Saturday, August 27, 2011

Obama and the 'myth of linkage'

Israel Matzav

Noah Pollak, who inspired my very first post about Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama's foreign policy team, and who first alerted me to the existential danger this man poses to the State of Israel, has written a piece on Commentary's Contentions blog in which he shows how Obama has adopted what Pollak calls the 'myth of linkage.' Linkage is the notion that if only the 'Palestinian problem' were 'solved' (How? By ending the existence of the State of Israel?), the Arab world in its entirety would suddenly support American foreign policy goals. But 'linkage' is nothing but a mirage that is promoted by the Arab world and the US State Department to accomplish by diplomacy what they could not accomplish on the battlefield: Israel's destruction (Hat Tip: Hot Air). In this worldview, the ineffectiveness of Arab states as U.S. allies is due primarily to genuine — as opposed to claimed — objections over the lack of American involvement in the conflict, as if America’s failure to “create” a Palestinian state is because 15 years of Madrid, Oslo, Camp David, the Road Map, Annapolis, and billions of dollars in foreign aid represent an insufficient dedication of resources to the conflict. In this worldview, Iran “uses” Hamas and Hezbollah to “stir up mischief,” a state of affairs which can be changed through a peace process. Obama apparently doesn’t believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are allied with Iran because all three share a very clear and unappeasable goal: ridding the Middle East of Israel and America. Does Obama really believe that Hamas and Hezbollah can be co-opted by a peace process?

Given that the hopelessly naive Obama still believes he can talk Iran out of continuing their nuclear enrichment program, it is entirely possible that he is foolish enough to believe that Hamas and Hezbullah can be co-opted by a 'peace process.'

Friday, August 26, 2011

Legal opinion challenges PLO statehood bid

Palestinians risk losing their rights under the new bid, as representation is called into question, legal expert says.

Guy Goodwin Gill

A legal opinion highlighting the challenges and risks facing the Palestinian people in their quest for statehood has been obtained by Al Jazeera, in the lead up to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's bid at the United Nations in September.

The opinion, written by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University and a member of the legal team representing Jordan's government in 'The Wall' case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in 2004, tackles the issues of Palestinian rights, representation, and the right of return, which may all be seriously affected by the outcome of the bid. Al Jazeera's Nour Samaha conducted an interview with Professor Goodwin-Gill to get a clearer picture of the dangers the Palestinian people may potentially face with the bid. His entire legal judgment on the problems with the current Palestinian bid for statehood can be accessed here.

How will the transfer of representation from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) to a state terminate/lose the authority to represent the Palestinian people?

What we have here, it seems to me, is a moment in which certain matters have just not been thought through. Historically, the PLO has been the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, internationally and within the United Nations [UN]. Now it is to be the state. Who, though, is the state, and what are the democratic links between those who will represent the state in the UN and the people of Palestine? An abstract entity – a state – is proposed, but where are the people?

Why would the creation of a state not represent Palestinian rights?

Traditionally, a state for the purposes of international law presupposes territory, population, government and the capacity to enter into international relations. But we have moved beyond that, particularly where representation in the UN is concerned. Today's world expects more – that a state should be representative of the people for whom it speaks and directly accountable to them.

One way to establish representative democracy is by elections, though elections also should meet certain international standards. But states which are imposed, top-down, or which are crated without an exercise of the popular will are, by definition, not representative. And as recent events remind us, the lack of representative and accountable government is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

If the 'state of Palestine' is meant to replace the 'PLO', does this not just mean a transfer of authorities from one to the other? Similar to an official name-change?

As I understand the present proposal, the state of Palestine may replace the PLO as the representative of the people of Palestine at the United Nations. But we need to ask, what is the legitimate basis for such representation? I am not saying that it cannot be done, for of course it can. But only that I do not see the hallmarks of democratic, representative and accountable statehood – something in turn which depends on an exercise of the popular will. Shouldn't this come first?

How does the idea of Palestine statehood affect the role of the Palestinian National Council, and the Palestinian National Charter?

These are internal constitutional matters on which I am not competent to judge, but which again would seem to engage the will of the people.

You tackle three specific issues; constitutional, statehood, and representation. Starting on the issue of constitutional, you are saying the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a subsidiary body, formed by the PLO, as an administrative entity, and that "it does not have the capacity to assume greater powers, to ‘dissolve’ its parent body, or otherwise establish itself independently of the Palestinian National Council and the PLO". What does this mean, both for the quest for statehood, and subsequently for the Palestinians if statehood is granted?

On the legal standing and capacity of the Palestinian Authority, I was applying non-controversial legal principles regarding the powers and competence of subsidiary bodies. Does the PA have the power to move the issue of statehood ahead, and if so, what are the origins and parameters of that power? Have the people of Palestine, through their representative - the PLO - granted such power? I recognise that there is an urgent, pressing need for statehood, particularly in the face of the intransigence of other parties, but I am also concerned that the essentials of modern statehood – democracy, representative government and accountability – may be sidelined, if not sacrificed, perhaps to the long-term disadvantage of the people at large.

One issue here is that the majority of Palestinians are refugees living outside of historic Palestine, and they have an equal claim to be represented, particularly given the recognition of their rights in General Assembly resolution 194 (III), among others. It is not clear that they will be enfranchised through the creation of a state, in which case the PLO must continue to speak for their rights in the UN until they are implemented.

With regards to statehood, you say that as an observer state in the UN, Palestine would 'fall short of meeting the internationally agreed criteria of statehood', which would have serious implications for Palestinians at large, especially for the diaspora. How so?

What concerns me is that insufficient attention has been given so far to representation of the Palestinian people at large – that is, to the diaspora also, for whom both self-determination and the right of return are basic human rights and crucial elements in national identity.

With regards to representation, you state that the 'PLO's mandate thus encompasses the totality of issues arising from the continuing displacement of Palestinians and the struggle for self-determination – this includes, among others, the questions of return and compensation'. In what way will the creation of a state challenge this?

I'm afraid I will end up repeating myself – the question is, whether a state will in fact be truly representative of the popular will of all the people of Palestine, or whether the change in representation will in fact undermine their ability to claim their rights.

Who has your opinion been presented to, and when were they made aware of the issues you highlighted?

I understand that the Opinion has been given to all relevant officials of the PLO and party leaderships concerned with the diplomatic initiative on statehood. Obviously, such a decision to change the form of representation in the United Nations so dramatically is a matter which concerns all the Palestinian people. For this reason, I am happy that Al Jazeera are publishing it in full, as this will allow the proper and extensive discussion and debate which these issues require.

Guy Goodwin Gill is a professor of public international law at Oxford University.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

For Israel, The Old Rules Don't Apply

Daled Amos

At the height of the "Arab Spring" those who consistently recommended Israeli concessions for peace decided that this new unique situation demanded a novel, brave and dynamic approach--Israeli concessions.

In an editorial in Haaretz, Moshe Arens notes that the "Arab Spring" at this point offers not so much an opportunity, as a lesson:

It is now 34 years since Israel agreed to turn the Sinai peninsula over to Egypt as part of the peace treaty signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Although many do not like to be reminded of it, Sadat was a dictator. The peace treaty survived his assassination four years later, when he was replaced by Mubarak. Whether it will survive the downfall of Mubarak is not clear at the moment.

