Saturday, April 05, 2008

Iran installs advanced nuclear centrifuges

1938 Alert. "Iran installs advanced centrifuges in main atom plant," from Reuters:

Iran has begun installing advanced centrifuges in its main uranium enrichment plant, accelerating activity that could give it the means to make atom bombs in future if it chooses, diplomats said on Thursday. Iran says it is wants to produce nuclear fuel only for electricity so it can export more oil; but has been hit with three sets of United Nations sanctions for hiding the work until 2003, failing to prove to inspectors since then that it is wholly peaceful, and refusing to suspend the disputed program.

Iran launched 3,000 centrifuges, a basis for industrial scale enrichment, in the underground Natanz production hall last year, but they are a 1970s-vintage design prone to breakdown so Iran began testing an advanced version in Natanz's pilot wing.

After an installation pause of several months in the main enrichment plant, Iran has now introduced more than 300 more centrifuges; some of them improved versions and some the earlier model, Western diplomats with access to intelligence said.

"The ratio of (new to old) centrifuges in the new batch is not yet clear," One of them told Reuters, but he said Iran's intent appeared to be to produce "to the maximum" with the advanced machine by gradually phasing out its predecessor.

An "IR-2" Centrifuge Iran has been developing could enrich uranium 2-3 times faster than its start-up counterpart.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA told Reuters he was unaware of new progress in the Natanz enrichment bunker, which is ringed by anti-aircraft guns against a feared US bombing.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, which has inspectors at Natanz, declined comment.

A senior diplomat familiar with the IAEA's Iran mission did not dispute the disclosures but said it remained unclear if Iran could get the upgraded brand of centrifuge to work productively.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Muslims Considered"

Arlene Kushner

I would like to focus on a two-part lecture I attended yesterday at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. It sheds further light on an issue I've raised a couple of times recently.

The first speaker was Dr. Rafael Yisraeli, Professor of Islamic and Middle East history at Hebrew University. His subject was Sheikh Ra'id Salah from Umm el Fahm, which is an Israeli Arab village near Haifa that is the center of radical Islamic sentiment in Israel. The Sheikh heads the Islamic Movement of Israel (which has ideological ties to the Muslim Brotherhood). . From the time of its founding decades ago, the Islamic Movement was violent and promoted acts of sabotage (in one instance planning something against the national water carrier). In 1995, when Israeli elections were upcoming, the Movement split. The relatively more moderate Sheikh Abdallah Darwish wanted the Movement to participate in the political process.

Sheikh Salah was adamantly opposed because he refused to give legitimacy to the Zionist government. His plan was to be involved only in local elections in Israeli Arab towns in order to organize Islamic life in Israel separate from Israeli national life. Sheikh Salah is today the dominant figure of the Movement, and considered something of a hero because of his imprisonment for collaboration with Hamas.


Sheikh Salah has founded the Aksa Foundation which garners large sums from Islamic nations. He has founded an Islamic college and promoted social activities -- all of which promote anti-Israel Islamic values. It is Sheikh Salah who incites via false charges that the Israeli government is digging under the Temple Mount.


Says Prof. Yisraeli, the worst danger to our country is not from outside, but this movement from within. The nation is asleep.

Devoid of a true sense of democracy and the rule of law, they demand the right to do whatever they wish and they call it democracy.


The second speaker was Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Dr. Gerstenfeld, who grew up in Holland, studies issues of anti-Semitism in Europe today. Yesterday his subject was the video "Fitna." Many of you will already be aware of this video, produced by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, which has just been released to much controversy.

Dr. Gerstenfeld traced for us the history of this video: His focus was on the fact that, late last year, after Wilders announced his intention to make a video on radical Islam there was an enormous reaction before anyone had seen it. Had the reaction been less, says Gerstenfeld, the video would have been released quietly: Those opposed to it actually generated the publicity that made it known internationally.

The video was released on March 27 on LiveLeak. Within 24 hours, millions had seen it, including 3 million Dutch. Amidst international condemnation and threats -- from Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. etc. -- LiveLeak took it down, but it can now be seen on other sites. . Many in the Dutch government and commercial world were afraid that this would impinge negatively on relations with Arab and Muslim nations.


Gerstenfeld addressed only the first half of the video, which shows a selection of the major radical Muslim crimes and anti-Semitic attacks, and ties them to the Koran.

He regrets, he says, that the video does not clarify the fact that what is being referred to is only a minority (10-15%) of the Muslim world, and that not every Muslim is radical and draws upon these Koran verses to justify violence and terrorism.

Doing this, he says, would have made the video stronger. Gerstenfeld pointed out that this 10-15% of the Muslim world constitutes more people than all of Hitler's troops. In no way does he mean to imply that the fact that not all Muslims are involved means there is no danger. In fact, what he said was that 'the largest criminal body in the world is moving ahead."


At this point in the discussion, Prof. Yisraeli interjected something that I would like to share: How do you define "radical"? he asked. Yes, 10-15% may go out and commit terror acts, but when they do, the majority of the remaining 85-90% go into the streets and dance, and pass out candies.

What Prof. Yisraeli was raising is the much debated issue of whether there are two Islams today -- radical and non-radical -- or whether it is of one piece. A discussion for another day.


The second half of the video, which Dr. Gerstenfeld did not discuss in any detail, addresses the Muslim situation in Holland. My own critique of it is that unless there is background understanding (awareness, for example, of the fact that many Muslims refuse to assimilate into the culture of their adopted country and push for Sharia law), it is difficult to understand what is being discussed.

But this part of the film raises the enormously significant issue of what is happening in Europe today and whether European culture is being overwhelmed. Dr. Gerstenfeld suggests that it is not necessarily possible to extrapolate from the situation in Holland to that in other European countries.

But it is worth noting that, while the Dutch government was in an uproar about the film out of fear of criticism and attack, the Dutch people applauded it. A poll taken showed that Wilders's party would garner more seats in an election now. More than half the Dutch think that Islam is a threat, and 57% think that permitting Muslim immigration into the country was the greatest of mistakes. (It should be noted that many European countries are now starting to clamp down, and undo what has been done to date with regard to the Muslim immigration.)


See it for yourself, I urge you:

see my website

MK Eldad: Tibi is Not a Traitor, He's the Enemy!

Ezra HaLevi

Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi made an illegal visit to Lebanon and Yemen. MK Aryeh Eldad says he is not a traitor, but rather the enemy himself.

MK Tibi and others who travel to enemy states should be put on trial and sentenced to prison,” MK Eldad (National Union) said Thursday.

