Saturday, January 02, 2010

Ayalon: New Iran sanctions this month

Jan. 2, 2010 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The international community will hit Iran with new sanctions in the next month, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said during an event in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

"The regime in Iran today won't necessarily be in power in another year," he said, stressing that "the world is united against Iran."

He said that Washington, Beijing and Moscow agree that a nuclear Iran would "destroy the current world order." Regarding peace talks with the Palestinians, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has recently being trying to relaunch, Ayalon said, "The Palestinians need to understand that the time to act is limited."

"Today, more than ever, the US government understands that the conditions for negotiations are difficult, that the essential problem is that the Palestinians aren't willing to be flexible in their approach," he added.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1262339371965&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Friday, January 01, 2010

San Francisco Zionists Cow Anti-Israel Protestors

Avi Yellin
A7 News

The first anniversary marking Operation Cast Lead, this week saw a surge of anti-Israel demonstrations – often billed as “Gaza Freedom Marches” – taking place throughout the Arab and Western worlds. But one rally in San Francisco, a city infamous for political activism hostile to the Jewish state, was met with an unexpectedly assertive Zionist counter-protest.San Francisco Voice for Israel, a local pro-Israel group affiliated with the StandWithUs organization, has since 2004 been publically confronting what the group terms “anti-Israel hate speech” in the California Bay Area. Taking no position on Israel’s borders or on the fate of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, SFV4I attempts to present Israel as a Western democracy closely allied to the United States. To that end, the group holds regular counter demonstrations – often featuring American flags alongside Israeli ones – across from more belligerent and sometimes violent anti-Israel forces.

Opposite SFV4I this week at San Francisco’s crowded Union Square were Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), International Solidarity Movement (ISM) of Northern California, Code Pink, Women in Black and a number or other organizations hostile to Jewish statehood that normally succeed in broadcasting their message of “Israeli atrocities and racism” much louder and more aggressively than the StandWithUs affiliate.

But this week the Zionist Freedom Alliance (ZFA) of Northern California, a new factor in the Bay Area Jewish scene with a much younger membership than other pro-Israel groups, joined SFV4I and for the first time succeeded in turning the tables on the anti-Israel demonstrators. Rather than talk about Israeli democracy, the Alliance assertively pushed a message of Jewish national rights to all territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. Caught off balance by the unapologetic and forceful Zionist message, anti-Israel activists, although employing their familiar tactic of presenting Israeli policies in a negative light, found themselves unable to challenge the assertion of Jewish rights.

ZFA’s message was not only directed against the anti-Israel protestors across the square but also against the Barack Obama administration in Washington and its pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. And while many of SFV4I’s members were visibly appreciative of the fresh and proudly Zionist message put forward by the younger ZFA activists, the organization’s leadership was initially apprehensive about working together.

“Our position is simple,” said Michael Harris of SFV4I. “We stand in support of a Jewish democratic state of Israel. We take no position on issues such as settlements, various peace proposals including final borders, et cetera, as those are for the elected government of Israel to decide... [Howeve some of ZFA’s positions are in direct opposition to the policies of all of the recent governments of Israel and that can confuse people who don't understand the issue very well.”

The more conservative SFV4I organizers were initially concerned that the Alliance was going to “hijack” their event and told Israel National News that they will not allow their “events [to taken over by those who want to push a particular political agenda.” But once it became clear how effective ZFA activists were in cowing their anti-Israel opponents while at the same time educating passersby to the justice of Jewish rights, SFV4I became more appreciative and welcoming to the new group.

ZFA leader Yehuda Katz, who reportedly also organized his activists to act as security guards to the older SFV4I demonstrators, told INN that when he learned that the anti-Israel event would be taking place in a part of the city with heavy pedestrian traffic and slow moving cars, his team quickly prepared materials and organized their activists for a counter-protest. “The Zionist Freedom Alliance opposes all forms of racism and bigotry, whether directed against Arabs, Jews or anyone else. Right now we see two forms of discrimination directed against our people so we go out and protest. On a local level here in San Francisco, people who call themselves progressive are constantly trying to delegitimize the rights of the Jewish people to sovereignty in our homeland. And on a larger scale, the government of this country is pressuring the government of Israel to prevent Jews from building in Israel’s heartland simply because they’re Jews. We can’t sit still in the face of injustice so we go out and give a voice to the voiceless Jews of Judea and Samaria.”

When asked how they connect their message of Jewish national rights to the anti-Israel protestors’ specific focus on last year’s war in Gaza, Katz said that if not for the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza region there would have been no need for a war. “The war was a direct result of the forced expulsion of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif. If not for that tragic crime, both Jews and Arabs would be living better lives in Gaza right now.”

Netanyahu proposes Egypt peace summit

Israeli officials say plan raised by PM during talks with Mubarak this week. Abbas aide: Region will see important political activity in next two weeks


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed an Egyptian-hosted summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a possible way to resume stalled peace talks, Israeli officials said on Thursday. The offer was the latest sign that progress was being made towards renewing US-backed negotiations frozen for a year.

Palestinian and Egyptian officials had no immediate comment on the plan, which two Israeli officials said Netanyahu raised on Tuesday at talks in Cairo with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.

Abbas was due to meet Mubarak next week and US President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected in the region in early 2010 for a new push to resume peace talks.

"Israel's idea of an Egypt-hosted peace summit with Abbas was proposed during Netanyahu's talks with Mubarak," an Israeli official told Reuters. Another official confirmed Netanyahu had raised the summit idea. Netanyahu's office would not comment. On Wednesday, a spokesman, Mark Regev, said Israel hopes to "indeed see the resumption of talks with the Palestinians in the near future."

Nabil Abu Rdainah, an aide to Abbas, said the region "will see important political activity in the next two weeks."

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abould Gheit was quoted by Palestinian newspapers as saying that judging from comments he made during his Cairo visit Netanyahu "is moving forward."

Netanyahu, a right-wing leader who took office in March, has repeatedly said he was ready to resume talks with Abbas, stalled since a three-week Gaza war launched last December and a subsequent Israeli election, without any conditions.

Abbas has insisted Israel freeze Jewish settlement building before the talks for a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war may resume, and has rejected a temporary halt to construction ordered by Netanyahu as insufficient.

But in remarks marking the anniversary of his Fatah movement on Thursday, Abbas made just a passing reference to the settlements, and seemed to leave the door open to renewed talks.

"We are with the peace process," he said in a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Our hand will remain outstretched to peace, a just peace that ends the Israeli occupation".

Abbas also urged Israel to adopt an Arab peace plan that calls for a complete withdrawal from the West Bank in exchange for normalized ties with the Arab world.

Israeli media, quoting Palestinian and US diplomatic sources, reported Netanyahu was ready to negotiate a withdrawal to the 1967 borders as part of a land swap with Palestinians so Israel could keep some settlement blocs.

Israeli officials could not say when an Egypt-based summit may take place.

Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told Reuters that Mubarak had a key role to play in resuming talks.

"I know that Egypt is a country of immense prestige in the Arab world, and influence, and when Egypt throws that prestige and influence behind a certain process, that has an impact." Oren said. "There's a sense of some forward movement" in Middle East talks, he added.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rabbis to US Ambassador: Time to 'Go Biblical' with Arabs

Gil Ronen
A7 News

A delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Mr. James Cunningham, today and called for a reassessment of the entire U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians. The rabbis told Ambassador Cunningham that it was time to try the Biblical approach to the dispute over the Land of Israel. "The past 17 years have proven without a shadow of a doubt that every square inch ceded by Israel to the Palestinians was transformed into a platform of hatred and terrorism," RCP Director Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin told the ambassador. "In other words, the 'land for peace' formula in the Israel-Palestinian context, besides being a formula that goes against the Divine will, is ineffective, obsolete, and an exercise in futility. Most of all it is a dangerous policy that only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region and harms vital American interests in the region as well," Lewin said.

'Land for peace doesn't work'

The delegation was headed by Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP, who is also the Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv where the US embassy is located. Rabbi Gerlitzky presented the ambassador with the Halachic (Jewish legal) ruling signed by over 350 prominent rabbis in Israel that it is forbidden to give up even one inch of territory controlled by Israel today because it will bring bloodshed and instability to the region.

"In the name of the overwhelming majority of rabbis in Israel," he said, "we request of you Mr. Ambassador, to convey our Halachic message to President Barack Obama that it is time for a complete reversal and reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The 'land for peace' policy never worked and harms U.S. interests in the region and the world at large."

