Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is the Palestinian Authority Better Than Hamas?

Do Palestinians Want Statehood?
-Jonathan Tobin

They are going to the UN not because they wish to actually have a state but because their desire is to avoid negotiations that might give them one if they were ever willing to actually sign a peace agreement with the Israelis.

Just like Hamas, which rails against "occupation" while governing what is functionally a Palestinian state, Abbas clings to policies that keep the status quo in place while still railing against it. The reason is that although its leader is wrongly proclaimed by Washington as a champion of peace, he and his movement are as committed to Israel's destruction as Hamas. Accepting a state in the West Bank means not so much ending the "occupation" of that area as it does accepting that the parts of the country that are left to Israel must be considered part of a Jewish state and that the conflict is therefore ended for all time.

Until Fatah is willing to do that, its talk of statehood at the UN must be considered to be no different than Hamas' blatant rejection of peace on any terms.

And the sooner Western nations catch on to this fact and stop enabling the PA's evasions, the better it will be for Palestinians and their children who need peace more than an unending and bloody war against Zionism.
[Jewish World Review]

Netanyahu: Iranian Effort to Deepen Terrorism in West Bank

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet: 
"In recent weeks we have seen a stepped-up Iranian effort to intensify terrorist actions in Judea and Samaria. None other than the Palestinian Authority ambassador in Tehran said that he was enthused by Iranian ruler Khamenei's instructions to send weapons to the West Bank and he added, 'The Zionist regime is an aggressive cancerous growth which, sooner or later, must be eliminated.' It was not a Hamas man who said this, it was the Palestinian Authority ambassador."
(Prime Minister's Office)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Appeasement Foreign Policy

While dangerously close to being partisan, this cartoon takes a shot at President Obama's overall foreign policy.  Pictured are Raul Castro [on lap], Ayatollah Khamenei, Putin & Assad.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Palestinian Narrative Is Bull

Why Is There No Palestinian State? - Jeff Robbins

  • With the Palestinian decision to enlist the UN to impose terms on Israel despite objections by the U.S., the question remains:
    Why is it that the Palestinians rejected Israel's offer for an independent Palestinian state comprised of virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a capital in east Jerusalem in 2000, 2001, and 2008?
  • In his memoir, former President Bill Clinton described Yasser Arafat's rejection of the Palestinian state offered by the Israelis at the end of his second term as tragic. In her memoir, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice describes the even more favorable offer made by Israel in 2008. "In the end," Rice writes, "the Palestinians walked away from the negotiations."
  • The answer is that Israel's proposals for an independent Palestinian state have come with a condition that the Palestinian leadership has regarded as a deal-breaker: a permanent end of the conflict, and a commitment to accept Israel's existence. By contrast, the Security Council end-game sought by the Palestinians is an end-run around any such condition; it would impose on the Palestinians no obligation to end the dispute.
  • As Abbas knows, the Palestinian street opposes any end of conflict with Israel that fails to bring about its disappearance. In May 2009, not long after spurning the "extraordinary terms" described by Rice, Abbas told the Washington Post that he was in no hurry to make peace with the Israelis. Rather, Abbas hoped that international pressure on Israel would force it to capitulate without any corresponding obligation on the Palestinians' part to agree to live in peace.
  • The Palestinians' argument that UN intervention is necessary because they cannot otherwise obtain a state represents a narrative that has been adopted wholesale in certain quarters. Sadly, however, it is a narrative that is tough to square with what has actually occurred.

    The writer is a former U.S. delegate to the UN Human Rights Council.
(Boston Globe)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Iran + Hamas = Trouble

Hamas Eyes West Bank and Jordan - Pinhas Inbari 

Hamas is now directly threatening Fatah that it will take over the West Bank. Senior Gaza-based Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar declared: "Just as we liberated Gaza, just as we established a real national government in it...we will make the same effort in the West Bank as we prepare to extend our presence to all of Palestine."     

Palestinian security forces are now carrying out a wave of arrests of Hamas operatives in the West Bank at the same time that Jordan is making numerous arrests among cadres of the Muslim Brotherhood, as if it had information on preparations for a takeover of the country corresponding to Hamas' preparations for a takeover of the West Bank. The failure of the reconciliation talks with the PA in Ramallah stems from Hamas' insistence on being a Muslim Brotherhood movement and not a national Palestinian one.     

Hamas is in a tight bind. Egypt is systematically destroying the tunnels from Sinai into Gaza and is planning to build a moat that will flood the tunnels to finally seal off Gaza from Egypt. Economically, Gaza has lost its oxygen supply from Sinai. So Hamas has decided to export its crisis from Gaza to the West Bank. Hamas seeks to replace the window to the Arab world that Sinai provided with another window - in the direction of Jordan.

