Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ruth King: Fear of Islam? You Betcha!

At Family Security Matters, Ruth S. King examines the upcoming synagogue/mosque "Week of Twinning":

A full page ad in the New York Times of November 11th heralded November 21-23 as a “Week of Twinning” when Canadian and American synagogues and their respective rabbis and an equal number of mosques and mullahs will “join together to confront Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in their respective communities.” This interfaith confab will be under the auspices of good old King Abdullah bin Aziz of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world which funds, promotes and teaches terrorism and fanatical hatred of all “infidels” and is the locus of all but two of the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11.

The deluded rabbis (I’m holding back here) fail to comprehend they are being “had” by the wily king and his co-religionists. Has anyone vetted the sermons of the imams that are so perturbed by prejudice? Did a single one of them ever denounce terrorism or the various and sundry texts in the hadith and the Koran that incite hatred and death to all unbelievers? Are the rabbis aware of the centuries of relentless Islamic anti-Semitism which antedate the Arab/Israel war? Will a single one of those mullahs invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, or Dan Pipes to speak to their congregations of the need to reform Islam, curb Sharia Law, and abolish Jihad? In a word….no.

On the other hand, the rabbis involved in this silly posturing would probably be delighted to invite the good old Wahabbi thug to their synagogues to foster “understanding.” You know….Isn’t talk always better than war and isn’t peace the noble way and aren’t there plenty of passages in the Koran that talk of love and faith and aren’t there passages in the Old Testament that promote violence and didn’t Jews and Arabs enjoy real co-existence at one time, and didn’t we also have grannies who said mean things about other races?

Thanks to these participants in the sham, the "twinning" is now permanent and you can’t denounce anti-Semitism without also denouncing its “sister” hatred Islamophobia.

The dictionary defines anti-Semitism as "hostility and prejudice to Jews." Historically it is mostly associated with Dachau, and Auschwitz, but there were centuries of murder, and dislocation of Jews in Europe and in all Arab lands with short eras of ‘tolerance.”

Currently, anti-Semitism is manifested in harassment, vilification, physical assaults, and murder of Jews, including terrorism and suicide bombings. In all Muslim countries sermons, school texts, broadcasts, and newspapers denounce Jews. These examples of visceral hatred for Jews run the gamut from cartoons, depicting Jews as apes, to calls for "death to the Jews," promotions of blood libels, and holocaust denial. UN assemblies, as well as affiliated organizations and conferences always degenerate into Jew-baiting. In the more elite intellectual Left “salons” of Europe and the United States it is openly manifested in shrill criticism of Israel, particularly among tenured professors in Middle East departments funded by oil rich Arab Kingdoms.

Only a few days ago, Arab students at University of California at Berkeley attacked participants at an Israel Liberation Week concert. Witnesses reported the attack by thugs shouting epithets and calling Jews “Nazis’ and “dogs.”

Now, what about "Islamophobia," a word not included in the dictionary? It is a phony construct. The word phobia is defined as an "irrational fear or aversion." If anyone can discover people who are motivated by an irrational hatred of Muslims rather than a well based fear of those, who, prompted by the tenets of Islam, attempt to murder infidels, stone, behead and flog those who dishonor Allah, and, most horrific, murder their own progeny in “honor killings” by all means let them bring such examples forward.

There are indeed moderate Muslims who have suffered persecution, dislocation, murder and genocide….at the hands of other Muslims. See Darfur. See Somalia. See Iraq.

There are, in America, decent and law abiding and devout Muslim families. Other than perfunctory criticism of the perpetrators of 9/11, or embassy bombings, or marine barracks bombings, or the USS Cole, they don’t speak out and they expose their children to the fanatical hatreds of the mosques. Recently, I had an exchange with a lovely and soft spoken woman from Nigeria, who has been here for 17 years. She told me her children go to a mosque school where they learn Koran and Arabic. When I questioned why they learn Arabic since that is not one of the myriad languages of Nigeria, she told me that Arabs pay for the schooling. One can only imagine what her children learn in an Arab funded madrassa. One could also question why after so many years in this country her family is not assimilated.

Muslims have killed more Americans than any group or state since the end of the Vietnam War. Yet, in an unflagging effort to reassure Muslims we were continually told that these terrorists “hijacked a great religion” and those who use it for violent ends are engaged in a “perversion” of the faith.

Even seemingly honorable defenders of the faith have masqueraded as moderates until they were apprehended for conspiring to aid or fund jihad and al Qaeda through communal or charitable organizations.

There are over 200 documented episodes where the “perverters” of the faith have been apprehended and thwarted in deadly plans right here in the United States. The charges all range from financing Islamic terrorism, obstructing justice by refusing to testify or by aiding terrorist wannabes, to stockpiling and transporting explosives and weapons, attempting to bomb airlines and military bases, providing false tips to federal law enforcement, assault and murder of family members who dishonor the family, smuggling false passports, committing arson and conspiring to kill and maim civilians.

There are probably an equal number of “sleeper cells” which have been discovered and thwarted but an unsettling number which continue to operate and plot under the radar of law enforcement.

Is it irrational or bigoted to fear them? No. It's prudent.

We should we demand that our elected legislators consider our safety and homeland security and confront and condemn putative terrorists and those who aid and abet them instead of pandering to the whining and pretended “victimhood” of those who would destroy us. I am afraid for our country. I fear creeping Sharia, and it is high time for the purported great majority of peaceful Muslims to speak out loudly and forcefully against fanatical hatred of Jews and Christians and to denounce violence and terrorism and dreams of a global Caliphate.

Finally, is it not perverse to trivialize the historic shame and curse of anti-Semitism by linking it to the calculated whims and deceptions of those who practice, preach and promote Jew hatred and genocide?

You betcha!
Thanks Dhimmi Watch

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Touching Various Bases"

Arlene Kushner

Before Shabbat I would like to touch upon a number of subjects, some of which may be re-visited next week.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Wednesday that a search of the site in Syria that Israel had bombed revealed "significant" amounts of uranium particles. The agency is stopping short of saying definitively that the bombed building was a reactor, but evidence is sure pointing in that direction.

The IAEA has also indicated that Iran may now have enough low grade enriched uranium to build one bomb. While the uranium would have to be further enriched and the delivery system developed, this information is ominous and deeply troubling. According to the Times of London, intelligence sources are saying this makes it more likely that Israel will hit Iran.


It was revealed on Thursday that Olmert and Barak had paid a secret visit to Amman on Tuesday to speak with King Abdullah, at his invitation, regarding the violence in Gaza. Abdullah says a large scale military operation into Gaza would foment unrest in the region that might unsettle the Hamshemite kingdom.

His position seems to be that the populace of Jordan, which has a Palestinian majority (Abdullah's Hashemites are a minority), would become restive at the prospect of Israeli action against Palestinians in Gaza. This makes the assumption that the Jordanian street identifies with Hamas. But until very recently the perspective was that it was radicalism -- coming from Hamas -- that threatened the king's throne. Growing Hamas influence in Judea and Samaria caused unease in Jordan, which indicated a distinct preference for an IDF presence at its western border. There was a time when the king would have been pleased to see Israel take on Hamas strength.

What has happened is that Jordan -- presumably feeling threatened by prospects of a negotiated Palestinian state at its border run by PA forces unable to restrain Hamas -- decided to shift its position vis-a-vis Hamas. Thus, Jordan reestablished relations with Hamas in August.

And thus, Abdullah was asking Israel's leaders to refrain from military operations in Gaza. In fact, according to the very reliable Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post, Abdullah apparently delivered a message from Hamas saying that it wishes to sustain the ceasefire.

Said King Abdullah, the key to stability in the region is an Israeli-Palestinian peace. This irks me no end -- for the implication here is that Israel would be remiss in defending herself and should "try harder" to achieve that peace. As if we haven't already done more than we should have in that direction.


Tzipi Livni obliquely referred to this meeting in a statement saying that while we value our relationship with our neighbors, ultimately we must do what is in Israel's best interest. According to Abu Toameh, the king was told at the meeting that there were no plans in the near future to take out Hamas in Gaza, but that more limited military actions were possible.


Meanwhile, reports are that the newly introduced, US-trained PA security forces in Hevron have arrested 250 Hamas terror suspects. This is said to be a first. What I wait to hear is that these 250 are tried and imprisoned as appropriate. The usual PA practice is to maintain a revolving door in its prisons.


Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has announced -- most appropriately -- that Israel will not be attending the Durban Review Conference, being called Durban II, which is to be held in Geneva in April. Durban I, which was billed as a UN-sponsored conference to combat racism, degenerated into an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic frenzy. The most scurrilous anti-Semitism came from an NGO forum held in tandem with the conference. This second conference is supposed to review progress made on the issues since that first 2001 conference. Evidence is strong that it's heading in the same direction.

See run by Anne Bayefsky for documented information on what is transpiring. On November 8th, Bayefsky reported that the UN preparatory committee for Durban II has released an "outcome document" to be presented at the conference that demonizes Israel and Israel self-determination. What it implies is that Israel is an apartheid racist state that is guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.

What is more, the document thwarts efforts to stop terrorism and attacks freedom of expression.


In a parallel effort to delegitimize Israel, Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, who won the peace prize in 1976 for her work with Catholics and Protestants in northern Ireland, suggests that the UN should suspect or expel Israel because of the blockade of Gaza.

Why is it that these very self-righteous people never talk about what Hamas is doing to innocents in Israel?


I've written extensively on the happenings in Hevron with regard to Beit HaShalom, and so I must touch on this. There are reports now of violence in the area, but the IDF is saying this is the work of "outsiders." Leadership in Hevron, which is not violent, is seeking to calm matters.

Additionally, MK Uri Ariel (NU) has asked the Shabbak to investigate whether some of their own operators, servings as provocateurs, may be at work here. Lest you imagine this is far-fetched, I assure you that it is not. It has happened before. When a situation is volatile, there are elements who stir matters up and foment violence to blacken the names of those who are protesting a government position.

It is prudent to reserve judgment here until more is known. The weekend will be tense, as thousands of visitors will be coming to Hevron for Shabbat.


This related item is interesting: Shimon Peres, who is in England, has, according to Israel National News, told members of the British parliament that the government was willing to give most of Judea and Samaria to the PA, but it would be difficult to dismantle Jewish towns (in which 250,000 Jews live) without causing civil war. Good that he realizes this.


Hopefully, come February (and elections), the whole issue of an Israeli government ready to give away large swaths of Israel will become moot.

Polls are showing Likud with a substantial lead over Kadima. Depending on the poll, Likud is expected to gain 32-34 seats, with Kadima having 23-26. Labor is way down, with only 8-10 seats. In fact, Meimad has broken with Labor now because it has always received the slot for the 10th seat on a combined list and is now afraid there will be no tenth seat; they will run their own list.

The prediction is that the entire right wing will achieve sufficient seats to comfortably form a coalition. As of yet, however, there is no gain shown in the polls for a combined NU-NRP list.


Livni is gearing up to come out swinging against Likud as elections draw closer.

Netanyahu (sounding strangely like Peres) has been promoting negotiations with the PA based on economics and not political issues. He claims that he can help the Palestinians succeed economically and only this way can peace follow -- that more of the same negotiations now are doomed to failure. So be it, if this is his focus and not giving away the land.

Netanyahu has come out against division of Jerusalem, as well.


My information from several quarters is that Uzi Dayan, who was once considerably to the left, has shifted his position to the right. He now sees Oslo has having been a disaster. Dayan has joined Likud.


Uzi Landau, meanwhile, formerly a member of Likud, is moving in another direction. He left Sharon's cabinet in protest against the disengagement, and now has announced that he is joining Yisrael Beitenu even though he disagrees with some of the positions of party head Avigdor Lieberman. Landau will have the number two slot on the list.

see my website

Iran Early Bird-Friday

Bridge over Troubled Waters

The inter-faith conference – championed by Saudi King Abdullah – that took place last week in New York, the return to the international agenda of the Arab-Saudi peace initiative during the course of the meet, and the West's courtship of Syria are all stirring much discontent and concern in Iran. And a review of official Iranian statements and actions during and after the conference once again exposes both Tehran's dogmatic and uncompromising positions vis-à-vis a resolution to the conflict with Israel, and also Iran's desire to offer an Islamic alternative to the lack of leadership in the Arab world. Iran is stressing to the "Arab nations" that contrary to their compromising leaders, and in light of the ousting of "the last of the Arab action heroes [Saddam Hussein]" and the absence of a worthy Arab leader to lead the "struggle," Tehran and its emissaries in the region, such as Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, are the true alternatives for the option of the fight against Israel. And this Iranian viewpoint was clearly illustrated this week during the course of meetings Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad held with Hezbollah prisoners from the Second Lebanon War and their families and in the statements he made (like those of other senior Iranian officials) in favor of an armed struggle and the Ashura heritage.

"Rescuing Israel"

Most Iranian spokespersons chose to emphasize the Arab haste towards normalization and compromise, while Israel continues to commit "crimes in the territories." Speaking at the inter-faith conference, Iran's ambassador to the UN said that "representatives of the regime whose short history has been characterized by aggression, occupation, assassinations, political terror and the tormenting of the Palestinian people – under the pretext of a divine religion – have tried to exploit the conference for the purpose of achieving narrow political objectives." According to the Iranian diplomat, "The participation in the conference of a regime like this not only fails to promote the meet's goals, but undermines it and diverts attention away from the effort to improve the dialogue among the various religions."

The Iranian ambassador also refrained from heaping praise on the Saudi king, who won much from other sources during the conference for his initiatives – the convening of the meet and the Saudi peace initiative, thus illustrating the huge rift and bitter rivalry between Shia Iran, which is striving for regional hegemony, and Sunni-Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, which seeks a similar status. The Conservative-affiliated Iranian daily, Kayhan, wrote in this context that Saudi Arabia decided to hold the "inter-faith dialogue" in New York with the purpose of "rescuing Israel" and bringing about the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab governments.

Furthermore, on November 18, a number of Iranian lawmakers released a special statement denouncing the meet and calling on the Muslim states to oppose "the demonic move." The statement also charged that Israel had "a black history" and that its actions in the Gaza Strip constituted "another chapter in this history." Therefore, the statement continued, participation in the conference alongside "the leaders of the criminal regime" was tantamount to recognition of Israel and promoted normalization with it. The statement stressed, too, that the Saudi king was behind the initiative, charging that he also took advantage of the occasion to revisit the Saudi peace plan, "while occupying the same room as Israel President Shimon Peres."

On the very day of the statement's publication, Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Hosseyni, chose to announce that January 2009 would witness a meeting between Iranian religious figures (headed by Judicial Authority chief Shahroodi) and Saudi counterparts. Contrary to the wind that was blowing from Tehran this week with respect to Saudi Arabia's "destructive" role in promoting inter-faith dialogue, Hosseyni noted that "the Zionists, the United States and a number of the Arab states are trying to sabotage the good relations between Tehran and Riyadh" by stirring an atmosphere of "Iranophobia and Shiaphobia."

Friday's prayer leader in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, known for his ultra-Conservative viewpoints, also noted that the inter-faith dialogue was designed to normalize relations with Israel. Khatami questioned the presence of Peres and Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who are not religious, at the so-called inter-faith conference, stressing that "the era in which Israel was able to conduct political maneuvers has come to an end."

"A struggle until destruction"

Out in the "field," Iranian students from various universities around the country staged demonstrations outside the embassies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Arab states that participated in the UN inter-faith meet. The students condemned the alleged move towards closer ties with Israel and charged that "the position of some of the countries does not fall in line with that of the Islamic nation." Placards brandished by the students included slogans such as: "No to compromise;" "No to capitulation;" "A struggle until destruction;" and "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world."

During the course of the UN conference, Conservative-affiliated newspaper Siyaset-e Rooz assessed the political situation in the region as follows:

"In recent days, the Middle East has witnessed a number of significant developments concerning the Palestinian problem… the main one being the participation of a number of Arab states in the [inter-faith] dialogue alongside representatives from the Zionist entity… under the sponsorship of the United States and in the name of the peace process… The Arab leaders are forgetting their previous obligation to confront the Zionist regime until the liberation of the occupied lands, including Jerusalem, and the return of all the refugees.

"While the Arab states conduct a policy of forging closer ties with Israel in the framework of the Mediterranean Union (at which Syria was also present!), through the Sharm al-Sheikh conference that was attended by representatives from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and the member-states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, and also via the inter-faith dialogue in New York, Israel continues its aggression in Gaza, expels Palestinians, and builds synagogues on the ruins of Islamic centers.

