Saturday, March 06, 2010

Mother celebrates son's Martyrdom death

"All mothers should sacrifice their child for Palestine"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Palestinian Authority TV news recently chose to feature a Palestinian mother promoting her son's death as a positive goal.

Upon learning of her son's death in an Israeli air strike, the mother explained that she had always hoped for her son's Shahada - death as a Martyr -- and recommended that other mothers likewise "sacrifice their child for Palestine."
The words of another woman, chosen by PA TV news for the pre-recorded news report, described how Palestinian society sees Martyrs as grooms. This is based on the Islamic tradition, promoted actively by the PA and Hamas, that Martyrs will marry 72 virgins in Paradise.

PA TV news report:
Mother upon news of son's death in an Israeli air strike: "We had always hoped for his [my son's] Martyrdom (Shahada), knowing he wanted to die as a Martyr (Shahid). Every time he went out, we would say to him, 'May Allah be with you.' We knew that he wanted to die as a Martyr. Praise to Allah, he sought Martyrdom, and he achieved it. My message to every mother is to sacrifice her child for Palestine."
Second woman: "By Allah, we welcome every Martyr as if he were a groom among us."

[PA TV (Fatah), Feb. 11, 2010]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented that these two ideas -- that death is a higher value than life and that Martyrdom death leads to a wedding between the Martyr and the virgins of Paradise -- have been promoted actively by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for years.

Palestinian schoolbooks teach children that aspiring to death is better than life:
"O heroes, Allah has promised you victory ... Do not talk yourselves into flight...
Your enemies seek life while you seek death."
"They seek spoils to fill their empty stomachs while you seek a Garden [Paradise] as wide as are the heavens and the earth...
Death is not bitter in the mouth of the believers. These drops of blood that gush from your bodies will be transformed tomorrow into blazing red meteors that will fall down upon the heads of your enemies."
[Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 16. Schoolbook currently in use in PA schools.]

A music video broadcast on PA TV from the year 2000 until as recently as Feb. 7, 2010, depicts a Martyr being greeted in Paradise by the Virgins all dressed in white. Click here to view.

The two mothers' statements in the PA TV news broadcast reiterate how successfully these messages have been transmitted to the Palestinian public. Palestinian Media Watch has documented many examples of parents celebrating their children's Martyrdom deaths.

On Jan. 1, 2010, as reported by PMW, a Hamas TV cleric described the six rewards in Paradise granted the Martyr upon dying.

1- The Shahid's sins are forgiven
2- He sees his place in Paradise and lives a full life of joy with Allah
3- He is protected from "the Great Shock" on Judgment Day
4- He is crowned with a crown of honor
5- He marries 72 dark-eyed wives
6- He will be able to intervene on behalf of 70 of his family members on Judgment Day, thereby ensuring them the reward of Afterlife

The cleric added: "One description of the Dark-Eyed: 'If one of the women of Paradise would look towards the earth, she would light up everything between heaven and earth.'

Friday, March 05, 2010

NU: Come Defend Jews in Historic Jerusalem

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

The National Union party called Friday for the public to come to historic Jerusalem on Saturday night to protect Jewish residents from Arab provocations. The public is invited to support Jewish families in the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood, immediately east of Highway 1, near the Tomb of Simon the Just. NU Members of Knesset Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, Aryeh Eldad, Uri Ariel and Michael Ben-Ari plan to visit the embattled residents themselves on Saturday after the Sabbath has ended.

"We won't leave these pioneers alone to face the violent protests of extreme anti-Zionist leftists and anarchists,” the MKs said. “We will all come on Saturday night to protect them.” The MKs will join residents of the neighborhood and other supporters in a prayer for Jerusalem's safety.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Arab residents of Shimon Hatzaddik and their supporters may hold a demonstration on Saturday night, despite violent outbursts during previous demonstrations. However, the court ruled that the demonstration should be held in a local basketball court, with only 300 people allowed to march through the streets of the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood.

Jerusalem Police had filed to put an end to the demonstrations in Shimon Hatzaddik, arguing that the demonstrations fan the flames of tension in an already “volatile” area, and that demonstrations in the streets compromise Jewish access to the Tomb of Simon the Just

At the end of Moslem Friday prayers at El Aksa, twenty policemen were hurt by rocks thrown by Arab worshippers. The police allowed everyone to leave the Temple Mount and were able to restore quiet. Five policemen needed medical treatment.

Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron

"The Wilder Way" - David Wilder
( Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

Introduction: International organizations declared Thursday, February 25, 2010 as 'Open Shuhada Street Day.' Shuhada, in Arabic, means martyr. This is, according to the Arabs, a road named in memory of 'martyrs' who have murdered Jews. The street's real name is King David Street, in honor of King David, who began his monarchy, the Kingdom of Judea, and later the Kingdom of Israel, in Hebron, over 3,000 years ago. Parts of this road have been closed to Arab traffic for security reasons. Gadi and Dina Levy were murdered on this road by a homicide bomber. Aharon Gross was stabbed to death on this road. Sixteen year old Eliya Meshulam was stabbed and critically wounded on the road. Six men were killed and twenty others wounded on the road in a major terror attack on this road. Two retired men were stabbed by an Arab terrorist on the road. Three young men had acid thrown at them on this road. Others were attacked, but escaped injury. The following document includes responses to claims against Hebron's Jewish community and the continued closing of King David Street to Arab traffic. The original FAQs are in a lighter font; my responses are in a black font, preceded by 'Response.'
The document is lengthy; if the reader prefers to skip certain questions and answers, it is still worthwhile to jump to the last few pages, depicting an official PA map ofPalestine.

1. The settlers say they only have 3% of Hebron. They say they’re not allowed to go to H1 or most of H2. Given that they are restricted from the vast majority of the city, why shouldn’t Palestinians be restricted from the tiny portion of H2 that the settlers claim?

Hebron is a city deep inside the Palestinian territories. Israeli settlements in any of these territories are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The issue is not that the settlers have only 3% of the city, but rather that they are controlling part of an occupied city.

H1, an area which consists of about 80% of Hebron, is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. H2, the remaining 20%, is controlled by Israel. Israeli settlers, who make up less than 1% of the population of Hebron, control 20% of the city, which is not only incredibly disproportionate but also illegal.

In order to allow the settlers to live in a small part of H2, the Israeli army exerts control over a much larger proportion of the city in order to secure a buffer zone for the settlement. While the settlers themselves do not travel around most of H2, the Israeli military does patrol the entirety of H2, thereby placing restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout this part of Hebron. If Israeli settlers were allowed to walk in all of H2, the Israeli military would likely control an even larger percentage of the city in order to keep them safe.

Although H2 is a relatively small portion of the city, it is Hebron's true city centre where the industrial and commercial zones, as well as the most important landmarks, are located. H2 is an important passageway between the northern and southern parts of the city. Therefore, restricting movement in H2 significantly affects the freedom of movement of all residents of Hebron.

1. Response:
a) Concerning H1 and H2: Israelis presently have access to three percent of Hebron. Arabs have access to 98% of Hebron. Jews are forbidden from entering H1. Arabs may travel freely between H1 and H2.

Concerning the city center: As can be seen above, Hebron city center is certainly not in H2. Arab Hebron is a large, thriving city, with continued construction, factories, businesses, markets, and all elements of metropolitan life. This area, much larger than H2, is certainly more conducive to businesses and markets; therefore the claim that H2 is actually the city center is false.
Concerning access to all areas of Hebron, Hebron's Arab population has access to over 98% of the city. All areas can be accessed without any major issues.

b) Israeli Settlements and International Law
(Government of Israel, Policy Guidelines, March 2001-
(See also:

The Historical Context
Jewish settlement in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory has existed from time immemorial and was expressly recognised as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations, which provided for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish people's ancient homeland. Indeed, Article 6 of the Mandate provided as follows:
"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use".
Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, while settlements such as Neve Ya'acov, north of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea and Samaria, the communities north of the Dead Sea and Kfar Darom in the Gaza region, were established under British Mandatory administration prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. To be sure, many Israeli settlements have been established on sites which were home to Jewish communities in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and religious connection with the land.
For more than a thousand years, the only administration which has prohibited Jewish settlement was the Jordanian occupation administration, which during the nineteen years of its rule (1948-1967) declared the sale of land to Jews a capital offense. The right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and the legal titles to the land which had been acquired, could not be legally invalidated by the Jordanian or Egyptian occupation which resulted from their armed invasion of Israel in 1948, and such rights and titles remain valid to this day.

