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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Virtual tours of Israel - Tourism ministory courts evangelicals with Pope's visit (??!)

It states:
The ministry plans launch  (sic)  another mini-Web site devoted to Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit in May, targeted at an evangelical audience.
I don't know much about religion, but I don't think Evangelical Christians are big enthusiasts of the Pope. Yes I know there's a word missing in that sentence. Not my fault for a change
Apr. 4, 2009
Want to go on a virtual tour of Israel? The Tourism Ministry has revamped its tourism Web site (, and visitors to the site from around the world can now access a multimedia experience offering virtual tours with videos, photos, and panoramic views of Israel.
"We wanted to take advantage of the technology that now exists which allows us to show Israel easily to people all over the world," said Pini Shani, the ministry's director of overseas marketing.
The virtual tour content includes 100 videos, 130 panoramic views and numerous photographs. Popular sites one can "virtually visit" include the Western Wall, the Old City of Jerusalem, Caesarea, Mitzpe Ramon, Gamla, Ben-Gurion's hut, Hayarkon Park, Katzrin and Mount Hermon. The site offers detailed information on each place.
In addition, Shani says, the Tourism Ministry has created 10 virtual tour itineraries of 10 days each, in an effort to appeal to Israel's diverse demographic sectors.
The itineraries range from a Jewish or Christian focus to culture and history, nature, food and wine, family, archaeology and mobility-challenged tours.
"It was complicated choosing virtual content because of the variety in demographics we try to reach in our marketing," said Shani. "It's challenging to create a diversified Internet site in general good taste because there are contradictions in the messages we convey. Photos of wild parties in Tel Aviv are not meant for evangelicals or religious Jews."
The Web site is currently available in 11 languages, offering access to comprehensive information on accommodation, attractions, events and tour packages. According to the Tourism Ministry, the site is an important component of the ministry's international marketing campaign.
"The Tourism Ministry is currently expanding its marketing activities around the world, including via the Internet, in order to maintain the growth trend in incoming tourism to Israel as it was in 2008," said the ministry's director-general, Shaul Tzemach. "Increasing our marketing activities online affords marketing accessibility to many potential target markets, promotes incoming tourism and improves Israel's overall image."
The Tourism Ministry has also been incorporating mini-Web sites for specific demographics and target audiences.
For the past four years, it has operated one promoting the Dead Sea as a curative destination for skin diseases.
"This campaign has been quite successful," Shani said. "We used to market through doctors to patients, but now we cut out the middleman and get through directly to people."
The ministry plans launch another mini-Web site devoted to Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit in May, targeted at an evangelical audience.
A goal of the site, according to Shani, is for the images of Israel to connect visitors to the sites of specific companies where visitors can then purchase travel products and packages.
It has already been operating one such Web site in Europe, "with very good numbers, a good sign for future sites," said Shani.
In 2008, had 3.5 million visitors, a 100 percent increase from the 1.7 million visitors to the site in 2007.
"The Internet is skyrocketing in importance. It accounts for more than 10% of our budget, and will surely account for more in the future," said Shani.
Shani said that in another year, the Tourism Ministry will inaugurate a "totally new" Web site, with greater flexibility for visitors to post user-generated content and commentary. The sites in different languages will also operate with more flexibility to tailor their content to the audience that reads each language.

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Ultraorthodox Jewish Sex Deviants: On the trail of Reb Merv, the Perv

Regretably, this happens too. And it must be stopped.
N.Y. to battle sexual abuse among ultra-Orthodox Jews
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service
A team of New York prosecutors, counselors and religious leaders will work to combat sexual abuse in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
The centerpiece of the outreach program, which was announced Wednesday by
District Attorney Charles Hynes and leaders from community-based organizations that serve Jewish communities, is a hot line abuse victims can call and speak to a culturally sensitive social worker.
The establishment of the team, which will focus on child sex abuse, comes partly in response to a discussion on State Assemblyman Dov Hikind's radio show in the summer of 2008.
The show prompted dozens of listeners to come forward with stories of children being molested. Hikind has said that as many as four people a day over a three-month period last year approached him with accounts of secrets often kept for decades.
The program, called Kol Tzedek, which means voice of justice in Hebrew, will allow callers to remain anonymous until they feel they're ready to identify themselves and meet with a social worker and prosecutors who specialize in sex crimes.
"Some people will go to jail," Hynes said of suspected abusers. "Some people will get therapy. Some people will get a combination of jail and therapy."
"I think we're going to see real changes," the prosecutor added.
Speaking in general terms, Hynes said such victims are often abused by people they know from their communities including people with authority such as coaches and teachers.
Currently, the DA's office is prosecuting 19 suspected felony cases of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, said Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the district attorney's sex crimes bureau. It's also prosecuting six misdemeanor cases, she said.
All the cases' alleged victims are children or were children when the alleged abuse occurred, Jaus said.
"Over the years we've had a few indictments of sex abuse suspects from the Orthodox Jewish community," Jaus said. "The current 19 cases are an indication of how there's been a change in the community," she said.
Prosecutors have blamed stigma, shame and cultural isolation for victims'
reluctance to come forward with their claims.
The team will visit yeshivas and synagogues, where rabbis and other leaders will be asked to encourage victims to report abuse.
Studies have found Orthodox Jews account for as much as 10 percent of Jews nationwide, and a far greater share in parts of the New York metro area. Some 37 percent of the more than 516,000 Jews in Brooklyn are Orthodox, according to the UJA-Federation of New York, a Jewish social-service group.
Critics have said sex abuse claims are sometimes handled quietly in Orthodox rabbinical courts, rather than being reported to authorities.
However, some sexual abuse cases involving Orthodox Jewish schools have
spilled into the secular legal system in Brooklyn.
In one case, a rabbi was charged with sexually abusing boys at an Orthodox school. He admitted no sexual wrongdoing but pleaded guilty in April 2008 to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge, sentenced to three years of probation and dismissed from the school.
Last month, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted an ultra-Orthodox rabbi of molesting his now-adult daughter through much of her childhood. He claimed he was being falsely accused by a daughter who rebelled against a strict upbringing.
Perhaps the best known sexual abuse case involving the N.Y. ultra-Orthodox community was exposed last year when the U.S. Justice Department asked Israel to facilitate the extradition of Avrohom Mondrowitz, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man suspected of raping and sexually abusing dozens of boys.
Mondrowitz was investigated by the New York Police Department in the 1980s and was indicted for sex crimes against four boys in Brooklyn, N.Y., but fled to Israel before he could be arrested.
According to witness reports, 60-year-old Mondrowitz, a married father of seven, would pose as a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children that suffered sexual abuse.
One of Mondrowitz's victims, 40-year-old Chicago resident Mark Weiss, who, as a child, was sent by his parents to New York for therapy with Mondrowitz after he had dropped out of several educational frameworks, recounted his ordeal.
"[Mondrowitz's] family was at a cottage in the Catskills and I was sleeping at his house. at night he suddenly touched me. I was naive. I thought he was being nice, that he was trying to make me feel better," said Weiss. "It was all a big Fraud," he concluded.
Regarding the way the affair was handled by rabbis within the community, Weiss said: "[The rabbis] paralyzed an entire generation. When one of them destroys another person, they do nothing."
A similar sentiment was sounded by a social worker within the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, one of the few who treats ultra-Orthodox children and teens who are victims of sexual abuse, saying that "Most cases of abuse in our community are not referred for treatment at all."
"I don't know if there are more pedophiles among the ultra-Orthodox community than there are in any other community, but it's clear that assailants can cause more harm, because they can assault uninterrupted for years," she said. "This is because their victims don't report them. Usually if someone like this is caught, a teacher or a student, he is kicked out. They don't check further. Everyone worries about his children, and then almost certainly the abuser begins his assaults somewhere else."

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Report: Israel and Palestinians to renew peace talks soon

Last update - 09:19 04/04/2009       
Report: Israel, Palestinians to renew peace talks 'this month'
By Haaretz Service
London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Saturday that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will be renewed at the end of April, according to Israel Radio.
The report comes despite declarations by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday that Israel was changing its policies on the peace process and was not bound by commitments it made at a U.S.-sponsored conference to pursue creation of a Palestinian state.
Asharq al-Awsat also reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Egypt before the renewal of talks with the Palestinians.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hosem Zaki said he does not know about preparations for Netanyahu's visit.

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A tiny victory for Israel at the UN: Envoy gets post he deserves

The Arab attack on Israel at the UN is relentless. An appointment like the one below would be routine for just about any other country - even Sudan or Libya. Not Israel! So we have something tiny to celebrate. Israel has to be a member of the "Western European and others" group, because the Arabs will not even allow Israel to be a member of the Asia group. We do not exist.  From Israeli envoy gets UN post despite Arab opposition":

Israel's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Carmon, was elected chairman of the UN Commission on Population and Development Friday despite strong opposition from Arab states.
Carmon was elected by a total of 28 votes in favor and nine votes against. He was the candidate for the Western European and others group, of which Israel is an affiliate member.