Left to right: Rabbi Sholom Gold, Mr. Marc Sievers of the US Embassy, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Ambassador James Cunningham, Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Rabbi Avrohom S. Lewin. The Rabbis handed the ambassador a Halachic Ruling signed by over 350 rabbis in Israel that forbids giving up land controlled by Israel today.

The ambassador was visibly moved by Rabbi Sholom Gold, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem, who described the suffering that the Jewish People have endured ever since the implementation of the Oslo Accords and the agreements that followed. "It's all a play of words, there is no peace process," he said. "From the day that we started conceding and withdrawing we did not have one day of rest and peace. Why should our enemies want to make peace with us when they see that with terrorism they get what they want? Even the U.S., Israel's supposedly best friend, sides with them in demanding a freeze and evacuation of settlements. Is the triumph of Arab terror one of American interests?" Gold asked.

Going Biblical

Rabbi Dov Lior, the Rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, said: "G-d gave the US the power and influence to affect the rest of the world and supporting Israel is the key to America's success."

Ambassador Cunningham told the rabbis that he does not see how the problem can be solved “without taking into consideration the Palestinians,” to which Rabbi Gold remarked: "Ever since we started taking the Palestinians into consideration the situation only worsened."

The ambassador asked the rabbis, "So what is your solution to the problem?"

Rabbi Gerlitzky replied: "You must switch the entire approach to the situation. We all believe in the Holy Bible and up until now we tried every formula except for that which is delineated in the Bible. Let's try it and who knows, Mr. Ambassador, maybe this is your defining moment, that G-d Almighty has placed you in this capacity in order to precipitate a new course which will bring a true peace to the entire region."

atah warns of intifada against PA

Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

The killing of the three Fatah operatives in Nablus by the IDF over the weekend could trigger a third intifada, Fatah officials warned on Sunday.

But the new intifada, they said, would be different from the first two - this time it would be directed against the Palestinian Authority.

During the funerals of the three men, all veteran members and leaders of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, thousands of Palestinians chanted slogans accusing the PA of collusion with Israel and calling for an end to security coordination with Israel and the dismantling of the PA. For several hours during the funerals, which took place in Nablus, it seemed as if the PA and not the IDF had killed the three men. It was, in the words of a local journalist, "one of the biggest anti-Palestinian Authority demonstrations" in many years.

The relationship between the PA and local Fatah activists has always been tense. Nablus and its surrounding refugee camps, especially Balata refugee camp, has long been a stronghold for disgruntled Fatah militiamen who occasionally vent their frustration against the PA leadership and security forces.

For years during the second intifada, Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, was controlled by dozens of Fatah gunmen and thugs who imposed a reign of terror on wealthy clans.

Many local families did not hide their satisfaction when IDF troops raided the city during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and killed or arrested scores of Fatah gunmen, including the infamous Ahmed Tabouk, one of the leaders of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

In the context of its efforts to restore law and order to the city, the PA offered four years ago to recruit many of the gunmen to various branches of its security forces if they agreed to lay down their weapons.

The PA also managed to persuade Israel to stop pursuing those gunmen who agreed to hand over their weapons and abandon violence.

In return, the PA took on itself the mission of holding the "pardoned" gunmen in one of its security installations for a limited time and as a first step toward granting them total freedom of movement.

Most of the Fatah gunmen who complied were added to the PA's payroll, but not all were happy with the arrangement. Some complained that the PA had broken its promise to appoint them to senior positions in its security forces, while others said that their salaries were too low. Others complained that despite their agreement to surrender their weapons and open a new page in their lives, Israeli security forces were continuing to target them.

Friends and relatives of the Fatah operatives who were killed in the recent IDF operation accused the PA of failing to fulfill its "commitments" to give them more money and good jobs. Some did not rule out the possibility that the Fatah cell that murdered Rabbi Meir Chai last week had received money from an "outside" party, such as Hizbullah or even Hamas.

In the past, there were a number of cases where Fatah militiamen in the West Bank openly admitted to receiving funds from Hizbullah. The gunmen justified their action by arguing that the PA had failed to "compensate" them for the "sacrifices" they made in the fight against Israel.

The killing of the three men is now being exploited by leading figures in Fatah to incite against the PA leadership in Ramallah. One of the main instigators is Husam Khader, a charismatic and extremely popular Fatah operative from Balata who has long been attacking the PA and its security forces, accusing them of financial and moral corruption and collaboration with Israel.

Khader and another senior Fatah operative, Kadoura Fares of Ramallah, are convinced that continued cooperation with Israel on security matters would eventually turn Palestinians against the PA leadership. The two, along with many of their followers in Fatah, believe that a third intifada is on its way, but that this time it would be directed against the PA and not Israel.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364520796&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

show details 2:17 AM (15 hours ago)

from my palestinian brother,khaled

Subj:Look who's complaining about the mosque torching
Date:12/15/2009 8:42:55 AM Eastern Standard Time

December 15, 2009 5:00 AM
by Khaled Abu Toameh

Where Were Hamas and Fatah?

While Fatah and Hamas have been complaining and crying over the past week about the torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf -- an act allegedly carried out by extremist Jewish settlers – where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians set fire to and damaged synagogues in Gush Katif following the IDF pullout from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005? Where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians repeatedly set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus over the past decade?

Of course arson is a despicable and abhorrent assault on a holy site that requires all those who care about coexistence, peace and tolerance in the Middle East to strongly condemn it, and there should be no justification for any attack on any holy site, be it a mosque, church or synagogue.

But those who remain silent or condone attacks on other people’s holy sites and religious symbols should be the last to raise their voices when a mosque is vandalized.

Similarly, those who have denied other people’s religious and historic ties to holy sites and lands should also keep their mouths shut.

Why hasn’t any Palestinian party of leader ever condemned acts of vandalism against Jewish cemeteries? Where were they each time a Jewish worshipper was stabbed or killed while on his way to a yeshiva, the Wailing Wall or the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron? How come we didn’t hear the voices of Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians hurled stones at Jewish worshippers visiting Joshua’s Tomb in a village in the northern West Bank? And where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinian demonstrators repeatedly hurled firebombs and stones at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem [a site which even Muslims consider to be holy, referring to it as the Bila bin Rabah Mosque]?

Unfortunately, assaults on Jewish holy sites have often been hailed by many Palestinians as acts of heroism against “legitimate targets.”

Condemnations for the Yasuf arson have come from across the political spectrum in Israel. The Israeli president, prime minister, defense minister, religious and secular leaders and even some settler figures were among those who publicly condemned the desecration of the mosque.

Ironically, the Israeli media seemed to be much more interested in the incident than the Palestinian media. At one point, it appeared as if the number of statements of condemnation coming out of the Jewish state exceeded the number of denunciations issued by Arab and Islamic governments and parties.

Following the arson at Yasuf, a large group of Jewish rabbis attempted to enter the village to express its strong condemnation for the incident and to present copies of the Koran to villagers. The rabbis were forced to call of the visit after villagers took to the streets, threatening to use force to prevent them from entering.

Out of concern for their safety, the rabbis had to meet at a nearby junction with a small group of Palestinian Authority officials under IDF protection.
It would have been a great gesture had the rabbis been permitted to enter the village and condemn the torching of the mosque while standing next to village leaders and Muslim religious figures. In any case the idea of the visit was brilliant.

When did any Palestinian ever think of dispatching a group of imams to express solidarity with Jews following an act of vandalism against a synagogue or yeshiva? Has the Palestinian Authority ever encouraged inter-faith dialogue? Has a rabbi ever been invited to speak at a mosque or an Islamic center in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, as opposed to the many Muslim speakers who are invited to address crowds at synagogues? Those who in the past have condoned and even encouraged acts of vandalism against other people’s religious sites have no right to sound their voices over the mosque incident.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Israeli Bank, Owned by Europeans, Cuts Off Yesha

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

The parent bank of Dexia Bank, owned by French and Belgian interests, has notified regional councils in Judea and Samaria it is cutting off their line of credit. The Dexia Bank in Israel denies accusations that the decision was based on poliitcal considerations. The Israeli bank, which is the official supplier of credit to the regional councils, asked them to close their accounts. The parent bank's French officials ordered the move, which has left leaders in Judea and Samaria in shock.

The Dexia Group in 2001 bought the Israeli Municipality Treasure Bank and established Dexia Israel.

Local officials of the bank denied charges that pro-Arab groups, who have escalated a campaign to boycott products of Judea and Samaria, pressured the financial institution. Dexia signed an agreement with the Finance Ministry this past summer to set up a $70 million line of credit (NIS 274 million) for improving the financial structure of the councils.

