Saturday, October 13, 2012

What’s Really Going On at Rafah?

What’s Really Going On at Rafah?

When it comes to understanding the complicated realities of the Gaza Strip, the Rafah Crossing ranks among the greatest sources of confusion: Many people know it is the main gateway in and out of the blockaded Palestinian territory, and that it is frequently closed. But other details are fuzzy. Many are likely unaware that even when the crossing is supposedly “open”, it is still closed to large segments of the population – both the Palestinian residents of Gaza and others.

The government of the newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi and Hamas leaders were scheduled to meet mid-September to discuss border security and easing of passage through the Rafah Crossing, according to press reports. The outcome remains to be seen, but so far successive Egyptian governments have adopted the Israeli principles governing the Crossing, even though Israel itself no longer manages it. Simply put, those principles are that, only Gaza Palestinians listed in the Israeli-controlled population registry are permitted to use the crossing. Visitors and non-resident Palestinians – even Palestinians from the West Bank – are still forbidden from entering Gaza, and this includes the spouses of resident Palestinians. Moreover, most young males face great difficulty in passing in or out and are often denied permission outright by Egyptian authorities.

Pushback against growing anti-Muslim sentiment in America results in more anti-Muslim sentiment

Faced with a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and a well-funded campaign to educate people about ‘jihad’ and its savage proponents around the world, a coalition of Left Wing and Muslim faith groups say they will circulate a new pamphlet on frequently asked questions about Islam and U.S. Muslims to elected officials across the United States.

(WOW! A pamphlet! Oh, that’ll erase the images of Muslims burning American flags, killing ambassadors, and blowing people up around the world)

IPS NEWS The initiative, (What is the truth about American Muslims?) which coincides with the appearance in subway stations in New York City and Washington of pro-Israel ads equating the Jewish state with “civilised man” and “Jihad” with “savages”, is designed to rebut the notion that Muslims pose a threat to U.S. values and way of life. (Even though they do?)

Several people in New York have been arrested for putting “RACIST” stickers on the these ‘savage’ ads.

Palestine: Great expectations that founded in fiction

David Singer – a prominent lawyer and international affairs expert from Sydney, Australia 
 “Israeli novelist David Grossman is working with Algerian writer Boualem Sansal to launch a writers’ drive for world peace at the World Forum For Democracy in Strasbourg this week.

Their initiative is reportedly supported by some of the most respected names in literature including Claudio Magris, Antonio Lobo Antunes and Liao Yiwu.The Forum brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges which affect societies today.
The writers – in their quest to end conflict and bring peace to the world – have naturally included the resolution of the “Israel – Palestine conflict” within their purview.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Uncle’s Tale: The Trickiness of Fate and the Life of a Man

Barry Rubin On October 12, 2012

When I think about the strange twists and turns life takes, I’m reminded of the strange story of my great uncle Julius Lowenbein. Although fully true his story could have been written by O’Henry. Listen and hear it.

Gyula (Julius) Lowenbein was born on March 11, 1869, in a small Austro-Hungarian village now located on the western end of Slovakia just across the border from the Czech Republic.  At the age of 20 he went into the clothing business with partners in another town but either the business didn’t do well, the partners quarreled, or he had an itch to leave.  So in 1894 they wound up the business and he immigrated to New York, with a second-class ticket bought with his share from the sale.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Will Encourage Egyptian President To Help Gaza Trade

The Chinese news agency is reporting that the  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood  has promised to encourage Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to establish a free trade zone along Sinai’s border with the Gaza Strip. According to the report:
GAZA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood promised to encourage President Mohammed Morsi to establish a free trade zone along Sinai’s border with the Gaza Strip, a source from Palestinian Hamas movement said Wednesday. ‘The Brothers’ leaders promised us to intervene on Morsi’s personal level to remove the obstacles facing the creation of the zone,’ the source said. Hamas, an offshoot of the Brothers, has been controlling the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sex and the Single Socialist

 Sultan Knish

Americans have been steadily losing rights in every area except the sexual. Freedom of speech and religion are on the decline, but the rights to have other people pay for your birth control and provide a space for your gay wedding are doing well.

Jewish leaders enraged over Obama appointment of anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel envoy to the OSCE conference


Jewish leaders expressed outrage Friday over the State Department’s praise for, and defense of, a controversial Muslim leader who has defended terrorist groups and suggested that Israel may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).

Al-Marayati’s well-known anti-Israel bona fides prompted Jewish leaders and others to express outrage over the Obama administration’s selection.

