Saturday, November 05, 2011

How did we get here?


What is it going to take for this government to act in a responsible way which shows it is running a sovereign state?

Rockets launched from Gaza are falling again. Nothing new. What I love is the way the press reports this stuff: “The quiet was disturbed,” writes Ynet. It reminds me of what my daughter Rachel used to say on fast days when she was little: that she was weak from all the fasting she was doing between breakfast and lunch.

Enough with the phony Egyptian-brokered “cease-fires” that last only as long as it takes to reload. Enough with the warnings, the finger shaking, the attempts to hit back without hurting anyone so that it won’t “escalate.” I’d call a dead Israeli and a missile in the backyard of a school an escalation.

What is it going to take for this government to act in a responsible way which shows it is running a sovereign state, not negotiating with the Czar’s police to prevent another pogrom?

And enough with phony labels: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Authority, etc. They all want the same thing. They are all responsible.

I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of getting phone calls like the one I got from my daughter who lives in Rehovot. Rehovot! Nothing ever happens in Rehovot. All during the Yom Kippur War, the intifada, Operation Cast Lead, you name it, nothing happens there. Still, I got this phone call telling me about the siren that woke my granddaughter up in the middle of the night, terrifying her.

All during the intifada the geniuses running the government and the journalists at Haaretz, CNN and the BBC had an explanation for every bus bombing, every massacre at a wedding or bar mitzva.

We’d been targeted, they’d tell us, because after the last bus bombing, massacre, etc. we’d killed one or another of the despicable mass murderers Palestinians effortlessly produce in such abundance. We’d made them angry, they’d tell us.

Yes, it was true that before we responded they’d also been angry, but now, because of our response, they were really, really angry. And if we continued to respond they’d be really, really, really angry.

And thus, it was concluded, it was better not to respond, or, to use the new catchphrase, “to exercise restraint.”

Our prime minister assured us this week that restraint is not on his mind: “We are not engaging in rhetoric or looking for an escalation, but will protect ourselves according to these principles,” the principles being: get them before they get us, or failing that, after.

With the entire southern half of the country in the line of fire, and schools closed for days all over the south, how’s that working for you, Mr. Prime Minister?

And how, in heaven’s name, did we get here?

We could start with bringing Arafat in from Tunis so that Shimon Peres could get the Norwegians to cough up a much underserved prize. But let’s take it from the disengagement, that strange plan thought up by a Tel Aviv lawyer and his tired client, our then-prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

This is what they sold us: By unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, destroying productive Jewish settlements that served as a buffer zone between terrorists and the center of the country, throwing 10,000 people out into the streets, American pressure would stop, Palestinians would be shown for what they were and the peace process would be put in “formaldehyde.”

Or, as attorney Dov Weisglass told Haaretz’s Ari Shavit the day the plan was to be voted into law: “If Sharon’s disengagement plan is torpedoed, politically it will be cause for everlasting regret. Our achievements will be lost. The international community will lose patience with us. It will take the same attitude toward us as it does toward Arafat. We will very quickly find ourselves up against a Palestinian state that uses terror against us and up against a world that is becoming increasingly hostile. We will find ourselves in a tragedy.”

Oh, oh, the excitement over this amazing plan. Knesset members were waving their hands and frothing at the mouth.

Just look at the videos online.

Ran Cohen of Meretz, one of Israel’s delusional Leftists, insisted on the floor of the Knesset that “Disengagement is good for security.”

“Right-wingers are talking about Kassam rockets flying all over the place,” he said mockingly, waving his hands and smiling with derision. “But if we don’t leave Gaza, in three years the rockets will reach Ashkelon.”

Former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz of Kadima offered this: “I am convinced that the act is necessary and right and it can grant greater security... by reducing the burden on IDF forces, opening the door to a new reality.”

Ophir Paz-Pines of Labor said this: “I’ve just brought my son to the army recruitment center. I want to thank Ariel Sharon that my son will not have to serve the nation of Israel in the Gaza Strip.”

And lest we make a mistake, as did a cabdriver with whom I had a vociferous debate on the subject only recently, the Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu also voted for it: “I will support the plan.” As did Yuval Steinitz: “This plan will improve our geopolitical situation.” Silvan Shalom, Limor Livnat and Yisrael Katz all supported it.

According to the IDF website: “Since Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the Hamas terrorist organization has turned Gaza into a central hub of terror activity.”

Undeterred by the facts, Weisglass said in 2008: “The fact that 7,500 civilians and four battalions of soldiers are no longer in the center of the Palestinian brimstone, is, in my eyes, the disengagement’s main accomplishment.”

That’s true. Now it’s a million Israelis and the entire army.

Hamas minister Fathi Hamad also admitted last week to Lebanese daily As-Safir that it was Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that had enabled Hamas to hide kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit for so long, forcing the Israeli government to its knees and facilitating the release of hundreds of the worst terrorist scum in Israel’s jails.

With Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal generously adding to the amount offered by Muslim cleric Dr. Awad al-Qarni for the kidnap of yet another Israeli soldier, bringing the sum to a round million dollars, we are glad to hear Schalit’s jail cell will still be available, thanks to our government’s policy.

Weisglass, who continues to talk and listen to himself, was also quoted this week in Yediot Aharonot saying that “Abbas must be saved because the help given to Hamas constitutes a terrible blow to the Palestinian Authority.”

I suppose he means we should let out any terrorist still left in our jails so that Abbas can also give his folks the “V” sign. Why not save the Saudis some money?

Shimon Peres told Lily Galili in Haaretz on July 5, 2008: “I did not imagine that we would leave Gaza and they would fire Kassams from there; I did not imagine that Hamas would show so strongly in the elections.”

At the inauguration of the Safed Medical School this week he said: “Why are they shooting?”

This past Sunday, a trip was organized to visit the Gush Katif expellees. I signed up, curious as to how these brave, much mistreated and maligned heroes were doing after six years. At 10 p.m. the night before, I got a phone call. Home Front Command had canceled the trip. Apparently, it was too dangerous for us to visit where the Gush Katif families are now living, sans bomb shelters with only IDF-supplied sewer pipes to run to when a siren goes off. You read that right. Sewer pipes.

Anita Tucker, who was supposed to have been our tour guide, met with me in Jerusalem instead. A former Gush Katif lettuce farmer from Netzer Hazani, Anita is a bundle of energy and optimism despite the tragedy that turned her home and business into rubble. The whole community of Netzer Hazani is rebuilding in Yesodot, near Kibbutz Hulda. But she admits it’s been difficult.

“It’s hard to educate your children and grandchildren to be proud citizens when they have to shelter in a sewer pipe,” she says. But anger is not part of her vocabulary. “It’s not constructive,” she says.

As for the current troubles with Gaza, she shrugs.

“Eventually, we’ll have no choice but to take it over again. It’s like rot. It has to be removed before it spreads and destroys the entire country.”

The writer has authored numerous books, most recently The Tenth Song.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Palestinian Authority TV: "Haifa is a well-known Palestinian port"

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The Palestinian Authority continues to educate its people to envision a world without Israel, presenting Israeli cities and regions as "Palestinian."

This week, PA TV rebroadcast an educational documentary that has aired dozens of times since 2007. The documentary describes the Israeli cities of Haifa, Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa and the Sea of Galilee as Palestinian PA TV is under the direct control of the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Click to view

The following is the transcript of the excerpt of the PA TV documentary:

"The West Bank and Gaza have another section in Palestine which is the Palestinian coast that spreads along the [Mediterranean] sea, from ...Ashkelon in the south, until Haifa, in the Carmel Mountains. Haifa is a well-known Palestinian port. [Haifa] enjoyed a high status among Arabs and Palestinians especially before it fell to the occupation [Israel] in 1948. To its north, we find Acre. East of Acre, we reach a city with history and importance, the city of Tiberias, near a famous lake, the Sea of Galilee. Jaffa, an ancient coastal city, is the bride of the sea, and Palestine's gateway to the world."
[PA TV (Fatah), Nov. 1 and Sept. 5, 2011,
and dozens of times 2007 - 2010]

For more examples of the PA presenting a world without Israel see:

1. PA leaders attend Fatah performance that presents Israel as "Palestine"
2. PA maps still show Palestine to include all of Israel
3. PA TV song: Jaffa, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and more are Palestinian

Comment: This blog as well as Docstalk have provided hundreds of such examples of the PA's lies, distortions, misrepresentations-why does the MSM refuse to call out the PA and all other representatives such as Fatah? Why do they continue to accept their narrqative of falsehoods when documented evidence points to the opposite view? This my friends you should demand an answer from the MSM.

"On Islamic Jihad"

Arlene Kushner

A major piece I have written on the situation in Gaza and the role of Islamic Jihad has just gone up on Front Page Magazine. Please see it, as it provides background and analysis of a very complex situation:


A mini flotilla is sailing in the Mediterranean, headed towards Gaza as I write. This venture consists of two yachts -- one under the Irish flag and one Canadian. In all there are 27 passengers aboard, from Canada, the United States, Australia, the Palestinian Authority, and Ireland, plus one Israeli Arab; the organizers appear to be Irish.
Canadian boat Tahrir [file]

This flotilla left from a port in Turkey; Israel was pleased that Turkey -- apparently heeding Israeli and US warnings -- did send out warships to accompany it, as had been threatened. The Turkish government has also been at pains to let it be known that there are no Turkish passengers involved

The US has warned American citizens not to cooperate, as they would be liable under the law.