When it was signed, Arab dictatorships were considered to be a permanent feature of the Middle East. It seemed obvious that Israel had to make peace with Arab dictators, and that the formula for making peace with them was "territories for peace" - giving up territorial strategic assets for peace with a dictator.

That peace is security was considered a tautology. Dictators were famous for their ability to enforce their will upon the people. When they signed a peace treaty you could depend on them. As a democracy, Israel welcomes the fall of dictators, but in view of the special conditions in the Middle East--for all the evils of dictatorships, dictators assured a status quo when it came to agreements. And a degree of status quo in the tumultuous Middle East can be a rare and precious thing.

Just look at the anarchy in Egypt and how it has now affected Israel's security--
And imagine "what if" Israel had returned the Golan Heights to Assad as part of a peace agreement.

Bottom line:

It is time for a reappraisal of pre-conceived ideas.

This is not a time to throw caution to the wind. This is not a time to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines. It is not a time for "daring political initiatives." It is a time for watching and waiting to see how things are going to turn out. It is a time to think how we are going to assure the security of Israel's citizens in the southern part of the country from daily rocket attacks, and make sure that those living in the north and the center of the country do not share their fate.

Iron Dome is a great technological achievement but it alone cannot do the job.

It is a time to put away the placards calling for "Peace Now" and "An End to the Occupation." It may be the time for those demanding "social justice" for the "middle class" to fold their tents.

Sounds logical--but don't bet on either of those 2 happening.
But Israelis in general are aware that this is a new playing field--with new players and new rules, many of which are not even clear yet.

Should Israel Embrace Glenn Beck?


I attended the Glenn Beck program yesterday at the Safra Square screening from the Old City, sat among Christians who had come for this and were thrilled to be here. They said that they had learned so much positive about Israel during this trip. appreciating everything that the country is - this news so lacking in the States. In fact, they felt that what is reported there is often the opposite of our reality and harmful to Israel - even from our supporters there. After all. if a Jewish person faults Israel it must be so.

I cannot understand why some of the criticism of Israel is 'acceptable' by our own yet when someone else stands up to defend us it's a 'no-no'. If a person were being shunned and slanderized by a gang of hooligans and others saw this and came to help, should any sane human being reject that support?

I have friends in the States who consider themselves 'liberals', could vote only for a Democrat although they admitted to me that they feared much of what Obama said and his years-long associations and activities with questionable people. Some favored Obama's anti war statements; others wanted acceptance by their 'friends' and agreed with them without knowing what it was all about or did not want to be bothered with a country so far away; Israel did not rate high in their 'Jewishness'.

Along comes Glenn Beck who admits that he did not know much about this but the more he heard the more he realized what had to be done; there were enough people against Israel and he was willing to oppose them because he saw the raw reality. Those who hate* Beck may be feeling uncomfortable that a non-Jew dares to express feelings about Israel that they do not share.

My answer to them is, "Too bad, guys; he's got it and it does not make a difference that his is of a different faith. It is not about one's religion; the fight is about the good people who simply believe in 'live and let live' ". Today the world is at war between 'good' and 'evil' and Beck gets it. The neighborhood in which we live is not 'good' politically but there is a basic 'goodness' here and no other place that I would want to be.

in beloved Jerusalem, the united capital of the Jewish State of Israel

*I have been shocked by hearing some of my friends use the word HATE re not only Beck but the 'tea party', the 'Republicans', and anyone who does not agree with them! These are folks who call themselves 'liberals'.

Below is an article by Dershowitz ; I do not always agree with him, even in some of what he says here but do not harbor strong feelings against him.

Should Israel Embrace Glenn Beck?

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011 11:08 AM

By Alan Dershowitz
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All decent people, whether on the left or the right, should support Israel’s right to exist as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people.

All decent people should support Israel’s right to defend its civilians from terrorist attacks. All reasonable people should favor a just peace that assures Israel’s ability to thrive in a dangerous neighborhood and to defend its borders.

These issues should not divide decent people along ideological or political lines. Israel’s existence and right to defend itself should be bipartisan issues, not only in the United States, but in all democratic countries of the world.

The reality, however, is very different. The Jewish state is demonized by the hard left in America, by virtually the entire left in much of Europe, and by most of the left and right in Ireland, Norway, and Sweden. Its right to exist is denied by a high proportion of Arabs and Muslims, and most of the Arab and Muslim nations do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In many circles, anti-Zionism easily morphs into anti-Semitism, and in some countries Jews are afraid to walk the streets wearing any clothing or symbols that identify them as Jewish.

The general assembly of the United Nations has become the world’s new Der Sturmer, whose podium hosts, and many of whose audience members cheer, virulent anti-Semites such as Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Defenders of Israel, even those critical of some of Israel’s policies, are banned from speaking at universities, are attacked personally by the hard-left media and are treated as pariahs by their academic colleagues.

It is against this sad and increasingly dangerous background that one must evaluate Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel. I disagree with much of Beck’s politics and with virtually all of his conspiracy theorizing. Yet I admire his courage in putting his body in the line of fire. I believe him when he says:

If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing Jews again, “then count me a Jew and come for me first.”

At a time when old friends and allies who should be supporting the Jewish state are abandoning it in droves, Beck’s willingness to stand up for Israel must be accepted with gratitude. I, for one, do not question his motives. I believe they are genuine.

One need not accept all of Beck’s positions on Israel — and I certainly do not — in order to agree with him that support of Israel is one of the great moral issues of the 21st century.

Those who thoughtlessly attack Israel no matter what it does and thoughtlessly defend Israel’s enemies regardless of what they do, are making peace far more difficult. They incentivize terrorism by Israel’s enemies and disincentivize compromise on all sides.

I will wait to hear precisely what Glenn Beck says during his visit to Israel before I evaluate it. Just as I feel free to criticize the Israeli government when I think it is wrong, I certainly feel free to criticize defenders of Israel when I think they are wrong. But I will not prejudge Beck until he is given a full opportunity to express his views.

I certainly admire Beck’s decision to go to Israel far more than the decision of so many so-called artists and intellectuals who call for a boycott against the Jewish state without even bothering to go there and see for themselves.

I welcome the support of religious Christians who love Israel for religious reasons. I abhor the ignorant and misguided efforts of other Christians, such as Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu, who misuse their faith against the Jewish state.

I hope that more Christians will follow in Beck’s footsteps and take the time to visit Israel. They will see Christianity thriving in Israel while at the same time being dismantled and destroyed in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Egypt, and in other areas in which Islamic fundamentalists have taken over.

Christian religious sites are preserved in Jerusalem and other areas under Israeli control. When the Jordanian government controlled parts of Jerusalem, it destroyed many historic religious sites sacred to both Jews and Christians.

Nation states are entitled to engage in Realpolitik so long as they do so within the limits of acceptable morality. Realpolitik requires accepting support from, and sometimes giving support to, nations and people who are not in complete agreement over policies.

Consider Nelson Mandela’s alliances with some of most brutal dictatorships (Libya, Cuba, Syria) and supporters of terrorism (P.L.O., Iran) while he was engaged in his just struggle against the evils of apartheid.

I do not recall the left condemning Mandela for doing what he had to do. But the same left was unforgiving in Israel when it was forced to make some strategic military deals with South Africa, while strongly opposing its apartheid policies.

