Saturday, March 27, 2010

IDF soldier fights for his life as tanks leave Gaza


Two IDF soldiers killed in southern Strip, two others wounded; at least 1 Palestinian killed, about a dozen wounded; Barak warns of "ramifications" for Hamas.
Talkbacks (70)

The soldier who was seriously wounded in the Gaza Strip on Friday night continued to fight for his life on Saturday afternoon after undergoing an operation at Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center. The soldier is unconscious and cannot breathe on his own. Meanwhile on Saturday, hostilities in the Gaza Strip continued on as two Kassam rockets were fired at Israel. One fell inside the Strip, while the other exploded near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev area. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

IDF tanks were stationed in the Gaza Strip overnight Friday, on alert; Reuters quoted Palestinian sources as saying five IDF tanks and two armored bulldozers entered the Strip and fired shells at targets near the town of Khan Yunis. The tanks were still in position, firing occasional rounds, at midnight on Friday, but withdraw completely by Saturday afternoon.

A military spokeswoman said IDF troops used bulldozers to "flatten infrastructure used by terrorists to attack soldiers" before withdrawing.

On Friday evening, Major Eliraz Peretz, 31, from Eli, deputy commander of the Golani Brigade's Battalion 12 and Staff Sergeant Ilan Sviatkovsky from Rishon Lezion, were killed in the southern Gaza Strip. The IDF made the announcement several hours after clashes between the IDF and armed Palestinians occurred near the town of Khan Yunis.

Peretz's brother Uriel was killed in 1998 in clashes with Hizbullah when the IDF was still deployed in Lebanon. The family has another brother serving in Golani's Battalion 13. The third brother participated in Operation Cast Lead last year.

A third soldier was moderately wounded in the incident and another one was lightly wounded. They were both taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where the first soldier's conditioned worsened and became serious on Saturday morning.

Gaza medics said a Palestinian civilian was killed in the clash.

The hostilities occurred as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and an inner circle of his ministers, known as the 'Septet', were meeting in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on Friday evening saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "joins in the grief of the families of soldiers who died today protecting the state and hopes for the quick recovery of the soldiers who were wounded.

"This is a hard day for the State of Israel and for the Israel Defense Force," Netanyahu said.

In a hint of warning, the prime minister added "Israel's strong positions against those wishing to harm its civilians and soldiers - are well known."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Friday that were Hamas to "loosen its grip" on terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip, there would be "ramifications." Speaking to Channel 2, he said Hamas - which claimed responsibility for the ambush in which Peretz and Sviatkovsky were killed - would be held accountable for terrorist activity in the Strip.

Peretz and Sviatkovsky were killed when a team of soldiers from Golani's Battalion 12 entered the Strip around 2:40 p.m. after several men were spotted placing what seemed to be explosive devices near the Gaza border fence on Thursday night.

The force was then attacked with mortar shells and gunfire from inside the Strip, as well as an explosive device that went off nearby. In the fire exchange that ensued, at least one Palestinian was killed and several others wounded.

But the soldiers were not killed by the explosive device but by gunfire, when the grenade in one of the soldiers' vests was hit by a Palestinian bullet and exploded on his body.

The military was uncertain whether the incident was a prepared ambush or if the fire exchange began because the soldiers crossed the border fence into Gaza.

The IDF was using helicopters and mortar fire against the Palestinians, who reportedly belong to the Jaljalat, an extremist al-Qaida inspired group. The group is not affiliated with Hamas.

Late Friday evening, the Hamas Website said the group's gunmen were involved — a departure from the Islamic terror group's tendency over the past year to avoid confrontation with Israeli forces.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida told Hamas radio that IDF forces "fell into an ambush" set by Hamas terrorists east of Khan Younis. He did not elaborate. He said IDF troops entered 500 meters into Gaza "but our men preempted them."

He also said the action was taken in revenge to the killing of Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, which Hamas pinned on Israel.

Islamic Jihad also claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the attack was intended to kidnap a soldier.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"As We Approach Pesach"

Arlene Kushner

We Jews are commanded to consider ourselves as if we had come out from Egypt. This year it seems particularly important that we learn the lessons of Pesach, with regard to our freedom as a people, and the purpose of that freedom.

At the seder, we sing "Dayenu" -- it would have been sufficient for us, if only this had been given to us, and only that. This is to demonstrate our gratitude for the enormity of all the gifts the Almighty bestowed upon us. But in point of fact, within our tradition we are not actually taught "dayenu." The Exodus on its own would not have been sufficient. It has meaning in the context of what followed: most notably, our acceptance of the Torah and then our coming into the Land, given to us as a people, by G-d. It is not enough to be free, stam, just so, without purpose.


It's possible that I will write again before Pesach (which begins Monday evening and ends with dark the following Monday here in Israel). But I want to take time to extend greetings now:

Pesach Kasher V'Sameach to all. A kosher and joyous Pesach. May we all be mindful of the purpose of our coming out from Egypt.

Over Pesach it is unlikely that I will be posting -- so no concern if you don't receive anything.


With regard to our interaction with the US, matters continue to remain in flux, and that situation will persist for some days at least.

Netanyahu is convening the inner cabinet this afternoon. But in spite of Obama's demand (demand??) that we provide answers tomorrow (on Shabbat?) on the things his administration is seeking from us -- so that our responses can be brought to an Arab League meeting in Libya -- it has been decided that several days of discussion will be required and no answer will be forthcoming until after Pesach.

What unsettles me is an implicit assumption on the part of Obama that the inner cabinet will only be rubber- stamping agreements he's already made with Netanyahu: Why would he want our responses to bring to an Arab League meeting if he weren't banking on certain answers? Does he have reason to assume this, based on what Netanyahu has already said, or is this an expression of his arrogance?

Key to what happens is the strength of the right-wing or nationalist members of the inner cabinet: Yaalon, Begin, Yishai and Leiberman. If they, who constitute a majority of the seven-person committee, don't concede what should not be conceded, and remain mindful of the fact that we are a sovereign state that must act with dignity, we will be all right.


A statement by a spokesman for the prime minister, cited by JPost, sounds like official spin: He says that Obama has accepted that we will not freeze construction in Jerusalem (really? is this so?), but that there is an expectation that other agreements made between Netanyahu and Obama would be approved by the cabinet.

Yet Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon, writing in the JPost, indicate that Obama has informed the PA that there was no agreement on the issue of construction in eastern Jerusalem.

(According to this article, as well, Barak confessed disappointment that our freeze in Judea and Samaria was not enough to bring the PA to the table. Welcome to the real world, Ehud.)


It does seem to be the case that Netanyahu stood strong on the issue of construction in all parts of Jerusalem. The prime minister made a statement to this effect today, and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has expressed appreciation to him publicly for protecting the city as a unified whole.

But Jerusalem, while perhaps the first issue, is, as we know, hardly the only US demand.

I hasten to make clear that there is still nothing official regarding what is being sought of us, but press is offering some picture of what Obama wants -- very little if any of it being a surprise. It seems likely that Netanyahu and his cabinet will concede on some matters, at least.


[] An extension of the 10-month freeze on construction. Netanyahu was warned about this at the time that he took the very ill-advised step to freeze construction. It did not take a prophet to see that Obama would want more and that it's difficult to unfreeze once the commitment to the freeze has been made. The prime minister has repeatedly pledged that construction would begin again at the end of the 10 months in September. We'll see.


[] Granting of greater control of areas to the Palestinian Authority.

Some reports say that what is desired is a return to the pre-Intifada (2002) situation.

In a nutshell: We had pulled back from areas of major Arab population in Judea and Samaria as part of Oslo understandings. But when violence increased -- in particular, suicide bombings -- in 2002, we found it necessary to move back into these areas as part of Operation Defensive Shield. Since then, the IDF has maintained the latitude to do anti-terror operations in these areas, even as some places have nominally been turned over to the control of PA security forces during the day. Our anti-terror operations proceed nightly, with terrorists caught, and terror cells and caches of weapons and weapons factories uncovered, and these operations have done superbly in protecting us.

I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: The much-touted "new" PA security forces, improved, as least in theory, by US training supervised by Gen. Dayton, are not sufficient to the task and will not reliably take out terrorists, most notably but not exclusively, from Hamas.

This is a subject I've explored before -- and written about in detail -- and I will return to it. The demand being made of us impinges directly on the safety of Jewish civilians here. (There is even an issue of possible conciliation between Hamas and Fatah, which would lead to the insane situation of Hamas commanding the troops that were trained to fight Hamas.)

A concession in this area would, in my opinion, represent a severe dereliction of the duty of the government to protect its citizens.


Some sources have reported that the PA wants Abu Dis, an Arab village almost immediately adjacent to Jerusalem, to be turned over. But other sources are denying this. Abu Dis was touted at one point as being the future capital of a Palestinian state.

This action would represent a serious security danger, because of the proximity to Jerusalem and the fact that a weapons factory was discovered there recently.