Carmon told Haaretz on Friday that "Israel has proved once again to the international community that it has something to offer and contribute on social issues in which it specializes."
The committee, a part of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is composed of 47 member states and convenes once a year. The new role means Carmon will have influence on social issues discussed at the UN, such as family planning.
Arab envoys were made aware several days earlier of the European bloc's intention to put forward Carmon as their candidate, leading led to intensive efforts on their part to foil the bid.
The Arab envoys sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which they wrote of their objection to the representative of an "occupying state" being elected as the head of an important UN body.
Heads of UN committees are usually elected unanimously, although this time that was made impossible because of the Arab opposition.
The Syrian, Iranian, Lebanese and Qatari envoys delivered strongly-worded speeches against Carmon before the vote, leading Western diplomats to express their disappointment at the fact that a professional voting process had been turned into a political debate.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Guardian's Gaza war crimes goof

I thought there is little more to add on the Guardian videos accusing the IDF of war crimes during the Gaza operation, given what has already been written in ZioNation, in the Jerusalem Post by the indispensable Melanie Philips and more, and more. And more as these lines are been written, but apparently, there is more to add.

In the first video I was struck by the Guardian reporter's decision to go to the Israeli website 'Shavuz' for technical information about Israel's unmanned drones capabilities. Shavuz is Hebrew slang for 'worn-out' or over worked. The site serves primarily as a service for soldiers before enlisting and before rejoining civilian lives. It gives advices on jobs, and academic courses along with social interactions in forums, exchange of war stories, and other army life experiences. IT IS NOT a supplier of professional information on Israel's technological capabilities; there are plenty of other sites and publication for that, many of them in English. Using 'Shavuz' for information on technology is the equivalent of using the 'London Employment Help Center' for information on the electronics of the London Tube. It is simply ludicrous; unfortunately there is nothing here to laugh at.

This link from 'Shavuz' would have given the Guardian part of the answer to their repeated question as to why so many civilians were hurt. In it Israeli pilots recall how Hamas operatives were dressed as women so the Israeli forces won't fire on them. More: When ludicrousness stops being funny, the Guardian Gaza report

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Israel committed to two-state solution

It seems that I owe the BBC and my readers an apology (see BBC invents "Annapolis accords"). It was not the BBC who invented the "Annapolis accord" that were supposedly torn up by the "ultranationalist" Avigdor Lieberman, foreign minister of the "right-leaning" Israeli government. It is true though, that the BBC surely should have understood there is no such thing as any "Annapolis accord."
Lieberman did say: I voted against the road map in the government, but that is the only document that was ratified in the government and in the Security Council - I believe it is resolution 1505 -- that resolution is mandatory upon this government as well.
The Road Map and Resolution 1505 are both call for Palestinian statehood. 
Who invented the "Annapolis accord"? Find out here:  

Israel's Foreign Minister Lieberman: Israel Committed to two-state solution

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Israel Denial

Denying Israel's Deniers

April 2009

Daniel Johnson: One of the points, Howard, you make in your recent article in the Independent is that the memory of the Holocaust has now become something that the critics of Israel want to take away from the Jewish people - it's as though you've forfeited the right to have this sacred remembrance. Where is this coming from, this extraordinary hostility, this attempt to deprive the Jewish people of its unique suffering?

Howard Jacobson: I can tell you what it is, but I'm not sure I can tell you where it comes from, because it comes from many sources; from outside Jews, and also very crucially from within Judaism. Lots of Jews are up to this trick, or whatever we call it. I see it as a new and much more sinister kind of Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial we can deal with now. Most of the world knows about it. We recognise the look of the people who do it and we know the nonsense of it, we just leave them alone and let them get on with it. But this is much more sinister and much more appealing, this one goes: "It was a terrible thing that happened to the Jews. We all know what a terrible thing Auschwitz was. Look, we concede it, you poor Jews." It's necessary that they demonstrate their degree of empathy for us. But what follows the sympathy is an analysis - a psychoanalysis - that is far from sympathetic: "You were traumatised by the Holocaust into visiting a Holocaust of your own upon the Palestinians." It's like the abused child who grows up and abuses the next child. We are now described as abusing the Palestinians in exactly the same terms as the Germans abused us - "abused" for God's sake! And in this way, we are actually made to pay for the Holocaust itself. I talk about it as a kind of retrospective guilt for the Holocaust. It's almost as if we've turned time the wrong way round, that because of what we are now doing to the Palestinians, we lose the right to the dignity of the Holocaust, if you can call it dignity.

This is a very sinister move. It's at the heart of the Caryl Churchill play [Seven Jewish Children, performed at the Royal Court Theatre] and you get a lot of it at the universities, because it's appealing in its neatness, it's vaguely post-modern, you can mention Freud, you can chase around the names of several fashionable intellectuals. It is also very sinister, because it begs the question of what Israel is in fact doing or not doing to the Palestinians. Jewish trauma elides into Palestinian trauma, the cruelty Jews suffered into the cruelty Jews now dispense. It is not only that unequal things are equalised, but that the equalising settles the question of what is happening between the waring parties. Accept that the done-to have become the doers and the issue is settled: Israelis are the new Nazis, the Holocaust in Europe becomes a new Holocaust in the Middle East, Gaza is new a Warsaw Ghetto - never mind that one side of Gaza was open to the world and it could never have been a Warsaw Ghetto, never mind that the Ghetto was exterminated and there is no sign whatsoever of any Israeli intention or desire to exterminate.

A.B. Yehoshua: In the Warsaw Ghetto there were no rockets. When the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, spoke about Yassir Arafat as a Nazi, I was totally against it. I don't think that Arafat, the terrorists, Hamas and the jihadists are Nazis. This is a national fight for territory. If the Jews went to Australia, for example, to build a state, there would be no jihad, no Hamas, no land would be occupied. So you can never use those terms. So all the comparisons with the Holocaust from Israel's side, or from the anti-Israeli side, are totally false and unjust. People were saying in the intifada that we had been behaving like the Nazis, but I say that during the four years of the intifada there was a very sophisticated army, with sophisticated arms, with tanks, with aeroplanes etc, fighting against Palestinian militias with explosives. During the four years approximately 1,000 Jewish civilians were killed, compared to 4,000 Palestinians. The Nazis would kill 4,000 civilians in one hour. 

More - Denying Israel's Deniers

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Moderate Palestinian Authority Peace Partner: Death penalty for land sales to Jews

This real is the moderate Palestinian Authority of the moderate Mahmoud Abbas who is supported by all that US aid, right?
PA: Death penalty for those who sell land to Jews
Apr. 1, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Palestinian Authority has issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of "high treason" - a charge that carries the death penalty.
The latest warning was issued on Wednesday by the Chief [Islamic] Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who reminded the Palestinians of an existing fatwa [religious decree] than bans them from selling property to Jews.
Sheikh Tamimi's warning came in response to reports that Jewish businessmen from the US had purchased 20 dunams of land from Palestinians on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Warning the Palestinians against engaging in "suspicious real estate deeds," the religious leader said that according to Islamic teachings it was a "grave sin" to sell houses and lands to Jews.
He said that the ban also applies to real estate agents or middlemen who are involved in such transactions.
He warned that anyone who ignores the warning would be punished in accordance with Islamic teachings and would also be ostracized by his community and family.
Sheikh Tamimi also issued a ban on renting out property to Jewish individuals and organizations under the pretext that they would spread moral, political and security corruption there.
He said that the ban was necessary to counter the Israeli government's efforts to change the Arab and Islamic culture of Jerusalem by expelling its Arab residents and turning it into a Jewish city.
"The city of Jerusalem is the religious, political and spiritual capital of the Palestinians," he said. "The Jews have no rights in Jerusalem. This is an occupied city like the rest of the territories that were occupied in 1967."
Scores of Palestinians have been murdered over the past three decades for allegedly selling their property to Jews or for acting as intermediaries in real estate deeds involving Jews.
Several fatwas issued by PA Islamic clerics have ruled that any Palestinian who sells his property to Jews would face the death sentence.
Fatah legislator Hatem Abdel Kader, who also serves as PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad's adviser on Jerusalem affairs, told The Jerusalem Post that the new-old ban was needed to thwart attempts by the new right-wing government in Israel to take control over more lands in the Arab neighborhoods of the city.
He said that Jerusalem was facing a "fierce onslaught" by the Israeli government and Jewish settler groups. He said that Israel's ultimate goal was to change the demographic and topographic reality in Jerusalem, as well as its cultural and religious identity.
Israel, he added, is in a race against time to decrease the Arab population of the city while increasing its Jewish population.
"They want to reduce the percentage of the Arab population from 27% to 12%," he said.
He claimed that the Jerusalem Municipality and the Interior Ministry issued about 400 demolition orders for illegal houses in Arab neighborhoods of the city just last month.
Abdel Kader said that Israel's measures had kept approximately 90,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem on the West Bank side of the security fence.

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New York Times: Unfair to Israel

NY Times' trigger happy on Israel

Apr. 1, 2009

In February 2009, a few veterans of the recently concluded Operation Cast Lead met to discuss what some of them felt was immoral conduct by the IDF. The soldiers exchanged war stories, including two specific allegations about unarmed civilians being killed in Gaza. Details of the now notorious meeting emerged the following month, when a transcript of the conversation was leaked to Israeli newspapers.