International Humanitarian Law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
International humanitarian law prohibits the forcible transfer of segments of the population of a state to the territory of another state which it has occupied as a result of the resort to armed force. This principle, which is reflected in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, was drafted immediately following the Second World War. As International Red Cross' authoritative commentary to the Convention confirms, the principle was intended to protect the local population from displacement, including endangering its separate existence as a race, as occurred with respect to the forced population transfers in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary before and during the war. This is clearly not the case with regard to the West Bank and Gaza.

The attempt to present Israeli settlements as a violation of this principle is clearly untenable. As Professor Eugene Rostow, former Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs has written: "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there" (AJIL, 1990, vol. 84, p.72).

The provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding forced population transfer to occupied sovereign territory cannot be viewed as prohibiting the voluntary return of individuals to the towns and villages from which they, or their ancestors, had been ousted. Nor does it prohibit the movement of individuals to land which was not under the legitimate sovereignty of any state and which is not subject to private ownership. In this regard, Israeli settlements have been established only after an exhaustive investigation process, under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Israel, designed to ensure that no communities are established on private Arab land.

It should be emphasized that the movement of individuals to the territory is entirely voluntary, while the settlements themselves are not intended to displace Arab inhabitants, nor do they do so in practice.
 Repeated charges regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements must therefore be regarded as politically motivated, without foundation in international law. Similarly, as Israeli settlements cannot be considered illegal, they cannot constitute a "grave violation" of the Geneva Convention, and hence any claim that they constitute a "war crime" is without any legal basis. Such political charges cannot justify in any way Palestinian acts of terrorism and violence against innocent Israelis.

Politically, the West Bank and Gaza Strip is best regarded as territory over which there are competing claims which should be resolved in peace process negotiations. Israel has valid claims to title in this territory based not only on its historic and religious connection to the land, and its recognized security needs, but also on the fact that the territory was not under the sovereignty of any state and came under Israeli control in a war of self-defense, imposed upon Israel. At the same time, Israel recognizes that the Palestinians also entertain legitimate claims to the area. Indeed, the very fact that the parties have agreed to conduct negotiations on settlements indicated that they envisage a compromise on this issue.
Israeli-Palestinian Agreements
The agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians contain no prohibition whatsoever on the building or expansion of settlements. On the contrary, it is specifically provided that the issue of settlements is reserved for permanent status negotiations, which are to take place in the concluding stage of the peace talks. Indeed, the parties expressly agreed that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction or control over settlements or Israelis, pending the conclusion of a permanent status agreement.

It has been charged that the prohibition on unilateral steps which alter the "status" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is contained in the Interim Agreement and in subsequent agreements between the parties, implies a ban on settlement activity. This position is disingenuous. The building of homes has no effect on the status of the area. The prohibition on unilateral measures was agreed upon in order to ensure that neither side take steps to change the legal status of this territory (such as by annexation or unilateral declaration of statehood), pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations. Were this prohibition to be applied to building, it would lead to the ridiculous interpretation that neither side is permitted to build homes to accommodate for the needs of their respective communities.

It is important to note, that in the spirit of compromise and in an attempt to take constructive confidence building measures in the peace process, successive Israeli governments have expressly recognized the need for territorial compromise in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory and have voluntary adopted a freeze on the building of new settlements. In this regard, the present National Unity Government, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has officially declared that it will not build any new settlements, while remaining committed to the basic needs of the existing settlement communities (Government of Israel, Policy Guidelines, March 2001).

2. The Israeli military says that Palestinians are allowed to walk anywhere other than Shuhada Street. Is it really such an inconvenience to have one street closed to pedestrians?
It is not for the Israeli military to decide whether it is convenient or inconvenient for the Palestinians, yet this attitude of entitlement and legitimacy is the by-product of prolonged foreign occupation of a local population. The Palestinian residents of Hebron are not considered or consulted regarding whether or not the closure of their streets is in their security interest. Rather, the Israeli army makes decisions on their behalf and thus dictates the way Palestinians are allowed to live in their city. Shuhada Street is Hebron’s main street; traveling on it and crossing over it are essential to vibrant life and commerce in the area.

2. Response
First, Israel is not 'occupying a foreign city.' In 1967 Israel came back home to Hebron, where Jews had lived for hundreds and thousands of years prior to the 1929 riots, massacre and expulsion.
Second, it must be noted that Arafat and the PLO (PA) accepted the legitimacy of a Jewish presence in Hebron when he signed and agreed to implementation of the 1997 'Hebron Accords' which transferred some 80% of Hebron to the total control of the PA.
Third, let it be known that until the advent of 'peace' Hebron was an open city, the Jews and Arabs were able to access the entire city. That ended in 1997 when the H1 PA controlled area of Hebron was closed to Jews, despite the fact that according to the accords, Hebron was to be an 'open city.'
Fourth, unfortunately, since the advent of Oslo, Jews must now travel kilometers out of their way in order to reach various destinations, being that many areas are now 'closed to Jews' and 'open to Arabs only.'
The 'inconvenience' to Arabs in Hebron is miniscule, as compared to the distances Jews have to travel throughout Israel.

3. Wasn’t Shuhada Street closed as a response to terrorism?
No. Shuhada Street was initially closed to Palestinian shops and vehicular traffic in 1994 after the Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 and injured 150 Palestinians when he opened fire in the Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the Patriarchs) during prayers. The army cited fear of Palestinian revenge attacks as its rationale for closing the street. This main artery of the street and the former sight of the market place was reopened to traffic (but not commerce) in 1997 in accordance with the Hebron Protocol. In 2000, Shuhada Street was closed completely to traffic and partially to pedestrians. The street was effectively "sterilized" in 2002 by closing it off to all forms of all Palestinian movement.
How does the closure of Shuhada Street work legally?
It doesn’t. In 2004, Palestinians appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court about restrictions on their movement in H2. In November 2005, the State replied that Shuhada Street is open to all regular traffic, only closed to shops and vehicles, admitting that there were legal problems during the preceding years with the closure of areas all over Hebron without warrants. (Since 2005, the State has produced warrants to impose various restrictions of movement on 21 areas around the city.) In reality, areas marked on State and military maps as open to various forms of traffic and commerce are actually closed. A 2005 'Children of Abraham' video demonstrated that soldiers regularly prevent Palestinians from walking in areas that are indicated as open to traffic, and that some areas without any indications of closure on the maps are actually sealed with barbed wire and concrete blocks. A letter of complaint received a reply from the military in December 2006 stating that the street had been closed by mistake. The next Friday, the street was opened and on that Sunday, Palestinians were allowed to cross but only after being detained for two hours in both directions while international volunteers escorting them were arrested for disturbing the peace. The street was closed de facto by military orders and it was later revealed, via soldiers’ testimonies, that soldiers received orders to prevent people from wanting to be there. In 2007, the Supreme Court discussed the case again but the night before the decision was made the military unsealed the welding on the doors to homes on Shuhada Street and gave the families special permission to come out of their houses. They declared that by oral warrant from a General in the central command, the street is generally closed to Palestinian movement because all business and homes are closed anyways, therefore, there is nothing to see there.

Isn’t the policy of separation necessary to protect Jews from terrorism?
There is a real fear of terrorism which is supported by hundreds of successful and attempted Palestinian attacks on Israeli settlers, soldiers and police officers in Hebron. The separation policy responds to this fear by insisting that it is a necessary measure for protecting the Israeli settlers as long as they are inhabiting the center of the Palestinian city of Hebron. However, this security policy of separation reflects the political reality in the city, and not vice versa. As long as there is a policy that allows for Israeli settlement in Hebron, infringement of Palestinians' civil and human rights necessarily follows. Our focus is on bringing Palestinian life back to Hebron and we believe that there is no way to ensure a dignified life for Palestinians if the foreign presence in the city remains in control.

3. Response
In the early 2000s the Israeli courts required that the road be reopened to Arab traffic. As a result, during the first-stage, public transportation (Arab taxis) and municipal vehicles) were permitted to travel on the road. Pedestrian traffic was allowed on the entire road.
During this period of time, Israeli women were constantly accosted, physically and verbally, primarily by Arab teenagers and young adults. Arab taxis filled the road, causing constant traffic issues. However the road remained open.
Following the beginning of the second intifada in October, 2000, Arab terrorist forces began constant shooting attacks at the Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron from the hills surrounding the community, hills which were transferred to PA control as part of the Hebron Accords in January, 1997. Shalhevet Pass was murdered, and others were wounded. The Levi couple from Kiryat Arba was murdered by a homicide bomber who exploded next to them on the road.

