Saturday, March 07, 2009

Obama to Beef Up PA Army


Adar 10, 5769, 06 March 09 (Preview)
by Hana Levi Julian

PA Special Force PA Special (terrorist) Force

Israel ( The Obama administration has made plans to strengthen the emerging Palestinian Authority army that is currently being trained at an American-built base in Jordan.
U.S. Middle East envoy George C. Mitchell has asked Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton, who has been overseeing the training, to remain at his post for two more years. Dayton was due to end his three-year term at the end of 2009. In addition, U.S. President Barack Obama intends to add a budget of as much as $55 million for training the force at the base, according to the Reuters news agency. The current budget is $75 million, and such an increase would almost double American military assistance to the PA.
Israeli officials were reportedly pleased to hear that Dayton will be staying on. “Dayton is a professional officer who takes his job very seriously,” said one defense official quoted by The Jerusalem Post. “An extension of his term is a demonstration that the administration wants to keep the situation here stable.”

Dayton and OC Central Command Major-General Gadi Shamni reportedly have a strong working relationship as well. There were concerns expressed, however, that Mitchell would use the expansion of the force as leverage to increase the takeover of the PA Special Force in other cities in Judea and Samaria.

Some 1,600 PA Special Forces have been trained since January 2008 and are currently deployed in Shechem, Jenin, Bethlehem and Hevron. The increased budget would allow Dayton to increase the number of battalions being trained, as well as increase the amount of vehicles and other equipment provided to the troops.

The United States has provided uniforms and other military equipment, as well as military personnel to train the PA recruits. According to The Jordan Times, arms are supplied solely by Arab states.

However, the new armed force is not referred to by the U.S. or the PA as an army, which is prohibited under the Oslo Accords.

American and Fatah officials are hoping the “special force” will fight terror and keep the rival Hamas faction at bay. [GIVE ME F*KIN BREAK. THEY WILL ATTACK JEWS, STUPID.] The Hamas terrorist militia completely overwhelmed the rival Fatah loyalists in Gaza in June, 2007, surprising American military personnel who already had begun training the Fatah forces.
© Copyright

Friday, March 06, 2009

US lawmakers urge tighter Palestinian aid controls

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US lawmakers demanded Thursday that the United Nations impose tighter controls on the UN agency that manages aid to the Palestinians to ensure no US funds end up in the pockets of extremists. "The United Nations should take immediate steps to improve the transparency and accountability of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)," said Democratic Representative Steve Rothman.

Rothman has written a non-binding resolution urging US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to certify that "no American taxpayer dollars are being directed to terrorists or to further terrorist propaganda" through UNRWA.

The New Jersey lawmaker said that while aides to US President Barack Obama had yet to explicitly support the measure, "they assure me that they share our concerns."

The resolution calls on UNRWA to improve transparency of its operations by posting on the Internet copies of all educational materials used at agency-administered schools.

"UNRWA schools have been known to, and are still continuing, to include textbooks, videotapes, and other materials which not only slander the state of Israel but also are virulently anti-Semitic," said Rothman.

The resolution also urges UNRWA to enhance screening procedures, including terrorist name-recognition software, "to ensure that UNRWA staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries are neither terrorists themselves, nor affiliated with known terrorist organizations."

"These are certainly reasonable recommendations, especially in this time of severe economic crisis in America, when so many of our countrymen and hurting, and the world is suffering and in need of resources, that none of our US taxpayer dollars goes to any terrorist organization," said Rothman.

Republican Representative Mark Kirk blasted UNRWA's accounting practices as likely to enable the Palestinian military group Hamas to syphon off some of a new US aid pledge of 900 million dollars for the West Bank and Gaza.

If the group managed to grab 10 percent of that package, "the United States taxpayer would be then the number-two financial supporter of Hamas after the government of Iran," he said.

Kirk said he would rather see the funds go through the US Agency for International Development, the World Food Program, or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"If we insist on providing these funds we should provide them to reputable foreign assistance organizations who are operating under American standards of transparency and accountability," he said.

The United States has provided 3.4 billion dollars to UNRWA since 1950 and set aside 148 million in 2008, while 140 million of the nearly one billion dollar pledge is slated to go through the agency, said Rothman.

'House Demolitions Deter Terror'

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz 'House Demolitions Deter Terror'

The Land of Israel Legal Forum appealed to government officials on Thursday to accelerate the legal process for demolition of terrorists' homes in the capital. The measure is a priority for its deterrent effect, the Forum claims. In a letter to outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, the Legal Forum noted that the bulldozer rampage on Thursday was the fourth terrorist attack in Jerusalem in the past 12 months. It was also the third in which a bulldozer was turned into a deadly weapon. All of the recent terror attacks in the capital were perpetrated by Muslim Arab residents of the city, most of whom held Israeli ID cards.

Nachi Eyal, chairman of the Legal Forum, said that Israelis feel the security agencies are helpless to act against suicide bombers and other terrorists who live in eastern Jerusalem. "The pace at which the defense and legal systems operate is a perversion of justice and diminishes Israel's deterrent abilities," Eyal wrote. "The latest terrorist attack carried out today could have been avoided if there had been a threat that his home would be demolished, and it was clear to him that he was harming his family and all that is dear to him."

Israeli authorities have not taken steps to demolish the homes of the terrorists who carried out the previous bulldozer attacks in the capital. However, a section of the family home of Alaa Abu Dheim, who murdered eight yeshiva students in a shooting attack in Jerusalem one year ago, was sealed with concrete in January 2009.

In his letter, Eyal pointed out that there is no legal obstacle preventing the demolition of the homes of terrorists. Citing a 2003 decision, Sharbati v. the Home Front Commander (HCJ 10467/03), he reminded Barak and Mazuz that the High Court of Justice allowed the use of similar measures against Arabs from eastern Jerusalem. In the Sharbati case, the Arab petitioners used their Israeli residency status to facilitate terrorist attacks.

There is no reason why the decision regarding the more recent attackers should be different, Eyal explained. "To the contrary, the fate of all terrorists should be equal so that they will know ahead of time the price they and their families will pay after the fact for their actions."

Tractor Terrorist: J'lem Arab

Maayana Miskin Tractor Terrorist: J'lem Arab

The Arab terrorist who attacked police officers and civilians in Jerusalem with his bulldozer on Thursday was a resident of the city, police have announced. He was identified as 26-year-old Mir'i Redeideh.
. Redeideh was married, police said, and had one child. He lived with his family in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, in the northern part of the city.

Redeideh was carrying a Palestinian Authority ID at the time of the attack, leading to initial reports that he was a resident of the PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria.

He was shot and killed by alert police officers and a civilian taxi driver as he attempted to carry out his rampage. Before he was neutralized he managed to wound two police officers and had sent several schoolgirls into severe emotional shock.

The tractor used in the attack was apparently Redeideh's personal property, police said. An open copy of the Koran was found inside.

Radeideh is the fourth Arab resident of Jerusalem to carry out an attack in the capital in less than a year. In the summer of 2008 two attacks took place in which Arab residents of the city who were working on construction sites used bulldozers to attack Jews.

In September of 2008 an Arab teenager from Jerusalem rammed his car into a group of soldiers and civilians standing near the Old City, wounding more than 20 people in the process. The terrorist was shot and killed.

Just a few months before the 2008 bulldozer attacks, another Arab resident of Jerusalem opened fire at young students in the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva, murdering eight and wounding many more.