On March 20, just one day after the story broke in Israel, The New York Times covered the allegations in a front page, above the fold story. A follow-up piece the next day repeated the allegations. And a day later yet another piece dealt with the issue.

Almost exactly one year earlier, in March 2008, American veterans of the most recent Iraq war got together near Washington to publicly recollect their battlefield experiences. They told stories of indiscriminate fire, the killing of innocent civilians and systematic cover-ups of wrongful deaths.

Although these veterans' charges were clearly more relevant to American readers of The New York Times - they were, after all, about American soldiers, American policies and alleged American atrocities - the newspaper didn't cover it on its front page, as it did with the Israeli allegations. It didn't cover the Americans' accounts in three consecutive articles. It fact, although other mainstream news organizations covered the story, the Times didn't report on it at all.

THE TIMES isn't known for being soft on Americans. But this baffling discrepancy between the newspaper's handling of stories about Israeli soldiers and American soldiers is no fluke.

For example, when a US sniper testified before a military court in February 2008 that "he had ordered a subordinate to kill an unarmed Iraqi man who wandered into their hiding position near Iskandariya, then planted an AK-47 rifle near the body to support his false report about the shooting," The New York Times buried the story on page 8.

When the newspaper learned in August 2008 that two American soldiers confessed, in a signed statement to army investigators, to executing handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners and dumping their bodies into a canal, the story ran on page 11. And when the soldiers were formally charged with murder a month later, it was noted on page 16.

Perhaps the most striking contrast is between the newspaper's treatment of the Gaza stories and its caution in dealing with allegations that American troops wrongfully killed civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha. While The New York Times put on its front page the news that, in Israel, "the military's chief advocate general ordered an investigation into" the alleged Gaza killings, it's early 2005 report that the US military was "investigating whether a Marine squad... near the Iraqi town of Haditha committed wrongdoing" amounted to three short paragraphs hidden at the end of a long article on page 12. In fact, it wasn't until more than 10 weeks after Time magazine first scandalized the country by suggesting there may have been a massacre in Haditha - and only after US officials said the military investigation was expected to find that the marines indeed "carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians" - that The New York Times found the incident worth publishing on its front page.

It gets worse. Even before The New York Times published its three pieces about allegations of Israeli misconduct, those charges had been substantially discredited. Israel's Channel 2 television station reported that the source of one of the allegations admitted his story was based only on rumors. Yet none of the three Times articles mentioned this key point. On the contrary, they wrongly described the allegations as "testimony," "revelations" and "eyewitness accounts."

This unfair overemphasis on allegations of Israeli misdeeds relative to similar, and sometimes more credible, stories about Americans is, simply put, discrimination against the Jewish state.

It took more than a week for the Times to finally reveal, in a fourth article, that the core of what it reported in the three earlier pieces was nothing more than hearsay, and that Israeli investigators believe the charges are almost certainly false. But the damage was already done. The trigger happy The New York Times splashed dubious rumors on its front page, and in doing so caused irreversible harm not only to Israel's reputation, but also to the truth. (The newspaper's "retraction" - which was not described as a retraction - was published on page four.)

In prominently highlighting the false accusations, the newspaper seemed to be implying that IDF troops, in their fight against Hamas's guerrilla fighters, exhibited bad judgment and were too quick to kill Palestinians. But what the stories actually showed was that, when it comes to bad news from Israel, it is The New York Times that's guilty of bad judgment and being quick on the trigger.

The writer is a senior research analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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Corrected translation of Israeli FM's remarks regarding Annapolis Accords.

A great deal of vitriol and rhetoric has flowed in part because of a mistranslation of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's speech. It is alleged for example, that Lieberman said that Israel is not committed to a two state solution, wherease the opposite is true.He noted Israel's commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1505 and to the Roadmap.  Lieberman did not say anywhere that Israel was not committed to the  "Annapolis accord" because there is no such accord.
What he said (Hebrew follows English)
There is one document that is binding on us, and it is not a matter of the Annapolis conference - that has no validity. When we reviewed the basic guidelines [of the government], we said that we honor all the agreements and the commitments of the previous governments, because in Israel there is continuity of sovereignty. I voted against the road map in the government, but that is the only document that was ratified in the government and in the security council - I believe it is resolution 1505 - that resolution is mandatory upon this government as well. The government of Israel never ratified Annapolis. Therefore, whoever wants to amuse themselves, can continue to amuse themselves. I saw all the generous offers of Ehud Olmert, and I did not see any result.   

יש מסמך אחד שמחייב אותנו, ולא מדובר בוועידת אנאפוליס – אין לזה שום תוקף. כשעברנו על קווי היסוד, אמרנו שאנחנו מכבדים את כל ההסכמים ואת כל ההתחייבויות של הממשלות הקודמות, משום שבמדינת ישראל יש רציפות שלטונית. אני הצבעתי נגד מפת הדרכים בממשלה, אבל זה המסמך היחידי שאושר בממשלה ובמועצת הביטחון, דומני החלטה 1505 – זו החלטה מחייבת, גם את הממשלה הזאת. ממשלת ישראל מעולם לא אישרה את אנאפוליס, לכן מי שרוצה להשתעשע, שימשיך להשתעשע. ראיתי את כל ההצעות הנדיבות של אהוד אולמרט, ולא ראיתי שום תוצאה. 

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Lieberman's full remarks in Hebrew

[These are the exact words of the Lieberman speech which were mistranslated in the English translation.
Regarding Annapolis, he said
"There is one document that is mandatory for us, and it is not a matter of the Annapolis conference"
The translation stated "Annapolis accords." There were no such accords.
Lieberman also said,
"The Israel government never ratified Annapolis"  - without specifying further.
The speech has a specific commitment both to the roadmap and to UN Security council resolution 1505 - a Palestinian state.]
 דברי שר החוץ הנכנס אביגדור ליברמן בטקס חילופי שרים

1 אפריל 2009
אנחנו נכבד את כל ההסכמים ואת כל ההתחייבויות של הממשלות הקודמות, משום שבמדינת ישראל יש רציפות שלטונית, ונפעל לפי מפת הדרכים במלואו, כולל מסמכי זיני וטנט.

  שר החוץ אביגדור ליברמן (

צהריים טובים, כבוד שרת החוץ היוצאת, כבוד סגן השר היוצא, סגן השר הנכנס, עובדי המשרד, אורחים נכבדים, המנכ"ל.
כשלמדנו, במסגרת לימודי היחסים הבינלאומיים, מהי מערכת בינלאומית, למדנו שיש מדינה ויש ארגונים בינלאומיים וכל מיני חברות כלכליות חובקות-עולם. מאז השתנו פני הדברים, ובמערכת המודרנית ישנן, לצערי, מדינות שהן סמי-מדינות. קשה לקרוא למדינה כמו סומליה "מדינה" במלוא מובן המילה, וכך גם לגבי אוטונומיות למיניהן, במזרח אירופה, בבלקנים וגם פה אצלנו. קשה אפילו לקרוא למדינה כמו עיראק "מדינה" במלוא המובן. וגרוע מכך, יש היום שחקנים בין לאומיים שהם לא רציונליים, כמו ארגון אל קעידה. וגם ניתן בהחלט לשאול אם המנהיג של מדינה חזקה וחשובה כמו איראן הוא שחקן רציונלי. על פי תפיסת עולמי, עלינו להסביר לעולם שסדר העדיפויות של הקהילה הבין לאומית חייב להשתנות, ושכל ההגדרות הקודמות – ברית ורשה, ברית נאט"ו, מדינות סוציאליסטיות, קפיטליסטיות – השתנו. יש סדר עולמי שמדינות העולם החופשי מנסות לשמר, ויש כוחות או מדינות או גורמים קיצוניים שמנסים להפר אותו.
הטענה כי מה שמאיים היום על העולם הוא הסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני היא בגדר בריחה מן המציאות. המציאות היא הבעיות שנובעות מכיוון פקיסטן, אפגניסטן, איראן ועיראק.
מה שחשוב זה לשמור על היציבות העולמית והאזורית. מצרים היא בהחלט מדינה חשובה בעולם הערבי, גורם מייצב של כל המערכת האזורית ואולי גם מעבר לזה, ואני בהחלט רואה בה פרטנר חשוב. אשמח לבקר במצרים ולארח כאן מנהיגים מצריים, לרבות שר החוץ המצרי – הכול על בסיס של כבוד הדדי. 