PA sources in Ramallah suspect that the Hamas delegation that recently visited Tehran was seeking Iran's help for carrying out a takeover of the West Bank
The writer, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, is an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Santa's MidEast Itinerary

Poignant cartoons from Dry Bones
Palestinian Christmas Lies - Jonathan S. Tobin

Middle East Christians have been largely portrayed as caught in the middle of a bitter war between Jews and Arabs over the Holy Land. But this is a profound misunderstanding of the reality of the conflict.
Though many Christians have been prominent Arab nationalists, their effort to identify with the struggle against Zionism has not led to greater acceptance for Christians within Palestinian society or the Arab and Muslim world in general. To the contrary, over the decades, the Palestinian national movement has taken an increasingly Islamist tone. Today, an Islamist tide that has swept through the region has made Christians an endangered minority.
The same dynamic has led to a massive exodus of Palestinian Christians from the territories. Life in many traditionally Christian towns like Bethlehem has been made increasingly untenable for non-Muslims. By contrast, Israel remains the one nation in the region where Christian rights and those of all religions are respected.


- David Bernstein

Mehdi Hasan, political director of the Huffington Post, UK, posted an article entitled, "If Mary and Joseph Tried to Reach Bethlehem Today, They Would Get Stuck at an Israeli Checkpoint." Actually, since Joseph and Mary were Jews from Nazareth, they wouldn't need to be afraid of Israeli roadblocks needed to combat Palestinian terrorism, but of being murdered by terrorists from Hamas or Fatah.

This sort of historical revisionism would be laughable if it were not so pernicious. It ignores the failure of the Arab side to recognize that the "Zionists" are not "European settler-colonialists," but a people with a three-thousand-year-plus tie to the Land of Israel, whose religion was born there, who ruled two separate kingdoms there, and who have prayed toward Jerusalem for two thousand years in their ancient Hebrew language.

Such denial, coming frequently from even "moderate" Palestinian Authority officials, means that the Arab side can't see any potential peace agreement as a historic reconciliation between two peoples with strong claims to the land, but as at best a humiliating capitulation to foreign occupation that would have to eventually be reversed. Until that mindset changes, there won't be long-term peace, regardless of paper agreements. Writers like Hasan are quite simply the enemies of peace. 
The writer is a professor at the George Mason University School of Law
(Washington Post)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

VideoBite: Big Bad Israel

A sardonic video which scores political points for Israel in a most unusual way

Monday, December 15, 2014

Glick Blasts Danish Ambassador

Dramatic exchange at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.
Caroline Glick blasts Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr.

[Hat tip: Michael W]

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Progress: Arab Prince Calls Out Radical Islam

Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa

Arab Prince Denounces Islamism - Daniel Pipes, PhD

  • On Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, 45, the crown prince of Bahrain, candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways to fight it.
  • The time has come, he says "for us to get rid of" the phrase "War on Terror," a term that dates back to 9/11. "When we faced communism we understood it as an ideology. Terrorism is not an ideology."
  • "We are not only fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats." They are also tyrants, isolationists, and misogynists who will need to be fought "for a very long time."
  • He scorns them for being "very much like the seventeenth century" and having "no place in our modern twenty-first" century.
  • He urges us "to discard the term 'War on Terror' and focus instead on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil theocracies." "It is the ideology itself that must be combated. It must be named, it must be shamed, it must be contained, and eventually it must be defeated."
  • As I often say, radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. Now, we may add another influential leader, indeed a crown prince, to the ranks of those Muslims who wish to find a solution.
(Washington Times)


Murderer Sleazebag Dies Rioting

Ziad Abu Ein, murdering sleaze

Palestinian Official Died of Heart Attack - Itay Gal     

The official Israeli pathology report on PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein's death contradicted Palestinian claims that he was killed by IDF actions, saying he died of a heart attack.
(Ynet News)

Palestinian Official Dies after Clash with IDF
Senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, was extradited from the U.S. to Israel in 1981 for a 1979 terrorist bombing in Tiberias that killed two Israeli teens and injured more than 30. He was released during a 1985 prisoner swap for three Israeli prisoners captured during the First Lebanon War

Abu Ein, who served as deputy minister for prisoner affairs, died after clashing with IDF soldiers at a demonstration in the West Bank. Abu Ein, 55, collapsed at the site and was evacuated by ambulance. Footage from the demonstration showed him lying on the ground and clutching his chest. The IDF said it had been preventing the entrance of some 200 "rioters" into an Israeli settlement when the clash occurred.
(Times of Israel)

Preliminary Autopsy Report on Ziad Abu Ein      

The autopsy was carried out at the forensics institute in Abu Dis. Participating were Dr. Chen Kugel and Dr. Maya Furman from Israel's National Institute of Forensic Medicine, as well as representatives from the Palestinian forensics institute and doctors from Jordan.    