Many activists and politicians have called for the terrorists' houses to be destroyed in the hopes of deterring other potential attackers.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"The Clinton Visit"

Following her meetings with Israeli officials, Secretary Clinton yesterday went to Ramallah to meet with PA officials. Before I turn to the news that came out of that meeting, I share this small -- but not insignificant -- item from Arutz Sheva:

"Her trip to Ramallah was protected by anti-terrorism checkpoints – of the same type that the US opposes when they are put up for the protection of Jews in the area.
At least two special checkpoints were established for the Clinton visit...One of the checkpoints prevents Arabs from entering the Jerusalem-Beit El-Shilo highway (Route 60) from the village of Hizme, near Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood. The other checkpoint is located near Ofrah, preventing Arabs from traveling south towards Jerusalem on the same highway."

The next time the US demands we reduce checkpoints as a gesture of "confidence" in the PA, remember this, which is both an acknowledgement that Arabs on the road can create a danger and an admission of how little Jewish lives matter where politics are concerned.


When Clinton was in Jerusalem, all was cordial and easy, according to reports from Netanyahu aides. Then she went to Ramallah, where Abbas cried to her about how the Israelis weren't nice to his people. ("Mommy, mommy, she hit me.") The goal is to get the US to come down hard on us.

The issue at hand was the projected demolition in eastern Jerusalem of 143 Arab homes (not 143 free-standing houses, but a small number of residential buildings each containing multiple apartments). Clinton commented that "this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the road map." She said she would raise this issue with both the government of Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality.


But let's take a closer look at what's going on:

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, has called the information provided to Clinton a "disinformation campaign and a cynical exploitation" of Clinton's visit. Bravo for our new mayor!

When building is being done without proper permits, and the builder ignores an order to stop building, this doesn't mean the bulldozers are called out immediately: a precise legal procedure follows. It is mandatory under the law to issue a demolition order if there is no possibility, even retroactively, of issuing a building permit for the structure under consideration.

Often residents of a neighborhood are made to suffer because of the illegal construction, as it takes place at the expense of land designated for public use. or blocks the construction of needed infrastructure (e.g., new sewer lines or widening of a street).

The law is being applied equally to houses constructed by Jews and Arabs -- it is not directed at Arabs. Since January, 11 demolitions have been carried out in western Jerusalem and 17 in eastern Jerusalem.

What is new, in fact, is this evenhanded approach, as previous administrations, tip-toeing around the political ramifications of taking down buildings being constructed by Arabs, turned a blind eye to Arab illegal building and demolished only illegally-built Jewish homes. (Such is the perversity of being governed by individuals so timid or politically correct that they don't know how to represent Jewish rights.)

Mayor Nir Barkat has made it clear that while upholding the law without bias, he intends to continue to promote investments in infrastructure, construction, and education in eastern Jerusalem

It should be noted that those buildings scheduled for demolition are empty -- no one was actually going to lose his or home because of this. Was Clinton told this?


Hatem Abdul Qader, the PA official in charge of Jerusalem affairs, has commented that "It's an open demographic war," and I'm glad he raised this issue. In 2003, lawyer Justice Reid Weiner produced a monograph for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on "Illegal Construction in Jerusalem."

In this report he noted two major causes of the illegal Arab building in Jerusalem (neither cause having anything to do with poor Arab families who don't have adequate housing). One cause is the desire of builders to turn a quick profit illicitly.

The other, which merits careful note, is the "Widespread non-compliance subsidized by the Palestinian Authority." This is the demographic war. "...tens (or perhaps even hundreds) of millions of dollars have been raised and expended to advance the political objectives of the Palestinian leadership via subsidizing and encouraging massive illegal construction in the Arab sector of Jerusalem."

Faisal Husseini, who had the Jerusalem portfolio in 1997, was quoted as saying, "[t]he Palestinian program is to create a Palestinian belt...[t]he most important Palestinian challenge is building, even without permits."

CNN cited a Palestinian demographer, Khalid Tufakji, who said, "Maybe we lose ten houses, but in the end we build 40 more..."

The PA's governor of the Jerusalem District, in 2000, is cited as saying, "Any Arab who builds in Jerusalem has accomplished a national act of the highest order...[the aim being] the Arabization of Jerusalem."


This is a story that has not been told. Perhaps now, please G-d, we will have officials in place to tell it, and to counter the highly politicized whining of the PA. There are thousands of illegally built structures standing in eastern Jerusalem.


But let's go even further than this and look at what that moribund document the Road Map for Peace actually says about this issue:

"The Government of Israel [will take] no actions undermining trust including...demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction..."

What the Jerusalem Municipality is doing, even-handedly carrying out the law, does not apply.


TERROR ATTACK: This is the third time in less than a year that a piece of heavy construction machinery has been used to attack Israelis on the Jerusalem streets. This time it was a front loader driven by a Palestinian man on Menachem Begin Blvd. in the Malha section of Jerusalem, near Teddy Stadium. He lifted up a police car and flipped it over twice, while its occupants hung on; he then dragged it along the street. The two police officers within were lightly injured.

The terrorist was shot by police called to the scene and taken to the hospital; he later died of his wounds. An open Koran was found in the cab of the front-loader.

Ariel Jerozlimski

The terrorist was seen in the front-loader headed towards a bus, but he was deterred from reaching it by an electrical post. The bus was full of girls in Purim costumes, on their way to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, to cheer up patients. Many were in shock from the sight of the huge piece of machinery headed towards them for what they imagined to be their certain death. Baruch Hashem, they escaped uninjured.


The terrorist, who was carrying a Palestinian ID, has been identified as Mir'i Radeideh, 26, of the Beit Hanina neighborhood that falls within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. He was married and a father of one.

Hamas has praised the attack.


I have begun to perceive with some certainty that we have a real winner in our new Jerusalem mayor. He speaks with strength and forthrightness for our interests.

In response to the terror attack he said: "I expect to hear the whole world condemn terror attacks in Jerusalem, that try to harm...Jerusalem's strength and innocent people. (This said, of course, with sarcasm.)

"I expect the government to cooperate with the Jerusalem Municipality to increase penalties for such attacks."


As to the above, what is likely to be pushed are speedy demolitions of the houses in Jerusalem of families of terrorists -- something that is long discussed and not often done. And if Hillary is displeased with this, my thought is that we should let her be displeased.


This is good news: Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, has informed Tzipi Livni that his nation will not be taking part in Durban 2. We need a number of other western nations to follow.


Also encouraging: Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-1st NV) has drafted a petition to Secretary Clinton, to be circulated in Congress, demanding that none of the $900 million pledged by the US go to the Palestinians until Gilad Shalit is released and the rocket launchings stop.

Contact your Congresspersons to urge support for this, please. To locate your representative in Congress:


Since the announcement by Clinton of the $600 million in funds to go to the PA (the other $300 million to be used for immediate humanitarian relief in Gaza), the PA has announced it is providing bonuses of 800 shekels to be added this month to the allowances of "security" prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Writes Yoni D. Halevi, senior researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

"According to Palestinian law, every Palestinian prisoner, Arab or Israeli Arab, imprisoned in an Israeli jail, is entitled to financial assistance from the Palestinian Authority, on condition he (or she) was sentenced for activity connected to the 'struggle against the Israeli occupation.' During his entire prison stay every prisoner is entitled to a salary which ranges from 1,000 shekels/month for serving a term of one to five years, to 4,000 shekels/month for serving a term of more than 25 years. Furthermore, married prisoners receive an additional 3,000 shekels a month, 50 shekels for every child, and 300 shekels for prisoners living in the Jerusalem area. In addition, every prisoners receives an allotment directly to his prison commissary account and 800 shekels a year to buy clothes."

How many are aware of this? When you multiply this by the more than 4,500 Palestinian security prisoners we are holding, it amounts to a very tidy sum that the PA dispenses annually, taken from donations intended for PA development. People wonder where the money goes.