Earlier this year, Dexia announced it will not finance communities in Judea and Samaria following a campaign against it that “Israel colonizes, Dexia finances.” Its shareholders raised the issue of Judea and Samaria at the company annual meeting in Brussels last March.

The bank’s chairman responded that it stopped financing the Jewish communities a year ago, and one regional council chairman in Judea confirmed to Israel National News that it has not received credit for several months.

Dexia has rejected anti-Israel groups’ demands to stop lending money to Jerusalem, which has sovereignty over parts of the capital that the Palestinian Authority demands as part of the future state it wants to establish.

Shmuel Rifman, chairman of the Ramat HaNegev council, which is not in Judea or Samaria, and head of the board of local councils in Israel, urged Wednesday that all regional councils in the country boycott Dexia in retaliation.

“The government sold its part of the bank to foreigners…who are afraid of the Arab world,” he stated. “I suggest a boycott against the bank because there are enough [othe banks in Israel where we can put our money.”

Israel National News apologies for a previous and erroneous reference to Bank Discount, which has no relation to Dexia Bank.


New York, Dec 29 2009 4:05PM

The United Nations independent expert on Palestinian rights has again called for a threat of economic sanctions against Israel to force it to lift its blockade of Gaza, which is preventing the return to a normal life for 1.5 million residents after the devastating Israeli offensive a year ago.

“Obviously Israel does not respond to language of diplomacy, which has encouraged the lifting of the blockade and so what I am suggesting is that it has to be reinforced by a threat of adverse economic consequences for Israel,” Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, <"">told UN Radio. “That probably is something that is politically unlikely to happen, but unless it happens, it really does suggest that the United States and the Quartet and the EU [European Union] don’t take these calls for lifting the blockade very seriously and are unaffected by Israel’s continuing defiance of those calls,” he said, referring to the diplomatic Quartet of the UN, EU, Russia and US, which have been calling for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (<"">UNRWA), the main UN body tending to the needs of some 4 million Palestinian refugees, said today Gaza had been “bombed back, not to the Stone Age, but to the mud age,” because UNRWA was reduced to building houses out of mud after the 22-day offensive Israel said it launched to end rocket attacks against it.

“The Israeli blockade has meant that almost no reconstruction materials have been allowed to move into Gaza even though 60,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed. So we in UNRWA have been saying ‘let's lift this senseless blockage,’” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness <"">told UN Radio.

“We are the United Nations and we always hope that diplomacy will prevail, and it will prevail above the rationale of warfare. But if you look at what is going on in Gaza, and if you look at the continued blockade and the fact that that blockade is radicalizing a population there, then one has to have one’s doubts.”

In a statement last week, Mr. Falk stressed that the “unlawful blockade” was in its third year, with insufficient food and medicine reaching Gazans, producing further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population.

Building materials necessary to repair the damage could not enter Gaza, and he blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings.

Mr. Falk also deplored the wall being built on the borders between Gaza and Egypt.

“I’m very distressed by that, because it is both an expression of complicity on the part of the government of Egypt and the United States, which apparently is assisting through its corps of engineers with the construction of this underground steel impenetrable wall that’s designed to interfere with the tunnels that have been bringing some food and material relief to the Gaza population,” he told UN Radio.

“And of course, the underground tunnel complex itself is an expression of the desperation created in Gaza as a result of this blockade that’s going on now for two and a half years, something that no people since the end of World War II have experienced in such a severe and continuing form.”

As a Special Rapporteur, Mr. Falk serves in an independent and unpaid capacity and reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

In a new policy brief, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"">UNCTAD), entrusted with promoting the integration of developing countries into the world economy, reported that more than 80 per cent of Gaza’s population are now impoverished; 43 per cent unemployed; and 75 per cent lack food security. “In view of the eroded productive base, poverty is likely to widen and deepen unless reconstruction begins in earnest and without further delay,” it warned.

For more details go to UN News Centre at

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Guest Comment: Once again a vituperative Israel-hater is given a bully pulpit (he's the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 - yes, that's actually the name of his position) for inciting world hatred against Israel. This time the UN official - Richard Falk, a Princeton professor, and a Jew (at least by chance, probably not by choice) is calling for economic sanctions unless Israel removes any efforts to protect itself from Gazans dedicated to its destruction.

How bad is Falk? He was barred from entering Israel a year ago - when Ehud Olmert was PM, not the current "hardliner" - because he compared Israelis to Nazis, saying the Gaza "closure" was the same as the Warsaw Ghetto.

And yes, he also hates the US. During his tenure with the UN Human Rights Council he called for a fresh investigation into the 9/11 attacks in order to examine the possible role that "neocons" may have played in the attacks. And it isn't only the neocons he points his finger at - Falk also wrote a laudatory introduction to a book claiming that George Bush and other "elites" in the US administration very likely played a role in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, when publicly asked at a UN session to state whether he ever made the statements 'that no plane hit the Pentagon,' and that 'the World Trade Center was brought down by a controlled demolition'? Falk did not respond.

WHAT TO DO? We don't think there is much point complaining to the UN, as he is their point man on these issues. What you CAN do is be prepared to write letters to papers that present his latest attacks on Israel and set them straight on Falk's record. Tell your friends about it. Send this information around so that people who don't already "get it" can see what a farce the UN is and how blatant is its anti-Israel animus.

AND write to the US Ambassador to the UN, telling her to exercise good moral judgment and denounce Falk's bias and inflammatory attacks. Of course, she's not likely to share our position, but the more she hears from interested citizens perhaps the more she will at least be careful about how she comports herself. Here's her contact info:
Ambassador Susan Rice
Permanent Mission to the United Nations
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3505
(212)415-4000; fax: (212)415-4443

"Tracking Events"

Arlene Kushner

Sometimes it feels as if it's impossible to keep track of news events without a score card, so quickly does the situation shift.

A major project during the course of the day today prevented me from analyzing what is happening in several spheres. Here, I would like to touch base, in an effort to keep on top of events. Most likely my next post will follow on Thursday.
Tzipi Livni and members of Kadima have unanimously said no to a "unity government" with Likud, which allows us to sigh with relief, at least for the moment. Kadima's charge was that the offer was not sincere as it didn't provide genuine shared power. Netanyahu, for his part, called Livni a "serial unity refuser" (as he had also offered unity when he was forming his coalition) and said he didn't understand what her problem was, as Kadima would have participated in major government decisions.

My take has been to see more than a bit of game-playing in the offer. However, while he was waiting for Kadima's decision, he offered more generous terms as a lure. Did he genuinely want her in the coalition? The possibility exists.

What is more surprising than the rejection by Kadima is the fact that Livni used this as a means to rally unity inside her party. Seems those seven who had signed an agreement with Netanyahu will not be bolting the party now and coming back to Likud after all. It had sounded close to a done deal.

Livni referred to Netanyahu's attempt to split her party as "gutter politics" and accused him, not without reason, of inappropriately attending to this when more important issues should have occupied him. I would guess that her anger at and mistrust of the prime minister played into her decision not to join his government.

Netanyahu, for his part, said he was still determined to broaden his coalition because of the crises we will be facing, and declared that it was only a matter of time until Kadima did split apart.


Nowhere is a score card more necessary than with regard to the politics of the Palestinian Arabs:

Fatah is the major party of the Palestinian Authority. But it is not synonymous with the PA and is sometimes at odds with it. (More on this follows.) The terrorist Al Aksa Brigades is officially part of Fatah, and protected by it. Some of its members are even part of the PA security forces -- if they "renounce terror" it is made possible for them to receive PA salaries. But some Al Aksa members operate outside of the scope of Fatah.

On top of all of this, the US, under the supervision of General Keith Dayton, is training some of the PA forces (which means, in the main, Fatah forces), which are supposed to combat terrorism. That should mean terrorism instigated by Hamas (and there is a problem sometimes with this), and certainly terrorism instigated by Al Aksa. Terrorism is terrorism, is it not? Except it depends on the definition, it seems. As it happens, the PA only takes on Hamas when it threatens its stability and not because of attacks on Jews. And terrorism by Al Aksa, well... that's another matter all together.


If what I've just written sounds convoluted, I apologize. It is no more than a reflection of a convoluted situation. What has generated the current confusion is the drive-by shooting of Rabbi Chai by three Al Aksa terrorists, who were subsequently pursued and then shot by IDF forces (when they refused to surrender).