The death of Ziad Abu Ein was caused by a blockage of the coronary artery due to hemorrhaging underneath a layer of atherosclerotic plaque. The deceased suffered from ischemic heart disease; blood vessels in his heart were found to be over 80% blocked by plaque. Old scars indicating that he suffered from previous myocardial infarctions [heart attacks] were also found.     

The poor condition of the deceased's heart caused him to be more sensitive to stress.
(Israel Ministry of Health)

Palestinians Prevented Israeli Medic from Aiding PA Official - Ben Cohen

Sky News Middle East correspondent Tom Rayner reported that Palestinians prevented an Israeli medic from providing first aid to Ziad Abu Ein.

Critical Moment for Security Coordination - Amos Harel

The consequences of Wednesday's death of PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein following clashes with Israeli soldiers will become clear in another few days. Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub said the PA would stop working with Israel on security - although such a step may be confined to the realm of rhetoric. Even if it happens, Israelis and Palestinians can be expected to resume at least informal contact to make sure they don't lose control of the situation altogether.

Despite the claims of senior PA officials, the footage of Abu Ein's death does not appear to indicate that he was killed on account of IDF violence. Abu Ein was an older man, a heavy smoker with health problems who got caught up in a violent confrontation with Israeli forces that involved shoving. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Zionism Thriving

Zionism Is Not in Decline - Amos Yadlin and Uri Sadot

  • Israel is more secure and prosperous now than ever in its history. It wields the strongest military power in the Middle East; the economy is on a steady rise and rich with gas reserves; our demography is healthy; our people are some of the happiest in the world and our society, as exemplified this summer, is close-knit and resilient in times of trial.
  • In 2013, 19,200 new immigrants decided to relocate their homes to Israel, demonstrating that Zionism is not at all on the decline.
  • Adding to its security, Israel now enjoys a wide network of alliances. Security cooperation with the U.S., military aid levels, support in Congress, as well as trade volumes and tourism have never been better. China and India are now increasingly cooperative both in trade and diplomatically. Similarly, trade volumes with Europe have risen steadily.
  • Also worth noting are Israel's improving ties with Canada, Central European states, many countries in Africa, the republics of central Asia, and the once-menacing Russian Federation.
  • Israel's two longest borders, with Jordan and Egypt, have long been pacified by treaties that have endured turbulent periods.
  • The grave threat of conventional armies against Israel has disintegrated together with the Syrian and the Iraqi states.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former Chief of Defense Intelligence, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), where Uri Sadot is a research fellow.

US/NATO Should Declare Turkey A "State Sponsor of Terror"

The positive secular transformation begun by Ataturk has been undone by Erdogan

Add Turkey to "State Sponsors of Terrorism" List
- Daniel Pipes     

According to Israeli intelligence, Hamas has moved its outside-Gaza headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul [Turkey]; it is headed by Saleh al-Arouri, whom Israel Hayom calls "an infamous arch-terrorist believed to be responsible for dozens of attacks against Israelis."

Arouri recently plotted at least two very ambitious but foiled operations, including "an attack on Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, and an attack on the light rail train in the capital."

The claim of Hamas planning destruction from its Istanbul base needs to be investigated by the U.S. government and, if found accurate, the Republic of Turkey then placed on the "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list.                                                                                                                     (National Review)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Gordis' Vision: Rabbi Knocks It Out of the Park

Restoring a golden era - Rabbi Daniel Gordis

Even in the darkness of these past few weeks, I believe the golden era can return. Perhaps it’s because I remember a world that not long ago was very different.

When I was in high school and college in the 1970s and early ’80s, American Jewry was, in many respects, in its prime. Jews were moving to the suburbs, getting rich, building enormous synagogues, feeling at home in America in a way their grandparents could not have anticipated.

Yasser Arafat was despised almost everywhere as the murderous inventor of international terror. The notion that the Palestinians would be given a state without making peace with Israel would have been laughable.

Today Europe has turned and anti-Semitism is back in vogue. In our Jerusalem neighborhood, one hears more French with every passing week. On one recent Shabbat afternoon, I stopped a family I’d never seen before and asked them why they came now. They said their kids were getting beaten up in France, so they actually went to the police. But the policeman was a Muslim and he literally refused to take a report. The next week they were here.

