Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not-So-Young 'Youth': French Airman Implicated in Anti-Semitic Attack

John Rosenthal | Bio | 18 Jul 2008
WPR Blog

Late last month, a Jewish teenager wearing a yarmulke was brutally beaten in Paris's 19th arrondissement by a gang of what the French media has widely-described as "youngsters": jeunes. As discussed in my earlier WPR report "'Gang Wars' or Anti-Semitic Attacks?," while the Paris District Attorney's office has identified anti-Semitism as an "aggravating" factor in the attack, both the District Attorney's office and the French media have strongly relativized the charge of anti-Semitism by presenting the incident as the outcome of a series of "clashes" between rival "youth gangs": a black and/or Arab gang, on the one hand, and a "Jewish gang," on the other. Last week, two suspects in the crime were arrested -- and, as turns out, the "youngsters" are not so young after all. One of the suspects, identified as "Sekou M." in press reports, is 25 years old. The second, identified as "Foued O.," is 26. The Jewish victim of the attack, known in French press reports as "Rudy H.," is just 17. A third suspect who was arrested in connection with a related assault on the same day in the same neighborhood has been identified as "Boubacar C.," a 27-year-old native of Mali. "Boubacar C." is suspected of having been involved in an attack in which a second Jewish victim was cut on the arm with what has been variously described as a "machete" or (per the daily Libération) a "meat cleaver" (feuille de boucher).

While the age of the suspects comes as a surprise, what is most astonishing, however, is that the principal suspect in the crime, the 26-year-old Foued O., turns out to be a corporal in the French air force. As first reported by the daily Le Parisien, after investigators failed to find Foued O. at his family home in the 19th arrondissement, he was arrested at the air force base in Taverny, north of Paris. The French Ministry of Defense has confirmed that a member of the French armed forces has been arrested in connection with the attack on Rudy H. According to eye-witness accounts of the attack, the most serious blows were struck by an assailant wielding a crutch. Rudy would be left with multiple skull fractures and broken ribs. Foued O., who at the time of the attack was on medical leave with a sports injury, is alleged to have been the assailant who beat Rudy with the crutch.

As discussed in detail in my earlier report, the "gang wars" scenario presented by the Paris District Attorney's office -- and unquestioningly repeated by much of the French news media -- does not hold up to scrutiny. On closer inspection of the known facts, the incidents leading up to the attack on Rudy H. appear to have been less a matter of "clashes" between rival "gangs" than of one-sided assaults on individual or largely outnumbered Jewish youngsters. According to all the publicly known eye-witness accounts, the Jewish youngsters were unarmed. (The incidents occurred, moreover, on a Saturday: in observance of the Sabbath, it is forbidden for an orthodox Jew like Rudy H. to carry any objects, let alone a weapon.) The assailants, on the other hand, are reported to have wielded, among other things, "iron bars," the "machete" or "meat cleaver," and, of course, Foued O.'s crutch.

The revelation of the hardly tender age of the suspects is just a further element discrediting what has been up to now the standard depiction of the circumstances surrounding the attack -- or rather attacks -- in the 19th arrondissement. These were men, not "youngsters," and they stand accused of assaulting a teenager nearly 10 years their junior.

Jerusalem Arabs, Hebrew U. Students Were an al-Qaeda Cell

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israeli police have arrested and charged six Israeli-Arabs, among them Hebrew University students, for planning an Al-Qaeda attack on a senior US official. The group, including four residents of eastern Jerusalem, are suspected of operating an al-Qaeda cell in Israel's capital and planning to shoot down a helicopter carrying a senior US official.

The six suspects were identified by police as: The six suspects were identified by police as:

* Ibrahim Nashef, 22, of Tayibe: Physics and computer sciences student at the Hebrew University;
* Muhammad Najem, 24, of Nazareth: Chemistry student at the Hebrew University;
* Anas Shawiki, 21, of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber;
* Kamal Abu Kwaider, 22, of Jerusalem's Old City;
* Yusef Sumarin, 21, of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina;
* Ahmed Shawiki, 21, of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

Police and prosecutors charged all the suspects with membership in a terror organization. Some of them will also be tried for aiding the enemy at a time of war, possessing propaganda material, promoting a terror organization, and soliciting others to join a terror organization.

The indictments, filed against them on Friday, reveal that the six used to meet at the al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. They allegedly surfed al-Qaeda websites, where they found instructions for producing explosive devices.

Eyeing Bush's Chopper
According to evidence, one of the detainees, Muhammad Najem, lived in a Hebrew University dormitory overlooking the university's stadium, which also serves as a helicopter landing pad. Najem watched the landing ground as a Presidential helicopter touched down in the course of President Bush's January 2008 visit to Israel, with the intent of shooting it down. At the same time, the suspect allegedly sought instructions on the internet for shooting down a landing helicopter, and he took mobile-phone pictures of the presidential helicopter's landing. A "senior American official" was on board the helicopter at the time.

The six arrests are the culmination of a joint police and Shin Bet operation.

Bush Changed Plans
During the visit, the United States revised travel plans by President Bush because of the threat of a missile attack, according to a World Tribune report from January 9.
Najem watched the landing ground as a Presidential helicopter touched down in the course of President Bush's January 2008 visit to Israel, with the intent of shooting it down.

The report stated, "Israeli sources said the U.S. Secret Service canceled Bush's plans to travel by helicopter from Ben-Gurion Airport to Jerusalem on Wednesday. The sources said the Secret Service determined that Bush's helicopter could be targeted by an attacker with a surface-to-air missile."

The arrests follow the arrest and indictment of two other Israeli-Arabs suspected of being Al-Qaeda operatives. The men, indicted Wednesday, are Bedouin residents of the Negev town of Rahat.

Taher and Omar Abu-Sakut are registered members of the Islamic Movement and supplied handlers with sensitive information about strategic facilities in a June operation involving the Shin Bet, Israeli police and Border Guard units.