Israeli security forces decided that the road must be closed to Arab traffic as a necessary security measure. According to continued examinations of the situation, they maintain this opinion.
It must be said: The 2nd intifada was a declared war by the PA against Israel, Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and in our case, against Hebron's Jewish community in particular. Had the war not begun, the street would probably still be open. However, there is a price for war. When shooting began, with the intention of killing and maiming Jews, in an attempt to again force us from our homes, Israel decided not to 'turn the other cheek,' leading to mandatory security measures, some of which are still enforced at the present.

4. Who gets to pray in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and when?
The Tomb of Patriarchs is divided into a Muslim and a Jewish section. On most days, each group is allowed to pray in its designated area, although access to the tomb is difficult for Palestinians, as they must pass several checkpoints before reaching the Ibrahimi Mosque. For ten days a year, each group has access to the entire site while the other group is not allowed to enter.

If the settlement isn’t there, will Jews (and other non-Muslims) be able to access the Cave of the Patriarchs?
For 700 years, non-Muslims were denied access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. They were only permitted to pray as high as the 7th step of a staircase on the Southern wall of the building. There is a justified fear that if Israel were not in control of the religious site non-Muslims would again be denied access. We believe in freedom of access to holy places all over Israel and Palestine for adherents of all religions. In any future agreement, we would call for the Palestinian Authority to allow open access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs as we would call for Israel to offer open access to holy sites within its borders.

4. Response:
1. Kamal Dweck, formerly deputy mayor of Hebron, declared that Ma'arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, should it ever again fall under Moslem control, would be accessible only to those of the Islamic faith.
Yesterday I spoke with Mustafa Barghuti, former minister of information for the PA, and asked him who may worship at this holy site. He refused to answer the question. (See:
Note that the structure above the authentic caves was built by Herod, King of Judea, 2,000 years ago, which is 600 years prior to the birth of Muhammad.
Also, Jews and Christians must undergo the identical security examinations prior to entrance to the site as to Muslims.

5. Would Jews be allowed to live in Hebron if it were under Palestinian control?
It would be ideal if under some future agreement neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority would restrict residence in cities or neighborhoods based on ethnicity or religion. The decision about the make-up Palestinian cities in the Palestinian territories would be made by the Palestinian Authority.

Clearly the answer to the question is NO. A Jewish presence in Hebron without the presence of an Israeli security force would inevitably lead to results similar to those of 1929.

6. Are the Israeli settlers of Hebron representative of the whole movement?
The Israeli settlers in Hebron are the extreme in the movement in terms of their disregard for Israeli law. The policies that protect and allow the expansion of their settlements are the same as those throughout the entire occupied Palestinian territories.

Why are there both Israeli police and Israeli soldiers in Hebron?
In the occupied Palestinian territories, there are two systems of law in operation. Israeli martial law is imposed on the Palestinians in the territories because they are under military occupation. The Israeli settlers in the occupied territories are under the jurisdiction of the much more advanced Israeli civil legal system, which applies also to Israeli citizens living in Israel. The Israeli soldiers in Hebron enforce martial law on the Palestinian population and the Israeli police in Hebron are mandated to enforce Israeli law on Israeli citizens in the city. Neither of the two separate legal systems, which are enforced by a single government over two different populations that live in the same physical space, have the interests of Palestinian security or legal stability in mind.

The Israeli Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for Palestinians, but regards itself as an Israeli court being used by Palestinians rather than the high court for all the residents of Israel and Palestine. Two illustrative examples:
· Stone throwers: An Israeli child throwing stones in Hebron is considered a criminal offense and falls under the Israeli legal system. Children under 12, however, are channelled through social services rather than through the court system. A Palestinian child throwing stones in Hebron is considered a security offense. The police investigates and then the case is tried in military court. Palestinian children are generally held in custody until sentencing, considered a danger to society. Children regardless of age can end up in jail.
· Protesters: Israeli and Palestinian protesters detained at the same demonstration undergo two very different legal proceedings. After arrest, Israelis must be brought before a judge within 24 hours in order to extend the detention. Palestinians arrested for the same offense can be held for eight days before seeing a judge.


7. How many soldiers and police officers are there?
There is a single battalion of 500 soldiers stationed in Hebron. There are about 140 border police, who control the Tomb of Patriarchs, and 30-50 police officers in the city.

For 600 Israeli settlers and 200 Jewish students in the city, why are there so many soldiers in Hebron?
Enforcing security regulations in a dense, urban area in the midst of a hostile population requires significant force. Because of the lawless nature of the inhabitants of the Israeli settlements in the city, these soldiers and police officers are sometimes engaged in protecting Palestinians and Palestinian property from settler violence as well.

Israeli security forces provide multiple services.
a) They offer protection to Hebron's residents against constant terror threats. (Since the beginning of 2010 thirteen Arabs have been apprehended with knives in the vicinity of Ma'arat HaMachpela, admitting that they intended to kill soldiers or civilians. One Arab attempted to stab an Israeli soldier and was shot and killed.)
b) They offer protection to over half a million people who visit Hebron annually.
c) They offer protection to Israelis throughout Israel. When Israel withdrew from the H1 – PA-controlled area of Hebron, Hebron terrorists planned attacks throughout Israel, killing, maiming and injuring scores of people. See Newsweek: The Jihad Soccer Club: They Were The Best Soccer Club In Hebron-

B’Tselem, The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Breaking the Silence, Children of Abraham, The Tel Rumeida Popular Committee, Yesh Din, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel

are all pro-active pro-Arab organizations, without any attempt at objectivity, impartiality or neutrality. See:

For a graphic timeline of the Jewish history of Hebron see:

For more information see: Frequently asked questions about the Jewish Community of Hebron -

In conclusion: the original FAQ document prepared, dealing with King David Street and the Jewish presence in Hebron was written by people who obviously reject, not only the Jewish presence in Hebron, but also throughout Judea and Samaria. It stands to reason that many of them also question the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael. This is obvious, as is written in the following question and answer: Why focus on Hebron? By building a focused campaign around a single issue in a particular locality, we hope to define achievable goals that will set a legal and political precedent for change in other areas of the occupied Palestinian territories as well.

According to most 'Arab-palestinian leaders' all of Israel is 'occupied Palestinian territory.' (See following pages: 'Palestinian Tourist Map' printed by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Note the borders of 'palestine' – and Tel Aviv.) The conclusions reached are obvious..

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Obama-American Public Disconnect on Israel

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, Executive Director of "Second Thought"

The findings of the February 19, 2010 Gallup poll put President Obama at odds with the US public, when it comes to attitudes toward the Jewish State, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Arabs, Muslims and Islamic terrorism.

For example, Israel maintains its traditional spot among the five most favored nations by 67% of the US public, despite Obama's moral-equivalence and even-handedness toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, in spite of his attempts to force Israel into sweeping concessions, and in defiance of the US "elite" media and academia. On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority is ranked – along with Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan – at the bottom of the list, favored by only 20% of the US public. According to an August 10, 2009 Rasmussen poll, Israel is ranked as the third most favorable ally (70%), preceded only by Canada and Britain. The low regard toward Egypt (39%) and Saudi Arabia (23%) demonstrates that Americans remain skeptical – at least since 9/11 - of Arabs and Muslims, even when they are portrayed by the media and the Administration as supposedly moderate and pro-American. Moreover, only 21% of adult Americans expect that the US relationship with the Muslim world will improve in a year, while 25% expect that it will get worse.

Apparently, US public attitude towards Arabs and Muslims has hardly been impacted by President Obama's highly-publicized outreach to Muslims, as demonstrated by his apologetic speeches at Turkey's National Assembly ("…the Islamic faith has done so much to shape the world, including my own country…"), at Cairo University ("Islam has always been a part of America's story…") and at the UN ("America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others…").

Historically, most Americans have been suspicious of Arabs and Islam, while identifying with Judeo-Christian values, Judaism and the Jewish State, as documented by a June 3, 2009 Gallup poll. By an overwhelming 80%:13% ratio, Americans believe that Muslims are hostile toward the USA. They subscribe to Samuel Huntington's "War of Civilizations," much more that Obama's June 4, 2009 statement, made at Cairo University: "America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam." Apparently, Obama's efforts have failed to uproot the legacy of the Islamic threat since the early 19th century war against Muslim pirates, through the 1983 detonation of the US embassy and the truck bombing of the Marine Headquarters in Beirut, the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, 9/11, the December 2009 Ft. Hood, Texas massacre and the Muslim terrorist attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner.

Since, at least 9/11, most Americans have held the Palestinian Authority in disfavor, 15% support and 73% opposed, according to a March 3, 2009 Gallup poll. A definite connection has been established between the Palestinian Authority and terrorism, pro-Saddam Hussein and Bin-Laden sentiments and anti-US sentiments. In contrast, support of Israel has remained steady at 63% with only 23% opposing.