No Palestinian Arab group and no Palestinian Arab leaders condemned the shooting forthrightly. It is important to understand that doing this is a "no no" in today's climate. It implies siding with the "Zionist enemy" instead of Arab brothers (who undoubtedly were acting against "the occupation"). But, because there is security cooperation in some respects between the IDF and PA security forces (especially those trained by Dayton), and because the IDF pursued the terrorists into Arab areas, on the ground there was coordination. And it seems this has enraged a great number of Palestinian Arabs associated with Fatah.

Yesterday, according to Khaled Abu Toameh, Fatah warned of a third intifada. But this one would not be against Israel, it would be against the Palestinian Authority. The funerals of those who shoot Rabbi Chai in the head turned into a major protest in which a demand was made that all security coordination with Israel be stopped and that the PA be dismantled.


What fascinates me as I watch this unfold is how oblivious to this the US administration remains, as it continues to tout the idea of "peace negotiations." How, precisely, is a peaceful and stable state supposed to be established in this atmosphere? If Abbas was reluctant to come to the negotiating table before, he has to be doubly so now. I would guess that he would be risking his life to sit down with Netanyahu.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, "PA-controlled media have continuously portrayed the killers as Palestinian heroes and Shahids -- holy Martyrs -- while describing Israel's killing of the three terrorists as 'murder in cold blood' and 'assassination.'" Abbas personally sent envoys to the families of these murders.


It would be my guess, however, that when Netanyahu makes all of his very public (and to my ear terribly distasteful) calls to Abbas to stop the games and come sit down to talk, he is not oblivious to this situation. That is, it seems to me he knows, even as he makes his earnest calls, that this cannot happen.


But what shall we conclude about Mitchell, who is due back here soon? Does he begin to understand the futility of his stated goals? It is said he is working on "terms of reference," which would theoretically permit agreement so that Netanyahu and Abbas could sit down together. I have checked with analysts whom I respect, who are not overly alarmed by what is transpiring here, as it all very vague.

And I will note that Israel has announced, to the displeasure of the US, that we will be building hundreds of new housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line.


Rumors still abound about the possibility of the Shalit deal going through. The Hamas website is saying that Israel is refusing to release four "heavy-weight" prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti. So perhaps the earlier alleged leaks were incorrect. A refusal to release this man, and three others guilty of particular evil, would be a major step in the right direction, and would make the deal less likely to be completed. (I know, each one who has committed a terrorist act is guilty of particular evil.)


Could the averted disaster on the plane bound for Detroit serve as a wake-up call for Obama? He has now said:

"When our government has information on a known extremist and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have been, so that this extremist boards a plane with dangerous explosives that could cost nearly 300 lives, a systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable."

Indeed. But will he now grapple with the root of the systematic failure?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Barry Rubin

Of all the questions readers ask, there’s no question about which are the two most frequent. First, is Israel about to attack Iran or when will this happen? Second, do President Barack Obama and his entourage hate Israel and will there be a major confrontation or some kind of sell-out.

The first two questions are pretty easy to answer, the third less so.Israel and an attack on Iran: Israeli policy is quite clear. Its current emphasis is on supporting strong sanctions. There is, of course, skepticism as to whether strong sanctions will be applied and whether such a step would work, but that’s not the determining factor. It is recognized that the West must thoroughly try diplomatic means to satisfy itself that everything short of an armed attack has failed.

Only when the sanctions have been seen to be ineffective at stopping Iran’s march to nuclear weapons would Israel even begin to go into an attack phase but even then there are two major considerations.

One is that Israel will only attack when Iran is on the verge of getting weapons. Not only would that situation make the decision about responding an immediate task but also because that would be when Tehran has the maximum equipment installed and the most damage can be done. There is no sense bombing half-empty buildings.

The disadvantage is that this would give the regime more time to disperse the facilities. And that introduces the other problem. An Israeli cabinet meeting would be held to determine whether an attack could be carried out, whether the political and security costs would be acceptable, and whether an attack would succeed in setting back the Iranian program by a big margin.

Is Israel capable of launching an effective attack? Without going into all the complex details, the basic answer is “yes.”

If destroying Iran’s nuclear capability is an existential imperative could Israel weather the diplomatic criticism and terrorist or other attacks? Again, yes. Hamas and Hizballah would escalate and launch rockets but they could be deterred or defeated.

It is the last point, however, that is critical: Would an attack achieve considerable success in putting back Iran’s nuclear program by years? That cannot be taken for granted. In military action lots can go wrong. Planes can crash; mechanical breakdowns or bad weather may cause failure. The distances involved are huge; the margin of error very fine.

What if the bombs miss and hit civilians? (Yes, Israel cares a lot about this despite all the slander and lies regarding its behavior.) Will dispersion of facilities mean that only a small portion of Iran’s facilities will be damaged or destroyed?

In short, is it worth launching an attack that only inflames the situation further, costs lots of diplomatic capital, and doesn’t do any good?

This is a question that can only be raised and decided in a cabinet meeting at the proper time. There is no determined choice already made and that is as it should be.

The second question relates to Obama and Israel. In my opinion, Obama has absolutely no warm feelings toward Israel at all and, if anything, his instincts are hostile. But previous American presidents—notably Richard Nixon—have followed pro-Israel policies despite being personally unfriendly. What is important is that Obama and his entourage have learned two things.

One of them is that bashing Israel is politically costly. American public opinion is very strongly pro-Israel. Congress is as friendly to Israel as ever. For an administration that is more conscious of its future reelection campaign than any previous one, holding onto Jewish voters and ensuring Jewish donations is very important. There will almost certainly not be a visit of Obama to Israel in 2010, he’ll wait until it will do him some good at the polls (which is a good thing since the less attention he pays to this issue the less harm he’ll do.)

The other point is that they have seen that bashing Israel doesn’t get them anywhere. For one thing, the current Israeli government won’t give in easily and is very adept at protecting its country’s interests. This administration has a great deal of trouble being tough with anyone.

If in fact the Palestinians and Arabs were eager to make a deal and energetic about supporting other U.S. policies, the administration might well be tempted to press for an arrangement that largely ignored Israeli interests. But this is not in fact the case. It is the Palestinians who refuse even to come to the negotiating table—and that is unlikely to change quickly or easily. Arab states won’t lift a finger to help the United States on Iran, Iraq, or Arab-Israeli issues. So why bother?

Moreover, no matter how much noise the administration makes about being engaged on the Israel-Palestinian front, it knows that not much is going to happen. Its envoy, Senator Mitchell, will run around and make plans but the top brass in Washington isn’t going to devote all that much time to this issue.

The hostility to Israel of the administration’s overall personnel can also be exaggerated. A couple of names come to mind of officials who are hostile, but there are also many—arguably more in number--who are reasonably friendly, including the secretaries of state and defense.

The idea that David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel constitute some anti-Israel cabal is misleading, too. If there were a serious peace process, they’d certainly push Israel harder to make more concessions than others would do but they are focused on domestic affairs and also know that this issue is a non-winner for them in terms of success, glory, or political advantage.

These two factors form the basic framework for understanding the Middle East in 2010. Putting down a smokescreen of diplomatic activity and proposals, the U.S. government is likely to place the “peace process,” whose non-existence is too real to ignore, on the back burner. Meanwhile, Israel is doing the same thing with an attack on Iran. The next year’s events in the region will come from other crises and issues.

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

Barak Forces Rabbi Ronsky Out of Army

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has taken the unprecedented step of not renewing the appointment of Rabbi Avi Ronsky as the IDF's Chief Rabbi. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi accepted the Defense Minster’s decision despite his known respect for Rabbi Ronsky, military sources told Arutz 7. The refusal to renew the appointment of a Chief Rabbi or Chief of Staff follows by four years the equally unprecedented move by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to refuse to renew the term of IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon because of his doubts over the policy of destroying Jewish communities in the Gaza area and withdrawing the military.

Rabbi Ronksy will have served in his position for four years when he leaves office in the summer. Previous chief rabbis of the IDF served for more than four years, and their terms were renewed until they stepped down voluntarily. Chief Rabbi Ronsky succeeded Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, who served for six years. Former IDF Chief Rabbi Mordechai Piron served for more than a decade.

Defense Minister Barak, who also heads the Labor party, has been at odds with Rabbi Ronsky several times and recently prevented him from speaking at several forums, including at a meeting of Knesset Members and rabbis on the first anniversary of Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza.

Rabbi Ronsky also was prohibited from being interviewed by media during the recent controversy concerning Barak’s ouster of the Har Brachah yeshiva from the Hesder program that combines service in the army with Torah study.

