Friday, August 19, 2011

"Terror Update"

Arlene Kushner

I have learned that the Shin Bet had picked up information days ago about an attack initiated from the Sinai that was being planned by the Popular Resistance Committees. Thus, troops -- from the Counter-Terrorism YAMAM Unit and the elite Golani Brigade -- had already been deployed along the Israel-Sinai border.

The expectation had been that PRC was planning abduction of one or more Israelis, possibly soldiers, in a stealth operation under cover of night. What happened, then, according to reports, diverged from what had been anticipated not only in terms of time of day, but also locale, as the terrorists entered Israel at a point not far from an Egyptian military installation. The prior intelligence explains how Barak was able to announce so quickly that the source of the attack was Gaza, and why the air strike aimed first for the PRC headquarters.

Without question, the toll of dead and wounded would have been far worse, had the military not already had a presence on the scene. They were able to engage the terrorists almost immediately.


But there are anguished questions that linger in the air with regard to whether the Israeli response was sufficient. Should there have been a far larger deployment along that border, with, perhaps, constant air surveillance?

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amatzia Chen, a former commander of commando units, says, in an article running in Arutz Sheva:

"In the sixties we were able to seal the western border with Egypt such that even a mouse would have thought twice before going too far; it is hard to believe what is happening today."


Are there other actions that should have been taken? The major charge in this regard, and the most serious, involves failure to be pro-active rather than re-active.

General Chen, cited above, says:

"Unfortunately, according to the Oslo framework, once the late Rabin signed the agreements they served as a pretext for the IDF’s senior command to act as if it was a peaceful time, and that has failed time after time. That’s why what happened in Eilat does not surprise me.

“Instead of responding after the attack, the military system had to act beforehand, against the intentions to attack..."

While Caroline Glick, in her column today, says:
"Israeli military preparedness follows a depressing pattern. The IDF does not change its assessments of the strategic environment until Israeli blood runs in the streets."


So what are we talking about here?

If the IDF had intelligence that the PRC was planning a terrorist act, and knew where the PRC headquarters was located, why wasn't it hit before the act took place?

Ideally, that perhaps should have happened -- it's something that many fervently wish would have happened.

And yet, the larger context may have mitigated against this in the minds of Israeli decision-makers. Putting aside issues of compromising valuable sources of intelligence, we are looking at a very involved diplomatic environment. With the UN vote on a Palestinian state pending and the Israeli government expending major effort on lobbying for support within the international community, I can imagine unease about appearing to be an aggressor -- which is how we would have been painted.

I am not claiming that these should necessarily have been the determining factors in a decision. But I will say it is complex enough so that seconding guessing this is not simple.

Of course, we're being painted as aggressors anyway -- see below -- as we respond to the terror attack, but the world knows it's a response. Is the difference substantial enough to matter?


A more clear cut opportunity to act, it has longed seemed to me, is with regard to the retaking of the Philadelphi Corridor, the border area between Gaza and the Sinai where the weapons smuggling tunnels are located. Such an action would be clearly and demonstrably defensive in nature.

On Israel radio today, former chief of the Southern Command Zvi Fogel called for just this.


But then there is another issue involving the Sinai, and the fact that it's a terrorist playground today that is not adequately controlled by the Egyptian military.

General (res.) Uzi Dayan, who headed the Israeli National Security between 2003 and 2005, is a man for whom I have considerable respect. In another article up on Arutz Sheva he discusses this issue:

"... from a military perspective we need to prepare for a new reality [in Southern Israel].”

The peace treaty with Egypt does not permit Israeli troops in the Sinai. But Israel, which is eager to preserve that peace treaty, must also maintain its fundamental right to protect its citizens.

“We do not want to heat up the region but we also do not want this border to become a terror border. Therefore it is important to react and go after terrorists. We must ask the Egyptians to have the possibility of intervening militarily in the Sinai if it is required.

Glick addresses this issue as well.

Elsewhere, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has explained that there has been a reluctance to build up forces in the south out of concern that it would unsettle the Egyptians at a time when they may be vacillating with regard to the peace treaty.

Come on! If we need to reinforce our southern forces? (Shouldn't they have been reinforced before yesterday's attack?) The Egyptians -- if they're not on the side of the jidhadists -- know perfectly well what we're dealing with. And if it turns out that they are on the side of the jihadists, we darn well better have reinforced the Southern Command.

See a YNet op-ed on this issue here:,7340,L-4111087,00.html


Yesterday I reported that there were seven Israeli dead, including one IDF soldier. This was Moshe Naftali, 22, of Ofra, in Judea. A member of the Golani Brigade, he was rushing to help people in the bus that had been fired upon when he was killed.

Moshe Naftali

He was buried today in the Har Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem.

Eilat terror victims laid to rest



Also buried today on Har Herzl was Paskal Avrahami, a senior member of the YAMAM Counter-Terrorism Unit and a legendary sharpshooter, who was hit after I had reported yesterday. A brave and dedicated veteran fighter who trained many others, he was deeply mourned by his unit.

His commander eulogized him thus:

"We're standing here, unable to fathom the loss of YAMAM's number one officer... You did not hesitate yesterday, didn't falter for one moment and your heroic actions saved many lives.

"You were the pillar of fire showing us the way. We promise to carry on with your work."

Photo: Noam Moskowitz

He leaves a wife and three children.