Israel's good standing has recently been reflected on Capitol Hill. For instance, 344 House Representatives (79%) signed a November 4, 2009 letter, supporting Israel and condemning the Goldstone Report. On the other hand, only 54 House Representatives (12%) signed a January 27, 2010 letter, criticizing Israel and supporting Hamas.

Unlike dictatorships, which manipulate results of public opinion polls, democracies are shaped, to a large extent, by public opinion. Public opinion is especially critical in the US democracy, which features the constituent as its centerpiece. Therefore, US legislators are more attentive to voters than are other Western legislators. They take seriously the electoral battle cry: "We shall remember in November!" Hence, the sustained support of the Jewish State on Capitol Hill, which reflects the will of the American People, in addition to the role played by shared-values, mutual-threats and joint-interests in shaping the unique covenant between the US, the Jewish People and the Jewish State.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mere Rhetoric
Date: Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 5:38 AM

Mere Rhetoric
Link to Mere Rhetoric

Obama Giving Up On "Crippling" Iran Sanctions

Posted: 26 Feb 2010 07:22 AM PST
This is the second time in as many weeks that the State Department has, for reasons that are largely unfathomable, unilaterally taken an anti-Iran option off the table. Two Wednesdays ago Clinton told Al-Arabiya that military action wasn't even a consideration, which had the predictable effect of emboldening the mullahs. Now comes this announcement, which basically tells Tehran they don't have anything to fear from sanctions. Wonderful.

Remember during the election, when Obama's surrogates wouldn't shut up about "strong sticks and strong carrots"? The original liberal tagline was actually "real sticks and real carrots" but apparently "strong" focused better than "real" so that's what we got. Dennis Ross was even dispatched to reassure Jewish voters that the era of "weak sticks and weak carrots" was over. Then after the election Clinton went to the Hill and - trying to reassure Congresspeople who were nervous about Obama's appeasement - she explicitly promised to mobilize "crippling" international sanctions if outreach failed.


The United States said on Thursday it does not aim to impose crippling sanctions on Iran but rather to pressure the Iranian government to change course on its nuclear program while protecting ordinary people. "It is not our intent to have crippling sanctions that have... a significant impact on the Iranian people," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. "Our actual intent is... to find ways to pressure the government while protecting the people."

On the plus side, this is more honest than the last few months' of spin. Obama doesn't have the means to establish a robust international sanctions regime, even if he wanted to. The Iranians knew that and bragged about it. The pretense of credible sticks was meant for American audiences, the better to buy Obama breathing room for ever more engagement. Just because previous efforts had drawn humiliating responses didn't mean the approach was misguided. It was just that Iran's "unsettled political situation" was getting in the way!

But that only takes you so far. Eventually you need new excuses for why a crippling sanctions regime has failed to materialize. Giving up on the whole idea - that's certainly one excuse.

The other option was to continue unblinkingly asserting that Iran was still open for talks, no matter how many previous deadlines they had brazenly ignored. Again - remember "Obama says he wants progress with Iran by year's end?" If 2009 ended without a deal - the President intoned - then sanctions would be used "to ensure that Iran understands we are serious." Believable!
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show details 6:15 PM (17 hours ago)
people with titles and college degrees setting the truth on its head. you may as well get your news and opinion from the local palm reading salon. and,barry wraps up his rant with rudyard kipling

When It Comes to Analyzing the Middle East, We Live in the Age of Idiocy

Posted: 21 Feb 2010 03:41 PM PST Please subscribe and don't miss a single issue. By Barry Rubin
After more than 30 years of watching people write dumb things about the Middle East, I believe that in the last month I've seen more nonsense than at any previous time. The problem arises from ignorance, lack of understanding of the region by those presented as experts; plus arrogance, treating the region and the lives of people as a game (Hey, let’s try this and see what happens!), fostered by the failure of such control mechanisms as a balanced debate and editing that rejects simplistic bias or stupidity; as well as a simple lack of logic. To put it another way, I am reading material that simultaneously has no connection with the real world, is full of internal contradictions, and often seems deliberately tailored to misrepresent events in order to prove a false thesis.
Fortunately, this stuff has not done actual damage in the real world--much of it has not been implemented in policy--yet but may in future. As examples:
--The former director of for Gulf and South Asia affairs at President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council writes that al-Qaida will go away if a Palestinian state is created. (This article is so astonishingly bad in reshaping the facts and leaving out anything that proves the contrary point I kept thinking it was a forgery meant to discredit him. Alas, in these days people actually do write in this intellectually dishonest style all too often.)
--The most famous American columnist writing on the Middle East says the United States is responsible for radicalization in Saudi Arabia and Europe is to blame for Iran’s Islamist revolution;
--The New York Times publishes an op-ed by a U.S. Air Force analyst arguing that Iran getting nuclear weapons will be good for the U.S. position in the Middle East.
--France’s foreign minister in an interview explains that Israel's allegedly killing a Hamas terrorist in Dubai proves there must be a Palestinian state as fast as possible, regardless of whether Israel agrees, a bilateral peace treaty is made, or even that state’s boundaries are defined. Charmingly, he adds that he might be wrong, which suggests that if such a policy resulted in total disaster and a massive number of deaths he’d just give a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and say, “Tant pis.” (Too bad.)
--Numerous people who should know better, ranging from the president’s advisor on terrorism to the former senior director for transnational threats at the National Security Council, say Hizballah is now moderate even though it has not changed in any real way.
--A prestigious foreign policy blog carries an article from a professor at a Washington, DC, university calling for an end to any restrictions on imports by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip despite its openly declared intention of commiting genocide, repression of its own people, and clear goal of returning to war as soon as possible because this will supposedly strengthen the hand of the Palestinian Authority government which Hamas is trying to overthrow.
What are the main themes being constantly purveyed? Blame America, blame Israel, blame the West, say that radicals are moderates, insist that making concessions and holding dialogues with ideologically-directed extremists will work, blocking serious discussion of the Islamist threat, refusing to recognize the unalterably aggressive intentions of the Iran-Syria bloc, arguing that radical states and movements will act in a "rational" manner by following Western conceptions of what is in their true interest rather than their own world view.
What themes are there no room for in the prestigious foreign affairs journals and newspapers, with rare exceptions?
--The strategic disaster for Western influence that would ensue if Iran got nuclear weapons even if it never fires them.
--Revolutionary Islamism doesn't exist mainly to get revenge on the West but to seize state power and transform their own societies.
--The fact that the Palestinian Authority neither desires nor is capable of making a comprehensive peace with Israel no matter what the West does.
--The specific things that Israel wants in a peace agreement and why it needs them.
--That Syria, for very solid interests of its own, will never break its alliance with Iran.
--The situation of Arab governments which want the United States to be tough against Iran, Syria, and the Islamists, and are rapidly losing faith that it will protect them.
--The steering of Turkey toward as much of an Islamist state as possible plus as close an alignment with Iran and Syria as posible by the regime there which pretends to be moderate but clearly is engaged in transforming the country..
--Most bad ideas, crises, radical movements, and conflicts in the Middle East are locally generated and not just reflections of wrong Western policies or misdeeds.
--The West can do only a very limited amount to solve the problems of the Middle East.
Coming up with some clever gimmick, flattery, apology, concession, appeasement, or higher level of understanding isn't going to do it.
Should I link to each of the above-mentioned articles and refute them point by point? I’m not sure. On one hand, that would be intellectually and emotionally satisfying, but would it be worthwhile? I don’t like spending time and space talking about how someone else is so silly, how we are deluged with far more people speaking stupidity from power than speaking truth to it.
I can’t help but feel that it is better to use the chance to explain what's really going on and perhaps develop some accurate or useful ideas. But it is necessary to talk about some of the insanity just to give a sense of its all-encompassing scope. Only events will teach these people anything, like the completely ignorant New York Times writer who had no experience in the Middle East whatsoever, became an apologist for the Iranian regime, and then was forced by the stolen election and subsequent repression to rethink his position.
Rudyard Kipling wrote (is it still acceptable to quote Kipling?): IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating…., Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son! Kipling’s son of course was killed in World War One, which shows that no matter how well we perform we aren’t immune for suffering from the mistakes of others.
I rewrote it to suit modern circumstances: IF you can be accurate be when everyone with power writes nonsense and blames conflicts just on you…. You rarely will be quoted or be published, For speaking truth’s a foolish thing to do. What’s most important are the views in fashion, Repeating them makes certain your career. Just hope that history justifies your passion, The sole reward you’ll get, that’s what I fear.
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). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books.