The stipulation in this instance, for the bonuses, is that it is to go prisoners belonging to terrorist organizations that are members of the PLO, and excepting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad prisoners. This is causing a great deal of anger in Hamas, which says this is proof that the PA is not working towards unity.

There is now deemed to be sufficient evidence to indict PM Olmert with regard to yet another incident, being called the Investment Center Affair: When Uri Messer, Olmert's former legal partner and close associate, represented a silica factory that was appealing for assistance from the Investment Center of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Olmert, who was then heading that ministry, didn't absent himself from the decision-making process due to conflict of interest. Instead, he involved himself in a process that led to $15 million being granted to the factory to build a facility in Dimona.

The indictment, for which police say they have sufficient evidence, would be for fraud and breach of trust.

Is anyone besides me wondering how come these indictments are just surfacing now, when Olmert is almost done with his position as PM?

see my website

US says Hamas must recognise Israel

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington would not work with a Palestinian unity cabinet that includes Hamas unless the Islamists recognise Israel and renounce violence.

"If there is to be a unity government that includes Hamas, then we would expect that Hamas would comply with the principles as set forth by the Quartet," Clinton told CNN, referring to a group consisting of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia. "(Those principles) are the same: that Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and agree to abide by prior PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) commitments," she added.

"In the absence of Hamas agreeing to the principles that have been adopted by such a broad range of international actors, I don?t see that we or they, anyone, could deal with Hamas."

When pressed, Clinton said Hamas would have to make a formal announcement recognising Israel and giving up armed struggle, as the PLO -- which includes most Palestinian factions but not Hamas -- did in 1988.

"The principles are clear. They have been adopted. And we would expect any unity government to abide by those," she said.

Clinton made the remarks on her first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since being appointed secretary of state, a two-day tour during which she met senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

US President Barack Obama has vowed vigorously to pursue the peace process between Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of president Mahmud Abbas, but has ruled out any negotiations with Hamas.

The Islamist movement -- which is sworn to Israel's destruction and blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the West -- seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas.

Jerusalem Slams 'Disinformation'

Hana Levi Julian Jerusalem Slams 'Disinformation'

The city of Jerusalem responded on Thursday with a biting, detailed statement to what it called the "disinformation campaign" that was conducted during this week's visit to the capital by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton on Wednesday slammed Israel's demolition of buildings in the northern and eastern neighborhoods of the city. "Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the 'Roadmap,'" she said.
"It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem," she told reporters in Ramallah following her meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, senior Abbas aide Saeb Erekat and other officials.

Most news reports stated, as did the Hebrew-language Ha'aretz, that "Israel had issued orders for the demolition of 80 Palestinian homes in eastern Jerusalem it says were built illegally. But Palestinians say they cannot receive proper building permits from Israeli authorities, and the planned demolitions are means to assert Israel's control over the disputed city."

Carefully avoiding any accusations against the American official, the city instead placed the blame in its statement on journalists, saying it "rejects many recent claims made in the media" and offering to "provide further information on the topic."

Few, if any media provided details as to where the illegal structures were located, or information about the process that led to their demolition. However, it is unlikely that Clinton was not provided with these details during her meeting with local and national leaders.

Prior to this week, Miller said that only 28 demolition orders have been carried out since January: 11 on structures in the western section of Jerusalem and 17 on structures in the Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of the capital.

Upholding the Law Equally in Jerusalem

Mayor Nir Barkat promotes investment in infrastructure, construction, and education in eastern Jerusalem, but at the same time intends to uphold the law throughout Jerusalem equally, explained the mayor's spokesman, Stephan H. Miller.

"According to administrative procedure, orders can be given to stop work on illegal construction at the beginning and throughout the process of construction. Often, illegal construction has come at the expense of public land designated for the residents themselves, he explained."

Most of the 80 illegal buildings that were demolished in the Emek HaMelech neighborhood were built in recent years without permits. Petitions to the Interior Ministry filed by residents of the buildings were rejected, said the city, because the area is intended for public recreational use.

"The area of Emek HaMelech is one of the most important areas with regards to the history of Jerusalem, with holy sites important to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike," said Miller. Its importance as a tourist destination to "more than three billion people of faith around the world," Miller pointed out, makes it an area that must be treated "with the utmost strategic importance. Emek HaMelech is not intended for residential development but rather is intended to be an open public space. This position is concurrent with positions taken during the British Mandate and going back to Ottoman control of the area," Miller explained.

The one building that was demolished in the neighborhood of Jabel Mukabar – not Silwan, as previously reported by many news agencies – also was built illegally without a permit, in open space. The demolition was only carried out after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against it.

In the northern neighborhood of Shuafat, five empty, unfinished buildings were knocked down. "They had already been given instructions to stop construction, which were not honored," the city noted. "The orders pasted on the buildings also explain how the order can be appealed in the court of law if any injustice is felt."

However, Miller added, there is a dilemma in Shuafat: "Almost no public areas remain for public construction for the residents of the neighborhood." The area in which the illegal buildings were located, said the city, included land that was earmarked for public schools and institutions for the benefit of the local residents themselves.

"According to the Mayor of Jerusalem, administrative orders have been issued to unlicensed buildings continuing the process of construction throughout all of Jerusalem, West and East, without bias," Miller noted pointedly.

Iran is the Real Issue for Israel and America in Middle East

US New and World Report

Mortimer Zuckerman
Posted February 23, 2009 (first posted)

Iran is at the core of a struggle between Islamists and moderate national entities

The arrow that has left the bow never returns. We should keep the Iranian proverb firmly in mind when we hear, as we do now, that some kind of dialogue is opening up between the Obama administration and Iran.
The Iranian arrow is in flight, directed at secular Israel through its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, in the common aim of jihad. But the Middle East conflict is no longer one just between Israelis and Palestinians. Iran is at the core of a wider, unfolding struggle between radical Islamists and moderate national entities. Today, most Sunni Arab governments, including those of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and even Fatah—although not Syria and Qatar—are far more worried about Iranian regional dominance than they are about Israel. They know that Israel is not going to undermine or overthrow them, while radical, Iranian-sponsored Islamists just might.

The arrows literally are in flight from Gaza—rockets fired by militants on an almost daily basis, violating the informal truce even as Israel and Hamas are supposed to be seeking a longer-term cease-fire. Where are the protests? Where are the pious street marchers in Europe? In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza at a cost of $2 billion and the forcible removal of some 8,000 people who had lived there all of their lives, all in the hopes of reigniting the peace process. The result was a rainfall of 8,000 rockets, missiles, and mortar rounds on civilians in towns within Israel proper.The Palestinian Authority, then in control, had a chance to start building the infrastructure of a long-awaited state. It did not. Instead, Gaza became the base for a radical Islamist organization, spawning two separate and rival Palestinian entities and creating another huge barrier to the solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hamas is radicalizing Fatah. Even Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas will not compromise on the right of return, the so far nonnegotiable demand that all Palestinian refugees and their descendants from the 1948 war be allowed to settle in Israel. The insistence on the right of return would result in having millions of Palestinians on the Israeli side of the divide. The Israelis know that Israel would then become a country with an Arab majority and that Hamas could take over, thus ending Israeli hopes for a two-state solution.

Given the threat from Hamas, which has stated and restated that the Palestinians will continue their jihad until the face of the Zionist state disappears, who can think that Israel would get peace in return for yielding land? Israel's abandonment of Gaza was wholly voluntary, a gesture for peace, but Hamas and many Palestinians chose to see it as a sign of weakness. Withdrawal from the West Bank, once negotiable, now seems to many Israelis to make Israel more vulnerable to yet another generation of Palestinians promising to push the Jews into the sea.