Former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, an avowed secular Jew, appointed Rabbi Ronsky as chief rabbi because of his trust that he would re-instill soldiers’ faith in the IDF after the expulsions of Jews in 2005. One IDF officer told Arutz 7, "Rabbi Ronsky brought about a revolution in the military rabbinate, involved Torah students with their brigades and went into the field with combat soldiers."

Rabbi Ronsky fought in the Yom Kippur War, an experience that brought him closer to Torah. He was responsible for encouraging the IDF to build separate swimming pools for the increasing number of religious officers, a move that irritated many secular elements in the military as well as in the political world.

Two probable candidates to succeed him are Rabbi Duki Ben-Artzi, a combat pilot, and Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who heads the pre-army Torah academy (mechina) in Yated, which was part of the destroyed Atzmona community in Gush Katif.

Washington, not J'lem, needs to issue clarifications


The United States' recent request for a public clarification from National Security Adviser Uzi Arad following the IDF's killing of three wanted Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists in Nablus is unusual and raises questions. . Arad's reported need to explain to his US counterparts the defensive nature of the IDF operation several days after the Iranian-backed terror cell's murder of Rabbi Meir Chai, a father of seven, seems exceptional. This IDF operation was no different than hundreds of other actions against Palestinian terror groups that have murdered well over 1,000 Israeli civilians since the Palestinian Authority launched the Aksa war of terror in 2000.

As a rule, the US has not asked Israel for public clarifications on antiterror operations. Clearly, close communications are important. There are multiple security and intelligence channels between Israel and its closest ally that have been and should be used to handle these types of security queries. The Israeli Embassy in Washington, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, the US consulate in Jerusalem, military attaches and representatives of respective intelligence agencies are appropriate addresses.

But in this extraordinary case, the US demanded a public clarification on behalf of the PA. This clearly represents heightened US sensitivity to Palestinian protests over the IDF's "unjust" incursion into Area A of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank, where the PA has overall security responsibility, to net the Fatah-associated terror cell that resulted in its elimination.

THIS IS where it seems more appropriate that the US issue clarifications to Israel. At least one of the Aksa Brigades commanders - Annan Sabuh, who was found with two M16 automatic rifles and two other firearms - had been part of the amnesty program for former Fatah-affiliated terror group commanders and operatives that was predicated on turning in all weapons. The amnesty program was implemented in no small part at the behest of the United States and its security reform program, which began under Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton in 2005.

Notwithstanding IDF praise for PA public policing improvements in some West Bank cities and for PA security actions against Hamas, the American-trained and -funded Palestinian security forces under the command of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have either refused or been unable to uproot the terror infrastructure of the Fatah-associated Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Similar to the three recently neutralized terrorists, thousands of additional Aksa Martyrs operatives and other Fatah militia members have gone into "retirement" via the amnesty agreement with the PA security forces and their US security coordinators, but many operatives still store weapons in their homes. US security officials may also be aware that some Fatah terror operatives have even been sheltered in PA security installations to remove them from Israel's most wanted list.

Fayyad has also coopted some Aksa commanders by assigning them to senior positions in the PA security forces, such as Abu Jabbal, a senior PA security forces officer in Nablus. The increased US commitment in 2009, equaling some $130 million to upgrade the PA forces to nearly 3,500 men, has failed to address the very problem of the continued existence of Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades and other armed Fatah factions that resulted in the recent murder of Chai. It is well known in senior Fatah security echelons that the limited capacity and political will of PA forces require the IDF to assume between 70 percent and 80% of the security operations against the extant terror infrastructure in the West Bank.

ASSERTIONS BY some US officials as to the effectiveness of PA security forces must also be reassessed in view of recent Aksa Martyrs actions against the Palestinian leadership. Aksa operatives fired shots recently at Anan Atiri, deputy to the incoming governor of Nablus, after publishing leaflets labeling the governor a traitor. The group has also publicly labeled Fayyad an American agent and has published threats against him. Add this to the fact that Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades shot at outgoing Nablus Governor Jamal Muheissin on November 26, and that in May it published a leaflet there accusing PA President Mahmoud Abbas of participating in assassinations in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

In view of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades' direct challenge to the US-backed PA Security forces, it would seem appropriate for to Israel to receive clarifications from the United States as to how these robustly funded and well trained paramilitary forces plan to finally uproot the Fatah and Hamas terror infrastructures that continue to claim the lives of Israeli civilians while physically threatening the PA leadership that is supposed to be securing the foundation for independence.

The United States might also clarify to the Palestinian leadership that in the aftermath of the tragic and violent Iranian-backed Hamas takeover of Gaza following Israel's 2005 withdrawal, Israelis are not inclined to assume major security risks in line with Palestinian "red line" demands for a second complete Gaza-type withdrawal, particularly in Area C of the West Bank, which houses the strategically vital Jordan Valley and its 3,000-foot protective hills overlooking Israel's major coastal cities.

To be sure, Israel will become even more risk-averse if the Palestinian Authority proves incapable of completely uprooting the entire terror infrastructure in the areas under their agreed upon jurisdiction.

The writer is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364528949&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

How to Get Western Intellectuals to Support Dictatorships and Totalitarian Ideas

Barry Rubin

In 1937, at the peak of the purge trials (when thousands of people were arrested, tortured into making false confessions, and shot), after the government-made famines (when hundreds of thousands of people died), and as literally millions were being sent to concentration camps, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was interviewed by Lion Feuchtwanger, a German anti-fascist but non-Communist author.

Stalin did the five things needed to fool a Western intellectual into supporting totalitarianism: he flattered Feuchtwanger; ensured his works were published and lavishly praised; professed devotion to social justice; attacked capitalism; and made sure he was well paid for his literary efforts. Here’s some of what Feuchtwanger wrote after his interview with Stalin:

“Stalin…is extremely sincere and modest….He knows the needs of his peasants and workers, he is one of them….He gave the Soviet Union a new democratic constitution and has solved the nationalities problem….Soviet citizens have plenty of food, clothing, movies, and theaters….Scientists, writers, and actors live well in the Soviet Union….Writers who deviate from the general line are not oppressed….In the near future the Soviet Union will become the happiest and strongest country in the world.”

Feuchtwanger was a free man, not subject to Soviet law. He had been one of the most courageous in exposing the Nazis, forced to flee Germany for Paris. He could have been the model for the heroic Victor Laszlo in “Casablanca.” But he believed that supporting Stalin would promote social justice and fight evil political movements on the political far right. And if such behavior also benefited his own material interests, that was all the better.

One of Feuchtwanger’s points about the USSR’s glories is that “Soviet newspapers do not censor my articles,” which was understandable since they only praised the dictator and the regime.

Hence Feuchtwanger, like many Western intellectuals was so aware—and rightfully so, of course--of the sins of Nazism, was blind to those of Communism. In part, he believed that the existence of one evil justified his lying about people regarding another. In 1937 that was quite understandable given the size of that first evil. In 2009, however, the same philosophy--to tell the people only what those who think they know better believe will push them in the right direction--is still in force.

But he was no fool. When it came time to flee from the advancing Nazi army, he fled to America, not the USSR. But there was an East German postage stamp issued in his honor. If you wanted intellectual freedom America was the best bet; if you wanted intellectual prestige, Communism was the ticket.

The sin of anti-Communism, deterring opposition or honest evaluation by accusing those who spoke up of being a reactionary bourgeois supporter of imperialism, has been replaced by accusing someone of being guilty of Islamophobia, Political Incorrectness, or racism. Nonsense is defended by a wall of vituperation and ridicule.

Boris Bazhanov, whose extraordinary life is unfortunately largely forgotten today—as is true of most of those who exposed the true nature of Communism, while the apologists for it are celebrated--knew better than most about this subject. As a young man, this Ukrainian nationalist decided to infiltrate the Soviet leadership and even succeeded in becoming Stalin’s private secretary for several years during the 1920s. He defected in 1928 to France and survived two assassination attempts by his former boss. In 1978, a few years before his death by natural causes, he wrote:

"You know, as I do, that our civilization stands on the edge of an abyss...Those who seek to destroy it put forth an ideal. This ideal has been proven false by the experience of the last sixty years….If the West [develops its] confidence and unity, [it] can win the battle for our civilization and set humanity on the true path to progress…."

Communism’s failures, deceptions, and victims aren’t studied much nowadays in Western schools and universities, where fascism is presented as the sole evil totalitarianism in history, well maybe along with capitalism in many places. But it might be useful for students to know how both ends of the political spectrum—and not just the right-wing one—have their shortcomings. This might be especially important now that Western civilization is once again under assault.

