Saturday, May 29, 2010

Obama: Singling out Israel wrong

05/29/2010 08:14

US president otherwise praises "balanced" NPT deal reached Friday.

US President Barack Obama on Saturday welcomed the “balanced” nuclear non-proliferation accord reached Friday at a UN conference but criticized the singling out of Israel in the document.

Obama said the document "includes balanced and practical steps that will advance non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of the global non-proliferation regime." But, he said, “we strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security."

The UN on Friday called on Israel to become a member of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to allow inspection of its nuclear sites.

The 189 member nations of the NPT adopted a detailed plan of steps toward nuclear disarmament, including a sharply debated proposal to move toward banning the doomsday arms from the Middle East.

"The United States has long supported such a zone,” Obama said Saturday, “although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment."

Speeding up arms reductions

The 28-page Final Declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the month-long conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.

Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014.

The final document also calls for convening a conference in 2012 "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction." This Arab idea of a WMD-free zone is designed to pressure Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

The conference is convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT, under which nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move toward their elimination; and all endorsed everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

For the first time at an NPT review, the final declaration laid out complex action plans for all three of the treaty's "pillars" — nonproliferation, disarmament and peaceful nuclear energy.

The five weapons states committed to "accelerate concrete progress" toward reducing their atomic weaponry, and to report on progress in 2014 in preparation for the 2015 NPT review session. The document calls on them also to reduce the role of nuclear arms in their military doctrines.

Disarming the Middle East

The disarmament action plan inevitably leaves a major gap, since it doesn't obligate four nations that are not members of the treaty — India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, all of which have or are suspected of having nuclear arsenals.

On the Middle East, Arab states and Israel's allies had been at odds over wording in the plan to turn the region into a nuclear weapons-free zone. The Arab idea of a WMD-free zone, meant to pressure Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal, was endorsed by the 1995 NPT conference but never acted on.

A sticking point had been a passage naming Israel, reaffirming "the importance of Israel's accession to the NPT," a move that would require it to destroy its estimated 80 or so nuclear warheads.

Iran demanded that this NPT session insist Israel join the treaty before a 2012 conference. Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz told reporters the Arab position was softer — that Israel's accession to the treaty would come as "part of the process" begun in 2012.

In the end, the singling out of Israel remained in the text, and US Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said that would "seriously jeopardize" US efforts to persuade the Israelis to attend 2012 talks.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama Advisor: Warm Words for Saudi Arabia, Hizbullah, Al-Quds

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

John Brennan, Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security, called Jerusalem “Al-Quds,” praised Saudi Arabian religious tolerance, and is encouraging of Hizbullah.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has drawn attention to the above three instances of recent remarks by one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s top terrorism-issues advisors, calling them “outrageous” and “disgraceful.” Speaking to an apparently Muslim audience at New York University in February, at a forum co-hosted by the White House and the Islamic Center at New York University." Brennan first told a story in Arabic, evoking laughter and concluding with, “Don’t tell the folks who don’t speak Arabic what I said.” He then said that his favorite city in the Middle East is “Al Quds, Jerusalem.”

In the same speech, Brennan also spoke of his time at the American University in Cairo in the 1970s, referring to the common aspirations of his former Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian classmates, including the freedom “to practice our faith freely … In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques at Mecca and Medina.”

In another speech before Lebanese leaders who visited Washington recently, Brennan told them, “Hizbullah is a very interesting organization,” and said that it had evolved from “purely a terrorist organization” to a militia and now to an organization that has members within the parliament and the cabinet. “There is certainly the elements of Hizbullah that are truly a concern to us, what they’re doing,” Brennan said. “And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.”

The ZOA noted that Hizbullah is actually a Lebanese-Iranian proxy terrorist group that has called continually for the elimination of Israel.

“These comments by John Brennan are as outrageous as they are deeply troubling,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “No one refers to Jerusalem in the English language as Al-Quds, unless they have a specific political, anti-Israel agenda - in this case, pandering to Israel’s enemies, who will draw comfort from the use of the term Al-Quds by a senior U.S. government official.”

Klein termed “disgraceful” the fact that “Mr. Brennan’s pandering is taken so far that he speaks of some supposed shared goal of freedom of religious practice, and then immediately refers in complimentary words to Saudi Arabia - a country that is notorious for its harsh denial of freedom of religion, in which even non-Wahhabi Muslim mosques are prohibited, let alone churches and synagogues.”

Regarding Brennan’s comments about Hizbullah, Klein said, “Worse, Brennan give unwarranted legitimacy to the recognized terrorist group Hizbullah, thereby undercutting past U.S. efforts to isolate this murderous outfit.”

Klein sums up: “John Brennan is yet another hand-picked Obama adviser who shows a distinct animus against Israel and partiality for its enemies. It is unsurprising that, when Barack Obama is advised by people like these, quite apart from the President’s own troubling history of friendships with vicious critics of Israel and having belonged for two decades to an anti-Israel, anti-American black supremacist church, the Obama Administration has ignited major tensions in its relations with Israel while not holding accountable and penalizing the Palestinian Authority for continuing terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is there a Plan B?

Fixation on two-state solution prevents discussion, critical thinking

Moshe Dann

"No," says Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, speaking recently at the Hebrew University's Truman Institute. "I don't know of any alternatives," he added. Nor does he seem interested in exploring other possibilities. Myopic thinking is at the root of the problem. Without a "Plan B," critical thinking is frozen, locked into a disaster model, regardless of the consequences.

This is exactly what happened in planning the Oslo Accords. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor, when he asked one of the architects of the Oslo Accords why the issue of Palestinian refugees was not brought up in negotiations, he was told that this would have prevented an agreement; form was more important than substance.

The result was an implosion within the Palestinian Authority, a civil war between Fatah and Hamas, and an explosion of terrorism against Israel.

Unwillingness to think about "Plan B," lack of critical thinking, led to disasters following Israeli withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon.

Without thinking strategically, Israeli politicians and the international community tried to fix tactical breakdowns, pouring vast sums into PA coffers and hoping that reason would prevail. Instead, it encouraged irresponsibility and dependency.

