Saturday, November 01, 2008

Livni: Don't let amir express his views


Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni lauds television stations' decision to refrain from airing interviews with Rabin killer Yigal Amir; PM Olmert: media's needless preoccupation with murderer regrettable
Ynet

Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni said Friday evening that Rabin killer Yigal Amir must not be allowed to express his views in the media. In an interview with Jerusalem Radio, Livni lauded Channel 2's and Channel 10's decision to refrain from airing interviews with Amir.


Livni add that Amir is a "despicable murderer who cause grave and deep damage to Israel, namely to Israeli democracy and society." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also praised lauded the decision not to air interviews Amir, adding that "we can only regret the needless preoccupation with the killer, rather than with the man he murdered.



Earlier Friday, Olmert spoke with Second Television Authority Chairman Nurit Dabush and asked her to make every effort to prevent the interviews from being aired. The PM told Dabush the interviews "have nothing to do with journalism and freedom of speech."



"The broadcast would have hurt the feelings of the public on the eve of the Rabin memorial day," the prime minister said.



Friday morning, Amir was transferred to the Ramon Prison in southern Israel on following the unauthorized interviews he gave the media. The Ramon jail houses security prisoners.



Following the interviews, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) decided to punish Amir by withholding telephone calls, family visits and conjugal visits by his wife for three months. In addition, private belongings were removed from his cell.



Friday, October 31, 2008

No compromise with Iran


Israel must take stand against evil instead of counting on world to curb Iran threat
Robert D. Onley

Regardless of who is elected next week in the United States, Israel must adamantly defend herself against Iran – indeed she will have no other choice. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain are likely to adequately step up to protect Israel in the event that Iran officially "goes nuclear" in the very near future. Local responsibilities preclude such adventurism. While many Israelis hold out hope that Barack Obama will stridently defend their land, holding negotiations with the fanatic leaders of Iran only serves to approve Iran’s reckless, brash foreign policy in recent years. The sheer fact that the UN General Assembly applauded President Ahmadinejad’s vitriolic speech in September should serve as a stark, frightening reminder that Iran’s ultimate goal remains the complete destruction of Israel – and that the world ostensibly agrees.


On the global stage, any leader combining the words “Zionist regime” should be publicly ostracized and disposed of, not congratulated and praised. The world body’s duplicity is horrifying.



There exists a misguided perception globally that Iran is only playing rhetorical games to increase its regional supremacy. Indeed, rhetoric is certainly a significant part of Ahmadinejad’s posturing, but beneath his insidious speeches lays a fundamental apocalyptic vision shared by the Ayatollahs above him. Official Iranian military parades with enormous Shahab-3 missiles painted with the words “Death to Israel” are not merely provocative symbols – they are overt physical manifestations of Iran’s deadly intentions.



Thus, the Islamic nation’s ongoing disregard for the UN sanctioning process should serve as obvious proof that Iranian leaders are not simply playing mind games. Rather, Iran is pushing full-steam ahead on concrete plans to match its present rhetoric with a powerful future capability.


Israel needs unity
Perhaps a more immediate existential threat remains Iran’s obvious arming and intensive strengthening of its proxy army Hizbullah. Advanced missiles and anti-aircraft weaponry are flooding into the south of Lebanon at an alarming rate. The very fact that such "resistance" weapons are entering the state at all should be evidence enough for Israelis to call for immediate international action. Moreover, the botched 2006 war should not dissuade Israelis from undertaking further defensive military incursions.



Hizbullah's supposed missile potential to strike further south into Israel is an even more pressing concern. Add onto this Iran’s possible future ability to equip Hizbullah with a nuclear device, and the need for the absolute removal of Hizbullah from the region is plainly obvious.



What Israel needs now is unity. While this may not emerge from the currently disabled Knesset and its unstable leadership, Israelis cannot falsely place their hope with the future American president, or even more misguidedly, with the United Nations. The world has proven itself to be entirely indifferent to Israel’s plight, given its weak-kneed stance against a possible nuclear Iran.



Israel’s only true hope for security comes from its own forces, its people, and a strong, united voice against the forces of evil that are ever-faster surrounding her. The day when Israel must take its future its own hands has come. It is time for Israel to take a stand against evil.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Jews, Palin, and Liberal Politics

Abraham H. Miller

Prior to his conversion to Judaism, my friend went to see his rabbi, who explained to him the obligations and responsibilities of becoming Jewish. My friend said he could within reason to do what the rabbi asked of him, but then my friend looked very seriously at the rabbi and said, "Rabbi, there is one thing I will never be able to do." The rabbi looked at him with concern and asked, "What's that?" To which my friend responded, "I could never become a Democrat." The affinity between being a Democrat and being Jewish is taken as axiomatic. In the ethnic classic, Beyond the Melting Pot, authors Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan remind us that American Jews long ago acquired the social status of Episcopalians, but still manage to vote like Puerto Ricans.

But what most Jews don't know is it wasn't always that way. It was the ascendance of Franklin Roosevelt and the historic realigning election of 1932 that brought Jews, and Eastern European ethnics, into the Democratic fold.

The coalition Roosevelt built was reinforced in the Kennedy and Johnson years by a concern for civil rights and the attempts to eliminate poverty. Jews perceived the expansion of civil rights as the expansion of rights for all Americans. For Jews, the obligation to the poor was part of their religious heritage of tzedaka, the duty to give charity, which had been transformed into a cultural and political heritage among secular Jews.

But the homogeneity of Jewish partisanship began to seriously fracture during the Carter administration. Carter clearly had a Jewish problem, one underscored not simply by his zealous commitment to the Palestinian cause, but one unobtrusively and poignantly revealed by his statement that there were too many Jews on the proposed board of the Holocaust Museum.

The rise of Ronald Reagan brought a significant number of Jews and fellow Eastern European ethnics into the Republican camp. This phenomenon is remarkably described by historian Samuel G. Freedman's The Inheritance, a book that could easily have described my own family's generational journey from Roosevelt to Reagan.

The transformation of civil rights from equal opportunity to equal result also forced Jews to confront a new political reality. While the Protestant elite had enforced quotas so as to restrict Jewish enrollment in Ivy League Schools, the liberal elite now did the same thing through a newspeak of quotas masquerading as goals.

If some were underrepresented, then others were overrepresented. And everyone knew who the overrepresented were. The joke on campus quickly became how an affirmative-action officer would have dealt with the Manhattan project by firing the disproportionate representation of Jewish nuclear physicists, replacing them with unqualified minorities, and the consequent results for civilization.

As the far-left supported Middle East regimes that oppressed women, that had no idea of the meaning of civil liberties, and that encouraged the martyrdom of those who blew themselves up along with innocents; Jewish leftists, like so many lemmings, also embraced these sentiments. Their liberal co-religionists were incapable of going that far, but given the dissonance caused by the leftist model of the Middle East, liberal Jews often became super critical of Israel. Congregations refused to sponsor pro-Israel movies, arguing they were one-sided, while bending over backwards to invite speakers with ties to the far left who were little more than Palestinian propagandists.

Liberal Jewish congregations followed the far-left by developing a moral equivalence between those who fired rockets into civilian crowds and those who used military force to prevent that firing. "Violence is violence," became the mantra of liberal rabbis. "Oh, there has been violence and tragedy on both sides," a local rabbi dismissively said to a colleague of mine during an interview.

In Northern California where I now live, I am told that after 9/11 some of the rabbis gave sermons during the high holidays criticizing fundamentalist Christians, as if it were they, and not the followers of radical Islam, who boarded those ill-fated airplanes. Jews of my acquaintance speak mindlessly of their fear of "Christian Jihadists," an appellation that is not simply offensive, but one that betrays both a pathetic and palpable stupidity. Have you ever seen a Christian blow up himself and others in the name of Jesus and then be anointed as a martyr by prominent ministers, priests and theologians?

The left's embrace of mass murderers in the name of self-determination caused leftist Jews to also embrace these murderers, even though the people being killed were also Jews. And as Christian Zionists became strong supporters of Israel, leftist Jews found an even stronger reason to sever their ties with Israel. The term, "Christian Jihadists." evolved, courtesy of journalist Thomas Friedman, into an equally stupid term, "American Hizbullah." This was bandied about not only in leftist Jewish circles, but also among liberal Jews, as if it were a mark of erudition rather than one of ugly stupidity.