Hamas: Egyptian negotiators too pro-Israeli; we'll see if Germany can get us a better deal for Schalit's release

Emboldened by the assymmetrical swap with Hizballah, Hamas wants more. "Hamas: Germany will get us a better deal on returning Schalit," by Khaled Abu Toameh for the Jerusalem Post, July 18: In the aftermath of Wednesday's prisoner swap between Israel and Hizbullah, there are increasing calls in Hamas to replace the Egyptian mediators with German intermediaries in the talks on abducted IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit.

Several Hamas officials have been quoted over the past 24 hours as expressing deep disappointment with the way the Egyptians have been handling the Schalit mediation effort.

"The Egyptians have proved that they are unable to put enough pressure on Israel to accept our demands," one Hamas official reportedly said.

Another Hamas official said his movement was under the impression that the Egyptians "were on Israel's side more than on our side."

It may not be so much that Egyptians are trying to cut a great deal for Israel's sake as it is that they stand next in line after Israel to lose the most from a stronger, bolder Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has smuggled weapons continuously from the Egyptian side of the border, and has already blown open a border crossing with Egypt once. For that matter, an increase the stature of Hamas, which is itself an Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, could energize the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and add to the threat to the current regime (which, of course, is no prize either).

NPR: No jihad here

NPR, predictably, loves the new Administration guidelines on Speak No Jihad, Hear No Jihad, See No Jihad. "What Does 'Jihad' Really Mean?," by Jamie Tarabay for NPR, July 17 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Morning Edition, July 17, 2008 · After years of using the word "jihadist" to describe terrorists who carry out attacks against civilians and the U.S. military, the Bush administration has finally realized that doing so actually pays those groups a compliment in the eyes of some Muslims. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration has relied on terms like "jihadist" and "Islamic extremists." But jihad has very positive connotations in the Islamic world. It is akin to religious duty: when someone wants to better themselves, they embark on a jihad. Whether it's to quit smoking, pray more, and in some cases, fight off anyone preventing them from practicing their religion.

"Just like you wouldn't call Josef Stalin a hero of the revolution, you don't want to call Osama bin Laden a jihadist. He loves it," says Duncan MacInnes, a spokesman for the State Department's Counterterrorism Communication Center.

Tactically, that might possibly be an effective tool. But as a manifestation of political correctness, and of a fear of offending peaceful Muslims who allegedly reject violent jihad and Islamic supremacism, it is suicidally stupid, for it takes away the one key we have to understand why these people are fighting us, and what they might do and not do.

The State Department has issued a memo to all its employees cautioning them against using Islamic references whenever condemning terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security has also advised its employees to avoid those same mistakes.

Great. So the only people making Islamic references in connection with terrorist attacks will be Islamic terrorists. And this one part of the puzzle, dismissed as irrelevant or offensive or both, is the only piece that reveals the actual motives and goals of these terrorists.

Mohammed Magid is imam of ADAMS Center, a collective of seven mosques in Virginia. He says the changes are late but welcome. When officials criticize the word jihad, they offend Muslims, Magid says. "You isolate so many people by using that. We need to discredit terrorism."

From a February 2008 report: "Another D.C.-area mosque, the ADAMS Center, was founded and financed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been one of the top distributors of Wahhabist anti-Semitic and anti-Christian dogma."

But there are critics of the change in policy.

Author Tawfik Hamid was once a member of Egypt's Jemaah Islamiyah, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other governments.

After breaking from the group, Hamid has become an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism. He says some Islamic legal books still continue to define "jihad" in its most violent contexts.

"When these books change the meaning of jihad into a pure and peaceful meaning and stop the other violent ones, then and only then the Western countries should say jihad is only peaceful," Hamid says.

Tawfik Hamid is right -- and it isn't just "some" Islamic legal that "still continue to define 'jihad' in its most violent contexts. But as long as even "some" of them "continue" to do this, and jihad groups continue to gain recruits among peaceful Muslims on this basis, we are foolish to pretend as if the term has no violent or supremacist connotations for Muslims, and to restrict ourselves from using it or exploring its meaning in Islam as a way to understand what the jihadists are doing and why.

Thnaks Jihad Watch

Friday, July 18, 2008

The new Lebanon


Putting decades of vicious sectarian, political and personality differences aside, Lebanon's body politic came together Wednesday night in a heartfelt display of national unity: Samir Kuntar had been brought home.

After a nearly 30-year absence, there he stood before the frantic multitude, this progeny of Lebanon - whose road to manhood took him from out-of-control juvenile delinquent to adolescent child-killer to unremorseful mature terrorist - in army fatigues, waving the Lebanese and Hizbullah flags, arm outstretched in the Hizbullah salute, a manic glint in his eyes. A true son of his country. In a flash, the face of the new Lebanon was unmasked. As celebratory music helped work the crowd into a frenzy, and with Kuntar and several other released terrorists on stage as props, the real "hero" and personification of that new Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, emerged for a few moments - his first appearance since January. The Druse-born Kuntar impulsively kissed his beaming hero. Nasrallah did not reciprocate.

"The age of defeats is gone, and the age of victories has come. This people, this nation gave a great and clear image today to its friends and enemies that it cannot be defeated," Nasrallah told the jubilant crowd.

He was then whisked away by bodyguards to a hiding place from which he delivered the rest of his address, broadcast over a gigantic screen set up in the south Beirut square where the welcoming ceremonies were held.

"One of the greatest fortunes is that the unity government welcomed the freed prisoners," Nasrallah declared.

A while earlier the red carpet had been rolled out at Beirut International Airport, as warlords and politicians from rival factions welcomed Kuntar and the other released gunmen as national heroes.

Druse leader Walid Jumblatt proudly recalled that his father, Kamal (assassinated by Syria), had been in the vanguard of Lebanon's Palestinian cause. Christian Maronite president Michael Aoun cited Lebanese unity in the struggle against the Jewish state and commitment to "the return of the Palestinians to their land." Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament and boss of the Shi'ite Amal movement, was there, as was "pro-American" Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, a Sunni Muslim.

Rounding out the delegation were the Sunni majority leader of parliament, Saad Hariri (whose father was also assassinated by Syria) and Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun. They put aside their own differences and their disputes with Nasrallah to give each of the returning "militants" a hug and a kiss.

