lack of interest, but since he persisted, they felt they had no choice but to show up.

Abbas and the PA are too weak to agree to any deal that would conclusively end a conflict that neither Hamas nor much of Fatah actually wants to end. Recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn, is something that no Palestinian leader can afford to do at this point in history.

The culture of Palestinian politics that has revolved around the delegitimization of Israel and Jewish history makes it impossible. That's why they've already rejected three Israelis offers of a Palestinian state.

Europe's Stance on Settlements Is a Blunder - Yair Lapid

The campaign of delegitimizing the Jewish state - a campaign financed primarily by Arab oil - has gained momentum in recent years. The only thing that can stop it is the resumption of peace negotiations. In one fell swoop, the misguided folks in Brussels have emboldened the extremists, allowing them to triumphantly claim to Abbas: "You see, we were right all along. You must not negotiate. We don't have to do anything. The international community will do our job for us."

The world shouldn't make things easier for extremists. It's challenging enough to pursue peace in this problematic neighborhood of ours. We do not need our friends overseas to make it even more difficult. The EU would do well to revoke its decision.
The writer is Israel's Minister of Finance.
(New York Times)


"Occupied Territories": What about Cyprus, Kashmir, Tibet?
- Douglas Murray

Last week the EU issued a ban on funding of, or cooperation with, any Israeli institutions that operate in what it calls the "occupied territories." There are many countries in the world with border disputes, including Cyprus, China [Tibet], and Pakistan [Kashmir]. Yet the EU has full diplomatic and trade relations with all these countries.

The northern part of Cyprus has been illegally annexed for the last four decades by Turkey, even though Turkey does not have - as Israel has with the West Bank - any legitimate historical, political or other territorial claims on the island. Yet in 2013, many leading EU officials actually want to promote Turkey into a full member-state of the EU.

With nearly 100,000 dead in Syria and Egypt going through a counter-revolution, the issue of where Jews should or should not live inside their historical homeland is a matter of the lowest international import.
The writer is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society in the UK.
(Gatestone Institute)

Palestinians, Israelis Play Down Chances of Imminent Talks

- Ali Sawafta and Allyn Fisher-Ilan 

Palestinians said negotiations could not begin unless it was clear in advance that they would be about a future state based on the pre-1967 lines.

Did the EU Really Curb Hizbullah Funding? - Soeren Kern

    As Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, put it: "Calling Hizbullah a charity is like calling al-Qaeda an urban planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings." 

(Gatestone Institute)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shame on Rolling Stone Magazine

Terrorist on Rolling Stone Cover -Sara Debbie Gutfreund
TEST: $site_isSpanish English no hoot lat:
Rolling Stone magazine is being bombarded by criticism for its cover treatment and photograph of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The article, by contributing editor Janet Reitman, is called “The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” The feature includes interviews with childhood and college friends, teachers, neighbors and police officers. Readers, especially from Boston, bashed the magazine on its Facebook page, claiming that the cover page is turning a terrorist into a “rock star.”

CVS pharmacy, Walgreens and Massachusetts-based Tedeschi convenience stores all said that they are refusing to sell copies of the magazine. Tedeschi Food Shops wrote on its Facebook page that “it cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone. Music and terrorism don’t mix.” The Woonsocket, R.I-based chain CVS wrote on its Facebook page: “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.”

Some of the reader comments on Rolling Stone Facebook page wrote:

“Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs, should be on the cover.” 
“The best example of why Facebook needs a dislike button.” 
“I am so disappointed with Rolling Stone magazine. I have enjoyed your magazine until now. I will no longer buy/read the mag. You have just made him a ‘rock star.’ How could you?”

A bloodied Tsarnaev emerges from the boat he was hiding in

Graphic Photos of Tsarnaev Capture Released -Ravi Somaiya

A Massachusetts State Police sergeant was relieved of duty Thursday after supplying Boston Magazine with graphic images from the capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the editor of the magazine said.