[] Release of prisoners as a gesture to Abbas. This is hardly new. Some sources are saying as many as 2,000 are being sought. There is no information regarding the "caliber" of the prisoners that might be released or if the PA has specific demands in this regard.

[] Also not new is the demand that core issues be raised during the "proximity" talks. I expect this will happen and I don't think this threatens us as long as it is understood that resolution of these issues can take place only in face to face negotiations.

[] Then there is the re-emergence of the demand that we end the "blockade" of Gaza.


What continues to deeply disturb me are the multiple reports on the humiliating manner in which Obama treated Netanyahu. I know the press can spin material, but I'm reading specifics, such as Obama walking out on Netanyahu at the White House. The fact that there were no photo ops and no press releases makes this all credible.

Thus, as well, I'm not pleased with the Netanyahu effort to put a good face on his relationship with Obama. I know there are political reasons for some of this, but the tone is demeaning to us. Netanyahu was quoted today as saying he trusted Obama. Huh??


If I do write again before Pesach, perhaps I will address the issue floating in the air with regard to inclusion of Livni in the government. I myself at this point have scant expectation that this is going to happen.

See my website:

Obama's Victimization of Jewish Refugees from Muslim Countries

One of the unreported aspects of Obama's manufactured insult over an Israeli housing project in Jerusalem is the way in which the administration has targeted Jewish refugees from Muslim countries. While media reports frequently denounced Interior Minister Eli Yishai, as a "Right Wing Extremist", for approving one stage of the planned housing project -- what they did not report was the larger story. Eli Yishai is the head of the Shas party, one of Israel's largest political parties, which represents the interests of Sefardi and Mizrahi Jews from Muslim countries. And the housing project would have benefited Jerusalem's sizable population of Jews from Muslim countries.

In the 20th century a vast exodus took place in which as many as a million Jews from Muslim countries fled or otherwise departed, often leaving behind homes and valuables. Some came to America and Europe. Many more came to Israel instead. Today three million Mizrahi Jews live in Israel; Indeed the majority of Israeli Jews are not the "immigrants from Brooklyn" derisively referred to by Israel-bashing pundits, but Jews whose families came to Israel from Muslim countries, or who spent many centuries living in Jerusalem under Muslim dominion.

They came from Yemen, Turkey, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. Some were driven out by enraged Muslim mobs. Others had their children stolen and their property seized by the government. Others remained behind "sand curtains", unable to leave. The ways in which some of these Jews were smuggled out of the country through a virtual "Underground Railroad" is unknown to most. And this is a story that continues today.

Consider the story of one woman who successfully helped smuggle out thousands of Syrian Jews by bribing Syrian government officials. And though she describes the work in terms of the Holocaust, "How do you negotiate the price of human lives? I was breaking up children from their parents. It was like the 1940s – they were desperate to get their children out", in fact the last family she saved was in 2001.

This is what a million Jews from Muslim countries escaped to begin their lives again in Israel. They left behind life in Muslim countries where they were Dhimmis, legally treated as second class citizens under Islamic law. They thought that they had turned their backs on a state of affairs where Muslims could dictate that synagogues should be built no taller than mosques, where their lives were worth less than a Muslim's and were paid for with blood money and forced to live in ghettos. That is until Obama decided to be gravely insulted because they had decided to live in a place that he thought they had no right to live.

Some commentators have speculated that Obama's goal by manufacturing the "insult" scandal, was to force Shas out of the government coalition, thereby disenfranchising the millions of Jews from Muslim countries living in Israel. Apologists for Obama have cloaked this in the guise of some sort of campaign against the "right wing", but Shas, which has been part of coalitions with the Labor Party, including Yitzchak Rabin, is hardly right wing. It voted for the Oslo Peace Accords. It has been fairly open to all sorts of concessions. But its political leader Eli Yishai drew the line at turning portions of Jerusalem into a Jewish Ghetto, while reserving the remainder of the city for Arab Muslims.

And let us consider for a moment, Eli Yishai. Like so many other children of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries, Yishai was born in Jerusalem. His father, Zion Yishai, however came from Muslim Tunisia. Jews have lived in Tunisia for over 2,500 years. But where they once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, today there are hardly a thousand Jews left. The majority of Tunisian Jews now live in Israel and Europe.

The introduction of Tunisian Jews to Islam began under Idriss I, a direct descendant of Mohammed himself. Idriss I persecuted and massacred the Jews, demanding that they pay Jizya and deliver a certain number of virgins annually to his harem. And thus Idriss I showed himself to be a true greedy and perverted descendant of Mohammed. Several years later Idriss I was fatally poisoned by his Jewish doctor. But despite this coda, as the centuries passed, the discrimination and persecution of the Jews of Tunisia continued.

In the 15th century a Flemish nobleman wrote as follows; "The Jews, on the other hand, have no freedom. They must all pay a heavy ... tax. They wear special clothes, different from those of the Moors. If they did not do so, they would be stoned, and they therefore put a yellow cloth on their heads or necks; their women dare not even wear shoes."

Tunisian Jews were forced to live in ghettos called "Haras", subject to Muslim riots and atrocities. One in 1864 was described as follows, "Muslim fanaticism ... unleashed against our brethren on the island of Djerba... synagogues profaned and defiled. The Scrolls ... torn in pieces and burnt ... men injured and trampled ... all the women and girls raped .... My pen refuses to set down the terrifying ... atrocities ... in all [their] horror."

In 1869, the rabbis and leaders of the community of Tunis appealed desperately to the government in Paris that "in the face of Muslim ferocity, eighteen Jews have fallen to the knives of the fanatical murderers.

Tunisian independence, celebrated by liberals as the end of colonialism, opened the door to a renewed wave of Muslim anti-Jewish violence. Today of the 105,000 Jews that lived in Tunisia in 1948, barely a thousand remain. This brief recitation of history is important because it is a reminder of what so many of the millions of Mizrahi Jews of Israel and their fathers and grandfathers suffered. And those liberals who cynically condemn Eli Yishai as a "right winger" because his party would like to provide housing for Jews in Jerusalem, rather than returning to the Tunisian ghettos are cynically exploiting the real victims of Islamic colonialism.

Obama and those in the EU who are striving to turn Jerusalem into another ghetto with areas where Jews may live and areas where they may not live, are once again inflicting the horrors of Islamic Occupation on the Jews who fled from it. It is of course understandable that Obama would sympathize with Muslims over non-Muslims due to his own extensive Muslim heritage, a fact he himself emphasized in a speech at Al Azhar Islamic University. But where Obama might have chosen to redeem his ancestors' religion by showing tolerance to the Jewish refugees whom his family's co-religionists had persecuted for over a thousand years, he instead chose to perpetuate their legacy of oppression by manufacturing a scandal over the "insult". The insult being that Jewish refugees and the descendants of Jewish refugees might have actually been able to live in their ancient city in homes built on empty land. And as a result Muslim anti-Jewish riots have broken out in Jerusalem, that bear some resemblance to those in Tunisia.

"I think that the Arabs want to control the whole world. That is obvious; after all, it is written in their Koran. Furthermore, you can't trust them. For instance, my parents were their neighbors in Yemen. When my parents decided to immigrate to Israel, the Arabs tried to rob them of their possessions." So speaks Avraham Yitzhaki, one of the original residents of the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

The Shas party meanwhile has promised to use Obama's attacks in their own campaign commercial and their newspaper answered Barack Hussein Obama even more bluntly in its weekly newspaper, describing Obama as "a Palestinian stone throwing youth in East Jerusalem, and not a strategic leader" and his actions as, "a creative solution coming from an Islamic extremist". The editorial concluded, "Today it is here, but tomorrow it will be in the U.S. and Europe".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hillary adds fuel to fire

Establishment of Palestinian state would promote rather than curb terror

Yoram Ettinger

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exposed worrisome aspects of President Obama's policy toward Jerusalem in particular and toward Israel in general, during her March 22, 2010 AIPAC speech. Clinton ignores the Texas colloquialism: "The first thing to do, if you find yourself in a deep hole, is stop digging." The former senator and aspiring presidential candidate is, apparently, determined to learn from mistakes by repeating – rather than avoiding – them. For instance, while Prime Minister Netanyahu declares that construction shall persist throughout Jerusalem, Secretary Clinton reiterates President Obama’s policy, which leads to the repartitioning of Jerusalem, in contrast with the position of most Americans and most members of the House and Senate: "New construction in Jerusalem… undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks…It exposes daylight between Israel and the US…(and) undermines America's unique ability to play a role in the peace process…"

Doing Okay
Give Bibi some credit / Hanoch Daum
Obama got carried away, while Netanyahu managed crisis responsibly
Full Story
Clinton has become the spearhead of the psychological war against Netanyahu that aims to perpetuate the 10-month construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, to expand the freeze to Jerusalem and to roll the Jewish State back to the pre-1967 lines on all fronts. Hillary Clinton believes that the feeble Israeli response to Vice President Biden's rebuke of construction in eastern Jerusalem – Israel's line in the sand – vindicates the use of psychological pressure and begs its intensification.