The left has now created a prismatic world where all politics is merely a variation of the same phenomenon, just at slightly different points along the same continuum. Moral equivalence is now the Left's new objective reality. Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists are consequently morally equivalent, however nonsensical and illogical such juxtaposition turns out to be.

It is not surprising to see leftist Jews at the forefront of the radical Palestinian movement. These Jews need to demonstrate their leftist purity, because their psychological identities as well as their social networks are based on a rigid adherence to the leftist creed. This embrace of ideology in the absence of self interest is what Hannah Arendt so brilliantly described in The Origins of Totalitarianism as the mindset that is the vital foundation for totalitarian mass movements.

Leftist Jews have a new target for their outrage; Sarah Palin, another fundamentalist Christian who supports Israel. Among Sarah Palin's sins are that she shoots wolves and protects the unborn, to which Israeli literary figure Naomi Ragen has responded, would leftist Jews like her better if she shot children and nurtured wolf cubs?

It is also not surprising that in response to the pressure of leftist Jews, the pusillanimous leaders of Jewish organizations, whose sympathies incline toward the left, disinvited Palin from speaking at a Jewish organization rally, held outside the United Nations (September 23, 2008), protesting Iran's quixotic, genocidal President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

As Caroline Glick notes in the Jerusalem Post of September 23, 2008, these leaders decided that it is more important to put Barack Obama in the White House than to stand up to the man who promises the world a Second Holocaust.

And if one looks at the backgrounds of some of these leaders, they reveal a m駭age of self-loathing Jews who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Arabs and against Israel at critical moments that threatened Israel's very survival.

While the Palin controversy rages in the Jewish community, I have received numerous anti-Palin emails from liberal Jewish women: several even asked me to contribute money to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name, as a slap in the face to Palin's pro-life politics.

As Iran pursues its nuclear program touted as the new Final Solution, the most critical issue on the minds of these liberal Jewish women is one that puts the deaths of the unborn ahead of the lives of six million Israeli Jews already delivered from the womb.

With attitudes like these, Jews need not fear the Islamic Jihadists and the Ahmadinejads of the world; Jews only need to fear the real enemy of the Jewish people葉heir co-religionists who are incapable of seeing the world from any vantage point other than one that is permanently and mindlessly anchored at the left end of the political spectrum.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, and a former counter-terrorist consultant to the National Institute of Justice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Does This Matter?"

Arlene Kushner

To me it matters a lot:

It's being reported that French president Nicholas Sarkozy thinks Obama's position on Iran is "utterly immature" and comprised of "formulations empty of all content."

Sarkozy hasn't said so publicly, only in closed forum, but as these things go, his words have been carried and are being reported here in Israel, notably by Haaretz. Sarkozy is no right-winger, and the fact that he's this disturbed carries weight. At least in private forum, if reports are accurate, he's mincing no words. This ought, at very least, to give serious pause. According to the senior Israeli source cited by Haaretz, Sarkozy fears that Obama might "arrogantly" ignore the other members of [the united front against Iran] and open a direct dialogue with Iran without preconditions. Sarkozy met with Obama in July and expressed disappointment that Obama's policies on Iran were "not crystallized, and therefore many issues remain open." Apparently Sarkozy advisors who participated in meetings came away with the same impression.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1031943.html

(I will add here, by the way, that Haaretz is a far left paper, undoubtedly with an Obama tilt, and would never carry something like this for anti-Obama propaganda value.)

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Some foolish policies can be rectified after the fact. A tax plan isn't working? It's possible to present a new tax plan. But where Iran is concerned, there may be no way to rectify a bad move, and that bad move might be disastrous.

It thus seems to me essential to be confident that Obama's got what it takes before voting him into office. I confess readily enough on a person level that my concern about this is keeping me up at night.

If this information about Sarkozy also puts knots of fear in your stomach, share his words with others, please! The American people need to understand the implications of Obama's positions.

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Actually, an enormous amount of material comes into my in-box with regard to Obama. Much I pass by because it feels too "far out" even if perhaps it is true. I aim to be taken seriously. But there is much that merits serious consideration.

Michael Freund has just done a piece entitled: "Look Who's Rooting for Obama." It begins:


"What do Iran's ayatollahs, Hamas terrorists, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have in common? They are all pulling for Barack Obama to win the US presidential election. When Israel's disparate foes manage to rally behind a single candidate, it should set off alarm bells for anyone who cares about the Jewish state."



Assuring his readers that this is not simply Republican "scaremongering," he provides evidence for each name he cites. For example, Freund reports that "Last week, Ali Larijani, the hard-line speaker of the Iranian parliament, told a press conference in Bahrain, that 'we re leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational.'" More flexible?



http://www.jpost.com:80/servlet/Satellite?cid=1225199589258&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull



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Lastly here I cite Daniel Pipes, who is director of the Middle East Forum -- and very much an academic and a serious man. He has just done a piece in Front Page Magazine entitled, "Would Obama Pass a Standard Security Clearance?" After detailing Obama's connection with a host of unsavory individuals with a distinctly anti-American bias, Pipes concludes:



"...Obama's multiple links to anti-Americans and subversives mean he would fail the standard security clearance process for Federal employees.

"Islamic aggression represents America's strategic enemy; Obama's many insalubrious connections raise grave doubts about his fitness to serve as America's commander-in-chief."

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=01834F74-53EA-4A20-BA9B-F9F845F663D2

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On now to politics here in Israel...

The date that seems to be coalescing as the one for our national elections is February 10, although this is not written in stone. Apparently, the Knesset is not going to be dissolved yet.