An increasing number of Israelis believe that as long as Iran and its proxies are armed and ready to fight, no number of uprooted Jewish settlements will bring peace. A repetition of Gaza by withdrawals from the West Bank would leave Israel dangerously vulnerable. The whole country would turn into one big Sderot, a community turned into a virtual ghost town because of the terror of daily rocket fire. Fewer and fewer believe that any two-state solution will end the conflict. Many Israelis have become convinced that the real obstacle remains Iranian hostility, reflected in the enmity of proxies—Hamas and Hezbollah—that reject the very existence of the Jewish state, no matter what its borders.

Tehran saw the war in Gaza as the strategic dimension of the Iranian-Israeli-American struggle. For Iran, Gaza is a critical stronghold. The signals from Tehran to Hamas in Gaza were "Do not surrender," "Continue your struggle," "We will replenish your supplies"—just as the Iranians returned their other proxy, Hezbollah, to its previous strength and even doubled it within a short time after the war in Lebanon. Tehran is prepared to resupply Hamas so that it can, once again, fire missiles at Israeli towns and settlements, perhaps even as far away as Tel Aviv. That is why Israel feels it is so critical to halt the weapons smuggling into Gaza. It comes through a network organized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards that passes through Somalia, Sudan, the Red Sea, and the Nile to the Bedouin tribes in Sinai who, through bribery, have neutralized the ability of Egyptian security forces to halt the activity.

What some news commentary does not seem to appreciate is that Hamas is not a competitor for some slice of terrain or for the affection of Washington. Hamas is an existential adversary of Israel. Its ideology, as contained in its 1987 charter, leaves no doubt. The charter enjoins every Muslim to confront the enemy in Muslim lands. "Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide ranging and grave," it declared. "A woman must go out and fight the enemy even without her husband's authorization, and the slave without his master's permission." Hamas cites Muhammad for religious justification: "The time will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry, 'Oh, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him.' " Hamas believes that there is no place for a Jewish state in its Islamic world and that the killing of Jews is ordained by Allah. It is what Palestinian children are taught in their schools and what a Hamas representative, Fathi Hamad, described this way: "For the Palestinian people, death became an industry at which women excel—so do all people on this land. The elderly excel, the jihad fighters excel, and the children excel." He concluded by saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death as you desire life."

So land for peace is not the issue. The Hamas-Iranian goal is to kill as many Jews as possible and wait for God, or Iran, to complete the job. As a Hamas poster put it, "A Palestinian who kills one Jew will be rewarded as if he killed 30 million." No wonder Osama bin Laden stepped into the verbal fray in a 22-minute broadcast by al Jazeera, calling on Muslims to wage a holy jihad against Israel over Gaza.

There can be no moral equivalence between the victims who defend themselves by killing Hamas terrorists and the perpetrators who kill innocent civilians. Hamas is trying to maximize civilian casualties; Israel is trying to minimize them. To treat both sides on an even-handed basis draws into question the moral judgment of those who have trouble distinguishing between the two.

Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah don't want to kill Jews because they hate Israel; they hate Israel because they want to kill Jews. Hamas has no interest in making peace. For Hamas, peace is the enemy. That is why there is a convergence of interests among Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the Sunni Arab countries. They all want to see Hamas weakened because Hamas is the extension of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. They understand that a perceived Hamas triumph against Israel has the potential to ignite the Arab street and destabilize not just Fatah but a slew of moderate Arab states, from Egypt to Jordan and Saudi Arabia. A victorious Hamas would bolster Iran, which seeks regional hegemony and a Taliban-style regime under Hamas built on the ashes of Israel.

The Hamas strategy was to wage a war of attrition, using relatively advanced weapons supplied by Iran to pressure Israel into accepting a cease-fire so that Hamas could claim victory, in the hopes that this could ignite the West Bank and sweep away the PA and President Abbas.

Does this mean that peace is no longer possible? Does it mean there will not be a two-state or even a three-state solution?

Hamas and Iran seek one state, from the river to the sea.

Their oratory is not just anti-Israel but an eliminationist, anti-Semitic rhetoric. The sense is that if they cannot eliminate Israel, they would rather nurse their honor, their pride, and a sense of righteous victimhood than engage in the business of compromise. Fatah may wish to make peace but doesn't have the power to deliver; Hamas has the power but doesn't want peace. Ironically, it is now up to the Israeli Defense Forces to guarantee the survival of Fatah and Abbas against Hamas's jihad and its Iranian sponsors.

The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is less than ever the core of conflict in the Middle East. The real issue is Iran and its reach for regional hegemony. Iran seeks to intimidate America's Arab supporters and to eliminate Israel as America's strongest regional ally.

What is to be done? There are several parties that need to understand what is going on. First, the United States must actively support a broad international coalition to back up Egyptian-Israeli countersmuggling efforts to prevent the rearming of Hamas and the renewal of the Iran-Somalia-Sinai arms trade.

Second, the United States should continue to train and equip Palestinian security forces, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. With administrative reforms to snuff out corruption, gangsterism, and terrorism within it, the PA might achieve the ability, and the will, to prevent and refrain from terrorism and thus become a suitable partner for a two-state solution.

For its part, Israel must continue to make it clear that opposition to an Israeli state is a road to nowhere. It was that determination that broke radical Arab nationalism in the 1960s and led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace.

Force can be effective. Operational capabilities can reduce terrorism, just as they can reduce crime. The destabilization of Iran's protégé in the Middle East, Hamas, is a major achievement. During the war in Gaza, most of the Arab world stood by Egypt and saw a common interest with Israel against Iran, for most Arab governments know that the prospect of Iran fomenting revolution, wars, and insurrection throughout the region under the cover of a nuclear umbrella is infinitely more terrifying than a Jewish state in the Arab heartland.

And then there's the important role of the media, which keep failing to understand the radical nature of Hamas and Iran and their enmity to the West. On Wall Street, Lionel Tiger points out, they say, "You can't fight the tape." In the Middle East, Israel, as a Western outpost, will have difficulty fighting the videotape—that is, TV pictures that may reflect a moment of reality but do not capture the full truth of the nature of Israel's radical enemies, thereby undermining the Western support neces-sary for a long-term struggle with the radicals.

The essence is that today Hamas and Iran know that Israel will not accept an Iranian terrorist base next to its major cities, any more than the United States could accept an al Qaeda base next to Washington. And that is what the United States and the Western world must understand and support. It is in our interest to contain the radicalism emanating from an ideologically expansive Iran on the verge of crossing the nuclear threshold.

There is an Arab proverb that applies: Do not stand in a place of danger trusting in miracles.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

No chance for 2 states

Israeli leaders must realize there are better options than two-state solution

Giora Eiland
Israel Opinion

A unity government will reportedly not be created, because Tzipi Livni thinks Benjamin Netanyahu does not adhere to the notion of the "two-state solution." But is this the only political solution? This is what Livni and many others around the world think, but it isn't so. Not only is it far from being the single solution, it’s a bad solution, and will likely never be achieved.

The idea of "two states" is based on a series of assumptions: First, the assumption that the primary Palestinian national ambition is statehood. There is no basis to this. The Palestinian ethos is based on values such as justice, victimization, revenge, and above all, the "right of return."

It's true that the Palestinians want to do away with the occupation, but it's wrong to assume that this translates into a desire for an independent state. They would prefer the solution of "no state at all" – that is, the State of Israel will cease to exist and the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will be divided among Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

The second assumption is that if a Palestinian state is created, it will be ruled by "moderates." There is no basis to this. It is likely that the regime in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will fall within a short time into the hands of Hamas.