Clinton's AIPAC speech revealed that President Obama insists that Jerusalem – the core of Jewish aspirations – and "the claim of return" by the 1948 Arab refugees – the core of the threat to the survival of the Jewish State – are negotiable. She condemns Jewish construction in the Jewish capital and cautions against "unilateral statements and actions that undermine the process or prejudice the outcome of talks." Pressuring Israel to repartition Jerusalem, Clinton defines legal Jewish construction as an obstacle to peace, while condoning Arab construction and attempting to stop the demolition of illegal Arab construction.

Clinton ignores Jerusalem's unique role in shaping Jewish history during the last 3,000 years. Thus, she applies the immoral moral-equivalence to the Jewish State and to the Palestinian Authority, which underlines Obama's policy: "The US recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, for Jews, Muslims and Christians."

Death sentence to Hashemite regime
Inadvertently, Clinton radicalizes Arab expectations, demands and terrorism. Why would Arabs be less extreme than Clinton when it comes to Jerusalem?! Why would Arabs demonstrate flexibility, while Clinton represents their demands aggressively and ably?! Why would Arabs consider any compromise when Clinton accepts their position and attempts to prejudge the outcome (e.g. opposing Jewish construction and supporting Arab construction)?! Why would Arabs refrain from terrorism, when sweeping concessions by Israel to the PLO/PA – the role model of hate education, violation of commitments, hijacking, murder of US diplomats and international terrorism – prove that terrorists can get away with - and be rewarded for - murder?!

The secretary of state recycles Obama's worldview – which leads him to focus on the Palestinian issue and to exert psychological pressure on the Jewish State – that the resolution of the Palestinian issue would
supposedly be the panacea to Middle East turbulence and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She overlooks the possibility – which is based on PLO’s track record – that the establishment of a Palestinian State would constitute fuel – and not water – to the fire of terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.

For example, the proposed Palestinian State would constitute a death sentence to the pro-US Hashemite regime, would generate tailwind to pro-Saddam Iraqis, would provide a logistic and operational base to terrorist organizations, which threaten pro-US Persian Gulf regimes, would accord a strategic foothold to Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and other rivals and enemies of the US, etc. Clinton fails to realize that Arab countries consider the PLO a lethal subversive organization. Therefore, Arabs shower the PLO and the PA with much rhetoric, but refrain from sharing with the PLO their military and financial potential.

Clinton is certain that the Arab-Israeli conflict is over territory,
in defiance of the last 100 years, which prove that the conflict is over the existence – and not over the size – of the Jewish state. Therefore, she has embraced the Land-for-Peace formula, which has been employed since Oslo, in spite of the fact that it has produced unprecedented hate-education and terrorism, has distanced us from peace and has brought us closer to war. Erroneous assumptions lead toward erroneous – and even bloody – policy, as has been the case since Oslo 1993.

Toward the end of her AIPAC speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed much respect toward the coming Passover holiday and to the voyage to the Promised Land. These were events which defined the American ethos since the 17th century. These were critical events, which define the Jewish ethos, underlining the centrality of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the Cradle of Jewish History. These events highlight the gap between Obama's policy on one hand and the American and the Jewish ethos on the other hand.

The Moses Files

David Wilder
March 25, 2010

It's well known that Jewish Torah study can be divided into several different categories, known in Hebrew by the first letter of each word, 'Pardes.' This relates to the 'simple' most literal meaning of Torah, through the most esoteric understanding, known as Kabbalah, or popularly, Jewish mysticism. Despite the growing popularity of the latter, even amongst non-Jews, in truth, very very few people can be called authentic Kabbalists, as genuine Kabbalah demands not only knowledge, but also an extremely high spiritual level, which few people ever reach. For this reason, many Kabbalistic writings are extremely difficult to understand, and a massive amount of teachings are not even put down in writing; rather they are passed on from teacher to student orally, and are submitted only to those who are really deserving of this unique knowledge.

In addition there are a select few manuscripts which have been excruciatingly guarded over the centuries, viewed by the eyes of almost no human beings.

Being in Hebron has its advantages. I recently received one of the rarest manuscripts in existence, read it in one sitting, totally spellbound. I do not have permission to copy it for you, word for word, but I can repeat what I remember by memory.

The document is called 'The Moses Files' and was written some 3,300 years ago. The content is as follows.

Following Moses' first meeting with Pharaoh in Egypt, the enslaved Jewish Israelites began grumbling. Here the promised leader had arrived and guaranteed free passage from the hell they'd been suffering for over 200 years. They watched and waited impatiently, knowing that a major summit was in process, with the two leaders haggling between them.

Then, when the meeting had concluded, not only weren't they freed, but to the contrary, their conditions worsened. The Jewish Slaves Gazette, published by the Jewish Slaves Association, headlined: FAILURE! And the sub caption: Did Moses Blow It? Did Aharon Get the Words Right or Wrong?

An editorial demanded that Moses and Aharon be replaced with others, suggesting perhaps Datan and Aviram.

Moses, in an exclusive interview, suggested some patience, claiming that: "G-d will come through, just wait a bit. The best it yet to come."

The next few pages of the Files are illegible, but the next readable chapter starts with the word PLAGUES in huge letters.

As the plagues began, an hysterical debate began between various Jewish slave factions. Some people screamed to Moses, "What are you doing? - this is only going to make things worse! Do you have any idea what the repercussions of this terror will be?! We'll never get out of here! Not only with they throw the first-born into the river; they're going to kill all of us! Leave us alone and let us just continue to live!"

And so it continued, plague after plague, with Moses and Aharon occasionally having to take cover from those demanding, time and time again, that they be immediately replaced with new leadership. As the plagues became harsher and harsher, so too was the opposition to the leaders. The Jewish Slaves Gazette headlined: HOW MANY PLAGUES WILL IT TAKE TIL THEY UNDERSTAND? Of course, this question was pointed not at Pharaoh, rather at Moses and Aharon.

Moses, despondent, with little strength left, told Aharon that he was leaving for a few days to take a walk in desert and perhaps confer with the Almighty, in an attempt to decide what to do. He told Aharon to set up a meeting with the opposition that could take place upon his return. Then he took off, as fast as his feet would take him.

Moses walked and walked, losing himself deep in the desert. The entire time he never stopped talking, praying, pleading, with G-d to help him, to show him the way. "Should I resign, should I form a coalition with them and bring a few with me to the next meeting with Pharaoh, what should I do?"

Night fell, stars glittered and rays of moonlight shined down, illuminating the rocky, sandy terrain. And that's when it happened.

The images were blurry yet clear at the same time. People, men, women, children, tens, hundreds, thousands of people, Moses felt like he could almost touch them, yet they flew past him so fast. And they all had one thing in common: they all stared at Moses, with a deep piercing look emanating from their eyes.

The words exploded from his mouth: "My Dear G-d, who are they, why are they looking at me like that?"

And Moses continued peering into the hole in the sky, seeing fire and destruction, exile, return and exile, wanderings through foreign lands, inquisitions, Holocaust. And the Jews just continued staring at him. And he saw Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David and Shlomo, the Caves at Machpela, Rachel in Bethlehem, Joseph in Shechem and the Temple in Jerusalem. He saw the foreigners and the Jews, and the conflicts and the questions, the weddings and the funerals, the laughter and the tears, and the Jews kept soaring past him, eyes glaring into his eyes.And the voice faded away. And Moses suddenly saw all the millions and millions of souls lining up, as a huge group, one after the other, all staring at him. And Moses took a deep breath, stared back and said, "Yes My G-d, I promise, I will do what is right, I will never let my People down, I will never forsake My G-d – I believe, I believe, I believe."

And that being said, all the millions of souls stopped staring and began smiling and cheering and reciting: We believe, we believe, we believe: we will never forsake our People, we will never forsake our G-d. Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokaynu, HaShem Echad."

And the great window closed, and the sky blacked again, for a moment, and then it was morning, the light of day brightened the sky, Moses returned, and, well, the rest is history.

But it wasn't finished yet. There was one page left, I turned to the last page and could not believe my eyes:

"You, who are reading this today, must bring this to the attention of one Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, of the Jewish people:

Binyamin Netanyahu: do not turn your greatest victory into failure! Do not allow the Datans and Avirams of today to destroy your triumph. Stand tall, look into the eyes of your people, not only those living today, but those who have been Am Yisrael for over 3,300 years and those who will be Am Yisrael for the next thousands of years, and say to them: I will never forsake my people, I will never forsake my land, I will never forsake my G-d.

Look every 'world leader' in the eye, the righteous and the evil, and repeat, again and again: I will never forsake my people, I will never forsake my land, I will never forsake my G-d.

I will not forsake Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, Joseph, David and Shlomo, I will not forsake the Jews of all generations. I will not forsake Hebron, I will not forsake, Tel Aviv or Beer Sheva, I will not forsake Haifa, I will not forsake Yerushalayim, I will never forsake Eretz Yisrael.

