Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finally, Some Sanity (and Accuracy) in Assessing DOJ Terrorist Financing Efforts

Jeffrey Breinholt

There has been quite a bit of gloating over the last few years about so-called Department of Justice failures in terrorist financing enforcement since 9/11. These public statements typically claim that the government has failed to win any terrorist financing case, and they generally arise after prosecutors failed to win particular trials, even where the results were not outright losses. Prosecutions in Dallas, Chicago and Tampa are the prime examples of this, even though the defendants in those cases would be surprised to find out they were acquitted as they sit in their prison cells. It seems that no one has bothered to tell them that they are free to leave. Perhaps these critics know something that the courts and the Bureau of Prisons do not.As a person who has more than a passing interest in the success of the Department of Justice’s terrorist financing program, I had planned to put up a website showing that successes in these cases outnumber the failures by a 10-to-1 ratio. Alas, Professor Robert Chesney of Wake Forest University beat me to the punch. Last week, his empirical study was published by the Lewis and Clark Law Review. Here’s what it shows:

We can judge the Department of Justice’s terrorist financing record since 9/11 by looking at how many people have been charged and convicted of the two main terrorist financing crimes: 18 U.S.C. §2339B and the terrorism-related economic sanctions cases brought under 50 U.S.C. §1705 (also known as the International Emergency Economics Power Act, or IEEPA).

Professor Chesney (who testified before Congress last week on the states secret privilege) notes that DOJ charged 44 individual defendants with at least one count based on IEEPA's terrorism-related regulations between September 11, 2001 and July 2007. Charges against 16 of these defendants remain pending (eight of the defendants are not yet in U.S. custody, while eight others are but await trial). Of the 28 defendants whose IEEPA charges have proceeded to disposition, 20 have been convicted on at least one IEEPA charge (seven by jury, one by bench trial, and 12 by plea agreement). Of the eight defendants who were not convicted, four had their IEEPA charges dismissed in connection with a plea to other charges, two were acquitted by a jury, one was acquitted by bench trial, and the charges against one were dropped after the defendant was killed overseas.

Between September 2001 and July 2007, a total of 108 individual defendants were charged with at least one count under § 2339B (including direct violations as well as conspiracies and attempts to violate the statute). The charges remain pending against 46 of these defendants at the time of Professor Chesney’s writing, with 23 of them not yet in U.S. custody and 23 others in custody but awaiting trial. Of the 62 defendants as to whom the § 2339B charges have been resolved, 39 have been convicted on at least one § 2339B-related count, with nine of these convicted by jury and thirty others convicted pursuant to a plea agreement. Another 11 defendants pled guilty to other charges, and had their § 2339B counts dropped as a result. The government moved to dismiss the charges against one additional defendant after the individual died overseas. Eight of the remaining defendants were acquitted on the § 2339B charges they faced (one by bench trial, seven by jury), and three others successfully moved to have the charges against them dismissed prior to trial.

Do you want to know the names of the people who fall in these categories? Professor Chesney delivers. His article contains charts in which the defendants, the case location, the case number, the charges and the dispositions are listed. It is a truly remarkable piece of work. I wish I had written it.

The same law review issue also contains an excellent article by my friend and former colleague, Kelly Moore, on how we ignore the criminal law enforcement tools in counterterrorism at our peril. Kelly is now a partner at the New York office of a major Philadelphia law firm, and she successfully prosecuted a prominent Yemeni religious leader for terrorist financing when she was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, in a case that appeared unwinnable once the government informant literally immolated himself on the White House lawn to protest how he was being handled by the FBI. Kelly’s experience in this case - for which she and Pam Chen and the team of FBI agents richly deserved all the accolades they received - drives her argument, which is similar to what I have been preaching about the vital role of prosecutors in counterterrorism.

The Lewis and Clark Law Review issue containing these articles can be found online. These articles will undoubtedly be inconvenient for those who don't think lawyers deserve a place at the counterterrorism table.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spencer: Defending the West in American Universities

In FrontPage yesterday I reviewed Ibn Warraq's superb new book, Defending the West:

With jihad terrorists around the world making recruits and justifying their actions by reference to Islamic teachings, academic study of Islam is needed more urgently than ever. Yet in today’s universities, political correctness almost completely forecloses any honest examination of the elements of Islamic culture or belief. Much of this is the result of the work of the late Edward Said, a hugely influential professor and author of the book Orientalism, which has set the tone for Middle East Studies in the United States ever since its first appearance in the 1970s. Said contended that Western academic study of Islam and the Middle East was deformed by notions of cultural superiority, and was a racist handmaiden of Western colonialism and imperialism.

Said’s word has become law. On most campuses today any examination of matters Islamic that is even remotely critical is shouted down and labeled bigotry and “hate speech.” Pre-1960 works by Western scholars on Islamic and Middle Eastern studies are disparaged or ignored. Said’s influence has for three decades now had the baneful effect of inhibiting academic and public debate about crucial issues such as how Islam must be reformed and whether or not this reform can be accomplished, and how Muslims and non-Muslims can develop a framework for peaceful coexistence as equals on an indefinite basis.

But now the fearless and clear-sighted Islamic scholar Ibn Warraq has dealt a body blow to the Saidist establishment in his new book Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Ibn Warraq not only reveals the sloppiness and tendentiousness of much of Said’s research; he also demonstrates that Western study of Islam and Muslims has never been as uniform, imperialist, or supremacist as Said contended, delving deeply into the work of the classic Orientalists themselves – painters, sculptors, artists, and writers, much of whose work was once influential in numerous fields, but has of late been under a Saidist cloud. Defending the West shows these men to be, as Ibn Warraq describes them, “colorful and gifted individuals” who “had their own individual reasons for exploring artistically foreign climes, customs, people and costumes,” were not racist, and were not part of some rapacious imperialist project.

But in a certain sense, the subtitle of this book is unfortunate. For while Ibn Warraq elegantly and eruditely eviscerates Said’s thesis, the scope of this book is much wider. In an epigraph, he quotes Arthur Koestler, a man who knew a thing or two about the decline of civilizations: “The predicament of Western civilization is that it has ceased to be aware of the values which it is in peril of losing.” Ibn Warraq identifies three characteristics of Western intellectual inquiry – and of the work of the Orientalists whom Said disparages – that cannot be found consistently in non-Western (including Islamic) intellectual endeavors, and which are in danger of being lost today in the West, not least because of the ideological straitjacket that Said’s followers enforce in universities. The first of these is rationalism, and the prizing of knowledge for the sake of knowledge – Ibn Warraq observes that “under Islam, orthodoxy has always been suspicious of ‘knowledge for its own sake.’ Unfettered intellectual inquiry is deemed dangerous to the faith.” Then there is universalism, the idea of the essential unity of mankind that leads to a genuine openness to other peoples and cultures. While this has characterized the West since the Greeks, Ibn Warraq notes that, in a peculiar inversion of Said’s claim, the Islamic world has generally regarded non-Muslim cultures with contempt and lack of interest – even to the detriment of its own civilizational development. And finally, Ibn Warraq points out that the West has demonstrated from the beginning a capacity for self-reflection and self-criticism that has been almost wholly lacking in Islamic cultures. He explains that “the ability to turn a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits” has always been “the distinctive and redemptive grace of Western civilization.”

But today in our own colleges and universities the redemptive graces of Western civilization are ignored in favor of a Saidist litany of Western crimes and misdemeanors, sapping our strength for civilizational self-defense at the time we need it the most. Erudite, enlightening, entertaining, and magnificently broad in scope, Defending the West is the antidote.

