Saturday, August 15, 2009

Call the UN! Hamas attacks Gaza mosque!

Jihad Watch

Israel hit a mosque in Gaza that was being used to store weapons, and the international condemnation was fierce. Somehow I doubt that those who were so angry about that attack on a mosque will be upset about this one at all. More on this story. "Mosque gun battle rages in Gaza," from the BBC, August 14 (thanks to Dupont): At least six people have been killed and dozens injured in a fierce gun battle in Gaza, emergency services say.

Eyewitnesses say hundreds of Hamas fighters and policemen surrounded then raided a mosque where followers of a radical Islamist cleric were holed up.

They had fired rocket-propelled grenades at the mosque in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, witnesses say.

It is thought that at least 100 supporters of the al-Qaeda-linked group, Jund Ansar Allah, were inside.

Hamas said a grenade fired from the mosque killed one of its fighters. The other fatalities were reported to be gunmen, and a child was also killed.

Fighting pledge

Earlier, during Friday prayers, hundreds of worshippers at Ibn-Taymiyah mosque declared Gaza an "Islamic emirate".

The mosque's imam - Abdul-Latif Moussa - and armed supporters swore to fight to the death rather than hand over authority of the mosque to Hamas.

Jund Ansar Allah (Army of the Helpers of God) gained some prominence two months ago when it staged a failed attack on a border crossing between Gaza and Israel.

The group is very critical of Hamas, which governs Gaza, accusing the Islamist group of not being Islamist enough....

"I would have such a fellow whipped for overdoing Termagant; it out-Herods Herod: pray you, avoid it."

Anyway, I guess now Hamas is officially and undeniably "moderate." Let the jizya flow!

Nasrallah: We can hit any Israeli city

Hezbollah leader says Israeli warnings 'psychological warfare,' predicts war not on horizon
Associated Press

Recent Israeli warnings were part of a "psychological war" aimed at preventing Hezbollah from joining a new Lebanese unity government, group leader Hassan Nasrallah said Friday. Speaking on the anniversary of the end of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, Nasrallah said the Shiite group was now capable of striking any Israeli city.

"Today we are capable of striking any city or village" in Israel, Nasrallah said. He promised "surprises" if Israel launches a new war on Lebanon. He did not elaborate.

"It is our right to make (Israel) understand that if it bombs Beirut or the southern suburbs, we will strike Tel Aviv," Nasrallah said, drawing the cheers of supporters.

Nasrallah, appearing on a giant screen from his hiding place, addressed thousands of supporters waving yellow Hezbollah flags who gathered for the rally in south Beirut. He said recent Israeli warnings against Lebanon do not signal that Israel is planning to attack soon.

Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that in the event of renewed hostilities in the north, Israel would "go after not only Hezbollah but the entire state of Lebanon."

Hamas crushes 'al-Qaeda uprising'


At least 16 people killed, scores wounded in battles between Hamas forces, al-Qaeda followers in Strip; unconfirmed report says suicide bomber blew up amidst Hamas men. Earlier, radical cleric pledges allegiance to Bin Laden
Ali Waked

Mayhem in Gaza: After hours of fighting Friday, Hamas' security forces were able to crush an uprising by gunmen associated with al-Qaeda, in the wake of a provocative speech by a local imam critical of Gaza's current rulers. At least 16 people were killed in the clashes and more than 80 were reportedly wounded.

Earlier, the leader of the radical Salafi faction in Gaza, Abdul Latif Musa, slammed Hamas' conduct as not sufficiently Islamic, as he declared the Strip an "Islamic emirate" and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Following fierce gunfights, eyewitnesses reported that Hamas was able to take over most rebel strongholds. Friday night, Hamas forces reportedly bombed the last stronghold, where Imam Musa and his men were apparently barricaded.

According to one report, the commander of the al-Qaeda faction's military wing, Abu-Abdullah al-Suri, may have been killed in the attack.

'Ideological deterioration'
Unconfirmed reports said a Musa loyalist blew himself up within a group of Hamas men near the mosque where the radical cleric spoke earlier. According to other reports, Hamas members, some of them masked, were pursuing more Salafi loyalists in the Strip.

Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhari addressed the fierce clashes in Rafah, characterizing the views presented by the Salafi faction as "ideological deterioration."

"This group has no connection to any outside organization," he said. "No element or group has the authority to take the law into its own hands, and those who do not respect that will be dealt with by the security establishment."

Meanwhile, members of the Salafi group, Jund al-Ansar Allah, said they were completely loyal to Musa and warned against any attempt to undermine the Islamic emirate he declared.

According to other reports, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees was leading mediation efforts between the warring factions.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Arlene Kushner

That's a backlash against the Fatah Conference in Bethlehem, and it couldn't be happening to "nicer" people.

According to Khaled Abu Toameh, a large number of Fatah's top representatives are questioning the elections for Central Committee held earlier this week. Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) -- who failed to receive re-election -- has now pronounced what went on in Iran "nothing" as compared to these Fatah elections: Speaking to Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), Qurei said:

"There are many big question marks about the election, the way it was conducted and the way votes were counted.

"There were behind-the-scenes arrangements that removed some names and added others to the [winning] list."

Gee, could you imagine that?

Pointing out that three of the men who won -- Jibril Rajoub, Muhammad Dahlan and Tawfik Tirawi -- worked with Israel in their former roles as security commanders, he charged: "...someone wants to see rubber stamps.

"This is a harsh and difficult phase and there are offers for a temporary state without Jerusalem and the refugees. Apparently there are some people who have taken this into consideration."

Qurei has hinted that Abbas and his supporters had a hand in what went on. He and others were particularly distressed by the "extremely disgraceful" last-minute inclusion of Tayeb Abdel Rahim -- an "old-guard" long time colleague of Abbas -- in the list of winners. A preliminary result had shown that Rahim did not have enough votes to be included on the Committee.


Every member of Fatah's Higher Committee in Gaza has submitted his resignation in protest against what has been called, "massive fraud." Said Ahmed Abu Nasr,a Fatah leader in Gaza, "These elections have damaged Fatah's reputation." This, says Abu Toameh, represents a serious embarrassment for Abbas.

Dozens of Fatah members have signed a petition rejecting the outcome of the election and calling for an independent probe.

With all of this, the results of the election to the Revolutionary Council, second in importance to the Central Committee, have yet to be announced.


Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former PA minister has hailed the Fatah resulting from the Bethlehem Conference "a brand new Fatah."

But Abu Toameh is saying, not so fast: "Some Fatah representatives are now talking about the possibility of forming a breakaway group called Fatah - the Awakening (Fath al-Sahwa ). Others said that the reaction of the Fatah representatives in the Gaza Strip also indicated that there's a high probability that they would try to establish their own Fatah party."

(Sorry I cannot locate a URL for Abu Toameh's Post analysis, "Showdown in Bethlehem," which I have in hard copy.)


This past week, Obama, shamefully, award the US Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, who, as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had overseen the horrendously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Durban I.

With this crass and insensitive act, Obama has made a clear statement.

I would like to share two commentaries on this event.

The first, by John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN and a really good guy. Bolton analyzes the reasons why Robinson should not have received the award.


The second by Jennifer Rubin (and I thank Yisrael M. for calling this to my attention) addresses the effect of Obama's decision on the American Jewish community and Jewish politicians.

"I have a slightly different take on the Mary Robinson fiasco. Whether it becomes a 'tipping point' for the American Jewish community in political allegiance is not yet clear. But it marked a sharp departure in the behavior and, I think, perception of mainstream Jewish organizations. A combination of support for Obama’s liberal domestic agenda, a desire to maintain access to the White House, and a heavy dose of wishful thinking had contributed to an almost total absence of sharp public criticism of the White House’s increasingly hostile stance toward Israel.

"No more. The inhibition has been broken with the recognition now dawning on Jewish Democrats that this is a president lacking in affection and respect for Israel and for the sensibilities of pro-Israel voters. The aversion to conflict with the administration has been overcome, and I suspect the administration won’t face as pliant a Jewish community in the future."


There are rumors afloat about the specifics on US-Israel negotiations with regard to a "temporary" freeze on settlement building.

Shimon Schiffer, in Yediot Ahronot today, says the US wants a two year freeze because Obama figures that's how long forging a peace deal will take (in his dreams).

Netanyahu, says Schiffer, is offering three months, with Israel retaining the right to start building again after that if the Arab states haven't made their appropriate gestures of normalization.

Understand that this is not officially confirmed. But I don't like it in any event. If there are "gestures of normalization" does this mean we're permanently frozen?

Both Netanyahu and Barak (who reportedly would accept a six-month freeze) want the deal in writing, since Obama claimed there was no deal with Bush that had to be honored because there was nothing that was an explicit written commitment. Obama is said to be balking at this as he doesn't want to go on record as formally authorizing building in the settlements under any conditions.

Schiffer points out that there is also the issue of precisely what constitutes appropriate gestures of normalization -- "for example the reopening of a single interest office by one of the Gulf states" -- suggesting that Netanyahu might settle for a minor gesture. But, again, we don't know this. (See the next item.)


According a message relayed by the US, Oman and Qatar may be willing to renew relations with Israel if we freeze settlement construction. (Oman broke ties at the time of the Second Intifada in 2000, and Qatar expelled Israeli in a delegation office during "Cast Lead" earlier this year.)

The Netanyahu government is not responding to this with any particular enthusiasm, as there is no agreement yet on freezing settlements in any event.