Parts of London are too dangerous for Jews to walk in.

And in the Middle East, the West has still not decided to destroy what is clearly the greatest threat to Western civilization since Nazism. The US has put on the ground troops whose number, I assume, is roughly equivalent to the number of police who guard Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day.

Palestinians continue to slaughter, and Europe rewards them by recognizing a state that does not exist.

Boko Haram kidnaps girls, rapes them and sells them into sexual slavery, and a pouting Michelle Obama holds up a sign that reads #BringBackOurGirls.

A deal with Iran is nowhere in sight, but Secretary of State John Kerry announces nonetheless that his goal is to eliminate sanctions. In large swaths of the Middle East, Islamic State still roams free, like the beef American now like to eat.

How many Americans understand that Boko Haram, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic State are just different forms of the very same cancer that day will strike them, too? BUT I actually remain optimistic.

I do not believe the French will really let hundreds of years of French literature, art, music and philosophy be strangled by Shari’a. One day, the French will hear that yet another town has caved in to Muslim demands, and when they sense that Paris is next, they’ll act. They’ll take France back.

It’ll be very late, and the cost will be high, but the rest of Europe will heave a sigh of relief and follow suit. Does anyone really think Europe will commit suicide? I don’t.

And one day, al-Qaida or Islamic State will hit the US.

Then, somehow, a new leader like FDR or Churchill will find the will to fight back. When Churchill said to Congress in 1943, speaking of Japan’s cities, “in ashes they must surely lie before peace comes back to the world,” he understood that as long as unmitigated evil is permitted to persist, the West is in mortal danger.

He received a standing ovation.

One day, the West will remember that it was values that made our civilization great. It will say to radical Islam: 'We do not plan to die, because we believe our values are better than yours. Your worldview, we believe, is a medieval cancer. You can join the modern world, stop oppressing women, stop killing gays and lesbians, respect a free press and the right of assembly, celebrate difference of opinion and free inquiry and erase the notion of the infidel from your lexicon.'

'Or we will kill you – as many of you as it takes – until the values that we believe make life worth living are no longer under threat.'

When the West returns to its senses, those kids who today cannot fathom what many of us are mourning will finally see what a golden era looks like.

We may not live to see it happen, but still, our duty is to do whatever we can to draw it near, “speedily in our day.” ■

[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, November 28, 2014

Will Israel Attack After New Congress Takes Office?


Negotiations with Tehran - Daniel Pipes, PhD

The Nov. 24 deadline came and went for an agreement between the powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran; on that date, they managed only to extend the existing interim deal for another seven months. The ayatollah crowed and U.S. senators stewed. Looking beyond these responses, the current situation spurs several thoughts:

  • If one assumes, as I do, that the apocalyptically-minded Iranian leadership will do everything it can to acquire The Bomb, then economic sanctions only serve to slow its course, not to stop it. Put more forcefully, the debate over sanctions is peripheral and even diversionary. The arcane financial and scientific minutiae of the negotiations tend to bury the only discussion that really matters – whether or not some government will use force to reverse the nuclear program.
  • That said, should the 114th Congress pass legislation with a veto-proof majority, this would be an unprecedented blow against Barack Obama and would presumably serve as a low-water mark of his presidency. But this signal event for American domestic politics is unlikely to affect the Iranian program.
  • Some governments (Russian, American) have the means but not the intent to destroy the Iranian facilities. Others have the intent (Saudi, Canadian) but not the means. This leaves only one player, which sort-of has the means and sort-of the intent: Israel. Given its in-between status, whether it will act is the $64,000 question. This is what preoccupies me and, I suggest, what others too should focus on.
  • Israel's conundrum appears genuine: On the one hand, this is only state to have knocked out nuclear programs (and it did so twice, in 1981 [Iraq] and 2007 [Syria]); on the other, the logistical challenge and supremely high stakes make this round far more daunting.
  • Not for the first time, the 8 million people of Israel have an outsized international role. There's a reason it has the highest per-capita number of foreign correspondents: whether it's classical music virtuosity, religious passions, high-tech breakthroughs, UN Security Council resolutions, or warfare, the Jewish state globally punches far above its weight.
    [National Review Online]
  • *

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Innovative Anti-ISIS Muslim American


    Muslim American Pens Anti-ISIS Cartoon - Phyllis Chesler, PhD

    Mohammed Ahmed
    A Muslim Somali man who lives in Minnesota has decided to combat the lure of ISIS in a very creative way. Mohammed Ahmed [pictured] has created [a series of] vivid and clear-sighted cartoons at AverageMohamed.com, aimed at children between the ages of 8-16. 