Masked men kidnap nuke experts in Pakistan

Hmmm. What would masked men in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, want with nuclear experts? Perhaps they want to discuss how nuclear bombs violate the peaceful teachings of Islam. Yeah, that must be it. "Nuclear experts kidnapped in Pakistan," from Agence France-Presse (thanks to Dav): TWO Pakistani nuclear energy officials have been abducted by masked men from a troubled northwestern area near the Afghan border, police said today.

The kidnappers bundled the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) workers and their driver into a vehicle in Sheikh Badin, a town in militancy-hit Dera Ismail Khan district, local police chief Akbar Nasir said.

"They were technicians from the PAEC, they were whisked away early Monday morning," Mr Nasir said.

The officials were on a routine visit to conduct a geological survey for mineral exploration in the mountainous area, which adjoins Pakistan's lawless tribal regions, the police chief said.

"We don't know if the abductors were militants or members of some criminal gang," he said, adding that they were believed to be from the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

"A search is underway, we are contacting local people ... We are all trying but so far we have no clues."...

The poisonous myth of 'Israeli apartheid'

Alan Baker
National Post

Last week, various Canadian university campuses hosted events connected to Israeli Apartheid Week. This annual international phenomenon, which began in 2005, serves as an opportunity for those who demonize Israel to spew hatred. As the name suggests, a major theme is that Israel is the Middle East equivalent of South Africa's infamous apartheid regime. This comparison betrays an acute ignorance -- both of the meaning of the word "apartheid" and of the nature of the State of Israel.

Apartheid is the state-sanctioned and -generated degradation of one or more ethnic groups, based on an assumption of racial inferiority. Such a system relies for its implementation on segregation, denationalization and the denial of basic rights. How anyone could seriously equate Israel with such a system defies logic.

Israel is a liberal democracy, guaranteeing civil, religious and social equality to all its citizens -- including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Baha'0is. Israel's Arab citizens have the right to vote, and are represented by three Arab political parties in Israel's parliament (the Knesset), representing a gamut of views from communism to Islamic fundamentalism. Several newspapers freely represent the views of Arab citizens in a far freer manner than is permitted among the media of Israel's neighbours.

Complete freedom of religion for all is strictly protected in Israel -- unlike in neighbouring countries, which recognize only one state religion, Islam, and even criminalize and persecute the practice of other faiths. Consider, for instance, Saudi Arabia, whose police recently arrested 40 Christians for the "crime" of praying in a private house. Followers of the Baha'is religion, who are persecuted in Iran, are welcomed in Israel, and maintain their central religious institutions in Haifa and Acre. Coptic Christians, who face restrictions in neighbouring Arab countries, enjoy freedom of religion in Israel.

In Israel, every citizen and resident has the freedom to petition Israel's Supreme Court on any suspicion of a violation of basic rights by any governmental or official body. Arabic is an official language, together with Hebrew. All legislation, jurisprudence and official documentation appear in Arabic. Road signs are in Hebrew and Arabic. Films are subtitled in Arabic, Hebrew and Russian. There is an Arab member of the Israeli cabinet and an Arab judge on the bench of the Supreme Court. Senior officers of the Israeli army are both Arab and Druze, including at the rank of General. Arab soccer teams figure highly in Israel's soccer league, and Arab soccer players are part of Israeli soccer teams.

Does any of this sound like "apartheid"?

One third of the staff of Israel's Hadassah Hospital--one of the most prestigious and advanced hospitals in the entire Middle East, are Arab. Arabs have complete and equal access to all Israeli universities. Haifa University, for example, is 20% Arab.

The Israeli legal system attributes equal status to Muslim shariah law, Christian cannon law, Druze law and Jewish talmudic law for all personal issues such as marriage, divorce and adoption, and religious courts of all faiths explicitly constitute a part of Israel's legal system. Israeli courts strictly enforce equality among all citizens -- Arab and Jew alike -- in the purchase and allocation of land. Regrettably, the freedoms enjoyed by Israel's Arabs are unknown to Jews in some Arab countries, who are prevented by law from owning property, and frequently suffer persecution. In many Arab nations, Jews cannot even become citizens.

Gays and lesbians, hounded in Arab countries and openly persecuted in Iran, are given protection in Israel's open society. In Israel, women of all religions are not forced to hide behind veils, or face any other religious or social limitation. They comport themselves as they wish.

In Israel, heads or other body parts are not chopped off as criminal punishment. Government-incited religious gangs do not run amok burning buildings and vehicles. In Israel's schools and universities, suicide terrorists are not glorified by posters on the walls. Israel's hit-parade figures genuine pop songs -- not songs calling for jihad and murder.

So how, in all fairness and honesty, can any spectator equate Israel with "apartheid"?

-Alan Baker is the Israeli ambassador to Canada.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

'Unavoidable' Choices?

Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
The Washington Times | 2/14/2008

Ironically, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Rowan Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is chief prelate of the Church of England. Our thanks are not due this cleric, however, for his appalling pronouncement last week that we had better get used to the imposition of Shariah law in Britain since it is now, in his words, "unavoidable." Rather, we should be appreciative because, by his declaration of capitulation to and appeasement of the Islamofascists — who agree with him on the inevitability of the triumph of the brutally repressive totalitarian theo-political-legal code they call Shariah — Archbishop Williams has, albeit wholly unintentionally, sounded a needed alarm. In response, British politicians of every stripe are suddenly professing concern about the danger a courageous British author named Melanie Phillips has, until now, been reviled for depicting as "Londonistan."

Sadly, America is no less in need of such an epiphany. An appeals court in Texas reportedly has just agreed that something called "Texas Islamic Courts" can arbitrate Muslim divorce proceedings in that state. Minnesota is allowing its cabdrivers to refuse transportation to people they consider, under Shariah, to be "haram" or unclean — including blind people with seeing-eye dogs and folks transporting alcohol. Universities, other public institutions and even some private corporations are acceding to demands by Shariah-adherent Muslims for prayer facilities, ritual foot-baths and excused absences from work to allow them, and those among their co-religionists they will pressure for conform, to practice their faith.

Of course, practitioners of other faiths would never be afforded such accommodations. Were they even to ask for equal treatment, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc., would evoke a firestorm of criticism from those guardians— both self-appointed and official — of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state. The latter, including it seems that storied defender of American rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, not only tolerate that cardinal principle's breach by Islamists in this country; they appear supportive of it.

The creeping (some call it "Fabian") imposition of Shariah in America and other freedom-loving nations is not exclusively a product of the coercive effects of terror-backed intimidation and what it evokes from the likes of Archbishop Williams in the form of politically correct "sensitivity" and acts of appeasement.

It is also the result of the money available to avowed Islamists and their enablers in places like Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. In fact, in his infamous speech in the Royal Courts of Justice last week, the archbishop actually recommended "a scheme in which individuals retain the liberty to choose the jurisdiction under which they will seek to resolve certain carefully specified matters. ... This may include aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions and authorized structures of mediation and conflict resolution."

Whether movements of these funds manifest themselves as U.S. acquisitions by Sovereign Wealth Funds (which would be better described as "Dictators Slush Funds") emanating from Islamist nations or as so-called "Shariah-compliant finance," the effect, over time, will be truly "unavoidable": investments in what the Islamofascists call "financial jihad" — penetration and subversion of American and other Western capitalist systems.

It is an ignominious fact that most of the money put to such insidious uses comes from us, in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars we transfer abroad to purchase oil. If we do not wish, inevitably, to be subjected to the Islamists' Shariah on an ever-greater scale, we must recognize it is an illegal political program, unconstitutional and seditious.

We also must do something meaningful and effective about what President Bush has rightly called "our addiction to oil."

Fortunately, there is a practical, near-term and low-cost way to begin dramatically reducing our dependence on oil imported from places that wish us ill: "fuel competition." This alternative to our present, near-exclusive reliance on a commodity controlled by a cartel can be achieved by creating an infrastructure that will permit our transportation sector (where we use most of our imported oil and use it most profligately) to use instead "Freedom Fuels" — namely, ethanol and methanol that we can produce here at home or import cost-effectively from friendly countries.

