Monday, June 30, 2014

Kidnapped Boys Bodies Found

IDF unit commander [center] holds a map during the search near Hebron [AP Photo]

Three Bodies Found Believed to Be Missing Israelis

White House's 'Condolences' Will Not Be Enough -Phyllis Chesler, PhD

President Obama expressed his "deepest condolences" to the family of the slain teenagers. He added: “I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.”

President Obama did not accuse Hamas of this despicable act nor did he say our government would assist Israel in its search for security and justice. Obama has once again called for “restraint” and “stability.” Does he mean that Jihadists should refrain from Jihad because it is “de-stabilizing” the entire Middle East or does he mean, more likely, that Israel should “refrain” from defending itself?

White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, also said:  "We obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians." This is a very unsatisfying and peculiar statement. This could apply to anyone anywhere at any time. It’s lack of specificity is cruel and insulting.

Only deterance will stop kidnappings -Caroline Glick

Over the past 30 years, Israel has released thousands of terrorists from its prisons in exchange for hostages. Thousands more have been freed as so-called “confidence building measures,” to appease our supposedly moderate Palestinian negotiating partners into sharing a table with their Israeli counterparts.

In every instance, these terrorist releases have led to the murder and abduction of other Israelis.

The clock started ticking down to Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal’s abduction on October 19, 2011 when Israel released 1,027 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for IDF Sgt. Gilad Schalit who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than five years.

The countdown also began that day for the murder of Baruch Mizrahi, the police officer who was killed in a roadside shooting in April as he drove to a Passover Seder with his wife and children. Mizrahi’s killer was one of the terrorists released for Schalit.

Since May 1985, when then-prime minister Shimon Peres freed 1,150 terrorists for three IDF soldiers held hostage by Palestinian terror master Ahmed Jibril, Israel’s behavior has consistently encouraged our enemies to take hostages. Through their willingness to release murderers for hostages – and even for hostage bodies – our leaders have told our enemies that they should feel free to steal our children. Their payoff is guaranteed.

To their disgrace, our media consistently behave as advocates and lobbyists for hostage-takers and imprisoned murderers against Israeli society. For instance, in the case of Schalit, the media worked hand-in-glove with the Schalit family and its public relations firm to convince the public that we should think of a soldier as a child, and not as any child, but as our child.

In more than a thousand media reports, profiles, tear-jerker interviews with Schalit’s kindergarten teachers and siblings, we were told that if we are good and moral people, we must prefer Schalit’s freedom to the continued imprisonment of terrorists who constitute a mortal threat to every other child – and parent – in the country.

Public relations agent Tami Shenkman led the campaign for the terrorists’ release. She was the one who put together the sales strategy for convincing us that capitulating to Palestinian extortion is an act of moral courage.

For her efforts the media lavished her with fawning, heroic profiles. And for the media’s efforts, three teenagers are now hostages.

Our media and our politicians have effusively praised Palestinian Authority President and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas for saying a few lines in favor of releasing Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali. But with all due respect, Abbas is responsible for their abduction.

For 20 years, Abbas and his colleagues in the PA have indoctrinated the Palestinians to view Jews as human scum and seek our annihilation. This message is communicated in all venues. From nursery through the universities, in the mosques, in summer camps, on television, radio and the Internet, Palestinians of all ages are taught that Jews have no right to live. They are encouraged to murder us and view contributing to our destruction as their highest goal in life.

Hostage taking – a war crime – is presented as one of the highest achievements possible. This is why the overwhelming majority of Palestinians applauds and celebrates the kidnap of the three teens.

For 20 years, the PA has indoctrinated its society in a culture of hatred and violence against Israel and the Jewish People. And the results were as predictable as the tides. Nearly 2,000 Israelis have been murdered in Palestinian terror attacks since the PA was established.

Israel can take action to punish the Palestinians for their unlawful behavior. We can arrest their imams for soliciting murder. We can close their schools and shutter their television stations for the same reason. But we have done none of these things.

We support the US policy of training and organizing a Palestinian army manned by people who have been subjected to this indoctrination for two decades. Our leaders proclaim Abbas is a moderate. And still today we say he’s a good guy. The problem, Netanyahu says, is Abbas has formed a unity government with Hamas. But if he quits that, then we will have no beef with him.