Israel has made it clear that the yachts will not be permitted to breach the blockade on Gaza. More an annoyance, I think, than a crisis, but yet a signal that these guys don't give up.

The yachts are carrying medical equipment, which Israel has offered to off-load and deliver to Gaza.


Apologies to my readers. Not quite sure what happened yesterday, but my posting ran the text double.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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Will Their Armies Save (Some) Arab States from Islamism?

Barry Rubin

Soldiers of Turkey’s once-secular army holding official prayers as the Islamist regime transforms it into a reliable Islamist force.

Nowhere in the world is Mao Zedong’s dictum that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun truer than in the Middle East.

The armed forces have been the basis of power in the Arabic-speaking world and in Turkey, too. That’s why the nationalist dictatorships and traditionalist monarchies, which had seen so many coups and coup attempts in the 1950s and 1960s, had to find special ways to control the armed forces. They did so by special privileges, close intelligence watches, promoting officers on the basis of loyalty to the regime, and many other measures.

One of these was the creation of elite, parallel military formations. Examples include the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iraqi Republican Guard, the Saudi “White Army,” and others. During the “Arab Spring” there has not been a single revolution in the usual sense of the word. In Egypt and Tunisia, what we have seen are essentially coups. The armed forces both used the mass demonstrations and responded to them by seizing power. In Libya, a rebel army was basically handed power by NATO. But where the army remained loyal, as in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and — so far but perhaps shakily — Syria, the regime remained in power.

This analysis raises the question of whether the army is going to remain in control of Egypt and Tunisia. In this situation, neither “revolution” nor elections nor revolutionary Islamist groups really matter. The soldiers are still the boss. Change, then, is more illusory than real and there is far less to fear.

Such an analysis is viable; it might be true; it might even be, from an international strategic perspective, the best outcome. While a stable, non-repressive, and non-aggressive democracy that benefited large numbers of people is preferable, what if it isn’t possible?

Here’s a chart to get a clear picture of the situation:



Professional soldiers: Algeria (closely tied to regime), Egypt (dual power with probable Islamist-led regime?), Syria (closely tied to regime with small numbers supporting opposition), Tunisia (dual power–?–with Islamist-led regime)

Islamists: Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon (army still independent but Islamist militia the strongest military force), Libya, Turkey (far from completely but that’s the trend)

Kings: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Gulf emirates (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates)


Before discussing Egypt and Tunisia, however, I should explain why this idea of the army regulating Islamists doesn’t apply to other countries. In Libya, the rebels are the army now and many of them are radical Islamists whose loyalty to civilian authorities is close to zero. Since Libya has its own income, it is not the semi-slave of foreign aid that would restrict its government from doing as it pleases regardless of Western dissatisfaction.

As for Turkey, it could be a model contradicting the military-in-control thesis. After all, that is precisely the system that did exist in Turkey for decades, with the army as the ultimate custodian of the republic. The Islamist regime — with a lot of foolish Western “help” — has broken the army. Massive arrests are intimidating and weakening the officer corps. If in power long enough, the Islamists will step by step take over the army from the inside by promoting both ideologically loyal and opportunistic officers. It’s too late for a coup.

At this point, an army coup is not a solution in Syria. Either the regime will remain in power or there will be a revolution. Some fresh faces at the top are unlikely to quell the protests. It will still be the Alawite-dominated regime that has ruled Syria for almost fifty years. A split in the army (which has already happened to some extent) brings a civil war closer.

What about Egypt and Tunisia? In Egypt, the army has been the backbone of the regime for 60 years but it has not wielded direct political power for most of that time. Generals became provincial governors and high administrators after retirement. The army was pampered with privileges and allowed to carry out many profitable economic activities. U.S. aid financed its budget to a large extent and furnished it regularly with new toys.

One can certainly argue that the army in Egypt — and similar things apply to Tunisia — has an interest in being “moderate.” It is more of a pragmatic than a doctrinaire institution, and it knows the cost of war. Islamist demagogues can talk about revolution, invasion, wiping out Israel, and so on, but the officers know that they are unlikely to win.

Note that this situation doesn’t require the officers to have political ambitions. But their interventions have an involuntary edge to them, to protect their privileges and to maintain the law and order that they professionally prefer.

The decision of the Egyptian army to postpone presidential elections to the second half of 2013 is the clearest example of that reluctant political activism. Even if they sincerely intended in past months to turn over power to civilians, the crime and anarchy and extremism unleashed have given them second thoughts.

Is this a thin reed to lean on? Yes, but it is the only reed around, a much stronger one than that of liberal moderate politicians.

I’m not saying that this is the Obama administration’s strategy, far from it. Ironically, America’s president is also its leading neo-conservative. The only difference to his strategy of “democracy is the answer” is that he sees Islamists playing a major, perhaps even leading, role. A “realist” president would encourage the military establishments to keep control but everything he has said and done shows he wants the civilians to run things. For example, recently he has urged the Egyptians to drop the emergency laws and in Turkey, of course, he supported the actions that led to the army’s breaking.

In short, Obama is trying to destroy the safety net. The strategy I’m outlining seems more in line with State and Defense Department realpolitik thinking. But how much is this backed at the top of these institutions? Not clear. And how much is the White House listening to them? Not much.

The Western mass media is covering this as a purely good-guy civilians against military dictators conflict. They argue that there is nothing to fear from the Islamists so the sooner the military gets out of politics the better. I have one word in response: Turkey. That’s an example of what’s likely to happen when the Islamists knock down the last remaining barrier to their ambitions.

Sure, the military is dictatorial but so is the likely alternative. Certainly, the military in Egypt has killed Christians in the Maspero massacre and attacked them elsewhere. But imagine what things will be like when unrestrained mobs know that like-minded people are running the country.

Of course, the army-in-control approach requires some demagoguery and tyrannical behavior on the part of the military. Protecting Christians in Egypt is unpopular, so the army will let churches be burned and may even participate, as we saw in the Maspero incident, kill unarmed Christian demonstrators. Letting a mob attack the Israeli embassy is popular — no participants were sent to prison — but the military will also set limits to anti-Israel actions, if not anti-Israel demagoguery. The army arrests bloggers and democratic activists as well as violent Salafists but doesn’t dare touch the Muslim Brotherhood.

How is the army vulnerable? In the long run, if officers themselves embrace radical nationalism or Islamism, they might side with their civilian counterparts. We know such sentiments exist, especially in Egypt, but how strong are they? The current military leaders, advanced in age, are not interested in being dictators, but might there be some colonels who could seek to become the Mubaraks, Qadhafis, and Ben Alis of the future? Possible, though it won’t be easy for them to take power, at least until they’ve been promoted to near the top.

Yet can this system succeed, and at what cost? Will the Islamists, liberals, and left accept a situation in which they can win elections, hold offices, and do nothing? A more likely outcome would be that the military would let them do what they want domestically but restrain them internationally. For example, institute Sharia law (many officers would even be happy with that), reduce women’s rights, teach an Islamist curriculum in the schools, put Islamist imams in mosques, and even stone sinners but don’t go to war against Israel, sponsor terrorism abroad, or take actions against the United States.

There is some advantage to patience as the Islamists’ strategy. If, as seems likely, the economies crash, they will want to be able to blame that on the army at the very moment that the army represses protests against the civilian government. Naturally, this is a formula for instability but not for war.

That’s conceivable. In exchange for a free hand at home, the Islamists would accept this situation, though hoping to gain full control in the future. The Obama administration could even claim this as a success while the Western media plays down the human rights violations, precisely as has happened with Turkey.

Yet as we have seen in the Middle East, demagoguery can get out of hand. And as we have seen in Turkey, the Islamists’ “long march through the institutions” might free them from the military’s constraints in the future.

After all, the army is not a black box. Karl Marx said that “even the educator must be educated.” Well, even the officers have beliefs that go beyond their professional skills. The army does not have a political party of its own or reliable politicians in either Egypt or Tunisia. It has to maintain some kind of working relationship with the Islamists, keeping them happy, and with public opinion, keeping itself as popular as possible.

At any rate, this dimension must be taken into account. We probably won’t find out more until 2013, when — if all goes as planned — Tunisia and Egypt will elect civilian presidents.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Representative of Abbas praises Gilad Shalit's kidnappers

We salute those who dug the tunnel
and who kidnapped Shalit

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Representing Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas and speaking in the name of the Fatah movement at a ceremony in honor of the released prisoners, Jibril Rajoub, member of Fatah's Central Committee, praised Hamas for the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit:

"I say in the name of the Fatah movement - we salute those who dug the tunnel [to capture the Israeli soldier]; we salute those who captured the captive (Gilad Shalit), and salute those who guarded the captive until this deal was completed."
Click to view

Rajoub also praised the released prisoners, stating how no words exist in any language to describe their courage and heroism:

"I salute our courageous prisoners and I say to you that I cannot ... describe you, neither as heroes, nor as courageous, nor anything else. There are no words in the Arab dictionary, nor in any other dictionary, to describe you, but this modest reception is [our] utmost honor towards you."