A VITAL lesson Israeli strategists must draw from this nauseating display of perverted unity: Lebanon and Hizbullah are one. If, heaven forbid, there is another war, the IDF must wage it with ferocity - not on Hizbullah's terms, but across the Lebanese battlefield.

Ever since the June 1982 Lebanon War, the Israeli military has allowed itself to be hamstrung in targeting Lebanon. International media coverage of that war, often manipulative and tendentious, along with Western - particularly US - opposition to striking at the country's infrastructure, made vanquishing our enemies impossible.

Even among Israelis there was the lingering sense that Lebanon was essentially a peace-loving society taken hostage by violent, unrepresentative factions.

Ultimately, that assessment reigned supreme, inhibiting the IDF from finishing Yasser Arafat off. Instead the PLO was merely ousted from its Beirut and southern Lebanon strongholds and exiled to Tunisia.

But that war's unintended consequences led to an even worse outcome: Iranian-backed Shi'ite Islamism and the rise of Hizbullah.

NOW THAT Lebanon and Hizbullah have apparently melded, the self-defeating legacy of IDF inhibition must end. At the start of the Second Lebanon War, former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz warned bombastically that Israel would "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years" if Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were not returned.

No one took him seriously - Israel would never punish "good Lebanon" for the crimes of "bad Hizbullah." The IAF limited itself to mostly targeting Islamist strongholds. But if Lebanon and Hizbullah are now one, Israel needs a radically revised strategy for winning a war on Lebanese soil.

Artificial distinctions between "Lebanese" and "Hizbullah" targets were swept away by Wednesday's display of barbaric unity. Lebanon was revealed in its hostile unanimity. If new conflict comes, Israel must internalize that unanimity of hate-filled purpose, and defeat it decisively.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1215331010940&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sample letter to the Whitehouse

Dear President Bush,

Abu Mazen, also known as Abbas - the man whom you call a 'moderate' - leader of the 'moderate Fatah' - - is celebrating the release of Samir Kuntar, the monster who inflicted the blows that destroyed the life of an Israeli family.The barbarism of his crime earned him no less than 4 life terms -for the brutal killing of a young Israeli father who received a bullet to the head in front of his 4-year-old daughter just before her head was smashed against a rock. The murderer has now been welcomed home by his terrorist friends in Lebanon - alive - and promising to continue his 'chosen profession' -more terrorism.

These are the people whom the 'moderate' Abbas admires and whose actions he celebrates!

At the same time, Israel received the caskets containing the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, her two kidnapped sons, and people from all walks of life gathered round to support the grieving families who spent the last 2 years and 4 days praying that they would be reunited with their loved ones - in life. Those who welcome Kuntar refused to reveal the deaths of the 2 young Israelis - to the last minute - thus extending the anguish of their families.

These are the people whom the 'moderate' Abbas admires and whose actions he celebrates!

As an American citizen and one who has voted for you and supported you, I must ask, Mr. President -
How can you consider Abbas a 'moderate' when his friends are brutal murderers - barbarians?!!

Sadly, And here is the rest of it.

FM Livni speaks about soldiers' return at Global Compact event

Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau
16 July 2008

Today is a difficult day for all of us. It is a difficult day for the families of Eldad and Udi, who returned home today, families which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accompanied in every place in the world – we hoped, for them and for us, we got angry and we persuaded.

Today, the day on which we wanted to rejoice with the families, has turned into a day of pain.
But the Israeli people – the people that feels the lack of every soldier who doesn't come back to it – this people, I hope, feels more complete, more at peace because the doubt has been removed; more at peace with the value system that defines us as a society; more at peace knowing that we are different from other peoples.

This knowledge is the strength of Israeli society and it is not dependent on what the other side says; it depends on us alone.

It doesn't depend on how they are celebrating over there the return of a man whom they call a "hero" because he smashed the skull of a little girl. To me, whatever is said or thought by people whose heroes are skull smashers, who hunt women and children in order to kill them, has no relevance. What is important is our values.

In our eyes, a hero is someone who fights to protect civilians, who fights for existence. Our heroes go to battle equipped, in addition to their weapons, with the willingness to sacrifice, in the reassuring knowledge that they are protecting human beings who share their values and who are also prepared to pay a price in order to realize them.

Today, let there be no mistake – just as Israel is prepared to pay a price for its values, Israel will demand a price, and a high price at that, from its enemies, whenever necessary, in order to protect itself.

מח' מידע ואינטרנט – אגף תקשורת

Israelis worried that prisoner release could embolden Hizballah

"Anyone that kidnaps an Israeli will now know that Israel is willing to pay an extremely high price, totally out of proportion with what the other side will pay."

No kidding, you think that might embolden Hizballah?

"Israelis uneasy over prisoner release: Critics say the deal, which they see as lopsided, could embolden Hezbollah," by Ilene R. Prusher and Joshua Mitnick for the Christian Science Monitor, July 17 (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):JERUSALEM and NAHARIYA, ISRAEL - Israel received two black coffins on Wednesday containing the remains of the soldiers abducted in a Hezbollah raid at Israel's northern border two summers ago – a surprise attack whose aftereffects are still reverberating.

The long-awaited prisoner exchange, far from closing a chapter that included a 34-day war and raising hopes for peace, instead has Israel grieving over its losses and watching for further military maneuvers by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Moreover, the inherent disparity of the deal has sparked concerns that it will embolden Hezbollah, Hamas, and other foes of Israel to kidnap soldiers and civilians, knowing that they can extract large concessions. Israel agreed to receive the soldiers dead or alive in exchange for the remains of 200 Lebanese as well as the release of five Lebanese prisoners, including Samir Kuntar, who was convicted of murdering an Israeli father and child in Nahariya nearly 30 years ago.

"Anyone that kidnaps an Israeli will now know that Israel is willing to pay an extremely high price, totally out of proportion with what the other side will pay," says Danny Yatom, former head of Mossad, the intelligence agency....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remembering Ehud and Eldad

Until today, July 16th, 2008, Israel did not have conclusive information regarding the condition of her two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev whose kidnapping by the terrorist organization, Hizbullah, at the northern border of Israel, had led to the second Lebanon War. During the 2 years and 4 days since their capture there were intermittent rumors that they had been 'badly injured' or that one of the two was alive.