I do not mean to compare dictatorial, terrorist, or apartheid regimes with Glenn Beck, only to make the point that the Jewish state is often subjected to a double standard when it comes to the support it receives or gives.

Many Israelis will welcome Glenn Beck’s support. Some will oppose it. Others will wish his views were more consistent with their own. This is as it should be in a democracy.

The fact is that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that would allow Glenn Beck to express his views, without censoring them or even knowing in advance what he was going to say. This too is as it should be in a democracy.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Wikileaks: Child marriage in Israel (updated)

Elder of Ziyon

Last night, Wikileaks released some 35,000 new cables.

Most of them are incredibly boring, very few are classified or secret.

Here's an unclassified 2005 cable that is interesting, though:

The Executive Director of the NCC described early marriage as "not a significant problem in the general Israeli population," but "significant" among minority groups such as Muslims, certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects, and new immigrants from Ethiopia and the Islamic states in the FSU. According to the Government's Central Bureau of statistics, 47 boys 17 years of age or younger married in 2002, 30 from the Jewish sector and 17 from the Muslim sector. ... During the same year, there was a total of 196 "child brides" under the age of 17, with 29 from the Jewish sector, 165 from the Muslim sector, and one from the Christian sector. The Central Bureau of Statistics highlighted that the ratio of girls in the Muslim sector who married under the age of 17 increased from 1.3 girls per 1,000 in 1995, to 6 girls per 1,000 in 2001. The ratio for girls in the Jewish sector who married under the age of 17 remained stable at 0.3 girls per 1,000. In the view of the NCC, child marriage has an adverse effect in that it influences the child's ability to continue his or her education and impedes the child's proper development. Ivri was not aware of any specific government office that is working on this issue.

No U.S.-funded initiatives exist in Israel to reduce the incidence or address the negative affects of child marriage. The NCC endorses implementation of new educational programs that target the specific at-risk populations cited above.

The highlighted statistic is incredible - a fourfold increase in Muslim child brides in only six years?

Could it be that after Oslo there was a rush to marry girls between those living in Israel and the territories so the latter could gain Israeli citizenship? I cannot imagine that this huge jump was not related to political issues as (at the time) a Palestinian Arab state seemed increasingly likely.

UPDATE: Commenter akibigman notes that during Oslo, some 130,000 Palestinian Arabs received Israeli citizenship by marrying Israeli Arabs, so my supposition makes sense.


Comment by Ted Belman
Glen Beck gave a blockbuster of a speech on Wednesday in Jerusalem against the backdrop of the southern wall of the Old City. He talked about faith, truth, responsibility and courage. He said he had nothing to say to Israel about courage but that he and the world had a lot to learn from Israelis about courage.

He excoriated the UN and the Human Rights advocates for calling good, evil and for ignoring true evil. He said “Human rights was once a cry for justice. Now it’s used as a threat.” Beautifully said. It’s not that many advocates for Israel haven’t been complaining about the same thing for years. They have. But to have a man with such a huge megaphone say the things that the Whitehouse, the E.U. and the U.N. never say was very uplifting. Beck speaks truth to power.

He praised the Jewish people for teaching mankind that “every individual life has dignity, that every life is sacred”.

Beck entreated people to take responsibility. “Today I propose a new path. I propose a path led by you – the individual, linked in arms with other individuals. A path where governments and so-called human rights organizations get out of the way and people come together to solve our problems. “

To this end he is travelling to South Africa tonight to broadcast from Capetown that Israel is not apartheid. A most welcome initiative weeks before Durban III. Then he is slated to talk to 5000 leaders in South America and subsequently 5000 people in Texas to challenge them to join him in standing up for Israel.

To Glenn, I say “Thank you and Godspeed. You are doing God’s work.”.
Today, I ask you turn your eyes to Israel and restore courage.

I have been asked: What can you teach Israel about Courage? My answer is simple. Nothing.

Then they ask: Why are you coming to Israel? Because, I say: In Israel, you see courage.

In Israel, there is more courage in one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible odds… against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it tries… and it is courageous.

Today, the world needs courage more than ever.

We need it because whether you live here in Jerusalem, or in London, or in Athens, or in Washington, D.C., you know – we all know — the world is changing, the world is burning, and whatever we have known… whatever we’ve thought would never change… whatever we’ve grown to think is solid and strong and durable … is under siege.

You don’t have to be a prophet to know that things are not going well in the world. The threats are mounting. Darkness is falling.

Far too many politicians are willing to look away. The shape shifters are at work. They have turned day into night, good into evil. They have changed the very meaning of words.

In New York, the so-called leaders of the world talk about abuses of human rights. But what they will do is abuse the very meaning of the phrase “human rights.”

“Human rights,” they say. But who will they focus on? Libya? Syria? North Korea? No.

They will condemn Israel. Tiny Israel. Democratic Israel. Free Israel. Israel, which values life above all other things.

Israel, as usual, is the exception.


The world is adrift. The world is confused.

In Europe, the great nations of the past – Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain – are falling into chaos and violence.

We have raised up a generation who cannot tell the difference between what they owe society and what society owes them.

They interviewed the rioters in England. Why, they were asked, are you stealing shoes or televisions. “Because,” the rioters said in response, “because we deserve them.”

We may think: Oh, how different are today’s youth! But the young merely imitate their parents. They have seen how the world reacts to evil – with indifference. They watch, they learn, they imitate. What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.

When the Fogel family was killed in their sleep the world barely took note. The grand councils of earth condemn Israel. Across the border, Syria slaughters its own citizens. The grand councils are silent. It’s no wonder children light their streets on fire.

These international councils, these panels of so-called diplomats, condemn Israel not because they believe Israel needs to be corrected. They do so because it is convenient.

Everyone does it. In some countries, it’s a crime not to.

The diplomats are afraid, and so they submit. They surrender to falsehood. The truth matters not. To the keepers of conventional wisdom, a sacrifice of the truth is a small price to pay. What difference does it make if we beat up on little Israel? These are the actions of the fearful and cowards.

But I stand here to tell you this: Fear is the pathway to surrender. And to overcome fear, we must have courage.

This is hard to do. Especially here. Especially now.

The plotters plot. The schemers scheme. And it is easy to tremble with doubt.

Even Israelis – the most courageous people on earth – doubt themselves. “Did we do something to deserve this? Perhaps if we just do something else, it will all go away!”

My Israeli friends, I have a message: You must not lose hope. You must not lose confidence. You must have courage.

And you must draw courage from the knowledge that you were led to this land by God. And in the affairs of mankind, God is not a stranger to the children of Abraham.

He promised that Israel would rise again. For two thousand years the Jewish people held on to this promise. We have seen the promise fulfilled.

Israel, we have witnessed the dawn of your redemption.

We live in an age of man made, technological miracles. But these are the days of divine miracles.

Not by the hand of any man, whether his name is Balfour or Truman, does Israel exist. Israel is here because the God of Abraham keeps His covenants.

In synagogues just over a week ago, they read the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Comfort, oh comfort My people,
Says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
And declare to her
Her term of hard service is over . . .”

And look at us! Here we are – in Jerusalem united. Jerusalem rebuilt.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not neutral in the affairs of mankind. God is not indifferent to Israel. He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant he made with your forefathers.