Tibi’s visit to Yemen included visits with local rulers and a role in talks between rival terrorist groups Fatah and Hamas. He then stopped in Lebanon on the way back to Israel – claiming it was just a routine stopover at Beirut’s airport. Tibi remained defiant despite harsh criticism, and said Thursday that he would visit enemy states whenever he wished because they are not his enemies. Eldad said he believed Tibi when the Arab MK said that he did not see Yemen or Lebanon as enemy states. “They really don’t see these states as enemy states,” Eldad said. “We need to understand that they aren’t traitors, they are the enemy!”

Eldad accused Attorney General Menachem Mazuz of failing to prevent Tibi’s behavior by failing to enforce existing laws. There are laws against visiting enemy states and laws that prohibit those who do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state from running for Knesset, Eldad said, “but they aren’t enforced for fear for democracy - and then we get anarchy.”

Bill to Ban Tibi and Others Softened
A new bill approved for its first reading Tuesday would ban anyone who visits enemy states from holding a Knesset seat for seven years after the most recent visit.

The bill was submitted by MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and MK Esterina Tarteman (Yisrael Beiteinu). The bill had an exception inserted, however, for anyone who can prove their visit was not to express support for attacks by the state or terror groups based there. The provision was added after Deputy Attorney General Yehoshua Shoffman argued at the Knesset House Committee that without it the law would be unconstitutional (though Israel does not have a constitution –ed.).

Candidates rejected on those grounds by the Knesset Elections Committee could appeal to the Supreme Court.

Tibi's former fellow MK Azmi Bishara fled the country after an investigation was launched into aid he provided to the Hizbullah terrorist group during the Second Lebanon War. Prior to that, Bishara had engaged in several similar visits to enemy countries.

Now, even after Bishara is being charged with treason, he will continue to receive a pension from the government due to his Knesset service.


Members of the National Democratic Assembly (Balad) Party, an Arab parliamentary list represented in the Knesset, have been shown in a video chanting in Arabic "Our Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] – we want an attack from you" and "Oh [PLFP chief Ahmed] Sadaat we want weapons to build." The video was screened by Israel TV's Channel One in connection with Arab protests over Land Day in the Arab village of Arrabe ('Israeli Arabs call for terror attacks against Israel at Land Day protest,' Independent Media Review Analysis, March 30, 2008).This blatant incitement to terror has been one of many developments in recent years pointing to the increasing disloyalty, radicalization, repudiation of Israel as a Jewish state and support for Israel's enemies by many Israeli Arab citizens.

Other recent indications of increasing Israeli Arab disloyalty to Israel and non-acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state:

* According to a March 2007 report by Israel's General Secret Service (GSS – Shin Bet), in 2005, 17 terror cells involving 22 Israeli Arabs was uncovered by Israeli security services. In 2006, a further 21 Israeli-Arab terror cells were uncovered, involving 24 Arab citizens.
* A January 2006 survey has found that Israeli Arabs willing to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decreased significantly following the second Lebanon war, falling from an already low figure of 42% of the Arab population in 2006 to an even lower 26.5% in 2007 (Yediot Ahronot, January 17, 2007).
* In December 2006, the Mossawa Center the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, an Arab advocacy group, produced a paper, 'Constitution Based on Equality for All' which calls for overturning the Law of Return which allows for automatic citizenship for Jews who immigrate to Israel. (Independent Media Review & Analysis, December 6, 2006).
* Similarly, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee also released a document in December 2006 entitled, 'The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,' stipulating that Israeli Arabs will demand that during the next two decades Israel become a binational state alongside an independent Palestinian state (Haaretz, December 6, 2006).
* In March 2007, Israel's General Secret Service (GSS – Shin Bet) produced an internal document which showed that in 2006, 21 Israeli-Arab terror cells were uncovered, involving 24 Arab citizens. In 2005, the numbers were 17 terror cells involving 22 Arabs.
* Some 40% of the Israeli Arabs involved in terrorism originated in Judea and Samaria but were permitted to come to pre-'67 Israel and receive Israeli residency after marrying Israeli-Arabs. They are then permitted to travel freely throughout the country.

A sample of recent troubling statements by Israeli Arab members of Knesset:

Azmi Bishara: Has praised Syria for its "struggle to liberate occupied Arab land, its resistance against occupation and its defense of the legitimacy of such resistance" (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006); stated that "We are Syria's ally" and supported its efforts to free "occupied Arab land" (Haaretz, September 10, 2006); condemned "Israel's barbaric onslaughts" against Lebanon and urged Hizballah's Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to "continue his fight" (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006) and warned Syria of likely "preemptive Israeli strikes" (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006), something of which he might well have knowledge as a result of his presence in the Knesset.

* Jamal Zahalka: "For us Syria is no enemy ... [we support] solidarity with Syria, especially after Israel's savage aggression against Lebanon" (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006); "We don't see Syria as an enemy state" (Haaretz, September 10, 2006)
* Wasal Taha: terrorist groups should "concentrate their efforts on attacking and abducting Israeli soldiers" (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "The evidence that has emerged in recent years regarding the increasingly radicalization and disloyalty of increasing numbers of Israeli Arabs is deeply worrying and something which few people seem willing to address. However, the evidence is so alarming that it is not surprising that Israel's General Secret Service (GSS – Shin Bet) has produced an internal document that holds that Israel's Arab population is a "genuine long-range danger to the Jewish character and very existence of the State of Israel." The paper cites worrisome data in various spheres, including increasing Israeli-Arab solidarity and identification with terrorist elements, including the Lebanese Islamist terrorist group Hizballah and the Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority (PA). These are issues that the ZOA has raised before and will continue to raise until action is taken on them."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gov't Refuses to Link Merkaz HaRav Murder and Guns Given to PA

Hillel Fendel

Likud Knesset faction chairman MK Gideon Saar submitted an "urgent query" to the Knesset regarding last month's terrorist slaughter in which eight Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav students were gunned down. He wanted to know if Israel supplied the murder weapon to the PA - and did not receive an answer.

Saar asked where the terrorist, a resident of eastern Jerusalem who did not have a license to carry a weapon, received the Kalachnikov that he used for the murders. "Does the security establishment know from where the terrorist received his weapon?" Saar asked. "Was this a weapon that was given to the Palestinian Authority by the Government of Israel?" In accordance with accepted Knesset procedure, the Minister Responsible for Liaison with the Knesset, Ruchama Avraham-Belila, took the forum to respond, and said as follows:

"This was a murderous and lowly attack by an evil degenerate who came in to murder students while they were studying Torah. This was a shocking and appalling incident. After checking your question with the relevant bodies, I can answer you the following at this point, though it might not be enough for you: The General Security Service is currently in the middle of investigating the attack, and now, at this stage, all the details are under the veil of the censor. As soon as the investigation concludes, MK Saar, I will be happy to transmit to you all the details of what I know."