For 2 years and 4 days, the enemy played its inhumane game of secrecy regarding the conditions of Eldad and Ehud - allowing their families to hope against hope that they were still alive and could be repatriated. Today- at the time of the exchange- an Arab spokesman took a microphone and announced that 'Goldwasser and Regev have been returned to Israel'. When asked if they were dead or alive the response was as elusive as it has been for the past 2 years and 4 days - something to the effect that 'it would soon be revealed'. This morning, at Rosh Hanikrah in northern Israel, at a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah, some dared to hope that Eldad and Ehud would be seen alive. It was not to be. Israel announced that two caskets were turned over to the IDF and would be taken for official identification.

Following is my report today as it happened............

"The Israeli news now has the convoy with the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev on their final journey to the army camp Shraga. Each casket, covered in the flag of Israel, visible to anyone outside, is carried by members of the IDF; the Kaddish is said, and each casket is gently placed in the center of the military vehicle with IDF escort seated inside.

As the vehicles pass slowly on the road from Rosh Hanikrah, soldiers stand at attention and salute their fallen comrades. Other traffic is at a standstill until the convoy passes.

At the same time, the news flashes to the other side of the border; the welcome for the murderer Kuntar and a few others whose murderous deeds kept them in Israeli prisons for some time. Kuntar, it must be remembered, brutally murdered several people and was sentenced to 4 life terms in prison. This is the criminal for whom a grand celebration has been prepared. A sign above the pink carpet announces, "FREEDOM GUARANTEED BY NASRALLAH".

In Israel the nation weeps with the families who are now on their way - with relatives and friends -in transportation that has been provided for them. We have just seen Karnit Goldwasser enter a vehicle with Ehud's parents. Earlier, we saw Eldad's family leave their home for the 'homecoming' of their loved ones.

Now the convoy has arrived at the military camp Shraga."

The Goldwasser and Regev families are being reunited with their loved ones - finally.

It has just been reported that ' Ehud and Eldad were killed at the time of the kidnapping' . For 2 years and 4 days this information was kept from their anxious families and the family of Israel. Let no one think that our enemy is human; we are dealing with barbarians who prove this repeatedly.

Tomorrow both Eldad and Ehud will be laid to rest in military cemeteries with the full honor that they deserve; their journey has ended. It will be a long journey for their families to recover, if ever, from their trauma.

Israel has released a vicious killer who has vowed to continue his murderous ways. What price is yet to be paid for this action? Gilad Shalit is still in the hands of another terrorist group, Hamas, that has learned from today's event.

It has been a long day - to be followed by another tomorrow. While this is Israel's national trauma it should serve as a stern warning to the rest of the free world..........those who are at war with Israel are cohorts of a much larger group of terrorists that encompasses the planet. Regardless of how close Israel's friends feel to her and sympathize with her living 'in a bad neighborhood' it can be difficult to experience fully what transpires in this small country. This makes it hard for them to understand that what happens here can happen elsewhere; the same destructive forces are at work in other countries.

That is for another article.


Olmert sees mirage: "We have never been as close to a possible agreement as we are today"

Chasing rainbows and making absurd concessions: all in a day's work for Ehud Olmert. "Olmert: Peace has never been closer," from The Associated Press, July 13 (thanks to all who sent this in): PARIS - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared Sunday that Israel and the Palestinians have never been closer to making peace.

To help build confidence between the two sides, Olmert agreed in a one-on-one meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to release an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, an Israeli official said.

Abbas, who met with Olmert at the French presidential palace ahead of a summit of European, Middle Eastern and African leaders, also sounded a positive note about the troubled peace talks, saying both sides were "serious and want to achieve peace." The two men met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy before sitting down together one-on-one.

"We have never been as close to a possible [peace] agreement as we are today," Olmert told reporters before the three leaders entered their meeting....

As a "gesture" to Abbas, Olmert "agreed in principle" to release some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners it holds, Regev said.

Why does Abbas never have to make any "gesture" to Olmert?
Thanks Jihad Watch

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Skeletons In Israel's Cabinet

HILLEL HALKIN | July 15, 2008

'The strongest reason why Ehud Olmert should resign," said a friend to me the other day, "is that he doesn't understand why he should resign."

I agree. More scandalous than any of the financial shenanigans of which Mr. Olmert stands accused is his failure to realize the difference between being a private citizen and a prime minister. Although in both cases he would be legally innocent until found guilty, the legal innocence that would have entitled him to continue living his private life is not an entitlement to run a country. Mr. Olmert appears to think otherwise. He genuinely seems to believe that if he can convince Israel's police or attorney general that he "only" broke a few electoral financing laws and wasn't involved in personal graft, or "only" double or triple-billed various organizations for his travel expenses without pocketing the extra money for himself — two "onlies," it must be said, that are looking highly unlikely — he is perfectly qualified to remain in office. If he hasn't done anything that would have landed him in jail as a private individual, why should his public life have to suffer?

But it doesn't work that way. Mr. Olmert's inability to make the distinction between private and public life is precisely why he is unsuited to continue in the latter. Although he is almost certain to be tried and convicted in the end on at least one or two of the half-dozen charges of financial impropriety now pending against him, it wouldn't matter if he wasn't. He has brought shame and embarrassment to the entire population of Israel by being a leader whose moral standards are those of a small-time racketeer without the slightest comprehension that more is expected of him than obtaining the best possible lawyers to defend himself with.

The saddest thing about Mr. Olmert's multiple entanglements with the law is that they are not atypical of Israeli politics as a whole. At first glance, a politically naive visitor to Israel might wonder why, given the prime minister's shady behavior, the leaders of rival parties have been so muted in their attacks on him. In any normal democracy, the opposition would have made mincemeat of him by now.

