Saturday, May 16, 2009

Egypt finds huge Sinai munitions cache


Egyptian security forces uncovered an immense munitions cache near the Israeli border, the London published newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Friday. An Egyptian official assessed that the 266 rockets, 51 mortar shells, 21 grenades and 43 mines uncovered in northern Sinai were meant to be smuggled to Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.

Last Monday, Egypt discovered a large quantity of ammunition intended for Hamas use near Ismaeliya, Sinai.

Egypt has recently intensified its security presence in the border town of Rafah, setting up checkpoints and dirt roadblocks to reign in smuggling into Gaza, the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported at the beginning of the month.

About 500 policemen, including plainclothes officers, have been deployed in the city and on dirt tracks and side roads leading to the border, it said.

The increased security has led to heightened tension between smugglers and security officials, and in several incidents the former fired in the air when stopped by police.

Egypt is also doing its utmost to maintain stability between Israel and factions in the Gaza Strip in the wake of renewed attacks into Israel, an Egyptian official told the Post.


Settlers call on PM to reject two-state solution

'One country for one people,' protest settlers outside Netanyahu's residence ahead of his upcoming visit to Washington

Efrat Weiss
Israel News

Some 100 right-wing activists protested outside of the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem Thursday, boasting the slogan: 'The people have decided – yes to settling'. Protestors waved signs saying, "Netanyahu, you don't have a mandate for concessions", "One country for one people", and "Construction in Yesha now".

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), was also in attendance. "Don't fold like you did with Ofer Eini," he called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to recent concessions made to the Histradrut chairman.

"Yitzhar is the nation's security, it is the intercepting missile for every nuclear bomb in the world. Netanyahu – show some leadership, we have one country for one people," the MK said.

Protest placard depicts Obama bowing to Saudi king (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)

Ben Ari further asserted that evacuating the settlements would undoubtedly lead to rocket attacks on central Israel, including Tel Aviv. "Whoever cedes Yitzhar and the rest of the mountain settlements will bring Katyusha rockets on Azrieli."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) called on the prime minister to "go to Washington and not be afraid; stand up and say: Israel belongs to the Jewish people".

Former Kedumim municipal chairwoman, Daniella Weiss, said she had expected Netanyahu to "start off on the right foot" by unfreezing the construction in settlements.

She also made references to World War II. "Ahmadinejad wants to destroy us, and Obama is kow-towing like Chamberlin to Hitler," she said.

Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe said the prime minister had a chance to be loyal to Israel, "and if, God forbid, he capitulates to Obama, he will be lifting a hand against God and against our nation".

Wolpe added, "He hasn't yet said: 'Two states for two people', so how come now he is stuttering and not saying there won't be a Palestinian state – this is destruction. There will never be an Arab or goy entity or kingdom in the Land of Israel."

'PM won't commit to 2 states'

Likud member Akonis says establishment of independent Palestinian state will lead to 'second Hamastan'; Erekat says only Obama can compel Israel to accept two-state solution, urges US to 'stop stop dealing with Israel as an above-the-law state'

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
Israel News

One the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington for talks with President Barack Obama, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar asked to remind the public that the last agreement between Israel and the Palestinians - the Wye accord – was signed during Netanyahu's previous tenure as prime minister. Speaking at a cultural forum in Holon on Saturday, Sa'ar reiterated Netanyahu's plan to "advance the peace process with the Palestinians on the economic, diplomatic and security-related tracks."

Knesset Member Ofir Akonis, also a member of the ruling Likud party, told a cultural forum in Beersheba that he does not believe PM Netanyahu will commit to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state during his visit to Washington.

"The establishment of a Palestinian state will lead to a second Hamastan, and its army will threaten the citizens of Israel," the MK said. "The Palestinians also reject the two-state initiative because they stand by their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"They are really looking to establish two states for one nation – the Palestinian nation," Akonis said. "The vast majority of Israelis, including representatives of the Opposition in Knesset, reject this formula."

'No double standards'

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday that only US President Obama can compel Israel to accept a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict.

"The Obama administration is facing its first test. What is required now from the United States is to stop dealing with Israel as an above-the-law state," Erekat told AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan.

"Only Obama can compel Israel to accept the two-state solution and stop settlement activities. We don't want vagueness or public relations games."

Erekat warned against using "double standards" in the peace process.

"If the US administration decides to use double standards with Arabs and Israelis, the peace process will end before it begins," warned Erekat, who is taking part in the forum on the shores of the Dead Sea.

Amnon Meranda, AFP contributed to the report

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tony Blair: Iranian Threat and Two-State Solution are Contingent

Avraham Zuroff Blair Adds Pressure on Israel
A7 News

Tony Blair, Mideast envoy of the Quartet, told the United States to push Israel and Arabs for a two-state solution as soon as possible. The remarks were made on Thursday, ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting next week with President Barack Obama at the White House. In a speech that was delivered in the U.S. Senate, the former British prime minister stated that the only possible solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is two states for two nations. According to Blair, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in favor of the idea. However, “both of them are in doubt whether this could happen,” he said.

“The opportunity is already here,” Blair told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “However, the window of opportunity won’t remain if not taken advantage of. As President Obama has identified, this is the most opportune time to take advantage of."

"President Obama has made it very clear that this is a strategic priority for the United States to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution," the Mideast envoy said. "This is an issue that Secretary of State Clinton is very familiar with and understands and knows deeply," he added.

However, Blair feels that the Iranian nuclear threat should be intertwined with advancing the two-state negotiations. “If we want to make progress also on the Iranian question, and take that to a peaceful resolution, then progress in the Israel-Palestinian question is an important part of doing that,” he said.

Blair thinks that now is the right time to make peace, due to the Arab nations’ stated promise to recognize the State of Israel on condition that it agree to a Palestinian State in all the land that was restored to Israel in 1967.

However, Blair realized the obstacles in the way of peace in the Mideast, including the Iranian nuclear threat. Blair also commented that Israel would not agree to a Palestinian state if it were unsure if its neighbor is stable and well managed.

The committee head, Senator John Kerry (Dem.) agrees that there is no alternative to negotiations. “All of us understand that peace won’t come to the Middle East easily or speedily,” Kerry said. “I am a partner to Blair’s optimism that the present invites us to an opportunity that we must not forsake,” the senator added.

During Monday’s meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to push the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. He has in the past stated that the acceptance of a two-state solution is contingent on the PA's recognizing the State of Israel as a Jewish State. Otherwise, he claims that there cannot be advancement in negotiations between the sides.

The two-state solution, supported by the United States and most of the world, calls for a Palestinian Authority state in Judea and Samaria, leaving Israel barely 11 miles wide in some areas. Referring to the dangers of ceding the strategic real estate, Israeli statesman Abba Eban remarked at the UN in 1969, “I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz.”

Pope Pleases PA Muslims, Disappoints Christians and Jews

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Pope’s Rickety Bridge for Peace

Pope Benedict XVI winds up his grueling week-long “Bridge for Peace” Middle East tour Friday morning, leaving behind disappointed Christians and Jews but satisfied Muslims and Palestinian Authority leaders. His visit is the second papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land in recent years, following by nine years Pope John Paul II’s trip, which concluded several months before the outbreak of the great terror war known as the Oslo War, or the Second Intifada. Pope Paul VI visited in 1964.

Benedict XVI was not in a great hurry to visit Israel, but the Vatican pushed him into the trip, the Canadian National Post stated. The pope wanted to make his trip contingent on Israel’s agreeing to turn over valuable property to the Vatican.

Israeli Christians, almost of them Arab, were astonished that the pope did not visit Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), which is a center of Christian tradition. This may have been because of security concerns: police revealed Friday morning that they had specific information of attempts to interrupt the papal entourage. The 3,000 faithful who attended an open-air mass in Jerusalem were outnumbered by security forces.

“Israeli security blamed the Arab organizers,” according to the National Post. “Local Christians blamed Israeli security. The routine is well known, but the result looks the same — Christians feeling as if they are left holding the short end of the stick.” The pope’s visits to two holy shrines in Jerusalem were relatively short, but he spent much more time with rabbis and Muslim clerics.

Media Bias

Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum Director Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and one of the most widely respected and popular rabbis ever to serve in that position, was openly critical of Benedict XVI. The German-born patriarch’s speech at Yad VaShem was charged with emotion but omitted specific references to Germany or the Nazi movement, of which he was a member in his youth.

The Vatican immediately defended the Pope, saying that he was an involuntary member of a Nazi squad that he left in order to enter the priesthood. Foreign media several times this week repeated, and often condemned, criticism of the speech by rabbis as well as by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud).

However, the media, and the pope himself, played down or ignored a tirade by a Muslim cleric in the pope’s presence Monday night. Sheikh Tayseer al-Tamimi, a senior religious leader in the Palestinian Authority, accused Israel of "murdering women and children [a destroying mosques and Palestinian cities."

