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, 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.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Palestinians Cross A Red Line

    Aftermath of Jerusalem synagogue attack
    Blood soaked tallit [prayer shawl] can be seen
    Palestinians in Rafah celebrate the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue on
    November 18, 2014 (REUTERS)
    Cartoon celebrates synagogue attack

    Photos from synagogue massacre placed under weaponry to celebrate the attack

    The left photo is a blood trail from the synagogue attack. 
    The right image ["the red carpet"] was inserted to celebrate the attack
    Three images above are from Palestinian social media

    Palestinian Red Line - Rabbi Shraga Simmons

    The synagogue is a place of intimate communion with God, where we strive to understand God's ultimate perfection and the meaning of our world. Today that sanctity was desecrated as Jews – in the Holy City of Jerusalem, immersed in morning prayers, adorned in tallit and tefillin – were slaughtered in cold blood by jihadists.
    The synagogue held dozens of worshipers at 7 a.m. when the terrorists struck with guns and axes, leaving the synagogue floor drenched with blood.
    Four rabbis [were] murdered, may the Almighty avenge their blood...
    Responding police officer Zidan Sayif, a 27-year-old Israeli Druze, was also killed by the terrorists. We mourn this grossly horrific act of inhumanity.

    Anyone who doesn't recognize that jihadists are fighting a "holy war," has yet to recognize the true root of this conflict.

    Even in the wake of this horrific synagogue massacre, official PA television showed images of Bethlehem residents handing out candy in support of the attack, and the official Fatah website praised the attack as a "heroic operation."

    [T]oday, as mass murder invades the synagogue, a red line has been crossed.
    Our hearts wrench at the horror of this attack.
    Our love and concern goes out to the victims and their families.
    We pray for the recovery of those wounded.
    And we pray that soon, our land will be blessed with peace.
    [Aish HaTorah]

    Riding the tiger - Shmuel Rosner

    The more the Palestinians behave like ISIS – butchering worshipers with an axe triggered such comparisons – the less they [will] find empathy or understanding for any political cause. The more the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looks like a religious war (Temple Mount strife, synagogue terror), the more it looks like a part of a larger trend in Middle East affairs that is not susceptible to diplomatic solutions.

    The tiger of violence is dangerous enough – but the tiger of religious wars is even more dangerous. We got a glimpse of him today.
    [Jewish Journal]

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Palestinians Love ISIS: 24% Hold Positive View

    Click graphic for larger view

    Palestinians: Biggest Arab Supporters of ISIS

    A recent survey found that the Palestinians show the most support for the Islamic State terror group among Arabs in the Middle East.

    The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, based in Doha, Qatar, surveyed the opinions in the Arab world in relation to IS and the international coalition against it. Their findings were published on November 11. The poll found that a majority of Arabs oppose IS and are supportive of air strikes on the terror group.

    Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of Palestinians demonstrate a positive view of IS.

    Reporting for the Gatestone Institute, journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports that IS has already arrived at Israel’s border with Gaza. Writing in July, Abu Toameh asserts that despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that IS has begun operating in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli security officials are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.
    [United With Israel]

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Stellar Analysis by Daniel Gordis

    Rabbi Daniel Gordis

    Gaza War's Final Victim: Two-State Solution - Rabbi Daniel Gordis

    The mood in Israel today is simply bleak. With acrimony over this summer’s Gaza War still consuming the security services, and Palestinian attacks on Israelis raising the specter of a Third Intifada, there is a feeling that things may go very wrong, very soon.

    [T]he two-state solution, if not dead, is on life support.

    There are many reasons for this. Although the Barack Obama administration insists on referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate, Israelis believe he is inciting his street and has no interest in a deal.

    Critics of Israel’s policies point out that the Netanyahu government has long infuriated Palestinians in many ways, including the continued construction of settlements. This is true, to a degree.

    Netanyahu would, indeed, have placated some of his critics had he pointed out that all the newly approved construction is in areas so heavily populated by Jews that there’s little chance they would be given to the Palestinians in any deal. And had he formally stated that he would not build in areas that are genuinely contested, he might have made matters somewhat better. But any such statement would have infuriated his right flank, and given that he, too, knows that the two-state solution is dead, he sees no reason to commit political suicide simply to provide better optics. Israelis and Palestinians are thus infuriating each other.

    Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party and economy minister -- who when running for office posted a wildly popular video explaining why he was opposed to a Palestinian state -- is now so confident that the two-state solution is dead that he took his argument to the international community on the op-ed page of the New York Times, "For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution." When he was running for office, he said in a speech that “the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be solved." Now, both many Israelis and Palestinians are convinced that he was sadly right.

    There is simply no incentive for Israelis to compromise. What’s in it for them? they ask. Would a deal neutralize Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon? Would it stop Islamic State? Then why move the border closer to Israel’s capital and international airport?