Did we say normal democracy? Let's start with Likud Party, from which Mr. Olmert broke away several years ago under the banner of Ariel Sharon to found the current ruling party of Kadima. You would think that Likud's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, would be only too delighted to take advantage of the current situation in order to skewer Mr. Olmert over a high fire. And yet Mr. Netanyahu has hardly been heard from; he avoids mentioning Mr. Olmert as though he were the Evil Eye. How come? Well, Mr. Netanyahu has had his own problems in the past explaining to the police who paid some of his bills and why. Don't expect him to lead the anti-corruption charge now.

What about Avigdor Lieberman, then, the head of the conservative Yisrael Beiteinu Party, who walked out on Mr. Olmert's coalition a few months ago because, so he claimed, it was making dangerous negotiation concessions to the Palestinians? These days, to judge by the frequency with which it is mentioned by him, Mr. Lieberman seems to have trouble remembering Ehud Olmert's name. Can this just possibly be because he, too, has been under police investigation for years on suspicion of money laundering and related offenses? Like Mr. Netanyahu, he has more important things to concentrate on than corruption.

That's the opposition. Two other parties could send Mr. Olmert home overnight if either chose to drop out of his coalition. One is the Sephardic religious party, Shas. Shas has indeed been making threatening noises about ditching the Olmert government if it does not get the social legislation that it wants — but corruption? The word doesn't exist in its vocabulary. While this may seem odd in view of the fact that four or five of its leaders have gone to prison for it, it may also be why it's a word Shas prefers to forget.

The other coalition partner in whose hands Mr. Olmert's fate rests is Labor. By a strange coincidence, though, Labor's chairman, Defense Minister Barak, has himself faced repeated inquiries into straw organizations set up to bypass legal limits on private donations to his 1998 and 2000 prime-ministerial campaigns. Electoral financing, understandably, is not his favorite subject.

Such is the sorry state of Israeli politics in the summer of 2008. Every major party lives in a glass house of its own; none is about to start throwing stones. And so, although Mr. Olmert will indeed be forced to step down some time next autumn or winter after his party elects a new leader in a September primary that he most likely will not compete in, Israel will have to put up for several more months with a man who doesn't deserve to be in office for another day.

Ordinarily, this might not be an intolerably long period to wait. But in this case it is, not only because Israel cannot afford a lame-duck prime minister at a time when it needs to be preparing for fateful decisions regarding Iran, but also because Mr. Olmert has been showing worrisome signs of offering the Palestinians and Syrians irresponsible deals in the hope of going down in history as a historical peacemaker rather than as a petty chiseler. It is ironic that the very chiseling that has aroused the scorn and contempt of most Israelis has gives him a measure of protection from political attack.

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

Barack Obama's Anti-Factual Iraq War

Rich Lowry
Monday, July 14, 2008

At some point, Democrats decided that facts didn't matter anymore in Iraq. And they nominated just the man to reflect the party's new anti-factual consensus on the war, a Barack Obama who has fixedly ignored changing conditions on the ground.

It's gotten harder as the success of the surge has become undeniable, but -- despite some wobbles -- Obama is sticking to his plan for a 16-month timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. He musters dishonesty, evasion and straw-grasping to try to create a patina of respectability around a scandalously unserious position. Obama spokesmen now say everyone knew that President Bush's troop surge would create more security. This is blatantly false. Obama said in early 2007 that nothing in the surge plan would "make a significant dent in the sectarian violence," and the new strategy would "not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly." He referred to the surge derisively as "baby-sit[ting] a civil war."

Now that the civil war has all but ended, he wants to claim retroactive clairvoyance. In a New York Times op-ed laying out his position, Obama credits the heroism of our troops and new tactics with bringing down the violence. Our troops have always been heroic; what made the difference was the surge strategy that Obama lacked the military judgment -- or political courage -- to support.

In his op-ed, Obama states that "the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true," citing the strain on the military, the deterioration in Afghanistan and the fiscal drain. All of those are important, but pale compared with the achievement in Iraq -- beating back al-Qaida and Iranian-backed militias, and restoring a semblance of order to a country on the verge of a collapse from which only our enemies could have benefited.

Politically, Obama has to notionally support defeating al-Qaida in Iraq, so even after he's executed his 16-month withdrawal, he says there will be a "residual force" of American troops to take on "remnants of al-Qaida." How can he be so sure there will only be "remnants"? If there are, it will be because the surge Obama opposed has pushed al-Qaida to the brink. The more precipitously we withdraw our troops, the more likely al-Qaida is to mount a comeback.

Obama treats as a vindication a recent statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calling for a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces. But Maliki, playing to his domestic politic audience, can't be taken at face value. Neither Maliki nor anyone around him talks of an unconditional 16-month timeline for withdrawal as being remotely plausible. His defense minister says Iraqis will be ready to handle internal security on their own in 2012 and external security by 2020.

The Iraqis most enthusiastic about Obama's plan surely are al-Qaida members, Sadrists, Iranian agents and sectarian killers of every stripe. The prospect of an American president suddenly letting up on them has to be the best cause for hope they've had in months. Obama's withdrawal would immediately embolden every malign actor in Iraq, and increase their sway in Iraqi politics.

In his op-ed, Obama sticks to the badly dated contention that Iraqis "have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge." In fact, roughly 15 of 18 political benchmarks have been met by the Iraqis -- progress Obama threatens to reverse.

Obama loves to say that we have to withdraw from Iraq "responsibly." There's nothing responsible about his plan. According to U.S. commanders on the ground, it may not even be logistically possible. Does Obama even care? He says that when he's elected he'd give the military a new mission -- to end the war. Conditions in Iraq, let alone winning, are marginalia.

There are two possible interpretations -- either Obama is dangerously sincere, or he's a cynical operator playing duplicitous politics with matters of war and peace. Watch this space.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Al-Mughrabi's Sister Salutes Jerusalem Bulldozer Terrorist


Following are excerpts from a discussion on Palestinian terrorist Dalal Al-Mughrabi, who led the March 11, 1978 coastal road massacre in Israel, in which 35 people were murdered and 71 wounded. The show aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 5, 2008.