At least 12 Kassam rockets and Grad katyusha rockets were launched into Israel over the night. Grads were aimed at Beersheva and Ashdod; some were stopped by the Iron Dome system. Ten people were injured, two seriously, when a Grad hit a yeshiva in Ashdod. In one instance a rocket hit a synagogue but failed to explode.

During the night Israel continued to act in Gaza in response to this. There were seven sites targeted with direct hits confirmed -- against weapons manufacturing sites in the north, smuggling tunnels in the south, and more.


Meanwhile Nabil Sha'ath, a senior PA (PA, not Hamas) official said that what Israel is doing constitutes "war crimes."

"The Israeli insanity will not hold back the Palestinian leadership from going to the UN; on the contrary it will give us a stronger motivation to continue our move,” he told the PA news agency WAFA.

Such criticism as was leveled against the original terror attack was based not on a moral perspective. Rather, it was said that it "gives Israel an excuse to attack," and thus is counterproductive. This is the standard Palestinian Arab stance.

© 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.

Danon’s ‘annexation campaign’ set to begin


Campaign calling for all of Judea and Samaria to be made part of the sovereign state of Israel to be launched on Facebook.

As the Palestinian Authority prepares to ask the United Nations General Assembly to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally, a pressure campaign will begin Wednesday asking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to unilaterally annex the West Bank.

The campaign is the brainchild of Likud MK Danny Danon, who has sponsored a bill that would begin the process of making all of Judea and Samaria part of the sovereign state of Israel. The campaign will begin on Facebook, spread to top Israeli websites, and perhaps after that to the streets. “The campaign will call for the Israeli government to respond to the Palestinians’ unilateral step by taking a Zionist unilateral action of annexing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” Danon said.

The Likud legislator said the campaign was intended to remind the public and the government that many major decisions by Israel were taken unilaterally, including declaring the state by former prime minister David Ben-Gurion, annexing eastern Jerusalem by former prime minister Levi Eshkol and the annexation of the Golan Heights by former prime minister Menachem Begin.

He neglected to mention former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Support for such a move is growing as the Palestinians’ September 20 initiative comes closer. More than half the Likud faction has endorsed the idea, including ministers Gilad Erdan, Yisrael Katz, Moshe Kahlon, and Yuli Edelstein.

Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon has also spoken about Israel taking unilateral actions without being specific. Outside the Likud, Israel Beiteinu minister Uzi Landau and Habayit Hayehudi’s minister Daniel Hershkowitz have endorsed the move.

“The Prime Minister’s Office doesn’t comment on the issue, but it helps Netanyahu to show that there are possible internal actions for Israel and political risks for the Palestinians,” Danon said. “The Palestinians need to know that they have a lot to lose by taking a unilateral approach.”

Danon said that if the Palestinians move ahead with the declaration of a state, he would ask to expedite the legislative process. Government support would likely be necessary to pass such controversial legislation.

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Openheimer said he was confident the coalition would not take what he called a “suicidal action.”

Openheimer said such threats would only encourage the Palestinian Authority to take unilateral steps and the nations of the world to support the moves of the Palestinians.

Justice Demands that Pollard's Sentence Be Commuted To Time Served

Alan M. Dershowitz

There are several reasons why justice demands that Jonathan Pollard's sentence be commuted to time served and that he be immediately released.

The first is a legal and constitutional argument. Pollard waived his right to trial by jury in exchange for a promise by the government that it would not seek life imprisonment. The government broke that promise. It submitted a perjured affidavit by then Secretary of Defense Weinberger demanding life imprisonment and overstating the damage that Pollard had caused. This was a direct breach of the plea bargain. Unfortunately Pollard's appeal was argued to a panel that included two Jewish judges, at least one of whom aspired to the Supreme Court. The two of them wrote a scandalously inept opinion affirming the sentence, while the third, non-Jewish, judge declared it to be a gross violation of due process and basic fairness. The non-Jewish judge, who had no fear of being accused of dual loyalty, was correct. The two Jewish judges were dead wrong. I know of no other case in American jurisprudence in which a plea bargain has been so blatantly violated and the violation approved by an appellate court. The legal remedy is enforce the plea bargain as written and impose the sentence that the government promised it would seek. If Pollard had served that sentence, he would be free by now.

Even if the law did not require Pollard's immediate release, principles of fairness and equal justice surely would. The typical sentence imposed on an American who spies for an ally of the United States is in single digits. Such sentences have been imposed on Americans who spies for Egypt and other countries that are American allies. There is no reason in justice or fairness for Pollard to have received the double digit sentence for spying for Israel. The prosecutor in this case tried to justify this sentencing disparity by arguing that since so many Americans support Israel, the need for deterrence is greater. This is an unacceptable double standard.

Finally, there are the humanitarian considerations. Pollard has served longer than any American convicted of spying for an American ally. He is very sick having undergone several surgeries. He will die in prison unless his sentence is commuted.

Why, it might be asked, is he still in prison? The answer is that two groups of people have worked hard to keep him in prison. The first is the intelligence community, led by former CIA Director George Tenet. President Clinton was apparently prepared to release Pollard toward the end of his term when Tenet, former head of the CIA, threatened to quit. This threat violated the law, which expressly prohibits a CIA Director from making policy. Tenet's illegal threat made policy and kept Pollard in prison.

