Saturday, December 29, 2012

And the nation with the second highest percentage of Jews is....

Pew just came out with statistics showing the religious populations of every nation.
The nations with the highest percentage of Jews are:
1) Israel 75.6%
2) Gibraltar 2%
3) United States 1.8%
4) Monaco 1.7%
5) Belize 1%
6) Canada 1%
JTA looked at Gibraltar's impressive Jewish community a year ago:

Why a two-state solution will never work


Original Thinking: What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction?

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President AbbasPhoto: Jason Reed / Reuters
There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation. – Mahmoud Zahar.

Death to Israel!
– Heard at most anti-Israel demonstrations.

I will never recognize the Jewish state, not in a thousand years! – Mahmoud Abbas

From the river to the sea, from the north to the south, this is our land, our homeland. There will be no relinquishing even an inch of it. Israel is illegitimate and will remain so throughout the passage of time. It belongs to us and not the Zionists – Khaled Mashaal

Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah. After that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa – Ismail Haniyeh.

Which part of that do you not understand? For decades we have been bombarded by expert opinion telling us why the two-state paradigm is the only solution for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians, and for the survival of a democratic Jewish state.

Having spent this period researching and studying the paths outlined for this road map, and analyzing the basic character and intentions of Israel’s adversary in this journey, it has brought me, irrevocably and inevitably, to the definite conclusion that it will never happen and, if it did, it would end in disaster for Israel.

If it did happen it would be the death knell for the Jewish state of Israel.

John Kerry at State: A Disaster for Israel

Moshe Phillips

President Obama's decision to nominate Senator John Kerry as his next secretary of state will prove to be a disaster for Israel.

The choice of the American Jewish establishment to vehemently protest the expected nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel while granting Kerry a free pass for his anti-Israel behavior follows a longtime pattern.  Hagel is a Republican who has a history of marking foolish remarks regarding Israel and has long been seen as an independent thinker on Middle East policy with a non-interventionist outlook.  Kerry, however, is the much bigger problem for Israel.

Hagel as SecDef will be tasked with handling military issues.  Kerry will be in a position to effect policy as it impacts Israel, set an overall tone for the U.S. in the Middle East, and be a key player in future negotiations.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How Israel Should Avoid International Isolation

Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Photo: Screebshot.
As the political climate heats up in Israel, the oft chimed argument of choice for the withered and depleted ‘concessions camp,’ charges that various actions taken by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the current sitting government are leading to ‘international isolation’ of the Jewish state.
Last month, Tzipi Livni, leader of the newly formed ‘Hatnuah’ party opposed the announcement of new West Bank settlement building on the grounds that the move “isolates Israel [and] encourages international pressure,” according to the Guardian.

New Palestinian rift erupts after Fatah cancels Gaza event


Fatah officials decide to cancel anniversary celebrations in Gaza citing Hamas refusal to hold rallies in two of Strip's main squares, marring positive atmosphere that followed Palestinian statehood bid at UNGA.

Rally marking Fatah's 47th anniversary in Nablus Photo: REUTERS

The positive atmosphere that prevailed between Fatah and Hamas following Operation Pillar of Defense and the UN vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status appeared to have ended Thursday, as the two rival parties resumed their verbal attacks on each other.
The new crisis erupted after Fatah announced the cancellation of celebrations in the Gaza Strip that were scheduled for the end of this month to mark the 48th anniversary of its founding.
Fatah officials in Gaza said they had decided to cancel the events because the Hamas government would not allow them to hold rallies in two of Gaza City’s main squares.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Redacted Iraqi Jews

Nabil Al-Hadairi

After reversing this injustice, it now needs to be activated and implemented at all levels.
The recent Conference of Religions and Sects in Sulaymaniyah, organized under the supervision of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, was an important milestone: The first such conference to take place in Iraq that seriously covered the defense of religions and sects after the collapse of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein.

Present at the conference were Christians, Muslims (both Sunni and Shi'a) and other, smaller, minority groups. What was surprising was that there was not a single representative of Iraqi Jews to relate their glorious history, so full of great accomplishments for the glory of Iraq and its constitution. In their absence, they could not tell of the calamity that befell them when their citizenship was withdrawn, their money and property confiscated, their rights denied, and when they were subjected to being imprisoned or murdered while ethnic cleansing was committed by forcing the best of my Iraqi Jewish friends to emigrate.