Serry's role is not as innovator, but as program facilitator – even as success remains distant. He likes to point to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as a leader whose projects, like building new towns and infrastructure, offer hope. But Fayyad does not possess political power, organizational backing, or popularity.

Do-or-die situation

PA militias, trained and equipped by the US, are unreliable and remain untested in confrontation with terrorist groups. It is doubtful that they would be willing, or able, to stand up to Hamas. Most experts predict that as the PA continues to fail, these militias will join terrorist groups and attack Israelis.

Hence, unwillingness to think about alternatives leads to a "do-or-die" situation, which prevents critical thinking, and dooms realistic prospects that lay beyond the confines of conventional approaches.

As an "all-or-nothing" deal, the "two-state" plan as it is proposed must conform to parameters which prevent compromise, and encourage incitement and violence. Ironically, the more rigidly one conceives of this plan, the more it becomes impossible, and frustrating. The reason is that every demand is interlinked; eliminating or adjusting one undermines the rest.

That is why talking about a "Plan B" is so critical to the "peace process” and why the role of the UN and agencies like UNRWA actually retard reconciliation and perpetuate the conflict.

The UN Coordinator's Office can play a constructive role in getting people together to think about alternatives, rather than preventing discussion.

The author is a writer and journalist living in Israel

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Background - PA boycott of settlements violate the Gaza-Jericho Agreement

It should be noted from the wording of the agreement that is clearly applies
also to Israeli controlled areas beyond the Green Line. For example,
another part of the agreement deals with the obligation to maintain tourist
sites. Interpreting the Israeli "side" to be limited to within the Green
Line would mean that no one has responsibility for the tourism sites in
Israeli controlled territory beyond the Green Line Background - PA boycott of settlements violate the Gaza-Jericho Agreement
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 8 March 2010

A review of ANNEX IV Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government
of the State of Israel and the P.L.O., representing the Palestinian people
Paris, April 29, 1994 of the Gaza Jericho Agreement finds that the boycott
of goods produced in the "settlements" and a ban on the supply of
Palestinian workers to the settlements constitutes a gross violation of the
agreement by the PA.

#1. " The agricultural produce of both sides will have free and unrestricted
access to each others' markets"

#2. "There will be free movement of industrial goods free of any

#3. As for labor, the agreement enables the PA to independently limit the
flow of Israeli workers into the area under the control of the PA but not
the flow of Palestinian workers out while calling for the sides to "attempt
to maintain the normality of movement of labor". The PA could, however,
require that all Palestinians working in the settlements be employed through
a Palestinian employment service. Palestinian employment legislation that
would formally prevent employment in the settlements would be clearly at
odds with the commitment "to maintain the normality of movement of labor"
and thus could be blocked.

It should be noted from the wording of the agreement that is clearly applies
also to Israeli controlled areas beyond the Green Line. For example,
another part of the agreement deals with the obligation to maintain tourist
sites. Interpreting the Israeli "side" to be limited to within the Green
Line would mean that no one has responsibility for the tourism sites in
Israeli controlled territory beyond the Green Line

Excerpts of relevant parts of the Agreement follow:.

Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of the State of Israel
and the P.L.O., representing the Palestinian people
Paris, April 29, 1994

Article VII

1. Both sides will attempt to maintain the normality of movement of labor
between them, subject to each side's right to determine from time to time
the extent and conditions of the labor movement into its area. If the normal
movement is suspended temporarily by either side, it will give the other
side immediate notification, and the other side may request that the matter
be discussed in the Joint Economic Committee.
The placement and employment of workers from one side in the area of the
other side will be through the employment service of the other side and in
accordance with the other sides' legislation. The Palestinian side has the
right to regulate the employment of Palestinian labor in Israel through the
Palestinian employment service, and the Israeli Employment Service will
cooperate and coordinate in this regard.

Article VIII
10. The agricultural produce of both sides will have free and unrestricted
access to each others' markets, with the temporary exception of sales from
one side to the other side of the following items only: poultry, eggs,
potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and melons. The temporary restrictions on
these items will be gradually removed on an increasing scale until they are
finally eliminated by 1998...

Article IX
1. There will be free movement of industrial goods free of any restrictions
including customs and import taxes between the two sides, subject to each
side's legislation.
3. Each side will do its best to avoid damage to the industry of the other
side and will take into consideration the concerns of the other side in its
industrial policy.

Done in Paris, this twenty ninth day of April, 1994
For the Government of Israel
Finance Minister Avraham Shohat
For the PLO
Abu Ala (Ahmed Korei)

Comment: Once again the MSM does not report this story and Israel does not promote the information well, at all. Abbas again illegally operates in our region but Obama invites this criminal to the Whitehouse.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No Trading Land for Terror!

Steven Shamrak

The Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state - and not the settlers - is the stumbling block to peace said Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud)... Ya'alon warned that Israel was not willing to engage in a diplomatic process in which it would trade land for terror, such as he believed had occurred with the Oslo Accord. The Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel while it engages in settlement activity. But Ya alon dismissed the idea that Israel's presence in the West Bank was the main reason for the continued conflict with the Palestinians. From the Arab perspective, he said, the occupation did not start in 1967 with the Six Day War, but in 1948 with the War of Independence - and even before that, in 1882 when Jews first began immigrating to Israel to build a national homeland.

Many Israelis ignore the fact that for the Arabs, Tel Aviv and Haifa are also settlements or places under occupation, he said. "It's not because of the settlements in Judea and Samaria that there is no peace, but rather because of the Arab refusal from the dawn of Zionism - and this is true of Fatah and Hamas - to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people," "We do not want to rule over our neighbours (the Palestinians). They govern themselves, and it is good that this is so. But that does not mean that Jews do not have a right to live in Judea and Samaria"... (Arabs and so-called Palestinians will never accept the existence of Israel. The Sinai Option is the only plausible solution that may not end the conflict but will at least stop Islamic terror inside Israel!)