אנו נוהגים בזילות בהרבה מושגים, ובייחוד במילה "שלום". אמירת המילה "שלום" עשרות פעמים ביום לא תקרב את השלום. שתי הממשלות הקודמות, ממשלת שרון וממשלת אולמרט, עשו צעדים מרחיקי לכת – ההתנתקות ואנאפוליס. 'ישראל ביתנו' לא הייתה אז חלק בקואליציה, אביגדור ליברמן לא היה שר החוץ, וגם לו רצינו, לא יכולנו למנוע את השלום. כל ההצעות מרחיקות הלכת לא הביאו את השלום – להפך. בשנים האחרונות המדינה עברה את  מלחמת לבנון השנייה ואת מבצע עופרת יצוקה. דווקא כשעשינו את כל הוויתורים, ראינו את ועידת דרבן, שתי מדינות ערביות, מאוריטניה וקטאר, ניתקו קשר וקראו לשגרירים בחזרה. קטאר הפכה למדינה קיצונית.
וגם בדעת הקהל אנחנו ממשיכים להפסיד מדי יום. כל הוויתורים והדיבורים על שלום רק יזמינו לחצים נוספים ומלחמות נוספות. ישנה מימרה בלטינית: Si vis pacem, para bellum – "החפץ בשלום, ייכון למלחמה". אנחנו בהחלט חפצי שלום, אבל גם על הצד השני מוטלת אחריות. אין מדינה בעולם שוויתרה כמו מדינת ישראל. מאז 77' ויתרנו על שטח גדול פי שלושה מגודלה של מדינת ישראל. תהליך אוסלו התחיל ב-93', מאז כבר עברו 16 שנים, ולא ראיתי שאנחנו מקרבים את הסדר הקבע.
יש מסמך אחד שמחייב אותנו, ולא מדובר בוועידת אנאפוליס – אין לזה שום תוקף. כשעברנו על קווי היסוד, אמרנו שאנחנו מכבדים את כל ההסכמים ואת כל ההתחייבויות של הממשלות הקודמות, משום שבמדינת ישראל יש רציפות שלטונית. אני הצבעתי נגד מפת הדרכים בממשלה, אבל זה המסמך היחידי שאושר בממשלה ובמועצת הביטחון, דומני החלטה 1505 – זו החלטה מחייבת, גם את הממשלה הזאת. ממשלת ישראל מעולם לא אישרה את אנאפוליס, לכן מי שרוצה להשתעשע, שימשיך להשתעשע. ראיתי את כל ההצעות הנדיבות של אהוד אולמרט, ולא ראיתי שום תוצאה.
לכן אנחנו נלך בדיוק לפי אותו מסמך, מפת הדרכים, כולל מסמך טנט, כולל מסמך זיני. לעולם לא אסכים שנוותר על כל 48 הסעיפים ונגיע ישר לסעיף האחרון – משא ומתן על הסדר קבע. הוותרנות לא מביאה שום תועלת, אנחנו נעמוד על קוצו של יו"ד – פירוק ארגוני טרור, הקמת ממשל יעיל, קבלת שינוי חוקתי עמוק בתוך הרשות הפלסטינית. וגם אנחנו מתחייבים לעמוד בסעיפי המסמך במלואו, כולל מסמכי זיני וטנט – אני לא בטוח שברשות הפלסטינית, או אפילו אצלנו, באותם חוגים שכל כך דוגלים בשלום, מודעים לקיום מסמכי טנט וזיני.
מתי הייתה מדינת ישראל הכי חזקה בעולם מבחינת דעת הקהל? אחרי הניצחון במלחמת ששת הימים, לא אחרי כל הוויתורים בהסכמי אוסלו א', ב', ג' ו-ד'. מי שרוצה לשמור על מעמדנו בדעת הקהל, חייב להבין שמי שרוצה שיכבדו אותו – חייב קודם כל לכבד את עצמו. אני חושב שזו תהיה, לפחות מבחינתנו, המדיניות.
אני משתדל כמה שיותר לפעול בצורה מסודרת ועם שקיפות מקסימלית. בתחילת דרכי במשרד החוץ, אני רואה צורך בהגדרת יעדים באופן ברור. כמו שיש יעד האינפלציה, שממשלה מאשרת וקובעת כל שנה, גם במדיניות חוץ חייבים להיות יעדים ברורים ומדידים. המשימה הראשונה תהיה ליצור את אותו מסמך - 'יעדי מדיניות החוץ הישראלית', ומדי שבוע, מדי חודש, נבדוק איך אנחנו מתקדמים.
אני בטוח שאנחנו נעבוד פה בשיתוף פעולה. אני מראש אומר לכם שנעבוד קשה, ובדרך כלל כשעובדים קשה – גם נהנים. אני מודה לכם מראש ואני רוצה לאחל לכולם, וגם לשרת החוץ היוצאת, חג פסח כשר ושמח ותודה ולהתראות.

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Israel: Moderate Palestinian axe murderer kills ultranationalist right-leaning israeli settler

[For syndication in Guardian, Independent, Reuters] A moderate Palestinian in the moderate Palestinian Authority of moderate Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has moderately killed a 13 year old right-leaning ultranationalist hawkish settlerd, and moderately wounded a second ultranationalist expansionist hawkish settler, aged 7. 
The ultranationalist righ-wing police of the right-wing militaristic Netanyahu Tel Aviv government are investigating the incident. 
Commented Ahmad Idbach al Yahood, an activist in the moderate drivemintothesea organization, "We have struck a blow for freedom against the extremists." 
HRW is investigating reports that the the killing may not have been justified according to the Geneva Conventions, as the young male settlers were not carrying weapons. 

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Lieberman: Israel ready for mutual peace moves

Last update - 12:15 02/04/2009    
 Lieberman to Haaretz: Israel ready for mutual peace moves
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
"You won't get any 'Israbluff' with me. Israel undertook obligations regarding the road map and it will honor them, but there must be reciprocity," Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview with Haaretz just hours after being sworn in as foreign minister. He criticized the previous government for failing to meet its commitments. "How many outposts did Olmert, Barak and Livni evacuate? How many roadblocks did they remove?"
At the handover ceremony at the Foreign Ministry Thursday afternoon, Lieberman sounded an aggressive foreign policy stance, emphasizing that the new government is not bound by the Annapolis process, under which former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni conducted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the core issues of a final-status arrangement.
"Whoever thinks that he will achieve something by way of concessions - no, he will only invite more pressure and more wars," Lieberman said. "If you want peace, prepare for war.
The ceremony was attended by dozens of diplomats, many of whom registered discernible shock at the messages of the new minister that they will soon have to sell abroad. Livni violated protocol by speaking up and contradicting her successor, saying that actually Israel was indeed committed to the Annapolis process. After Lieberman ended his remarks, Livni told him: "You've convinced me that I was right not to join the government."
A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council commented Thursday on Lieberman's remarks. "The president has said many times that we are committed to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security," Mike Hammer said.
'There must be reciprocity'
Speaking to Haaretz Thursday, Lieberman tried to tone down his rhetoric slightly. "I am committed to the road map of 2003 as approved by the Israeli cabinet," he said, referring to the outline for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace proposed by then-president Bush. "I voted against it, but it is a cabinet resolution and I am bound by it."
He added that the new U.S. administration itself no longer talks about the Annapolis process. "I propose following the road map, phase by phase," he said. "I recently went quite far with my remarks, even saying that I was willing to leave my home at the Nokdim settlement if there was a cabinet resolution on the issue, but we can't give all this up for nothing, and there must be reciprocity."
Lieberman stressed that he would endeavor to meet all Israeli obligations regarding the road map. "Unlike others, we will carry out everything that is in writing, and there will be no contradiction between what we say and what we mean, but we will stick to the phased nature of the road map. We will conduct talks with the PA, but we want to make sure their 'checks' don't bounce. The Palestinians must first of all confront terror, take control of Gaza and demilitarize Hamas. Without these, it will be difficult to move forward."
Regarding Syria, Lieberman said: "There is no cabinet resolution regarding negotiations with Syria, and we have already said that we will not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights. Peace will only be in exchange for peace."
Lieberman received his first invitation to an official visit abroad Thursday, in a congratulatory phone call from his Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini. He also spoke with the European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and with Spain's foreign minister, Miguel Moratinos.
In his Foreign Ministry speech Thursday Lieberman referred to relations with Egypt, in light of his harsh criticism of President Hosni Mubarak a few months ago. In a conciliatory gesture he said, "Egypt is an important element in the Arab world and in the world in general. I would certainly be happy to visit Egypt, but I'll also be happy to see Egypt's leaders visit here. I respect others and want them to respect us; I support the principle of reciprocity."
In a message aimed at Israel's diplomatic corps and Foreign Ministry employees, Lieberman said the ministry's new director-general will be appointed from among the ranks of the corps, rather than from outside. He also emphasized that meetings in his office will be held between the hours of 7:30 A.M. and 10 P.M. only.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Lieberman early Thursday, according to Lieberman spokeswoman Irena Etinger.
"The conversation was conducted in a good atmosphere, and the two agreed to meet as soon as possible," Etinger said. She would not say what issues were discussed.

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Gates: Israel will not attack Iran this year, maybe

Last update - 08:39 02/04/2009       
'Israel unlikely to attack Iran this year'
By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Financial Times on Wednesday that Israel is unlikely to launch military operations against Iranian nuclear installations this year in a bid to derail the Islamic regime's drive to attain atomic weapons.
"I guess I would say I would be surprised if they did act this year," Gates told the Financial Times.
Upon taking office this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a strategic threat to Israel, and that neutralizing that threat is a top priority of his new administration.
In the interview with the Financial Times, Gates said he believed that Iran would not cross the nuclear threshold, or "red line", this year. He estimated that it would take Tehran between one to three years to reach the point it possessed enough know-how to produce nuclear weapons...
And blablahblah after that... .