Binyamin Netanyahu, You will believe, the people will believe and you will all be privileged to see and witness the great Hand of G-d, as did Moses, so many years ago.

So end The Moses Files.


Charles Krauthammer sums up the Joe Biden “incident” as only he can

The Biden incident

By Charles Krauthammer

Palm Beach Post, March 24, 2010

Why did President Obama choose to turn a gaffe into a crisis in US - Israeli relations? And, a gaffe it was: the announcement by a bureaucrat in the Interior Ministry of a housing expansion in a Jewish neighborhood in north Jerusalem. The timing could not have been worse: Vice President Joe Biden was visiting, Jerusalem is a touchy subject and you don’t bring up touchy subjects that might embarrass an honored guest. But, it was no more than a gaffe. It was certainly not a policy change, let alone a betrayal. The neighborhood is in Jerusalem, and the 2009 Netanyahu-Obama agreement was for a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements excluding Jerusalem. Nor was the offense intentional. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not know about this move — step four in a seven-step approval process for construction that, at best, will not even start for two to three years.

Nonetheless, the prime minister is responsible. He apologized to Mr. Biden for the embarrassment. When Mr. Biden left Israel on March 11, the apology appeared accepted and the issue resolved. The next day, however, the administration went nuclear. After discussing with the president specific language she would use, Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton called Mr. Netanyahu to deliver a hostile and highly aggressive 45-minute message that the Biden incident had created an unprecedented crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations.

Ms. Clinton’s spokesman then publicly announced that Israel was now required to show in word and in deed its seriousness about peace. Israel? Israelis have been looking for peace — literally dying for peace — since 1947, when they accepted the U.N. partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. (The Arabs refused and declared war. They lost)

In these long and bloody 63 years, the Palestinians have not once accepted an Israeli offer of permanent peace. Nor have they ever countered with anything short of terms that would destroy Israel They insist instead on a “peace process” — the point of which is to extract preemptive Israeli concessions, such as a ban on Jewish construction in parts of Jerusalem conquered by Jordan in 1948, before negotiations for a real peace have even begun.

Under Mr. Obama, Mr. Netanyahu agreed to commit his center-right coalition to acceptance of a Palestinian state. The Israelis took down dozens of anti-terror roadblocks and checkpoints to ease life for the Palestinians; assisted West Bank economic development to the point where its (DP is growing at an astounding 7 percent a year; and agreed to the West Bank construction moratorium, a concession that Ms. Clinton herself called “unprecedented.

What reciprocal gesture, let alone concession, has Mr. Abbas made during the Obama presidency? Not one. Indeed, long before the Biden incident, Mr. Abbas refused even to resume direct negotiations with Israel That’s why the Obama administration has to resort to “proximity talks” — a procedure that sets us back 35 years to before Anwar Sadat’s groundbreaking visit to Jerusalem.

And, Ms. Clinton demands that Israel show its seriousness about peace? Now that’s an insult.So, why this astonishing one-sidedness? Because Mr. Obama likes appeasing enemies while beating up on allies — therefore Israel shouldn’t take it personally (according to Robert Kagan)? Because Mr. Obama wants to bring down the current Israeli coalition government (according to Jeffrey Goldberg)? Or is it because Mr. Obama fancies himself the historic redeemer whose irresistible charisma will heal the breach between Christianity and Islam. Or, if you will, between the post-imperial West and the Muslim world — and has little patience for this pesky Jewish state that brazenly insists on its right to exist, and even more brazenly on permitting Jews to live in its own ancient, historical and now present capital?

Who knows? Perhaps we should ask those Obama acolytes who assured the 63 percent of Americans who support Israel — at least 97 percent of those supporters, mind you, are non-Jews — about candidate Obama’s abiding commitment to Israel?

Charles Krauthammer’s e-mail address is

Mr. President

by Ari Bussel

President Ahmadinajad,

This week the leaders of the American Satan and its Jewish cohort are scheduled to meet in the Devil’s capital where 7,000 Jews from all over the United States are gathered for the annual Jewish lobby conference. What a spectacular opportunity for you to eliminate two archenemies of the Islamic Republic, and along with them a token of those who have infested every fertile ground in entertainment, politics, industry and education of the Great Satan. You have already been to the USA for your UN speech and appearance at Columbia University in Upper Manhattan. You set foot in the city where the attacks on the United States on America, in your view a mere figment of the American imagination, never took place on 9/11/2001.

Had anything happened on that Tuesday morning nine years ago that was not manufactured for the world to see, was to you indeed a Zionist scheme to demand more than they already blackmailed from the world – possibly to mobilize the USA to invade Iraq on the Jewish State’s behalf? We all know that there were no Zionists in the World Trade Center on that infamous day.

Ground Zero, to us a reminder, to you another milestone. After all, you can convene another international scientific conference to establish that the attacks on the United States of America, like the Holocaust, never happened.

Undoubtedly, your network across the United States is a very impressive one. There are thousands of Iranian students doing their graduate and post-graduate work in American universities. There are thousands of others working on the forefront of research and development in companies from San Diego in California to Upper State New York. With a population of several tens of thousands Iranians living in Teheran West (Beverly Hills and adjacent cities throughout Greater Los Angeles), mostly Jewish, it is difficult to differentiate between a devout Muslim who will give her life to the Islamic Republic and a Jewish Mayor of the City of Beverly Hills.

You have succeeded in ensuring the export of American know-how, primarily scientific and military advances, to Iran. If such export were not prohibited, you would have been invited to Harvard Business School to give a lecture on how to ensure unrestricted flow of information or the exploitation of global openness. As it stands, your methods should still be studied carefully, if not by us as a preventive measure than by the Chinese who have been trying to do the very same for decades.

As a marketer, you do another phenomenal job. There is not a person who does not know about your promise to “wipe Israel off the map.” You vowed to extinguish the candle of Jewish existence from the world along with its Zionist manifestation as a Jewish Homeland. Every time you speak, the price of oil goes up, generating a bonus flow of cash to your country’s coffers. People often dismiss what you say as the words of a madman or a lunatic, but you are neither.

You are sophisticated and determined, and you know the exact path which you pry open for your country, in a manner, time and place of your choosing, with absolute clarity of thought and vision. If we only learned from you, possibly we would have been better united and able not only to seal the numerous leaks of our know-how, but also to stand in your way with at least some of the determination you exhibit. Instead, the American President bows to foreign rulers and chooses the path of appeasement, expecting his diplomacy should entice you to change your ways, showing the world who is really out of touch with reality.

It is said that the majority of young people in Iran disagree with you and the Mullahs, thus are likely to revolt. It is also said that if Israel or the United States were to attack Iran, all Iranians will unite and you will unleash a wave of terror the likes of which the world has not seen. The youth of Iran, contrary to wishful thinking in the West, is absolutely loyal to you and will be driven to punish the West at all cost.

I wonder how the waves of young Iranians could be loyal to anyplace other than their homeland. They were born after the late Shah departure from his homeland, thus know nothing other than Islamic rule. Why would they want to revolt? What incentive might they have to bring back Western rule to replace the vastly superior Islamic rule?

You claim the opposition displays of recent months were driven by the Americans and Zionist elements motivated to destabilize the rule of law. You go further to say that you were therefore justified in cracking down elements of the opposition, killing in broad daylight for all to see.

To back you up, it is no secret that the US Federal Government has spent many millions to establish cells in Iran and to promote anti-Muslim activities, finances radio and satellite broadcasting to Iran and supports the establishment of social network adversarial to the regime over the Internet and other forms of active resistance.

I dare to think the day will come and the Americans and their Zionist activators will pay a dear price, one never to forget. You have told us repeatedly Iranian youth is loyal, had we only listened to you as you made your pronunciations. It is said that if Israel were to inflict a blow that will result in 50 million Iranians dead, you would have proudly served your people.

President Ahamedinajad,

Please excuse my pronunciation of your name. I was a kid of 12 when my family moved to Iran and I never did learn to speak Farsi. It was during the late Shah’s time, and I remember with awe the historical sites such as Shiraz and Isfahan and the enormity of major construction projects in Teheran. From antiquity to modernity, Iran encompassed early civilization to the most advanced learning of the 20th Century. I also remember vividly my father’s stories of the ports in the south of Iran, the infrastructure buildup of roads and the supply convoys the likes of which the eye rarely see.

But most of all, I will forever remember the late Shah’s concern for his people. It was during a visit to a local school that the Shah encountered hungry children. From that moment on, each school age child was to receive an apple, biscuit, milk and a fixed portion of food a day, every day, all supplied by the state. The sheer magnitude of such an undertaking is very impressive, from logistics to supply chain aspects.

Indeed, there were extremes in Iran – those of unimaginable wealth vs. those with nothing. This is not foreign to the region – one should only visit Dubai or Saudi Arabia and find human slaves (in the 21st Century) inside houses and buildings seen not even in the most extravagant movies Hollywood has ever produced.