As for our government ministers, and our prime minister, you need to fix the damage you caused.

You knew when you signed the Schalit deal that the ink was the blood of the victims to come. We didn’t know their identities then. But now we do: Baruch Mizrahi, Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaer.

It’s time you understand that after what you did, the only way to change the enemies’ cost-benefit analysis of abductions and other atrocities is for you to change your way of doing business.

This means you have to stop appeasing terrorists and start punishing them. And the punishment needs to be consistent, and painful. Among other things, this means no more money, no more guns and no more legitimacy, not only to Hamas, but to the PA. If you want to do it gradually, you can do it gradually. It means that every time the Palestinian media broadcasts anti-Jewish bile, they lose something of value.

Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal are now [dead] because of the deal we signed for Gilad [Shalit].

[W]e must take action remove the targets from the backs of every citizen of Israel. Those targets were placed there by our treacherous media, and by successive governments who preferred the cheap perfume scent of appeasement over the blood, sweat and tears required to secure our freedom and security.
[Jerusalem Post]

Obama Repeats Bush's Mistakes: The Mess in Iraq

US finds itself in the same camp as Iran -Zvi Mazel

America has time and time again initiated moves which set it at odds with its traditional allies in the Middle East, to the extent that today it can only watch impotently developments in the region.

ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – is a jihadist terrorist organization that has already taken large areas in Syria and made significant gains in Iraq. It is now in the process of setting up a hard-core Islamic state in the heart of the Middle East.

[I]t is to be deplored that Arab countries in the region are unequal to the task of overcoming an organization numbering no more than a few thousand terrorists. On the other hand, since the end of the WWII these countries have squandered their efforts and their resources in internecine warfare and in the conflict with Israel, secure in the knowledge that the US or the Soviet Union would come to the rescue if needed.

The greatest world power thus finds itself not only without a viable course of action in Iraq, but without the allies that might have made such a course possible.
Washington seems to have grasped the extent of its predicament. Secretary of State John Kerry has been making the rounds of Arab states to see whether he can cobble together a coalition to act in Syria and Iraq.

He came to Cairo bearing gifts, and pledged to unfreeze speedily the dispatch of Apache helicopters badly needed by Egypt to fight jihadist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Having gotten rid of the Muslim Brotherhood [Egyptians] thought that America would applaud and offer them help. There are signs that Washington has grasped at last the importance of Egypt as a stabilizing factor in the region.

Unfortunately, it was not the only miscalculation of America’s foreign policy. Washington had offended long-time allies, such as Saudi Arabia, a staunch friend since 1940. Riyadh is still bitter at what it perceives as American treachery in entering secret negotiations with Tehran on Iran’s nuclear program.

In Syria, America could not decide on a course of action. Not only it did not contribute to the fall of Assad, it did not back the moderate Sunni elements that were fighting the dictator, and thus indirectly contributed to the rise of ISIS.

Washington also lost influence in Libya, after leading from behind the European efforts to topple Muammar Gaddafi and is now watching helplessly as the country is plunged into chaos. Granted, Arab states are no poster for democracy and their people generally dislike the West and the United States, but a great power must act according to its own interests and cannot afford to be sanctimonious.

During his recent visit, Kerry repeated that Washington was urging the ruler of Baghdad to form a national unity government with the Sunnis. Something akin to treating a terminal disease with placebos.

Unfortunately, America’s ill-advised policy after conquering Baghdad in 2003 is at the root of today’s problem. The Iraqi Army was disbanded, the civil service dissolved, and the power – held for so long by the Sunni minority – handed over to the Shi’ites, who promptly initiated discriminatory measures against the Sunni minority while moving closer to Shia Iran, the enemy of the West.

Obama has withdrawn American soldiers from Iraq; had they stayed they would have given ISIS a real fight. On the other hand, he was only fulfilling a pledge made by former president George W. Bush.

Besides, who would have thought that a regular army with hundreds of thousands of soldiers trained by American experts would disintegrate when faced by a few thousands terrorists, however well organized? Though Nouri al-Maliki, head of the Iraqi government, is primarily to blame for having gone too far against the Sunni population, the Americans planted the seeds in 2003.

A brutal, extremist militant Islamic state is coming into being in the heart of the Middle East. It will become a bastion of terrorism unleashing its attacks against neighboring countries and sending its faithful on operations in Europe and the United States.