Please see this information on J Street, the far left political action committee that claims to be pro-Israel but works decidedly against Israel's true interests. Every concerned American Jew ought know this: Donors to J Street include Arabs, Muslim Americans, and those doing political advocacy for the Palestinians:


Now Shabbat preparations call. Issues of significance to be considered soon, as time allows (there is NEVER enough time and there are always hot issues):

A tense situation on our northern border, pressure from the US regarding negotiations with Syria, and a report, highly biased, from the UN Human Rights Council regarding our actions in "Cast Lead."

see my website

All Process, No Peace

David Solway | Friday, August 14, 2009

The Annapolis peace conference has come and gone, the dilemma it was meant to resolve has only gotten worse, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has sunk ever deeper into the bog of internal recrimination, self-division and political intransigence. Annapolis—or as I prefer to call it, PAnnapolis—proved only that, whatever concessions the Israelis put on the table and regardless of America’s indulgent bothering, the PA is not a viable negotiating partner. Indeed, it has, arguably, no interest whatsoever in brokering a peace agreement with Israel.

“What exactly do we want?” asks PA spokesperson Kiffah Radaya in a TV interview. She answers her question rather decisively. “It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; and the goal is Palestine.” By which she means: Israel. Similarly, at the most recent PA General Assembly held in August 2009, speaker after speaker insisted on the right of “resistance,” the need to continue the “armed struggle” against the Jewish state, and the obligation to “liberate” Jerusalem. Rubbing salt in the wounds of Oslo, the Assembly ratified the terrorist Aksa Martyrs Brigade as Fatah’s official armed wing, despite the promise of the Fatah leadership to dismantle it.

Following the conclave, many newspapers trumpeted a new Fatah, ready to make peace with Israel. This is complete nonsense. What was renewed was Fatah intransigence, as was made patently obvious by the election of younger hardliners like Marwan Barghouti, Tawfik Tirawi. Jibril Rajoub and Muhammad Dahlan who are determined to pursue “the struggle” against “the occupation.” As Arab-Israeli political journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes, “It’s unrealistic to expect changes in Fatah’s policies now that the younger leaders are sitting in the Central Committee.” In fact, the latter three served “as Yasser Arafat’s henchman and enforcers.” On all important issues, he continues, “there’s almost no difference” between young guard activists and their older compatriots.

The obsessive focus on Israel and territorial conquest, however, merely distracts the Palestinians from the necessary task of getting their own house in order, an obstacle they are plainly unwilling to confront. Whatever Palestinian ambitions may be, nation-building appears beyond their means. Toameh earlier quotes a Palestinian Authority official who, briefing U.S. Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, confessed that: “Even if Binyamin Netanyahu were to offer us a Palestinian state tomorrow morning, I’m not sure that we are prepared to meet such a huge challenge.”

Failing a new and enlightened Mandate for the West Bank and Gaza, robustly enforced by the Western powers (forget the U.N.), it is highly unlikely that the Palestinians would be able to successfully manage their own independence. They are simply not ready and there is no forcing the process. Perhaps, as former American ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk proposed in Foreign Affairs for May 2003, the “road map” must be replaced by the political concept of trusteeship if a sovereign and self-sustaining Palestine is ever to see the light of history.

In any event, whatever spin is put on it for the benefit of public relations or the sunny rodomontade of press releases, the much-touted Annapolis conference was no exception to the general rule of blunder and desuetude, though not without causing even more damage, mostly to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister at the time, Ehud Olmert, the weakest and most unqualified in the history of the country and author of that revelatory phrase, “We are tired of winning,” did everything in his power to lose. Luckily his attempt to give away the store, as was the case with Ehud Barak at Camp David, was foiled by his putative beneficiaries who wanted the whole block.

Additionally, when one considers the fundamental Arab/Palestinian demands, like shrinking Israel’s borders so that they are rendered indefensible and inundating the country with millions of so-called “refugees,” the auguries for eventual reconciliation are nugatory. From the Israeli perspective, the process seems more like commiting national suicide than reaching a modus vivendi. There is no reason to expect a different result under any future Annapolis II, III or IV, which, like Hollywood movie sequels, merely grow progressively embarrassing as one clunker wearily follows another. P. David Hornik is on the mark when he suggests that the U.S. administration should adopt “the Israeli understanding of the Middle East as an arena of survival rather than conciliation.” Nor does it help that the Palestinians remain trapped in the oddly sustainable rubble of a failed ideology.

Which is Palestine? Gaza or the West Bank, two entities themselves ridden by internal dissension and threatening further mitosis? And when one reflects that Palestinian society has been educated from grassroots to tree tops to hate Israelis, embrace “martyrdom” for the cause and regard peace agreements and international accords—to adapt Clausewitz’s famous aphorism—as merely war by another name, it should become obvious that we are embarking on the wrong track.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas himself has made this amply clear. Speaking at a memorial rally in Ramallah in October 2008, he pledged that “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….” Having extolled the three arch-terrorists, his subsequent statements revealed that the Palestinian administration has no interest in flexible and reasoned negotiation: “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.” All or nothing is as good a description as any of Palestinian negotiating technique and “nothing at all” the most likely result.

Further, on April 27, 2009, in an address to the Palestinian Youth Parliament, Abbas adamantly refused to recognize Israel’s identity as a Jewish state. Of course, he neglected to mention the diverse Muslim states which define themselves as precisely what they are, Muslim states (the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, etc.) Abbas suppressed the fact that Chapter 1, Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution explicitly declares that “Islam is the State religion,” that both Egypt and Syria require the President to be a Muslim, and that the Palestinian Authority itself stipulates in Article 5 of its Constitution that Islam is the “official Palestinian religion.”

But what’s good for the gander is obviously not good for the goose. Even a hint of pragmatic reflection would suggest there can be no honorable treating with so contradictory and hypocritical a mindset. Interviewed in the London-based Al-Kuds-al-Arabi newspaper in August 2009, Fatah official Rafik Natsheh affirmed that Fatah would never recognize Israel. Why, then, go on with the charade? Nothing has changed since the last PA General Assembly meeting in Tunis twenty years ago.

The superficial counsels for the success of the Annapolis conference and similar peace intiatives which take the Palestinians at their word, ignore Israeli security interests, acknowledge rogue actors like Syria and even Hamas, cancel the reasons for Israel’s very founding, and misconstrue the animating impulse of Arab diplomacy are a surefire recipe for ever greater chaos and hostility in the region. Even with the change in the U.S. administration, the Annapolis principles are being held in what housewives call a “cold oven,” that is, quietly kept warm until the time comes to serve them up again or raise the temperature.

President Obama’s May 28 meeting with Abbas was only another of these rechauffés. Nabil Abu Rudeina, one of Abbas’ top aides, had proleptically labelled this encounter “a turning point for the Middle East peace process” (The Jordan Times, April 23, 2009). There have, of course, been so many such turning points that one is reminded of the frenzied and hilarious roundabout car chase scene in Peter Sellers’ The Pink Panther, leading to nothing more than vertigo and the inevitable collision. It is hard to deny the element of bathos and even of farce in these proceedings. Despite visionary hopes and occasional tenebrous indications of some sort of resolution, the “peace process” is going in circles.

Massad Yousef, the son of popular Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, who fled Ramallah and is now living in exile in California, is someone who knows what he is talking about. In an interview with (July 31, 2008), he asserts without the slightest hesitation that Israel “will never, but never have peace with Hamas. Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews…More than that. An entire society sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists.” To believe otherwise, I’m afraid, is to yield to the Sirens who tempt us with our own febrile infatuations, to which Western (and much Israeli) political thought seems incurably predisposed.

An addled President Bush and his presbyopic Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should have taken heed, had they only been able to. And by inviting terrorist states like Syria to participate in Annapolis and thereby lavishing credibility upon them, the Americans were only courting disaster. Nor has the situation improved under President Obama, who seems to be suffering from selective amnesia. In an interview with a klatch of Middle East reporters in the wake of his June 4, 2009 Cairo address, Obama apparently forgot about Ehud Barak’s overly magnanimous offer to Yasser Arafat at Camp David II in 2000 and subsequently at Taba in 2001 to establish a Palestinian state, preferring to put the onus of failure on the so-called “occupation,” by which he intends precisely those settlements vetted by the previous administration—and, ultimately, Israel itself.

The Obama administration’s recent overtures to the PA, Syria and Iran are just more of the same old hummus with the difference that it has surrendered not only its intelligence but its dignity, acting on the one hand like a bully (toward Israel) and on the other as an apologist (toward the Arab world). Obama postures that he knows what is best for Israel, just as he knows what is best for America (and for Honduras). But the beneficiaries of his wisdom will suffer greatly as they swallow or are force-fed his nostrums and panaceas.
Israel in particular must remain alert as the situation continues to devolve. When Obama knows what is best, prepare for the worst.
David Solway is the award-winning author of over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, educational theory, and travel. He is a contributor to magazines as varied as the Atlantic, the Sewanee Review, Books in Canada, and the Partisan Review. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity. A new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, will be released by CanadianValuesPress this fall.

The People's Genie Is out of the Bottle

Lee Cary
American Thinker

Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders uncorked the bottle and the peoples' Genie is out.

He's not happy, this Genie. In normal times, he sits there quietly inside the bottle. Sometimes watching. Mostly not. He finds politics boring, if not disgusting.

He sat and watched in silence as the TARP bill passed. Told the sky was falling, he looked up and saw it wasn't. But he shrugged, trusting the bipartisan nature of the effort. Then, as TARP rolled out, he stood up. The bailouts plowed a furrow across his forehead; his eyebrows lowered; his gaze intensified. But he stayed inside the bottle. Along came the Stimulus Bill. Or, in the language of the big spenders, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Genie smelled the bacon through the glass bottle. He heard the squeals coming next from the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. Another stampede of pigs.

Inside the bottle, the Genie's leaned forward, pressing his hands and nose flat against the glass. As he watched banks and car companies yield to government control, his jaw slid up. His lips pressed tight. His breathing shortened. But he stayed inside the bottle.

