Saturday, March 29, 2008

Israel: what are you waiting for?

Hamas: We're developing new missiles

Mar. 29, 2008

"It is no secret that Hamas is enhancing its military capabilities, including the development of new missiles. This is our right. We do not deny it and have no concerns," Abu Odediya, spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, was quoted as saying Saturday.

Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, Abu Odediya denied Iran was involved in the development of the group's missiles. "Any development is being carried out in the Gaza Strip. We do not belong to any foreign body," he said. The spokesman told the London-based newspaper that Israeli accusations that Iran was assisting Hamas weapons enhancement were made in order to garner international support for a future IDF attack on Gaza.

"It is likely that Israel is planning an assault on Gaza after the Arab summit in Damascus," he said, adding that Israel's intentions were proven by the fact that Israeli spy planes were continuing to fly over Gaza.

Odediya refused to divulge details about the new missiles he claimed were being developed. "Our message will soon be emitted and Israel will know where the rockets can reach. Our fight is open-ended and at any stage we can introduce something new."

Nevertheless, top Islamic Jihad official Khalid Batash denied new missiles were being developed. "Reports of the development of new missiles are aimed at instilling fear in order to give the stamp of approval to a new [Israeli] assault on the Palestinian people," Batash told the London-based Al Quds al-Arabi newspaper..

Israel's accountability problem

Caroline Glick

On April 10 two brothers are scheduled to begin serving prison sentences for a crime they never committed. Yitzhak and Daniel Halamish were convicted of aggravated assault and were sentenced respectively, to seven and eight months in jail.

The two men, who live in Ma'aleh Rehavam south of Bethlehem, were arrested on February 22, 2004. The day before their arrest, the brothers were serving as IDF-trained and armed security guards in their community. They were called by Baruch Feldbaum, the head of security at the neighboring Sde Bar community, to assist him in dispersing an illegal gathering of Beduin in land adjacent to Sde Bar.

Feldbaum's concern over the gathering was heightened because Beduin shepherds are suspected of having carried out a number of unsolved terrorist murders in the area. These include the murder by stoning of 14-year-olds Kobi Mandell and Yosef Ish-Ran on May 8, 2001. Feldbaum feared that the Beduin were conducting surveillance of the community ahead of a future attack. Armed with their IDF-issued M-16 rifles, augmented in Yitzhak's case by a handgun, the Halamish brothers rushed to the scene. Once they arrived the two were surrounded by some 20 rock and club-wielding Beduin. In an attempt to disperse the hostile crowd, and enable the Halamish brothers to escape unharmed, Feldbaum shot a warning shot into the ground. Yitzhak Halamish similarly shot a warning shot in the air with his handgun. The two brothers then pushed their way out of the crowd.

Later in the day, the Beduin filed a complaint with the police against the three guards. They alleged that Feldbaum and the Halamish brothers all shot at them with their rifles and beat them with their fists.

The issue of who was telling the truth was not a purely subjective question of whom to believe. When the police arrested the Halamish brothers, they also seized their rifles. The Halamish brothers had both denied ever shooting their rifles at the scene. Had the police wished to objectively weigh the credibility of the two sides, they could have conducted ballistic tests of the rifles to determine whether or not they had been used. But they did no such thing. Rather, they indicted Feldbaum and the Halamish brothers for aggravated assault and sent them to trial.

Feldbaum was found guilty based on his admission that he shot his rifle. He was sentenced to nine months in prison. His sentence was later reduced to six months community service by then president Moshe Katsav.

Given their denials of ever shooting their rifles, the Halamish brothers were convicted based on the Magistrate Court judge's decision to believe the Beduins' accusations and reject their defense. In his ruling, Judge Amnon Cohen did not take the police's decision not to conduct ballistic tests of their weapons into consideration. His convictions were upheld on appeal to the Jerusalem District Court. The Supreme Court refused to consider the case.

Attorney Yoram Sheftel, who represented the brothers on appeal, focused his arguments on the police's refusal to conduct ballistic tests of their rifles. According to Sheftel, in standard criminal cases, police refusal to examine potentially exculpatory evidence is grounds for an automatic dismissal of charges. In convicting the Halamish brothers and upholding their convictions, Sheftel argues that the courts ignored standard criminal procedures.

Today, with the courts closed to them, the Halamishs' only hope for avoiding prison is a presidential pardon.

Supporters of the Halamish brothers have launched an interesting campaign to lobby for clemency. They have asked for US citizens to call the office of Israel's military attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and demand that the IDF advance their pardon requests with the Justice Ministry and Beit Hanassi. Since the Halamish brothers were effectively acting as soldiers while performing their security responsibilities, their supporters contend that the IDF is honor-bound to defend them.

But the campaign doesn't stop there. Supporters have also asked US citizens to contact their Congressmen and ask them to send inquiries about the case to the embassy. Finally, they have asked US citizens to contact the State Department and complain that the State Department's Human Rights report on Israel is silent on the government's abuse of Jewish civil rights.

THE NOTION of running a campaign for an Israeli presidential pardon of Israeli citizens in the US is alarming for what it says about the Halamish supporters' perception of Israeli democracy. Specifically, as Datya Yitzhaki from Pidyon Shevuim who has spearheaded the campaign argues, they believe that domestic pressure will have no impact on either Israeli political leaders or on the justice system because in their view the Olmert-Livni-Barak government feels no need to account for its actions to Israeli citizens. Indeed, they contend that the only force that can hold the government and the legal system accountable is international pressure and fear of international condemnation.

Organizations like Women in Green and Pidyon Shevuim who are running the campaign cite as precedent the case of Tzvia Sariel. Sariel, 18, was arrested last December on assault charges. She was accused of attacking Arabs who entered her community of Eilon Moreh on December 4. Sariel was incarcerated for three and a half months.

On March 5, the allegedly assaulted Arabs appeared in Kfar Saba Magistrate Court and recanted their accusations against Sariel. One claimed that since he is illiterate, he had no idea what he was signing when he signed his complaint against her. Yet, despite the fact that the prosecution's case fell apart in front of her, trial judge Nava Bechor ordered a continuance until April 4 and sent Sariel back to prison for another month.

An outcry ensued and activists in the US began calling the embassy and the State Department. On March 19, Bechor dismissed charges against Sariel and sent her home. Her supporters believe that without their US campaign, Sariel would still be sitting in prison for a crime that she didn't commit.

Depressingly, activists fighting against civil rights abuses of right-wing opponents of government policies are probably on to something. Through their own actions, Israel's leaders show daily that they are willing to ignore strategic imperatives and their domestic political opponents. Their actions show that indeed, the only pressure that seems to get them to change course is international pressure.

Take Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for example. Since assuming office two years ago, Livni has repeated at countless public appearances that Israel supports a "two-state solution." By couching her government's support for the establishment of a Palestinian state in these terms, Livni implicitly (and often explicitly) argues that Israel - which has existed for 60 years and whose legitimacy is rationally inarguable - can only exist legitimately if a Palestinian state is established. By making this assertion Livni effectively places Israel's right to exist on the negotiating table.

And yet, for his part, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly repudiated Israel's right to exist. By agreeing to negotiate the "two-state solution" with a man who rejects Israel's right to exist, Livni, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their colleagues are effectively saying that what reality exposes, and Israel's citizenry supports, is irrelevant. The Palestinians alone can confer legitimacy on Israel. And of course, as Abbas has made clear repeatedly, they never will.

In a speech this week to the foreign press corps, Olmert similarly demonstrated that the only support he is interested in securing is foreign support. During his remarks, Olmert claimed that he wishes to conduct negotiations with the Syrian regime towards the surrender of the Golan Heights to Syria. Olmert's statement came just days after President Shimon Peres publicly opposed such negotiations on strategic grounds. In remarks Sunday during a joint press appearance with visiting US Vice President Richard Cheney, Peres explained that Israel has no interest in conducting negotiations with Syria because, "If the Golan is given back, it will boost Iran's influence in Lebanon and the territory will effectively be under Iranian-Syrian control." But when he spoke approvingly of talks aimed at surrendering the Golan Heights to Iranian-Syrian control, Olmert was not concerned with strategic realities. He was similarly unconcerned with what the Israeli public - which opposes such negotiations - believes is in Israel's national interest.

When Olmert made that statement he was interested in what the international, overwhelmingly anti-Israel media would think and write about him personally. And so he went on record supporting an initiative that undercuts Israel's national interests.

Finally, there is Barak's behavior in advance of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's arrival in Israel on Saturday night. When Rice was in Israel on March 4, she pressured the Olmert-Livni-Barak government to abandon efforts to secure southern Israel from Hamas's missile campaign in favor of a cease-fire with the Iranian proxy movement. Eager to please her, the government ordered IDF units to beat a speedy retreat from Gaza.

Today, although the government continues to restrain the IDF, the cease-fire is a joke. Over the past two weeks alone, the Palestinians have launched more than a hundred rockets and mortar shells at Israel. They have further augmented their attacks with sniper fire against Israeli farmers tending fields along the border with Gaza. Hamas is openly using the respite to replenish its arsenals and expand its control over the lives of Gaza's citizens. Moreover, unopposed by Israel, Hamas has succeeded in forcing Egypt to release Hamas terror masters from jail, and has convinced Fatah to negotiate the reestablishment of a unity government with Hamas.

Rice is expected to continue pressuring Israel to let Hamas continue to attack at will. She is also expected to attack Olmert, Livni and Barak for the IDF's counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria.