Media dutifully reported the outburst and then dropped the subject but continued to refer to rabbis’ criticism of the pope. A rare exception was Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, a popular American journalist and author.

He commented in the Washington Post, “Without debating either the accuracy of his claims or the sincerity with which he [Tami spoke, the Sheikh's behavior points to his lack of desire for peace or even reconciliation. His behavior points only to his desire to enlist the Pope in his own version of events.

“But more disturbing than the Sheikh's boorish behavior is that this is the man the Palestinian Authority would send to this important meeting. Is this the best that they can do? Is this really the message that they want to send?”

The Pope‘s Pro-PA Speech

Despite the outburst by the PA Muslim cleric, the pope rallied behind PA demands for a new Arab state in Judea and Samaria -- on the land that Jordan occupied from 1948 to 1967. During that time, Jordan prohibited Christians and Jews from entering holy sites.

He implicitly backed the PA demand that millions of foreign Arabs be allowed to immigrate to Israel based on their being descendants of approximately 700,000 Arabs who fled the Jewish state while the Arab world fought to annihilate it in 1948.

Pope Benedict also held 'interfaith' talks with Muslims, in a sharp reversal from Vatican statements last year that ruled out theological discussions between Muslims and Christians. He took off his shoes and entered the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount the morning after Sheikh Tamimi’s harangue.

The pope stated, “One God is the infinite source of justice and mercy.” This was a reference to the Common Word appeal by Muslim scholars for a Christian-Muslim dialogue based on the two shared principles of love of the Almighty and love of one's neighbors, according to religion blogger Tom Heneghan. However, the blogger's research noted one glaring flaw.

“After noticing the echo of the Common Word appeal in Benedict’s address, I checked to see whether his Muslim hosts were signatories of the document,” he wrote. “They weren’t. In fact, the only Palestinian I could find who has signed it is Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, the head of the Islamic courts in the Palestinian territories,” and the same cleric who railed out against Israel on Monday night.



Louis René Beres



Benjamin Netanyahu has his work cut out for him. Regarding Iran, both the United States and Israel have yet to act in their own self-interest. Instead, each has already allowed a potentially unique threat to reach a point of possibly no return. For Israel, the ultimate cost of this inaction could be existential.

Why? National leaders rely upon hope. Again and again, however, they hope too much. Sometimes, this misplaced optimism has the emotionally satisfying but strategically injurious effect of blocking off productive policies. It may even have the effect of encouraging catastrophic war and terrorism. Notwithstanding the right of anticipatory self-defense under international law, neither Israel nor the United States has been willing to act preemptively. Iran continues its unhindered march toward full membership in the Nuclear Club. Israel and the US, it seems, will have to seek safety in the so-called logic of deterrence. Ironically, this will make them both dependent on the always-problematic assumption of rationality.

We begin to see the self-destructive circularity of current reasoning in both Jerusalem and Washington. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama may vainly attempt to achieve stable deterrence with Tehran. Hoping that a new Balance of Terror with Iran could be premised upon the US-USSR Cold War model, Washington and Jerusalem would ultimately be disappointed. This model simply doesn’t apply here.

Deterrence will likely be grafted upon very weak conceptual and psychological foundations. For Israel, a principal component of strategic policy has always been to keep its bomb in the basement. In Israel, there must soon be a renewed examination of continued nuclear ambiguity.

Arguably, at least until now, nuclear opacity has “worked.” Although Israel’s nuclear ambiguity has obviously done little to deter “ordinary” conventional enemy aggressions or multiple acts of terror, it has succeeded in keeping the country’s enemies from mounting truly existential aggressions. These aggressions could have been mounted without nuclear or biological weapons, simply because—as the strategic theorist Clausewitz once wrote—there does come a point when “mass counts.”

Israel’s many enemies have always had an obvious advantage in “mass.” None of Israel’s foes has “the bomb,” but together—in a determined collaboration—they could still have acquired the capacity to carry out substantial assaults. Acting collectively, these states and their assorted insurgent proxies, even without nuclear weapons, could already have inflicted huge harms upon the Jewish State.

Israel’s policy of deliberate ambiguity will not work indefinitely. To be deterred, a fully nuclear Iran would need assurance that Israel’s own nuclear weapons were invulnerable and penetration-capable. Any Iranian judgments about Israel’s willingness to retaliate with nuclear weapons would largely depend upon a foreknowledge of these weapons.

Iranian perceptions of only mega-destructive Israeli nuclear weapons could undermine the credibility of Israel’s deterrence. Ironically, Israel’s credibility could vary inversely with the perceived destructiveness of its nuclear arms. In coexisting with an already-nuclear Iran, Israel would likely benefit not from any increased nuclear secrecy, but rather from expanded nuclear disclosure. This would mean a full or partial end to Israel’s bomb in the basement.

Iran might decide to share some of its nuclear components and materials with Hezbollah or another kindred terrorist group. To prevent this, Jerusalem would need to convince Iran that Israel possesses a range of distinctly usable nuclear options. Once again, nuclear ambiguity might not remain sufficiently persuasive to ensure Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture.

Ideally, Israel and the United States will never allow Iran to become fully nuclear. But failing such determination, it will still not be enough that Israel’s enemies know only the basic contours of Israel’s nuclear capacity. Jerusalem will also need to move deliberately from ambiguity to some precise level of disclosure. What will soon need to be calculated vis-à-vis a prospectively nuclear Iran is the exact extent of subtlety with which Israel should communicate portions of its nuclear positions, intentions and capabilities.

Any rationale for Israeli nuclear disclosure would inhere in the understanding that nuclear weapons can serve Israel's security in a number of different ways. Once faced with a nuclear fait accompli in Tehran, Israel would need to convince its principal enemy that it possessed both the will and the capacity to make any intended Iranian nuclear aggression more costly than gainful. By definition, no Israeli move from ambiguity to disclosure would help in the case of an irrational nuclear enemy, in Iran or anywhere else.

To the extent that an Iranian leadership might subscribe to visions of a Shiite apocalypse, Iran could cast aside all rational behavior. Were this to happen, Iran could effectively become a nuclear suicide-bomber in macrocosm. Such a destabilizing prospect is improbable, but it is not inconceivable. Indeed, this is now becoming a deeply serious prospect in already-nuclear Pakistan.

To protect itself against enemy strikes, particularly those attacks that could carry existential costs, Israel must quickly and correctly exploit every aspect and function of its still opaque nuclear arsenal. The success of Israel's efforts will depend not only upon its selected configuration of "counterforce” and "counter value" operations, but also upon the extent to which this choice is made known in advance to both enemy states, and to certain of their non-state surrogates. Before such enemies can be deterred from launching first strikes against Israel, and before they can be deterred from launching retaliatory attacks following an Israeli non-nuclear preemption, it will not be enough to know only that Israel has The Bomb. These enemies would also need to recognize that Israeli nuclear weapons are sufficiently invulnerable to such attacks, and that some are pointed directly at high-value population targets.

Removing the bomb from Israel's basement could enhance Israel's strategic deterrence to the extent that it would heighten enemy perceptions of secure and capable Israeli nuclear forces. Such a calculated end to deliberate ambiguity could also underscore Israel’s willingness to use these nuclear forces in reprisal for certain enemy first-strike and retaliatory attacks.

For now, the bomb should remain ambiguous, if only to ward off any increasingly likely (albeit misguided) pressures on Israel from the new administration in Washington to give up its nuclear forces But soon, and certainly no later than the very moment that Iran is discovered to be close to completing its own nuclear weapons capability, the Jewish State should prepare to put an immediate end to ambiguity.

For Israel, barring real regime change in Tehran, there can never be any reliable peace with a nuclear Iran. If neither Israel nor the United States will undertake preemptive destruction of Iran’s developing nuclear program, Israel will have to take its bomb out of the “basement.” There are still good reasons to doubt that such a removal would even be adequate to maintain Israel’s deterrence posture, but there is no reason to doubt that it would be better done than left undone. Ironically, and also beyond reasonable doubt, is that any Israeli failure to promptly end nuclear ambiguity at the critical time could undermine U.S. security.


Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) was Chair of Project Daniel. He is the author of many major books and articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war, including publications in International Security(Harvard); World Politics (Princeton); The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Nativ (Israel); The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; Parameters: The Professional Journal of the US Army War College; Special Warfare (DoD); Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Strategic Review; Contemporary Security Policy; Armed Forces and Society; Israel Affairs; Comparative Strategy; Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law; and The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Professor Beres’ monographs on nuclear strategy and nuclear war have been published by The Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel); The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame); The Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva); and the Monograph Series on World Affairs (University of Denver).