It has been reported that some members of Labor suggested that Labor and Kadima join forces before the election in the hopes of garnering jointly more seats than Likud. Makes sense that this would come from Labor, which is expected to take a major hit in the elections. Kadima has rejected the bid.

~~~~~~~~~~

I'd like to share the highlights of opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu's speech in the Knesset yesterday. He says a government he headed would support:

-- Defensible borders with the Jordan River as Israel's eastern border.

-- A united Jerusalem and Israeli sovereignty over holy sites.

-- Cooperation with Jordan and Egypt over final status questions.

-- Complete dismantling of all terror infrastructure.

-- Resolution of the refugee issue by dismantling the refugee camps and rehabilitating their inhabitants -- and not bringing a single refugee to Israel.

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These are major long-term positions with vast ramifications. For example, he's looking, I would say, at some autonomy for the Palestinians that falls short of a full state (that's what he once told me he favored when I questioned him on this) and some cooperation or federation of the Palestinian autonomous enclaves with Egypt in Gaza and Jordan in Judea and Samaria. The Jordan River as our eastern border rules out a Palestinian state.

Dear G-d, he should really mean it, stand by it, and win soundly so that he has the opportunity to show us what he can do. That's asking a lot, but it beats by many-fold what we've got now. There is solid reason to believe that the coalition negotiations between Kadima and Shas collapsed because Shas was demanding a promise that there will be no negotiations on Jerusalem, and Tzipi said she could not promise this. Her position is premised on moving in the direction of dividing Jerusalem, which is why chief PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei says he trusts her.

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MK Yossi Beilin, former head of the left wing Meretz, has announced that he is retiring from politics and going into business.

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A court decision today I thought I'd never see: right-wing activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel have been granted permission to hold a protest march with Israeli flags (and nothing other than flags) in the Israeli Arab city of Umm El-Fahm, in the north, which is the stronghold of the more radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel.

Said Marzel: "We will teach democracy to the Arabs of Umm el-Fahm, and we will mainly teach them that in this country it is permissible to march with Israeli flags everywhere."

The march, which will take place after November 11 municipal elections; even though permission was given to march in the center of the city, it will be done in the suburbs.

Fully do I understand the motivation for this. The Islamic Movement of Israel is blatantly anti-Israel. One gets very weary of the attempts of these Israeli citizens to build their own enclaves from within which they seek to undermine the State of Israel. Just recently the Islamic Movement's office was shut down because of Hamas affiliations.

And yet I recognize that those marching in Umm el-Fahm will be taking their lives in their hands. Said the Islamic Movement attorney: "...the Arab sector will not bear responsibility for the consequences, whatever they may be."

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Earlier this week, IDF personnel at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza found military fatigues intended for a Hamas terror operation hidden among humanitarian supplies on a truck that Israel had given permission to pass. Unfortunately, such stunts are not unusual. While Palestinians rant at us for not allowing sufficient supplies into Gaza (a fallacious charge), they make use of our gestures for their purposes.

Similar to this is the issue of concrete, which UNRWA insisted it needed in Gaza some while ago, in order to do construction of schools or whatever. Some of it has found its way (what a surprise!) into Hamas hands and is being used now for building rocket bunkers, Hezbollah-style.

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With all of the worrisome happenings we face these days, it was a pleasure this morning to actually hear some good news. This was from Dr. Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of the nonprofit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE)and director of the Jewish Virtual Library, including on-line Myths and Facts. (It pays to see and utilize this at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org:80/.)

Dr. Bard, speaking at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, described successful efforts at combating ignorance about Israel and anti-Israel bias (often promoted by Saudi Arabia, which endows chairs in Middle Eastern studies). Some 27 chairs in major US universities are now endowed for Israeli studies, and in other universities visiting Israeli professors are teaching. All of this is making a difference in the university climate. Incredibly, on many campuses there are no classes on Israel offered at all. The attempt is to not only deal honestly with the political and defense issues, but to show Israel as a proud and well-rounded nation in which we foster literature and dance and much more.

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Other good news: It's pouring as I write this. The second day of rain we've had. This is no small matter in this drought-ridden country, and it seems we're beginning the rainy season vigorously. This is a bracha, a blessing.

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see my website www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

HAMAS - Propaganda Doctrine.

Steven Shamrak

from the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)

The following extract is Hamas's comprehensive and quite ingenious plan for the advancement of the Islamic ideological doctrine, using the 'Palestinians' as the catalyst, in order to brainwash and mobilize the Muslim population world-wide against Israel and the Western democracies toward achieving the long standing Islamic goal of world domination – The World Caliphate! It is not a fantasy of a mad man, but a well-thought out plan, which is being implemented right now: Article Fifteen: The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instil the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.

It is necessary that scientists, educators and teachers, information and media people, as well as the educated masses, especially the youth and sheikhs of the Islamic movements, should take part in the operation of awakening (the masses). It is important that basic changes be made in the school curriculum, to cleanse it of the traces of ideological invasion that affected it as a result of the orientalists and missionaries who infiltrated the region following the defeat of the Crusaders at the hands of Salah el-Din (Saladin). The Crusaders realised that it was impossible to defeat the Moslems without first having ideological invasion pave the way by upsetting their thoughts, disfiguring their heritage and violating their ideals...

It is necessary to instil in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis. Palestine contains Islamic holy sites. In it there is al-Aqsa Mosque which is bound to the great Mosque in Mecca in an inseparable bond as long as heaven and earth speak of Isra` (Mohammed's midnight journey to the seven heavens) and Mi'raj (Mohammed's ascension to the seven heavens from Jerusalem during his dream). - For the record, Mohammed never visited Jerusalem. So much for city's significance to Islam!

Remove the Mentally Sick from the Office. Israeli leaders are seriously considering a dormant Saudi plan offering a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world in exchange for lands captured during the 1967 war, according to Defence Minister Ehud Barak. (I just wonder, would Saudi Arabia “seriously consider” the Israeli plan of the creation of an independent state of Palestine on the Sinai Peninsula? Israel must stop playing stupid political games, which give political credibility to the enemies, who have no intention of living in peace with Jews!)

President Shimon Peres met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. During the meeting Peres praised “the spirit of the Saudi Initiative” and said Israel was promoting that spirit in its negotiations with the PA. (The Saudi plan has nothing to do with peace, but with weakening Israel’s position, followed by the destruction of Israel!)

The Saudi Initiative calls on Israel to withdraw completely from all territories regained in the 1967 Six Day War, to release all terrorist prisoners and to accept millions of foreign Arabs as citizens. In exchange, Arab states would agree (and we all know how much their word is worth) to recognize Israel and make peace.)

Food for Thought: Talks and discussions about the 'relocation' of Jews from Judea and Samaria are traitorous, self-defeating and immoral, just the same as the forcible removal of Jews from Gaza several years ago. All efforts must be focused on the relocation of the enemy population from all Jewish land! - Steven Shamrak

Middle Eastern Gisheft (business). The Pentagon agreed to sell Israel $20 billion worth of weapons last year, making Israel the ME region's top arms purchaser. The United Arab Emirates finished second, after the US Defense Department approved an $18 billion arms deal with the country. Saudi Arabia came third with a total of $21 billion in weapons purchases from US and other European companies. (As the US’s business partner, Russia is selling arms to Syria, Iran and other 'friends' of Israel. Both parties benefit from keeping the Middle East unstable and inflamed!)

Safe Haven for Israel’s Terrorist. Two Arabs who played active roles in inciting violence against Jews in Akko at the outset of the Yom Kippur Arab Riots have now fled from the responsibility for their actions and are hiding in the PA controlled area.

Quote of the Week:

"According to our rights, we are the elected majority, and a majority in a democracy should control all the Palestinian areas, whether in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. This is not an extraordinary issue," "Do you respect democracy? If you respect democracy, the elections in January '06 indicated Hamas is the majority and it should run the administration in Gaza and the West Bank."
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, the second most powerful Hamas leader.

(To gain power Democracy was used by the Communists in Russia and Nazis in Germany. Hamas also hates democracy but is using it to wage a full scale Islamic Holy war against Israel!)

Why Bother? Last week President Shimon Peres urged the Vatican not to let a contentious reference to World War II Pope Pius XII put off a visit to the Holy Land by the present pontiff. (Why should Israel care if the Pope does not want to visit places which the Church claims are so important to Christianity? It seems that hate toward Jews is still a dominant factor in the Vatican!)

Colombian Cocaine is Linked to Hezbollah. U.S. and Colombian investigators have dismantled an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring that allegedly used part of its profits to finance Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia.
Jewish Self-Hate has no Limits. Radical leftists and anarchists marched through Hevron's Jewish Tel Rumeida neighbourhood on Shabbat morning, a week ago, shouting provocative insults and calls for the removal of Jews from the town. The leftists were trying to set off riots among the Arabs of the city against the Jews. (Police did not stop Jewish leftists from entering Hevron to prevent a confrontation, which is often done to Zionists!)

With Ceasefire Like This ... The 28th Kassam was fired into Israel from Gaza last Tuesday since the "virtual ceasefire" that began on June 19. The truce has been violated nearly 50 times by Gaza terrorists who also have fired mortar shells and have shot at IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza separation barrier. Hamas is still holding kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in June, 2007.

A Japanese View of the Palestinians.
by Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that 'Palestine’ is the country, which goes back through most of recorded history, I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:

1. When was it founded and by whom?
2. What were its borders?
3. What was its capital?
4. What were its major cities?
5. What constituted the basis of its economy?
6. What was its form of government?
7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
8. What was the language of the country of Palestine?
9. What was the name of its currency?
10. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?

You are lamenting the 'low sinking' of a 'once proud' nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that 'nation' proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call 'Palestinians' are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or thrown out of -- the Arab (Muslim) world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day 'Palestinians' to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it 'the Palestinian people'…

…In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have inflicted on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization (population) from the land of Israel and accepting Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, Samaria…

Note: Please visit our website: www.shamrak.com

Hamas takeover good for us?


Martin Sherman offers rebuttal to Guy Bechor’s desire for Hamas rule in West bank

Martin Sherman

Guy Bechor's recent article, Hamas takeover good for us, should give us much cause for concern. For Bechor is not only one of the few well-known media figures who, in recent years, has demonstrated a commendably hard-headed and sober attitude towards the Palestinians in particular, and the broader Arab and Muslim world in general - in addition to his journalistic acumen, he also has extensive scholarly knowledge of the region, its customs and conduct. It is therefore particularly disturbing and disappointing to encounter such a shallow and dangerously shortsighted analysis from him. The flaws in his arguments are both great and glaring. So while Bechor is correct to point out that the negotiations with Fatah are futile - describing them as "false and dangerous" -and is right to call for recognition that "there is no possibility of resolving…issues (such as)…the refugee problem, the Jerusalem question, etc...," the idea of endorsing a Hamas accession to power is wildly off the mark. For it is difficult - to say the least - to see what benefits would accrue to Israel from such an outcome, whether it continues to maintain a presence in Judea and Samaria, or not.