In the 40 years of wandering in the desert, the ancient Hebrews were led through the dark of night by a pillar of fire.

Courage is the act of walking into the darkness, and knowing that each step would be guided and protected by the pillar of fire, if we follow it. God is with us.

I will admit, I did not know this, until very recently.

For the first half of my life I did very little. I was the stereotypical American that believed two oceans would forever shelter me.

As a radio and TV commentator, my job was little more than pointing out the problems. And I did. I saw what I thought were obvious things, and I made obvious observations.

I saw the interviews of Osama bin Laden, and so in 1999, I said he will attack New York again. He did.

I saw the unreal expectations of ordinary Americans in 2006, and so I said – there will be a crash in the housing market. It can’t keep going up. And it crashed.

I saw the global financial markets ready to seize up in 2007… I saw the coming unrest and riots in Europe in 2008.

It didn’t take a prophet to see these things – all you had to do was recognize that evil exists and evil was going unopposed.

And so this year, when I saw Tunisia’s and Egypt’s rulers crack and fall and the world called it the Arab Spring, I said: Where could this be going? And behind these revolutions was a familiar force, a force that will place those nations under a new pharaoh. And that force, I said, would come up to the borders of Israel. And so it has.

We are not at the mercy of these events. We can alter the course of history. We can stand against the dangerous arc of this story.

But we need people who are willing to speak truth. We need inspiration. We need a model to follow.

The last century was a century of genocide. A century where evil rose up again and again… swallowing up the lives of millions.

But evil met its match. Goodness eventually prevailed. People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr. and Lech Walesa and Mother Theresa and Henrietta Szold awoke the world.

They gave their lives to the pursuit of human rights. They took the side of justice against injustice, they held aloft the torch of freedom to push out the darkness of hate.

These men and women lived difficult lives. They often lived shortened lives. They were often born to relative privilege, but willing to take on suffering. They did want not to martyr themselves. They would have happily lived to the end of their natural lives in comfort… but to the righteous, there is no comfort when evil has taken root.

But the cause of human rights has been taken over by organizations who share little with the individuals who led the movement. Human rights was once a cry for justice. Now it used as a threat.

These organizations have become bullies and grotesque parodies of the principles they pretend to represent. They criticize free nations and spare the unfree. They denounce nations like Israel and America, who have high standards for freedom, and leave alone nations that have no freedom at all. They are nearly comical in their double-standards. Whatever moral force they once had is spent. Their time is up. And so, we dismiss them.

Today, we take back the phrase “human rights” and place it where it belongs, as the first half of God’s plan for humanity. The second half is responsibility.

If we want to be endowed with rights – real human rights, we have to act with responsibility. We must not be comfortable with rights. We must be comfortable with responsibility. We cannot use our few short years on this planet enjoying our rights… we must do everything we can living by our responsibilities to our fellow man. Rights and responsibilities. The two go hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, together.

Nowhere in the Torah or the Christian Scriptures do you see the phrase words “human rights.” But there is a lot in there about responsibilities.

Everything we know about human rights and civilization came from this place. Whether you live by 613 commandments or 10 or just one golden rule, they all came from here. This throne of the Lord.

When the world turns its back on Israel and the Jewish people, the world turns its back on the source of all human rights. Without the Jewish people, humanity would not know that every individual life has dignity, that every life is sacred, that God names every star and knows every soul. That was God’s message to Abraham and Moses. It is the message of the Jewish people to the world, and by their very existence they teach it to us.

Today I propose a new path. I propose a path led by you – the individual, linked in arms with other individuals. A path where governments and so-called human rights organizations get out of the way and people come together to solve our problems. As God intended.

Some may ask: Why not leave this work up to others – the well-connected and well-educated and well-heeled, our political leaders or the media?

Well, I ask you: Whom do you trust to do this sacred work?

Who will protect your rights better? A king, president or you?

Who will protect the truth? A reporter, producer or you?

Who will protect and teach your children to seek truth? A textbook committee, an education bureaucrat, or you?

Did a commission of wise men stop the Holocaust? Did a committee of Congress end Jim Crow?

No. In each case, the work was done by individuals who would not abide convenient lies. They saw injustice and they called it out. They saw their nation wage war against a single group and they said “Not in My Name.” They didn’t wait for the conventions of society to catch up to God’s laws. They pushed. They pressed. And they were victorious.

This spirit lives within us. I believe that you will link arms with others and stand with courage, and walk behind the pillar of fire.


You see evil rear its head in our time. You see the signs again. The swastikas are on display in the street marches. This week they’re holding up signs in Cairo that say: We’re building the gas chambers. They dress their children in suicide belts. They are given the choice, and they choose death.

Let us have the courage to choose life. No more incitement. No more threats. No more terror. No more talk of genocide. No more hate. No fear. No more lies.

We can read their signs, listen to their speeches. So we know that they say what they mean and mean what they say.

Well: So do we.

And I know we will be victorious. Because while their conviction is rooted in hate, our conviction is rooted in love. And love always wins.

When Naomi and her daughters in law lost their husbands, Naomi knew that their future would be far brighter if they went back to their families, to start over. But her daughter in law Ruth would have none of it. She said,

“Entreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.”

And so I say that if the world decides it must know who will stand with Israel, who will stand with the Jewish people, so they know exactly who to condemn, who to target, let them know this.

Condemn me. Target me. I will stand with Israel. I will stand with the Jewish people. And if they want to round us up again, I will proudly raise my hand and say “Take me first.”


There is courage in our time. It is here in this space. It is found everywhere God resides in the hearts of man. It is found in Joplin Missouri. Joplin was devastated by a tornado a mile wide. They lost their hospital and their school. Joplin looked more like a moonscape than the pleasant town it was.

But this is a town not looking to take help but to offer it. They began to gather early this morning. Many are taking the day off from work to show their dedication and love of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.

Our problems demand more than checkbook courage. It’s easy to write a check. But we can’t outsource love and truth and courage. We must do it ourselves. We must roll up our sleeves to make a lasting difference.

We will find hope. We will renew ourselves. We will be the first to regain what many of us have lost … Our faith. Together, we will begin to change the world.

We won’t find the answers in some global body halfway around the world…but in ourselves. We won’t find purpose in the drumbeat of destruction and disobedience we hear in the West, but in a mission of building and honor and courage.

In people like Rami Levi. In people like Tamar Fogel. In the owners, one a Jew the other an Arab, who built and reopened the Maxim restaurant after it was bombed. Each made a decision on their own to build.

The prophets and sages promise us, that by small and simple things do great things come to pass… and small means will confound the wise. Let us confound the world.

This will be a movement of honor…. courage… and responsibility.

God has made man in His image and after His likeness. He has endowed us with great privileges and rights. And He has given us purpose on this earth. His blessings are our rights. His purpose is our responsibility.

Because we have a right to worship freely, let us declare: We have a responsibility to fight for the rights of others to worship freely.

Because we have a right to pursue happiness, we have a responsibility to be thankful for our blessings and to comfort the needy.

Because we have a right to knowledge and truth, we have a responsibility to pursue it, and to fight falsehood.

These declarations of responsibility, and others, are being posted at In the coming days, I want each of you to print them, read them, carry them, and make them a part of your lives. Share them with your family and friends. Remember all that God has done for you, teach these lessons to your children, and obey God’s word. And join me on a historic march towards human responsibility.