The third assumption is that two stable states can exist in the narrow strip that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. It is easy to prove this is not possible: the Palestinian state will not be able to be independent and Israel will not be able to defend itself.

The fourth assumption is that Israel can implement this agreement; that is, an agreement that entails evacuating 100,000 settlers from Judea and Samaria. Even if we ignore the social and political intricacies of this, such an operation would cost more than $30 billion, not including billions more that will be required to redeploy the army. Is this possible?

In short, the most the Israeli government can offer the Palestinians, and still survive politically, is less than the minimum that a Palestinian regime can accept, and still survive politically.

Chance for change
There are at least two other solutions that are much more beneficial, and not only for Israel.

The first is to create an independent political entity in the West Bank that will be part of a confederation with Jordan. This may sound surprising, but there are increasing voices, both in Jordan and in the West Bank, in support of this idea.

The Jordanian logic is simple: If a Palestinian state is created, it will be ruled by Hamas, and a Hamas state neighboring Jordan is the beginning of the end for the Hashemite Kingdom. So it is better that control over security in the West Bank be in Jordanian hands.

Palestinians who support this idea do so for two reasons: They prefer a Jordanian rule to Hamas rule, and it is the quickest way to dispose of the Israelis.

The second alternative is a regional solution, in which there will be an exchange of territory not only between Israel and the Palestinian state; rather, Egypt will also be involved. Gaza can be expanded to three times its size, on account of Egyptian territory, and can be given genuine economic viability.

In exchange, the Palestinians will renounce a significant piece of land in the West Bank, and this will

allow Israel to decrease the number of evacuees to 30,000.

Israel will compensate Egypt with territories in the south by opening a land crossing between Egypt and Jordan, north of Eilat, and more.

Back to the new Israeli government: Netanyahu would do best by not only rejecting the "two-state solution" but also persuading the United States to examine alternative solutions.

US President Barack Obama talked about change – here's a chance to make a change in the way the Americans have been looking at the situation until now. .

That Surreal Gaza Reconstruction Conference

Daniel Pipes | 3/3/2009
Was I the only one rubbing my eyes in disbelief yesterday, as the Egyptian government hosted an “International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza”?

It took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, attended by delegations from 71 states, plus 16 regional, international, and financial organizations. Its stated goal was to raise US$2.8 billion, of which $1.3 was for rebuilding what had been destroyed in the course of Israel’s recent war on Hamas (the rest would be sent to the Palestinian Authority to help improve its standing). The actual amount raised at the conference was $4.5 billion which, when added to previously committed funds, means the grant total for Gaza and the PA comes to $5.2 billion, to be disbursed over a two-year period. A delighted Egyptian foreign minister called the amount “beyond our expectations.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “a very productive conference”. Among the larger donations included a Gulf Cooperation Council contribution of $1.65 billion over five years and a U.S. government pledge of $900 million from the American taxpayer (of which $300 million will go for Gaza rebuilding).

Husni Mubarak of Egypt, Nicholas Sarkozy of France, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, Amr Moussa of the Arab League, and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority gave speeches.

Why my disbelief at this spectacle: I wonder if those eminentoes and worthies really believe that warfare in Gaza is a thing of the past, and that the time for reconstruction is nigh?

They must not read dispatches from southern Israel, which report the daily warfare that continues there. Take a representative news item from Yedi'ot Aharonot, dated February 28, “Experts: Grads in Ashkelon were advanced.”

the two Grad rockets that landed in Ashkelon Saturday morning[, Feb. 28,] were new and improved models, capable of greater destruction than those usually fired from Gaza. One of the rockets hit a school in the southern city, and succeeded in penetrating the fortification used to protect it from projectiles. … The Grad rockets that hit Ashkelon were two of only five or six locally manufactured 170 mm rockets ever fired at Israel, experts say. The rarely used rockets have a range of 14 km (8.6 miles) and are capable of massive damage, evident from the destruction witnesses described on the scene of Saturday’s attack.

In an official protest to the United Nations, the Israel’s Ambassador Gabriela Shalev noted that “there have been nearly 100 rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip” since the ceasefire on January 18, or over two per day. These have been increasing in number, with 12 rockets fired at Sderot on March 1 alone.

Responding to these attacks, the Israeli cabinet resolved on March 1 that “should the firing from the Gaza Strip continue, it would be met by a painful, sharp, strong and uncompromising response by the security forces.” Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu echoed this bellicosity, reportedly telling a European leader that he would not sacrifice Israel’s security “for a smile.”

(Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal, in unexpected agreement, noted that rebuilding Gaza would be “difficult and fool-hardy, so long as peace and security do not prevail” there.)

What the hell are the donor countries doing, getting in the middle of an on-going war with their high-profile supposed reconstruction effort? My best guess: this permits them subtly to signal Jerusalem that it better not attack Gaza again, because doing so will confront it with a lot of very angry donor governments – including, of course, the Obama administration.

Adding to the surreal quality is a blithe disregard for Israel’s security needs. Consider the attitude of Douglas Alexander, international development secretary for Britain’s Labour government, who pledged £30 million of his taxpayers’ funds to rebuild houses, schools, and hospitals in Gaza. “There is a desperate need for tough restrictions on the supply of goods to be relaxed,” he said, demanding next that “Israel must do the right thing and allow much-needed goods to get through to those men, women and children who continue to suffer.”

That’s very humanitarian of Mr. Alexander, but he willfully ignored Israeli expectations that Hamas will confiscate steel, concrete, and other imported construction materials to build more tunnels, bunkers, and rockets. After all, Hamas appropriated prior deliveries intended for civilians, and so blatantly that even the usually docile United Nations Relief and Works Agency protested.

Husni Mubarak might warn Hamas not to treat the donors' pledges as a “conquest of war,” but it will assuredly do precisely that. U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (Republican of Illinois) got it right: “To route $900 million to this area, and let’s say Hamas was only able to steal 10 percent of that, we would still become Hamas’ second-largest funder after Iran.”

So, under the cheery banner of building, in Clinton’s words, “a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors,” donor states are not only defying Israel to protect itself from rocket fire but they are funneling matériel to Hamas.

Is this ignorance or mendacity? I suspect the latter; no one is that dumb.
Mr. Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"A Close Watch"

What we're watching -- what must be watched -- is the Obama administration.

First, a return to the Durban issue, in several respects.

I wish to make it clear (in case it was not already so) that I do not for a moment believe that the US delegation that went to participate in the Durban 2 planning withdrew because they really tried to improve the situation and could not. The evidence is strong, from several sources, that they didn't try. My assumption remains that they pulled out because so much noise had been made. Or because they hadn't done their homework and didn't know how bad the document that was being put together really was until they got there, at which point they said, a bit belatedly, "Uh oh, this is not a good scene."
Anne Bayefsky, of Eye on the UN, has written some follow-up on the matter, which has been picked up by Melanie Phillips -- and which some of you have contacted me about.

Bayefsky says the withdrawal was not unequivocal. In an article she wrote for Forbes she describes what she refers to as "double-dealing" by the Obama administration, which first left Jewish organizations with the impression that the US was pulling out, and then left human rights organizations with the impression that this might not be final.

The statement put out this past Friday night by the State Department and as described by Bayefsky:

"...the current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable," and "the United States will not ... participate in a conference based on this text," but we will "re-engage if a document that meets [our] criteria becomes the basis for deliberations." A new version must be: "shorter," "not reaffirm in toto the flawed 2001 Durban Declaration," "not single out any one country or conflict," and "not embrace the troubling concept of "defamation of religion."

Yes, this indicates a lack of straight dealing. For me it also represents a sort of hypocritical face-saving.