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Palestinian Axe Murder of 13 year old in Gush Etzion Area

I wonder if they Palestinians are observing the Geneva conventions. I am not sure that a 13 year old kid and a 7 year old kid could be considered combatants. Will they have heartrending discussions about this?
Last update - 13:20 02/04/2009    
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

A 13-year-old boy was killed and a 7-year-old was seriously hurt Thursday in a terror attack at the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin. The two were set upon by an axe-wielding man who is thought to have fled the area following the attack.
Channel 2 television reported that the terrorist was a local Palestinian employee. Security forces are said to be combing the area in search of the assailant.
The teen sustained critical head wounds and later died of his injuries, Magen David Adom rescue personnel said. The 7-year-old was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem for treatment.
An official told Channel 2 that an armed resident in the settlement opened fire in the direction of the terrorist as he fled, though it is unclear if the terrorist was wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Immediately after the attack, a passerby confronted the terrorist and wrestled the axe from him. The terrorist subsequently broke free from the passerby's grasp and fled the scene, Channel 2 said.
"He tried to stab me. I kicked him, he kicked me," the settler, who gave his name only as Avinoam, told Channel 10.
Bat Ayin officials said residents in the settlement have been instructed to remain in their homes. Security forces in the vicinity have also been advised to remain on high alert.
Bat Ayin, situated in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem near the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Hebron, is not ringed by a security fence, residents told Channel 2. This is apparently for ideological reasons.
This was the first attack in the Etzion Bloc since January 2008, when two students were wounded after two terrorists armed with knives broke into their yeshiva.
Two people were injured in a stabbing incident at Gush Etzion Junction in 2006.
Three people were killed in a shooting attack in 2005 when terrorists shot at youths from a passing vehicle

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alpher: Lieberman's territorial swap proposal is not racist and is not transfer

When Avigdor Lieberman Takes Your Idea
The Strategic Interest
By Yossi Alpher
Published March 25, 2009, issue of April 03, 2009.
I'm no fan of Avigdor Lieberman. I find his gutter rhetoric and talk of loyalty oaths repugnant. Still, I confess that there is one aspect of the criticism of Lieberman from which I dissent: his proposal to adjust the 1967 Green Line border within the framework of a two-state solution so that certain Israeli Arab villages and towns become part of a future Palestinian state. After all, I first proposed the idea.
I did so back in 1994, in a study published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies on borders and settlements in final-status negotiations. The compromise two-state solution map I drew then (which does not deal with Jerusalem) attaches the major West Bank settlement blocs that are near the Green Line to Israel. That concept has been the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations ever since, just as it dictates the current route of the West Bank security fence.
Moving the Green Line to encompass the settlement blocs raises the question of compensating the Palestinians territorially. Even in 1994, before final-status talks had begun, it was clear that the Palestine Liberation Organization would not budge from its narrative that sanctifies the pre-1967 borders as the basis for any agreement. Thus, if we want an agreement, any West Bank land annexed by Israel would have to be balanced by appropriate compensation, probably in the form of land from within pre-1967 Israel. I suggested Israeli lands in the Wadi Ara and Triangle regions, all adjacent to the Green Line and populated overwhelmingly by Arab citizens of Israel, as one of several swap options.
My reasoning predated Lieberman's: Israeli Arabs increasingly reject Israel's identity as a Jewish state and insist on a Palestinian national identity; Israel has a right and an obligation to protect its Jewish identity at the demographic level (as Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola argued on these pages last week). Interestingly, the Israeli areas in question were only attached to Israel toward the conclusion of armistice talks with Jordan in 1948 and 1949. At the time, Israel threatened to renew the fighting unless Jordan ceded the lands, with their Arab population, because they sat on high ground that guarded the coastal strip and linked it with the Galilee. Back in 1948, geography was the dominant strategic consideration. Today it is increasingly demography: Israel would have no problem defending itself against a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank, no matter where the border is fixed.
Border alterations that change the nationality of a slice of territory and its population were done all the time in Europe after its wars: Alsace-Lorraine and Transylvania come to mind. This is not the justifiably maligned "transfer" concept, in which a population is uprooted and forced to migrate (also a postwar European solution, e.g., the Germans expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia). This is attaching ethnic Palestinians, with their land and homes, to the Palestinian state.
There is, however, one likely problem, as I quickly realized after proposing the idea and as Lieberman — a West Bank settler who, to his credit, supports a two-state solution — prefers to ignore. While a sizable minority of Israel's Arab citizens supports the idea of becoming Palestinian citizens, the majority opposes it vehemently. Some sincerely prefer Israeli democracy and the Israeli standard of living to taking their chances in a sovereign Palestinian state. Others perhaps insist on remaining Israelis living in Israel in the hope that, over the long term, they will contribute to the demographic overwhelming of Jews by Arabs. Whatever their reasons, they would undoubtedly appeal a decision to move the border and "Palestinize" them to Israel's High Court of Justice.
And the High Court, in this age of collective and individual human rights, would almost certainly rule that no citizen of Israel can be deprived of his or her citizenship by an arbitrary act of state. This is entirely fitting. This is what makes Israel an enlightened country. (Lieberman, by the way, would prefer to neutralize precisely these review powers of the High Court; this is perhaps his most dangerous design.)
Still, there are ways in which a two-state solution can be used to alleviate the Arab demographic threat to Israel without violating fundamental human rights. Certainly Israeli Arabs can be given the option of adopting Palestinian citizenship and renouncing Israeli citizenship even if they choose to live out their days in Israel. As DellaPergola pointed out, the 250,000 Arabs of East Jerusalem, who in any case are not for the most part Israeli citizens, would be removed from the demographic balance by a mere restoration of the 1967 border. And the Green Line border can be moved in the Wadi Ara and Triangle areas, while allowing area residents to keep their citizenship, conceivably with provisions that those who do not exercise their right to move back into Israel but insist on retaining Israeli citizenship cannot pass it on to children born in Palestine.
These are promising ideas. Let's not let Lieberman give them a bad name.
Yossi Alpher is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. He currently co-edits the family of Internet publications.

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Statement by incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman at the ministerial inauguration ceremony

Statement by incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman at the ministerial inauguration ceremony

We will honor all the agreements and all the undertakings of previous governments and act exactly according to the Road Map.

Good afternoon, honorable outgoing Foreign Minister, honorable outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister, incoming Deputy Foreign Minister, Director-General Ministry employees, honored guests,

When my fellow students and I studied international relations, and learned what an international system is, we learned that there is a State and there are international organizations and all kinds of global economic corporations. Things have changed since then and, unfortunately, in the modern system, there are countries that are semi-states. It is hard to call a country like Somalia a state in the full sense of the word and the same holds true for the various autonomies in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans and here as well. It is even hard to call a country like Iraq a state in the full sense of the word. And even worse, there are now international players that are irrational, like the Al Qaeda organization. And we can certainly also ask if the leader of a strong and important country like Iran is a rational player.

In my view, we must explain to the world that the priorities of the international community must change, and that all the previous benchmarks - the Warsaw Pact, the NATO Alliance, socialist countries, capitalist countries - have changed. There is a world order that the countries of the free world are trying to preserve, and there are forces, or countries or extremist entities that are trying to violate it.

The claim that what is threatening the world today is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a way of evading reality. The reality is that the problems coming from the direction of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

What is important is to maintain global and regional stability. Egypt is definitely an important country in the Arab world, a stabilizing factor in the regional system and perhaps even beyond that, and I certainly view it as an important partner. I would be happy to visit Egypt and to host Egyptian leaders here, including the Egyptian Foreign Minister - all based on mutual respect.

I think that we have been disparaging many concepts, and we have shown the greatest distain of all for the word "peace." The fact that we say the word "peace" twenty times a day will not bring peace any closer. There have been two governments here that took far-reaching measures: the Sharon government and the Olmert government. They took dramatic steps and made far-reaching proposals. We have seen the disengagement and witnessed the Annapolis accord. I read in the newspaper about the dramatic proposals made by the Prime Minister to the other side, which I do not think have ever been made, outside of Barak's visit to Camp David.

Yisrael Beiteinu was not then part of the coalition, Avigdor Liberman was not the foreign minister and we even if we wanted to, we would have been unable to prevent the arrival of peace. But I do not see that it brought peace. To the contrary. We have seen that during this period, after all the gestures that we made, after all the dramatic steps we took and all the far reaching proposals we presented, in the past few years this country has gone through wars - the Second War in Lebanon and Operation Cast Lead - and not because we choose to. I have not seen peace here. It is precisely when we made all the concessions that I saw the Durban Conference, I saw two countries in the Arab world suddenly sever relations, recalling their ambassadors - Mauritania and Qatar. Qatar suddenly became extremist.

We are also losing ground every day in public opinion. Does anyone think that concessions, and constantly saying "I am prepared to concede," and using the word "peace" will lead to anything? No, that will just invite pressure, and more and more wars. "Si vis pacem, para bellum" - if you want peace, prepare for war, be strong. 