Ya’alon: US preparing for possible Syria intervention

Vice premier says U.S. will intervene if chemical weapons are used on Syrian citizens, or if weapons fall into wrong hands • Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah meet secretly to discuss Syria's chemical weapons arsenal • Assad reportedly seeks asylum in Venezuela.

Jordan's King Abdullah: He has reportedly ruled out a joint attack on Syria's chemical weapons.
Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Why Arabs Hate And Kill Palestinians

Khaled Abu Toameh

The Arab League did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss what Palestinians describe as "massacres " against the refugees in a Syrian camp, home to more than 50,000 people. Those who meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries should not be surprised when bombs start falling on their homes. Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.
More than 800 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds others injured since the beginning of the crisis in Syria nearly two years ago.
In the past two weeks, thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus after Syrian jets bombed their homes, killing dozens of people.
More than 3000 refugees have fled to neighboring Lebanon, where some politicians and cabinet ministers are already calling for closing the border to stop the influx of Palestinians into their country.
The Arab world, meanwhile, has done nothing to help the Palestinians in Syria.
The Arab League did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss what Palestinians described as "massacres" against the refugees in Yarmouk, home to some 50,000 people.
This is not the first time that Palestinians living in Arab countries find themselves caught in conflicts between rival parties. Those who meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries should not be surprised when bombs start falling on their homes.
The Palestinians have a long history of involving themselves in the internal affairs of Arab countries and later complaining when they fall victim to violence. They complain they are being killed but not saying why they keep getting into trouble.
Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.
In Syria, a Palestinian terrorist group called Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, which is headed by Ahmed Jibril, had been helping the Syrian regime in its attempts to suppress the opposition. Jibril's terrorists are reported to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered hundreds of anti-regime Syrians over the past two years.
The last time an Arab army bombed a Palestinian refugee camp was in Lebanon. In 2007, the Lebanese army destroyed most of the Nahr al-Bared camp after another terrorist group, Fatah al-Islam set up bases there and attacked army checkpoints, killing several soldiers.
In the 70s and 80s, Palestinians played a major role in the Lebanon civil war, which claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people.
The Palestinians also payed a price for meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, thousands of Palestinians were forced out of Iraq for helping the dictator oppress his people for many years.
After the liberation of Kuwait more than 20 years ago, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from the tiny emirate and other Gulf countries. Their crime was that they had supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait -- a country that for many years had provided the PLO with billions of dollars in aid.
Jordan was the first Arab country to punish the Palestinians for meddling in its internal affairs. In 1970, the late King Hussein ordered his army to crush armed Palestinian organizations that had severely undermined his monarchy. The violence resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and ended with the expulsion of the PLO to Lebanon.
What happened in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the past few days shows that the Palestinians have not learned from their previous mistakes and are continuing to meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries. That is perhaps why the Arabs are reluctant to help the Palestinians overcome their financial hardships.
Arab League foreign ministers recently promised to provide the Palestinian Authority with $100m. per month to solve its financial crisis. But the Palestinians have not yet seen one dollar from the promised aid. And if they continue to meddle in the internal affairs of their Arab brothers, the only thing they will see is more bombs falling on their homes and thousands of people forced out of their refugee camps.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Batsheva Sobelman December 25, 2012, 11:14 a.m. JERUSALEM -- The Jerusalem district planning committee has granted approval to build another 1,200 housing units in Gilo, expanding the Jewish neighborhood built on Jerusalem-area land seized by Israel in 1967. It was the latest in a series of similar development decisions that have followed the United Nations vote in November granting the Palestinian Authority its request for non-member observer state status. Planning committee member Moshe Montag told Israel Radio on Tuesday that the plan had been submitted more than a year ago but that procedures had been blocked for diplomatic reasons -- until now. “Unfortunately, it takes a drama, terror attack or U.N. vote to release construction in Jerusalem, our capital, and this is absurd,” Montag said. Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ambassadors: “Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.” “All Israeli governments have built in Jerusalem,” he said. “We are not going to change that.” The U.S. is “deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last week, following approval of a 1,500-apartment project in a different part of the Jerusalem area, Ramat Shlomo. Palestinians say such development projects further divide Arab neighborhoods in the Jerusalem area from the West Bank and in some cases chip away at land they claim for a future state. Separately, steps have been taken to complete recognition of the Ariel University Center -- a large academic institute in the Israeli settlement city of Ariel on the West Bank -- as a full-fledged university. The decision was reached earlier this year but had awaited final approval from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, which came Monday evening. Netanyahu welcomed the new university that would further “strengthen higher education in Israel.” Other university presidents have expressed fear that the university, the first new one to open in Israel in 40 years, will eat into already shrinking budgets for higher education. Lawmaker Zehava Galon of Meretz criticized the move to local media, saying, “This is not an academic decision but a political one aimed at serving Netanyahu's election campaign.” In less than a month, Israel is holding general elections. Polls have consistently given Netanyahu's ruling party the lead. They also show competition from more conservative, pro-settlement circles opposed to a Palestinian state growing stronger. The Gilo construction project is part of a much larger development push throughout the greater Jerusalem area, said Hagit Ofran of the veteran anti-settlement Israeli organization Peace Now. “It looks like Netanyahu is taking advantage of every single moment left before elections to put more facts on the ground that will make reaching an agreement even more difficult,” she said.

