Saturday, April 09, 2011

The imperative of Jewish sovereignty


Jewish sovereignty speaks to the purpose and promise of the State of Israel and to everyone who is inspired by that vision.

As the PA/PLO presses for UN recognition of statehood, the question of who has sovereign rights over Judea and Samaria becomes critical. Historically and legally part of the Jewish national homeland, it is also claimed by Palestinians. To whom does this area belong? A uniquely Jewish definition of sovereignty provides a compelling answer.

Sovereignty, the ability of a government to act independently and in its own interests, is the essence of statehood. Applying just authority and institutions to assure the protection and well-being of its citizens are what conventional statehood is about. Arelatively modern concept associated with 16th-century French philosopher Jean Bodin, then later with Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel and others, sovereignty is the expression of national independence and the right and responsibility to rule. And here is the rest of it.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Black students group slams ‘apartheid’ abuse

April 8, 2011

(JTA) -- An African American students group took out ads in college newspapers blasting "Israel Apartheid week" organizers for abusing the term.

In a full page entitled "words matter" and appearing in the newspapers on April 7, Vanguard Leadership Group accuses Students for Justice in Palestine of a "false and deeply offensive" characterization of Israel. "SJP has chosen to manipulate rather than inform with this illegitimate analogy," Vanguard says in the ad, signed by its members attending a number of historically black colleges. "We request that you immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and to acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government."

The ad appeared in newspapers on campuses that saw "Israel Apartheid Week" activity in February, including Brown University, the University of California-Los Angeles, Columbia and the University of Maryland.

Vanguard, a leadership development group for students from historically black universities, has in recent years forged ties with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its members have visited Israel.

"Pain and Rage"

Arlene Kushner

This afternoon an anti-tank missile shot from Gaza hit a school bus that was traveling just outside Kibbutz Sa'ad in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council district, in the south of Israel.

Most of the children had been dropped off already. One 16 year old boy was left on the bus, which apparently took a direct hit. An anti-tank missile is directed, not a Kassam that meanders randomly.

The boy was thrown into the road, which is where medics found him, unconscious. He was air-lifted to the trauma unit of Soroka Hospital in Be'ersheva, where he is in critical condition. The driver, who took shrapnel in his leg, was also taken to the hospital.
A barrage of rockets and mortars continued -- some 45 in all -- even after this hit, and residents of the area were ordered into shelters.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to respond to the attack "immediately" and to use "all necessary means" (whatever that implies). He said that Israel holds the Hamas terrorist organization "completely responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza."

Within an hour, Israel Air Force fighter pilots had gone up: According to the IDF spokesman, two terrorist squads, who were involved in firing military-use projectiles at the Israel from the southern and northern Gaza Strip, were successfully targeted. Additionally, artillery forces returned fire at the area in the northern Gaza Strip from which the anti-tank missile had been launched.

And apparently this operation is not yet over.

Barak said the use of an anti-tank missile to hit the bus was very serious "because it hit deep within Israel's territory from deep within the Strip."

So I ask, if it came from near Gaza's border with Israel, and hit an Israeli target just on the other side (meaning a less powerful projectile was in play), that wouldn't be serious? Any fire of rockets, missiles or mortars against our civilian population is serious! This is part of the problem now, that every single projectile sent across Gaza's border has not been taken seriously. (Maybe it was "just" a Kassam, and it fizzled without injury, and so, nu, let it go with just some tough words.)

"This is something we cannot accept," declared Barak. "The actions being taken now are a reaction to this incident and they will continue as long as necessary in order to clarify that these things cannot go on."


And what I wish to say is that this is not nearly sufficient. This tit-for-tat response, this attitude that "you hit us, we'll make you pay by hitting you back."

It is, in my humble opinion, time to disable Hamas's ability to damage us. Past time. We didn't carry Cast Lead far enough.


Part of what is so enraging and generates such a sense of impotence is the diplomatic climate, which renders the Israeli government super-cautious with regard to actions taking.

The hard cold fact is that if we move into Gaza to take out Hamas, civilians will be killed. We've just gone through what we've endured with Goldstone. There is, undoubtedly, reluctance to go that route again And should we go in, there will be a tip-toeing with regard to operations under-taken, with the sense that the world is looking over our soldiers' shoulders.

A war cannot be waged this way. And we indeed are at war.

The IDF is the very model of an ethical army, second to none in the world. We have nothing to apologize for. We do not target civilians. We have no desire to see civilians injured. When civilians are injured, or killed, it is because Hamas uses them as human shields. The moral culpability lies entirely with Hamas. But the world does not choose to see it this way.

No nation in the world would tolerate what we have been enduring.


Also particularly infuriating is the moxy of Hamas itself. It's breathtaking.

Hamas says it is calling on the international community to "stop Israel's aggression in the Gaza Strip." Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu indicated that they planned to appeal to the UN Security Council because Israel was not honoring a lull agreement in Gaza. Just talk, of course.

A terrorist organization that launched 45 projectiles against Israeli civilians today is complaining about Israel not honoring a lull agreement?

A lull agreement, I will add, that has dubious value because it allows Hamas to keep arming and preparing, even when it is in place -- meaning matters will be worse the next time they choose to hit.

Nunu said the rockets and missiles were launched to protect the people of Gaza and "pressure the occupation to stop its crimes."


So what does the IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz say?

I am "sure we will take control of matters. We will do everything that needs to be done."

Gantz is new, and it's too soon to assess where he will be going with this. I want to be careful not to second-guess what may be in the planning.

However, according to YNet, when Gantz was asked if the IDF was headed for a second Cast Lead, he advised citizens not to be "hysterical."


This, then, is the opinion of one "hysterical" citizen. Not an army officer, just a writer. But this is what I see:

Hamas doesn't care if one team or another gets taken out. Those lost can be replaced. Remember, they celebrate death, not life. If one launching site or cache of weapons is destroyed -- so, they keep going, for they've got lots more.

I don't believe we have to level Gaza, nor am I suggesting we should. But the hit on Hamas, however it is planned, must be serious enough to genuinely and deeply cripple their capacity to act.

One reader, who will recognize himself, just wrote to say that we both know Hamas keeps weapons in underground bunkers. And indeed he's correct. But I'm not sure we have to take out every weapon, although it's likely with bunker busters we can take some that are hidden.

We must take out what weapons caches we can reach and hit those who manufacture weapons (the recent capture of Abu Sisi was marvelous in this regard and there may be more yet).

And we have to, finally, work to stop the smuggling of weapons, which might even mean a presence on the Philadephi Corridor.

We have to target their leadership vigorously as well, so they are too busy trying to save their lives to think about hitting us.

We have to hit them in multiple ways that will generate fear of us in their hearts. I see it as essential. This is for the sake of deterrence with regard to Hamas. But also more broadly.

We cannot be seen to tremble with hesitation now. We cannot seem to operate only with knee-jerk responses to a terrorist organization that is calling the shots.

Hezbollah is also watching.


Now that I've said it, we must watch and see how this particular action plays out and whether anything serious is in the works. There are undoubtedly vast amounts of information that I am not privy to.

As I complete this posting -- which I've decided to send through -- first reports of a "cease fire" with Hamas are coming through. Don't know what that means yet.


I will mention once again my concern that what needs to be done is best done while the military still controls Egypt. If radicals take over, the dynamic shifts seriously.


I will also mention here the Iron Dome missile defense batteries, two of which have been installed in the south -- one in Be'ersheva and one now in Ashkelon. Today, for the very first time, a Grad rocket headed for Ashkelon was intercepted by Iron Dome. This is good. It is not, however, the final answer. For many batteries would be required to provide full protection of the south, and intercepting every projectile that came from Gaza would become prohibitively expensive.


The US has condemned the attack on the school bus. I have yet to hear that either the UN or the EU have.


There will not be another posting until after Shabbat.