Evil is counting on us to do nothing. Evil is counting on us to be afraid. But evil has misjudged us.

Evil has misjudged us as it has misjudged the Jewish people. The last line of a Jewish prayer is…

Adonai li, v’lo ira
God is with me, I fear not.

Those two lines have been uttered for centuries. Through crusades. Through progroms. Through the gas chambers. At the hands of butchers.

In every generation, they rise up to kill Jews. And in every generation, the answer is the same.

LO IRA. I fear not.

I will wait for someone else to rise no more. This time, we are the ones who say – LO IRA.


Let us begin here: some people call Israel an apartheid state. I reject that. And so immediately following this program I will fly to South Africa, which is where apartheid actually existed. I will broadcast from Cape Town tomorrow morning to remind the world what the evil of apartheid really looked like.

And I will learn from the people who conquered the hatred, ignorance and bigotry and who chartered a peaceful course for a new South Africa.

Then on Friday I will fly to South America to plead the case of human responsibility to a group of nearly 5,000 local leaders from all over the continent and ask them to join me in standing in defense of Israel, the Jewish people and responsibility.

Finally on Sunday, I will speak to 5,000 Americans in Dallas, Texas. I have chosen to end my week in the town where I will headquarter the charitable division of my company, Mercury One. Dedicated to the idea that one man, inspired by one God, makes a difference. This trip will end where a global moment begins.

This won’t be easy for me, and it won’t be easy for you.

Others will say, “come with us, over the horizon.” But that horizon is a cliff. And when you don’t go along, you will stand out. You will be mocked and in some cases your life may be in danger.

So you must remember to say: LO IRA. I fear not.

No one wants to be on the point, the person that sticks out. My first death threat came in 2002 after my first visit to Israel and my declaration of support of the Jewish people and state. My latest death threat was today.

And so I say: LO IRA. I fear not.

Many of us may fall along the way. Some will have their reputation destroyed or business or career ended and others still may pay the ultimate price.

But let us link arms and make the journey together and if one shall fall, let 10 join our ranks.

You were not born so someone else could rule over you. God did not create you, endow you with rights so you could remain silent while injustice and evil grow. You have a purpose and it is rooted in love, compassion and responsibility.

There are many reasons to hear my words, leave here and do nothing. We all have been trained to believe that we are not strong enough, smart enough or powerful enough.

Abraham was old, Moses was slow of speech, Ruth was a widow, David was a little boy, Joseph was in prison, and Lazarus was dead. What is your excuse?

You were born for a time such as this. Begin by declaring that this is why you were placed on this earth. It doesn’t matter how you’ve spent your years on this planet. What matters is what you do now from here.

I cannot promise you safety, prosperity or comfort.

But I can promise you this. One day, your children and grandchildren will ask you: “What did you do when the world was on the edge again? What did you say when the West, Israel and the Jews were blamed again?”

You will look them in the eye and say: I had courage.
And on the 24th of Av, I committed to stand with courage… to walk… to march… arm in arm… behind God’s pillar of fire.

Adonai li v’Lo Ira.

God is with me, I fear not.
Posted by Ted Belman

Rocket hurts baby; IDF hits Gaza arms depot

IDF says it struck Gaza arms depot, more than 20 Palestinian casualties reported; sources in Strip say bombed site an Islamic Jihad social club; earlier, Israeli baby wounded as rocket barrages continue to hit south

Ynet reporters
Israel News

At least 20 rockets were fired at Israel's southern communities on Wednesday with calm nowhere in sight.

A rocket fired at Ashkelon Wednesday evening exploded near a house in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. A 9-month-old baby was hit by glass splinters and sustained light to moderate wounds. He was taken to the Barzilai Medical Center. A vehicle caught fire and damage was also caused to several structures. The IDF responded in force early Thursday, killing two Palestinians and wounding at least 20 in an airstrike on what the army said was an arms depot in the northern Gaza Strip. Earlier, Palestinian sources said the site hit in the strike was an Islamic Jihad social club.

"We heard the rocket's impact, ran to the fortified shelter and only then noticed that the baby had been wounded by the glass debris," family members of the nine-year-old baby said.

"The family was home but did not hear the alarm. It was very frightening. We hope it will be the last attack in our community," one family member said.

The baby was hurt when he was in his room while the other children were in the fortified shelter. "One cannot be in the fortified shelter all the time. It's not a matter of not being responsible," he said.

Earlier, another rocket exploded inside the local council and a third hit Ashkelon's southern industrial zone. No injuries or damage were reported. The Iron Dome system intercepted a fourth rocket fired at Ashkelon. Additional Grad rockets were fired at Beersheba shortly after midnight. One landed north of the city around 2 am, causing no damage or injuries.

שליחה לחבר
כתובת דוא''ל של החבר שמך כתובת הדוא''ל שלך נושא
הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

הסרטון נשלח לחברך
הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך
קוד להטמעה:

Watch baby being evacuated to hospital (video: Roi Idan)

In addition, a rocket fired at Beersheba was intercepted by the Iron Dome system prompting a loud blast. Two mortar shells landed in an open field at the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.

Several minutes later, Palestinians reported that the IDF hit a cell launching rockets east of Shuja'iyya in the Gaza Strip. Several victims were taken to hospital as the IDF mounted its third strike in Gaza in less than 24 hours.

After midnight, Gaza sources said the Air Force struck a Rafah smuggling tunnel, wounding several people seriously. The army later confirmed the report, adding that it also struck an arms production facility in the area.

שליחה לחבר
כתובת דוא''ל של החבר שמך כתובת הדוא''ל שלך נושא
הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

הסרטון נשלח לחברך
הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך
קוד להטמעה:

Iron Dome intercepts Grad in Beersheva (video: Roman Girshberg)

Following the latest bout of rocket fire on the city, Beersheba Mayor Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch appealed to local residents to "continue showing vigilance, listen to directives and not rely on the Iron Dome system which managed to intercept the rocket this time around. We are in a situation where terror is being carried out against residents of the south, something we cannot agree to and cannot accept as routine."

Meanwhile, political officials told Ynet after discussing the preparation for September's UN vote and the declaration of a Palestinian state, the cabinet estimated that the Palestinian Authority is not interested in violence and riots ahead of the declaration.

The same officials added that the Palestinians are sending messages of calm, claiming they are not interested in an escalation. Nonetheless, the defense establishment believes that in spite of these messages it is impossible to foresee developments and there are concerns of loss of control, riots and violent protests.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dispute in Israel over Hamas role in recent rocket fire


Some defense officials believe Hamas actively fired rockets into Israel, others claim they sat on sidelines as smaller groups attacked.

The Israeli intelligence community is in disagreement regarding Hamas’s involvement in the recent round of violence between Israel and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Officially, Hamas has claimed it was not involved in the attacks near Eilat on Thursday, which Israel attributed to the Popular Resistance Committees, or in the firing of more than 150 rockets and mortars into Israel, which came to a tentative end on Monday with the institution of a tense ceasefire.
Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that there were two conflicting schools of thought within the intelligence community – those who believe that Hamas actively fired rockets into Israel and those who claim that Hamas sat on the sidelines during the rocket fire, which was carried out by smaller terror groups based in Gaza.