In his peripheral vision he saw a dancing troupe dressed like Cossacks enter the side door of the White House and disappear within. The Czars had come. The Genie watched, and wondered.

Events outside the bottle picked up speed. More crisis talk was in the air. He checked the sky again. Still no signs of a falling.

Then, ever heavier and more complicated legislative tomes rolled out of Congress in carriages drawn by hubris and arrogance. Cap & Trade and Healthcare Reform. Their long official titles no longer impressed the Genie. But their huge price tags did. As did the mounting federal budget deficit for 2009. Now at $1.84 trillion, with more to come.

By this time, the Genie was rocking his bottle back-and-forth. He tried and failed to get the big spenders' attention. His mouth moved, but no sound escaped his bottle, at least in the ears of the big spenders and the old news media, becoming ever more irrelevant with each news cycle as they peddle into obscurity.

The people felt powerless because they were. They had no voice that carried. The big spenders pretended to listen, but then condescendingly told the people that everything happening was for their own good. It was meant to be, they said. Doing nothing, they said, is worse.

When the people protested, they were called rightwing extremists, disruptive malcontents, organized mobs, Nazis brown shirts, and other names which they are not. In fact, they're average American citizens in a nation where nothing is average about them. On the planet, they are the most extraordinary of citizens.

Calling the people names was the last straw. The Genie tipped the bottle over, put his feet against the cork, and kick his way out. Beware of an uncorked Genie.

As this happened, the people started coming to town hall meetings, meant mostly to convince them to go-along to get-along. They held the heavy healthcare bill in their hands. Dog-eared from having been read.

The big spenders were shocked to learn that the people had taken time to do what they, the professional legislators, had not done - they'd read the bill! The people came armed with enlightened questions, reasoned arguments, and impassioned opinions. All things the big spenders lacked. In some cases, numbers were handed out at the entry door to qualify and order those who could speak. Then, one after the other, questioners asked clear, targeted questions. Sharpshooters picked at random. Remarkable.

The people stood, a furrow plowed across their foreheads. Their eyebrows lowered. Their chins up, lips pressed tight, gaze intensified. The Genie was out. When the big spenders told them that their reading of the bill was incorrect, the people found their voice. And, though some quivered with nervousness, they pushed against the glass. This time their voice was most definitely heard.

Obama and the Democrat Congressional leadership let the Genie out of the bottle. It was an unintended consequence of their crass and heavy-handed methods of leadership. They forgot, if they ever knew, that Americans can be led, but they cannot be herded.

Obama and Friends though it possible to ride roughshod over the Genie's people. They remembered the swooning crowds seduced by the oratorical skills of their leader. They assumed his charisma would carry the day, again. The people would fold and comply, even if they might not commit. And, for those who would not fold easily, there was always the muscle mustered from Obama's acolytes and allies. There was always the hype served up on demand by the old media. There was always the cumulative ridicule and name-calling spit from the lips of their Party leaders. These things would deflect the people's skepticism and temper their anger. So they thought.

They were wrong. All these things did was make the people angrier and harden their determination to be heard, and more - to be heeded.

One young woman at a town hall meeting said that, for the first time in her life, she was taking politics seriously because so much is at stake. Her freedoms mostly. Her children's future, too. She said the effort to force the healthcare bill on the people "had awakened a sleeping giant." She could have ended her sentence with the words Admiral Isoraku Yamamoto spoke after the Japanese attacked on Pearl Harbor: "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

We are watching each other stand up in town hall meetings and face their representatives. Those politicians with the courage to attend anyway. We watch live, and we watch on that most sensational and powerful new medium of the web: U-Tube. The peoples' articulate and courageous statements procreate exponentially, multiplying like amoebas on steroids, as we feed on the resolve of others. A resolve only terrible to those who would silence dissent. Wonderful to the rest of us.

So the Genie is out of the bottle. And it'll be a good while before he thinks it safe to crawl back in.

Page Printed from: at August 14, 2009 - 01:56:59 AM EDT

Yemen's last Jews set to flee country


Israeli sources confirmed on Thursday Yemeni media reports that the overwhelming majority of the final remnant of Yemen's ancient Jewish community, numbering some 250 people, are looking to leave the country due to persecution and violence. "About 120 of the Yemeni Jews want to move to Israel, 100 want to move to the US" - where there is a small Yemenite Jewish community - "and between 20 and 30 want to stay," the source said, citing information obtained from the community.

Some of the Jews wishing to leave are unable to do so because they are having trouble selling their property, the source said.

Saba, Yemen's official state news agency, reported Wednesday on a "mini-exodus" of Jews from the country "triggered by alleged harassment" and "fear of persecution."

The article quoted Rabbi Yahya Yaish, chief rabbi of the Ridah and Amran districts, who said that "all Jews in the area are preparing to leave for Israel within the next [few] days."

Yaish is the brother of Moshe Yaish al-Nahari, a community leader who was murdered in December by a local man who demanded that he convert to Islam. Nahari's three daughters moved to Israel shortly after his murder, while his three sons made aliya in recent days with the help of the Jewish Agency, according to reports in the Yemeni media. His killer was sentenced to death in June.

According to Saba, Yaish warned that "harassment has been stepped up against Jews in the districts of Amran and Kharef, with some of the Jews killed and others kidnapped."

Violent attacks and persecution have been a regular experience of Yemen's tiny Jewish community in recent years, against the backdrop of tensions and an anti-government insurrection in the northwestern part of the country, in the province of Saada, where a Muslim religious minority affiliated with Shi'ite Islam has been clashing with government forces since 2004.

Most Yemeni Jews lived in nearby Amran province before fleeing either to protected compounds in the capital city of Sana'a or to Israel or the US. Those who remain offer easy targets for zealots.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418604352&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The 14 Lies Blocking Peace in the Middle East
By: Steven Plaut

Friday, August 14, 2009

If a Martian were suddenly to land on earth and started listening to and reading the mainstream media, he would form the impression that the entire Middle East conflict were due to Israel building some settlements in land that much of the world thinks should become a Palestinian state.A near-consensus exists among the governments of the world and among media writers that peace has yet to break out in the Middle East because of three principle reasons. The first is that the Jews and the Arabs have been unable to agree about whether there should be a Palestinian state. The second is because Israel has obstinately refused to withdraw its troops from (so-called) “occupied Arab” lands. The third is because Israel behaves cruelly towards the Palestinians.

The Martian could easily carry these beliefs back to its home planet, as long as it did not bother to learn the background and the history of the Middle East conflict. Those three reasons cannot survive an antibiotic of familiarity with Middle East history.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seem to think the idea of Palestinian statehood is the most wonderful idea to come along since the Thirteenth Amendment. And almost all world politicians, along with the Israeli Left, insist that all Israeli settlements must be removed from the West Bank because they serve as the main obstacle to peace. The reality is that the Middle East conflict has very little to do with debate over Palestinian statehood and even less to do with Israeli “settlements.” In fact Israel has agreed in principle, somewhat foolishly, to the erection of such a Palestinian state, at least subject to some security conditions and other concessions from the Palestinians -- like recognizing Israel’s right to exist. As it turns out, even so-called “moderate” Palestinians reject any such idea.

Meanwhile debate about the Middle East conflict is based on an incredible absence of historic information and on a series of stylish misconceptions about Middle East history. The anti-Israel Lobby, which grows by the day in its maliciousness and anti-Semitism, counts on the ignorance of much of the public concerning how the Middle East got to where it is.

Here are just a handful of popular misconceptions and their antidotes:

1. Falsehood: Israel was erected on land that belonged to Palestinian Arabs.

Truth: Before Israel was created its territory never belonged to Palestinian Arabs and had not been ruled by any Arabs at all since the Middle Ages. It had been a Turkish province for centuries until it was captured by Britain during World War I. The League of Nations awarded governance of “Palestine” to Britain at the end of the war in exchange for its commitment to turn the area into a Jewish homeland. The lands on which Jewish immigrants settled before Israel was created were purchased by Jews at above-market prices and in most cases had no Arabs living on them. Virtually no Arabs were evicted.

2. Falsehood: The Jews came to Palestine as foreigners and aliens whereas the Palestinians were the indigenous people of the territory.

Truth: Jews lived in “Palestine,” which is the Land of Israel or "Eretz Yisroel," continuously from the time of the Bible. Most families of “Palestinians” migrated into “Palestine,” during the same period as the Zionist waves of immigration, starting in the second half of the 19th century. The largest ethnic group in the country at the time was the Turks. The “Palestinian Arabs” in 1948 were primarily families of migrants from Lebanon and Syria. Ironically, they were motivated to become “Palestinians” in the first place thanks to the Zionist movement, which brought capital and labor into “Palestine” and improved living conditions there. Huge numbers of the names of “Palestinian” Arab villages and towns are slightly-modified Hebrew names. It is difficult to dig in the ground of “Palestine” without uncovering Jewish artifacts, some thousands of years old. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Mandatory Palestine’s territory had been sliced off in the 1920s and used to set up Jordan, an Arab Palestinian state much larger than Israel. The remaining territory, Western Palestine, was to become the Jewish homeland. That was the original “two-state solution,” the same "innovation" now being promoted for the Western third of the remaining part of Palestine.