Mr. Murphy told the magazine that he decided to release his images — which show a bloodied and surrendering Mr. Tsarnaev — after feeling angered by this month’s cover of Rolling Stone magazine, which featured a softer portrait of Mr. Tsarnaev.
In a statement he accused Rolling Stone of “glamorizing the face of terror” and providing an incentive to others who might seek fame through similar acts. “This is the real Boston bomber,” he said of the Mr. Tsarnaev depicted in his images. “Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
[New York Times]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yawn: Palestinians Stand Still as MidEast Moves Forward

The Boring Palestinians - Bret Stephens
  • For all its presumed importance, the Palestinian saga has gotten awfully boring, hasn't it? The grievances that remain unchanged, a cast of characters that never alters. We get it. We just don't give a damn anymore.
  • If this were a TV drama, it would be 'The X-Files' in its 46th season.
  • The region is moving tumultuously forward. Israel is dynamic, threatened, innovative, evolving. Egypt careens between revolution and restoration. Lebanon is on the brink, Iran is on the march, Syria is in its agony. Only the Palestinians remain trapped in ideological amber.
  • How long can the world be expected to keep staring at this four-million-year-old mosquito?
(Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Price of Godliness

Baptist Pastor in Bethlehem Recognizes Jewish Rights -Fran Waddams 

During a recent visit I met Baptist Pastor Naim Khoury [pictured] in Bethlehem. He insists that Palestinian Christians are obliged to love all their neighbors, Muslim and Jew, and that the Jews' right to live unhindered on the land promised to them by God is clearly set out in the Bible.

As a result of his courage, Pastor Khoury is shunned by fellow Christians, his church has had its right to conduct marriages and baptisms withdrawn by the Palestinian Authority, his church has been bombed 14 times, and he was once shot.

Nevertheless, his Arab congregation numbers in the hundreds, the largest in the territories.
The writer is a leader in Anglican Friends of Israel.

(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is the US Undermining Israel?

Trusting the U.S. to Keep Secrets - Alex Fishman

Sources in the Pentagon who are selling Israeli secrets to the American media know that they are jeopardizing clear Israeli interests in the region and putting the lives of Israel's citizens in danger. When it happens once, it could be someone's slip of the tongue. When it happens twice - it's a work plan.

On May 5, warehouses containing Hizbullah-bound Iranian Fateh-110 missiles were attacked in the Damascus area. Several hours after the bombing, American government officials rushed to point a finger at Israel as the country behind the attack. After May's leak the Americans apologized, explaining that it was the work of low-ranking officials, saying there was a commission of inquiry.

Then on Friday, after an attack on a military base north of Latakia believed to contained Yakhont coastal missiles, the Americans once again pointed a finger at Israel as the country responsible. The American government, Israel's strategic partner, is being revealed as unreliable.
(Ynet News)

Eiland: U.S. Leaks on Attacks in Syria Problematic - Yoav Zitun

Former Israel National Security Council head Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland said, the attacks in Syria "are clean in that they do not leave fingerprints and are conducted in a way that does not allow the Syrians to photograph the plane or ship which attacked, and in a way that does not push (President Bashar) Assad into a corner."

"The American leaks (regarding alleged Israeli operations in Syria) are problematic."
(Ynet News)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

16 Year Old Takes on Taliban...Again

Malala, shot by Taliban, takes education plea to U.N.
-Michelle Nichols

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls, marked her 16th birthday with a passionate speech at the United Nations on Friday in which she said education could change the world.

"Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution," said Yousafzai, speaking out for the first time since she was attacked.

Wearing a pink head scarf, Yousafzai told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students attending an international Youth Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York that education was the only way to improve lives.

Yousafzai was shot at close range by gunmen in October as she left school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, northwest of the country's capital Islamabad. She was targeted for her campaign against the Islamist Taliban efforts to deny women education.
[Jewish Journal/Reuters]

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Only In The MidEast: Egyptian Liberals Support Military Coup


Egypt after Morsi: Joy and Worry -Daniel Pipes, PhD

The overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt delights and worries me.

Delight is easy to explain. What appears to have been the largest political demonstration in history uprooted the arrogant Islamists of Egypt who ruled with near-total disregard for anything other than consolidating their own power. Islamism, the drive to apply a medieval Islamic law and the only vibrant radical utopian movement in the world today, experienced an unprecedented repudiation. Egyptians showed an inspiring spirit.  