The other group that worked hard to keep Pollard in prison was a group of Jewish senators who wrote to President Clinton insisting that Pollard's sentence not be shortened. President Clinton personally told me that this letter from influential Jewish senators affected his decision. Now even several of these senators are calling for Pollard's release.

Pollard's continued imprisonment, in violation of law, equality, justice and compassion, is a stain on America. This stain can be removed if President Obama commutes Pollard's sentence to time served. A commutation is different than a pardon. A pardon erases the conviction, whereas a commutation simply reduces the sentence, without in any way suggesting that the defendant was not guilty of a serious crime. Pollard has admitted his guilt, not once but several times. The first time was when he pleaded and was sentenced. More recently he has apologized, as has the Israeli government. By pleading guilty and cooperating with the investigation, Pollard spared the government the embarrassment and difficulties inherent in a spy trial. Had he not confessed his guilt, it is unlikely he would have been convicted of the most serious charge of spying, since the only direct evidence outside of his confession was the fact that he had unauthorized possession of classified material.

For helping the government in this way, he was promised that he would not have to spend the rest of his life in prison. But now he is likely to die in prison, a broken and sick man, unless President Obama does the right thing. The time has come, indeed it is long overdue, for Jonathan Pollard to receive proportional justice.

This article originally appeared in Newsmax.

"Does It Ever End?"

Arlene Kushner

Many of you will have heard already, of course. But I want to put out this post this evening concerning a terrorist attack that hit Israel today.

Perhaps one day we will see the end of it. But not yet, certainly.

This attack was different in its locale and its technique from what we've seen more commonly: Multi-pronged, it took place in the desert not far outside of Eilat.

Because we're talking about something that happened over the last few hours, and many facts are not yet confirmed, I find that different sources are providing variant versions of what transpired. In due course, there will be more clarity. Briefly, now...

At least seven, are dead -- six civilians and one IDF soldier. There are about 30 wounded, including two small children.

At about noon today, terrorists -- apparently wearing Egyptian army uniforms -- entered Israel via the Sinai and opened fire on an Egged (Israeli) bus headed to, and not far from, Eilat. The bus driver remained cool and responded appropriately, quickly accelerating to get out of the range of fire as quickly as possible.

Only minutes later, roadside bombs exploded, hitting soldiers patrolling along the Egyptian border. Mortar shells were also aimed at soldiers.

Some while thereafter, north of the first attack, an anti-tank missile was fired. I believe it was aimed towards a bus but hit a private vehicle. My understanding is that all those in the car were killed.


Terrorists were engaged, and killed by the IDF. The number killed is said to be seven, but I'm seeing reports indicating that as many as 20 may have been involved in the different stages of this operation.


My immediate thought when hearing the first reports was that we were looking at Bedouin terrorists coming out of the Sinai, which has been something of a no-man's land in recent months. The Bedouin -- cooperating with/co-opted by Jihadist groups -- have been rampaging there since the fall of Mubarak; they have been responsible on repeated occasions for blowing up the Sinai pipeline that supplies natural gas to Israel.

See here for information about the al-Qaeda presence in the Sinai:,7340,L-4110791,00.html


However, Defense Minister Barak indicated that the attack originated in Gaza. This does not necessarily mean that Hamas -- which praised the attack but did not claim responsibility -- was the source. What is clear is that this was a carefully orchestrated attack by a group with sophistication about terror techniques.

Hamas did evacuate its headquarters in anticipation of an Israeli air action, and additionally threatened that there would be a response to any Israeli military operation in Gaza.


Retaliatory action inside of Gaza began almost immediately, with Prime Minister Netanyahu saying that Israel's sovereignty had been hurt.


Tonight Netanyahu issued this statement:

"We all witnessed an attempt to ratchet up the level of terror emanating from Sinai. If someone thinks that Israel will put up with this, he is wrong.

"I have established a principle: when Israeli citizens are hurt, we hit back immediately, and with force. This principle was implemented today. The people who gave the order to murder our civilians, who were hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living."

The Israeli air strike hit a building in Rafah used by terrorists. According to Palestinian Arab sources, among the six killed were Abu Oud al-Nirab, the commander of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and Khaled Shaath, a senior member of the group.


There are reports that Egyptian military have been cooperative in responding to these multiple attacks -- possibly taking down a couple of the terrorists and searching the area on their side of the border for the presence of those terrorists not yet caught.

Last week, the Egyptian military launched an operation in the Sinai against Jihadists and associated Bedouin. It involved about 1,000 troops and several hundred armed personnel carriers, and raised some eyebrows because the Sinai, according to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, is to be demilitarized. However, Israel, mindful of the problems with arms smuggling into Gaza by the Bedouins, as well as terrorist influence in the area, welcomed the operation. Egyptian troops took up positions near Rafah and El-Arish; I am not aware of any stipulation of a date by which they have to leave.

See more here:


A fence along Israel's border with the Sinai is in process of being put up. It was approved in order to prevent infiltration not only with regard to terrorists, but because of the large number of emigrants from Africa seeking to enter Israel illegally (a problem that has reached unmanageable proportions).

Unfortunately, at this point, work on the fence, which is scheduled for completion by the end of next year, is less than half completed. Where the work has been done, infiltration has diminished. Areas where there is no fence are supposed to be patrolled and monitored with cameras and radar scans. But this remains a highly porous border.