In an effort to preempt her assault, Barak announced this week that Israel will allow the PA to import armored personnel carriers from Russia and deploy hundreds of Fatah forces in terror-infested Jenin. He also agreed to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Barak knows full well that these actions will imperil Israel's security. His own people refer to the moves as "calculated risks." He knows full well that opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu was right when he warned on Wednesday that "those weapons will be turned against IDF soldiers." He knows that by curbing counter-terror operations he will imperil Israeli civilians. But here too, Israel's inherent right to self-defense and the government's sovereign duty to secure the country and its citizens is ignored by the government in order to win points with foreigners whose interests are far from identical to Israel's.

THE HALAMISH brothers' supporters are not people who reject Israel's legitimacy. They certainly would never deny its right to defend itself. Indeed, they are among the most vocal opponents of foreign onslaughts against Israel.

It is a sad commentary on the state of Israeli democracy that patriotic Israelis have come to the disheartening view that their only chance of receiving justice in Israel is to take their campaign to foreign governments. By inducing them to feel this way, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is taking another step towards the delegitimization of Israeli sovereignty.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Dangerous Stupidity"

March 28, 2008

The stupidity alluded to here pertains both to US and Israeli policy. And it is with regard to the practice of continuing to arm and train Fatah forces in Judea and Samaria.

There is some very irrational notion that it is necessary to "strengthen" Fatah so it can prevent a Hamas takeover. However, the evidence from the recent past provides absolutely no reason to believe that giving Fatah more weapons and more training is going to turn them into a fighting machine that will keep Hamas at bay and that will help to keep Israel safe from terrorists. In fact, the opposite is glaringly obvious to anyone who wishes to pay attention. Repeatedly over the years since the PA was established, there have been incidents in which weapons and training provided by the US with Israeli sanction were turned against Israel. The very first time this happened was in 1996 and the severity of such situations increased with the second intifada starting in 2000.


But that's just one factor of concern. The other is the vast likelihood that these weapons will end up in Hamas hands. That's precisely what happened in Gaza. Fatah was heavily armed by the US so that it might stand against Hamas. When Hamas routed Fatah, they acquired these weapons, which are now being utilized against Israel, and which will make that eventual major operation in Gaza more difficult than it otherwise would have been. Hamas is now in possession of such Fatah equipment as machine guns, thousands of assault rifles, personnel carriers and night vision goggles.


What must be understood here -- what is of MAJOR concern -- is the fact that Fatah was not defeated in Gaza because of Hamas superiority. Fatah had better training, better equipment, and a larger number of troops in the field. What they lacked was the will to fight Hamas.

Consider this information from my report on Fatah from in January:

After the rout, The Observer interviewed Abu Obieda, head of the military wing of Hamas, who said, "I expected it to take one month. That is what we planned for and trained for. But then at the beginning all of the Fatah commanders escaped their compounds in ambulances and left for Egypt. They left their men to die. Who could do that?"

Amir Tahiri, reporting in the NY Post, confirmed this, saying that even the four chief bases, claimed to be impregnable, fell within hours as the defenders fled, leaving their equipment behind.

While according to the Economist, Abbas did not declare a state of emergency until his own Gaza house (very large and elaborate, it should be noted) was being ransacked. Middle level officers complained about a lack of leadership: "We had no orders to fight except in self defense."


That was in Gaza. Now in Judea and Samaria, even US generals have begun to complain about the lack of effort on the part of the PA to take on terrorism. This is something I've been writing about for months: the reports that security officers say they aren't given orders to shoot at terrorists, etc.

This pattern persists because Fatah (the PA) has no stomach for this fight. As they see it, Hamas and Fatah are all part of the Palestinian people, and there is at heart no disapproval of Hamas terrorism within the ranks of Fatah. The goals are the same, it is only the methods that vary, like a "good cop, bad cop" routine.

Months ago the assessment of Israeli intelligence was that Hamas was as strong as Fatah in Judea and Samaria. Since then, Hamas has strengthened further and it is clearly understood that only the IDF stands between the PA and a Hamas takeover.


Yet, in spite of this, the US, which saw its policy fail so badly in Gaza, and which is in possession of information regarding Hamas strength in Judea and Samaria, and PA failure to fight terrorism... the US decides to adopt precisely the same policy that backfired in Gaza and to back the same losers all over again. The US is funding weapon supplies and training for the PA.

Where are the brains of Rice and company? Where is Bush in all of this? They are setting themselves up for a situation that is doomed to fail. They are making it possible for Hamas to secure better weapons than they would otherwise have had, and ultimately they -- US officials! -- are going to be responsible for Israeli deaths.

And those who head the Israeli government? They behave like US lackeys, instead of officials of a sovereign state. They give statements about how Israeli security must be their first concern, but they don't act in accord with these statements.


Now it is in the news that Defense Minister Barak has expressed to the US concern that Hamas may take over Judea and Samaria, and that Israeli gestures to the US may backfire.

Well, good morning! But why didn't he register this concern BEFORE making the gestures. Why didn't he flatly refuse to make the gestures (which are blatantly said to be gestures to the US) because his first responsibility is to protect Israel?

Yet Israel has signed on to allowing the PA to have armored personnel carriers, night vision goggles and a whole lot more.

All in the interests of peace, you understand.


Rice is due here tomorrow night. She is coming to push that moribund "peace process." And we must ask, here too, why she thinks Fatah is a viable peace partner for Israel, given the parameters outlined above.

What is particularly infuriating is that she is being "even handed," criticizing both Israel and the PA for "failures" to live up to their commitments. But what she criticizes Israel for are such things as not taking down "illegal outposts," while with the PA the criticism is not fighting terrorism.

These are not parallel issues. The bottom line is that without an elimination of terrorist infrastructure there will be no peace here. Everything else must be on hold until that is accomplished.

As to the issues of communities established beyond the Green Line being an "obstacle to peace," I will discuss this further in the next posting.

see my website

Condoleezza Rice Would Consider VP Job

Ronald Kessler

Despite saying she wants to return to Stanford University, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has let it be known in Republican circles that she would consider running for vice president if asked.

One source told Newsmax that she expressed interest in the possibility when Rudy Giuliani was running for president. Another source said she has more recently let her interest be known discreetly within top Republican circles, presumably including John McCain's camp.

Fueling speculation that she would consider being on the ticket, Rice appeared for the first time this week at the so-called Wednesday meeting run by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Rice spoke for 20 minutes at the off-the-record meeting of conservative leaders, then took questions for 20 minutes.

Presidential candidates, White House aides, Cabinet officers, and members of Congress routinely speak to the group, but the talks generally are far shorter. In her talk, Rice stuck to foreign policy. When asked about her future, she said she plans to teach at Stanford, where she was once provost, and she plans to write a book.

Asked for comment, an aide to Rice said it was "not true" that she has expressed interest in a run and pointed to what she said at the Wednesday meeting about intending to return to Stanford.

"No one can accurately say she was encouraging it or that she expressed interest, as your two sources apparently told you," the aide said. "That is wrong. Her answer [about being interested in running for vice president] was clearly and unambiguously negative."

In general, possible vice presidential candidates never want to appear to be running for the job. What Rice has done is make it clear she would not shut the door on a possible candidacy.

"She would be a good vice presidential candidate because she would be a good president," Norquist commented to Newsmax.

While conservatives generally like the idea of her running on a ticket with McCain, their only concern is her stand on abortion. In a 2005 interview with The Washington Times, Rice described herself as "mildly pro-choice" and a libertarian on the abortion issue.

"I'm a strong proponent of parental choice, of parental notification," Rice said then. "I'm a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people, and I think that that's where we should be."

Rice said she is "very comfortable with the president's view that we have to respect and need to have a culture that respects life. This should be an issue pretty infrequently because we ought to have a culture that says Who wants to have an abortion? Who wants to see a daughter or a friend or, you know, a sibling go through something like that?"

Rice then said that we "have to respect the culture of life, and we have to try and bring people to have respect for it and make this as rare a circumstance as possible."

She went on to say that she does not think the federal government should be "forcing its views on one side or the other. So, for instance, I've tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion, because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund it."

When the interviewer said it sounds as if she does not want to change the laws on abortion, Rice responded, "Well, I don't spend my entire life thinking about these issues. You know, I spend my time really thinking about the foreign policy issues. But you know that I'm a deeply religious person and so, from my point of view, these extremely difficult moral issues where we have — where we're facing issues with technology and the prolongation of life and the fact that very, very young babies are able to survive now . . . very small babies are able to survive . . . these are great moral issues."