Allow me to make one correction -- some of you received a version of my last posting that identified Eli Yishai as from Yisrael Beitenu, and he is, of course, from Shas.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

So Long, Saleh

Editorial of The New York Sun | April 5, 2011

As President Obama swings against President Saleh of Yemen, our own thoughts go back to 2000, when the strongman made a visit to New York and, in an astonishing demarche, met with the leaders of the Jewish community here. Mr. Saleh had already been president of either North Yemen or Unified Yemen since 1978. His meeting with the Jewish leadership was organized by the philanthropist S. Daniel Abraham. The invitation to the event, which took place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, described the gathering as a “festive” one, “honoring” Mr. Saleh for taking a leading role in “the democratization of his country” and for — as the invitation was quoted in an editorial of the Forward — as “actively supporting a comprehensive regional peace.” “Hello?” the Forward exclaimed. It then went on to list the suppression of the press, the medieval treatment of women, the exclusion of the free trade union movement, and the hostility to Zionism and to Israel. Much hope was invested by the Jewish leadership in the very willingness of Mr. Saleh to meet with them. Much was also being made of a change in policy that would allow Israeli citizens of Yemeni descent to visit Yemen. What small beer. What the Forward wanted was for the Jewish leadership to take a clear-eyed look at the tyrant they were sitting down to honor.

That editorial was written with a bow to Robert Bartley of the Wall Street Journal. He is gone now, but in the 1980s he had gathered his editorial team and said — we paraphrase here, but not by much — “I don’t want to treat with the dictators of the Middle East. I want you to go out and get to know the democratic movements in exile. And let us treat with them.” This newspaper is not a government, merely scrivners. But the Bartley line turned out to be one of the strands — a modest one, but not to be discounted — in policy line that led to the gamble that has given us, in Iraq, at least a chance to an Arab democracy.

Democracy itself has risks, as we’re watching now in Egypt, where the Nobel Laureate in peace, Mohamed ElBaradei, is now saying that — as we read him — if he gets elected president, Egypt will go to war against Israel should Israel seek to defend itself against the attacks being made from Gaza. The gamble America is taking today at Libya may yet empower a movement that is rallying under the cry of democracy only as cover for a repressive, al-Qaeda linked, anti-democratic putsch, though it is hard to imagine that could be a whole lot worse than the regime it is bidding to replace.

All the more tragic is the squandering of the decades since Mr. Saleh first acceded to power at North Yemen. Imagine if America’s president were still Jimmy Carter. We’d have missed not only President Reagan but also Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, let alone Presidents George H.W. Bush and Obama. Whenever it is that Mr. Saleh goes he will leave a country that is poor and a breeding ground for al Qaeda. What a tragedy that successive American administrations were propping this regime. Imagine if instead of prioritizing “stability’ and the supposed support for the Arab-Israeli “peace process” there had been a principled policy that prioritized freedom and democracy.

Published comment:

So Long, Saleh

Submitted by Hannah Givon, Apr 5, 2011 14:01

An excellent article. So anxious is the world to find some resolution to the crisis between Western civilization and the rise of radical Islam that it has been willing to accept the fantasy that a 'peace process' between the Arabs and Israelis in the M.E. would suddenly create harmony across the globe. Not so!

The recent upheavals throughout the Muslim/Arab world have provided ample evidence that this false premise has been the reason for past failures; peace cannot be imposed by mere signatures on a piece of paper. The revolt against brutal dictators, accompanied by violent internecine conflicts reveal the need for major internal transformation within each of those countries before there can be any true and lasting peace -not only in the Middle East but the world at large. Replacing dictatorships with rule that includes radical groups like the Muslim Brotherhood within those countries would not augur well for the much desired peace.

Israel is the only stable country in the region and has democratic values. A forced solution to the Arab/Israel conflict would lead to yet another war in a neighborhood already in turmoil ,the repercussions of which would be felt around the world.

The real cause of the Middle East conflict

Melanie Phillips

At, Mark Silverberg lays out the perverse flaws in the attitude towards Israel being taken by the US government and other western countries. Observing that the Obama administration constantly blames Israel for not making enough concessions while making no such demands of Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies, Silverberg notes that it is only Israel that has made concessions: Recent unreciprocated concessions also include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's acceptance of Palestinian statehood, and the concept of two states for two peoples...Netanyahu temporarily prohibited Jewish construction on the West Bank; put a hold on Jewish construction in Jerusalem; prohibited Jewish building on the West Bank and Jerusalem following the end of his construction ban; curtailed IDF counter-terrorism operations on the West Bank; looked the other way on illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem; allowed the deployment of a US-trained Palestinian army on the West Bank knowing the day may come when they might turn their weapons on Israelis; removed over 400 security checkpoints on the West Bank to facilitate Palestinian travel; and eased the Israeli embargo on Gaza despite Hamas's outspoken goal of exterminating Israel; the 2005 Gaza withdrawal that quickly led to a Hamas-controlled terrorist enclave on Israel’s southern border that continues to fire missiles into Israel’s civilian population centers; and a complete withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, which now has more increasingly accurate and farther-reaching Hizballah weaponry pointed at Israel than ever before.

...If the Palestinians and Arab and Muslim countries are always given a pass for bad behavior -- and often even rewarded for it -- why should they ever make peace?

I believe this is perhaps the most important point of all. In my view, the single most important reason for the continuation without end of the Middle East conflict is that the west has continuously rewarded the Arab aggressors – and if aggressors are rewarded, the inevitable result is they merely ratchet up their aggression.

From the very beginning of the conflict in the 1920s, Britain’s response to Arab terror against the Jews was to reward the perpetrators by offering them part of the internationally binding legal entitlement of their victims. That pattern continues to this day.

In order to arrive at a solution, you must first correctly identify the problem. The problem here is not that there is no state of Palestine. The problem is that Arab aggressors want to destroy the State of Israel.

The solution is to make them stop doing so. That can only happen when the west stops rewarding the attackers and punishing their victims, and starts treating the aggressors instead as pariahs.

The solution to the Middle East conflict therefore does not depend upon the establishment of a state of Palestine. It depends instead on whether the west stops rewarding genocidal aggression.

Why doesn’t Israel say so, loudly and publicly? Why is it so afraid to stand up for its own cause of truth, law and justice?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Arlene Kushner

I try mightily to maintain a professional standard as I write these postings. It is for this reason that I must censor myself with regard to what I'd like to say about South African jurist Richard Goldstone. Those who understand, will understand.

Goldstone, in an interview with the AP, let it be known that he does not intend to seek retraction or nullification of his report on our operation in Gaza.

In his interview, Goldstone said:

"Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration, but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time." (Emphasis added) How can he say this, when he just said last week that if he had known when he wrote the report what he knows now, it would have been a different report? When he admitted that, even though the report charged Israel with the war crime of targeting civilians, he now recognizes that this was not the case?

He can say this because he's a man beyond scruples, beyond shame. A shill for anti-Semites.

My own guess is that someone or several someones got to him. You're messing us up, he was undoubtedly told. Fix it! So (I was going to write "to his everlasting shame" but I just acknowledged that he has no shame), he fixed it.

A pox on him.


Meanwhile, a whole lot of people are angry with Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Yisrael Beitenu), who called Goldstone, expressed appreciation for his "courageous" change of stance, and invited him to come to Israel to tour the south, which has been suffering rocket attacks for years.

It is being said that Yishai should have consulted with the government first. He claims he was speaking only for himself in tending that invitation. Most certainly, this would not have created the flack it has if it were not for Goldstone's retraction of his retraction.

But consider this:

Yishai says that Goldstone promised him he would take additional steps to change the status of the report. Danny Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, participated in this phone conversation and agrees that what Yishai claims is so. Says Gillerman, Goldstone indicated he wanted to "wait for the dust to settle."

Yet Goldstone, in his AP interview, insisted that, "There was absolutely no discussion about the Goldstone report on the call [with Yishai]." No discussion -- even though Yishai called to congratulate him for changing his stance? Does Goldstone understand how foolish this makes him look?

Obviously, the someones got to him between the call from Yishai and the subsequent AP interview.


Goldstone did say Yishai invited him to Israel, but that he cannot make it until July. Should he have the nerve to come after all that has transpired, I know a lot of people will be waiting at the airport to hiss and boo him into the country.

Goldstone's parting shot in that AP interview: "I ended the conversation by expressing my love for Israel." Doesn't that just tear you up?


Well, Peres had his meeting with Obama. And subsequently, Obama, in the words of the JPost, "urged Israel to forge a peace in the Middle East..." As if one nation might "forge a peace" by itself.