America, having painted itself into a corner, will watch helplessly as chaos spreads and threatens the West.
[Jerusalem Post]

Iraqi "Nation State" Idiocy -Yisrael Ne'eman

The West is once again playing "make believe" in claiming that Iraq is a secular nation state similar to those in Europe.  The EU and Americans continue in the ridiculous policy of calling for "unity" between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in the hope everyone will rally around the Iraqi flag. 

Policy makers need to refrain from defining either Iraq or Syria as "states," they are rather broken down entities reforming themselves into new political frameworks

The West must internalize [this].  If not, tried and true failed policies will repeat themselves without end. 

American and western attempts at peace or conflict resolution are useless and just going through the motions.  The Islamist perspective of an ever expanding homeland transcending artificial boundaries is the reality.   The USA/West have no real policy options.  Intervention is of no use and will only result in casualties with no democratic influence or change of lifestyle.  Non-intervention is seen as "accepting defeat" but no one truly believes this is a war that can be won by the secular and/or democratic West harboring ideals so far removed from Jihadi Islam and the Ba'ath leadership of today.  In essence the West must accept this reality.

So what is the solution?  Strange as it may sound the West must let Iran get directly involved on the side of the Iraqi Shiites without easing up on any sanctions or forming an alliance of any sort.  Iran and their Hezbollah proxies are already deeply involved in rescuing the Assad regime from extinction.  It is likewise in their interests to save Shiite eastern Iraq.  Many conservatives demand some form of western intervention to halt the ISIL advance and to keep Iranian influence from dominating eastern Iraq.  [But b]ombings and drone strikes will do little good against the ISIL and even "boots on the ground" may win a temporary victory for al-Maliki but as we have seen, once the Americans/EU are gone it is all back to square one of sectarian and religious slaughter. 

Secondly, Iran is the most influential factor in Shiite Iraq, it is about time they paid for it.  Why should the West commit unlimited amounts of men and resources in the name of Iranian influence?  Democratizing Iraq is not about to happen anytime soon.  The Islamic Awakening of 2011 (it was never an "Arab Spring") will continue for at least a generation (and most likely two) before the next step of true democratic ideals will permeate the Middle East...

And let it be repeated - there should be no deals and no lessening of sanctions [against Iran]. 

[T]he Iranians will be forced to fight rather than allow Baghdad to fall to ISIL with the resulting expulsions, Shiite flight, massive refugee problems and massacres. Iran will be involved in a two-front war (Syria and Iraq) with its resources stretched to the maximum.  Such economic weakening may cause more instability in Tehran and the accompanying demands for reforms.  Without a credible liberalization process the ayatollahs may face a rebellion.

The Middle East looks to be on the verge of a total Shiite-Sunni clash and ensuing slaughter crossing European imposed state borders some one hundred years ago. 

Tehran's over investment militarily and financially may well lead to internal instability

So what's the bottom line?  We can expect an intensified Jihadi extremism to sweep the Arab/Muslim Middle East and Islamic World.  Such extremism will continue spilling over state boundaries or arise from fanatical movements within those countries.  Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen may all be on the brink due to outside pressures and those from within.  Only the non-Arab Kurds, who control no recognized state, exhibit political unity and command and control of their army in the field. 

The West faces the dilemma of defending its own interests while not being sucked into an unwinnable war where one is never sure which side to support.  In other words there do not seem to be any "good guys," only unsavory characters who may turn on you at any moment.

A policy of "minimalism" may be the order of the day whereby the West only gets involved in a pinpoint fashion to protect strategic interests and/or when the opportunity arises to bring stability
[Mideast: On Target]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kidnapping Scum Identified by IDF


Amer Abu Aysha [left] and Marwan Kawasme (right), suspected by Israel of kidnapping three Israeli teens

Kidnappers Identified by IDF -Avi Issacharoff & Adiv Sterman
Israeli authorities named two West Bank Palestinians as prime suspects in the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank two weeks ago.

The two alleged abductors, Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, are both known Hamas members. They have been missing from their homes in Hebron’s Hares neighborhood ever since the kidnapping took place on the night of June 12 and are still at large. Israeli security forces have been engaged in a massive operation to find the abducted youths.       