Along the same lines, a columnist in the official PA daily expressed his joy over the exchange deal calling the released prisoners "the most precious loved ones," referring to them as "courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom":

"The eyes and hearts of millions of Palestinians... are watching with excitement and longing... for the arrival of hundreds of courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom... what overall national joy... that the most precious loved ones... have returned to us!"

The following are longer excerpts from Jibril Rajoub's speech in the name of Fatah and the official PA daily's column glorifying the prisoners:

Ceremony moderator: "We shall now hear the address by the representative of the President [Abbas], to be delivered by Jibril Rajoub, member of the [Fatah] Central Committee."
Jibril Rajoub, representing President Abbas: "We celebrate today with a group of fighters who were released in the latest exchange of captives. I say in the name of the Fatah movement - we salute those who dug the tunnel [to capture the Israeli soldier]; we salute those who captured the captive (Gilad Shalit), and salute those who guarded the captive until this deal was completed [Applause] ... I salute our courageous prisoners and I say to you that I cannot - neither I nor others, but even I, more than others, since I know your worth and recognize the measure of your resolve (i.e., Rajoub was himself a prisoner in the past) - [I cannot] describe you, neither as heroes, nor as courageous, nor anything else. There are no words in the Arab dictionary, nor in any other dictionary, to describe you, but this modest reception is [our] utmost honor to you, your history, and your families. And to our prisoners in the prisons - all good wishes, and I hope that our joy will be complete with their release and with the achievement of Palestinian national unity."
[PA TV (Fatah), Oct. 30, 2011]

Note: Jibril Rajoub was himself serving a life sentence for throwing a grenade at an Israeli army truck in 1970. He was released in the "Jibril-Agreement" in 1985, when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine succeeded in releasing 1150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli hostages.

Official PA daily columnist Yahya Rabah:
Headline: "Welcome, heroes of freedom!"
"The eyes and hearts of millions of Palestinians in the homeland and outside of it... are watching with excitement and longing, at every moment, for the arrival of hundreds of courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom, when they arrive in Cairo, and then disperse among the arteries of our people, like blood flowing, full of glory and life - in Gaza [City] and in the other cities and village and camps of the [Gaza] Strip, in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, and in many of the neighboring countries. There the embraces of their relatives await them... and their nation will receive them there as symbols of giving and struggle and sacrifice. Their hope was just and their promise was true - here they are, released from behind bars and from the suffocation of solitary confinement, returning as free men! What [great] news - there is none more beautiful; what overall national joy... that the most precious loved ones, those lost in the gloom of Israeli prisons, have returned to us! This national celebration, with the welcome of hundreds of our glorious female prisoners and heroic male prisoners, must receive in full what it deserves from us... The national concern is one and the same, and the national celebration is one and the same, and the national achievement is one and the same, and the [Fatah-Hamas] rift is a deviation... Welcome, oh heroes of freedom; our eyes are already waiting and longing; the news has illuminated our hearts."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 13, 2011]

Erekat Slams Israeli Sanctions

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed Israeli sanctions on Ramallah for violating the Oslo Accords as 'illegal' and 'blackmail.'

By Gavriel Queenann
First Publish: 11/3/2011

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Wednesday stuck to well-worn sound bytes when he slammed Israel's decision to freeze tax revenues to Ramallah and accelerate construction in eastern Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, and Maale Adumim.

“The they are building these settlements on is my land,” Erekat said. “The money that Israel is withholding is my money. This theft is happening in broad daylight and the international community is bearing witness.” Israel's steps came after PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' bid to join UNESCO was approved, despite his application for the UN to recognize a PA state based on the pre-1967 being rendered a dead letter in the 15-member Security Council due to a promised US veto.

“Our condemnation is unequivocal,” Erekat added. “These steps are illegal and amount to blackmail that we categorically reject.”

Israeli officials counter that Abbas' unilateral moves at the world body are a direct violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which proscribe unilateral moves by both Jerusalem and Ramallah – and serve as the very basis for the PA's existence.

All economic, ministerial, security and infrastructure agreements – including electricity, telecom service, and water – provided by Jerusalem to Ramallah are dependent on the Oslo Accords.

This includes the transfer of tax revenues to the PA, Israeli Finance Ministry officials note.

PA officials cite Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which states any transfer of civilian populations to an occupied territory constitutes a war crime, as a means of calling Israeli settlement activity ‘illegal.’

However, Judea and Samaria (and formerly Gaza) are 'disputed territories' under international law, rather an 'occupied territories,' rendering Article 49 moot.

The last occupying power in Judea and Samaria was the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which had invaded the abdicated British Mandate in 1948.

Israel's seizing the disputed region in 1967 resulted in its obtaining a broad swath of land that had no legal sovereign – and could therefore not be defined as occupied.

Comment: So, let us be perfectly clear. The PA supports and agrees with the Oslo accords. In fact it uses these Accords to argue a case on behalf of its own self interests. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel collects customs duties on the PA's behalf and transfers the money to the PA every month. Though the money belongs to the Palestinians, the actual transfer requires the finance minister's signature. This is the protocol of the Accords, the same Accords the Pa and Mr. Erekat say they support. It is not possible to support only a part of the Accords-it is a signed agreement-it is all or nothing. Mr. Erekat's argument re: the accords is a misrepresentation of the truth. Furthermore he also knows that the Geneva Convention does not apply to a disputed territory-another lie he tells on a regular basis. Is it not time for the MSM to hold him accountable and say to him, Mr. Erekat that is a lie!!?

"The Silver Lining"

Arlene Kushner

Shouldn't be quite this way. We should be doing what we have a right to do, just because we have we have a right. But hey! I say Baruch Hashem for what is:

Netanyahu's Inner Cabinet held a lengthy meeting last Israel and his office then officially declared intention of accelerating Jewish construction over the Green Line. Planning is for 1,650 units in Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem (which, are unclear), 277 in Efrat and 50 in Ma’aleh Adumim. This is not exactly earth-shattering with regard to where the building will be done. Eastern Jerusalem is simply part of the united capital of Israel. While Efrat and Ma'aleh Adumim are very "establishment" communities; they are on the periphery of Jerusalem and would never be relinquished by Israel in any event. The significance here is the "in your face" announcement by the prime minister. It took the PA action with UNESCO to push him in this direction, finally. So, instead of simply giving the go-ahead quietly and allowing approvals to be announced routinely, the word about acceleration came from his office. Let it continue!

All units were already in the planning stages and were awaiting final approval. Now they have that approval, a "green light," as one official said..

"You cannot demand from the Israeli public continued restraint when the Palestinian leadership continues to slam doors in their faces.

"They refuse to condemn the rocket attacks that killed an Israeli citizen. They praised the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit and have refused to conduct peace negotiations while going for unilateral moves at the United Nations."


Sometimes I wonder how the PA leadership makes its statements with a straight face. But they manage to. Now, the PA is declaring that this announcement by Netanyahu is destroying the "peace process."

I also wonder, although I should know better, how the international community can stomach the hypocrisy of the PA statements and accept them without appropriate retort. But they, too, manage to do so.


In fact the international community manages to do something else as well: it echoes PA sentiments. The US is "deeply disappointed" and the EU is "deeply concerned" by Netanyahu's announcement. This is totally predictable.


While the PA, flush from its victory in UNESCO, has announced intention to apply to 16 other UN agencies. I will follow through with more on this in due course.

Here I simply note my fervent hope that our prime minister's ire will be sufficiently aroused by all of this that he will continue to act on behalf of Israel with ever increasing vigor. May he fully assimilate the recognition that no good can come from trying to deal with the PA, and that "playing the game" for the approval of the international community is, in the end, futile.


Time constraints will not allow me to extend this post now. More -- especially with regard to Iran -- should follow shortly.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

See my website at Contact Arlene at

This material is transmitted by Arlene only to persons who have requested it or agreed to receive it. If you are on the list and wish to be removed, contact Arlene and include your name in the text of the message.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Barr Bares Mandate History

My Right Word

A new book, A Line in the Sand, retells the story of French and English involvement in the bringing too an end of the Ottoman Empire.

Curtesy of the author's site, here are some extracts from the first chapter on the issue of "Palestine to who?", to be followed by a comment on "Zionist terror" and the Jewish war for liberation from the oppressive Mandatory regime.

On the early history:

Late in the morning of 16 December 1915, a promising young politician named Sir Mark Sykes hurried into Downing Street for a meeting. The prime minister had summoned the thirty-six-year-old baronet to advise him and his war cabinet on how they might resolve a row about the future of the Ottoman Empire.
‘I feel we ought to settle with France as soon as possible, and get a definite understanding about Syria,’ Sykes proposed.

‘What sort of an arrangement would you like to have with the French?’ asked Balfour.

‘I should like to retain for ourselves such country south of Haifa,’ replied Sykes, gesturing to his map.

...‘What do you mean to give exactly?’ pressed Balfour, referring to the French.