Regrettably, the harsh lessons of the unfortunate experience of the "disengagement" from Gaza seem completely lost on Bechor. Thus he advocates giving the Hamas-dominated "West Bank" ready access to the Arab world, unregulated and unsupervised by Israel, declaring that "the…most important point (is that) Israel needs to open the border crossings between the West Bank and East Bank". This is a recommendation that is little short of astounding – especially in light of the catastrophic results this measure brought about in the Gaza Strip, precipitating a massive influx of arms smuggled into the area, which according to most experts, is likely to have a tangible strategic impact on any future IDF operations.


No less astonishing is Bechor's unsubstantiated claim that "Jordan would do a better job than Israel in monitoring the border and deciding who and what will enter Judea and Samaria." In view of the dismal failure of the Egyptians "to monitor and decide who and what will enters Gaza," whose border they were entrusted to secure, one can only wonder on what Bechor bases his confident assessment of Jordanian efficacy and resolve.


False aura of respectability
One of Bechor's major arguments for a Hamas takeover is that this will allegedly remove the ambiguity that envelops the current situation and make it "clear to everyone who the good guys and bad guys are…" Yet there are several serious flaws in this approach.



Firstly it should be recalled that the ambiguity surrounding the Fatah is more the product of Israel's feebleminded and fainthearted diplomatic policy than any inherent characteristic of that organization. It was Israel's ill-fated Oslowian initiative that conferred respectability on Fatah, which was still classified as a terrorist organization in the US at the time this misguided enterprise was launched.


This false aura of respectability is only perpetuated by Israel's own diplomatic folly and by continued Israeli insistence on branding the Fatah as "moderate," despite the fact that is not less committed than Hamas to the eradication of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people – as reflected not only by the explicit wording of its constitution but by the unequivocal declarations of its senior members at the Annapolis summit last November.


Moreover, while Fatah enjoys far more international acceptance than Hamas, it would be dangerous folly to believe that this state of affairs is immutable. Already calls - both inside and outside Israel - are being made for "engaging" the Hamas as the only party that "can deliver the goods" - strongly reminiscent of the fatally flawed but fashionably fetching rationale that argued for "engaging" the previously shunned Arafat.

Indeed, one of the most recent appeals in this regard was made by Noble Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari. This is a trend that is very likely to gather momentum if Fatah were permanently and irrevocably swept away - leaving Hamas as the only available representative of the Palestinians.


Radical Muslim entity
Unfortunately, Bechor's prescription is neither clear nor convincing. In essence it calls for Jordan and Egypt to "pull the chestnuts out of the fire" for Israel and, as such, amounts to little more than dangerous and unrealistic escapism.


Egypt, for well over a quarter of century, has assiduously refused to "assume responsibility in Gaza" - in spite of efforts to induce it to do so; and Jordan, having publicly renounced any claims to the "West Bank" in 1988, has no obvious reason to do so now.


Bechor seems equally unconvincing and injudicious in his offhand disregard for what might happen should Israel withdraw its control from these areas. As the events in Gaza prove, what happens in areas vacated by Israel is indeed Israel's problem. This would be even more so in the case of Judea and Samaria, which are adjacent to major urban population concentrations, strategic infrastructure installations, and key centers of commerce. One needs little imagination to envisage the catastrophic effect on the country should anything like the recent realities in Sderot be visited on the Greater Tel Aviv region.


Moreover, given Bechor's declared intention of maintaining regular and ongoing contacts "between the West Bank and East Bank," in the face of growing influence by Islamist elements in Jordan and the clear Palestinian majority in that minority-ruled monarchy, it is entirely unclear how the forces of zealous irredentism be prevented from eventually forging a single radical Muslim entity, stretching from the Iraqi border to the eastern approaches of Tel Aviv.


Brutal simplicity of conflict
All this leaves us baffled as to why so seasoned a pundit as Bechor would subscribe to such a far-fetched and deleterious thesis. Why would he believe that the Jordanians or the Egyptians have any interest in playing the role of warden for the Zionist entity? What would lead him to believe that, over time, they would commit men and treasure to protect Jews against Muslims without bringing the wrath of the Arab world upon them? And even if the currently incumbents rulers in Cairo and Amman fear the rise of radical Islam, why would they clash with its adherents rather than allow them to channel their frenzied zeal against

Israel - thus relieving the pressure on their own regimes?

The reason, it seems, is rooted in the adamant refusal of many in the country to accept the brutal simplicity of the Israel-Arab conflict: Between the river and the sea, there can – and eventually will – be either exclusive Jewish sovereignty or exclusive Arab sovereignty. The side that will prevail will be the side whose national will is stronger and whose political vision is sharper. All those who subscribe to the ideal of a nation-state for the Jews in their ancient homeland must recognize this unpalatable but fundamental truth, and accept its inevitable consequences: The burden of safeguarding our national security and sovereignty cannot be abdicated or outsourced

Israel says will block activists from reaching Gaza


As left-wing 'Free Gaza' movement prepares to 'break' naval blockade once more, Foreign Ministry warns Israel 'will not allow a repeat performance'
Yael Levy

The first time they set sail for the Gaza Strip, Israel chose not to interfere in the voyage of foreign left-wing activists.

On Tuesday, however, as members of the 'Free Gaza' movement set sail from Cyprus towards the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory once more, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to have elected a different tone "Based on the poor experience of the previous time, Israel has decided not to allow the entry of the vessel that has so pretentiously called itself a 'humanitarian aid boat,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi told Ynet.

"There is absolutely no connection between humanitarian aid and these provocateurs.



"The previous campaign excelled mostly at peddling slogans. They remained in Gaza for a period of time, taking advantage of their stay to provoke IDF ships by staging 'sorties' and sneaking up to them. They were just trying to extort international attention at the expense of Israel's reputation," said Levi.



The ministry declined to elaborate on how the boats would be stopped. "Last time they carried more festive banners than actual humanitarian aid, and abused the Israeli gesture to allow them through, we won't be seeing a repeat performance."


'We're determined to reach Gaza'

Twenty seven people from 13 countries sailed from Larnaca, pledging to reach the shores of the Palestinian territory by Wednesday.


"We are determined to get to Gaza," said Mairead Corrigan Maguire, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in Northern Ireland. "The Gaza people have been cut off from the whole world for two years, its the largest prison in the world."


The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week that virtually no medical supplies were reaching the Gaza Strip, putting the lives of several hundred patients at risk.


The ICRC blamed the crisis on lack of cooperation between Palestinian authorities in the West Bank, where President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction holds sway, and Hamas, which seized control of Gaza
in June 2007.


"We got a list of zero stock medicines in Gaza, like baby formula, paracetamol, anti-histamine tablets," said Palestinian Briton Ibrahim Hamami, 44, a family physician from Buckinghamshire who was making the trip.



"There are basic things we can get over the counter in Europe but they do not have a single pill." It was the second attempt by the "Free Gaza" movement to sail to Gaza, after 46 activists on two boats sailed there without interference from Israeli authorities in August.



Reuters contributed to this report


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PA Arabs Campaigning for Obama


Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

A Palestinian Authority newspaper reported on Sunday that Arab residents of Gaza are randomly calling Americans at home in hopes of persuading them to vote for Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama in next month's US presidential election. The article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, first noted and translated by Palestinian Media Watch, quotes a young man from the Hamas-controlled Gaza region as saying, "We dial random numbers and try to call people [in the United States] without knowing their identity or their affiliation...." He reportedly uses "Internet sites that allow making free calls... in order to use them for the campaign supporting Obama."

The Al-Hayat Al-Jadida article said, "Most of the Palestinians feel hatred towards USA, whose administrations have always stood by Israel...." The Gaza-based Obama campaigner, Ibrahim Abu Jayyab, "said that a large number of Palestinians dislike their activity..." Those PA residents "do not see any difference between the American politicians [Obama and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain] because of the hostility that they feel towards America," the report explained.

"But [Abu Jayyab's] hope is that their activity will have some impact [in support of Obama]," according to the newspaper report.

Previous Support From Gaza
Abu Jayyab's freelance phone campaign for Obama in the last weeks of the American presidential race has not been the first time the Illinois senator has gotten such help. An Al-Jazeera TV report during the Democratic primaries featured Abu Jayyab as well, when he was busy organizing calls to American voters to persuade them to vote for Obama over then-candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Other types of assistance have also been forthcoming from Gaza. In July of this year, Pamela Geller of the Atlas Shrugs blog revealed documents purporting to show that the Obama campaign received nearly $30,000 from two brothers living in Rafiah, in Hamas-controlled Gaza, during 2007.

Earlier, during an April 2008 interview with WABC radio and WorldNetDaily, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's Gaza-based political advisor Ahmed Yousef said, "Actually, we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will [win] the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle."

At the time, McCain commented, "I think it is very clear... why [Hamas] would not want me to be president of the United States, so if Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly."

Obama campaign spokespeople excoriated McCain and noted repeatedly that Obama has called Hamas a terrorist organization worthy of condemnation. In an interview with The Atlantic shortly thereafter, Obama warned people in the Middle East who were enthusiastic over his candidacy not to be "confused about my unyielding support for Israel's security."

Why the Left Wants to Change America


Dennis Prager
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If you ask most supporters of Sen. Barack Obama why they so fervently want him to be elected president, they will tell you about their deep yearning for "change."

And that, of course, has been the theme of the Obama campaign from its inception -- "change." It is the word found on nearly all the placards at Obama rallies. It is the word most often cited by the candidate himself.

But for all its ubiquity and for all the passion of its advocates, what this change is about is not entirely clear. Of course, Obama himself often has spoken about the overriding need for change from eight years of President George W. Bush's policies. But this is not what he or most of his supporters really mean when they talk about change. In fact, it cannot be. This is easy to show: All candidates for president run on a platform of change from the party in power. If they don't stand for change, why vote for them?

George W. Bush wanted a change from Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton wanted a change from the first George Bush. And so on back to the first candidate for president to run from a party other than that of the prior president.

If change in policies from those of George W. Bush were all Barack Obama meant by change, "change" would not elicit anywhere near the passion it does. Nor would it be the basis of the depth of his appeal to his left-wing supporters. Surely John Kerry wanted as much of a change from George W. Bush in 2004. Yet he did not run on a platform of "change."

What Barack Obama is tapping into with the word "change" is nearly eight years of the left's constructing a description of an America that has been made so awful that "change" means changing America, not just changing policies.

The truth is that aside from the Iraq war, which is turning out to be quite successful, George W. Bush's policies have not been particularly controversial or even particularly right-wing. But the left has constructed for itself a view of America that, if you subscribe to it, makes radical change imperative.

The left, from The New York Times to MoveOn.org, has led itself and others to believe that:

--George W. Bush lied America into war.

--Tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than 4,000 Americans have been killed in a war waged in order to line the pockets of Vice President Dick Cheney's friends.

--The Constitution has been trampled on.

--America has become a torturing country.