"In light of Israel's intensification of its operations, while exploiting the Arab states' move towards closer ties with it, one should expect the Arab leaders to support a struggle against Israel and not to participate in conciliatory summits… One thing's for certain, the Palestinian people will never agree to a compromise, and the day will come when they liberate their land… And on that same day, the Arab leaders and their compromises will achieve nothing but disgrace."

The common denominator

Israel is not at the forefront of the concerns of the Islamic revolutionary regime in Iran, but ties in from many aspects to the wider context of the ambitious-messianic Iranian vision of Islamic hegemony. In the complex web of Iran's striving for regional hegemony, the State of Israel plays a central role. The negation of Israel's existence in the Arab-Islamic expanse allows Iran to demonstrate an active approach that derives from nationalist motives and, since the election of Ahmadi-Nejad, more and more from religious and ideological motives too.

Tehran's attitude towards Israel allows Iran to practically implement the principles of the Islamic revolution from the house of Ayatollah Khomeini – by means of preaching to and actively assisting terror groups, and stressing resistance to diplomatic solutions "of compromising and weak leaders, thus reaching out to wide audiences in the Arab and Islamic world above the heads of their leaders. Israel allows Shia Iran to bridge increasingly fierce religious-ethnic differences (Sunni-Shia, Arab-Persian) and offer a single common denominator to these diverse audiences – the struggle against Israel.

From Iran's perspective, the struggle against Israel does not stand alone, and instead constitutes a significant and central part of a wider campaign – a historical campaign between Islam and the West, which "planted Israel in the heart of the Muslim world" as part of its own struggle and efforts to weaken Islam. Iran believes that under the current circumstances, and particularly in light of the progress it has made in its nuclear program despite the pressures of the West, Tehran is well on the road to implementing a historic turnaround in the trend of the Muslim world's capitulation to the West, with the low oil prices only being able to slow things down but not divert it from its course.

Proven success

Iran is challenging the Saudi-led Sunni hegemony; and, therefore, Saudi Arabia and the Arab peace initiative are a thorn in its flesh; and it is taking advantage of the fact that since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Sunni Arab world has failed to recreate a real, or even symbolic, center of power like the one offered by the former Iraqi ruler and that posed a challenge both to the West and also to Iran and Shia Islam. Tehran is striving to fill this void with activist-political pan-Islamic content and a new Shia Islamic identity of its teaching, and to successfully, as demonstrated by the Shia Hezbollah organization, eradicate the State of Israel, the West's representative in the Middle East – a task at which secular Arab nationalism has failed time and again.

For both ideological and utilitarian reasons, Iran believes that by offering a revolutionary Islamic model that has proved successful (its nuclear program, and the success of its emissary, Hezbollah, in the Second Lebanon War) in combating Israel, it has the ability to revive and reconnect with the primeval yearnings and instincts of the Arab and Islamic nations – the hatred for Zionism, the establishment of the State of Israel and the West that was behind it, the importance of the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinian problem, and the desire to avenge their defeats.

As Iran sees things, these primeval yearnings and instincts are not foreign to the Arab nations, but have undergone a process of erosion and suppression among the leaders of the Arab states following the wars with Israel – either due to Israel's strength over the years and its qualitative edge, or due to the "defeatist and treacherous" approach of the moderate Arab rulers and their willingness to recognize and forge ties with Israel – an approach that as far as Iran is concerned, finds expression, inter alia, in the Saudi-initiated inter-faith dialogue at the UN.

UN Security Council Resolution 242

The cornerstone for "a just and lasting peace"
November 22, 1967 - 41 Years later

November 21, 2008 | Eli E. Hertz

Most "Peace Initiatives" including the Geneva Accord, the Performance-Based Roadmap, the Annapolis Conference, and the Saudi Initiative failed to recognize the true sense of Israel's security needs rendering them 'a still birth.' Resolution 242 is still recognized as the cornerstone for what it calls "a just and lasting peace." The resolution calls for a negotiated solution based on "secure and recognized boundaries" - recognizing the flaws in Israel's previous temporary borders - the 1948 Armistice lines or the "Green Line"1 - by not calling upon Israel to withdraw from 'all occupied territories', but rather "from territories occupied."

The UN Security Council recognized that Israel had acquired the territory from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria not as a matter of aggression, but as an act of self-defense. That is also why Resolution 242 was passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter rather than Chapter VII. UN resolutions adopted under Chapter VI call on nations to negotiate settlements, while resolutions under the more stringent Chapter VII section deal with clear acts of aggression that allow the UN to enforce its resolutions upon any state seen as threatening the security of another state or states.

While Resolution 242 may call upon Israel to withdraw from territory it captured during the war, the UN recognized that Israel cannot return to the non-secure borders existing before the Six-Day War that invited aggression - frontiers that the usually mild-mannered and eloquent former Israeli diplomat, the late Abba Eban, branded "Auschwitz borders."

The wording of UN Resolution 242 clearly reflects the contention that none of the Territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war.

Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 - the cornerstones of a peace settlement - is Israel branded as an invader or unlawful occupier of the Territories.

The minutes of the six month 'debate' over the wording of Resolution 242, as noted above, showing that draft resolutions attempted to brand Israel an aggressor and illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, went on record in 1991 to make this clear:

"Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until 'a just and lasting peace in the Middle East' is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces 'from territories' it occupied during the Six-Day War - not from 'the' territories nor from 'all' the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip."

Professor Rostow continues and describes:

"Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from 'all' the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the 'fragile' and 'vulnerable' Armistice Demarcation Lines [Green Line"], but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called 'secure and recognized' boundaries ..."2

Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN and the key drafter of the resolution, said several years later:

"We knew that the boundaries of '67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers; they were a cease-fire line of a couple decades earlier. We did not say the '67 boundaries must be forever."

Referring to Resolution 242, Lord Caradon added:

"The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary... "3

In a 1974 statement he said:

"It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967. ... That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to."4

Arthur J. Goldberg,5 the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key draftee of Resolution 242, stated:

"The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967, lines. I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories."6

Political figures and international jurists have discussed the existence of "permissible" or "legal occupations." In a seminal article on this question, entitled What Weight to Conquest, Professor, Judge Schwebel, a former president of the International Court of Justice, wrote:

"A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense. ... Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.

"As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt."7

Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, has concurred, further clarifying:

"Territorial Rights under International Law ... By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel's territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia [Latin: Among other things] of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article."8

To view the complete article please CLICK HERE

This article was broadcast on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 2:15pm New York time.

1. Israel's pre-1967 borders reflected the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces on the ground after Israel's War of Independence in 1948. Professor Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice clarified in his writings Justice in International Law that the 1949 armistice demarcation lines are not permanent borders: "The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them."
The boundaries were labeled the "Green Line" merely because a green pencil was used to draw the map of the armistice borders.
2. Professor Eugene V. Rostow, The Future of Palestine, Institute for National Strategic Studies, November 1993. Professor Rostow was Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus at Yale University and served as the Dean of Yale Law School (1955-66); Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Diplomacy, National Defense University; Adjunct Fellow, American Enterprise Institute. In 1967 as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs he become a key draftee of the UN Resolution 242.
3. Lord Caradon, interviewed on Kol Israel (The Voice of Israel Radio) in February 1973. Lord Caradon (Sir Hugh Foot) was the UK representative to the UN in 1967. His final draft becomes the foundation for UN Resolution 242.
4. Lord Caradon to the Beirut Daily Star on 12 June 1974.
5. Goldberg, Arthur, was a professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He was appointed in 1962 to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1965 he was appointed U.S. representative to the United Nations. Judge Goldberg was a key draftee of UN Resolution 242.
6. Goldberg. U.N. Resolution 242: Origin, Meaning, and Significance. National Committee on American Foreign Policy. See article at: (10159)
7. Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest?" in Justice in International Law, Cambridge University Press, 1994. Opinions quoted in this critiques are not derived from his position as a judge of the ICJ.
8. Professor Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine, Assault on the Law of Nations The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.

Internal problems-if this goes unresolved, I fear for ...

Shas: Livni will sell country to Arabs

Ultra-Orthodox party lashes out after Kadima chairwoman pledges she 'won't sell country to haredim,' warns it will share fate of the anti-religious Shinui
Attila Somfalvi

"Sure, Kadima won't sell the country to the haredim – seeing as they'll sell it beforehand to the Arab though concessions in Jerusalem," said an irate Yakov Margi, chairman of the Shas party's Knesset faction. Margi was referring to comments made by Kadima chairwoman, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, earlier Thursday evening at a meeting of Kadima's board.