The identities of the suspected kidnappers, who attended prayer services regularly at the same mosque, have been known to Israel since soon after the kidnapping, but were kept secret as the search operation continued over the past two weeks. 
[Times of Israel]


Publication of Kidnappers' Names May Aid Capture - Ron Ben-Yishai

The ISA is publishing their names and photos in the hope that someone on the Palestinian side will step up and give them away.

On the Palestinian street it is well known that information on the whereabouts of the kidnappers would be generously rewarded. Palestinians with a family member detained in Israel who want better conditions for him and for themselves may be tempted to come forward and provide information.    

Publishing the names and photos of the kidnappers also proves it was Hamas that is responsible for the abduction, and not some Palestinians who acted on impulse. 
(Ynet News)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Divest From Palestinians!

In the video above, Prime Minister Netanyahu suggests Presbyterians take a tour bus through the Arab Mideast.  But he cautions them take an armor-plated bus and to not to announce they are Christians. 

Divest from Palestinians Instead - Nolan Finley

Last week at its convention in Detroit, a committee of the Presbyterian church voted to request a boycott of three American companies who supply material and technology to the Israeli Army.

What is it they want to divest from? A rare, functioning Middle East democracy that operates under the rule of law and treats all its citizens - men, women, Arab, Jew - with justice and respect. A nation enduring an average of nearly one rocket attack a day launched by Palestinian militants and their supporters; many of those rockets are targeted at schools and residential neighborhoods. A nation surrounded by neighbors who are pledged to its extermination.

The Palestinians pioneered and perfected terrorism as a means of gaining political leverage. They've strapped bombs to their own young people and sent them forward to murder other young people. And for this they've been given a seat at the table. The Palestinians have taken the money the world has given them and used it to fund hate and violence.

Maybe we should divest from them.
(Detroit News)


Do Presbyterians Expect Jews to Be the World's Only Christians?
- Rabbi Kenneth L. Cohen

On June 20, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest its financial holdings in three American companies which do business in Israel because they "profit from non-peaceful pursuits." But if profiting from non-peaceful pursuits is legitimate in some countries, but not in others, then we may conclude that the PCUSA maintains that some countries are justified in having security infrastructures and some are not.

The church did not vote to divest from any other country. Therefore, we can conclude that the only country which is not justified in having a security and defense infrastructure is Israel. In other words, Jews are expected to be the world's only good Christians and to turn the other cheek.
(Huffington Post)

How Dare Israel Defend Itself - Ian O'Doherty

There is a world of difference between the only democracy in a region that is rapidly reverting to open savagery and a terrorist organization that has the complete destruction of a neighboring country as the central plank of their constitution.

The uncomfortable truth is that Israel is the front line of a war that was declared on Western values years ago. Israel must be the only country in the world that is expected to accept the execution of three of its citizens without doing everything within its power to eradicate those responsible. People need to stop siding with the fascist theocrats who look on the destruction of Israel as merely the first step in establishing a global caliphate. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

US Blocks Emergence of Kurdistan

Left out following World War 1, when countries were carved out of the deceased Ottoman Empire, Kurdistan appears to be miraculously re-emerging, correcting an historic mistake.

Kurdish Advances -Jonathan Spyer

Iraq is now divided on a de facto basis into a Shi'ite south and center, including Baghdad, a Sunni, ISIS-dominated west and a Kurdish-ruled north.

The biggest winners from this situation, apart from ISIS itself, are the Iraqi Kurds. The conflict between the Sunni jihadis and the Iran-supported Baghdad authorities has enabled the Kurds to add a number of key building blocks to the nearly completed edifice of Kurdish independence in the area once known as northern Iraq.

Largely ignored by the Western media, the Kurds have been quietly building their autonomy in three northern provinces [as] granted to them by the Iraqi Constitution of 2005.

In the weeks prior to the current crisis in Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) began to independently export crude oil, via Turkey, without seeking the approval of Nouri al-Maliki's government in Baghdad.

What all this means is that there exists today an economically powerful, politically stable, well-defended Kurdish entity, with a population of 5 million people, in what was once northern Iraq. The effective collapse of any authority on the part of Baghdad over this entity means that the latter is now a Kurdish state in all but name.

So will the KRG soon declare independence, turning the de facto state that the Kurds have quietly built up into a de jure sovereign area? The answer is that ... open declaration of independence by the Kurds remains unlikely.