--America's poor have become far more numerous and far more downtrodden.

--American troops in Iraq repeatedly have engaged in atrocities against innocent civilians.

--The opportunity for economic self-improvement has ceased for most Americans.

--Racism is endemic to American society.

--Republican rallies are hate-fests.

--John McCain has run a racist campaign against Barack Obama.

--Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, is a religious zealot and an idiot.

--Christian fundamentalists are on the verge of taking over America and turning it into a theocracy.

--The world is getting closer and closer to catastrophic and irreversible damage caused by human beings; and George W. Bush and energy interests are standing in the way of preventing universal destruction.

--America is on the road to fascism.

Now, as it happens, none of those things is true. But the left believes them all. That is why radical "change" becomes mandatory -- or America will collapse (and the world, too, which is why Barack Obama often mentions changing the world, as well as America).

Of course, many Americans who do not consider themselves leftist also will vote for Barack Obama and left-wing Democratic congressional candidates. They do so because they are lifelong Democrats who do not realize how far left their party has strayed and think they still are voting for the party of Truman and JFK; or because they personally benefit from Democratic largesse (e.g., government workers); or because they are active in their unions; or because they have come to believe the media and the Democrats, who have been telling them for almost a decade about how George W. Bush and the Republicans have ruined their country.

But as for the left, it lives in a bubble of its making. That is why most leftists live in places where nearly everyone shares their fantasies -- bubbles such as Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, the west side of Los Angeles, and the most hermetically sealed of the bubbles: universities. They interact almost only with other people who share their fantasy world of America Made Bad.

From Karl Marx to today's Democratic Party, the left everywhere has manufactured villains to slay -- starting with the bourgeoisie and land owners to today's "special interests" (though not, of course, left-wing special interests, such as labor unions, teachers unions and the trial bar), "the rich," drug companies, oil companies, neocons, evangelical Christians and, of course, the myriad racists, sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes and xenophobes.

That's why the left is so passionate about "change." In fact, if I believed America had become what the left believe it has become, I would be, too. But what they believe about America is not true; America remains the greatest country in the world. It needs to be fixed where broken, but not changed. Those who want to change it will make it worse. Perhaps much worse.



Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Qureia: Jerusalem the key to resolving conflict


Chief Palestinian negotiator says 'if Israelis elect Netanyahu, we will accept it, but there will not be peace without Jerusalem.' Adds: People tend to say one thing when they are in the opposition and something else when they're in office
Roee Nahmias

The top negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Qureia, said on Monday that he "has great respect for the way (Kadima Chairwoman) Tzipi Livni works." Speaking at a conference organized by the Council for Peace and Security, Qureia said that Livni "is trustworthy enough to say yes or no – 'this you can have and this you can't.' She didn't say she would give Jerusalem, but she said it would be on the table. And why shouldn't it be? How will the Palestinians agree on a deal without Jerusalem? No one can imagine this happening. Jerusalem is the key to peace."


After deciding earlier this week to halt the negotiations on the formation of a coalition under her leadership, Livni told Ynet that she had refused to guarantee Shas that Jerusalem's future would not be discussed during the talks with the Palestinians.


"They want to stifle the peace negotiations, and I won't allow it," Livni said.


'Peace initiative strategic change'

Qureia added that he did not believe a peace agreement was attainable by the end of the year. "In any case, the efforts will continue during the talks with Livni and (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert. It is vital that we carry on with the process," he said.


Responding to Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu's speech Sunday at the opening of the Knesset's winter session, in which he said that "we will not return to the 1967 borders" and that the issue of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees was "nonnegotiable", Qureia said "people tend to say one thing when they are in the opposition and something else when they're in office."


"If the Israeli nation elects Netanyahu, we will accept it," the Palestinian negotiator said. "There will not be peace without Jerusalem. Those who strive for peace must put Jerusalem on the table."


Qureia stressed the importance of the Arab peace initiative as a "strategic change."


"The Arabs agreed that peace is their strategy; that they are prepared for normalization," he told the conference.


Qureia praised Israeli President Shimon Peres for "accepting" the Arab initiative during his recent meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and urged Israel to also hold peace talks with Syria and Lebanon.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Israel's CorAssist keeps a weak heart pumping


Karin Kloosterman October 27, 2008

Heart attacks grab headlines, they take lives. A little known fact is that millions of Americans are at risk of heart disease, with a full-blown heart attack being only one of the unfortunate consequences that can lead to death. With decades of experience taking cardiac-related biotech companies to market, in 2006 Amir Loshakove joined CorAssist. As its general manager, Loshakove is working once again with hearts. "The most exciting thing in the world is to treat hearts," he tells ISRAEL21c.

In the process of raising $15 million, CorAssist has already started human clinical trials using a small device that restores power to weakened heart muscles. According to Loshakove, there are two major conditions related to heart failure, namely, systolic and diastolic heart failure.

First to market

While some devices to treat systolic heart failure (SHF) are already in clinical trials, no devices to treat diastolic heart failure (DHF) are available. CorAssist's solution presents the first device-based approach to treat DHF, being a one-of-its-kind product in the market.

After a heart attack, or with heart muscle disease due to obesity and other conditions such as genetic defects, the heart muscles have a difficult time squeezing blood to the body (the systolic phase), and then back again into the heart (the diastolic phase). CorAssist is focusing on the second condition - DHF - where a person's heart inadequately relaxes, and is impaired in its capability to return blood from the body back to the heart.

According to the New York Heart Association, over five million people in the US suffer from heart failure. About half of these people suffer from diastolic heart failure, for which there is no effective treatment. Affecting mainly women, the overweight, smokers, and people with diabetes and other predisposing diseases and conditions, DHF results in the stiffening of the heart muscles.

Don't still my beating heart

CorAssist's main product is the ImCardia, which works from outside the heart. It's a self-expanding device that attaches to the external surface of the left ventricle. When the heart muscle squeezes, energy is loaded into the device, which absorbs this energy, and releases it to the left ventricle in the diastolic phase. This keeps the muscles elastic, giving it a small "work out" to improve heart health.

So far, safety studies on three people - in South America and Eastern Europe - have found the ImCardia safe for implantation. Next year, the company is gearing up for a larger trial. And it could take as little as two years for the company to get FDA approval, allowing the much-needed solution to be available in the US.

CorAssist is a 14-person company based in Herzylia, Israel. Founded in 2003 by three Israeli physicians - Yair Feld, Yotam Reisner and Shay Dubi - it keeps a number of world-renowned heart specialists and scientists on its advisory team, and includes Prof. William Little, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, North Carolina; Prof. Michael Zile from the Medical University of South Carolina, and Prof. Mitchell Krucoff from Duke University Medical Center.

© 2001-2008 ISRAEL21c.org. All rights reserved.

Universities, Finance Ministry renew talks


After two-week stalemate in negotiations, sides make another attempt to reach accord bridging financial gaps in order to allow academic year to begin on time
Yaheli Moran Zelikovitch

Just a week before the academic year is scheduled to begin, the Finance Ministry and the Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee are preparing for another round of negotiations on the budget for Israel's institutions of higher learning. On Monday the two sides will attempt to bridge the financial gaps currently prohibiting the year from kicking off on schedule, after nearly two weeks of stalemate in talks.


The Council of University Presidents (CUP) announced last week that the universities would not begin the year due to a deficit in their budget. CUP Chairman and president of the Hebrew University, Prof. Menachem Megidor, claimed that the announcement did not constitute a strike.


"The universities are currently incapable of functioning and beginning the academic year," he said. "Closing down the research universities is a disaster for us and the students. If the $125 million promised by the government is not transferred to us we will have no choice, we will not be able to begin the year as scheduled."


Recently the CUP launched a mass email to 150,000 students across the country, in which it states that "unfortunately under the current circumstances following negotiations with the Ministry of Finance, we cannot begin the academic year."


A month earlier the student union announced it would support the CUP in whatever decision it made, even if it meant penalizing students by postponing the academic year.



Israeli parties prepare for general elections


Livni directs associates to 'storm' November 11 municipal elections to build up party's influence ahead of nationwide vote; Labor, Likud consider options for forming Knesset roster
Attila Somfalvi

Israel's political parties have already begun to prepare for a probable nationwide election, this after Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni informed President Shimon Peres on Sunday that she had been unsuccessful in forming a new coalition government.Following the interview with Peres, Kadima announced that it would propose a bill shortening the waiting period for the elections.


MK Yoel Hasson has declared he will initiate the bill, calling for the holding of a general election within 90 days of the bill's proposal, rather than 111, which could be the case if the Knesset does not dissolve itself immediately.


Meanwhile Livni convened a meeting in which she promoted holding a primary election in the party in order to form a roster. The Kadima chairwoman also directed her associates to "storm" the November 11 municipal elections, with the intention of building up the party's influence within the local authorities.


Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is among those vying for a high ranking spot on the roster, and a number of Livni's top aides have publicly expressed their hopes that he would be made the chairwoman's number-two man.


Meanwhile, Likud and Labor are also preparing for general elections.


Moshe Yaalon to join Likud?

Labor has yet to decide on how it will determine its list of Knesset members ahead of the vote. Chairman Ehud Barak has expressed interest in securing a number of newcomers with a high ranking spot that would guarantee them a place in the next Knesset, and therefore may opt for canceling the party primaries and formulating the roster with the help of a special committee.


Senior Labor party officials are divided on the issue, and Barak is expected to face stiff opposition should he call to annul the primary elections.


Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel has said in the past that the primaries system was riddled with corruption and irregularities and called on all political parties to consider an alternative.


Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu has also begun consultations on preparing the party for the general elections, with senior officials postulating that the party primaries will be held in December.


Netanyahu is also in favor of securing several high ranking spots for MKs of his choice on the party's Knesset roster, but most party members would likely oppose such a move.


Netanyahu is reportedly interested in recruiting a number of senior public figures ahead of the elections, including former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon and former Likud minister Dan Meridor.


On Monday the Knesset will officially open its winter session - which may turn out to be the shortest in the country's history –with speeches from President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and Opposition Leader Netanyahu.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Well, OK!"

Arlene Kushner

Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party, informed President Peres late this afternoon that she could not form a coalition. Theoretically, Peres has the latitude to pick another faction head to see if someone else can put together a government. But this won't happen...we're going to elections. The talk now is that they would be held in about three months.This is not the absolute answer to all of our problems, but in my opinion it's a very necessary step in the right direction. It's a sort of cleaning house that would not have taken place if Kadima had continued in power -- especially as there seems to have been some "funny business" with regard to how Livni won the recent Kadima primary.

As I indicated recently, unless there's some great change in the situation, Likud, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, is likely to garner the most mandates (seats) next time, with Netanyahu putting together a coalition. We're going to have to watch this play out.