In response, Saar said, "I will suffice at this stage by expressing my hope that the Government of Israel will not carry out its intention of submitting thousands more Kalachnikov rifles to the Palestinian Authority, until the answer to my question as to how the terrorist obtained his weapon is answered."

Hero Blames Peres
It will be recalled that just minutes after the murderous attack, Yitzchak Dadon - one of the two heroes who killed the terrorist - was interviewed on several TV and radio stations, and each time he blamed President Shimon Peres and the Israeli government for having given to the PA the rifle that was used to murder the students.

Ever since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, Israel has given thousands of weapons such as Kalachnikov rifles to the PA. The Rabin-Peres government of those days felt that the Palestinian Authority needed to instill law and order, especially with the influx of tens of thousands of PLO terrorists into Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Justifying Israel's giving them thousands of guns, Rabin said at the time, "Fatah will fight Hamas without [the restrictions of] the Supreme Court and B'Tzelem."

Despite the many deaths of Israelis at the hands of Kalachnikov-toting terrorists since then, and despite several "Don’t give them guns!" campaigns by the nationalist camp, the government continues even now to either provide guns or to allow Egypt to send guns to the Palestinian Authority.

"Tension in the North"

Arlene Kushner

A report by a 'top military intelligence officer" to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday included a warning that Hezbollah is getting ready for new violence along the border with Israel.

A "change in preparedness" south of the Litani River has been detected, which UNIFIL is unable to prevent. While UNIFIL monitors open areas, it is prohibited from entering southern Lebanese villages and towns without coordination with the Lebanese army, and it is precisely in these areas that Hezbollah is increasing operations, with operatives dressed as civilians. (The ultimate outcome of this situation is painfully easy to predict, as we take on Hezbollah operatives and are condemned for hitting "civilians.") AThis report clarifies Defense Minister Barak's motives in touring the northern border yesterday and making a statement that "Israel is the strongest country in the region, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone provoke us. Hezbollah is becoming stronger, but so are we. The IDF is prepared for all eventualities. We watch the pastoral calm, and we know that other things are seething beneath the surface."


While, today, al-Quds al-Arabi, in London, has reported that Damascus is summoning its reserves and concentrating its forces along the Lebanese border in anticipation of an Israeli attack on Hezbollah and Syria.

This has been denied by a member of Syrian's National Security Committee, which says Hezbollah is quite capable of taking care of itself.

None the less, Barak is taking it all seriously enough so that he has cancelled a trip out of the country. And Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Dan Harel said today that "anyone who attempts to attack Israel should bear in mind that the response will be harsh and painful." Both, however, at one and the same time, have indicated that nothing is imminent.

The paper additionally said that Hezbollah is currently refraining from exacting revenge for the murder of Mughniyeh at this time, so as to not give Israel an "excuse" to attack. If this is true, it would be a significant indicator of Israeli deterrence.


I offer here two cautionary notes regarding not believing everything you hear (or read):

In an interview published yesterday in Al Aayam, a Palestinian paper, Khaled Mashaal, political head of Hamas in Damascus says that Hamas accepts a state defined by '67 lines. Not spoken, but implied here is that Hamas accepts Israel within the Green Line. His source for this is the Prisoners Document, which was drafted in Israeli prison by Hamas and Fatah prisoners, calling for a Palestinian state on all the territories occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.

However (and this is a huge 'however'), the document says nothing about accepting the right of Israel to exist within those '67 lines.


The second incident involves WHO (the World Health Organization) of the UN. At a press conference yesterday in Jerusalem, Ambrogio Manenti, the head of WHO in Gaza and the West Bank, said that Israeli policy with regard to bringing Gazans who require medical treatment into Israel was "inhumane."

Manenti's charge is that sick Gazans have to wait so long for security clearance that they die before they can be brought in.

Col. Nir Press, commander of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, responded to these charges, saying that they were "one-sided, inaccurate and misleading."

He pointed out that while stringent security checks were necessary because on occasion there are attempts to smuggle suicide bombers into Israel using the ruse of illness, over 90% of those requesting treatment in Israeli hospitals receive clearance. And the other 10% is provided with an opportunity to utilize a shuttle across Israel to go into Jordan for treatment.

To illustrate the problem, Manenti had highlighted five cases of Gazans who had allegedly died waiting for clearance. Press said, however, that all five had clearance to come into Israel and two in fact had received treatment in Israel; the others had been held up by internal factors inside of Gaza and not by lack of clearance.
In 2007, 7,226 permits were granted to sick Palestinians to travel to Israel, an increase of over 50% from 2006 when 4,754 were allowed in. in the first quarter of 2008, 2,000 ill persons from Gaza have already been brought to Israeli hospitals. I recently wrote the story of premature twins of a Palestinian mother from Gaza, in Barzelai hospital in Ashkelon, who were brought into the bomb shelter when a Katyusha was shot near the hospital from Gaza.


Yet one other concession that Barak has indicated willingness to consider, at the prodding of Rice, is the granting of permission for the PA to monitor the Gaza side of the Erez and Karni crossings into Israel, if the violence stops. In this, he is would be on a collision course with the IDF, which is adamantly opposed. Two officers have spoken out: OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yussef Mishlev.

As one defense official rightly explained it, "How can we let Abbas deploy forces there while Hamas is in control of Gaza?" Indeed, how can we? There is the suggestion that even Barak, who said it would be "considered," knows we cannot.

see my website

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Latest Stats: Israel's Demographic Trend is Jewish, Not Arab

Hillel Fendel

Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli Embassy liaison with Congress, says it's critical for Israeli decision-makers to know that, contrary to popular perception, the proportion of Jews in the Land of Israel is rising.

"The demographic problem is not only not lethal to Israel," Ettinger told Yishai Fleisher on, "the tailwind is in fact going in favor of the Jews, not the Arabs." The most startling recent demographic finding, Ettinger said, "is that between 1995 and 2007, the annual number of Jewish births has increased by 40%, from some 80,000 to 112,000 Jewish births each year. During this period, the number of Arab births within the Green Line [pre-'67 Israel] has stabilized at around 39,000 a year. In addition, in 1995, the number of Jewish births comprised 69% of all births in Israel, while today it is 75%. This means that from year to year, Jewish society in Israel becomes relatively younger, while Arab society becomes older."