Hezbollah Chief Financial Officer Defects to Israel

Daniel Greenfield 

Hussein Fahs, Hezbollah’s CFO and head of the organization’s communications network, has apparently fled to Israel along with 5 million dollars in Iranian money.
According to official Hezbollah sources, Fahs took with him maps, classified documents and a large sum of money. According to the report, seven women and one man are charged in absentia with collaborating with Israel, entering Israel illegally and obtaining Israeli citizenship.
Why would Fahs flee to Israel?

Southern Israel: Living on Rockets, Miracles, and the Iron Dome

Tazpit News Agency

Days and nights in southern Israel have been punctuated by a growing number of sirens and rocket explosions, with over 60 rockets striking Israeli cities and communities this past week. On Monday morning alone, 55 Qassam and mortar shells were fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. The rocket strikes damaged buildings, properties and a kibbutz petting zoo that is usually filled with children, but was empty because of the early morning hour.

Netivot home directly hit in Grad Rocket Attack two weeks ago. Photo Credit: Daniel Hagbi, Sderot Media Center Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the rocket strike, following an Israeli Air Force airstrike on Sunday that targeted global jihad terrorists operating in Gaza.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Settlers "interested in making peace" - positive report in official PA daily

Palestinian artist acknowledges
Jewish historical period in Jerusalem
on PA TV
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

"Some settlers are 'interested in making peace' with the Palestinians," a rare headline stated in the official Palestinian Authority daily last week.

A reprint from Agence France-Presse, the article repeated the remarks of two Israelis who live in the West Bank. It described how a Palestinian obtained a building permit in the West Bank with the help of an Israeli man, Eliaz Cohen, who "as opposed to the vast majority of settlers, thinks that peace will be achieved through mutual recognition of each party's rights to the land itself."

Islamist Governments Say One Thing in Arabic, Another Thing in English

During his days of peace and terror, Arafat was often accused of saying one thing in Arabic to his people and another thing entirely to the Western media. This brand of doubletalk is common enough in the Middle East, but these days Islamists are discovering that the internet can expose their doubletalk almost as fast as both sides of their mouths can move.

When the Muslim Brotherhood called for protests against the US Embassy in Arabic while sending a reassuring message on Twitter in English, the US Embassy in Cairo boldly called them on it.

Honoring an anti-Semite?

Alan M. Dershowitz

At a time of increasing anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, it is deeply disturbing that the city of Clifton, N.J., — in the shadows of New York City — is considering naming a park after a virulent anti-Semite and racist named Chester Grabowski, who died in April.

At least one obituary of Grabowski earlier this year innocuously called him an "advocate for Polish-Americans." But the truth is much more troubling.

For decades, Grabowski published a newspaper in Clifton called The Post Eagle. In that newspaper, Grabowski repeatedly referred to Jews as "vermin," "animals" and "Christ killers."

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"Back to Normal"

Well, this may be a slight exaggeration, as I'm not really sure what "normal" is here in Israel.  What I mean, of course, is that the last of the haggim (holidays) is over for this season here in Israel -- with the end coming outside of Israel at dark tonight.  And so I'm back to tracking events and writing... 
The happy news of last week is the stunning success of Romney in the first presidential campaign debate -- this one on domestic issues.  Almost to a person, commentators agreed that Romney won the day with his grasp of the facts and his dynamic style of presentation.  His message was simple: Mr. President, you have not delivered on what you promised.  In fact, things are worse than they were when you took office. A new approach is needed, and I am prepared to offer policies and programs that will truly make things better.    

CBS Reporter Lara Logan Rails Against ‘Major Lie' of Last Two Years in Candid Speech: Islamists Are Still Strong as Ever

October 8, 2012
Last Modified: Oct 9, 2012 0
This was no ordinary rubber chicken affair. That was my reaction to the extraordinary keynoter at Tuesday’s Better Government Association annual luncheon.

Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago’s networking circuit. (I am a member of the BGA’s Civic Leadership Committee, and the Chicago Sun-Times was a sponsor).

Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.

Fatah: Palestinians have not abandoned armed struggle


Member of Fatah Central Committee Aloul says "no one has dropped armed resistance from his dictionary," points out Fatah political program has reaffirmed "resistance is legitimate right against occupation."

Palestinians wearing Hamas, Fatah masks Photo: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah
The Palestinians have not abandoned the option of armed struggle against Israel, a top Fatah official in the West Bank said on Monday.