In a particularly harshly-worded speech, Livni first went after her former political home, calling the Likud "a party that knows how to say no about every topic. Kadima will be representative of Israel and will determine its identity as a Jewish state, without selling the country to the haredim along the way."

Margi said Kadima was proving itself no different from the extinct Shunui party. "Those who promised a different kind of politics today presented white politics," said Margi, adding that Kadima's will share Shinui's fate.

'Likud is the same Likud'

Livni began her speech by addressing the primary elections the party faces ahead of the general elections. Just prior to her taking the podium, the Kadima board voted in favor of securing the second-highest slot on the party's roster for Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz. The proposal was put forward by the chairman of Kadima's party affairs committee, MK Tzachi Hanegbi.

"Kadima is comprised of people who left other homes. I left the Likud. Others left other parties," said Livni. "I left the Likud because I couldn't stay because of how it conducted its internal politics, and because of its inability to lead any progress in any field. This is a party that just knows how to say no to everything.

"The Likud is the same Likud, the party is the same party, they still do not have a path, and the people are the same people."

The foreign minister also touched on the economic crisis, saying "we can't ignore the fact that the public fears the financial crisis, which began outside Israel's borders and is now coming here. Israel's economy is strong, that's true… but there is a fear of the financial crisis and it must be addressed, because that is the duty and responsibility of the government. It is the responsibility of the Kadima government today, and it will be our responsibility in the future as well."

Comment: We have a major social problem, left unresolved will lead to Israel's downward spiral. the separation between religious and secular in this country is becoming epidemic. This topic deserves a major analysis in the coming weeks-will attempt to do so.

GA largely ignored by Hebrew press


All but ignored by the Hebrew-speaking press as they gathered in Jerusalem this week, American Jewish professionals and activists have lashed out at the Israeli media and society for failing to notice - and learn from - another Jewish community nearly as large as their own. Coverage in the Hebrew media of the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella body that represents billions of dollars of annual charity donations from hundreds of thousands of North American Jewish households, was generally limited to policy speeches given at the conference by Israeli politicians.

Speaking to journalism students this week, Ma'ariv Diaspora affairs reporter Eli Berdenstein admitted he did not know a great deal about American Jewry, but in any case rejected the idea that US Jews who claim they are "Jews by choice" are authentically Jewish.

Danny Ababa, Diaspora reporter for Israel's largest daily, Yediot Aharonot, told The Jerusalem Post that "this whole business [the GA] is one big kiss-up to rich people. American Jews are not authentic; they're obsessed with money; there's something annoying about them."

"Can you imagine such arrogant statements about a convention of social workers from Africa?" responded an irate American Jewish official who asked to remain anonymous. "American Jews are obsessed with money? This is a fund-raising organization gathered in a professional conference. The Israeli journalists don't even understand where they are. It's like walking into an art museum and complaining the art isn't edible. These are the people the Israeli media put in the nexus where Israelis meet American Jewry?" he asked.

Israel's English-language press devoted extensive coverage to the gathering of one of the largest charitable networks in the world. The Post and the English-language edition of Haaretz both devoted a supplement and ran many news and opinion articles about American Jewish society and philanthropy this week.

Yet at the same time, Haaretz's Hebrew edition almost failed to note the conference's existence. A glance at the papers' Web sites also showed the same disparity in coverage.

"They don't understand the community, the day-to-day work of charity and volunteering, people devoting their whole lives to these things," agreed Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "The Israeli media's disdain is not new. It's responsible for a lot of the gap in knowledge about American Jewry [among Israelis]."

According to Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, even "Israeli reporters who come to the United States generally don't take the time to learn about American Jewry. They just cover politics."

The disdain may be hindering Israelis' ability to learn a great deal from their American counterparts, many at the conference said.

American Jews may respect Israelis, says Howard Wohl, chairman of the executive of BBYO, the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, but they "see Israel itself as a corrupt country with an unstable government where every group looks out for itself. Israel is not a light unto the nations."

First and foremost, Israelis could learn from Americans about religious education and pluralism, GA participants said.

"Israelis speak Hebrew, but many live lives devoid of Judaism. Just closing your schools on Shavuot is not the totality of Judaism," said Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

"Israelis can learn from us about giving to Israel itself," insisted Judy Shereck, national vice president of Hadassah. "Some Israeli kids who come to our summer camps say they learned more about Israel at our camp than they did growing up in Israel. They have to come to America to want to 'make aliya.'"

In religious terms, "American Jews don't understand why there are so many secular Israelis," Shereck said. "Israeli kids attending our camps are often upset and surprised that we require them to join Shabbat prayers."

Participants said Israelis could also learn from the Americans' commitment to giving to charitable causes.

"Together with [Americans'] sharp individualism, you have to appreciate their social involvement, their idea of a community - something we don't have," said UJC senior vice president Nahman Shai, who recently announced he would run for a Kadima Knesset slot. "They also know how it feels to be a minority, so they take care of each other. Even though our situation as a small people is similar, we don't understand how to do this," added Shai.

"Israelis are sort of blasé about philanthropy," said a participant from New England who wondered whether "the GA should include sessions where Israelis talk about how they can start solving social problems in their own communities."

Lastly, participants pointed to a sense of Jewish unity, or "peoplehood," which they believed was stronger among American Jews than among Israelis.

"We're living in a time of grace - American Jewry finally understands that the connection to Israel is part of a modern Jewish identity," said Dr. Shlomi Ravid, the director of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beth Hatefutsoth in Tel Aviv and founder of the Israel Center in San Francisco.

"Just now, when they're turning toward us [Israelis], we're stuck in a model that can't see them as anything but a source of money and manpower. In the moment when American Jews want real dialogue, we're shown to be weak," Ravid said.

Few Israelis attended the conference, but one of them, highly respected former education minister Aharon Yadlin, defended Israelis' contribution to their society.

"Israelis pay one of the highest tax rates in the world, serve in the army, go on yearlong national service projects to help immigrants and the elderly," Yadlin said. "Also, there is some Israeli philanthropy, even if it's not enough. After all, many Israeli nonprofits raise much of their money from Israelis.

"Even so, the main point is that Israelis have to begin to understand that the Jews in Israel are part of a larger Jewish people. We should teach the young generation in Israel to see itself first as Jewish before it is Israeli," he said.

Until that happens, the Israeli media's failure to report seriously on American Jewry will mar the relationship, said a participant from New York.

"The media here seems to be too boorish and closed-minded to see under their noses a charity that takes care of hundreds of thousands of people," he complained. "Worse, the Israeli public holds these opinions because nobody in a position of responsibility knows the truth about American Jewry. They're stuck with these primitive, half-baked excuses for commentary."
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Iran Said to Have Nuclear Fuel for One Weapon


Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

The figures detailing Iran's progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country's main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium. Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.

"They clearly have enough material for a bomb," said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. "They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that's another matter."

Iran insists that it wants only to fuel reactors for nuclear power. But many Western nations, led by the United States, suspect that its real goal is to gain the ability to make nuclear weapons.

While some Iranian officials have threatened to bar inspectors in the past, the country has made no such moves, and many experts inside the Bush administration and the I.A.E.A. believe it will avoid the risk of attempting "nuclear breakout" until it possessed a larger uranium supply.

Even so, for President-elect Barack Obama, the report underscores the magnitude of the problem that he will inherit Jan. 20: an Iranian nuclear program that has not only solved many technical problems of uranium enrichment, but that can also now credibly claim to possess enough material to make a weapon if negotiations with Europe and the United States break down.

American intelligence agencies have said Iran could make a bomb between 2009 and 2015. A national intelligence estimate made public late last year concluded that around the end of 2003, after long effort, Iran had halted work on an actual weapon. But enriching uranium, and obtaining enough material to build a weapon, is considered the most difficult part of the process.

Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University and a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory said the growing size of the Iranian stockpile "underscored that they are marching down the path to developing the nuclear weapons option."

In the report to its board, the atomic agency said Iran's main enrichment plant was now feeding uranium into about 3,800 centrifuges — machines that spin incredibly fast to enrich the element into nuclear fuel. That count is the same as in the agency's last quarterly report, in September. Iran began installing the centrifuges in early 2007. But the new report's total of 630 kilograms — an increase of about 150 — shows that Iran has been making progress in accumulating material to make nuclear fuel.

That uranium has been enriched to the low levels needed to fuel a nuclear reactor. To further purify it to the highly enriched state needed to fuel a nuclear warhead, Iran would have to reconfigure its centrifuges and do a couple months of additional processing, nuclear experts said.