    Using verses from the Koran, speaking English, Ahmed explains that the Islamic State terrorist group will not lead them to Paradise—but to Hell; that ISIS engages in genocide; that saving one life is equivalent to saving the world; and that taking one life is therefore equivalent to destroying the entire world.

    Ahmed has decided to create a “counter narrative…which is meant to question, challenge, and agitate minds into not accepting what has been told in the propaganda videos.”

    Not only is he posting his counter-narrative videos—he plans to travel with them to mosques, community youth centers, and even to families where a family member is planning to join a radical Islamist group.

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    US Grants Iran More Time

    We are this close - NOT

    No Iran Nuclear Deal - Jay Solomon & Laurence Norman

    [A]n extension looks headed for stiff resistance from both Democratic and Republican U.S. lawmakers, who are questioning what the White House believes it can achieve in a few additional months of talks that they couldn't in a year.

    Obama administration officials increasingly are questioning whether Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has empowered Iranian negotiators to make the necessary concessions for a deal. 
    (Wall Street Journal)

    Don't Dismantle Sanctions - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

    If for any reason the United States or the other powers agree to leave Iran with that capacity to breakout, I think that would be a historic mistake. Not only because it endangers my country, Israel, that Iran's ruler, the Ayatollah Khamenei, vows to annihilate, but also because I think it would endanger the entire Middle East and the world.

    Why in heaven's name does Iran need intercontinental ballistic missiles? They don't need those missiles to reach Israel. They need them to reach Europe and the U.S., and the only thing you carry on intercontinental ballistic missiles are nuclear warheads. So the issue here is not merely Israel, but everyone, the entire world.

    Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself against any threat with its own power.
    (ABC News-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Mr. Obama Needs a Tougher Deal - Editorial

    Arab officials are saying that a deal that allows Iran to preserve a nuclear infrastructure will prompt a race by rival states to match that capacity. The U.S. should be seeking to weaken and roll back Iran's influence in the Middle East and to eliminate - not temporarily freeze - its capacity to build a nuclear arsenal.

    The agreement the administration appears to be contemplating could solidify Iran's power
    (Washington Post)


    "Americans Surrendered to Iran's Might" 

    The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said: "The Americans have very clearly surrendered to Iran's might and this is obvious in their behavior in the region and in the negotiations."

    Israel Relieved - William Booth

    [A] decision to extend negotiations between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program was greeted in Jerusalem with relief. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the BBC: "The fact that there's no deal now gives [the U.S.] the opportunity to continue the economic pressures that have proven to be the only thing that have brought Iran to the table." Netanyahu said he thought the current sanctions against Iran should not only be maintained but tightened in the coming months as talks continue with a new deadline of July 2015.

    (Washington Post)

    AIPAC Urges New Sanctions

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said that with the extension of the deadline for nuclear talks, "It is now essential that Congress take up new bipartisan sanctions legislation to let Tehran know that it will face much more severe pressure if it does not clearly abandon its nuclear weapons program."

    Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, suggested that he would back a bid to pass new sanctions. "The cycle of negotiations, followed by an extension, coupled with sanctions relief for Iran has not succeeded....I intend to work with my Senate colleagues in a bipartisan manner in the coming weeks to ensure that Iran comprehends that we will not ever permit it to become a threshold nuclear state."  

    Iran Cheats - Bret Stephens

    Does it matter what sort of deal - or further extension, or non-deal - ultimately emerges from the endless parleys over Iran's nuclear program? Probably not. Iran came to the table cheating on its nuclear commitments. It continued to cheat on them throughout the interim agreement it agreed to last year. And it will cheat on any undertakings it signs.

    (Wall Street Journal)

    The Pro-Sanctions, Anti-Iran Contingent Grows in Senate
    - Jennifer Rubin

    With a new Senate, the pro-sanctions, tough-on-Iran group will grow. Seven of the 12 new senators voted for the House version of the Iran sanctions measure. The remaining five Republicans all ran against Obama's Iran policy.

    Once the new Senate arrives, there will be no Majority Leader Harry Reid to quash sanctions votes. That should free up at least 11 Democrats to join Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in sanctions legislation. 
    (Washington Post)

    Iran Is no China - Caroline Glick

    The Obama administration will never abandon its courtship of Iran. On the eve of the extended deadline in the US-led six-party talks with Iran regarding Teheran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, the one thing that is absolutely clear is that courting Iran is the centerpiece of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. Come what may in Geneva, this will not change.