3. Falsehood: There is no Palestinian state today because of Israeli aggression and obstinacy.

Truth: There is no Palestinian state today because of Arab aggression and obstinacy. In late 1947, the United Nations approved by a two thirds majority a proposal to create in to create in Western "Palestine" two states to replace the British Mandatory regime there. One would be Jewish and the other a Palestinian Arab state. The Jews agreed. The Arabs rejected the idea. The Arab states launched an attack of genocidal aggression against the Jews, invaded “Palestine” and gobbled up the lands earmarked for the Arab Palestinian state. Most of those lands were then held illegally by Jordan and semi-legally by Egypt until 1967 when they were liberated by Israel in the Six Day War. The Arab world has maintained a state of war with Israel since 1948, refusing to recognize its legitimacy, and attacking Israel over and over in a series of wars and terrorism campaigns. The Arab states attacked Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, and sponsored terrorist atrocities against Jews in Israel since it was created. The reason for the attack which produced the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 is exactly the same thing that stands in the way of any real peace settlement today.

4. Falsehood: Israel conducted “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian Arabs in 1948-49.

Truth: The Arab states conducted ethnic cleansing of Jews after 1948. About a million Jews were expelled by Arab states, their property stolen, and most then became citizens of Israel. Palestinian Arabs became refugees in 1948-49 as a direct result of the Arab war of aggression against Israel, in which the Palestinians participated. The estimated number of such Arab refugees varies between 400,000 and 750,000, with the former the more likely correct estimate. Afterwards, many were quietly allowed to return to Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs from other Arab countries then declared themselves “Palestinian refugees” in order to get handouts from the UN and other international relief organizations. The actual Palestinian Arabs became refugees for the same reason that ethnic Germans living in Eastern Europe became refugees after World War II: because they were on the losing side of the war of aggression launched by their own political leaders.

5. Falsehood: Israel is an apartheid regime and mistreats Arabs.

Truth: Israel is the only Middle East country that is NOT an apartheid regime. Arabs living under Israeli rule are the only Arabs in the Middle East who enjoy freedom of speech and of the press, free access to courts operating with due process, legal protection for property rights and the right to vote. Israeli Arabs have higher standards of education and health than any other group of Arabs in the Middle East. Israeli Arabs are quite simply the best-treated political minority in the Middle East and are in some ways better treated than are minority groups in many European countries. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does NOT deal with Islamist terror through wholesale massacres of the people in whose midst the terrorists operate

6. Falsehood: Arabs engage in aggression and terrorism because Israel occupies territories.

Truth: Israel occupies territories (that had been controlled by Jordan and Egypt before 1967) because of Arab aggression and terrorism. Had the Arabs made peace with Israel after 1949, the West Bank and Gaza would have remained under the hegemony of Arabs and they could easily have erected a Palestinian Arab state there any time they wished. Instead, they attacked Israel in an attempt at genocidal extermination in 1967 and they lost.

7. Falsehood: The Middle East conflict is and has always been based on Israeli opposition to Palestinian self-determination.

Truth: The Middle East conflict is and has always been based on Arab opposition to Israeli-Jewish self-determination. There is one and only one cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, even if that single cause is buried beneath an avalanche of media mud designed to obfuscate and confuse. That single cause is the refusal of the Arab world to come to terms with Israel’s existence within any set of borders whatsoever. The cause of the war is Arab refusal to come to terms with Jewish self-determination in any form whatsoever. The Middle East conflict is not about the right of self-determination of “Palestinian Arabs,” but rather it is about the Arab rejection of self-determination for Israeli Jews. For a century, the Arabs have attempted to block Jewish self-determination, using violence.

No Palestinians before 1967 demanded any “homeland,” although they did demand that the Jews be stripped of theirs. That is because Palestinians are not a “people” at all and do not consider themselves such, any more than do the Arabs of Paris or of Detroit. Palestinians never had any real interest in their own state, and in fact rioted violently in 1920 when “Palestine” was detached from Syria by the European powers. Indeed the original term “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic and in leftist NewSpeak) was coined to refer to the outrage of Palestinians separated from their Syrian homeland. Immediately after the Six Day War a sudden need for a Palestinian state was fabricated by the Arab world, as a gimmick to force Israel back to its pre-1967 borders. Israel would then again be ten-miles wide at its narrowest, and so prepped for the new Arab assault of annihilation and genocide.

The Arab world invented the “Palestinian people” so that it would serve the same role as the Sudeten Germans did in the late 1930s. That role was to provide a pretense of legitimacy for the war aims and aggression of a large fascist power. The term “self-determination” has been repeated as a rhetorical “inalienable right” for so long that few people recall that pursuing “self-determination” can also serve as a tool of aggression by barbarous aggressors and totalitarian powers. When Hitler decided to go on a war of conquest in the late 1930s, he dressed up his intentions in the cloak of legitimacy, merely “helping disenfranchised and oppressed people attain self-determination.” He distorted the plight of ethnic Germans living in the Czech Sudetenland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, inventing tales of mistreatment. In reality of course these ethnic Germans already had the option of “self-determination” within the neighboring, sovereign German nation-states, and in fact enjoyed far more freedom and rights than did Germans inside Germany. Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia was prepared through postured indignity over the mistreatment of Germans by Germany’s neighbors. Hitler insisted he was simply seeking to relieve the “misery of mistreated ethnic Germans,” supposedly suffering inside democratic Czechoslovakia. “Self-determination” was also the pretense when Germany attacked Poland and other countries.

The Arab world decided that the “Palestinians” must play the role of Sudetens, serving as the political and moral pretense for Arab aggression and Islamofascist imperialism. The Arab fascists then misrepresent themselves as pursuing noble efforts at protecting a mistreated oppressed minority group of Arabs in need of “self-determination.”

8. Falsehood: Palestinian terrorism has been a response to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and as a response to Israeli settlements there.

Truth: Palestinian terrorism against Jews began in the 1920s, escalated in the 1930s, continued non-stop in the 1940s even in the midst of World War II, and reached heights of barbarism in the 1950s. All this was long before Israel “occupied” anything. The PLO was set up long before the Six Day War, meaning before Israel “occupied” the West Bank and Gaza, and before those areas held a single Israeli settlement.

9. Falsehood: Israel has no right to build settlements in the West Bank.

Truth: Israel has as much right to build settlements in the West Bank as France has to build towns in Alsace and Lorraine, or as Poland has to build in areas that once held ethnic Germans. The Arabs launched a series of wars of aggression against Israel and lost. Aggressors who lose a war also lose territory. The bulk of Jewish “settlers” are actually Israelis living in the suburbs of Jerusalem that were constructed after 1967. A handful of small rural “settlements” have been constructed in empty West Bank lands from which no Arab civilians were evicted. In any real peace settlement, Jews would have as much right to live in the West Bank as Arabs have to live inside Israel. A peace accord that rules out such an arrangement would be no peace accord at all.

10. Falsehood: The Middle East conflict continues because Israel refuses to share its land and resources with Palestinians.

Truth: The Middle East conflict continues because the Arab world refuses to share its land and resources with Jews. It is about the absolute refusal of the Arab world to acquiesce in the existence of any Jewish-majority political entity within any set of borders in the Middle East. The Arabs today control 22 countries and territory nearly twice the size of the United States (including Alaska), whereas Israel cannot be seen on most globes or maps. Arabs as an ethnic group control more territory than any other ethnic group on earth. They refuse to share even a fraction of one percent of the Middle East with the Jews, even in a territory smaller than New Jersey. Without the West Bank, Israel at its narrowest point is less than 10 miles wide, about the length of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The main reason the Arab world demands that Israel relinquish the West Bank to Palestinian terrorism is so that it can be used to attack Israel again and so that Israel can at last be militarily annihilated. The Arab world controls such vast amounts of territory and such vast amounts of wealth (thanks to petroleum) that it could have created a “homeland” for Palestinian Arabs anywhere within its territories at any time.

11. Falsehood: Israel deals with Palestinian violence and terrorism using excessive disproportionate force.

Truth: The number of innocent Palestinian civilians intentionally killed by Israel is exactly zero. The number of civilians injured in Israeli anti-terror operations is tiny when compared with NATO and Allied military operations in Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Given the near universal support among Palestinians for terrorist atrocities against Jews, the self-restraint and moderation used by Israel in dealing with the threat has no precedent in the world. Israel’s own Arabs make little attempt to hide their open identification with the genocidal enemies of their own country and they by and large support the annihilation of the state in which they hold citizenship. No other democratic country facing such open sedition and identification with the enemy in time of war ever responded with anywhere near the same restraint as shown by Israel. In World War II, when faced with a far less-dangerous problem, the United States locked up its ethnic-Japanese domestic population in internment camps. Democratic Spain set up teams of death squads to deal with its separatist terrorists. Democracies in war have junked habeas corpus and treated their internal Fifth Columns as the enemy, with no hesitation or squeamishness.

Democratic Czechoslovakia and India (as well as non-democratic countries throughout Eastern Europe) undertook wholesale expulsions of millions of members of their internal ethnic minorities who had sided with the enemy. Greece and Turkey and the two sections of Cyprus simply expelled altogether their minority populations. Israel, in contrast, operates affirmative action programs that benefit Arabs, finances Arabic-language schools in which Israeli Arabs preserve and develop their culture, overfunds Arab municipalities, and turns a blind eye to massive Arab sedition and lawbreaking, including with regard to illegal mass squatting on publicly-owned lands. Israel is a Western democracy with a Scandinavian style social welfare system, the only democracy in the Middle East. It is hard to come up with words to mock satisfactorily the ludicrous nature of the complaints about Israeli “mistreatment” of Arabs. These complaints come from the very same people who are apologists for genocidal Islamofascist terrorist movements and for the Arab fascist states, regimes that are among the most barbarous and openly war-seeking on earth. The endless complaints about “human rights violations” of the “Palestinians” by Israel are a rhetorical part of the broader campaign of aggression against Israeli survival. Arabs living under Israeli rule are the world’s foremost illustration of “Moynihan’s Law,” which holds: “The amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there. The greater the number of complaints being aired, the better protected are human rights in that country.”