To view this clip, visit

"For The First Time in the History of Revolutions, a Passenger Bus Became a Fully Sovereign Independent Republic... [And] Its First President Was Dalal Al-Mughrabi"

TV host Ghassan bin Jiddo: "Twelve men, led by a woman called Dalal Al-Mughrabi, managed to establish the State of Palestine, after the whole world had denied them their right to do so. They turned a bus en route from Haifa to Tel Aviv, into a temporary capital of the State of Palestine. They raised the white, red, and black flag at the front of the bus, singing, shouting, and dancing like children on a school trip. When the Zionist forces surrounded them - with the help of helicopters - and wanted to storm the bus, they blew up the bus with themselves inside. "For the first time in the history of revolutions, a passenger bus became a fully sovereign independent republic for four hours. It does not matter how long this Palestinian republic lasted. The only thing that matters is that this republic was established, and that its first president was Dalal Al-Mughrabi.

"Heroism Transcends the Gender Divide... [A Woman] Can Die More Magnificently Than [Men]"

"Heroism transcends the gender divide. Arab men should realize that they do not have a monopoly over the glory of either life or death. A woman can love much more nobly than they, and she can die more magnificently than they.

"When Dalal Al-Mughrabi decided to realize her true maternal nature, she went to Palestine, just like Maryam, daughter of Omran. There, on the land that gave rise to wheat, olives, and prophets, she reclined against a palm tree, letting ripe dates fall on her. She ate and drank, and she was content. She dreamed of the birds of the Upper Galilee flying above her as she went into labor.

"Five hundred years later, the Palestinians will still visit their mother's grave, on which orange blossoms will be scattered. In a thousand years, Arab children will read the following story: On March 11, 1978, twelve men and one woman managed to establish a Palestinian republic in a bus. Their republic lasted four hours. It does not matter how long this republic survived. The only thing that matters is that it was established. This is what the great poet Nizar Qabbani said about the great fidaai, the martyr Dalal Al-Mughrabi. We have nothing to add." [...]

"I Want To Salute Husam Dweidat, Hero of the Jerusalem Bulldozer Operation"

Ghassan bin Jiddo: "What made Dalal Al-Mughrabi ready to carry out this operation? Let me ask you outright: Did she realize that this was a suicide operation? Did she go there knowing that she would die, in what we call martyrdom-seeking and others call suicide, or did she go there hoping that she would return?"

PLA Colonel Rashida Al-Mughrabi, sister of Dalal Al-Mughrabi: "We belong to the Islamic nation, which does not accept the killing of oneself. The human soul is precious, and we do not accept killing ourselves. Suicide is unacceptable. This is a matter of principle. However, defending our rights to the point of martyrdom is something we should do."


Former Fatah commander Anis Naqqash: "Let the Arabs know that they should prepare themselves for a new Middle East without Israel or Zionism. Let all the free people in the world know that the decisive battle with Zionism is approaching, and that its sign is this prisoner exchange."


Rashida Al-Mughrabi: "I want to salute all the martyrs, and send a very special salutation - and whoever wants to be mad at me is free... I want to salute Husam Dweidat, the hero of the Jerusalem bulldozer operation. I salute his soul."

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Worship of Child-Killers

Doc's Writing team

For two long years the families of Israeli reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser have waited in agony for news. For two years they have wondered whether their sons, Eldad and Ehud, are alive or dead. For two years they have lived with the knowledge that while blood was found at the scene of their abduction, it was uncertain whether their loved-ones had received even the most basic medical treatment. This is the cruelest form of mental torture, one that Hizbullah deliberately inflicted on the families. The people of Israel have also waited for news, empathizing with the suffering of these families, sharing their impatience. Every Israeli knows it was only a matter of bad luck that these two particular soldiers were abducted, and that it could have been a family member or friend of their own. Eldad and Ehud were abducted on 12 July 2006, while checking the border fence, just as Hizbullah launched its unprovoked cross-border raid, aimed at kidnapping any Israeli they met.

Israelis also feel a sense of responsibility towards Eldad and Ehud. One of Israel's supreme values is that of caring for the young men and women who risk their lives to defend the civilian population. This principle runs deep in the Israeli psyche, stemming both from our sense of morality and solidarity, as well as our Jewish ethics. It comes from our deepest respect for human life, a respect so profound that Israel is willing to act even given the slightest hope of life.

It is in support of this supreme value that Israel decided to pay a heavy price for the return of its two sons. Hizbullah's intransigence knew no end, and it refused to compromise even at the cost of war. Rejecting the current deal would only have led to a prolongation of the suffering and would not have produced more favorable terms.

Israel agreed to release four Hizbullah members and a terrorist named Samir Kuntar.

For Hizbullah, Kuntar is a hero of the highest order. To Israelis and the rest of the civilized world, he is one of the most despicable terrorists. Kuntar was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Front squad that infiltrated northern Israel by sea on 21 April1979. In the middle of the night, they broke into a residential building taking Danny Haran and his four year-old daughter Anat hostage as the rest of the family hid. When they arrived at the seashore, Kuntar made little Anat watch as he shot her father at close-range, and then proceeded to kill her by smashing her head against a rock with his rifle butt. Meanwhile, the mother of the family who had hidden in a closet with her two-year old toddler Yael, accidently suffocated her own child while trying to stifle her cries and prevent Kuntar from finding them. Kuntar bears responsibility for this death as well.

This is the child-killer who is being greeted with cheers and parades by Hizbullah. This is the brutal murderer whose release will be called a victory by the extremists throughout the region.

As part of the deal, Hizbullah will also receive the bodies of those killed in the Second War in Lebanon or in infiltration attacks on Israel. Among the corpses will be that of a woman, Dalal al-Maghrabi, who lead the attack on Israel that became known as the Coastal Road massacre of 1978. In that terrorist atrocity, 37 Israelis were killed. One was an American-born photographer, Gail Rubin, who was murdered while taking pictures of birds on the beach. The rest were Israeli families on an outing, whose bus was hijacked. When a confrontation with the army began, al-Maghrabi began shooting the passengers one-by-one and then firebombed the bus with the rest of the passengers still trapped inside.