Mahmoud Aloul, a member of the Fatah central committee and former Palestinian Authority governor of Nablus, said that although the Palestinians have agreed to launch a “popular resistance against occupation, no one has dropped the armed resistance from his dictionary.” Aloul’s comments were made during an interview with the private Watan TV station in the West Bank.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Is the Response to Totalitarianism More Totalitarianism?

Douglas Murray

The man's career was spent was spent whitewashing, minimizing, excusing and stooging for some of the worst crimes in human history. The system he supported [Communism] prevented many people from reaching even a quarter of the age he was fortunate enough to live to. Today the crimes of Nazism are reviled; can the same be said of its twin ideology?
The competition may be pretty intense, but if I were asked to name the single worst idea in the twentieth century it would be the one adopted by people who believed that the response to totalitarianism was totalitarianism. The twentieth century is littered with these people: those who became fascists because they were fearful of communists, or communists because they were fearful of fascists. Both had reason to fear the other, but both ended by propelling the other and in the process sucking nearly all air out of the decent center ground.

Libyan Parliament Blocks Muslim Brotherhood Takeover

That’s one the Brotherhood lost. Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur has been removed after repeatedly attempting to stock the government with Brotherhood appointees while ignoring the actual results of the election.
The General National Congress voted 125 versus 44 in favor of removing him as prime minister.
That’s pretty decisive. The entire attempt was hamfisted and lacked the Brotherhood’s usual subtlety. It was obvious that the Libyan Parliament was never going to accept a list this unbalanced and the lack of regional proportion was fatal in a country where tribal divisions are still behind the ongoing fighting.

But as I wrote yesterday, the Brotherhood plays the long game. It has the money and resources to pay out extensive bribes and it has the militias to spread violence and chaos.

The red line should go from Tehran to Ramallah


In his UN address, Netanyahu chose not to acknowledge the connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the effectiveness of an anti-Iran coalition.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas Photo: Jason Reed / Reuters

Ostensibly, both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas focused on separate subjects in their UN addresses: Netanyahu on the need to halt the Iranian nuclear program; Abbas on the need to end Israeli occupation and establish Palestinian statehood. However, neither drew the connection between the two supposedly separate issues they addressed – a link that would make progress on both issues more likely.

Both leaders described a grim picture that was just and true for each. But they did not lay the foundations for a road to a brighter future for their people, or for the Middle East.

Netanyahu and Abbas both addressed international and domestic audiences at the same time. Their subtext was that unless the international community intervenes, other drastic measures will be taken or violence may erupt.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood’s War Propaganda Targets Israel

This is the kind of historical revisionism that eventually leads a country into a war.
Mohammed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had previously claimed that it is every Muslim’s duty to wage war on Israel, got caught tinkering with history when he claimed that the Yom Kippur War was a “Great October Victory” that was won through Egyptians turning to Allah.
The “brilliant victory” Badie added, “abolished the Zionist myth that its army was invincible.”
If your definition of a military victory is proving that a country that is a tiny fraction of your size isn’t invincible, then you’re really setting the bar low.

The Yom Kippur War was a surprise attack on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar with the Muslim side having twice as many troops and nevertheless took Four times as many casualties and lost Five times as many tanks in the greatest tank battles of the 20th Century.

The Professor’s Shoddy History

Berlin’s Jewish Museum gave Judith Butler and Germans permission to indulge dangerous political impulses

(Frank Rumpenhorst/EPA/Corbis)
On May 31, the city of Frankfurt announced that Berkeley professor Judith Butler would be feted with the Theodor W. Adorno prize, named after the late German Jewish philosopher who taught at the University of Frankfurt Am Main. Though she was ostensibly chosen for her academic work, lauded by the prize committee as “one of the key thinkers of our time,” many correctly inferred that the honor was bestowed, at least in part, because of the gender theorist’s outspoken political beliefs. Chief among these is a critique of “state violence” as being anywhere and everywhere wrong. And by Butler’s lights, no state is a worse offender than Israel.

PM, Barak 'see eye-to-eye' after meeting


After public spat, Netanyahu and defense minister agree to cooperate in late-night meeting; FM, Herschkowitz call for elections.

 Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak. Photo: Ariel Harmoni / GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak seemed to turn the page on their recent public bickering during a one-and-a-half-hour Saturday night meeting, saying that they had agreed to continue working together to overcome Israel's security threats.
In a statement following the meeting, Barak said that he and Netanyahu "see eye-to-eye" on every aspect of the Iranian threat, as well as "the relationship with the United States under the Prime Minister's leadership."