Jerusalem’s Master Plan May Endanger United Capital

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Jerusalem’s revised master plan favors Arab housing, may lead to eliminating a Jewish majority in the capital, as well as dividing the city, according to a study by former journalist Nadav Shragai.

He quoted census statistics showing that in the past 40 years, the population growth of Arabs in the capital was nearly double that of Jews. Furthermore, Arabs make up 60 percent of the population in all the areas restored to the city. In a report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), the recently-retired writer for Haaretz said that the municipality’s revised “master plan” actually provides more housing for Arabs than the projected need, while leaving Jews with fewer apartments and homes than the estimated demand.

The master plan, unveiled in 2008, was vastly altered without involving the local planning commission and still is being debated. Its ramifications spell trouble for the long-standing policy of a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, according to Shragai’s research.

Planners for decades have projected a 70 percent majority of Jews in Jerusalem, but changing demographics have led to a change in numbers towards a 60-40 ratio of Jews to Arabs. Shragai noted that immediately after the 1967 Six Day War when eastern Jerusalem was restored to Israel, founding father David Ben-Gurion stated, “We must bring Jews to eastern Jerusalem at any cost. We must settle tens of thousands of Jews in a brief time. Jews will agree to settle in eastern Jerusalem even in shacks. We cannot await the construction of orderly neighborhoods. The essential thing is that Jews will be there.”

The changes in the master plan “jeopardized even the ‘modest’ demographic objective set for the year 2020 of 60 percent Jews and 40 percent Arabs,” the research report stated.

The revised plan provides for the “addition of housing areas for the Arab population from areas that were previously designated to remain green and open areas, while at the same time reducing housing areas for the Jewish population,” Shragai wrote.

He also pointed out that the absence of land registration arrangements for eastern Jerusalem will have a severe negative influence on planning and construction.

The estimated planned inventory of housing for the Arab population under the master plan meets requirements until 2030, while the inventory for Jews will not be enough even for 2020, Shragai wrote. His conclusion was based on previous experience that only a third of the inventory of approved building plans are actually built.

Shragai reasoned that there will be even less actual housing for Jews because the plans incorrectly assume that land can be expropriated for building in the neighborhoods of Gilo, Ramot, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev. “Given the current political and diplomatic reality, the plausibility that the state will use this planned inventory and will resume expropriating land, as it did in the past) is virtually nil,” according to the researcher.

He also warned against that the temporary decision to allow housing in many green areas that separate Arab sections within the city from those that are outside the municipal boundaries. The plan will reinforce the Palestinian Authority demand to recognize eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as a single political entity, Shragai explained.

“In other words, such contiguity can reinforce the Palestinian claim in favor of partitioning the city and turning eastern Jerusalem into the capital of a Palestinian state, if and when it is established,” he added.

The master plan’s housing proposals also endanger the connection between Jerusalem and the city of Maaleh Adumim (pictured), located several miles to the east, he concluded.

Shragai also said that the lack of registration arrangements is detrimental and that human rights groups, Jerusalem Arabs and Jews wanting to live in the entire city all agree on the need for it.

Swastikas and Ku Klux Klan Symbols during ‘Apartheid Week’

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Apartheid Week at Columbia, UCLA: As Israel Apartheid Week gets into full gear, pro-Israel activists at New York City’s Columbia University confronted anti-Zionists, who built a mock wall to represent the security barrier that Israel built to prevent suicide bombing and other terrorist attacks. Pro-Israel activists displayed signs, one of which included questions asking students how they would react if local areas were blown up by terrorists. On California campuses, anti Zionist student radicals erected mock gravestones of Gazans and Israeli border checkpoints, and several incidents of violent riots were reported.

Hate messages against blacks appear to be a byproduct of the tolerance of hate towards Jews and Israel. San Diego police are investigating the appearance of crudely-designed Ku Klux Klan white hood on a statue outside the main library on the University of California campus. Officials said the incident was intended to offend black students.

Five hate attacks were reported last month, including the spraying of a swastika on the door of a dormitory room where a Jewish student resides. One university official, Sherry Atkinson, said that economic uncertainty might be a source of the hate.

Student government leaders at the university, where a dozen anti-Zionists were arrested by campus police last month for silencing visiting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, called for mandatory campus-wide “diversity training” to stem further hate messages.

Diploma Returned

In Canada, one graduate of the University of Toronto, which is hosting Israel Apartheid Week, returned his degrees, Melanie Philips wrote in the London Spectator. She reported that Howard Rotberg wrote the university, “We have now reached a situation where various student groups, such as the Muslim Students Association, are being funded by radical Islamist groups, and where various University departments across the ‘free world’ are becoming beholden to radical Islam due to financial funding from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates."

“I feel such shame to have been associated with a University that feels that its facilities must be given to those who would destroy our freedoms, and one which fails to understand that tolerance is a two-way concept.”

Swastikas also in California, Florida

Southern California police also are searching for vandals who carved an 8-foot by 8-foot swastika on a country club putting green. Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe told the Los Angeles Times, "The physical damage to the golf course may be repaired already, but the lasting damage that crimes like this leave on a community can be far more devastating. This vandalism is unacceptable hatred."

In Florida, a 21-year-old man and three 17-year-old youths were arrested for more than 100 incidents of spray painting expletives, racial slurs and swastikas on garage doors.

'Arabs may have targeted Mabhouh'

Hamas man: Jordanian, Egyptian agents tracked terror chief before murder.

Arab countries may be complicit in the January 19 assassination of Hamas terror chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Hamas sources said on Tuesday, according to various reports.

Citing a report by Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Reuters quoted Hamas official Mahmoud Nasser as saying that Jordanian and Egyptian intelligence agencies had probably tracked Mabhouh prior to his assassination. Nasser told the newspaper that there was evidence showing that Mabhouh had been targeted by moderate Arab countries because he had handled sensitive information concerning the activities of Hamas and other Islamist elements. He added that that assassination may have been carried out earlier than planned.

According to the newspaper, Nasser is in charge of Iran's ties with Hamas and had worked closely with Mabhouh prior to the latter's death.

Additionally, in an interview with Hamas's Al Aksa radio station from Damascus, Nasser confirmed Israeli claims that his boss had supplied weapons to Palestinian terrorists.

Nassar said Mabhouh "never stopped thinking about how to fight the [Israeli] occupation by supplying quality weapons to the Palestinian fighters. "

The aide also described how al-Mabhouh celebrated killing two Israeli soldiers in the mid-1980s by standing on one of the corpses.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, The National reported that Dubai police requested FBI assistance in investigating the assassination of Mabhouh.

The UAE-based English-language paper reported that the US investigators will be charged with probing the ties between the suspects which have been named in the murder and their prepaid credit cards, most of which were issued by the same Iowa bank, Meta. The FBI has also been asked to find links between the alleged assassins and the Israeli Mossad.

According to the report, the FBI neither confirmed nor denied whether any such request had been made.

The National also noted a business link between Payoneer, the Paypal-esque company which had issued the credit cards, and Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm. Moshe Mor, one of Greylock's founders, was reportedly an officer in the IDF's military intelligence branch.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Responding to Anti-Israel Apartheid Week

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

The annual climax of international anti-Israel propaganda, Israel Apartheid Week, has begun, and the Jewish Agency is stepping up its response on U.S. campuses.The anti-Israel campaign is centered around university campuses throughout the United States, and the Jewish Agency is using it as a trigger to greatly increase its force of PR speakers during the course of this year.
Israel Apartheid Week, accusing Israel of behaving towards Arabs as South Africa did towards blacks, features not only lectures at universities, but also public events and demonstrations in Europe and North America.

The Jewish Agency is interested in college graduates with experience in education and hasbarah (Israel advocacy). Together with the on-campus Hillel organizations, they are to bring Israeli perspectives to students, hold Israeli cultural events, initiate visits to Israel in the framework of programs such as Discovery, invite Israeli speakers to the campuses, and the like.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky denies the very premise of Israel Apartheid Week. “The comparison between Israel and the apartheid regime in South Africa is totally groundless,” he said, “and is an example of modern anti-Semitism [whose purpose is to] demonize Israel. With our enemies doing everything they can to distance young Jews abroad from Israel, the objective of the Jewish Agency is to bring them closer to Zionism and Israel, and to build up their Jewish national pride and solidarity.”

Sharansky noted that the Agency has “long identified American campuses as a main front in our enemies’ war against Israel and Jewish national awareness, and therefore we will double in the coming months the number of emissaries on campus dealing with hasbarah.”Sample information for hasbarah can be found here.