One source of the confusion came on Saturday night when a number of Gradmodel Katyusha rockets were fired at Ofakim from an area of the Gaza Strip believed to be under Hamas control.

While the Hamas leadership denied its involvement, lower-level field operatives issued a claim of responsibility on the website of the Kassam Martyrs Brigade, Hamas’s military wing.

An hour after it was posted, the claim of responsibility was removed from the site and was replaced by a claim of responsibility from the PRC.

Click for full Jpost coverage

“Hamas, for the most part, appears to have sat out this recent conflict and did not actively participate in the firing,” one defense official said.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center issued a report on Tuesday detailing the rocket fire into Israel during the recent round of violence, showing that Islamic Jihad fired most of the projectiles and the PRC several dozen.

The intelligence official said the confusion surrounding Hamas’s claim of responsibility for the rocket fire into Ofakim was likely an example of the disagreement within the terror group’s leadership over whether it should or should not be actively attacking Israel.

Hamas’s absence from direct participation in the attacks is understood within Military Intelligence to be the result of a number of factors, which include concern that it would be blamed for thwarting the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations next month.

In addition, Hamas is believed to be concerned that an escalation in fighting would strain its newlyrestored ties with the interim government in Egypt, and would additionally undermine its general efforts to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged during Operation Cast Lead two years ago.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Meet the Legal Wonks Who Brought Down the Flotilla

Alana Goodman

At a radical left-wing coffee shop in Washington, D.C. last month, Code Pink founder and “Freedom Flotilla II” passenger Madea Benjamin woefully recounted the moment she realized her boat, the Audacity of Hope, wouldn’t be legally permitted to leave a port in Greece to sail to Gaza.

“There was something called a ‘complaint’ that was put against our boat,” Benjamin explained to a crowd of anti-Israel activists stuffed into the back room of the restaurant. “Well, it didn’t take long for somebody to uncover that the person, or entity, that lodged the complaint was none other than this right-wing Israeli law center based in Tel Aviv, that knew nothing about our boat and certainly had no interest in the passengers’ safety.” The “right-wing” law center that caused Benjamin so much grief is Shurat HaDin – the Israeli group that single-handedly took down the “Freedom Flotilla II” simply by filing creative lawsuits. In total, nine out of the 10 boats in the flotilla never touched Israeli waters, largely due to Shurat HaDin’s work.

Led by Nitzana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi Leitner, the legal center is pioneering a new strategy of Israeli-self defense: Pro-Israel Lawfare.

“There is a way of fighting back, we just have to start thinking like Jews again,” Avi Leitner told me during the Leitners’ recent visit to D.C. “And remember, the Jews invented lawfare, the Jews invented law. So you don’t sit on your hands.”

The first step the legal center took against the flotilla was to target private companies that may have been assisting it. “We thought, what do boats need in order to sail?” Darshan-Leitner told me. “And we realized that all boats must have insurance.” Shurat HaDin began by contacting the major maritime insurance agencies, and informing them they might be criminally liable for “aiding and abetting” a terrorist organization if they provided insurance.

The response was very positive: some of the companies even said they were aware of the legal consequences, and had already made the decision not to work with the flotilla.

Shortly after, Shurat HaDin was contacted by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, which offered its assistance. “They said we had to do anything, anything possible to stop the flotilla,” said Darshan-Leitner. “They asked if there was anything they could do. We said, ‘you tell us, what else do ships need?’”

The prime minister’s office said the boats would require satellite communication service to access GPS, contact the port, and – most importantly – to facilitate media coverage. Shurat HaDin immediately sent a letter to the major satellite provider for the area, warning it of the legal consequences if it worked with the flotilla.

Next, Shurat HaDin lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. “So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder,” said Darshan-Leitner.

It may seem a little weird that the governor of Texas would be one of the first people Darshan-Leitner approached to help with the plan. But she explained that Perry was enthusiastically on-board with the cause ever since he met her on a trip to Israel.

“I once spoke at a mission that Perry took part in, in Israel,” she said. “And he approached me and said, ‘I love what you do. It’s amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel’s enemies, I’m here to assist.’”

So with Attorney General Holder on notice – and a Neutrality Act lawsuit filed in New York federal court – Shurat HaDin turned its attention toward Greece. The group discovered the country had a Neutrality Act similar to the one in the U.S., and it prohibited boats from leaving Greece to sail to illegal ports, including Gaza.

Shurat HaDin notified the Greek minister of civil protection about the flotilla, and he immediately blocked the ships from leaving Greece.

“The second thing he did was order the port authorities in Greece to raid the boats and to find what’s wrong with each and every boat – to be very, very particular,” said Darshan-Leitner, clearly amused. “And at that point, an additional six or seven boats were grounded. Because they found a lot of [problems] there.”

This was around the time Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin​ and her fellow flotilla activists finally caught on to the scheme. But by that point, there wasn’t much they could do.

“When the activists found that [the Audacity of Hope ship was] grounded, they came and they did a press conference, blaming us: ‘How dare this lawfare organization use lawfare against our boat,’” said Darshan-Leitner, laughing.

It’s certainly an ironic scenario. For years, Israel has struggled to combat the left’s delegitimization tactics. But Israel’s public relations strategy has tended to fall short, coming off as overly-defensive and reactionary. And some of its recent attempts to crack down on delegitimization – like the latest anti-boycott law – have done more to damage Israel’s public image than improve it.

Which is why Shurat HaDin’s tactics are so refreshing. There’s something immensely satisfying in outthinking and outmaneuvering the enemy. Stuxnet, Entebbe, Operation Eichmann – these all inspire awe in part because they illustrate the cleverness and ingenuity of the Israelis.

Blocking the Gaza flotilla doesn’t exactly measure up to those historical events. But it’s still a story that should make Israel supporters cheer.

“It evens the playing field. You can either sit there and moan about it, or you can actually try to do something about it,” said Leitner. “There is a way to fight back, there is a way to get good media, and there is a way to get the world to respect you.”

'Spain will recognize Palestinian state on 1967 lines'


Shaath says Spain wants Palestine recognized in UN; announcement comes as Abbas meets with Islamic Jihad officials, Gen. Tantawi in Cairo to discuss Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, Mideast peace process.

The Palestinian Authority announced on Thursday that Spain has decided to recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines before September. A spanish diplomat told Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath that Spain would support making the state of Palestine a UN member.

The announcement came as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo on Monday, under the auspices of Egyptian authorities, with Ramadan Shallah, Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad organization, and his deputy, Ziad Nakhleh. The meeting between Abbas and the Syrian-based Islamic Jihad leaders dealt with ways of consolidating Palestinian national reconciliation, a PA official said.

The two sides also discussed the PA security crackdown on Islamic Jihad operatives and supporters in the West Bank, the official said.

Islamic Jihad has condemned the ongoing crackdown and urged the PA to release all its men, especially in wake of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation accord that was reached in Cairo three weeks ago.

Under the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, Islamic Jihad leaders and members were unwelcome in Egypt.

An Islamic Jihad official said that the talks also focused on ways of “confronting future challenges and Israeli threats.” He described the meeting with Abbas as positive and thorough.

Abbas, who arrived in Cairo, also held talks with Gen. Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the stalled Middle East peace process.

Abbas also briefed Tantawi on the outcome of the emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Qatar last weekend.