12. Falsehood: Israel can achieve peace by trading “Land for Peace” and by relinquishing territories that it “occupies.”

Truth: Every time Israel relinquishes territory it “occupies” it triggers an escalation of terror and violence by Arabs against Jews. The main cause of anti-Israel terrorism today is the removal of Israeli occupation from Arabs. This is so obvious that it is a major intellectual challenge to explain why so few people understand it. Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in its entirety in 2004 and evicted all Jews who had been living there. The complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip produced a barrage of thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians inside Israel (NOT in the “occupied territories”), a barrage that eventually forced Israel’s reluctant leaders to carry out the “Cast Lead” operation against Gaza terrorism. The Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon was unilaterally ended in the year 2000 by then-Israeli socialist Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The direct result of that fiasco was the launching of 4,000 Katyusha rockets from Lebanon against northern Israel in the summer of 2006, and several times that number now poised to strike Israel. The worst waves of Palestinian suicide attacks were directly triggered by the early Oslo withdrawals — before which there had been no suicide bombings. There can be no doubt that a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a return to pre-1967 borders would trigger a massive rocket and terror assault against the remaining areas of Israel, launched from the "liberated" lands in the West Bank. The same thing would result from Israel relinquishing the Golan Heights to Syria.

13. Falsehood: The Zionist Lobby exercises excessive influence and dictates policies to the United States, protecting Israel from just criticism.

Falsehood: The anti-Zionist Lobby exercises excessive influence and dictates policies to the United States, protecting Palestinians, Arab fascist regimes, and Islamofascism from just criticism. While the media overflow with nonsensical talk about a “Zionist/Israel Lobby,” it would only be a small exaggeration to claim that there is no such thing at all. The anti-Zionist lobby binds together anti-Semites and fanatics, ranging from Islamists, to the radical Left to the Neo-Nazi Right. There is little today that separates anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism and I have never met an anti-Zionist who was not also an anti-Semite. (Jewish leftist anti-Zionists are the self-hating moral equivalents of Taliban John and Tokyo Rose).

14. Falsehood: The Middle East conflict can be resolved through “Two States for Two Peoples.”

Truth: The “Two States for Two Peoples” idea is not a solution at all but simply a strategy for weakening Israel and forcing it behind indefensible borders. Right after “Two States for Two Peoples” would be implemented, the new “Palestinian state” would invite the rest of the Arab world to finish off what remains of Israel. Even the “moderates” within the PLO insist that any “Israel” left standing within “Two States for Two Peoples” must be flooded by Arab migrants and stripped of its Jewish majority, in effect converted to yet another Arab Palestinian state. The Arabs still condition any “two-state solution” on Israel agreeing to being flooded with Arab immigrants purporting to be Palestinians, so that it will morph demographically into the 24th Arab state. Israel obviously cannot agree. Israel would be blanketed in rocket and mortar fire from “Palestine” and waves of Arab terrorist infiltrators into Israel would raise the carnage to unprecedented levels.

That such a “two-state solution” will not end the conflict, but only signal the commencement of its next stage, has long been the quasi-official position of virtually all Palestinian groups. These have long insisted that any two-state solution is but a stage in a “plan of stages,” after which will come additional steps ultimately ending Israel's existence as a Jewish state. The “two-state solution” is no more realistic an option today than it was in 1948, when it was militarily squashed by the Arab states, terrorists, and armies. It is ultimately as much of an existential threat to Jewish survival in the Middle East today as the so-called “one-state solution,” favored by the anti-Semitic Left, in which Israel is replaced by a Rwanda-like bi-national entity controlled by Arabs, in which the Jewish problem will be resolved in a Rwanda-style manner.

Creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel would be a major step in the escalation of the Arab war against Israel's existence, even if that war is delayed for a brief time while the world celebrates the outbreak of a Potemkin “peace” in the Middle East produced by the end of Israeli "occupation" of “Palestinians.”

Since the Oslo “peace process” began in the early 1990s, the working hypothesis endorsed by nearly everyone on the planet (including large numbers of IQ-challenged Israeli politicians) has been that the most urgent task at hand is to end the Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian Arabs. The problem is that ANY Palestinian state, regardless of who rules it, will produce nothing but escalated violence, terror and warfare in the Middle East, certainly not stability or peaceful relations. It will seek war with the rump Israel, and will seek to draw the entire Moslem world into that war. It will be indifferent to the economic and social problems of its own citizens.

Humans seem to have a basic impatience with hearing the truth repeated over long periods of time. In an era in which technology, politics, and science change so rapidly, many consider it to be implausible that a statement that had been true 60 years ago could still be true today. Surely, they insist, explanations from the past, such as those of the Middle East conflict, must be obsolete by now, replaced with new updated “theories” and more-modern perceptions of reality.

The result of all this is pseudo-history, where people invent new “theories” about some of the most widely-accepted truths of history. No subject has been subject to quite so much pseudo-historic revisionism and denial of “out-of date” truths as the Middle East. George Orwell once said that the first duty of intelligent men is to restate the obvious. Obvious truths need to be restated because they are under assault by so many dishonest men.

The Palestinians have no legitimate claim to a right to set up their own state, and creation of such a state would result in escalated warfare and bloodshed, not peace. There was never in history an Arab Palestinian state. Even if such a right ever existed, the Palestinians – like the Sudeten Germans - would have forfeited it thanks to decades of terrorism, savagery, mass murders and barbarism. Their pacification today requires reimposing of martial rule by Israel and a thorough program of De-nazification.

The promotion of a “Two States for Two Peoples” solution has radicalized and Nazified most Israeli Arabs, who now identify with and openly support Arab parties and politicians openly calling for violence against Jews and for the destruction of Israel. The “solution” is a recipe for more bloodshed and strife.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at

Tired of the big talkers

Despite pompous statements, Israel will not build homes in disputed area

Eitan Haber

With all due respect (and there is much of it) to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and other officials, we can assume that when last week they spoke about engaging in construction near Ma'aleh Adumim, they knew well that these were empty words. Who will be building there?

We are talking about a region (not just a small plot of land) that on the various maps is referred to as E1. The vast majority of Israel’s residents have no idea where it is located and why it is so important.Well, this region is located between the top of Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and the town of Ma'aleh Adumim; engaging in construction there would connect Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, and mostly, serve as a buffer that would divide the Palestinian population, prevent bridges and connections between both sides, and isolate Jerusalem in the mind of the Palestinians.

The Israelis know this. The Palestinians know this. The Americans know this as well.

American firmness

Both the Palestinians and Americans are not even imagining the possibility of allowing Israel to connect Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim in order to create a large Israeli metropolitan area.

The Americans, by the way, are very firm on this front. In the past they thwarted construction attempts in the area by former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres.

We should have thought about it a long time ago, before we built the neighborhoods around Jerusalem. Yet now it’s too late.

So Reuven Rivlin, Eli Yishai, and others know the truth: There will be no construction in the E1 region. We almost feel like saying to them: You know what? Go ahead and build there. Let’s see how tough you are vis-à-vis the Americans.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Hope and Its Antithesis:

Arlene Kushner

Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the people expelled from Gush Katif four years ago that within a year they would all have permanent housing solutions. It's a bit late, as they had been promised that they would have this within two years after the expulsion, and today some 60% still are in temporary housing.
But the promise -- the attitude -- is encouraging none-the-less. "We want to bring this to an end," the prime minister said. "This means in months, certainly within the year.

"We want solutions for everyone, but solutions that will happen now. The people...especially the children, should know: 'This is my house, this is my future, this is my place.' It is this that calms the soul and returns things to their natural order."

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi), who is charged with assisting on this project, says it will take a bit more than a year.


Netanyahu spoke at Shomriya; he visited there, and Amatziya, yesterday -- two southern communities where there are plans for former residents of Gush Katif to settle. And I quite like what he said:

"On my way here I passed a hill. I stopped the motorcade, we walked around and I climbed the hill. I have been near Tel Lachish many times, I have stood beside Tel Lachish, but as far as I can remember, I have never climbed Tel Lachish, at least not during the day. So I decided to climb it during the day.

"And before me, I saw the amazing sight of one of the most spectacularly beautiful hills, and one of the richest in our history, in the history of mankind. And it stands abandoned. Several minutes later, Zvi Hauser, the Government Secretary, joined me and said: 'There is no one here. This is a huge site, but there are no people here.'

"So, first I would like to ask about the children. Rabbi Yuval, have the children been on Tel Lachish? This is our land. Climb the hill! Visit this hill. Lead the people of Israel and foreign tourists in climbing the hill. Sennacherib [King of Assyria] came here and conquered the area; he came and went – we are here. After that the Babylonians came; they came and destroyed, conquered; but they fell – we are here. Many others came – but we are here, we are here in the Lachish Region, at Tel Lachish. It is in our possession, part of the State of Israel, of the Jewish people who returned to its land and re-established its sovereignty.

"Near Lachish Hill there are many other regions – Efi mentioned them: there is Tel Gezer as well. Simon the Hasmonean said about Tel Gezer: 'Not a foreign land have we conquered, but rather this is our land.' I would like there to be young people at Tel Gezer. I would like to speak about our heritage. I would like to speak about the land; I would like to speak about our land, our history. There is no future without the past. First and foremost, we must establish the past.

"So one decision we made on the way here today at that stop was: we will rehabilitate the spectacular sites of Jewish heritage, here and there and in other sites...

"I have a request for these children, Rabbi: that they climb the hill and learn, as I think children should learn in each and every school, about our belonging here and our connection with this land. It is not by chance that we are here. I said that there is no past without a future, but the present connects the two..."

For me, these are words of hope: a prime minister eager to connect the children of Israel to our heritage.