A source in the KRG told this reporter that Turkish opposition to any declaration of Kurdish statehood had been the main obstacle to any such move. Turkish lobbying in Washington and in the capitals of Europe meant that Western countries remained opposed to Kurdish independence.

The US has also, for its own reasons, remained throughout staunchly in favor of the "territorial integrity" of Iraq.

[A]s long as the clear US and Western position remains (somewhat bafflingly) opposed to the aspirations of the powerful and openly pro-Western Kurdish de facto sovereign entity in northern Iraq, its independence is likely to remain undeclared.
[The Jerusalem Post]

Israel Receives Shipment of Kurdish Oil - Julia Payne 
A tanker began unloading crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan at a port in Israel on Friday...     

The new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Muslim Brotherhood Rapes for Revenge

Sisi visits a 19-year-old who was gang raped during his inauguration

Rape in Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood 'Gets Even' -Raymond Ibrahim

Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers recently went on a sexual assault and rape spree in Egypt as a way of "getting even" with those women who dared to celebrate the presidential victory of Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi—the former army chief who overthrew Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt.

On June 8, when tens of thousands of Egyptians congregated in Tahrir Square to celebrate Sisi's inauguration, dozens of women were sexually assaulted and many more harassed.

One 19-year-old female student [pictured above] was especially brutalized—and videotaped as she was stripped and sexually assaulted by a throng of men. (I saw the graphic video on YouTube, though it has since been removed; a much less graphic clip of the initial assault appears here.) A gun-waving police officer eventually managed to rescue the woman from her ordeal, though after sustaining injuries himself.

Sexually harassing or raping those supportive of Sisi by way of "retribution" is not uncommon in Egypt. Earlier, a six-year-old boy was raped by a Muslim Brotherhood member who was "angered" at the child for singing praises to Sisi. He lured the boy into a shed, locked the doors, and proceeded to rape him, while saying, "You're always holding pictures of this Sisi and singing his praises. Come, I'll humiliate and break you—and your Sisi."

[U]sing sexual harassment and rape to force people to comply with Islamist agendas has a long history, especially in Egypt. In 2011, during the "Arab Spring," when the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists were released from prison, legitimized and eventually rose to power, sexual harassment skyrocketed, as one graph showed. Moreover, UN research done in 2013, when Morsi was president, suggested that 99.3% of Egyptian women had experienced sexual harassment.

Indeed, in February, 2013, hundreds of Egyptian women took to the streets of Tahrir Square to protest this nonstop harassment. They held slogans like "Silence is unacceptable, my anger will be heard," and "A safe square for all; Down with sexual harassment." "Marchers also shouted chants against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood group from which he hails," wrote Al Ahram Online.
The response was more sexual harassment and rapes. One woman was gang-raped for approximately 20 minutes and nearly died. And as Hala Sarhan pointed out, elements from the then Islamist-heavy government under Morsi blamed the women themselves...

The only silver lining in this cloud of Islamist rape that hovers over Egypt is that the differences between Morsi and his Brotherhood government, and Sisi and the post-Brotherhood government, are already apparent. In response to the endemic sexual harassment in Egypt, the new government passed a law criminalizing all forms of sexual harassment…
[Middle East Forum]

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Stark Warning On Iraq Intervention

Petraeus: U.S. Must Not Become Shia Militia's Air Force
- Nico Hines

David Petraeus [pictured], the former commander of coalition forces in Iraq, issued a stark warning to those advocating U.S. military intervention against ISIS militias bearing down on Baghdad.

He said it was only wise to offer military support if the political conditions were exactly right in Iraq, a scenario that is virtually impossible to imagine in the near-future, and that there was a great risk that the U.S. would be seen as picking sides in a religious battle that has been waged for generations. "This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias, or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight," he said.
(Daily Beast)

"The State of Iraq As We Know It Is Gone"

"The state of Iraq as we know it is gone, and it's not going to be reconstituted," former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said. 

"We've got three successor states there now," Hayden added. "As much as we might look for opportunities to keep Iraq together, we need to be prepared for the reality that it's not going to stay together."

"We should snuggle up comfortable with the Kurds in Kurdistan, who have always been pro-American and actually have a functioning society and state right now." He called Nouri al-Maliki's surviving state "Shiastan."