The true numbers, Ettinger told Arutz-7 last month, are as follows: "Within the Green Line, there are currently 1.4 million Arabs, compared with almost 6 million Jews. In Judea and Samaria, there are 1.5 million Arabs, and not 2.3 million, as [the PA] claims. In Gaza, there are 1.1 million, and not 1.5 million."

Ettinger then summed up: "What this shows is that the trend is Jewish, not Arab. One of the conclusions must be that there is absolutely no reason for Israel to give away Jewish geography in favor of Jewish demography. Anyone who says otherwise is either recklessly wrong or misleading."
There is no doubt that demographic optimistic and hope is much more conducive for better long-term planning, a better economy, a better investment climate, and a better social climate.

Asked by Fleisher about other important demographers whose conclusions are otherwise, Ettinger responded clearly and concisely: "The facts are that the others have been wrong, and here are some examples. In the 80s, those demographers told Israelis that there was no chance of a massive Aliyah [immigration] from the USSR, and that if the gates were to be opened, the Jews would mainly go to the US, Germany and elsewhere. Of course, one million came to Israel... The founder of the Central Bureau of Statistics told Ben-Gurion back in 1948 to delay the Declaration of Independence because conventional demographics at that time said that the 600,000 Jews were expected to become a minority within 20 years. They also told him not to expect Jewish Aliyah after the War of Independence. Once again, they were wrong. They also said in the 1970s that we shouldn't expect Soviet Aliyah - when in fact about 200,000 came."

"So time after time," Ettinger said, "the conventional Israeli demographers were wrong on Aliyah, and were wrong on Jewish fertility, and were wrong on Arab fertility. Jewish fertility in Israel over the past 10-15 years is the highest in the industrialized world - contrary to predictions that it would drop!"

Asked about the Arab growth rate in Judea and Samaria (Yesha), Ettinger had a detailed answer: "Arab fertility in Yesha reached its peak in 1992, for a simple reason: The Six Day War in 1967 brought about an interaction between a Western society and a third-world society - the Arabs of Yesha. When this phenomenon happens, it triggers one generation of unprecedented growth rate in the third-world society, primarily due to better health services, longer life expectancy, etc. After one generation, the fertility rates begin dropping and coming closer to Western fertility rates; at the same time, the death rate increases because the increased life expectancy meant there were many more older people - leading to a general decline in growth. The Jewish birth rate, however - seeing as we are a non-normative Western society - defies these rules, and we keep creeping upward."

The bottom line, Ettinger concludes, is that "Arab fertility rates have decreased tremendously since 1993, and perhaps more importantly, emigration has increased considerably, especially since 2000. When Hamas took over Gaza, 25,000 more people emigrated than immigrated, compared with 16,000 the year before. Between 1950 and 2007, in every year except for six of them, they lost people in net emigration."

Ettinger explained that it is important for a country to know the truth, and not wallow in "baseless, pessimistic, fatalistic projections" and "suicidal talk about the 'besieged Jewish state.' There is no doubt that demographic optimism and hope is much more conducive for better long-term planning, a better economy, a better investment climate, and a better social climate. Certainly it is better to enter into critical national security and diplomatic issues with demographic confidence; this expands your options and your room for maneuverability. If, on the other hand, you come with fatalism and demographic sweat on your brow, it restricts your options and leads to defeat."

"Right now, we have a 60% Jewish majority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River - and 67% if we don't include Gaza. Those who say that this is not good enough and that we must therefore give away Arab-populated areas, I say that we should remember that in 1947, when the UN granted us the right to have a State, the Jews were only 33% of the population. In 1900, we were only 8%! Anyone who understands nationalism and demographics cannot deal with short-term considerations, but rather must look 100 years backward and 100 years forward. Over 100 years we have grown from 8% to 60%, and looking to the future, we can also derive comfort from the growing Jewish birth rates and the declining Arab rates."

Congress Passes First Ever Resolution on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

WASHINGTON, DC (April 1, 2008) - In what may be the beginning of a dramatic shift in United States policy, the U.S. Congress passed House Resolution 185, which grants first-time-ever recognition to Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Prior to the adoption of H.Res.185, all Resolutions on Middle East refugees referred only to Palestinians. This Resolution affirms that the U.S. government will now recognize that all victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict must be treated equally. It further urges that the President and U.S. officials participating in Middle East discussions to ensure that any reference to Palestinian refugees must: "also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.". The Resolution was introduced by Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Mike Ferguson (R-NJ). With the passing of this Resolution, Rep. Nadler stated, "We believe that as a member of the Quartet, and in light of the U.S. central and indispensable role in promoting Middle East 'just peace', the U.S. must reaffirm that it embraces a just and comprehensive approach to the issue of Middle East refugees."

Rep. Joseph Crowley said, "The world needs to understand that it is not just the Arabs and it's not just the Palestinians in the Middle East, but also Jewish people who themselves were dispossessed of their possessions and their homes, and were victims of terrorist acts. These are people who lived in Middle Eastern communities not for decades, but for thousands of years." Rep. Crowley added that the Resolution will, "bring light upon an issue that has been swept under the carpet."

"Discussions of Middle Eastern refugees invariably focus exclusively-and shortsightedly-on the plight of those of Palestinian descent," said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. "Far fewer people are aware of the injustice faced by Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran. Many Jews saw their communities, which had existed vibrantly for centuries systematically dismantled. They lost their resources, their homes, and their heritage sites, fleeing in the face of persecution, pogroms, revolutions and brutal dictatorships."

Rep. Mike Ferguson said that there was very strong bi-partisan support for this issue which recognizes, "the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who were displaced from countries in the Middle East, Northern Africa and all around the Persian Gulf." Congressmen Ferguson acknowledged that the U.N. has never recognized Jewish refugees, and that this,"is completely unacceptable and long over due, and this is one of the things this Resolution seeks to address."

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations commented, "the failure during all these years to recognize other refugees, compounded the indignation and the suffering and the deprivation of Jews in Arab countries. There was a systematic process of expulsion which the Arab governments engaged in." He added that the Resolution is not an obstacle to peace. "It is a distortion to talk only of one refugee population, as that would undermine the ultimate outcome of any negotiations. The Congressional action will educate a generation that know too little about the other refugees."

The passing of this Resolution is the strongest U.S. declaration on the rights of Jewish refugees that were displaced from Arab countries. H.Res.185 underscores the fact that Jews living in Arab countries suffered human rights violations, were uprooted from their homes, and were made refugees.

Stanley Urman, Executive Director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries stated that, "Congress has restored truth to the Middle East narrative, by recommending equitable treatment of all Middle East refugees. Only in this fashion can there be movement from truth to justice, from justice to reconciliation, and from reconciliation to peace - between and among all peoples and states in the region."