The main difference was the Shah’s attempt to bring Iran from being Persia, a backward society living some 2,000 years behind, to modern day 20th Century, with running water and sewage, women’s rights and the promise of education and advancement equal to all. Achieving such a goal in a very short period of time was a challenge only a true leader could have had the vision to set and courage to execute.

Like Shah Reza Pahlavi, you lead Iran, although all signs indicate that the path you choose is that of destruction at all costs, your eyes set on achieving global dominance. You will spare nothing, sacrifice everything, and your loyal followers, the People of Iran, march blindly behind you. Possibly those who influenced you were, or the mentors who currently guide you are, the wrong teachers. Hitler, too, had megalomaniac, expansionary dreams that for several years seemed probable.

You take pride in Iran’s recent achievements, all geared toward world dominance. You have mastered the science and the technology: From satellites to missiles, weapons of devastating accuracy and magnitude and an ability to inflict irreversible harm by Electric Magnetic Pulse and other means that will bring the world to a pre-civilization state – the military and education system created by the late Shah have been turned into mechanisms in the service of true evil.

The only point of difference between the two eras, Iran under the late Shah and Iran today, is that the Shah wanted to harvest the rewards for the future benefit of his people, whereas you are aiming at world dominion. In many respects, then, you are not different from North Korea. What a pity. Eliminate Israel, even the USA, and what will you achieve, a better world?

Mr. President of the Iranian Regime, you are the sovereign of a proud people, with a heritage of a great empire, with a recent history of fast advancement from backwardness to the present and then creative leaps into the future and an iron will few can withstand.

I, a proud Jew, a dual citizen of the United States of America and of Israel, am the archenemy. I am the target of your hatred, and yet I was not taught to hate. I wonder what makes you so eager to destroy me. Possibly you do not know my story, the story of my people.

I am American by birth and heritage, my family has been in the USA for a century, and we now span four generations. I am Jewish, but I am also Israeli, born to Israeli parents, both survivors of the Holocaust. My parents, and thus I, are living testimony that the horrors of the Holocaust are as real as the number on the arm of a lady at the temple to which I go every Shabbat.

My parents are also the embodiment of the Jewish will to have a modern country. They each served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, and I was taught from an early age my obligation to the Jewish State.

I served as an officer in the IDF during the First Persian Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein attacked Israel. It was during the service I learned values and obligations. The IDF is the realization of the Jewish promise that a Homeland, covenanted by God Almighty to be ours for a thousand generations, is there, safe and secure, a home for any Jew to come at any hour, no questions asked. We did not learn, nor do we yearn, to conquer and rule.

All we want is to live in peace. For that, we will give our lives, we will fight along our brethren, we will lead the way, and we will sacrifice all. There is a song that has been with us since the Day of Atonement War of 1973. It is more a prayer, a wish that asks “May it be,” a day when we will no longer be at war, nor need an army. Until that day know that our resolve is unwavering, that to the last man and woman – we will fight. Know our fight is just.

I told you the story of your enemy: I, the American enemy, Israeli, Jewish, all the traits you despise most.

We do not underestimate your capabilities or your unwavering, focused race to destroy us. We realize that goals you set are achieved, decrees promptly carried out. We see the power you yield over your people and the potential you are constantly harvesting in excelling over and beyond the West’s expectations. You and the Iranian nation are far more superior, and we underestimate your strength and resolve. That makes you even more dangerous.

There is no doubt that you can unleash your powers of evil. Apparently you are determined not to follow the footsteps of the late Shah of Iran. You hold the keys to the future of the world, just as Japan or Germany did seven decades ago. You are the new leader who has arisen with delusions of grandeur. You instigate and plow to establish a new world order. Beware, as you overreach tomorrow, you may end up bringing Islam to its knees and Iran burning into the ashes of history.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this “point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.

© Postcards from Home, March, 2010


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Holy Places and Jerusalem

Eli E. Hertz
March 23, 2010

Jerusalem, it seems, is at the physical center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In fact, two distinct issues exist: the issue of Jerusalem and the issue of the Holy Places.

Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, a former judge ad hoc on the bench of the International Court of Justice and a renowned and respected scholar of international law at Cambridge University, has said: "Not only are the two problems separate; they are also quite distinct in nature from one another. So far as the Holy Places are concerned, the question is for the most part one of assuring respect for the existing interests of the three religions and of providing the necessary guarantees of freedom of access, worship, and religious administration. Questions of this nature are only marginally an issue between Israel and her neighbors and their solution should not complicate the peace negotiations."

"As far as the City of Jerusalem itself is concerned, the question is one of establishing an effective administration of the City which can protect the rights of the various elements of its permanent population - Christian, Arab and Jewish - and ensure the governmental stability and physical security which are essential requirements for the city of the Holy Places. "

Internationalization of Jerusalem

Judge, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht underscored in his investigation of the legal issues surrounding the status of Jerusalem and the Holy Places that the notion of internationalizing Jerusalem was not part of the original international mandate:

"Nothing was said in the Mandate about the internationalization of Jerusalem. Indeed Jerusalem as such is not mentioned, - though the Holy Places are. And this in itself is a fact of relevance now. For it shows that in 1922 there was no inclination to identify the question of the Holy Places with that of the internationalization of Jerusalem"

Arab leaders, including Palestinians, have sought to justify their right to Jerusalem by distorting the meaning of United Nations resolutions that apply to the city. UN Resolution 181, for example, adopted by the General Assembly in 1947, recommended turning Jerusalem and its environs into an international city, or corpus separatum. However, Arab spokesmen conveniently ignore the fact that Resolution 181 was a non-binding recommendation. Professor Julius Stone, one of the 20th century's best-known authorities in Jurisprudence and international law, notes that Resolution 181 "lacked binding force" from the outset, since it required acceptance by all parties concerned:

"While the State of Israel did for her part express willingness to accept it, the other states concerned both rejected it and took up arms unlawfully against it."

Judge Lauterpacht wrote in 1968 about the new conditions that had arisen since 1948 with regard to the original thoughts of internationalization of Jerusalem:

"-The Arab States rejected the Partition Plan and the proposal for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

-The Arab States physically opposed the implementation of the General Assembly Resolution. They sought by force of arms to expel the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem and to achieve sole occupation of the City.

-In the event, Jordan obtained control only of the Eastern part of the City, including the Walled City.

-While Jordan permitted reasonably free access to Christian Holy Places, it denied the Jews any access to the Jewish Holy Places. This was a fundamental departure from the tradition of freedom of religious worship in the Holy Land, which had evolved over centuries. It was also a clear violation of the undertaking given by Jordan in the Armistice Agreement concluded with Israel on 3rd April, 1949.

Article VIII of this Agreement called for the establishment of a Special Committee of Israeli and Jordanian representatives to formulate agreed plans on certain matters "which, in any case, shall include the following, on which agreement in principle already exists ... free access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use of the Cemetery on the Mount of Olives."

-The U.N. displayed no concern over the discrimination thus practiced against persons of the Jewish faith.

-The U.N. accepted as tolerable the unsupervised control of the Old City of Jerusalem by Jordanian forces

- notwithstanding the fact that the presence of Jordanian forces west of the Jordan River was entirely lacking in any legal justification.

-During the period 1948-1952 the General Assembly gradually came to accept that the plan for the territorial internationalization of Jerusalem had been quite overtaken by events. From 1952 to the present time virtually nothing more has been heard of the idea in the General Assembly.

On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem. There was no question of this Jordanian action being a reaction to any Israeli attack. It took place notwithstanding explicit Israeli assurances, conveyed to King Hussein through the U.N. Commander, that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan. Although the charge of aggression is freely made against Israel in relation to the Six-Day War the fact remains that the two attempts made in the General Assembly in June-July 1967 to secure the condemnation of Israel as an aggressor failed. A clear and striking majority of the members of the U.N. voted against the proposition that Israel was an aggressor."

Today, Israel has reunited Jerusalem and provided unrestricted freedom of religion. Access of all faiths to the Holy Places in the unified City of Peace is assured. Judge, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht confirmed this:

"Moslems have enjoyed, under Israeli control, the very freedom which Jews were denied during Jordanian occupation."

Lastly, it should be noted: If UN Resolution 181 (The Partition Plan) was valid today (which it is not), then so would be the provision in Part III-D of UN Resolution 181 that stipulates that after 10 years, the city's international status could be subject to a referendum of all Jerusalemites regarding a change in the status of the city - a decision that today, as in the past, would have been made by the city's decisive majority - The Jewish people.

Netanyahu to AIPAC: Stop Iran or Israel Will
[Joel C. Rosenberg]

After the worst week in U.S.-Israel relations in 35 years, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington Monday and gave a powerful and effective speech at the AIPAC gala dinner at the Washington Convention Center, warning the world to stop Iran — or Israel will — and respectfully but directly challenging the Obama administration on Jerusalem and the peace process.
Netanyahu received scores of standing ovations from the 7,800 guests in attendance, the biggest event in the history of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). More than half of the members of the U.S. House and Senate were there, as were ambassadors from more than fifty countries and many top Israeli officials, including defense minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The longest and most sustained came when the prime minister firmly resisted the policy of President Obama, who seeks to divide Jerusalem and stop Israel from building “settlements” in East Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is not a settlement,” said Netanyahu. “It is our capital.”