On Sunday, Defense Minister Barak attended the dedication of a new Torah scroll at the Ohel Yitzhak synagogue in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. He was apparently there because the scroll had been donated by a prominent supporter of a soldiers welfare association.

And in this too, there is hope. The site where this synagogue stands was acquired in 1994 by a foundation backed by Irving Moskowitz. A synagogue had first been erected there in 1867. In 1904, a Hungarian synagogue was established on the site, apparently in the same building -- its founders were disciples of Rabbi Moshe Sofer, the Hatam Sofer. The synagogue -- which, at 100 meters away, is closer to the Temple Mount than any other synagogue -- was abandoned during anti-Jewish rioting in 1938, but at one time some 5,000 Jews lived in this neighborhood.

Peace Now criticized Barak for attending this dedication.

His office stated that: "The defense minister does not need to apologize for going to a ceremony dedicating a Torah scroll at a synagogue build by Jews 142 years ago."

Barak denied knowledge of the involvement of Moskowitz -- who is central to activities to reclaim Jewish areas. But none the less...he comes out looking pretty OK.


More and more it is being shown how deep and ubiquitous are our roots here. There is left wing outrage that we should establish a presence in "the Muslim Quarter." But before there was a Muslim Quarter, it was a Jewish neighborhood.

It is a joke, really, when the Muslims protest that we are "Judaizing" Jerusalem. This simply means strengthening our claim to what is ours.


The antithesis is the Fatah Conference, now ending, that was held in Bethlehem. If it offers hope, it is in the negative sense only of strengthening our position in the face of their radicalism and their continued embrace of their right to be violent.

Let me review here, briefly, major issues that came to the fore during the meetings last week:

They resolved not to renew peace negotiations until at least 12 preconditions are met, including: All Palestinian prisoners are released from our prisons, all settlement building is frozen, and the Gaza blockade is lifted.

They announced that they will not compromise on the refugee "right of return."

They issued a document that BOTH eastern and western Jerusalem -- including surrounding villages -- must be returned to Palestinian control. The document calls this a "red line" that is not negotiable. It further maintains that lands outside and inside the Green Line have the same status.

They declared that they would continue to "make sacrifices" until all of Jerusalem was in their hands.

They maintained the right to continue the "resistance" as long as there is occupation (resistance being a deliberately ambiguous word used rather than "armed struggle").

And they endorsed Al Aksa Brigades (which is overtly terrorist and which Abbas had previously denied had any connection to Fatah) as the armed wing of Fatah. Armed wing? For terrorism.


I ask you, if you are American, to make note of all of this information, and to use this. I believe it is our obligation to keep the dialogue on "peace" honest as much as is possible.

We know that Obama, if he refers to this Conference at all, will down play the negative aspects and speak about how we must make concessions to promote peace.

And if the Palestinians are good at anything, it is duplicity -- speaking out of both sides of their mouths at once. And so, having made all the above declarations, and passed all the resolutions, they will still claim to be for peace and eager to join negotiations.

And here we see it:

In a speech before the Conference, a leader of the Brigades, Zakariya Zubeidi, said that Othman Abu Gharbiyeh, chairman of the Conference, had declared "that Fatah would never give up the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. He stressed that the endorsement of our group was parallel to the continued brandishing of the olive branch as a symbol for peace."

The olive branch and Al Aksa Brigades. Why not, if you can get away with it?

And so I ask that you raise the issue wherever possible, exposing the unpalatable realities. Always, letters to the editor -- brief and factual -- are effective. Always, reminding elected officials is useful.


Today the results of the elections for the Fatah Central Committee were announced. The big news is that to a large extent the young guard has usurped the positions of the old-timers, who had held on for dear life without ever instituting reforms. Fourteen out of 18 elected seats on the Committee went to new people.

But do not be under the delusion that "new guard" means more moderate. In no way whatsoever is this the case. In fact, we see some terrorists included among those elected (and this should be pointed out whenever the issue of Fatah moderation is raised.) :

Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his terrorist activities. Mohammad Dahlan, who was in charge of security in Gaza for Fatah at one point; I have a special antipathy for him because of his orders to bomb a school bus in Kfar Darom in 2000, never mind that he also had connections to the Karine A weapons ship. Then there is Jabil Rajoub, strongman, once in charge of security for Judea and Samaria -- he was known for abuse of human rights of Palestinians.

Great guys, one and all. If this is the best that Fatah can do by way of reform, oi vey!


See the analysis of the Conference by Khaled Abu Toameh, "How Fatah has evolved into the Palestinian Ba'ath party."

"Fatah's sixth General Assembly has shown that the 44-year-old faction is still not ready to transform itself from a revolutionary movement into a governing body - one that cares about establishing institutions and infrastructure for the future Palestinian state.

"Instead, Fatah seems determined more than ever to maintain its status as a 'national liberation movement.'"


A delegation of 29 Democratic Congresspersons is in the country, led by US House Majority leader Steny Hoyer.

In an interview with the Post, Hoyer praised Netanyahu, and called for the PA to drop any preconditions to negotiations. He indicated that Congress differentiated between building in eastern Jerusalem and in the West Bank (which means Congress is at odds with Obama on this issue).


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, addressing the group yesterday, said that the new Fatah platform, coupled with Palestinian unrest, "has buried any chance of coming to an agreement with the Palestinians in the next few years."

This is how Hoyer responded -- and I ask that you pay particular attention, as this is significant:

"I think that kind of pessimism, while perhaps realistic, is not helpful to moving the ball forward."

Yikes! To be that upfront about it: Yes, the reality is that there is no chance of a peace agreement, but I don't want to hear about it because we have to keep pretending we can make it happen.

This passes for political thinking by a major leader in the US.


see my website

Israel 'won't make Jordan Palestine'

Aug. 12, 2009

A delegation of security officials secretly traveled to Jordan last week in an attempt to assuage concerns that Israel plans to transfer Palestinians from the West Bank to the Hashemite Kingdom, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The purpose of the visit was to ensure that strategic ties between the countries are not harmed. The delegation was led by several officials from the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, who met with senior officials close to King Abdullah II.

The visit was scheduled as part of Israeli efforts to ease Jordanian concerns regarding a proposal National Union MK Arye Eldad made in the Knesset two months ago that Palestinians be given Jordanian citizenship.

At the time, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh summoned Israel's envoy to Amman, Ya'acov Reuven, and issued a strong protest "over a debate in the Knesset on a motion on a so-called two states for the two peoples on the two banks of the Jordan River."

Defense officials said this week that despite Israeli assurances that the Netanyahu government was not planning on evicting Palestinians to Jordan, Amman's anxiety was still high, likely an indication that "the Jordanians are still concerned that Israel is considering Jordan as an alternative for a Palestinian state," one official said. "The visit was aimed at assuaging those fears and ensuring that strategic relations between the countries stay on track."

Alarmed by rumors regarding a US-backed scheme to turn Jordan into a homeland for Palestinians, Abdullah is planning a series of steps to foil any attempt to resettle Palestinian refugees in the kingdom.

The rumors were triggered by talks about a plan to establish a decentralized government in Jordan, where local communities would enjoy some form of autonomy.

The Jordanian authorities' decision to revoke the citizenship of Palestinians in Jordan - who make up more than 70 percent of the kingdom's population - added fuel to the fire by giving substance to the rumors.

At least 40,000 Palestinians are believed to have lost their status as Jordanian citizens in recent months.

Jordanian Interior Minister Nayef al-Kadi explained that the decision to rescind the citizenship of Palestinians was taken to preempt ostensible schemes to transform the kingdom into a Palestinian state.

"Jordan is not Palestine just as Palestine is not Jordan," the minister said in defense of the measure. "We want to help the Palestinians return to their homeland."

In recent months, the kingdom has been awash in rumors about a US-Israeli plan to turn Jordan into a Palestinian state.

The rumors, which increased in light of the revocation of the Palestinians' Jordanian citizenship, prompted the monarch to pay a surprise visit to the headquarters of the Jordanian Armed Forces over the weekend.

Addressing the army commanders, Abdullah said the rumors were aimed at harming Jordan's national unity and stability.

He added that the rumors were being circulated by people "with suspicious agendas" and urged all Jordanians to confront this "disease."

The king said that Jordan's commitment to the right of return of Palestinian refugees is "constant and unchangeable."

"No power can impose a position on Jordan that contradicts its interests," he said. "I stress again and clearly that there is no power that can dictate to us anything that is against the interests of Jordan and Jordanians."

The king also told his army commanders that the US had never pressured Jordan to absorb Palestinian refugees.

The king did not say who was behind the rumors, but he added that the majority of those who were trying to harm unity were inside the kingdom. "This is shameful and religiously prohibited," he said.

Political analysts in Amman said the monarch was "extremely nervous" because of the growing rumors. They said that the king and others members of the royal family were convinced that the new government in Israel was quietly pushing for the idea of transforming Jordan into a homeland for the Palestinians.

One analyst said that the king was planning to form a new government that would be able to "confront the grave challenges" facing Jordan.

He said that the fact that the king visited the army headquarters without being accompanied by Prime Minister Nader Dahabi was a sign of his dissatisfaction with the performance of the present government with regards to the rumors.

"The king is taking the rumors too seriously," the analyst said. "He's probably justified in doing so because many Jordanians are beginning to believe in the conspiracy theory according to which the future Palestinian state will be established in our kingdom."

Jordanian newspaper columnist Yasser Abu Hilaleh expressed fear that Israel had already begun carrying out a policy of transfer against Palestinians living in the West Bank.