Dr. Louis René Beres was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Humanizing Hamas

Anav Silverman | Thursday, May 14, 2009

The New York Times recently published an interview on May 4 with Hamas’s political chief, Khaled Mashal, entitled Addressing US, Hamas Says It Grounded Rockets. In the interview, the Times takes a very sympathetic approach to Hamas leader, who was just elected to his fourth term as Hamas’s political bureau chief, the post he has held since 2004. The Times attempts to portray a new more “moderate” Mashal, in the hopes that that Hamas is actually turning a new leaf. In the article, The Times quotes Mashal as asking Americans to disregard the Hamas charter, (steeped in anti-Semitic declarations), while also stating that Iran does “not control or affect Hamas policies." The Times also quotes Mashal saying that Hamas has no interest in bringing strict Muslim law into Gaza.

Indeed the fact that Iran provides Hamas with of hundreds of million of dollars annually was not raised by the interviewers, nor the fact that Mashal has called jihad against Israel numerous times. And what about Hamas’s reinstatement of stricter Shariya laws into the Gaza Strip judicial system back in December 2008?

The New York Times seemed particularly awed by Mashal apparently stating that Hamas had halted rocket attacks against southern Israel— the declaration became the headline for the Times article.

Two days after the NY Times published Mashal’s interview, Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, fired rockets into Israel.

On early Wednesday morning, May 6, four mortar rockets slammed into the Sha’ar HaNegev region, causing no reported damages or injury. Later in the day, two more rockets were fired, including a Qassam that landed in a coastal area just south of Ashkelon.

Hamas’s military wing, Iz Al-Din-al Qassam Brigades, claimed full responsibility for four of the rocket attacks on their website. Although the rockets were aimed at civilian populated areas in the western Negev, the Hamas military website claimed that the mortar rockets were fired at Israeli soldiers stationed in central Gaza east of the Al Bureij camp.

Indeed, this sort of misleading reporting goes along the lines of The New York Times coverage of the current Mideast conflict. Instead of pointing out Khaled Mashal’s significant role inspiring jihadist terror that has killed and wounded thousands of Israelis, The Times prefers to portray Mashal as a glorified resistance fighter who has softened over time and currently seeks a peaceful solution to return to the 1967 borders.

Ironically, Mashal himself was not such a fan of The Time’s finished report.

The Al Qassam website stated that Mashal himself claimed that The New York Times had inaccurately quoted him in reporting that Hamas had completely halted the rocket fire. Geo TV, a Pakastani-based news outlet reported that Mashal issued a statement to the station, stating that the “US newspaper manipulated facts in the interview.” According to the Geo TV website, Mashal said that the Hamas struggle would continue and that in regard to the halt in rocket fire-- “what was reported is not true.”

Hamas’s inconsistent rhetoric is nothing new to the Israeli public. Mashal is obviously aware that fully supporting the Hamas charter in an interview with a US newspaper—one which the US President himself reads—is not the best policy for fostering US support for his government.

On the other hand, Khaled Mashal has a worldwide audience that includes not only US President Barack Obama, but Muslim nations and radical Islamist leaders. Mashal also has his own religious and ideological convictions which he fervently follows. One cannot forget that Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization that has advocated Islamic government in the Arab world for 80 years now.

The rocket fire against Israel is not merely defensive or resistant, as media sympathetic to the Hamas cause will call it. As Mashal revealed in The Times interview, Hamas calculates everything—including rocket fire against Israeli civilians where the strategy itself is considered “not a goal, but a method.”

Although The New York Times article noted that only six rockets were fired at Israel during April, the authors conveniently neglected to mention that a total of 200 rockets were fired under Hamas-controlled Gaza since the mid-January ceasefire—one which ripped through an Ashkelon school and another that damaged two Sderot homes in late February.

In addition, Hamas militants have 160 tunnels dug beneath the Sinai border that are currently used to smuggle in longer range rockets, anti-tank missiles and small all-terrain vehicles according to an Haaretz report on April 22.

The New York Times can choose to present any narrative it wants of the Mideast conflict. But by ignoring the rocket reality plaguing Israelis and the jihad agenda that defines the Hamas party, The Times is construing a meaningless political facelift on a Hamas government that resolutely seeks Israel’s defeat.

Afterall, it was Mashal himself who stated after Hamas’s political victory in February 2006 on Aljazeera TV that Israel is “fighting against the army of Allah, against people who care for dying for Allah, dying for honor and prestige more than they care for life itself.”


Mattot Arim,

"are not my (PM's) policy"
"The political mist was enhanced by the pronouncement of Deputy Foreign
Minister Danny Ayalon (Yisrael Beytenu party) that the solution to the
conflict is two states for two people. In the Likud faction's meeting on
Monday, Knesset Member Zipi Hutabeli asked how such a statement could have
been uttered by an official governmental personality. Netanyahu responded
that this was not his policy, and added: "I will check how it came about
that the Deputy Foreign Minister made this statement". 8 MAY 2009 - MAKOR
the destruction of the state of Israel."
In the body of the interview, Rivlin also divulged: "A day or two before
(former Premier Ariel) Sharon left us (suffered a debilitating stroke, i.e.)
from the point of view of his ability to converse, he told me: "I can only
tell you one thing -- there will be no more unilateral disengagement. There
will be no more destroying of Jewish homes in the Land of Israel."
Reporter: Did he regret the disengagement?
Speaker: He said this out of a deep conviction that perhaps his decision was
not correct, both politically and from a Zionist point of view.

KNESSET MEMBER AND FORMER RADIO CELEBRITY: Palestinian state will turn the
entire country into a military front
"The distribution agents of the slogan [two states for two peoples] are
working around the clock. They repeat the "two-state" mantra everywhere as
though it had descended from Mount Sinai together with the Torah. As though
this were the solution rather than the problem. After the failure of the
idea of Peace Now with the Palestinians, after the terrible tragedy
engendered by unilateral disengagement, we are being hit by an idea that will
turn the entire country into a military front. The same goods with a
different slogan, which would even sound just had it not come from Mars.

"However, we are not from Mars, we are not leftists and we did not prefer
Netanyahu as prime-minister so he could sell us catchy slogans from (Arab
party) Hadash and Kadima. Two states for two peoples, if rephrased in a
slightly less popular manner, means establishing a Palestinian state and
deporting tens of thousands of Jews from their homes."
MAY 2009

(Diaspora Minister Yuli) Edelstein said that "Even the Americans understand
that establishing a Palestinian state is not simple....I hear positive
messages from his surroundings, that he will not give in on the demand for
recognition as Israel as a Jewish state, and will not recognize a
Palestinian state....There are ministers that express this in (Likud)
faction meetings and in the meantime Netanyahu sounds like he is on our

(Minister of Interior and Shas Chairman Eli) Yishai says that the peace
process cannot be renewed before 5 conditions have been fulfilled:
Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, cessation of
incitement, a solution to the Iranian problem, cessation of Hezbollah terror,
and termination of Hamas rule in Gaza. "Without quiet and security
stability, Israel should not endanger itself. We saw what happened in the
disengagement....In the end, the Palestinians got Gush Katif and we got the
Kassam (rockets)".

Reporter: Did you tell this to the Prime Minister?

"Yes. He said, absolutely fine."

MK, FORMER WELFARE MINISTER: "The Palestinian state is Jordan"
Veteran parliamentarian from Jewish Home party, Zvulun) Orlev is worried
that Netanyahu will come back from Washington leaving concessions behind
him. Perhaps not this time, but in his second or third visit....."The Likud
is not willing to go for the platform of the Jewish Home and say that the
Palestinian state is Jordan and that this is where the Arabs of Yehuda and
Shomron should find their national expression. In any event, Netanyahu
should tell Obama: There were elections in Israel, and I need to respect the
democratic decision. There is a large majority in the Knesset and in the
coalition that rules out establishing a Palestinian state. What is more, it
is not realistic. Olmert, Livni and Sharon did not succeed, so let us speak
of temporary solutions."

beginning of the end of his gov't"
MK Uri Ariel, National Union party: "It is not possible to set up two states
between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. If Netanyahu goes for that, that
will be the beginning of the end of his government."

YNET REPORT: Rehovot: opposed to Palestinian state
Acting mayor Rahamim Maloul and Majority of City Councilmen Approach Prime
Minister: A Palestinian State Will Endanger Us
"Protest: The city of Rehovot's acting mayor and the majority of the city
councilmen have sent the prime minister an urgent letter expressing concern
that a Palestinian state if established could bring the city of Rehovot into
rocket range.

"The letter has been signed by Rachamim Maloul, Uzi Salant (candidate for
mayor), Shimshon Zur (local list), Hanania Weinberger (another mayoral
candidate), Benzi Sharabi, Gilad Mizrachi and Giora Ben-Ari (Likud), Avner
Akoa, Pinchas Hominer and Shay Kazayof (united ultra-orthodox list),
Menachem Klein and Shaul Libi (NRP) and Yafim Zaika (Rehovot Beytenu).