Netanyahu’s strategy in rebuilding U.S.-Israel relations is now clear. Reduce tensions with the president and executive branch if at all possible, but focus on speaking directly to the American people and strengthening the truly pro-Israel end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Congress.

Most stunning line of the night: To the surprise of many at the dinner, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) conceded that when it comes to Iran, “Diplomacy has failed.” We all know this to be true, but it has not yet been said so clearly and publicly by such a high-ranking Democrat and close supporter of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Will Schumer’s analysis be taken up by fellow Democrats? This remains to be seen, but if it is, it could have dramatic implications for Washington’s next steps towards Iran. Schumer urged the administration to keep the military option open, but he stressed hitting Iran with crippling economic sanctions immediately. A bill he has co-sponsored to help cut off gas supplies to Iran (Iran imports 45 percent of its gasoline) passed the Senate on January 28th, he noted. It is now being reconciled with the House version. It should go to the president for signature soon, and he demanded the president move decisively with “immediate implementation.”

The most sobering speech of the night was that of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who spoke the truth more clearly and succinctly than anyone else when he noted that this could be the last annual AIPAC conference before Iran gets the Bomb. He said that while he hopes war won’t be necessary — he also supports crippling economic sanctions against Iran — the U.S. needs to urgently prepare for the possibility of launching massive airstrikes to stop Tehran from building and deploying nuclear weapons.

What Will Happen If the World Does Not Stop Iran?
The desire of Radical Islam to annihilate Israel was the first issue Netanyahu raised, and rightly so. “Iran’s rulers say, ‘Israel is a one bomb country,’” the prime minister noted. “The head of Hezbollah says, ‘If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’”

Netanyahu called on the world “to act swiftly and decisively” to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but he made it clear that if the world does not stop Iran, Israel reserves the right to safeguard her people from another Holocaust.

“The greatest threat to any living organism or nation is not to recognize danger in time,” the prime minister said in his speech’s most sobering moment. “Seventy-five years ago, many leaders around the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people. The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.”

What Have the Palestinian Leaders Done for Peace?
That said, given the brouhaha in the past week between the U.S. and Israel, Netanyahu’s central message naturally focused on his country’s deep and substantive commitment to making peace. He noted that his government has repeatedly called on the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table without preconditions, to no effect.

“From Day One, we called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay,” he said. “I make that same call today. President Abbas, come and negotiate peace. Leaders who truly want peace should sit down face-to-face.”

Netanyahu pointed out that his government has dismantled several hundred roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank to enable the easier flow of people, goods, and services, and that this has lead to dramatic economic growth in Judea and Samaria. He noted that his government announced last year “an unprecedented moratorium on new Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.”

“This is what my government has done for peace,” said Netanyahu. “What has the Palestinian Authority done for peace?”

The answer, according to Netanyahu: The Palestinian Authority has “placed preconditions on peace talks”; they have “waged a relentless international campaign to undermine Israel’s legitimacy”; they have “promoted the notorious Goldstone report that falsely accuses Israel of war crimes”; they have “continued incitement against Israel — a few days ago, a public square near Ramallah was named after a terrorist who murdered 37 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. The Palestinian Authority did nothing to prevent it.”

Why Does Israel Face a ‘Triple Standard’?
The prime minister thanked the United States for six decades of a strong and enduring relationship, based on shared values and common interests. He mentioned specific ways that the U.S. and Israel work together to advance freedom and fight fanaticism. But he also noted that while Israel has its imperfections and welcomes and appreciates sincere and honest criticism from its friends, “Israel should be judged by the same standards applied to all nations, and allegations against Israel must be grounded in fact.”

Going off text, he then asked why Israel faces a “triple standard” in the world. There is, he said, one standard for dictatorships, another for democracies, and a third for Israel.

A case in point, of course, is the U.N.’s pernicious and anti-Semitic Goldstone Commission Report which condemns Israel for committing so-called “war crimes” for defending her innocent civilians from 10,000-plus rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists in Gaza while for years the U.N. did nothing to stop those rocket attacks and barely holds Hamas to account for those attacks.

Outreach to Evangelicals
Finally, it should be noted that several years ago, to their credit, the leadership of AIPAC decided to make a conscious effort to reach out to pro-Israel evangelical Christian leaders and activists. I am so glad they did. Last night, there were 130 evangelical leaders present to show unconditional love and unwavering support to the Jewish people and the state of Israel. In the future, I hope more Christian leaders attend and build bridges to AIPAC and the Jewish community.

My wife and I met numerous religious and secular Jews last night (as we did last year) who are profoundly grateful for the support of evangelicals. One Orthodox Jewish woman told my wife and me, “You Christians are the best friends Israel has. You’re the only friends we really have.”

It remains to be seen whether Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Washington blitz” will avert a coming train wreck between his government and the Obama administration over Iran, Jerusalem, and the peace process. But he is right to speak directly to the American people and to Israel’s friends in Congress. Indeed, he and his government should do much more, including a steady stream of major addresses to pro-Israel groups of Jews and Christians throughout the United States.

— Joel C. Rosenberg is the New York Times–best-selling author of seven novels and non-fiction books about Israel, including Epicenter and Inside the Revolution. He served as an aide to Mr. Netanyahu in 2000.

Insulting Begoted Behaviour of the US.

Steven Shamrak

People who heard what Biden said were stunned: "This is starting to get dangerous for us," Biden castigated about the effect of the announcement about new housing constructions in Jerusalem . "What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace." It is reported by a top Israeli journalist, Shimon Shiffer, in the conservative Yedioth Achronoth , the largest circulation newspaper in Israel. (1. Don't blame Israel for an inept and stupid war that the US started in Iraq! It was not about "War on Terror" and it has nothing to do with Israel but about the control of oil flow to the United States, a 'big stick' policy and revenge. Solve your own mess! 2. Biden snub Israel by deliberately coming two hours late to dinner with the Israeli PM. Out of self-respect Netanyahu should cancelled dinner! It is time for Israel to start snubbing the international bigots unapologetically, remember Turkey, when they deserve it!)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Israel 's announcement of new settlement construction in 'disputed' (it is Jewish land in the Jewish capital, Jerusalem) territory in East Jerusalem was "insulting" to the United States. (Why? And must Israel be always on receiving end of international insults? For how long should the life of an independent country, Israel , be kept on hold?) She said: "Our relationship is durable. It's strong. It's rooted in common values." (Yes, but only while Israel does what it is told! If not, reprimands and insults follow immediately.) and continued: "But we have to make clear to our Israeli friends and partners that the two-state solution - which we support... - requires confidence-building measures on both sides." (Is this solution in the interests of Jewish people? Why must terrorists be allowed to create another Arab state on Jewish land? What confidence-building measures have they made so far?)

Gary Bauer, president of American Values, released an open letter to President Obama accusing his administration of "manufacturing a crisis that weakens Israel on the eve of new peace talks." The letter defends Israel's right to build homes for its own people in its own capital. Bauer said he was deeply concerned by "the fact that at the same time you are bludgeoning Israel, your (US) administration has yet to present any viable policy to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons... We call on you to immediately stop your attempts to weaken our ally and turn your efforts to the real security threat facing the US and Israel - the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran." (Obama is not the first US president who has created an anti-Israel 'storm in a teacup' to distract public attention from the real problem!)

Don't Call Us... The diplomatic rift between the United States and Israel appeared to widen over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's failure to call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she phoned Netanyahu and strongly criticize Israel's announcement of new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden's trip. Clinton requested answers from Netanyahu on how Israel was planning to proceed. (Reminder: Israel is a sovereign state!)

'Peace' Rocket Fired from Gaza ! Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at the western Negev on Wednesday evening. The rocket exploded in an area open between the town of Sderot and a nearby kibbutz. "The incidents that happened this evening and throughout the last week are reminders that we are still at war." Said Alon Shuster, Shaar HaNegev Authority Head. (Where is Obama s outrage now?)

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

The hate toward Jews has been used to keep people from thinking about their miserable existence and the injustice that was and is being perpetrated by their rulers and governments. It has always been used to control and misdirect the anger of the mob! Christian churches of most denominations have been doing it for 1800 years, since the Roman Empire. The hate is so embedded in the mainstream Christian psyche that even now many of them (Church officialdom, ordinary anti-Semites and brainless ones) support Islamic thugs, who are mortal enemies of Christianity, in order to keep the flame of their inherited hate toward Jews alive.

Yes, She was a Jewish-Palestinian! In its official statement in honor of International Women's Day, the Fatah movement listed a group of "Palestinian" women of whom it is proud: Martyrs, fighters, prisoners and the Virgin Mary.