Obama De-Linked Islam from Terror. A leading international Arab newspaper, 'Al-Sharq Al-Awsat ,' which is owned by a Saudi Arabian company and published in London, has hailed U.S. President Barack Obama for officially removing the description "Muslim terrorist" as part of his campaign "to reach out to the Muslim world." 1) Regarding Obama's statements on the botched Times Square bombing, the editor praised President Obama for not once referring to prime suspect Faisal Shahzad's being Muslim. 2) After the failed Christmas Day bombing by Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalib. "Obama spoke about the detained terrorist as a member of the Al-Qaeda organization (only)" 3) Similarly, after the Fort Hood, Texas attack by a Muslim terrorist who murdered 13 people last November, "President Obama 'cautioned against jumping to conclusions'" ("Not all Muslims are terrorists but most terrorists are Muslims!")

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

Islamic terrorism is Global - It is against all "Infidels" - Israel was the first target, but not the only one anymore!

Hamas Erased Illegally Built Homes. Hamas police wielding clubs beat and pushed residents out of dozens of homes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Sunday before knocking the buildings down with bulldozers. Gaza's militant Hamas rulers said the homes were built illegally on government land. Between 30 and 40 homes were torn down, ranging from concrete structures to tin shacks. (The world is silent, 'Jew-lovers' like Obama and the world media do not protest!)

The Best Seat in Synagogue. Zablon Simintov is always guaranteed the best seat in his local synagogue here, but the privilege comes with a downside: he's the last Jew in Afghanistan. The country's 800-year-old Jewish community, estimated 40,000 strong at its peak, is now a party of one. (Over 850,000 Jewish refugees have left Muslim countries since the independence of Israel. )

Crackdown on Christians or Self-respect. The government of Morocco has notified another 23 mostly Christian foreigners that they're scheduled for imminent expulsion. Morocco, which historically has been considered a moderate Muslim nation, now is fearful that Muslims will convert if exposed to Christianity. More than 40 Christian workers were deported from Morocco in March. (People must not be brainwashed or seduced by others to foreign belief systems, especially in their own country. Self-respect is something Israel has to learn from Muslim countries.)

Iran is still Playing Cat and Mouse Game. Iran appeared to make a concession only to throw a potential spoiler into the mix soon after. Just a day after agreeing to send thousands of pounds of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for highly-enriched uranium Iran said it intended to continue enriching uranium to the level that can sustain nuclear reactions (atomic weapon).

Quote of the Week: "The Arabs can lose all wars and they will always claim their land and their right to exist. If the Israelis lose the war, there will be no Israel and no Jews" - Golda Meir

Disgusting Desecration of a Jewish Holiday by IDF. IDF forces again desecrated a Jewish holiday in order to expel two families spending Shavuot in the destroyed Jewish town of Homesh . The soldiers also took all the food at the site so the remaining visitors would not have anything to eat. (Nothing is sacred to self-hating, delusional, leftist Defense minister Barak - even destruction of Jewish values or Israel itself!)

Cynical Fabrication by Hamas. Hamas once again resorted to using psychological war and published an alleged interview with Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit held captive in Gaza for four years. (The anti-Israel, Islamic pest must be irradiated from Jewish land!)

Anti-Semitism is used as Self-promotion. British rock star Elvis Costello, who had been scheduled to perform in Israel this summer. Costello wrote that since the conflict was "actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way..." (Didn't he known that conflict is "too grave and complex" when he booked the gig? Or perhaps there was not enough Jewish money offered to go ahead with tour?)

Not Bad for a "Little ... Country". A new desalination facility, one of the largest in the world, which turns sea water into drinking water stands on Israel's Mediterranean seashore, next to the northern city of Hadera. It is the third of five large facilities that will dot the coastline, designed to provide two-thirds of the country's drinking water. (Some advanced countries have not even addressed the issue of water shortage.)

Fake Mediators are "Flexible" at Israel's Expense. Israel's Foreign Ministry slammed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's suggestion that Hamas be allowed to join peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "Terrorists are terrorists, and Israel sees no difference whatsoever between Hamas terrorists acting against Israel and Chechen terrorists acting against Russia,"

Hypocrisy of the Headlines:

IDF concerned settler violence could spark Palestinian uprising... - Haaretz - Sadly, this leftist and self-hating Israeli publication has never been concerned that violence and terror, perpetrated for years by so-called Palestinians against Jews, may spark a Jewish uprising which is long overdue!

Enemy Within with Clear Intention. Israel should be integrated into an Islamic Caliphate, and Hamas and Hezbollah should be respected as legitimate political movements, according to Israeli-Arab MK Masoud Ganaim in an interview with the weekly paper Kul al-Arab, which is published in Israel . (There is no ideological or national difference between Arabs in Israel, Lebanon, Syria or Saudi Arabia. They all want to destroy Israel and establish an Islamic Caliphate. Israel just has to let all enemies leave Jewish land!)

Attempt to Stop Israel from doing what Must be Done. U.S. President Barack Obama said he will ask Congress to approve $205 million for the controversial Iron Dome anti-missile system that some experts have called a "scam." The president s move comes shortly after the return of Defense Minister Barak from a warm welcome in Washington and repeated hints at weakening the Likud's dominance in the coalition. (After the humiliation of Netanyahu, a warm welcome to the Labor leader? Obama is interfering in Israel' s internal politics and is willing to waste $205 millions of tax payers' money just to prevent Israel from stopping Iran's nuclear program and the military build up of Syria and Hezbollah.)

PA has no Interest in Peace. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says in a classified document that despite the indirect talks with the Palestinian Authority, the PA is expected to conduct a diplomatic struggle against Israel abroad. (Meanwhile PM Netanyahu plans a further number of futile concessions to the PA)

Degenerate Israeli Academics

by Isi Leibler

In the politically correct world of infantile leftism, words like sedition and disloyalty have effectively been erased from the political lexicon. Indeed, those daring to employ such terms are automatically smeared as "McCarthyite" or fascist.