The ministers voiced their backing for Abbas’s plan to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.
Abbas is also seeking Cairo’s help in overcoming differences with Hamas over the establishment of a unity government in accordance with the reconciliation agreement.

PA negotiator Nabil Shaath announced on Monday that Spain was planning to recognize the Palestinian state before September.

Shaath’s announcement came after he met in Ramallah with Spanish Consul-General Alfonso Portable.

Shaath said that the PA was pursuing its efforts to secure additional backing and international recognition for the statehood bid.

He said that the Spanish diplomat stressed that his country would support making the state of Palestine a member of the UN.

Shaath said that he was planning to visit Armenia, Moldavia, the Philippines, Mexico and Columbia to persuade them to support the statehood bid in September.

Comment: I re-posted this May piece as a reminder who our firneds are not-

Monday, August 22, 2011

"In Flux"

Arlene Kushner

Briefly, that's the sum of it. The situation in the South is fluid -- with outcome uncertain.

There is an enormous feeling here in Israel that strong deterrence is essential. We cannot tolerate aggression against our civilians -- what is required is a rapid and painful response that delivers a message: You hurts ours, and you will suffer. Barak's comment today was, "You attack us, you lose your head."

A good position. A necessary position.

But now what? There was talk about escalation of the attack on Gaza; of an operation that emulated the very intense first stage of Cast Lead, before the ground troops went in; of targeting Hamas leadership; of finally taking out Hamas completely; etc. etc.

However, the inner Cabinet, which met during the night, last night, decided not to decide yet -- but to continue as we are doing now and see how Hamas responds. Sometimes, apparently goes the thinking, it is enough for the enemy to understand that we are serious about various escalating options if the launching of rockets does not stop.


Last night I already indicated that the political wing of Hamas did not have the enthusiasm for the continuing violence that the military wing was promoting.

Tonight a report has surfaced reflecting a willingness on the part of Hamas to cool matters. What is interesting about this report is the broader dynamic:

A Hamas spokesperson said that Egypt was involved and had delivered a message to Hamas that Israel would not stop air attacks in Gaza unless the groups in Gaza first stopped shooting at Israel. An Islamic Jihad official further indicated that the "militant" groups in Gaza had convened in Cairo to discuss a ceasefire with Israel. It was being said that the ceasefire would start on Sunday (today) and would be monitored by Hamas.

Use of the term "ceasefire" is inappropriate, however. Israel's position -- which I pray holds -- is that there is no negotiation for a "ceasefire." In a ceasefire, there is an agreement that stipulates that both sides are to stop together at a predetermined time and within certain parameters.

Israeli terms are simpler: As long as they keep attacking us, we keep hitting them. If they stop, then we'll stop. This would mean we reserve the right to start responding again if they begin to attack again or if we see preparation for an attack that requires pre-emption. There is no "breaking of a ceasefire" that would be involved.

Yet, we should take note of the reported Egyptian involvement in this matter. The message that the Hamas spokesman said Egypt delivered to Hamas may have been real (that is, delivered on behalf of Israel).

We should further take note of the fact that Hamas may truly be eager to cool it. There seems to be some credibility to reports that Hamas called on all militant groups in Gaza to stop firing on Israel as of 9 PM tonight.


However -- and this is a big however -- Hamas may not control the situation. It has for some time now been understood that it is not the most militant of the groups in Gaza any longer.

And yet, Israel holds Hamas, which is the governing authority in Gaza responsible, and must do so. Sometimes Hamas has control, but prefers to allow others to do their dirty work.

First the Popular Resistance Committees said they would not abide by a "ceasefire."

Then Islamic Jihad officials weighed in, but their story was somewhat different: They indicated that UN envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry had sent a "lull" draft agreement to be discussed. An Islamic Jihad spokesman said they had no intention of handing Israel a lull agreement "free of charge." Their demand would be that Israel halt attacks in Gaza.

This, as I see it, is not a small matter at all. Islamic Jihad wants to be able to say that they forced Israel to stop. But if there is to be Israeli deterrence, it must be that the militant groups felt compelled to stop because of Israeli attacks.


Today was considerably quieter than yesterday had been, but when additional mortars and four Kassams were launched from Gaza late in the day, our planes were in the air again. Israel, for the time being, declares intention to continue thus. There is no official Israeli acknowledgement of even a "lull" agreement being considered. And these words are bandied about (see below).


I read today that an IDF official said we were doing well, because we were hitting the people who were responsible for launching the rocket attacks. This was definitely true with regard to the PRC leaders who were eliminated outside of Rafah. And I hope it continues to be true to some extent since then. It must be higher-ups who are hit -- those who plan and order the attacks. The people who actually shoot the rockets are readily expendable, and taking them out does not change the equation.


As to the Egyptians, there is much being written, all reflecting great unease about our current relationship with them: Will they sustain the peace treaty? Should we allow them into Sinai in sufficient numbers to regain control? Do they have culpability for Thursday's terror attack because they have fallen down on their responsibility to maintain control in the Sinai? At least one commentator is incensed at the notion that Egypt is angry with us because of the problem at the border when Egypt hadn't held up its end.

This is definitely a situation to be watched closely. I've picked up an eagerness on the part of at least some Israeli officials to mend fences -- figuratively speaking only -- with Egypt following that border cross-fire. And I speculate as to whether the message reportedly delivered to Hamas by Egypt was an attempt by Israel to work with Egypt (my idea only -- have no data on this).


For the record I wish to clarify various terms being bandied about. What is referred to as a "lull," is in Arabic "tahadiyeh," simply a period of calm. It's a state, perhaps agreed to informally and off the record. (Which is why a written "lull" agreement doesn't quite make sense.)

What in Western terms is a "ceasefire" is referred to by the Arabs as a "hudna." It's an agreement. But there is a very significant proviso: It is conceptualized by the Arabs as a given that it is temporary. This is built into the culture. What this means that while there is a "hudna" they don't maintain the status quo, but scurry to gain strength towards the time when that "hudna" will be over. I've always been vastly uncomfortable with such agreements struck between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. It buys calm now at a cost later.

Thus, for this reason as well, do I fervently hope that if the situation quiets down, it is because the Arabs back off and not because of a "ceasefire" agreement.


Final thought for the night:

If things quiet down again now, is this in our best interest both in terms of our security and diplomatic situation? There are many parameters to consider -- the impending UN vote, the implications of taking down Hamas and having the PA move back into Gaza, etc. My sense of matters is that our government knows that in due course there will be a war, but that this is not the right time.


There was intelligence today about plans for an imminent terror attack (exactly where or how was not specified) inside Jerusalem. Traffic was checked all day coming into the city. In the center of town, sniffer dogs were being worked by the police (which my youngest grandson found fascinating).


After the terror attack last Thursday Secretary of State Clinton offered a statement of condolence to Israel and said, "The US stands with Israel in fighting terror." How does she say this with a straight face?


© 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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Israel’s Great Divide

Ted Belman (also published in American Thinker)

Islam divides the world into the Dar al Harb (the land of war) and Dar al Salaam (the land of peace). In Israel, the great divide is between the “Peace” Camp (PC) and “War” Camp (WC). Of course there are many people who are not part of either camp. Let’s call them the uncommitted.