"They have a weapon's worth," Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in Washington that tracks atomic arsenals, said in an interview.

He said the amount was suitable for a relatively advanced implosion-type weapon like the one dropped on Nagasaki. Its core, he added, would be about the size of a grapefruit. He said a cruder design would require about twice as much weapon-grade fuel.

"It's a virtual milestone," Dr. Cochran said of Iran's stockpile. It is not an imminent threat, he added, because the further technical work to make fuel for a bomb would tip off inspectors, the United States and other powers about "where they're going."

The agency's report made no mention of the possible military implications of the size of Iran's stockpile. And some experts said the milestone was still months away. In an analysis of the I.A.E.A. report, the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington, estimated that Iran had not yet reached the mark but would "within a few months." It added that other analysts estimated it might take as much as a year.

Whatever the exact date, it added, "Iran is progressing" toward the ability to quickly make enough weapon-grade uranium for a warhead.

Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist and former United States government arms scientist, cautioned that the Iranian stockpile fell slightly short of what international officials conservatively estimate as the minimum threatening amount of nuclear fuel. "They're very close," he said of the Iranians in an interview. "If it isn't tomorrow, it's soon," probably a matter of months.

In its report, the I.A.E.A., which is based in Vienna, said Iran was working hard to roughly double its number of operating centrifuges.

A senior European diplomat close to the agency said Iran might have 6,000 centrifuges enriching uranium by the end of the year. The report also said Iran had said it intended to start installing another group of 3,000 centrifuges early next year.

The atomic energy agency said Iran was continuing to evade questions about its suspected work on nuclear warheads. In a separate report released Wednesday, the agency said, as expected, that it had found ambiguous traces of uranium at a suspected Syrian reactor site bombed by Israel last year.

"While it cannot be excluded that the building in question was intended for non-nuclear use," the report said, the building's features "along with the connectivity of the site to adequate pumping capacity of cooling water, are similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site." Syria has said the uranium came from Israeli bombs.

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Israeli Air Force chief: We are ready to deal with Iran

Nov. 18, 2008 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

"We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us" in order to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, IAF commander Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday.

Nehushtan told the magazine that whether a military strike is eventually decided upon is a political question and not an issue of Israel's military capabilities.

A strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "is a political decision," the IAF commander said, "but if I understand it correctly, all options are on the table… The Air Force is a very robust and flexible force. We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us."

When asked by the paper whether the Israeli military was able to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, which are spread around the country and partly located underground, Nehushtan said, "Please understand that I do not want to get into details. I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question."

Nehushtan said the cutting edge capabilities of the IDF in the region were not only a derivative of the advanced technologies it uses.

"Modern technology is one thing, but the biggest advantage we have is our soldiers and officers. Israel is a small country. We neither have a big population nor natural resources. Our biggest asset is our human resources. And it is the Air Force that makes best use of it," he said.

Nehushtan then addressed the new reality in Lebanon since the integration of Hizbullah into the government in Beirut several months ago.

"Hizbullah has been part of the Lebanese government since this spring. It is not a fringe terror organization - it is supported by the state. Militarily, Hizbullah is stronger than the regular Lebanese army. If they attack us, we might react differently [to how we did in the 2006 Second Lebanon War]," he said.

Asked about deploying missile defense systems to protect Israelis from the Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza, as well as the Iranian threat of ballistic missiles, the IAF commander described Israel's huge investments in missile defense as an "insurance policy."

"Each type of rocket requires a different defense system. Up until today, only the Arrow System, is functioning. It can intercept ballistic missiles. In order to defend ourselves against the short-range rockets of Hamas and Hizbullah, we are building the Iron Dome system. In response to the threat of medium-range rockets, we are developing a system called David's Sling. This is all very expensive. It is like an insurance policy: You pay a lot, even if nothing happens. But if something then does happen, then you are satisfied with the investment," he explained.

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Gilad: We won't let Iran go nuclear
Nov. 14, 2008

Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, has stressed to The Jerusalem Post in an unusually hard-hitting interview.

For now, Israel is backing diplomatic and economic efforts to thwart the Iranians, Gilad added, but it doubts these will work and it is keeping all options open.

Asked about the complexities of any resort to military action, particularly since Iran has built its facilities to withstand a repeat of the IAF's 1981 destruction of Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak, Gilad replied, tellingly, that domestic critics 27 years ago said the Osirak raid "couldn't be done. And the fact is, it succeeded."

"Iran is a country with smart people that have capabilities," he noted. "It really would be a considerable challenge. Come the day, if and when this or that option is adopted, what will matter is the outcome."

Gilad was speaking to the Post at a time when some senior figures in the defense establishment have indicated in private forums that Israel might have to begin to prepare for the reality of Iran achieving its nuclear goals.

But he dismissed this notion and was adamant that there was no tendency whatsoever in the defense establishment to accept a nuclear Iran.

He said the assessment, which he shared, was that Israel could not be reconciled to a nuclear Iran - not only because it might press the button, but because the very fact of this regime having that weaponry would constitute an existential threat.

"The Iranians are determined to obtain nuclear weaponry," said Gilad. "Iran is controlled by an ideology and a regime that has set itself the goal to be rid of Israel."

While US President-elect Barack Obama has said he will engage in tough diplomacy to try to deter the Iranians, Gilad said flatly that "diplomatic pressure against a state this determined can slow processes, but cannot halt them."

As for economic pressure, that might work if Iran were facing "total isolation," he said. "But that's not happening."

The economic pressure was "much more impressive than is understood," he noted. "But the fact is, it is not preventing the dangerous process of a nuclear Iran."

On Wednesday, Iran announced it had test-fired a two-stage, solid-fuel rocket with a 1,200-mile range that could reach Israel.

Said Gilad: "They will continue. The picture is clear. They are building more missiles. They're dealing with uranium enrichment."

For Israel, he said, "this is indeed a situation that we can't tolerate. What can be done about it? First of all, we still stick with the diplomatic option, and all the options are on the table, as President [George W.] Bush said."

Beyond that, he said, "I can't go into details... Elaborating directly assists the enemy in its war against Israel. The test will be in the result - whether we are able or not to prevent this grave threat.

"The more we talk about it - however seductive that may be - the more we brag, the more we weaken our capacity to achieve. We cannot accept a nuclear Iran. We cannot be reconciled to it."

The full interview with Amos Gilad will appear in The Jerusalem Post next week.
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[ Back to the Article

High in the Holy Land, a Biblical view of peace
By Douglas Hamilton

ELI, West Bank (Reuters) - When God ordered Abraham to slaughter a son, the angel of the Lord stepped in at the last minute to stay his hand. Was it a test of faith, or had Abraham's imagination simply run away with him?

Scholars may differ, but to many Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, the story is as real as the airy heights and rocky slopes where Hebrew and Philistine armies clashed in biblical times, and where they live today.
This makes it hard to discuss rationally a resolution of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel over its occupation of West Bank land since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

"That's Highway 60. It's been there since Abraham," says Eliana Passentin, pointing to the road in the valley beneath her home in Eli on an 850 meter (2,700 foot) mountaintop, where "on a clear day you can see all the way to Tel Aviv."

Passentin, a 34-year-old former Californian with 6 children, did not build her spacious villa here for the stunning geography or the government subsidies. Every view from every window, she says, looks onto a piece of recorded biblical history.

"There's room here in Israel for everyone," she insists. But "I don't believe we're on the way to peace. There's a lot of hatred toward us." She teaches her children to "respect but suspect," she says. "If my children hear Arabic here on the hill, maybe they should be scared."

The 250,000-strong settler community is not monolithic and not all take the bible literally. But those who do believe they are following God's word, and have His blessing for recovering the holy land of Israel for its chosen people.

Settlers deny their towns are an illegal obstacle to peace. On a tour they organized this week to redress a negative image in foreign media, they cited scripture going back 3,500 years to explain why a land-for-peace swap was out of the question.

Yehudit Tayar talked about what "we" did in ancient times, as if recalling recent family history. "When we were crossing the desert," she says. "When we first came back to Shilo" to worship the Holy Tabernacle "which our families did three times a year" back in the Iron Age.

It's as if the intervening 3,000 years never happened.


Visitors to divided Jerusalem, only a half hour drive away, see checkpoints, watchtowers, teenagers with combat rifles and other daily manifestations of the occupation that might be removed almost overnight, if there was a peace deal.