"Then we've got Sunnistan, and that's the state under the control of ISIS right now, and frankly, we've got to treat that as if it were a safe haven for terrorists and begin to think about it the way we had thought about Waziristan for the last decade-plus." 

Why the Iraqi Army Collapsed - Salman Masalha

It should come as no surprise that the Iraqi army collapsed, as less than a decade ago the large Iraqi army folded rather quickly with the American invasion. The Iraqi army, neither the old one ruled by Saddam nor the new U.S.-trained one, could never be called "the army of the Iraqi people" because there's no such thing as the Iraqi people. The entire region is comprised of artificial states that have never managed to create cross-tribal or cross-ethnic national unity. 

Iranian Proxies Step Up Their Role in Iraq - Phillip Smyth

Given the difficult security situation it faces, the Iraqi government is likely to become more reliant on Iranian proxies.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Disintegration of Iraq & Syria

Second Front Opens in the Sunni-Shia War -Jonathan Spyer

[T]he warring Arab Islamic sects are set to continue to battle one another, with ready foreign help, over the ruins of the countries once known as Iraq and Syria. This war is just beginning.

Any attempts to portray either of the warring sides as "anti-terrorist" or "pro-western" should be stubbornly resisted. Acceptance of such definitions is the entry hall to new policy failures and wasted lives. ISIL and the Quds Force differ in organizational structure, but are similarly anti-western — and similarly vile.

They should be left to bleed one another white.‬
[Middle East Forum]


What does the fall of Mosul mean? -Daniel Pipes, PhD

The post-WWI European-created Middle Eastern system based on territorial states has been transformed into a regional battlefield with national governments controlling only portions of their territories.

The folly of George W. Bush's campaign to remake the Middle East is now fully exposed as the U.S. failed to invest the time and effort necessary to solidify its gains prior to the 2011 withdrawal.

Washington should protect its interests in the Middle East, not attempt to fix the region.

In the short term, it should let its adversaries and enemies battle it out among themselves with neither side winning. Over the long run, America should endeavor to end the kind of political systems that produced despots like Hafez Assad and Saddam Hussein.

The large territorial states built on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire have run their course and should be replaced with smaller ethnic states that are more in tune with regional realities. An independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq would be far less oppressive and aggressive than an Iraqi or Syrian state. So would an Alawite state in northwest Syria, a Sunni state in Iraq's triangle, and a Druze state in southwest Syria.

Until that happens, America should channel its energies to remedying the humanitarian disaster occasioned by the Arab upheavals and to diminishing the flow of arms from Turkey, Russia, Iran, and China. This may help turn the upheavals' tragic short-term consequences to a catalyst for a long term regional transformation.
[Middle East Forum]

Monday, June 16, 2014

Israel Mobilizes For Kidnapped Boys

Hamas Abducts Three Israeli Teenagers - Ralph Ellis & Michael Schwartz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for abducting three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. He told the Cabinet: "Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas - the same Hamas that Abu Mazen made a unity government with; this has severe repercussions." Gilad Shaar, 16; Naftali Frenkel, 16; and Eyal Yifrach, 19, have been missing since late Thursday and were last seen in the Gush Etzion area. 

The Kidnappers Came from the PA - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. We know that for a fact. Hamas denials do not change this fact.

President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner. Israel holds the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas responsible for any attacks against Israel that emanate from Palestinian-controlled territory. When an attack takes place in Tel Aviv or in London or in New York, the question is not where the attack takes place. The question is where it originated.

The kidnappers in this case set out from territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA cannot absolve itself of its responsibility. 
(Prime Minister's Office)

Israel Searches for Kidnapped Teens - Barbara Opall-Rome

Israel is beefing up forces in the West Bank in "Operation Return Our Sons," aimed at recovering three teens abducted while hitchhiking on June 12. IDF units were operating primarily in the area south of Hebron, where officials suspect Hamas operatives may be holding the captives. The operation marks the largest West Bank incursion since Israel's 2002 Defensive Shield campaign, Israeli sources say.
(Defense News)

Nearly All West Bank Hamas Leadership in Israeli Custody
- Khaled Abu Toameh & Yaakov Lappin

In response to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, Israeli security forces have arrested nearly all Hamas leaders in the West Bank. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Hamas to Palestinians: Erase Security Camera Footage - Daniel Siryoti

Hamas has called on all Palestinians with security cameras to erase all their footage in order to make gathering evidence more difficult.