    To be clear, Obama does not seek to check Iran’s rise to regional hegemony by appeasing it. None of the actions he has taken to date with regard to Iran can be construed as efforts to check or contain Iran.

    Their goal is to cultivate a US alliance with Iran. As Obama sees things, Iran for him is what China was for then US president Richard Nixon. Nixon didn’t normalize US relations with the People’s Republic of China in order to harm the Chinese Communists. And Obama isn’t wooing Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries in order to harm them.

    Unfortunately for the world, China is not a relevant analogy for Iran. Nixon sought to develop ties with Beijing because he wanted to pry the Chinese out of the Soviet orbit. Courting China meant harming Moscow, and Moscow as the US’s greatest foe.

    There is no Moscow that will be weakened by the US’s empowerment of Tehran. The only parties directly and immediately harmed by Obama’s policy of courting Iran are America’s allies in the Middle East
    . The Allies’ appeasement deal with the Nazis in 1938 had three victims: Czechoslovakia, the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world.

    Obama’s policy of courting Iran also has three victims: Israel, the Sunni Arab states, and the rest of the world.

    According to press reports of the content of the negotiations, the US has already abandoned its major red lines. It has abandoned its demand that Iran dismantle its centrifuges. Late last week the US was reportedly about to abandon its demand for Iranian transparency to the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its past work on atomic bomb development. In other words, the deal the US was hoping to conclude this week with Iran, and will now continue negotiating next month, involves taking no serious action to curtail Iran’s progress in developing nuclear weapons.

    As the Americans have engaged in obsessive-compulsive nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Iranians have divided their attention between nuclear development and regional expansion. In September they took over Yemen.

    As the Obama administration has erased red line after red line in the nuclear talks, and sided with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Iranian Sunni allies against US allies, Iran’s leaders have gloated that their hegemony over Yemen raises to four the number of Arab states under their dominion, that list including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

    One of the many eyebrow raising aspects of Obama’s courtship of Iran is that it isn’t tied to a US retreat from the region. The US isn’t retreating.

    Obama has ordered hundreds of air strikes on Islamic State targets to date, and more will undoubtedly follow. The US participated in the NATO overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. US power remains a major factor in regional affairs, and Obama has not shied away from using it during his tenure in office.

    The problem is that in all cases, his use of US power has helped Iran more than it has helped US allies. And in the case of Libya, US power has directly threatened US allies and empowered al-Qaida and it associates.

    With the rise of China today, some US analysts question the wisdom of Nixon’s opening to Beijing. But there is little argument that his China gambit caused strategic damage to the Soviet Union and contributed to the US victory in the Cold War.

    Not only will Obama’s Iran opening not redound to the US’s benefit in the short term. Its inevitable result will be a decade or more of major and minor regional wars and chronic instability, with the nuclear-armed Iran threatening the survival of all of America’s regional allies. It will also lead to shocks in the global economy and massively expand Iran’s direct coercive power over the word as a whole.

    Not only is Obama no Nixon, compared to him, Neville Chamberlain looks like a minor, almost insignificant failure.
    [Jewish World Review]


    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Palestinians Copy ISIS Butchery: Reflections

    Palestinian social media celebration of murdering Jews

    Tuesday's attack at a Jerusalem synagogue was the latest in a series of attacks on Jews by Palestinians in recent weeks, the same blood fever that has led hundreds of young men, and some young women, to travel from throughout the Muslim diaspora to join the butchery of Islamic State.
    The core basis of hostility to Israel is a lack of acknowledgement that most of the constrictive actions Israel has taken in the Palestinian territories - the walls, roadblocks, security restrictions - have been in reaction to an intransigent Palestinian political culture.     
    When the Western media reports about Israel's continued building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, it rarely presents Israel's position that no new settlements have been allowed since 1999 and that all construction since 2004 has been within pre-existing settlement boundaries.
    Israel's arguments are routinely greeted with eye-rolling cynicism, as if the Israelis are the bullies of the Middle East, rather than the only functional democracy in the region, the only place in the Middle East where Jews can live in safety. This moral relativism extends to endless rationalizations for the missteps by the Palestinians, the corruption, the internecine conflict, the state-sponsored racism, and the rocket attacks.
    (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    Responding to the slaughter - Caroline Glick
    Israel can take steps to deter its hate-filled enemies from attacking.
    With regard to the individual terrorists, the government has made much of its intention to destroy the homes of terrorists. While it sounds good, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of this punitive measure, which is a relic of the British mandate. Rather than destroy their homes, Israel should adopt the US anti-narcotics policy of asset seizure.