Sykes sliced his finger across the map that lay before them on the table. ‘I should like to draw a line from the “e” in Acre to the last “k” in Kirkuk,’ he said.

- - -

It was 25 April 1915. Constantinople, and victory, were just one hundred and fifty miles away.

The French and British both anticipated the division of the spoils. In France a small but thick-skinned group of imperialists, the Comité de l’Asie Française, began to put pressure on Delcassé to lay claim to Syria and Palestine...the Comité’s secretary-general, an aristocratic diplomat named Robert de Caix, reached for the history books to make his case. He argued that France had a ‘hereditary’ right to Syria and Palestine because it was ‘the land of the Crusades...where Western activity has been so French-dominated since the beginning of the Middle Ages that all the Europeans who live there are still called “Franks”’.

- - -

My understanding, it was obvious too all that Palestine was not going to be an independent Arab state. As here

The Sykes-Picot agreement drew a line east-west from north of Acre across to the Iranian border, ‘giving’ some of modern Turkey, all of Syria and Lebanon and some of Iraq to the French, while what became Jordan, the bulk of Iraq and Israel ‘went’ to Britain.

And now, as for Barr's treatment of the period of 1946-1948, we learn that


Barr suggests that the climax of the struggle between the two, which lasted right up to the establishment of Israel in 1948, was French support (at what level is not clear) for acts of Jewish terrorism against the British.

His most striking piece of evidence came from a report written in 1945 by an MI5 officer and never before published (and not sourced here). It was at the time when the Yishuv was struggling to get the first pitiful remnants of the concentration camps into Palestine, and Britain was resisting both Jewish and Arab unrest with tough, even brutal, measures.

Barr quotes the MI5 man as reporting, from top-secret sources, that it was known that "French officials in the Levant have been clandestinely selling arms to the Hagana and we have received recent reports of their intention to stir up strife in Palestine."

Barr, a newspaperman by profession, adds his own gloss to this suggestion: "In other words, while the British were fighting and dying to liberate France, their supposed allies the French were secretly backing Jewish efforts to kill British soldiers and officials in Palestine."


Barr even argues, not very convincingly, that the reason Zionist terrorists such as the Stern Gang and the Irgun were able to get some weapons and financing from France, to enable them to carry out the devastating attacks which eventually forced Britain out of Palestine, was because the French wanted to get even for the way Britain had helped Syria and Lebanon secure their independence. This might be stretching the story of Anglo-French rivalry in the Levant a shade too far. But it makes for enjoyable reading.


Violence carried on and it seems that the French were rather encouraging it ; they might even have backed it up. James Barr argues that Zionist groups like the Stern Gang received weapons and finances from France who wanted to destabilise Palestine as much as possible to force the British into a difficult position. The reason behind all this ? Revenge. "It was the French who played a vital part in the creation of the state of Israel, by helping the Jews organise the large-scale immigration and devastating terrorism that finally engulfed the bankrupt British mandate in 1948".


one of his original contributions, based on declassified documents, is the extraordinary discovery that the French secretly provided arms and financial support to the Zionist terrorist groups the Stern gang and the Irgun, as well as the Hagana. This was their revenge for British encouragement of Lebanese and Syrian independence. The Zionist gangs made havoc of London's plans for Palestine. It was two members of the Stern gang who, in 1944, ambushed and murdered Lord Moyne, resident minister of state in Cairo, member of the British cabinet and leading advocate for a Greater Syria.

And he doesn't mention the Altalena?

Consider this:-

The ship Altalena...brought arms and ammunition provided to the Irgun Tzvai Leumi underground militia by the French army. Documents revealed here for the first time attest that France's Foreign Ministry believed that helping the Irgun (the National Military Organization, known also by its acronym Etzel), would prevent Jerusalem from falling into Jordanian hands, which would strengthen the position of France's rival in the region: Britain...

...One of the most important documents is testimony the French deputy chief of staff, General Henri Coudraux, gave to France's Defense Ministry during an internal inquiry into the affair. Coudraux, who had played a key role in transfering the arms to the Irgun in June 1948, said in his testimony on November 15, 1949, that France "reached a secret agreement with the Irgun, which promised it advantages if it were to come into power (in Israel)."...Ariel testified, confirming that the Irgun signed a secret agreement with the French government whereby the latter would "provide arms to the Irgun to fight the Arabs."
...The writer of these lines recently discovered in a French archive the report written about 60 years ago by France's Ministry of Defense and the testimonies used in it. The documents cast light on the French motives in the affair, and indicate that a secret agreement concerning the arms supply included stipulations which, Coudraux said, were aimed at the provisional government in Israel. The Irgun representative said the targets of these political provisos were the Arabs.

The written agreement has not been found, but from the documents one concludes that foreign minister Georges Bidault deeply feared occupation of Jerusalem by the Jordanian Arab Legion, with British support; in the second half of May 1948, the Legion had damaged French Catholic institutions and France's consulate in Jerusalem. Years later Ben-Gurion hinted that the French gave the Irgun the arms in return for a commitment to protect the Catholic institutions in the city. On May 24 the French Foreign Ministry sent communiques to Jordan's King Abdullah, Israel's government and British and Arab legations in Paris, demanding that they avoid attacking religious and diplomatic institutions in Jerusalem. Irgun representatives in Paris received a similar notice...

Bidault decided to provide arms to the Irgun, an organization that opposed the interim government, and which was receiving clandestine aid from France, not only to protect French institutions in Jerusalem from the Arab Legion. He also knew this move would anger the British Foreign Office, which was closely following the Altalena's course...he may have had another to thwart a British-Jordanian move to control Jerusalem.

In the summer of 1944, French intelligence succeeded to recruit an agent in the Syrian government, who subsequently provided information about clandestine British activity in Syria and other Arab countries. As foreign minister in Charles de Gaulle's provisional government, Bidault witnessed the efficiency of the British secret services, which played a major role in expelling the French from Syria in 1945. Bidault, a devout Catholic, attributed great importance to maintaining Jerusalem's status as an international city, and saw a vital French interest in the creation of the state.

According to the French documents, Paris suspected that Britain had adopted a "double policy," which it used effectively in Syria: Alongside the declared policy about ending the Mandate and evacuating British forces from Palestine on May 15, 1948, the French believed that Britain's secret services sought to prevent establishment of a Jewish state, or at least to limit its size.

History is such an intersting subject.

Is the Altalena in Barr's book?

Posted by YMedad at 7:26 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Labels: Altalena, Mandate history
A Religious Nut
From The New Yorker

Posted by YMedad at 4:01 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Yes, They Were Ordered To Flee Their Own Homes
From "Reclaiming a historical truth" by Efraim Karsh published in Haaretz, June 10, 2011

...the tragedy befalling the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 was exclusively of their own making, and that there is therefore "a grave moral defect in the Nakba discourse."

I am surprised, however, by his assertion that "despite decades of research, to this day no document or broadcast has been found confirming ... [any order] by the Arab leadership for the population to leave." This claim couldn't be further from the truth.

...tens of thousands of Arabs were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa (on April 21-22 ) on the instructions of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective "government" of the Palestinian Arabs. Only days earlier, Tiberias' 6,000-strong Arab community had been similarly forced out by its own leaders, against local Jewish wishes...In Jaffa, Palestine's largest Arab city, the municipality organized the transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea; in Jerusalem, the AHC ordered the transfer of women and children, and local gang leaders pushed out residents of several neighborhoods, while in Beisan the women and children were ordered out as Transjordan's Arab Legion dug in.

...Some Arab residents [of Haifa] received written threats that, unless they left town, they would be branded as traitors deserving of death. Others were told they could expect no mercy from the Jews.

In the words of a British intelligence report: "After the Jews had gained control of the town, and in spite of a subsequent food shortage, many would not have responded to the call for a complete evacuation but for the rumors and propaganda spread by the National Committee members remaining in the town..."

...The deliberate depopulation of Arab villages too, and their transformation into military strongholds was a hallmark of the Arab campaign from the onset of hostilities. As early as December 1947, villagers in the Tul Karm sub-district were ordered out by their local leaders, and in mid-January Haganah intelligence briefs reported the evacuation of villages in the Hula Valley to accommodate local gangs and newly arrived ALA forces....In early May, as fighting intensified in the eastern Galilee, local Arabs were ordered to transfer all women and children from the Rosh Pina area, while in the Jerusalem sub-district, Transjordan's Arab Legion ordered the emptying of scores of villages.

Posted by YMedad at 12:51 PM 2 comments Links to this post
Labels: 1948
And Where Is "Palestine's Jerusalem Desert"?
In The Guardian, of course.

Here, Gail Simmon's 'Letter from the West Bank': having sweet tea and coffee.

But Gail does -

gaze through the opening at the sun settling over the Judean mountains

And she is enthralled with one Sheikh Ishmael Ali al-Rashayda

So much dust sand in her eyes.