Underscoring the importance of the Resolution, Rep. Nadler added, "When the Middle East peace process is discussed, Palestinian refugees are often addressed. However, Jewish refugees outnumbered Palestinian refugees, and their forced exile from Arab lands must not be omitted from public discussion on the peace process. It is simply not right to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of Jewish refugees."

Media Kit is available at

Sol Pavlosky

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Arab attacks woman in Hebron

This morning a 65 year old woman from Kiryat Arba was attacked by an Arab in Hebron. The woman was walking near Ma'arat HaMachpela when an Arab on a bicycle rode past her and grabbed her hat, leaving her hair uncovered. (Many observant Jewish woman always keep their hair covered, as required by Jewish law.).

The Arab drove away into a nearby entrance into the Kasba. A border policeman and a policewoman witnessed the attack, but were 'unable' to react fast enough to immediately apprehend the attacker.

A number of Hebron residents, angered at the attack and the lack of action by Israeli security forces, demanded that Arab stores across from Ma'arat HaMachpela be immediately closed. "If you close their stores, they will bring you the attacker." Another person added, "this time they stole her hat; next time they will come with a knife or a gun or a bomb. Then what will the results be?" Over two dozen border police arrived at the scene almost immediately to 'protect' the Arab stores from the seething Jewish residents, who, a short time later, dispersed.
Later in the afternoon police notified that that attacker had been apprehended. It is not clear how long he will actually be held in custody before he is released.

2. Yesterday afternoon the Arnon family had a surprise visitor: a large rock flew through the window of a door into their Beit Hadassah apartment. Their apartment is only meters away from the building's synagogue, where children study during the day at the Hebron Talmud Torah.

Noam Arnon said that this is the third time that their apartment has been hit by rocks flying through their windows. Miraculously, no one was in the room at the time and no one was hurt.
Guest Comment:This is a most upsetting report. When something happens to even one person it does not augur well for anyone.

Instead of standing fast and supporting Jews who live in Hevron and those who are willing to defend our people we are protecting our criminal enemy! Elyakim HaEtzni said recently that we have a 'sickness' as a people and one must believe him when we hear about one incident after another that plays into the hands of those who would destroy us.

Some of the oldtimers - the pre-1948 heroes - knew what they were fighting for ; what contrast to someone like the present president who is among those who would undo all the sacrifices of those days! What has changed the attitude of these people? Do they not realize that if this JEWel of a country is in mortal danger they will be, too?!!

We are massaging ourselves when we speak of this only to each other; we must raise our voices and get others to speak up as well! Please forward this to others.


Barry Rubin

A recent Washington Post column, entitled, “Let's Help the Good Guys in the West Bank,” provided what it thought of as good news: “Fortunately, there is a smart and honest leader of these forces: Salam Fayyad, an apolitical economist (with a doctorate from the University of Texas) who is prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.”
The tip-off is the word “apolitical” which, in this case, means: completely lacking any political base or armed support and thus totally ineffectual.
Unfortunately, Fayyad is not Palestinian politics’ future. Those who really control Fatah, shape Palestinian public opinion, and carry guns aren’t impressed by Fayyad’s diploma.
For many in the West, moderation is like gravity: it’s impossible to reject. Yet that’s precisely what Palestinian politics do. Three factors fuel this trend.First, Fatah and the PA continue to be corrupt, incompetent, and incapable of self-reform.
Second, given the cult of violence and total victory dominating Palestinian political culture Hamas is inevitably seen as heroic because it fights and rejects compromise. Based on underestimating Israel (always seen on the verge of collapse) and overestimating their own forces (heroic martyrs aided by history and deity), they expect to win. Compromise is treason; moderation is cowardice. This is the daily fare of Palestinian ideology and politics, purveyed by leaders, clerics, media, and schools.
Abbas tells his people and others that, as he said recently to an Islamic summit, Palestinians “are facing a campaign of annihilation” by Israel. The U.S. State Department merely calls this “overheated political rhetoric,” not comprehending that such talk by Abbas incites terrorism and forecloses his own options.
It’s easy to justify violence but hard to rationalize making peace with those you say are committing genocide against you. That’s why the PA does things like letting “imprisoned” terrorists who murdered two Israeli hikers to “escape.” Every such terrorist is seen by both the PA and public opinion as a hero.
Third, due to its own weakness and the strong political culture it never challenges, the current leadership cannot make peace. They know, contrary to Western claims, that negotiating a political solution would destroy them, and act accordingly.
For all these reasons, Fatah has been working harder to negotiate a deal with Hamas than it has to fight it in Gaza. In addition, Fatah is undergoing a radicalization process which may not displace Abbas but will install his successor. Public opinion is also more extreme, with support for terrorism zooming upward. Fatah both heeds and feeds the trend.
Ahmad Dahbour, former high-ranking PA Culture Ministry official, now top writer for the official PA newspaper, explains: "The treacherous Zionist enemy will never permit us to lessen our revenge towards him, or to stray from our confrontation against him, until he is wiped off this land, which is saturated with the blood of the martyrs.”
What is significant is not the language’s bloodthirstiness but its open use from someone at the heart of “moderate” institutions. Both Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PA newspaper defined the killer of eight Jewish students in Jerusalem as one of those heroic martyrs.
We’re now seeing the birth of a new Fatah all right but not the one heralded by such people as former British prime minister Tony Blair or Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but rather an even more extremist version. It’s coming from those who wield guns not pens, namely the Al-Aqsa Brigades. Contrary to much reportage, it is not an “offshoot” but essential part of Fatah. Its leader, Marwan Barghuti, would be Fatah and PA head within two years if not in an Israeli prison for past terrorist activities.
The brigades demand Fayyad’s firing and replacement by, “A new government that would not abandon the armed struggle." Like others in the Fatah leadership their strategy is not to fight but to ally with Hamas. Despite Hamas’s bloody expulsion of Fatah from Gaza, killing Israelis wipes out all sins in Palestinian politics. That’s the kind of thinking that makes the movement so impossible to change or to move toward peace.
Both Barghuti and Hamas’s political front-man, Ismail Haniyya, run ahead of Abbas in the polls. The main thing keeping Fayyad in office is not honesty or moderation but because removing him would kiss good-bye to almost $7 billion in Western aid, which will no doubt be squandered or worse. Worse means that much money, like the U.S. arms abandoned by Fatah in fleeing Gaza, could end up in Hamas’s hands. Or it will pass to Abbas’s successor.
One reason why many Westerners misunderstand the conflict and countries adopt ridiculously irrelevant policies is ignorance of how extremism is attractive in its own right. After all, if people are all alike and universally pragmatic, Palestinians must want to end the conflict and get an independent state through negotiation and compromise. Why go on suffering? No “rational” person would act that way.
Therefore, many in the West reach one of two conclusions:
--Either Palestinian leaders want to act rationally but cannot make peace and achieve a better life for their people because Israel won’t let them. This is the anti-Israel stance.
--They are eager to do so and if Europe and America only put in lots of effort and money peace can be quickly achieved. This is the “even-handed” position which always ends up demanding Israeli concessions in hopes of enabling Palestinian moderation.
These are articles of unshakeable faith, impermeable to evidence or experience. Whenever Palestinian leaders reject peace it must be because they weren’t offered enough. Westerners think Fatah and the PA merely need raise Palestinian living standards and get a state to show their people Hamas is a failure, the PA is a success. Naturally, everyone prefers success.
Well, it depends on how you measure success. As horrible as it sounds, in Palestinian politics success is still measured by the number of Israelis killed and by the ability to assert that one has never given up the chance for total victory and Israel’s disappearance some day. Sad, regrettable, but also true.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Abbas, “We must keep our eye on what we're trying to achieve." In U.S. diplomatic circles this passes for tough talk. But what Abbas is trying to achieve is quite different from what Rice wants.
Given the strategic realities, Israel must deal with the PA and try to keep Fatah in power on the West Bank. But there should be no illusions. Solving the conflict won’t happen. Putting it atop of Western governments’ agenda, blaming Israel for Palestinian intransigence, or romanticizing Fatah and PA is a big mistake.