The reason I was not alarmed by this is because I do not for an instant believe the committee will make any adjustments or that the US delegation will again participate. These are words that are likely moot. Does this teach us not to trust the Obama administration? I think many (most) of us had already learned this lesson.


But Bayefsky makes an important point about this statement: This equivocating, which carefully avoids a clear, solid condemnation of what is going on in Geneva, has caused confusion among other nations that are trying to decide whether to attend or not and were seeking US leadership on the matter. The US statement that says a partial Durban Declaration might be OK has not helped.


Yet another part of the State Department statement is exceedingly worrisome and not moot at all: The US plans to participate in the UN Human Rights Council.

Bayefsky says this is "a consolation prize for Durban enthusiasts" and "an attempt to downplay a major move." Obama has simply traded participation in one virulently anti-Israel forum for another.

State Department officials are saying they want to move beyond being observers to securing a seat on the Council, subject to the "likelihood of successful elections." Successful elections indeed! The Council members would welcome the legitimacy conferred on them by US participation. And to acquire this legitimacy without a US demand that there first be reforms. What a gift.

Is the US now going to sit in on meetings in this venue, in which Israel is consistently torn apart? Bayefsky has been monitoring this horrendous group closely:

"The Council -- controlled by the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- has adopted more condemnations of Israel than [of] all other 191 U.N. states combined, while terminating human rights investigations on the likes of Iran, Cuba and Belarus."

See a video of a statement made by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch at


It should be noted that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, of South Africa, has praised the preparatory proceedings for the Durban 2 Conference. She was not ashamed to do so even though a draft of the closing statement prepared for Durban 2 states that Israel's policy in the Palestinian areas constitutes a "violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a contemporary form of apartheid."

These groups are incestuous, not independent of each other.

So, forget Durban, it's time to get out protests regarding US participation in the UN Human Rights Council.

To locate your congresspersons:

To locate your senators:

Returning, briefly, to the matter of Chas. Freeman. I would like, first, to clarify the fact that Freeman was appointed not by President Obama, but by the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, himself a somewhat controversial figure, appointed to his new position by Obama in January.

Thus, some official questions regarding Freeman's appointment have now been directed to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- to DNI Inspector General Edward Maguire, specifically.

I have become aware of two letters now sent to Maguire regarding Freeman's appointment. One is from Congressman Steve Israel (D-2nd NY) -- a member of the Select Oversight Panel of the House Appropriations Committee -- who has asked for an investigation into Freeman's ties with Saudi Arabia. The second is from Congressman Mark Kirk (R-10th IL), who is asking for a review of any conflicts of interest Freeman may have, as the Middle East Policy Council, which Freeman headed, has received money from Saudi Arabia.

The preliminary (and I would say sorely inadequate) response from the DNI was that all appointees are vetted.

It's important to keep the heat on here, as well. Mention this issue to your elected representatives. And, please, contact Congressmen Israel and Kirk with a word of appreciation for their vigilance.


Congressman Israel
Phone: 202-225-3335 Fax: 202-225-4669

Congressman Kirk
Phone: 202-225-4835 Fax: 202-225-0837


At a meeting in Cairo of Arab foreign ministers, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal called for a joint Arab strategy to deal with the Iranian challenge." Iran is exceedingly worrisome to the Saudis, Egypt and others. Good to see this movement.


In a press conference here in Jerusalem today, Secretary of State Clinton said, "We intend to do all that we can to deter and prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons." I'd like to know what "all that we can" means in real terms.


A PA official today opined that if the two-state solution doesn't become viable soon," the entire notion of the two states and the diplomatic process in general will collapse."

Of course, the message they intend to deliver to Sec. Clinton shortly is that it is our fault for having elected a right wing government that will not cooperate. They would rather not focus on the refusal of Hamas to stop launching rockets or to recognize Israel's right to exist.

But Clinton actually got it right today, saying, "The first step is a durable peace, but that can only be achieved if Hamas ceases the rocket attacks."

As Arutz Sheva put it: "Unlike previous American messages that sought a 'balance' in blame, she did not couple the halt of attacks with the issue of Gaza border crossings".


Our air force hit at strategic targets inside of Gaza today, for the first time in day. Rocket launchings have been escalating.

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"Everything's Relative"

Arlene Kushner

Perfection we're not about to get. Not at home, not internationally. And so, whatever we hope for, pray for, we have to examine the possibilities, and what the best we can expect is.

To that end, domestically, whatever my frustration and disappointment with Netanyahu, I would far prefer him to Livni. He speaks of retaining a hefty percentage of Judea and Samaria, and limiting a Palestinian entity so that it has no army, no control of its airspace, and no ability to make treaties. She devotes herself to a "two-state solution." And so, as things stand, it could be a lot worse. What I want to focus on today is this perspective with respect to the international scene. In particular, with regard to Hillary Clinton, who's due here tomorrow.

Hillary has never been a favorite of mine. I have not forgotten that she kissed Suha Arafat, who had just included a blood libel against us in a speech, and that she announced in favor of a Palestinian state before Bill did.

But I, at least at this point, feel more kindly disposed to her than I did to her predecessor, Condoleezza. (Maybe I just need to wait a while.) Rice dragged down her boss, Bush. But Clinton is much more on the mark than Obama is ever likely to be. What is more, she is head and shoulders above Samantha Power in the National Security Council, with whom she is already engaged in a turf war.

In short, within the current Obama administration, she is about as good as it's likely to get. It seems clear as day by now that we're facing some real enemies there.


Barry Rubin, writing about Hillary today, says that she doesn't accept the myths that many in Washington embrace. She knows that:

[] The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the fulcrum of the Middle East, and its solution will not make all other regional problems disappear.

[] The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not easily solved by pressure, the perfect plan or hard work.

[] A very large and decisive portion of the blame for the continued conflict rests with the Palestinians.

[] Bringing Hamas into the negotiating process is a mistake that would doom any chance for peace and might bring down the PA.

Additionally, Hillary is reported to have said in a private meeting today with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates that she doubted Iran was going to respond favorably to Obama's interest in dialogue.

And so, this is a real and significant start.


Does this mean that everything will be sweetness and light, and we will work easily with her on all matters? Absolutely not. She's going to push us, as she is eager to prove her leverage is substantial and to score points that will keep her relevant within the administration.

As Rubin puts it, " matter skeptical Clinton is of the chances for progress [in negotiations with the Palestinians], she want to make it appear that she is actively engaged and making progress...She wants Israel to make her look good." (Note, this is about power politics, not about what's good for the US, Israel, or the Western world.)

Thus there are going to be bones of contention with her, with regard to settlements, and Gaza (re-opening crossings, establishing a cease-fire, and dealing with humanitarian problems).


Today Secretary Clinton was in Sharm el-Sheikh, joining representatives of some 80 nations who met to discuss assistance for Gaza reconstruction efforts.

And already she made her pitch for concentrated involvement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We cannot afford more setbacks or delays," she declared. "The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace." Sigh...

The US contribution is to be $900 million. Reportedly $300 million is for humanitarian aid, with the avenue(s) for distributing this still vague. That Hamas should not benefit is understood but it is questionable if money can be kept out of their hands. UNRWA, mentioned as a conduit, is hardly legit in this respect.

The other $600 million would go for development aid to the PA. "We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure our funding is only used where and for whom it is intended and does not end up in the wrong hands," she assured those gathered. And I say, yea, sure.


The international donors at the conference pledged $4.48 billion for Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, to be paid out over the next two years. There are, however, some very serious issues to be raised with regard to this notion of international reconstruction -- even aside from the question of who is in charge of the rebuilding.