But looking at the reality of the settlements, their tended gardens and schools, and listening to the passions that gave rise to them, makes it plain that persuading -- or even forcing -- Jews to give these up will be a far bigger challenge.

The red-tiled, stone houses of Kokhav Yaakov and nearby Psagot, a 20-year-old settlement, look like the 1950s suburbs of the American Dream, as drawn by Madison Avenue advertisers.

You can almost see a new Buick in the driveway. Kids' bikes litter the watered lawns and wide sidewalks. Mom is baking apple pie in the kitchen. There's no need to lock your door...

This is the innocent, idyllic gloss some put on settler life. But just beneath lies a hard bedrock of scripture.

"It was a tremendous rout for the Philistines and a tremendous victory for the Hebrews," says Rabbi David Feld, a former American who sees the stark hillsides through a biblical prism and talks passionately, as if it all happened yesterday.

The ancients "had chariots, they were like our tanks," he says with animation. He looks no further than the Book of Samuel to justify his place on occupied land.

"Israel has made peace with all the Arabs that want to make peace," says Feld. "This is the biblical land of Israel."


Yovram Cohen of the nearby Ofra settlement is a self-taught winemaker and native-born Israeli whose parents came from Tunisia. He produces his Tanya Vineyard Merlot and Cabernet reds, keeps parakeets, and ignores religious politics.

"I'm not living here for political reasons. It's just where I live, and I bought this land," says the former paratrooper. Pressed about the threat of a land-for-peace swap, he says finally: "If ever it comes, I will face it, when I have to."

Cohen is not a typical settler. Most of the 38 settlements of Israel's Benjamin municipality are classified as "religious."

Seen from the heights, they look like real-estate brochure images of neatly landscaped new towns -- apart from adjacent trailer camps which the settlers call "young communities" but Israel classifies as illegal outposts.

They crown rocky slopes terraced for centuries by Arab cultivators whose history the settlers want everyone to ignore.

Illegal or not, they are all the homes of Jews whom Israel would have to remove, if ever it opts to trade land for peace.

And now the settlers feel under threat, anxious that an election in February could vote in an unsympathetic majority.

In an unprecedentedly frank stand by an Israeli leader, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert advocates withdrawal from almost all land taken in 1967 -- a hard idea to swallow for settlers cajoled and subsidized by successive governments.

Olmert also warns that Israel cannot tolerate vigilantes in the settler movement who undermine Israel's position by trying to drive out Palestinian neighbors and even fight its police.

Former San Francisco Bay resident Passentin, whose house "like Joshua's" has the flat roof that Arab construction favors rather than the gabled, red-tiled settler model, says she feels "a strong feeling of connection to this land."

"We are not bloodthirsty fanatics," she says. Unlike Feld and his wife Tamar, who described militant settler youth gangs as "patriotic kids," she condemns violence and says her neighbors feel the same.

f ever ordered to leave, she says, she will resist by legal means, not violent, and "would never hurt any of our soldiers."

Others say the day of abandoning the land will never come.

"We are here to stay," says Benjamin council head Avi Roeh. "We are people who believe we are here for a mission. It's an act of Zionism, an act of patriotism."

(Editing by Dominic Evans)

Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Arlene Kushner

It seems fairly pervasive. And I'll provide just two examples here, both touching on issues I've raised in the last day or two:

In response to increased launching of rockets from Gaza, Defense Minister Barak placed a closure on Gaza several days ago. Barak, however, has now received an official IDF assessment saying that the closures are not hurting Hamas at all, because it is using the dozens of tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor to bring in whatever they wish (other than fuel). Yet in spite of the fact that what is being done is not proving effective, the closures will remain in effect. Explained a ministry of defense official:

"We cannot allow the Palestinians to fire rockets into our cities without a response."

This really inspires confidence that our cities are well defended, does it not?

To understand this statement, however, you must read the subtext: We don't want to do a major military operation into Gaza, but if we do nothing we'll be pressured in that direction. And so, we re instituting the closures. Even though they have no effect on Hamas, they give the Israeli people the impression that we're tough.

One might weep from this.


And then we have the on-going situation with Beit HaShalom in Hevron. Today I noted a piece on this subject that ran on YNet, written by Dror Etkes, who is with the very far left Yesh Din organization. The title of the piece: "Yet another illegal settlement." Subtitle: "Takeover of disputed Hebron home another illegal attempt to create new settlement." Huh?

Yes, lunacy, but studied lunacy with an agenda. I am sharing it here to show what the good people of Hevron contend with in terms of accusations. Why call Beit HaShalom an "illegal settlement"? Because these are buzz words intended to immediately defame and delegitimize.

Etkes speaks of displacing Palestinians who have lived in the area for generations and secret plots by the Jews.


Because positions such as his are so often encountered in the media (and YNet was content to run this), I thought it important to touch very briefly on the facts and the background here.

The Jewish connection to Hevron is impeccable and ancient. It begins with the Torah and Avraham's purchase there of a burial cave and surrounding fields. It continues with King David, who was anointed king there and ruled from that city for seven years. Judah Maccabee did battle in Hevron in the second century BCE, when the city was re-established as Jewish, following destruction of the First Temple. In Second Temple times, Herod built the huge structure that stands atop the original burial caves, which remains to this day.

In the two millennia since, there has been a pattern of Jews holding fast to this city -- either as a remnant people or in larger numbers, at different historical times. I cannot but merely mention this complex history here: In the 15th and 16th centuries, Sephardi Jews from Spain and Portugal established a vibrant community that lasted for 400 years. They were joined by Kabbalists and then in the late 17th and early 18th century by Ashkenazi Jews including Lubavitch Hassidim. A major synagogue had been constructed, and other substantial buildings, within a Jewish quarter. There was scholarship and commerce.


The destruction of this ancient and venerable community came with the Arab massacres of 1929.

The violence was instigated by the Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who later became an active supporter of the Nazis. He was, it should be noted, the mentor of Yasser Arafat.

The Mufti's goal, quite simply, was the elimination of the Jewish community of Hevron. To that end he instigated and made false charges that Jews had set fire to the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (Just as the Islamic Movement of Israel makes similar charges today.)

The Arab rioting began following inflammatory sermons and went on for hours, with the indiscriminate slaughter of women, children and the aged. The rioters, wielding weapons, went from house to house, crying, "Slaughter the Jews."

The British, who controlled the area under the Mandate for Palestine, decided it was easier to move the survivors out of Hevron than to defend them. Thus the ancient community came to an end.


When the British pulled out, and the War of Independence was over, the Jordanians controlled the area, and they made it entirely Judenrein. No re-establishment of the ancient community was possible.

This possibility arose only after 1967, when Israel gained control of Judea, and of Hevron. And even then, there were difficulties as successive governments showed considerable reluctance to cooperate.

A core of committed and courageous people has persisted, however. They have been called kooks, and worse, but they have a vision that is solid. They understand that the legacy that is Hevron and the Ma'arat Hamachpelah -- the Cave of the Patriarchs -- cannot be abandoned. Not if we are to hold our heads up and claim our rightful place in this land. Not if we are to remember who we are.

There is no way to surrender our heritage because of Arab violence. And they know full well that no Jew would be permitted to pray at the Machpelah if not for the presence of the Jewish community there. Influential Muslims in the area have conceded as much. (Look what happened when the Tomb of Joseph was turned over to the PA and subsequently vandalized and destroyed.) They know, as well, that our claim to Jerusalem is weakened if Hevron is relinquished.

Ultimately, the people returned to the area that was the old Jewish Quarter of Hevron, and they acquired buildings that had been Jewish. Acquired them through meticulous legal processes and purchases -- not via illegal seizures. They acquired other buildings for residential purposes legally as well


With the unfortunate advent of Oslo and its subsequent agreements, much of Hevron was officially turned over to the PA. But not all of it. There is an official agreement -- signed by Binyamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat -- with regard to a division of the city, with one portion -- roughly 20% -- controlled by Israel; it includes the Machpelah and what was the old Jewish Quarter. Jews have a right to live there. Understand: Jews have a right to live there. This is not remotely an "illegal settlement."

Actually, the Jewish community of Hevron felt threatened by this agreement, as the Arabs were irritated that they hadn't gotten the whole city, and represented the Jews as interlopers. There has been Arab violence over the years -- none more horrendous than the murder in 2001 of ten month old Shalhevet Pass, who was shot by a sniper on a nearby hill who aimed directly at her head.