"I'm a minister's daughter," Rice once told me. "I [pray] 10 times a day. It's the most natural thing in the world. Sometimes, I pray out loud when alone. I'll say a quick prayer on my way to play piano."
Comment: Were Rice to be the vice-presidential candidate it would be catastrophic for Israel. Her interference and coercion in the workings of the government here have contributed to the increased aggression of Hamas in the region.
We should not forget that Rice demanded that Israel abandon the Philadelphi Corridor and Rafah , thus, terrorists and heavy weapons have been more easily moved from Gaza to the West Bank. This has presented an even greater danger to Israel. This was despite the resistance of Israel's security officials ; Rice said she would not accept 'no' for an answser.
We must not forget that Rice insisted that Israel strengthen the 'moderate' head of the PA, Abbas (or abu Mazen) the terrorist who funded the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich..only one incident in his history of terrorism. The arms that Israel was pressured to give to the PA to strengthen it predictably ended up in the hands of Hamas when it took over Gaza as Fatah fled.
Rice has continuously pressured the much too willing Olmert government to make dangerous concessions and to keep in mind the (non-existent) 'peace process' even when retaliating against acts of terrorism against Jews. We must make our feelings known to McCain and point out the dangers of such a choice - should he be considering it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

CAIR officials: Criminal activity, ties to jihadists

Robert Spencer

Part 3 of this extraordinary series on CAIR. "Some CAIR Officials Convicted of Crimes, More Tied to Extremist Groups," by Steven Emerson for IPT News:

(note: The third installment of our CAIR dossier can be viewed in its entirety at

The questionable associations and actions by many of its leaders cast serious doubt on CAIR's claims of moderation and restraint. Some have committed criminal acts themselves; others have ties to organizations with connections to Islamic extremism. Those convicted of direct criminal activity include Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR-Texas; Randall (Ismail) Royer, once a communications specialist for the national group, and Bassam Khafagi, the organization's one-time director of community relations.

In the more egregious cases, the organization has tried to distance itself from the individuals, contorting both logic and the English language. As the IPT's series on CAIR's history and activities continues, we look at the suspect nature of these examples and others close to the organization.

· Ghassan Elashi, who attended a 1993 Philadelphia meeting called by Hamas to discuss derailing U.S. peace initiatives, was convicted in 2004 on six criminal counts, including making false statements, conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations and the Libyan Sanctions Regulations, and conspiracy to file false shipper's export declaration forms. He was a defendant again in the 2007 Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), where jurors were unable to reach unanimous verdicts on the charges against him.

Elashi served as HLF chairman and treasurer and vice president of Infocom, a computer export company. He was sentenced to 80 months in prison for making illegal computer shipments to Libya and Syria and conspiring to send money to Mousa Abu Marzook, an admitted Hamas leader.

Seeking to minimize Elashi's ties to CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad assured U.S. senators in 2003 testimony, "Mr. Elashi was never an employee or officer of our corporation. The fact that he was once associated with one of our almost twenty regional chapters has no legal significance…"

· Randall Royer, the former CAIR communications specialist, has a more colorful criminal history. Police who stopped his car for a traffic violation in 2001 found an AK-47-style rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition inside. Then, in 2003, he was indicted on charges stemming from participation in the ongoing jihad in Kashmir -- specifically, doing propaganda work for Lashkar-e Taiba, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, and personally firing at Indian positions in Kashmir.

Pleading guilty to weapons and explosives charges in 2004, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Again, CAIR reacted defensively, seeking to downplay both his ties to the organization and, indeed, the nature of his crimes. "Notwithstanding the fact that any criminal action to which he pleaded guilty was done when Royer was no longer employed with CAIR and not at CAIR's direction," the group said, "it is important to note that the only crimes that he pleaded guilty to were weapons charges, not charges of terrorism."

CAIR's timing point contradicts media reports indicating that Royer still worked for the group in October 2001; while the charges to which Royer pleaded guilty do not directly contain the word "terrorism," they involved his activities in support of the designated terrorist Lashkar-e Taiba.

Orlev Accuses Olmert of 'Spinning' Pollard Once Again

Hillel Fendel
MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party), who initiated the State Comptroller's investigation of the government's failure to attain Pollard's release, says Olmert is behind the anti-Comptroller leaks.Wednesday, a day of Jonathan Pollard news, began with a blaring headline in Yediot Acharonot, Israel's largest daily, screaming out in the name of defense officials, "The Comptroller Will Sabotage Pollard's Release." The report stated that Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss was "once again causing a storm," and that "security elements" said the country was "insane" for allowing him to investigate the government's mis-handling of the Pollard affair.

The Yediot report named no names, but quoted government sources as claiming the Comptroller's actions could lead to a worsening of Israeli-US diplomatic relations. The sources said the only way Pollard would be freed would be via a direct conversation between Olmert and Bush, which would not be helped by conflict between the U.S. and Israel.

Pollard has been incarcerated in the United States for over 22 years, after being convicted on one count of passing classified information to a U.S. ally - Israel. The U.S. had been obligated to share the information with Israel, according to a 1983 letter of understanding signed by the two nations. The average sentence for this crime is 2-4 years, yet Pollard was sentenced to life in prison - in abrogation of a plea bargain to which he had agreed.

The decision to investigate Israel's mis-handling of Pollard's incarceration is "scandalous," the paper quoted the source as saying. "Only a country that has gone crazy is prepared to give such a sensitive subject to be examined by the state comptroller, who acts like a bull in a china shop on a subject that is not at all under his purview."

Comptroller Lindenstrauss responded almost immediately after the publication of the report, maintaining stridently that the accusations were "hallucinatory." "The Knesset Control Committee ordered me to carry out this job," he told reporters, referring to a decision of three months ago. "What is going on here? The Knesset decided unanimously to [do this]... No one has opposed the committee's decision, and there has been cooperation from all quarters. I have handled the investigation for three months now with utmost discretion. No one has even heard about the investigation until this morning. What happened all of a sudden?!"

Lindenstrauss, who has had his share of run-ins with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not want to say specifically whom he blamed for the report against his investigation, but merely implied that it was someone who fears he might be hurt by the investigation's findings.
Esther Pollard said there are no "secret government efforts" underway for her husband's release, and therefore nothing that the Lindenstrauss investigation could sabotage.

Orlev: Olmert is to Blame
MK Zevulun Orlev, Chairman of the Knesset Audit Committee that charged Lindenstrauss with the job, was not as circumspect. "It is clearly Prime Minister Olmert who is behind these reports," Orlev said. "The Prime Minister is carrying out a spin at the expense of Pollard. Olmert continues to attack Lindenstrauss without hesitation or responsibility, and this is something that we cannot just sit by and watch. This campaign by Olmert hurts the Knesset, and I call upon my colleagues to strongly condemn this incessant attack by the Prime Minister. The public has to know that there is someone overseeing the government."

Esther Pollard, Jonathan's wife, said there are no "secret government efforts" underway for her husband's release, and therefore nothing that the Lindenstrauss investigation could sabotage. She said she wishes to "strengthen the hands of the State Comptroller," and that he should "not be afraid to uncover the truth."

Rafi Eitan and Pollard
In other Pollard-related news, Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan - Pollard's original handler - told a TV interviewer this week, "I have not stopped for a second working for his release... I will do everything I can so that he will be released." Eitan also stated that he expects Pollard home soon.

The Justice for Jonathan Pollard (J4JP) organization sharply attacked Eitan for his words. Eitan "falsely raised expectations in Israel that some action has been taken to accomplish this goal and that a deal exists" - both of which are not true, the organization states.

Asked on Army Radio what interest the government has in not working to free Pollard, his wife Esther said, "The Government of Israel has no national interest in having Pollard rot in prison, but there are personal interests on the part of those individuals who were fully involved in Jonathan's operation, who to this very day still do not take responsibility for their participation in the affair. People like Ehud Barak who signed all of Jonathan's tasking orders. People like Rafi Eitan, who was his handler. It's simply not comfortable for them to have Pollard home in Israel where his very presence may reflect negatively upon their personal reputations. In the meantime, Rafi Eitan now has the media image of a kindly grandfather. But to those who know him up close, he is no grandfather; he is a murderer! He is simply a murderer!"

Eitan later clarified that his declaration that Pollard would soon be free were based not on knowledge but only on "an intuition." He said he should have said he "hopes" Pollard will be released.

Olmert and Settlements: Lofty Goals Betrayed by Actions on the Ground

Settlement Report | Vol. 18 No. 2 | February-March 2008
By Geoffrey Aronson
March 2008 Settlement Report

Since his election as prime minister, Ehud Olmert, long a stalwart supporter of Greater Israel, has made unprecedented statements declaring an interest in ending Israel’s rule over Palestinians. In stark contrast to Olmert’s rhetoric, however, the settlement machine grinds on.
Many Israelis and others are now asking whether Olmert means what he says when he voices a need to end occupation, evacuate settlements, and agree to the creation of a Palestinian state. Or are his comments merely a new twist to Israel’s oft declared interest in “stretching out its hand in peace” to its Arab adversaries even as this objective is betrayed by Israeli actions on the ground?

Some History

Menachem Begin’s election as prime minister in May 1977 opened a new chapter in Israel and the national enterprise of settling the West Bank. No longer would the policy of “creeping annexation,” adopted by Israeli leaders during 1967–1977, be obscured by the official policy of “deciding not to decide” the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Begin was not one to shrink from declaring without ambiguity his dedication to settlement throughout the “Land of Israel.”

Soon after Begin’s election, Nahum Goldman, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a political foe, remarked, “[Begin] is the most honest of all the Israeli politicians I know. . . . The trouble has been that many Israelis didn’t say what they wanted. Begin does. His election will determine the legitimacy of a policy of non flexibility.”

Begin wasted no time clarifying his objectives. An emissary dispatched to Washington explained that Arabs and Palestinians were amorphous abstractions without any legitimate claim to statehood in the Land of Israel, whose “reunification” under Israeli sovereignty offered Palestinians only “political and cultural self determination” as a minority in the Jewish state.

Begin himself soon traveled to the wildcat West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh—an “outpost” in today’s parlance—which elements in the just defeated Rabin government patronized even as the prime minister condemned its consolidation. (Sound familiar?)

“There will be many more Elon Morehs,” Begin declared. “Since May of this year, the name of these areas has been changed from occupied to liberated territories. This is liberated Israeli land, and we call on young volunteers in the country and the diaspora to come and settle here.”