Posted by YMedad at 12:33 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Jabotinsky and the Question of Restraint
I attended the event to mark the publication of the 11th volume in the series The Letters of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, newly published by the Jabotinsky Institute and the Zionist Library of the World Zionist Organization. It contains 360 letters written by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the year 1936. The letters document Jabotinsky’s intensive labors, carried out against the backdrop of the dramatic turmoil in Eretz Yisrael and the world at large which greatly influenced the Zionist enterprise.

Although a few months have gone by, I haven't forgotten something I wanted to write about and now have the opportunity, as I did not take notes at the time but the recent bulletin of the JI, #50, provides a resource.

One of the major beliefs of the period of the Arab Revolt ("Disturbances") that began in 1936 was that Jabotinsky held back the Irgun from engaging in an offensive reprisal campaign in response to Arab terror. The assumption has been that after a few attacks in April, it wasn't until late 1937, and even then supposedly begrudgingly, that Jabotinsky agreed that the Irgun should break the "restraint" policy the Yishuv had demanded [see here, in Hebrew]. The operational details, in any case, are different but I am referring to the overall political position.

In his remarks, Prof. Aryeh Naor notes that already in 1905, Jabotinsky had written that "there is no shame like the shame and quivering before the whip" which he had published in his introduction to his Russian translation of Bialik's "In the City of Slaughter" on the Kishinev pogrom. See Naor's other article.

Jabotinsky opined that the use of armed force, which he promoted in general (see his 1933 article, "Learn to Shoot!" included as "At the Fireside" in Writings: The Way to the State, p. 94 and see the last paragraph in this 1910 article), was quite proper and correct. However, it needed to be subservient to the political needs at a given time. He desired to pressure the British to raise a Jewish militia and thought that attacks were not serve the goal. He telegraphed to the Revisionist newspaper, HaYarden to explain his stance which is incldued in the volume.

Naor clarifies that already in July it became clear to Jabotinsky that the British were not to be persuaded and sent two encrypted telegrams urging active defense response but, as he complained in an August letter to Haskel, they were not understood by the Irgun. Naor thinks that Jabotinsky was opposed by the then-Irgun commander, Avraham Tehomi, who was closer to the Mapai/Histadrut milieu. Naor rebuts the claim that the Eretz-Yisrael born and/or bred Irgunists and Betarim were demanding an activist policy while Jabotinsky held them back. Just the opposite is what he discovered.

In the fall of 1936, Eri Jabotinsky, the son of Jabotinsky, was seeking to unseat Tehomi but his father didn't want to change horses in midstream. It was only when Jabotinsky could appoint a Betari as commander, after Tehomi returned to the folds of the Hagana in April 1937 could the anti-restraint forces achieve the upper hand.


Al-Shabab suicide bomber urges terrorist attacks against Canada


Just in case anyone in Toronto was beginning to feel complacent – Stewart Bell always does a great job investigating extremists with ties to Canada – well done – we should be taking this seriously.

Islamist fighters loyal to Somalia's Al-Qaida inspired al-Shebab group perform drills near Mogadishu in February 2011

Stewart Bell
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2011 9:54 AM ET FOR THE NATIONAL POST

TORONTO — The al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab released an audiotape Sunday it said was a message from a Somali-American suicide bomber who struck an African Union base in Mogadishu this weekend, killing 10.

The English-language message specifically called for terrorist attacks in Canada and said it was a duty for Muslims to fight for Islam, urging listeners not to “just sit around and be a couch potato and just chill all day.” “My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England [and] anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia – anywhere you find kuffar [infidels],” it says.

“Fight them and be firm against them.”

The message appears to be the latest attempt by Al-Shabab to incite Western youths. Canadian authorities are investigating as many as 20 Canadians who are suspected of having joined the Islamist extremist group.

On March 29, police arrested a man at Pearson airport as he was allegedly leaving Canada to join Al-Shabab. Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, faces two terrorism-related charges but was released on bail.

A prominent Somali-Canadian leader told a U.S. congressional committee in Washington earlier this year that Canada was not doing enough to tackle the poisonous ideology of extremists.

“This dangerous and constant anti-Western narrative is fed to them by radicals in our community who do not hesitate to use these vulnerable youth as gun fodder in their desire to establish a base for the al-Qaeda terrorist group in Somalia,” Canadian Somali Congress president Ahmed Hussein testified.

Canada outlawed Al-Shabab last year due to concerns it was recruiting young Somali-Canadians. In one high-profile case, six youths left Toronto in 2009. An extremist website later reported one of them, a University of Toronto student, had been killed in battle.

National Post

US Peace Now Engaged in Subversion

My Right Word

Can this be true?

Americans for Peace Now, the U.S. partner of Israel’s leftist Peace Now organization, has filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in order to oppose listing “Israel” as home country in the passports of those born in Jerusalem.

We know they don't like Israel to be in Jerusalem's newer neighborhoods But to actively, in America, join a court procedure when their basis is political/ideological?

Yes, true:

APN argues in the brief, "this case represents a direct challenge to more than six decades of United States foreign policy on one of the most sensitive foreign policy questions facing the United States - recognition of sovereignty in Jerusalem."...APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "APN has taken a position in this case because we recognize what is at stake here: preserving the very possibility of peace and the two-state solution,...


PM Netanyahu Orders that Construction in the Jerusalem Area be Accelerated
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Tuesday), 1.11.11, directed that the construction of apartments in Jerusalem, in the Etzion Bloc and in Maaleh Adumim, be accelerated. These are thousands of residential units, in areas that will, under any future agreement, remain part of Israel.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A return to 1930 - but no wailing this time

Yisrael Medad

There's a storm brewing and it seems to be 1930 all over again.

For years, we have been suffering from Islamic Temple Mount Denial (see here, too) which I thought had come to an end.

Then there was Rachel's Tomb which Arabs appropriated as a mosque, and which caused PM Netanyahu to get upset .

And now, it's all coming to a head:

West Bank religious sites first for world heritage request

Significant religious sites throughout the West Bank…will be among the first to be pushed forward for world heritage status now Palestine has been granted membership of UNESCO...The authority claims agreements such as the 1994 Paris Protocol severely restrict tourism and therefore economic development in the Palestinian territories. Joseph's Tomb in Nablus - a site important to Christians, Jews and Muslims - has been at the centre of deep sectarian conflict. With UNESCO membership, the Palestinian Authority would now be responsible for ensuring the site was protected, the official said. This reminds me of the dispute over to who the rights of the Western Wall back in 1930.

The Jewish case is contained in this memorandum. A review of the matter is here. And I have gone into this here where I write:

I mentioned the International Commission of Inquiry established by the British Mandatory authorities in 1930 which issued a report that resulted, in May 1931, in unjust restrictions on Jews by the Western Wall in addition to awarding to the Muslim Waqf the ownership of the Wall and the small courtyard which served as the worship site.

This is a matter of identity theft. See here for what appears to be an article translated from the Arabic to comprehend their thinking.

If this is the culture UNESCO will be promoting at the initiative of its new member, there will be two outcomes.

The first is a reframing of the Arab-Israel conflict in terms of religion and national ethos.

The second is the reorientation of Jewish concerns on our rights to Eretz-Yisrael.

It may be difficult at the outset but good will come out of it in the form of a strengthened Jewish national character.

Mahmoud Abbas's Empty Threats‬

Khaled Abu Toameh • November 1, 2011

‪According to senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is considering dismantling the Palestinian Authority if the UN Security Council does not approve his application for full membership of a Palestinian state in the international organization.

‪ In the past five years, Abbas has threatened to resign at least 25 times. Of course he never carried out his threat, which was obviously intended to extract concessions and money from the West. His resignation could actually be a positive step for the Palestinians: it would pave the way for the emergence of new leaders.

‪The threats are Abbas's way of telling Israel and the world that if you do not give me all of what I want, I will step down and you will have to pay salaries to Palestinian civil servants and run the health and education systems in the Palestinian territories. Dissolving the Palestinian Authority, which was established following the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, would mean that Israel or the international community would become responsible for managing the affairs of the Palestinians. That is at least the message that Abbas is trying to send when his aides and he talk about the possibility of dissolving the Palestinian Authority and "handing the keys back to Israel.

‪The late Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat used to warn American and European officials that if they did not give him enough money and weapons, the Iranian-backed Hamas would take over the Palestinian Authority. In the end, Hamas won in the January 2006 parliamentary election -- largely because the Americans and Europeans gave money to Arafat without holding him accountable.

‪Abbas has also been warning the Americans and Europeans that failure to fund his regime would result in Hamas's taking over the West Bank as well. But if Hamas one day takes over the West Bank, either by force or through a free and democratic election, it will only be because of Abbas's failure to reform his Fatah faction.

‪But this is not the first time that Palestinian officials talk about dismantling the Palestinian Authority.

‪ In this regard, Abbas is not much different from his predecessor, Arafat, who also used to issue threats and warnings almost every week. Some Palestinians say that Abbas may have learned from Arafat that threats to resign or dismantle the Palestinian Authority are sometimes received with concern in Israel, the US and EU.

Ever since he was elected to succeed Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, Abbas has been threatening either to resign or dissolve the Palestinian Authority almost every Monday and Thursday.

Abbas has issued similar threats so many times in the past that most Palestinians no longer even take them seriously.