How can we obtain such an infrastructure? Simple: By adopting an Open Fuel Standard that requires every new car sold in America to have not only seat-belts and air bags but Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) capability. An FFV can use ethanol or methanol or gasoline (or some combination) thanks to a chip and some plastic fittings in the fuel system. Today, these cost a trivial $100 per car. When in three years time, 50 million American cars have this feature (and another 50 million to 100 million overseas), the marginal additional cost will probably be zero.

Not surprisingly, excitement is beginning to develop all over the country as more and more Americans discover the technology is available, here and now (there already are 6 million FFVs on our highways). They are empowered by the opportunity FFVs present to do something real about our vital transportation sector's strategically and economically reckless reliance on oil. Best of all, this is not a big government program deciding which of the various alcohol fuels from sources as diverse as algae, kudzu, coal and trash will be "winners" or "losers." Fuel competition means market forces, not bureaucrats, will decide.

With the exception of a few vocal libertarians (whose opposition in this instance to competition and market-based decision-making seems inexplicable, not to say bizarre), the idea of fuel competition seems to be one upon which we can all agree.

If we wish to avoid in our own land the unsavory fate of enslaved nonbelievers ("dhimmis") under Shariah, we had better hope the adoption of the Open Fuel Standard is recognized as "unavoidable" — and soon.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.

No Quiet on the Gaza Front

P. David Hornik

Luck ran out Saturday night for eight-year-old Osher Twito of Sderot as he and his 19-year-old brother Rami were waiting by a cash machine in the town. Rami had forgotten his credit card, and his girlfriend had gone back to the house to get it. It was at this very mundane moment that the Qassam landed from Gaza and suddenly Osher and Rami were both lying on the ground screaming for help. Osher, the younger brother, was more gravely injured and was taken first to a hospital in nearby Ashkelon and then to one in Tel Aviv. One of his legs has been amputated below the knee; the other might also have to be amputated; one hand is fractured; and he’s under total sedation and attached to a respirator to keep him from suffering severe pain.

Osher is a victim of many things besides the genocidal terrorists who want to kill all Israeli Jews and other Jews and regard the maiming of this child as a successful hit. Israel under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni does not protect him; it conducts only low-scale warfare against Gaza terror knowing that this ensures the rockets and mortars will keep flying as they have been now for seven years.

Israel’s failure to treat the situation as the moral and geostrategic emergency that it is stems in part from Israeli concerns: fear of loss of soldiers’ lives in a Gaza invasion, Olmert’s low legitimacy as a wartime leader after his bad performance in the 2006 Lebanon war, fear of reconquering Gaza and what it implies for the “disengagement” philosophy.

But it stems, too, from awareness that an Israeli action in Gaza aimed at crushing the terror and protecting Israeli civilians will mean a head-on confrontation with a world much more concerned about Palestinians and oil than about Osher Twito. The U.S., worried mainly about a charade of “peace” meetings between Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders, has reportedly “promised [the PA] to pressure Israel to refrain from carrying out a massive attack in the Gaza Strip.”

Even the supposedly favorable international environment in which Israel conducted the anti-Hezbollah campaign in Lebanon meant Israel, apart from its own bungling, was given a few weeks to do something—crush a terror organization—that NATO has not done to Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in six years.

Still, Israel does not take lightly an event like Osher Twito’s injury and there were signs that things may be reaching a boiling point. On Sunday Sderot residents, joined by a small contingent of non-Sderot Israelis, blocked the entrance to Jerusalem and then went in a convoy to the Prime Minister’s Office in that city where they banged on metal barricades and shouted for Olmert to resign. On Monday a similar group blocked a major highway into nonchalant Tel Aviv and blared from loudspeakers the Color Red alarm that Sderot residents hear day and night to give them scant warning of Qassam attacks.

Also on Monday the left-dovish Haaretz, whose editor David Landau not long ago told Condoleezza Rice that it was his “wet dream” that the U.S. would “rape” Israel into a settlement with the PA, editorialized that

The firing of Qassam rockets against Sderot and the nearby kibbutzim is not stopping and is extracting a heavy price in terms of fear and blood.… If the limited military actions Israel is undertaking in an effort to bring an end to the Qassam rockets will not bring an end to the shooting…Israel will have no option but to embark on a broad military operation…. Even if the success of a military operation is not guaranteed, that concern must not prevent the government from doing what is necessary in order to protect the lives of its citizens…. Israel must prove that the blood of its citizens cannot be forfeited….

It was also reported that Gaza-based Hamas leaders have gone underground for fear of being targeted in a renewed Israeli assassination campaign. Barak was said to be preparing the army for a major ground operation in Gaza while being concerned about a “political exit plan”—ominous since it means he and the other Israeli leaders are still in denial about the need for Israel, and Israel alone, to control Gaza and instead contemplate handing it, south-Lebanon-style, to foreign or, even worse, Fatah forces.

Whether or not they knew it, when Osher Twito and his brother stood there Saturday evening in Sderot they were on the front line of the West’s war against the jihad. Before them were terrorists absolutely convinced of their cause and ready to nullify all human norms to pursue it. Behind them was a democracy that fears the repercussions even of defending its citizens against barbaric assault, and behind that democracy were other democracies almost all of which have even less belief in their right to assert their existence.

Not surprisingly, then, it was a dangerous place for Osher, and he has paid a heavy price for it. May it not be in vain and may it help lead Israel, at least, to regain the truth that the innocent must be defended and those who attack them must be destroyed.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rising Star: Medical Tourism in Israel

Hillel Fendel

Israel is becoming a major player in the world of medical tourism, which brought in $40 million in 2006.. Ronny Linder-Ganz summed up the phenomenon in a Haaretz article last week, writing, "As part of the world's transformation into a small global village, the phenomenon of medical tourism has picked up in the past few years: Increasingly, patients who have trouble obtaining or affording medical care in their home countries seek cheaper or better alternatives elsewhere."

Many thousands of visitors have come to Israel to undergo medical procedures in recent years. Linder-Ganz noted that in 2006 alone, "some 15,000 foreigners flew to Israel for complex procedures such as bone marrow transplants, heart surgery and catheterization, oncological and neurological treatments, rehabilitation after a car accident and more."

Amitai Rotem, director of marketing at Hadassah, is quoted as saying that while bypass surgery costs $120,000 in the U.S. for those without insurance, "at Hadassah the procedure costs $35,000, and that includes all the necessary arrangements, such as airfare, accommodations and food for both patient and family."

Similarly, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) costs up to $3,500 in Israel, compared to $16,000-$20,000 in the U.S.

Hadassah recently launched a $20,000 international Internet campaign to increase the number of medical tourists, and other hospitals, both private and state-run, actively pursue this up-and-coming resource as well.


Olmert: PA Agrees to Leave Jerusalem Talks Last

Hana Julian

The thorny issue of negotiations over Jerusalem will be put on the back burner until the rest of the final status discussions with the Palestinian Authority are completed, according to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.. “I wouldn’t say that we have pushed the Jerusalem issue aside, but we don’t want to corner ourselves at the beginning of negotiations,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that "the matter of Jerusalem is not first but last in terms of the order in which the core issues will be discussed and there is agreement by all parties involved in the negotiations." The PA has not confirmed this.

Shas Threats
Olmert’s claim came in the face of reports that senior government negotiators are already talking with their PA counterparts on the issue, which threatens to break up the Olmert coalition government.

Shas has warned it will quit the coalition if talks take place on dividing the capital.