"Another city councilman who expressed opposition to Palestinian state is
the elected mayor of Rehovot, Shuki Forer, whose period of service has been
set aside pending results of his trial for breach of trust. Mr. Forer
submitted a letter to residents of Rehovot, prior to his re-election,
according to which "I will not let Rehovot come into rocket range -- I will
not allow a Palestinian state to be established...I will do everything I can
to prevent establishment of a Palestinian ensure that Rehovot
will not be within rocket range of a new terror state".

"Councilmen's signatures were obtained by Rehovot residents from several
sectors; academics, Russian speakers, Yemenite emigres, ultra-orthodox, and
old-timers. The residents distributed the letter between themselves manually
and by e-mail.,7340,L-3711559,00.html 6 MAY 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Visiting refugee camp, pope says W. Bank barrier 'tragic'

May. 13, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The Palestinians scored a major publicity coup on Wednesday when Pope Benedict XVI spoke from a podium near the security barrier in the Aida refugee camp and the pontiff called the erection of the fence "tragic."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad were in attendance as the pope visited a school near the barrier and 61 black balloons, symbolizing the 61 years since Israel was established, were released into the air. Schoolchildren filed passed the pontiff and shook his hand.

"Towering over us, as we gather here this afternoon, is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached - the wall," said the pope. "In a world where more and more borders are being opened up - to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges - it is tragic to see walls still being erected."

He said that on both sides of the wall, great courage was needed if fear and mistrust were to be overcome and if the urge to retaliate for loss or injury were to be resisted.

"My visit to the Aida refugee camp this afternoon gives me a welcome opportunity to express my solidarity with all the homeless Palestinians who long to be able to return to their birthplace, or to live permanently in a homeland of their own," said the pope. "To all the officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency who care for the refugees, I express the appreciation felt by countless men and women all over the world for the work that is done here and in other camps throughout the region."

He urged residents of the refugee camp to prepare for the time when they will be responsible for the affairs of the Palestinian people in years to come.

"Parents have a most important role here, and to all the families present in this camp I say: be sure to support your children in their studies and to nurture their gifts, so that there will be no shortage of well-qualified personnel to occupy leadership positions in the Palestinian community in the future," he said.

The pope went on to say that his "heart goes out" to all Palestinians who have suffered through family divisions caused by imprisonment, bereavement or movement restrictions.

"All Palestinian refugees across the world, especially those who lost homes and loved ones during the recent conflict in Gaza, are constantly remembered in my prayers," he assured them.

He said that the "Palestinians' longing for peace" took on a particular poignancy as they recalled the "events of May 1948" and the years of conflict that followed.

"You are now living in precarious and difficult conditions, with limited opportunities for employment," he said. "It is understandable that you often feel frustrated. Your legitimate aspirations for permanent homes, for an independent Palestinian State, remain unfulfilled. Instead you find yourselves trapped, as so many in this region and throughout the world are trapped, in a spiral of violence, of attack and counter-attack, retaliation, and continual destruction."

Benedict stressed that the entire world was longing for end to the constant fighting and that history had shown that peace could only come when the parties to a conflict were willing to move beyond their grievances and work together towards common goals, each taking the concerns and fears of the other side seriously and striving to build an atmosphere of trust.

"There has to be a willingness to take bold and imaginative initiatives towards reconciliation," he said. "But if each insists on prior concessions from the other, the result can only be stalemate."

Benedict added that while humanitarian aid had an essential role to play, the long-term solution to the Middle East conflict could only be political.

"No one expects the Palestinian and Israeli peoples to arrive at it on their own," he continued. "The support of the international community is vital, and hence I make a renewed appeal to all concerned to bring their influence to bear in favor of a just and lasting solution, respecting the legitimate demands of all parties and recognizing their right to live in peace and dignity, in accordance with international law."

He emphasized, though, that diplomatic efforts could only succeed if Palestinians and Israelis themselves were willing to emerge from the cycle of violence.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1242212365585&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Comment: Yes, the security barrier is tragic-it is THE RESULT of Palestinian terrorist actions-oh, the pope and those media types conveniently forgot to mention this. amazing-the Pope wants everyone to believe that Israel awoke one day and said, let's spend amazing amounts of money on a barrier to irritate and disrupt our neighbors-if you believe this then I do have a proverbial bridge to sell you. The Pope is not naive, ignorant perhaps, politically driven for sure and he he must have had to check a smile when he spoke of those in prison. Yes, it is difficult for families when the loved one does something despicable, gets caught and must pay for his behavior-this is what happens in law abiding, caring societies and cultures. So, again, a minor lapse in memory-the reason those Palestinians are in prison is...again, you think we in Israel woke up one day and said, let's go put people in jail-again at an amazing expense. Ready for a second bridge if you believe this one. Not to be so picky but I guess the Pope has not watched any Palestinian television, or read any school texts-ready for peace? Yes, peace spelled piece and of what-Israel proper! Really Pope Benedict XVI, you do not distinguish your office with truth and dignity. your people have mislead you, this is the only possible answer for your words, spoken today!

"The Visit"

Something less than a resounding success on several fronts, this visit from Pope Benedict XVI:

Yesterday, Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that, contrary to common impression, the pope was never in Hitler Youth. A strange statement, considering the pope himself had said so some years previous. But wait: What Lombardi explained is that Ratzinger (the pope's family name) was in a German army anti-aircraft unit, and wore the uniform of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces -- but was never a part of Nazi ideology. Well, then, this is all OK, apparently. This statement followed a visit Benedict made to the Holocaust Memorial and Museum, Yad VaShem, where he spoke on Monday night. His words were disappointing on several levels. His talk was academic in nature, lacking the passion that was required. Reading like the statement of an uninvolved third party, it simply fell short.

"I have come to stand in silence before the monument erected to honor the millions of Jews killed in the horrific tragedy of the Shoah," intoned the pope. "They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names...

"As we stand here in silence, their cry still echoes in our hearts. It is a cry raised against every act of injustice and violence. It is a perpetual reproach against the spilling of innocent blood.

"I am deeply grateful...for the opportunity to stand here in silence: a silence to remember, a silence to pray, a silence to hope."

Some critics pointed to the fact that the word used was "killed," and not a more evocative "murdered," or "massacred." I was bothered by his rush to make the issue a universal one rather than focusing on a uniquely Jewish one.

Lacking was apology, or remorse, or regret. Any or all of which would have been appropriate considering that he was in the Wehrmacht (or Hitler youth), that he recently lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop (although he was not totally reinstated), that serious questions are raised about whether Pope Pius XII might have done much more to save Jews during the Holocaust, and that centuries of endemic anti-Semitism in Church teachings set the tone that made the Holocaust more possible. As it was, neither positions of the Church, nor Nazis, nor Germany were referred to at all.


The pope's visit was further marred by an outburst on Monday evening, when he was hosting an ecumenical evening of dialogue. In a tirade that was not anticipated by the organizers of the event, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, chief Islamic judge in the Palestinian Authority, attacked Israel for war crimes in Gaza, confiscation of Palestinian land, and more, calling for Christians and Muslims to unite against Jews. The pope, who was visibly uncomfortable throughout, ultimately walked out. Criticism from several quarters followed.


But the visit was not all negative by any means.
Yesterday at Hechel Shlomo -- next to the Great Synagogue -- the Pope Benedict had an historic meeting with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, at which he agreed to stop all Church missionizing among Jewish people.

This is no small matter.

Additionally, the pope addressed intention to continue Christian-Jewish dialogue and advance the process of reconciliation: "I assure you of my desire to deepen mutual understanding and cooperation between the Holy See, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Jewish people throughout the world."


Rabbi Metzger asked the pope to identify Jewish children placed with Christian families during the Holocaust. I don't know what the outcome here will be and I am frankly not optimistic.

This is a source of no small turmoil and contention. There were Catholic families in eastern Europe who accepted Jewish babies and children given to them by parents facing annihilation, and literally saved their lives. But many of these children were baptized and absorbed into the Christian community, lost, after the war, to their surviving families and the Jewish people. (There was a story publicized recently of a priest who did not know he had Jewish roots until he had been in the priesthood for 12 years and now wants to make aliyah.)


I share here the surprising take on the pope's visit expressed by Caroline Glick in her column, "Opportunity is knocking."

In the face of a downgrade in US-Israel relations, she says, it is important for Israel to move quickly to establish stronger strategic alliances in other quarters. It is a delicate and imperfect business, she acknowledges, often with parties each wanting more from the other than is possible. But one strategic alliance our government is now seeking, says Glick, is with the Vatican.