~~~~~~~~~~

The down side of what's going to happen now is that Olmert (who's been extraordinarily quiet of late) gets to stay as head of the caretaker government until those elections take place. It must be hoped that he does a minimum of damage in that time.

~~~~~~~~~~

Shin Bet and the IDF have released the information that they foiled a plan by Hamas to kidnap soldiers last month. When Jamal Abu Duabeh of Rafah infiltrated into Israel from the Sinai recently he was caught. Under interrogation he admitted he had been sent as part of a plan to anaesthetize Israeli soldiers and bring them to Gaza. He had been trained and financed by Hamas.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Israeli navy has announced deployment of a new sophisticated missile defense system that protects ships from missiles all 360 degrees around the ship.

~~~~~~~~~~

Daniel R. Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, and Charles S. Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia, are co-chairmen of the Bipartisan Policy Center's national security task force on Iran. They recently wrote a piece on the need for a strong policy on Iran that is the most encouraging thing I've heard in a long time. Seems not everyone is asleep at the wheel.

They call for much stricter sanctions as the only way that a diplomatic solution might be possible. This requires building alliances for genuine international cooperation.

"The U.S. military," they say, "is capable of launching a devastating strike on Iran's nuclear and military infrastructure -- probably with more decisive results than the Iranian leadership realizes."

This should be the solution of last resort. However..."both to increase our leverage over Iran and to prepare for a military strike, if one were required, the next president will need to begin building up military assets in the region from day one."

The encouraging news: "These principles are all supported unanimously by a politically diverse task force that was assembled by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The group, which includes former senior Democratic and Republican officials, retired four-star generals and admirals, and experts in nuclear proliferation and energy markets, offers a clear path for constructing an enduring, bipartisan consensus behind an effective U.S. policy on Iran."

Now if the people in power would just pay attention.

~~~~~~~~~~

In less than three weeks, there will be mayoral elections in Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority's chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, has issued a fatwa (a religious injunction) forbidding Arabs in Jerusalem from voting in this election.

~~~~~~~~~~

Late in June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued his latest report on the implementation of Resolution 1701. It discussed Israeli claims that Hezbollah was rebuilding in the south of Lebanon, but said that while UNIFIL had investigated, they found "no evidence of new military infrastructure in the area of operations."

Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, has a pretty good idea as to how this could be so:

"UNIFIL does not conduct patrols, establish checkpoints or maintain a presence of any kind within the towns and villages south of the Litani [River]. Indeed, the UN forces have little unmediated security-related contact of any kind with the population of the area.

"Thus, while UNIFIL, according to its own figures, carries out around 400 foot, vehicle and air patrols in each 24-hour period, these take place exclusively along recognized patrol paths and in rural areas.

UN forces maintain no independent checkpoints and are involved in a minimum of joint checkpoints with the LAF [Lebanese army] ...

"...given the physical absence of UN forces from any of the areas where evidence of Hezbollah infrastructure-building has emerged [in built-up areas], it is not surprising that UNIFIL reports 'no evidence' that such activity is taking place.

"In general, the two sides appear to do their best to stay out of each other's way."

Charming state of affairs, is it not?

This alone is enough reason to not want Livni to head the government: the "diplomatic solution" to end the War in Lebanon, which she pushed as a great victory, is what led to these arrangements.

~~~~~~~~~~

The fact that the stockpiling of arms is being done in populated, built-up areas should be noted. This will make going after them much harder, and if we accidentally hit civilians in the process, Hezbollah will garner a PR victory, something it knows very well.

~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin reported today at a Cabinet meeting that Syria's relationship with Hezbollah is strengthening:

"Hezbollah operatives are working from within Syria. The Syrians are loosening all restraints, and [are irresponsibly giving] Hezbollah access to almost all of their strategic capabilities.

"Currently, Assad is continuing to open up its warehouses to Hezbollah."

Said Yadlin, Syria was "turning into the arms granary" for Hezbollah.

What was it Olmert said about negotiations with the Syrians turning them from terrorism?