If it took 18 days to overthrow Husni Mubarak in 2011, just four were needed to overthrow Morsi this past week. The number of deaths commensurately went down from about 850 to 40. Western governments (notably the Obama administration) thinking they had sided with history by helping the Muslim Brotherhood regime found themselves appropriately embarrassed.  

My worry is more complex. The historical record shows that the thrall of radical utopianism endures until calamity sets in. On paper, fascism and communism sound appealing; only the realities of Hitler and Stalin discredited and marginalized these movements.

In the case of Islamism, this same process has already begun; indeed, the revulsion started with much less destruction wrought than in the prior two cases (Islamism not yet having killed tens of millions) and with greater speed (years, not decades). Recent weeks have seen three rejections of Islamist rule in a row, what with the Gezi Park-inspired demonstrations across Turkey, a resounding victory by the least-hardline Islamist in the Iranian elections on June 14, and now the unprecedentedly massive refutation of the Muslim Brotherhood in public squares along the Nile River.  

But I fear that the quick military removal of the Muslim Brotherhood government will exonerate Islamists.  

[T]he year-long interlude of Islamist rule by Morsi & Co., which did so much to exacerbate [economic] problems, may well be forgotten – and whoever inherits the rule will take the blame. In other words, the pain Egyptians have and will go through may be for naught. Who knows, they might in desperation turn again to Islamists to pull them out of their future predicament. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood's brief time in power means other Muslim peoples will also not gain as they should from Egypt's dire experience.  

Egypt is a mess. Relations between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood elements have already turned violent and threaten to degenerate. Copts and Shi'ites get murdered just because of their identities. The Sinai Peninsula is anarchic. The incompetent and greedy military leadership, which viciously ruled Egypt from behind the scenes between 1952 and 2012, is back in charge.  

In short, my joy at Morsi's departure more than offset by my concern that the lessons of his misrule will not be learned.
[National Post]

In the Aftermath of Morsi's Ouster -Avi Issacharoff

If the Muslim Brotherhood consents to Morsi's ouster, it may even win the next presidential elections with a more effective candidate.

If it refuses and orders its followers to battle the new regime, Egypt may spiral into a bloody cycle of violence.

For Hamas, the news out of Cairo was especially grim. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas' parent organization, lost its power to a military establishment that is hostile to the Palestinian group's goals.

Hamas, which has clashed with Syria and Iran over the course of the last year, now finds itself nearly isolated in the Arab sphere.
(Times of Israel)

A Political Blow for Hamas -Alex Fishman

The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt directly affects the standing of Hamas in the Arab and Palestinian contexts. Hamas has been dealt a heavy blow.

Fearing the spread of Islamist influence into the Sinai, the Egyptian army has implemented a total closure on the Gaza-Egyptian border.

Hamas' desperate situation is likely to weaken its standing against Islamic Jihad and other Salafist groups in Gaza, but also its general standing in the world.
(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew-4July2013)

Egypt: What Happens Now? -Ashraf Khalil

The Muslim Brotherhood will not simply leave, as Mubarak did. After all, it has been a mainstay in Egyptian politics for decades.

Egypt's first round of presidential elections last summer indicated that the Brotherhood's true national support is likely still around 25%.

Whoever leads the government next, therefore, will have to somehow make peace with the Brotherhood.
(Foreign Affairs)

Turkey's Leadership Watches Uneasily -Joe Parkinson

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has invested heavily to forge a strong alliance with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, born from shared roots in political Islam. The collapse of the Islamist government in Cairo would mark the removal of a key ally for Ankara and could further undermine Turkey's bid to become a regional model for emerging Arab democracies.
(Wall Street Journal)

After Morsi's Ouster -Robert Satloff

No one should revel in the deposition of an elected leader by a country's military, but this is not a coup in the traditional sense and does not merit a suspension of U.S. assistance. Indeed, the army almost surely prevented a bloodbath that would have scarred Egypt for decades. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Washington Post)

Egypt's Lost Opportunity -Fareed Zakaria

The Muslim Brotherhood's biggest failing has been incompetence. Egypt is in free fall. In the year that Morsi was in power, the economy sunk, unemployment skyrocketed, public order collapsed, crime rose, and basic social services have stalled.