Our goal here would be "the strengthening of [our] international position as the sole sovereign in Jerusalem." This particularly caught my eye, as there was a spate of panicked e-mail messages that came out before the pope's arrival regarding the Church's desire to acquire certain properties in Jerusalem -- most notably on Mt. Zion -- and the need to prevent that from happening, as Israel is and must remain sovereign here. I remained unconcerned because I had learned from an impeccable inside source that the Israeli government intended to turn over nothing to the Church.


"UNDER POPE BENEDICT XVI," wrote Glick, "the possibility of winning the support of the Catholic Church for Israel's position that Jerusalem will never again be partitioned and will remain under perpetual Israeli sovereignty is greater than it was under his predecessors. Unlike his predecessors, Benedict has been outspoken in his concern for the plight of Christian minorities in Islamic countries...Since he replaced Pope John Paul II, Benedict has made repeated calls for religious tolerance and freedom in Islamic countries - most notably in his 2006 speech at Regensberg where he quoted a Byzantine emperor from the Middle Ages criticizing Islam for seeking to spread its message by the sword.

"After his words sparked murderous violence throughout the Islamic world, Benedict expressed his regret for the hurt his statement caused. But he never retracted it. Moreover, during his visit to the King Hussein Mosque in Amman on Saturday, Benedict indirectly reasserted his 2006 message...

"The pope's obvious recognition of the danger jihadist Islam constitutes for Christians puts the Vatican, under his leadership, in a position where it could be more interested than it was in the past in working with Israel to secure the Christian holy sites in Jerusalem by supporting Israeli control of the city."

Glick maintains, in fact, that statements by the pope make it clear that he "views the preservation of Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem as essential for Christian heritage" -- Jewish holy sites that would be at risk under Muslim control.

A fascinating thesis, and one that should be followed. The power of the Catholic Church is not to be dismissed.


Whether Pope Benedict knows it or not, whether or not he is willing to acknowledge this reality publicly, the bottom line is that only Israeli sovereignty will guarantee Christian and Jewish holy places. The Palestinian record in this record is abysmal.

But I've yet to be convinced that he will support full Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. I've already expressed concern about statements made by the pope or his representatives that seemed to me to indicate a pro-Palestinian tilt (e.g., that there has not been justice in this part of the world for 60 years).

What is certainly the case is that the PA would like to utilize the pope's visit, manipulate his presence, toward their ends.

This morning, when the pope meet with PA president Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Abbas gave him as a gift a concrete piece of the security wall.

“We have been suffering since the Nakba ("catastrophe") 61 years ago,” Abbas said to him. “On this holy land, there are people who continue to build separation walls instead of building bridges for connection.”

Never mind that on this holy land it is necessary to build a separation that prevents Arab terrorists from killing innocent Jews.


And I cannot let this pass without an observation: This, above all else, is how the Palestinians represent themselves -- as victims, eternally suffering and in need of succor. No attempt to show the pope what a determined people has been able to accomplish in terms of academics, social services or anything else that would indicate their readiness to have a state. There is no pride, no dignity. This is how they play it and how the world receives them.

A piece of concrete as a gift to the pope?


Responded the pope: "The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders."

He cautioned young people to “have the courage to resist any temptation you may feel to resort to acts of violence or terrorism.” But in the same breath he sanctioned their sense of grievance, which might lead to terror: “Do not allow the loss of life and the destruction that you have witnessed to arouse bitterness or resentment in your hearts...I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades.”

And as I write, the visit to the nearby refugee camp is still to come, where the "right of return" will be highlighted.

Not good enough to give me any reassurance. Not by a long shot.


Yet another alliance Glick anticipates that Netanyahu will be working on is with Egypt. And here I see it. The focus strategically is with regard to Iran, which, as I've been writing, Egypt is considerably worried about.

She cites a statement by Netanyahu for the AIPAC conference that sets the tone:

"For the first time in my lifetime... Arabs and Jews see a common danger... There is a great challenge afoot. But that challenge also presents great opportunities. The common danger is echoed by Arab leaders throughout the Middle East; it is echoed by Israel repeatedly... And if I had to sum it up in one sentence, it is this: Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons."

Netanyahu has just returned from a meeting with Mubarak, and, while statements were made regarding peace with the Palestinians (during which Netanyahu still did not utter that "two state solution" phrase), we don't know what went on behind closed doors with regard to Iran.

Whatever transpires is likely to be discreet, as Mubarak would not be expected to assume an overtly pro-Israel stance.


Glick also makes mention of something that has been of concern to me for some time now: The changing tone of Jordan's King Hussein, who now embraces the Obama theory that we have to make peace with the Palestinians in order to deal with Iran -- a position very different from the one he had previously embraced. As she puts it, "the Obama administration has clearly enlisted King Abdullah II to act as its proxy in the Arab world."

Indeed, as Hussein's tone changed after his visit to the US.

Additionally, what we see coming next is an Obama visit to Egypt, from where he will deliver his speech for US conciliation with the Muslim world.

A troublesome picture.


Our prime minister has his work cut out for him and needs our prayers and support.


Personal considerations are likely to prevent my posting again until after Shabbat. There is a great deal more that must be looked at, all in due course.


see my website

All the Rage

Ben Johnson | Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THIS WEEKEND’ WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENTS DINNER DEBASED OUR POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN A WAY NOT EVEN THE LEFT HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY SUCCEEDED, but Wanda Sykes’ death wish was not the cause in itself. The Left has made bloodlust for its political opponents de rigueur. The moment that desecrated one of our national institutions affected a more fundamental aspect of character.
Another Leftist Death Wish: Ho-Hum

The media have focused on the “controversy” surrounding Saturday’s Syke-o statements about Rush Limbaugh. Citing Rush’s hope that “socialism fails,” Wanda claimed: “He's not saying anything different than what Osama bin Laden is saying. You know, you might want to look into this, sir, [addressing the president] because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was so strung out on Oxycontin, he missed his flight.” After asking if she went too far, she barreled on: “Rush Limbaugh! ‘I hope the country fails’? I hope his kidneys fail!”

Disgusting as the statements were, they were sadly unremarkable for their illogic, hypocrisy, or murderous rage. Forget that Barack Obama has written book blurbs for more terrorists than Rush Limbaugh has ever met. Forget that when the media reported one person at a John McCain presidential rally yelled “kill him” about Obama – a charge which Secret Service in crowd called unfounded – Frank Rich of the New York Times treated McCain-Palin like the second coming of Robert DePugh and accused them of “inciting vigilantism.” Even the comment’s most striking feature – wishing for someone to die because he disagrees with you – is all-too-common on the Left and, indeed, was greeted with gales of laughter from the D.C. press corps and the commander-in-chief.

Perhaps the line got so much applause because so many in the “mainstream” media have expressed similar sentiments about conservatives. NPR’s Nina Totenberg, who covers politics at taxpayer expense, wished Sen. Jesse Helms would contract AIDS. (He instead suffered from vascular dementia.) Totenberg later publicly hoped Gen. Jerry Boykin would find he “is not long for this world.” Columnist Julianne Malveaux proposed this nutrition plan for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: “I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter, and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease.”

The closest thing the Left has produced to Rush Limbaugh is Air America’s Randi Rhodes – which is rather like saying the closest thing a budding sculptor has produced to Michelangelo’s David is a snowball. Nonetheless, Ms. Rhodes repeatedly “joked” about doing in President Bush. In May 2004, Rhodes referenced President Obama’s favorite film, The Godfather:“Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and [sound of gunfire].” A few years later, she chuckled as an AA spot again threatened to assassinate her president. (Between those bits, the network fumed Donald Rumsfeld “ought to be tortured.” Those kidders!)

Even the foreign press longed for Bush’s death. In October 2004, UK Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker declared Bush should be “tarred, feathered and kicked in the nuts” and asked, “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. - where are you now that we need you?” Not content with idle speculation, a foreign leftist produced the film “Death of a President” to bring this vision to life.

Some Americans interested in the living arts attended FEAR UP: Stories from Baghdad and Guantanamo, a play funded by tax-exempt, “charitable” funds administered by Teresa Heinz and personally praised by Sen. John Kerry. One of its plot twists involves “suggesting a new reality television show that places 14 Bush supporters in Faluja” [sic.] Yes, one need not be a public figure to deserve death in the Left’s eyes.

Disgraced comedic writer and Huffington Post blogger Tony Hendra greeted Dick Cheney’s heart troubles by composing “A Thanksgiving Prayer for Dick Cheney’s Heart – and a Few Other Favorite Things” – a blasphemous oration that called Cheney earth’s “Number One Human Tumor.”