Incidentally, while the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century was a beneficial liberal reform movement that produced such leaders as Theodore Roosevelt, by the 1930s the Communist Party in the United States, looking for a good cover label to conceal its attempts to take over liberalism and the Democratic Party, settled on the word “Progressive.” When the Communists formed a front political group in 1948 they called it the Progressive Party.

Oh, by the way, in the USSR during the Stalinist era they invented a term to describe when someone adhered to the regime’s line. It was called “political correctness.”

Today, however, instead of teaching young people to be wary of both extremes in politics; to know how ideals like social justice can be manipulated by tyrants and demagogues; and to see that the Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights have far more wisdom and valid prescription than all the works of Marxism or “liberation theology” and various other contemporary far left nostrums, the implicit doctrine conveyed is that there can be no enemies on the left. After all, what could possibly be worse than George W. Bush, slavery, and the internment of Japanese in America during World War Two?

See how much you learn when you study real history? See how much you don’t learn when you don’t?

Monday, December 28, 2009

PA Rewards Hamas and Fatah Terrorists for Long Jail Terms

zvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

The Palestinian Authority revealed on Sunday that it rewards both Hamas and Fatah terrorists with higher “salaries” for committing more serious terrorist attacks that are followed by convictions for long-term sentences in Israeli prison. Most of the PA’s funds come from European Union countries, and the United States earlier this month, for the first time ever, included the PA in its foreign aid package with a $500 million grant. Twenty percent of the American money is earmarked for training the PA’s new army, under the guidance of American army General Keith Dayton.

A condition of the aid is that the PA recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous agreements with Israel, including a halt to anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist incitement.

The PA Minister for Prisoners told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency Sunday that it pays out three million shekels ($790,000) a month for monthly stipends for prisoners and their families. The minister specifically denied a complaint that Hamas terrorists were being cut off from receiving fund.

The monthly payment amount to 1,000 shekels ($260) but rises to four times that amount, more than $1,000, to terrorists who have served more than 25 years in jail for more serious attacks on Israelis.

In addition, terrorists who are released by Israel receive another 1,200-2,000 shekels ($316-$525) a month for half a year if they were in prison for at least five years. The total payments for their time in jail and release amount to as much $10,000.
Comment: This is where some of the USA and EU money goes. This reinforces terrorist behavior, rewards acts of violence and does nothing to help shift behavior of a society. These monies could go to create infrastructure, you know know like Obama wants to do in the USA-roads, water projects and the like. It would put to work thousands of unemployed but, no! You have the audacity to complain about what we do in Israel?

New Town Near Sderot for Gush Katif Expellees

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

Another milestone has been reached in the seemingly never-ending resettlement process for the Gush Katif expellees: The government has approved a new town for former residents of Kfar Darom. To be named Shavei Darom (Returnees of the South), it will be located southeast of Sderot.The decision comes nearly 4.5 years after the original expulsion from Gush Katif, and a full three months after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz gave his approval to the plan. New Disengagement Authority Director Bentzy Lieberman was credited by residents with helping the decision along.

The government's decision comes as a welcome windfall for some 20 families who have been living in a 19-story apartment building in Ashkelon since shortly after the expulsion. They were supposed to move to the building immediately after the expulsion, and remain there for two years – but in the event, they were forced to live in a hotel for four months while legal problems were sorted out, and their "two years" in the high-rise building, waiting for their permanent community to be built, have already turned into four years.

Another group of some 20 Kfar Darom families who lived in the building moved, in the summer of 2008, to Shomeriya, a failed left-wing kibbutz, together with some expellees from Atzmona. Their new community of Mirsham, in the northern Negev region, is not yet ready, and there is no word as to when it will be.

Shavei Darom, which was approved by the Cabinet, is located next to Nir Akiva, southeast of Sderot, though no direct road currently exists between Sderot and Nir Akiva. Residents hope that within four or five months, their pre-fab "caravilla" homes will be placed on the site. Construction of permanent homes will follow after that, at a date to be named later.

Kfar Darom was originally established in Gaza in 1946. The name is taken from the Talmud, which quotes Tannaitic sage Rabbi Elazar of Kfar Darom. It was destroyed by the Egyptians in the 1948 War of Independence, and was rebuilt by Israel after Gaza was liberated during the Six Day War - first as an IDF Nachal outpost, and later, in 1990, as a community that eventually numbered close to 100 families. It was destroyed, together with the other 20 towns of Gush Katif and four of northern Shomron, in the Disengagement of 2005.

Famous Kfar Darom members include Chana Bart, the Cohen family, and Rabbi Asher Mivtzari. Chana Bart was paralyzed in the lower half of her body in a terrorist shooting attack in 2002, and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Two years later - a day after Sharon's bombshell announcement of his plan to throw the 8,000 Jews of Gaza out of their homes - Chana and her husband Eliezer, head of the Nir Akiva core group, celebrated the brit [ritual circumcisio of their week-old son, naming him Amichai [My Nation Live Yisrael. The scene of Chana carrying her baby to the brit in a wheelchair marked a poignant moment in Gush Kaif history, and was immortalized in films prior to the expulsion.

Three children of the family of Rabbi Ophir and Nogah Cohen were seriously wounded in the famous Kfar Darom bus bombing of November 2000; two adults were killed, and the three siblings each lost their legs, or parts of their legs.

Rabbi Asher Mivtzari has been a leader in the struggle for Jonathan Pollard’s release and in the campaign to keep the issue in public consciousness.

Murderers of Rabbi Chai Killed By IDF, Security Forces

Malkah Fleisher
A7 News

General Security Services in partnership with soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed the murderers of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai. All three were convicted terrorists who had been committed to and later released from Israeli prisons. Chai, 45, was murdered by Arabs in a drive by shooting while chauffeuring his wife and one of their children in their family car, between Shavei Shomron and Einav.

The Israeli military operation took place on the evening of December 25, the Jewish Sabbath. PA head Mahmoud Abbas was not forewarned of the mission.

The homes of three men known to have taken part in the murder were surrounded by special forces units, who tried to arrest them. According to an army spokesperson, the men "refused to cooperate", rejecting calls to surrender. Troops subequently opened fire on the buildings.

Nader Raed Sukarji, a 40 year-old inhabitant of Shechem, was arrested in 2002 and suspected of being a top Al Aksa terror group brigade operative and participant in many terror attacks. He also prepared bombs and helped establish explosives factories in Nablus (Shechem). He was released from prison in January 2009.

Palestinian sources say Sukarji's wife was also injured in the operation, after her husband used her as a human shield while hiding in their house.

Ghassan Abu Sharkh, 39, was imprisoned by security forces in 1990. His brother, Nayef, was the head of the Tanzim terror organization's military wing in Nablus. Nayef facilitated several terror attacks until being killed by IDF forces in June 2004.

Anan Suleiman Mustafa Subih, 36, resident of Nablus, was an operative of the "Shuhada al-Aksa" brigade, which was involved in extensive Tanzim military operations as a cell of Tanzim in Nablus. The group was led by Nayef Abu Sharkh, until Nayef's death. Subih worked in trafficking weapons and supplies for use in terror acts.

Subih had recently been accepted to Israel's amnesty program for Fatah gunmen. His participation in Tanzim activity was a direct violation of that agreement.

In the process of attempting to arrest Subih, Israeli forces found 2 rifles and 2 guns hidden in the house. The weapons have been transferred to police laboratories to determine if they were the ones used to kill Rabbi Chai.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the IDF operation in Shechem, saying it would hurt the Palestinian ability to achieve stability and security. Terror organizations swore they would take revenge for the operation.

National Union chairman MK Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz demanded the indictment of the judges of the Supreme Court, for having released the men from jail who went on to commit the murder of Rabbbi Chai and other terror attacks. "[.. prosecute the Supreme Court justices who took part in the freeing of the murderers of Rabbi Meir Chai (may G-d avenge his blood), although they were warned that these men would return to killing," Katz said. "This is the only way we can bring the infamous releases of our people's murderers to an end."