As to the building under question now, which is firmly and solidly within the area under Israeli control: No one was living in it for years before the Jews moved in. No Arabs were displaced. Understand this as well.


I am absolutely convinced of the legitimacy of the Jewish purchase of Beit HaShalom, just as I am convinced of the insidious political motivations of the government officials who would push out the residents now. For a detailed run down of the legal issues, you might want to see the Hebron website at:

I am not confident that justice will be done in this matter, just as justice has not been done in several similar incidents over the years. But I am confident that the Jewish community of Hevron will persist. The very least we can do for them is to understand their position and to salute their courage.

What is encouraging is that a greater number of Israeli citizens, not resident in Hevron, have gotten weary with what is going on and are ready to stand with them.


Right now the IDF is saying they may forcibly evacuate the building after Shabbat -- as many visitors are expected over Shabbat because of the Torah reading regarding Avraham's purchase of the cave.

I have also noted that Minister of Religious Affairs Yitzhak Cohen is urging that nothing be done until after the elections in February:

"This is an explosive public issue that could lead to the worst of all. Dealing with this crisis should be to the point and disconnected from any political influences." (emphasis added)

To which I say Amen.

see my website

Candidly Speaking: The tragedy of Gilad Schalit


Observing the response of our dysfunctional leaders since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped in June of 2006, we become increasingly frustrated and infuriated. We cringe as we recollect the repeated empty threats and promises expressed by Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Ministers Peretz and Barak, all of whom vowed never to capitulate to hostage blackmail. Their blunders, lack of resolve and failure to formulate any strategy in this heartbreaking imbroglio amounts to monumental incompetence. The Second Lebanon War erupted over the abduction of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Yet shamefully, after bloody battles and tragic loss of life, we accepted a flawed truce with Hizbullah in which the fate of the abducted remained unresolved.

But worse, two years later, despite being aware that both soldiers were dead, our leaders fell to a new level of capitulation to emotional blackmail by trading Samir Kuntar, the most vicious killer in captivity, in return for two corpses. Besides providing an extraordinary victory for the Jihadists, the release of this monster in exchange for bodies may encourage terrorists to conclude that there is little merit in keeping Israeli hostages alive when their objectives can be achieved with corpses.

THESE BLUNDERS were compounded by the decision to unconditionally enter into a truce with Hamas despite GSS warnings that their objective was merely to regroup and obtain more sophisticated weapons from Iran. In this context, the betrayal of the vow not to reach any accommodation with Hamas without the release of Schalit was utterly incomprehensible.

This act of folly has already exacted a bitter price. It squandered whatever leverage we had with Hamas and whetted its appetite for extorting yet more exorbitant ransoms. Hamas upped its initial demands for the release of 450 terrorists to 1400 and, exploiting the precedent of Kuntar, insisted that terrorists with blood on their hands - hitherto excluded - also be released. If these demands are granted, aside from providing an enormous psychological boost for Hamas, we will be enabling the most seasoned and bloody minded murderers to resume their killing sprees.

PRIOR TO the Oslo Accords, with few exceptions, Israel prided itself on refusing to negotiate with terrorists. In contrast, today it is hard to visualize any country displaying such weakness in the face of terrorist blackmail. Over the past few months the Olmert government even went to the bizarre length of unilaterally freeing imprisoned terrorists. Today as Acting Prime Minister, Olmert has taken it upon himself to release another 250 Palestinian prisoners as a "goodwill gesture," knowing full well that such action merely encourages Hamas to make greater demands for the release of Schalit.

Our irresponsible media has a major responsibility for creating a climate of surrender to the most insane terrorist demands by indulging in emotional demagoguery and calling on the government to do "anything" to achieve the release of hostages. They are backed by public demonstrations and interventions by left-wing intellectual elites who also encourage capitulation at any price. In turn, this inspires terrorists to raise their extortions yet higher. None of our leaders, especially now prior to elections, have the backbone to resist this emotional onslaught and warn the people that irresponsible concessions to terrorists will inevitably result in greater disasters.

WHAT CAN be done?

If the situation remains unresolved until the elections, the new government should immediately proclaim that unless Hamas reaches a "sensible" agreement to release Schalit in return for an exchange of prisoners "without blood on their hands," the policy of capitulating to terrorist extortion is over and tough measures will be implemented against a neighboring rogue entity engaged in kidnapping our citizens.

In the absence of real progress, the government should impose a cordon sanitaire on the entire Gaza strip. No funds whatsoever should be transferred for any purpose. Communications should be cut off.Supplies of electricity and fuel would also be denied entry through Israeli ports.

The IDF should seek out and apprehend additional senior Hamas officials and incarcerate them until such time as Schalit is released. The families of Hamas prisoners should be denied all contact or access to those currently in Israeli prisons until such time as Hamas provides the International Red Cross and the Schalit family access to Gilad.

Inevitably there will be a vast global outcry that we are breaching international law and inflicting inhumane collective punishment on innocent people. We should stand firm and remind everyone that today Hamas, the kidnapper of Schalit, is not a terrorist group but was chosen by the citizens of Gaza in a democratic election and exercises total authority in the area under its jurisdiction.

We should tell critics to spare us hypocritical preaching and ask whether they would contemplate releasing 1400 killers to redeem one of their citizens kidnapped by a neighboring terrorist state. They should be urged to direct their humanitarian concerns to Hamas who, by releasing Schalit, would immediately ease the suffering of their people.

Is this being too tough? Hardly. We live in one of the cruelest environments in the world and must defend ourselves. No other self respecting nation would stand by and carry on business as usual with a terrorist neighbor abducting its citizens. Anyone who accepts the premise that the prime requirement of a government is to provide security for its citizens, cannot challenge our right to defend ourselves and deter future kidnappings.

SHOULD HAMAS not respond to these pressures, I predict that instead of Israelis holding public rallies calling on the government to make further concessions to obtain Schalit's release, the shoe will soon be on the other foot. Palestinians in Gaza will be demonstrating and demanding that Hamas take steps to make their lives more bearable by releasing a solitary Israeli hostage. And if Hamas is aware that this will be our standard response, it may well deter them from future kidnappings.

There are obvious risks in such a course of action, such as Hamas retaliating by further punishing Schalit himself. But just as the lives of IDF combatants are at risk, we cannot enable our enemies to exploit hostages to the point of undermining our basic security. We should emphasize that any harm to Schalit will result in instantaneous IDF targeting of Hamas leaders.

If we continue capitulating to ever-growing terrorist blackmail we will be sinking into a bottomless pit. We will experience more kidnappings, more Israelis will be murdered and maimed and terrorists will continue to wear down the morale of the nation.

Our incoming leadership must make it clear that they are determined to bring an end to a situation in which our neighbors take for granted that kidnapping Israelis will benefit them. They must understand that committing such acts will only inflict suffering on their own people. Our new leaders must act swiftly so as to ensure that the new US Administration does not begin to take the Schalit status quo for granted.

"Beit HaShalom"

Beit HaShalom, or Peace House, is a four-story building in Hevron -- along the main road called Worshippers' Way that runs from Kiryat Arba to the Ma'arat Hamachpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs) -- that was purchased by Jews in 2005. Since March 2007, twenty families have lived in this house, which is now the center of a major dispute. There are serious and painful implications to what is taking place. In spite of clear legal documentation that the building had been purchased from a Palestinian by the Jewish community via a mediator, the original owner is denying that he ever sold the house. (It must be noted that it is a serious, potentially capital offense in the PA for an Arab to sell land to a Jew -- which fact provides context to his denials.)

In the course of proceedings, the Jewish community of Hevron submitted a tape recording, made without coercion, in which the previous owner acknowledges having sold his property. The courts declined to listen to this recording. Ultimately the issue made its way to the High Court, which on Sunday ruled that civil courts must make the final decision, but that in the meantime, the residents of the house had three days in which to vacate. Today was that deadline.

Please, see a more detailed description of these events by Benny Katzover:,7340,L-3625503,00.html


The issue here is one of essential justice -- as the house was legally purchased and no law prevents such a purchase. It is also about the right of Jews to own property in the land of Israel.

The decisions being made here are clearly political: As Jewish Community of Hevron spokesman Noam Arnon observed, if this were not a Jewish home in Hevron, this would not be happening. That is, if the Arab ownership of a home were challenged, or if the dispute were taking place within Green Line Israel, there would not be a rush to evict residents before the dispute was resolved. In fact, from prior reading I have the distinct impression that there is solid precedent for allowing residents to remain (if they have been resident for some months) until resolution. What is more, the Court named the State, at its request, as the temporary custodian of the property, so the State could decline to force eviction.