Others rejoiced over actual tumors. When former White House spokesman Tony Snow revealed his cancer had returned, a DailyKos diarist asked, “Should I Care That Tony Snow Has Cancer?” Fellow Kos-ters called Snow’s illness “karmic.” Months later, among the many entries mocking Snow’s death, were two DK diaries asking, “Should we mourn Tony Snow?”

The New York Press pre-emptively danced at Pope John Paul II's wake. The leftist rag published a cover story in March 2005 entitled, “The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope,” which included such knee-slappers as, “In his last days, the Pope was in tremendous pain”; “Beetles eating Pope's dead brains”; and “Pope pisses himself just before the end; gets all over nurse.” Maybe they’re writing Wanda Sykes’ gag lines?

(Michelle Malkin has many more examples of unhinged leftist behavior toward those who dare disagree with them)

Unfortunately, leftist hatred does not end at the grave. Cartoonist Ted Rall has made a career of slurring the dead. Shortly after President Ronald Reagan’s death, Rall told a reporter Reagan was in Hell “turning crispy brown right about now.” Rall called Pat Tillman, the NFL star who enlisted after 9/11 and was killed in Afghanistan, an “idiot.” He berated the victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and their families as Nazis, and portrayed the grieving wives left behind after 9/11 as money-grubbing media hounds in his cartoon “Terror Widows.”

When the Rev. Jerry Falwell died, former John Edwards presidential campaign employee Amanda Marcotte immediately blogged: “The gates of hell swing open and Satan welcomes his beloved son. Jerry Falwell's dead. Guess god [sic.] — notice the small 'g' — liked the ACLU better after all.” The DailyKos seethed when the scholarly, low-key Presbyterian minister Dr. D. James Kennedy died: “Another Hate Merchant Meets His Maker.”

After Charlton Heston succumbed to a long bout with Alzheimer’s Disease, the loving Left at Democratic Underground wrote: “glad to hear some good news for a change. – I hope that spreader of misery spends all his glory days around the eternal flames of hell with ol’ Raygun talkin’ ’bout how they really fucked this country – oh they probably won’t even remember, lol.”

The tragedy is not that Wanda’s whimpers pulled our national discourse down to the level of a chat room comment. By herself, she does not have that power. Nor is it even that the Left’s demonization of its opponents has led to acts of violence against conservative speakers like David Horowitz, William Kristol, Ann Coulter, and Pat Buchanan. (Indeed, an Indymedia observe wrote, “If Kristol had got what he deserved, it would not have been a pie.”) Such rhetoric and its resultant violence is inevitable as long as the Left clings to a secular demonology. Socialist Utopians (sorry, “Progressives”) cannot “love the sinner and hate the sin,” because their Kingdom of Heaven must be built on earth. Their opponents are not merely terrorists but devils.

Living in Debasement

The real and unprecedented debasement of our national dialogue came from President Obama’s Carteresque smile and titters of laughter as Sykes mused about his rival’s death. The visuals – and Obama’s own rhetorical history – prove Wanda was right about one thing: the president was laughing, inside and out. Given the opportunity to apologize at a Monday press conference, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs regretted only her comparing Limbaugh to the 9/11 hijackers, and then only with the now-standard dodge that others should determine whether such a comparison were valid. Gibbs said, “there are a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection, rather than comedy – I think there's no doubt that 9/11 is part of that.”

And kidney failure, Mr. Gibbs?

Obama’s cackling while Wanda Sykes wishes his opponents dead is debasing, not merely in a personal, but in an institutional sense. The White House Correspondents Dinner is an annual convocation the last several presidents have observed, regardless of their opinion of its practitioners or their craft – that is, rather like the National Day of Prayer every year before this. It is an annual observance at which, it is understood, the sitting president will be in attendance. In this and other ceremonial events, the president acts not in the personal but in the regal capacity.

Laughing at a joke, even a vicious one, is not a major personal flaw. Cooling his heels in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years; associating with an unrepentant terrorist; making jokes about an ailing Nancy Reagan performing a séance in the White House (she didn’t; Hillary Clinton did); giving his primary and general election opponents the middle finger; crafting endless straw man arguments; and appointing a chief of staff who proclaimed his opponents “Dead! Dead! Dead!” all speak worse of Obama as a man. And undoubtedly, other presidents have made worse statements about their opponents in private. But at Saturday’s dinner, something unprecedented happened: the man who happens to occupy the presidency on behalf of the American people chortled in public while contemplating the death of one of his citizens.

As with his pre-inaugural comments about Nancy Reagan, his campaign trail focus on Sean Hannity, his own recent attacks on Rush Limbaugh, and his snippy attack on Dick Cheney at the dinner, Obama has fused a thin-skinned obsession with his critics to his role as president, obviously giving little thought to how pursuing his private vendettas during official functions diminishes the reputation of the office itself. For someone so concerned about America’s image abroad, it seems a curious oversight. The presidency has been held by men of lower character, but on Obama’s watch, the honor of the presidency itself is shrinking.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

Vatican 'surprised' by criticism of pope

May. 13, 2009

The Vatican was "surprised" at negative reaction in Israel to words spoken by Pope Benedict XVI at Yad Vashem on Monday, Holy See spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Tuesday. "We are a little surprised at the negative reaction to the pope's speech," said Lombardi in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. "At Yad Vashem the pope's speech was a meditation on a very specific theme: shem, or name. The pope spoke of memory, of remembering the names of those persons and the crimes committed against them so that it will never happen again," he said.

Lombardi added that in the past, Benedict had "emphasized other aspects of the Holocaust." He was referring to speeches the pontiff had made during a 2005 visit to a synagogue in Cologne, Germany, and during a trip to Auschwitz the following year in which he singled out Nazi German culpability.

In response to a question by the Post, Lombardi said the pope was not disappointed with Israelis.

"He is a very patient and sympathetic person," Lombardi said. "But he does believe that he has not been well understood. Israelis have not understood the speech."

Several prominent Israeli figures criticized the speech, including the chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, the chairman of its Council, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The focus of the criticism was on Benedict's failure to apologize for what Israelis see as the Church's relative inaction on behalf of Jews during the Holocaust, and his omission of the word "Nazi" or "murder."

The Church's position on the Holocaust became even more problematic in January, after the pontiff lifted the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, a Holocaust denier. The move drew fire from numerous Jewish leaders.

Another controversial issue has been the proposed beatification of Pope Pius XII. Pius served during World War II and has been the focus of much of the criticism about the Church's wartime inaction. Benedict's willingness to continue the beatification process, which could lead to sainthood for Pius, was come in for severe criticism in Jewish circles.

Finally, the pope's German origins, his membership in the Hitler Youth - which was mandatory for all German boys at the time - and his service in the German army after being drafted by the Nazi regime, have all been widely publicized in the local media.

As a result, expectations were high among Israelis that the pontiff would go to great lengths to distance himself from that past.

However, Lombardi said the pope had already made clear his position on the importance of remembering the Holocaust, fighting Holocaust denial and emphasizing Germany's guilt.

"He need not repeat himself all the time," said Lombardi. "At Yad Vashem, the pope had a different message to convey, one of remembering."
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1242029512782&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

The speech that fell short

Expression of regret missing in pope’s speech not merely question of semantics

Hanoch Daum
Israel Opinion

The most frustrating thing is that nothing exceptional was required of you Monday night, the honorable pope. After all, you were not asked to do something unprecedented or heroic. All that was required from you was a brief, authoritative and touching sentence. All you had to do was to express regret. That’s all we wanted to hear. Everything was ready. You were already at Yad Vashem. The entire world was watching you. Everyone waited for that moment, yet the moment never arrived.

That little sentence missing in your speech would have lifted many doubts for us, our friend Benedict XVI. After all, some people argue that you endorsed a Holocaust-denying bishop and that you were a member of the Hitler Youth. On the other hand, you were a child, and if anyone was to blame for this it was your parents; besides, who didn’t join that youth movement at that time?

The Church did not act or speak out against the Holocaust during the war, but here too there are some assumptions: After all, you are located in Rome, you have no army, and the Germans entered Italy as well.

You see, Mr. Benedict, we hold respect for you, but also plenty of doubts that could have been lifted Monday during your Yad Vashem speech. There are many questions that could have been resolved.

And it’s not as though you were far from doing it: In your meeting with the Palestinians you walked out when Israel was smeared, and your entire visit was accompanied by statements of reconciliation. The very visit to Yad Vashem served as a perfect platform for an expression of regret.

However, you thought otherwise. You thought that visiting Yad Vashem is enough. You assumed that Yad Vashem is a sort of art museum – it’s good enough to just visit. You characterized the Holocaust as a war, and the victims who were put into the gas chambers were characterized in your speech as people who were killed, rather than massacred, heaven forbid.