During the next decades, Israelis motivated by religious zeal and many more others by a desire to improve their quality of life answered Begin’s call. Numbering 10,000 when Begin assumed the premiership, the settler population of the West Bank (excluding settlers in annexed East Jerusalem) now approaches 300,000.

Sharon Settles

There was no mistaking Begin’s intent, nor the parallel intentions of his principal settlement architect, Ariel Sharon, who served Begin, and then Yitzhak Shamir, in a number of key settlement related posts. As a minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, Sharon returned to Israel from discussions with President Bill Clinton at the Wye Plantation in October 1996 admonishing “young volunteers” ( many of whom were the children of Begin’s settlement cadre) to “grab and settle” land throughout the West Bank, unleashing the most recent phase of new settlement creation. These so called illegal outposts—the successors to the veteran settlements of Ofra, Elon Moreh (re named Kedumim), Ma’ale Adumim, and numerous others—now number close to 100.

Sharon worked in the service of Likud governments, but his origins were in the bosom of Israel’s Labor establishment—the party of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and more recently, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. If Begin is considered the settlement movement’s cheerleader and most unabashed advocate, Sharon, and by extension Israel’s Labor establishment from Levi Eshkol to Barak, was its most effective contractor. It is not for nothing that one of the truisms of Israel’s occupation is “Labor announces one settlement and builds ten, while the Likud announces ten and builds one.”

Cry and Build

While Sharon was a child of Israel’s Labor establishment, Olmert was born and bred in Begin’s Likud. Indeed, for most of his political career, Olmert, anointed as one of the Likud “princes” who would some day inherit Begin’s mantle, placed himself on Begin’s right wing, voting, most notably, against Begin’s path breaking peace treaty with Egypt.

As premier, however, Olmert has adopted the “cry and build” persona preferred by his predecessors in the Labor Party. Indeed, in important respects he has outflanked his predecessors in Labor from the left. Rabin, for example, never would have dreamed of declaring, as has Olmert, the creation of a Palestinian state to be a vital Israeli interest. Yet despite such sentiments, like his Labor predecessors, Olmert presides over settlement policies that, contrary to the spirit of his public pronouncements, continue to advance creeping annexation on the ground.

For example, settlers decry any suggestion of a reduced commitment to their welfare as a “freeze” on settlements. They need not worry, explained Eitan Broshi, assistant minister of defense for settlement affairs. “There is no policy of ‘drying out’ the settlements. There is a policy of caution with regard to the use of broader discretion regarding construction permits. Over the past three months, the minister of defense approved several construction matters in the territories, and these will also be implemented in coming months. Priority,” he explained, “is being given to Jerusalem, the Etzion bloc, and settlements located in settlements blocs”—the latter defined by Israel as those areas about which President George W. Bush, in a 2004 letter to then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, acknowledged Israel’s intent to annex.

These are not empty words. Olmert has specifically excluded the settlement neighborhoods in East Jerusalem from any freeze. The newspaper Kol Ha’Zeman reports that “in the framework of efforts to expand construction, the Jerusalem municipality is undertaking intensive discussions with the Israel Land Authority to ‘liberate’ public land for the immediate construction of new housing. In coming months tenders for construction of 750 apartments in Pisgat Ze’ev . . . can be expected.” Since the November 2007 Annapolis conference, tenders for the construction of 400 units in East Talpiot, 300 in Har Homa, and 50 in Gilo have already been announced. Uri Lupiansky, mayor of Jerusalem, recently said that the city is moving forward with plans for the construction of 10,000 housing units in East Jerusalem settlements.

Minister without Portfolio Haim Ramon, who has established himself as Olmert’s stalking horse on settlement policy and who heads a committee charged with solving the outposts issue, explained that his committee sees its mandate not so much as removing unauthorized settlements but rather to facilitate settlement construction wherever “it is not politically significant.” Indeed, draft recommendations by Israel’s Justice Ministry will enable continuing construction not only in recognized settlements but also in unauthorized ones as well. Most problematic are new settlements sited on what Israel acknowledges to be private Palestinian land. These number at least one third of 100 existing outposts.

Linking Elon Moreh to Migron

Begin’s decision to legalize Elon Moreh was challenged by a 1979 High Court decision voiding the creation of civilian Jewish settlement on private Palestinian West Bank land in the absence of a security justification. The settlers of Elon Moreh simply moved to a new location nearby—Kedumim, today a settlement of 3,400. Elon Moreh itself was reincarnated as a settlement of 1,300 on a hilltop overlooking Nablus.

The Israeli court’s prohibition of this type of land theft, however, did not stop the practice of taking what even Israel recognizes as private Palestinian land for Israeli settlement, as today’s outpost phenomenon demonstrates. Peace Now reports that almost 75 percent of the wildcat settlements established since 1996 are built in part on private Palestinian owned land that was taken by settlers without any confiscation order.

The Legacy of Elon Moreh

A recent report by Israel’s civil administration acknowledges that more than one third of well established West Bank settlements, where tens of thousands of Israelis reside, are built on private Palestinian land that was “temporarily” seized by military order for security purposes. According to a report in Ha’aretz, “a security source termed this a ‘difficult statistic’ that is liable to cause trouble for Israel both in Washington and its own courts.” The article notes that most of this land was privately owned by Palestinians. In addition to Ariel, Efrat and Kiryat Arba—three of the largest West Bank settlements—the list also includes settlements in the West Bank heartland favored by Sharon—Beit El, Elon Moreh, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, Ofra, Psagot, and Shilo and the Jordan Valley settlements of Gitit and Mechora. At least 19 of the 44 settlements on the civil administration’s list were established after 1979, violating at least the spirit of the Elon Moreh decision and a government policy that based settlement expansion exclusively on “state land.”

Ha’aretz noted that, “the Israel Defense Forces explained that its land seizure orders are in force until they are canceled. In some of these settlements, part or all of [the land] was declared ‘state land’ at the same time, but the seizure orders have not been canceled, either partially or totally.” It added that “in general, seizure orders have not been used to build settlements since 1979,” but “in the early 1980s, Nahal [an army unit] outposts were still built on the basis of seizure orders, and some later became settlements. There were also isolated cases during those years in which land was seized for roads or buildings for existing settlements.”

A deal in the works between settlers and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will trade the evacuation of some outposts for increased settlement construction elsewhere. Prominent among these is Migron, a wildcat settlement of sixty families that Olmert has promised to evacuate by August.

Ha’aretz has reported that “a new neighborhood comprising 27 trailers is currently under construction at the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, even though Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed publicly after the Annapolis conference that any such building would cease.”

These facts prompted a Ha’aretz editorial on January 9, 2008, declaring that “there is no meaning to the Bush visit or to Olmert’s talks with Mahmoud Abbas as long as the facts on the ground . . . clearly demonstrate the lack of credibility of the government’s declarations, and the cooperation that it receives from the American government with this policy.”

Olmert’s lofty sentiments highlighting the need for a change in the status quo pale against the continuing commitment of Israel’s central security, legal, administrative, and political institutions to the policy, now almost four decades old, of creeping annexation. The prime minister’s comments are as yet little more than a public relations sedative to mask Israel’s continuing commitment to Greater Israel.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Paul Mirengoff

Why does Barack Obama have so many foreign policy and national security advisers whose statements about Israel and American Jews are problematic? We've written at length about Samantha Power, perhaps his closest foreign policy adviser until she was forced to resign for insulting Hillary Clinton. We've also touched on Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley. And by now everyone who follows these things realizes that Obama's long-time spiritual adviser Rev. Wright hates Israel passionately.

Now comes evidence that Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, who serves as Obama's national campaign co-chair and his point man when it comes to establishing the candidate's bona fides on military matters, is also hostile towards Israel, viewing its positions as preventing peace from breaking out in the region. Moreover, in something like the style of Walt-Mearsheimer, he blames American Jews for enabling Israel to take the positions that prevent peace.

Robert Goldberg at the American Spectator provides the details. Goldberg points to a 2003 interview McPeak gave to the Oregonian newspaper, which included this exchange:

McPeak: We don't have a playbook for the Middle East. You know, for instance, obviously, a part of that long-term strategy would be getting the Israelis and the Palestinians together at . . . something other than a peace process. Process is not a substitute for achievement or settlement. And even so the process has gone off the tracks, but the process isn't enough. . . . We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that.

Q: So where's the problem? State? White House?

McPeak: New York City. Miami. We have a large vote - vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.

McPeak then explains that because of the political influence exerted by those New York and Miami Jews, the U.S. can't get "Israelis to stop settling the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and maybe even withdraw some of the settlements that've already been put there." And under these circumstances, "you can't develop a Middle East strategy; it's impossible."

In response to a follow-up question, McPeak gives a bizarre answer in which he seems to equate the extremism of Hamas and Hezbollah with extremism you can find even in Oregon (if you know where to look -- see below). He then concedes that there is some "good will" in Israel (though not apparently among American Jews in New York and Miami) but only perhaps among the "cosmopolitan" set.

Q. Do you think . . . there's an element within Hamas, Hezbollah, that doesn't want Israel to exist at all and always will be there?

McPeak: Absolutely.

Q. Yeah. So this is - this is multilateral.

McPeak: There's an element in Oregon, you know, that's always going to be radical in some pernicious way, and likely to clothe it in religious garments, so it makes it harder to attack. So there's craziness all over the place.