"Fighting Back"

Arlene Kushner

Our ability to fight back against the multiple lies and growing number of libels with which we are confronted is extremely important. And the fact that indeed we are starting to fight back gives hope.

See the StandWithUS response to Israel Apartheid Week via this link (with thanks to Andrew B. for calling it to my attention):
Yes, there sure is apartheid out there, but it isn't in Israeli society -- it's built into many Arab societies. Societies where non-Muslims are unwelcome and women have vastly inferior status and are sometimes victims of such horrendous acts as "honor killings" (murder of a woman by family members because she "compromised" the family's honor by engaging in sex while single, consorted with "undesirable" men, or otherwise rejected Islamic mores).

If you have the stomach, see further important information here:

Among the nations and areas where honor killings are practiced:

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, the Gaza strip and the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria, Gaza, Jordan, Turkey, and Iran. In Jordan alone, says Islam-Watch, every two weeks a woman is killed in the name of family honor.

Of course, where there are Muslim populations in other nations, honor killing occasionally occurs as well. Every so often there is such a case among the Israeli Arab population here. In 2007, a Muslim father in Canada strangled his daughter because she wouldn't wear her hijab. In 2008, an Egyptian in Texas shot his two daughters because he was upset with their adoption of Western life style, including dating of non-Muslim boys. In 2009 there was the notorious case of a Muslim man in Buffalo NY who had succeeded professionally in TV but ended up beheading his wife.

Such horrific acts are made possible because of a culture that says that the woman is subjugated to the control of the men in her life -- father, brother, husband.

An article in Middle East Quarterly explains that such honor killings are not just domestic violence:


You may remember: I wrote at the time of the Jerusalem Conference that Netanyahu advisor Ron Dermer said we must fight back this way -- via a massive offensive campaign that tells it like it is, and helps "pro-Palestinian" liberals and progressives understand what an affront to the values they hold dear -- equality for women, free speech, freedom of religion, etc. -- many of the Muslim societies truly represent.

This is no time for political correctness. It's time to fight back by simply exposing the truth.

From Women Against Shariah ( :

"It is our position that shariah [Islamic] law imposes second class status on women and is incompatible with the standards of liberal Western societies and the basic principles of human rights that include equality under the law and the protection of individual freedoms. The shariah code mandates the complete authority of men over women, including the control of their movement, education, marital options, clothing, bodies, place of residence and all other aspects of their existence. Further, it calls for the beating, punishment, and murder of women who don’t comply with shariah requirements."

Apartheid, is it? Please, share this information broadly.


It's good, also, I think, to be able to laugh (when laughing is possible). Some of the material that comes out of the Arab world is so ludicrous that it lends itself to lightheartedness. I'd already seen this piece -- from Egyptian TV, provided, with translation, by MEMRI -- but after Purim it seemed worth sharing (with thanks to Phil B. for re-calling it to my attention). It is all of 3.5 minutes long; you'll get to the "punch line" after less than a minute and a half, but keep watching:


I believe that the addition of the Machpelah and Kever Rachel to the list of Israel's heritage sites also represents a way -- a different way-- of fighting back. Yes, Prime Minister Netanyahu had to be "nudged" into doing this by right wing members of the government and Knesset. Whether he knew it was the correct thing to do, but lacked the backbone to do it until he received encouragement (these sites were added at the last moment), or whether he did it reluctantly for political reasons, I cannot be sure. I tend to think he knew.

At any rate, he did it. So that we've made public announcement regarding our heritage and what we treasure.

The backlash has been enormous and does a great deal to expose the true nature of the Palestinian Arabs (not to mention left wing non-Arabs). It's worth looking at this a bit more closely.


There are two aspects to this fight.

One, quite simply is with regard to what the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters assume (erroneously) would be the final borders of Israel were negotiations for "peace" to be successfully completed. The assumption is that we would retreat behind the 1967 lines, which were essentially temporary armistice lines. Now there is great alarm that (Baruch Hashem!) this is not going to happen. We've had the audacity to declare a significant attachment to sites beyond that line.

But there is another side to this, that relates very much to the entire "apartheid" theme. In particular is it the case with the Machpelah in Hevron. The Machpelah contains the tombs of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, with the exception of Rachel -- these Matriarchs and Patriarchs are sacred to Muslims as well as Jews. (Or, technically, at least Abraham, who fathered Ishmael, said to be the ancestor of the Arabs.) And, indeed, although the site is under Israeli control, it contains an area for Muslim worship as well as for Jewish worship. We share.

This sort of sharing runs contrary to the mindset of the Muslims. They are absolutist in their need for control -- what Bernard Lewis calls triumphalist. We say that the good people of all faiths have a place in the world to come. Muslims say it's Islam or nothing. Thus, there would be no room in an Muslim-controlled Machpelah for Jewish prayer. (As was the case for 700 years when the Machpelah was under Muslim control.)

Given a different mindset, it could have been so simple: The Palestinian Arabs, instead of turning violent, might have said, "Look, we expect this to be within our state some day -- your attachment to this doesn't change that expectation. But don't worry, we know this is a sacred site for you and we'll be sure you have access."

But the Muslim mind does not work this way. If there is Jewish attachment to the site, for them it automatically compromises their control. When so many are screaming that Israel is apartheid, this truth, too must be exposed.


What I'm seeing (is it wishful thinking?) is that some tentative steps are being taken to undo some of the enormous damage that has been done since Oslo, with regard to always appeasing the Arabs, always seeing their side with fear of asserting our positions. This is spurring some very necessary debate within our own society.

Speaking at the Knesset today, Netanyahu said:

"These sites are part of our heritage. How is it possible to leave them out?..."We are not here by chance. We are here because we have a deep, basic connection to the land, which has continued for almost 4,000 years."

At some level it is perhaps irrelevant what motivated this statement -- internal politics or deeply held conviction. The fact is that he said it, and it has been heard.


One of the people I've admired as having courage with regard to taking stands is Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. If you insist that I take down a Jewish residential building in Silwan, he told legal authorities, then I will also take down dozens of Arab homes in the area that were illegally built. This was a hot potato that no one wanted to touch until now.

Barkat developed a plan for the area of Silwan known as Gan Hamelech (King's Garden or, in Arabic, Al Bustan), which was never zoned for housing. Residents would be relocated in new apartment buildings and the area where their illegal homes had been would be turned into a national park, complete with shops, galleries and a community center at its periphery.

You can see the municipal development plan for the area here:


Barkat was to initiate this plan at a press conference yesterday. But only hours before, Prime Minister Netanyahu called and asked him to hold off and spend more time getting all residents of the illegal housing on board before proceeding. Barkat had little choice but to agree, but declared confidence that it would all work out in the end.

Netanyahu, according to a release from his office, declared that he had no intention of interfering with municipal affairs, but was concerned that "interested parties" were eager to stir up a controversy, and present a "distorted" picture of the situation. Translation: I've got my hands full with the rioting because of the Heritage sites, let's not give the Arabs and their supporters another excuse for violence, with claims that we are pushing Arab residents of Silwan out of their homes.


For the record: Silwan, in eastern Jerusalem, is outside the walls of the Old City, along the Kidron Valley and on a slope opposite the City of David.

silwan, east jerusalem by Rankin Mike.


Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, writing for, has expressed the opinion that a new wave of Palestinian Arab violence is growing more likely. He, however, addresses reasons for this that I had not:

"The Palestinian Authority is once again trying to divert attention from its problems at home, and the best way to do this is being escalating tensions with Israel - the Palestinian Authority’s policy since its inception after signing the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.

"To distract attention from charges of financial corruption and embarrassing sexual scandals, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has stepped up its anti-Israel rhetoric. Allegations of 'ethnic cleansing,' 'destruction and desecration of Islamic religious sites,' 'apartheid,' 'racism,' 'land theft' and 'conducting medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners' are directed every day toward Israel by Abbas and his top officials and spokesmen.

"These charges are often backed up by threats to launch a 'third intifada' or to resume suicide bombings against Israel."


Speaking of Abbas...he has just been given a way to climb down from that tall tree where he found himself stuck. His problem was that -- confident that Obama would support him -- he had insisted that his people would not sit at the negotiating table with Israel until all building past the Green Line was frozen, including in Jerusalem. But Obama ended up accepting a partial freeze and there was Abbas, floating in the breeze.

But now, enter the Arab League, which has just met in Cairo. They have given Abbas the go-ahead for four months of indirect negotiations with Israel -- with the US doing the shuttle diplomacy ("proximity talks" it's being called). This gives Abbas his needed cover -- especially as no one expects anything to come of this. It's an attempt to make Abbas appear no longer obstructionist, with the onus on Israel.

All in all, this smells very bad indeed: an attempt to trap Israel, as I see it.