Gilo, Jerusalem
A construction site in Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood in the Jerusalem area where another 1,200 housing units have just been approved. (Abir Sultan / EPA / December 20, 2012)

Hamas Bans Israeli Media

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday forbade local journalists from working with "hostile" Israeli media, the AFP news agency reports.

The terrorist group decided in its weekly cabinet meeting "to ban work with all Zionist media and journalists," and to declare Israeli media "hostile."

The statement mentioned Israeli media and television stations which operate in Gaza through local production companies, working with local journalists.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Worse and Worser"

As I turn from other work to do a posting, what becomes clear is that the world situation sure isn't getting better.
We can start with Syria, where the proper word for describing the situation is perhaps "horrific."  How does one refer to the leader of a government that orders an airstrike on a bakery -- an airstrike that hit a crowd of people lined up to receive bread?  An "activist," Samer al-Hamawi, cited by the JPost, reported that, "When I got there, I could see piles of bodies all over the ground. There were women and children."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christianity Close to Extinction in the Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report. 

EGYPT Coptic Orthodox Christian's at the saint Bishoi church in Port Said, famous for it's icon of Mary which oozes a holy oil
The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam Photo: ALAMY

Palestinian Officials Warn Israel of Retaliation If Netanyahu Re-elected

Palestinian officials have warned they will take retaliatory steps, including joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), if Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is re-elected in a general election due next month.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: AFP
They have also raised the possibility of mass demonstrations, encouraging international sanctions against Israel and ending the security co-ordination with the Israeli military that has kept the West Bank largely quiet since the end of the Palestinian intifada in 2005.
The warning is a counterattack against a flurry of announcements from Mr Netanyahu's government that it intends to build new settlements consisting of more than 6,000 homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank on land the Palestinians want as part of a future state.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shas worries it will be excluded from next government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he prefers a Likud member as housing and construction minister, rather than a Shas member, as at present • Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Our man worked day and night; the Likud ministers before him just sat at home and smoked water pipes.

Netanyahu's words on Saturday make a second term as Housing and Construction Minister look less likely for MK Ariel Atias (Shas).
Photo credit: Oren Nachson

Obama's carbon copy

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's appointment as U.S. secretary of state, soon to be officially authorized following certain approval in the Senate, assures us that for the foreseeable future U.S. foreign policy will still be determined in the White House.

In contrast to previous powerful and influential secretaries of state such as Henry Kissinger, who profoundly affected the international arena, Kerry will, like his predecessor Hillary Clinton, play the role of expert implementer of policy rather than inspired architect with a vision of his own.
Indeed, all signs show that the main criterion for the appointment is not creativity, initiative or original thinking, but the fact that Kerry's authentic liberal worldview is almost completely in line with that of President Barack Obama. 

PM: Why does Abbas serially refuse to enter negotiations?

In separate interviews aired simultaneously on Channel 10 and 2, Netanyahu says he will continue building in J'lem "because it is our right," says recent moves are response to PA status upgrade at UN, not connected to elections.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he did not know if he could make peace with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in an interview with Channel 2, aired in full on Saturday night. "When Abu Mazen (Abbas) embraces Hamas and calls for reconciliation with Hamas, allows for Hamas demonstrations [in the West Bank] that call for Israel's destruction, I ask myself is he a partner for peace."