Shas chairman Eli Yishai, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, expressed surprise Tuesday after reporters noted that Israeli chief negotiator Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met Monday and Tuesday with her PA counterpart in the talks, Ahmed Queri (Abu Ala). Yishai was unaware of those meetings, despite a promise by Olmert to keep him updated on the negotiations.

Kuwait: Gulf States Assuming Israel Will Destroy Iran's Nukes

Hana Levi Julian

A senior government official in Kuwait hinted Tuesday that Gulf States are expecting and waiting for Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear reactor before the security situation reaches critical mass.. Sami Alfaraj, advisor to the Kuwaiti government and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said Kuwait and the other Gulf States might ask both the Jewish State and the United States to guarantee their security if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear power station.

“I believe in something on the same Iraqi model… We are assuming in the Gulf that Israel will take it out,” Alfaraj told the Reuters news agency.

Israel destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility in a daring raid June 7, 1981 that neutralized its ability to function before the reactor went “hot” – thereby protecting the surrounding countries as well. Israeli intelligence had confirmed that the Iraqi government planned to produce nuclear weapons at the site.

Then, as now, Israeli officials were convinced that nuclear power in the hands of the enemy constituted an existential threat to Israel. In his briefing to IAF fighter pilots prior to the operation, then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Rafael Eitan said, “The alternative is our destruction.”

A report by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to be published by the end of next week indicates that questions remain about how the Islamic Republic plans to utilize the nuclear power it plans to produce.

Although Iranian scientists were able to explain the traces of bomb-grade uranium found during inspections of its nuclear research sites, they were unwilling to discuss the suspected links between the uranium enrichment already in process, high explosives tests and new missile design.

Western nations are concerned about boasts by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Islamic Republic has been testing advanced centrifuges that would enhance and streamline the nuclear power production process. According to the Associated Press, Iran is currently producing more than 300 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas, a key component used in the uranium enrichment process.

Iran has resisted all attempts by the international community, including increasingly severe sanctions imposed upon it by the UN Security Council, to cease its uranium enrichment program.

Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said during his speech at the 8th Herzilya Conference last month that an Israeli strike might be the last chance to stop Iran from completing a nuclear weapon. Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who also spoke at the conference, also hinted that the military option is growing more likely.

The United States and Israel in particular are convinced that Iran is intent upon producing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, to be aimed at the Jewish State. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sapir College prepares to lay off lecturer who refused to teach reservist

Moran Zelikovich

Lecturer who refused to teach student because he was wearing IDF uniform will be fired after he did not issue apology by college deadlineSapir College has begun the process of terminating the employment of cinematography lecturer Nizar Hassan, who was involved in a dispute with First Lieutenant (res.) Eyal Cohen after Cohen came to his class wearing his uniform last November.

Hassan directed Cohen, an intelligence officer and a cinematography student in his class, to leave the classroom because he showed up to class wearing the military garb.

Rightists React
Rightists take up cinematography to confront Arab lecturer / Efrat Weiss
Marzel, Ben Gvir enroll in Sapir College in Sdeort to confront cinematography lecturer Nizar Hassan, who removed uniform-wearing IDF officer from classroom
Full Story

The college took the step after the deadline Professor Zeev Zachor, president of Sapir College, issued to Hassan to apologize to Cohen passed without any action on the lecturer's side. Cohen had said he would accept the apology if it were to be issued.

The lecturer was asked by the college's administration to apologize to the student in order to avoid the termination of employment at the institution, according to a summary of a disciplinary hearing on the case held last month.

Professor Zachor sent a letter to Hassan saying: "As a condition of your continued employment, you are requested to apologize to the student for hurting and disparaging him. I will ask to see the apology within a week from the day you receive this letter. In your apology, you must refer to your obligation to be respectful to the IDF uniform and the full right of every student to enter your classroom in uniform."

David Brennan, the head of the Student Union at the college, told Ynet that "he was given an opportunity to apologize, to accept each student as they are in his class. He decided not to apologize and from here we'll let the college handle it.

"I think it is appropriate to employ every lecturer that accepts students as they are especially in a sensitive academic institution that is sustaining Qassam (rocket attacks)," Brennan said.

Sapir College responded by saying: "In light of the fact that we did not receive Nizar Hassan's apology, we have begun the process of terminating his employment as customary in an academic institution."

Hassan's response was not received by the time of publication.

Israel News

Egyptian Press Criticizes Hamas for Rafah Border Breach

Breach 'A Grave Threat to Our National Security'

Following Hamas's continued breaches of the Gaza-Egypt border at Rafah, aimed at allowing Palestinians to enter Egypt, Hamas has come under harsh criticism from the Egyptian press. The strongest expression of this criticism came from Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit, after Egypt resealed the border to Palestinians; he warned that anyone who tried "to break through the Egyptian border would have his legs broken." Al-Gheit added that the rockets Hamas was firing at Israel "were being lost in the sand in Israeli territory" as well as giving Israel an opportunity to strike at the Palestinians. [1]

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stated that Egypt was negotiating on the issue of the Egypt-Gaza border with the Palestinian Authority, but not with Hamas. [2]

Columnists in Egypt's government papers expressed concern about Egypt's security, claiming that Hamas had planned the border breach in advance so as to provoke a confrontation with Egyptian security forces and also kidnap Egyptian soldiers to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. They also hinted at Iranian and Syrian involvement in the border breach, as part of a plan to sabotage efforts to solve the Palestinian problem, and in response to Egypt's position vis-à-vis resolving the Lebanon crisis. The columnists also expressed vehement opposition to the possibility that the Gaza Strip could become an Egyptian protectorate, claiming that Hamas operations served Israel's interests in promoting such a development.

The following are excerpts from some of these columns:

Editor of Egyptian Government Daily: Hamas is Plotting to Undermine Egypt's Security

Editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya and Egyptian MP Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim wrote in his daily column: "I cannot understand what has happened to the Palestinians. They've come to regard Egypt - the only country that helps and supports them - as they regard the Israeli forces that occupy their land and cause them suffering... Today, I learned from reliable sources that the first breach at the Rafah crossing was planned by Hamas's leaders ahead of time, about 10 days ago...

"The Hamas fighters are not satisfied with Abu Mazen's [i.e. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's] way of reaching a permanent and definitive solution with the Hebrew state that will ensure the establishment and continuity of the Palestinian state. This is because the only aim of [Hamas Political Bureau head] Khaled Mash'al and his men is to keep this issue hot, so that regional [forces] such as Iran and Syria can continue playing the card of the Palestinian problem to promote their private interests - that is, Iran's nuclear dossier, the liberation of the Golan Heights, etc...

"The indignity and villainy of Hamas's leaders have reached the point where they cooked up a miserable plan comprising of two parts, one worse than the other. I would not deny [the possibility] that foreign [forces] had some part in it as well, since it will ultimately transpire that its objective is to outflank the Egyptians from the East and to undermine [Egypt's] domestic security... It also cannot be denied that Israel has had no hand [in this plan]. The first part [of the plan] involves the intensification of missile attacks against Israel in response to peacemaking efforts that have appeared on the horizon, with a view fo sabotaging, any conceivable agreement...

"Knowledgeable sources reported that Mash'al had phoned Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef in order to coordinate demonstrations in the streets of Egypt calling for jihad and war against Israel - [demonstrations] about which no one should keep silent any longer.

"They [i.e. Hamas] planned to break through the wall with a demonstration by veiled women, knowing full well that the decent Egyptian security forces would never raise a hand against a hungry woman or against a mother seeking food for her children... Unfortunately, however, the women's demonstration was [only] a cover for the subsequent incursion of Hamas thugs who have the blood of their compatriots on their hands - so what was to prevent them from murdering Egyptians?