It was made clear that this would not be an open-ended process. But even with the best of intentions, what could be accomplished in just four months? And the League made it clear that these four months of indirect talks could not become direct talks unless Israel first froze all "settlement" construction.

From the statement read by Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa: "Despite the lack of conviction in the seriousness of the Israeli side, the committee sees that it would give the indirect talks the chance as a last attempt and to facilitate the US role..."

Aren't they great guys, giving the negotiations a chance, and trying to help Obama, in spite of the (metaphorical) roadblocks Israel continues to erect?

Moussa indicated the expectation that even the indirect negotiations would fail if building wasn't stopped. Why that would be (other than because of Arab obstinacy) is not clear. If those talks did fail, the Arabs would then call for an emergency Security Council meeting to address the Arab-Israeli conflict and would ask Washington not to use its veto. A threat? Precisely what would the Security Council be asked to do?

A watch and see situation of the first order.


Of course these talks will fail. First because -- as you've undoubtedly read a thousand times already -- the minimum the Arabs will accept far exceeds the maximum Israel will give. And then, because Abbas doesn't want a deal in any event.

This is how Abu Toameh put it:

"...Abbas is no fool. He knows that even if he were to sign a peace agreement with Israel, he would never be able to sell it to the Palestinians, let alone implement it when Hamas won’t even allow him to return to his home in the Gaza Strip.

"...Abbas is currently searching for ways to avoid the pressure from home so that he will be able to hold on to power for as long as possible. And he has clearly discovered that the best way to survive is by directing the heat toward Israel."


see my website

For the Jews of the world its once again 1938

The Jews Of Shushan (Persia) (apx. 550 BCE)



The story of Purim, as related in the Megillat (book of) Esther, is the bridge between the destruction of the First Temple (apx. 586 BCE and the building of the Second Temple (apx 520-515 BCE with the return of the Jews from exile in Babylonia. Interestingly, the eastern gate to the Temple Mount is called the Shushan Gate, as if to symbolize that the path to the future Temple goes through Shushan. The feast of Achashveirosh in Shushan was a low point in Jewish history. The Jews of Achashveirosh’s kingdom were so deep in exile mentality that they actually reveled and feasted at the Persian mega-party, despite the fact that the (kosher) food was served on the holy vessels of their destroyed First Temple. But, this low point was actually the first hint of future salvation.
The marriage of later Queen Esther to Achashveirosh led to the birth of Darius, who would eventually allow the reconstruction of the Second Temple to be completed.

Who were these Jews of Shushan? They were our forefathers, exiles from Eretz Yisrael. They were despondent after 70 years with no redemption in sight, as the Persian king defiled the treasures of the Temple. They lived at his mercy, thrown a few “kosher” royal crumbs at the year-long banquet that celebrated their defeat — unaware of the humiliation, and groveling for acceptance. But, one was not subservient. He was Mordechai the Jew, leader of the Jewish community. He would not attend the banquet, nor would he bow to the prime minister, the evil Haman.

Mordechai’s behavior frightened the masses. In their hearts, they agreed with him and admired him, but they did not follow him openly. Following an established pattern, they preferred the “safer” course of action: “Do not ruffle the king’s feathers; you will endanger us.” “Let us remain as slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” Today the exact cowardly equivalent is “Give them land for peace; give them whatever they want.”

The Jews who offered gold for the golden calf later contributed gold to build the Mishkan. (The Tabernacle is known in Hebrew as the Mishkan. It was a portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Its elements were made part of the final Temple in Jerusalem about the 10th century BC).

It was all a question of leadership. Haman did not fret over the political aspirations of his subordinates. He was not troubled by political opposition or by rivals in the court. No, Haman worried only about Mordechai — Mordechai the Jew. Mordechai did not bend. He was prepared, with his agent, Esther, strategically placed in the king’s palace. With self-sacrifice, he and Esther waited. Haman’s evil decree threatened all the Jews of the kingdom, all the lands from Hodu to Cush, with no place to run. Fearing for their lives, the Jews of Shushan rallied behind Mordechai and Esther providing them with the support that they needed. And, for these miracles, the story of Purim highlights the eternity of the nation of Israel.

We are currently experiencing another period of darkness and despair. People may think it’s the year 2010, but it’s actually 1938 — with one major difference. Then, it was the Jews of Europe who had become de-legitimized. Now, it is the State of Israel that the world is de-legitimizing — putting the entire Jewish world in deep danger.

The solution is authentic, faith-based Jewish leadership for Israel. Manhigut Yehudit (the Israel political party of Moshe Feiglin) is building that Jewish leadership. Our job today is to make people aware, and to prepare ourselves to lead. If we persevere, we will have the support and tools to step in when the time is ripe. Then, when God deems fit, we will be poised to take the leadership reigns and bring the Jewish nation back from Shushan to Jerusalem — to itself, its God, and its Jewish destiny. True Jewish leadership will not bow to the Hamans of the world.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jerusalem Mayor's Plan: Relocate Arab Residents of King's Garden

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to publicize his new plan to deal with the hundreds of Arab squatters in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood in the King’s Garden area. Over the past 20 years, approximately 88 illegal Arab houses have been built in what had been a tree-filled area with no structures – purposely kept that way by the previous Ottoman-Turkish and British governments. Ironically, only during the period of Israeli rule has the uniqueness of the area been desecrated by gradual pirate Arab construction.

The King’s Garden is the area below the City of David, also known as Silwan, at the southern entrance to the Kidron Valley. It is mentioned in the Books of Kings, Jeremiah and others.

Mayor Barkat's plan calls for the retroactive approval of many of the illegal houses, the granting of land to the other illegal squatters for the construction of new and larger houses, and turning much of the King's Garden area into a green area, dotted by two small hotels. The goal is to preserve the area as a historic treasure. Update, Tuesday afternoon: At Prime Minister Netanyahu's request in light of strong Arab opposition to the plan, Barkat has agreed to suspend it for now and continue negotiations with the Arab squatters.

Four Responses on Army Radio, Including Three From the Left

Army Radio made sure to bring some strong Arab responses to Barkat’s plan. Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said that Barkat is “behaving like a pyromaniac, igniting fires and tension in eastern Jerusalem,” while the Mukhtar of Silwan said, “The residents are not at fault that their buildings are illegal; it’s rather the municipality’s fault for not granting permits… If Barkat implements this plan, he will begin a major war in eastern Jerusalem.”

A third response was elicited from the radical Jewish Peace Now organization, which accused Barkat of trying to Judaize the eastern areas of the Holy City and of preventing any future compromise between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.

Army Radio did bring one nationalist response, that of Likud party city councilman Elisha Peleg. He said that granting land to the squatters is a way of “rewarding law-breakers” and that their illegal structures that cannot be approved must be razed before any arrangements are made.

Though the municipality has occasionally razed illegal structures in Silwan and the King's Garden, the situation has basically been ignored over the years. Former Mayor Uri Lupoliansky formulated a plan to deal with the problem, but it was shelved in the wake of heavy international pressure. The current plan is likely to face the same pressures, or more.

The issue has come to the fore because of instructions issued by the State Prosecution to demolish the one unapproved Jewish structure in the neighborhood, the 5.5-story Beit Yehonatan. Barkat has taken a strong stand, saying he would not demolish a Jewish house while the illegal Arab structures remain standing. .

Syria willing to consider phased Golan pullout

Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

Syria is willing to consider peace and gradual normalization with Israel, according to Gabrielle Rifkind of the Oxford Research Group, who met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in December. Speaking with Haaretz over e-mail, the conflict resolution specialist said that following an Israeli withdrawal from half the territory it holds on the Golan Heights, the two states would declare an end to the state of enmity between them as a first step. According to Rifkind, who met the minister along with a group of conflict resolution experts, Muallem suggested that Syria was prepared to consider a phased approach to the return of the Golan Heights.

"There could be stages of withdrawal, the timing of which could involve a form of normalization," he reportedly said. "Half of the Golan could lead to an end to enmity; three quarters of the Golan, to a special interest section in the U.S. embassy in Damascus: a full withdrawal would allow a Syrian embassy in Israel."

Rifkind, who is the director of the Middle East Program at Oxford Research Group and who traveled to Damascus with a delegation who had conversations with the Syrian foreign minister over a period of time, recently published an article in the Guardian on her last visit there. She says that Muallem stressed that Syria was serious about peace over the Golan Heights.

But he also said that "for peace-making, Israel needs to be ready to recognize that Syria is entitled to every inch of the Golan, but we wish to engage in talks". "For us," he added, "the land is sacred and a matter of honor."