Said Obama's statement: "With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it's more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

I apologize here to my readers for the repetition. I find it as tiresome as you must, but my task is to report upon and respond to the nonsense being spouted.

Should we be surprised that this is what Obama said? Of course not. But he never packs it in.

First, I ask, WHAT opportunity? Has the president not noticed that the PA has renounced negotiations in favor of the UN gambit? Has it eluded his attention, that Abbas says he'll come to the table again only if Israel first agrees to all his terms, such as a Palestinian state within the '67 lines? the president suggesting that we give Abbas whatever he wants, just so the negotiations progress?


The current diplomatic idea "du jour" is that the unrest in the Middle East makes it all the more important that we settle things with the Palestinian Arabs now. But this is wrong, wrong, wrong. It would be unwise to advance on this front, even if it were possible, until, as was said above, "the dust settles."

There are several reasons why it behooves us to hold tight now especially:

With current regional instability, and the possibility that Jordan might fall to Islamists, it becomes increasingly important for us to maintain that presence in the Jordan Valley (continue to control the valley, actually) and to sustain strategic depth.

It is also increasingly obvious that an accord with the PA would not be worth the paper it was written on; this is something that has always been clear to those willing to see -- it's just MORE clear now. For the PA itself may be overthrown by Islamists, too, And if that were the case after an accord, we would be more vulnerable because we would have pulled back to make room for that state.

Lastly, there is radicalism in the air, not moderation, and the spine of the PA leaders is stiffened as they tilt towards that radical stance. This is not a time to talk with them. They are not going to moderate on nothing, no how. They wouldn't dare.

And yet, with great sagacity, a host of know-nothings persist in the suggestion that now is the time for "peace." I am sorry to note that Abe Foxman of ADL is among them.


Then we have this, which is part of the same thinking, except more so:

EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton put out a statement today that:

"I am deeply disappointed by the approval of 942 new housing units in the Israeli settlement of Gilo....These plans may further damage an already fragile political environment. I reiterate that the EU considers that settlement activities in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace."

And with this, I'm prepared, finally, to relinquish my professional stance and simply say what needs to be said: Damn them all.

"The settlement of Gilo?" This so raises ire. For Gilo is built on Jewish land and is in every way one might imagine solidly and totally a neighborhood of Jewish Jerusalem. Even if there were (G-d forbid) negotiations in which we relinquished part of Jerusalem, I assure, we would hold on to Gilo. It's a non-issue.

I believe we have rights in all of Judea and Samaria. But I can accept, in principle, that someone might argue that it's wrong to establish caravan communities on hilltops in Samaria that do not have government approval.

But for people like Ashton, there's no room for differentiation between that cluster of caravans on a hilltop and Gilo, which is totally establishment, totally government sanctioned. The common denominator, you see, is they're both past the Green Line.

That is what makes Gilo a "settlement." What this actually means, of course, is that it is past the place where the temporary ceasefire line was drawn in 1949 when the fighting between Israel and Jordan came to a halt. There is no sanctity to that line, not legally, not diplomatically, except in the distorted minds of people like Ashton.

Let it be stated here, for the millionth time: Building past the Green Line is not illegal.


As to it "undermining trust" and being "an obstacle to peace," I can only ask, once again, where Ashton and her ilk are when Fatah names city squares for terrorists? This doesn't undermine trust and create a peace obstacle? When has she came out with a statement with regard to PA praise of terrorists? Or insisted that PA textbooks stop promoting jihad?


Then to further exacerbate the issue, Ashton has this to say:

"If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."

There we have it again, a determination by an outside party of what "must" be. The Oslo Accords and all pertinent UN Security Council resolutions call for the outstanding issues to be resolved via negotiations between Israel and the PA. Last time I looked, we hadn't had those negotiations.

Of course, Ashton is totally incapable of perceiving that were we to give half of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Arabs we still wouldn't have peace. So let's leave that for the moment.

The offense here is that Ashton deigns to declare now not only that the city of Jerusalem must be divided, but that it must be divided along the Green Line -- so that we are undermining the possibility of peace by building in a place like Gilo.

And why would this be so? Because the Palestinian Arabs have said so. That's why.

The EU is morally bankrupt and totally without credibility.


But let's take a quick look at the people with whom we are supposed to "make peace":

A poll has been conducted by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. According to its results, one third of Palestinian Arabs located within the PA areas support the terrorist slaughter of the Fogel family last month.

While a report released today by Human Rights Watch indicates that the Palestinian Authority routinely harasses and abuses journalists. The report contained testimonies of journalists who were beaten, arrested for no reason, or had their equipment confiscated. HRW says this is PA policy.

What is it we hear, about moderate, democracy-seeking Palestinian Arabs?


Amos Gilad -- who is the head of the defense ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau and has long served as the Israeli interlocutor with Egypt -- has praised Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. It "embodies" the best of Egypt, he said, and deserves the "full support of the world."

Gilad said that because of "smart and sophisticated use of power in [the] face of unprecedented events," Mohamed Tantawi, who is de facto head of the country, has achieved stability. Gilad noted that the Supreme Council was committed to sustaining Egypt's peace agreement with Egypt, and is honoring the agreement to supply Israel with gas, as well.

All of this is a welcome perspective.


Recently, I've had considerable unease because of Egypt's declaration that it would be reviewing its relationship with Iran.

But I've since been reassured for several reasons. One savvy individual I spoke with seemed to think that a certain degree of posturing was prudent for the generals -- in order to give an appearance of flexibility, but that in real terms this meant nothing. And, indeed, this is basically what Gilad has now indicated as well -- implying that there will be many words but that policy is what we must watch.

Gilad said the Egyptians have a "deep understanding" of the true nature of Iran.

Additionally, the generals met yesterday with Egypt's news agency and editors, in order to indicate that they would not let an extremist Islamist group take over.

At present, this is the very best we could hope for in Egypt. May it continue.



The foreign minister of Sudan has charged that Israel is responsible for a strike by air on a car near Port Sudan last night, which killed two.

Israel has no comment.

There have been terrorists and weaponry tracked from Sudan that were headed to Gaza in the past. If we did this, I am confident it was with good reason.


I'm going to close with something that was a heartwarmer for me.

Eran Davidi, an Israeli who has been studying law in New York City, has written a piece on "Why I choose to return."

Life is comfortable where he is, Davidi explains. And were he to stay, he could make much more than he will in Israel.

"So why will I be returning to Israel? It’s precisely the stay here that made me realize that we have no other place except our country. I now understand that Israel is the only place in the world where I’ll truly feel at home. I understand that despite my reserve service and all the wars, I nonetheless feel the safest in Israel. I realize that Israel is the only place where my identity as a Jew won’t stop me from at least dreaming to reach as far as possible.

"I also understand that it’s important for me to take part in these historical moments where the Jewish people returned to its homeland after 2,000 years of exile. Mostly, my stay here made me realize that in the era of human rights the Jewish people has no future without tiny Israel. And this future is dear to me.

"People who moved overseas tend to say that they did it because of the quality of life. However, quality of life is not only measured by the size of your house or the view from the window; it is also not measured by the amount of money you make or its color.

"Quality of life is measured first and foremost by the meaning of the life you live and is derived from the sense of belonging to the people around you, the wholeness of your identity, and the knowledge that by living in our state you are part of something bigger; bigger than you, and sometimes bigger than logic.

"...something in my Israeli character doesn’t allow me to despair; I am unwilling to give up when faced with a fateful mission unlike no other. Perhaps it’s the age, or the stage in life, but many members of my generation and myself - all proud descendents of the Zionist movement - are still hopeful about Israel’s future, and mostly feel that everything still depends on us.",7340,L-4052836,00.html

Baruch Hashem!


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

"Revving Up"

Arlene Kushner

The campaign engine, is what I am referring to. President Obama has announced that he's launching his re-election campaign.

A good dozen potential Republican candidates are currently testing the campaign waters, but none have yet declared. It is critical that the Republican candidate be absolutely top-notch: someone capable of defeating Obama soundly. For a second-term (lame-duck) Obama would be more dangerous than what we have now (which is dangerous enough), as he would no longer be concerned with his support for election purposes. He'd be much more likely to do as he pleases.

