Thursday, May 29, 2008

At 2000 and 60: A Perspective on the Jews’ Revival in their Land

Arieh Eldad

If the Zionist revolution was intended to bring normality to the Jewish people, it was destined to fail.

The Jewish people is not a normal people. There is no historical parallel to a people with four thousand years of continuous history. You may say that in Egypt there are antiquities that predate our Patriarchs, but there is no connection between the Egypt of the Pharaohs and the Egypt of today. It is not the same people, the same language, the same religion, or the same culture. You may say the Chinese culture is more ancient than ours. But the Chinese remained in their land and were not destroyed and exiled twice and did not return from far away exiles to re-establish themselves. The Jewish people is not a normal people. In the same way, Judaism is not a normal religion. There is no parallel to the unbreakable tie between the Jewish religion and nationality. And our movement of national liberation – Zionism – is unlike any other national liberation movement of the past centuries. African or European peoples who fought for their freedom had to eject foreign rulers and declare independence. The liberation movement of the Jewish people had a double task: to gather the exiles of Israel from around the world and to free its land from foreign rulers. So Zionism is not a normal liberation movement.

Considering these three anomalies, is it any wonder the Jewish people’s desire for normalization was not realized with the return to Zion? We did become “productive”: no longer just middlemen, brokers, traders, and bankers; the Jews in the land of Israel are also soldiers and farmers and industrialists. But if Zionism hoped to take the Jews out of exile and raise a generation in the land free of oppression and the complexes of exile, we can say we have succeeded in taking the Jews out of exile but not in taking that exile out of the Jews.

Apparently 2000 years of persecution, forced conversion, destruction, expulsion and exile created a new species of Jew who is a professional survivor. Most of those who carried the genes of Bar Kochba fell on the way. The genes of Josephus Flavius keep popping up on the stage of history in characters such as the leaders of the Judenrat, Kastner, those who turned Jewish underground fighters over the British in “The Season,” those who sank the Irgun arms ship Altalena, and the most recent “heroes” who uprooted and exiled the residents of Gaza in what they called a “disengagement.” A direct line leads from Josephus Flavius to Mordechai Vanunu and Ilan Pape. A direct line leads from Aristobulus, the Hasmonean king who opened the gates of Jerusalem to Pompeii of Rome in order to survive the war with his brother Horkynus the Hasmonean, to Ehud Olmert who is ready to open the gates of Jerusalem to the Arab enemy in order to survive politically and win support from the world’s sole superpower.

So Zionism has failed in its mission of normalization. But Zionism had set other goals, first among them saving the Jewish people from the impending disaster. Herzl, who heard the Parisian mob, students of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” yelling “Death to the Jews” during the Dreyfus trial, understood that the Emancipation was not the solution to the problem of the Jews in exile. And Herzl understood that if the existence of the Jews in exile could not be guaranteed and Jews were to be saved, the exile needed to end and they needed to have a state that would be a safe refuge from anti-Semitism.

Zionism also failed in this mission. It came too late. The destruction of the Jews of Europe preceded the establishment of the state. And those who say that the destruction of the Jews contributed to international support for a Jewish state are right.

Zionism had to fail in order for its goal to be achieved. But Zionism was too late for the six million who rose in smoke and whose ashes fertilize the fields of Europe.

As much as the gentiles who refused to give Herzl a charter over the land of Israel are to blame, so are the Jews who refused to unite and redeem themselves. The Haredim waited for a messiah to come from heaven, the Bundists preferred Yiddish and exile, the socialists wanted to redeem to the world and thought that when economic classes would be abolished, the Jewish problem would also be solved. All of them vigorously fought Herzl. And the Zionism of those who followed in Herzl’s path but were unable to free themselves from the chains of exile, who preferred “one more dunam and one more goat and one more rally against the White Paper” to taking up arms and expelling all foreign rulers from Israel – they also bear responsibility for the failure to save the Jews of Europe and for the State of Israel coming too late and not being a safe haven when it was needed.

But even now after the State of Israel has been established, it does not seem a safe haven for the Jews. Over 23,000 Jews have been killed in Eretz Israel since the modern return to Zion, solely because they were Jews. In no other country have so many Jews been killed solely because they were Jews. So perhaps our “safe haven” is not such a safe haven. Perhaps the Jews are safer living in the United States, France or Iran.

Anyone attempting to tally such an “accounting” of deaths of course ignores the six million murdered in Europe. And the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in riots and pogroms and crusades, from Siberia to Arabia, Ethiopia to Spain. The State of Israel was established so Jews could determine their own fate, to fight and defeat their enemies, not to be human dust but to turn their enemies to dust. The State of Israel can fulfill this mission and therefore at least in this regard is the realization of generations of dreams. But as long as its leaders are of the race of Flavius, they may turn Israel over to the worst of its enemies and fail to prevent the destruction now threatened by Iran, and they may themselves bring the Arab enemy into the country and into Jerusalem. They are prepared for the first time in the history of the Jewish people to recognize the right of another people to establish a state in Eretz Israel.

From this point of view, perhaps it would have been better if a Jewish state recognizing the right of another people to Eretz Israel had not been established? Perhaps it would be preferable if a state of six million Jews had not been established, if its leaders are incapable of facing the enemies who want to destroy it, and are Jews of exilic character who prefer that the world fight for us and stop Iran with sanctions and pressure, and they are blind and deaf and do not see what is clear to all: the leaders of Iran act as suicide bombers who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to destroy Israel? Perhaps it would be better if the largest concentration of Jews in the world had not been established if its leaders are incapable of preventing its destruction?

No! The law of exile is a law of destruction or conversion. Exile ends either in gas chambers and crematoria, or a golden exile with intermarriage rates above 50 percent. In Eretz Israel, where a state of the Jews has been established, a Jewish State can be established. A state of Jews daring to rise as one and not a state of Flaviuses. A state prepared to deal with its enemies and wipe them out, and not look to the gentiles for salvation. Not even to the good gentiles known as “friends of Israel,” who are ready to promise that if Israel is attacked with nuclear weapons, Iran will be destroyed. We do not want to be an excuse for the destruction of Iran. We want to and we can liberate Eretz Israel from any foreign ruler, whoever it may be. Not because the land is necessary for security. Eretz Israel is our homeland, not a safe haven. It is our only home even when it is under fire. We must and can return Zionism to its forgotten goal – the liberation of the homeland. Zionism is not a mistake. It’s just that those carrying the flag have wearied and have become post-Zionists, if not outright anti-Zionists.

After 2000 years, our fate is once again in our hands. If our leaders have gone bad and are trying to push us into the abyss, we have no one to complain to but ourselves. It is in our hands to guarantee the existence of the State of Israel, and turn it from the state of the Jews into a Jewish State. To turn the State of Israel into the Kingdom of Israel.

Arabs caused the refugee problem

PA daily: Arabs left homes on their own to facilitate

destruction of Israel -- and thus became refugees

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

The Arabs who became refugees in 1948 were not expelled by Israel but left on their own to facilitate the destruction of Israel, according to a senior Palestinian journalist writing in a Palestinian daily. This plan to leave Israel was initiated by the Arab states fighting Israel, who promised the people they would be able to return to their homes in a few days once Israel was defeated. The article in Al-Ayyam concludes that these Arab states are responsible for the Arab refugee problem.

A backbone of Palestinian English-language propaganda is the myth that Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Israel and created Arab refugees. But in recent years, PMW has documented an increasing willingness among Palestinians to openly blame the Arab states and not Israel.

Following are five such statements of blame, starting with this most recent article and including testimony from refugees themselves and corroboration by Palestinian leaders. Clearly, there is a growing Palestinian willingness to blame the Arab leaders, which corroborates Israel's historical record.

1. Jawad Al Bashiti, Palestinian journalist in Jordan, writing in Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008

"Remind me of one real cause from all the factors that have caused the "Palestinian Catastrophe" [the establishment of Israel and the creation of refugee problem], and I will remind you that it still exists... The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our Catastrophes today.
During the Little Catastrophe, meaning the Palestinian Catastrophe the following happened: the first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the "Arab Salvation Army" came and told the Palestinians: 'We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission (destroy Israel) in the best way and so you won't be hurt.' It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states (against Israel) was a big illusion. Arabs fought as if intending to cause the "Palestinian Catastrophe". [Al-Ayyam, May 13 2008]

2. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian Journalist in PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 13, 2006

"...The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the "Catastrophe" in 1948, that the duration of the exile will not be long, and that it will not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees will return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those "Arkuvian" promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events..." [Term "Arkuvian," is after Arkuv - a figure from Arab tradition - who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies."] "
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 13, 2006]

3. Asmaa Jabir Balasimah, Woman who fled Israel in 1948, Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006

"We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the "Catastrophe" [1948]. They told us: The Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return, after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us [who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours."
[Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]

4. Son of man who fled in 1948, PA TV 1999

An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father, saying that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave Palestine or be labeled traitors. In response, Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsur, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, cursed those leaders, thus acknowledging Israel's historical record.

"Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]. I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the "Catastrophe" [in 1948], our district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon - Southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor."

Response from Ibrahim Sarsur, now MK, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel:
"The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day."
[PA TV April 30, 1999]

5. Fuad Abu Higla, senior Palestinian, Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, March 19, 2001

Fuad Abu Higla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, which criticized the Arab leaders. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders "forced" them to leave Israel in 1948, again placing the blame for the flight on the Arab leaders.

"I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents, poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians...

So what will your summit do now?"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2001]

It is clear from these statements that there is general acknowledgement among Palestinians that Arab leaders bear responsibility for the mass flight of Arabs from Israel in 1948, and were the cause of the "refugee" problem. Furthermore, the fact that this information has been validated by public figures and refugees in the Palestinian Authority media itself confirms that this responsibility is well-known - even though for propaganda purposes its leaders continue to blame Israel publicly for "the expulsion."

Who gets the Golan?

srael has no reason to trust Syria in talks over that strategic area.
By Yossi Klein Halevi

May 28, 2008

JERUSALEM — The Israeli mainstream, so the truism here goes, is so desperate for peace that, in the end, it will overcome misgivings over relinquishing territory and mistrust of Arab intentions and endorse any diplomatic initiative aimed at solving the Middle East conflict. After all, the majority of Israelis have supported every withdrawal so far -- from the Sinai desert in 1982 to the pullout from Gaza in 2005. And according to polls, a majority of Israelis are prepared to leave most of the West Bank and create a Palestinian state.

But that willingness to relinquish territory for peace -- or even a respite -- ends with the Golan Heights, which Israel won in the 1967 Six-Day War and whose fate Israel and Syria are negotiating. By an overwhelming majority, Israelis oppose ceding the Golan to Syria, even in exchange for a promise of peace from Damascus. So does a majority of the Israeli parliament, along with most Cabinet members from the governing party, Kadima.

One reason is that few here believe that the regime of Bashar Assad will honor an agreement. No Arab state has consistently shown greater hostility to Israel than Syria. The Palestinian terrorist movement Hamas is headquartered in Damascus; Syria is Iran's leading Arab ally. Without a Syrian attempt to convince the Israeli public of its benign intentions, domestic opposition will stymie any attempt by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to cede the Golan to Assad. And the prospects for a convincing Syrian overture are almost nonexistent.

The Middle East conflict has produced two models of Arab peacemakers. The first was former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who realized that the key to resolving the conflict was psychological. The Israeli public needed to be convinced that, in exchange for concrete concessions, it would win legitimacy from the Arab world. And so Sadat flew to Jerusalem, addressed the Israeli parliament and announced that Egypt welcomed Israel into the Middle East. The result was an Israeli pullback from every last inch of Sinai.

The second model was former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, who, rather than prepare his people for peace, assured them that Israel was an illegitimate state destined to disappear. And when Israel offered the Palestinians a state, Arafat's response was a war of suicide bombings. The result was an indefinite deferment of statehood.

Grudging and suspicious, Assad reminds Israelis far more of Arafat than of Sadat. So far, Assad has refused even to hold direct negotiations with Israel, preferring Turkish interlocutors. Give me the Golan, he is in effect saying, and then we'll see what kind of peace develops between us.

But Israelis are hardly in a rush to part with one of the most beloved areas of their country. For Israelis, the Golan Heights, with its empty hills and vineyards, is more Provence than Gaza. Unlike the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, the Golan poses no moral or demographic dilemmas. Here there is no occupation of another people; barely 20,000 Druze, and an equal number of Jews, share the nearly 700-square-mile area.

Under Syrian control before the 1967 war, the Golan was Israel's most volatile border. Many here still recall the years when Syrian soldiers on the Golan routinely shot at Israeli civilians in the Galilee below. After 1967, though, the Golan became Israel's most placid border. Israelis sense that, for the sake of quiet if not formal peace, it is far better to have their soldiers overlooking Syria than for Syrian soldiers to be once again looking down on the Galilee.

Israeli advocates of a Golan withdrawal argue that Syria may be enticed to sever its ties with Iran as part of a peace agreement. Neutralizing a potential Syrian front in a future Middle East war -- with Iran, say -- would be a major gain for Israel, which is why much of the Israeli strategic community supports negotiations. Syria, though, continues to affirm the primacy of its alliance with Iran. And, during a visit this week to Tehran, Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmany reinforced that message by signing a security agreement with Iran.

Two Israeli leaders, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, tried and failed in the 1990s to reach an agreement with Bashar's father, the late Syrian leader Hafez Assad. Though both Rabin and Barak agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan, the Syrians demanded more: several hundred yards of shorefront on the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main freshwater source, which the Syrians had seized from Israel before 1967. When Rabin and Barak refused to allow Hafez Assad to fulfill his stated dream of again dipping his feet into the Sea of Galilee, negotiations collapsed.

The current negotiations will almost certainly fail too. In fact, possessing the Golan is hardly Assad's top priority. Instead, Assad has two more pressing interests: evading an international tribunal investigating the Syrian government's complicity in the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and deflecting attention from the intensifying domination of Lebanon by the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah alliance. Negotiations with Israel -- regardless of whether they actually succeed -- help Assad achieve both goals, by deflecting world attention from the destruction of Lebanese sovereignty and by transforming him from pariah to peacemaker.

Israel's Olmert hopes that peace negotiations will deflect attention from his own woes -- allegations of corruption dating in part from his days as Jerusalem's mayor. Other Israelis, though, are wondering how helping Assad destroy Lebanon and escape justice can possibly be confused for Israel's national interest, let alone for a peace process.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and the Israel correspondent for the New Republic.,0,7315902.story

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ben Eliezer Reveals NIS 3 Billion Water Rescue Plan

Hana Levi Julian

National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer has proposed a NIS 3 billion ($900 million) plan to deal with Israel's growing water crisis – but the price tag will cost the agriculture industry more than just shekels alone.

Speaking at the Golan Agricultural Conference on Tuesday, Ben Eliezer admitted the plan, which calls for a cut in water quotas for farmers, could become the "death knell" to local agriculture. However, he said farmers would be compensated for their losses under the proposal, which he plans to present to the Cabinet next Sunday. Earlier this month Ben Eliezer presented a proposal to the government, to compensate farmers whose water quotas have been cut in response to the water crisis. The plan was estimated to cost NIS 100 to 150 million, with the Ministry of Agriculture demanding a payout of NIS 4 per cubic meter of water cut.

Desalination Approved

The plan is the latest in a string of proposals Ben Eliezer has put forth to deal with Israel's water crisis. A proposal to build a NIS 2 billion desalination facility in Hadera recently got the green light after Ben Eliezer announced the government had secured funding for the project. The facility will increase seawater desalination in Israel from 500 million cubic meters a year to 750 million. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed within five years.

In addition, the proposal includes construction of two more desalination facilities, each of which will produce 100 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year. One is to be built by Mekorot, the National Water Company's Initiatives and Development section, and the other by the private sector, at Soreq.

In addition, the ministry is preparing to build 21 more reservoirs throughout the country.

"This is the worst water crisis we have ever known," Ben Eliezer told participants at the conference on agriculture and water resources. He blamed both the weather and the government for the current situation.

The past four winters have left Israel with less than average precipitation, but Ben Eliezer also noted that funding for desalination projects was slashed in half by the Finance Ministry in 2001.

Eye on the UN: Human Rights Commission Stacked Against Israel

Ezra HaLevi

In elections held last week at the UN, Islamic nations increased their hold in the Human Rights Council.

“The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) increased its grip on the UN Human Rights Council,” reported Eye on the UN, a watchdog group that monitors the democratic nature and adherence to its mandate of the international body. “By electing Pakistan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso and Gabon, the OIC won an increased majority of seats in the African and the Asian regional groups taken together, which account for over half of the Council membership.”Eye on the UN Senior Editor Anne Bayefsky is not optimistic about the Human Rights Council, traditionally a group focused on condemning Israel, changing its ways. “The results will guarantee the Council will continue to use the mantra of human rights to undermine human rights protection and immunize human rights abusers,” Bayefsky said. “In its first two years, the domination of Islamic states has meant an attack on freedom of expression, an attempt to silence non-governmental organizations, and a pre-occupation on Israel to the exclusion of gross human rights violations the world over.”

The election reduced the number of free democracies on the council overall. “Before today, 49% Council members were ranked fully free by Freedom House statistics, but the election of Bahrain, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Zambia, means that only 22 of 47 of Council members are now fully free democratic states,” Bayefsky said. "Human rights abusers will therefore continue to dominate the UN's primary human rights body.”