    All assets directly or indirectly tied to terrorists, including their homes and any other structure where they planned their crimes, and all remittances to them should be seized and transferred to their victims, to do with what they will.

    If Israel hands over the homes of the synagogue butchers to the 24 orphans of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky and Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, not only will justice be served. The children's inheritance of the homes of their fathers' killers will send a clear and demoralizing message to other would-be killers.

    Not only will their atrocities fail to remove the Jews from Israel. Every terrorist will contribute to the Zionist project by donating his home to the Jewish settlement enterprise.

    Just as Israel has repeatedly buckled under US pressure to release terrorists from jail, so it has bowed to US pressure to continue to fund the PA by transferring the tax revenues it collects on goods imported to the PA. Assuming that the government is too weak to stand up to the Americans, at a minimum it can see that the money is properly used. To that end, the Knesset should pass a law permitting Israeli terror victims to sue the PA for actual and punitive damages in Israel courts. The sums awarded to the victims should be taken from the tax revenues Israel collects for the PA. The law should apply retroactively to all victims of Palestinian terror carried out since the establishment of the PA in May 1994.

    Israel should also revoke citizenship and residency rights not only from terrorists themselves, but from those who enjoy citizenship and residency rights by dint of their relationship with the terrorists. Wives who received Israeli residency or citizenship rights though marriage to terrorists should have their rights revoked as should the children of the terrorists.

    The actions set forth above: asset seizure, revenue seizure and citizenship/residency abrogation for terrorists and their dependents are steps that Israel can take today, despite the hostile international climate.

    If our leaders fail to take these or similar actions, and suffice with complaining about incitement, then their condemnations of the murder of Jews will ring as hollow as those sounded by the BBC, Obama and Abbas.
    [Jewish World Review]

    Three Israeli Arabs from northern Israel are in custody after taking possession of two shipping containers full of fireworks, knives, swords and electroshock weapons shipped from China under the guise of Christmas decorations, Israel Police announced. In addition to 18,000 fireworks, including those that are restricted in Israel, the containers held 5,200 commando knives, 4,300 flashlights that can be used as electro-shockers, 5,500 Taser electro-shockers, and 1,000 swords.
    False Equivalence - Editorial
    This administration has promoted a false moral equivalence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Did they really expect to create a stable platform for diplomacy by elevating Palestinian leaders' hate-filled ambitions to parity with Israel's right to exist? Hasn't the U.S. learned by now that befriending terrorists doesn't make them friends?

    Proponents of a two-state solution must acknowledge Palestinians might have already had their own nation-state had they laid down their weapons long ago. The surest way for peace to occur is for Palestinian leaders to choose it. Until then, there is no moral equivalence to Palestinian terrorism and bloodshed.
    (Augusta [Ga.] Chronicle)
    Hamas Endorses a Massacre - Jeffrey Goldberg

    President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called on his people to protect the Temple Mount and has warned of a "holy war" if it is "contaminated" by Jews." The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism.
    Abbas' belief that the presence of Jews "contaminates" the Mount speaks to his own susceptibility to Muslim supremacist ideology.
    The events of the past couple of weeks in Jerusalem suggest that a core issue of the conflict remains the unwillingness of Palestinian Muslims to accept the idea that Jews have rights in their ancestral homeland.

    Anti-Zionist ideology now exercises profound influence in our culture. At the heart of the ideology is an often unconscious assumption about the natures of Israelis and Palestinians that warps our understanding of the conflict. Here it is: Palestinians (and Arabs in general) do not have agency and choice, and so cannot be held accountable and responsible. Israelis do and can; always, and exclusively.
    Palestinians are understood as a driven people, dominated by circumstance and emotion, lacking choice, below the age of responsibility, never to be held accountable. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating, the root cause of everything, responsible for everything.
    The Palestinians are affirmed as noble savages. It's a bit racist, to be honest
    For example, the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP tweeted that the Palestinian synagogue terrorists had been "driven to madness" - which not only removes agency from them but also sanity.
    This groupthink is the reason that parts of the media are reluctant to challenge the Palestinian national movement when it is guilty of rejectionism, terrorism, authoritarianism, corruption and the promotion of a vile culture of incitement, demonization and antisemitism. 