There will be much to say, in due course. sraeli President Shimon Peres is in Washington, and will be meeting with Obama shortly. That they will talk "peace" is a given. There has been a great deal of discussion regarding whether Peres will be speaking on his own (dove-oriented) behalf, or officially on behalf of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Herb Keinon, in today's JPost, had another take: Netanyahu will be coming to the States soon, and Peres has gone, as a "scout," with the prime minister's explicit blessing, to test the waters and soften Obama up.

That Netanyahu should consider this necessary says volumes about where Obama is coming from.


Dirar Abu Sisi, a Palestinian Arab engineer, disappeared from a train in the Ukraine on February 19. For some days, no one knew of his whereabouts. Israel officials then confirmed that Israel was holding him, but little more was said.

Abu Sisi's wife lamented that he was an innocent man who didn't know about anything (the first thought was that this was with regard to where Gilad Shalit was being held). Abu Sisi's brother said maybe someone was framing him, but he is a good, and innocent man.

Right. Yesterday an indictment against this "innocent" man was filed with the Beersheba District Court. The charges:

Abu Sisi received a doctorate degree from a Ukrainian military engineering academy, where he worked with a Scud missile specialist. During his studies the engineer gained knowledge on the development of missiles and their control systems.

Once returned to Gaza, Abu Sisi joined Hamas and engaged in covert operations of the organization.

Between the years 2002-2008, he was a Hamas commander and member of a committee in which Mohammed Def, the commander of the group's military wing, was also a member. The committee was charged with developing deadly missiles and rockets that have been used by Hamas since 2002 against civilians as well as IDF vehicles. Abu Sisi helped the group enlarge its rocket range from 6 km to 22, and vowed to further improve the range to 37-45 km.

Following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Abu Sisi was nominated to lead the establishment of a military academy charged with training Hamas commanders.

May he be put away for a long, long time.


Dr. Aaron Lerner's comments on this are worthy of note:

"The Israeli 'quiet for quiet' model - that appears to be continued to be embraced by the current Israeli government - takes the approach that the Arabs in the Gaza Strip can do pretty much anything that they want to do to prepare for war against Israel as long as they don't shoot. Yet. And when the Arabs shoot from Gaza, Israel responds with a 'tit for tat,' bombing a few targets from the 'target bank' rather than attempting to make a serious dent in the weapons stores in the Gaza Strip.

"Some have argued that 'quiet for quiet' could stop major advances in the weapons systems being deployed in the Gaza Strip as long as the Israeli Navy and others manage to stop the weapons systems in transit into the Gaza Strip.

"But the indictment of Dirar Abu Sisi reveals that extremely significant and deadly dangerous missile development was taking place in the Gaza Strip itself.

"The 'quiet for quiet' policy should more appropriately be termed a 'let's forget about tomorrow' policy."


And I'd like to carry an examination of the "let's forget about tomorrow" policy one step further. As I see it, there is the potential (potential -- we don't know yet) for a vastly different dynamic with regard to our attacking Gaza. Until now, if we attacked Gaza, we dealt with Hamas, and that was it. And I believe it would still be the case at the moment, with the military ruling Egypt.

But now Mohamed ElBaradei, who is a candidate for the Egyptian presidency, has declared that as president he would find ways to implement the joint Arab defense pact, were Israel to attack in Gaza.

It's very unlikely that ElBaradei will win. But what if someone else who thinks similarly does? What if Muslim Brotherhood comes to power?

Is it not better that we take out the huge stockpiles of weapons in the possession of Hamas now, before the dynamic shifts? It is estimated that Hamas weapons capability has increased four-fold in the last fives years.

Just asking...


This comes from Ma'an, the PA news agency: The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has released new information regarding living conditions among Palestinian Arabs.

Statistics are very similar for the West Bank and Gaza. Got that? Sort of puts a dent in the image of Gazans as suffering tremendously.

Home ownership in the West Bank was at 82 percent, and at 80 percent in Gaza, although crowding was greater in Gaza. Almost all homes had refrigerators, 94 percent had satellite dishes, and 47 percent had computers.


PA President Abbas has met in Amman with David Hill , Deputy to the US special envoy to the Middle East (that would be Blair).

Abbas informed Hill that negotiations will resume "only if there are clear terms of reference to the negotiations and after Israel stops all settlement activity." (Translation: only if Israel agrees to all terms before negotiations begin.)


On a brighter note, Dennis Ross, Obama ME advisor, speaking at the annual leadership conference of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that:

“We have consistently made it clear that the way to produce a Palestinian state is through negotiations, not through unilateral declarations, not through going to the UN. Our position on that has been consistent in opposition.”

It would be good to know in real terms what this will mean with regard to US policy and actions if and when the PA does go to the UN. (I would suggest that the stronger the US is in communicating this opposition, the more the hesitation that will be engendered in PA ranks.)

After declaring strong US commitment to Israel, Ross then launched into talk about the need for those negotiations. “It’s important that they [Palestinian Arab leadership] see that peace is a possibility. They need to see that negotiations can not only take place, but they can produce.”

The problem with all this blather is that Ross does not confront the hard realities, such as the fact that the PA demands it all, and cannot have it all. What "possibility" is he addressing?


More good news:

Jerusalem's Building and Planning Committee voted yesterday to permit the construction of 942 housing units in the neighborhood of Gilo, in the south of the city. A zoning decision by the Committee may pave the way for an additional 300 housing units in the future as well.

According to a statement by the municipality: "The land where the units are to be built is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and private individuals. The private owners are asking that building plans be advanced in accordance with the law."


The municipal committee also planned to discuss the expansion of three other Jerusalem neighborhoods: Ramat Shlomo, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev. But reports are that Shimon Peres asked that this be tabled until his return from meeting Obama.


Yesterday as well, the Ministry of Defense approved for urban zoning four Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria: Eshkolot, Hemdat, Nofim and Rotem. The zoning allows for higher- density apartment buildings.

"These are legal settlements that were built on state lands, [and] received authorizations from the government, but their urban construction plans were not arranged," read a Ministry statement. Actual construction would require further authorization and building permits. But the legal standing of these communities has now been strengthened with regard to such matters as state funding and utilities.


But while the urban zoning for four Jewish communities is considered a move in the right direction, leaders of the Councils of Samaria were angry that this move was selective.

Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika complained, "Citizens residing in Judea and Samaria are not second class citizens." Legally, he said, there was no difference between Nofim and Itamar, which was also built by the government.

Remember Itamar? Where five members of the Fogel family were massacred, and members of the government and the Knesset came to say that the response must be building?

Including Itamar, there are five additional communities in the Shomron Regional Council that merit the same attention as Nofim.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

see my website

An Open Letter to the Edinburgh University Student Association on Boycotting Israel

from Dr. Denis MacEoin [alumnus of Edinburgh university]

March 29, 2011 (initial post date)
Around 270 students at Edinburgh University voted in favour of a motion which described Israel as an apartheid state and called for a boycott of goods. However, the Jewish Chronicle reports that the Edinburgh University Students’ Association has confirmed a proposed boycott of Israeli products will not be enforced.

Here is a strong argument against the boycott, written by an Edinburgh University alumnus:
The Committee
Edinburgh University Student Association
May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain’s great Middle East experts in their day. I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field.
I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote. I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves. Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those member of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby. Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel. I’m speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a ‘Nazi’ state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nüremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for. It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.
Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled things in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is. That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world centre; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population). In Iran, the Baha’is (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran?

Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no blacks could do in South Africa. Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.
In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home. It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief. Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?
University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak. I do not object to well documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens. Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Baha’is…. Need I go on? The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott.
I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. As for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument. They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930s (which, sadly, there was not), don’t you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it? Of course he would, and he would not have stopped there. Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense to you. I have given you some of the evidence. It’s up to you to find out more.
Yours sincerely,
Dr. Denis MacEoin

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Green Light on 942 Housing Units for Gilo

Chana Ya'ar
A7 News

The southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo will expand to the east and south, gaining 942 new housing units, thanks to a committee decision Monday in Jerusalem.

A zoning decision by the city's Building and Planning Committee may allow an additional 300 housing units in the future as well.