The Council was created in 2006 to replace the UN Human Rights Commission, which had gained the reputation of being a front for anti-Israeli sentiment. According to the Eye on the UN report, however, the record of the new body includes: “Holding four special sessions on Israel and seven regular sessions on human rights covering all 192 UN members, eliminating human rights investigations on Cuba and Belarus, terminating behind-closed-door consideration of Iranian human rights abuses, and severely curtailing the investigation into abuses of freedom of expression. Furthermore, 60% of all Council resolutions and decisions critical of human rights protection in a specific state have been directed at Israel alone, while only four other UN states have been criticized at all.”

Eye on the UN praised the US for refraining from taking part in the council until it begins to be run fairly. "Clearly, the United States has made the right decision to stay off the Council and to refuse to lend it the credibility it does not deserve," Bayefsky said. "Congressional efforts to end U.S. funding for the Council are a move in the right direction."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Holding Onto The Golan

May 27, 2008

I can't remember how many columns I have written, in The New York Sun and other places, against the idea of returning the entire Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a largely worthless peace treaty.

The first of them was published back in 1994, when Yitzhak Rabin gave the Syrians his renowned "deposit," an advance promise, which has haunted all subsequent Israeli governments, to cede the whole Golan if all other issues were resolved.

Every few years another supposed Israeli-Syrian deal of this sort hits the headlines; every few years I write another column against it; every few years it fades away until the next time.

So what's left to say now that the next time has again become this time? That one can only hope that this time, too, it will soon become last time? That all the reasons for not surrendering the Golan that have been valid in the past are more valid than ever today, especially when the Syrian regime has just been caught trying to develop clandestine nuclear weapons and is successfully in the process of helping Hezbollah take over Lebanon and the president of America thinks that yielding to its demands would be a bad idea?

That offering to give up the Golan would therefore be the most unpardonable act that could be committed by a government whose leader, Ehud Olmert, has close to a zero approval rate from the Israeli public and will soon have to resign, and possibly go to jail, because of his crooked finances? Or that this same public has shown itself when polled, time after time, to be against ceding the Golan and currently opposes doing so by 70% to 30%?

Let's talk about this public and the paradox it represents in terms of the Golan. It's no secret that every Israeli government that has offered to return the Golan has been heavily influenced by high army officers who have supported such a move and that this is true of the Olmert government, too. Nor is it a secret why the army's general staff has tended to take this position.

This is not because the Golan has no strategic value in the army's eyes. It is because the army fears that, should war with Syria break out over the Golan, or over some other issue like Iran, this value will be offset by the rain of Syrian missiles that will hit Israeli population centers, panicking their inhabitants, causing massive casualties, and forcing Israel to sue for a ceasefire before it can press its military advantage.

Is the Israeli public unaware of this danger? If it was before the 2005 war against Hezbollah, it certainly isn't any longer. It knows what happened then, and it knows that what would happen if the Syrians were to emulate Hezbollah's tactics would be far worse. If it doesn't agree with the army, this is because it has more faith in itself and in the army than the army does.

It has more faith in the army, because it believes in the army's deterrent power, which could pulverize Damascus if the Syrians attacked Tel Aviv or Haifa. (The army, apparently, does not believe that any Israeli government would allow it even to threaten pulverizing Damascus, let alone to do such a thing.) And it has more faith in itself because it believes that even if Tel Aviv and Haifa were attacked, it could hold out long enough for the army to do its job.

This is not to minimize how grim a worst-scene scenario might be. No one in Israel wants to see thousands or tens of thousands of Israeli casualties, or for that matter, hundreds of thousands or millions of Syrian casualties. It is simply to say that the Israeli public, besides justifiably feeling that the Golan is by now part of Israel and should remain so, is more realistic than either its army or its government.

It knows not only what the price of risking a war with Syria might be, it knows what the price of not risking one would be. Once the Arab world understands that Israel does not believe it can fight or win another war, and will not fight one to hold onto its own sovereign territory (which the Golan has been since 1980), Israel might as well go into receivership immediately, because it will in any case be ripped apart piece by piece, each time yielding another bit of itself to the latest Arab ultimatum.

Fortunately, this time, too, the Golan will not be traded for a peace treaty, in the first place, because the Olmert government will fall, and secondly, because if the government that succeeds it wishes to relinquish the Golan too, it will not be able to muster the 61 votes needed in the Knesset to do so. The Golan will remain Israel's for at least the next several years.

But the damage will have been done.

The Arabs and the rest of the world will have been told, louder and clearer than ever, that: 1) Israel agrees that the Golan belongs to Syria; 2) Israel does not want to fight for it; and 3) If a Syrian-Israeli peace is not achieved, Israel will be to blame and a Syrian resort to arms will be justifiable. The Rabin "deposit" will have been re-deposited with a clunk. Keeping the Golan, or hoping eventually to settle with the Syrians for part of it, will be made that much more difficult.

This is why the Olmert government's actions are so outrageous. For the sake of a diplomatic initiative that cannot succeed it is, in the months remaining before its prime minister has to stand trial on corruption charges, jeopardizing Israel's reputation and future. That Mr. Olmert may have plenty of time to reflect on this in prison is not much comfort.

Mr. Halkin is a contributing editor of The New York Sun.

Conversation about Israel independence


You may be interested in my answer to a friend:

You are asking me if Bennie Morris’s criticism of Israel’s success in the war of Independence is valid.

I do not believe most of what I read unless the source is:
1: Well known and reliable,
2. It is corroborated with info from other, independent sources,
3. It makes common sense to me based on my own experience.
I study issues by looking, over time, at many diverse sources, not the unique view of an individual.I have known for some years that Benny Morris is anti Israeli and works for years to discredit the facts of the 48 war.
My brother Dr. Pinhas Ginossar was a historian of the period at the same university for a long time and edited a serious and highly respected yearly publication on the very issue- Israel independence: IYUNIM BITKUMAT ISRAEL-- Studies in Zionism, the Yisuv and the State of Israel. My brother reviewed also materials we do not have access to- Pinhas told me to disregard most if not all that Morris has been saying.

I was there during the war and so were most of my friends; we were in the right age to fight and die, and they told me many of their experiences.

The facts are:
The majority of Palestinians escaped because: First, their leaders told them to leave because they would destroy Israel, drive us to the sea quickly and then they could return and take our empty homes. I saw their propaganda against us. It reminded me of the Nazi propaganda, you must see it to realize their attitude.
Also, some Palestinians knew that if they caught us they would murder us, and therefore believed that we would do the same to them. They ran in fear. But the Israeli’s rarely killed innocent people. In a few places we encouraged them to leave, and I am glad we did. During the war you look to secure your positions and do not have the leisure of being magnanimous.

You also have to be realistic about war and your country.
Almost all countries that gained freedom in the 20th Century gained their freedom by force, by might, by fighting. So did Israel. Don't start feeling guilty about it.

Israel is without a doubt a legally internationally recognized country. The Arabs disregard this reality.
We won our country by our wars against the British and the Arabs.
Land is held by those who have the dedication and strength to win the wars.
Israel won it several times from Arab attackers. It is ours and any discussion trivialized the 23 thousands Israeli dead the Arabs murdered during the different wars they imposed on us.

I do not care what the Arabs are saying about their rights, like they do not care how much proofs we can submit to them about our rights.
The one with strength wins. And that is the way life is for thousands of years.

Kol Tuv.


Letter to Senator Obama

My name is Leon Weinstein. I am an American. I am
also Jewish. I was born in the Soviet Union, was fortunate to get out in 1974 and lived in Israel until my second immigration to the US in 1986. I have family in Israel, including my brother, parents, and my bellowed nephews. As you see I have a stock in Israel, and wouldn't want this country to be bombed by nukes (or conventional rockets), annihilated or buldozered to the Mediterranean, all of the above being proposed by the esteemed leaders of practically all neighboring Israel nations. I am not a partial and neutral bystander. I am one very angry and concerned citizen and below I will try to explain to you why I am angry and concerned. You might become our next President, Leader and
Commander-in- Chief, but we the people know precious little about who you are, your ability to withstand pressure, your philosophy, sympathies and preferences, your experience and your judgment. During your recent campaigning we hear from you many wonderful words like "unification of America", "no more blue or red states", "help to humanity", "care for those that need care", and I applaud those words. If your words are supported by your past actions, then you might be the man for the job. If your words contradict or are unsupported by what you did before the Presidential race, then you are not what you say you are, right?

In order to find that out I attempted to examine whom you hang out with, what words you and your friends were saying in private and in public and how all that can affect our lives.