"The second part [of the plan was] for the Hamas fighters to break through [the border] behind the women [demonstrators], each one following close on a woman's heels - an abominable proximity that contravenes religion. Then [the Hamas members] were to kidnap several Egyptian security personnel and bring them back to Gaza - [a step] which would compel the Egyptians to [pressure Israel] to release Hamas prisoners from its jails.

"The Gaza residents who are fleeing [the Israeli oppression] are treating our people just as they treat Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit, or the soldiers captured by Hassan Nasrallah's forces in Lebanon in the summer of 2006..."

Egypt Will Not Permit an Iran-Sponsored Hamas

Ibrahim continued: "The tragedy reached its peak when they started hurling stones at the Egyptian security forces - a hateful and despicable act. These stones, which we admired in 1987 when they were used by brave children during the Intifada of the Stones to fight the Israeli occupation... these young boys and girls have since grown up. Those who were 12 then are now 33, and their interests have changed... They have sold their [souls], entrusting their fate to others - whose only desire is to end Egypt's role as one of the most important elements in the region's stability.

"The 'children of the stones' have changed since becoming Hamas fighters. They have forgotten their heroic past, when they went out to fight the occupiers' tanks with stones. They now aim their stones at Egyptian security forces deployed along the borders of a sovereign state... which, humanitarian considerations notwithstanding, do not want to admit those who attack its sovereignty...

"Indeed, the Egyptians are now getting a poor return from the Palestinians for the favors [they have done for them]. [But even] though we have for years seen only ingratitude, it is [still] inconceivable for us to accept an injury to our honor and an attack on our sovereignty.

"Unfortunately, the Palestinians are helping Israel to implement its plan, i.e. to unload the Gaza strip, which has been separated from the Palestinian Authority, and to return it to Egypt... This is why I must stress that a breach of the border will not happen again - whether for humanitarian reasons or for religious considerations. The Palestinians have not acted [appropriately]; [furthermore], they are working for another plan - to forcibly again break through the Rafah crossing [sometime in the near future]... Egypt will never allow the Palestinians to do to the Sinai what they have done to Jordan or Lebanon... If anyone dares to open the crossing by force, he will pay dearly.

"If Hamas hopes that the Muslim Brotherhood will prompt the Egyptian public to identify with it, [they should know that] the Egyptians are too smart to be drawn into a campaign aimed at exporting Gaza, with all its problems, to Egypt, or at settling the Palestinians in Sinai against our will. We did not fight Israel for 30 years for the return of our land and for full sovereignty over [it] only to later hand over it to the Palestinians to settle there, bring their families over, and declare it an independent Hamas republic benefiting from the support of Iran and the [Muslim] Brotherhood as well as Israel's blessing - after Israel finally managed to get rid of that 'headache'... This will never happen..." [3]

The Border Breach is an Attempt by Syria to Distance Egypt from the Lebanese Crisis

In another column, Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim discussed an interview by Khaled Mash'al on Orbit TV, writing: "Do not trust Hamas, since it is implementing an Israeli plan aimed at ensuring Israel's security; bringing down the Camp David accords through planting other citizens [i.e. non-Egyptians] in Egypt; destroying the PLO in the [West] Bank, [thereby] putting an end to any hope of unification [of the West Bank and] Gaza; and to drive a permanent wedge among Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians...

"We are facing a grave threat to our national security under the guise of protecting the Palestinians, who have been uprooted and are fleeing the siege and Israeli violence... Let me make two comments. First, beware, because the currency used by Gaza residents in the Egyptian Rafah is counterfeit; second, I sense that Syria is trying to create security problems for Egypt in order to force it to give up its role as a partner in [seeking] a solution to the presidential crisis in Lebanon. There are signs that Egypt's insistence on assisting in [Lebanon's] presidential election process has caused Damascus to promote a popular uprising in Gaza, in the hope of diverting our attention from Lebanon to a problem that has become relevant to our own national security..." [4]

Hamas Fighters Can't Tell the Difference Between Friend and Foe

Supreme Council of Journalists secretary-general and former editor of the Egyptian government paper Al-Akhbar Galal Dweidar wrote: "It was not enough for Hamas and its agents to undermine Egypt's sovereignty... They went so far as to resort to using weapons against the Egyptian border patrol, wounding dozens - something they have never done to their Israeli enemies during their conflict with them.

"There is no better evidence of their [i.e. the Hamas fighters'] evil intentions than the Egyptian National Council announcement of [Egypt's] capture of several Palestinians who had penetrated deep into Egyptian territory with weapons and explosive belts. This shows that [the Hamas fighters] can't tell the difference between friend and foe. It is a grave [problem] that proves that some are exploiting the pain of the Palestinian people in order to export anxiety and problems to Egyptian territory - while the Egyptian people are trying to help the Palestinians. This group, which has already abused the solidarity and unity of the Palestinian front, must realize that Egyptian territory is not ownerless, and that [its people's] patience is not boundless..." [5]

Hamas, Israel Have a Common Interest in Wreaking Havoc in Sinai

Khaled Imam, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian government daily Al-Masaa, wrote: "Israel and Hamas clearly have a strong desire to create chaos in Sinai. Whether there is an open agreement between them or whether [it is merely a matter of] common interests, they didn't take into account that Egypt would never, no matter what, permit chaos to be created in its territory. What they are planning and what they are trying to achieve are vain, unrealistic dreams...

"Hamas sees the current situation as an honorable way out of the quagmire into which it has sunk - since the Palestinians in Gaza are under siege, without gas, electricity, or water, and are therefore on the verge of exploding. Hamas' philosophy was to let them explode in the face of Egypt rather than in their own face. The following question arises: If the Palestinians in Gaza were hungry while the Gaza shops were full of food that no one could buy - where did they get the money that they brought with them from Rafah to buy what they needed? Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for them to buy this in Gaza shops? Unless this [whole] migration was prearranged, with Egypt as its [final] destination..." [6]

Egypt Is Forced to Pay for Hamas's Failed Policy

In addition to extensive criticism in the Egyptian press of Hamas's border breach, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies director Dr. 'Abd Al-Mun'im Sa'id criticized Hamas' failed management of the PA's affairs, as well as its strategy against Israel. In a column in Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party weekly Al-Watani Al-Yawm, Sa'id wrote:

"Hamas's election by the majority of the Palestinian people has invested it with the formidable responsibility of leading the Palestinian people, protecting its interests, developing its abilities, and managing its relations with the world and with Israel. Its military coup against the Palestinian Authority and its [currently] exclusive control of the Gaza Strip have forced it to assume complete responsibility over the Gazans, in financial, social, and security matters.

"However, Hamas has failed to fulfill this responsibility, both after it was elected and following its [Gaza] coup. In fact, it has done nothing but publicly condemn Israel and the PA, on television and in daily communiqués to the world, and to the Islamic Arab countries.

"Hamas has never announced, to the Palestinian people or even to Gaza's residents, its strategy regarding the liberation of Palestine and the defense of Palestinians against Israel's aggression.

"[It follows that,] for Hamas, Israel is not a benign enemy; it has always been a bitter and violent one. Therefore, the assumption that the continued firing of Qassam rockets - which have been harassing Israelis in their daily life - would bring about the liberation of Palestine is obviously an exaggeration.

"Furthermore, an obvious consequence [of this policy] is the great threat to the lives of the Palestinians, as individuals as well as a society - [a threat that may involve] a huge number of casualties. These [numbers of] victims would be acceptable if they were part of a clear and comprehensive strategy aimed at forcing Israel to withdraw. But what has happened is that these rocket attacks have made the world unite with Israel, believing it to be acting in self-defense.

"More importantly, [the firing of rockets] has proven that Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, with no peace agreement with the Palestinians, has made it [i.e. Israel] capable of ruling over Gaza and over the lives of [its residents] with even greater flexibility than when Gaza was under actual Israeli occupation. However, Hamas [deliberately] chose a strategy aimed not at winning the conflict with Israel, but at winning the conflict with the rest of the Palestinians [i.e. outside of Hamas].