The land where the units are to be built is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and private individuals, according to media reports.

“The private owners [of the property] are asking to advance building plans in accordance with the law,” said the municipality in a statement quoted by UPI. Also on the agenda were plans to discuss the building of “scores of units for the city's Arab sector, as it does every week,” city officials said. Four Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – Eshkolot, Hemdat, Nofim and Rotem – are also to be approved for urban zoning, according to Defense Ministry sources. Such zoning allows for higher- density apartment buildings.

“These are legal settlements that were built on state lands, [and] received authorizations from the government, but their urban construction plans were not arranged,” said the ministry in a statement to the media. “Only recently were those arrangements completed. This is an approval for the current situation. Any additional construction will require additional authorization,” the statement said.

The approvals came at the start of a visit to the U.S. by President Shimon Peres, who was set to meet Monday afternoon in Washington DC with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Before leaving for the visit, Peres was told the committee planned to discuss expansion of three other neighborhoods as well: Ramat Shlomo, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev. The president allegedly asked the committee to postpone the discussions.

Peres is expected to meet for a working lunch Tuesday with President Barack Obama. Both meetings are to be held at Blair House, where Peres is staying, rather than at the White House, for reasons that are unclear. Blair House is the president's official guest house in Washington.

"The Three Stooges Of Evil" - Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

Lt. Colonel James Zumwalt, USMC (ret)

In the aftermath of 9/11, the question asked was why we failed to see what was coming.

An interviewer asked news reporter Tom Brokaw when he was retiring in 2004 if there was ever a story he regretted not reporting. His response was his failure to do a pre-9/11 story that connected the dots on terrorism. The dots were all there but blind ignorance prevented us from seeing the connection. Unfortunately, blind ignorance is at it again.

Reflect for a moment on a film with the following plot. Three men in positions of power and authority are bonded together by a shared belief. The trio sees a world in complete disorder. Desperately needed to re-organize it is a leader possessing superhuman traits. They believe just such a leader has been pre-ordained for this role, with the ability to create a single global society. Once this leader appears, he will effectively mold all six plus billion inhabitants of Planet Earth into a society answerable to but one god and one set of laws. Those opposed to such a world order will suffer death.

The trio believes this pre-ordained superhuman leader has walked among Earth’s inhabitants before. He was a descendant of a great religious warrior-leader more than a millennium ago, but disappeared as a child, ascending into a state of occultation. He still exists in this suspended state today, unable to return to Earth to lead his global unification fight until the right condition exists by which to release him, triggering his return.

The plot thickens as it is the trio alone who collectively hold the key to the occulted leader’s release. Only by their joining forces and working together to achieve the necessary condition to free the leader from his occultation can his destiny be achieved.

The condition the trio needs to usher in to achieve this result is world chaos. To do so, one of the trio’s members seeks nuclear weapons—a goal from which he will not be deterred, regardless of the obstacles placed in his way.

The above makes for intriguing fiction—were it not for the fact it is not. According to an article by Ryan Mauro in, a documentary with just such a plot has recently been released in Iran. It is a film explaining the intentions of a trio of leaders to use war as a trigger to expedite the arrival of the “Hidden Imam” or “Mahdi.” Not only does the documentary brazenly forewarn what lies ahead for the world, it also predicts the prophecy of the Mahdi’s return is “very close” to becoming reality. As the prophecy ordains the Mahdi’s return will not occur in an odd numbered year, “very close” may suggest that war will happen in 2012.

Starring in the film’s role is the trio of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Shown to top clerics a few weeks ago, the film is now being viewed by Iranian security forces—the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and the Basiji. It will then be distributed to mosques and Islamic centers throughout the region.

The documentary appears to be an educational tool for preparing followers for the role a nation in the east (i.e., Iran) is destined to play in fulfilling this prophecy by leading the war against Islam’s enemies in order to trigger the Mahdi’s return. The film cites current events, such as the various Arab uprisings, to explain that “the final chapter has begun.” It also explains the “end-of-the-world” prophecy involves three characters who will be critical to its fulfillment—the aforementioned Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah.

Khamenei is “the preparer” for the Mahdi’s return. The film shares that Khamenei has already had a private meeting with the Mahdi who came down from his “occulted” state to reveal himself to the head mullah. During this meeting, Khamenei was allegedly told the Mahdi’s official arrival will occur sometime before Khamenei’s term as Supreme Leader ends (i.e., his death). Khamenei’s poor health is an indicator 2012 is, again, probably being perceived by Iran as the year for things to fall into place for the Mahdi’s return.

As “the preparer,” Khamenei appoints a commander-in-chief 72 months before the Mahdi’s return. Ahmadinejad became president in August 2005 (stealing the 2009 election for a second term). Thus, this is Ahmadinejad’s role, for in 2012 he will still be serving as commander-in-chief.

The film depicts a role for which Ahmadinejad has always believed he was destined and from which he has never shied away. As mayor of Tehran before becoming president, he had ordered the widening of some of Tehran’s streets to prepare for the Mahdi’s return. Only three months after taking office as president, he announced his mission was to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi.” And, after addressing the UN in 2005, Ahmadinejad returned home to brag to clerics that, as he spoke, he felt surrounded by the glowing aura of the Mahdi—an aura which so mesmerized world leaders present they could not even blink. His speeches include a prayer for Allah to “hasten his (the Mahdi’s) reappearance.”

The last member of the prophecy’s trio is a military commander who will form the Mahdi’s army with which to march into Mecca in Saudi Arabia. (This indicates the Mahdi’s trio targets not only non-Muslims but Sunni Muslims as well. In fact, in a direct threat to the Saudis, the film begins with the challenge, “Whoever guarantees the death of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, I will guarantee the imminent reappearance of the Mahdi.” Accordingly, 2012 may prove to be the year of the assassin for the Saudi leader.) The military commander’s role in the Mahdi’s trio is played by Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah.

Implementing its plan for war against the US, Iran last year took a strategic step to position itself for the 2012 conflict. With elements of Hezbollah pre-positioned in Venezuela since 2006 with the permission of President Hugo Chavez, an agreement was struck between the two countries to establish missile bases there—jointly operated by the two and manned by Hezbollah fighters. In a far cry from President Kennedy’s aggressive, and successful, actions almost a half century earlier in forcing the Soviets to remove missiles they had placed in Cuba, President Obama has done nothing to challenge Iran on this. Meanwhile, Hezbollah has been linking up with Mexican drug gangs to access our borders in order to be prepared for the 2012 war.

Another event signaling the Mahdi’s imminent return is re-capturing Jerusalem. This goal brings into context a recently published map identifying the location of a thousand military sites and facilities Hezbollah has been building over the past few years in Lebanon—many co-located at civilian sites. It is a build-up that will continue until Hezbollah gets the signal from Iran to strike out at Israel in fulfillment of meeting the condition precedent to the Mahdi’s return.

Ironically, the war with Iran that President Obama has so desperately sought to avoid is one Iran, based on its own documentary, is seeking to have by 2012. The production of a film making this intention so clear is a brazen indication its leadership is confident its release will not cause a complacent West to act. They are confident, once again, we will fail to connect the dots.

If only the trio above were characters in a comedy spoof. We could rest assured the “three stooges of evil” would be stopped in time by a superhero. Unfortunately, however, the danger in the real life plot of “The return of the Mahdi” is that the superhero role remains unscripted.

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret) is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam War, the US invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields" and frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

Palestinian forces unite against Israel, U.S.

Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily

TEL AVIV – The so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization has formed a common operations room with the Hamas terrorist organization, according to information obtained by WND.

Sources inside the Palestinian militant apparatus told WND of a meeting that took place last week in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis between Hamas’ so-called military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam, and the Gaza branch of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the “military wing” of Abbas’ U.S.-backed Fatah party.

At the meeting, the decision was taken to open what the sources called a common operations room. The sources claimed the cooperation was aimed at fending off any Israeli operation inside the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has recently increased its firing of rockets into nearby Israeli population centers. ust last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israel may respond with “great force” if the Hamas rocketing continues.

The stepped up Hamas-Fatah cooperation comes as the PA has been engaged in an intense effort to convince the Hamas terrorist organization to join it in a new unity government.

Last week, WND reported that in a desperate bid to sign a unity government with Hamas, Abbas offered to release from prison scores of Hamas terrorists responsible for attacks against Jews.

Abbas offered to release a large number of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Palestinian jails if Hamas agrees to forge a unity government, according to informed Palestinian security sources.
While Abbas did not agree to release those responsible directly for killing Israelis, he told Hamas he would release terrorists involved in planning and aiding in attacks, such as by providing logistical support or weapons to the attackers, the sources said.

This marks the latest in a series of PA concessions to Hamas.
Abbas last week met Hamas leaders in the West Bank to discuss a possible unity deal with the terrorist group.

WND reported two weeks ago the PA has quietly offered to place between 15,000 and 20,000 of Hamas’ forces in Gaza on official PA salary if Hamas joins in a unity government.

The technical explanation being given by PA sources is that the Palestinian leadership feels it better to maintain one major financial apparatus to pay all security forces, instead of having a separate governmental system in Gaza run by Hamas.

Monthly salaries of Hamas security officers in Gaza typically range from between 800 and 1,500 shekel, or between $244 and $421.
Aside from an accommodation on salaries, the PA is ready to give Hamas full official security control of the Gaza Strip if the Islamist organization agrees to form a unity government, according to a PA official who previously spoke to WND.

In 2007, Hamas seized Gaza from the PA and since then has maintained a de facto government in the territory. While Hamas largely controls Gaza, the PA still has militias there that are influential in key areas.

The PA official, who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity, said that Hamas would not need to recognize the existence of Israel as a precondition for entering a new unity government.

He said Hamas is being asked to commit itself to previous Palestinian agreements, which would include those signed with Israel, without actually recognizing the specific agreements with Israel. The PA official admitted the request appears to be contradictory.

The PA official told WND that recent developments in Egypt and the greater Arab world force the Palestinian leadership to take a public position against the U.S.

“The Obama administration’s abandonment of (U.S. ally President Hosni) Mubarak in Egypt sent a big sign to the moderate Arab world that we can no longer depend on American support,” said the official.
The official further argued that popular sentiment on the Palestinian streets dictates the PA must orient itself away from the U.S.

Indeed, the PA’s official media outlets have been railing against the U.S. in recent weeks, with 28 PA municipalities even announcing boycotts of “the American consulate, its diplomats, and the American institutions in Jerusalem,” according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.

In direct response to the protests that already toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the PA two weeks ago announced it finally will hold long-delayed parliamentary and presidential elections in September.
Thanks to Ted Belman

Monday, April 04, 2011

Syria’s ‘reformer’

Charles Krauthammer

Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.

— Hillary Clinton on Bashar al-Assad, March 27

Few things said by this administration in its two years can match this one for moral bankruptcy and strategic incomprehensibility.

First, it’s demonstrably false. It was hoped that President Assad would be a reformer when he inherited his father’s dictatorship a decade ago. Being a London-educated eye doctor, he received the full Yuri Andropov treatment — the assumption that having been exposed to Western ways, he’d been Westernized. Wrong. Assad has run the same iron-fisted Alawite police state as did his father.

Bashar made promises of reform during the short-lived Arab Spring of 2005. The promises were broken. During the current brutally suppressed protests, his spokeswoman made renewed promises of reform. Then Wednesday, appearing before parliament, Assad was shockingly defiant. He offered no concessions. None. Second, Clinton’s statement is morally obtuse. Here are people demonstrating against a dictatorship that repeatedly uses live fire on its own people, a regime that in 1982 killed 20,000 in Hama and then paved the dead over. Here are insanely courageous people demanding reform — and the U.S. secretary of state tells the world that the thug ordering the shooting of innocents already is a reformer, thus effectively endorsing the Baath party line — “We are all reformers,” Assad told parliament — and undermining the demonstrators’ cause.

Third, it’s strategically incomprehensible. Sometimes you cover for a repressive ally because you need it for U.S. national security. Hence our muted words about Bahrain. Hence our slow response on Egypt. But there are rare times when strategic interest and moral imperative coincide completely. Syria is one such — a monstrous police state whose regime consistently works to thwart U.S. interests in the region.

During the worst days of the Iraq war, this regime funneled terrorists into Iraq to fight U.S. troops and Iraqi allies. It is dripping with Lebanese blood as well, being behind the murder of independent journalists and democrats, including former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. This year, it helped topple the pro-Western government of Hariri’s son, Saad, and put Lebanon under the thumb of the virulently anti-Western Hezbollah. Syria is a partner in nuclear proliferation with North Korea. It is Iran’s agent and closest Arab ally, granting it an outlet on the Mediterranean. Those two Iranian warships that went through the Suez Canal in February docked at the Syrian port of Latakia, a long-sought Iranian penetration of the Mediterranean.

Yet here was the secretary of state covering for the Syrian dictator against his own opposition. And it doesn’t help that Clinton tried to walk it back two days later by saying she was simply quoting others. Rubbish. Of the myriad opinions of Assad, she chose to cite precisely one: reformer. That’s an endorsement, no matter how much she later pretends otherwise.

And it’s not just the words; it’s the policy behind it. This delicacy toward Assad is dismayingly reminiscent of President Obama’s response to the 2009 Iranian uprising during which he was scandalously reluctant to support the demonstrators, while repeatedly reaffirming the legitimacy of the brutal theocracy suppressing them.

Why? Because Obama wanted to remain “engaged” with the mullahs — so that he could talk them out of their nuclear weapons. We know how that went.

The same conceit animates his Syria policy — keep good relations with the regime so that Obama can sweet-talk it out of its alliance with Iran and sponsorship of Hezbollah.

Another abject failure. Syria has contemptuously rejected Obama’s blandishments — obsequious visits from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and the return of the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus since the killing of Hariri. Assad’s response? An even tighter and more ostentatious alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.

Our ambassador in Damascus should demand to meet the demonstrators and visit the wounded. If refused, he should be recalled to Washington. And rather than “deplore the crackdown,” as did Clinton in her walk-back, we should be denouncing it in forceful language and every available forum, including the U.N. Security Council.

No one is asking for a Libya-style rescue. Just simple truth-telling. If Kerry wants to make a fool of himself by continuing to insist that Assad is an agent of change, well, it’s a free country. But Clinton speaks for the nation.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

"Rays of Light"

Arlene Kushner

Doesn't mean we're basking in full sunshine (yet), but those rays are not to be ignored.

Please see an article I wrote last week as a retort to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said we "must" divide Jerusalem:

I've yet to see the UN shine a light on Jerusalem -- in this case the light comes from the sure knowledge that Jerusalem is indeed ours.

~~~~~~~~~~ But speaking of the UN, we have this unexpected turn of events:

Richard Goldstone, the former South African justice who chaired the UN fact-finding mission on the war in Gaza, has had a change of heart. In an opinion piece in Friday's Washington Post, "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes," he has written:

"If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

"The final report by the UN committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that 'Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza' while 'the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.'

"Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and 'possibly crimes against humanity' by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

"The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion...the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the UN committee’s report...indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy." (emphasis added)


Well, mazel tov! We didn't intentionally target civilians as a matter of policy, never mind that this was the conclusion of the original Goldstone Report.

I consider it nothing more than unacceptable self-serving justification, that he says his fact-finding committee had "no evidence" to draw any conclusion other than that Israel had acted with intentionality in injuring and killing civilians. Nonsense. A careful examination of the Hamas propensity for using human shields, alone, would have put matters into perspective.

Israel had refused to cooperate with Goldstone's investigation because it was understood that a bias was built in and that the mission's mandate was not objective: The charge to the mission was made by the notoriously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council and was understood to be politically motivated.


One of the recommendations of the Report was that both parties follow up with their own investigations. This, as Goldstone acknowledged, Israel has done scrupulously. But, of course, Hamas has not moved in that direction at all.


One has to ponder whether Goldstone is being disingenuous or extremely naive as he addresses this fact:

"Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case..."

Did he really think Hamas would care what the Human Rights Council said? I fear that we are witnessing an instance of that common malady, inability to confront the true nature of radical terrorist groups.

There is a false expectation (or deliberate self-delusion) that these groups can be motivated or coerced to operate within the norms of civilized society.


And so, we stand tall, proud of the moral foundations of the IDF, which are second to none in the world. We are glad for this belated backtracking by Goldstone. But the comment of opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), who was foreign minister when Cast Lead took place, is relevant:

"Operation Cast Lead was an important and justified operation with or without Goldstone." In other words, we know who we are and don't need Goldstone in order to feel vindicated.

Several ministers in the government have called for further action on the part of Goldstone -- from writing a new report, as it should be written, to traveling from nation to nation explaining his new position. An opinion piece in a newspaper is simply not sufficient.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the United Nations now has to disavow the Report. (Don't hold your breath.) Similar calls have come from members of Congress and American Jewish organizations.

President Shimon Peres says Goldstone owes Israel an apology.


I particularly want to call your attention to the commentary by JPost editor David Horovitz, "Goldstone, the belated penitent."

"By alleging, unfoundedly, that we were an immoral enemy, the sanctimonious judge put all of our lives at greater risk. From him, and everyone else who rushed to demonize Israel, an apology just isn't good enough." (Emphasis added)

"How tragic, that is, that Goldstone so misplaced his moral compass in the first place as to have produced a report that has caused such irreversible damage to Israel’s good name. Tragic...most of all for our unfairly besmirched armed forces and the country they were putting their lives on the line to honorably defend against a ruthless, murderous, terrorist government in Gaza.

"The 'if I had know then what I know now' defense Goldstone invokes to try to justify his perfidy is typically flimsy, of course.

"Sanctimonious even now, Goldstone complains about Israel’s 'lack of cooperation with our investigation.' But as he knows full well, Israel could not possibly have formally cooperated with his inquiry, which had been constructed by the obsessively anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council with the precise intention of blackening Israel’s name...

"...Notwithstanding that absent formal cooperation, however, the truth about what happened in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 – the truth that Goldstone now disingenuously claims to have discovered only after he filed his malicious indictment of the IDF and of Israel – was readily available to him at the time.

"Israel did informally make the necessary information available to his committee in the shape of detailed reports on what had unfolded..."


A survey of Israeli teenagers and young adults done by Dahaf Institute and included in a book, All of the Above - Israeli Youth: Identity Paradoxes, indicates that Jewish nationalism has emerged over democracy as the most important objective for them.

A significant signpost for where we are headed, and one that I celebrate. Without a sense of who we are as a Jewish nation, we are lost. Another bright spot.


Here's a new twist from the ever-inventive Mahmoud Abbas. He will be visiting Cairo this week for the first time since Mubarak stepped down, and will be meeting with Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Higher Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

This visit, Khaled Abu Toameh tells us in the JPost, "comes as PA officials announced they were considering seeking 'international trusteeship' over an independent Palestinian state that is declared on the pre-1967 lines."

International trusteeship?


Abbas -- whose upcoming visit was preceded by a Fatah delegation to Egypt -- will be discussing reconciliation with Hamas while in Cairo.

There is unease about an Egyptian tilt towards Hamas: there are reports that Egyptians are considering re-opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza without having consulted the PA, and that the Egyptians have agreed to Hamas's demand that the Egyptian embassy in Gaza City be re-opened. The PA is concerned about legitimization of Hamas control over Gaza.


Here's one more instance of ostensible "balance" that in fact represents a skewed stance. In this instance, outrageously skewed:

On Friday, Netanyahu spoke with Ban Ki-moon asking that he work to stop a Gaza flotilla planned for May. He informed Ban that the flotilla was being organized, at least in part, by radical Islamists seeking to promote violence. Gaza, he said is open to all types of goods via land crossings, but "because of the attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza by sea, Israel must act with force against the flotilla."

So here is Ban's response, via a spokesman:

"The secretary-general reiterated that there are land routes available for those wishing to send humanitarian assistance to Gaza. He stressed as well that Israel should take meaningful steps to end the closure of Gaza."

Worse than useless. But then, it's the UN.


So what "closure" of Gaza did Ban have in mind?

So many goods are coming into Gaza from Israel by land these days that there has been a reverse process, with goods leaving Gaza via the tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor, and going into the Sinai, where need is greater.

Surely, he cannot be thinking of this.

Then was he thinking about the blockade at sea, which is designed, as our prime minister just this very moment explained, to prevent weapons smuggling?

Surely, it cannot be that the head of the UN is oblivious to Israel's need for self-defense in this respect? Or can it?


The Free Gaza Movement, which was played a primary role in the last flotilla fiasco, is involved, with several other pro-Palestinian movements, in planning this new "venture."

On its website at the end of last month, the group declared:

"We sail not just for Gaza. We sail to confront an entire apartheid regime that must be dismantled through citizen action."

It is anticipated that the flotilla -- to be called Freedom Flotilla 2 -- will include 15 ships from several countries, with thousands participating. Oh joy.

Please G-d, this time we will be properly prepared.


From the IDF spokesperson:

"Over the weekend, in a joint IDF-ISA activity, an IAF aircraft targeted a Hamas terror squad in the southern Gaza Strip, following the squad’s intentions to execute kidnappings during the upcoming Passover holiday in the Sinai Peninsula and in Israel. A hit was confirmed.

"Hamas continues to operate in every way possible in order to harm Israeli


President Shimon Peres is on his way to the US, where he is scheduled to meet with President Obama.

Before he left today, he met briefly with Jonathan's Pollard's wife Esther, at her request. Her message was emotional but to the point: She asked that Peres seek Jonathan's immediate release when meeting with Obama. "By saving Jonathan's life and bringing him home now, you will actually be saving two lives -- Jonathan's and mine."

Peres's meeting with Obama makes me vastly uncomfortable, for he is supposed to be a figurehead, not speak for the government: His left-tilting positions hardly represent those of the governing coalition. But if he can pull this off (without promising Obama the store), it would be a real coup.


We started with talk of rays of light. And I'd like to end this posting the same way. At the Shabbat lunch where I was a guest yesterday, I was talking about what a great country Israel is. We are down on ourselves too much, I declared, and don't sufficiently speak about all that is special about Israel: our resilience, our enormous humanity, and much more.

Then I returned home and picked up the JPost I hadn't read on Friday, and there was an article by editor David Horovitz -- "They tried to kill us, we won, now we're changing the world" -- that reflects the same thinking.

Horovitz has provided an interview with Saul Singer, co-author with Dan Senor of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle.

"[Senor and] Singer set out to answer the question of how our tiny country, all but bereft of natural resources and in the midst of a constant struggle for physical survival, has nonetheless managed to outstrip every other nation on Earth in terms of hi-tech innovation.

"...There are, we hardly need reminding, unique characteristics to this country. And aspects of its geo-strategic reality, of its ability to absorb immigrants, of its need to place immense responsibility on young shoulders in the army, are central to its capacity to thrive so strikingly in the field of innovation.

"That capacity for innovation, says Singer, has gradually transformed the Israeli economy over the past three decades, but it has the potential to achieve a great deal more. It is already enabling us to genuinely serve as a 'light unto the nations,' Singer argues – saving lives, bettering the world. Tikkun olam [repair of the world] in practice.

"Among the examples Singer cites here are...that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s life was saved after she was shot in Arizona in January because the emergency medical team applied a revolutionary elasticized bandage, developed in Israel, that creates pressure to quickly staunch head wounds.

"We now need to more deeply internalize that potential ourselves, Singer says, maintain our cutting edge, and begin building deeper and wider relationships worldwide to further our positive impact.

"...Israel has the largest number of start-ups per year outside the US of any country. Not per capita. The largest number. Period. We have about 500 a year, and all of Europe has 600-700. Our 7.5 million people compared to that whole continent’s 700 million people.

"... Israel gets two-and-a-half times as much venture capital per capita as the United States and 30 times as much as Europe.

"The proportion of our GDP that goes on research and development is 4.8 percent. The OECD average is 2.5%, and the US is about the same. So Israel is far ahead in civilian R&D.

"...Israel is No.1 worldwide for patents for medical devices per capita...There are two other factors [besides number of ideas and number of smart people]: drive and the willingness to take risk. Israel has more of those qualities than other countries.

"...the main military influence is cultural. So many Israelis go through the IDF, they learn leadership skills, they learn about teamwork, improvisation, sacrifice for a larger goal – these are things you don’t learn in school or in business. It’s a kind of third stage in life.

"When people abroad characterize what’s unique about Israeli innovation, you hear the same two terms over and over: maturity and sense of purpose. And both of those come from the military experience. Sense of purpose comes, too, from the fact that Israel itself is a start-up. We all grew up on the story of the country – the determination and risk involved in building it. Every generation is maintaining that determination and readiness to take risk to further build the country in its own way.

"For this start-up generation here, it’s not just about making money and finding an exit. It’s motivated by a desire to contribute to the country – 21st-century Zionism – and to the world. This is the new form of pioneering. Our grandparents drained the swamps. This – innovation – is what we do.

"...Most everyone here is either an immigrant, the child of immigrants or the grandchild of immigrants. That, by its very nature, took determination; it reflects a willingness to take risk.

"...This is the most pro-immigrant country on Earth.


So Israel is unique. Our uniqueness has enabled us to develop at an astounding rate, even when surrounded by enemies and struggling in many respects. This is a blessing from Heaven -- we are thriving.

But we are also able to contribute to the world to a degree that is, if anything, even more astounding.

Hooray for us! And let's not forget it.



© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

see my website

Of Sermons and Strategies

In this spring of youthful Arab discontent, it has become de rigueur to note that no one could have seen this coming. We had no warning, the strategists are all explaining - there was no way to predict this.

Perhaps. But closer to home, where other seismic shifts are already changing our world, we do know already what is happening. Far from the Middle East, a new battleground is emerging, and it is going to change the world we bequeath to the next generation no less than what is happening in Egypt, Syria and Libya. For the most part, though, we've chosen to ignore it.

This battleground, strange though it may sound, is the world of rabbinic training in America. Now, if you're tempted to say, "Are you kidding? With everything going on in the world, in Japan, the Middle East, Israel and more, you're worried about a few dozen students studying Talmud?" Well, yes, I am. Why? Because the impact of these people - most of them bright, decent, thoughtful and deeply Jewishly committed - is exponential. Each one of them influences hundreds of others, and the best and the brightest ultimately have enormous national influence.

So what is the problem? Consider the following:

Item: Not long ago, a student at one of America's recognized rabbinic schools sent a note to the school's e-mail list saying that it was time to buy a new tallit. Seeking advice about what to buy and where to get it, the student noted that there was only one stipulation, the tallit could not be made in Israel.

Item: After that e-mail went out, a rather energetic discussion unfolded. As the conversation became increasingly heated, students were told that e-mail conversations about Israel were now off limits. You can discuss politics, the economy, sex and theology, but not Israel.

Item: Also not long ago, other rabbinical students were discussing how to add relevance to their observance of Tisha Be'av. They began to compile a list of other moments in history that should be mourned. One suggested that 1948 be added. Because of the Nakba? No, actually. It was time, this student said, to mourn the creation of the State of Israel.

Item: A rabbinical student in Jerusalem for the year chose to celebrate his birthday in Ramallah, accompanied by fellow students. There they sat at the bar, with posters (which they either did or didn't understand) extolling violence against the Jewish state on the wall behind them, downing their drinks and feeling utterly comfortable. Photographs of the celebration got posted online.

THE EXAMPLES abound. You don't have to spend that much time listening to rabbinical students in New York, Los Angeles, Boston or Jerusalem to hear these stories. Often, a few students ask to meet privately. And almost invariably, regardless of the school in which they're enrolled or the movement to which they're committed, what they want to discuss is the profound loneliness they feel as unabashedly Zionist and pro-Israel rabbis-in-the-making.

They're impressive, these young students. The ones I've spoken with are bright, thoughtful, well-read, deeply decent human beings. There is none of that "everything Israel does is right" bravado about them, none of the morally obtuse "who cares about the Palestinians?" position that one hears in other circles. They, too, are struggling with the strategic and moral dilemmas Israel faces. But they're unwilling to say that creating the Jewish state was a mistake. They're not falling for the one-state solution trap. They may not love the settlements, but they're too sophisticated to believe that they are the reason that Israel has no peace with the Palestinians.

And for that, they say, their fellow students often treat them like pariahs.

To be sure, many of the faculty and administrators at these schools are deeply committed Zionists, superb academics who represent the very best of contemporary Jewish life. This troubling but undeniable shift in the loyalties of many rabbinical students is not, by and large, institutionally sanctioned. But that is what the Jewish tradition calls a hatzi nehama, a partial consolation at best. Because what matters is not what the schools' administrators believe - what matters is what the next generation of rabbis believes. Because what these rabbis-to-be believe is what American Jews will soon be hearing from their spiritual leaders.

IT IS thus time to get strategic, just as the Saudis did years ago when they began to seed academic positions across America. The Saudis understood that an entire generation could be shaped by the people who teach America's best students. Now, they're reaping the benefits of their strategic foresight. Dare we do less? What, we should ask ourselves, can be done to support those students who are feeling so vulnerable? How do we let them know there are many of us who hold them in extraordinarily high regard for their commitment, their tenacity, their nuanced and brave positions? How do we exhort them not to give up, for they are the frontline in a battle that must be won, a battle to ensure that the next generation of American rabbis is unabashedly committed to the continued flourishing of a Jewish State of Israel?

In this fiscally challenging era for schools, could we find the funding to place academically superb and unequivocally Israel-supportive professors in the schools that want them? Can we create settings where these students, from across movements, spend more time together than they are currently able to, deriving strength from the knowledge that they are not alone? Are there foundations that might want to support them and their studies, both financially and content-wise?

There is no limit to the possibilities, and figuring out what to do should become a communal priority. Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Libya might have been beyond our capacity to predict. But what is unfolding in our own communities is not. We know. Now we must just decide if we have the courage to act.

The original Jerusalem Post article can be read here:

And the USA funds Hamas through UNRWA

Hamas and its Horrible History

[HAMAS: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow—NO PARTNER FOR PEACE"]

Coincidentally, at the time that a socialist party in Norway's government exhibits its moral depravity by calling for Israel to be bombed if it defends itself against Hamas in Gaza (see Dr. Harold Brackman has written for the Simon Wiesenthal Center a masterly, footnoted analysis of Hamas entitled "Hamas, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - No Partner for Peace". It opens with a number of handy bon-mots and battle cries from the Jew-hating death cult that is Hamas, and provides a clear insight into Hamas's antisemitic Charter. The similarities to Nazi propaganda are obvious, and there are clear links to the antisemitism spewed out by radical imams in Egypt and elsewhere in the Islamic world; of course, Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. I can think of no better or more comprehensive overview of Hamas. Here are some of those bon-mots and battle cries:

“‘I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite all their fingers and toes. You have killed them not, but Allah killed them’.”

“Truly, the destruction of the state of Israel is a Quranic inevitability.”

“The language of bullets and bombs is the only language that the Jews understand.”

“We tell them [the Israelis]: in as much as you love life—the Muslims love death and martyrdom.”

“Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!”

“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”

“The Jews are a cancer that is spreading and is threatening the entire Islamic world.”

“[Jews are] brothers of the apes, assassins of the prophets, bloodsuckers, and war mongers. Only Islam can break the Jews and destroy their dream.”

“They [the Zionists’] established a state to protect the Jews from death and murder. If death and murder chase them in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya… then they will say: I want to flee and go back to Europe and America.”

“The Islamic Movement gives it condolences to the hero of the attack [at Beit Lid in January 1995], which led to the killing of twenty pigs and injuring of sixty monkeys.”

“The war is open until Israel ceases to exist and until the last Jew in the
world is eliminated.”

“You [America] will face the mirror of your history for a long time to come [With the 9/11 attacks] Allah has answered our prayers.”

“We are in love with the color of blood.”

“Palestine is a green tree whose thirst can only be quenched with the blood of martyrs.”

“Our words remain dead until we die in their cause.”

“Hamas has won the election on the Israeli body county ticket.”

“When the blood of martyrs irrigates the land, roses appear.”

“The children are the holy martyrs of tomorrow.”

Read Harold Brackman's entire article here: "HAMAS: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow—NO PARTNER FOR PEACE"