Egypt's Gaza Wall in Final Stage. The reinforced underground steel wall which Egypt is building along its border with Gaza is nearly completed. After the construction phase is complete, cameras and detection devices will be installed. The observation towers along the border are currently being replaced by new steel towers which employ bullet-proof glass. Egypt says it is building the barrier to stop illegal arms smuggling. Smugglers have also used cross-border tunnels to bring basic commodities. (Because Egypt builds this wall and not Israel there are no genuine demonstrations organized by the PA, international protests or condemnations by UN or other governments. Where has their deep concern about 'poor Palestinians' gone?)

Rare Reprimand to PA from the US? The State Department said it was "deeply disturbed" by agitations made by officials from the PA against Israel 's reopening of an ancient synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City: "We call upon Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement." (Is it a genuine concern or just a 'smoke screen' the White House has put up trying to appear more even-handed?)

What was all the Fuss about Syria? Robert Ford, who is set to become the U.S. ambassador to Syria, said that the fact that Washington was sending him to Damascus did not mean that America's attitude to Syria had changed; it was still a terror state, as far as the U.S. was concerned. (After all the efforts of the Obama administration to 'normalise' its relationship with Syria , this is not really diplomatic statement, is it? Another failed policy?)

The Less Oil, the Less Terror. Israeli Deputy Minister for Regional Development Ayoub Kara said that renewable energy - solar, wind, and others - were good not only for the environment, but for the geopolitical situation. "The more we increase our use of renewable energy, the more we weaken terror, and the more dependent we are on oil, the more we strengthen terror." (The Wahabi regime of the Saudi Arabia, the best friend of the United States, is the main sponsor of international Islamic terror!)

Another International Pretender came to Israel. Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva landed in Israel. He has refused the customary diplomatic visit to Mount Herzl and the gravesite of Theodore Herzl, but during his visit to Ramallah, he visited Yasser Arafat's grave. (Must Israel receive these types of cretins and suffer this indignity?)

Quote of the Week: "...any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." - Obama, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - Empty words, just a fake PR spin in front of Jewish voters and donors to the Democratic party.

PA Frightened by Escalating Riots. Fearing that Arab riots around Jerusalem will spread and target their unpopular rule, PA police, largely members of the Fatah party, have deployed forces throughout the streets of Arab towns throughout Judea and Samaria in fear that the protests will spread and challenge the PA's authority.

Policy of Blackmail and Dictate. Commissioner of Foreign Relations of the European Union Catherine Ashton offered to Israel to upgrade economic ties with the EU in return for renewed talks with the Palestinians.

Traditional Criminal Arab Business. 1) Police have found a laboratory in the Palestinian Authority (PA) town of Yatta, south of Hevron, that was used to forge documents and license plates. The lab was used to disguise stolen Israeli cars and also provided individual PA Arabs with fake ID cards. 2) Israeli Arabs are responsible for almost three times as many car accidents as their numbers would warrant. According to police statistics, Israeli Arabs account for 40% of all traffic accidents in Israel though they only make up 15% of the overall population. (Is it their result of the hate toward Jews or disrespect for the rule of law of the country they live in, or just an inability to drive?)

UN Criticizes Israel and Egypt for Keeping Terrorists in Cage. United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes claims that Israel's blockade of the Gaza region is not succeeding in weakening Hamas' hold on the territory. Holmes also warned about hundreds of tunnels that bypass the blockade. Egypt is reinforcing the area with underground metal plates to shut down the tunnels.

Why are We Apologizing?

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) expressed confusion over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's apology regarding construction in Jerusalem. "We have the absolute right to build anywhere in the land of Israel and especially in Jerusalem, there doesn't need to be any policy of apologizing." Foreign attempts to dictate Israeli policy in Jerusalem are "blatant interference," Levin said.

"This is an internal matter, not an international matter," "How can it be that we need permission from the Americans every time we want to build a neighbourhood or a house in Jerusalem?" "The time has come for us to stand up for ourselves. I have no doubt that if we do so, the world will see us differently." The American condemnation of Israeli plans to build in Jerusalem exposed the real problem, the problem of Israel 's willingness to accept foreign meddling in domestic affairs, he stated. (The time has come for Israel to regain self-respect and behave as an independent country!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hillary Clinton's AIPAC speech: Find the Glaring Contradiction

Barry Rubin

When policymakers say things that are in blatant contradiction, there is something wrong with their world view and strategy. Yes, political leaders often say contradictory things--often they have to do so--but it is not supposed to be too obvious.

In her speech to AIPAC, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized and equated two things. On one hand, there is the Palestinian “culture of hate” which spouts “incitement” to murder Jews. The other is Israeli settlement construction. These problems, Clinton adds, “undermines America ’s unique ability to play a role” in the peace process.

Have you found the glaring contradiction? You could say, if you wished, that one cannot equate "hate speech" (to use the common terms for such things nowadays) urging killing with building settlements. I am, however, willing to accept that equation from a U.S. policy standpoint. What is unacceptable, however, is the point that every reporter and observer should be making: The United States, as we have seen recently, is willing to attack construction on settlements (even construction the administration has previously agreed to let happen!) at the highest level and in the loudest voice. It is willing to make this issue the number one issue in the world, a basis for pressuring Israel and verbally attacking it.

I have yet to hear a single word spoken by this administration on the subject of the bloodthirsty incitement to murder that goes on every day. For this incitement not only produces violence a lot more directly than construction on settlements (which also provides stability by employing thousands of Palestinian workers), it also prevents progress toward peace.

The Palestinian Authority's failure to undertake any educational or media campaign in 16 years to promote compromise with Israel has been almost completely ignored in the West. And while such an effort wouldn't be easy, only by building a public base of support for compromise and conciliation could the Palestinian Authority (even if it wanted to do so) make peace with Israel.

Bashing Israel over construction on settlements while doing absolutely nothing about Palestinian Authority incitement is not going to persuade Israelis of the administration's credibility or make any advance toward peace. Forget about asking this administration for a "pro-Israel" policy, how about just having a truly evenhanded policy?

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.

5. Rabbi Algaze: Jerusalem is Not the City of 3 Religions

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

Rabbi David Algaze, founder and spiritual leader of the Havurat Yisrael synagogue in Queens, New York, says the disappearance of Israel would not horrify the U.S. government unduly. Rabbi Algaze (pronounced Al-gahzi), Chairman of the World Committee for the Land of Israel, spoke with Israel National Radio’s Yishai Fleisher this week, as part of an official visit to Israel.

Rabbi Algaze says it is a mistake to call Jerusalem the “City of Three Religions” and to glorify the Moslem claim to Jerusalem, that Obama’s objective is to change the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and that the Arabs apparently do not want peace with either Israel or the world. He says the two-state solution should be banned.

Excerpts from the interview:

On anti-Semitism:

“The Jewish People is always going to be hated around the world in one way or another. We had a small lull in anti-Semitic activity following the discovery of the atrocities of the Holocaust, but it is now reawakening. Today’s version is of a new kind, masked as anti-Israel. The world doesn't condone hating Jews, but feels free to hate Israelis and Israel, which is really the same thing.”

On what can be done about rising anti-Israel sentiment:

“We have to appeal to the millions of good people around the world, those who want what is right – but the problem is that we are not presenting our case well, and certainly not as effectively as the Arab side.” He explained that when Israel first heroically liberated Jerusalem in the Six Day War, the world largely applauded – “and the anti-Semites were silent. But when we started to give it away – in negotiations, or in innuendoes - then people began to believe that maybe it’s not ours. We have to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with the Jewish People’s return to its homeland. The government has made its message mostly one of security – somewhat to our detriment.”

On Jerusalem:

“Jerusalem is known romantically as the City of Three Religions – but this is a serious mistake. Yes, there are many religions here, and Israel has been very tolerant towards them and protects the rights of all – but this doesn’t make this a city of three religions, any more than New York is a city of ten religions! The only religion that has always claimed Jerusalem as its central city throughout history is Judaism. For Islam to claim this city in any sense is totally absurd; they came to Jerusalem as invaders, just as they invaded other parts of the world – this is a ridiculous claim and yet we glorify it. We must emphasize that this is our city; we welcome others, but we will never divide it. This foolish claim of a universal city is the planting of the seeds of the division of Jerusalem.

On the Obama Administration and Israel:

“Most American Jews have coasted along, never seeing American commitments to Israel diminish; they have taken this for granted - and now might be an important time for American Jewry to recognize that there might be people like Obama and those in his Administration who will take advantage of any mistake made by Israel. Their agenda is to change the relationship with Israel and the Arabs. If Israel would, Heaven forbid, disappear or be seriously harmed, they would certainly not be horrified; the State Department, after all, considered the creation of Israel a major sin.”

On Israel advocacy:

“It is quite unusual in history for a nation to arise from the dust after 2,000 years and return to its original homeland. So we must explain this to the world: Just like the Scottish would not be relocated to Poland, the Jews belong in Israel and we do not have to share our land. By offering to share it, we weaken our claim, and this weakens us altogether.”