~~~~~~~~~~

I would like to end with an unusual article about Obama that appeared in this past Friday's Jerusalem Post, done by an Israeli journalist who came to Chicago to interview Jews who know/knew Obama.

This article must be read in its entirety, and it's long. It starts fairly positively. But as you read you see that the Jews who like Obama are extremely left wing. In fact, one rabbi who had a relationship with him expresses disappointment that Obama has not been true to his far left positions but has moved more centrist -- but, said the rabbi, he understands that Obama has to do this to win. This echoes precisely what I have felt regarding Obama's tendency to say one thing and mean another.

There is one quote from a resident of Obama's neighborhood that says it all: "Now it's like he wants to hug and kiss Israel every five minutes. That's completely not the Barack I had as a neighbor. That started this year when he was trying to get elected."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017601983&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

~~~~~~~~~~

see my website www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

'Proposed Shalit Deal - Immoral'


Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Prof. Yisrael (Robert) Aumann said that agreeing to the ransom demanded by Hamas for the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit - the release of over 1,000 imprisoned Arab terrorists - would be both contrary to Jewish
Prof. Aumann was clearly emotionally distraught during his remarks.
morality and ineffective according to Game Theory, the research field in which the professor won a Nobel Prize in 2005. Choking back tears at several points, Prof. Aumann was clearly emotionally distraught during his remarks before the Jewish Statesmanship Center For Strategic Planning (JSC) on Wednesday evening. His lecture focused on the morality of ransoming Jewish captives held by terrorist gangs, with specific emphasis on the Shalit case. Cpl. Shalit was kidnapped from a military base near Gaza over two years ago, in an attack that also killed two IDF soldiers. Negotiations for his release, mediated by Egypt, have broken down several times over Hamas demands that 1,500 terrorists - many of whom were directly involved in murdering Israeli civilians - go free in exchange for the kidnapped Israeli.

Aumann, whose son fell in battle during Israel's 1982 Peace for Galilee War, said that despite a deep identification with the pain felt by Shalit's family, paying the ransom demanded by the PA terrorists would be immoral. It was likely to cost Israel a greater price in human lives both through encouraging future kidnappers and through the acts of terrorism the released prisoners are likely to commit. Past experience shows that most prematurely-released terrorists return to lives of violence, once back in their home environment.

"I say the following things with awe and humility, with fear and trembling," began Prof. Aumann tearfully, "but they are things that need to be said." He went on to quote a statement made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak several days ago that public demonstrations over the negotiations for Shalit's release "do not contribute to reaching the goal and, to the contrary, distance the attainment of that goal." In response, Aumann continued reading, "the father [of Gilad] said that in Israel, redemption of captives is a supreme value." He sees himself as on the side of both Barak and Noam Shalit, Aumann said, "but the Defense Minister is correct."

Referring to passages from the Talmud discussing the matter, Aumann went on to explain that "the supreme value is not the redemption of captives. The supreme value is that there not be any captives. ...If the redemption of one captive will lead to three captives taken in the future, not to mention ten fatalities or more and dozens of wounded, then we have missed the mark. And then, it would be forbidden to redeem the single captive. Yes, forbidden."

Aumann's position on the ransom of captives is based not only on his understanding of rabbinical sources, but on his expertise in Game Theory. The analysis of the situation according to Game Theory, Aumann explained, coincided with the position of the sages of the Talmud and Maimonides, who determined that a captive should not be redeemed for more than his or her worth, in order to assure a functioning society.

'We Brought This Upon Ourselves'
"We have brought ourselves to this depressing situation," Prof. Aumann said of the ransom demands made by Hamas and the Lebanese Hizbullah. "We ourselves raised the cost. And the cost here is not in money, the cost is in souls, in
The supreme value is not the redemption of captives. The supreme value is that there not be any captives.
fatalities, in wounded and in additional captives."

Aumann acknowledged that the Shalit family is acting as any family would in seeking all paths to obtain the release of their son, Gilad. "My claim is against our government," the professor said, "the government which brought us last summer the grotesque, shameful and criminally negligent exchange of murderous terrorists for dead bodies." In a deal reached between Israel and the Hizbullah in July of this year, the terror organization returned the bodies of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in exchange for five Arab terrorists held in Israeli jails, as well as 199 terrorists' remains.

"Where were you then, Mr. Barak?" Prof. Aumann asked rhetorically. "Did you not understand that you were making the return of a live soldier to his family more remote, perhaps with no practical possibility to attain that goal? This cycle of terror has to come to an end. We must think about the future, not just about the present."

The Jewish Statesmanship Center For Strategic Planning is located in Kedumim, in the center of Samaria. It is an elite non-profit institution, aimed at creating an alternative, ideologically based intellectual and political leadership for the state of Israel. The center seeks to create a new national agenda, based on Jewish sources and what they see as "the historic mission of the Jewish nation."

Have you forgotten this story?

Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama

They consider him receptive despite his clear support of Israel.
By Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 10, 2008-first posted

CHICAGO — It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."

Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended. He and Khalidi have seen each other only fleetingly in recent years.

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed.

At Khalidi's 2003 farewell party, for example, a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace."

One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."

Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground. But his presence at such events, as he worked to build a political base in Chicago, has led some Palestinian leaders to believe that he might deal differently with the Middle East than either of his opponents for the White House.

"I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates," said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine, referring to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began after the 1967 war. More than his rivals for the White House, Ibish said, Obama sees a "moral imperative" in resolving the conflict and is most likely to apply pressure to both sides to make concessions.

"That's my personal opinion," Ibish said, "and I think it for a very large number of circumstantial reasons, and what he's said."

Aides say that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans reflect only his ability to interact with a wide diversity of people, and that his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been consistent. Obama has called himself a "stalwart" supporter of the Jewish state and its security needs. He believes in an eventual two-state solution in which Jewish and Palestinian nations exist in peace, which is consistent with current U.S. policy.

Obama also calls for the U.S. to talk to such declared enemies as Iran, Syria and Cuba. But he argues that the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, is an exception, calling it a terrorist group that should renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist before dialogue begins. That viewpoint, which also matches current U.S. policy, clashes with that of many Palestinian advocates who urge the United States and Israel to treat Hamas as a partner in negotiations.

"Barack's belief is that it's important to understand other points of view, even if you can't agree with them," said his longtime political strategist, David Axelrod.

Obama "can disagree without shunning or demonizing those with other views," he said. "That's far different than the suggestion that he somehow tailors his view."

Looking for clues

But because Obama is relatively new on the national political scene, and new to foreign policy questions such as the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides have been looking closely for clues to what role he would play in that dispute.

And both sides, on certain issues, have interpreted Obama's remarks as supporting their point of view.

Last year, for example, Obama was quoted saying that "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people." The candidate later said the remark had been taken out of context, and that he meant that the Palestinians were suffering "from the failure of the Palestinian leadership [in Gaza] to recognize Israel" and to renounce violence.

Jewish leaders were satisfied with Obama's explanation, but some Palestinian leaders, including Ibish, took the original quotation as a sign of the candidate's empathy for their plight.

Obama's willingness to befriend Palestinian Americans and to hear their views also impressed, and even excited, a community that says it does not often have the ear of the political establishment.

Among other community events, Obama in 1998 attended a speech by Edward Said, the late Columbia University professor and a leading intellectual in the Palestinian movement. According to a news account of the speech, Said called that day for a nonviolent campaign "against settlements, against Israeli apartheid."

The use of such language to describe Israel's policies has drawn vehement objection from Israel's defenders in the United States. A photo on the pro-Palestinian website the Electronic Intifada shows Obama and his wife, Michelle, engaged in conversation at the dinner table with Said, and later listening to Said's keynote address. Obama had taken an English class from Said as an undergraduate at Columbia University.

Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian rights activist in Chicago who helps run Electronic Intifada, said that he met Obama several times at Palestinian and Arab American community events. At one, a 2000 fundraiser at a private home, Obama called for the U.S. to take an "even-handed" approach toward Israel, Abunimah wrote in an article on the website last year. He did not cite Obama's specific criticisms.