I think there is enough good will on the Israeli side - I've spent a lot of time in Israel, worked at one time very closely with the Israeli air force as a junior officer, and so - but that's maybe the more cosmopolitan, liberal version of the Israeli population - I think there's enough good will there - I don't know if there is still on the Palestinian side, because they've been radicalized pretty well. But there's enough good will, I would hope, on both sides that you can get the majority into some kind of a big tent, and make something better than what you've got now. If you do that, you'll still have radicals on both sides doing stupid things, but that is basically a problem in internal security. Hopefully. You can handle it with police. But if you don't do that, I don't see any way to put together a strategy for the Middle East. I mean it's just kind of a linchpin.

Who constitutes this "pernicious element," found even in Oregon, that clothes its radicalism in "religous garments" to "make[] it harder to attack"? Goldberg quotes McPeak as follows:

Let's say that one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq. Let's say you are a born-again Christian and you think that Armageddon and the rapture are about to happen any minute and what you want to do is retrace steps you think are laid out in Revelations, then it makes sense. So there are a number of scenarios here that could lead you in this direction. This is radical. . .The secret of the neoconservative movement is that it's not conservative, it's radical.

Goldberg concludes: "Obama can issue all the boilerplate statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself he wants, but until he accepts responsibility for allowing people like McPeak so close to his quest for the presidency, Obama's sincerity and judgment will remain open questions." It seems to me, however, that the question is largely settled, whether Obama accepts responsibility or not.

UPDATE: Ed Lasky has more on McPeak and Obama. He writes:

If Senator Obama becomes President, McPeak might very well be in line for an appointment as Secretary of Defense. Given the close ties between the defense forces of America and Israel, can the millions of supporters of this close alliance [have confidence] that McPeak will not seek to weaken this relationship and make Israel even more vulnerable to the enemies that surround her? Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Obama Advisor Blames US Jews for Lack of Mid-East Peace

Avi Tuchmayer

Once again, a furor surrounding US Presidential candidate Barack Obama has erupted, this time over a senior military advisor to the Obama campaign with a history of anti-Israel remarks. He has strongly criticized pro-Israel Jews in the United States for allegedly torpedoing peace efforts in the Middle East.

In a 2003 interview with The Oregonian newspaper unearthed by The American Spectator magazine, General Merrill "Tony" McPeak, a former chief of staff in the United States Air Force who is a candidate for secretary of defense in a potential Obama administration, claimed that efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority failed because there is no US-written "playbook" to create peace. An interviewer asked General McPeak "So where's the problem? State? White House?" McPeak pulled no punches. "(The problem rests in) New York City. Miami. We have a large vote here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it…nobody wants to take on that problem. It's just too tough politically. So that means we can't . . . you can't develop a Middle East strategy. It's impossible," he said.

Even prior to the Oregonian interview, McPeak was known as a long-time critic of Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights. In a 1976 article in Foreign Affairs magazine, he criticized Israel for refusing to withdraw from areas liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, even as he wrote poignantly about the vital security advantages Israel obtained by conquering those areas.

"At the Suez Canal, Israel had the best 'tank ditch' in the Middle East. The Gaza Strip, long a nursery for Egyptian-supported terrorism reaching to within a few miles of Tel Aviv, had come under Israeli administration. On the Golan, Israel at last held the high ground. The bulge of the West Bank, an implicit threat that Israel would be cut in two, had been superseded by the line of the Jordan River. More important, the air threat to Israel had disappeared, at least for the moment. Tel Aviv had been 12 minutes flying time from Egyptian bases in the northern Sinai," he wrote.

Yet the same article calls for an Israeli withdrawal from those areas, and seems to suggest that despite Israel's legitimate security concerns, "genuine security depends on regional accommodation, which the Arab states say cannot occur until all of the occupied territory is returned."

Latest storm
The storm surrounding McPeak is the latest in a series of anti-Israel revelations to tar the Obama campaign in recent months. Obama has long been a favorite son of left wing elements in the United States, but has been strongly criticized for failing to cut ties with radical preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright has called Israel a "racist country," said that "Israel" is a dirty word, and claimed US foreign policy was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Another anti-Israel activist, Arab-American Ali Abunimah, has claimed to know Obama well and to have met him on numerous occasions at pro-Palestinian events in Chicago.

During his tenure as a junior air force commander, McPeak spent time in Israel and participated in joint exercises with the Israeli air force. He acknowledged that he enjoyed his experiences here, "but that's maybe the more cosmopolitan, liberal version of the Israeli population," he added.

Zionist Canard
McPeak also charged Jews and Christian Zionists with dual-loyalties, and said that concern for Israel manipulated American foreign policy in Iraq.

"Let's say that if one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq," he said.

PA Police in Jenin: Pro and Con

Hillel Fendel

Nationalist camp opinion is divided as to whether Israel should allow the PA to police the city of Jenin. Gen. Amidror and MK Edelstein weigh in.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror says that giving the PA a chance to instill civil order in Jenin is likely to give Fatah an edge over Hamas. MK Yuli Edelstein says that giving more guns to PA Arabs is not just a "calculated risk," but actually a clear and present danger.

Both spoke with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine on Tuesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to allow 600 armed Palestinian Authority policemen to patrol the northern Shomron city of Jenin, located 25 miles northeast of Netanya. He explained that it is a "calculated risk" at the expense of security for his countrymen. "We have overriding responsibility for the security of Israeli citizens," Barak said on Tuesday, "but in order to improve the chances in our talks with the Palestinians, we must try to make things easier for them - even at the price of a calculated risk."

Overall security responsibility in Samaria will remain in Israeli hands.

Gen. Amidror thinks it's a good idea. "We have no pretense of being responsible for the people of Jenin," he said, "and the Palestinian Authority is trying to take responsibility. This is how it is in Shechem [Nablus]. It won't be so bad if they instill some law and order there - instead of us having to send in our forces for that."

"If we see that these policemen use their weapons in terrorist attacks, we should shoot them with no hesitation," Amidror said.

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, however, says it's not a question of "if," but rather "when." "You can ask the Zoldan, Rubin and Amichai families," Edelstein said, "whose sons were murdered by PA policemen with weapons given them to instill law and order yet were turned against us instead."

Ido Zoldan, 29 and a father of two, was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack near Kedumim this past November. Though the murderers were arrested the next day, the government waited two weeks - until after the Annapolis Conference - to announce that they were PA policemen.

A month later, Amikam Amichai and David Rubin, two soldiers on a hike in the Telem area west of Hevron, were ambushed and murdered by Arab terrorists. One of the killers was employed in the PA American-trained security forces; rather than be caught by Israel, he and his accomplice gave themselves up to PA forces shortly after the murder - and last week they "escaped" from their jail cell, in what many Israeli obervers have called the PA's revolving door policy of setting wanted terrorists free.

In a letter to Defense Minister Barak after hearing of the decision to allow PA policemen to patrol Jenin, Zoldan's father Nachman asked in the name of his and other terror-victim families to please "reconsider your decision. Over the years, considerable facts and figures have emerged that all point to deep involvement of those same Palestinian security forces, in all its ranks and levels, in the terror campaign against Israel. This involvement in terror, ranging from intelligence gathering through actual terrorist acts, is carried out by uniformed and plainclothed Palestinian policemen as well as high-ranking police officers."

Zoldan also expressed concern about the permission granted by the Defense Minister for the PA policemen to be trained in Jordan under American auspices: "Recent terrorist attacks have displayed a regrettably much-improved performance of the terrorist organizations. We are therefore very concerned regarding permission you granted to these same policemen to undergo training in Jordan. This training, under American guidance, will grant them heightened professionalism that will enable them, according to past experience, to act in the future against us, civilians and IDF soldiers alike, with increased effectiveness."

Zoldan also noted with concern Barak's decision to allow the transfer of 40 armored cars to the PA, granting future terrorists "mobility, navigability, maneuverability and the ability to evade our forces."

Zoldan concluded with a request "for an urgent meeting regarding your appalling justification of your decision to 'take calculated risks.' The many ramifications of this statement include life in the shadow of bereavement and loss, the ongoing hellishness of pain and grief for the immediate families and extended circles of friends of slain victims, and the rage at the murders. And the murdered victims! -- those whose only 'crime' was to travel on the roads to their homes, their jobs or their studies; 'salt of the earth' who placed their faith in you, their elected leaders, to protect them. And you take 'calculated risks' with their lives! You, our elected representatives, do not take risks with your own lives, but are closely guarded and secured at great monetary cost to the public. Therefore it is not ethically appropriate to cast 'calculated risks' on the unwitting public."

Asked about the escape of the murderers of the two hikers, Gen. Amidror said, "Israel should have acted very differently in the first place. Instead of asking for favors from a foreign entity [to find them], Israel should make sure to find them and kill them herself."

Amidror said that Hamas is becoming stronger because of three reasons. The first two - corruption in Fatah, and Hamas success in running Gaza - are not in Israel's control, he said, "but the third one is up to us, and that is Hamas military strengthening. If we leave the cities totally, Hamas will win. We have to make sure to put a stop to the growth in Hamas military capacities. If the Fatah policemen make sure to keep law and order, the people there might realize that there is an alternative to Hamas."

Edelstein sees it differently: "Bringing armed Fatah policemen into Jenin will turn Jenin into a terrorism capital." He said it is a mistaken conception to believe that "we have a partner in [Fatah chief] Mahmoud Abbas and that we must strengthen him. We used to say we have to strengthen Arafat, and now it's Abbas, but the bottom line is that we always end up fighting against the weapons that we gave them. Even Abbas himself said recently that he does not rule out the possibility of a third intifada...".

"Concessions for Condi"

Arlene Kushner

Yesterday I wrote about concessions to the PA that Barak was eager to make before the arrival of Secretary of State Rice next week.

Today we have news of more of the same. Barak has now decided that he will permit 600 PA police officers into Jenin. They will be responsible for maintaining law and order during the day, while the IDF will retain security control and will operate at night.

Barak explained that "It is clear to us all that we must exhaust all possible ways of assisting the negotiations with the Palestinians. We must ease restrictions on the Palestinians whenever it does not conflict with defense, even at the price of a calculated risk."

Responded MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), "The defense minister, who is being guarded and secured 24 hours a day, is putting the citizens' safety at risk." His point is well taken: it's easy for Barak to talk about risks to others.

In truth I'm not certain how much risk this entails. Not if the IDF is still on the scene, still responsible for security, and able to operate against terrorists every night. The Palestinian police, who are being trained in Jordan, will be responsible for stopping hooligans from harassing people on the street, preventing the illegal shooting of guns, and the like.

What MK Edelstein is referring to, however, is not the failure of PA police to stop terrorism, but their complicity in terrorism: " can ask the Zoldan family, the Rubin family and the Amichai family, which turned into victims following the murders of their sons in recent months by PA policemen."

What infuriates me is the entire notion that we "must" do everything possible to assist the negotiations, even if it comes with a risk to Israeli citizens. Says who?


A little bit more "wait and see" may be necessary, but right now the prospects for that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is looking dim. The stumbling block is Hamas's unwillingness to give back Gaza.

Whatever happens, however, I wish to make one exceedingly important point: Abbas was willing. His stipulation involved a matter only of his party's power and control. Be aware that he never stipulated that Hamas had to agree to negotiations, to a two-state solution, or to a renunciation of terrorism. He is on the record as saying he has never asked Hamas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Had Abbas gotten Gaza, he would have merged both government agencies and security forces with Hamas. And this tells us a great deal about Abbas.


The Syrians were supposed to be holding a major Arab summit in Damascus next week. But the Saudis have announced that they won't be attending, and several other Arab states are likely to follow his example. Syria now finds itself out of favor with many Arab leaders because of its ties to a much feared Iran. There is speculation that the summit may even be called off.


At the same time, Abdullah, the very same Saudi king who decided to stay away from Damascus, has also decided to hold an interfaith conference that would have the theme of "respect among the religions."

"I invite representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," he said. "With God's help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."


Please understand: Saudi Arabia is one of the most religiously repressive and intolerant of nations. Jews aren't allowed in, and there has been a ban on the building of churches.

The report of this announcement explains that Abdullah is concerned with decreasing morality, and problems such as the disintegration of the family. But I wonder how there might be "disintegration of the family" in a country where women are not allowed out of the house except in the company of a male relative.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi may have enthused that "Our hands are extended to any peace initiative and to any dialogue that will bring about an end to terrorism and violence. I have said on numerous occasions that the true path to the peace that we long for is through interfaith dialogue."

But I'm not ready to go there yet, and can only wonder what the hidden agenda is.


I strongly recommend "U.S. Aid for Terror," by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen:

"The CIA has apparently assumed the Palestinian terrorist-training role previously held by the former Soviet Union. Since 1994, the CIA armed and trained thousands of Palestinian 'security forces,' who subsequently joined every Palestinian terrorist organization.

"CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA’s Chairman own security unit, Force 17, officer Abu Yusef: 'The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and 'would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] trainings,' he boasted in August 2007...

The PA received 'the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere,' according to former World Bank country director for Gaza and the West Bank, Nigel Roberts. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Gazans spent more than $300 million in less than two weeks shopping spree, after Hamas blew up the border with Egypt. Yet, the Palestinian economy is in ruins, Why?

In March 2007, PA Prime Minister and former World Bank official Salam Fayyad, told London’s Daily Telegraph : 'No one can give donors that assurance' that funds reach their designated destinations. 'Where is all of the transparency in all of this? It's gone.' Controlling Palestinian finances, Fayyad concluded, is 'virtually impossible.'

Palestinian violence has escalated since the 1994 PA establishment and PA officials have produced an unbroken record of unfulfilled promises and outright deception. Yet President George W. Bush in his January 28 State of the Union Address, reassured the Palestinians that 'America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve…a Palestinian state by the end of this year.'"

Americans, are you really furious yet?


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The truth about the Bibi 'scandal'

Isi Leibler
March 25, 2008

The Israeli media have reported ad nauseam Binyamin Netanyahu's so-called binge in London during the Second Lebanon War. But what has not been considered is the media's despicably unethical behavior in feeding Netanyahu to the lions for sins he never committed. It could qualify them as a textbook case study of journalistic bias and application of double standards.

The story was initially broken by TV journalist Raviv Druker of Channel 10, who after "obtaining" invoices relating to Netanyahu's visit to London 15 months after the event, accused him of having lived it up like a fat cat while fellow Israelis were undergoing a war. Most of the Hebrew press jumped gleefully onto the bandwagon, assailing Netanyahu with such epithets as "greedy politician," "King Bibi the First," and a "regular Scrooge.". The contemptible lengths to which the media performed as a lynch mob is evidenced by the fact that some of the more mature journalists also associated themselves with the Bibi-bashing campaign. That even included the doyen of Hebrew journalists, Nahum Barnea, who is no provincial bumpkin and understands the ways of the world. Aware that there were no grounds for accusations of corruption, Barnea depicted him as a greedy, insensitive "hedonist"; but his primary objective was reflected in his call to Israelis to "punish" Netanyahu at the polls.

Netanyahu's political opponents in the Knesset, usually at the forefront of any effort to discredit him, remained singularly silent, realizing that the allegations against Netanyahu were malicious nonsense and could just as well be applied against them.

True, the cost of Netanyahu's trip - 15,000 pounds sterling - was high. But aside from London today being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the Connaught Hotel, where Netanyahu stayed, is far from being the top London deluxe hotel. In addition, a suite for any statesman on a mission is mandatory. The former prime minister could hardly be expected to hold interviews or meet journalists or opinion makers in the lobby or a hotel bedroom.

The most outrageous aspect of this media offensive against Netanyahu was that far from being a personal luxury jaunt, the visit was in fact a genuine contribution to the welfare of Israel and Anglo-Jewry. Moreover, the journalists trying to discredit him were all aware that Netanyahu did not receive any remuneration or personally benefit in any way from the visit. He went once to the theater and his wife used a hairdresser - all of which Netanyahu paid for from his own pocket. The Israeli taxpayer did not contribute a single shekel toward defraying his expenses. Netanyahu was thus fully justified in telling the media: "I acted for the state, not at the expense of the state."

To be certain of the facts, I contacted Joshua Rowe, the Manchester philanthropist who sponsored the visit. Rowe is a stalwart of Jewish education and a major fundraiser for Israel. He has no political ambitions and nothing to gain from Netanyahu. On the contrary, his friends assure me that he is modest, unassuming and detests being in the limelight.

Rowe informed me that he had appealed to an initially reluctant Netanyahu to come to London in order to respond to the media demonization of Israel during the Second Lebanon War and attempt to raise the spirits of Anglo-Jewry, which was deeply depressed and desperately needed a boost.

Rowe assured me that arrangements for Netanyahu were fully in accordance with former visits by other prominent Israeli personalities. In fact he had happily assigned the Israeli Embassy to take care of all the arrangements for the visit, including selection of the hotels.

Rowe personally covered the bulk of the costs for the visit. He told me that he had also intended to pay Netanyahu's personal expenses, but that Netanyahu adamantly refused and insisted on reimbursing him with a personal cheque for over NIS 12,000.

Those involved in the visit testified that it exceeded all expectations. Netanyahu worked day and night. He had multiple encounters with all segments of the media, including what has been described as a "brilliant" interview with BBC's Hard Talk which was televised worldwide. He raised substantial funds for Israel Bonds and his address to the Jewish community dramatically lifted its self-esteem.

Netanyahu's mission to Britain was recognized as one of the most successful visits of its kind in recent times. Rowe told me: "If it had cost me double or triple the amount, I would still gladly have underwritten the trip."

It was not only the provincial mind-set and abominably distorted reporting of the facts that reflected adversely on the Israeli media. Also exposed was the media mob instinct in face of Netanyahu's growing political popularity, to which most journalists could not reconcile themselves.

Over the past year I have been critical that Netanyahu seemed to be deliberately adopting a low profile at a time when the nation desperately needed a vigorous and vocal opposition. His advisers allegedly urged him to adopt this approach in order to deny the media an opportunity to defame him. Clearly this failed to deter them, and the latest revelations in Yediot Aharonot indicate that this campaign is only the first of a series of similar efforts to discredit him. To quote Netanyahu: "The closer we get to the elections, the more mudslinging there will be against me."

Netanyahu is a complex personality and he is surrounded by many bitter enemies. He deeply disappointed those who initially believed that he would become a great prime minister and some of them will never forgive him. But compared to prime ministers who preceded and succeeded him, history is likely to treat him more kindly than his critics.

Whatever deficiencies and errors in judgment Netanyahu made as a prime minister, he did succeed in reducing terrorism to the lowest level and was the first to demand reciprocity in return for concessions to the Palestinians. And few will deny that he subsequently proved to have been an outstanding finance minister.