© 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, August 18, 2011

YESHA Represents a No Cost Ceiling

My Right Word

On the issue of the attempts by anti-Zionist radical forces as well as B'tselem, New Israel Fund, Peace Now and Haaretz to push the current protests/demos/rallies/assemblies/tent city phenomenon in Israel - J14 - in the direction of the supposed link between economic hardship and the YESHA communities, EOZ points out:
if the anti-Zionist left would get their way and a half million Jews were ethnically cleansed from their homes, it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars - money that every Israeli taxpayer would have to pay! [America, too, actually mostly] It cost about $2 billion to remove a few thousand Jews from Gaza...the cost of..."social justice" would be a huge burden on the Israeli economy, making the chances of affordable housing in Israel much more remote...

A point I have been making, too.

In Dr. Aaron Lerner's Weekly Commentary, I found that there are false savings if the YESHA communities are harmed and that

"Slashing funding today for the settlements won’t help achieve the “social justice” goals.

That’s because the operative questions is not if Israel spent a bazillion dollars on the settlements in the past but how a change in funding today would impact the situation in Israel. The first and foremost “social justice” problem is affordable housing. And it is going to take several years – in the most optimistic scenarios – for housing construction within the Green Line to close the supply gap that has pushed prices up beyond the reach of many families.

Any policy decision that encourages families to move from the settlements to communities within the Green Line would only exacerbate the existing shortages – making it take that much longer for supply to catch up with demand."

The huge profits being made in industry - food, etc., - have nothing to do with YESHA. And YESHA families share the economic burden of health, educational and other necessary services.

Not only that, but moving to YESHA would alleviate financial pressures on young families (see I Harel below).

The issue of YESHA does include persons those seeking a better economic lifestyle, one also cheaper, but it is still a matter of Zionist patriotism, of assuring Israel's lomng-term security and protecting the values of the patrimony. And this is still a middle-class protest in the main, let's not ignore.

That matter, the national responsibility concern bound up with YESHA, has no cost ceiling on it.

The value of those goals are worthy paying for.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Israel, anarchy and global chaos


The fragmentation of the Middle East and North Africa is just the beginning.

What rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

– The Second Coming,
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

In history, there is a powerful difference between anarchy and chaos.

Watching different forms of violence erupt across Northern Africa and the Middle East, a core observation should spring to mind: Chaotic disintegration is already well underway in parts of the world. Significantly, substantial and possibly sudden extensions of this condition to other parts of our planet are now plausible.

For the United States, facing both military limitations and further financial crises, the implications are worrisome. For Israel, an increasingly- beleaguered mini-state, they are existential.

International law will not save Israel.

Nor will the United States, even under a different president. Assorted treaties notwithstanding, including the New Start agreement between the US and Russia, nuclear and biological weapons may still spread. These “unthinkable” devices could soon become all too thinkable.

There are foreseeable interactions between individual catastrophic harms that could make the overriding risk of global chaos still more pressing. For Israel, a country smaller than Lake Michigan, the dangers are both particular and unique. Facing not only an unprecedented nuclear threat from Iran, but also the more-or-less simultaneous appearance of “Palestine,” the Jewish state could quickly find itself engulfed in mass-casualty terrorism, and/or unconventional war.

The probability of expanding Middle East chaos could be enlarged by enemy irrationality. If, for example, Israel should face a jihadi adversary that would value certain religious expectations even more highly than its own physical survival, any deterrent threat could be neutralized. Such paralysis could mean a heightened threat of nuclear and/or biological war. It could also place Israel in the cross hairs of mass-destruction terrorism.

In world politics, irrationality is not the same as madness. An irrational adversary is one that values certain goals more highly than even its own self-preservation. A mad adversary would display no preferred ordering of goals or values. It follows, at least from the standpoint of successful Israeli deterrence, that enemy irrationality would be “better” than enemy madness.

But a choice is unavailable. Whether Israel or America face irrationality, madness, neither or both is not up to us.

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,” wrote Yeats, “and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” Now, assembled in almost 200 armed tribal camps called nation-states, humanity coexists uneasily and insecurely. The origins of this radically decentralized world lie discernibly in the Peace of Westphalia – a major treaty that put an end to the Thirty Years War back in 1648.

Now, chaos is more portentous than ever. This owes largely to the fusion of anarchy with authentically apocalyptic weaponry.

In time, even with the UN and its vaunted “international community,” there may be no safety in arms, no rescue from political tyranny, and no answers from science. New wars could rage until every flower of culture is trampled, and until all things human are leveled.

How shall such circumstances be averted? Before answering, we must first acknowledge that chaos and anarchy represent opposite ends of the same global continuum. “Mere” anarchy, or the absence of central world authority, has always been “normal.” Chaos, however, is unique. It is thoroughly “abnormal.”

Since the seventeenth century, our anarchic world can be best described as a system; what happens in any one part necessarily affects the other parts. When deterioration is marked, and begins to spread from one nation to another, the effects can undermine international stability.

When this deterioration is rapid and catastrophic, as it would be following the start of any unconventional war and/or unconventional terrorism, the corollary effects would be correspondingly immediate and overwhelming.

These effects would be chaotic.

Aware that even an incremental collapse of remaining world authority structures will affect its many enemies, leaders of Israel quickly need to advance precise and plausible safeguards against collapse and chart durable paths to survival.