Abunimah, in a Times interview and on his website, said Obama seemed sympathetic to the Palestinian cause but more circumspect as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.

Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn't talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.

Obama, through his aide Axelrod, denied he ever said those words, and Abunimah's account could not be independently verified.

"In no way did he take a position privately that he hasn't taken publicly and consistently," Axelrod said of Obama. "He always had expressed solicitude for the Palestinian people, who have been ill-served and have suffered greatly from the refusal of their leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist."

In Chicago, one of Obama's friends was Khalidi, a highly visible figure in the Arab American community.

In the 1970s, when Khalidi taught at a university in Beirut, he often spoke to reporters on behalf of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. In the early 1990s, he advised the Palestinian delegation during peace negotiations. Khalidi now occupies a prestigious professorship of Arab studies at Columbia.

He is seen as a moderate in Palestinian circles, having decried suicide bombings against civilians as a "war crime" and criticized the conduct of Hamas and other Palestinian leaders. Still, many of Khalidi's opinions are troubling to pro-Israel activists, such as his defense of Palestinians' right to resist Israeli occupation and his critique of U.S. policy as biased toward Israel.

While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi and his wife lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood near the Obamas. The families became friends and dinner companions.

In 2000, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, a social service group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi received a $40,000 grant from a local charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, when Obama served on the fund's board of directors.

At Khalidi's going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. "You will not have a better senator under any circumstances," Khalidi said.

The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.

Though Khalidi has seen little of Sen. Obama in recent years, Michelle Obama attended a party several months ago celebrating the marriage of the Khalidis' daughter.

In interviews with The Times, Khalidi declined to discuss specifics of private talks over the years with Obama. He did not begrudge his friend for being out of touch, or for focusing more these days on his support for Israel -- a stance that Khalidi calls a requirement to win a national election in the U.S., just as wooing Chicago's large Arab American community was important for winning local elections.

Khalidi added that he strongly disagrees with Obama's current views on Israel, and often disagreed with him during their talks over the years. But he added that Obama, because of his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians.

"He has family literally all over the world," Khalidi said. "I feel a kindred spirit from that."

Ties with Israel

Even as he won support in Chicago's Palestinian community, Obama tried to forge ties with advocates for Israel.

In 2000, he submitted a policy paper to CityPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee, that among other things supported a unified Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a position far out of step from that of his Palestinian friends. The PAC concluded that Obama's position paper "suggests he is strongly pro-Israel on all of the major issues."

In 2002, as a rash of suicide bombings struck Israel, Obama sought out a Jewish colleague in the state Senate and asked whether he could sign onto a measure calling on Palestinian leaders to denounce violence. "He came to me and said, 'I want to have my name next to yours,' " said his former state Senate colleague Ira Silverstein, an observant Jew.

As a presidential candidate, Obama has won support from such prominent Chicago Jewish leaders as Penny Pritzker, a member of the family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, and who is now his campaign finance chair, and from Lee Rosenberg, a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Nationally, Obama continues to face skepticism from some Jewish leaders who are wary of his long association with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who had made racially incendiary comments during several sermons that recently became widely known. Questions have persisted about Wright in part because of the recent revelation that his church bulletin reprinted a Times op-ed written by a leader of Hamas.

One Jewish leader said he viewed Obama's outreach to Palestinian activists, such as Said, in the light of his relationship to Wright.

"In the context of spending 20 years in a church where now it is clear the anti-Israel rhetoric was there, was repeated, . . . that's what makes his presence at an Arab American event with a Said a greater concern," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director for the Anti-Defamation League.

peter.wallsten@latimes.com

Al-Qaeda and the elections revisited

A good corrective by Walid Phares to the liberal media's insistence that al-Qaeda prefers McCain over Obama, and is actively trying to see to it that the former wins the election.

"Walid Phares explains al-Qaeda 'endorsement' of McCain," by Rick Moran for American Thinker, October 23: Liberal blogs and websites were falling all over themselves yesterday, breathlessly and gleefully reporting that an al-Qaeda sympathetic website had come out and "endorsed" John McCain for president.

The reason they did this is because back in 2004, John Kerry said his loss to George Bush was not because he was one of the most boring, flip flopping, far left liberal candidates in history but because Osama Bin Laden released a tape a few days before the election that echoed many of the same talking points being pushed at the time by Democrats.

Well the simple minded fools now believe that this "endorsement" of McCain will have the same effect. Aside from the laughably ridiculous notion that anyone believes John McCain would be a better president for al-Qaeda than Barack "root causes" Obama, frequent AT contributor Dr. Walid Phares gives us the real reason behind this move by the terrorists:

[Writes Phares:] "If McCain is elected, al Qaeda knows that there will be different teams of advisors to wage a different type of campaign. The Jihadists are very knowledgeable about American and European intellectual debates. They also know the thinking process of the counterterrorism teams under Obama. Hence, there is a difference between what al Qaeda's decision-makers and their analysts know, and what their propagandists wish to instill in the U.S. election debate. What they state should be translated and understood only within the greater picture of what they want to achieve.

Al Qaeda's propagandists operate within the realm of what the Jihadi machine has created in terms of political culture over the years. The main ideas are that the U.S., under President Bush, tried but failed to destroy al Qaeda; hence, the Jihadist narrative says that any next U.S. President who continues the policies of the Bush Administration will give victory to al Qaeda. Inserting their arguments in the ongoing Presidential debate, this means that the candidate who advances Bush strategies will be better for the goals of Bin Laden. Hence the site's assertion that al Qaeda welcomes a McCain victory (in a sarcastic style).

But this tactic used by the Jihadi propagandists is part of a reverse psychology. It aims at sending a message to the American voters: if you want al Qaeda to win, vote for McCain. The Jihadi web sites cannot state it otherwise, such as if you want the U.S. to win, vote for Obama, because in Jihadi war doctrines there cannot be a victory for America, under any President. Hence, what al Qaeda seems to be attempting to achieve is to affect the perception of the undecided voters by stating to them that the strength of McCain in the war on terror is not really strength. Therefore, in the end, the move is aimed at sinking the chances of the former U.S. Navy Pilot by crumbling the support among undecided voters who might ultimately have come to his camp as late as D Day.

Of course, such subtleties are too much for our leftist friends on the internet. It won't alter either their political perception nor would any of this change their belief that a McCain election actually would be inimicable to our efforts to destroy al-Qaeda - that is, if destruction of the terrorists is what they want. They would much prefer to send them food, educate them, teach them how to improve their economies - all the things al-Qaeda could care less about. What they want are dead westerners and anything that furthers that goal - say, endorsing the stronger candidate believing it will adversely affect his chances thus electing someone weaker than McCain - seems to escape our leftist friends who are doing a victory dance over the terrorists endorsing McCain.

Islamic Jihad: Palestinian discord due to a "slow down" against Israel

Israel: damned either which way. So now, all the civil strife between Hamas and Fatah is due to those organizations losing sight of the real enemy, Israel. Makes sense -- especially since this sort of thing has plenty of precedents in Islamic history. Take the Islamic conquests, for example. Immediately after Muhammad's death (632), most of the Arab tribes tried to break away from Muslim authority, which led to the Ridda Wars (or "Apostasy Wars"), dominating the first caliph, Abu Bakr's, short reign (632-634). These civil wars were extremely bloody; tens of thousands of apostates were slain. Second caliph Omar, upon ascension, knew that the best way to put an end to the civil strife was to direct the Arabs' collective bellicosity to other peoples -- all in the name of jihad -- setting off the Islamic conquests. Ironically, one of the very first infidel regions to be conquered was Jerusalem. Thus today, since Muslims are losing focus on Israel, they fight and kill each other in Palestine -- or at least that's Islamic Jihad's take on it.

"Islamic Jihad Movement considers a slow down against Israel as leading to difficulties for the Palestinian people," from Al-Summaria, October 25 (my translation):

During the ceremony of the 31st anniversary of the assassination of the the Islamic Jihad Movement's founder, Fathi al-Shiqaqi, the current leader, Nafidh Azzam, considers a slowing down [of operations] against Israel as creating only difficulties for the Palestinian people's jihad, leading to only an increase in division and internal strife. He called on the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to halt negotiations with the Hebrew state. Similarly, Azzam demanded a halt to political arrests between Fatah and Hamas, stressing the need to support a reconciliation and end the division, easing the way for dialogue.
Thanks Jihad Watch