Abbas has no intention of stepping down or dissolving the Palestinian Authority. He and the old guard in the PLO will stay in power until the last day of their lives.

Lieberman: Consider severing ties with PA

Attila Somfalvi
Israel News

After calling for the replacement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and declaring that any other leader would be preferable, the foreign minister launched a verbal attack on Hamas and said Monday that Israel must consider severing all connections with the Palestinian Authority.

"We must consider the option of severing all connections with the authority," Avigdor Lieberman said at a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting ahead of the opening of the Knesset's winter session. "The Hamas regime must be toppled," he stated. In an aggressive speech, Lieberman stressed that Israel would not agree to be a "sucker". "We will not be spat upon, we will not agree to have a terrorist group dictate our actions," he said and reiterated his call for the toppling of the Hamas regime.

The foreign minister claimed that he was not seeking a confrontation with Abbas but made it clear that he was not willing to see the country "turn into the Middle east's ultimate sucker. We've gotten used to situations where someone spits in certain Israeli groups' faces and are told that it’s rain and not spit."
ליברמן בישיבת הסיעה בצהריים. "די להיות פראיירים" (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Not a sucker? Avigdor Lieberman (Photo Gil Yohanan)
Speaking about Abbas he said sarcastically: "It is true that Abbas wrote a doctorate about Holocaust denial but that was a long time ago and he may have changed his mind or succeeded in hiding it. Even now, we've seen Abbas welcome terrorists just for killing Jews and offering them $5,000 each, maybe that's part of his peace efforts."

"It is important that we stop keeping silent," Lieberman noted. "When you read all of the UN Middle East representatives' comments you expect him to also address Abbas' statements. I expect him to have a modicum of objectivity when recommending examining the person responsible for the provocations."

Meanwhile the Labor Party convened its first meeting under the leadership of its new chairwoman, Shelly Yachimovich. "We have an ideological and political opportunity. We must be an arrowhead and opposition against the Likud government on both a diplomatic level and an economic level, Yachimovich said.

Moran Azulay contributed to this report

NGO: PA doesn’t meet UNESCO statehood guidelines


IMPACT-SE report uncovers continued demonization of Israel and Jews in Palestinian textbooks.

The Palestinian Authority does not meet the UNESCO recommendations for becoming a full member in the international organization, according to a study published on Monday by IMPACT-SE – the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.

IMPACT-SE is a research organization that monitors and analyzes schoolbooks and curricula across the Middle East with an eye toward determining their compliance with international standards on peace and tolerance, a goal derived directly from UNESCO declarations and resolutions. Israel, for example, is not mentioned among the states of the Levant (which presently consists of the states of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Palestinian territories) and Jewish holy places are never mentioned as such. For instance, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem is presented as the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque.

According to the study, the Jewish and Hebrew identity of Palestine under the British Mandate is stricken out. One illustration twists a stamp of Palestine under the British Mandate by erasing the Hebrew term ERETZ ISRAEL PALESTINA.

The study also found that there was continued demonization of both Israel and the Jews in the books. Jews are described, among others, as violating treaties, getting rich unduly, deceitful, murdering children, disemboweling women and invading snakes. They are never presented in neutral or positive terms.

The study quotes the following examples from the Palestinian schoolbooks: “The Messenger of God [Muhammad] ordered Zayd Ibn Thabit to learn the language of the Jews in order to be safe from their cheating,” History of the Arabs and Muslims, Grade 6, (2009), page 133; “Your enemies killed your children, split open your women’s bellies, held your revered elderly men by the beard, and led them to the death pits,” Reading and Texts, Grade 8, Part 2, [2003] (reprinted 2007), page 16; and “By your life! How come snakes invade us and we [still] observe a protection covenant [dhimma] which respects commitments?” Arabic Language– Linguistic Sciences, Grade 12, (2010), page 61.

“The Oslo accords and the Declaration of Principles are mentioned and even quoted, but they are not praised and a peacefully negotiated settlement is not advocated or supported,” said the authors of the study.

“In contrast, there is a lot of praise for jihad and martyrdom to free Palestine without defining clearly the territory to be liberated, hence implying that Israel’s territory is also to be liberated.”

The study quotes the following paragraph from a Grade 8 book: “Today the Muslim countries need urgently jihad and jihad fighters in order to liberate the robbed lands and to get rid of the robbing Jews from the robbed lands in Palestine and in the Levant.”

The Shoah is not mentioned at all, though one ambiguous passage reads as follows: “The Jewish question is first and foremost a European problem.”

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Heating Up Again"

Arlene Kushner

It's Gaza. Again. Last Wednesday, Grad Katyusha rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza. On Saturday afternoon, the Israel Air Force hit a terrorist squad in Gaza that was preparing to launch additional long-range rockets. Reportedly, it was the same squad that had launched the rockets on Wednesday. Among those killed were Islamic Jihad commander Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil and four of the group's munitions experts.

From that point on, the heat increased, as Islamic Jihad continued to launch those rockets. Ashdod was hit the hardest, but areas of Be'ersheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachai, Gan Yavne and the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council were under fire from more than 20 projectiles -- Grads, Kassams and mortars -- through Saturday.

A rocket that landed in a residential area of Ashkelon on Saturday evening badly wounded Moshe Ami, 56, who later died on the operating table. He was the father of four. In all, four other Israelis were wounded in the barrage of rockets and considerable damage was done to buildings. Needless to say, the IAF was in the air and continued to target terrorists and relevant sites in Gaza. Saturday night, according to an IAF release: "Three rocket launching sites and one terror tunnel were targeted in the northern Gaza Strip, and in the southern Gaza Strip two terror activity sites were targeted...Hits were confirmed." I am reading at this point that some 11 terrorists have been taken out.


Yesterday, late in the day, a "cease fire" -- arranged via Egypt -- was announced that lasted about 30 minutes, excuse me, "several hours." Shortly after the "cease fire" was announced, at least three additional rockets were launched by Islamic Jihad. School children in the area were kept at home yesterday, and again today.

Today the word is that the Chief of Staff Gantz, with political approval, has given orders to prepare for an escalated response to the rocket fire. This would include pinpoint strikes at terrorist infrastructure. Talk of a cease fire is viewed dubiously in Israel at this point. A Grad missile hit south of Ashkelon, just a short while ago; no injuries or infrastructure damage were reported. By now some 40 projectiles have been launched.


At a Likud faction meeting this morning, before the beginning of the new winter session of the Knesset, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"There is no ceasefire, no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations. Anytime someone disrupts the peace in the south – our response will be severe, just as it was on Saturday, and I'm telling you – even more severe."


And Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an Army Radio interview, said that the IDF does not pay attention to empty calls for cease fires from various terrorist groups,. If they want a cease fire, they will have to actually stop their attacks.

Barak added that the IDF is not interested in returning to Gaza.

Whether there is intention to mount another operation in Gaza or not, I dearly wish he had not said this.


Someone who also wishes he hadn't said it is Ashdod mayor, Dr. Eyehole Lasri, who gave a statement to Arutz Sheva:
"This cannot continue for much longer. We cannot manage such a reality for more months and years. The city’s residents are complaining: Why is the State not acting? Why are a quarter of a million citizens at the mercy of a few minor organizations that decide when to disrupt our daily routines?

"We’ve been living like this since Operation Cast Lead, almost three years. It’s unreasonable, it’s unacceptable, it hurts Israel’s sovereignty and we must reach a fundamental solution. The fundamental solution is quite obvious, I think. We need to form a good defense umbrella over the entire State of Israel...and go into Gaza and do what needs to be done. I don’t think there’s a clearer solution and it needs to be carried out within the next year."


Former IDF Chief of Staff and current Kadima MK, Shaul Mofaz also gave a radio interview today. He said it's time for the Netanyahu government to give the green light to "do what it knows how to do" so there will be deterrence.



As many of you are well aware, the decision to act is political, not military. Many factors affect that decision -- in this instance our relationships with Egypt, with the PA, and with the US may all be relevant -- and more as well. Unfortunately, the political prism seems to interfere with Israel's necessary self-defense.

Uzi Dayan, former Chairman of Israel's National Security Council, pulls no punches with regard to this situation in a piece today in Israel Hayom:

"We are not talking about an 'escalation' or 'crossing a red line,' but rather war: a terrorist rocket war...These rockets cannot quite threaten Israel's existence, but they do kill, maim and disrupt the daily lives of Israeli civilians, and sow fear. (Emphasis added)

"The number of civilians affected by these rockets is increasing, and we cannot continue with these rounds of tit-for-tat fighting....Initially, the terrorist rockets threatened a few thousand. Now they can reach hundreds of thousands; next time, when their range can reach Gush Dan [central Israel including Tel Aviv], it will threaten millions of Israelis. Rocket terror is becoming a strategic weapon...

"Defense alone cannot win. Iron Dome technology is not enough; we also need an iron-fist policy when it comes to terrorism...We must understand that we are in an ongoing war against terror, and we have to lead by continually attacking government institutions and exacting a price from terrorist leaders in Gaza.