We definitely want peace, but the other side also bears responsibility. We have proven this more than any other country in the world. No country has made concessions the way that Israel has. Since 1977, we have given up areas of land three times the size of the State of Israel. So we have proven the point.

The Oslo process began in 1993. Sixteen years have passed since then and I do not see that we are any closer to a permanent settlement. There is one document that binds us and it is not the Annapolis Conference. That has no validity. When we drafted the basic government policy guidelines, we certainly stated that we would honor all the agreements and all the undertakings of previous governments. The continuity of government is respected in Israel. In the cabinet I voted against the Road Map, but that was the only document approved by the cabinet and by the Security Council - I believe as Resolution 1505. It is a binding resolution and it binds this government as well.

The Israeli government never ratified the Annapolis accord. Neither the cabinet nor the Knesset ever ratified it, so anyone who wants to amuse himself can continue to do so. I have seen all the proposals made so generously by Ehud Olmert, but I have not seen any result.

So we will therefore act exactly according to that document, the Road Map, including the Tenet document and the Zinni document. I will never agree to our waiving all the clauses - I believe there are 48 of them - and going directly to the last clause, negotiations on a permanent settlement. No. These concessions do not achieve anything. We will adhere to it to the letter, exactly as written. Clauses one, two, three, four - dismantling terrorist organizations, establishing an effective government, making a profound constitutional change in the Palestinian Authority. We will proceed exactly according to the clauses. We are also obligated to implement what is required of us in each clause, but so is the other side. They must implement the document in full, including - as I said - the Zinni document and the Tenet document. I am not so sure that the Palestinian Authority or even we - in those circles that espouse peace so much, are aware of the existence of the Tenet and Zinni documents.

When was Israel at its strongest in terms of public opinion around the world? After the victory of the Six Day War, not after all the concessions in Oslo Accords I, II, III and IV. Anyone who wants to maintain his status in public opinion must understand that if he wants respect, he must first respect himself. I think that, at least from our standpoint, that will be our policy.

Continued (Permanent Link)

BBC Invents "Annapolis Deal" and "Annapolis Accords"

According to the BBC and Reuters, the "ultranationalist"  Foreign Minister of the "right-leaning"(not to mention Zionist warmonger chauvinist) Israel government has torn up an agreement, just like you know who used to do in the 1930s.  "Israel FM rejects Annapolis deal" headlined the BBC. Reuters claimed that the  "ultranationalist"  Foreign Minister of the "right-leaning" forein Minister said that "ultranationalist" "right-leaning" Israel  would not be bound by "US-backed understandings."
But there was never any Annapolis deal, there was never an Annapolis Accord, and there were never any "US-backed understandings." BBC and Reuters invented it all. There were never any agreements, because the Palestinians refused to sign any agreements. More about that here: BBC Invents "Annapolis Accords" 

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Zionist world domination: Israel to dominate the advanced water technology sector


"A pernicious conspiracy of the Israel lobby against American Interests"- Charles Freeman

"Hardline Jews dealing with hard water" - Robert Dreyfuss, the Nation.

"Israel Apartheid at work again" -- Jimmy Carter.

"Talmud Tricks of International Finance Jewry" -- Khalid Amayreh.

"Better to die of thirst than to drink Zionist water" -- Ismail Hannyiyeh.

"Everyone knows the Jews poison the wells" - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Israel to export $2.5B in water technologies by 2011

Israel is set to dominate the advanced water technology sector by 2011, according to a national group that's predicting $2.5 billion in exports of water technologies that year.

Israel's Novel Efficient Water Technologies, abbreviated as Israel NEWTech, is a national program promoting the Israeli water technology sector as part of the National Water Technology Program at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.

Israel NEWTech Director Oded Distel attributed the growth to the economic crisis. Israel is continuing to invest in advanced water technologies, while other countries are cutting back, he said.

Additionally, water shortages in Australia, the U.S. and elsewhere are creating greater demand for technologies that optimize water use, he said. 

Israel NEWTech is supporting water projects that treat wastewater and sewage for re-use, as well as advanced desalination, water security, and water management programs.

It's estimated that Israel's water industry was valued at $1.4 billion in 2008.

Israel has long sought solutions to its water shortages exacerbated by recent low rainfall and negotiations with Palestine and Syria. The country has two desalination plants operating in central and southern Israel that jointly produce 130 million cubic meters of water a year. A third desal plant with the capacity to produce 100 million cubic-meters of water is scheduled to be commissioned in the city of Hadera later this year.

More desal plants are on the horizon. In January, Israel issued a tender for its largest-ever seawater desalination plant capable of producing 150 million cubic meters (39.6 billion U.S. gallons) of water a year (see Israel plans largest desal plant in $513M deal). Israeli national water company Mekorot has plans to build a 100 million cubic meter desal plant in the southern
town of Ashdod. Mekorot supplies 80 percent of Israel's drinking water and 70 percent of its entire water supply (see
Israel's Mekorot to develop water infrastructure in India).

Continued (Permanent Link)

Is the sky falling on U.S. Israel relations?

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis
DEBKAfile's Washington sources report that the Obama administration is on the threshold of a major rapprochement with Tehran, a reversal of US policy dramatic enough to block out international sanctions. Iran will be allowed to keep its nuclear program, including military elements and enriched uranium stocks, up to the point of actually assembling a weapon.
Washington will continue the Bush practice of publishing "reports" that Iran is still years away from a weaponizing capability. Tehran will hold the upper hand by retaining the option to go forward and build a bomb within one month of a decision to do so and mount warheads on ballistic missiles already standing ready, as revealed last Sunday, March 25, by Israel's military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin.
Netanyahu is whistling in the dark when he pretends to see no American squeeze on the horizon of his government-in-waiting. One of the hardest long-term tasks ahead of him will be to rebuild Israel's position as America's needed and respected strategic ally, in the face of Barack Obama's ardent courtship of Iran and the Muslim world.
The US president is willing to ditch Israel as a friend. This will be brought home to Jerusalem when he makes his big speech on April 7 appealing for a grand US-Muslim global reconciliation. The US president is preparing to tie a Palestinian-Israeli settlement - on Washington's terms - to such unrelated issues as Afghanistan and Pakistan as the currency for purchasing Muslim and Arab backing for accommodations of these outstanding terrorist fronts.
Different forms of coercion, including the discrediting of the Netanyahu government if it fails to toe the Obama line, will follow. The incoming prime minister's pretense that "all is well" between him and the US administration is pie in the sky, instead of the resolute, firm hand which Israel needs at the helm these days to recoup command over its basic policies and the international community's faded respect.
That's pretty strong stuff. But it's flavored with so much partisan politics (read the whole thing) that it's a bit short of credibility, as is Debkafiles in general.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

United States to rejoin U.N. Human Rights Council

Is this good or bad for Israel? Could the HRC be any worse than it is?
UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- The Obama administration decided Tuesday to seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, reversing a decision by the Bush administration to shun the United Nations' premier rights body to protest the influence of repressive states.
"Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. "With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system. . . . We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies."
The United States announced it would participate in elections in May for one of three seats on the 47-member council, joining a slate that includes Belgium and Norway.
New Zealand, which had also been on the ballot, supports the U.S. decision and withdrew its name to make room for the United States, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced. "Frankly, by any objective measure, membership of the Council by the U.S. is more likely to create positive changes more quickly than we could have hoped to achieve them," he said.
The decision was welcomed by U.N. officials and rights advocates, who had been briefed on the decision. Human rights activists have been advocating U.S. membership in the council since its creation in March 2006.

"This is a welcome step that gives the United States and other defenders of human rights a fighting chance to make the institution more effective," said a human rights advocate familiar with the decision. "I think everybody is just desperate to have the United States and Barack Obama run for the human rights council, and countries are willing to bend over backward to make that happen."
The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was established in March 2006 to replace the 60-year-old Human Rights Commission, which lost international credibility after countries with abysmal rights records, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, were allowed to join and thwart criticism of their actions.
Reached Tuesday, Bolton denounced the Obama administration's decision. "This is like getting on board the Titanic after it's hit the iceberg," he said. "This is the theology of engagement at work. There is no concrete American interest served by this, and it legitimizes something that doesn't deserve legitimacy."

Continued (Permanent Link)

Muslim education on Al-Jazeera.

Does this require comment? It was shown in a TV show on Al-Jazeera. The speaker is a Saudi Cleric.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: How old are you, Omar?
Omar: Eight years old.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: Do you like the Jews?
Omar: No.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: You hate them. Why do you hate them? What did the Jews do?
Omar: They wanted to kill the Prophet Muhammad.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: Well done. They wanted to kill the Prophet Muhammad. And what are they doing to our Muslim brothers now? They are killing them. When you curse them, what do you say? "Oh God…"?
Omar: Oh God, destroy the Jews.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: Well done. "And support…"?
Omar: The Muslims.
Khaled Al-Khlewi: The Muslims. Well done, my dear. Do you want to come with me to Saudi Arabia? I have a son like you, called Abdallah. You can play with him. Will you come with me? Will you give me this nice jacket you are wearing? Let me give you some water… May Allah protect you. I will give you this book and some water. Goodbye, my dear.