CEO Meir Indor of the organization representing terror victims, Almagor, praised the army's mission, but is urging citizens to contact the Defense Minister's office and demand a cessation to the release and pardon of terrorists. He says the government should re-evaluate its relationship with the PA leadership, claiming that the PA leaks information, training, and arms to Tanzim terrorists on a regular basis.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"The Iranian Threat and More"

As I wrote last night, the three terrorists who had hit Rabbi Chai in the drive-by shooting have been killed by the IDF. Of the three:

Anan Suleiman Mustafa Subih, 36, an operative of the "Shuhada al-Aksa" brigade, was part of the IDF amnesty program for members of Al Aksa Brigades that took him off an IDF wanted list, in return for his pledge to no longer be involved in terrorism. As you can see, that "pledge" was worth just about as much as we might have expected it to be. I've always considered this program to be a colossal farce. The other two, Nader Raed Sukarji (a top Al Aksa operative who prepared bombs) and Ghassan Abu Sharkh, had both served time in Israeli prisons. Sukarji was released less than a year ago, and clearly wasted no time getting back to terrorism.


Now, is this purely coincidence?

This morning Netanyahu told the Cabinet:

"At this point, there's no deal [regarding Shalit], and it's not clear whether or not there will be a deal. If it comes to a vote, I'll bring it to the government, but we're not there yet, and I don't know if we ever will be."

We want to bring captives home, he said, but, "We need to minimize risk to civilians...We will not agree to expose our citizens to terror."

Cynic that I am right now, this is my take: Netanyahu, in spite of inner resistance to the principle of trading Hamas prisoners, was prepared to do it because of the public clamor for it. But the mood in the Israeli public has shifted with this latest terror attack. And now caution in advancing this deal seems prudent.

This, apparently in spite of the fact that Hamas -- according to reports-- is leaning towards agreeing to having some of the terrorists deported.

Please G-d, let it fall through.


The Netanyahu-Livni meeting with regard to a unity government will not take place until this evening, and so there is no word as I write. Several advisors are telling Livni that she needs a team of Kadima members negotiating on the issue -- but they in the main do not believe Netanyahu's offer is serious.

I have heard that those who want to leave Kadima promoted this so that when she refuses they have a good reason to quit the party. This is not beyond the realm of possibility.


Do I have this straight? I think so:

Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an American plane bound for Detroit was known by the US to have possible terrorist connections. But he was not on a "no-fly" list (gee, they have thousands on the list of terror-connections and cannot put everyone on the "no-fly list") and so was able to board the plane. Now, after the fact, they're checking into his Al-Qaida connections.

Well, I would like to comment on this from the perspective of my personal experience. I have encountered a tendency, when flying in the US, (particularly in Dulles Airport outside of Washington), to get pulled off for a heightened security check. When I have asked if the reason I'm being checked is because my destination is Israel, I'm told it is not -- this is simply random. Which I don't believe for a second, because I've seen the little red mark the clerk puts on my boarding pass before I pass through security.

The check does not stop me from flying. I'm no danger to anyone. But before I board, in these cases, among other checks, a little wand that detects chemical molecules is waved in my hand-luggage. In other words, it would seem that the technology to detect what this guy was carrying is out there, and being used with frequency. Certainly frisking him -- which requires no technology -- would have uncovered what he had strapped to his body.

And so now this question: Why wasn't there a little asterisk next to his name, a little note -- so possible in this age of computers -- that would tell security personnel for the plane: "Check him carefully before letting him on"?

Something is very seriously amiss.

Last night, I attended a significant talk by Professor Irwin Cotler, a member of the Canadian parliament and former Canadian minister of justice.

Speaking of the parallels between our current situation and 1939, he addressed the issue of the Iranian threat from multiple perspectives:

The Iran of Ahmadinejad, says Cotler, is a clear and present danger to Middle East stability, Israel and Jews more broadly, and its own people. Of great concern is the indifference and inaction of the international community with respect to these dangers, and the impunity with which Ahmadinejad is permitted to proceed.

He proposes an approach to Iran that is broad-based, and demands accountability of Iran with regard to all of the threats it currently represents:

1) Iran is defying the international community with regard to its nuclear development. It is in standing violation of UN prohibitions.

2) Iran has already committed incitement to genocide, as forbidden by the Genocide Convention.

3) Iran is a state sponsor of international terrorism.

4) Iran commits major human rights violations against its own people.

It is a mistake to focus only on the nuclear threat. This marginalizes the other threats, and allows Iran to proceed as if there is no international concern at these various levels. Engagement with Iran must deal with all of it.


Professor Cotler is working with some 60 international human rights lawyers, who will be releasing a petition very soon that will provide documented evidence of Iranian violations and propose actions to be taken. Members of this group will be visiting Western capitals -- 15 have been targeted -- in an attempt to energize specific actions against Iran.

Recommendations include comprehensive, calibrated and targeted sanctions:

a) Iran is currently in violation of five sets of UN resolutions, which are not being enforced. The start is the enforcement of these resolutions.

b) Gasoline sanctions: measures against those who export refined petroleum products to Iran, or facilitate such export.

c) Curbing of energy investments in Iran. This would include the energy infrastructure -- shipping, etc.

d) Include the Iranian Central Bank -- which is at the heart of Iranian financial dealings -- in financial sanctions. This has not been done yet.

e) International institutions must be monitored with regard to money laundering for Iran.

f) Companies that facilitate domestic repression in Iran must be sanctioned.

g) Sanction companies that do business with the Revolutionary Guard -- the most vicious and radical element in Iran and the one that now has control. The Guard must be put on terrorism lists.

h) Embargoes must be placed against technology and arms transfers to Iran.

i) Landing permission must be denied to the Iranian transportation industry -- planes and ships.

Note: The UN is serving as a third party in money laundering for Iran. Iran has been using a UN office -- The Asia Clearing Union -- to avoid US financial sanctions that forbid dealing with Iran.


These sanctions are only the beginning, however. Additional recommendations include these:

1) The eight precursors to genocide have already been identified as existing in Iran. In such a situation, the Genocide Convention calls for specific actions. HOWEVER, not one single signatory nation has undertaken these actions. They are not voluntary -- they constitute a legal obligation.

Says Cotler: "International legal responsibility is not a 'policy option.'"

The issue must be raised in the Security Council and an inter-state complaint must be brought before the International Court of Justice.

2) Interpol, the international criminal police organization, has a warrant out for the arrest of Ahmad Vahidi, the Iranian Minister of Defense, for his role in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But the world seems to be ignoring this.

3) It is important to provide solidarity with the Iranian opposition forces -- those challenging the government. We are not at a tipping point yet, but it may come, and they may in time overturn the current regime. They need international support.


Professor Cotler says there is no absence of remedy -- the problem is absence of action. We are witnesses to the crime of indifference. The moral deficiency of governments is not new, but it is painful none-the-less. Particularly since

I salute Irwin Cotler and all those he is working with for acting to change this situation.

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Ehud Barak’s Dismal Record
By Victor Sharpe

On Christmas Eve, Palestinian terrorists belonging to a gang linked to the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah organization murdered a young rabbi, firing seven bullets into his head in a drive by shooting.

The atrocity occurred in Samaria, the northern part of the so-called West Bank and was a direct result of the Israel Defense Forces removal of more roadblocks, perceived as yet one more Israeli gesture toward US President Barack Obama, who has pressured Israel to take “risks for peace.” ndeed every time Israel succumbs to requests from a U.S. Administration to provide one more in the endless procession of Israel goodwill gestures to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, more Jewish civilians perish at the hands of Arab terrorists.

The terrible irony is that some of those Arabs who perpetrate such murderous acts may well have been trained by American instructors creating a Palestinian security brigade, which is designed specifically to prevent such terrorism.

According to Israel National News, “Israeli soldiers recently removed the concrete cubes and metal gate that made up the roadblock north of Shechem, (Nablus) near Shavei Shomron, despite pleas by Samaria residents to the IDF not to remove it.

Israeli residents of Samaria reacted to the murder by saying: “The blood of the murdered man is on the hands of the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister, who have carried out a morally corrupt policy of turning the beloved into an enemy, and the enemy into a loved one. It is time to wake up from illusions for which Jews and their families pay with their lives.”

The ancient Talmudic saying from the Ethics of the Fathers sums it up. “…Those who are kind to the cruel, end by being cruel to the kind.”

The Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, does not seem to have ever taken this ancient wisdom to heart. This foolish removal of a security road block is but one more of his dismal acts. It would be instructive, therefore, to look back at some of his many errors in judgment.

On May 24, 2000, during Ehud Barak’s term in office as Prime Minister, Israeli troops withdrew from the “security zone” in southern Lebanon, ending 18 year’s of what had become known as the “Good Fence.”

Barak caved in to leftwing protests at Israeli military casualties and what the ever misguided Left termed the “purposelessness” of maintaining the 10 mile wide security strip that ran along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. On hindsight we now see how vital that zone was to Israel’s security.