"The rockets, [which are being used] as a means of opposing the peace process and applying pressure [on it], are not for pressuring Israel, but for gaining popularity among the Palestinians...

"The problem of Gaza is too great to be [relevant] only to the Palestinians. It has gradually become relevant to the Egyptians as well, and Egypt has been forced to pay for Hamas' policy. [This is] despite the fact that Hamas never sought Egypt's advice regarding it, Egypt had no part in formulating it, and Egypt clearly disagrees with it... Does Hamas want to draw Egypt into a series of wars that Egypt never wanted?..." [7]

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 8, 2008.

[2] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), February, 2008.

[3] Al-Gumhouryiya (Egypt), January 27, 2008.

[4] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), January 28, 2008.

[5] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), January 28, 2008.

[6] Al-Masaa (Egypt), January 27, 2008.

[7] Al-Watani Al-Yawm (Egypt), January 29, 2008.

Speaking of which, did you hear ...?

Steven Shamrak

Government of Self-hating Idiots. This year's Israel Prize in political science will be awarded to Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Education Minister Yuli Tamir announced on Thursday. Sternhell has called for use of IDF tanks against Jews living in Judea and Samaria and encouraged Arab terror attacks on the Jews living outside Israel's pre-1967 borders. Forged Dollars in Sinai. More than a million dollars in forged United States currency have been found in Sinai in the past two weeks. The authorities continue to find fake money in towns near Gaza where Gaza Arabs shopped two weeks ago. The fake currency was allegedly produced in Gaza. 'Poor' Gaza Arabs spent well over $300 million during the several days that they were allowed to enter Egyptian territory.

Quote of the Week:

"I would support moving the Palestinians to Egypt temporarily, in order to bomb Israel into the stone-age. Then, after some environmental cleanup, bring the Palestinians back to their land. That would be just." – A response from a 'friend' of Israel to my article "Sinai Option". Unfortunately, there are too many responses like this from Muslims, anti-Semites of all sorts and self-hating Jews! During the six and a half years that I have been publishing my editorial letter, not once have I called for killing of our enemies!

Brotherly Love. President Mubarak decided to crack down on the Hamas-led mass Palestinian invasion of Sinai after Saudi King Abdullah, a former Hamas patron, warned that the Palestinian fundamentalists were on a rampage which could provoke destabilizing radical violence against Arab regimes. An angry Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said: "Anyone who breaches the border will have their legs broken." (Muslim leaders, unlike Israeli ones, say what they mean. They do not care about international opinion or fake political correctness.)

Ultimate Betrayal. The Olmert government has agreed to transfer JNF land in Karmiel to the ownership of Arabs. Minister of Construction and Housing Ze'ev Boim has instructed the Israel Lands Authority to register apartments built on JNF land in the Jewish Galilean town in the name of Arabs. (Jews around the world collected fund to secure the future of the Jewish state by buying land in Palestine. Is spite of all of the difficulties caused by the British mandate administration and Arab leadership, most of the land in Israel was bought by JNF at high cost. Now, the traitors are betraying the memory and inspirations of the Jewish pioneers by giving away Jewish land to the enemies, which is not theirs to give!)

Politicly Correct Stupidity. The digital remake of the children's classic story based on the Three Little Pigs has been rejected by by Becta, a UK government education technology agency, in case it offends Muslims. Tahir Alam, the head of education at the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We are not offended by that at all." (It is not kosher to eat pork, but one can read about pigs!)

Olmert is Unable to Learn. Israel Security Service director Yuval Diskin has warned that the plan by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free terrorists involved in murders of Israelis will endanger the security of the country.

Saudi Arabia to Receive Eurofighters. Saudi Arabia will receive 72 Eurofighters in 2009. The deal provides for a transfer of technology. The deal is unrelated to the proposal by American President George W. Bush to sell Saudi Arabia $20 billion in advanced weapons.

Israel and NASDAQ. Israel has become a Goliath in the fields of medicine and technology and is the third ranking countries with NASDAQ listings. Israel is ahead of economic powerhouses like Germany, England and China. Among Israeli innovations are instant messaging on the Internet, wireless computer chips and medicines. American troops use Israeli portable digital X-ray machines in Iraq and Afghanistan that don't require film for developing and are used in battlefield situations..

Gov't report finds Peace Now broke law

Peace Now, an extra-parliamentary organization which promotes a two-state solution, has been accused by a department of the Justice Ministry of violating the law, Channel 2 reported on Monday.According to the report, an investigation conducted by the government found that Peace Now broke the law by using money earmarked for an educational non-profit organization to fund political activities.

In the past few days, the department published its findings in a report which details the illicit activities, and has recommended that the government take action and possibly dismantle the organization. However, due to staff changes in the department, the process was expected to be delayed, the Channel 2 report said.

In the meantime, the implication of the findings were that Peace Now does not have the proper administration certificates. As a result, the organization will immediately begin to have problems with fund raising in the United States due to the fact that donations will no longer be considered tax-deductible, the Channel 2 report concluded.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Are Israeli Settlements Legal?

The Palestinians often claim that settlement activity is illegal and call on Israel to dismantle every settlement. In effect, they are demanding that every Jew leave the West Bank, a form of ethnic cleansing. By contrast, within Israel, Arabs and Jews live side-by-side; indeed, Israeli Arabs, who account for approximately 20% of Israel's population, are citizens of Israel with equal rights. The Palestinian call to remove all Jewish presence from the disputed territories is not only discriminatory and morally reprehensible; it has no basis either in law or in the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.The various agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993 contain no prohibitions on the building or expansion of settlements. On the contrary, they specifically provide that the issue of settlements is reserved for permanent status negotiations, which are to take place in the concluding stage of the peace talks. The parties expressly agreed that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction or control over settlements or Israelis, pending the conclusion of a permanent status agreement.

It has been charged that the provision contained in the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement prohibiting unilateral steps that alter the status of the West Bank implies a ban on settlement activity. This position is disingenuous. The prohibition on unilateral measures was designed to ensure that neither side take steps that would change the legal status of this territory (such as by annexation or a unilateral declaration of statehood), pending the outcome of permanent status talks. The building of homes has no effect on the final permanent status of the area as a whole. Were this prohibition to be applied to building, it would lead to the unreasonable interpretation that neither side is permitted to build houses to accommodate the needs of their respective communities.

As the Israeli claim to these territories is legally valid, it is just as legitimate for Israelis to build their communities as it is for the Palestinians to build theirs. Yet in the spirit of compromise, successive Israeli governments have indicated their willingness to negotiate the issue and have adopted a voluntary freeze on the building of new settlements as a confidence-building measure.

Furthermore, Israel had established its settlements in the West Bank in accordance with international law. Attempts have been made to claim that the settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which forbids a state from deporting or transferring "parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." However, this allegation has no validity in law as Israeli citizens were neither deported nor transferred to the territories.

Although Israel has voluntarily taken upon itself the obligation to uphold the humanitarian provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel maintains that the Convention (which deals with occupied territories) was not applicable to the disputed territory. As there had been no internationally recognized legal sovereign in either the West Bank or Gaza prior to the 1967 Six Day War, they cannot be considered to have become "occupied territory" when control passed into the hands of Israel.

Yet even if the Fourth Geneva Convention were to apply to the territories, Article 49 would not be relevant to the issue of Jewish settlements. The Convention was drafted immediately following the Second World War, against the background of the massive forced population transfers that occurred during that period. As the International Red Cross' authoritative commentary to the Convention confirms, Article 49 (entitled "Deportations, Transfers, Evacuations") was intended to prevent the forcible transfer of civilians, thereby protecting the local population from displacement. Israel has not forcibly transferred its citizens to the territory and the Convention does not place any prohibition on individuals voluntarily choosing their place of residence. Moreover, the settlements are not intended to displace Arab inhabitants, nor do they do so in practice. According to independent surveys, the built-up areas of the settlements (not including roads or unpopulated adjacent tracts) take up about 3% of the total territory of the West Bank.