Today, given the broad contempt toward Olmert's government, Netanyahu is clearly emerging as the frontrunner, and he may well be granted a second opportunity to show his mettle as a prime minister.

It is utterly unethical for a clique of journalists to divert attention from the real issues confronting the nation by indulging in the systematic defamation of a man who does not find favor in their eyes or those of their employers. In these very difficult times, instead of indulging in sleazy efforts to personally discredit the leader of the opposition, the media has an obligation to convey, analyze and either praise or criticize the policies Netanyahu has undertaken to implement if elected as prime minister. It will then rest with the people to determine whether or not they will support him.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1205420766525&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Original article available at:

Nasrallah, Still in Hiding: "We'll Get Israel"

Hillel Fendel

Israel continues to be attacked or threatened on three fronts: Rockets from Gaza, rock attacks in Samaria, and warnings of vengeance from Hizbullah.

Trouble from Gaza
Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired five mortar shells early this afternoon (Tuesday) and three Kassam rockets this morning, hitting open areas in the western Negev. Another Kassam was fired last night, as well as at least one mortar shell. No damage or casualties were caused. Earlier this morning, Palestinian terrorists fired at an IDF patrol near the northern Gaza border fence. The soldiers returned fire; no injuries were reported. Also on the Gaza border, a bomb was detonated as an IDF patrol passed by on Monday; no one was hurt. Grenades and Rocks in Shomron
In northern Samaria (Shomron), an Arab was found to be carrying two homemade grenades. He aroused the suspicion of IDF soldiers when he arrived at a checkpoint near Shechem; they checked him and found the weapons. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who plans to arrive in the region at the end of this week, has been consistent in demanding that Israel remove many of these checkpoints.

Near Karnei Shomron, an Israeli vehicle was stoned on Monday afternoon, and two Molotov cocktails were thrown at another car on Tuesday morning. No one was hurt. Rock throwing incidents against Israeli cars and buses have increased in recent weeks in the northern Shomron, Kiryat Arba-Hevron region, and even in the Galilee.

IDF forces arrested seven wanted terrorists over the night in Judea and Samaria.

Hizbullah Chief Threatens While Hiding
Meanwhile, Hizbullah chieftain Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah continues to hide for fear of Israeli reprisals - yet threatens Israel with revenge attacks for the recent assassination of Imad Mughniyeh. In a recorded video speech in honor of the 40th day after the assassination, Nasrallah said, "Can Israel be erased? Yes! 1,000 times yes! ... We will get back at Israel for the killing at a time and place of our choosing" - language often used by Israeli officials.

Despite this, Nasrallah said that negotiations for the release of kidnapped IDF reservists Elad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in exchange for hundreds of Arab terrorist prisoners, would continue. At least one of the two is believed to be dead, but Hizbullah refuses to divulge any information about them. The kidnapping of the soldiers in July 2006, which kicked off the Second Lebanon War, was apparently organized by Mughniyeh.

Not only has Israel denied killing Mughniyeh, many indications point to Syrian organization involvement. Even his widow originally blamed Syria, though she later backtracked.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that Hizbullah's threats should not be taken lightly.

Mughniyeh's Blood-Filled History
Mughniyeh, Hizbullah's #2 man, masterminded nearly all of Hizbullah’s terror attacks, and paid for it twice: He was forced to live in hiding for many years, yet in the end was finally murdered nevertheless. He organized the kidnapping/killing of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Souad in 2001, and was also behind the 1994 attack on the Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) Community Center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were murdered and 300 others wounded.

Mughniyeh was on the US government’s Most Wanted List for having organized a carbomb attack on a US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 in which 241 American military personnel were killed. He was also indicted in the US for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight; many of the passengers were held hostage for two weeks at the Beirut airport and in which a US Navy diver was killed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

US Rewarding Arab Terrorism

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
American Center for Democracy | 3/24/2008
The Bush Administration’s search for partners to promote “peace” and “democracy” within the Palestinian Authority (PA) resembles Lord Charles Bowen’s “blind man in a dark room looking for a black hat – which isn’t there”.

For the first time, the Bush Administration plans to give $150 million in cash directly to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Treasury, as part of a $496.5 million “aid” package, including $410 million for development programs. This added to the $86.5 million for CIA “security training”, which Congress authorized in April 2007. The CIA has apparently assumed the Palestinian terrorist-training role previously held by the former Soviet Union. Since 1994, the CIA armed and trained thousands of Palestinian “security forces”, who subsequently joined every Palestinian terrorist organization.

CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA’s Chairman own security unit – Force 17, officer Abu Yusef: “The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and “would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] trainings,” he boasted in August 2007.

Since the Oslo Accords, the PA received some $14 billion to $20 billion in international aid, according to a 2007 Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) report to the British Parliament. Each Palestinian received $4,000 to $8,000 per year. In comparison, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), provided $1 billion in humanitarian aid for 2.5 million Darfur refugees from 2003 to 2006 – only $100 per person annually. Moreover, of the $7 billion pledged international aid, only $5 billion were spent to assist more than 5 million Tsunami victims in more than 15 countries on two continents.

The PA received “the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere”, according to former World Bank country director for Gaza and the West Bank, Nigel Roberts. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Gazans spent more than $300 million in less than two week shopping spree, after Hamas blew up the border with Egypt. Yet, the Palestinian economy is in ruins, Why?

In March 2007, PA Prime Minister and former World Bank official Salam Fayyad, told London’s Daily Telegraph: “No one can give donors that assurance” that funds reach their designated destinations. “Where is all of the transparency in all of this? It’s gone.” Controlling Palestinian finances, Fayyad concluded, is “virtually impossible”.

Palestinian violence has escalated since the 1994 PA establishment and PA officials have produced an unbroken record of unfulfilled promises and outright deception. Yet President George W. Bush in his January 28 State of the Union Address, reassured the Palestinians that “America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve...a Palestinian state by the end of this year.”

Nevertheless, US-favored PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who in 1957 with Yasser Arafat co-founded the al Fatah terrorist group, assumed the role of his predecessor. Like Muslim Brotherhood, Marxist–trained Jihadist Arafat, neither does Abbas “recognize that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel,” as President Bush declared.

Abbas remains committed to the organization’s raison d’etre – destroying Israel and expelling the Jewish people from the region. Despite public Fatah-Hamas leadership disagreements, branding one another “murderers and thieves”, Abbas arranged on Jan. 30 to give Hamas $3.1 billion of $7.7 billion that international donor community pledged last December in Paris.

Abbas’ support for Hamas is not new. In Feb. 2007, He announced, “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada.” He stated this en route to Mecca to meet with the Saudi King, and Hamas terror chiefs Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh. The Saudis pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in “humanitarian aid” – which, like previous pledges, they failed to deliver.

Rather than $660 million in annual aid the Saudis promised in 2002, the kingdom donated only $84 million since then, according to World Bank reports. Other Arab League members, who in 2002 promised $55 million monthly to foster PA economic development, gave even less.

Meanwhile, however, the Saudis and the Gulf states funneled hundreds of millions of petrodollars – some raised in government-sponsored telethons – to reward Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Palestinian Jihad suicide bombers and fuel the anti-Israel Jihad. Indeed, “Saudi Arabia remains a source of recruits and finances for...Levant-based militants,” said National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on February 5, 2008.

McConnell should have included USAID on his terror-funding list. A Dec. 2007 USAID audit reported that the mission administering its funds gave money to groups and institutions affiliated with US designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It warned: “Without additional controls, the mission could inadvertently provide support to entities or individuals associated with terrorism.”

USAID “failure” to prevent funds from reaching Palestinian terrorist is not surprising given US previous Administrations support for Arafat, and now for Abbas, who repeatedly claims: “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation,” while reiterating his desire for “a political partnership with Hamas”.

It is time for President Bush to remove his blinders and stop donating US-taxpayer funds to this murderous partnership. It is also time for Congress to demand a proper monitoring program to oversee the legitimate use of US aid to the Palestinians.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It. She is director of the American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Alyssa A. Lappen, Senior Fellow at the ACD, is a former editor for

BBC Caught Red-Handed on Anti-Israel, False Coverage

Hana Levi Julian

A media monitoring organization and a British citizen forced the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to apologize for blatant anti-Israel news coverage. They caught the network “red-handed,” reporting falsely.The BBC has frequently been accused of biased coverage slanted against Israel; Israeli government officials have summoned the BBC to explain itself in the past.

The "red-handed" false report in question was caught by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). CAMERA revealed that BBC used an old file photo to depict the alleged bulldozing of the home of the terrorist who slaughtered eight young yeshiva boys in Jerusalem this month.

“Hours after the attack, Israeli bulldozers destroyed his family home,” reported the BBC – but it was untrue. The home of Ala Abu Dheim continued to stand unharmed, as did the mourning tent in which his family greets people who come to console and congratulate them on his achievement and subsequent ”martyrdom.”

That, despite the fact that the Hashemite Kingdom refused to allow the Jordanian branch of the terrorist’s family to erect such a tent or otherwise hold public mourning events for the murderer in their village near Amman. Jordanian officials explained that public mourning in this case would encourage violence, which would in turn constitute a threat to national security

More Slanted, False Coverage
Another well-documented false and biased BBC report, detected by a Jewish resident of Manchester, England, quoted United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as condemning Israeli attacks on Gazan civilians..

The BBC used the quote several weeks later, out of context, to tie it to a specific IDF attack on Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza.

