Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reconsidering the Suez Campaign

Dec. 18, 2009
It is hard to seize the initiative. The consequences of acting are frightening. It is always better to let others go first. But sometimes that is impossible. Today it is becoming clear that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no choice but to lead.The stakes have never been higher. Every day we are beset by an avalanche of evidence that Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear armed state. From the secret uranium enrichment facility in Qom, to Iran's solid fuel missile test this week to the disclosure that Iran is developing a trigger device to detonate nuclear bombs, it is clear that Teheran is building a nuclear arsenal and that - at a minimum - it is determined to use it to force the nations of the Middle East to bend to its fanatical will.

Until now, as Israel faced this growing threat, it has tried to avoid leading by seeking to convince the US to act against Iran. Since US President Barack Obama took office 11 months ago, Israel's desire to convince the US to act against Iran has driven Netanyahu to take drastic steps to appease the White House.

Netanyahu has bowed to American pressure and announced his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Israel's heartland, even as the Palestinians themselves made clear that they reject Israel's right to exist.

He bowed to US pressure and is implementing a draconian freeze on all Jewish building in Judea and Samaria, despite the fact that the Palestinians refuse to even discuss peace with Israel.

Netanyahu has allowed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to unravel national unity still further by picking fights with yeshiva heads who oppose the wholly theoretical possibility that IDF soldiers will be ordered to expel Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria in the framework of a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

As for Iran itself, the government and the IDF are loudly expressing Israel's support for US-backed sanctions, despite their sure knowledge that those proposed measures will have no significant impact on Teheran's will or capacity to build nuclear bombs.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu's appeasement efforts have not brought a US payoff. The Obama administration continues to downplay the urgency of the Iranian nuclear threat and its calls for sanctions are half-hearted and will not prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the Obama administration remains stridently opposed to using military force to destroy Iran's nuclear installations. This was made clear during a high-level war game at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government earlier this month. At Harvard, former US undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns played Obama and former UN ambassador Dore Gold played Netanyahu. At the end of the game, the US had disavowed its strategic alliance with Israel because Jerusalem refused to give Washington veto power over its right to attack Iran's nuclear installations. On the other hand, America had failed to get Russia and China to support sanctions and Iran was three months away from the bomb.

The Harvard game came just a few months after the real-world CIA Director Leon Panetta made what was supposed to be a secret visit to Israel and demanded that Israel not attack Iran without US permission.

All of this makes clear that Israel cannot depend on the US to defend it from Iran. Indeed, it makes clear that a breach of relations with the US is unavoidable.

IN LIGHT of this harsh reality, the time has come for Netanyahu to take the lead. While frightening, there may be a silver lining in this cloud.

If Israel moves boldly, others may support it. This was the message of an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday authored by Olivier Debouzy, a former French diplomat specializing in intelligence and nuclear military affairs, titled, "How to Stop Iran."

In 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed Debouzy to France's Defense and National Security White Paper Commission. A private attorney, Debouzy is well connected to Sarkozy and his national security team.

Debouzy opened with a recap of what is already known. Iran "is not serious about negotiating in good faith," and in all likelihood, it has, "for more than a decade now, concealed a significant part of what appears to be a major nuclear military effort."

He then explained what is at stake for the West. Western failure to stop Iran will convince the Persian Gulf states that they cannot trust Western security guarantees and are best served by developing their own nuclear arsenals. All semblance of a nuclear nonproliferation regime will be cast to the seven winds.

Given the stakes, Debouzy concludes that it is time for the US, France, Britain and Israel to "try to reach an agreement on how to terminate the Iranian nuclear program militarily." He suggests first taking an example from the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and imposing a quarantine on Iranian shipping in the Persian Gulf while compelling Iran's neighbors to desist from all trade and financial transactions with it.

If this doesn't work, Debouzy acknowledges, "It might be necessary to go beyond that and actually resort to force to prevent the Iranians from achieving nuclear military capabilities." To this end, he proposes planning "for a massive air and missile attack on Iran's nuclear facilities."

While Debouzy invoked the Cuban Missile Crisis, given the Obama administration's position on Iran, a more apt analogy is the 1956 Suez Crisis. Whereas in 1962 the US acted alone against the threatened Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba, in 1956, France, Israel and Britain acted against Egypt without US permission to limit the harm that then-Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser could cause to their separate strategic interests.

Today, the Obama administration's treatment of US allies and enemies alike bears far more resemblance to the Eisenhower administration's policies than to those of the Kennedy administration. And in turn, the administration's behavior presents allied governments with options reminiscent to those they faced in 1956.

To the extent that Debouzy's article represents a significant thought stream in France and perhaps in Britain, it tells us three important things. First, it tells us that a significant constituency in Europe believes the time has come to act militarily against Iran's nuclear installations. Second it tells us that influential voices in France have lost patience with Obama. Sarkozy himself all but accused Obama of living in Fantasy Land at the UN Security Council meeting four months ago, in light of Obama's support for global nuclear disarmament and his cavalier attitude towards Iran's nuclear program.

Finally, by including Israel in a theoretical military alliance against Iran, Debouzy's article suggests that in spite of its anti-Israel positions on issues related to the Palestinians, France may be willing to assist Israel if Netanyahu decides to attack Iran's nuclear installations. That is, his article lends the impression that if Israel is willing to act boldly, it may not have to act alone.

THE LAST time that Israel acted militarily with others without US support was during the Suez Crisis. Debouzy's suggestion of French support for an Israeli strike against Iran should provoke our leaders to reconsider the lessons of that campaign.

At the time, Britain and France joined forces with Israel because their national interests were harmed by Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal. Nasser's move imperiled the British-allied Hashemite regimes in Iraq and Jordan. It opened the door for Soviet influence in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. And it endangered the flow of oil to Europe through the Suez Canal.

Nasser's move harmed Israel by threatening to permanently close the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping. Israel also stood to benefit from a joint attack against Egypt because it afforded Israel the opportunity to severely weaken Nasser's regular forces in the Sinai and his fedayeen terror cells in Gaza.

Despite Nasser's escalating ties with the Soviet Union, the Eisenhower administration opposed ejecting him from the Suez Canal for a host of reasons. The US wished to please its Saudi ally which, like Egypt, sought to weaken the British-allied Hashemite regimes in Iraq and Jordan. The US wished to quash Britain and France's residual post-war capacities to act without US support as Washington solidified its position as the unquestioned leader of the Western alliance against the Soviet Union. Washington was politically inconvenienced by the need to support the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt as it condemned the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Finally, the Eisenhower administration opposed a strong Israel.

Although all three countries achieved their military goals, the US's decision to side with Egypt against them caused them all tremendous political damage. Washington forced Israel to withdraw from Sinai and it threatened Britain with economic devastation until then-prime minister Anthony Eden agreed to remove British forces from the area. France was similarly humiliated into withdrawing.

America's brutal reaction caused many Israeli analysts to conclude that Israel must never again go to war without US permission. And from David Ben-Gurion on, all Israeli leaders have given the US a de facto veto over nearly all of Israel's military moves.

While Israel's fear of angering America is understandable, it is far from clear that its interests were ever served by this policy. The fact is, while Israel was forced to withdraw from Sinai, the benefit it gained from the Suez Campaign still far outweighed the cost. Through the war, Israel secured its maritime rights in the Suez Canal and weakened significantly Egypt's regular and irregular forces in Sinai and Gaza.