But Ehud Barak had campaigned during his election for Prime Minister on a promise to bring the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) home from southern Lebanon. As Prime Minister he acted on his problematic promise and almost overnight the hasty withdrawal took place.

Many Israelis believe that Israel’s Christian Lebanese ally, the Southern Lebanon Army (SLA) was shamefully abandoned after giving almost 18 years of support to Israel’s efforts at protecting northern Israel as well as the Christian villages in southern Lebanon threatened by Islamic hostility.

Before the zone was created, the massacres of Israeli children by Yasser Arafat’s PLO infiltrators from southern Lebanon traumatized Israel. These atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs based in Lebanon occurred in the northern villages and towns including Avivim, Kiryat Sh’mona, Metullah and Nahariya. The security strip was created in order to protect Israeli civilians in the north of the country from such barbarous acts.

The foolish abandonment of the “Good Fence” became one more relic of Barak’s dismal record and led inevitably to the growing strength of Hezbollah, which quickly filled the vacuum left by the destruction of the SLA and the withdrawal of the IDF.

Barak had gambled that the withdrawal would boost Lebanese friendship towards Israel and that a mutually recognized border would encourage the creation of a strong Lebanese government and a cessation of Arab terrorism against the Jewish state. He could not have been more wrong.

Ehud Barak dealt a severe blow to Israel’s future security and embittered the lives of loyal Christian SLA soldiers who had fought alongside the IDF, many giving their lives, in protecting Israel’s northern border. The hasty rush to vacate southern Lebanon and the commensurate distress caused to past allies is not something Ehud Barak should ever feel proud of.

It was clear to most Israelis that the Lebanese army would not fill the vacuum and instead give the Islamist terrorists a golden opportunity to quickly occupy southern Lebanon and use the Muslim Arab settlements there as future bases for aggression against Israel.

Those fears have come true. Barak left the door open for Hezbollah, and now the Jewish state has an Iranian Islamist proxy armed with nearly 100,000 deadly missiles aimed at Israel’s civilian population centers. Not a very good legacy, Mr. Barak!

Now, acting as Defense Minister, he is creating yet again a situation, which is aiding and abetting Israel’s sworn enemies. His decision to send elements of the IDF to enforce a shameful, inhumane and humiliating freeze – at the behest of Barack Hussein Obama – on construction within Israel’s Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria is divisive and patently hostile to the Jewish communities there.

In the meantime, Mr. Barak is turning a blind eye to the feverish and illegal Arab building that is taking place everywhere throughout the territories and in East Jerusalem. And all has happened as a result of this freeze; this umpteenth Israeli concession in pursuit of a delusional peace with the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.

Predictably, Palestinian Arab Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, has reportedly upped the ante even more. He has essentially reneged on the so-called U.S created “Roadmap” by demanding Israel not only cease any building within the territories and East Jerusalem but accept that the Jewish state must withdraw to pre-1967 armistice lines before the Palestinians will talk peace.

These are the same borders that in places are only nine miles wide and which the late Israeli statesman, Abba Eban, once described as the “Auschwitz borders.” It is also said that when President George Bush was Governor of Texas, he flew with Ariel Sharon over the area, saw the narrow Israel border, and reportedly said: ‘Why in Texas we have driveways longer than that.”

We should remember that it was Ehud Barak who offered to arch terrorist, Yasser Arafat, practically all of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) along with East Jerusalem. This breathtaking concession was rejected by the Palestinian Arab leader for the simple reason that Arafat, just like his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, reject a state side by side with Israel: the Arabs want a state without an Israel.

Barak is alienating those young patriotic Israeli soldiers who are drawn from the religious seminaries and who are appalled at the orders to tear down Jewish homes and even synagogues if Barak deems they offend the Obama freeze.

These questions must be asked. In view of the apparent abandonment of the Roadmap by Abbas, will Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, respond by now abolishing the imposed freeze? Will he order Defense Minister Barak to end the distress caused to the Jewish villagers in Judea and Samaria? Or will he be forced, by the crushing pressure from the U.S., the EU, and the U.N., to keep the immoral freeze in place and, for the sake of his coalition, continue to placate Ehud Barak?

How many times must Israeli politicians be reminded that the Muslim Arabs will never accept a Jewish state – however tiny it might become – in land once conquered in the name of Allah?

Politicians like Ehud Barak are forever willing to inflict misery upon Jewish villagers and townsfolk rather than refuse the arrogant dictates of foreign leaders who endlessly indulge the oil rich Arab world by outdoing each other in their anti-Israel policies.

As a direct result of the removal of a security barrier on orders, presumably from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, yet another Israeli civilian has been gunned down by Palestinian thugs. Such idiotic attempts to placate Barack Hussein Obama, other western leaders, and the Palestinian Authority inevitably result in the slaughter of more Jewish souls.

This has been another decision Ehud Barak should never feel proud of. It is also another sad act in a dismal record.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance wrier and author of Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The Attempted Murder of the Jewish State.
Arflene Kushner

Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)

I begin with some important housekeeping notes. After years of sending out my postings regularly, this past week I ran into unfortunate (and exceedingly frustrating) transmission problems.

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I apologize for the necessity for this message and thank you for your cooperation. Hopefully, everything will run smoothly from this point.


The pain and the pride:

The funeral of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai was held yesterday, with thousands in attendance. What impressed me most were the words of his son, Eliyahu (I believe about 18 years of age), who said:

"I want to say to the youth – continue in my father's path. Father wanted faith, he wanted Torah study, he wanted prayers. He could not stand to see that there are no tefillin (phylacteries). He had to see all of the mitzvot (commandments). If you want to memorialize my father these are the things you should do. Not to beat up Arabs with sticks. We are human beings and we will not shoot them in the head for no reason. We are human beings, we are the youth of Samaria... Father would be happiest if he saw us studying.”

The absence of rancor and bitterness, the lack of desire for retribution, even in the face of fresh pain, seems to me extraordinary. The devotion is to the values taught by his father.


In this faith community, the belief is that the blood of the innocent will be avenged by the Almighty.

But I would add that we human beings also have accountability to the situation. To take an accounting of how we as a nation conduct ourselves. To make it impossible or near impossible for such senseless tragedies to happen again. To protect our people first, the desires and demands of others be damned. And to let the world know that the first priority of our nation Israel is the protection of the people of Israel.


And, in point of fact, the IDF has successfully tracked those responsible, and in the course the operation, which took place in Shechem (Nablus) three Al Aksa Brigades terrorists were killed: They were called upon to surrender and when they did not, they were fired upon.

The PA has condemned this (they didn't condemn the drive-by shooting). A spokesman for Abbas said with this Israel was torpedoing attempts by the US and the international community to resume negotiations.

A rather amusing statement, considering that Abbas is standing on his head to avoid coming to the negotiating table. The tactic that is being taken, of course, is to avoid coming to the table, but to say it is Israel's fault -- each time finding another reason why this is the case.


Khaled Abu Toameh touches upon this very matter in his analysis in yesterday's Post. Abbas, he says, "appears to have climbed a very high tree -- one that he finds it too difficult to come down from."

What Abbas seems most concerned about, says Abu Toameh, is his credibility:

"In the past year,his standing among his constituents was severely undermined because of his policy of zigzagging...

"Abbas's empty threats and zigzagging have hurt his reputation so badly that now he's being forced to play tough with Israel and the US. To demonstrate this uncompromising approach, Abbas most recently came up with a new condition for resuming the talks: That Israel and the international community recognize before-hand the 1967 boundaries as the official and final borders of the future Palestinian state.

"Abbas's aides in Ramallah say that he needs a 'major concession' from Israel before he returns to the negotiations...'If he succumbs and resumes the talks with Israel unconditionally, our people will throw him out.'"

One of the questions being asked by Palestinians, says Abu Toameh, is whether Abbas any longer has a mandate to negotiate on their behalf.

And it certainly appears that Abbas would just as soon avoid negotiations all together.


Tomorrow, there will be coalition talks between Netanyahu and Livni. The prime minister continues to refer to the serious times we face, speaking of "the importance of the hour." He has reiterated that he does not intend to redistribute portfolios, so that Kadima might be assigned some. (Although he has said that two Kadima members would sit in the Security Cabinet as ministers without portfolio.) In point of fact, if he attempted to take away portfolios already assigned within the coalition, he'd have a rebellion on his hands, and he knows it.

The betting here is that Kadima will not join the government. Netanyahu says he expects a prompt answer.


Also tomorrow, I hope to follow with some significant material about Iran.

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