The international community is acting as if the destruction in Gaza is a thing of the past, and reconstruction can proceed apace. A big mistake. Several times now Netanyahu has raised this issue with foreign leaders: Why put money into Gaza reconstruction when the rockets are still being launched? And indeed they are being launched, with considerable frequency and power. The military response the terrorist groups face from the IDF in the future is still an unknown.


There is still much potential flux with regard to the formation of the government coalition. Barak has decided he would like to come aboard, but large parts of the Labor party are bucking him. Livni is definitely out, but Mofaz and others remain restive.


Attorney General Mazuz is indicating likelihood that he will indict PM Olmert in the Talansky affair. There are several charges: fraud, breach of trust and receiving illicit perquisites. More to follow on this, hopefully.


"Puzzled in Gaza," by British journalist Yvonne Green, is a fascinating piece that should be widely circulated.

Green, wanting to see the destruction for herself, went into Gaza, and moved about accompanied by a Palestinian guide. She saw evidence of pinpoint strikes on Hamas infrastructure, and much that was undisturbed:

"THE GAZA I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or underdressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce - the red radishes were bigger than grapefruits. Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they'd survived..."

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Indyk: Stop settlement activity to advance peace

March 2, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A former U.S. ambassador to Israel said that the Jewish state must cease settlement activity in order to make progress on an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"It's not going to be possible to engage the Arab states" in the peace process "if settlement activity continues," said Martin Indyk, who served two terms as envoy during the Clinton administration. It is a critical issue," Indyk said, adding that stopping violence and terrorism was vital for the Palestinians.

Indyk and Jeremy Isaacharoff, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of Israel, discussed the Middle East before about 200 people at the opening session of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs annual plenum in Washington. The event brings together representatives of 14 national agencies and more than 100 local community relations councils.

Indyk also stressed the importance of U.S. and Israel pursuing a Syrian peace because it would split Syria and Iran, put pressure on Hamas and "provide cover" for other Arab states to get involved in the process. He noted that Turkey had been moderating indirect talks between the two countries for awhile.

Isaacharoff said Israel must "continue our relationship" with the Palestinians and "develop a relationship with Syria and see how it goes." But he said that Israel needed to see "serious actions" from Syria -- such as stopping its meddling in Lebanon and halting its supplying of arms to Hamas -- before any progress could be made

Guest Comment: Indyk is neither a friend of peace nor Israel, regardless of what he says or his religion.
Historically, the only time peace was in the air was when Israel was building and extending their towns and villages.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A case of leftist arrogance

Left convinced of its superiority, wants rightist government to fail
Hanoch Daum

What the hell is happening to you, dear leftists? Where did you come up with such deep arrogance? I'm talking about the statement I hear from you all the time these days: "I wish to see a narrow rightist government. Let's see what you can do." Yes, Netanyahu also prefers Kadima in his government rather than National Union – you're on to him. But why, actually, don't you accommodate him? Is this country not important to you?

What we are facing at this time is a crazy and unprecedented situation: Leftists are interested in seeing Israel humiliating itself worldwide, an economic collapse, and failed peace negotiations, just so they can prove to the rightist camp that it cannot run the country on its own.

Well, here's an open secret: It's true! The Right, on its own, cannot run the country when it depends on the National Union. It is also unable to manage a budget while depending on the ultra-Orthodox parties. However, the Left cannot do it on its own either. In order to run this country, we need unity.

Mature, noble behavior

In recent days, the Left has also been asking another question: What does the Right even have to offer on the diplomatic front?

It's an excellent question. After all, the Left has plenty to offer. Ehud Olmert met with Mahmoud Abbas once a week. Once a week. And what did he achieve? Amazing accomplishments, such as a comprehensive peace agreement with the Arabs. Just like Hamas disarmed thanks to the disengagement and the evacuation of Gush Katif. Just like Syria decided to bid the axis of evil farewell and help us secure Gilad Shalit's release, thanks to the messages relayed to President Assad by the Left.

All of this happened because of the leftist approach. All those beautiful years, where we knew no wars, only happened thanks to the Left. Therefore, the question of what the Right has to offer is an excellent, incisive question.

Or in other words, the diplomatic issue is not the only matter currently on the agenda; we can go for a broad government in order to address other issues: The Iranian problem, the economic crisis, the relationship between religious and secular Israelis. But no – Livni prefers to prove to everyone that the Right cannot do it on its own; indeed, such mature, noble behavior.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Does Anyone Know?"

Arlene Kushner

I'm through projecting how our government's coalition will be formed. For every time it looks like a right wing coalition is a "done deal," with nothing remaining except to finalize negotiations with the right wing parties, some other possibility pops up.Livni has said no. But there are reports in the news of Likud courting Labor and Barak now. Don't know where this will lead, as Labor is in a weaker position than Kadima and less likely to hold out against the multiple perks Netanyahu is said to be offering. (Barak as defense minister again???) In the opposition, Barak would play second fiddle to Livni anyway.


Seems, at the end of the day, for all the talk about needing a broad coalition to provide strength for the problems Israel faces, Netanyahu wants the flexibility to not have to answer to the right wing. That's my take, after discussing this with an informed source on the inside today.

This position is, in my opinion, would represent a betrayal of the voters. He made the point that he should be given the charge to form the coalition (which, indeed Peres did give him) because even though Kadima got one more mandate than Likud, the right wing bloc got some 10 more mandates than the left (and even more when Arab parties are discounted). If this was his point, then his obligation to the electorate is to form a right wing government.


Shaul Mofaz, in Kadima, is also making noises about the appropriateness of joining Likud. He would be at the forefront of that rebels group from Kadima, were it ever to really break away.


I will report duly on what is happening, attempting to avoid projections, and without any hint of jubilation unless and until there is a solid right wing government that merits celebration.


A word here, however, on Netanyahu's stated position vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Anticipating his meeting with Secretary of State Clinton this week, Netanyahu gave an interview to The Washington Post that ran yesterday. Said he:

"...the Palestinians should have the ability to govern their lives, but not to threaten ours."

What he envisions is, more or less, a form of autonomy, whatever name he might choose to give it. The Palestinian entity he projects would not have:

The right to make treaties.
The right to control its airspace.
The right to build an army.
The right to control the water supply.
The right to control the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e., television, radio, etc. transmission)
The right to control its borders (such as they might be).

This is definitely less than sovereignty.

Says Netanyahu, Israel would retain at least 50% of Judea and Samaria, including areas in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert necessary for security -- and, I would assume, all Jewish communities, which would have a right to expand for natural growth.


All this is hypothetical, but from a security perspective I would also see issues involving incitement within Palestinian areas -- via press, textbooks, etc. And the very important Israeli right to enter these autonomous areas in pursuit of terrorists.

But even beyond all of the security parameters, my own take is that there would be critical ideological issues. It would, I suggest, have to be absolutely clarified that the Palestinians hadn't been given the land.


Is Netanyahu serious about this? He might be, because I'm seeing consistency here. Some years ago when I addressed a question to him one-on-one about Palestinian statehood, his answer reflected the very same thinking.

This position gives him maneuvering room. He would, under pressure to "negotiate" with the Palestinians, be able to point to readiness to do so, with these particular parameters.

But it also might be a way of killing negotiations without refusing to negotiate: Palestinians set on a full state with Jerusalem as its capital, etc. etc., would reject out of hand what he would be offering. This could just as easily be his final intention.


John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and former US ambassador to the UN, has written an article on the issue of Obama and Durban 2, "A Multilateral Mess."

It is Bolton's perception that the rush of the Obama administration to participate in the meetings preparatory to the Durban 2 conference was an ill-planned attempt to engage in "multilateralism," i.e., focus on diplomacy and interaction with various international parties.