But despite Israel being surrounded by Moslem nations whose primary objective is to eliminate Jewish sovereignty from the region, a growing minority of Israeli academics, funded by Israeli taxpayers and Diaspora Zionist philanthropists, exploit their universities as launching pads to undermine and delegitimize their own country. Some even promote global boycott, divestment and sanctions of the very institutions which provide their salaries. They teach their students that the state in which they live was born in sin, that Israelis behave like Nazis and morally justify the campaigns by our enemies to demonize and delegitimize us. What magnifies this obscenity is that university administrators feel obliged to maintain the continued tenure of such immoral and anti-social degenerates on the grounds of academic freedom.

...Freedom of expression is a treasured feature of democracy but the dividing line must be drawn between academic freedom and breaching the law or indulging in subversive activity& Universities are the incubators in which future leaders of society are nurtured. It is surely elementary common sense to ensure that such institutions lead the way for constructive participation in civil life. Academics should not be above the law or permitted to engage in anti-social activities on the grounds of academic freedom.

&It is a disgrace that we have reached such a deplorable state of affairs under successive governments... I have no doubt that our founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, a genuine Labor Zionist, would have turned the country upside down to bring an end to such outrageous behavior.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Israel Day Concert 'Rocks' New York

Derek Cling and Eli Stutz
A7 News

New York's Central Park came alive Sunday evening with the 17th Annual Israel Day Concert, attended by 20,000 people. The concert, dedicated to the memory of Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann, had a nationalist message of a united Jerusalem and a strong Israel. Dr. Yosef Frager, concert organizer, told Israel National News that the concert was the biggest and best ever. "One major miracle was that the weather, which was predicted as cold with showers, turned out to be a beautiful day. Clearly providential," said Frager.

"Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was the keynote speaker, followed by Likud MK Danny Danon, who made the trip in from Israel just for the concert," reported Frager. "Mr. Steele highlighted 'solidarity with Israel' as his main theme. He said, 'if you mess with Israel you are messing with 300 million Americans.'"

Frager said that Steele criticized U.S. President Obama on his mistreatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu on his recent trip to the U.S., and for not being nearly tough enough on Iran. On Jerusalem, Steele insisted that it should remain united and said that the PA is not really serious about peace. "Steele told me that he was looking forward to his trip to Israel," Frager said, "and MK Danon invited Steele to speak in the Knesset."

Other speakers included Davi Ha'Ivri, Rabbi Pesach Lerner, future Congressman and former New York Jets linebacker Michael Faulkner, future Congressman from North Miami Beach Courey Poitier (cousin of Sidney Poitier), Rabbi David Algaze, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, and Assemblyman David Weprin. The concert emcee was Nachum Segal, assisted by concert chairman Dr. Paul Brody.

Performers at the concert included Eitan Katz, Elad Snir, Israeli pianist extraordinaire Shlomi Aharoni, Gershon Veroba, Pey Dalid, Izzy Kieffer, YU’s new a cappella group, the Maccabeats, and Michael Ian Elias, performing songs composed by Cecelia Margules and Rami Yadid. Jerry Markovitz performed the anthems. Dr. Tzvi Pearlstein, an orthopedic surgeon from Florida, flew in to spur on the crowd with his popular pocket trumpet.

The founders of the concert are Carl and Sylvia Freyer, and the co-organizers are Meyer and Esther Chetrit and Jacqui and Tamar Ekstein.

Dr. Paul Brody, one of the organizers of the event, told Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher beforehand that it "promotes a united Jerusalem and the commitment to not giving up any land anywhere in Eretz Yisrael, and supports standing up to the mullahs of Iran." Brody explains that the Israel Day concert is meant to "send a message out to the people that we are showing great support" for the Nation and Land of Israel. "The main theme, however, is that Yerushalayim will be united forever because, after all, Eretz Israel and Yerushalayim is the Promised Land of the Jewish people, which will remain undivided for eternity. As it says in the Torah in Bereishit/Genesis – so from the beginning, the Land of Israel is ours, so I don’t even know why there's any kind of talk of dividing anything or giving away any part of Eretz Israel."

The concert was dedicated to the quick release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been incarcerated for over 25 years in a U.S. prison, and also to the quick release of Gilad Shalit from Hamas hands.

The concert's advertisement posters, which were put up all over New York City and beyond, show a picture of the Western Wall and proclaim "Jerusalem United Forever" and "No Further Concessions in Yehuda and Shomron." Brody says the main value in the concert being is that it "shows in massive numbers to the world and the Obama administration that we are here not to take anything sitting down and we're not going to be pushed around. The parade has its own value in Jewish pride and numbers to show what's going on."

The fact that Michael Steele spoke "is a resounding message," says Brody, "because he's a man of national stature, and I think Obama is going to be listening very well." Of MK Danny Danon, Brody says, "he's a wonderful speaker – he's not one of these politicians that signals right and turns left." In addition, David Ha'Ivri talked about standing firm in "settling the Land and not giving up Yehuda and Shomron."

Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann, to whose memory this year's concert was dedicated, "was a well known Jewish activist and philanthropist, and sort of a Renaissance man," explains Brody, who believes that "the attendance and support of everyone who comes will really help to ensure the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish people." The concert was also held in memory of Rose and Rubin Madison of Häagen-Dazs fame.

The Scroll of Ruth

Ari Bussel

During Shavuot one reads in the Bible the Scroll of Ruth. Ruth of Moab was not Jewish, yet she is the great grandmother of King David and the matriarch of the Messiah-to-come. After both her husband and brother-in-law passed away, she followed her widowed mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem Judea. Naomi and her husband initially moved to Moab to escape the famine in Judea. There they had two sons, each of whom married a Moabian woman. When the two brothers died, leaving behind their brides and widowed mother, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem Judea.

It was Ruth, the wife of one of the deceased brothers, who implored Naomi to allow her to join, promising that only death would separate them. Ruth said: “for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you sleep, I will sleep. Your people are my people, and your God is my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem Judea at the start of the harvest of barley (fifty days before the start of the harvest of the wheat). There, according to Jewish custom, the harvesters would leave part of the harvest for poor people, widows and orphans to collect.

Boaz, a major landowner in whose field Ruth was collecting food, married her. The story in the Bible is only four chapters (eighty five sentences) long, and you are urged to read the details. One can draw many personal similarities between the Biblical story and modern day experiences.