Egypt's military has presented this coup as a "soft" one, aimed at restoring democracy, not subverting it.
(Washington Post)

People Power Rises Again -David Ignatius

This new wave of activism in the Middle East isn't pro- or anti-American. It's a movement of empowered citizens who don't want the old secular dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak's era, and don't want a new Islamic authoritarianism, either. This week showed there is still a popular movement for democratic change that resists dictation from anyone.

For U.S. officials, recent events are a reminder that the Middle East is still in the early stages of a long-running process of transformation. Morsi's election in 2012 offered the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to show that it could govern Egypt effectively. It has flunked the test.
(Washington Post)
Palestinian Authority leaders on expressed joy over the downfall of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s regime, with some calling on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to follow suit and topple the Hamas government.

Palestinian analysts predicted that the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt would undermine Hamas, which in the past year has been emboldened by Morsi’s rise to power.
Several Fatah officials expressed hope that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would wage a revolution against Hamas.
[Jerusalem Post]
In Egypt, the Popularity of Islamism Shall Endure - Reuel Marc Gerecht

Morsi, an incompetent, boring and inarticulate demagogue, will not return. But Egypt's enormous systemic problems remain. 

Mindful of recent Turkish history, senior officers will not allow vengeful Islamists to compete, win and neuter the army. However, Egypt's problems are now the responsibility of the military and Egyptian liberals. The odds are that they will fail abysmally, and in their failure, the Brotherhood and other Islamists will recapture the street. 
The writer, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, served in the CIA's Clandestine Service from 1985 to 1994, specializing in the Middle East. 
(Washington Post)

Palestinians Choose Ideology Over Sewage Treatment

Untreated Palestinian Sewage Contaminating Israel's Groundwater -Zafrir Rinat

Almost 90% of sewage from Palestinian towns in the West Bank flows into the environment untreated, contaminating the groundwater and 162 km. of streams, according to a report prepared by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. Israel has tried to cope with the problem by building treatment plants near the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank and treating the contaminated water once it enters Israel.

A lack of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation has impeded solutions to this problem.  

[T]he Palestinian Authority refuses to cooperate to connect Palestinian towns in the northern West Bank to an Israeli sewage line because the line also serves several settlements. It also nixed a proposed treatment plant that would serve both Palestinian towns and the city of Ariel.


Water in the West Bank - David M. Weinberg

Israel has fulfilled all of its obligations about water supply to the West Bank under the Oslo agreements it signed in 1995 with the Palestinian Authority (and in fact has exceeded them), while the Palestinians are wasting tremendous amounts of water while refusing to utilize modern water conservation or sewage treatment methods. Indeed, the PA has violated its water agreements with Israel by drilling over 250 unauthorized wells. Moreover, every Israeli citizen pays more for water in order to subsidize Israel's sale of water to the Palestinians at discount prices. Residents of Tel Aviv and Haifa pay twice as much for their water as residents of Nablus and Ramallah.

Many Palestinian farmers routinely overwater their crops through old-fashioned, wasteful flooding methods. Generally, they don't pay their own water bills - international donors do - so they don't care to conserve. Moreover, at least one-third of the water being pumped out of the ground by the Palestinians is wasted through leakage and mismanagement - by the Palestinian Water Authority's own estimates.

At the same time, 95% of the sewage produced by the Palestinians is not treated at all. Palestinian sewage flows untreated into the streams and valleys of the West Bank, and infiltrates into the Mountain Aquifer, polluting it for Jews and Arabs alike. Some raw Palestinian sewage flows into Israel too.

Only one sewage plant has been built in the West Bank in the past 15 years, despite there being a $500 million international donor fund available for this purpose, due to a Palestinian strategy of noncooperation with Israel.
The writer is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
(Jerusalem Post)