Such indispensable considerations are likely not yet seriously underway.

Israel’s leaders are wasting precious time with their ritualistic considerations of assorted “peace plans.” Soon, in consequence, they may need to consider just how they should respond to life in a global ‘state of nature.’ The triggering mechanism of a global descent into chaos could be a variety of mass-casualty attacks against Israel, or against other western democracies. Even the traditionally “powerful” United States would not be immune. For that matter, Israel’s own largely middle-class demonstrations this summer against the “oligopoly” reveal a previously unrecognized internal vulnerability.

Any further chaotic disintegration of the world system would fundamentally transform the Israeli system. Such a transformation could involve total or near-total destruction. In anticipation, Israel will have to orient its strategic planning to an assortment of worst-case prospects, focusing on a wide range of primarily self-help security options.

Israel’s persistently one-sided surrender of territory, its mistaken reluctance to accept certain critical preemption options, and its periodic releases of live terrorists in exchange for slain Jews may never bring direct defeat. Taken together, however, these policy errors will have a weakening effect on Israel. Whether the principal result here will be a “mere” impairment of the Jewish state’s commitment to endure, or a devastating missile attack and/or major acts of terror is still not clear.

The fragmentation of the Middle East and North Africa is just the beginning.

For Israel, wider patterns of anarchy are inevitable. What might still be avoided, however, are chaos, mega-destruction and an unendurable sorrow. This avoidance will require early awareness in Jerusalem that, as in any primordial state of nature, survival demands resolute courage, intellectual imagination, and a willingness to suffer even huge short-term harm to prevent a much longer-term collective disappearance.

The writer is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University.

The author of many major books and articles in the field, he was chair of Project Daniel (Israel).

Humanitarian Crisis: Gaza Exporting Aid!

Gavriel Queenann

In another sign that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza isn't all it is said to be, Gazans are sending aid to Somalia.
Imams in mosques in the Gaza strip mentioned Somalia during Friday prayers last week and asked Gazans to donate to their brothers there.
Moreover, the Arab Doctors Union Gaza branch ran a campaign asking the people of Gaza to donate to people of Somalia. The campaign, called "From Gaza hand in hand to save the children of Somalia", will last throughout Ramadan.

The Union took out advertisements supporting the campaign in local radios and websites to encourage people to contribute to the campaign. It is planning advertisements on local television also.

Various people responded to the campaign, but most donations came from the local non-governmental organisations and some wealthy businessmen, according to the organizers of the campaign.

One of the donors, Mohammed Abd Al Latif said, "I saw the pictures of our brothers in Somalia and felt so sorry for them; I wanted to do anything to help."

"The campaign aimed at demonstrating the extent of physical cohesion between the besieged Gaza and Somalia, showing that the Palestinian people are capable of supporting and standing by the Somali people," said Ahmad Hathat, the public relations officer of the Union.

The charity campaign underscores the fact that Gaza is swimming in surplus aid from an international community willing to underwrite the national aspirations of Fatah and Hamas to the extent that their enclaves have become transit points, rather than a destination, for aid.

Ya'alon: G-d Forbid We Apologize to Turkey

Vice Prime Minister says that if Israel apologizes to Turkey over the flotilla, the Turks won't stop there.
by Elad Benari
Published: 17/08/11

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon addressed on Tuesday the Palmer Report regarding the 2010 Freedom Flotilla and the ongoing reconciliation efforts with Turkey.

Ya’alon, who spoke at a conference of Likud activists, said, “We’ll meet with the Turks after the report is published. G-d forbid we apologize.”

Ya’alon added that “national honor is not a concept that came from the street but one that has a strategic significance. If we apologize and Erdogan later turns around and says he got us down on all fours apologizing, he will appear as the leader of the Middle East. He will never let go, even after we apologize.” Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize for the deaths of nine IHH activists who were aboard the Mavi Marmara last year.

The ship was attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and when it refused to turn to the Ashdod Port so that the aid it claimed it was carrying could be inspected by Israel, soldiers had no choice but to board the ship.

When the soldiers came onboard, they were attacked by the self-proclaimed ‘peace activists’ on the ship, who attacked them with clubs and attempted to kidnap them. It was only when the soldiers were in serious danger that they had to open fire at the activists.

“The Palmer committee clearly said that the blockade on Gaza is legal,” Ya’alon said. “There’s no siege on Gaza, no hunger, no humanitarian crisis, goods enter on a regular basis, shopping malls are open and they buy luxury cars.

“There is a security blockade on Gaza and therefore it is illegal to intercept it, that’s what the committee stated,” he added. “We’ve got answers to anything that the Turks have directed at us. The committee ruled in our favor and the Turks won’t accept it.”

Ya’alon’s comments are in line with ones recently made by other politicians. Earlier this week, Likud MK Danny Danon castigated Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in an opinion piece in the Washington Times.

“In fact, the Turkish government owes Israel an apology for this attack, along with other recent actions that have threatened the lives of Israeli citizens,” Danon wrote.

Turkey “should apologize for encouraging the sending, under false pretenses, of anti-Israel activists into the country’s sovereign territory,” he added. “These supposedly peaceful activists, who were in fact carrying a cache of illegal weapons, attacked Israeli soldiers without provocation.”

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau also recently rejected the Turkish demand that Israel apologize, saying, “If anyone should apologize, it’s Turkey for standing behind the provocative flotilla. It’s Turkey that needs to explain its connections with Hamas and other extremist Muslim groups. It’s Turkey that needs to explain its policy, not only to us but to the entire world.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Samaria Residents to Protesters: Come Live Out Here!

Gil Ronen
A7 News

The grassroots Samaria (Shomron) Residents' Council handed out flyers Tuesday at the tent protest sites in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Modi'in, offering an assortment of homes that are waiting to be bought up in Samaria. The grassroots Samaria (Shomron) Residents' Council handed out flyers Tuesday at the tent protest sites in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Modi'in, offering an assortment of homes that are waiting to be bought up in Samaria.

"Residences in Tel Aviv and the center of Israel have become unattainable," the flyer states. But in Samaria, "a variety of religious and secular communities will be glad to absorb you and offer you a true living experience that includes everything you can only dream about: good education for the children, breathtaking scenery, a close knit value-oriented community and most of all – a sense of national mission. All this at a reasonable price."

The flyer details several specific offers for houses that are for sale: a 104 square meter home in Avnei Hefetz, a short ride from the coastal city of Netanya, for 740,000 shekels or a similar sized home in Shavei Shomron for 550,000 shekels.

Council chairman Benny Katzover stated, "We, in Samaria, believe that the community settlements are the best solution that offers a quality of life with which city folk are unfamiliar. I truly believe that if they overcome imaginary obstacles they will benefit greatly from this."

Questioning the Legality of Proposed Palestinian Statehood


News Media Mum on Questionable Legality of Proposed Palestinian Nationhood


With the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) pursuing a declaration of recognition of a Palestinian state from the United Nations in September, little is heard from most major news media about the questionable legality and diplomatic contradictions such a declaration would entail.

Meanwhile, the U.N. will not consider the case for Kurdish statehood, which is far stronger than that for the Palestinian Arabs. Not surprisingly, mainstream media have all but ignored this glaring contrast.

New York Sun columnist Hillel Halkin put it succinctly: The Palestinians have many friends, the Kurds have none. And so, viva Palestinian statehood -- and down with statehood for the Kurds. Since principles have nothing to do with it, it may be beside the point to observe that, in principle, the Kurds have a far better case for statehood than do the Palestinians. They have their own unique language and culture, which the Palestinians do not have. They have had a sense of themselves as a distinct people for many centuries, which the Palestinians have not had. They have been betrayed repeatedly in the past 100 years by the international community and its promises, while the Palestinians have been betrayed only by their fellow Arabs.

But the U.N. cares not that the Palestinians are on the wrong side of the U.N. Charter since they are not peace-loving. The charters of both wings of the Palestinians -- Fatah (P.A.) and Hamas – call for the elimination of Israel.

Secondly, ethnic cleansing is specifically forbidden by the U.N. General Assembly but the Palestinians openly demand a Jew-free state which of course entails ethnic cleansing of Jews residing in parts of ancient Israel known as the West Bank and claimed by the Palestinians and in the parts of Israel’s capital of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.

Thirdly, Palestinian incitement to hatred and violence against Israel and Jews, continues in violation of U.N. decrees. Article 26 (2) of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights implicitly condemns incitement to hatred/violence against other ethnic/religious groups in textbooks but Palestinian textbooks previously and currently have continued to contain incitement against Jews and Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/37 (No. 4) ”Condemns incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism” but the P.A. seems to be doing all it can to demonstrate their hate-indoctrination causing even the U.S. State Department to take notice.

The lack of a legal basis for acquisition of Palestinian statehood through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) via the U.N. General Assembly, rather than through negotiations with Israel, is documented by a CAMERA Backgrounder which notes that P.A. is bound by the 1993 Declaration of Principles and subsequent Oslo accords agreements to solve outstanding issues with Israel through direct negotiations, and that U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 call for Arab-Israel peace to be reached through talks between and among the parties.

If the U.N. General Assembly -- in violation of previous U.N. Security Council resolutions and international agreements supported by the United Nations -- complies with the request for a declaration recognizing a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip outside of and in contradiction to the established procedure of direct negotiations in accordance with the relevant measures, even if the recognition lacked immediate effect, it would imply an imposition of international borders on Israel without Israeli input, including taking parts of its capital, Jerusalem, away from it and giving the parts to a new country.

The Protocols are back

Op-ed: Revival of infamous anti-Semitic book fuelled both by Muslim leaders, Christian clergy

Giulio Meotti
Israel Opinion

The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a short book concocted by the czarist police and presented as minutes of a secret meeting where Jews plotted world domination, is the biggest falsehood that refuses to die. It’s the only book that has ever had the perverse distinction of being both globally influential and, at the same time, a forgery.

The “Protocols” are now prominently displayed not only in the Middle East, but also on the Western and Christian bookshelf. Books based on the “Protocols” are now available even in countries with hardly any Jews such as Japan. A Chinese bestseller entitled “The Currency War” and based on the “Protocols,” describes how Jews are planning to control the world by manipulating the financial system. The book is reportedly read in the highest government circles.
Recently, an Iranian stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair presented a copy of the “Protocols” published in English by the Islamic Republic of Iran in plain view. Thousands of Jews have been killed in Europe because of this infamous document. Hitler used it as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews and Palestinian suicide bombers have been found with the “Protocols” in their pockets. Renowned historian Bernard Lewis wrote that the “Protocols” were brought into the Islamic world by Christian authors who translated the book into Arabic. That shameful operation is still battering the Middle East. The “Protocols” rarely attracts Western attention, as we like to think that it is just a bad joke. But now some Christian sects and bishops are fomenting hatred against the Jews using traditional ant-Semitism - much of it theological.

Indeed, many bishops are quoting again from the “Protocols.” In an interview with George Saliba, Bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Lebanon, aired on Al-Dunya TV on July 24, 2011, he declared: “The source that finances and incites all these international organizations, in the East and West, and especially in the Arab world, they are led by a single, evil organization, known as Zionism.”

“It is behind all these movements, all these civil wars, and all these evils, using the people of the West – whether in the US, in Europe, or their followers,” he said.
Jews demonized again
The recent boom of anti-Semitic conspiracies, especially in the "new Egypt," is linked with the revival of the “Protocols”, like the modern twist of accusing Israel of distributing drug-laced chewing gum and candy in the aims of killing children and sexually corrupting Arab women, or the lingerie soaked with invisible ink for coded Jewish messages.

The “Protocols” is being published with new editions in Arabic almost every year, and in Persian and Turkish as well. Listening to “moderate” Muslim leaders (never mind the Ayatollahs) and looking at the vile, racist cartoons in the strictly controlled Arab media (even in Egypt and Jordan, formally at peace with Israel), one sees a pathological hatred that may erupt in unconventional attacks.

Representing “Western corruption,” Jews are demonized again as “vermin,” “a cancer,” intentional spreaders of AIDS through blood transfusion and prostitution. The conspiracy resembles that of Josef Stalin, who accused six Jewish doctors of plotting to poison the Soviet leader. Even the West Dunbartonshire Council, the Scottish council at the centre of a row over its boycott of Israeli books, admitted it had bought a copy of the “Protocols” in January.

The “Protocols” are now on prominent display at the Malaysian capital’s International Airport, the Hamas charter includes citations of the “Protocols,” and the book can be found in bookstalls on Cairo’s streets. An Arabic translation of the “Protocols” can be also found on the website of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information.

Last year, renowned leftist Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo declared that he had “re-evaluated” the “Protocols” and now felt they largely reflect the truth about the Jews. The Jewish Community Confederation of Venezuela has just lodged a protest with the country’s attorney general, denouncing the promotion of the “Protocols” by a state-owned media outlet.
‘The Jews are God killers’
A few months ago, The Australian revealed that the biggest mosque in central Sydney was selling copies of the inflammatory anti-Semitic book and the “Protocols” is prominently displayed on Edgware Road in the heart of London.

The constant use of the “Protocols” in the Arab media, especially in soap operas during the Ramadan, creates an atmosphere where any charge against the Jews is believed. It does not matter whether the “Protocols” are fact or fiction: their “predictions” have largely come true.

Last December the patriarch of the Antioch Church, Gregory III Laham, declared that there was a “Zionist conspiracy” behind al-Qaeda’s attack on a Catholic church in Baghdad, where 58 innocent parishioners were slaughtered. Richard Williamson, one of four bishops ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and later rehabilitated by Pope Benedict XVI, said that the “Protocols” are “authentic” and that the Jews are fighting for world domination “to prepare the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem.”

Last year, Giacomo Babini, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, said that he believed a “Zionist attack” was behind the criticism against the Church on sexual abuse. Babini was quoted by Catholic website Pontifex as saying: “They do not want the Church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers.” The Bishops’ Conference later rushed to issue a statement quoting Babini denying he had ever given the interview.

While there is in fact no Jewish conspiracy to submit the world, there is an anti-Jewish conspiracy that is infecting the minds and the hearts of millions of people, in the West and elsewhere. Next month Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed to have distributed the “Protocols” to expose “the real visage of this satanic enemy” (Israel) and to “burn and wholly destroy this deadly, cancerous tumor”, will speak at the United Nations’ conference on racism in New York.

But most tragic is that an Iranian Shihab-3 missile fired from Tehran to Tel Aviv would take 12 minutes to hit the Jews. The greatest forgery and blood libel is again fomenting a Jewish catastrophe, now with the shameful complicity of some Christian bishops. The “Protocols” was first published in Russia in 1905 by a Christian priest, Sergius Nilus. One century later the word “Jew” has become again an accepted insult in the global square.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social Justice for All: Incarcerated Palestinian Terrorists Salary Increase

Jameel @ The Muqata at 8/15/2011

The Yisrael Hayom newspaper (page 7) and Israel's Channel B Radio reported this morning that Israel has notified that United States of America that the Palestinian Authority has increased the "salaries" of convicted Palestinian terrorists currently serving time in Israeli prisons for attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

The Palestinian Authority now provides the following monthly salaries to every single convicted Palestinian terrorist in Israeli prisons, based on the amount of time they need to serve for their crimes: convictions up to 3 years in prison: 1400 NIS/month
3 - 5 years: 2000 NIS/month
5 - 10 years: 4000 NIS/month
10 - 15 years: 6000 NIS/month
15 to 20 years: 10,000 NIS/month
20 - 30 years: 12,000 NIS/month

These royalty salaries comprise 3.5% of the Palestinian Authority's monthly operating budget which is financed 50% by the USA, and 50% by "donor countries."

In addition, families of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists are entitled to special monthly stipends from the PA, and even higher monthly bonus salaries go to those Palestinian terrorists who are also Arab citizens of Israel

The UK's Daily Mail reported that the British Government is annually providing 5 million pounds of funding to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, out of the annual 86 million pounds sterling worth of "aid" to the Palestinian Authority till the year 2015.

Social Justice for All!

"Chaos, Pandemonium and Assorted Other Goodies"

Arlene Kushner

I've been writing for some time about how upside down the world is. But it seems, on reflection, that it was not upside down, it was only tilted sideways -- and now the tilt is increasing. The state of the world is getting worse, and one must stop and ask, who notices? The failure of the Western world to pay attention is what is perhaps most frightening.

In my opinion, the recent riots in London represent some very serious handwriting on the wall of history. But I've yet to see wide scale recognition of this in the US.
Melanie Phillips wrote in her blog the other day, that "what we are seeing [among other things] is a culture of narcissistic selfishness on an epic scale and a general breakdown in education, morality and elementary codes of civilised behaviour, much of it deliberately willed on for the past three decades by a grossly irresponsible and politically motivated intelligentsia that set out to smash the west.

"And now London is being smashed as a result."

What I have begun to read about -- and it's terribly politically incorrect to mention this -- is a kind of mob influence in America, with black hate crimes against whites. The law, it seems, is not acting decisively enough in these cases, and, as lawyer J. Christian Adams wrote in Family Security Matters, "The mob is decisive when the law is not."

This is the America that was going to see new unity and hope under the leadership of its first black president. But now it's difficult not to link what is going with this president. Adams reports that one family in Ohio that was severely beaten by a mob of blacks received the taunts, “This is our world. This is a black world.” But, he says, "The Justice Department under Eric Holder has little interest in bringing hate crimes charges to protect white victims."


Should we be surprised?


Obama held a Ramadan break-the-fast dinner in the White House the other day, and thanked the Muslims for their contribution to America. Just one more deplorable instance of the president's pandering that reflects a clear bias.


Then, of course, there is Obama's abysmal failure with regard to foreign affairs -- no where so more than in the Middle East, where the US is no longer respected as a player of significance. Obama is making it easier for the bad guys to win.

And the economy? Need I say it? The national debt, the unemployment.

And yet, I'm not hearing the cries. They should be loud enough to hear in Jerusalem: The American people should be on their feet shouting, "ENOUGH!" But they're not. And Obama's approval rating should be in the single digits. But it's not. It's down (by how much depends on the source reporting.). But not by enough.

Is this a sane world?


The economy of the European nations is in serious trouble as well -- in many cases because of socialist welfare policies.

The "Arab Spring" turned out to be a January thaw, with the whole region embroiled in tensions and unrest that do not bode well for constructive development of the states involved.


What the Palestinian Arabs are up to depends on the day of the week, or the hour of the day:

They say they will reconcile with Hamas, but arrest members of Hamas in Judea and Samaria; Hamas says Fatah is not serious.

The PA sometimes talks about going to the Security Council, and sometimes to the General Assembly. They are promoting "non-violent resistance" for September (like they were ever non-violent), but say they want to keep things quiet because it will make them look better. Reportedly Fayyad and Abbas are at odds on how to proceed.

There is nonsensical talk about going to the UN and then coming to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile a whole lot of crystal balls are very cloudy these days: various columnists and pundits cannot get their acts together with regard to any clear explanation of what is likely to happen in September. Everything from a major crisis to almost nothing is being predicted. (I'm holding fast to my earlier prediction and will return to this in due course, rest assured.)

And the European nations keen on supporting that Palestinian state seem to ignore the fact they would own it -- that is, the state leaders would come to them eternally with hands out. As the European states are struggling financially themselves, and this is something they can ill afford, can we say their support for a Palestinian state is rational?


Had enough? I haven't yet told you the worst. You know what's threatening world stability?

Israel's plans to build housing over the Green Line in Jerusalem.

How do I know? The Americans and Europeans say so. They are terribly upset by the announcement by Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) to put up 1,600 apartment units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem. If it weren't for this, the PA would undoubtedly come to the table. And if the PA came to the table, surely Iran would stop building the bomb. No?


In a sane world, Israel would be applauded for her stability in a very unstable part of the world. For her vibrant democracy where around her there is often violent autocratic rule. For her ability to thrive and develop, thereby benefiting the world at large with regard to medical and hi tech innovations.

In a sane world, Israel would be supported and praised and emulated.

And so the readiness of the world to bring Israel down is the final proof of the world's insanity.

We must pray for Israel's leaders, that they will stand strong against the pressures of the outside world, and the pressures (for a return to a welfare state) within, as well. Israel absolutely must stand strong.


Dear friends, for me, tomorrow begins "Kaitana Savta" -- best translated as Camp Grandma. Over the next three weeks small groups of my grandchildren will be sleeping over, going to the Science Museum with me, eating pizza and ice cream, doing arts and crafts, walking in the Old City.

There is nothing that restores sanity and optimism like time with bright, eager and dearly loved grandchildren.

Cannot say there will be no postings in the next three weeks. But they will be diminished in number. Hopefully at the end of that time I will be refreshed and ready to deal more effectively with the insanity of the world and the ambiguities that abound.


© 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.