"Many Palestinians have also lost their rights after leaving the West Bank to study or for medical treatment and did not return home," he noted. "The essence of the problem is how to help the Palestinians stick to their lands."•
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418582807&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

East Jerusalem’s Lost Years

Seth Frantzman | Monday, August 10, 2009

The recent protests in Sheikh Jarrah against the eviction of two Palestinians have once again focused international attention on East Jerusalem. International condemnation of Israel has come from a variety of sources. Robert Serry, a special coordinator with the UN, has argued that he “deplores today’s unacceptable actions by Israel.” The EU Presidency has condemned what it calls “unacceptable evictions” and secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the events are “not in keeping with Israeli obligations.” A member of one of Jerusalem’s former leading families, Hasib Nashashibi claims “The recent evictions are part of a plan to surround the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah with Jewish settlements, in order to separate the approximately 500 Arabs from the rest of the city and take control of the major roads in the area.”

But the events in Sheikh Jarrah are, like so many things in the conflict, part of a larger history that the international community and Jerusalemites sometimes seem to forget. What is today called Sheikh Jarrah in the 19th century included two Jewish neighborhoods known as Nahalat Shimon and Shimon HaTzadiq. The latter commemorated Simon the Just, a Jewish high priest from the 4th century B.C and was purchased by Jews in 1876. Nahalat Shimon was built by Sephardic and Yemenite Jews in 1891. Sheikh Jarrah was primarily a Jewish neighborhood in the late 19th century and remained so up until 1948.

According to research carried out by Prof. Ruth Kark of the Hebrew University the Jewish housing developments were bordered by villas constructed by Jerusalem’s leading Arab families. East of Salah a Din (Saladin) street was the ‘Husseini Quarter’ which included six houses of the Husseini family which were constructed beginning in the 1890s. Other leading Muslims began building in Sheikh Jarrah in the 1870s. By 1918 the total number of Muslim houses in the neighborhood had grown to thirty.

It was a cosmopolitan neighborhood that included the American Colony compound, St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, an ancient Muslim mosque commemorating a soldier of Saladin and the ‘Graves of the Kings’, a site with graves of various Jewish figures, which had been acquired by a Jewish family and given to the French government in the 19th century. In December of 1947 fighting broke out between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem. Initially the leading Muslim families asked Arab fighters from outside the city to leave their neighborhood, and the Jews there, in peace. By March of 1948 however Arabs from a unit called “al Shabab” (The Youth) invaded the neighborhood and set the Jewish synagogues and houses on fire, causing the residents to flee. In April the Hadasah Convoy massacre, where 79 Jews were murdered, took place in the neighborhood. Sheikh Jarrah was not the only Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem destroyed in the war. Silwan, where Yemenite Jews had settled in 1882 was also taken over along with the Old city’s Jewish quarter which was razed.

After 1948 East Jerusalem passed into Jordanian control. The city’s Christian population declined from around 30,000 before 1948 to some 11,000 in 1967. In every history of Jerusalem these seem to be the lost years of the city where nothing seems to happen; in fact much happened in East Jerusalem. Beit Hanina, an Arab neighborhood north of the city, began to develop into a thriving center for wealthy Jerusalemite Arab families. In addition the emigration of wealthy Jerusalemite Arabs led to an influx of Hebronite Muslims who arrived in great numbers to do work. Although initially poor they soon came, due to high birth rates and religious devotion, to dominate many neighborhoods in the city.

The UN was involved in settling Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem as well. The disputed houses in Sheikh Jarrah were actually handed over to the Hannoun and Gawi families in 1956 under the auspices of UNWRA. The Jewish community which actually owned the properties was not consulted. Neither was the Jewish community consulted when graves on the Mount of Olives were destroyed beginning in 1956. According to a 2009 report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs some 38,000 grave stones were destroyed by the Jordanian authorities, partly to pave a road through the cemetery. A large hotel was constructed on the summit of the hill.

Many of the disputes about East Jerusalem have their origins in what happened between 1948 and 1967, a period often ignored by historians, governments and activists. The UN was never given authority to resettle Palestinians in Jewish property, yet this was the task it undertook. Before condemning Israel, Robert Serry should first apologize for his own organization’s theft of Jewish property without compensation. The Jewish properties in question might well have been left in ruins, like part of Nahalat Shimon and the grave of Simon the Just was. In fact none of the rampant destruction of Jewish sites in Jerusalem was condemned by the UN during the period of Jordanian rule. Had the international community cared then as much as it does now perhaps the disputes would not have come to about. If people understood more about the period of Jordanian rule and the dynamic Arab changes of Jerusalem one might better understand the actual history of the city, rather than focusing merely on Israeli actions and Palestinian victimization.
Seth Frantzman is doing his doctorate in Jerusalem at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Middle East Quarterly and the Tucson Weekly. He lives in Jerusalem.

Can Israel Trust the Big Power with Iran?

Steven Shamrak

(source DEBKAfile's)

The weeklong US-Israel marathon in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv ending Thursday, July 30 was the platform for the Obama administration's first unveiling of a new US diplomatic-military program for Iran and its nuclear threat. The new approach consists of three steps for thwarting Iran's drive for a nuclear bomb:

1. Diplomatic engagement as far as it will go. The American officials assured Israel they were aware of the diminishing chances of this track succeeding, but the US administration is still determined to give it a chance up until early September. (Delay and procrastination) 2. If diplomacy fails, Washington will embark on the phased introduction of increasingly harsh sanctions against Iran, such as an embargo on exporting refined oil products including gasoline to Iran and a blockade on its sea ports. (More procrastination attempt. Never has worked and will not work now!)

3. If Iran continues to forge ahead with its nuclear and missile development, the US will resort to its military options. It is reported that the American visitors shared with Israeli leaders their specific plans of actions with details of the resources they planned to wield. (Let us hope that the big power has prepared a big stick!)

Gates and Jones wound up their presentation by stating unambiguously: Iran is a big power issue and it behoves the United States as the leading world power to handle it. So leave it to us and act like an American ally and friendly government. The role they assigned Israel was to leave its military option on the table in order to keep Tehran under pressure.

Good news is that Israel is not alone in the field against the Islamic Republic and has been relieved by the American plan of action of the need to resort to unilateral military action.

But the intelligence estimates the US and Israel traded in their talks this week differ on Iran's timeline for assembling nuclear warheads and devices. By asking Israel to leave the Iranian nuclear threat to the United States, Gates and Jones were also telling Israel to accept US intelligence's longer estimate of this timeline. This might in the long run turn out to be inimical to Israel's security interests.

(Most of us have already forgotten, but we should not, the hopelessness the United States displayed during the hostage crisis at the time of Iranian revolution. Must Israel trust the US after the inept and useless attempts it made to stop North Korea's nuclear program and almost fatalistic acceptance of the nuclear rogue state? Yes, it would be nice if the US is able to stop the Iranian threat to the world but, considering the US performance record, can Israel allow the continuation of the existential threat to Jewish state?)

Zionist Newspaper for IDF Soldiers. For the first time, IDF soldiers will receive not only the left-of-center newspapers Yediot Acharonot and Maariv, but also the more nationalistic Makor Rishon newspaper identified with pro-Land of Israel values. After a long and protracted struggle the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has agreed to include Makor Rishon among the Friday newspapers it buys for its soldiers. (Strangely, propagating Jewish national integrity is not popular among the commanding staff of Israel' s army! Shouldn't solders know what they sacrificing their lives for?)

PA Declared of Self-Victimisation Policy. The Fatah party has prepared a document at its convention in Bethlehem that reads: ''the Fatah will continue to sacrifice its own victims until all of Jerusalem is returned to the Palestinians.''

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

For many years, WW3 between 7 countries has been simmering in central Africa , in Congo. The civil war ended brutally in Sri Lanka not long ago and is already forgotten. But world is only preoccupied with the tiny Jewish state and pro-actively undermining its right to exist and its sovereignty!

Is Israel a Suicidal Democracy? Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to Arab MK Ahmed Tibi's comments calling for Jews to be removed from Judea and Samaria: "Israel needs to decide if it is a protective democracy or a suicidal democracy", hinting that Arab-Israeli incitement against the state must end. (The incitement of self-hating Jews against Israel must also be stopped!)

Realising the Reality. Attempting once again to mediate between the rival PA factions, King Abdullah wrote in a message to Mahmoud Abbas that at present it would be impossible to create a PA state, even if the entire world were to unite in support of the effort, due to the current divisions in PA society. (People say that Israel must face the reality on the ground. But the true reality is that Palestinians are a fake nation and they must not be allowed to occupy Jewish land!)

Russian Secret Service Helped Hizballah. A special unit of the Russian Federal Security Service - FSB, commissioned by Hizballah's special security apparatus earlier this year, was responsible for the massive discovery of alleged Israel spy rings in Lebanon in recent months. This indicates that the Russian agency, which specializes in counterespionage, is engaged for the first time in anti-Israel activity in the service of an Arab terrorist organization.

Is It also Fault of Israel ? A blast at Gaza wedding wounded more than 80 Gazas. A bomb detonated while the family of Fatah movement senior leader Mohamed Dahlan, was celebrating a wedding party at home. (They hate Israel , they hate the West, but most of all they hate each other! We can see it happening through out the entire Muslim world: Iraq, Afghanistan , Lebanon, Nigeria... )

Quote of the Week: "I yearn for the day that the Palestinian leaders face their people and say these clear words: We have had enough of this conflict. We, the Palestinians, recognize the right of the Jewish people to a country of its own on this land. We will live beside you in true peace." - PM Binyamin Netanyahu - After 60 years of Arab terror he is still a bit naïve. Destruction of Israel is the Arabs' goal as the first step toward a Global Caliphate. You are next after Israel!