On the World Committee for the Land of Israel:

“We express our nation’s historical, legal, and Biblical claims to this land, without equivocation. We’re not here because we built kibbutzim 100 years ago or because of the Holocaust. We’re here because our forefathers have never forgotten this place ever since they were forcibly thrown out 2,000 years ago, and because we mourn it every year and every day, and because it is fundamental to Jewish Law and practice.

“The issue is not peace, because it doesn’t even look like the Arabs want peace, based on the way they’re talking and acting. They apparently want to conquer the entire world. So it could be that there won’t be peace. We have to talk instead about ‘rights.’ If a non-Jew wants to live in this Land, he will have rights, but not sovereignty… The two-state solution should be banned from our vocabulary.”

Netanyahu must get his act together

Isi Leibler
March 22, 2010

Dismiss the chorus of hard-liners urging us to tell the Americans to butt out of our affairs. Every prime minister was aware of the critical importance of retaining the support of at least one major power and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is no exception. He appreciates that US support today is especially crucial in light of the frenzied anti-Israeli climate engulfing the world. Beyond assisting us to retain technological military superiority against bitter foes seeking our destruction, the US is the only power capable of preventing the dominant Islamic Conference and its acolytes - including the Europeans - from imposing international sanctions against us. Without the veto power of the US at the UN Security Council, we would already be facing extraordinary problems. Since his election, Netanyahu has desperately tried to adopt a centrist approach and has made unprecedented unilateral concessions to appease US President Barack Obama, all to no avail. Despite the rhetoric about our unshakable alliance, far from being evenhanded, the US nullified agreements and understandings consummated with previous administrations, ignored Palestinian provocations and behaved more shabbily to us than toward its worst enemies.

The US administration is also crudely intervening in the domestic affairs of its purported ally and there appears to be a game plan to force Netanyahu out of office and replace him with a more pliable leader. Ironically, the Obama administration was far more restrained about regime change in Teheran.

The bloody mindedness and brutal determination to beat us into submission in relation to construction in exclusively Jewish neighborhoods over the Green Line in Jerusalem is chilling and implies willingness to sacrifice us on the altar of expediency to curry Arab support.

Despite the immediate and profuse apology by Netanyahu for a deplorably ill-timed diplomatic snafu, Obama insisted the incident was a deliberate move to humiliate the US. He did so to publicly bring Israel to its knees.

These developments have emboldened Islamic extremists to incite and promote violence in Jerusalem and intensify rocket attacks from Gaza. Should a new intifada be unleashed, the Obama administration's contemptuous treatment of Israel will have been a major contributing factor. Obama's policies have also undermined any possibility of direct negotiations.

IN THIS environment, while sympathizing with the dilemmas facing our prime minister, his delayed response was nevertheless disappointing. When confronted by the offensive onslaughts orchestrated by Obama, Netanyahu's prevarication conveyed the impression that he was uncertain and even rattled. He made generalized statements about Jerusalem and repeated hollow mantras insisting that our relationship with the US remained strong. The man with the golden tongue seemed tongue tied.

In response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ultimatum that to atone for the "insult," all construction activity in east Jerusalem be terminated, Palestinian prisoners be released and Israel agree to negotiate all core issues within the framework of the proximity talks, the government, after a lengthy delay, formally rejected limitations on construction in Jerusalem but was ambiguous about the other issues.

If Israel conceded to US demands concerning the agenda, it could lead to highly negative consequences for the impending proximity "negotiations." The US insists that it merely intends to act as an intermediary. But indicators suggest that if a deadlock is reached, it will seek to impose a solution and Israel will find itself negotiating with Americans rather than Palestinians.

In addition to supporting a division of Jerusalem, the US is also likely to undermine Israel's insistence on defensible borders and the long standing assumption that UN Resolution 242 relating to pre '67 borders applies to territories but not all the territories.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be able to relax and observe the US pressurizing Israel to make further unilateral concessions before even agreeing to direct negotiations. I shudder to contemplate what Clinton had in mind when she crowed to the BBC that pressure on Israel had achieved the desired results.

MOST PRIME ministers had occasional differences with the US and defended Israel's interests. Netanyahu could take a lead from statements on Jerusalem conveyed to the US by both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. By delaying his response, Netanyahu may have encouraged the Obama administration to intensify its pressure.

That is not to suggest that Netanyahu should have polarized the situation by confronting Obama. However, continued reference to construction in east Jerusalem confused people by conveying images of Israelis displacing Arabs rather than ongoing building in exclusively Jewish neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem that are today no less part of Israel than Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu should have immediately employed the unique communication skills with which he is blessed and addressed the people of Israel, restating Israel's generous concessions in contrast to the intransigent and criminal behavior of our Palestinian interlocutors.

While Netanyahu must avoid engaging in US domestic politics, many Americans who support Israel will be angered if they believe that their government is treating Israel unjustly. In his present parlous domestic political position, Obama will obviously seek to avoid alienating additional segments of his constituency or Congress. But if we fail to forcefully present our case, support from the American people will erode.

That also applies to American Jews. The delay in Israel's response created havoc. We should be grateful to Abe Foxman of the ADL - who is no hawk - for having spoken out courageously at the outset or there would have been greater fallout. Subsequently, in a more muted manner, AIPAC, the President's Conference and the American Jewish Committee expressed concern and appealed to the administration to bring the crisis to an end.

However, Jews hostile to the Israeli position spoke out aggressively. Reform leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie called on Israel to adhere to US demands to cease construction in all Jerusalem; predictably J Street's message to the Obama administration was to stand firm and continue to pressure Israel to capitulate to all American demands; New York Times columnist Tom Friedman berated Vice President Joe Biden for not canceling his trip; Time columnist Joe Klein crudely accused AIPAC of dual loyalties.

THESE ARE difficult and trying times. On the surface the tensions have eased; Netanyahu is meeting Obama and warm statements reaffirming the unshakable relationship are being expressed by both parties. But Netanyahu should be under no illusions about the difficult days ahead. There are elements in the Obama administration, primarily motivated by a desire to appease the Arabs, who are promoting an imposed solution which will not necessarily take account of our existential and security requirements.

There are indeed chilling parallels today between Israel and pre-World War II Czechoslovakia. The difference is that unlike the Europeans in the 1930s, the American people require their leaders to pursue a foreign policy based on morality and decency. Netanyahu must make it clear that while we need the support of the US, there are red lines which no government may cross. As we will no doubt have seen from our prime minister's address to AIPAC by the time this column is published, no leader is better equipped to present Israel's case than Binyamin Netanyahu. But he must streamline his administration and get his act together.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

US warns Gulf of Aden shipping at risk of Al Qaeda bombing

DEBKAfile Special Report March

The US office of Naval Intelligence warned Monday, March 22, that ships sailing off Yemen's Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts run the risk of al Qaeda attacks similar to the suicide bombing of the US warship Cole in 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors. The risk is greatest in the Bab al-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden. debkafile's military sources report: The warning indicates US Navy intelligence has information, albeit without dates or locations, that al Qaeda is planning attacks on shipping in these waters, among the world's busiest trade and naval routes. At risk are ships exiting the Suez Canal from the south, sea traffic bound west for the Suez Canal from the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf and ships sailing off Yemeni shores.

All ships in the vicinity of Yemen are urged to heighten their state of readiness, with "vessels of limited maneuverability or anchored at port" warned they are at greatest risk.

The US advisory said al Qaeda had developed sophisticated methods of attack, including missiles or other projectiles. For its attacks on the US Cole in 2000 and the French oil tanker Limburgh two years later, al Qaeda singled out the most up-to-the-minute maritime vessels afloat as their targets. The Cole was the latest word in armored battleships in the US Navy. It was crippled at Yemen's Aden port by suicide terrorists using an explosives-packed speedboat to ram its hull. Seventeen seamen lost their lives and 500 were injured.

For the US Navy, the blow was compounded by its certainty that the Cole was invulnerable to attack.

Two years later, the French 157,000-ton crude oil tanker, the Limburgh, exploded in flames after it was rammed outside the Yemeni port of Mukullah east of Aden. Both of its new armored double-walls, installed as a precaution against terror attack, were pierced. One crewman died.

Our military sources report that, despite US-backed Yemen army efforts to eradicate its strongholds in the country, al Qaeda has clearly enhanced its striking ability from there. New maritime raider units have been trained for operating speed boats carrying missiles as well as explosives.

Our counter-terror sources also report that al Qaeda has begun training frogmen as human torpedoes for striking Western vessels. They are to be dropped far from their targets to avoid detection and able to swim long distances before attaching themselves to ships and blowing themselves up.

The seas at highest risk of terror attack, the Gulf of Aden and waters touching on Eastern Africa, are patrolled against Somali pirates by the US Combined Task Force 151-CTF 151, as well as Russian, Chinese, and Iranian warships. Our sources stress that these are the very warships eyed by al Qaeda for its strikes.

The US warning of terrorist danger on one of the world's busiest routes for general shipping and oil supplies to the West will no doubt push up maritime insurance premiums and international oil prices.