    In recent weeks, the usual hum of low-grade Palestinian incitement has been raised to a fever pitch. There have been allegations of murder and paranoid rumors of Israeli plans to dismantle Muslim sanctuaries.
    The murder of Torah scholars is an attack on Jews more than Israel, and explaining it requires an understanding of hatred, not of politics. Rarely has it been clearer: these men were killed simply because they were Jews living in the land of Israel. 
    (New Republic)
    Hamas Embraces Path of Islamic State - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi

    Neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad, both of which are dependent on Iran as a strategic ally, is free to express direct or indirect support for the Islamic State, the cardinal enemy of the regime in Tehran. 
    The Islamic State has initiated a jihadist surge as it achieves victories on the battlefield, fights the West without trepidation, enforces Islamic law, and promises to liberate Palestine after overthrowing the "treasonous" Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

    Hamas is trying to open a front with Israel in the West Bank and Jerusalem, adopting the Islamic State's terror methods without crediting the source of the inspiration
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Butchery in Jerusalem: The Aftermath

    Rabbi Avi Weiss at a New York protest against the attack
    Poster from The Israel Project

    Victims of Massacre Were "Wise Scholars"
    - Isabel Kershner, Timothy Williams & Joseph Berger

    Rabbi Yitzhak Mordechai Rubin, the rabbi of Kehilat Bnei Torah, where the attack took place, said: "We are here, standing before three sacred men, the best of our congregation, wise scholars whose blood was spilled like water. As we count the number of widows and orphans who have been added today to the nation of Israel, we tally four widows and 24 orphans all on one street."  
    (New York Times)

    Jerusalem Massacre Was Planned, Not Random - Ben Caspit    

    "We are no longer looking at random incidents by isolated individuals," said a high-placed Jerusalem police source, "because these cousins planned the massacre, got hold of a gun, collected intelligence information, knew exactly where they were going and at exactly what time."   

    BBC Shows Pictures of Dead Palestinians But Not Dead Israelis
    - Tom Gross 

    BBC World TV, which was happy to broadcast Hamas-supplied pictures of dead children in Gaza almost round the clock all summer, declared: "we don't want to actually see that picture....Take that down!" as an Israeli minister showed them a picture of one of the Jewish worshippers butchered by Palestinians in a Jerusalem synagogue.     

    The BBC has a long-standing (undeclared) policy of showing, often in graphic detail, pictures of dead Palestinians, but not of dead Israelis, which is why the Israeli minister held up the photo.

    The BBC also failed to mention that one of the rabbis axed to death was British, born in the UK. The other three were all American citizens.    
    (Mideast Dispatch Archive)

    Abbas Forced by Kerry to Condemn Synagogue Attack
    - Khaled Abu Toameh

    As Abbas spoke out against the synagogue attack, several senior PA and Fatah officials went on Arab TV stations to declare that it was a "natural response to Israeli crimes." 
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Abbas Advisor and Fatah Praise Murders
    - Itamar Marcus & Nan Jacques Zilberdik

    Following Tuesday's murder of four Jewish worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue, PA Chairman Abbas' advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein immediately praised the attack as a "heroic operation" on his Facebook page. He posted graphic images showing pools of blood and dead Jews in prayer shawls, as well as a photo of the dead terrorists with a bloody butcher's knife on the ground next to them. Al-Einein referred to them as "martyrs."

    Speaking in the name of MPs from Abbas' Fatah movement, spokesman Jamal Tirawi announced that they "welcomed the martyrdom-seeking operation in Jerusalem." On its Facebook page, Fatah described "handing out candy in the cities of the West Bank in celebration of the Jerusalem operation."  
    (Palestinian Media Watch)

    Jihad in Jerusalem - Editorial

    To understand why peace in Palestine is years if not decades away, consider the Palestinian celebrations after Tuesday's murder in a Jerusalem synagogue of five Israelis, including three with joint U.S. citizenship. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killings, but not without calling for Israel to halt what he called "invasions" of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

    The goal of this new jihad is to frighten Israelis into agreeing to a divided Jerusalem. Yet it is only under Israeli rule that all religions have been respected in Jerusalem. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world should not be dividing cities. The Palestinians will never have a homeland as long as they cultivate a society that celebrates murdering the innocent in the name of religion
    (Wall Street Journal)

    Jerusalem's New Holy War - Rabbi Daniel Gordis

    [T]he images of Jewish bodies hacked to death on a blood-soaked synagogue floor are about a hatred too deep to be assuaged by territorial concessions.

    While Hamas has praised the butchery and Palestinians have celebrated by handing out candies to children and posing with hatchets and photographs of the killers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for restraint, urging Jews not to take the law into their own hands.

    Yet while Netanyahu seeks restraint on the part of private Israelis, he is unlikely to show restraint himself. For if this horror cannot be stopped, the fundamental premise of Zionism and the promises that it bore for the Jewish people -- that the butchery was over -- will be upended. And no Israeli prime minister can willingly allow that to happen on his or her watch.