Spirit of Zionism is still Strong Among 'Russians'. A new survey conducted by Israel Democracy Institute reveals that a whopping 77 percent of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) support the transfer of Arabs out of the Jewish State, compared with 47 percent of veteran Israelis. (And a true assessment of the reality helps to keep the right prospective.)

Why has a Property Dispute Become an International Issue? Israel is isolated and vilified by international hypocrisies. The United States and others have strongly condemned a domestic decision, which has been confirmed by various courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, evicting Arab squatters from Jewish owned property. Despite the legality and historic justice of the proceedings the US , UK and UN have unequivocally condemned Israel.

No Good Will Among 'Moderate' Arabs. Jordan joined Saudi Arabia in publicly rejecting U.S. appeals to improve relations with Israel to help restart Middle East peace talks, throwing a damper on the Obama administration's futile push for Arab support behind new negotiations. (The reasons why Jordan and Egypt signed a worthless piece of paper with Israel were to get US foreign aid and regain lost land, Sinai. Peace was never in their mind!)

Hypocricy of the Headlines. Half-a-million occupiers in Palestinian territories... - Arab website - Article produced no information about the population of so-called Palestinians, who are actual occupiers of the Jewish land!

'Great' Tradition of British Hate.

Compiled by Aaron Shuster

Of course the British won't ban a vehement Jew hater. The British excel in Jew hatred. Any man who hates Jews is a great friend of Britain. Why do you think the British let the Moslems swarm Britain. They have a common enemy - the Jews. It is precisely Jew hatred that bonds the British to their Islamic brethren.

Remember, not one train line running to Auschwitz was ever bombed by the British. Why would they want to stop the extermination of the Jewish people? Not a priority. At the same time, they banned Jews from returning to their homeland - Israel. Effectively, they locked the Jews in a burning building and threw away the key.

Geert Wilders, an international champion of free speech, is barred from Britain , but a Jew-hating Islamic supremacist is just fine with UK authorities: Despite his sectarian, racist incitements that Jews are "scum...rats...pigs and monkeys," the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al Sudais, has been welcomed and invited to preach at the East London mosque in Whitechapel tonight, Tuesday evening, 4 August 2009.

Al-Sudais, who has close ties to the Saudi elite, has also insulted Christians and Hindus, referring disparagingly to Christians as "cross-worshippers" and Hindus as "idol worshippers". He has been banned from Canada for his anti-Semitism.

The chairman of the East London mosque is Muhammad Abdul Bari. He is also the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Although the MCB has condemned anti-Semitism, it has previously declined to criticise the anti-Semitism of al-Sudais and has continued to support him despite his anti-Jewish tirade.

"Al-Sudais has stoked religious sectarianism and anti-Jewish racism. He has never expressed any regret," said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell. "I don't understand why the Home Secretary is allowing al-Sudais into Britain , given that similar hate preachers have been banned. Is it because of the close business links between the British and Saudi establishments?" Mr Tatchell queried. (Or it is done just for the sake of loving to hate Jews. We must not forget that Jews were deported from England by the order of a king long before the Inquisition in Spain. We still have not heard an apology for this hateful act!)

Obama’s ‘Soft Power’ Strategy Makes U.S. Look Weak

James Carafano, PhD, Presidential Policy: Does It Make the Grade?

Last week, Washington seemed to lose more ground in dealing with its most intransigent foreign policy challenges.
Topping foreign policy news for the week was Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea where he got to “grip and grin” with the supreme leader Kim Jong-Il and secure the release of two American journalists imprisoned in the country. Sending Clinton, essentially Kim’s price for releasing the two Americans, was a mistake, argues Heritage North Korean expert Bruce Klingner. “Clinton’s mission risks undermining ongoing international efforts to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. The Obama Administration should have instead insisted on resolving the issue through existing diplomatic channels, including special envoy Ambassador Stephen Bosworth.” Rather than seeing how the crisis unfolded as good news, Klingner concluded, “Clinton's visit has roiled the North Korean policy waters beyond their already tumultuous state. There are great uncertainties over North Korean and U.S. intentions, escalating the risk of miscalculation, confrontation, and crisis.” While it is great to have the journalists back home, allowing North Korea to orchestrate the event may have the perverse affect of making it harder not easier to manage the rogue regime.

Other breaking national security news involved another troubling state – Russia. Last week several news agencies broke the story of Russian nuclear subs resuming patrols off the US coast. Also making headlines were new reports of Russian arms sales to Venezuela. According to one press report, “President Hugo Chávez said Venezuela would purchase dozens of Russian tanks, in a move signaling growing military ties between the two countries that have frequently clashed with Washington.”

Iran has been sending tough signals to Washington as well. Recently, an editorial in Conservative Iranian daily concluded, according to a translation provided by that “the Americans are sending a desperate message to the world, begging Iran for dialogue.” Last week, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in to a second term as president (despite continuing protests over claims of election fraud) he showed little interest in playing nice with the United States. His speech included a rebuke of the West as well as an affirmation of a determination that Iran would play a lead role in managing the world. Meanwhile, in what seems like an instant reply of what happened in North Korea, Iranian officials claimed to have arrested three Americans that strayed across the border into Iran.

The administration had little to say about of any of these incidents.

By electing not to speak out forcefully on Russia’s muscle flexing in the Western Hemisphere; Iran’s intransigence over its nuclear program; or showing much outrage over incarcerating American citizens in Iran and North Korea and then using them for “bargaining chips,” the administration looks weak. In addition, its vaunted “soft power” campaign focused on negotiation and accommodation appears only to be encouraging these countries to be more, not less belligerent. Contributing Editor James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is a leading expert in defense affaires, intelligence, military operations and strategy, and homeland security

at the Heritage Foundation. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.or

Hizbullah Boasts, Dismisses Talk of War

Nissan Ratzlav-A7 News

Several leaders of the Iranian-controlled Lebanese terrorist organization Hizbullah have bragged about their military capabilities, dismissing the possibility that Israel would risk a war against them. For its part, Israel is intending to hold the Lebanese government responsible for all Hizbullah actions.

Safiyeddine warned Israel that any conflict with his organization at this time would be far worse the Second Lebanon War.

Speaking with Hizbullah's TV station Al-Manar on Monday night, the organization's deputy chief Naim Kassem ruled out the possibility of Israel launching a war against Lebanon. Because neither Americans nor Israelis can predict the outcome or developments in such a conflict, he said, they are unwilling to wage a war at this time. The same Israeli and American concern, Kassem claimed, holds true for a military strike against Iran's nuclear program. However, in the latter case, he continued, Israel is willing to attack, but the United States is vetoing any action.

Regardless of his analysis, Kassem emphasized that Hizbullah is on alert and is well prepared for a confrontation with Israel. Referring to the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hizbullah, the senior Hizbullah leader said, "We will be resolute and Israelis should make accurate calculations, because the next war will be more intense and the resistance will be more violent in its retaliation."

In the meantime, Kassem claimed, Hizbullah is "remaining calm" and abiding by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the 2006 war. Resolution 1701 initiated an arms control regime for southern Lebanon and installed UN forces there. Kassem added that Hizbullah's supreme leader, Hassan Nasrallah, will discuss the situation on the Israeli border in an address on August 14, 2009.

In remarks published by the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a Hizbullah representative in the Lebanese parliament said Israeli military action is the outcome of American decision-making. According to Nawaf Al-Musawi, the U.S. is expected to exercise control over Israel should the Jewish State seek to act militarily in Lebanon. Such actions in the past, he claimed, have been either a direct American request or with American approval.

On Sunday, Hizbullah's Executive Council Chief Sayed Hashem Safiyeddine warned Israel that any conflict with his organization at this time would be far worse the Second Lebanon War.

Addressing a local ceremony in southern Lebanon, Safiyeddine said, "If [Defense Minister E Barak's threats are serious - and I don't think they are - he should be aware that if he commits an error or act of stupidity against Lebanon, [the he will discover that the months of July and August 2006 were just a bit of fun." At the same time, he emphasized, "We believe that all of the Israeli threats are hollow and meaningless," while "All of the United States' political projects to curb the resistance and take vengeance on it have also collapsed. Therefore, there is no need to be worried...."

Israel Will Hold Lebanon Responsible

The Israeli "threats", as they are presented by the various Hizbullah spokesmen, include comments such as those by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday to the effect that Israel will hold the Lebanese government accountable for any future Hizbullah actions on the northern border.

"Our statements [in this rega are related to the fact that Lebanese politics is changing," Netanyahu said during a visit to Gush Katif evictees in Amatzia. "The moment Hizbullah is part of the government, the sovereign government of Lebanon is held responsible."

On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon reiterated to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot daily that the Hizbullah terrorist group "is not on the moon, it's part of the Lebanese government." In response to ongoing warnings by intelligence officials and open threats by Hizbullah to strike at Israeli interests abroad, Ayalon added, "If so much as one hair on the head of any Israeli overseas - official or tourist - is harmed, we will hold Hizbullah responsible, and the response would be harsh."

Last week, Defense Minister Barak said that the IDF would use "all necessary force" against Lebanon in the event of a confrontation. Hizbullah, he said, has stockpiled 40,000 rockets capable of hitting targets almost anywhere in Israel. "Floating there in the background is the possibility of the transfer of more advanced weaponry into the hands of Hizbullah from the Syrians, such that it may violate the delicate balance currently existing in Lebanon, giving them even greater strategic abilities," he explained.

Israel, Barak added, "must be prepared, if needed, to respond by preventing the violation of this delicate balance."

In his comments to Al-Manar, Hizbullah's Naim Kassem dismissed such Israeli statements as political maneuvering. "They are intended to mobilize the Israeli public and raise its spirits," he explained, while also drawing foreign attention to the growing military capabilities of Hizbullah.