This is the child-killer whose body will be accorded a hero's burial. This is the brutal murderer who will be hero-worshipped by members of Hizbullah.

Hizbullah is an Iranian sponsored extremist terrorist organization. If the past and present are any indication of the future, Hizbullah will continue to celebrate cold-blooded killers as idols of its ethos of violence. It will continue in its obsession to destroy Israel and destabilize Lebanon – as was the case two years ago when Hizbullah precipitated a war in Southern Lebanon, in blatant disregard of its impact on the local population.

Let there be no mistake - while Israel has a moral imperative to bring its soldiers home, it rejects any effort to legitimize the Hizbullah, its goals and its tactics. The international community must recognize the danger posed by Hizbullah and its extremist cohorts to the stability of the Middle East and must support the pragmatic elements in the region, who seek to make peace through dialogue and compromise.

"Sustaining Foolishness"

Arlene Kusher

Some day -- please G-d, before too long -- I'll be able to share with all of you wise and thoughtful decisions being made by the government of Israel. Needless to say, that day has not yet arrived.

A couple of days ago, Ashraf al-Ajami, the PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs, lamented that "On the Palestinian street there is now an understanding that without kidnapping soldiers, we can't get prisoners released. Through negotiation, we haven't managed to get prisoners released." Putting aside the fact that we have released hundreds of their prisoners in so-called "good-will" gestures, we must understand that this comment is in response to our negotiated trade with Hezbollah. I believe some Palestinian prisoners were included in the deal; and if this is the case it would make the PA feel doubly foolish: Hezbollah even gets our guys released better than we do in negotiations.

Well...this might have been anticipated as part of the fall-out from the deal struck with Hezbollah, but it seems it wasn't.


And so, what do we see next? Why even ask? More concessions, of course.

Olmert went to Paris Saturday night for the launching of the Union of the Mediterranean (see below). Abbas also went. And sure enough, in Paris yesterday, Olmert promised Abbas that we would release more Palestinian prisoners as a "good-will" gesture.

No information is forthcoming on the identity or number to be released, or when this might happen. Clearly, this has yet to be worked out.


Oh, and there's more: Reportedly Abbas also asked Olmert to reopen Nablus institutions shut down by the IDF in its action against Hamas. These institutions -- charities and commercial enterprises -- were all linked by the IDF to fund-raising for Hamas.

This is how ludicrous the situation is. We're not supposed to come down too strongly on Hamas -- identified clearly as a terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction -- because it rebounds badly in the street on our purported "peace partner."

Shall I ask, for the millionth time, what sort of peace partner this is that cannot take a strong stand against overtly terrorist organizations (as compared to the relatively covert support of terrorism of Fatah itself), and what the implications are for a PA-led state if this is their position?

It cannot be emphasized enough: Hamas sets the agenda, not Fatah. The first loyalty of the leaders of Fatah -- never mind their ostensible readiness to negotiate with us -- is to their brothers in Fatah, and not us. And Hamas is, in any event, much stronger than Fatah.

I have no information on how Olmert responded to Abbas on this request.


Following the announcement about Olmert's readiness to release more Palestinian prisoners, Menachem Landau, former Shin Bet (secret service) section chief, spoke out against it on Israel Radio.

It has often been the case, he said, as we look at previous releases, that the standing of PA leaders was not boosted significantly, but that, rather, forces acting against us were strengthened. Additionally, this affects the morale of Israeli security forces when they expend enormous efforts to capture terrorists and then see them released.


As to the negotiations with Hezbollah there is this:
Part of the deal required Hezbollah to supply information on what happened to Ron Arad. As I reported the other day, final exchanges were being delayed until information on Arad supplied to Israel was studied.

Arad was shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and was captured by a Lebanese Shi'ite movement called Amal. In May 1988, Israel conducted an operation in the area where Arad was held. From that point on, there is no information on him. Apparently the Shi'ites who were guarding him left him to go fight with their comrades.

Speculation is that he was either killed by the guards before they left, or that he escaped. (There is also speculation -- largely considered unlikely at present -- that he was traded to Iran.) If he did escape, he would have run into mountainous terrain and might have died in his effort. But no one knows for certain, in spite of extensive efforts by Israel to discover the facts.


The material supplied by Hezbollah in its 80-page report in Arabic -- which includes old photos of Arad that have purely sentimental value for the family -- provides no new information; it describes Hezbollah's search for him and is essentially no more than an updated version of a report that Hezbollah had provided to Israel in 2004. It was reviewed by members of the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and Military Intelligence.

In spite of this paucity of information, Barak says we are continuing with the deal -- the official Cabinet vote to proceed is expected to come tomorrow. The Arad family is decidedly not happy about the current state of affairs; they are convinced that Hezbollah is holding back.


What is perhaps most startling about the decision to move forward on the Hezbollah deal is an expressed concern by the IDF that Hezbollah might be planning to carry out an attack along the northern border after the exchange is complete.

There is also some concern in Israel that Hezbollah, which has veto power in a reformulated Lebanese government, might block renewal of the mandate for UNIFIL, which comes due in August. According to the Post, however, senior IDF officials believe that while Hezbollah might delay the renewal they would be hesitant to totally block it.

My favorite line in the Post article: "Still, the feeling in the IDF is that UNIFIL is not completely implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which...calls for the disarming of Hezbollah."


The Union of the Mediterranean, initiated by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, is intended as a forum to bring together nations in the region of the Mediterranean from Europe, the Middle East and N. Africa. Over 40 nations participated in the summit, presided over jointly by Sarkozy and Egypt's president, Mubarak, yesterday.

Much was made of the fact that Syria's Assad came in from the cold and attended the summit -- thereby attracting much media attention. He apparently sat at a table with Olmert (first time they were ever in a room together), but got up and left before Olmert spoke. He also snubbed Olmert, refusing to shake his hand -- such a handshake, he said, was for the end of successful negotiations, not now.