Some residents in Gaza and Hebron celebrated the kidnapping, with vendors handing out sweets and coffee to passers-by and some dancing and singing in the streets.
(Israel Hayom)

Don't Blame the Victim - Sherri Mandell

Some blame the victim: the boys should not have been living there, they should not have been hitchhiking, they should not have been out at night. The truth is, we see that violence against Jews can happen anywhere: Kansas City, Brussels or Toulouse.

These boys are not to blame. It is the obligation of all good people to stand up right now and say that these boys are innocent victims of Palestinian hatred. 
The writer is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation, which supports bereaved families in Israel, established after the murder of her 13-year-old son, Koby. 
(Jerusalem Post)

US has some responsibility for kidnapping - Gil Hoffman

MKs expressed disappointment that the Americans did not acknowledge their own role in causing the crisis. The MKs noted that American officials, led by Kerry, pressured Israel to free Palestinian prisoners as part of the recently suspended diplomatic process.

“They pushed for releasing more and more terrorists, and the kidnappings were the result,” said Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck. “But the Americans never take responsibility for anything. They prefer to just throw mud on Israel. They would never accept their children being kidnapped on the way home from school and their mothers worrying.”

Struck said MKs warned US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro of the consequences of prisoner releases during a recent closed-door meeting with the caucus. She said she also blamed her own government for caving into American pressure to release the terrorists.
[Jerusalem Post]


Norway Cancels PA Donor Conference - Barak Ravid    

The Norwegian government has cancelled a conference of Palestinian Authority donor countries slated to take place in Oslo next week, in the wake of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers, Israeli and European diplomats have confirmed.        

IDF Arrests 51 Prisoners Released in Shalit Deal - Yoav Zitun

[T]he IDF has arrested 240 Palestinians, including 51 Hamas members who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, as part of Operation Brother's Keeper, in response to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens. 

(Ynet News)

Abbas: Kidnapped Youths "Must Be Returned" - Aron Donzis

A senior Palestinian official said that if it was proved that Hamas was behind the kidnappings, the PA would reevaluate the unity pact.

(Times of Israel)

Anyone communicating with PA officials over the past few days has heard only outrage over the abduction, as well as satisfaction over Israel's actions against Hamas in the West Bank. 
(Israel Hayom)

IDF Is Targeting Hamas - Yaakov Lappin
When the IDF's military operation is over Hamas will be a much weaker organization, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, who heads the IDF's Central Command, said.
Hamas made a strategic error in carrying out the kidnapping, a senior security source said. He argued that Hamas will be harmed "because it will be isolated.

There were those who wished to make concessions to Hamas. Now it placed a sign on itself saying, 'I'm terror.'"

"We are hurting the [Hamas] organizational infrastructure politically, financially, and in other ways." The Palestinian population understands the IDF's actions are aimed at Hamas and not at it, he said.
(Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Social Media Adopt Pro-Kidnapping Salute
- Elhanan Miller

Popular support for the abduction of three Israeli teens has continued to proliferate on Palestinian social media as Palestinians posted photos of themselves making a three-fingered victory sign, sometimes writing the words "three Shalits" on their hands.
(Times of Israel)

The State Department Should Restrain Itself
-Moshe Phillips & Benyamin Korn

The State Department’s demand that Israel “exercise restraint” in its search for the Hamas kidnappers makes a mockery of President Obama’s pledge two years ago that he “will always have Israel’s back.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declared on June 20 that the Obama Administration is “urging all parties to exercise restraint and avoid steps that could destabilize the situation.” That phrase “all parties” was a thin veneer of even-handedness. Everyone knows the call for “restraint” was aimed at Israel. In fact, Psaki made her slant clear in her very next words, expressing “concern” that two Palestinian Arabs were shot dead by Israeli troops. Psaki did not exhibit any “concern” for the Israeli soldiers at whom those Arabs were throwing rocks and firebombs.
[The Algemeiner]

Mass Executions in Iraq

ISIS Posts Photos of Mass Executions
- Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub

Islamic militants from ISIS posted graphic photos showing their gunmen massacring scores of captured Iraqi soldiers. Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed that 170 soldiers were shot to death by the militants after their capture. 