Naomi’s family had been away for an extended period of time, long enough to have sons grow and marry. When circumstances changed, there was one home to which to return, Judea. It clearly was not easy for those returning. Many Israelis today—some say 20% or more of Israeli Jews—live in the Diaspora. They have switched the center of life outside of the Land of Israel, yet their identity remains in her stead, and their roots draw their existence from her.

Just last week, at the Israeli Cabinet Meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a special plan to encourage the return of Israelis who reside abroad. He said: “There are approximately 750,000 Israelis living abroad and our goal is to bring at least 15,000 of them back home per annum. … A certain turning point is currently taking place. Many left Israel due to the absence of possibilities, now some would like to come back since the Israeli economy seems better than others, including those of developed countries. … it is not only right, but worthwhile, to return to the country.”

Like then, now, Israel is the home, the shelter and the family of all Israelis, of all Jewish people. Thus, a Jewish person has the right to return to the land without any burden of proof other than being Jewish. In recent decades Israel has absorbed several major immigration waves, one from the Soviet Union and the other from Ethiopia, with essentially no questions asked.

When the Jews of France felt anti-Semitism persecuting their every step, they escaped and were welcomed to Israel. Recently, Jews in Venezuela feared for their lives and escaped as well, although some stopped along the way in Miami and Spain and remained there. They too were welcomed as will be the Jews of America and Europe, Africa and Australia as the needs arise.

Israel was then, like today, a nation that absorbs new immigrants, and the burden and challenges they face have never been belittled, then or now. Boaz told Ruth, who could not understand why he fancied her and she is “a foreigner,” that he was told all she did for her mother-in-law after her own husband passed away. “And you left your father and mother and the land of your birthplace, and you went to a people you did not know yesterday or before.” Boaz then blesses Ruth “May God pay your acts, and may your salary be whole from God, Lord of Israel, for you came to find refuge under His wings.” (Ruth 2:10-12)

Ruth bore Boaz a son, Oved. Oved was the father of Yishai who was the father of King David.

It is said that the Messiah will be descended from the House of King David.

As I read the Scroll of Ruth, about a non-Jew who was a dedicated human being, loyal and true, I think of the different associations between the Biblical story and our present-day situation. I cannot help but believe we have distanced ourselves so much from that day at Mount Sinai, when we all woke up late, later than the arrival of G-d our Lord, a day that the Torah was given to us for times eternal, that our behavior is truly sinful.

We have reached a point when we doubt our very right to exist, our very history. Israel is our country. It is the same Israel from which Naomi and her husband left for Moab, where a foreign person became part of the Jewish people’s life story and returned to Judea to establish the lineage of the most famous Jewish family in history.

It is the same Judea, Bethlehem and Efrat about which we read in the Bible that today face condemnation by some who believe incorrectly they are in “Occupied Territories.” “Occupied?” Read the Bible, then go visit and you may understand why Jews guard this little piece of land with their lives and are ready to sacrifice their lives for her.

Israel is our very essence, our history and our future, our being, wholeness and oneness. Israel is our connection to G-d the Almighty and defines who we are as a people. She keeps us indivisible, united and indestructible. Lest anyone forget, we must first remember.

May the example Israel sets to the world, values given to her people by the Almighty, deeds of her soldiers and citizens who protect the sanctity of life and everything she gives willingly to benefit the world, be it technological or medical advances, literature and poetry, science and history, continue to forever be a “light unto the nations."

In the series “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, an Israel visitors rarely discover


This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” May, 2010

Strong NY turn out for Israel parade

24/05/2010 06:32

Concerted community effort yields tens of thousands.

NEW YORK – Despite gray skies that threatened rain, tens of thousands of people turned out for a massive celebration of Israel on Sunday, at the annual Salute to Israel Parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. “What’s most important is the sheer volume of people marching up the avenue, many of whom are Jewish and many of whom are not Jewish,” said Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which oversees the event. “It’s a New York event in support of Israel.”

Marching bands, groups hoisting colorful signs and costumed marchers converged along the parade route, running up Fifth Avenue between 57th Street and 74th Street. Celebrities, elected officials and dignitaries were on hand, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been the parade’s grand marshal in the past.

This year, parade organizers made a concerted effort to mobilize the Israeli community living in New York, Miller said.

“This is a day to celebrate Israel, to be proud of our Jewish heritage and our State of Israel,” he said.

A small group of protesters, some bearing signs declaring “Israel is a racist state,” gathered behind police barricades at the start of the parade. But they were eclipsed by the vast majority of supporters participating in the peaceful event.

“It is amazing to see that everyone’s supporting Israel,” said Aviva Schur, 17, who marched with her friend Zahava Taub, also 17. “Even though there are so few Jews in the world, they come here.”

The girls were marching with an anti-poverty group, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

“It was awesome,” said Taub, at the end of the parade route. “You wave at everyone and its cool because they wave back.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Countering Distortion"

Arlene Kushner

My desire to set the record straight, when it's possible to do so, makes me a bit compulsive. Having worked on another project all day, I was not planning on posting today. And yet... this is important.

The distortion I respond to today is not an Arab one, but from an Israeli official. Inadvertently or not, it covers up some harsh realities.


Once again writing jointly, Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon reported in today's JPost that Fatah is warning of a return to "armed struggle" if the "proximity talks" fail.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Fatah Central Committee, made threats during an interview with Al Ghad, a Jordanian newspaper. Besides keeping open the option of "armed struggle," Zaki said that the Palestinian Arabs might also demand the implementation of UN Resolution 181, of 1947, which called for the partition of Palestine, with Jerusalem (joined with Bethlehem) controlled internationally as a Corpus Separatum.
The second threat can be dispensed with. For this resolution came from the General Assembly and is thus only a recommendation without force within international law; it cannot be "implemented." What is more, the Arabs rejected it in 1947.

What concerns me is the first threat, of violence: "We shouldn't give Israel more time. We must start thinking of all forms of struggle and taking measures to make Israel pay a price for its aggressive practices."