Continued (Permanent Link)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Soldiers tell Real Dirt about Israeli War Crimes

Calling themselves "Soldiers Speak Out," the group provides video testimony at ( highlighting their personal accounts of the IDF's moral code.

Continued (Permanent Link)

How the Palestinian Authority peace partner supports peace and dialogue

When I saw the original article, about the orchestra of Palestinian refugee youth who played for Holocaust survivors, it frankly gave me great joy and I wrote about it here: Israeli-Palestinian peace: Youth show the way. The idea was wonderful, and the fact that Palestinian youth are interested in peace is of supreme importance.  It is true that the Palestinian kids had never heard of the Holocaust, but the positive thing was that they wanted to learn and to help bring peace. But now anyone who had hopes or delusions about dialogue and peace with the U.S. supported Palestinian Authority  had better think twice and look closely. What sort of evil and blind racist cynical fanaticism does it take to wreck a wonderful project like this?

PA dismantles W. Bank youth orchestra

Mar. 29, 2009
khaled abu toameh and AP , THE JERUSALEM POST

Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.

Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a "political issue" and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.

He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.

On Saturday, The Jerusalem Post found that leaders and representatives of the Jenin refugee camp condemned the participation of Palestinian teenagers from the camp in a concert honoring Holocaust survivors in Holon last week.

The 13 Palestinian musicians, aged 11 to 18, are members of the Palestinian orchestra Strings of Freedom that is based in the refugee camp.

The concert was held at the Holocaust Survivors' Center as part of "Good Deeds Day," an annual event organized by an organization belonging to Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.

The event drew strong condemnations from refugee camp leaders and political activists, who accused the organizers of exploiting the children for "political purposes."

Adnan al-Hinda, director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp, said that the participation of the children in the concert was a "dangerous matter" because it was directed against the cultural and national identity of the Palestinians.

He accused "suspicious elements" of being behind the Holon event, saying they were seeking to "impact the national culture of the young generation and cast doubt about the heroism and resistance of the residents of the camp during the Israeli invasion in April 2002."

Hindi claimed that the organizers "misled" the children by promising to take them on a free trip to Israel and teach them music.

Ramzi Fayad, a spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp, also condemned the participation of the teenagers in the Holocaust event, saying all the groups were strongly opposed to any form of normalization with Israel.

"There can be no normalization while Israel is continuing to perpetrate massacres against our people," he said.

Leaflets distributed in the Jenin area over the weekend also attacked the event and accused the organizers of exploiting the children. The leaflets also warned the Palestinians against participating in similar events in the future.

Sources in the camp said that the political factions in Jenin have also decided to ban an Israeli Arab woman who helped organize the event from entering the city.

Fatah activists in the city also filed a complaint with the Palestinian Police against the woman under the pretext that she had misled the children by taking them to the Holocaust event. The activists also sealed an apartment that had been rented out to the woman in the refugee camp.

The youths said their conductor, Wafa Younis, 50, of the Arab village of Ara in the Triangle, tried to explain to them who the elderly people at the event were, but chaos on the bus prevented them from listening.

Some 30 elderly survivors gathered in the center's hall as teenage boys and girls filed in 30 minutes late - delayed at an IDF checkpoint outside their town, they later explained.

The encounter began with an Arabic song, "We sing for peace," and was followed by two musical pieces with violins and Arabic drums, as well as an impromptu song in Hebrew by two in the audience.

The encounter was not devoid of politics. Younis dedicated a song to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

AP contributed to this report


Continued (Permanent Link)

Israel war crimes in Gaza - Canard

The "war crimes" described in a postwar discussion at the Oranim military preparation school by Israeli soldiers never happened. The soldiers were quoting rumors and hearsay. An IDF investigation has managed to disprove every one of the claims. The same result could have been achieved if journalists like Amos Harel and Boaz Shelah, who marketed these rumors irresponsibly in canard after canard, and op-ed after op-ed defending the canards, had followed elementary rules of professional jounalism and checked the leads that were based on hearsay.
Now it is too late, as the entire world is convinced that Israel committed these nonexistent "war crimes."
The awkward officialese of the announcement below cannot compete with the polished sensationalism of Amos Harel. The truth is not always well written.
Ami Isseroff

Military Police investigation on Rabin Center statements: Based on hearsay

(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)

The Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, decided to close the Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Police case of the statements made by soldiers at the Rabin Military Preparation Center about Operation Cast Lead.  This decision was made after the Military Police investigation found that the crucial components of their descriptions were based on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowledge.  In particular, this includes the two alleged stories that raised suspicion of acts in which uninvolved non-combatants were fired upon.

Additionally, it was found that once the claims were checked, they were not supported by the facts as determined by the investigation.

The investigation was initiated by the Military Advocate General after reviewing claims made during a conference at the Rabin Military Preparation Center in which soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead were present. The Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Police was ordered to investigate the claims made, with an emphasis on the alleged firing at uninvolved non-combatants.

The investigation concluded from the soldiers who participated in the conference that the stories told were purposely exaggerated and made extreme, in order to make a point with the participants of the conference.

For example, the story in which a soldier was claimed to have been given orders to fire at an elderly woman was clarified during the investigation.  In fact, the soldier witnessed no such thing, and was only repeating a rumor he had heard. In an unrelated investigation, it was found that in a similar incident, a woman, suspected as being a suicide bomber, approached an IDF force, which opened fired towards her after repeatedly trying to stop her from advancing.

This same soldier admitted that he had not witnessed the additional disrespectful and immoral incidents he had described during the conference.

A claim made by a different soldier who had supposedly been ordered to open fire at a woman and two children was also clarified as an incident that he had not witnessed. After checking the claim, it was found that during this incident a force had opened fire in a different direction, towards two suspicious men who were unrelated to the civilians in question.

During the Military Police investigation, two additional claims arose regarding improper conduct. These claims were separate from those made at the Rabin Military Preparation Center. It was found that these incidents do not raise suspicion of unjustified opening of fire.  This finding is based on a debriefing which had occurred close to the time of one of the incidents and upon further investigation conducted by the Military Police.

It must be stated that during these investigations, the participants at the Rabin Center said that they had based their claims relating to the use of phosphorous munitions on what they had heard in the media and not on their personal knowledge.

The Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, concluded the findings of the Military Police investigation:
"It is unfortunate that none of the speakers at the conference was careful to be accurate in the depiction of his claims, and even more so that they chose to present various incidents of a severe nature, despite not personally witnessing and knowing much about them. It seems that it will be difficult to evaluate the damage done to the image and morals of the IDF and its soldiers, who had participated in Operation Cast Lead, in Israel and the world."

The IDF Spokesperson Unit wishes to stress that the Military Advocate General's conclusions refer solely to the investigations that focused on the transcripts of the Rabin Military Preparation Center conference, in addition to the two separate aforementioned claims. This investigation is additional and not a substitute for the investigations conducted on all levels of the IDF, following Operation Cast Lead.  

Continued (Permanent Link)

Obama's Iranian initiative

This article by Amir Taheri seems to be, unfortunately, all too close to the truth.
Friday 27 March 2009
By Amir Taheri