The reason I put “peace” in quotation marks is that peace, in this context, is a misnomer. The PC works towards an illusory peace. Better to call it the “Let’s make a deal Camp”. “Peace” also denotes a moral high ground which is a debatable attribution. For this camp to use this word, it amounts to self aggrandizement.

War is also put in quotation marks because the WC is not seeking war but the absence of war. It does this by preparing for war and maintaining deterrence. Thus it can rightly be called the “Let’s not make a deal Camp.”

Beyond that, the WC wants to keep what it believes is rightfully theirs i.e., Judea And Samaria, and the PC, either doesn’t believe it is theirs or believes it is more trouble than it’s worth.

In order to make a deal, it is necessary to make love not war. And we all know, love is blind. The PC thus paints a rosy picture of its peace partner and turns a blind eye to reality. It distinguishes between the bad guys and the good guys and ignores that the bad guys are in charge and are supported by the good guys. In order to believe that peace is possible it must ignore 100 years of its peace partner rejecting peace and must ignore what it says and does and must ignore what it teaches its children. On the other hand, the WC is fully cognizant of what the PC ignores and is guided by it. No illusions for it. So it argues that there is no peace partner to negotiate with. It is content with the status quo and entertains annexing all or part of Judea and Samaria.

Both camps have different agendas. The PC understands that real peace is not possible but nevertheless wants to end the occupation. The WC doesn’t believe there is an occupation and wants to keep all of Judea and Samaria, if possible.

The PC understands that any possible deal will require the expulsion of over 100,000 Israelis from their communities in Judea and Samaria. To win over the uncommitted to its agenda, it demonizes the “settlers” and falsely claims they are a financial drain on the other Israelis. Similarly, it realizes that the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City, save for the Kotel (Wall) and the Jewish Quarter will have to be ceded to the Palestinians and it is prepared to do so even if it is not possible to do. Firstly, the Arab and Jewish communities are very much intertwined and cannot be neatly separated. Secondly, a wall would have to be built along the separation line in order to prevent infiltration into Israel. Not only would such a wall not suffice to keep a determined enemy out, it certainly wouldn’t suffice to prevent sniper fire.

The WC is not willing to cede its heartland, to expel tens of thousands of Israelis or to divide Jerusalem. Such a price for an illusory peace, or even a real peace, is unacceptable. Some things are worth fighting for.

The WC, in order to win over the uncommitted often describes the enemy as a community that doesn’t want peace, that wants to destroy Israel, that honors terrorists, that doesn’t pay taxes, that isn’t loyal to the state, that is a financial burden to the state and so on; all of which is true. The PC counters by accusing the WC as being racists for condemning a whole society for the wrongs of a few. Nor is it willing to stigmatize this community as a thorn in the side of the state.

These camps are divided ideologically as well. The PC wants Israel to be a state of all her citizens whereas the WC wants Israel to be a Jewish state. In part the PC does this for self preservation. Since it is a largely secular camp, they are fearful of being the citizens of a Jewish state. As a consequence it fights for the rights of Arabs whereas the WC fights for the rights of Jews.

The ongoing tent protests in Israel are a reflection of this divide. Polls taken in the last year, show Israelis to be a very happy lot. The economy is booming and unemployment is very low. So where does this discontent come from? First of all this protest is driven largely by the media which is predominantly in the PC. It reports protest numbers in the hundreds of thousands whereas in reality it is a tenth of what they represent. Also it is being organized and funded by various NGO’s who number prominently in this camp and who in turn are funded by foreign governments and foreign philanthropists and organizations such as the New Israel Fund and the Ford Foundation. All these entities have as their primary agenda to defeat the WC and undermine Israel. Their rallying cry of Peace Now, has been abandoned as it has largely lost its steam and instead they embrace a new rallying cry, “social justice now”. That resonates better now and serves the purpose of returning the PC to power.

As demography favors the WC, the PC is getting desperate. It is backing Obama’s efforts to force Israel to capitulate, all in Israel’s best interest of course. NYT, J-Street, and the whole PC are weighing in. Even Tzipi Livni, leader of Kadima, added her voice this week to this chorus. PM Netanyahu has been wilting under the pressure. Fortunately he has the WC and the American people as represented by both houses, standing with him.

Hamas Cancels the ’Calm’ That Never Was

Hamas officially cancels of the “calm” that never was and continues attacks early Sunday – this time on Jewish farms and towns near Gaza.
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Published: 21/08/11

Hamas officially cancels of the “calm” that never was and continues attacks early Sunday – this time on Jewish farms and towns near Gaza.

Two pre-dawn mortar shell explosions rocked the Eshkol region, northwest of Be’er Sheva, around 4 a.m., and three rockets woke up residents south of Ashkelon two hours later. All of the blasts were in open areas, and not serious damage or injuries were reported. Since Thursday, terrorists have attacked southern Israel with more than 80 rockets and mortars. At lest one rocket exploded on the highway near Kiryat Gat . half-way between Be'er Sheva and the southern edge of metropolitan Tel Aviv.

Hamas announced Saturday night that it has cancelled its previously proclaimed “ceasefire” that in fact was n effect for only two months after Israel’s counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead campaign in the winter of 2008-2009.

“There is no longer any truce with the enemy,” said a Hamas statement.

Mainstream media have repeatedly referred to the “calm” even while reporting hundreds of mortar shell and rocket attacks since then.

During one 48-period in April, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza attacked Israeli towns and cities with more than 120 Grad missiles, rockets and mortar shells.

The Arab League said Saturday night it will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the latest escalation of violence between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel. The League said the meeting will be held at the request “from the Palestinian state,” said Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, spokesman of the Arab League.

Thousands of Gaza Arabs vowed revenge on Israel while attending funerals for Jihad commanders killed by the IDF following the deadly attacks north of Eilat on Thursday.

The Israeli Security Cabinet is to discuss Sunday what steps the country will take in the wake of the latest attacks.

Paramedic Found His Wounded Family in the Hospital

A paramedic who rushed to the scene of a Grad attack, later discovered members of his own family had been wounded in the same attack.
by Elad Benari
Published: 21/08/11

With terrorists from Gaza bombarding southern Israel with missiles and rockets on Saturday, the region’s Magen David Adom paramedics were hard at work treating victims and saving lives.

In many cases the paramedics have to leave behind their own families, who live themselves in the areas under fire, and go out to places hit by the rockets.

One paramedic felt this difficult reality more than others on Saturday, when he arrived at the Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva after helping to evacuate victims from the Grad missile attack on the city, in which Yossi Ben Shoshan was killed. Upon arrival at Soroka, the paramedic was surprised to discover that members of his family had been hurt in the attack and were admitted to the hospital. His sister-in-law was lightly wounded, his brother had been moderately wounded, and his niece was seriously wounded.

In total, terrorists have fired around 50 rockets into Israeli territory since Thursday night. Four people are wounded in serious condition, suffering life-threatening wounds.

The Iron Dome system has shot down some rockets. The IDF has responded by hitting numerous sites in Gaza including several terrorist outposts, killing another of the heads of the PMC terror group that had claimed responsibility for Thursday's terrorist attacks. The master PMC planner was killed on Thursday along with two other heads of the group.

On Friday, Hamas officially ended an often-broken ceasefire with Israel, openly involving Gaza's leadership in the attacks.