Israel's use of land for settlements conforms to all rules and norms of international law. Privately owned lands are not requisitioned for the establishment of settlements. In addition, all settlement activity comes under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Israel (sitting as the High Court of Justice) and every aggrieved inhabitant of the territories, including Palestinian residents, can appeal directly to this Court

The Fourth Geneva Convention was certainly not intended to prevent individuals from living on their ancestral lands or on property that had been illegally taken from them. Many present-day Israeli settlements have been established on sites that were home to Jewish communities in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and religious connection with the land. Many of the most ancient and holy Jewish sites, including the Cave of the Patriarchs (the burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Rachel's Tomb, are located in these areas. Jewish communities, such as in Hebron (where Jews lived until they were massacred in 1929), existed throughout the centuries. Other communities, such as the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea, were founded before 1948 under the internationally endorsed British Mandate.

The right of Jews to settle in all parts of the Land of Israel was first recognized by the international community in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The purpose of the Mandate was to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in the Jewish people's ancient homeland. Indeed, Article 6 of the Mandate provided for "close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use."

For more than a thousand years, the only time that Jewish settlement was prohibited in the West Bank was under the Jordanian occupation (1948-1967) that resulted from an armed invasion. During this period of Jordanian rule, which was not internationally recognized, Jordan eliminated the Jewish presence in the West Bank (as Egypt did in the Gaza Strip) and declared that the sale of land to Jews was a capital offense. It is untenable that this outrage could invalidate the right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and accordingly, the legal titles to land that had already been acquired remain valid to this day.

In conclusion, the oft-repeated claim regarding the illegality' of Israeli settlements has no legal or factual basis under either international law or the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Such charges can only be regarded as politically motivated. Most importantly, any political claim -- including the one regarding settlements -- should never be used to justify terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.

The Palestinian Census - Smoke & Mirrors

Yoram Ettinger

The Feb. 9, 2008 Palestinian census is not a cause for fatalism. In contrast with the census, the accurate number of Judea & Samaria Arabs is 1.5MN, and not 2.3MN, and the number of Gaza Arabs is 1.1MN, and not 1.5MN.
The Palestinian census is refuted by Palestinian, Israeli and international documentation of birth, death, migration, first-graders and eligible voter registration in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which has been systematically conducted by the Bennett Zimmerman-led "American-Israeli Demographic Research Group" (AIDRG).

While the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) contends a 30% population growth during the last 10 years, the World Bank documents a substantial erosion of the Palestinian fertility rate and a significant escalation of emigration from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The World Bank documents a 32% gap between the number of first graders per PCBS projections (24% increase) and per Palestinian Ministry of Education documentation (8% decrease).

A strange co-incidence has produced similarity between the 2007 census and the PCBS 1997 projection toward 2007, in spite of dramatic volatility in the areas of security, economics and politics, which has occurred since 1997, and which has caused a boost in Palestinian emigration and decline in fertility. For example, terrorism and counter-terrorism, the Hamas-Fatah war, unprecedented (over 30%) unemployment, the rise in the price of oil and a corresponding rise in demand for manpower in the Arab oil producing countries, intensive UNRAW and PCBS-led family planning, an unprecedented reduction of teen-pregnancy, a swift urbanization process, an all-time-high Palestinian divorce rate, an impressive expansion of the education system and the increase in Palestinian median wedding-age. The 1997 PCBS projections have been refuted annually by the documentation produced by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education and Election Commission, as well as by Israel's Border Police and European observers, monitoring exists and entries through Israel's, Judea, Samaria and Gaza’s international passages.

While the 2007 census ignores the bolstered emigration phenomenon, Israel's Border Police and the European Observers have documented net-emigration of 12,000 in 2004, 16,000 in 2005 and 25,000 in 2006, with expectation of a significant rise in the scope of 2007 net-emigration. The extent of 1997-2003 average annual net-emigration was over 10,000, which has characterized the entire period since 1950!

According to the PCBS website, the 2007 census was based on the 1997 census, which was inflated by 30%, growing exponentially by the year. Thus, in contrast with internationally accepted demographic standards, the 1997 census included 325,000 residents, who stayed abroad for over a year, as well as students, who studied overseas, irrespective of their study period. Israel subtracts from its census Israelis who are away for over a year, and restores them following 90 days of stay in Israel. The 1997 census included 210,000 Israeli Arabs, bearing Israeli I.D. cards, who were doubly-counted: as Israeli Arabs by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and as West Bank Arabs by the PCBS.

In summation, the 2007 census for Judea & Samaria was inflated by 53%, and the Jewish-Arab proportion west of the Jordan River - without Gaza - documents a robust Jewish majority of 67%, compared with a 33% Jewish minority in 1947, including Gaza. The most effective symptom of the transformation - from Arab to Jewish demographic momentum - has been the absolute annual number of Jewish and Arab births within Israel's "Green Line." While the number of annual Arab births stagnated at 39,000 between 1995-2007, the number of annual Jewish births catapulted by 40% from 80,400 in 1995 to 112,000 in 2007.

There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal, there is no demographic machete at Israel's throat, and the demgoraphic tailwind is Jewish, not Arab. In fact, documented births, deaths and migration clarify that Jewish demography has become a strategic asset and not a liability. Hence, awareness of demographic reality could enhance the security, political, strategic, diplomatic and economic options of Israeli Doves and Hawks alike.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Malley -Obama adviser on the Middle East

More on Malley

Last night, in a piece about Barack Obama's association with anti-Israeli, and in one case pro-jihadist, figures, I mentioned that Robert Malley is one of Obama's foreign policy advisers. I knew that Malley has peddled the lie that Camp David failed to produce an agreement because Israel wasn't serious about giving the Palestinians a state. However, I did not realize the full extent to which Malley has shilled for Arafat and the PLO, or the full extent of his hatred of Israel. Ed Lasky lays it all out in this post at the American Thinker. Lasky includes links to some of Malley's greatest hits including:

Playing Into Sharon's Hands: which absolves Arafat of the responsibility to restrain terrorists and blames Israel for terrorism. He defends Arafat and hails him as "the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel, relinquish the objective of regaining all of historic Palestine and negotiate for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 boundaries {and] the only Palestinian with the legitimacy to sell future concessions to his people."

Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine: which blames Israel's security operations for weakening Palestinian security forces (absurd on its face: terrorists filled the ranks of so-called Palestinian security forces-which, in any case, never tried to prevent terrorism) and calls for international forces to restrain the Israelis

Making the Best of Hamas's Victory: which called for international aid to be showered upon a Hamas-led government and for international engagement with Hamas (a group that makes clear in its Charter, its schools, and its violence its intent to destroy Israel). Malley also makes an absurd assertion: that Hamas' policies and Israeli policies are mirror images of each other.

Avoiding Failure with Hamas: which again calls for aid to flow to a Hamas-led government and even goes so far as to suggest that failure to extend aid could cause an environmental or health catastrophe-such as a human strain of the avian flu virus!

How to Curb the Tension in Gaza: which criticizes Israel's for its actions to recover Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped and is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. He and co-writer Gareth Evans call Israel's actions ‘collective punishment" in "violation of international law".

Forget Pelosi: What About Syria?: where Malley calls for outreach to Syria, despite its ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the terrorists committing murder in Iraq; believes it is unreasonable to call for Syria to cut ties with Hezbollah, break with Hamas, or alienate Iran before negotiations; he believes a return of the Golan Heights and engagement with the West will somehow miraculously lead the Syrian regime to take these steps -- after they get all they want.