First, I decided to look who is endorsing you
(according to the information that can be found on
Internet), who likes where you stand on issues. I
found among others a scaring host of anti-Semitic and
anti-Israeli people and organizations:
- Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam Leader, racist,
- Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Islamic Terror Organization)
- Raila Odinga (Fundamental Islamic
Candidate,Kenya, some say he is your cousin)
- Daniel Ortega (Marxist Sandinista Leader,
- Raul Castro (Hard-line Communist Leader, Cuba)
- Socialist Party USA (Marxist Political Party)
- The New Black Panther Party (Black Militant
- Hamas Terrorist Organization (Islamic Terrorist
Organization) .

I was really surprised to find so many American
enemies routing for you (Hamas, Sandinistas, Cuban
Marxists), but what really frightened me was that
there is a well-organized effort in the Middle East to
call American voters at random asking them to vote for Obama. Who pays them for the expensive phone calls to America? Who trained them what to say and who gave them names and phone numbers of the American voters? This was reported by Al Jazeera: "After studying Obama's campaign manifesto I thought this is a man that's capable of change inside of America." said one of pro-Obama Middle Eastern organizers.
"But may be" I was arguing with myself, "I can't
blame you for that, since you didn't ask for their
endorsements or their help? You may be even do not
know about it, or do you? On the other hand if our
enemies (Hamas, Sandinistas, Cuban Marxists) love you so much, may be it says something about your agenda?"

Enough about those that like you. Let's look at whom
you like, whom you planning to bring to the White
House to govern America. You invited Zbigniew
Brzezinski to become your chief political advisor.
Brzezinski signed a letter demanding dialogue with
Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction. He has also an interesting view on Communism that I am afraid you may share: "Communism has the
intellectually tantalizing possibility that for the
world at large. It was … a blessing in disguise". WOW! "Blessing in disguise?" Half of my family was murdered in Gulags. My beloved grandfather died after a stroke at the KGB headquarters.

Your advisor on nuclear policies Joseph Cirincione in response to reports that the site in Syria that Israel
bombed was a potential nuclear facility being
established with the help of North Korea, said that
the reports were the product of two nefarious,
agenda-driven groups: (1) Bush administration
hardliners seeking to derail "the U.S.-North Korean
agreement" and (2) Israelis who "want to thwart any
dialogue between the U.S. and Syria." WOW again!

Your financial backer billionaire George Soros
repeatedly says in his speeches: "The main obstacle to
a stable and just world order is the United States."
How many times in one letter I can repeat WOW! Another obstacle he considers Israel. If you have an obstacle on your way, you remove it, right? Do you share the same ideology that Soros professes? As a matter of fact, looks like your wife does. Soros is the power, and this is he who puts money in your campaign coffins. In the old world we had a
saying, "he who dines the girl, is dances her as
well". What dance you promised Soros?

"The world powers established this filthy bacteria,
the Zionist regime, which is lashing out at the
nations in the region like a wild beast."- this is
what President of Iran Ahmadinejad says of Israel. He consistently calls for destruction of Israel and the
"Big Satan", the United States. Iran harbors and
finances terrorists around the globe. At the same time
your most senior military adviser retired Gen. Merrill
McPeak says President Bush and Israel is to blame for Iran's bad behavior: "It was usthat insulted them by including them in the 'axis of evil' and making sure
they understood we didn't like them very much. That
drove us apart," says McPeak and continues: "Obama's
idea is, why not talk to them. Why not see if there
isn't some common ground. Certainly, the fight
against al Qaeda would be one of them."

Dear Senator, hate of Israel would also be a good
common ground with Iran, Hesbollah and Hamas. I
remember the overwhelming joy on the Iranian and
Palestinian streets when they heard about 9/11. Same joy I recall when Hezbollah dragged on the streets of Gaza killed Israeli soldiers in front of TV cameras. The same joy they experienced when masked terrorists beheaded Americans and many other infidels they kidnap, torture and videotape their murders.

Simon Malley, another of your foreign policy advisors loathes Israel. The anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat. He
was,according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization --- and this was
when it was at the height of its terrorism wave
against the West. His efforts were so damaging to
France that President Valerie d'Estaing expelled him
from the country. Now you want him to give you an
advice regarding Middle East and relations with

I can go on and on. My big question to you is –
usually we surround ourselves with like-minded people. Didn't you notice that all those people quite contradicting your public speeches? Or may be they express your hidden thoughts and agenda?

During an ABC interview Stephanopoulos asked you: "So you would extend our deterrent to Israel?" your answer was: "As I said before, I think it is very important
that Iran understands that an attack on Israel, is an
attack on our strongest ally in the region, one that
we -- one whose security, we consider paramount. And
that would be an act of aggression that we would --
that I would consider an attack that is unacceptable.
And the United States would take appropriate action."
It is important to notice that you didn't say, "We
will come after them and will respond in full force".
Dear Senator – what is this "appropriate action" of
yours? We already know that your mentors Reverend
Wrightand socialist billionaire Soros think that the
US and Israel stand in a way to the "progress". May be
the appropriate action, as you and your team understand it will be to tell Iranians "Good job, guys"?

Israel is an American alley that brings to the
relations its fair share. I want you to read exerts
from two articles written by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram
Ettinger, who is an expert on U.S. Middle East policy: Former secretary of state and NATO supreme commander Gen. (ret.) Alexander Haig refers to Israel as the largest, most cost-effective combat-experienced U.S. aircraft carrier – one that does not require American ersonnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a region critical to U.S. national security interests.

In 1967, Israel defeated a pro-Soviet Egypt/Syria axis. In 1970, Israel forced the rollback of an invasion by pro-Soviet Syria of pro-U.S. Jordan, preventing a pro-Soviet Domino Effect in the Persian Gulf. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor, enabling the U.S. to proceed with conventional military options in its wars againstSaddam Hussein. In 1982, Israel destroyed Syrian-operated Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, which were considered impregnable. Israeli-developed unmanned aerial vehicles have been employed by U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing otherwise unattainable intelligence and
preempting terrorist strikes. The Israeli-developed
Lightning Pod navigation guidance system eliminated
Al-Zarqawi, the arch Al-Qaeda terrorist. Absent Israel
and its contribution to U.S. national security,
Washington would have to deploy, to the eastern flank
of the Mediterranean, aircraft carriers and tens of
thousands of servicemen, costing scores of billions of
dollars annually.

Dear Senator, we all would want to hear you saying
words that in uncertain terms will tell our enemies
that you are not their friend, that you stand and will
stand for our country and for the principals of the
founding fathers of our country. How about repeating
the pledge that Professor Wichman of Mechanical
Engineering at MSU wrote to a group of "outraged by
Jewish behavior" Muslim students in his University:
I (Barack Hussein Obama) will stand firmly against
beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public
buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic
priests (the latest in Turkey), burnings of Christian
churches, the continued persecution of Coptic
Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on
non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women
(called 'whores' in extreme Muslim culture), the
murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting
and looting in Paris France. This is what offends me,
and many, many of my fellow Americans. This shall be
stopped and stopped immediately. I will not tolerate
it on my watch. As a US President I will stand firm to
stop this aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized behavior. I will defend our allies including Israel, and will destroy
any one who will try to destroy them. Amen!

Looks like you are not going to do it. This will make
your Far Left friends angry with you. You will hide
behind words and smiles and half-truths. Exactly as
you were hiding your controversial pastor in the
basement of the building before you announced your bid
for the US presidency.

Dear Senator, I received the below written text by
email. I do not know the sender, but I agree with
him/her hundred percent. And I want you and your
sponsors, supporters and advisors to read it as well:
Any nation or culture that tried to mess around
with the nation of Israel was destroyed -- while we
Jews kept going! Egypt? Anyone knows where their
empire disappeared to? Greeks? Alexander of Macedonia? The Romans? Does anyone today speak Latin? The Third Reich? Anyone heard any news about it lately? And look at us, the Nation from the Bible, from Slavery in Egypt. We are still here, speaking the same language!
Do not even think about positioning the United States
of America against Israel and Jews.

Leon A.Weinstein
Los Angeles, CA

Words of War

Bill Steigerwald

Victor Davis Hanson, a former classics professor, is a renowned conservative scholar of ancient history and military affairs who's recently become a nationally syndicated columnist and blogger. The author of 17 books with titles like "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War," "An Autumn of War" and "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming," he is the senior fellow in residence in classics and military history at the Hoover Institution on the Stanford University campus. Hanson, whose scholarship and interest in individual freedom recently earned him a 2008 Bradley Prize worth $250,000 from the Bradley Foundation, was on his farm near the central California town of Selma when I called to ask him about his favorite war books.

Q: What's the greatest book on war ever written?

A: I think Thucydides' "Peloponnesian War" is the most astute. It's the second-earliest history of war and it's not only a testament to the use of source material and the ability to provide a coherent narrative, but it's analytical and it becomes almost philosophical in its dissection of human nature.

Q: Has everyone else been trying to rise to those standards ever since?

A: Yes, I think so. The adjective "Thucydidean" is pretty much a standard brand now that people understand that ideally a historian would have three components in a successful history: One would be that they would use source materials in an analytic rather than prejudicial manner; and two, they would be able to draw together a lot of sources and provide an engaging narrative; and then three, that their history would speak to readers in terms of philosophy beyond just the particular history or period or era they are narrating.

Q: What was the best book about World War II?

A: I think Gerhard Weinberg's "A World at Arms" (1994: Cambridge University Press). It's a single-volume (1,208-page) history of World War II. What's so good about it is, he looks at it in a holistic fashion, so we understand for the first time how the Balkan uprising affected German war plans. Or what was going on in the Japanese empire in places like Korea or Taiwan or Mainland China and how that affected the war with the British. Or what were people in the Nazi Party talking to Hitler about in terms of alternate plans rather than what actually happened. He understands source material very well and he has an eye for trying to give us a world at war other than just Britain, Germany and the United States. It shows how their ideas filtered out into so many different theaters and how the ultimate result of that is how lucky we were to win.

Q: What's the best anti-war book?

A: There was a whole genre of anti-war books that followed the First World War. There are novels such as "All Quiet on the Western Front" or memoirs like Robert Graves' "Good-bye to All That," or poetry by people like Siegfried Sassoon that came out of the World War I experience in Europe. Europe had never experienced anything like that before. There are other things that have been written, like "The Red Badge of Courage," and plays going back to the Greeks, like "The Trojan Women" or Aristophanes' comedy "Lysistrata," that were anti-war in nature. But it seems to me that World War I and the advent of industrial war created entire new genres of novels, poetry and memoirs that started with the premise that there was nothing at all possibly glorious about war.

Q: Would you agree with that last phrase you uttered?

A: To an extent. I am not one of these people that is common now who see World War I as a tragedy in the sense that there was no moral or ethical difference between Germany of 1914 and France and England. If one were to look at the nature of German aggression in Europe, the nature of German colonies overseas, or what the German agenda was, it seems to me that it was very different than the liberal tradition in France and England that prevailed. It's a tragedy that it had to end in a war like that, but given the superiority of the German Wehrmacht in 1914, I don't know any other way how anybody would have stopped it. In terms of artillery, in terms of personal arms, in terms of general staff, railroads, communications, esprit de corps, it was so far superior to the colonial armies of France and England. The ambitions of the German Kaiser were so ambitious, I don't know how anybody could have done anything other than what they did. They would have either had to appease them or capitulate. It was a tragedy. But I do think there was a qualitative difference in the fact that the Allies won. It had a profound effect on Europe. The tragedy of World War I, it seems to me, is how the Versailles Treaty ended and the Allies were not willing to remain vigilant, because given their enormous losses in the war there was sort of a utopian pacifism that followed.

Q: You've been reading books about the war in Iraq by various participants. They're all sort of pointing fingers of blame at each other for various reasons. Which book so far do you find to be the most informative and the most credible?

A: I think the most recent that I read, (former undersecretary of defense) Douglas Feith's "War and Decision," is the most informative. And I think it's the most credible for one reason - that it's the best documented. More importantly, he has deliberately avoided or promised not to use a technique that has been very common in other books like Tom Rick's "Fiasco" or Trainor and Gordon's "Cobra II." By that I mean he has not had anonymous sources in the footnotes. So we don't see "senior Pentagon official" or "junior American diplomat" cited after a direct quotation. Nor do we see, as we see in Bob Woodward's books, conversations repeated verbatim inside a room with three people and we don't know who gave him that information. That means the information can never be checked.

Whereas in the case of Feith, he not only cited things, he put it on his Web site and a person can go to the Web site and click on the footnote and see whether the footnote reflects accurately what it is supposed to. And I don't think he was trying to get even. Part of the problem with that genre is that, a), it's right in the middle of a war; and b), when Paul Bremer writes he's going to blame Feith and he's going to blame Gen. Sanchez. When Gen. Sanchez is going to write, he's going to blame Bremer and Feith. Gen. Tommy Franks is going to say I did a great job and I left and everything was right. Gen. Sanchez is now going to blame Bremer . once you get into that cycle it's unending.

I think if you read carefully what Feith wrote, a), he didn't do that, and b), he takes some of the blame himself. It's an apology in a sense for the idea that the Pentagon had a war plan, had people listened to then rather than the State Department, things would be better than they are now. It's not "My brilliant war was ruined by somebody else's lousy occupation." That's pretty much the subtext of every other (book).

Q: How many years after a war does a historian need to get a proper perspective?

A: I think it takes a half century.... It takes the death of people, and that's usually 50 years. In the case of World War II, we had a radical change of heart once Eisenhower passed away and once Gen. Omar Bradley passed away, because they were icons of the American military. If we were to say Bradley was not as good a general as George Patton, that would have been heresy. Patton died right after the war and was caricatured as an uncouth bigmouth. But after Bradley died and there was not the Bradley core of scholars - clients, so to speak - in the military and also in the civilian world, then people began to look at World War II with a fresh start. So you can see that the last two or three biographies of Patton have been very sympathetic. They have started to say that it was Bradley who was responsible for the Falaise Gap (in Normandy); it was Bradley who didn't have a good plan to restore the Bulge; it was Eisenhower who was naïve about Czechoslovakia and Berlin. These questions were not even raised before, because of the enormous stature they held while they were alive. That's true of every war; you really can't question in a disinterested fashion because the principals who are still alive have their various spheres of influence. I don't think we'll know about Iraq until all the major players are gone.

Q: Some people have said Iraq is the worst blunder in the history of American foreign policy. What do you say when you hear that statement?

A: Two things come to mind: One, people must not know things that we've done in the past. I'm not saying it was a blunder, but you could easily have used that terminology when we armed the Soviet Union and it killed 30 million of its own people to stop Hitler; we went to war to ensure that Eastern Europe was liberated from Nazi totalitarianism and we ended up assuring that Eastern Europe was subjected to Soviet totalitarianism and we empowered an empire that was every bit as bad as Hitler. But that was something that a prior generation accepted.. On a tactical level, Iraq is not even close to World War II. Putting pilots in Devastator torpedo bombers; or trying to sell the idea that the Sherman tank, for all of its strengths about maintenance, was going to be anywhere near comparable to a German tank; and the thousands of people who found out with the cost of their lives that wasn't true . I could go down the line.

Whether it's the Civil War, or the First World War, or the Second World War, or the status of American armed forces in August of 1950, we've made so many more blunders and we reacted so much more slowly to correct them than anything we have seen in Iraq. So I just don't think anybody has any historical comparison.

That being said, is Iraq a fiasco or a blunder? If we were to get out and were to lose, I would concede that it would be. But if we stay and we are successful in creating a constitutional government, then you can see that that would be an amazing achievement. It would not only make Saddam Hussein's Iraq an ally rather than an enemy that attacked its neighbors, but it would have a very deleterious effect on Iran. We can talk in terms of Iran undermining Iraq - that's true. But if Iraq was to win that struggle, then it would be -- by its very presence as a constitutional state -- undermining Iran as well as putting pressure on other countries who don't have our interests at heart. All we did by going into Iraq was raise the ante; great good can come of it or great evil depending upon how we prevail. As far as the losses, I don't quite understand it. I don't like to be heartless, but in six years we've lost about the same amount of soldiers we lost in two or three days in a major campaign in World War II. During an eight-year period of the Clinton administration, when the military was two or three times larger and not nearly as adept in its training, I think we lost almost twice as many as we've lost in Iraq in peacetime accidents. I think in the eight years of the Clinton administration we lost over 7,000 dead in accidents. So if you look at the rate of casualties this month, for example, we're averaging about less than one a day. It was always pretty much a standard figure that we would lose three soldiers a day in the military in the 1980s and 1990s - it was well over a thousand a year. It's not happening in the military in general and it's not happening in Iraq. It doesn't mean it's not tragic we are losing people, but given the stakes, I'm always amazed at how well the military does.

Q: If you were to write a book about the war in Iraq now, after six years -- and I know you'd probably say it's too early to write one -- what would it focus on?

A: I think I would concentrate on two issues: One is how victory or defeat would affect the position of the United States in a geopolitical sense. That would touch on everything from the price of oil to the nuclear arming of Iran or to the weapons of mass destruction programs that we know took place under Saddam but more importantly in places like Pakistan, Libya and Syria. I'd make the argument that a victory would discourage proliferation of all these weapons and encourage reform and a defeat would make things much worse than they were before.

The second thing, I would be concentrating on how the military evolved; an artillery-armor-rapid-moving column that won the war and then in a bureaucratic sense was static in the occupation had to adjust and the degree to which it adjusted faster than the insurgents did. I think we're going to see in the next round of Army promotions a whole new cadre of colonels who are more versed in counterinsurgency than they are in armor, artillery or air support.

Q: What lessons has the war in Iraq taught future historians?

A: It's a reminder that there are new lessons in war. No war turns out as one predicts. So those who were arguing after the three-week victory that we'd have a constitutional government up and running in six months given the euphoria of the pretty brilliant victory were wrong, just as people have been wrong about the Civil War lasting one summer or World War I being over in September. And then those who thought that the insurgency had won and it was hopeless; the United States could never go into the heart of the Caliphate and know what they were doing; the idea that Arabs could ever vote in a peaceful or orderly fashion among themselves was impossible - they're wrong, as well. I think it reiterates that the strengths of the United States' system - civilian control of the military, reliance on high technology, logistics and most importantly consensuality among the ranks so that people who have different ideas or different strategies are allowed to be heard - for all the problems we've had in Iraq, if we have enough patience, will finally come into play. We get somebody like Gen. Petraeus and he turns around the theater and the unheard of and the impossible starts to happen -- that being that suddenly a Shia-dominated government is attacking Shia radicals that are surrogates of Iran while appealing to Sunnis to join them and to do their part in routing al-Qaida and Wahhabi insurgents. Nobody in their right mind would have believed that was possible just a year and half ago. But with patience, we get the right kind of people in such a system that can change things around. I think that's happened.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

'Jerusalem offers 91% of W. Bank in new map'

Abbas says Olmert probes, US elections distracting from talks

According to Palestinian officials close to the peace negotiations, Israel has presented a revised map showing a proposed withdrawal from all but 8.5 percent of the West Bank, offering a larger land concession than an earlier map but still less than what the Palestinians are demanding, The claim, however, is being discounted by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and other senior PA officials. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that peace talks are actually stalled, and it is doubtful the sides can reach the goal set by US President George W. Bush last November of a major peace deal by the end of 2008.

Abbas told a Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting yesterday that, “Nothing has been achieved in the negotiations with Israel yet," according to the Al-Ayyam daily. Abbas cited the new corruption probe against Israel leader Ehud Olmert and the American presidential elections as distractions from the peace talks.

Nonetheless, other Palestinian officials say that three days ago Israel offered the updated map which increased the area for a Palestinian state from 88% to 91.5% of the West Bank. Israel wants to retain the main Jewish settlement blocs and exchange land inside Israel needed for a Palestinian land corridor between Gaza and Hebron.

The officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said the PA is prepared to exchange only 1.8 percent of the West Bank for land in Israel.

Israeli officials declined to respond to reports on the proposed map, which reportedly does not include any suggested boundaries for east Jerusalem as the current Olmert government is afraid to touch that thorny issue until the end of the negotiating process.

Israel sends second batch of quake relief materials to China

An Israeli cargo plane carrying relief materials left the country on Sunday, heading for the quake-hit Sichuan Province in southwest China.

"We would like to send our condolences to the people of China, and to try to help as far as we can, in order to express the friendship and understanding between our peoples," said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at a ceremony at Ben Gurion international airport before the plane took off. Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhao Jun thanked the Israeli government and people for their "cordial affection and generous assistance," saying that the friendship between the two friendly nations will be carried on from generation to generation.

"We believe that with the leadership of the Chinese government, the unswerving efforts of the Chinese people, and the assistance and support from governments and people all over the world, peoplein the disaster-stricken areas will make marvelous achievements in overcoming difficulties and rebuilding constructing their homeland," Zhao said.

The second batch of Israel-donated aid, worth 1.5 million U.S. dollars, includes tents, blankets, water-cleaning devices and other materials. It will arrive at Sichuan Province Monday, following the first batch delivered last week.

Source: Xinhua

Negotiating with Iran?

A few minutes ago I talked with Ambassador Mark Ginsberg about the path the US should take with Iran. He said that we should try all possible means to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, including negotiation.

I prefer a peaceful solution, but my question is: would negotiation with that regime accomplish anything, or would it just allow them additional time to produce their nuclear bombs?

Two and half years ago I wrote you about the danger of the Iranian nuclear weapon program and suggested that there is negligible likelihood of a peaceful solution. The only way Iran will stop this program is under a powerful international economic pressure with the participation of all major players. This, I said, was not likely since China and Russia have different agendas.
Relying on negotiation with Iran would be a mistake, I believe, because Iran is not willing to negotiate with any degree of sincerity. Let’s review some facts about negotiation:

Despite all the attempts for the last few years to negotiate with Iran internationally and via the UN Security Council, Iran played the negotiation game to gain time for speeding up its nuclear weapons development. Again and again we were left holding the bag. When will we learn?
In addition, and that is critical: Iran has proven - beyond a shadow of a doubt- its determination to destabilize the Middle East by its support of terrorism in Iraq, in Lebanon and in Gaza.
Several Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudia are afraid of Iran’s attempt to control the Middle East. Even without actually using their nuclear weapons, Iran could extend its power over many nations.

Iran is using its unexpected windfall from the substantial escalation of oil prices to finances much of the terrorism in Lebanon (via Syria, a very poor country): the Hizbullah war against Israel two years ago, and against the Lebanese government recently. Israeli forces determined that Hamas has been supplied and trained by Iranian forces and many of the rockets used by Hamas are also supplied by Iran.
These facts and more should alert us that Iran is a proven enemy not only of Israel, but of the civilized world. They have said so themselves. Any attempt to negotiate with them is futile. They have been advancing Muslim extremism inside and outside their borders for years. What could we give them to stop their core national goal?

Negotiation is a word that represents an interaction among people with generally similar expectation of life. We can not negotiate with people who have radically different visions of life and the world, and will use any means to achieve their goals. So how could we have negotiated successfully with the USSR, after all they also were our enemies?

The people and government of the USSR, as militant as they were, wanted to live, to prosper, and to have a successful, peaceful future. True, they wanted the world to be communist, but not at all costs, only when it was relatively easy for them to do so. Muslim terrorists are not only willing to die for their cause, they are eager to die to destroy their enemies. Much of the leadership of Iran are willing to sacrifice millions of their own people in order to destroy their enemies. They have said so repeatedly. You can not compare the USSR attack on Hungary with 9/11, Hamas, or Iran.

The major error in the theory of negotiation with terrorists is that proponents of negotiation all assume, unconsciously, that there is a similar person on the other side to negotiate with. In business negotiations there is the premise of the honesty of both sides, and that they are not going to use the negotiations as a deception but to really try to get to some agreement.
Often extreme leaders in the Muslim world have no morality, no constraints of any type that we can conceive off. They are so much more cunning than we are. They can run circles around any Western that has even just a little morality.

We never faced an enemy of this extreme nature before. We do not want to see it, it is not nice to say…but their Muslim religion and culture encourages them to lie to gain advantage for their overall cause: Jihad: Islam’s conquest of the world. It also tells them to negotiate when they are weak, and when they gain strength to discard the agreements. That is what Mohammad did during his life and what he advocated. It is not only written, it is normally practiced. Negotiation in Arab culture means that you are weak, therefore, after Arafat signed the Oslo Peace Accord with Rabin, he had to explain this concept of temporary agreement to his supporters in Arabic: this is a temporary agreement to give us strength, then we will take over all of Israel. And he proceeded with terrorism.

Rabin and Peres understood leaders like Sadat and King Hussein, people with morality. Mistakenly Rabin and Peres assumed that Arafat and his PLO were of similar nature. Their wishful thinking brought the bloodiest wave of terror in Israel existence.
Do not assume that because President Bush was so unreasonable we could not have negotiated with Iran. There is no issue that we can really be agreed upon, and no party that wants or can get to any solution. We are facing extreme fanaticism, combined with death wish, and aims to murder as many people as they can. Iran’s current president is not the only one aiming “to wipe Israel off the map,” the same view is expressed by many in Iran’s leadership, including their previously “moderate” president.

Ambassador Ginsberg also believes that the US has been toothless in that region and we can not influence events there without projecting a viable military power.
We do not have any other leverage. We need their oil, they do not need our money. There are plenty of buyers. Nuclear Iran would dominate the vast Middle East oil resources by threat alone.

Let’s look at several famous attempts at negotiation with the enemy:

Chamberlin’s negotiation with Hitler prior to WWII was a sham. While Chamberlin beamed of peace in our time Hitler advanced and increased his military power and preparation. Brittan meanwhile was not gearing up for a possible war.

I just watched a documentary on President FDR. Japan and the US were negotiating prior to Perl Harbor, the only problem was that while the US was negotiating, the Japanese navy was already on its way to the attack- their secret preparation took months. FDR was shocked by the depth of damage to our fleet, he was fooled. He did not realize the unpreparedness of our navy and the cunnings of the Japanese.

In contrast, Libya’s Kaddafi first decided to reject his nuclear program then we negotiated with him.

Both parties in a negotiation aim for a compromise that will give each of them some of their desires but not all of them. Many international negotiations were very successful between antagonists. But you had to have a willing opponent with the aim of a peaceful compromise. During WWII we did not negotiate with Germany and Japan, they would not have stopped their wars until they were utterly destroyed and defeated.

Why logical people can not already grasp the above points after so much history, after so much evidence of Muslim terrorism, direct Iran participation, and their extreme statements?
It may be a combination of effects: We are exhausted of all the wars, strifes, natural disasters, global warming, and financial agonies. It is understandable, we wish for a miracle solution, “if we just did that…

Or, we hate Bush so much, it is his fault. Now, a new liberal president will wave a magic wand…

Or, common to many Israelis in the past: the fault is our own, we did not do enough, we did not try hard enough. Because of their kind hearts, because it is so much beyond their own experience some liberal Americans can not fathom that some people are evil. That some people have such a twisted mentality that you should not negotiate with them. Could we have talked with Hitler and convince him to peaceful coexistence?

Finally, most Israelis learned from their troubled existence: Palestinian terrorists are murderers and their goal is the full destruction of Israel. According to all the people I talked with a few weeks ago in Israel, representing a wide political spectrum, most Israelis do not wants more talks, they want military solutions. It is time to destroy Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists, they emphasized.

I hope we become wiser and less dreamers in this country since if we misunderstand the extreme nature of Muslim terrorism, and Iran, we and the world would be facing much more than 9/11 atrocities in the future.


p.s. Former Ambassador Ginsberg spent many years in his youth in Israel, and lost family members in Israeli wars. He was US Ambassador to Morocco, and he is Fox News Channel's principal global affairs commentator. I talked with him tonight in Sacramento after his interesting AIPAC presentation. He urges any supporter of Israel to join AIPAC to enhance Israel’s security.

State of Confusion

Arlene Kushner

I would like to begin with some enlightening material regarding the al-Dura case, for we are dealing here with a pattern of inaccuracies in reporting news about the Palestinians -- either because major news outlets are naive in trusting what their Palestinian stringers tell them, or because they run information even when it is clear to them (or should be) that inaccuracies exist.Dr. Richard Landes, Professor of History at Boston University, has done groundbreaking work in researching and exposing the construction of these deliberate inaccuracies; it is he who coined the term "Pallywood."

The first link below is to a video done before the appeals court decision was released in which Landes describes what is going on, and the second is after the decision.


As to other "confusion" taking place here:

Amos Gilad returned from Egyptian mediated negotiations on a ceasefire with Hamas totally empty-handed. Israeli officials say there has been no breakthrough on any of the major issues. Hamas will not agree to include the release of Shalit in the deal or to stop smuggling of arms.

One might think that this would move us, finally, to call it quits. But that is not the case: Instead the government is "suspending" any plans for a major operation in Gaza, waiting apparently to see what else develops, as Suleiman is still trying.

Said Barak at a Labor meeting:

"If, indeed, a calm emerges, then we will have to examine it according to what it entails and what its results are. And our demand could not be clearer – there can be no attacks. I say to all those who are pushing for a speedy operation: Think before you act."

Speedy operation??! This has been dragging on for months.


Meanwhile, Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, in his weekly report to the Cabinet yesterday, warned that time is on Hamas's side. Already the terrorist group has smuggled in sophisticated Iranian weapons that might reach as far as Ashdod or Kiryat Gat.

He said that Israel had to act fast, because "as time goes on, a military operation will cost...more casualties...

"There has been cooperation between Hamas and Iran. Time favors Hamas and the rest of the terror organizations, and the threat on the State of Israel is steadily rising."

Diskin remains convinced that the chances for a truce are low. But "the Egyptians want very much to bring a truce into being. They fear a mass breakout into Egypt and [want] to keep their hegemony as a mediator. Hamas is interested in a truce but does not accept Israel's terms. They are emphasizing the removal of the siege and buying time."

Hamas, he said, will demand that Egypt open Rafah if the negotiations fail.

Reason enough to explain why Suleiman is working so hard.


Olmert offered some "reassuring" words, as is his practice, saying: "...things are nearing a decisive point."

Have we not heard this before?

Because Israel "wants peace and security both in the short run and in the long run," he explained (thereby indirectly addressing critics who accuse the government of being myopic), "we will have to make decisions."

And wait! He said more: "If not reached through Egyptian mediation, we will have to [use other] means. The government has nothing more important than securing its residents' safety. Both I and the defense officials are losing sleep over this issue."

Yes, undoubtedly he loses sleep over this issue...


Shaul Mofaz, former Chief of Staff and Defense Minister, is currently one of those in Kadima coming out strongest for a military response, as he demanded action to regain deterrence in Gaza. "We must be the ones setting Israel's agenda - not the terror organizations," he said on Army Radio.


Many people were angered by the order of Major-General Yosef Mishlav, the coordinator of the government's activities in the territories, to pull soldiers away from the Erez Crossing, in the wake of the truck bombing at Erez just days ago. In what MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) referred to as a "cowardly act," soldiers of the Coordination and Liaison Authority, who had been near the Erez were "temporarily" moved to the Julis base 17 kilometers away.

Some of the harshest criticism of this decision came from within the IDF. Said one army officer:

"[This] is an admission of our failure to protect the lives of our citizens and soldiers. The army... should be at the front and serve as a buffer between the enemy and our civilian population. It is wrong to evacuate them because of a threat. What will the residents of Netiv Ha'asara, who live near the base, say? They will justifiably demand that the State evacuate them as well."


"Theoretically and realistically, Israel can get along without [former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.] Dan Halutz," intoned MK Arye Eldad (NU/NR) after Shabbat.

He was mocking a statement made by Halutz: "The thought of ceding the Golan Heights gives me a bellyache, but for real peace one must be willing to pay a real price. Theoretically, Israel can do without the Golan."

Explained Eldad, "Israel must pay heed, and do something if it doesn't want to return to the
failures of the Second Lebanon War. In that war, Halutz was exposed as someone who does not
understand anything of the basic principles of war, and accordingly Israel saw that it didn't need his advice."


But, in the face of vast confusion, Olmert's talk about proceeding with the negotiations with Syria persists.

Iranian officials, who were greatly irked by Israel's demands that Syria cut Iranian connections, have gone out of their way to emphasize their strength: Iran's foreign minister is referring to "strategic ties" with Syria.

Those who imagine that Assad will break that connection totally in order to regain the Golan are dreaming.

This was made clear even in a Damascus-run newspaper on Saturday, when an editorial (that reflects government policy) said that Syria's relationships with other nations were not on the table and that there were no preconditions (by which was meant imposed on them).


Of additional concern is the fact that Syria is stalling on permitting representatives of the International Atomic Energy Commission to visit the site where a reactor was allegedly bombed by Israel.


And Barak, even though he really recognizes the realities, persists in dreaming anyway:

At yesterday's Cabinet meeting, he explained that, "The Syrians have a different agenda than Israel," and that peace is not their priority.

Assad's priorities are: survival of his regime; getting the international tribunal into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri canceled (as that is expected to point an accusatory finger at the highest echelons of the Syrian government); securing a "special status" for Syria in Lebanon; and getting into the good graces of the US and the West.

Yet, said Barak, Israel should try to pull Syria from the orbit of Iran, even though efforts will have to be complicated and lengthy.

What he fails to perceive (or willfully ignores) is the vast likelihood that if Syria does pursue negotiations it is not out of a desire for peace, but rather an attempt to achieve those priorities listed above.


Within the coalition, there is from my perspective no one more hypocritical with regard to negotiations with Syria than MK Eli Yishai, head of the Shas faction. Meeting yesterday with representatives of communities in the Golan, he delivered a promise to stand by them in their efforts to prevent their evacuation from the Golan.

What unmitigated nonsense! If he wanted to help them prevent this, he should withdraw from the coalition and make it difficult or impossible for the government to proceed. But then, a new government might not continue with the building of those housing units that Olmert has promised him. And so he settles for words regarding not abandoning Israel's security to Syria.


Minister Shaul Mofaz was also at that meeting. His response, designed to reassure, was fairly ludicrous. It's wrong to turn the Golan over to Syria now, he declared, as this would be tantamount to giving it to Iran. So, we need creative solutions, such as giving the Golan to Syria but leasing it for 25 years so our people can stay there for now.


There are unsubstantiated reports -- coming from Palestinians close to those doing the negotiations -- that Israel is now offering a withdrawal from all but 8.5% of Judea and Samaria (with control of Jerusalem not yet discussed). This would be less than the 12% Israel had reportedly sought to hold on to previously, but more than the Palestinians find acceptable.

Abbas has just told a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council that there has been no progress in the negotiations since the beginning.


Talansky has been questioned again, prior to his forthcoming court testimony that is scheduled for tomorrow. Olmert's lawyers will cross-examine him subsequently -- precisely when is unclear. Talansky, who is very restive and eager to return to the US, has had the hold on his travel extended until the testimony is given. There is now talk about allowing him to go, as he is scheduled to return for the wedding of his grandson on June 11.

The rumors keep flying: NY State Assemblyman Dov Hilkind says he saw Olmert, when he was mayor, receive envelopes of cash. Talansky's driver said he transported cash for Olmert. On it goes. There was a leak indicating that an indictment would be served by the end of the summer, and then that was quickly denied.


see my website

Monday, May 26, 2008


(And in the same period of time, what has the Muslim world accomplished?)

1. Scientists in Israel, found that the brackish water,
drilled from underground desert aquifers, hundreds of feet deep, could
be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than
on e-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98
degrees on average, proves an ideal environment. 2. Israeli-developed designer-eyeglasses, promise mobile phone
and iPod users, a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US
consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video
eyeglasses, feature a large transparent screen, floating in front of the
viewer's face, that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video

3. When Stephen Hawkins visited Israel recently, he shared his
wisdom with scientists, students, and even the Prime Minister. But the
world's most renown victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or
Lou Gehrig's disease, also learned something, due to the Israeli
Association for ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as its proven track record with neurodegenerative
diseases. The Israeli research community is well on its way, to finding
a treatment for this fatal disease, which affects 30,000 Americans.

4. Israeli start-up, Veterix, has developed an innovative new
e lectronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat,
sending out real-time information on the health of the herd, to the
farmer via Email or cell phone. The e-capsule, which also sends out
alerts if animals are distressed, injured, or lost, is now being tested
on a herd of cows, in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and
healthier meat and milk supplies.

5. The millions of Skype users worldwide, will soon have
access to the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free Internet
service, based on voice stress analysis (a technique, commonly used in
criminal investigations), will be able to measure just how truthful that
person on the other end of the line, really is.

6. Beating cardiac tis sue has been created in a lab from human
embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's biomedical Engineering
faculty. The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein, has
also led to the creation of tiny blood vessels within the Tissue, making
possible its implantation in a human heart.

7. Israel's Magal Security Systems, is a worldwide leader in
computerized security systems, with products used in more than 70
countries around the world, protecting anything from national borders,
to nuclear facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest
Product, DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes
Intelligent video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a
major water authority on the US east coast to safeguard the utility's

8. It is common knowledge that dogs have better night vision
than humans, and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel's
Bio-Sense Technologies, recently delved further, and electronically
analyzed 350 different barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and
sizes, bark the same alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has
designed the dog bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm
bark, and alert the human operators. This is just one of a batch of
innovative security systems to emerge from Israel, which Forbes calls
'the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies.'

9. Israeli company, BioControl Medical, sold its first
electrical stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US company for
$50 Million. Now, it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical
nerve stimulation to treat congestive heart failure.. With nearly five
million Americans presently affected by heart failure, and more than
400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.

10. One year after Norway's Socialist Left Party launched its
boycott Israel campaign, the importing of Israeli goods has increased
by 15%, the strongest increase in many years, Statistics Norway reports. In contrast to the efforts of tiny Israel to make contributions to the
world so as to better mankind, one has to ask what have those who have
strived to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth done other than
to create hate and bloodshed.

Israel's Sure discovers anti-bacterial wonder material

Bacteria have dual personalities: on one hand they are good and help us digest food, promote the growth of plants and help produce beer and yoghurt. But bacteria also have "bad" sides as well - they cause infections and death, promote rotting in our food and teeth, and contaminate drinking water. A new discovery, a phenomenon in the scientific world, may change the way we protect ourselves from bacterial contamination of the bad variety. This might mean eradicating needless deaths in the hospital and a dramatic change in the quality of life in the developing world.

Sure International, an Israeli company based in Rehovot, has chanced upon a new discovery in the laboratory. Headed by veteran scientists, two years ago Sure scientists understood the phenomenon they stumbled upon could be applied in the growing market of anti-microbial materials.

This new material, which the company is very secretive about, can be coated on a wide range of surfaces such as plastics, on medical equipment, in the lining of water pipes or in food packaging to inhibit and "freeze" the growth of bacteria and other microbes.

If coated on catheters used in hospitals, Sure may be able to prevent the deaths of 90,000 Americans who contract bacterial infections each year. The company may eradicate the need for refrigerators in hot countries - the coating (yet without a name) can be sprayed onto a milk carton to prevent the growth of bacteria.

It could be used in the armpit region of cotton clothing, preventing body odor from clinging to fabrics. Imagine what miracles it could perform in the sports shoes or football equipment of teenage boys?

"We can inhibit the growth of bacteria with a method unknown in the materials world," Uriel Halavee, the co-founder of the company tells ISRAEL21c. "The material is based on the fact that there is an internal equilibrium in every living cell."

Halavee guarantees that this material, now under negotiation for license with a number of Fortune 500 companies in the US and other multi-nationals, does not release toxic byproducts in the process. "There is no evidence that anything happened there. We are disturbing equilibrium by contact," he adds.

With a material now ready for licensing, Halavee assures ISRAEL21c there is no wizardry or sleight of hand involved. With a background in physics and chemical physics and as a former professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Halavee says that Sure is a growing company with 15 employees, including the company's other co-founder Shmuel Bukshpan, a physicist.

The material they discovered has one product ready today for license. "There are huge opportunities with this product," says Halavee. "We can help poor people extend the shelf life [of food] without cooling - up to weeks."

There are applications in the cosmetics industry, food industry, cleantech and medical industries as well.

A vote of confidence and a $5 million investment recently from Wanaka Capital Partners, which invests in mid-tech companies and C. Mer Industries Ltd., whose core business is telecommunications, could mean Sure's wonder material could be on the market by the end of this year.

Its founder has an excellent track record for inventing products and taking them to market. Start-ups that Halavee has established and then sold include Opal a semiconductor company acquired by Applied Materials; the cardiovascular balloon of X-Technologies acquired by Guidant, and Kailight Photonics an optical communications company acquired by Optimum.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Iran Miffed at Syria Over Talks with Israel

Hillel Fendel

Iranian President Ahmedinajad is reportedly fuming at Syria over its willingness to cooperate with the enemy. Sources quoted in the London-based Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper said Ahmedinajad feels Syria's contacts with Israel are a violation of Syria's commitments to Iran. Israel and Syria announced simultaneously last week that they have begun unofficial peace talks. Syrian spokesman say this means Israel has agreed to give up the Golan Heights, while Israeli officials say Syria is to abandon its ties with Iran, Hamas, and Hizbullah.

In addition to Ahmedinajad's reported anger, Iran's response has come in two other ways. Iran's Foreign Minister Manushar Mutaki attacked Israel, saying, "The Golan Heights belong to Syria, and Israel has no right to set conditions for its return to its rightful owners."

On the diplomatic front, Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkemani and a Syrian army delegation arrived in Iran for an official visit over the weekend. Turkemani and his Iranian counterpart Mustafa Najar discussed the ties between the two countries, as well as "recent regional developments," the Iranian news agency reported. The Shab'a Farms border dispute between Lebanon and Syria was also to be on the table. The area, known as Har Dov, is part of the Golan and is currently under Israeli control.

The Iranian Defense Minister also expressed confidence Sunday that there would be no change in Syria's relationship with Iran.

Hamas: Syria Won't Abandon Us
Hamas, for its part, must step lightly in its criticism of Syria, as Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal lives in Damascus. Mashal said only, "We trust in Syria and its leadership, and it will not harm Palestinian rights." He added that he doubts that Israel is willing to cede the Golan, or that the Olmert government is strong enough to do it.

Israeli-Arab Minister: Syria Will Quit the Axis of Evil
Minister of Science and Culture Raleb Mejadle, who was appointed as Israel's first Arab government minister nearly a year and a half ago, said that the talks with Syria "are in the best interests of both Israel and Syria. Why should anyone say they are just a 'spin' designed to get the Prime Minister out of his criminal investigations? There is a great danger when Syria is linked with Iran along the axis of evil, and these contacts can take Syria away from that."

In addition to deep military and cultural ties, Syria is also heavily bound up with Iran financially. Iran is invested in Syrian car-manufacturing plants, a cement making facility, multi-million dollar wheat silos, fleets of buses and more.

Iranian-Israeli Arrested for Spying for Iran
It was announced Sunday morning that Israel had arrested an Iranian-born Israeli citizen who had admitted passing classified information to Iran.