The news report in question stated that Israel had deliberately attacked Gaza civilians. In the report, BBC refrained from reporting the intensified attacks on Israeli civilians, in some weeks more than 100 rockets were fired at western Negev communities by terrorists hiding among women and children in Gaza.

Israel's counterterrorism operation “Warm Winter” in Gaza came after an eight-year-old Sderot boy lost his left leg in a Kassam attack that almost cost him his life, as well as that of his 19-year-old brother, who was also seriously wounded by the rocket.

The collateral damage to civilians in Gaza, noted Israel, was caused by the terrorists who chose to launch their attacks from playgrounds and areas between residential buildings in densely populated civilian areas.

The BBC did issue an official statement of apology for both incidents in which the organization had been caught.

Abbas Talks at Two Tables

Hana Levi Julian

While Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was sipping coffee and chatting with US Vice President Dick Cheney in Ramallah Sunday, one of his closest deputies was doing the same in Yemen with his Hamas counterpart. Abbas has repeatedly promised not to resume relations with the rival Hamas terrorist organization, but top negotiators from both factions spent five days in Sana’a with Yemenite President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who brokered talks between the two sides.

Fatah at the Table with the US and Israel in Ramallah, Jerusalem
Jerusalem issued a warning Sunday that Israel would shut down its own talks with the PA if Abbas continues on the path to a rapprochement with Hamas.

The message, relayed to Abbas, reportedly explained that dialogue between Fatah and Hamas toward a termination of the Hamas terror reign in Gaza is a good thing. However, if Abbas returns to a unity government with Hamas, final status talks with Israel would end.

During US Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Ramallah, he warned Abbas that acts of terror and the incessant rocket fire aimed at Israel from Gaza “destroys the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.” Cheney added that “With hard work, an agreement between the PA and Israel can be reached,” but added the caveat, “Peace requires painful concessions.”

In addition to demands that Israel remove all its security measures designed to prevent terrorist attacks on its civilians, such as checkpoints, Gaza crossing closures and counterterror operations, Abbas has not backed down on a demand for Israel to hand over half of Jerusalem to become the capital of a new PA state.

A senior government minister told the Hebrew newspaper Maariv on Monday that ‘the agreement brokered by the Yemenites is one of two things – either it is an accord that will lead to the end of the Hamas regime, or it is a connection between Abu Mazen (Abbas) and Hamas, which we cannot abide.”

Fatah at the Table with Hamas in Yemen
Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmed and Hamas’s Moussa Abu Marzouk met for direct talks for the first time on Sunday since the marathon negotiations began in an effort to determine how Hamas-controlled Gaza and Fatah-controlled Judea and Samaria would manage in an independent PA state.

The Reuters news agency reported Sunday that Abu Marzouk and al-Ahmed had signed a reconciliation deal at their meeting on Sunday. Associated Press later reported that the “deal” was actually an agreement to “accept the Yemen initiative as a framework for resuming dialogue.”

Marzouk told reporters that “no details were finalized” on the agreement to continue talks, particularly with regard to setting a timeline for the negotiations.

Abbas has received billions of dollars, and donations of thousands of new weapons including millions of rounds of ammunition from the US, Jordan, Israel and other nations. For at least a year, Fatah forces have also received advanced military training by US Army commanders.

All the assistance was provided on the strength of vows by Abbas that his Fatah group would not renew ties with Hamas, which has vowed to destroy Israel. International funding and other assistance to the PA dried up two years ago after Hamas won government elections in a landslide victory. Funds were to be unfrozen only if Hamas agreed to recognize the State of Israel, disarm and renounce terrorism and uphold previous PA government agreements, which to this day it refuses to do.

A civil war between the two factions ended in June 2006 with Hamas routing Fatah forces from Gaza – while confiscating all of Fatah’s new weaponry and ammunition generously provided by the US and other countries. Fatah has retained control of PA areas in Judea and Samaria.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fitzgerald: How could anyone in his right mind not be on the side of Israel?

The Israelis, or a majority of them, know their true situation. It is their government, from which so many Israelis are now so obviously disaffected, that refuses to know. But that government is wrong. Soberly recognizing the permanent meaning, and menace, of Islam, and acting and planning accordingly, and helping or insisting that other countries, including the United States, recognize the real nature of the threat that Israel faces, is not a counsel of despair. Nor is helping those other countries, including the United States, to understand that the Jihad against Israel is a Lesser Jihad, one of many whose sum is the worldwide Jihad, a "struggle" by Muslims, using various instruments that go beyond, and are more effective, than terrorism, to remove all obstacles to the spread and then to the dominance of Islam. Everywhere Islam must triumph. Everywhere, eventually, Muslims must rule. It may take a century, or two. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it never comes to be. What matters is the fact of the promptings, that will not go away unless the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira either disappear, or are modified, or interpreted away, or are received as texts from which one may pick and choose. Until then, the immutable and uncreated Qur'an remains, the literal Word of God, outside of history.

Israel is not its only, not even its main, target. But for decades it has been the most-publicized target of Jihad, for the existence of an Infidel nation-state, smack in the middle of Dar al-Islam, and run by the despised Jews, is simply something that sends many Muslims into a fury. Some conceal that fury for the benefit of Western donors and diplomats, but that fury will always remain.

The Israelis -- or most of them -- now understand this. It is Haim Ramon, and Ehud Olmert, and the Livni lady, and David Landau of Ha'aretz, and the permanently preening leftists who do not understand it, for they all learn what they need to know about Israel from their "Palestinian" friends -- the ones whom it is de rigueur for a certain kind of Israeli leftist to possess, and to prefer to those difficult Jewish fellow citizens who seem to compromise. Their rigidity is so unlike the flexibility and openness of those very nice "Palestinian friends," doing their own version of Edward Said courting, say, this or that Jewish professor at Columbia, or the musician Daniel Barenboim.

Yes, Israel appeared to be the sole victim (for those who never let their gaze wander over to the subcontinent, to India) until recently, when the OPEC trillions and Muslim millions in Europe made much larger goals, once scarcely conceivable, now entirely conceivable. Before that, the reconquest of Israel was the one goal that got all the attention. That the Arabs seemed exercised only by Israel (with its implied corollary that if Israel were to be thrown to the wolves, all manner of things would be well) was merely an optical illusion.

If it is any consolation to Israel, it now can share that attention with Infidel peoples and polities everywhere.

Indeed, how could anyone in his right mind not be on the side of Israel?

How can those diplomats at the U.N., the ones from the quasi-civilized countries, stand to vote as they are told to? Why does not one of them simply resign, on the spot, in a fit of moral fury?

How can those who presume to make policy in the capitols of the Western world, including Washington, London and, especially Berlin, and in all the rest of Europe, presume to preach to Israel as to what that tiny country, under permanent siege, has a "right" to do, as to what constitutes a "proportional" response, as to what Israel simply "must" give up, after it has already, for the past half century, again and again given up in every negotiation and every treaty, all of which have been, and all of which will be, breached by the Muslims who take as their model the Treaty of Hudaibiyya?

No one has the moral right to lecture or hector Israel about anything. No one has the moral right to pressure it about anything, to belabor it about anything, to dare to condemn it for anything, as it fights, and will have permanently to fight, for its life.
Dan Izenberg
Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem District Court will now be able to hear 55 lawsuits filed by victims of terror against the Palestinian Authority, after the Foreign Ministry issued certificates in every case declaring that the PA did not enjoy judicial immunity.

About one-third of the lawsuits were filed between 2000 and 2002 and have thus far been waiting to be heard in court. Among those who sued the PA were the families of two Israelis killed in a restaurant in Tulkarm; a border policeman killed by a Palestinian policeman near Kalkilya at the beginning of the intifada; an Israeli killed when he brought his car for repairs to a garage in Bidiya; and two reserve soldiers detained in a Ramallah police station who were lynched.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs included Roland Roth, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, Micha Kirsch and Nadav Ha'etzni.

As the first lawsuits against the PA were being filed in the Jerusalem District Court, court president Judge Vardi Zeiler decided to establish a special panel of three judges to deal with all the suits en bloc.

Attorney Yossi Arnon, who represented the PA in these cases, claimed that the PA enjoyed the same immunity from judicial procedures that Israel accorded all foreign states and added that the district court was not empowered to decide on diplomatic and political matters involving upholding the international agreements which established the PA.

On March 30, 2003, the court rejected these arguments and the PA appealed to the Supreme Court. It took the Supreme Court more than four years to rule on the appeal. On July 17, 2007, it rejected the portion of the appeal that sought to prohibit the district court from hearing the lawsuits. However, in sending the lawsuits back to the Jerusalem District Court, it ordered the court to obtain a certificate from the Foreign Ministry declaring in each individual case whether or not the PA enjoyed immunity.

In the meantime, more lawsuits against the PA had piled up in Jerusalem District Court. Today, there are a total of 55. In each case, the Foreign Ministry decided on Sunday, the PA could be sued.

One of the earliest plaintiffs is Eliezer Dayan, whose son, Motti, was one of two Israelis executed by terrorists in Tulkarm in January 2001.

"I'm satisfied that at long last the government has made a decision that will help us in our legal actions," he told The Jerusalem Post. "If we can't weaken the PA in other ways, at least we can hurt them financially. Other ways don't seem to help."
Dayan, however, was critical of the courts. "The judicial system didn't act with the necessary speed," he said. "If they had, some of the terrorist attacks could have been prevented." He also criticized the Foreign Ministry for taking too long to issue the certificates.