    And with the Arab street ever more radicalized, the other side is no more inclined to be accommodating.

    Ironically, those who insist on pushing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are actually doing the Palestinians damage. The talks would fail, Palestinian frustration would boil over, violence would ensue and Israel, not in the mood for another four-year Intifada, would likely use overwhelming force much earlier than it did in 2000 to 2004.

    Strange as it may sound, in today’s Middle East, those most anxious to see violence averted would be well-served to stop pressing for peace. 

    Fear and Loathing in Jerusalem - Jonathan Spyer

    [A] familiar, stoic melancholy has returned.

    The wave of shootings, automobile attacks and stabbings that hit the city this month has had a profound affect. The faces of the innocents murdered are all over the news. Talk of a Third Intifada is everywhere.

    Yet atmospherics notwithstanding, in a number of substantive ways the current reality differs sharply from the time of the two intifadas (1987-92 and 2000-04).

    The new violence, though indiscriminate, brutal and murderous, is more narrowly focused. It is limited, for now, to specific areas of the country and to specific parts of Jerusalem. But the West Bank, the cauldron of so much violence and hatred during the last two intifadas, has so far stayed largely quiet.

    [W]hile Abbas spouts incendiary rhetoric, his security forces are continuing to cooperate with the Israelis in ensuring relative quiet on the West Bank. This reflects the general lack of Palestinian enthusiasm to provoke another mass confrontation with Israel.

    While the attacks on Israeli civilians have been presented in some news reports as spontaneous acts of rage, an examination of the biographies of the perpetrators so far suggests something quite different. All of them are or were committed members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, both groups that have been fanning the flames of anger over the trumped up threat to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

    Why now? Maybe Hamas and Islamic Jihad hope to launch themselves back to regional and global attention by trumping up an Israeli threat to a Muslim holy site.

    The memories of the recent past have produced a mood of gloom in Jerusalem. This, amid the stories of the latest lives to be snuffed out, is entirely understandable. But as of now, the spark set by Hamas and the Jihad has yet to fully catch. Let us hope it never does.
    [New York Daily News]

    Achmed the Dead Terrorist In Israel

     Jeff Dunham's famous character "Achmed the Dead Terrorist" made an appearance in the Tel Aviv Opera House

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Obama & Israel: the next two years


    Obama's Outreach to Iran - Suzanne Maloney

    President Barack Obama reportedly penned a personal appeal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last month. The move betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Iranian leadership, and is likely to hinder rather than help achieve a durable resolution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
    Khamenei's mistrust and antipathy toward Washington has been a consistent feature of his public rhetoric. Anti-Americanism is Khamenei's bedrock, engrained in his worldview, and as such it is not susceptible to blandishments - particularly not from the very object of his loathing. Obama's appeal at this critical juncture in the nuclear diplomacy will surely be read as a supplication - and as further confirmation of American desperation and weakness in the face of Iran's position of advantage. As he explained recently, "the reason why we are stronger is that [America] retreats step by step in all the arenas which we and the Americans have confronted each other."
    There is simply no plausible scenario in which a letter from the U.S. President to Ali Khamenei generates greater Iranian flexibility on the nuclear program, which the regime has paid an exorbitant price to preserve. Just the opposite - the letter undoubtedly intensified Khamenei's contempt for Washington and reinforced his longstanding determination to extract maximalist concessions.
    The writer, a former U.S. State Department policy advisor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
    (Brookings Institution)
    Obama's Bet on Iran - Jackson Diehl

    Since Jimmy Carter, presidents have sought to fashion an Arab coalition to contain the Islamic regime in Iran and thwart its aim to establish itself as a regional hegemon. Obama's final push, if it works, would allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure while ceding Tehran a role in the pacification and political reconstruction of the lands from Baghdad to Beirut.
    The Israeli government and most leaders of the Persian Gulf states continue to view Iran as an existential threat, best treated with crippling economic sanctions, proxy war against its allies in Syria and Lebanon and, if necessary, direct military action against its nuclear installations. A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress agrees with them.
    (Washington Post)
    -David M. Weinberg

    To my mind, we are not far from the day when the Obama administration will support a Palestinian Authority resolution demanding a timetable for Israeli withdrawals to specific borders and endorsing punitive measures unless Israel complies. I don’t think this far-fetched at all.

    So you see, Abbas can brutally mock American peace proposals, accuse Israel of “genocide,” glorify terrorism against Israel, cuddle with Hamas, and cozy-up to Iranian officials in preparation for battle against Israel. Yet Obama remains mum about Abbas, while his “officials” call Netanyahu “chicken-shit.”