And here's where things get problematic:

According to this report:

"A senior Israeli official characterized Palestinian threats about a return to violence as a 'serious problem.'

"'The whole peace process with the Palestinians was based on a commitment by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian leadership that the Palestinian national movement was going to abrogate violence and pursue engagement through negotiations. If they return to violence they are taking us back to the days before the Oslo process.'"


And I'm here to tell you that he's wrong.

Sure the process was based on the illusion of a commitment by Arafat to renounce violence. Undoubtedly our leaders believed it at the start. Or so I assume.

But it was never, ever Arafat's intention. And Israel continued to pretend it was, long after there was reason to know better. When should Israel have first begun to realize what was afoot? A mere ten days after the signing of the Gaza-Jericho First agreement that was a follow-up to the original accord. That is, until May 10, 1994.

That's when Arafat went to Johannesburg, South Africa and gave a speech in a mosque, in English. He spoke off the record, but his talk was discreetly recorded by a South African journalist and then made public.

Arafat said, famously:

This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Muhammad and Quraysh...

That should have rung some bells, somewhere. Islamic academics would have understood, and everyone else should have rushed to find out what it meant.

The short of it is that in 628, Muhammad, who was not yet powerful, made a 10-year peace pact with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca. Two years later, when he had garnered sufficient strength, he abrogated the treaty, attacked the (unsuspecting) Quraysh with overwhelming force and took Mecca.


That, my friends, was the model for how Arafat viewed the Oslo Accords. This should be noted well, because Arafat set the tone for what is proceeding to this day. Understand: He was Mahmoud Abbas's mentor.

They pretend peaceful intentions (although they're not even doing that very well today), but remain prepared to hit us whenever it suits them. As Dennis Ross, who was a special envoy to the Middle East for President Clinton, later wrote, Arafat never relinquished the "terrorism card."


The lesson we refused to learn back in the mid-90s was that it was time to call a halt to Oslo as soon as it was clear the Arabs weren't sincere. But we kept moving along as if...

"As if..." is very dangerous. It is not a luxury, or a foolishness, we can afford right now.


And then there is the statement, from this Israeli official, that if the Palestinian Arabs return to violence it is taking us back to before Oslo. Now, perhaps he had no clue about the Quraysh. But he knows about what was called the "second intifada," and therefore, surely, he must know that his statement is in error.

Briefly: In 2000, then prime minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a deal, which, thank heaven, he rejected, even though it would have given the Arabs almost all of Judea and Samaria, all of Gaza, eastern Jerusalem and sharing of the holy sites, etc. Details are not relevant here, except to say that they weren't to Arafat's liking.

So he didn't request further negotiations. He fell back to plan B: He resorted to violence. That's the pattern.

The pretense was that this was a "spontaneous" uprising in response to the "provocation" of a visit to the Temple Mount (OUR Temple Mount, which they insist is theirs) by Ariel Sharon. In point of fact, and I have documentation, it was premeditated. Arafat had put out the word and they were simply waiting for the hook to hang it on, to make it "our" fault.

Arafat surely intended to teach us a lesson. But instead, by 2002, as things got very ugly, he got hit with Operation Defensive Shield, which quieted matters down and took the IDF back into areas from which we had pulled out.


The painful reality is that more Jews died from terror attacks AFTER Oslo than before.


Now, have we learned nothing? Does our government not see that we're headed that way again? They'll pretend to negotiate, and break it off in discontent with protests about our unreasonableness, and they'll hit us again.

We can squash them again, but be aware, good old General Dayton is in there, training PA "security forces." So they'll be better equipped this time.


There was news last night and today about an ostensible agreement between Israel and the PA concerning the principle of a land trade (meaning we would keep some communities in Judea and Samaria and give them some land inside the Green Line). Abbas, who is the one who announced this, is not saying how much he would agree to swap, and Israel is saying that it's not good to talk publicly about what's being discussed. Which leaves us no where in terms of anything definitive. Maybe Abbas is making it up, maybe Netanyahu doesn't want it know what he's saying. I do not intend to belabor this here.


Instead I will close with a good news item, as promised yesterday, and with thanks to Joel K., who shared this with me.

You have here a link to footage from the Steven Spielberg film archives that shows incredible scenes from our pre-state history, our founding, and much more. Enjoy and share, as it is moving and stunning:

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Fatah may resume ‘armed struggle'

23/05/2010 04:30

Fatah official warns of outcome if proximity talks fail.

Fatah does not rule out the possibility of resuming an “armed struggle” against Israel if the US-sponsored proximity talks fail, a senior Fatah official said on Saturday. Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and former Palestinian envoy to Lebanon, said that the Palestinians may also demand the implementation of United Nations Resolution 181, which was adopted in 1947 and recommends the division of the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area being under special international protection.

Proximity talks off to rocky start
Barak to meet with Mitchell to discuss proximity talks
Diplomacy: The long road to proximity talks

Zaki’s threat was made during an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

This was not the first threat of its kind by a top Fatah official in recent months, and it came fast on the heels of a threat last week by Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath, who said that “there is a need to create and endorse new struggling tools, such as the popular resistance, and to increase our efforts in the international arena to isolate and punish Israel, prevent it from deepening its relations with the European Union and attempt to expel it from the United Nations.”

Zaki, who is also an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told the Jordanian paper: “If Israel insists on closing the doors to peace, as it is currently doing, peace and stability won’t be achieved in the region. We will then go to the United Nations and demand that we start from the beginning of the conflict, meaning going back to Resolution 181 and the armed struggle.”

The Fatah official said that Israeli “intransigence” and “aggression” would force the Palestinians to return to the pre-Oslo Accords period, including the option of waging an armed struggle against Israel.

Zaki said that the PA should not repeat the mistake of the past, when it engaged in a “deaf dialogue” with Israel for 18 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords.

“We shouldn’t give Israel more time,” he stressed. “We must start thinking of all forms of struggle and taking measures to make Israel pay a price for its aggressive practices.”

A senior Israeli official characterized Palestinian threats about a return to violence as a “serious problem.”

“The whole peace process with the Palestinians was based on a commitment by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian leadership that the Palestinian national movement was going to abrogate violence and pursue engagement through negotiations. If they return to violence, they are taking us back to the days before the Oslo process,” he said.

The official termed this type of call a “huge problem and antithetical to the peace process.”

Palestinian intransigence, evident in Yasser Arafat’s rejection of then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David in 2000 – followed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejection of Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008 – is the reason the peace process has not succeeded, the official countered.

“They can’t, on the one hand, be intransigent, and on the other hand, say the peace process doesn’t work,” the official said.

'Palestinians are a testing field for modern weapons and Israeli adventures.'

The present Israeli government, Zaki charged, is not authorized to make any concessions to achieve peace. He said that an agreement could nevertheless be achieved if the US managed to convince the “Jewish lobby,” AIPAC and Israeli leaders to stop tampering with the lives of the Palestinians and the resources of the Middle East.

The Palestinians would not make any concessions on the issues of Jerusalem and the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, he said.

“Israel is hoping that these two issues would not be included in the talks, and this is a serious matter,” he said. “The conflict began for the sake of the refugees and escalated for Jerusalem. We don’t see a Palestine without Jerusalem and we believe that the pain and struggle won’t end without the right of return for those who lost their homes and lands.”

Reiterating the PA’s opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state with temporary borders, Zaki said that the Palestinians have already “paid everything for the sake of peace and it’s time to put an end to the bloody and violent conflict.”

He also did not rule out the possibility that Israel would wage another massive military operation against the Gaza Strip.

“This is our fate,” he added. “The Palestinians have become a testing field for modern weapons and Israeli adventures.”

Comment: This is a replay of a worn out story-the VICTIMS again-of course, their behavior and actions have nothing to do with the current situation. BTW this is precisely what preceded their starting the second intifada-stand by-d

Aaron David Miller rejects the peace process

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Depending on your view of the Middle East and the Obama administration, Aaron David Miller is either a hero or a turncoat.

Miller, a peace process functionary under both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, published a declaration of independence last month from what he called the "religion" of the peace process. Critics of the Obama administration's emphasis on peacemaking -- among them neoconservatives who once reviled Miller as an apostle of the process -- embraced his article, published in Foreign Policy, as the repudiation of the process.

"One can take exception to some of Miller’s argument, but the core of it is indisputable," Jennifer Rubin wrote on Commentary Magazine's Contentions blog. "The peace-process believers 'need to re-examine their faith.' "

Defenders of an assertive American role in the Middle East dismiss Miller out of hand as an effete academic now removed from policy.

"For all his pessimism about the future, Miller never asks if the United States should distance itself from an Israel that is in the process of becoming an apartheid state,"
Stephen Walt, the Harvard historian and author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” wrote on his blog on Foreign Policy.

It doesn't stop in the blogosphere: Miller, the author of "The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace" and now a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, recently returned from a Middle East tour of Lebanon, Israel the Palestinian areas and Syria, and he found himself discussing his article with regional leaders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw validation in his own belief that the Obama administration is overly invested in the prospect of imminent Palestinian statehood, Miller and a Netanyahu confidant said.

In an interview last Friday with JTA in his office on Pennsylvania Avenue -- a 10-minute walk from the White House -- Miller took the reactions with equanimity.

"I was prepared to accept the possibility that the piece would be misinterpreted, hijacked, used by people for a variety of reasons," he said. "So be it. These are my views. Reality changed and it’s not honest in order to simply continue to repeat the same mantras."

This is the "catechism," outlined in his article, and referring to his State Department years from 1985 to 2003: "First, pursuit of a comprehensive peace was a core, if not the core, U.S. interest in the region, and achieving it offered the only sure way to protect U.S. interests; second, peace could be achieved, but only through a serious negotiating process based on trading land for peace; and third, only America could help the Arabs and Israelis bring that peace to fruition. As befitting a religious doctrine, there was little nuance."

A thorough reading of Miller's screed does not suggest an abandonment of the creed. Rather he counsels stepping back and re-examining its principles against the light of new Middle East realities.

Miller argues that the issues have become more vexing, and that there are no leaders who match the titans of peacemaking in years past, such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

If anything, he said in the interview, his three weeks in the Middle East reinforced those perceptions.

"What I find difficult to reconcile is how you’re going to get to a conflict-ending agreement which addresses the four core issues that have driven the Israelis and the Palestinians and brought each issue to a finality of claims," Miller told JTA. "I just do not see how to do that given the gaps that exist and the inherent constraints on the leaders in the absence also of a real sense of urgency."

The four core issues are borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.

Miller describes how the situation has worsened since the last major effort at a resolution, the Camp David-Taba talks of 2000-01: The status of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been wounded profoundly by the ouster of his moderate party, Fatah, from Gaza at the gunpoint of Hamas; Netanyahu is bound by a right-wing coalition (of his choosing) that is not ready to countenance a full-fledged settlement freeze, never mind compromise on Jerusalem; and Obama has had 15 months, distracted by the economy and health care, to match Clinton's six full years focused on the issue.

Then there's the region: "Hezbollah and Hamas," Miller says referring to the terrorist groups in Lebanon and Gaza, respectively. "You have two non-state actors, two non-state environments who are not proxies of Iran and or Syria but who clearly reflect their capacity to want to influence events -- and then you have Iran" and its potential nuclear threat.

The prospect that Miller says unnerves him most is that the Obama administration says it will step in with a conflict-ending agreement if the current proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians go nowhere.

"I’m very uneasy because at the end of the day, I don’t see what the game is, I don’t see what the strategy is,” he said. “Even if it’s an initiative, what’s the objective, what’s the strategy?"

In his article, Miller advises that the United States stay involved but realize there are limits.

"The United States needs to do what it can, including working with Israelis and Palestinians on negotiating core final-status issues (particularly on borders, where the gaps are narrowest), helping Palestinians develop their institutions, getting the Israelis to assist by allowing Palestinians to breathe economically and expand their authority, and keeping Gaza calm, even as it tries to relieve the desperation and sense of siege through economic assistance," he writes. "But America should also be aware of what it cannot do as much as what it can."

Such advice is beside the point for Miller’s new champions and detractors alike, who continue to perceive America's role in the conflict as either-or.

"It's had an impact, certainly for Netanyahu and his entourage," Steve Rosen, who is close to Netanyahu's advisers, said of Miller’s article in Foreign Policy. "What makes Aaron important is he's not from central casting. He's the man who bit the dog. He has credibility as someone who has been a lifetime proponent of the process."

That's exactly what irks those who advocate deep American involvement.

"We don't have the luxury of time; the tensions on the ground are too high," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, who directs J Street, the liberal pro-Israel lobby. "That's the difference between being an analyst and actually trying to assess outcomes."

Miller, once an eminence grise at talk fests warning of doomsday outcomes in insistent tones, now appears relaxed, jovial even, leaning back to make a point. He has retained his commitment to people-to-people dialogue. From 2003 to 2006, he directed the youth-to-youth, Arab-Jewish dialogue program Seeds of Peace.

"Talking is better than shooting, and talking in a neutral safe space can actually be pretty productive, particularly when you're 14, 15, 16 years old, and your identity is up for grabs and you can really be changed," he said.

"The whole trope here is the leadership. If I could mention one word to summarize my concern, it’s the absence of leadership."

Ron Kampeas is JTA's Washington bureau chief.

"Beyond Infuriating"

Arlene Kushner

Last Wednesday night, Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a close associate of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, spoke at a conference in Ramallah, at which he said:

"There is a need to create and endorse new struggling tools, such as the popular resistance, and to increase our efforts in the international arena to isolate and punish Israel, prevent it from deepening its relationship with the European Union and attempt to expel it from the United Nations." By Thursday, according to news reports, our government was "furious," and denouncing Shaath's words.

So what do we learn from the Friday report on this in the JPost by Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon? That we will be raising this with Mitchell -- just as, on Thursday, we had raised the issue of the PA attempting (unsuccessfully) to block our admittance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Beyond exasperating. Beyond comprehensible.

Why are we continuing with this ridiculous game-playing called "proximity talks" if our ostensible partner, which claims to seek establishment of a state at our side that will live in peace with us, is trying to destroy us?

Where is our national dignity? Our instinct for national self-preservation? Why aren't we calling a halt, saying boldly and publicly that we have no one to negotiate with in good faith?

You don't suppose Netanyahu's fear of displeasing Obama has anything to do with it, do you? Or Barak's concern that the international community might not like us?


Perhaps there's one "redeeming" element here. If we "must" continue these talks, at least the PA behavior should stiffen backs of our government officials somewhat and make it easier to refuse more concessions. You would think so, would you not? When they're acting this way, we should do more?

After all, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on Thursday evening, speaking at a celebration to mark the completion of a small new neighborhood in Maon, in the South Hebron Hills, insisted that we would start building after the freeze ended in September:

"We will renew building after the moratorium ends. We will not evacuate settlements. We will not move Jews. We will not sacrifice Jews from any place in Israel.

"The settlements have never been a stumbling block to peace. The absence of that peace is for reasons that are not connected to us. Our neighbors do not recognize the right of Jews to their land. They do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a national homeland for the Jewish people.”


But, alas, it turns out that this statement from Ya'alon was only Ya'alon speaking -- I seriously doubt that he was speaking for the government.

For, also on Thursday, after Prime Minister Netanyahu (who DOES speak for his government) had met with Mitchell, his office released a statement regarding what had been discussed. And, incredibly, one of the things it is said they talked about in the first part of the meeting was "gestures Israel might make to the Palestinians."

Nah! That can't be. But apparently it is.

Let's get the chronology straight here: This discussion took place after Shaath had made his speech and our government was reportedly "fuming." After this, in a talk with Mitchell, Netanyahu was willing to discuss possible gestures we might make to the bums who want to destroy us.

If he won't quit the talks, could he not at least say, "Nothing. Zero. Effes. I will not even consider a single gesture, unless and until they clean up their act"?

Apparently not. I am ashamed, on behalf of Israel.


There is a great deal of analysis in the media regarding a turn-around on the part of Obama, who is doing a mea culpa and admitting he handled Israel badly at the start of his efforts to promote peace. He's learned now, he and his flunkies are telling Congresspersons, Jewish leaders and even some rabbis. Things are different.

Well, I don't buy it for a second. And I don't trust Obama a bit more now than I ever did. That would make me very foolish indeed, although I imagine many will.

I believe that Obama is playing it the way he thinks will work. It is being said that the new, kinder Obama is what convinced Israel to enter those talks. But if he suddenly decides again that "throwing Israel under the bus" (Melanie Phillips' words) is the way to go, he'll revert back to where he was. Because his heart is not with us and his intentions towards us haven't changed. Just wait until it is September, and he wants us to continue that freeze in building.

One sure way to gauge Obama's intent is to note that while he is now "nicer" to Israel, he has not come down tougher on the PA in any visible way. It's obvious that PA leaders are still counting on him, and that he hasn't sent Mitchell to tell them, enough of this garbage already, get real. Mitchell met with PA officials in Ramallah on Wednesday and Wednesday night Shaath gave his talk.

It's extremely likely that this "nicer" Obama has something to do with why Netanyahu won't quit the talks now, when he should. And is even willing to discuss "possible gestures."

Those of a certain age and American cultural background will remember these words: "What a revolting development this is."


Just to show you how revolting it all really is: After Mitchell met with Abbas this past week, Khaled Abu Toameh reported that Abbas complained about Israeli "provocations."

Abu Toameh cited one "senior Israeli official," who said Jerusalem hoped the Palestinians were not looking for an excuse to scuttle the talks. “We want this process to succeed.”

How's that again? They full well KNOW it won't succeed.


Rahm Emanuel, a key Obama aide, and most definitely no friend to Israel, has arrived here on a private visit, during the course of which his son will celebrate his bar mitzvah. Ain't that great?


We end Shabbat with the traditional greeting, Shavua tov, good week. And so will I end it here. Perhaps in my next post there will be something encouraging to report.

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