Saturday, April 12, 2014

Who is Responsible for the Suffering of the Palestinians?

Michael Brown 

There is no doubt that there is real suffering among the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank (which is actually ancient Judea and Samaria). The question is who, precisely, is most responsible for their suffering?
Certainly, Israel is far from blameless in its treatment of the Palestinians, and it helps no one when we overlook or whitewash Israel’s failings, as some Christian Zionists are prone to do.
But is Israel primarily responsible for the difficult living conditions faced by the Palestinians today? Absolutely not. The blame lays squarely at the feet of the Palestinian leadership.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Brandeis Backs Arsonists, Dumps Firefighter

Douglas Murray
April 11, 2014 

Between supporters of terrorism such as CAIR and Hirsi Ali, there should not even be a debate over whom free societies should choose.
The worst strains of European thinking seem to have infected America. As cultural relativism, spinelessness and an inability to stand up for our own values have become more and more dominant in Europe, some of us have continued to look to the U.S. as a society safeguards its founding principles and remains willing to uphold them in the face of opposition. Apparently not for much longer.
There have been troubling developments for some time. But an event earlier this week speaks louder than any so far. This is the decision of Brandeis University to revoke the offer of an honorary degree to the human rights hero, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali addresses the St. Gallen Symposium at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, in May 2011. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/International Students' Committee)
In case anybody needs reminding of her story, two decades ago the Somali-born Hirsi Ali fled an arranged marriage and gained asylum in the Netherlands. She learned the language, worked for a university education and became a member of the Dutch Parliament all in the space of a few short years.

No trust in Abbas

t is now a well-grounded fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not interested in a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict • All sides want the peace talks to continue, but also know that they will not lead to anything.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a past meeting in Washington
Photo credit: AP

How the Mullahs Prop Up Assad

Hassan-RouhaniThis week, top Iranian officials, including deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian, pointed out that their assistance and aid to the Assad government is solely humanitarian and based on good will.
Iranian official state media made international news, which spread in the liberal mainstream media, by announcing that the Islamic Republic of Iran has delivered 30,000 tons of food supplies to Syria on Tuesday in order to assist the Syrian government in dealing with its food shortages created by the internal conflict, terrorism, and civil war.
Abdollahian insisted and emphasized that the Islamic Republic’s assistance to Syria is only restricted to humanitarian aid and goods such as medicine and food. He continued that the Islamic Republic is not involved in other military actions.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inside the White House’s Secret Campaign to Scapegoat Israel

Top diplomats planted anti-Israel reports in lead up to peace talk collapse
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry /                              AP
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry / AP
BY: Adam Kredo Follow @Kredo0 
The Obama administration has been waging a secret media war in capitals across two continents blaming Israel for the recent collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians, according to former Israeli diplomats and Washington, D.C. insiders familiar with the peace process.
Multiple sources told the Washington Free Beacon that top Obama administration officials have worked for the past several days to manufacture a crisis over the reissuing of housing permits in a Jerusalem neighborhood widely acknowledged as Israeli territory.
Senior State Department officials based in Israel have sought to lay the groundwork for Israel to take the blame for talks collapsing by peddling a narrative to the Israeli press claiming that the Palestinians were outraged over Israeli settlements, the Free Beacon has learned.
These administration officials have planted several stories in Israeli and U.S. newspapers blaming Israel for the collapse of peace talks and have additionally provided reporters with anonymous quotes slamming the Israeli government.
The primary source of these multiple reports has been identified as Middle East envoy Martin Indyk and his staff, according to these insiders, who said that the secret media campaign against Israel paved the way for Secretary of State John Kerry to go before Congress on Tuesday and publicly blame Israel for tanking the talks.

UK: Jihadists as "Charity Workers"

Samuel Westrop
April 10, 2014

The full truth is a bit more chilling, Sharif and his wife are supporters of ISIS, the leading Al-Qaeda-aligned group in Syria. Al Jazeera reports that in areas under ISIS control, "men [have]... been beheaded, their heads mounted on spikes. Children...slaughtered." Other posts found on the couple's Facebook pages include videos glorifying jihadi fighters; praise for late Al Qaeda leaders such as Abdullah Azzam and Anwar Al-Awlaki; and calls for an Islamic state.
The British media continues to label British Islamist volunteers who support jihadist movements in Syria as "charity workers."
In December, the BBC aired a documentary about aid convoys to Syria, but – as reported by Gatestone Institute – neglected to inform viewers of the convoy volunteers' support for jihadi "martyrs," Al Qaeda operatives and extremist preachers.
Although the UK Charity Commission subsequently started an investigation into these charities, the failure of the media to research their interviewees continues to impair efforts to tackle the abuse of British taxpayers' charitable initiatives.