(AP-ABC News)

US & Iran Talk Cooperation to Counter Iraq Insurgents
- Jay Solomon, Carol E. Lee & Ali A. Nabhan

The Obama administration said it is preparing to open direct talks with Iran on how the two longtime foes can counter the radical Sunni ISIS insurgents in Iraq. U.S. officials said it is imperative for Washington to discuss the security situation in Iraq with Iran and other regional powers in a bid to better coordinate a response against ISIS. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said that his government was open to cooperating with the U.S. in Iraq.
(Wall Street Journal)

VIDEO: US-Iran Dialogue on Iraq "Extremely Dangerous"
- Deborah Kan interviews Jonathan Schanzer     

As the U.S. and Iran prepare for talks on the declining situation in Iraq, Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says:     
"We are involved with high stakes nuclear negotiations with the Iranians; our asking them for assistance will only give them leverage at the negotiating table."    
(Wall Street Journal)

Getting Fooled by Iran in Iraq - Max Boot

The State Department spokesman claims that the U.S. and Iran have a "shared interest" in pushing back against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Is it really necessary to point out that letting Iranian forces dominate Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq is a win for Iran - not for the U.S.? It's true that Iran doesn't want to see ISIS or the Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda-affiliated group, dominate Iraq or Syria. But that's because it would like to see those states dominated by its own proxies who are every bit as bad.

The increasing Iranian prominence will only drive Sunnis, who constitute the region's vast majority, into greater militancy. Do you honestly think Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE will stand by and watch Iran and its stalking horses take control of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon? Not a chance. They will amp up their aid to ISIS and other Sunni extremist groups. 
The writer is a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

ISIS Leader: "See You in New York" - Michael Daly    

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS said, "I'll see you guys in New York," recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.     

King had not imagined that in less than five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS, the extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad.    
(Daily Beast)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stunning New Israeli Missle System

Harop, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, is one of the most advanced and accurate weapons systems in the world. It has the ability to fly for hours before crashing into its target much as a conventional missile would.    
Several foreign militaries have reported a number of successful operations using the UAV, which can receive orders from as far as 1,000 km. away.           
(Ynet News)

Losing The Terror War

We Are Losing the War on Terror - David Rothkopf
  • After 13 costly years of war, terrorism is spreading worldwide. Our enemies have sustained our blows, adapted, and grown.
  • The Rand Corporation released a study that detailed the growing threat. In 2007 there were 28 Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. In 2013 there were 49.
  • In 2007, these groups conducted 100 attacks. In 2013 they conducted 950.
  • In 2007 there were between 18,000 and 42,000 terrorists active. In 2013 there were between 44,000 and 105,000.
  • The administration rightly argues that "core al-Qaeda" has sustained "huge" damage. But "core al-Qaeda" no longer poses the principle threat to the U.S. homeland.
  • In its "Country Reports on Terrorism 2013," the State Department observes that attacks worldwide increased from 6,700 to 9,700. Nearly 18,000 people died and nearly 33,000 were injured.
  • Fewer Americans are being killed and fewer terrorists are seeking to hit targets on U.S. soil. But 9/11 resulted from the mistaken belief that if problems did not impact our shores and our people, they never would and they weren't our concern. We dare not drop our guard.
(Foreign Policy) 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Senate Erupts Against Obama Policy on Palestinian Unity

Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat from Maryland, leads a bipartisan coalition of 88 Senators against White House policy on Palestinian unity.  The Senate has 100 members. 

Unified Senate sends Obama message on Palestinian unity
-Michael Wilner

The US Senate sent a united message of "grave concern" to US President Barack Obama on Thursday regarding the formation of a reconciliation government between Fatah and Hamas, and what the move might require of Congress in determining future US aid to the Palestinians.

88 senators from across party lines signed the letter sent to the White House, written by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), which warns the new PA unity effort might "jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel to achieve a two-state solution."

The State Department considers the current government an interim body, occupied by technocrats unaffiliated with either Palestinian party. Given those circumstances, the Obama administration plans on monitoring the political developments while continuing aid, officials say.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which helped circulate the letter through the halls of the Senate, "commended" the bipartisan group in a statement. They have publicly called for a debate on Capitol Hill on the continuation of aid to the PA.
[Jerusalem Post]
Full text of letter available HERE