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Can Condi's three generals help her out-maneuver Barak in the West Bank?

Calev Ben-David
Mar. 31, 2008

Score this one for Condi.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice certainly wasn't going to fly here for a lightning visit and then leave without gaining at least one headline-worthy concession from Israel on easing conditions for the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak had already made pre-emptive moves last week, when he signed off on the deployment of 700 Palestinian policemen currently being trained in Jordan into the Jenin area, as well as PA security forces being equipped with 25 armored personnel carriers.

But Rice wanted more, and got it with the announcement yesterday that the IDF would soon take down 50 roadblocks and dirt barriers throughout Judea and Samaria. Though Barak has publicly resisted easing such travel impediments for the Palestinians, on the grounds it might increase the odds of a terror attack, the most politically opportune time to make such an announcement was surely during a visit by a US secretary of state so heavily invested in the peace process here that she has made it the policy centerpiece of her final year in office.

Even so, it can't be easy for Rice to sit opposite the most decorated soldier in Israeli military history, and counter his arguments that the concessions she is demanding risk endangering the security of this nation's citizens. Perhaps that helps explain why she has enlisted some heavy brass to help her in that mission, a trio of top US military officials: Gen. James Jones, Lt.-Gen. William Fraser and Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton.

Why the three - and what exactly does each one do? Jones is the senior of the trio, a combat-decorated former commandant of the Marine Corps, "which means people in Washington think of him not as a guy who can walk on water, but ten feet above it," says one Washington insider.

Jones, who officially retired from active duty last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was appointed by Rice at the Annapolis conference as US Special Envoy for Middle East Security. Befitting his title, he is described by one source as "the big-picture guy," advising and helping Rice to place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a larger regional context, a responsibility that includes engaging other Arab leaders.

Jones, who also holds a senior position in the US Chamber of Commerce and sits on the corporate boards of Boeing and Chevron, is a real heavyweight, not only for his storied military past, but his possible future prospects. Last year the Wall Street Journal described him as one of "Washington's hottest political commodities," courted equally by both Republicans and Democrats. Hillary Clinton has talked of putting him in her cabinet, Barack Obama has consulted with him, and John McCain described Jones as one of his "closest and longtime friends."

All that gives him the credentials to play the role of Rice's four-star, 300-pound gorilla-in-the-room. Not surprising, then, that it was Jones, as The Jerusalem Post reported last week, who leaned on Barak to make security concessions ahead of the secretary's visit.

Fraser, the second of Rice's generals, was appointed during President Bush's visit here in January specifically to monitor the implementation by Israel and the Palestinian Authority of their road map obligations, and chair the tripartite meetings with Israeli and Palestinian representatives to assess their progress.

Although a three-star former top US Air Force commander, Washington sources say his real authority stems from his current role as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well serving as Rice's chief military adviser. "No one gets more face-time with the secretary than he does," says one source.

Barak would do well then not to undervalue Fraser - which is why both US and Israeli sources say it was a real mistake for the defense minister to have sent adviser Amos Gilad in his stead to the last tripartite meeting held two weeks ago with Fraser and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad.

Rice's inserting Jones and Fraser into the picture here has reportedly meant a less prominent role for Dayton, US security coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Dayton's job is to help rebuild the PA security establishment and make it an effective and accountable force. In practical terms, this means helping oversee the training of Palestinian security personnel being conducted in Jordan, such as that of the policemen who are now heading for Jenin. Although no US military personnel are directly involved in that training, private American security contractors of the type now operating in Iraq are taking part.

Dayton also consults with the Palestinian Authority Strategic Planning Directorate, a national security council-type body recently set up in Ramallah to try and create longer-term security policy for the Palestinians. And he is advising on the reconstruction of the PA security infrastructure in Jericho that was destroyed by Israel during the second intifada - an effort reportedly behind schedule because the contractors involved now insist on being paid in shekels, instead of dollars.

Israeli security sources say that when Ephraim Sneh served as deputy defense minister under Amir Peretz, he met regularly with Dayton to discuss larger strategic issues, but that practice has largely stopped since Sneh was succeeded in that position by Matan Vilna'i. Those sources say this is mainly due to Dayton being overshadowed by the involvement of Jones and Fraser; it may also involve rumored tensions between Dayton and Barak, the latter reportedly bristling at criticism the general has made of the defense minister's unwillingness to approve giving the PA security forces more operational latitude and higher-level military equipment.

Barak's team may feel Dayton's authority has diminished with Jones and Fraser on the scene; but for the latter two, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very much a part-time gig, while it's Dayton who is on the ground here full-time, and is specifically tasked with the job - creating a viable PA security force - on which any future real political progress is likely to depend.

Barak has good reasons to be cautious, both for the safety of the Israeli people, as well as his own prime ministerial prospects if security concessions on the West Bank lead to renewed terror attacks (or the nightmare scenario of an those weapons and APCs being given to the PA eventually falling into the hands of Hamas).