    Abbas says he will “never” recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, “never” forgo the so-called right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, “never” accept Israeli security control of Jordan Valley and other key air and ground security assets, “never” allow Jews to live in Judea, “never” accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of Old Jerusalem, and call for riots to prevent Jews from “desecrating” the Temple Mount by visiting there.

    Yet Obama issues no warnings of PA diplomatic isolation or economic collapse if Abbas doesn’t compromise and advance the peace process. He pins nothing on the defiant Palestinian Authority and its radical Islamic allies. He is mum on all this, while his “officials” call Netanyahu a “coward.”

    But of course, Obama truly “wishes” he had the “influence” to arrest the isolation of Israel. Yeah, sure. Obama is purposefully engineering the denouement of the special relationship between America and Israel...

    Over the past year, Obama has granted Putin gargantuan international victories, given Assad a new lease on life, re-legitimized Iran and re-energized the morally-bankrupt UN – while playing Hamlet about his own authority to strike Syria or defend Israel. He has made only a ridiculously-miniscule effort at confronting ISIL. He leaves America’s reputation in the world “unbelievably small.”
    [Israel Hayom]

    U.S. May Renew Ties with Iran if Nuke Deal Reached    

    The London Times reported that the U.S. was ready to discuss renewing diplomatic ties with Iran if a nuclear deal was reached. The report states that talks between officials from both sides were happening this week in Baku, Azerbaijan, in addition to the nuclear talks. The U.S. has denied the report.     
    (Jerusalem Post)


    If Iran Says ‘Yes’ - Bret Stephens

    Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.
    [Wall Street Journal]

    Friday, November 07, 2014

    "Car Intifada"

    Terror Attacks in Jerusalem Receive Abbas' Blessing - Ron Ben-Yishai

    Wednesday's two hit-and-run terrorist attacks were carried out in the framework of efforts by Palestinian Islamist elements to affect a change in their favor in the status quo on the Temple Mount.

    The attacks in Jerusalem receive Mahmoud Abbas' explicit blessing. The PA leader uses the alleged danger posed to the Al Aqsa Mosque as a means of promoting his political strategy.

    Israel's government doesn't want a widespread conflagration that would mobilize the entire Muslim world against us, and has relayed explicit instructions to security forces to avoid killing Palestinian rioters - despite the fact that the rioters are doing all they can to create more martyrs to help spark a regional flare-up. The Americans must pressure Abbas to stop trying to take advantage of this flare-up for his own purposes.
    (Ynet News)

    "Car Intifada" Cartoon Campaign Encourages More Palestinian Vehicle Attacks
    - Elior Levy 
    After a number of terror attacks using vehicles as lethal weapons, Palestinians have termed these efforts a "car intifada" and are posting cartoons [see above] online likening vehicles to rockets launched by Hamas.
    (Ynet News)

    East Jerusalem Camp a Terrorist Stronghold - Jonathan Lis and Gili Cohen       

    The Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, home of Ibrahim Akari, the perpetrator of an attack on Wednesday that killed two Israelis, has been the source of many of the terror attacks in recent months in the Jerusalem area, security sources say.           

    Palestinian Radicals Are Desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque

    In the past few months, Palestinian radicals have been trying to breach the status quo by preventing Christians and Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. Palestinian rioters - incited by Hamas and the radical branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel - have attacked visitors as well as the police with stones and fireworks, using the Al-Aqsa Mosque as their base of operations. 

    On Nov. 5, several dozen masked Arabs again rioted on the Temple Mount. The rioters came out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and launched stones and fireworks at police. The police responded with non-lethal measures to prevent injuries.

    The rioters then returned to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, positioning themselves behind barricades they built the night before. They targeted the police with hundreds of fireworks, rocks and iron bars prepared beforehand, all from within the mosque itself. Several police officers were injured.

    Following the escalation of attacks from inside the mosque, a small number of officers walked a few steps into the mosque's entrance to remove the barricades that were preventing the mosque's doors from being shut. By closing these doors, the police separated the rioters from their targets, thereby restoring calm to the Temple Mount and enabling peaceful visits to the plaza.

    A video filmed by the Israel Police clearly shows the Palestinian rioters at the entrance to the mosque, which they have taken over and desecrated as a launching base for their attacks.

    Israel has made no move to change the decades-old status-quo on the Temple Mount, to which the Government of Israel is committed. Its goals are to allow Muslims to pray peacefully and for Jews and others to visit safely.

    (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


    Riots Seen Lacking Popular Support on Arab Street

    An Israeli military official said that the Palestinian public "is still indifferent and uninvolved in the escalation and is not coming out in great numbers to protest and create unrest, as was the case at the beginning of the Second Intifada." Security officials also said they were satisfied with security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. Coordination on the ground was strong and Palestinian police were efficient in controlling crowds and keeping demonstrations from sweeping through the West Bank.

    (Times of Israel)