What we are seeing here is a government and in particular a defense minister, prior to an election, making decisions that will impress left wing voters, who are being courted in an electoral battle against the more right wing Likud. It is, again, the demonization of the "settler." The rush to appease the Arab demand. Arabs would rather see all Jews gone from Hevron, which happens to be the second holiest city in Judaism, and a city to which Jews have rights by law and agreement with the PA. What we are seeing is a readiness to trample those rights.

In my book, those Jews who are residents in Hevron are heroes, doing the work for all of Israel.

A great deal more is at stake than the rights of the 20 families -- as significant as these rights are. This is part of a pattern that diminishes Jewish rights to the land and accedes in every instance to Arab demands. As the move to pull back is made, our right to be here at all is reduced. If Jews cannot live in the second holiest of our cities, then where?


What we may face, again, is the absolute obscenity of Jews evacuating Jews from their homes, as the government moves to act by sending in the IDF to forcibly evict the residents.

Those residents will not go willingly. And they will be backed by thousands who believe in the right of the residents to stay where they are. A meeting was held in preparation for what is expected to follow. Those participating in resisting the eviction, when it comes, are being called upon not to be violent. They will, however, defend themselves.

Five new families -- including MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) -- have moved into the building in a display of solidarity. And other MKs, prominent among them Aryeh Eldad and Uri Ariel (NU-NRP), have spoken out on behalf of the residents. MK Otniel Shneller (Kadima) has stated that he "has no doubt that the Peace House was bought according to the law and that it is important for the security" of Hevron. [Important because it provides a Jewish presence on the road that worshippers utilize.]

And now -- at the last minute, actually -- the IDF has announced a delay in its move to evacuate the building. Clearly the fear of violence was a major factor in reaching this decision. Barak will holding a meeting tomorrow to review plans for the evacuation. The Post is reporting that if the evacuation is carried out, it will be at night, some weeks from now, without prior notice so that activists will not have time to regroup.

They shouldn't count on this however, as I expect great vigilance in this matter.


It is a great irony that our Torah reading for this Shabbat includes the story of the purchase by our father Abraham of the Cave of the Machpelah for the burial of his wife, Sarah. The first property in the land of Israel purchased with scrupulous care by the first Jew.


To voice protest about the anticipated evacuation of Beit HaShalom:

Ministry of Defense Ehud Barak
Phone: 03-569-2010 -- outside Israel 972-3- 569-2010
Faxes: 03-696-2757/691-6940/691-7915 -- outside of Israel 972 - 3 and then the selected number.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel Livni
Faxes: 02-530-3367/530-3704 -- outside of Israel 972-2 and then the chosen number

Fax is the most effective means of communicating.


see my website

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will Obama deal with the Middle East mess?

The Jordan Times
Hasan Abu Nimah

Recently, there have been signals from Israel indicating attitude change. The first was from Israeli President Shimon Peres during a visit, late October, to Sharm El Sheikh, where he was reported by the Israeli paper Haaretz to have informed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of Israel’s acceptance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
Few took that hint seriously, knowing well that Israel is not in the habit to grant such a major concession beforehand and without exacting a heavy price for it. Normally Israel saves its cards until the very last minute of intensive negotiations.

Additionally, it is evident that Peres does not have any executive power to offer such a concession, and it was unlikely that he was carrying an Israeli government message at a time when Israeli politics have been thrown in turmoil, with a resigned prime minister at the top of a caretaker powerless government and a country approaching decisive general elections.

The Peres gesture was not that clear; he wanted to normalise economic and political relations with the Arab world first, or to have a normalisation process run parallel to a new round of negotiations, which is a well-known Israeli position.

Mubarak’s response was that the Arab initiative is clearly requiring that normal relations come after the envisaged conflict settlement, not before it. But Peres has again reaffirmed his support for the Arab initiative at the Saudi-sponsored United Nations inter-religious conference in New York last week. Addressing his words directly to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Peres commended the initiative - which is of Saudi origin - saying: “I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people.”

To add further support to the promising trend, there was a report in The Sunday Times (November 16, 2008, by Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Bexter), speaking of the possibility of President-elect Barack Obama pursuing an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines on all Arab fronts in exchange for recognition of the Israeli state by all the Arab, and possibly all the Muslim, states. The Sunday Times adds that Obama tends to throw his support behind the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which is endorsed by the Arab League, as well as the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the Israeli Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni.

Obama had earlier received advice, as included in The Sunday Times report, from one of his principal campaign advisors, Dan Kurtzer, affirming that since the Israeli strategy aiming at reaching peace agreements with Arab states individually proved unsuccessful, it should be replaced with the collective approach, best offered by the Arab initiative.

While this sounds truly promising, and can be good cause for optimism, it cannot be taken at face value. I would only mention one primary reason. While the Arab initiative is quite vague on the issue of refugees, which can be a grave problem at a certain stage later, the initiative is very clear on territorial matters, which can be a problem too. But leaving the refugees issue aside for the moment, the initiative requires “full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon”. The initiative also demands the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, on all Arab fronts, as part of any final settlement.

This sounds perfect. If only this clause of the Arab initiative were truly implemented, or were to be truly considered for implementation, on such basis, it would resolve three major final status issues: the borders, Jerusalem and the settlements. It would also advance the negotiations on the Syrian track to the very final and concluding stage.

Any such Israeli withdrawal would mean the removal of all Israeli illegally built settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, without excluding a single stone; it would imply the return to the Palestinians of East Jerusalem to its pre-1967status, as it was under the Jordanian administration; and it would define the borders between Israel and its Eastern neighbours. The borders in this case would be the same as they were in June 4, 1967.

Could it be possible that any of those on the American or the Israeli side, or anyone else who may applaud the possibility, have this in mind when flying messages about the acceptability of the Arab initiative? Obviously not. Most likely, Israeli “moderates” hope to use the initiative as a negotiating framework which may end up securing normal relations with the Arab world in return for a recycled, worn-out project of the many which has repeatedly failed. Neither could a total withdrawal be the understanding of any of the Obama advisers who would be forging new ideas for the president for a renewed effort to revive a Middle East peace.

If the text of the Arab initiative is clear, the implications, as generally agreed, are not. All sides, including the Arab side, unfortunately accept that the implementation would not adhere strictly to the text, and it is so vague that both sides hope to adapt the initiative to their needs.

The “moderate” Arab political discourse, particularly that of the Palestinian Authority, often accepts “minor border modifications” to the 1967 lines, as well as land compensation. How minor is minor is difficult to determine when there is tacit acceptability - and a President Bush written guarantee - that the major settlement blocks would have to be annexed to Israel against land compensation in the Negev wasteland.

The large settlements blocks occupy much more land than anything that can be termed as minor. Since there is no mention of any such border modification or of land swap in the Arab initiative, any premature unilateral offer only indicates lack of seriousness on the Arab side in adhering to its own text and its own major political decisions. That is both a counterproductive and an ill-advised strategy.

It does also render the Arab claim that their initiative is for implementation and not for negotiation null and meaningless. No one believes that anymore, because the Arab side contributes to a policy of evasion as it continues to give contradictory indications as to its approved and declared positions.

Despite the soothing signs, the chances of a genuine revival of a long-disabled peace process do not sound real. Most likely, they will continue to rely on old projects and count on further attrition of an already depleted Palestinian and Arab position.

The Arab Peace Initiative is a perfect framework, even if some parts of it need to be further negotiated, although in a spirit of resolving rather than creating problems. What should not be negotiable is the clause that talks about withdrawal from all the occupied territories and the removal of all the settlements, which are, all, illegal.

There were two precedents and they should be kept in mind: one in Sinai, where every settlement was removed and destroyed as a prerequisite to the peace treaty with Egypt, and the other in Gaza, where Israel realised finally that the settlement project there was a great security burden which no military capability could afford.

There will come a time when the West Bank and Golan Heights settlements will become untenable too. Already they are a serious barrier to meaningful negotiations; each one of them is a landmine on the road to peace, as Uri Avnery described them in one of his caustic articles recently.

It might sound crazy to call for total withdrawal and total removal of settlements as a prerequisite to peace in Palestine and Syria, but it will be mere fantasy to expect progress towards any kind of settlement otherwise.

Comment: I am surprised it took so long for them to use the "a precedent was set..."