On Friday night, a Palestinian with a gun snuck up on two Israeli border policeman at the Lions Gate in the Old City, shooting one in the head and one in the stomach, and then fleeing. The policeman shot in the head at close range, David Chriqui, 19, is fighting for his life.

A rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel on Saturday.

Yesterday two mortar shells were fired.


A bill, promoted by MK Gideon Sa'ar (Likud), allowing the State to confiscate the property of anyone convicted of committing an act of terror passed its preliminary Knesset reading five days ago. (I am assuming that this would apply equally to anyone who blows himself up in the course of terrorism and thus is never convicted.)

The goal is deterrence: terrorists might think twice if their families would be deprived of their property.


Two other similar bills have passed through their respective committees and will now go to the Knesset:

One, also proposed by Gideon Sa'ar, would give the minister of welfare the authority to cancel funds from the State for burial for terrorists. Currently, Israeli residents, even if they die in the course of committing terrorist acts, are eligible for funeral expenses from the National Insurance Institute. (Yes, I know, this is nuts. But hopefully is about to be changed.)

The second, proposed by Yoel Hasson (Kadima), would give the minister of the interior the authority to cancel the citizenship or permanent residency status of anyone taking part in a terror activity or holding membership in a terror organization.

Finally, a bit of sanity in an atmosphere that has been politically correct to the point of the ludicrous.

It tells us a great deal that chairman of the United Arab List faction, Taleb a-Sana'a, calls this "illegal legislation endangering democracy." Sana'a apparently thinks that terrorists also have rights in a democracy, but I would beg to differ.


Jim Hoagland, writing in the Washington Post, shared this significant perspective from the Israeli ambassador to the US, Salai Meridor (emphasis added):

"'Sanctions on insurance and maritime and air transportation would raise the cost of Iran's doing business. But effective sanctions on the import of refined petroleum products could be a game-changer,' since Iran produces crude oil but lacks refining capacity. The world's oil companies 'should not sell gasoline that is used by Iran's nuclear scientists and its terror chiefs to drive to work.'"


What I am observing is that while unease is expressed regarding the chaos that might result from an Israeli military attack on Iran, and lip service is given to sanctions, the international community is not serious. Russia has just signed an agreement with Iran for the development of oil and fields and the construction of refineries.

Similarly, there is an unrealistic take on what the Iranian regime is truly all about. I have just read a statement by a French official about how perhaps Iranian leaders will "come to their senses." But there is a radical religious elite in Iran that is apocalyptic in its vision, not rational at all.


Irwin Cotler, former justice minister of Canada, taking an activist position on Iran, is initiating an international effort to bring Ahmadinejad to justice for incitement to genocide. Cotler is hoping that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be able to work with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to promote this initiative.

see my website

Obama backtracks on an undivided J'lem Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

In his first major speech minutes after clinching the Democrat nomination as the party's candidate for the US presidential election, Barack Obama surprised listeners at an AIPAC convention by saying Jerusalem should be Israel's "undivided" capital. However, the Illinois senator retracted his comments on Sunday, saying that they were "badly phrased," Israel Radio reported.

"You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech, and we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given," Obama said during an interview on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria - GPS." "The point we were simply making was, is that we don't want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the '67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent. I was not trying to predetermine what are essentially final-status issues."

The senator explained that despite the error in conveying his message, he did not intend to abandon the notion that the two sides - Israel and the Palestinians - should discuss such issues on their own, with strong backing from the United States.

Israel, Obama said, must realize that its existence over the long term is dependent on its ability to achieve peace with its neighbors, while the Palestinian leadership must recognize the fact that the battles it fights, the direction in which it is going and the rhetoric it uses do not "deliver the goods" for the Palestinian people.

What Israeli citizens want and what the residents of the West Bank long for is a pragmatic approach that would allow them to be safe, live their lives and educate their children, Obama added.

Obama is scheduled to come to Israel for a brief 24-hour visit next week as part of a European and Middle Easter tour (during which he will visit Germany, France, the United Kingdom and also Iraq and Jordan).

Obama's campaign headquarters have not yet published his itinerary and the precise date of his arrival, but he is scheduled to visit the Western Wall, Yad Vashem and take a helicopter trip to Sderot.

Additionally, Obama will meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and opposition leader and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

A poll published by Newsweek recently found that Obama is still the favored candidate, though by a smaller margin than last month. Obama enjoys 44 percent of support, while Republican nominee John McCain enjoys 41%. In a similar poll
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Jul. 13, 2008 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

US President George W. Bush has given Israel the "amber light" to carry out an attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts are unsuccessful in causing the Islamic Republic to back down and relinquish its nuclear program, according to a senior Pentagon official quoted by the British Sunday Times on Sunday morning.

According to the official, Bush has given Israel free reign to attack Iran's nuclear sites if sanctions fail in spite of opposition from US generals and regardless of the possible economic and political repercussions of such a strike. "Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you're ready," the official said, adding however, that Israel had been told that it could not count on the US to lend it military support.

Contradicting recent reports to the contrary, he also said that the IAF would not be permitted to take off from American military bases in Iraq.

The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report.

On Friday, sources in the Iraqi Defense Ministry told a local news network that IAF war planes were practicing in Iraqi airspace were landing on US airbases in the country as a preparation for a potential strike on Iran.

"It's really all down to the Israelis," the official added. "This administration will not attack Iran. This has already been decided. But the president is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn't believe that anything but force will deter Iran."

The official said that Israel had yet to present Bush with a compelling military proposal. "If there is no solid plan, the amber will never turn to green," he said.

He also noted that there was resistance within the Pentagon coming from officers who feared an Iranian retaliation. "The uniform people are opposed to the attack plans, mainly because they think it will endanger our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan," the source said.

Only on Saturday, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened that his country would "destroy" Israel, as well as 32 US army bases in the region in retaliation for any attack on the Islamic Republic.

"If Israel and the US fire a bullet or a missile at Iran, its forces will attack the heart of Israel and 32 American bases in the region before the dust from such an attack has settled," Iran's Fars news agency quoted Mojtaba Zolnour as saying. He added that such targets would be "destroyed" by the Iranian counterattack.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1215330945390&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull