Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sderot resident appeals to Obama

Pinchas Amar asks President-Elect to keep his promise from July to protect town residents from rocket fire. In Ashkelon, school canceled and police ask residents not to hold a protest because of safety concerns
Shmulik Hadad

A few months ago, US President-Elect Barack Obama stood in the Sderot home of Pinchas Amar and promised an end to rocket fire. Friday, after one of the Qassams among the repeated rocket barrages landed near his home, the resident of the beleaguered Negev town sent out an appeal to the new American leader. "Obama promised me, in my home, in front of the media, that he wouldn't allow the rocket fire to continue. My message to him is: Keep your promise," said Amar, who, along with his wife, was injured in earlier rocket fire.

"I was barely able to reach the secure room," said Amar, who was recently restricted to a wheelchair after falling off a ladder. "I heard a scary blast… I hope Shabbat will be quiet."

Residents of a nearby kibbutz, also the victim of a rocket attack, expressed similar sentiments. "It was really scary… and the worst part is that they've only recently started building secure rooms here, meaning that not all of the rooms are completed or accessible," they said.

Meanwhile, slightly to the north, the Ashkelon school board announced that school would be canceled on Sunday. Eli Shato, the head of the school board said, "We told parents that we're not waiting and are canceling school. There's not a single fortified structure and I'm not willing to endanger the children."

Also in Ashkelon, local resident Ran Yedai had attempted unsuccessfully to form a security staff during the ceasefire. Friday, he said, he had received several phone calls from other concerned citizens interested in taking part in such efforts, pursuant to the rocket attacks.

Another city resident, Ronen Alush, wanted to stage a protest against government inaction on the issue of the rocket attacks on the Negev but was asked by police to refrain from doing this, so as not to endanger residents.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toward a New Negotiating Paradigm

Mohammad Yaghi November, 2008
Arab Reform Bulletin

As the new U.S. president considers whether to try to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, he must understand the new realities shaping the conflict. It is well-known that Palestinians are divided into two major camps, Fatah and Hamas, who contest which truly represents the Palestinian people and diverge over strategy and tactics. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), dominated by Fatah, rules the West Bank, believes in negotiations, and sees the establishment of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967 as an end to the conflict. But it also can barely preserve itself in power despite enormous financial support from the international community. Hamas, on the other hand, controls Gaza and enjoys support among many Palestinians in the diaspora. It relies on armed resistance and terrorism and says it would be willing to reach a long-term truce with Israel but that ultimately Palestinians must rule all of historic Palestine.
What the new U.S. president needs to understand about the rift between Fatah and Hamas is that it does not matter whether Washington supports or rejects reconciliation efforts. Regardless of the U.S. position, this contention among brothers will continue; even if they reach an accord, it will not last. Other factors adding to this gloomy picture are the fact that Israel continues to construct new settlements and expands older ones in the West Bank and that it has built a security wall inside the presumed borders of the future Palestinian state.

Conscious of these developments, many observers now say that a two- state solution is no longer possible. But this is not necessarily true; what has collapsed is not the principle of sharing the land, but the idea that the way to reach this goal is through bilateral negotiations between the PLO and Israel.

Indeed, the days when the PLO could claim to represent all Palestinians are over. Now it lacks both the mandate to sign an accord with Israel and the capacity to implement one. Moreover, Israel has made progress on security issues a precondition for compromise over permanent status issues. But eight years of mutual violence since the failure of negotiations in 2000 makes it hard to believe the PLO will ever fulfill this condition.
Rather than continuing the process begun at Annapolis, the new U.S. administration needs to consider a two track strategy. The first track would aim to empower moderate Palestinians to expand their base of support in order to pave the road for peace and to ensure that an agreement can be implemented. This can be achieved by improving the economic situation of Palestinians, removing the checkpoints that hamper movement, insisting on reform of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, freezing construction of Israeli settlements, and prolonging the Israeli-Hamas truce in Gaza.

The second track should establish a new paradigm for negotiations in which the Arab countries together would negotiate with Israel to solve the Palestinian question as part of the wider conflict between Israel on one side, and Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians on the other. In contemplating such a dramatically different approach, it is legitimate to ask on which basis negotiations would proceed, why this new approach would be more promising than the bilateral talks begun at Annapolis, what would be in it for Israel, and whether the Arab countries and Palestinians would support it.

Regarding the basis for such negotiations, the idea would not be to convince the Arabs to drop their peace initiative of March 2002 or to press Israel to accept it, but rather to begin from the principles that both sides agreed to at the 1991 Madrid conference: land for peace and UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. Under this new approach, Arab countries would substitute for the weak and divided Palestinians. They would bargain collectively, through the League of Arab States, with Israel to reach a solution that included security arrangements for all parties. An agreement on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees reached with all Arab states would be stronger and more durable than one reached with Palestinians alone. Such an accord would put Hamas and Hizbollah on the defensive; their choices would be to torpedo the agreement and confront all Arab countries including their ally Syria, or live with it and transform themselves into unarmed political parties.

For its part, Israel would reap several benefits. It would obtain security arrangements in which it could have confidence and normalize its relations with all Arab countries. Moreover, there is every reason to believe that Israel would obtain these advantages in the context of an agreement with Arab states on Palestinian issues that would be along the lines of the principles Israel and the PLO have agreed on in past talks including on sensitive issues such as territorial swaps, refugee issues, and shared sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The Arab countries have vital interests in resolving the conflict with Israel. Iran’s increased influence in the Middle East and the rising power of Hamas in Palestine and Hizbollah in Lebanon have made them more vulnerable to domestic pressure from Islamic movements that use the conflict to advance their political ambitions. Still, Arab states might shy away from direct negotiations with Israel, preferring to hide behind the Palestinians when it comes to making the necessary compromises for peace. At the time of the 1991 Madrid conference, Syria and Lebanon were against separating the negotiations tracks but much has changed since then. Perhaps the most serious obstacle would be getting Palestinians to sacrifice their independence and accept a kind of trusteeship from the Arab League.

It remains for the United States to examine the advantages of such an approach and encourage Israel, Palestinians, and Arab states to endorse it. In this context, the new U.S. president should keep in mind that the Arabs already implicitly proposed this approach via their peace initiative five years ago, and recently Israeli Labor Party leader Ehud Barak has stated that he and Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni are considering responding positively to that initiative.

Obama's Pal Rashidi Was PLO Terror Spokesman

A number of blogs and commentators have exposed the deep connections between Barack Obama, William Ayers and "Palestinian sympathizer" Rashid Khalidi.

But here's the smoking gun. It turns out that Rashid Khalidi was much more than a "sympathizer." He was a paid spokesman for the PLO in 1978, when it was exclusively an unabashed terrorist organization, and was of course categorized as such by the United States. The evidence appears in none other than the New York Times. So why don't others have the story? 1978 archives are not searchable because they are only available on microfilm. It took an intrepid IRIS associate to dig up the article:

If the Israelis had any brains they could neutralize Palestinian irredentism just by giving back the West Bank," asserted Rashid Khalidy, an American-educated Palestinian who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut and also works for the P.L.O. "It would split us."

As detailed in Campus Watch Rashid Khalidi is trying to weasel out of having worked for the PLO:

Mr. Khalidi dismisses the allegation that he served as a PLO spokesman, saying, "I often spoke to journalists in Beirut, who usually cited me without attribution as a well-informed Palestinian source. If some misidentified me at the time, I am not aware of it."

Khalidi and Khalidy are clearly the same person. According to the Columbia Spectator, he was a professor at the American University in Beirut before his first stint at Columbia:

Khalidi came to Columbia in 1985 after teaching at Lebanese University and American University in Beirut. He has taught in political science and history departments.

According to the New York Times, the Columbia Khalidi seems to have known Arafat from that time period:

Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor at the University of Chicago who has known Mr. Arafat since the 1970's, said he visited Mr. Arafat recently and found him battered not only by the Israeli siege that confined him to his headquarters here but also by the recent calls for reform.

Khalidi should come clean about his terrorist connections. Here is what Khalidi's employer did a few weeks after his Times interview:

On March 11, 1978 eleven terrorists, again coming from Lebanon with Zoadic rubber commando dinghies, landed at the beach of Kibbutz Ma?agan Michael. They killed an American photographer and a taxi driver and hijacked a bus, whose passengers, including many children, were on a day-trip to the north. The hijackers forced the driver to return to Tel Aviv. Driving on the coastal highway, the terrorists fired on passing cars from the bus.

When the bus approached a blockade set up by the police at an entrance to Tel Aviv, a shootout took place. The terrorists left the bus and fired missiles. The bus burst into flames and most of the passengers were either burned alive or killed by terrorist gunfire.

The massacre left 35 innocent people dead and 100 injured. The terrorists were identified as belonging to Fatah; nine were killed and two captured.

This would explain why Obama mentor William Ayers dedicated his book to Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian terrorist who assassinated Robert Kennedy for his pro-Israel views. Ayers was very close to Khalidi and Obama, and was in attendance at the 2003 party in Khalidi's honor in which Obama toasted the PLO spokesman. The Los Angeles Times, which has been accused of partisan support of Obama, is refusing to release the tape of the event. It is alleged that Obama denounced Israel at the event in anti-Semitic terms.

(Hat tip: Michael S.)

A Tale of Two Ceremonies

P. David Hornik | 11/14/2008

At the special Knesset session on Monday marking thirteen years since Yitzhak Rabin’s death, outgoing Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said:

“…the decisive moment is growing closer and we are standing at its threshold…. Whoever thinks…he can avoid the decision while at the same time maintaining Israel’s international position…and also benefit from the warm and supporting embrace of the leaders of the Western world…is deluding himself…. Whoever thinks it is possible to avoid the decision and continue to build a broad system of relations with Arab and Muslim countries, as we are doing today—is living in a dream…. The Government, any government, must tell the truth, and this truth, unfortunately, will obligate us to rip away many portions of the homeland—in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights….”

At a memorial rally in Ramallah on Tuesday marking four years since Yasser Arafat’s death, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (also possibly outgoing) said:

“The Palestinian leadership will continue to follow Yasser Arafat's path until a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established…. The path of the shahids—Arafat, George Habash and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin—is the path that we cherish….” Arafat was, of course, the preeminent terrorist of the 20th century whose acts of slaughter against Israelis continued up to his death in the form of suicide bombings. Habash was the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an offshoot of Arafat’s PLO known for decades of terrorism—from a spate of airplane hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s to the assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001 and subsequent suicide bombings. Yassin was the Hamas leader who before his assassination by Israel in 2004 compiled a bloody record of suicide- and other terror.

Abbas also said at the same rally:

“We rejected Israeli proposals that stipulated making concessions including on Jerusalem and the refugees…. We either get all six points—Jerusalem, settlements, borders, refugees, water and security—or nothing at all.”

Olmert’s statement stirred sharp reactions in Israel including from members of his own Kadima Party. It was noted that, whereas Kadima had run for office on a centrist platform, Olmert’s statement had veered farther to the Left than any Israeli prime minister ever had in public. Prime-ministerial aspirant and current foreign minister Tzipi Livni, also of Kadima, dissociated herself from Olmert’s words in a radio interview saying, “As the head of the Kadima Party, I am obligated not to the parting words of Olmert, but to Kadima’s platform, which I wrote and in which I believe.”

Many, though, have a hard time being reassured by Livni, who in a speech at Tel Aviv University last June seemed to say that Israel’s legitimacy as a state was a function of the creation of a Palestinian state. The current widespread expectation in the country is that Livni and Kadima will be defeated in the upcoming February elections by Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud.

1. Olmert’s inclusion of the Golan Heights among the “portions of the homeland” to be “ripped away” gives the lie to those who base the alleged need for Israeli concessions on demography and on the alleged moral or prudential need for Palestinian sovereignty. Israel faces no demographic issue in the Golan and if relinquished it would revert to being a tiny part of Syria. Clearly, Olmert bases his message on a perceived need to appease the Western, Arab, and Muslim world, and with virtually the entire Israeli Left sharing his eagerness to cede the Golan along with Judea, Samaria, and parts of Jerusalem, they clearly are basically driven by that same longing for acceptance. Such a bending to international will threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy when fewer and fewer Israeli leaders have the backbone to tell the world why further capitulation—even after the glaring and bloody precedents of southern Lebanon, Gaza, and the parts of Judea and Samaria already ceded to Palestinian rule—is suicidal to Israel and destabilizing to the rest of the world.

2. In conveying a sense of urgency about the need for concessions—“the decisive moment is growing closer”—Olmert’s delusionality, and that of people who think like him, is startling. It is not only that the (nominally) Fatah-ruled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza are now two distinct political entities that at present are growing farther apart despite attempts at reconciliation, or that not even Israeli leaders like Olmert and Livni have suggested for a moment—at least publicly—that Hamas has any interest whatsoever in peace and compromise with Israel. It is also that Abbas’s “six points” on which he refuses to budge—Jerusalem, settlements, borders, refugees, water and security—signify a fundamental rejection by Fatah of Israeli positions, and of Israel itself, that Israeli and U.S. officials have been ignoring or denying for at least fifteen years.

To take just one of the six points, refugees, at all key junctures of these negotiations—including Camp David in 2000—the Fatah representatives, whether Abbas, Arafat before him, or their various minions, have posed it as an implacable demand despite wall-to-wall Israeli recognition that the “return” of “refugees” (unless—some believe—minor and symbolic) entails Israel’s dissolution. For Israeli leaders and their American backers to continue imperviously along this same path despite its repeated and guaranteed failure is a frightening case of political obtuseness and irrationality.

3. It goes without saying that Abbas’s statement that “The path of the shahids—Arafat, George Habash and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin—is the path that we cherish” has been ignored by the Israeli prime minister and foreign minister; the U.S. president, secretary of state, and president-elect; the UN secretary-general; and the European leadership. In this they are guilty of gross irresponsibility toward matters of life and death, overlooking in their cowardice the fact that Abbas, addressing a crowd of thousands of Palestinians at a major communal event, chose not to give a message of peace but to extol three mass murderers as heroes and models.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

Palestinian PM: Peace process endangered by settlements

Salam Fayyad says during visit to France 'efficient international action needed to change status quo, put pressure on Israel to respect its obligations in accordance with Road Map for peace initiative'

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday that Israel was endangering the peace process by refusing to respect its commitment to halt West Bank settlement. "We need efficient international action in order to change the status quo and to put pressure on Israel to respect its obligations in accordance with the (US-backed) Road Map for peace initiative," Fayyad told said during a visit to France.

Fayyad, who met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, added that "the basis for settling the (Israeli-Palestinan) conflict should be international law."

Kouchner, for his part, said that the establishment of a Palestinian state was a "shared goal" and that "the upcoming Israeli elections and the election of a new administration in Washington should not serve as excuses to halt the peace process."

Also on Thursday, Tzipi Livni met with outgoing American President George W. Bush at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The Israeli foreign minister said the world must remember that Bush put the peace talks on the right track after years of terror.

Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to the report

Comment: The beginning of intense pressure has begun. With the assistance of the media, both local and international, coupled with Left-Wing and so-called "centrist politicians, the strategy of defaming the "settlers" is moving forward with full force. It is so transparent! If you want to "give up" the "occupied territories" of course you paint and/or wordsmith the "settlers" as evil out of control agents of a vast right-wing group. ENOUGH!! Time to step back, examine your history carefully-stop repeating the revisionists with fancy labels and 3 letters after their name. Time to investigate what previous Israelis really did say and believe-start with Rabin! These "settler" are fellow Israeli citizens-this is a good beginning for our research.

When will Israel respond?

Sane Arab world fails to understand why Israel refrains from hitting Hamas
Moshe Elad

I’ll start with the bottom line: The moderate and sane Arab world is expecting an Israeli blow against Hamas’ leadership, including its organizational infrastructure and resources. In the face of what’s been happening recently, there is quiet and anxious expectation for “Israel to respond already,” because the Arabs are uneasy about seeing Hamas creating a balance of terror vis-à-vis Israel. One of the main arguments of Hamas heads vis-à-vis Yasser Arafat was that as Palestinian Authority president he failed in creating such balance of terror. The angry Arafat prided himself in the 1990s on “Barghouti’s Tanzim,” a militant group comprising thousands of gunmen who “objected” to peace with Israel; thereby, Arafat could claim that simultaneously to the peace process, the PA is also leading some resistance.

Yet the truth is that Arafat was appreciated and admired because he did not threaten Israel with a deterring balance of terror. Hamas, just like Hizbullah – another ostracized and criticized Islamic group – was talking about a whole different kind of balance of terror. Back in those days already, it was preparing a network of bombers and recruited legions of suicide terrorists with the aim of hurting Israel as much as is possible. “Once we take power,” Hamas leaders said at the time,” we shall teach the Zionist enemy all about a balance of terror.”

They said they would do it, and they did. There are those who mistakenly interpreted Hamas’ willingness to agree to the latest lull as the interest of a boxer seeking to avoid a knockout blow by taking a break. “People in the know” claimed that Hamas was on the brink of collapse and that the lull saved it from disaster, no less. Yet now it turns out that the aspiration for a lull was a well planed tactical phase in creating a system of deterrence vis-à-vis our leaders in Jerusalem.

Overall, every move undertaken by Hamas, ranging from fundraising abroad to deploying its forces on the frontlines vis-à-vis Israel, must not be received with simplistic and disparaging interpretations. When one hears the declarations made by Hamas spokespersons, and when one sees the order among its ranks, as opposed to the chaos that prevailed among Arafat’s people, it would be good to address what goes on in Gaza with a little more seriousness.

The penny dropped for decision-makers in Jerusalem recently, yet it appears it has not dropped completely yet. Suddenly, our leaders are concerned about the price paid by Israel in the wake of the lull with Hamas; a price that manifests itself through huge quantities of smuggled weapons meant to be used against Israel’s southern cities at the moment of truth.

So why hasn’t the penny dropped completely yet? Because Hamas expected Israel to punish the group for its actions militarily, rather than by using civilian means – a type of response that lacks real meaning in the Strip. Our reluctance to violate the lull despite the Qassam rocket attacks is being perceived by Hamas as an inability to target its leaders as we did in the past.

Image of weakness

Hamas interprets Israel’s conduct as grave weakness by those who sacrifice strategic principles in exchange for short-term relative quiet – therefore, Hamas is celebrating its victory. Sources in the Strip dismiss the frequent border crossing closures in response to lull violations by opposition elements. They don’t get overly excited by it, and look who they sent to respond to it in the media…the official in charge of electricity supply. The equation is clear: Israel is battling “peaceful” residents and fighting generators and supermarkets. In Hamas’ view, Israel is scared to confront the group’s leaders.

Hamas is rubbing its hands with glee: In the dilemma between enabling the group’s threatening military buildup in exchange for short-term relative quiet and the daily Qassam attacks and disruption of life in Sderot and the Gaza region, Israel chose the first option, just like Hamas hoped it would. Hamas conducts itself like a government that does not fear an IDF invasion. If in the past this was only done for domestic purposes, recently the movement has been conveying outwardly as well the achievement of creating a balance of terror vis-à-vis Israel.

Some will say this isn’t true, and that Israel still deters Hamas. However, the bombing of the Syrian reactor and the assassination of Imad Mugniyah and other terror figures, which have been attributed to Israel by the international media, have not prompted Hamas to engage in any second thoughts. On the contrary, Hamas believes that it, along with Hizbullah, serves as the only Arab bridgehead threatening Israel’s existence.

The common perception among Arab commentators is that Israel has ceased to be the “threatening Israel.” Observers are trying to figure out who advises Israel’s leaders to adopt the kind of moves we see in Gaza. Arab observers are likening Israel to a giant whose arms are tied behind its back, while it idly watches the “tunnel youth” flooding the Strip with bombs that can target Israeli communities far away from Gaza.

Venomous contempt is directed at Israeli and Egyptian negotiators, who instead of creating deterrence vis-à-vis Hamas capitulate in the face of its demands time and again, in order to secure yet another day of quiet. Israel’s leaders are portrayed as men in dresses (a hint to the costume used by Defense Minister Barak during an Israeli operation in Beirut in the 1970s,) a harsh image of weakness accompanied by idle threats.

Between the lines, we can understand that the sane Arab world objects to Hamas’ conduct, even if quietly. If there is a sort of consensus in the Arab world regarding who should not be “ruling the territories,” the answer is Hamas. Therefore, the repeated question is: How long will Israel show restraint? How far would Israel let Hamas go? That is, when will Israel announce its intention to deliver a powerful blow against Hamas leaders and its organizational infrastructure? Observers in Amman, Cairo, Rabat, and Riyadh will not be sorry to see it happening.

Colonel (res.) Moshe Elad served in various posts in the territories and currently researches Palestinian society at the Shmuel Neeman Institute at the Technion. He also serves as a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Embarrassing blow to Likud

Jerusalem election results a blow to Likud, but will this affect general elections?
Attila Somfalvi

Part 2 of analysis by Attila Somfalvi

Another question we can ask is which party does newly elected Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat belong to? Does he belong to Kadima, the party he used to be part of in the past? Does he belong to the capital's secular residents, who suddenly woke up? Or perhaps he is affiliated with Labor, as party members attempted to hint Wednesday morning, making note of Barkat elections events attended by Ehud Barak and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer? One thing we can say with certainty is that Barkat is apparently not a member of Likud for now, a party that suffered an embarrassing blow in the capital. Benjamin Netanyahu and his party invested great efforts in Jerusalem, yet the results are discouraging: It is doubtful whether Likud would be able to get even one representative into city council. In terms of the image this conveys, we are talking about a harsh blow for a movement that has been leading in the polls lately.

Yet will this affect the general elections? That is highly doubtful. In recent years, the link between municipal elections and general elections has been weak, and therefore it would be a mistake to rule that Likud's defeat in Jerusalem is also a harbinger of a Likud defeat in the city in the upcoming general elections.

And what about Labor? Party officials are quick to take full responsibility for the achievements of Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai, as well as several others election winners. Party Secretary General Eitan Cabel encouraged the party's detachment from local elections lists in recent weeks, yet this morning he was sounding pleased over the elections results, as if he was the spiritual father of countless independent lists which Labor supported nationwide.

And despite all, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the smaller lists. Yisrael Beiteinu had fielded candidates in 47 local authorities nationwide, with most of their campaigns being premised on party leader Avigdor Lieberman's image. Hundreds of billboards with Lieberman's photo and the slogan "Lieberman Now" were posted across the country, as if he was the only candidate everywhere.

Yet in this particularly case, because of the direct link created by campaign managers between Lieberman and his party representatives at the various communities, and the party's strengthening in the recent elections, the results may attest to what we can expect in the general elections as well.

The Divide within: Seculars, Jerusalem isn't yours

Mordechai Lavi says secular Jerusalemites to pay heavy price for Barkat's election win
Mordechai Lavi

I'm a Jerusalemite, I'm ultra-Orthodox, and I'm very sad. I'm not sad because secular candidate Nir Barkat defeated Orthodox candidate Meir Porush. I'm sad because an internal ultra-Orthodox struggle prompted many community members to simply fight themselves, vote against Porush, and bring about his loss. I knew this defeat would come. I knew it the moment I read about the recording of Porush in an ultra-Orthodox event, saying that in 10-15 years there will be no more secular candidates. The fact that an Orthodox person was willing to share this sensitive information with secular media outlets said it all.

Porush's rivals realized they are holding explosive material and were willing to do anything to bring him down, shatter his spirit, and minimize his chances. At that moment, I got it. When someone inside the community is willing to do something like that and undermine the interests of the entire Orthodox sector in the gravest, crudest, and most manipulative manner, the conclusion is clear: The battle had been decided.

Nir Barkat did not win. Nir Barkat lost. He didn't quite sweep the masses who he promised would come out and vote against the Orthodox. He received, not because of anything he did, thousands of votes from ultra-Orthodox who merely wanted to hurt the Orthodox candidate. This was a protest vote, and I say it unequivocally: If it wasn't for the internal strife, Barkat would keep on dreaming.

Orthodox to get more
Secular Jerusalemites, don't be confused (and don't take what I'm about to say too hard.) Jerusalem isn't yours. It really isn't. Jerusalem is more ultra-Orthodox than ever, and this trend will only grow stronger. The victory is a direct result of the internal Orthodox struggle. It is indeed a miracle that we ultra-Orthodox are such great fools.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, secular voters who wanted a change. You will get change, but the opposite of what you hoped for. Jerusalem will become more Orthodox, more devout, and worse for secular residents under a secular mayor. Nir Barkat will be a mayor at the mercy of an Orthodox coalition. The implication is that the ultra-Orthodox will receive much more from him than in their rosiest dreams under an Orthodox mayor.

A secular mayor will not face the limitations faced by an Orthodox mayor – close scrutiny and legal advisors that look into every move. In the name of unity, fraternity, and clinging to power, a secular mayor will give the Orthodox everything they want. After all, you know that without the Orthodox he cannot govern.

An Orthodox mayor would not dare close shops on Shabbat, because he's Orthodox. A secular mayor won't dare open stores on Shabbat, because it will prompt a mess. He won't have the privilege of enjoying the quiet enjoyed by former Mayor Lupolianski. If Barkat hurts the Orthodox community even a tiny bit, it won't only be the zealots of Meah Shearim who will come out and set the streets on fire.

The ultra-Orthodox will only gain from Nir Barkat's victory, because a secular mayor is good for the Orthodox and bad for the seculars. The seculars will lose big time. If they would have realized how badly they would lose, they would likely come out en masse Tuesday and flood the polling stations with Meir Porush ballots.

Right now it's a little too late, but don't you worry, secular Jerusalemites; in five years you'll have the opportunity to rectify your mistake.

Jerusalem resident Mordechai Lavi is an ultra-Orthodox media personality and the leading news broadcaster of Kol Chai Radio

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PM slams 'discrimination' against Arabs

Elie leshem and staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday railed against what he termed 60 years of "deep-seated discrimination" against Arab Israelis.

"For sixty years there has been discrimination against Arabs in Israel. This discrimination is deep-seated and intolerable," Olmert said while addressing a meeting of the Knesset committee that is investigating the lack of integration of Arab citizens in public service. MK Ahmad Tibi, the chairman of the committee, had proposed establishing an apparatus to supervise the incorporation of Arabs in the Israeli public services.

World Likud Head Danny Danon lashed out at the prime minister following the remarks, saying that Olmert was overlooking efforts by Arabs to "undermine security."

"Olmert thinks that in his final months as prime minister he can dole out statements that will cause his failures and deeds to be forgotten," Dannon said in a statement. "This week he declared that it is necessary to cede land to our enemies and today he is ignoring the efforts of the Israeli Arab leadership, which is doing everything in its power to undermine state security."
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1226404714904&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Yes, They Can ... Impose Sharia Law

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. | 11/12/2008

Sen. Barack Obama became president-elect on the uplifting, if inexact, slogan, "Yes, we can."

This week, there is growing evidence that people who have in mind doing away with the presidency of the United States - and all other aspects of our secular, democratic and constitutional form of government - are similarly convinced of their inevitable success. Judging by the sheer audacity of their agenda, "Yes, they can" would appear an apt description of the prospects for the Saudis and other champions of the totalitarian program they call Shariah. In the run-up to an emergency summit outgoing President Bush has called to address the now-global financial crisis, the oil-rich Islamists of the Persian Gulf led by Saudi Arabia have not only established that their petrodollars are indispensable to any solution. They also seem to have secured the Bush administration's acquiescence to the sinister strings attached to any bailout of the West in which they might participate.

Specifically, the Saudis and their friends want the United States to join those, particularly in Europe, who have accommodated themselves to Shariah. No, we are assured, they aren't taking about the brutal theo-political-legal code that features such barbaric practices as beheadings, floggings, stonings, amputations, female genital mutilation and mysogeny more generally.

All they want, those in the know insist, is for Washington to encourage Wall Street - more and more of which is owned by the U.S. government - to embrace Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF). A Treasury Department seminar convened last week depicted SCF as nothing more than a kind of socially responsible investing vehicle that respects Muslim religious beliefs by eschewing interest-bearing transactions and those involving pork and "sin" stocks. So, what's the big deal? The Catholics, Methodists and Jews have their funds, why not the Muslims?

What makes the Shariah-Compliant Finance gambit both a big and troublesome "deal" is that, unlike these other religious traditions, Shariah's adherents are pursuing a global theocracy. They believe they must impose their agenda on everybody else, religious and secular alike, using violence if necessary. And SCF is explicitly described by leading practitioners as a complement to violent holy war: "financial jihad" and "jihad with money."

In other words, there is no such thing as free-standing Shariah-Compliant Finance. According to all of the recognized authorities and institutions of Islam, Shariah is a unified, indivisible program to which all faithful Muslims must adhere comprehensively.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the Saudis & Co. are not simply seeking to insinuate Shariah-Compliant Finance into our capital markets. They are also advancing creation of a parallel Shariah-governed society through various other means.

One of these techniques will be in evidence when the Saudi monarch himself convenes a meeting in New York City in the hope of imposing Shariah blasphemy laws worldwide. In light of the stated, and seemingly benign, purpose of the so-called "Culture of Peace" event hosted by King Abdullah at the United Nations - namely, promoting interfaith understanding and tolerance, numerous world leaders, including President Bush, will be present. Never mind that Saudi Arabia is arguably the most intolerant nation on Earth, a fact even some in the Bush administration have acknowledged.

The real reason attendance at the king's seance will be impressive, of course, has more to do with the hope that petro-largess will flow to those who ingratiate themselves to the House of Saud. Abdullah appears confidently to have signaled that, if the West plays ball on the "Culture of Peace" agenda, the Saudis and their fellow Islamists will be constructive at what might be called the subsequent "Culture of Money" meeting in Washington.

What will the answer be when the Islamists insist that free speech must not allow the slander, libel or defamation of Shariah, or other aspects of their faith? If the European Union and the United Nations Human Rights Council have already accommodated themselves to this demand, why should we object? So what if, by so doing, we would effectively thereby be precluded from talking about - or even understanding - the Islamist threat we face, to say nothing of eviscerating the First Amendment? As the Treasury Department can attest, we need the money.

Unfortunately, this is no time for us to be diminishing awareness throughout the Free World of the various, grave dangers we face from adherents to Shariah's seditious program. London's Sunday Telegraph reported last weekend that a classified British government assessment has concluded there are "some thousands of extremists in the U.K. committed to supporting Jihadi activities, either in the U.K. or abroad."

Such extremists are said to be engaged in attack planning in the United Kingdom "either under the direction of al Qaeda, or inspired by al Qaeda's ideology of global Jihad" (read, Shariah). They may inflict "mass casualties" and constitute a "severe" threat to the Government Security Zone (including the Houses of Parliament and key executive offices) in the heart of London.

At such a moment, a federal judge in Oregon has held the law criminalizing material support for terror is unconstitutionally "vague." Taken together with the other manifestations of our capitulation, is it any wonder the champions of Shariah are convinced that "yes, they can" have their way with us? Who will disabuse them of this terrifying notion? We can, but will President-elect Obama lead the way?
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.

Olmert: Confrontation with Hamas inevitable

Prime minister tours Gaza Division headquarters with defense minister in tow, both pledge that while Israel is keen on maintaining current ceasefire army is prepared to act against any perceived threat
Roni Sofer

Although the shaky ceasefire with Gaza's armed groups has so far not collapsed despite repeated violations by Hamas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday warned residents of communities in southern Israel to brace for a possible escalation of the hostilities "The situation between us and Hamas is one of an inevitable clash. It's only a question of 'when,' not 'if.' And if we need to fight Hamas – then that is what we'll do. In any event we must be alert and prepared," Olmert said during a visit to the Gaza Division's headquarters.

He was accompanied by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Southern Command chief, Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant and several additional top military commanders.

Officers briefed the prime minister on the army's current undertakings in the region and the state of the armed groups in Gaza at present time – particularly Hamas. The briefing also touched on the security situation on Israel's border with Egypt.

Barak added on Olmert's comments that while Israel "has no intentions of disrupting the calm, we have an interest in maintaining it, but in a situation where we must thwart an attack against IDF troops or Israeli citizens, we will act."

The defense minister warned that the abduction of an Israeli soldier is not merely an attack on the
soldier's person but a "strategic attack, one that becomes a national problem within hours and an international problem within a day."

He stressed that the army has been ordered to prepare for any scenario. "We look at the relative calm here but know that underneath the surface something different is happening," he said.

Olmert later met with paratroopers deployed along the Gaza border, and Barak wished the military personnel accompanying the entourage success with their operations in the region.

Barkat celebrates victory in Jerusalem

Secular candidate defeats ultra-Orthodox opponent Meir Porush by 9% margin, launches festivities when preliminary results put him in lead. 'As of this morning I am mayor of all Jerusalemites,' he announces in early victory speech
Ronen Medzini

Jerusalem's secular mayoral candidate, Nir Barkat, won the municipal election Wednesday with 52% of votes. His ultra-Orthodox opponent, Meir Porush, was close behind with 43%. The results were officially declared after 703 of the 707 ballots had been counted. Billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak got 3.6% of votes and the lesser known Ale Yarok (Green Leaf Party) candidate Dan Biron emerged with less than one percent.

Barkat kicked off a victory celebration at his campaign headquarters early, after just 440 ballots had been counted, and showed him as leading with 53% of votes, while Porush lagged behind with 39%.

He announced his victory early Wednesday morning. "Tonight Jerusalem has won, tonight Israel has won, tonight the Jewish people have won," the soon-to-be mayor declared.

"Victory belongs to all those who love and cherish this special and amazing city of ours, the Jewish people's eternal capital. It belongs to the Right and the Left, it belongs to the religious and the secular."

Barkat called on the city's residents to unite. "As of this morning I am mayor of all Jerusalemites. I want to offer praise to Meir Porush and his supporters, and the public they represent," Barkat said. He concluded his speech with a blow on a shofar (ceremonial ram's horn) and the singing on the national anthem.

While Barkat's supporters erupted in cheers egging on a secular revolution after the first votes were counted, Porush's camp accepted the preliminary results with a grim disappointment.

A large number of Porush's campaign workers began to make their way home in the early morning hours, and a gathering of ultra-Orthodox youths loitering outside of Barkat's headquarters began a small-scale riot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EU MPs urged to rethink refugee issue

Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST

A gathering of hundreds of European parliamentarians who support Israel concluded over the weekend in Paris with a politically loaded discussion on the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees - one of the most sensitive issues facing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

The debate, part of a conference sponsored by the Brussels-based European Friends of Israel, came amid a groundswell of parliamentary activity around the world, including in the US and Canada, to reroute funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the mammoth UN body that deals with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, towards the resettlement of some of the refugees and their descendants in third countries. And here is the rest of it.

Obama Wins, Muslims Divided

Daniel Pipes | 11/11/2008

Ali ibn Abi-Talib, the seventh-century figure central to Shiite Islam, is said to have predicted when the world will end, columnist Amir Taheri points out. A "tall black man" commanding "the strongest army on earth" will take power "in the west." He will carry "a clear sign" from the third imam, Hussein. Ali says of the tall black man: "Shiites should have no doubt that he is with us."Barack Hussein in Arabic means "the blessing of Hussein." In Persian, Obama translates as "He [is] with us." Thus does the name of the presumptive American president-elect, when combined with his physical attributes and geography, suggest that the End of Times is nigh – precisely what Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been predicting.

Back down on earth, the Muslim reaction to Obama's victory is more mixed than one might expect.

American Islamists are delighted; an umbrella group, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Election, opined that, with Obama's election, "Our nation has … risen to new majestic heights." Siraj Wahhaj, Al-Hajj Talib Abdur Rashid, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Muslim Alliance in North America responded with similar exuberance.

For tactical reasons, the influential Sunni sheikh Yusif al-Qaradawi wanted John McCain to win.
Hamas, and Islamist movements in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, Indonesia and the Philippines are delighted in Obama's election. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch generalizes that jihadists and Islamic supremacists worldwide showed "unalloyed joy." The New York Times finds public reaction in the Middle East mostly "euphoric." John Esposito of Georgetown University emphasizes the Muslim world's welcome to Obama as an "internationalist president."But plenty of other Muslims have other views. Writing in Canada's Edmonton Sun, Salim Mansur found John McCain the "more worthy candidate." Yusif al-Qaradawi, the Al-Jazeera sheikh, endorsed McCain for opposite reasons: "This is because I prefer the obvious enemy who does not hypocritically [conceal] his hostility toward you… to the enemy who wears a mask [of friendliness]." Al-Qaradawi also argued that twice as many Iraqis died during Bill Clinton's two administrations than during George W. Bush's.

Iran's hardliners also favored a McCain victory (according to Iran's former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi) "because they benefit more from enmity with the U.S., which allows them to rally the Islamic world behind their policies and at the same time suppress dissent at home." The Taliban took note of Obama's election promise to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan, warning that, should he fulfill this plan, "jihad and resistance will be continued."

Iraqis are intensively divided about Obama's plan quickly to withdraw U.S. troops from their country. That plan, plus promises to end U.S. dependence on Middle East oil and to negotiate with Iranian leaders, rattled the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf governments.

Some commentators argue that Obama cannot make a real difference; an Iranian newspaper declares him unable to alter a system "established by capitalists, Zionists, and racists." Predictably, the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Obama's chief of staff confirmed Palestinian perceptions of an omnipotent Israel lobby. A commentator in the United Arab Emirates went further, predicting Obama's replication of Jimmy Carter's trajectory of flamboyant emergence, failure in the Middle East, and electoral defeat.

In all, these mixed reactions from Muslims suggest puzzlement at the prospect of a U.S. president of Islamic origins who promises "change," yet whose foreign policy may buckle under the constraints of his office. In other words, Muslims confront the same question mark hanging over Obama as everyone else:

Never before have Americans voted into the White House a person so unknown and enigmatic. Emerging from a hard-left background, he ran, especially in the general election, mostly as a center-left candidate. Which of these positions will he adopt as president? More precisely, where along the spectrum from hard- to center-left will he land?

Looking at the Arab-Israeli conflict, for example, will Obama's policies reflect Rashid Khalidi, the ex-PLO flak he befriended in the 1990s, or Dennis Ross, his recent campaign advisor and member of my board of editors? No one can yet say.

Still, one can predict. Should Obama return to his hard left roots, Muslim euphoria will largely continue. Should he seek to make his presidency a success by moving to the center-left, many – but hardly all – Muslims will experience severe disillusionment.
Mr. Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

An Interview With Israeli M.K. Dr. Arieh Eldad

Jerry Gordon (Nov. 2008)
Israeli Knesset Member, Dr. Arieh Eldad, is a nationalist gadfly among the country’s politicians. He is a member of the Moledet party list of the minority National Union faction that favors the willing transfer of “Palestinian” Arab refugees from the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria to the de facto Palestine: Jordan. With more than 70% of Jordan’s population composed of Palestinian Arabs, Eldad considers that the real ”two state solution.” Jordan has plenty of territory to absorb their fellow Arabs now languishing in the squalid UNWRA camps in Samaria, Judea and Gaza. Eldad and others in his party argue that international investment in agricultural production, water, energy, urban and jobs development in Jordan is required to help facilitate absorption. This has not made Dr. Eldad, a world ranked plastic surgeon and reserve Brig. General in the IDF Medical Corps by profession, a welcome party in the current discussions between the Kadima government and PA President Mahmoud Abbas leading to a possible “peace agreement.” Neither would secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the waning days of the Bush Administration look with interest on Dr. Eldad’s suggestions. The agreement under discussion is virtually in tatters given the waning days of the Bush Administration in America and the prospects for a general election in Israel. Eldad is pleased with this outcome, as it stifles any ‘shelf agreements’ from being concluded.
Eldad, however, has a more expansive agenda. He is gathering world parliamentarians in Jerusalem in December, 2008 to attend a conference on “Facing Jihad.” He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations. Eldad has traveled to conferences in Brussels and America to confer with anti-Jihadists and in the process create an alliance to oppose the Grand Jihad. In Manhattan in late September, while attending a Hudson Institute conference featuring Wilders, he took time to speak at a protest rally against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where the latter was attending an interfaith Iftar dinner during Ramadan.
Eldad’s late father, Dr. Israel Eldad was a nationalist philosopher, teacher and leader in the pre-state, Lehi resistance group. He was a Revisionist in the mold of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Dr. Eldad is frequently complimented after public talks when people come up to him and tell him that he reminds them of his father.
Eldad has excoriated Israel’s government leaders for the debacles of the unilateral withdrawal from the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza in 2005 and for the failure to defeat Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. He was injured in the massive protest and clash at the Judean hilltop settlement of Amona in February, 2006, when more than a5,000 Israeli police and IDF troops confronted 4,000 protesters. As a result of his injuries at the Amona protest, he may not be able to return to his profession as a plastic surgeon and head of the program at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.
Eldad has been a vocal critic of many public figures through his weekly columns in leading Israeli newspapers, Yediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv. Then, the editors were changed and his jeremiads against corruption in government and Israeli society were silenced. He has frequently debated with the extreme left-wing former Labor Justice Minister, Yossi Beilin. Beilin is the father of the failed Oslo Accords and Geneva Agreements.
In this wide ranging interview with Dr. Eldad, you will gain some insights into his Zionist nationalism, the necessity for Israeli political reform and the military defeat of Iran’s proxies, both Hezbollah and Hamas. The creation of an enduring alliance of Western politicians to combat the Grand Jihad poised to engulf their countries and the State of Israel is a significant element in his efforts.

Gordon: Your father, the late Israel Eldad was a heroic independence fighter, educator and opposition leader in Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) or Lehi. What can you tell us about him and his influence on you as a member of the Knesset?

Eldad: My Father, Prof. Israel Eldad, was a rare combination of a rabbinical scholar, philosopher, and underground leader in the pre-State of Israel era. He was a teacher, a trenchant idealist, but also a person full of humor and love: love of his family, his people, and the Jewish Homeland, Israel.

Orthodox Jews often refer to their fathers as "my father, my teacher". This is a very apt description of my father. He taught me the Torah and to play chess. He taught me history and what lay in the future. He taught me not to be afraid to be in the minority of prevailing opinions and always to be cautious when praised by rivals. He taught me that the Jewish people can only rely on themselves. He taught me to put my personal interest after my nation's interest, and to always seek out where I can serve my country in the most effective ways. When I was a child he took me to the fields to watch the ants. When I grew older he took me on the Ninth of Av (that sorrowful commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E and the Jewish Republic in 135 CE) to the Israel Museum. We stood before the statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who smashed the last rebellion of Bar Kochba at the fortress of Betar in Judea. My father would look into his eyes and ask him:" Nu? (Well?), where are you and where are we?"

Israel Eldad was not only a great father and a teacher. He was a prolific author of many important books. These works include: “About the Torah“ (Hegionot Mikra), memoires of his years in the Revisionist Movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the LEHI underground – "The First Tithe" (recently translated into English by Ze’ev Golan); the "Jewish Revolution" – which I was privileged to publish the second edition of recently; his lectures about the poet Uri Zvi Greenberg that I edited with my eldest daughter Karni; four volumes of articles entitled "Chronicles – the news of the past”; and eight volumes of translations of the German Philosopher Frederic Nietzsche.

My father’s writings provide me with a veritable encyclopedia and fount of wisdom. When I need answers to define our current situation, speak in a synagogue on Shabbat, or teach in a pre military preparatory school his thoughts provide answers. He taught me well and left me a living legacy of what is to be done. My best compliment is when people approach me after a talk and say: “You remind me of your father."

Gordon: As a National Union opposition leader in the Knesset, you have espoused a doctrine of “willing transfer” with regard to “Palestinian” Arab communities in Judea and Samaria. Dissident Israeli Arab citizens and even Arab Members of the Knesset (M.K.) have engaged in sedition and support of the terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas opposing Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Could you explain what “willing transfer” entails and give some examples of internal Arab sedition?

Eldad: Humanitarian resettlement of Arab refugees is neither original to me nor is it new. Arab refugees are not under the responsibility of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, but instead are controlled by a special agency designated only for Palestinians. – The UN Refugee Works Relief Administration or UNWRA. 50-70 million refugees have been resettled since the end of World War II. More than four million Palestinians are the only ones still in these UNWRA refugee camps. Because the UNWRA camps are virtually administered by Palestinians, these UNWRA refugees, now in the third generation in 60 years, have been taught incitement to hate against Israel and Jews, all thanks to funding of nearly a half billion dollar annually donated by tax payers in the West. How bad are these UNWRA Camps? An average refugee family in the camp at Balata, near Nablus, has an annual income of $700 and lives in appalling conditions. I am convinced that these people must be resettled, preferably in Jordan. Jordan is effectively, Palestine. 70% of the Jordanian population are Palestinians. This is the de facto fulfillment of "the two state solution.” If a large scale international program was created to bring water, energy, housing and jobs to a designated area in Jordan a willing transfer could happen. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan.

This plan will not solve the problem of Arab Israeli citizens who oppose the state of Israel as a Jewish state. They do not want individual rights. They want national minority rights in Israel. They demand that Israel become a Bi-National state. They are not satisfied with Jordan as the Palestinian state. They want a third state for Palestinians only. Effectively what they are seeking is a ‘Judenrein’ (Jew free in German) state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. They seek to undermine the State of Israel and reject it as a Jewish state. They want to eliminate Israel so that Jews will not have a state of their own in the world. They want to change the national Anthem “Ha’tikva" to something else that they can identify with, change the flag, and erase "the law of return" that grants Israeli citizenship to every Jew who makes Aliyah. In other words they are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel.

Gordon: You have been the leader in the formation of a new party in Israel, Ha’tikva (the “hope”). Why did you and others in Israel feel that a new secular nationalist party was required? What is the timetable for Ha’tikva implementation before the next Knesset General Election?

Eldad: I am a Member of the Knesset (Israel Parliament) for Moledet (“homeland” in Hebrew) which is part of the National Union party faction. Moledet was established by the late Minister of Tourism Rechavam Zeevi, Gandi, who was murdered by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem on October 17, 2001. Moledet embraces the idea of willing population transfer as an integral part of a comprehensive plan to achieve real peace between the Jews and the Arabs. It promotes the view that Jordan is Palestine. Moledet is neither a religious or secular party in the Knesset. It is a party for the entire national wing in Israel. After Gandi was murdered, Rabbi Benni Elon took over leadership of Moledet. It gradually merged with religious parties (Tequma, Ahi and NRP) and the National Union became a de facto religious party. Israelis who are secular and do not wear a Kippa (male Jewish head covering) did not vote for the National Union. They voted Likud. These secular nationalists were alienated by former PM Ariel Sharon when the settlements of Gush Katif in Gaza and North Samaria were uprooted. Israel Beiteinu, M.K. Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian émigré party in the Knesset also advocates the division of Jerusalem and creation of a Palestinian State. Effectively, these secular nationalists had no place to go and many simply stayed home. The National Union stands at a cross road. The Knesset faction could become a united, non-sectarian party by going to the voters and asking them in primaries to elect their representatives to the Knesset. Or the faction could become religious-only party, with a nominating committee of Rabbis' and public figures to decide who will represent it. If National Union can preserve the original spirit of Moledet I will stay. If it becomes a de facto and de jure religious party, then I will go with the newly formed Ha’tikva party list, to attract the non- religious voters in the nationalist camp. This would assure them that they can vote for a true ideological party. Only in Israel can such a split enlarge the power of the right wing nationalist camp.

Gordon: You are a world ranked plastic surgeon, Reserve Brig. General in the IDF Medical Corps, as well as an Israeli opposition Knesset member. How has that professional background influenced your membership on Knesset Committees regarding Israel’s national security and counter terrorism policies?

Eldad: I am an active member of the Labor, Welfare and Health committee of the Knesset and the chairman of sub-committees on various health issues.

My legislative efforts leverage my professional background and experience, as both a burn wound surgeon and as an IDF Commander in the Medical Corps. Unfortunately, my expertise as a plastic surgeon does not help me in the fields of national security policy making and foreign affairs. Sometimes I feel that a psychiatrist could do a better job. The decisions of the current leaders of Israel cannot be explained by any other modality in medicine.

Gordon: There was an incident at a Beersheba Hospital involving a Palestinian woman terrorist who had received skin transplant treatments authorized by you. Could you describe that incident and what it illustrates about Israeli humanitarianism versus fanatic Islamic Jihadism?

Eldad: I was instrumental in establishing the Israeli National Skin Bank, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations. This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza, who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair. We supplied all the needed Homografts for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague Prof. Lior Rosenberg, and discharged to return to Gaza. She was invited for regular follow up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheba. One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.

This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict.

Gordon: As a Knesset opposition party leader you have criticized and protested against the Sharon /Olmert governments on their unilateral withdrawal from the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza in August, 2005. Why did you oppose the Gaza disengagement? How has that retreat made Israel less secure and more vulnerable to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist rocket and missile attacks?

Eldad: People did not open their eyes and see what inevitably happened in Israel after the unilateral disengagement from Gush Katif in Gaza and Northern Samaria in August, 2005. The IDF Chief of Staff, General Moshe Ya’alon said such a step would be a huge boost for Hamas terrorism. The people of Israel trusted Sharon, but neither he nor they heeded these warnings. My colleagues and I from the National Union warned about the looming catastrophe. We warned that Hamas would take over and turn Gaza into the largest terror base in the Middle East. The government did not listen. They accused us of being "Messianic" and blamed us because we wanted the Settlements in Gush Katif to stay forever. That was true. We believe that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel and that Jews have the right to live everywhere in this land. But the combination of hatred from the Left in Israel against the settlers and trust in Ariel Sharon, as “Mr. Security,” was lethal. The public did not question the logic of the plan. Sharon never tried to prove how this was going to improve our security situation. Gaza fell into the hands of Hamas turning it into a huge ‘terrorstan.' Once this had occurred, the failed and corrupt Kadima government of Olmert did not dare go back and destroy Hamas. They knew that reentering Gaza would prove that they were wrong to withdraw. Sharon insisted on going back to the last centimeter of the old "Green Line" (the 1949 Armistice line referred to as the”Auschwitz line” by the late Abba Eban, Israel’s veteran Foreign Minister). This set an unfortunate precedent for any future agreement with the Palestinians: uprooting of Jewish settlements and ethnic cleansing of Jews in the region. Arabs are allowed in Israel, while Jews are not allowed in the areas of the Palestinian Authority. This anti Zionist step undermines the very basis for Jewish settlement in the land of Israel. We have yet to pay the full price for this crime.

Gordon: You were injured in the Amona settlement protest in February, 2006. How did that affect your professional career? Did the protest demonstrate resolve against further unilateral withdrawals from disputed territories in Judea and Samaria?

Eldad: During the terrible evacuation of Gush Katif in August, 2005 no real resistance to the police or the IDF occurred. The deportees wept, hugged and danced with the soldiers. They climbed into buses only to see their homes, where they lived for 30 years, destroyed in minutes. For many settlers it was not only the destruction of their dreams and homes, they also lost their trust in Israeli political leadership.

The Israeli Supreme Court on February 1, 2006 ordered the destruction of nine houses built without permission in the Judean hill top settlement of Amona. PM Olmert of Kadima had been in office only a few weeks. He wanted to show the hated settlers that he was a strong leader. The settlers, in turn, wanted to wipe away the stain of the non-resistance in the face of the Gush Katif expulsion of the preceding August. The collision was inevitable. More than five thousand Israeli Police, Israeli Border Police, and IDF soldiers faced 4,000 protesters. Within the first moments of the clash, I was brutally attacked by policemen who knew that I was a member of the Knesset and had immunity. However, they had orders "to teach us a lesson." One of the Policemen named Ibrahim Rihal, held my right hand, and twisted my thumb until he tore the ligaments. I lost consciousness. Operated on after a few days, the torn ligaments were sutured. However, I remain with 10% permanent disability. This does not prevent me from voting in the Knesset. However, I do not know if I will be able to perform surgery, if and when I try to go back to my profession following my service in the Knesset. At the end of the clash that fateful day in Amona there were 250 settlers and 60 policemen in hospitals. Nine houses were destroyed. A parliamentary committee was formed to investigate the events at Amona. But a new standard of resistance was achieved. No government in Israel will take for granted that they can evacuate a settlement and destroy it. They know very well that the next time they try it; they may have to kill some of us first. They know that no government in Israel will survive such brutality. The fact that the government avoids any attempt to forcibly evacuate settler outposts after Amona is the direct result of that very traumatic day.

Gordon: Given your membership on Knesset Security and Defense Committees, why, in your opinion, did Israel fail to win the Second Lebanon War against Hezbollah in 2006? Has the IDF overcome deficiencies in unit training, material and equipment cited in the Winograd Commission report? Can Israel cope with another possible conflict on its Northern border with Lebanon?
Eldad: Israel failed to win the war against Hezbollah in August, 2006 because it had a cabal of incompetents. We had an incompetent crook as Prime Minister, Olmert, with no military understanding. We had a Defense Minister Peretz, who was a union activist clown. We had an IDF Chief Of Staff (COS), Halutz, who was a pilot who did not understand how win a ground war against Islamic guerrillas. This tragic combination was the result of the criminal decision of Ariel Sharon who nominated his yes-man, IDF COS Halutz, in order to perform the unilateral disengagement from Gaza a year earlier. I asked PM Sharon, in Knesset defense committee deliberations, if Halutz was nominated because of corrupt political reasons to command the IDF in a real war. Sharon mocked me, lowered his glasses, looked me over and said: "I see you are worried, Doctor ...Do not worry, and I am here." Another criminal decision by Olmert was nominating, as Minister of Defence, Peretz, who did not have a clue about security and military issues. He did so even though Peretz asked to be the Minister of Finance. However corrupt Olmert wanted that cabinet post for his good friend Hirshzon (now facing trial on the accusation that he has stolen millions from the public and could possible spend years in jail, if convicted). The third corruptive element was the pattern of behavior of the IDF general staff. They all knew that the way that Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz conducted the Second Lebanon War led to military failure. They were careerists. They did not want to risk their personal careers. There was not one among them who was ready to resign publicly to tell the people of Israel the truth about the way the war was conducted.
There are many myths about the low level of training of the reserve units of the IDF. It is true that this level was very poor. But the regular excuse was: "No money for training.” It is true that budget cuts were made in the years before the war, and the military needed an additional million training days annually. But one should not be confused by these arguments. The IDF spent 4.5 million training days to prepare the army for the Gaza disengagement. 50,000 soldiers and policemen were trained to evacuate the settlers, including "mental preparation." The government of Israel spent what was needed to fight a real war in Lebanon on the futile training of the IDF to evacuate Jewish Israeli citizens from Gaza. An action that enabled Hamas to build a terror state.
Since the Second Lebanon War, IDF reserve units have been trained, and the country has rid itself of the corrupt and incompetent triumvirate that led Israel during the debacle. Yet, there are more lessons to learn, and unfortunately the wrong conclusions were taken by the current political leadership. They think that the next time a conflict with Hezbollah or Hamas occurs that they can avoid war. They did that in the case of the continuous Kassem and Katyusha rocket bombardments from Gaza on Israeli towns in both the western Negev and the south of the country. The government of Israel allowed a cease fire that gave Hamas the freedom to arm, train, build weapons and ammunition depots. Unfortunately, this will lead to needless loss of IDF soldiers’ lives in the inevitable re-occupation of the area in order to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure. The IDF is better now. The military plans are ready. However, there are no effective leaders to command the IDF. What Israel needs urgently is capable and effective leadership.
Gordon: In light of the virtual veto power that Hezbollah has over the Lebanese government of PM Fuad Saniora and the failure of UNSC 1701 to prevent the restocking of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles threatening Northern and Central Israel, what can the next Israeli government do to combat this threat?
Eldad: The only way to remove the threat of the Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon is a large military operation equivalent to the First Lebanon War in 1982. This will be an essential step before any attack on Iranian nuclear weapons development facilities. Israel should understand that if we decide to attack Iran and remove the nuclear threat, we will be attacked from Lebanon, Gaza strip, and, perhaps, Syria. Thus, the first step in the attack against Iran should be a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah and Hamas. The timing of the war against Hezbollah should be coordinated with the plans against Iran.
Gordon: The Western Negev town of Sderot has been under daily siege from Palestinian Islamic Jihad Kassem rockets for over seven years. Why has the Sharon-Olmert government tolerated this? What could be done to destroy terrorist rocket factories and firing teams?
Eldad: Israel policy towards the Kassem bombardment from Gaza on Sderot and the western Negev is the tragic story of mainstream Zionism. From the very beginning there was a conflict among Zionist leaders about the true nature of this national movement. There were those who claimed that Zionism was born to solve the "trouble of the Jews,” and therefore the State of Israel was created to be the "safe shelter." The lessons that I have learnt from my father were that Zionism should be a double edged sword of a freedom movement: to liberate the Jewish people from the Diaspora and to liberate the land of Israel from any foreign rule. Unfortunately, mainstream Zionists shaped the State of Israel as it is today. They emphasized the basic needs of citizens for food and shelter, but not the aspirations of the Jewish people who sought independence, sovereignty, and the liberation of our ancestral homeland. When the political leaders of Israel run for re-election, they believe that they must promise its citizens peace. Peace and not redemption, peace and not liberation of the land of Israel from the Arab occupation that started in the 7th century. Peace and not fulfilment of our destiny as a nation. They reflect the refugee state of mind. So they endeavour to mollify voters with a short-term cease fire rather than victory over enemies. This led the political leaders of Israel to embark on the "Land for Peace" formula. Even when reality proved that giving land to the enemy only leads to more bloodshed and there was no peace partner. They were afraid that if they admit they were totally wrong, the citizens of Israel would kick them out of office. The price for the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish State was too heavy for these leaders. They were Chamberlains, not Churchills. They did not have the deeper roots in the land of Israel that the religious Zionists have. If it is only a shelter the political leaders can decide if the country needs to be bigger or smaller. They can decide if the shelter needs to include Gush Katif, Sderot in the western Negev or only around Tel Aviv. That is why they were ready to give up Gush Katif. They are ready to give up Judea, Samaria, and the Golan and divide Jerusalem. That is why the Kassem and Katyusha rockets fell on our land from Gaza. This attack on our sovereignty did not lead to an all-out war against the enemy who dared to attack us.
Gordon: This year, Hamas received shipments of Katyusha rockets from Iran and launched those against major Southern Israeli population center of Ashkelon. The IDF failed in an attempt to create a security belt in Northern Gaza to destroy these Hamas rocket launching sites and supplies. What should have the Israeli government and the IDF done to intercept and destroy the rockets, arms and munitions coming into Gaza from Iran to counter this threat to Israel’s Southern border?
Eldad: There is only one answer to the challenge of the Jihad from Gaza: a military one. Israel should create a five kilometer wide corridor in the south of the Gaza strip to separate it from the Sinai Peninsula. It should reoccupy the northern part of Gaza in order to rebuild three settlements that were destroyed during the unilateral Gush Katif disengagement, and annex these areas into the State of Israel. This would tell the Arabs that they will pay permanently for any further attack through our building new settlements and acquiring more land. The IDF should enter the Gaza Strip to eradicate Hamas. The concept that we can run away from terror and the terrorists will let us live quietly, has failed. We have to understand that there is a price to pay if we want to be an independent Jewish State. It is still a lower price then what we will have to pay as Dhimmis living at the mercy of the Islamic terror.
Gordon: Young IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in June, 2006 by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Why have the Olmert government and the IDF failed to seek his release from a Hamas dungeon and what could be done to accomplish it?

Eldad: Olmert, his government, and previous ones in Israel were not courageous enough and surrendered to terrorist demands. The spirit of Entebbe (the rescue of nearly 100 Jewish hostages in July, 1976 in Uganda by IDF commandos) is no longer the spirit of our current leaders. The only answer to the kidnapping of Sgt. Gilad Shalit would be an ultimatum to Hamas that Israel will kill one Hamas commander in Gaza every day until Shalit is back home. Only if they knew that Israel was not going to release terrorists and murderers as a prize for kidnapping, would they release captives like Shalit.

Gordon: Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel’s existence looms large as a concern for you and other MK’s in Israel. Does Israel have the military and strategic capabilities to carry out a unilateral pre-emptive attack on key Iranian nuclear facilities?

Eldad: Yes.

Gordon: We have written about the Syrian bio-warfare threat. Does Israel have programs and resources to defend its citizens against this non-conventional threat?

Eldad: We can defend ourselves beyond the protective means and medicine. But, the best defence is deterrence.

Gordon: You have been a relentless critic of the corruption in the Olmert government. With the recent indictments of PM Olmert and the Kadima party leadership vote, do you believe that the ruling coalition can survive? Will there be a call for general elections to form a new Knesset in the spring of 2009?

Eldad: Internal corruption is an existential threat to Israel. The lessons that I have learnt in the case of former PM Ariel Sharon taught me that one should not accept a corrupt Prime Minister in Israel even when he builds settlements. You never know when he will flip and change his ideology under threat. The crisis of leadership in Israel is reflected in Kadima due to the weakness of other major players in the political arena. Labor can only lose from a general election, while Shas is always for sale to any coalition party leader. That is why I am afraid we may see another Kadima Government that could be formed by Livni. The coalition will exist thanks to the utmost weakness of its partners.

Gordon: Why is corruption so pervasive in the Israel political system and what can be done to reform it?

Eldad: Some deep reforms are needed in the political system in Israel. I believe that at least half the MK's should be directly elected by their constituents. An important step should be the conduct of open primaries for all parties, to elect leaders and the list of candidates for the next Knesset. There should be strengthening of the National Police and separate the Attorney General from being the legal advisor for the government. These are essential steps in the struggle against the corruption in the political system in Israel.

Gordon: What is “protektsia” – the system of graft – and why is it so prevalent in Israeli politics?
Eldad: "Protektsia” was the system developed by the Labor Socialist parties in Israel to assure that they would keep the government in their hands for ever. The system was adopted by Likud, Shas and other parties when they were in the government. The reforms advocated against corruption are relevant because "Protektsia" is just another form of corruption.
Gordon: Why in your opinion haven’t Israeli citizens done more than complain about political corruption?
Eldad: We are doing much more than just complaining about corruption. We have rid ourselves of a corrupt PM, his Minister of Finance, a previous Minister of Justice, Commissioner of National Police and many others. I am sure the situation now is better than it was a few years ago.
Gordon: You have been a weekly columnist for major Israeli newspapers Ma’ariv and Yediot Aharonot. That has afforded you an opportunity to air your views to the general public. What have been the reactions of readers to your commentary?
Eldad: Yediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv were important media outlets for me. I could see the reactions in talkbacks and through the echoes in the media. My weekly commentary was so influential that people who were worried that the words that I wrote would harm them politically did everything they could to silence me. When Yediot Aharonot changed its chief editor, I could no longer write for them. Then I moved to Ma’ariv. When Ma'ariv changed editors, among his first actions was stopping my weekly column.
Gordon: The Israel Broadcasting Authority has a virtual monopoly on TV news in the country. What should be done to break this monopoly so that a wider set of views can be aired?
Eldad: In order to break the government electronic media monopoly we will have to stop the special tax collected from citizens to keep Channel 1 and Kol Israel (Radio) alive. Then we will have to "open the air" to anyone who wants to broadcast. This way we will have Channel7 Radio (and perhaps television as well) that were closed by the Supreme Court because they were telling the truth. The formal reason given by the Supreme Court was, of course, that they did not have the permits needed to broadcast. However, no such steps were taken against the left wing “Voice of Peace” when they broadcast from a ship off the coast of Israel. We will have to attract investors to open new TV channels. 55% of Israelis define themselves as "right wing" so they deserve a broadcasting station that will reflect their opinions.
Gordon: You have undertaken a program to reach out to the future generation of Israelis through a series of debates in the public high school system. Has this aided in conveying the Zionist ethos and your views to audiences of young impressionable minds?
Eldad: In a series of debates against Meretz leader Yossi Beilin in Israeli secular schools, I presented the plan "Jordan is Palestine – Resettlement of Arab refugees and No to Palestinian state west of the Jordan river." Beilin presented his "Geneva Plan" – the two state solution. After each debate the students voted. In 30 out of 32 high schools I won.
Gordon: You have opposed any peace plan with the Palestinians that entails a division of Jerusalem and cession of disputed territories in Judea and Samaria. Given current government deliberations with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, how will such arrangements impact the territorial integrity of Israel? Will they fail to achieve approval in either a Knesset vote or a mandated national referendum?

Eldad: Olmert’s and Livni’s plans are suicide for Israel. His public statements created an impossible situation for anyone who tries to offer a lower price. Olmert or Livni will not be able to perform on their plans. The current situation is that such plans do not have a majority in the Knesset. Not because the MK's are very strong but because even those who want to give every inch of Judea and Samaria, Golan and Jerusalem, to our enemies do not have a relevant partner. It is obvious that if Israel withdraws from Judea and Samaria a Hamas State will be created within less than 72 hours. There is an urgent need to have a National Referendum as a condition to any land concessions. In this way we will be able to deter the corrupt and weak MK’s.

Gordon: The Olmert government through the intermediaries of the Turkish and French governments has engaged in discussions with the Syrian government of Bashir Assad about a possible ‘peace agreement’ that would entail cession of the Golan. You oppose such ‘discussions’. How do you end these ‘initiatives’?

Eldad: The "initiatives" to give the Golan to Syria can be stopped if we change the Kadima government in general elections. In the event that Livni can create a coalition government, a big if, given Shas’s alleged demand not to divide Jerusalem, we have to try to put it down and go for elections. Another important barrier is the national referendum that will be needed to approve any proposed ‘shelf agreement.’ Unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been done by the Kadima government.
Gordon: You have announced a meeting in Jerusalem in December with Israeli and EU parliamentarians to develop a plan to combat Islamofascism. What do you anticipate will be the outcome of this Jerusalem Conference? Was this the result of your attendance at the Brussels anti-Jihadist conference last year? Why aren’t the Israeli and most Western governments more concerned about the threat of Islamofascism and the advance of radical Islam? After all, Israel is the ‘canary’ in the mines of radical Islam.
Eldad: The current leaders of Israel are not interested in the struggle against global Jihad and the Islamization of Europe. It contradicts their thesis that if only we can solve "a territorial conflict" with the Palestinians we will have peace. But this is not a local territorial conflict. Rather, it is a local symptom of a global disease. As the conflict is a religious war territorial concessions are irrelevant. The "Facing Jihad" conference in Jerusalem, December 14-15, 2008, will be a Lawmaker Summit involving parliamentarians and legislators from Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Italy , UK, Switzerland, America and other countries. We will work in Jerusalem on various legislative initiatives to combat the spread of Islam in the world. The second half of the meeting will be educational, teaching Israelis the real nature of the conflict and what our enemy really wants. It is true that many Europeans still believe in appeasement of the Muslims as the way to act in the hope that the problem will disappear. However, more and more Western political leaders are not ready to sit still and do nothing. Among the agenda items for the Jerusalem “Facing Jihad” conference will be: 1) screening the film "Fitna" by the Dutch MP Geert Wilders; 2) drafting and promulgating the "Jerusalem Declaration" to condemn all forms of Anti-Semitism and Racism; 3) recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish State; 4) rejection of the "two State Solution;" and, 5) a declaration to fight Islamization of the free world. Israel, the Canary in the mines of radical Islam will have found new allies at the conclusion of the conference.
Gordon: How do you see the future of Israel as an independent Jewish state in the Middle East?

Eldad: We must reintroduce the truth that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. Israelis must have the same commitment to the land of Israel that every citizen in the world feels towards their homeland. We must recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish State, not only a state of Jews. With God’s help we will overcome all challenges. The Arabs are not the problem. It is the Jews that we have to change.

Thank you Dr. Eldad for this wide ranging and fascinating interview.

Did Norway's FM compare settlers to Nazis?

Jonas Gahr Støre publishes book describing Palestinian stores in Hebron with shattered windows as evoking 'Nazi associations.' He denies claim however, saying there 'are other historical examples'
Yael Levy

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre compared Israeli settlers to Nazis, a Norwegian news agency claimed Monday following the publication of Støre's book, 'To Make a Difference.' The foreign minister has denied the claim. According to the news agency's site, Støre wrote that his most recent visit to Israel stirred "associations to Nazism." The minister denied the claim he compared occurrences in Hebron to Nazi-era ones, and said it was "the job of every reader to interpret the text as he sees fit. There are other examples in history."

Støre's book was published just one day after the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht. In one chapter the minister writes that during a visit to Hebron he saw a number of closed Palestinian stores that appeared looted, with some of their windows shattered.

The news site reported that the ransacking he observed brought to his mind the manner in which the Nazis abused Jewish places of business during the 1930s.

Støre also wrote he saw graffiti saying "Arabs to the gas chambers." His book argues that the US and Europe have been expressing views that are too pro-Israeli.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy responded to the report by saying, "All of those familiar with the
issue are having a difficult time believing that the Norwegian foreign minister did indeed write these things." He said the embassy was currently investigating the report.

Støre visited Israel in July of 2007, and met with President Shimon Peres. He promised the president that his country had severed its ties with Hamas, after Norway became the first country to lift the diplomatic siege on Gaza when his deputy met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Olmert: Oslo direction was right

Speaking at special Knesset memorial session for Yitzhak Rabin, Likud Chairman Netanyahu says leadership must take stand against incitement. PM Olmert uses platform to reiterate call for major land concessions in peace talks
Amnon Meranda

The Knesset on Monday held a special session to mark 13 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which followed the state memorial ceremony. "Rabin was not motivated by foreign considerations," Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech before the plenum, in an apparent jibe at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The Likud chairman slammed the recent partial broadcast of interviews with Rabin's killer, Yigal Amir. He spoke of the current generation of Israeli youth that has reached the age of Bar-Mitzvah, saying that the children born 13 years ago, "the children that grew up without Yitzhak Rabin. There is no reason for them to have to listen to the delusional rantings of the killer."

Netanyahu, who took part in a right-wing demonstration rife with incitement against Rabin a month before the latter was shot dead at the end of a peace rally in Tel Aviv, sounded markedly different in the Knesset on Monday.

"We cannot tolerate the voices that today call for attacks against the prime minister of Israel or IDF soldiers," said Netanyahu, "The lesson we all have learned is that a responsible leadership must take action against incitement. We will not allow reckless and violent instigation against law enforcement."

Olmert: Direction set by Oslo was right
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who delivered a divisive speech at the state ceremony in which he called for major concessions in the current peace talks, spoke before Netanyahu.

"I am not trying to retroactively justify the Oslo Accords, which I was against. But they defined a direction – and that direction is inevitable. After we learned to live with the guilt and pain we paid for Oslo, the ongoing terror and the disappointment with the stagnated diplomatic process, we are once again at the heart of the dispute. Now however, the time to make decisions grows closer, and we are at a precipice," said Olmert.

"Any government will have to tell the truth, and that truth, unfortunately, will require us to tear away many parts of the homeland, in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

"Anyone who thinks we can evade making a decision and continue to build ties with Arab and Muslim
countries, as we are doing today – is living in a dream," he said.

Speaking of the domestic conflict in Israel, 13 years after Rabin's murder, Olmert warned that "the incitement hasn't lessened. The instigation hasn't decreased, and the hatred hasn't faded. Israeli citizens cruelly beat Palestinians who seek to harvest their olives, as they have done for hundreds of years in the places they and their families have lived. Young Israelis, overwhelmed by messianic dreams that have no foundation in the reality of our lives – beat our soldiers, break their bones and threaten their lives – and there is no end."