The most regrettable thing is that deep within us we know this is not only a question of semantics. This was the essence. The essence that was lacking in your speech Monday night, a speech that made it clear to all of us, Mr. Benedict, that you too are not completely righteous.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'There Is No Reason to Discuss Israel's Nuclear Weapons'

The administration of President Barack Obama has begun pressuring Israel. US history professor Jeffrey Herf told SPIEGEL ONLINE that any efforts to get Israel to abandon its nuclear arsenal amounts to appeasement.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: American politicians don't normally talk about Israeli nuclear weapons. Should the continue to be taboo? Jeffrey Herf: Of course. There is no reason to discuss Israel's nuclear weapons any more than there is reason to discuss the nuclear weapons of other American allies, such as Britain and France.

Israel last year put it's modern air force on display in a message to Iran not to continue with its controversial nuclear program.
Getty Images

Israel last year put it's modern air force on display in a message to Iran not to continue with its controversial nuclear program.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The head US negotiator for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), Rose Gottemoeller, has called upon Israel to become an NNPT member-state. Was this a smart move?

Herf: I don't know what the purpose of such a proposal is. Is it to enhance the legitimacy of Israel's nuclear weapons? Or is it to place them on the negotiating table so that pressure can be brought to bear to bring about Israel's unilateral nuclear disarmament? If that is the purpose, it amounts to appeasement of Iran and reminds me of the Soviet Union's diplomatic efforts to disarm France and Great Britain in the course of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) negotiations in Geneva in the early 1980s. The British and French refused all such efforts and the Israelis will do so as well for exactly the same reason: such weapons are a deterrent of last resort. Moreover, it is Iran, not Israel, that is violating numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. It is Iran whose nuclear ambitions threaten to make the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty a dead letter.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What would happen if Iran gets the bomb?

Herf: If Iran gets the bomb, a nuclear arms race in the most volatile part of the globe would be the likely consequence and that could be the effective end of the NNPT.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How would you describe the direction of the Obama administration's policy approach toward Israel?

Herf: It is too early to make a definitive judgment. If the Obama administration is engaged in a diplomatic effort of very short duration to give Iran a chance to turn away from its nuclear ambitions, then perhaps there is some merit in doing so. But I find it hard to imagine that there is anything of significance that the United States has to offer Iran now that has not been offered in various ways by the Quartet of the Middle East (eds. note: the negotiating entity made up of the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) in the past five years. If however, the Obama administration thinks that smiles and a new tone will change Iranian behavior, it is pursuing a policy that is both naive and potentially dangerous.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you count yourself as a supporter of this new approach?

Herf: If the Obama administration's new approach amounts to accepting an Iran with nuclear weapons, then I most definitely do not support it. If the new approach is one that strings out negotiations until Iran has the bomb, I don't support it. If the new approach is negotiations with clear time limits, greater economic sanctions on all states and businesses that are helping Iran build the bomb combined with the possibility of the use of military means to eliminate Iran's nuclear program if, and only if, all of these measures fail to do so, then I would support such a policy. In order to avoid such a grim prospect, it is vital that all the major powers, not only the United States, do everything they can do in the form of diplomatic pressure and severe economic sanctions to bring the Iranian nuclear program to an end now.

Interview conducted by Gabor Steingart



If I were Netanyahu

Bibi must inform Obama Israel no shtetl that can be bullied into submission
Martin Sherman

“…An increasingly intolerant and hostile world…thinks sacrificing Israel’s vital interests or even the state itself would be a small price to pay for ending the global confrontation between the West and Islamic fundamentalism.” (Prof. Eytan Gilboa, October 2006) "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? … And if not now, when? (Hillel the Elder, Tracts Aboth 1:14)

These two quotes- one contemporary the other Biblical - must define the mindset with which Benjamin Netanyahu approaches his upcoming visit to Washington later this month.

It is extremely seldom that leaders of nations are given second chance by history to redeem themselves – and to redress failures incurred during a previous incumbency. Netanyahu is one the fortunate few who have been afforded such a rare opportunity.

Whether he will rise to the occasion and demonstrate that he is equal to the historic challenge for which destiny seems to have selected him, will very shortly become apparent. For his mettle will soon be tested.

His forthcoming Washington visit will take place in the sinister shadow cast by the recent AIPAC meeting where several senior officials in the Obama team - notably White House Chief of Staff Emanuel and National Security Adviser Jones - abrasively put Israel on notice that they intend to manhandle it into making far-reaching concessions on the Palestinian issue.

Particular pressure, it seems, is to be exerted to coerce the Israeli government into accepting the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the "two states for two peoples" formula - despite the fact that even the so-called Palestinian "moderates" have made it abundantly clear that they categorically reject the possibility that the Jews be considered one of those "two peoples."

From the outset Netanyahu must confront both the style and substance of the emerging discourse with the White House. He must make it unequivocally clear that the derogatory nature of the former is inappropriate and unacceptable, and impractical nature of latter is disingenuous and dangerous – and that Israel intends to condone neither.

State of proud Jews
With regard to the disrespectful tenor and the menacing tone of the language used to address Israel, it is imperative that the prime minister convey to the Obama administration that Israel is the sovereign state of proud Jews, determined to chart their own destiny, not some servile shtetl of pliant "Jewboys" who can be bullied into submission.

In response to the administration's arrogant threat that it is about to get "forceful" with Israel, Netanyahu should respond with the same defiance as Menachem Begin, who in 1981, when faced with the threat of US punishment over the Knesset's decision to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Golan Heights, issued the following stinging rebuke to the US ambassador:

What kind of expression is this - "punishing Israel"? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic?...You have no right to "punish" Israel - and I protest at the very use of this term…You will not frighten us with "punishments." He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments.

More than a quarter of a century has passed since then and Israeli-US relations have continued unimpaired - as has Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

As for the substance of the US demands for Israeli acceptance of the "two-state" principle, it must be made clear that it is hypocritical and self-contradictory for the administration to profess that it is "committed to Israel's security" and then insist on a policy that severely undermines that security.

In this regard Netanyahu must insist that his American interlocutors demonstrate both intellectual integrity and rational consistency in dealing with Israel. He must remind his hosts that it was none other than the US Joint Chiefs of Staff that produced a map designating the areas vital for Israel's security, which showed that it must retain considerable tracts of land in the "West Bank" that make a two-state solution untenable.

He must point out that is was none other than the US Under-Secretary of State, Eugene Rostow, the most senior American official involved in drafting UN Resolution 242, who pointed out that this map "is useful in interpreting Resolution 242 because it reveals …what the US government had in mind in pushing the resolution through." It was Rostow who as late at 1993 stated that "all the studies of the Israeli security problem reached the same conclusion – from the security point of view, Israel must hold the high points in the West Bank and areas along the Jordan River."

Recall Czech lesson
The administration's attempt to link progress on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its ability to curtail Iran's nuclear project is equally disingenuous and ludicrous - and must be exposed as such.

No serious authority has ever suggested that Iranian concern for the fate of the Palestinians was among the reasons behind Tehran's nuclear ambitions. These have always been identified as a result of domestic considerations - from national self-perception, to the trauma of the war with Iraq, to aspirations for regional hegemony. It is thus entirely unclear why "progress on the Palestinian issue” will contribute in any way to halting the Iranian nuclear program – since this is driven neither by a sense of solidarity with the Arabs in general nor with the Palestinians in particular.

Indeed, not only do the Arab states have much to fear from the Iranian nuclear ambitions - perhaps more so than Israel- - but so do the Palestinians, many of whom are also in danger of annihilation in any nuclear attack on their immediately adjacent "oppressor."

The emerging American policy today has ominously familiar ring to it. It is strongly reminiscent of Anglo-French pressure on Czechoslovakia to yield to German demands that it cede the strategically important mountainous region of the Sudetenland to accommodate the aspirations, and address the grievances, of ethnic majority resident in the area.

Netanyahu must not allow Washington to forget – or obscure – the fact that by abandoning their ally and forcing it to submit to the dictates of despots, France and England not only brought devastation to Czechs, but carnage and catastrophe to themselves - and to humanity as a whole.

Pope pledges to remember Jews killed in Holocaust

Pope pledges to remember Jews killed in Holocaust

During visit to Yad Vashem, Benedict XVI says Shoah victims 'lost their lives, but they will never lose their names'; adds: Church working to ensure that hatred never reigns again. Rabbi Lau: Speech devoid of compassion, regret

Aviad Glickman

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday evening that the cries of Holocaust victims continue to reverberate 60 years after the Second World War. The German-born Benedict paid his respects to the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide at Israel's national Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. Benedict shook hands with six elderly survivors of the Holocaust and rekindled the memorial's eternal flame during an emotional ceremony.

He told the audience that the cry of victims "still echoes in our hearts," adding "They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names."