"The administration's foreign-policy performance has been uneven so far - with this debacle merely the most obvious mess. Where some had believed President Obama would pursue a moderate, pragmatic course, his administration increasingly seems not only highly ideological, but naive and uninformed - exposing and endangering America and its allies"

The very first agenda that brought the administration to Geneva was "the president's own desire to practice diplomacy without regard to strategic calculations..."

"The Obama team," explains Bolton, "underestimated how bad the draft Durban II final declaration was, and how hard it would be to change it.

"...the new administration displayed its fundamentally ideological proclivity toward unfocused 'engagement' by intervening in Durban II, a decision sadly lacking in moderation or pragmatism.

"This miscalculation will undoubtedly damage President Obama, but even worse it will harm larger American interests by opening us to the kinds of challenges that our adversaries are only too willing to mount."

Great! A US president who is ill-informed and chooses to forge ahead on the strength of some vague notion of improving the world by talking with everyone.


From here I move to a similar mistake made by the Obama administration: The promotion of a Palestinian unity government on the mistaken assumption that it would increase the chances of achieving "peace."

Just over a week ago, support for this came from US envoy George Mitchell, while Khaled Abu Toameh was reporting that the PA said they had received the "green light" from the US for starting negotiations with Hamas. According to a PA official on February 21, "The administration of President Barack Obama believes that a Hamas-Fatah government is good for stability." Egyptian president Mubarak received a similar message, and began to move ahead with preparations for negotiating that unity government.

Were the parameters thought through? Nahh. This was another case of being "inclusive" and assuming that "diplomacy" would set matters right.


And now? It seems as if certain essentials have suddenly dawned on the US Secretary of State, at least. Clinton was quoted on Friday as saying:

"I believe that it's important, if there is some reconciliation and a move toward a unified authority, that it's very clear that Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet, by the Arab summit."

"They must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments, otherwise, I don't think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state."

Well, good morning, Hillary!

Why wasn't all of this thought through before the US began to promote a unity government? Flying by the seat of your pants in a euphoric effort to fix things is not real diplomacy.


And wouldn't you know? By yesterday a Hamas spokesman, Ismail Radwan, had rejected Clinton's demands, saying that they were unacceptable to Hamas, which does not recognize Israel.


It was also yesterday that PA president Mahmoud Abbas, sensing which way the American wind was blowing, echoed Clinton's words:

"We are moving in steady steps toward ... a national unity government that abides by our known commitments, which include the two-state vision and the signed commitments."

To this Hamas official Ayman Taha responded that Abbas's comments undermine the possibility for reaching a unity agreement. "We reject any pre-conditions in the formation of the unity government. Hamas will never accept a unity government that recognizes Israel."


What concerns me here is the inability of American planners to recognize the power of ideology. Talking nicely with Hamas and making them feel included does not diminish the revolutionary zeal of this jihadist group.


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Obama Tied to Millions in Budget Earmarks

David Eberhart and David A. Patten

President Obama and top members of his administration appear to be sponsoring hundreds of millions of dollars of earmarks in the 2009 budget that Obama is trying to push through Congress, reports.

In the congressional report that accompanies the budget legislation, Obama is listed as a sponsor of a $7.7 million earmark for “Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions.” Obama’s co-sponsors on that earmark include Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton President Obama pledged to fight the addition of pork-barrel earmarks to legislation during the presidential campaign. Last April, for example, Obama released a statement stating: "We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress' seniority, rather than the merit of the project."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Biden, Clinton, and three other Cabinet secretaries who served in Congress last year are listed as sponsors or co-sponsors of hundreds of millions of dollars of earmarks attached to the spending bill.

The House approved the $410 billion omnibus budget measure Wednesday, sending it on to the Senate.

According to, Senate staffers say Obama’s name will be removed as a sponsor. It is not clear if Obama will insist that his cabinet officers withdraw their earmark requests, however.

Other earmarks traced back to members of the Obama administration:

# Vice President Joe Biden, who asked for $94.9 million in set-asides before assuming his new office. He is a co-sponsor of those expenditure requests.

# Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was the lone sponsor on $5.4 million of earmarks in the budget bill. Including the earmarks he supported as a secondary sponsor, he’s linked to $227.4 million of earmarks.

# Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asked for $31.2 million in earmarks, including $380,000 to replace vehicles that assist disabled persons in LaHood’s hometown of Peoria, Ill., the Web site says.

# Emanuel, the former congressman from Illinois, is currently sponsoring $3.9 million in earmarks on an individual basis.

# Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, a former member of Congress representing California, is linked to $38.4 million worth of earmarks, although she was the lone sponsor for only $814,000 of that total.

# Clinton sponsored just under $109 million in earmarks, although many of those were sponsored in concert with other senators.

On Wednesday, Gibbs evaded directly answering a question about whether Obama would prompt his Cabinet secretaries to withdraw their earmark requests.

“The president has discussed and worked with Congress to pass some reform of this process that now ensure that people like you that are interested can go into a piece of legislation and see the names of those sponsors,” Gibbs said.

© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Arlene Kushner

Today's good news today is that the Obama administration has decided not to participate in the Durban Conference because of its anti-Israel, anti-Semitic tone. The news came via a conference call between White House aides and leaders of the Jewish community.

This must be celebrated. It would be unreasonable to say otherwise. But celebrated with a proviso. The conduct of the Obama administration -- most specifically with regard to decisions that impact Israel made by Obama himself -- has been exceedingly troublesome in several regards. And, in trying to understand what is going on, I have found myself fluctuating between various interpretations of what Obama's motivations are.

Is he, as I originally concluded, simply enormously naive? Is he willing to sell out Israel in order to court the Arab/Muslim world? Or, as I have come to think more recently, is he inherently and deeply anti-Israel?.

It is very difficult to swallow Obama's original reason for sending a delegation to participate in the planning sessions in Geneva for the Durban 2 conference: To try to improve the tone of the planning document. The evidence from knowledgeable persons close to the happenings at those planning sessions made it clear that the US could not have had an effect on the proceedings. The American delegation went to sit on a committee with the likes of Libya, Iran, Pakistan and Cuba; it was outnumbered seriously by Arab/Muslim and Third World nations that have an anti-Israel agenda.

What is more, the Durban 2 conference is being held "to foster the implementation of the [original] Durban Declaration and Program of Action." This means the focus of the upcoming conference was set in stone and not amenable to a shift in tone. That original declaration was viciously anti-Israel.

Could Obama really have believed that the group he sent to participate in Geneva had any chance of changing matters?

To further muddy the waters, we have the evidence of Anne Bayesfsky's report, that the US delegation sat quietly during anti-Israel proceedings. This cast serious doubt upon the claim that the delegation was there to try to improve the situation.


I tend to believe, along with others, that it is the fact that this whole Durban situation was being so closely watched and received so much publicity that ultimately made the difference. This is a lesson here, for Obama, and for all of us. The diligence I last wrote about is as necessary as ever.

For the Durban incident has to be considered in a broader context, which includes Obama appointments such as Chas Freeman, who actually blamed 9/11 on Israel, and Samantha Power, who came out at one point in favor of a major international force to protect the Palestinians from Israel.


Even if Obama's motivation was truly sincere, and he did send the delegation to try to change the tenor of the proceedings, I don't think what he did was OK. I don't have a "you have to give him credit for trying -- no harm done" attitude. Quite the contrary. I think innocent misjudgments can have serious consequences. In particular do I think of Iran, with whom Obama would like to "dialogue;" the problem is that the Iranians will take advantage of this as a stalling tactic. A US president who doesn't perceive this is a danger to the Western world.


I think it is highly appropriate to tell President Obama how pleased we are with this decision. We have to take in from there and continue to monitor.

There will be more to say on this and related issues...

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