"There is no justification for the fact that parents in Ashkelon have to live in fear for their children's lives while Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh simply lives. We must take control of areas in the Gaza Strip and establish security zones, to distance the rocket threats from Israel and facilitate better interception to protect cities and communities in the south. We do not need to reoccupy Gaza, but if the battle leads to a wider campaign, to Operation Cast Lead 2, we will need to 'go all the way' by toppling the Hamas regime. Hamas is not part of the solution - it is the problem." (Emphasis added)

And I say Amen again.


When we talk about escalating the Israeli response to the rockets, there is one additional point I wish to make here, that I believe is of more than a little significance. The reported escalation in our response includes, as noted above, "pinpoint operations against infrastructure." This means, as Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA frequently says, "hitting empty buildings."

Doesn't matter what those buildings were used for. The terrorists groups absorb these hits with relative equanimity. The way to make an impact is via hitting their people. And not the flunkies who run errands. The leaders. We have to have them cowering in fear for their own lives. This puts a major crimp in their ability and desire to organize attacks on Israel.

(Says Lerner: "As long as Israel hits empty buildings and other empty targets each rocket incident is limit to one round. According to the Palestinians, any Israeli action that results in the death of Gazans – including action against Gazans who are in the middle of launching rockets – justifies a massive response.")


Islamic Jihad leaders, for their part, are threatening escalated actions deeper into Israel, as well. Said a spokesman, "Our response [to an Israeli escalation] will be a clear message. We will widen the circle of fire and include new settlements and cities deep in Israel." Islamic Jihad, backed by Iran, is heavily equipped with rockets.

A very brief video showing a multiple rocket launching by Islamic Jihad can be seen here:

Amazing how different is the impact of seeing it, rather than reading about it. What Uzi Dayan is addressing, as evidence both by the video and the Islamic Jihad threat, is very real and very serious.


The Israeli position is that Hamas is to be held responsible for what goes on in Gaza, as Hamas controls Gaza. But that situation may be shifting, Khaled Abu Toameh tells us:

A few years ago, Hamas was the second largest force in Gaza, after the PA. Ultimately, with the backing of Iran and Syria, it became strong enough to control Gaza. But now Hamas finds itself in the same position that the PA once was.

Today the Islamic Jihad organization is the second- largest armed group in the Gaza.

" poses a serious challenge to the Hamas government.

"With the help of Iran and Syria, Islamic Jihad has become a major player in the Palestinian arena. The organization’s leaders now visit Cairo and other Arab capitals, where they are received as VIPs.

"...In the past 48 hours, top Egyptian security officials have been talking to Islamic Jihad leaders and representatives, over the heads of Hamas officials, about a cease-fire with Israel.

"...When Hamas had an interest in preserving the unofficial cease-fire with Israel, it was prepared to clash with any other group that dared to violate the calm.

"Hamas has long boasted that, unlike the PA, its men have succeeded in the past four years in creating a strong regime in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, Hamas has since shown zero tolerance toward any group that posed a challenge to its rule.

"However, in the past two days Hamas chose to sit on the fence while Islamic Jihad militiamen fired rockets and missiles at Israel.

"Instead of trying to stop the attacks as it did in the past, Hamas let the Egyptians mediate a cease-fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel.

"Some Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said on Sunday that Hamas is probably afraid of a violent confrontation with Islamic Jihad, whose members have managed to smuggle into the Gaza Strip new weapons stolen from Libya.

"Besides, Hamas can’t afford to be seen as playing the role of 'border guard' for Israel. Until today, Hamas maintains it’s the PA that is playing this role in the West Bank, the Palestinians said.

"In the words of a Palestinian journalist in Gaza City, 'Islamic Jihad is trying to spoil the party for Hamas, and the best way to do so is by initiating a new confrontation with Israel.'

"Islamic Jihad is acting on instructions from Tehran and Damascus, whose leaders are also reported to be at loggerheads with Hamas.

"According to informed Palestinian sources, relations between Hamas and the Iranians and Syrians have deteriorated because of the movement’s refusal to publicly support the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad.

"Those who are hoping that the downfall of the Hamas regime would bring a more moderate group to power are living in an illusion.

"It’s almost certain by now that Islamic Jihad – which is viewed by some as being more radical than Hamas – will one day rise to power in the Gaza Strip." (Emphasis added)


We hear about the miracles from time to time, the instances in which attacks on Israel should have caused calamities that were somehow averted. Here is such a story, about a congregation that had met in the same place for 40 years, every Shabbat without fail, but had not met on the very Shabbat that a missile landed in its courtyard, in the very spot where people would have been gathered.


It is my understanding that the situation in Gaza is not making news in a great many quarters in the US, and so I am eager to get this out, and so will mention a couple of other items just briefly here:

UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, today voted "Palestine" full membership. This is a gambit the PA took as a way to get its foot in the door of the UN as a state, when approval in the Security Council is expected to fail. This is not a surprise.

The ramifications will be several -- not the least of which is the likelihood of the US cutting funding to UNESCO and Israel curtailing cooperation with the organization.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH 4th) has released the following statement on this issue:

"According to federal laws, UNESCO is now ineligible for funding from American taxpayers. UNESCO members knew this decision would cut off $80 million provided by American taxpayers, but they made it anyway. Now they must live with the consequences. It is President Obama’s duty to prevent any further taxpayer money from going to this organization."

A statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry noted that: "It is disappointing that the European Union, which is working to renew the direct negotiations and opposes the Palestinian move, could not reach a unified position to prevent this decision." Ah, but the Europeans operate in the main without scruples or principles.

The vote was 107-14 with 52 abstentions. The United States, Canada and Germany voted against; Britain abstained.

Naturally, this vote is said to complicate that non-existent "peace process."


Another gambit by Abbas: In a interview last Friday he said that the Arabs had made a "mistake" when they rejected the UN General Assembly recommendation in 1947 (via Resolution 181) that Palestine be divided into a state for the Jews and a state for the Arabs.

"But," he asked, "do they punish us for this mistake for 64 years?"

Cute. What he's attempting to achieve here is acknowledgement that the Palestinian Arabs are "entitled" retroactively to the half of Palestine that would have been that Arab state. It is larger than all of Judea and Samaria and Gaza combined because Israel gained territory in the course of the War of Independence of 1948-49, fought when the Arab League attacked. The "'67 line" is the armistice line that was reached at the end of that war.

I am so terribly tired of this slippery, dishonest man. Do anything but play it straight.


Lastly, here is something else Israel must contend with, and someone else slippery who makes me very weary. Ahmed Tibi of the United Arab List-Ta'al is an Israel citizen and is an elected member of the Knesset.

For several years, however, he served as a political advisor to Yasser Arafat and represented the Palestinians at the Wye River negotiations in 1998. The Palestinians. In 2000, at a commemoration of the destruction of the Temples on Tisha B'av, he led a large Arab crowd chanting, "with blood and fire we will redeem Palestine." And he has advised Abbas not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He's one of "them," not one of us. But because of where he was born, he is a citizen of Israel and has full rights as such. Talk about a schizoid situation. And we're accused of being apartheid?

I mention him here because Tibi has just made the news: He has gone to visit Marwan Barghouti in prison, and called for his release.


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Arab Spring Pushing Iran Closer to Nuclear Weapons


As the world is playing catch with the events in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and other Arab Spring focal points, Iran is very busy.

Trying to keep people oppressed in light of Arab Spring revolutions surely keeps the regime in Iran occupied. But more than that, viewing once strongman like Mubarak and Gadaffi defeated, jailed humiliated and assassinated is probably the strongest driver to Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. It's safe to assume that if Gadaffi possessed nuclear weapons, NATO would not be so keen on interfering in internal Libyan riots. NATO has armed, trained and financed the rebels operations. Without Nato's help, the Libyan rebels would not be able to topple Gadaffi. Just look at Syria. Without external intervention, Assad is able to hold on and keep protesters at bay. Iran is closely watching the situation and Ahmadinejad recently claimed that NATO intervention was effective in exacerbating the conflict.

Look at Iraq, again without nuclear weapons, the US easily invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. In an interview to about a year ago, ex Mossad expert on Iran confirmed that "the regime lives in fear that the USA will invade Iran.. Iranian leaders truly believe that if Iraq had nuclear weapons the USA would not have invaded it. In their view, a nuclear bomb serves as an insurance policy for the regime's stability."

If that was the sentiment a year ago, after watching the events of the Arab Spring, these feelings have greatly intensified.

The west has been trying to convince Iran to halt its nuclear program for years. But Iran has refused to do so despite severe economic sanctions. New reports by Western experts say Iran’s nuclear program is faltering because of poorly functioning equipment. But they also acknowledge Iran has the capability to build at least one atomic weapon in about six months’ time.

As a religious Islamic regime Iran's goal is to export the Islamic revolution everywhere. With the US leaving Iraq now, Iran is likely to step in and increase its efforts to fill the void with an Islamic message. In recent years, Iran has repeatedly worked against the interests of the United States and the international community. The recent plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador on US' soil is yet another attempt to undermine US' authority and global leadership.

A nuclear Iran is a threat to the Middle East and the whole world. Western powers should divert attention from the Arab Spring and focus on stopping Iran before it is too late and the theocratic regime is armed with nuclear weapons.