But as 2008 winds on and the Bush administration presses for more progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace front, it will be Rice's generals who will be leading the secretary's charge for Israel to make ever more concessions on the West Bank - and Israel's own general of generals who will have to find the right balance to both keeping Washington happy, and Israelis secure.

U.S. 'Very Surprised' at Extent of Israeli Concessions

Gil Ronen

Israeli diplomatic sources said Sunday that the American delegation was very surprised at the extent of Israeli concessions to the Fatah-controlled "Palestinian Authority" (PA) announced by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. However, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quick to say that they were not enough, and vowed to monitor Israel's execution of its promises. The latest Israeli concessions to the PA in Judea and Samaria include permission for construction of two new Arab neighborhoods in the Ramallah area, with a total of 5,000 to 8,000 housing units. In addition, about 50 closed roads will be opened in Samaria, thus enabling vehicular traffic between Jenin, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Ramallah. The permanent IDF checkpoint in the Rimonim area will be removed.

Barak announced the decisions in the meeting he held with PA "Prime Minister" Salam Fayyad and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday.

Rice Talks Tough About Israeli Compliance
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some tough words for Israel Sunday regarding the "gestures" Israel has undertaken to carry out in Judea and Samaria.

"We will monitor exactly what the Israelis do and the purpose is to improve the Palestinians' freedom of movement," Rice said. "We want to be much more systematic about what is promised and what is
"We want to be much more systematic about what is promised and what is actually carried out," Rice added.
actually carried out," she added.

American special envoy General William Fraser, Rice explained, will be following Israel's implementation of the Road Map closely "and making sure that the road blocks are indeed removed and that this has an impact on the Palestinians' freedom of movement." Before Fraser arrived, she said, "we did not do this, and we received promises that the Israeli steps would be carried out within a short time. I expect this to happen very soon."

25 APCs, 125 more vehicles
The Israeli concessions also included the following:

1. PA para-military police stations will open in some areas under joint Israeli and PA control.

2. 700 PA police personnel will be deployed in the Jenin area, once they return from training in Jordan. Ultimate security responsibility will remain in Israel's hands.

3. Additional roadblocks and checkpoints in Judea and Samaria are to be removed by mid-May.

4. 25 APC's – out of 50 originally requested – and 125 additional vehicles and pieces of logistical equipment will be delivered to PA/Fatah hands.

5. Various restrictions on the movement of public figures will be eased.

6. Various restrictions on the movement of businessmen will be eased.

7. An additional 5,000 permits will be issued for Arab construction workers in Israel (the current quota is approximately 18,500).

8. The Sha'ar Ephraim Crossing for will be opened for commercial activity on Fridays.
Two new Arab neighborhoods in the Ramallah area. In addition, about 50 dirt roadblocks in Samaria will be removed.

9. Israel will allow the passage of businessmen from Arab countries, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the PA and Israel on a VIP footing (without checks) through Ben-Gurion International Airport, for the Bethlehem Economic Conference for Investors in May. Israeli businessmen will be allowed to enter Bethlehem for the conference. Businessmen attending the conference will be allowed to move in organized groups in Judea and Samaria cities, and into Israel (including Jerusalem and Nazareth).

10. Industrial Zones will be established in Jericho, Hevron (Tarkumiyah) and Mukibla. The Tarkumiya Industrial Zone will receive Turkish financing. Another industrial zone will be established in Jericho for the processing and marketing abroad of PA agricultural produce. Japan and Jordan will be involved in this project.

A statement issued after the talks said that "the parties have completed connection of 27 Palestinian villages in [Judea and Samaria] to the Israeli power grid and, in an unprecedented action, have connected Jericho to the Jordan power grid."

PA will 'work' against terror
The agreements reached in the talks between Rice, Barak and Fayyad include only one commitment by the PA. "For its part, the Palestinian Authority will deploy security forces to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror," the statement issued by the American delegation said.

American officials voiced satisfaction with the Israeli "gestures." However, the sources said, Israel needs to do even more to make the Arabs' lives better.

Rice will meet Jordan's King Abdullah Sunday evening and will meet Prime Minister Olmert again Monday. She will then meet the heads of the Israeli and Arab negotiating teams, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qureia ("Abu Ala").

Opposition chairman Binyamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday that a permanent status arrangement with the PA that does not leave the IDF in charge of "large areas" of Judea and Samaria would lead to a Hamas takeover and the creation of additional Iranian bases there.

"We cannot transfer responsibility for security to subcontractors. Security needs to stay in the IDF and the security establishment. The practical way is an economic peace with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said after the meeting.

"If we abandon security to the care of others, we will receive rockets," the Likud chairman said. "We are the ones protecting Abu Mazen, he isn't protecting us."


Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East Commentator & Analyst

According to Kol Yisrael radio news at 3 PM Israel time, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is insisting that Israel remove 50 checkpoints set up to catch Terrorists. As of 3:30 PM, Israel had accepted these demands. This will certainly result in more Terrorists getting through, more Terrorist attacks, more deaths and maimings.

The question is: Can Condoleezza Rice, personally, be sued for causing more deaths? What if those killed include Americans? How about other English speakers?

Would British, Canadians or Australians also rate? After the recent massacre of eight youngsters at a Jerusalem Yeshiva by a Muslim Arab-Israeli, a poll of Khalil Shilkaki, cited in the New York Times of March 19, 2008, found that 84%(!) of Muslim Arab Palestinians in Judea and Samaria supported the massacre! Yet, these are the very people who Condoleezza Rice wishes to permit easier movement - allowing them and their supporters to carry out more Terror attacks.

Common sense would dictate that these massacre supporters be placed under permanent curfew, allowed out at certain supervised hours - while being checked for guns and explosives - than with the lives of those who may be killed as a direct result of her policies.


from: "Andy" Following is a complete (so far) list of the "concessions" and "appeasements" Olmert, Livni and Barak have agreed to:

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak today (Sunday), 30.3.08, met with US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The two first met privately; later, they were joined by their delegations. Following the meeting, Defense Minister Barak held a 3-way meeting with Sec. of State Rice and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, at which the three discussed various regional, diplomatic and security issues. Defense Minister also presented a package regarding the easing of various restrictions on the Palestinians, which he approved last week as follows:

Easing of Security Restrictions (fabric of life, law and order)

1. Approximately 50 dirt roadblocks will be removed thus enabling vehicular traffic between Jenin, Tulkarem, Kalkilya and Ramallah.

2. Opening of the permanent checkpoint in the Rimonim area.

3. Approval for the establishment of Palestinian police stations in B and B+ areas in order to promote law and order, after a comprehensive picture of deployments in Judea and Samaria will have been presented.