The U.S. Must Look to its Own Mideast Interests: (co-written with Aaron David Miller) which advocates a radically different approach towards the Middle East which, in their words, does not "follow Israel's lead" and encompasses engagement with Syria (despite problems with Lebanon and their support for Hezbollah) and Hamas (regardless of its failure to recognize Israel or renounce violence).

A New Middle East: which asserted Hezbollah's attacks on Israel and the kidnapping of Israelis, which sparked the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006, were motivated by Hezbollah's desire to retrieve Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and were a response to pressure being exerted on its allies-Syria and Iran.

The Jewish vote is about to come into play meaningfully, as the focus shifts to big-state Democratic primaries. The polling I've seen suggests that it will support Clinton by a large margin. Some may say that this is a result of the Clintons having played the race card, and even suggest that Jews favor Clinton because of Obama's race.

But whatever actually motivates Jews to reject Obama, Jews interested in the fate of Israel will have good cause to reject him.

Barak Obama and Israel -- Part 2

# The rise of the presidential candidacy of Barak Obama has raised some serious concerns about his foreign policy positions - especially concerning Israel and the Middle East. Our first report on this perculating issue brought a considerable amount of reaction from our One Jerusalem community.
# Since our relatively-recent post, there has been a considerable amount of research into who are the members of Obama's foreign policy brain trust. Our first blog post centered on Robert Malley, now there is a growing body of information about other members of O'Bama's foreign policy brain trust. But before sharing this information let say a few words about Obama's actions and words related to the Middle East and Israel. * I recommend visiting Obama's website to see his expressions of support for Israel, his stated opposition to Hamas, Hezbolah, and terrorism, and his commitment to Bush's two state initiative. Obama recently reiterated these positions in a conference call with members of the Jewish/Israeli press. The general consensus among the people who participated on the call was that he said all the right things: Among them being a commitment to the survival of the Jewish State. Frankly, his stated positions on Israel do not, at their core, differ from Clinton, Romney, or McCain.
* This brings us to Obama's foreign policy advisers and related concerns. There is no doubt that Obama and Clinton (for that matter all the Republican candidates are in the same boat) are short on foreign policy experience, therefore it seems appropriate to delve into who they are relying on to develop their positions on security and foreign policy matters. Given Obama's metrotic rise and the general lack of information about him let us continue our exploration of what recent information has come to light about how Obama might relate to Israel.
* Should he be elected President, Obama will face a problem that all first-term President's come up against: Appointing a foreign policy team. He has already done this for his campaign and many friends of Israel and supporters of a strong American foreign policy are deeply concerned by who comprises this team.
* Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr at American Thinker have done their usually careful research before writing about their deep concerns about who Obama has chosen as his team. The most senior expert is Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser and staunch Bush critic Zibignew Brzezinski.
* Brzezinski is the godfather of the blame Israel first school of analysis. He has blamed American policies that treats Israel as a true ally as being the central reason for our problems in the Middle East. One must wonder why any candidate would associate with Brzezinski. Afterall, his failed tenure in the Carter Administration should be reason enough to look for another adviser.
* But Brezinski is not the only problem. Noah Pollak at Commentary has uncovered disturbing information about another Obama adviser -- Samantha Power by way of Harvard. Pollak cites this quote from Power:

"America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive."

* In other words, making Israel's security a concern of United States foreign policy is wrong according to Power. She is also a vocal critic of a foreign policy that puts the concerns of America first and those of international institutions lower down the ladder.
* Malley, Brzezinski, and Powers are all critics of a pro-Israel policy for the United States. Why has Obama invited them into his inner circle? Is it a sign that he would consider shifting policy away from Israel -- that he may support treating Israel in the same manner as Israel's enemies?
* Another reason for concern is Obama's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.. Wright is an out spoken friend and admirer of the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan. Read more about the troubling Rev.Wright here.
* Obama's foreign policy team also includes Dr. Susan Rice, who served as chief foreign policy adviser to John Kerry when he ran for President. Dr. Rice also served in the Clinton Administration and co-authored an article disagreeing with President Bush's decision to issue a policy justification on the use of pre-emptive military strikes against a threatening enemy. For a more in-depth look at Rice's views on the need to make substantial changes from the way the United States currently operates in the world, including talking to adversaries (Iran?) check out this interview.
* Let me close this post by stating that not all of the members of Obama's team are problematic. Malley, Brzezinski, and Power do raise some serious concerns. Their views and their senior positions in the campaign are troubling. And the controversial Rev. Wright does not seem the kind of spiritual leader a moderate man would adopt as his spiritual adviser..
* After studying this issue please let us know what you think. Keep those comments coming.

Abbas and Livni Say Jerusalem Being Negotiated, Shas Denies

Ezra HaLevi

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insists that negotiations taking place between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Allah) are dealing with the status of Jerusalem. Livni confirmed the claim. If true, it runs contrary to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s promise to the Shas Party that such talks are not taking place. Shas has declared that it will bolt the coalition and bring down the government the moment talks over Jerusalem ensue.

Abbas made the statements before meeting with European Parliament members in Ramallah Thursday. FM Livni herself confirmed the negotiations in a meeting with foreign diplomats a few days ago.

Makor Rishon reported that FM Livni explicitly confirmed that in negotiations with Qurei they are dealing with “all core-issues, including Jerusalem.” She acknowledged that the negotiations contradict commitments given to Shas by the prime minister.

Shas Spokesman Roi Lachmanovitch dismissed the report. “Nobody is talking about Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “The moment Jerusalem is being discussed Shas will leave the government – period.”

Asked if he is saying that Foreign Minister Livni is lying, he said: “I am not saying she is lying – but I am saying that absolutely nobody is negotiating over Jerusalem.”

Shas Party Chairman Eli Yishai seemed to be heralding his party’s eventual exit from the government Thursday, telling party activists in Tiberias that he expects new national elections to take place before the local municipal elections in November.

Dear President Bush,

Today there is chaos in Gaza. The region has been flooded with heavy weapons - with the Iranian label - and Hamas has taken notes from Hizbullah in Lebanon. Israeli cities like Sderot have been traumatized by daily Kassam rockets which have injured and killed innocent citizens.

Your courageous words of hope in fighting radical Islam and its weapon - terrorism- have been replaced by
words of acquiescence to an entity whose true colors you refuse to acknowledge - the Palestinian Authority.We have all heard the same news and know that Mahmoud Abbas is a weakling as well as a terrorist in his own right. He utters words of 'peace' and 'conciliation' to the gullible West while his own people hear words of war and the destruction of Israel. Abbas has received millions of dollars from those whose tragedies he celebrates; he is not a friend of the U.S., even though you would like to envisage him as such.

Your trust in Abbas has been misplaced, Mr. President; you have demanded that Israel release terrorists who have immediately returned to their profession - murder. You have demanded other concessions from Israel that have weakened our only true friend in the region.

Today's chaos in Gaza is the result of the demand by Secretary of State Rice that Israel abandon the Philadelphi Corridor and Rafah - despite the assurance of the Oslo Accords that that country would continue to monitor the border. Through it have come arms, terrorists, and the disorder that has undermined the whole area and brought great danger to a much larger region. Al Qaeda has now found a haven for attacks - not only on Israel but on Coalition troops in Iraq!!

Your promise of a 'peaceful Palestinian state living side by side with Israel' is a figment of imagination. A piece of paper does not make peace!! Your blueprint for the area is going to lead to a blowup which will eventually lead to war on U.S. soil by an emboldened world enemy. The high pressure tactics of Secretary of State Rice have backfired; she should resign her position for her failures. Sadly, this will be your legacy!

Hannah Givon