The Syrian foreign minister also emphasized the role of Turkey as third party mediators, as they have already begun working on the issue of defining the 1967 border. This line has never been agreed and the unresolved issue is the demarcation of the line on the water between Syria and Israel, in particular who would control the Lake Kinneret shore.

In talks during the tenure of Ehud Barak as prime minister, the idea was floated of establishing of an expert committee that would draw the border along the eastern shoreline of the lake.

Muallem said Turkey dealt fairly when mediating talks while Ehud Olmert was prime minister and Damascus does not wish to see their neighbor replaced. He said that despite internal dissent, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer had been sent to Turkey to try and repair the relationship.

He told Rifkind that "Syria does not see direct talks taking place through Turkey, but Ankara could play a part in devising a formula for the demarcation line".

He added that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had felt cheated because they had been close to completing the delineation of the border when Israel launched its attack on Gaza.

The next stage, Muallem said, "would entail direct talks with America to address the security concerns. The key issue here is U.S. flights over the Golan in order to provide security".

When asked about a change of relationship with Hamas and Hezbollah, he said that it will not negotiate any change in its relationship with Hezbollah and Hamas until after the Golan is returned. "Key questions, such as Syria's support for Hamas, Hezbollah and its policy to Iran - would only be answered after withdrawal," he said.

Rifkind told Haaretz that in the assessment of the group that met with Muallem "this is particularly hard for Israel to swallow. This is because Israel believes that Syria plays an active role in providing passage for Iranian weapons to these groups. Syria has also recently been involved in the secret transfer of mobile surface to surface Syrian-made 250 kilometer missiles to Hezbollah. It seems that one of the tragedies of the region is that an outstretched hand for peace-making coincides with increased military pressure, and this is seen to be the route to the peace table."

She added that making peace with Syria would not be easy but could pay off in the long run.

"From a conflict resolution perspective, reaching out to Syria will involve bold steps, and experience would suggest that if Syria and Israel managed to establish an agreement on the Golan, the view from the leadership may be significantly different," she said. "There could be a potential role for Syria as a mediator between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah which could drastically improve the chances of a long-term truce - or even a permanent resolution - between these parties."

Comment: In terms of human behavior, this is absurd for Israel to consider. How about, Syria you declare an end to hostility and establish a free trade zone on the eastern one third of the Golan? Next declare yourself no longer an ally of Iran, throw out Hamas and Hizzbollah, close all of their offices, consume their bank assets and 40% of Golan is considered neutral territory. Demonstrate this for 10 consecutive years and additional options may be possible. In other words, we, the individuals now living on the Golan, we, the people who have developed the Golan and invested billions of shekels control the negotiation, not the other way around.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Northern Tinder Box

Jonathan Spyer *
February 28, 2010

The war of words is continuing. The latest salvoes were fired last week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and his Lebanese ally and client Hassan Nasrallah. Ahmedinejad reportedly told Nasrallah that if Israel attacks Hizballah, the response should be sufficient to lead to the closure, once and for all, of the Israeli 'case.' In the same week, Nasrallah promised attendees at a 'Resistance Martyrs Day' celebration that his movement would target Israel's infrastructure in the event of further hostilities. The Hizballah leader mentioned airports, factories and refineries as possible targets Hizballah second in command Naim Qassem joined in this week, describing Israel as 'worse than Nazism,' and the 'leader of international crime under the sponsorship of the U.S. and major world powers.' Qassem reiterated his movement's rejection of any diplomatic option vis a vis Israel, saying that "What was taken by the force of occupation can only be regained by the force of the resistance."

The self-confident, warlike tones of these leaders are by now familiar. But what, if anything, is revealed by these most recent statements?

Some analysis has suggested that the heightened rhetoric may presage an attempt by Iran to heat up the northern front in response to the hardening international stance to Iran's nuclear program.

While nothing should be ruled out, a number of factors should be borne in mind in this regard. Hizballah and its backers are well aware of the broad contours of Israel's likely response in the event of further aggression by the movement on the northern border. The message has been adequately transferred that a future conflict would not remain within the parameters of a localized Israel-Hizballah clash in southern Lebanon.

Rather, with Hizballah present in the Lebanese government, and its decisions regarding war not subject to supervision or appeal by any other element in Lebanon, a future war is likely to take on the characteristics of a state to state conflict.

The results of such a conflict would be damaging to northern Israel, without a doubt. But to Lebanon and to Hizballah, they are likely to be devastating. This means that from the Iranian point of view, the Hizballah card is one of the most valuable that Teheran holds - but it can probably be played only once.

So there is reason to suppose that the Iranians have good reason to hold back on committing their Hizballah clients until a possible later stage - most likely, in response to a future western or Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Of course, past wars in the region have often erupted not from a decision by one or other of the sides, but rather from a situation of ongoing, rising tensions, which was then ignited by a single, ill-judged action - such as the attempted murder of Ambassador Shlomo Argov, which led to Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982, or the Hizballah kidnapping attempt which precipitated the war of 2006.

Hizballah's failure to avenge the death of senior movement official Imad Mughniyeh remains a major issue for the movement. In his speech to the rally last week, Nasrallah referred to this issue, saying "What we want is a retaliation that is up to the level of Imad Mugniyeh."

But here the movement faces a dilemma. Any major strike on an Israeli target is likely to provoke precisely the conflagration that Hizballah and its supporters fear. Hizballah, in addition to being a client and proxy of Iran, is also a Lebanese Shia movement, requiring the support of the Shia of southern Lebanon for its longer term goal of dominating the country. And for all their pride in the 'divine victory' of 2006, the stream of residents of south Lebanon seeking to flee the area whenever security tensions have risen over the last three years has surely not escaped the Hizballah leadership's attention.

So can we conclude that deterrence has been achieved, and the situation of latent tension in the north is likely to remain at its current level for the foreseeable future, short of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities?

To do so would be to assume that the thinking of the Hizballah leadership and its allies in Iran is ultimately pragmatic, rational, and non-ideological. This would be a mistaken assumption. The writings of Hizballah's leaders, and its actions - particularly since 2000 - offer clear evidence that its commitment to jihad against Israel is a genuine one. Recent visitors to Beirut speak of an atmosphere of high, even delusional morale, among Hizballah's cadres. It is sincerely believed that the next war will initiate Israel's demise. And there is in the public domain clear evidence of at least one abortive operation which could have sparked renewed conflict - namely, the foiled IRGC/Hizballah plan to kidnap the Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan , for which two movement members are on trial.

Ultimately, there are ample pragmatic reasons as to why the Iran/Hizballah side might want to avoid escalation at the present time. But there are also irrational elements within the thinking of these forces - which incline them toward underestimation of their enemy. There is also a clear motivation for actions intended to reap a cost to Israel, but one not sufficiently high that Jerusalem will launch a full scale response. The possibility here for error and mis-calculation is obviously immense. The recent deployment by Hizballah of sophisticated M-600 surface to surface missiles adds further fuel to the mix. The situation in the north is complex, multi-faceted, and requiring of only a single wrong move to end the fragile quiet of the last three and a half years.

*Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Muslim Riots Reach Temple Mount

Gil Ronen
A7 News

The riots that began in Hevron last week reached the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the morning of the Purim holiday (Sunday). Four police officers were lightly hurt, as were at least 15 Arab rioters.. The riots started Monday after the government decided to include the Cave of Patriarchs in Hevron – Judaism's second most holy site – in a list of national heritage sites to receive extra funding, as well as the Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch near Bethlehem.

About 30 Arab Muslim youths threw rocks at visitors to the Temple Mount Sunday. A police force reacted by entering the mosque compound and the Arab attackers fled into the Al Aqsa mosque.

The Temple Mount mosques' public address speakers broadcast calls of incitement in the morning hours, including anti-Jewish phrases, calls for 'jihad' (holy war) and cries of “allahu akbar” - “Allah is great.”

There has also been ongoing violence between police and Arabs in the alleys of the Old City. Muslim youths have attacked police with rocks at the “Antonia Gate” entrance to the Temple Mount. One suspect was arrested near the Ecce Homo arch. A group of some 100 female rioters attempted to march in the Sultan Suleiman area of eastern Jerusalem.

Comment: This is daju vu-the puppet master is at work, Iran. We have seen this behavior previously-to take the international community's attention off of Iran, it is artificially ramping up problems with Israel. Think about it, this began with a complaint that Israel had recognized one of our sacred areas in Hevron as a national monument and now Arabs use this as an excuse to riot in Jerusalem. Note the location-another geographic flashpoint-Temple Mount. Israel is simply protecting its people and by the way associated, collateral Arabs. What is Iran doing? Fatah? Hizzbollah?