4. Deployment of 700 police personnel in the Jenin area (following their return from training in Jordan). Ultimate security responsibility will remain in Israel's hands.

5. Mechanisms for issuing action permits for Palestinian forces for movement to B areas and for movement across brigade areas, in order to better deal with law and order, will be improved.

6. An inquiry into lifting additional roadblocks and checkpoints in Judea and Samaria will be carried out in the coming weeks, with the intention of completion by mid-May.

7. The delivery of 25 APC's – out of 50 – was approved.

8. The delivery of 125 vehicles and pieces of logistical equipment for the Palestinian security forces has been approved.

9. Approval of non-lethal equipment for the Presidential Guard is under consideration.

10. Various restrictions on the movement of public figures have been eased.

Easing of Restrictions on Businessmen

11. Various restrictions on the movement of businessmen have been eased.

12. Maximum assistance will be rendered vis- -vis the 21-23.5.08 business conference in Bethlehem.

13. A senior Coordinator of Activities in the Territories officer has been appointed to deal with all issues involving the conference.

Increase of Employment in Israel

14. An additional 5,000 permits will be issued for construction work in Israel (the current quota is approximately 18,500).

Easing of Restrictions at Crossings (fabric of life)

15. Opening of the Sha'ar Ephraim Crossing for commercial activity on Fridays (immediate implementation).

16. Easing of pressure at the Kalandia and Rachel crossings by diverting prisoners' visits to the Beituniya Crossing.

17. Upgrading biometric procedures.

18. Upgrading the humanitarian infrastructure at crossings.

21-23.5.08 Bethlehem Economic Conference for Investors

A. To allow the passage of businessmen from Arab countries, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority and Israel on a VIP footing (without checks) at Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Allenby Bridge, internal crossings (especially in the Jerusalem area), as per the lists and pre-screening.

B. Israeli businessmen will be allowed to enter Bethlehem for the conference.

C. Approval has been given for the organized movement of businessmen in Judea and Samaria cities and into Israel (including Jerusalem and Nazareth).

D. Hours at the Allenby Crossing will be extended to 24:00 on 20.5.08 and 24.5.08.

Advancing the Establishment of Industrial Zones in Jericho, Hebron and Mukibla

A. The Tarkumiya Industrial Zone in the Hebron District – the goal is to move the "Ankara idea" from the Erez Industrial Zone to Judea and Samaria. The zone will received Turkish financing.

B. An industrial zone will be established for the processing and marketing abroad of Palestinian agricultural produce. The Japanese industrial zone in Jericho will be established close to the city. Japan, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and Jordan will be involved.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fatah PA Corruption Exposed

Maayana Miskin and Ezra HaLevi

Senior Fatah officials in the Palestinian Authority health system systematically stole valuable medications and replaced them with worthless placebo pills.

The placebos, which lab tests show had no medical value, were passed along to clinics and hospitals, where they were given to patients suffering from serious and often life-threatening diseases. The real medications were taken to massive warehouses in Ramallah and Shechem, and were sold for high prices on the black market. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that the allegations would be investigated.

The PA has been hit by other scandals in recent weeks. PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) was recently accused of embezzling millions of dollars in PA funds, as was former Arafat advisor Khaled Salam. A third senior official was recently caught attempting to smuggle cellular telephones.

PA Considers Investigating Top Arafat Aide
PA officials said Saturday that they are considering an investigation of Khaled Salam, also known as Mohammed Rashid, a former senior advisor to deceased PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. PA General Prosecutor Ahmed al-Mughni said Salam is planning a $600 million investment in a Jordanian project, and that the money may have come from funds meant for the PA.

Rashid was involved in several financial partnerships with Israelis on ventures such as the Jericho casino.

UN OKs Islamic text against defamation

Associated Press Writer

The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.

The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada. EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.

The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, "expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations."

Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam, to which eight paragraphs refer.

Speaking for the EU, Slovenian Ambassador Andrej Logar said the 27-nation body was committed to tolerance, nondiscrimination and freedom of religion. But instead of a one-sided approach, it would be better to engage in dialogue with mutual respect.

The resolution "urges states to take actions to prohibit the dissemination ... of racist and xenophobic ideas" and material that would incite to religious hatred. It also urges states to adopt laws that would protect against hatred and discrimination stemming from religious defamation.

The pressure to protect religions from defamation has been growing ever since a Danish magazine published caricatures of Muhammad, provoking riots across the Islamic world in 2006 in which dozens of people were killed. The publication of a different caricature in a Swedish newspaper last year again led to protests from Muslims.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Team We Can't Trust

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Friday, March 28, 2008

Bill Clinton made a significant admission in Corpus Christi, Texas this month - saying he had decided to pardon Puerto Rican terrorists back in 1999 "based on the stuff I was given by the staff."

But Ron Kolb, the citizen whose questioning prompted the ex-president's comment, rightly pointed out that the FBI and Justice Department had opposed the pardons. The clear conclusion is that it was Clinton's political staff who pushed for clemency - with the obvious goal of helping Hillary Clinton's bid to become a New York senator. Bill still denies that was his motive, of course - but no one believes it. The lobbying by Hispanic politicians from New York on the issue had been years-long; the culmination was noted by the New Republic noted back in '99: "Two days before the president announced the clemency deal, New York City Councilman Jose Rivera personally presented Hillary with a packet on clemency, including a letter asking her to 'speak to the president and ask him to consider granting executive clemency' to the prisoners."

The FALN, a terrorist group devoted to independence for Puerto Rico, bombed the Fraunces Tavern here in New York City in 1975, killing four and injuring 54 others.

It also:

* Bombed five other downtown New York buildings in 1974.

* Booby trapped a building in Manhattan and then called the police, seriously injuring and partially blinding an officer.

* Exploded two bombs in Chicago's Loop in 1975.

* Bombed the Merchandise Mart in Chicago in 1977.

* Bombed a Mobil Oil office in New York, killing one person, in 1977.

* Bombed two Chicago military recruiting offices in 1979.

* Injured three police officers in New York bombings in 1982.

Even in those pre-9/11 days, pardoning terrorists who weren't even remorseful drew public outrage; candidate Hillary soon wound up condemning Bill's decision.

But when it comes to politics, they really are a team - Hillary's administration would be staffed from the same pool that Bill drew upon.

The same team that freed hardened terrorists to win political markers for Hillary - the same team that's now willing to tear the Democratic Party apart in its desperate bid to steal the nomination for Hillary - would once again be empowered to free the guilty and endanger the innocent, whenever it suited their political needs.

Why does Hillary think America will trust her enough to make her president?

Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to