What is clear is that 53 years ago it made no sense to get into an open conflict with Dwight Eisenhower. As the former Allied commander in Europe, Eisenhower's strategic credentials were unassailable both at home and abroad. Then, too, in 1956 the US was enjoying unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. Politically - at home and abroad - Eisenhower was immune to criticism.

Obama is no Eisenhower. The US is suffering its worst economic decline since the Great Depression. After just 11 months in office, Obama's approval ratings have sunk to 50 percent. His lack of credibility in foreign affairs came though clearly this month when a mere 26% of Americans said they believe he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the same time, Israel has never faced a threat as grave as that of a nuclear-armed Iran. There can be little doubt that if Ben-Gurion and Eisenhower were in charge today, Ben-Gurion wouldn't hesitate to again defy Eisenhower and attack Iran - with or without France and Britain. Certainly, Netanyahu cannot justify placing Israel's fate in Obama's hands.

Fortunately, as Netanyahu's moment of decision rapidly approaches, we see that if he seizes the reins, he is likely to be surprised to find many other leaders offering him a helping hand.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1260930895110&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jewish Music Banned at Holy Site

Avi Yellin
A7 News

The Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria has accused Israeli authorities of unfairly and selectively enforcing laws for Jewish and Arab residents of the mixed city of Hevron. For years, visitors arriving at the Cave of the Patriarchs in the holy city have been greeted by Jewish music emanating from loudspeakers atop the Gutnick Center next door to the ancient site. But on Thursday, the music was banned and Ofer Ochana, a resident of nearby Kiryat Arba, was interrogated and threatened by the police. Following the investigation, Ochana was warned that if he attempted to broadcast music over the speakers again he would be arrested and brought up on charges. From information received by the Hevron Jewish community, this police action was most likely a direct order from the new military commander of the central region, who also reportedly demanded that the police carefully examine the law and find a criminal offense that could be attributed to Ochana. The police discovered several laws relating to noise being broadcast publicly from a business in a residential neighborhood. Ochana, who also directs a store and banquet hall inside the building, was then summoned, interrogated and warned. His speakers were disabled and the music was silenced.

As a result of these measures, the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria sent a letter to regional police commander Itzik Rachamim, titled “Selective law enforcement regarding loudspeakers in the vicinity of Ma’arat HaMachpela.”

The letter reads as follows:

“For years Jewish worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs have complained about the unreasonable and illegal noise of loudspeakers sounding the Muslim calls to prayer into the area assigned exclusively for Jewish worship, and in the Machpela courtyard. There is no need for this because these areas are not used for Muslim prayer (excepting 10 days a year). Two years ago a professional examination was carried out in order to measure the noise level compared to conventional criteria. The results, delivered to the Hevron DCO reported that ‘if the regulations to prevent hazards (unreasonable noise) from 1990 were applied in this case, the noise levels recorded very highly exceed permissible levels.’

Despite these official inquiries, nothing was done to stop the daily disturbances which greatly impaired daily Jewish worship at the site. This, despite the fact that the Supreme Court recognized the right of prayer as one the foremost of human rights. In light of this, it is very puzzling why Mr. Ofer Ochana is being investigated for playing Jewish prayer music from the speakers (with far less intensity than the Muslim prayer calls) at the Gutnick Center, an area allocated for Jewish worship with the specific goal of creating an atmosphere of Jewish worship. Much graver is the threat that he would be arrested immediately if he dared to play Jewish music in this area again while no similar criminal steps were taken towards the Arab muezzin.

If the criterion which you utilize to examine the decision whether to conduct a criminal investigation and threaten detention is a suspicion of ‘breach of peace’ (the language of Section 194 (a) of the Penal Code) - then there is enough to push the public Jewish worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs to take steps which will be understood to reveal that their welfare and tranquility have been violated by the muezzin’s call to prayer…

Your action yesterday can only be defined as selective law enforcement, represents serious denial of freedom of expression and freedom of worship, and only encourages violent reactions. I ask you to explain why this extreme step was taken and, why you do not enforce the law equally, allowing freedom of expression and worship equally to the two religions.”

A Copy of this letter was sent to the Minister of Religious Affairs, other ministers and to several members of Knesset.

Israel is a normal country, almost.

According to Israelis and others who talk and write about the country, it is the worst or the best place on earth.

Hyperbole is the language of those who love and hate it. It is often in the cross hairs of international organizations flying the flags of justice and humane behavior. Or it is doing the Lord's work, and is set upon by vicious, predisposed, anti-Semitic beings, who according to some include the man currently sitting in the Oval Office.
Israelis also speak with fulsome criticism or praise. Among their accusations is that it has the most severe records of inequality, getting worse by the day; that its drivers are among the worse in the world; and that its politicians are among the most corrupt and self-serving, with governments that cannot live out their terms without falling victim to petty disputes. There are also Israelis who cannot pause to consider these things, so busy are they boasting the country's record in medical and technological advances, and economic performance.

Reality, as usual, is more complex than the boasts and accusations of people who feel too strongly about their views.

Israel is beset with enemies, and it does defend itself, but with less "collateral damage" than can be found for countries also involved in warfare, like the United States and Britain, whose residents are among the most prominent in accusing Israel of war crimes.

Israel is not a perfectly egalitarian society, and it does have traffic accidents. Its governments do exhibit internal conflict and are likely to fall before the end of their terms. However, in each of these traits Israel is in the normal range, and generally about the average for Western democracies. Anyone wanting to find countries where there is much greater inequality, many more traffic accidents, and governments that are more problematic should look in the Third World. The great rift in human behavior is between the well to do and the poor. And on this trait, Israel is usually in the middle of well to do countries on a host of indicators.

Against claims that Arab Israelis suffer from discrimination and persecution, the facts are that Israel's minority is closer to the Jewish majority on indicators of family income than are comparable findings for minorities and majorities in the United States; and Israeli Arabs have better indicators of health than White Americans.

If Israel is pretty much like other countries to which it might be compared, why the excitement?

One reason is all those Muslim countries, with votes in international forums, and money to hire public relations firms, buy into media companies, and endow universities. This assures lip service from Western governments not wanting to annoy their sources of energy, as well as cooperation from individuals who administer higher education and the media.

Another reason is the place and nature of Israel and its population. Jews and others expect more of the Promised Land. The Light unto the Gentiles does not shine as brightly as some expect. It is not Heaven on Earth, but its human failings (i.e., being a normal country with social problems and disputes) disappoints the faithful who expect more of it.

Israel infuriates Muslims who view the entire Middle East (which some of them stretch all the way to Portugal) as properly Arab. It angers ideologues (Jews and others) who buy into the Palestinian narrative and conclude that Palestine should be their home, or at least a place where they are treated better than minorities elsewhere.

In regard to the overly fulsome praise, some time ago there was an e-mail passed around and around, which I filed under the heading of Jewish junk. For those who want to kvel or chuckle, I am including it as an attachment. The claim that Israel has the highest living standards and wealth in the Middle East leaves out a number of the oil producing countries; and that it has the highest incidence of university graduates in the world does not square with World Bank data. They show Israel ranking 16th among 21 upper income countries on a measure of university enrollments relative to population. On most things, Israel must be satisfied with being good, without being the best.

So please lower the volume of complaints and praise. They disturb my enjoyment of wine from the Golan. It is good, but not the best.

Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel: +972-2-532-2725
Fax +972-2-582-9144

* Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can make claim to the following:
* Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
* Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
* In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the United States (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech). for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.
* Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.
* Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.
* With an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16s, Israel has the largest fleet of the aircraft outside of the United States.
* Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
* On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech start-ups.
* Israel has the largest raptor migration in the world, with hundreds of thousands of African birds of prey crossing as they fan out into Asia.
* Twenty-four percent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees – ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland – and 12 percent hold advanced degrees.
* Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
* In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at risk in Ethiopia to safety in Israel.
* When Gold Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.
* When the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day - and saved three victims from the rubble.
* Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship - and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.
* Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.
* Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."
* According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. U.S. officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.
* Israel's Maccabi basketball team won the European championships in 2001.
* Israeli tennis player Anna Smashnova is the 15th ranked female player in the world.
* Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was produced by Haim Saban, an Israeli whose family fled persecution in Egypt.
* In 1991, during the Gulf War, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra played a concert wearing gas masks as scud missiles fired by Saddam Hussein fell on Tel Aviv.
* Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.
* Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
* Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
* Israel has two official languages: Hebrew and Arabic.
* Medicine Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.
* An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U.S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.
* Israel's Givun imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used the view the small intestine from the inside, the camera helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.
* Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with congestive heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.
* Technology With more than 3,000 high! -tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).
* In response to serious water shortages, Israeli engineers and agriculturalists developed a revolutionary drip irrigation system to minimize the amount of water used to grow crops.
* Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
* Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well.
* The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
* Most of the Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel.
* The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.
* Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
* Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the United States in Israel.
* Four young Israelis developed the technology for AOL Instant Messenger in 1996.
* A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct - all without damaging surroundings skin or tissue.
* An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave Desert.
* The first PC anti-virus software was developed in Israel in 1979.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PA Confiscates, Destroys $50,000 Worth of Israeli Goods

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

The Palestinian Authority, encouraged by European Union boycotts of products in Judea and Samaria, dumped $50,000 worth of Dead Sea cosmetics in trash containers on Wednesday. The Dead Sea beauty products, including shampoo, face cream and hand lotion, are manufactured under the widely known Ahava brand.The company’s headquarters on a kibbutz located less than a mile from the Dead Sea and part of the land restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

PA authorities also confiscated candies from the Barkan industrial area in Samaria, according to the French news agency AFP.

A PA statement alleged that the confiscated goods exceeded their expiration date, but Munthar Erakat, described by the Jordan Times as a ”local official,” said, "This destruction ... is in keeping with the decision of the Palestinian leadership to prevent the import and sale of products produced in the settlements.”

The Ahava products have grown from a small stand 20 years ago to an internationally-known company that sells more than $150 million worth of products in 35 countries. The American investment firm Shamrock Holdings owns 20 percent of the company.

The company was not available for comment on the PA’s confiscation.

It has been the target of several boycotts. Pro-Arabs lobbied the London department store Harrods in 2002 to take Ahava products off its shelves along with other Israeli products, ranging from pretzels to wine.

Earlier this week, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen asked the Dutch Finance Ministry to investigate the status of Ahava products at the behest of Dutch Socialist Party parliamentarian Harry van Bommel, an avid pro-Palestinian activist.

Ahava products are exported to Holland with a "Made in Israel" stamp, but Dutch socialists say the beneficial minerals infused in Ahava products belong to Arabs.

Border Police to Recruit: Will You Expel Your Friends?

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Border Police Admit Mistake

Border police officials have admitted that a security office acted improperly for throwing out a recruit after asking him if he would expel friends and family from his own community in the southern Hevron Hills. Senior Border Police officials, after hearing the report about the youth, identified as “E” was, invited him for another interview and accepted him for basic training.. The youth wants to serve in a commando unit that searches for and arrests terrorists in Judea and Samaria, an entirely different and more superior unit than the ”Yassam” police who expel Jews from their homes and break up protests, often violently.

Acquaintances said the recruit was in shock after a security officer asked, “You live in Susiya? Would you carry out expulsion orders there?"

After “E” replied, “I never thought about that. It is very complicated. I have to think about that,” the officer abruptly said, "You are finished. You cannot be in the Border Police.” The youth returned home insulted and shocked at the questioning, friends related.

The youth lives in the community of Susiya, located approximately three miles north of the pre-1967 border, north of Arad and Be’er Sheva. His father, Chaim, told Israel National News the decision was his son's. "I was hoping he would take an easier route, but he asked me for advice, and I said, 'It's your decision,'" he explained.

After his son was thrown out of the recruiting office, his father called the military correspondent for Voice of Israel govenrment radio, whose report caused Border Police officials to reconsider the case. Border Police spokesman Moshe Finsi explained to Israel National News that the question was proper but that the security official did not have authority to decide to reject "E."

The youth's family praised the Border Polcie for personally calling them and correcting the mistake. Finsi said, "I met the youth and I wish we had many more like him who want to contribute to the country."

Asking national religious soldiers if they would expel friends in their own communities was common immediately preceding and after the expulsions of nearly 10,000 Jews in Gaza and northern Samaria four years ago but later was deemed improper by military officers.

Finsi explained that the Border Police have no choice but to ask recruits about their capability to accept orders because that is one of their functions. "We do not choose what orders to accept, and we cannot accept officers who refuse orders," according to Finsi.

Finsi explained that the Border Police have no choice but to ask recruits about their capability to accept orders because that is one of their functions. "We do not choose what orders to accept, and we cannot accept officers who refuse orders," according to Finsi. .

'Anti-Israel is the new anti-Semitism' Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Anti-Semitism is being used to delegitimize the State of Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Foreign Ministry's third annual Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Lieberman said "classic anti-Semitism, along with Iranian funding and Islamic anti-Semitism, is being used to incite hatred against Jews, and to delegitimize the State of Israel." He said that global anti-Semitism had "crossed the line," and that those behind the effort were "seeking to destroy the Jewish state piece by piece... using academic boycotts and economic sanctions." He also noted "human rights groups' effort to deny Israel legitimacy by pushing the United Nations Security Council to adopt the Goldstone Report," which accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
"Modern anti-Semitism," the foreign minister asserted, "has taken on the form of being anti-Israel... Instead of saying 'throw the Jews into the sea,' they talk of a world without Zionism, and without Israel."
Referring to the matter of Iran, Lieberman said, "It's scary that 60 years after the horrors of the Holocaust, we see examples of anti-Semitism being funded by Iran." He added that the Islamic republic "denies the Holocaust, calls for the destruction of Israel, and is trying to achieve nuclear capability. These efforts remind us of [the Nazis' rise to power] 70 years ago."
According to the registration list, over 500 participants plan to attend the two-day conference at Jerusalem's Crowne Plaza Hotel. Delegations comprising diplomats, academics, and policy makers from the United States, Germany, France, Hungary, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Venezuela and Argentina were listed on the GFCA roster.
Also speaking at the conference on Wednesday was Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who cited anti-Semitic attacks around the world in the past year, noting that they took place "in 2009, not 1937."
He too spoke of a change in the nature of anti-Semitism: "No longer permissible to openly proclaim hatred of the Jews? So the anti-Semite must seek new forms and forums to release his poison."
"No longer politically correct to openly hate Jews. So he has repackaged his hate, and in doing so has been able to gain endorsement from academics, media outlets, and even political parties."
Edelstein went on to tell delegates that Israel had become the focus of global anti-Semitism, saying, "There are no more Jews. Instead there are Israelis. Israeli soldiers kill babies. Israeli soldiers attack pregnant mothers. Israelis started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
During his travels abroad, the minister said, he often heard people expressing support for the creation of a Palestinian state, as well as the removal of the Jewish state, which they called "inherently racist." In response to such sentiments, Edelstein said, "I do not know if a more contradictory, irrational, and illogical argument have ever been made in the same sentence. The Palestinians are a people and therefore deserve a state. The Jews are a people, and therefore should not be allowed to have a state."
He concluded his address by stressing the need for education on tolerance, saying, "It is our moral duty to educate our children about anti-Semitism and the evils of senseless hatred."
Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1260930878910&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull


NEW NOTE Decenber 16, 2009
The Arab/Muslim forces have succeded far beyond their aspirations in 1965, when my original article was written. Jewish Communities worldwide will be impacted negatively. Much of the blame for this situation lies directly on shoulders of the Israeli government, Foreign Ministry and the leaders of Jewish communities world wide. They have failed to do battle with those who wish to destroy us. Instead they chose to follow the delusion "peace process" called Oslo.

Author's Note: While this article was published in 1965 in a small Zionist publication, it still accurately reflects the history and main principles of Arab propaganda. Since 1967 that propaganda has changed to emphasize "Palestinian self determination", Palestinian "rights" and to enlist the support of "human rights" and leftist groups.
It is important to note that the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran are still the world's largest publisher 'a of "hard core" anti-Semitic literature like the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. Syria?s Defense Minister recently wrote a book to prove that accusations of "blood libel" against the Jews were true. That is that "Jews kill Christians, especially children, to use their blood in the preparation of rnatza during Passover." I have added a few author notes to update some of the text. It is important to note that I privately sent it to the newly elected Prime Minister of Israel (Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jewish Communities in Samaria Find Friends on Facebook

Hana Levi Julian Samaria Jewish Towns on Facebook

Jewish communities in Samaria have discovered a new way to get their message out to the world – through the Facebook social networking web site. “We are using web-based social media to network international support for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” explained David Ha’Ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison Office in Samaria. Ha”Ivri makes a point of posting the latest news and information about events being held at Jewish communities nestled among the hills in the region on the organization’s Facebook page several times a day.

Its Info page, “Friends of the Jewish Communities in the Shomron,” encourages visitors to “support, learn, visit and talk about the Jewish communities in the Shomron.”

The page has garnered “hundreds of members a day for the past two weeks,” according to Ha’Ivri – 2,434 official members of the group, actually – who the activist said have been meeting at the site “to organize real live events at international locations.

In the past two weeks, the group has been involved in demonstrations and events in Melbourne, Australia, New York City, Loveland, Colorado, and New Mexico, opposing the building freeze in Judea and Samaria.

At last count, there were 2,434 official members of the group, with an active board of administrators that includes students and professionals, Jews and non-Jews, “even a dentist from Nairobi,” noted Ha’Ivri.

The group is also organizing web-based activities for “armchair activists,” he said. “An armchair activist is a person whose activism is realized via his ability to do things on the Internet, blog, talkback, send faxes and emails to elected officials, web design, produce content for web sites and edit Wikipedia,” he explained.

“There are people around the globe who support Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria – this forum is giving them a platform to unite and work together to actually do something,” he added.

In the “Discussions” area, the group shares photos and information about violent police actions in the region. There is also a media response team that monitors and responds to reports on Judea and Samaria around the world, and a group that plans for ecological pilot projects in Samaria communities, Ha’Ivri said. “It’s not all about the struggle with the building freeze. It’s about supporting the Jewish communities in Samaria”

“Some members have already donated funds for needs that they learned about via the group, like the Itai Zar Legal Fund, and planting trees in Samaria to symbolize Jewish growth and setting down roots."

Abbas names 1967 borders as precondition for talks

PLO Central Committee convenes in Ramallah to discuss plan aimed at resolving its political crisis. Palestinian president clarifies he will not seek another term and slams building freeze, which he says 'is not considered a halt of settlement activity' Ali Waked

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Tuesday that the international community recognize the 1967 borders as the borders of a new Palestinian state, and stated that this was a condition for the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

"We will renew negotiations if the settlements are completely halted and the 1967 borders recognized as the borders of the Palestinian state," he said in Ramallah.

Speaking before the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Central Committee, Abbas commended the European Union on a proposal to declare east Jerusalem the future capital of a Palestinian state.

He also condemned settlements. "Netanyahu's announcement of a 10-month freeze in settlements is not considered a halt of all settlement activity," he said, referring to a cabinet decision backed by the prime minister.

In addition, Abbas criticized negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. "Up until now the Palestinian people have paid with the lives of 2,587 people, thousands of injured victims, and 120,000 destroyed homes for the soldier's captivity," he said.

The PLO's central committee was convening in Ramallah in order to make its final decision on a new political alignment in the Palestinian Authority.

The council was expected to appeal to Abbas to continue his term until elections are scheduled. His term ends next month, but he announced that he would not run for office again. He said he would take additional moves, which would be declared later on.

The committee also planned to discuss a proposal regarding the Palestinian parliament, which ends its term after four years. The proposal suggests that the committee, ruled by Fatah, replace the parliament ruled by Hamas.

The move, first revealed by Ynet, is aimed at undermining the results of the 2006 elections, which Hamas won, without dismantling the Palestinian Authority. The plan, to be implemented next month, will see Abbas as head of the PLO.

Under the plan the Hamas parliament will also continue its term, but the central committee will fill in for the parliament when needed.

Hamas has already announced that it would not be obligated to comply with any of the central committee's decisions. The group's prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, declared Monday that the current parliament is the legitimate parliament and that the committee's decisions were unimportant.

The plan is aimed at extracting the PA from the political crisis in which it has been entangled for some time. If it is approved, Hamas will no longer have the power to make decisions regarding Palestinian legislation and the PLO will retain all legal power.

The move will undermine the power of Hamas officials, who claim that the substitute for the president of the PA is chairman of their parliament, Aziz Dweik.

Abbas Ditches Roadmap, No Talks Unless Israeli Withdraws

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 Newws

Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in effect ditched the American Roadmap plan Tuesday and issued an ultimatum to Israel that there will be no talks unless Israel agrees ahead of time to surrender all of the land restored in the Six-Day War in 1967.Abbas’ new position is a severe escalation in his conditions for talks, which previously called for a halt to all building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has agreed to a 10-month building freeze except for eastern Jerusalem.

Abbas' announcement in a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Tuesday leaves the American Roadmap plan at a dead end. The plan, launched seven years ago by former U.S. President George W. Bush, calls for the PA and Israel to negotiate for an agreement on a new PA state.

Its longevity has been in question since Hamas ousted Abbas’ Fatah party from Gaza nearly three years ago. Former U.S. Secretary of State also Condoleezza Rice also placed a detour at the Roadmap by pressuring Israel to skip over the clause that calls for interim PA borders, to be followed by talks on final status issues. These points refer to status of Jerusalem and the demand from the Arab world that Israel allow several million foreign Arabs to immigrate into the country.

The Obama administration has not yet commented on Abbas’ latest conditions, and the State Department probably will be asked to make a statement during its daily media briefing Tuesday morning in Washington.

While placing new conditions for the resumption of talks, Abbas blamed Israel for the suspension in diplomatic discussions, arguing that Israel did not comply with the demand to halt building in eastern Jerusalem. Approximately 300,000 Jews live in the area, including the Old City where the Temple Mount and Western Wall (Kotel) are located.

Abbas also reiterated his policy of trying to convince the United Nations Security Council to recognize the 1949-1967 borders as those of a PA state.

"Why are we doing this? Because the negotiations have stopped. Why have they stopped?” he said. “Because Israel cannot stop the settlements or recognize international law.”

The PLO meeting was called to discuss the PA political dilemma of facing elections next month. Hamas has threatened to boycott a vote, and the PLO is likely to extend the term of Abbas, who previously said he would step down. His term of office already has been extended by one year.

"Rush to Judgment"

Arlene Kushner

Last Friday, in the Arab village of Yasuf, in Samaria, near the Jewish community of Tapuach, a mosque was vandalized.

Palestinian students hold up...

News reports spoke of the fact of "mosque arson," but in point of fact the mosque wasn't torched. Korans and prayer rugs were burned, while the mosque was left in tact -- this fact visible from photos. Graffiti was written in Hebrew on the wall of the mosque: "Price tag -- Greetings from Effi." This is presumed to represent a radical group of "settlers" who have vowed to extract a price from the Arab population every time the Israeli government restricts development by Jews in Judea and Samaria. It is thus being assumed in many quarters that Jews did this in "revenge" for Netanyahu's building freeze.News reports spoke of the fact of "mosque arson," but in point of fact the mosque wasn't torched. Korans and prayer rugs were burned, while the mosque was left in tact -- this fact visible from photos. Graffiti was written in Hebrew on the wall of the mosque: "Price tag -- Greetings from Effi." This is presumed to represent a radical group of "settlers" who have vowed to extract a price from the Arab population every time the Israeli government restricts development by Jews in Judea and Samaria. It is thus being assumed in many quarters that Jews did this in "revenge" for Netanyahu's building freeze.

Across Israel there have been condemnations of this act -- including by law enforcement officials and rabbis. The fact that they felt the need to condemn this passionately seems to indicate that they were assuming that it was likely Jews who did it. There were statements by law enforcement officials about how it's time to get tougher with the "extremists" in Judea and Samaria.


I believe that the assumption that "extremist" Jews did this IS a rush to judgment. There is a mind-set that tends to paint the "settlers" as bad, a danger to peace. This perception has been shaped by Arab and leftist PR and been assimilated to a large degree. And the assumption that Jews who live in Samaria set fire to a mosque fits right in with that.

If it turns out that Jews did do this, I will roundly condemn them. But I am not prepared to do so yet, for a host of reasons:

The law enforcement officials have come out full force in investigating this. But as I write, there is not only no suspect, but no lead. Clearly, they keep close tab on those Jews considered to be radical. That there is not even a "lead" after four days gives pause. The fact that there was an ostensible graffiti "signature" from a radical group does not, of course, mean that this group really did the vandalizing. As the Regional Council of Samaria pointed out, "Who would be stupid enough to leave a name?"


And there is more:

Reports I received today indicate that the mosque has already been cleaned up, so that a police investigation of the "scene of the crime" is impossible. (News reports did say that the PA was going to be doing the clean-up.) As it was, the damage was relatively minimal. Not destruction of a mosque, but of the accessories of prayer -- just enough destruction to make press and to make a fuss over.


Over a period of years, there have been accusations of Jewish "radicals" cutting down Arab olive trees, but on several occasions it turned out that Arabs themselves had cut down the trees to make Jews in the area look bad. Seems strange from our perspective, that they would damage their own property. But that's because we don't think as these Arabs do. The same thinking takes place in Gaza. Terrorists target the crossings from Israel into Gaza, making it necessary for Israel to close the crossings for a period. This means that the supplies don't get to the people. But that's OK, for it's more important to make Israel look bad for closing crossings.

Ponder this carefully.

The working assumption is that the mosque was vandalized by a radical Jewish group in "retaliation" for the government freeze. But the freeze wasn't just announced. It's a good couple of weeks old. So why now?

What is new is the priority map, which was just announced last week by Netanyahu. It indicates which communities will receive special attention. And guess what? A number of communities in Judea and Samaria were included (more follows on this below). How threatening to the Arabs who want to see us move back to the Green Line. Is it coincidence that the "arson" took place last Friday, just two days after the announcement?

When a contingent of rabbis from the Shomron (Samaria) tried to visit Yasuf, they were rebuffed. The residents there said these rabbis were radicals, or associated with radicals. I though this a little strange, as one of the rabbis was Rabbi Froman of Tekoa, who has a reputation of sustaining warm relationships with Arabs, and he had brought his Arabic-speaking son with him.

What did the Yasuf villagers say? That they need the land to be rid of "settlers." No peaceful co-existence. No acceptance of peaceful gestures. Get out.

I noted this carefully when it was said, and everyone else needs to note it, as well. The vandalized mosque potentially provides "evidence" for the world to see of why Jews should not live in Judea and Samaria.


As to that priority map: It has caused considerable dissension within the government. To me what has been taking place is schizoid, with one arm of the government unclear as to what the other is doing. As I noted last week after the priority map was announced (announced just as there was a demonstration against the freeze taking place), it seemed to give a very mixed message with regard to that freeze. And, sure enough, it made the Obama administration uneasy, so that reassurances had to be provided. The communities in Judea and Samaria which were on the map would receive other kinds of assistance, our government said, but not housing assistance. Not clear is whether this set of parameters was for the ten months of the freeze only, or would continue thereafter.

The map was approved by the Cabinet on Sunday, after announcements that the decision might be delayed because of objections.

Shas objected, and with good reason, because communities where those who were expelled from Gush Katif are settling were not given priority.

But the major source of tension with regard to the priorities set by the map emanates from the Labor party. Four party "rebels" have been discontented for some time with Barak's participation in Netanyahu's coalition. (It is likely that the ferocity with which Barak administered the freeze on the ground, adding strictures that weren't in the original announcement, was an attempt by him to show these rebels how tough he is with "settlers.")

Now the rebels -- Eitan Cabel, Shelly Yacimovich, Yuli Tamir, and Ophir Paz-Pines -- say that clearly Barak knew what the priority map would include, and that this is the proverbial straw. According to a spokesman for the rebels, "The chances of us making peace with Barak are the same that this government will make peace with the Palestinians."

What is being demanded is that within two to three months Labor leave the government if progress has not been made in the "peace process."

The insistence of the left wing in blaming Israel for a failure of the "peace process" drives me to distraction. How, precisely, do they think "progress" is supposed to be achieved when Abbas won't come to the table? (See below on this.)

At any rate, this is one of those situations that will bear close watching, as the political implications are real.


There are other issues with regard to communities in Judea and Samaria that I will return to as soon as possible. It seems today that there is more to write about than time to do the writing. It is almost time for candle-lighting and then celebration with friends.

Here I will simply report that Abbas has announced that he is abandoning the format of the Road Map and refusing to come to the negotiating table until we agree to return to the '67 lines. There is much to say about this, in due course, although we've been watching this unfold; it's not exactly unexpected. (The PLO, by the way, will be formally extending Abbas's term as PA president, until there are elections.)

Today in the village of Yasuf, Arabs demonstrated with the demand that Jews get out of the West Bank. And, while I might be mistaken, it seems to me all of a piece. How convenient that they have the "evidence" of the Jews having vandalized their mosque, to show the world why we cannot remain.

I am incensed, by the way, that the president of the EU has made a statement about this mosque. How many times, pray tell, has the president of the EU made statements when Arabs killed innocent Jews in Judea and Samaria?

see my website

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rabbi Melamed Puts the Facts on the Table

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Rabbi Melamed and ‘the Facts’

Har Brachah Hesder yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Melamed told Arutz 7 that he did not accept Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s summons to a “hearing” Sunday evening because discussions cannot be conducted under “tyrannical” pressure. He also said he never advised students to protest expulsion orders from within the IDF. The Defense Minister announced Sunday night he is tossing the yeshiva out of the Hesder program, that combines Torah study with army service, because Rabbi Melamed refused to sign a letter condemning protests by soldiers against IDF orders that they be involved in police actions to expel Jews from their homes.

Defense Minister Barak issued the summons Sunday morning after Rabbi Melamed did not meet his deadline to sign a letter condemning protests by soldiers. The letter was drafted by national religious Rabbi Chaim Druckman.

Rabbi Melamed explained that he agrees in principle with the letter but did not sign it because of its tone. “I understand and respect the protestors…but think they should limit their demonstrations to civilian actions and not within the IDF,” the rabbi said.

He also refused to sign the letter because of the manner in which Barak acted. “One must not sit does in discussion under government pressure, and a rabbi must be able to express his inner truth. What would happen if a rabbi reasoned that soldiers have an obligation to protest in public ceremonies? Would the rabbi have to remain quiet and hide his opinion, which he has an obligation to express?

“I will not surrender to Barak’s tyrannical pressure and that is why did not agree to attend a 'hearing” under an ultimatum, expressions that that show no respect towards those who deserve the freedom of thought and expression.”

Rabbi Melamed reiterated that he never advised students to raise protest signs against expulsions and specifically stated after the first protest several weeks ago that “there is no obligation to demonstrate specifically at a swearing-in ceremony.”

He was referring to combat soldiers from a Hesder yeshiva who raised a sign that their unit “does not expel Jews from Homesh,” the site of the destroyed town in northern Samaria where the IDF recently participated in expelling Jews, often desecrating the Sabbath. Jews have established a yeshiva the site and have maintained a presence there for three years.

“If they [the soldiers} had asked me, I would have advised against" the protest action, he said, adding that after the fact, "I respect their acts and recognize the positive side that results from public protests.”

Rabbi Melamed added that in order to make sure his position was clear, he asked approximately 50 students to express their understanding of his opinion. “Everyone, except for one student, replied that I am not encouraging them to demonstrate.”

The dispute with the military establishment began when the IDF Manpower commander demanded that Hesder yeshiva rabbis totally disassociate themselves from protests and refusal to obey orders to expel Jews from their homes, according to Rabbi Melamed.

“Rabbi Druckman agreed with their [the IDF’ position and wrote a letter that Defense Minister Barak and his deputy Matan Vilnai demanded that I sign,” Rabbi Melamed said.


Arlene Kushner

There are two parts to the Chanukah story, and two occurrences that are celebrated:

There is our history. In the second century BCE, under the oppressive reign of the Selucid Greek Antiochus IV, Jews were not allowed to practice their religion and the Temple was desecrated. The Hellenists were defeated by the Hasmonean Mattathias, a priest, and his son Judah Maccabee, and their band. The few overcame the many, and their victory was a victory for religious freedom and for religious observance over assimilation. There is the story in the Talmud. When the Temple was cleaned and rededicated, there was enough oil to light the menorah for only one day, and yet it burned for eight days. This is counted as a miracle.

We light our candles for eight nights in commemoration of this.

But...after we light the candles we sing "al hanisim" -- we light for the miracles. And we mention wonders, and redemption and wars, done for our ancestors in that time. So we have the miracle of the victory, not just the miracle of the oil. The victory of the few over the many, and of righteousness over repression.


In these terrible and crazy times, it's easy to approach despair, even though it is forbidden to us. It cannot be a secret that every so often I feel it clutching at my heart. But every year, Chanukah comes to remind us not to despair, because of the miracles.

And it's not just the miracle of the Maccabean victory. Modern Israel is a victory. Our War of Independence was a miracle. The Six Day War was a miracle. We must draw strength from this.

We need miracles to defeat our enemies, who surround us, gathering their missiles and working to delegitimize us.

But we also need miracles to be strong against those of our own who would surrender to the enemies. Just days ago a "priority map" was announced by the prime minister, pinpointing communities that are to receive special attention. And -- horrors! -- some of those identified communities are in Judea and Samaria. The day after the announcement, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) declared that approval of this map would isolate Israel as the "ultimate anti-peace state." Providing support for communities in the heartland of our heritage represents "anti-peace" because it means we are not surrendering to the Arab demands, and surrendering to those demands (which is how he defines "peace"), not supporting our heritage, is what concerns him. This made me crazy, until I realized anew: Chanukah comes to remind us that there were assimilated Jews in the time of Antiochus, who were willing to go along with what he imposed. But it was the priest Mattathias and his family who received the miracle, and were successful.


So let us light our candles, and tell of the miracles. Let us rejoice and sing. Our job is to stay strong and focused, and to hold fast to the faith.

Here, a link to traditional Chanukah tunes:

Soon enough I will return to share more news and analysis.

see my website

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Can't H. Clinton Bring Israel-Palestinian Peace? Look at What B. Clinton Offered which the Palestinians Rejected

Barry Rubin

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an interview to al-Jazira television, December 10, which reminds us of something exceptionally important for any discussion of the Israel-Palestinian conflict: what her husband offered the Palestinians—the last time a comprehensive deal was proffered—and was turned down almost exactly nine years ago. How does Clinton explain the lack of a peace agreement? She blames it on George W. Bush:

"I regretted that there was a lull in it after my husband left office because we were poised to make such progress, and if we had been able to get it over the goal line, there would have been a Palestinian state for nearly a decade now.""

When her husband left office there wasn't just a "lull." Bill Clinton had spent two terms working hard to achieve a peace agreement and he failed because the Palestinians rejected every offer he made and then launched a massive terrorist-based war on Israel that lasted five years. The beginning of understanding the issue is to admit that the reason there hasn't been a Palestinian state for nearly a decade is because the Palestinian leadership turned it down.

Until that admission happens, all of this running around is a wasted effort.

Besides, if it is so easy then why has the Obama Administration made zero progress. Not only, of course, has it failed even to get negotiations going--yes, it has been in power for less than a year--but there isn't the slightest shred of evidence to believe that anything is going to change in the rest of its term.

Even al-Jazira’s interviewer noted that regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, "Everything seems to have stalled since January just before President Obama came into office.” This signals not only that the failure is obvious to everyone but also that enough time has passed that the Obama Administration must be judged on its own merits rather than blaming the current situation on its predecessor, which can be a legitimate excuse during the earlier days.

Obviously, for an al-Jazira audience, Clinton is eager to show how supportive she is of a Palestinian state, though one that must come from bilateral negotiations with Israel:

“I have been committed to a two-state solution, a Palestinian state for more than 10 years. I was the first person associated with any American administration who said that the Palestinians deserved and should be given their own state. So I am very committed to both the Palestinian state to fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and security for the Israelis so that they would be given the guarantee of their own future.”

The word “deserved” here is worth noting. It implies that the Palestinians have earned a state of their own. While one can justify this on the basis of consciousness and conditions, it is ironic to think of such an idea in light of Palestinian political performance in the last sixty years which has consisted all too largely of saying “no” and a rather large element of terrorism.

I’m making this point not to try to score points or cast aspersions but rather to highlight the reason as to why this “deserved” gift has not been bestowed, which might have happened at many points in history beginning with 1948 when the Palestinians themselves turned down the UN plan to give them a state through 2000 when the same thing happened in their rejection of what was called, ironically the Clinton Plan. That was Bill Clinton.

Apparently, it was that plan to which Hillary was referring when her husband called for a Palestinian state for the first time in official U.S. policy. Incidentally, Israel did so as well, something else often forgotten or lied about.

On December 23, 2000, the United States proposed the creation of a “non-militarized” Palestinian state on 95 percent of the West Bank, plus three percent more traded to it by Israel, plus all of the Gaza Strip, with its capital in east Jerusalem. In other words, this would have been equivalent to about 99 percent of the pre-1967 territory then ruled by Egypt and Jordan.

Israel would have annexed small areas including three areas with large populations of Jewish settlers: Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, and Ariel. All of east Jerusalem would have become Palestinian--including the al-Aqsa Mosque--except for post-1967 Jewish neighborhoods, the Western Wall, and the Jewish Quarter. Israel would have gotten an existing access road—which is about ten feet wide—to the quarter. There would be an international observer force in the Jordan Valley, along the Palestinian-Jordan border, to see that heavy arms or foreign soldiers were not being smuggled into Palestine.

In addition, though this was not spelled out in the specific proposal, the level of aid and compensation to the Palestinians then being talked about by the United States was at around $21 billion.

On December 28, 2000, the Israeli government approved of the offer with only one condition: that the Palestinians accept it, too. For the record, I supported that plan, too.

Yasir Arafat turned it down.

What was the most important reason he gave for doing so? That he also demanded what Palestinians call “the Right of Return.” That is, he insisted there could be no deal unless all Palestinian refugees who so wished to go and live in Israel. He also rejected the observer force and demanded control of the entire Western Wall, the remnant of the Jewish Temple.

And yet there are those who say that Israel doesn’t want peace and never made the Palestinians a good offer. Many of them might add the claim that the United States had never done so either.

Let’s examine the implications of this proposed solution. If Arafat had accepted the deal, there would now have been a Palestinian state for many years. All those who died or were wounded since then would be whole. Hamas would not have taken over the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians would have roughly $40,000 for each child, woman, and man to spend or misspend.

Why was this offer turned down? Because it would have given up one percent of the land claimed? Because the Palestinians so want the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall? Because they would rather not have a state if they couldn’t have an air force and tanks? Or for some other minor reason of detail?

Is this a credible argument?

Arafat could have expressed his eagerness for the deal but offered something in order to get something else he wanted. Also, in the ordinary way international affairs works, the Palestinians were not bargaining from a position of strength. They could only get everything they wanted by deciding that they’d prefer to fight on for decades and sustain many losses rather than make the tiniest compromise.

But, of course, the real reason was, as explained by Faruq Qaddumi, the PLO and Fatah’s second most powerful man, on November 25, 2000 in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, al-Hayat al-Jadida: “We are adopting the strategy of the Vietnamese who negotiated and fought the Americans at the same time until [they] defeated them.”

This was a revealing precedent to choose. The Vietnamese revolutionaries had taken control over part of the country and then used it to wage a war that won them the rest. Finally, they maneuvered the United States into an unconditional withdrawal through a campaign combining armed force, international pressure, and domestic dissent. Finally, they violated their agreements to seize the entire country.

As for the Right of Return demand, it was in line with something Qaddumi had said in March 2002: "The Right of Return of the refugees to Haifa and Jaffa is more important than statehood."

No one ever remarks on the absurdity of supposed Palestinian nationalists wanting to export people who could be used to build a strong and stable state of their own. Admitting one or two or three million Palestinians into Israel would, of course, lead to violence, bloodshed, chaos, and the collapse of Israel. That was, after all the intention.

Gaining total victory and destroying Israel was more important than getting a Palestinian state, ending the “occupation” and all the real or alleged terrible suffering of Palestinians we constantly hear about. So it was, so it remains.

And that is why all of Hillary Clinton’s commitment to a Palestinian state will not bring about a diplomatic solution. She wants it, Israel wants it, and the Palestinian leadership doesn’t want it.

Many people will try to make that last paragraph sound ridiculous. It certainly doesn’t seem to accord with common sense, does it? And yet that is what history and the evidence shows. Given that proposition, everything that has happened and is happening makes sense. Without it, even incredible contortions and distortions of fact still cannot account for the facts.

Can anyone honestly examine what the United States and Israel offered the Palestinian Authority nine years ago and not conclude that the narrative blaming Israel--and often the United States--for the continuation of the conflict is nonsense? No. And that's why it isn't talked about very much.

Yet how can there be any discussion of these issues without noting what President Bill Clinton and Israel offered the Palestinians nine years ago, why this offer was rejected, and what it should teach everyone?

Failing to see who is at fault for the persistent failures, which really go back more than thirty years, after all, is the fatal flaw of Western policy on Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Until this is remedied, no one should be surprised that there won't be any peace and very little progress.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan)

New Israeli unmanned wonder boat deployed in Persian Gulf

DEBKAfile Special Report

December 13, 2009, 9:04 AM (GMT+02:00)
Asians bid for first ever unmanned stealth craft, Protector SV

Asians bid for first ever unmanned stealth craft, Protector SV

The first unmanned stealth craft on the seas, designated Protector SV or Death Shark, recently deployed in the Persian Gulf, is in high demand after its successful performance with the Singapore Navy. DEBKAfile's military sources report that India and South Korea asked Israel's Rafael to build craft to their specifications. Western military naval experts rate the Protector as one of the most effective military and intelligence craft afloat today, whose features can take over many of the capabilities of big high-cost warships with large crews.

They say the wonder boat can easily cruise off the shores of Lebanon, Syria and Iran undetected for long periods due to its tested stealth design.

Operated by remote control from a shore base, the crewless nine-meter long speedboat is armed with a Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) for detecting and destroying incoming anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft at short range. This system is a Typhoon-type heavy MK-49 Mod 0 machine gun capable of laser accuracy up to a range of 50 kilometers, which sticks to its target, whether on land, air or sea, even as the rigid-hull inflatable bounces on the waves at 40 knots.

The Death Shark's four cameras, functioning at the same distance and high definition as satellite cameras, can capture a license plate number from a distance of 26 kilometers. The stealth craft is also equipped with a sonar or radar system and electro-optics which transmit a three-dimensional image to its shore base, instruments for jamming enemy electronics and weapons for taking on large warships, such as torpedoes and explosive charges.

India and South Korea are attracted by these unique features which make the Protector ideal for deployment on oceans, narrow waterways, rivers and ports. Among its other features, the craft is equipped for active interception of terrorist incursions by sea, like the one that held Mumbai to siege in Nov. 2008.
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A Border Crossing

Ari Bussel

The Jordan River

A family friend is a professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The city is located at the confluence of the McKenzie and the Willamette rivers. I vividly remember looking at awe at a river, thinking of God’s power, the enormity of nature and the fragility of man.. Thursday, I was standing near the Jordan River, gazing at the water surface. It was a serene picture, playing with my senses. The water still like glass, on the opposite bank two men fished, the distance shorter than the cement-Los Angeles River.

Although just a miniature of the “River” in Los Angeles, the greenery on both banks of the Jordan River was overwhelming. Even the birds, en route to spend the winter in warmer climates in Africa, expressed their awe singing, flying up and down. As if confused, they needed to get closer to the ground – “Is that what one calls a ‘river?!?’” they asked in utter astonishment?

I, too, was confused. I heard water flowing into the river, but I would never have called this waterway a “river.” We were on the way to the Golan Heights, in the North East part of Israel. Israel’s water shortage is severe, so the driver asked to stop to “help water nature.” It was clearly unnecessary – the green all around was strong and alive, a feeling of healthy growth and rejuvenation.

We were at the Hula Valley in Upper Galilee. Millions of birds pass by every year, some staying to enjoy the winter here. Once a lake surrounded by swamps, this fertile area is now a nature reservoir and major environmental attraction for nature lovers.

We started our ascent to the Golan Heights, looking back down at the Jewish settlements subject to daily sniper hits from the Syrian military that prior to 1967 controlled the area. One of these is Kibbutz Dafna, where my mother and my uncle lived upon arriving from the ovens of the Holocaust.

The love of life, innate survival instinct and the fight against extinction constituted a force like an eruption of magna, thousands of degrees burning from inside the earth to its cold surface. Survivors of the concentration camps, mere shadows of human beings, skeletons scarred with unimaginable and unspeakable horrors, brought with them a will found nowhere else.

Like a river of lava, they captured the essence of life in their wake, the swamps and malaria of the Hula, the daily routine of the Syrians shooting at their nurseries, schools and homes, the annual migration patterns of birds and the cycles of emergence from the dryness and death of the summer to the sprouting of the winter and flowering of the spring.

Drawing from the Zionist ideals of my grandparents, the children grew to become productive adults in the modern country of Israel. They raised their own children and built the country. Like hardened lava, they have become a rock, possessing a unique strength.

The realization we must protect our Land of Israel, our only home, galvanized a determination like lava. They served as officers in Israel’s Defense Forces and taught their children this debt to country. They embedded values of life and the meaning of being a good person with a craving for peace in future generations.

The Ascent to the Golan Heights

Subjected to the forces of nature over millions of years, the lava has created the fertile valley from which we were now ascending. Once we reached the Golan Heights, we were on a plateau, awash with vineyards and apple orchards.

The morning was cold, but now the sun was appearing. We approached the Hermon Mountains, a large, barren mass overlooking the plateau. At the bottom were towns, cutting into the very foundation of the mountains like rows of beautiful buildings, three and four story villas and private residences. These are two of four Druze “villages:” Mas-ada and Majdel-Shams.

We are in Israel, yet the residents of these villages do not have Israeli passports. Instead, they receive “travel documents.” They cannot vote in Israeli elections and do not serve in the Israeli military. Many, some say most, are hostile to Israel. Their families, clans of a sort called Hamulot are divided by a man-made border between Israel and Syria.

I stood at the border crossing at Kuneitra with the Deputy Minister in charge of development of the Galilee and the Negev. With us there was an elderly lady, covered in traditional clothes, lamenting her son who had gone to study in Syria some nine years earlier. After two years he disappeared.

Since Syria and Israel are in a state of war, travel between the two is not permitted. Given the humanitarian nature of this case, the mother was granted a special permission to go to Syria to look for her son. Some say he is in prison, others claim he disappeared and will never surface again (apparently a somewhat common occurrence in Syria).

The mother had returned empty-handed, with no knowledge of the whereabouts of her son. I cannot help thinking of the five Israeli soldiers captured by foreign enemies and who to this very day remain POW-MIAs. But this case is different. Syria actively promotes young Druze to come to study there. Druze families from both sides of the border inter-marry, and thus there are families in Israel where the Syrian wife has not been to see her parents and siblings for many years.

We were sitting with one such Syrian Druze whose father passed away, her mother’s health is very poor and yet she cannot return to her homeland to visit. The Deputy Minister, a Druze himself, is working to change that. He believes that by allowing free passage between Israel and Syria via the very same border crossing where we stood, relations can improve and a beneficial exchange can be fostered where both sides can benefit.

The Deputy Minister Plowing Peace

The day has turned sunny and engulfs us in warmth. We are standing at the border crossing, Israeli soldiers on one side, UN forces in the middle and a Syrian flag a mere walking distance away. Two Israeli flags were blowing in the light wind, proud and alive, extending a hand in peace to the flag on the other side.

The UN forces are not needed and want little to do with the enemies on either side. They want to return safely to their home countries, alive, whole and healthy. Little if anything is required of these “peacekeeping forces” for the UN resolutions are usually unenforceable, lacking any teeth thus with little effect. The UN enclave and quarters remind me of a vacation spot, a surreal implant in this area.

The Deputy Minister reminds us of a previous exchange he had orchestrated. The Governor of Kuneitra was standing on the Syrian side, he – a member of the Israeli Cabinet and a close contact of Prime Minister Netanyahu – standing on our side, and the prospects of peace real. Israel is exporting Golan Heights apples to Syria and other Arab countries. It can likewise export other products and commodities, but more importantly, it can provide knowledge and experience – in agriculture and industry.

The Deputy Minister’s vision and enthusiasm are contagious. Peace looks achievable, we can see it just beyond the separating fences, feel it in the warm sunny day. Suddenly, it eludes us, reminding that the Syrian Arab Republic that gained independence on April 17th, 1946, from the League of Nations mandate under French administration and is currently ruled by President Bashar al-Asad does not truly want peace. It remains in a state of war against Israel, still seeking destruction of the Jewish Homeland.

I am reminded of the endless possibilities that exist between members of the same families in Florida and Cuba. I look around certain a day will come when I visit here again, show my passport and be allowed to cross by foot to be greeted on the other side by a driver who will take me onward on my journey.

For decades Israelis dreamed of visiting Petra in Jordan, considered a wonder of the world. Many young dreamers tried to reach Petra, and gave their lives for that adventure; still others’ fates remain unknown. Jordan and Israel were enemies once, the countries at war. Today, one can take a day’s excursion from Eilat, Israel, to Petra, Jordan. How close and possible this is to becoming a reality between Israel and Syria, right here at the Kuneitra border crossing.