Kerry to Lieberman: I did not blame Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "We are standing up for ourselves with determination and wisdom" • Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: "Settlement blocs must be annexed. ... The time has come to present an alternative to the entire Oslo concept."

Foregin Minister Avigdor Lieberman with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington on Wednesday
Photo credit: GettyImages

Peace process peters out

Clifford D. May

Blessed are the peacemakers. But don't confuse peacemakers with peace processors. The latter think they can persuade the lion to lie down with the lamb. The former are realistic enough to grasp how perilous that is unless the lion has just had a big dinner and a couple of stiff drinks.
Sad to say, Secretary of State John Kerry has proven to be a peace processor, one loath to acknowledge that the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have come to a very dead end. Actually, they never moved off the starting blocks.
Let's stipulate that Kerry is a good man who believed he had the diplomatic chops to succeed where his predecessors failed. Still, at a time when thousands of men, women and children are being slaughtered in Syria, al-Qaida is resurging in Iraq (and elsewhere), Egypt is in turmoil, and negotiations with Iran are at a critical juncture, his decision to invest so much time and energy in this effort -- a dozen trips to the region -- has to be seen as ill-advised.

“Crossing Lines”

Has our government finally learned?  No matter what efforts we make, no matter the concessions – in the end it is Israel that faces accusations when things go wrong.  The lesson here is that we should stop trying and refrain from further concessions.
What I am referring to is the tone, as well as content, of testimony given by Kerry yesterday to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Tovah Lazaroff, providing an analysis in the JPost, wrote:
“It wasn’t what Secretary of State John Kerry was how he said it....
“It was a narrative exclamation, and pause, strong enough to be heard round the world.
“It fell, like a slow drumbeat...”
Kerry’s accusation: that an announcement by Israel about building over the ‘67 line is what killed the chance to revive the “peace negotiations”
Lazaroff describes the progression of events that Kerry presented.  I want to review it quickly here because Kerry’s misrepresentations require correction.   No one should take him at his word.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hamas calls on Abbas to 'unleash the resistance' in the West Bank


Statement of the Islamist party calls on the PA to end security coordination with Israel, end negotiations.

Palestinian Hamas rally
Palestinian Hamas rally Photo: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini
Hamas on Wednesday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to "unleash the resistance" in the West Bank  against Israel. The Hamas call came following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to cut high-level economic and civilian contacts with the Palestinian Authority.  
In an official statement released by Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas said Netanyahu's move to end the cooperation  with the Palestinian Authority obligated Abbas to allow the "unleashing of resistance, in order to deter the Israeli occupier and to defend our people, our land and our holy sites." 

Arming the Mullahs

DR. MICHAEL LEDEEN April 9, 2014
Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a born optimist and I love optimism, but I'd rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel.  The Obama crowd has just ok'd something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft.  Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting "we take aircraft security very seriously," in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.
Frankly I'd rather they took national security very seriously.  Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet.  The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service.  Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s.  Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.

A predictable collapse

Zalman Shoval

Just as former U.S. President Bill Clinton exposed the true face of Yasser Arafat at Camp David, we must thank Secretary of State John Kerry for exposing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' rejectionist colors. Even though the American spokespersons have since gone back to waxing about "the negative steps taken by both sides," their initial reaction to the diplomatic crisis left no doubt that they too thought the crux of the responsibility fell on the Palestinians.
In the meantime Kerry has declared "reality check time," or in other words that the inventory of facts and varying positions must be accounted for, and thankfully so, because any real examination will show that the Palestinians booby-trapped the process from the start and never, not for a moment, abandoned their original plan to ultimately turn to the United Nations.

Israel’s Worst Enemy: Lies and Myths

olThe Washington Post reports that some members of Secretary of State John Kerry’s senior staff think it’s time to say “enough” of Kerry’s futile and delusional attempts to broker peace between the Israelis and Arabs and implement the “two-state solution.” That’s a revelation one would think the chief diplomat of the greatest power in history would have experienced decades ago. Since the failed 1993 Oslo Accords, it has been obvious to all except the duplicitous, the ignorant, and the Jew-hater that the Arabs do not want a “Palestinian state living in peace side-by-side with Israel,” something they could have had many times in the past. On the contrary, as they serially prove in word and deed, they want Israel destroyed.

Monday, April 07, 2014

PA journalist who glorifies terrorist murderers receives Palestinian Women's Media Personality Award for 2014

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The Palestinian Authority's policy is to honor terrorist murderers through all of the communication structures under its control. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA TV program For You, a program about and for Palestinian prisoners in Israel, regularly promotes terrorists as role models. The program's host, Manal Seif, has called many murderers "heroes." Following a PMW report on three terrorists who in total are serving 156 life sentences for planning suicide bombings, Manal Seif criticized PMW for "slandering these heroes." 