He also said the Church is working to ensure that hatred never reigns again. The Vatican has been widely criticized for not doing enough to stop the Holocaust - a charge that the Church denies.

The visit ended with a somewhat strident tone, as Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, chairman of Yad Vashem, criticized the pope's speech as being "devoid of any compassion, any regret, any pain over the horrible tragedy of the six million victims. Even the word 'six' was not included."

Rabbi Lau also censured the pope's use of the word "killed" instead of the word "murdered." Benedict, he added "said nothing about the killers, neither Germans nor Nazis. What bothered me the most was the lack of condolences to the Jewish nation, which lost a third of its sons (in the Holocaust).

"I'm not talking about an apology, I'm talking about empathy… this was more about sympathy to the pain of humanity. This speech had a cosmopolitan phrasing to it."

Yad Vashem Director Avner Shalev, however, valued the speech as "having important statements, especially when it comes to denying the Holocaust. It was an important, interesting speech and it referenced the need to fight violence, wherever it was. What I felt was lacking was any direct reference to anti-Semitism."

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said Monday evening that he regretted the fact that the Pope Benedict XVI speech "failed to rebuke past and preset Holocaust deniers."

Earlier Monday, the pope was greeted by President Shimon Peres at his official Jerusalem residence. During the ceremony Peres said, "This year, the year of your visit here, may reveal an opportunity for us and our neighbors, to attain peace."

Peres and Benedict planted an olive tree together, and the Israeli president presented the pope two gifts: wheat stalks developed by Israeli scientists and called Benedict XVI in his honor, and a 300,000-word Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible inscribed on a tiny silicon particle, using nanotechnology.

"I don't think you have one of these at the Vatican," Peres quipped.

Ronen Medzini, Roni Sofer and AP contributed to this report

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Holding Fast"

Arlene Kushner

There are many contexts in which this concept is relevant.

At a Likud forum today PM Netanyahu vowed that "Israel will not withdraw from the Golan Heights."

His comment was prompted by a question posed by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who then said, . "I view this declaration as a message to the Golan's residents and to all of Israel's residents. The prime minister's statement carries good news [for] Israel's security. It is a message to the United States, the region's countries and the rest of the world.

"The message is that Israel will be ready for negotiations in the future, but that there will not be an Israeli commitment to withdraw from the Golan, so that they know the rules in advance. This message is undoubtedly very significant, on the eve of the prime minister's visit to the White House."


While he indeed may apply pressure on us in this regard, it's just possible that Obama will take this decision more in stride than we might have expected. For -- in spite of his having sent US emissaries to Syria in an effort to improve US-Syrian relations and his having expressed intent to promote Israeli-Syrian negotiations -- Obama himself has just taken a stand against Syria.

Just five years ago, President Bush issued an executive order with regard to Syria, declaring a national emergency in dealings with this nation and authorizing sanctions.

The law states that the sanctions will be automatically terminated at the end of a year unless the president provides notification of intent to continue them. This process has been sustained annually until now.

Now President Obama has officially provided notification again:

"The actions of the Government of Syria in supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining U.S. and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect the national emergency declared with respect to this threat and to maintain in force the sanctions to address this national emergency."

In fairness, just how hard could he push us to negotiate with a state that he describes this way?


Would that Obama demonstrated so clear-eyed an understanding of matters in other regards.

Jeff Jacoby, in his latest column, "Lady Justice's blindfold," describes one way in which Obama is missing the boat. This particular situation reflects a left-wing, "touchy-feely" approach that is actually contrary to the spirit of how the US is supposed to operate. (As will become clear, I am able to say "supposed to" without fear of contradiction here.) What is more, it exemplifies an attitude that I would suggest is at the heart of what's wrong with Obama's foreign policy more broadly.

Jacoby provides us with the oath taken by every federal judge:

"I . . . do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me..."

Impartiality is at the core of this pledge. Says Jacoby, "Without judicial restraint there is no rule of law. We live under 'a government of laws and not of men.'"

But Obama is calling for something else:

"Time and again, Obama has called for judges who do not put their private political views aside when deciding cases. In choosing a replacement for Justice David Souter, the president says, he will seek not just 'excellence and integrity,' but a justice whose 'quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles,' would be 'an essential ingredient' in his jurisprudence. In an interview last year, he said he would look for judges 'sympathetic' to those 'on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless.'

" 2005, Obama declared that the 'truly difficult' cases that come before the Supreme Court can be decided only with reference to 'the depth and breadth of one's empathy,' and that 'the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart.'"

As Jacoby points out, "Sympathy for others is an admirable virtue, but a judge's private commiserations are not relevant to the law he is expected to apply.

"If Obama means what he says, he wants judges who can be counted on to violate their oath of office."


And if this is the yardstick utilized for making decisions in the international arena?

If one identifies, for example, with Palestinians who call themselves refugees, or has great empathy for them in one's heart, does this mean one judges with less severity terrorist acts for which they are responsible, or demands less transparency with regard to how they expend funds?


The nation is currently in a turmoil because of budget issues. And so we might apply the term "holding fast" here as well. In a time of global economic downswing, PM Netanyahu, who rescued us from financial straights via his policies as finance minister just a few short years ago, is now attempting to levy budget cuts. But they are not being well received in several quarters -- most notably Labor and Shas, but even within his own party. Already the prime minister has backed down on some projected cuts.

Of concern here is a coalition rift with internal fiscal battles just on the eve of Netanyahu's important meetings in Washington. He is walking a tight-rope between the necessity of tightening the national belt and responding to protested concerns with regard to education, childcare subsidies and more.


The Pope, Benedict XIV, will be arriving here for an official visit tomorrow and the tone in the nation is one of enormous ambivalence

His predecessor, John Paul II, worked sincerely on improving Catholic-Jewish relations and was loved here. Born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, he served as Bishop of Krakow and was sensitized by what he witnessed during the Holocaust. A supporter of Vatican II, he declared, "We owe a debt to our older brother, the Jewish People."

Benedict XIV, on the other hand, was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Germany, and during the Second World War, when a young teenager, served in the Hitler Youth. A theological conservative, he embroiled himself in controversy recently when he reinstated the excommunicated Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson.

It has further been noted that only weeks ago, when Ahmadinejad spoke at Durban 2, the EU delegates left the hall but the delegates of the pope remained.

Former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a survivor of the Holocaust, advises, “We must not rebuff the visit. We need not bend over backwards or flatter him, but it should not be rejected."


The pope will be visiting the Al-Aida refugee camp outside of Bethlehem, and -- as I had indicated -- bells went off for me when his representative said the camp, "Symbolizes the right of return." Then, just the other day, the bells got louder, when a statement on behalf of the pope was released. He was coming in a spirit of peace he said, because for 60 years now there has been injustice in this part of the world.

And how would that be?


The PA, hoping to politicize the pope's visit to the camp, arranged for the ceremonies to be adjacent to the security fence. The plans have since been readjusted at Israeli insistence (the refugee camp is in an area controlled by Israel). Still, every effort will be made by the Palestinians to get that fence, promoted as a sign of Palestinian suffering, into photographs that will be taken. Never mind that the fence -- having been necessitated by Palestinian terrorism -- can also be seen as a means for saving Jewish lives.


There is the possibility that Netanyahu will meet with Jordan's king Abdullah before he goes to the States. Our prime minister will be meeting with Egyptian president Mubarak tomorrow. Their top agenda item will be Iran


I was not happy to see today that James Jones, US National Security Adviser, is mouthing the same nonsense about a link between Iran and an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as other members of the Obama administration. In an ABC interview, he said:

"There are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat [Iran] by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

According to Arutz Sheva, Jones "added that European and Arab leaders had high expectations of the United States advancing a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Sigh. A whole lot of people are going to be disappointed here.


There is the possibility that my next posting will not come until Wednesday or Thursday.

On the agenda to be examined: Durban follow-up and UN charges against Israel. (No, it never ends.)

Tomorrow night and Tuesday are Lag B'Omer -- the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, which lasts from the second day of Pesach until Shavuot. This is counted as the day when a plague that fell upon the students of Rabbi Akiva stopped and is celebrated here with bonfires at night and a day of fun.


"The Good News Corner"

Toxicity in soil (waste products, including toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, from various industries)presents a serious problem. The toxicity has to be kept from entering the food chain, and can render real estate worthless. But now a solution may be on the way.

Professors from the life sciences, chemistry and engineering faculties of Tel Aviv University are working on an innovative technique for cleaning soil, using a cement mixer as a giant "washing machine." The secret is a complex, biodegradable, environmentally-safe formulation for cleaning soil. Ultimately it should be possible for soil by the truckload to be cleaned and returned to its source. The compound binds to and removes toxic materials but leaves beneficial minerals in place. The product will be able to be customized to remove specific chemicals or minerals.


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