Obama holds Netanyahu at “gunpoint”

Ted Belman

Before forming the present government PM Netanyahu stood for the following;

- no two state solution
- no Shalit trade as was then being negotiated
- no construction freeze and
- no presentation of an Israeli plan for its borders

Since taking office he violated all these supposed redlines. He gave a speech in which he accepted “two states for two peoples”. He made the Shalit trade he previously had opposed. He imposed a 10 month freeze for nothing in return and in many ways imposed a de facto freeze.

And now, it appears he has agreed to present, “comprehensive proposals” for resolving key aspects of conflict within three months. By agreeing to this and not rejecting the peace process, Israel is accepting negotiations which aim to bridge the gap. Netanyahu has thus crossed another redline.

Netanyahu inherited the Shalit negotiations and once complained that he was dealt a lousy hand as though he couldn’t have started all over again. Similarly, he is not prepared to start all over again on peace negotiations and is prepared to play with the hand he was dealt. It too is a lousy hand.

By Netanyahu formally agreeing to present such proposals, he confirms that he is following Olmert and Barak. This is something Bibi has repeatedly said he would not do just as he has always said he is against the Shalit deal.

This goes way beyond playing rope-a-dope to buy time. This shows a seriousness about negotiations and an intention to really negotiate along the dictates of Obama and his proxy, the Quartet.

Netanyahu has to ask for more than he expects to get, yet on the other hand, if he asks for too much the Quartet will say he is not serious and penalize him/Israel for it. Not for a moment, do I believe that this was his idea or that he willingly went along.

The article Knesset visitor blasts Obama and Netanyahu advises that MK Eldad accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of buckling under intense pressure from President Barack Obama, who wants to prevent any Israeli retaliation against the Palestinian Authority in its bid to win recognition as a state from the United Nations.

He (Eldad) charged that Obama was holding Netanyahu “at gunpoint” – the gun being the U.S. threat to go back on its promise to veto the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN Security Council.

Specifically, Obama has demanded that Netanyahu and Israel’s supporters in the United States pressure Congress to abort two pending resolutions to penalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it pursues its bid, Eldad claimed.

One would shut off U.S. aid funds to the Palestinians and a second would support Israel’s right to annex the West Bank. The legal justification for such actions, cited by many Israeli officials, would be that the unilateral statehood request would be a direct violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

The inescapable conclusion is that Bibi felt he had no choice but to agree with the Quartet’s new Plan in which they proposed that the parties meet for a month and then prepare proposals within the following three months. To my mind the Quartet would not have come out with their plan, at that time, had not Bibi agreed to it.
The Palestinian request for recognition is still with the UNSC and will not be voted on or vetoed until Bibi presents his plan. So Eldad was 100 % correct.

Diplomacy being what it is, the Quartet will do its utmost to get Bibi to better Olmert’s offer. Abbas had offered to allow Israel to keep much less land. Abbas wanted to keep Ariel and much of east Jerusalem including Maaleh Adumin. When Netanyahu formed his government he made it clear that in no way would he match Olmert’s offer. I don’t see how he can avoid it.

When the Kadimah government proposed convergence, there was great opposition to expelling 125,000 Jews. Olmert tried to lessen this number by keeping Ariel and Maaleh Adumin. If he had succeeded, I think as much as 75,000 would have needed to be expelled.

Haaretz published the details of Olmert’s Plan

Olmert wanted to annex 6.3 percent of the West Bank to Israel, areas that are home to 75 percent of the Jewish population of the territories. His proposal would have also involved evacuation of dozens of settlements in the Jordan Valley, in the eastern Samarian hills and in the Hebron region. In return for the annexation to Israel of Ma’aleh Adumim, the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements, Ariel, Beit Aryeh and settlements adjacent to Jerusalem, Olmert proposed the transfer of territory to the Palestinians equivalent to 5.8 percent of the area of the West Bank as well as a safe-passage route from Hebron to the Gaza Strip via a highway that would remain part of the sovereign territory of Israel but where there would be no Israeli presence.

When his offer, made at the end of his term became public, the Israelis were outraged. It is for this reason that Bibi said he rejected it.

It is clear that Olmert was negotiating swaps. Swaps were first mentioned by the Saudi Government when it presented the Saudi Plan in 2002. The Bush administration insisted that this plan, as amended in the Arab Initiative, be included in the Roadmap. Olmert thus had accepted the idea of swaps even though Res 242 did not mention it or require it.

The Haaretz article indicated that Olmert’s Plan followed up on negotiations in Annapolis, though it was expressed there, that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. His plan was also discussed with the Bush administration who had agreed to finance the development of the Negev to accommodate the expelled Israelis.

And we must not forget that Res 242 allowed us to keep some of the territories and to have secure borders. Oslo was founded on it. Although Bibi flat out rejected Obama’s framework for negotiations last May, by agreeing to present his plan he is in effect accepting it in deed if not in words. It irritates me to be fighting over inches i.e. whether we give them 97.6% of the land vs 100 %. The negotiations should center on whether we give them Areas A and B representing 40% of the land or perhaps 10 or 20% more. The Obama proposal makes a mockery of Res 242.

The Atlantic Mag recently published a report Is Peace Possible and I reported on it here.

This report, like the Geneva Initiative before it, was clearly intended to narrow the gaps and produce a settlement between the Olmert and the Abbas proposals. This is what Obama and the Quartet envisage for a settlement. It most certainly will be based on the ’67 lines with swaps and will require Israel to get less land than she wants and to give more land than she wants. Amb Daniel Kurtzer was one of the advisers on this project and we all know that he is against the settlements and always has been. I believe that the Obama administration, the Israeli Left including Yossi Beilin probably had input as well.

I question some of the population numbers quoted in the Atlantic article. The 500,000 figure for settlers, quoted in the Atlantic may have been right early in the Kadima government but it no longer is. The Jewish population increases at the rate of 6% per annum in the territories and therefor would be well over 600,000 today, five years later. Recently, MK Ketzela said it was closer to 700,000.

Finally it is not by chance that just this week Abe Foxman and David Harris launched their Pledge of silence to minimize opposition to what is going on.

And I haven’t even mentioned the so called right of return and Jerusalem. Both Olmert and Barak have offered to take in a “token” number of “refugees” (perhaps as many as 100,000) and to share or internationalize Jerusalem.

Rest assured that the Golan is next.

There is no way that the Quartet would allow Bibi to get away with drawing up a plan where we get to keep Area C as our opener as an example and there is no way Bibi is going to do that with the gun to her head.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Response to Heavy Rocket Fire, IAF Targets Several Terror Centers in the Gaza Strip


October 30, 2011

More than 20 mortars and rockets were fired today from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities including Ashdod (population of over 200,000), Ashkelon (population of 113,000), Gan Yavne (population of 19,000) and the Eshkol Regional Council, causing light to moderate injuries to at least three people and damaging several buildings, including a school. IAF aircraft targeted six terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip. Three rocket launching sites and one terror tunnel were targeted in the northern Gaza Strip, and in the southern Gaza Strip two terror activity sites were targeted. Secondary explosions were observed in certain sites. Hits were confirmed.

The targeting of the sites is in direct response to the barrage of rockets that hit Israel over the past day.

The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz held a situation assessment in response to the renewed rocket fire from Gaza. The assessment was held with the operational general staff including representatives from the Intelligence Corps, the Southern Command, the Home Front Command, the IAF and the Operations Directorate.

The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate with strength and determination against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.

The hypocrisy of the Israeli Left, perfectly captured

Elder of Ziyon

I noted an absurd Ha'aretz op-ed by Alon Idan the other day where he said, among other things:

The Shalit deal is, in fact, a public display of Israel's racist price index. The ceremony occurs every few years, and the index is designed to update the market values of the region's various races. As of October 2011, in the Israeli market, the price of one Jew equals 1,027 Arabs. And the price increases every day.

But a few months ago, during Shalit's fifth anniversary in captivity, here is what Idan wrote: Shalit will not be freed because, contrary to conventional wisdom, the push for his release is not nonpartisan; it is part of a struggle that falls along classic political lines.

Suffice it to look at reality itself - Gilad Shalit is still in captivity.... The seeming gap between the public's desire to "pay any price" for Shalit's freedom and the government's opposition to doing so is deceptive. The fact that the situation has not changed means there isn't really a gap, that pressure isn't really being exerted from below - and if it is, it's not strong enough to break the ruling paradigm.

The absence of such pressure is no accident. It faithfully reflects the fact that the issue fall along classic political lines: the left is in favor of releasing Shalit, the right is against it, and the center says it's in favor but acts against it.

Besides how obviously wrong he was about how the right were indeed the ones that freed Shalit, Idan is identifying the desire to free Shalit "at any price" with the Left that he is a part of.

But when Israel does release Shalit for 1027 prisoners, he deems that to prove Israel's racism!

So by the calculus of his later article, the Israeli Left must be racist, since in his words they would have been willing to release many, many more prisoners to get Shalit back!

As usual, the anti-Zionist Left will twist whatever facts they can to make a political point, consistency be damned.

(h/t Guillermo)