"Palestinian Media Watch... slandered these heroes and claimed that they are terrorists... if they see all these prisoners as terrorists - we see them as heroes."
[PA TV (Fatah), June 27, 2013]
Now Manal Seif has received recognition for her work. The Palestinian organization Amin Arab Media Internet Network has awarded her the PA journalist who glorifies terrorist murderers receives Palestinian Women's Media Personality Award for 2014. The network's director, Abu Akar, explained that Seif was selected as the winner due to "her role in serving the prisoners' cause." Deputy PA Minister of Communications Mahmoud Khalifa attended the ceremony.

German Pledges to Return Nazi-Looted Art

Soeren Kern
April 7, 2014 

"Germany and Bavaria have not explained why they kept their discovery of Nazi-looted art secret for almost two years." — from a lawsuit filed in US District court, Washington DC.
Confusion reigns over who actually has the legal right to negotiate the return of these or any other items in Gurlitt's collection. While German authorities argue that they -- not Gurlitt -- are the ultimate arbiters of the artworks, Gurlitt argues the government had no right to seize the collection in the first place. He notes he has not been charged with a crime, and in any event, the statute of limitations for items looted by the Nazis expired in 1975.
Investigators searching for art looted by the Nazis have discovered a hoard of more than 200 artworks stashed away at a house in Austria belonging to Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of German looted-art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt.
The find, which was revealed on March 26, comes in addition to the sensational trove of nearly 1,400 works of art previously discovered at Gurlitt's apartment in Germany in 2012.

Report: Burgas bomber was Algerian

Bulgarian daily Presa reports that the man who blew up an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria in July 2012 was Algerian and trained in camps in South Lebanon • Bulgaria has said that Hezbollah was behind the attack, in which five Israelis were killed.

The scene of the July 2012 attack in Burgas
Photo credit: AP

Hezbollah behind March bombing of Israeli patrol

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says his group is still capable of fighting Israel, even as its fighters aid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime • Nasrallah: Assad is no longer in danger of falling.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Photo credit: Reuters

Why are we surprised?

David M. Weinberg

It is increasingly obvious that the two-state solution is close to obsolete, although it is still not politically correct to say so in polite diplomatic company. The two-state solution has little chance of coming into being, because the Palestinians do not want the constricted West Bank state that Israel can give them. And they are just not ready to close the book on all claims against Israel in exchange for a small West Bank and Gaza state.
And so, PA President Mahmoud Abbas seized the first opportunity he could find to flee the negotiating room while blaming Israel. After all, Abbas never really wanted to join these talks in the first place. He certainly did not want, and still is not ready, to make any concrete concessions to bring about an end to the conflict with Israel.
We need to remember that Abbas joined the talks only under extreme American pressure and only after Israel bought Abbas' participation by promising to release from jail Palestinian terrorists over a nine-month period.

Gee, a whole brigade? ‘Beefing up’ Europe

As I watch the posturing of the Obama administration on the Russia-Ukraine issue, I wonder what the picture is in other Americans’ heads of the state of our military forces in Europe.  Do people imagine the forces of yesteryear?  The tens of thousands of ground troops, the tank brigades, the many dozens of strike-fighter aircraft, the dominant sea services with aircraft carriers and lurking submarines, agile destroyers and enormous “gator-freighters” full of Marines?
Or do enough of us understand that there is hardly any of that old concentration of forces left in Europe?  I don’t know.  Nor do I know what audience Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel imagined he was addressing, when he told the media a couple of days ago that the U.S. might consider stationing an additional Army brigade in Europe as a way of “countering Russia.”
It couldn’t have been Russia he was making a point with.  Russia knows perfectly well that one brigade, with 4-5,000 soldiers in it, is hardly a deterrent, in a theater where Moscow has recently – on multiple occasions – mustered troop formations in the tens of thousands.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Palestinian blackmail

Prof. Efraim Inbar

The Palestinian Authority decided unilaterally to apply for membership to 15 U.N. agencies in order to demonstrate its uneasiness about the lack of progress with the American-sponsored peace negotiations and to buttress its claims to statehood. While this amounts also to a violation of its promise to refrain from going to the U.N. as long as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry continues his diplomatic efforts, the PA expressed its willingness to continue the negotiating process, but expects to get a better deal than the one Kerry worked on.
Several lessons should be drawn from recent events. Palestinian behavior is obviously an affront to the U.S. Even the weak PA, headed by a powerless and hardly legitimate leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has the temerity to challenge the U.S. As we know this type of behavior has happened elsewhere on the globe, and is an additional indication of the poor international standing of the U.S. under President Barack Obama.