Last Friday, US President Barack Hussein Obama broadcast a videotaped message on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, triggering a new debate about the future of Irano-American relations.
Sending a Nowruz message to Iranians was nothing new for an American president. The first such message was sent by Chester Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, in 1883, a tradition followed by his 22 successors.
However, Obama's message had two new features.
First, it was addressed to both the "people and leadership" in Iran. The intention was to show that Obama acknowledges the legitimacy of the current system and rejects all ideas of supporting Iranian patriotism against Khomeinism.
The second novelty was Obama's tone of supplication.
As Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami put it: the man is practically begging the Islamic Republic to take notice of him!
Obama's message represents a return to President Jimmy Carter's Iran policy. Carter, too, was prepared to flatter, cajole, and beg to win a smile from the mullahs.
Some analysts see Obama's message as an indication of Vice President Joseph Biden's influence in shaping the administration's Iran policy. A supporter of dialogue with Tehran for years, Biden seems to have sidelined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has always espoused a tougher policy toward the mullahs.
But what are we to make of Tehran's response?
Some analysts claim that the Islamic Republic has already rejected Obama's overture – end of story. Others, anxious to promote Obama as a political wizard, insist that he has already scored a hit by forcing Tehran to acknowledge that the ball is now in its court.
A closer look at Tehran's reaction may reveal a more complicated pirouette.
To start with, it is important that Tehran has publicly responded to the message at the highest levels, including the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In previous years, the regime either ignored the American president's Nowruz message or commented on it through the state-owned media. This time, however, the "leadership", directly addressed by Obama, has come out with a direct response.
The carefully prepared Khomeinist response uses a number of rhetorical techniques the mullahs have developed over centuries.
The first is "badal-zani" or inversion.
This means using an adversary's arguments against him. In his message, Obama had invited the mullahs to change their behaviour on certain issues. In his response, Khamenei says: if you change, we will also change!
The second technique is "doon-pashi" or "spreading grains to attract the birds". The idea is to tantalize the birds with the promise of more feed while leading them into a cage. Khamenei did that by mentioning a number of issues of interest to Obama, a signal that he might be ready to discuss them as the first step toward a broader dialogue.
The third technique is "lapushooni" which could be translated as "hiding the essential while highlighting the irrelevant." Khamenei used this technique by talking of "insults" and ignoring his regime's stated aim of driving the Americans out of the Middle East as a prelude to global conquest in the name of the Khomeinist version of Islam.
It is clear that Khamenei wishes to encourage Obama's illusions that dialogue could produce positive results.
One might ask why was it that the "Supreme Guide" rejected similar offers from both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush?
The Clinton offer of a "Grand Bargain" under which the US would recognize the Islamic Republic as the regional superpower was made in 2000, and rejected for two reasons.
The first was that the Clinton administration was in its lame-duck stage, and the "Supreme Guide" was not sure it could deliver on its promises.
The second reason was that, Tehran had scored major diplomatic successes in Europe, no longer felt isolated, and enjoyed relative economic health thanks to steady oil prices.
In 2006, it was the turn of the Bush administration to have the door shut in its face by Tehran.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's invitation to dialogue was rejected because Tehran felt that the US had "lost in Iraq" and would soon retreat from the Middle East in humiliation.
More importantly, perhaps, Khamenei distrusted and feared Bush. The mullahs believed that Bush, in his heart, was committed to regime change in Iran.
Thus prospects for a "dialogue" with the United States appear better under the Obama administration than under Clinton's or Bush's.
One reason is the presence of Joe Biden, regarded by Tehran as "a valued friend". However, the main reason is Tehran's perception of Obama as an inexperienced and naive politician who could be taken for a ride without much risk, a reincarnation of the hapless Carter.
Tehran knows that Obama desperately wants to be different from Bush and would be prepared to go far to de-Bushisize American policy.
The idea is to use Obama's naiveté to buy the Islamic Republic another four years of insurance against its adversaries.
Khamenei's "yes-but" answer gives Obama something to chew upon for a few months. Obama will then be invited to wait for Iran's presidential election and the formation of a new administration in Tehran. Khamenei may even ask Ahmadinejad not to stand again, citing "health problems".
That would enable Khamenei to engineer a victory for Mir-Hussein Mussavi Khamenehi, a fellow Azerbaijani from the same village.
Mussavi-Khamenehi has a long history of contacts with the US and is already praised in Washington as a promising "new-old face".
Obama-idolators would hail Mussavi-Khamenehi's victory in the June presidential election as a great success for their "wizard". Ahmadinejad, the genuine anti-American and Holocaust-denier, will be gone, replaced by a politician with secret contacts with Washington since 1985, (the trouble with Ahmadinejad is that he really means what he says).
These developments would fill what is left of Obama's term. During that period, Tehran will have its bomb, will spread its influence in Iraq and Afghanistan, will strengthen its hold on Lebanon and Syria, and will go onto the offensive in the Gulf and Pakistan.
And then either Obama wins a second term and continues his confused policies or there will be a new US president, who will also see himself as the great genius who could do what all his predecessors failed to do: tame the Khomeinist beast with sweet words.
Amir Taheri's new book "The Persian Night: Iran Under The Khomeinist Revolution" is published by Encounter Books, New York and London.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Shutting up the truth about Israel

This account relates what happens when an Israeli tries to tell our side of the story. It is hardly an isolated instance. It has been the experience of numerous pro-Israel speakers, even members of the "peace camp" who were shouted down by pro-Hamas hooligans. Those who insist that the "Israel Lobby" shuts up protest against the "crimes of the Zionists" should take note.
Attacking Sderot in America
Jacob Shrybman Published:  03.30.09, 11:37 / Israel Opinion 

Recently I shared the human side of the conflict in southern Israel and told my personal stories from Sderot in a presentation at DePaul University in Chicago sponsored by StandWithUs, Hillel, and the university's Political Science department. As a representative of Sderot Media Center, I traveled from Israel to explain the daily reality of rocket fire that has been plaguing the country for the past eight years.

Several anti-Israel posters draped the entrance to the building in which I was to tell my personal stories. I began my presentation with a small audience of around 20 people and as my presentation went on the room began filling with people not merely against Israel's political policies and action, but also in clear support of terrorist group Hamas.
When I welcomed the custom of a question and answer period following my presentation, the very right of free speech that I welcomed to the audience of now over 100 people was thrown in my face and denied to me. First, an audience member verbally attacked me, expressed his support for the firing of rockets into Israel, and ended his anti-Semitic rhetoric filled rant with a question irrelevant to anything in my presentation. I then pointed out to the audience the same fact I want to point out in this article, that this person was not simply criticizing Israel but was clearly expressing his support for a terrorist organization.
Free speech denied

Yet before I could finish answering the question, I was interrupted and silenced by the overwhelming Hamas supporters. Next, another audience member stood up and screamed out, calling me a "dirty whore" in Arabic and proceeding to grab his crotch and scream "Here's your Qassam!" in Arabic.

My free speech was denied, I was not able to utter a word, and the event was terminated. As I was collecting my belongings amidst the continuing anti-Semitic harassment, a small group of audience members interested in my presentation approached me and expressed their resentment over the interruption and their fear to speak out. The local police teamed with university security then had to escort me to my car several blocks down the street.
As I was there to tell the human side of Sderot's daily reality of rockets, these Hamas supporters laughed at raw footage of kindergarten children running for shelter as a Qassam was fired at their city. If it wasn't clear before, it was clear to me then that these people were not there to learn about this reality or gain understanding of the trauma and suffering in southern Israel, or even object to my personal stories. These people were there for one reason: It was an event about the Jewish State of Israel to whose existence they blatantly object. How was I even to proceed with promoting human understanding if the unruly crowd didn't even recognize my basic right as a Jew to live in Israel?
This past week I have answered email after email, phone call after phone call from everyone ranging from people at the event, to event organizers, to journalists, to heads of major organizations. It is saddening that not one of the emails or phone calls was about the fact that more than three out of four children in Sderot have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or that now one million Israelis live under the daily threat of rockets. No one remembers the story I told of the baby in the stroller gasping while pointing to the sky as the Color Red alarm sounded in downtown Sderot. The message I brought from Israel was lost.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Israel: The peace process will go on; Czech warnings

President Shimon Peres assured public radio that as far as Israel is concerned the peace process will go on. An AFP story states:
"The new government is bound by the decisions of the preceding one," Peres told public radio. "There will be a continuity and the continuation of peace negotiations."

Israeli prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is to present his government to parliament this week, although an exact date has not yet been named.

Netanyahu's premiership has sparked concern, as the hawk opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and has picked as his foreign minister firebrand Avigdor Lieberman, whom critics brand a "racist" for his diatribes against Israeli Arabs.

Outgoing premier Ehud Olmert echoed the sentiment, saying at the start of his final weekly cabinet meeting that "there is no doubt that the new government will do all it can to reach Israel's political dream of living in peace and security."

Peres -- Israels veteran statesman and Nobel peace laureate -- spoke on the eve of his visit to the Czech Republic, which as current president of the European Union warned last week Israel of "consequences" if its new cabinet did not accept the principle of a two-state solution.

In the face of concern by the EU and much of the Arab world about prospects for peace with Netanyahu at the helm, Peres plans to kick off a media campaign after the new government is confirmed, the Haaretz daily reported.

To that end, he was to travel to the Czech Republic on Monday for a one-day visit, his spokeswoman told AFP.

"The government that will be formed will respect the engagements undertaken by the preceding cabinet," Peres said in Sunday's comments, adding that this also applied to ongoing talks over a prisoner swap with Hamas.

The Czech Republic on Friday warned of "consequences" if the government of Netanyahu did not accept the principle of a two-state solution of the Middle East conflict.

"Relations would become very difficult indeed," said Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

"At one of our next ministerial meetings we would have to discuss what consequences the EU would draw from that," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with his European Union counterparts at Hluboka castle in the southern Czech Republic.

Did any ministerial meetings discuss the consequences that would ensue from a Palestinian government dominated by Hamas? Did they ever discuss the inflexible nature of Palestinian demands for right of return and oblitaration of Israeli rights in West Jersualem? The Czechs, of all people, should understand the immorality of pressing one side in negotiations  for "flexibility" at any cost.

Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

New York Times begins to retract Israel war crimes accusations

The New York Times has published a minor retraction of its florid Israel war crimes accusations regarding the Gaza war. Given lower billing than the original sensational revelations, and published on a Saturday, this "well what do ya know" article is not going to attract much interest. Maybe that is just as well, because it shows a dead cow, cynically juxtaposed with a quote from an Isralei soldier:: "Destruction near Gaza City in mid-January. "I'm not saying that nothing bad happened," said one Israeli colonel who described efforts to avoid harming civilians "
You can read it here.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Lex Lothar at the Berkeley Daily Planet

Berkeley is the home of the University of California, the spawning grounds of the Free Speech Movement and the People's Park riots, and the site of some of the most left-wing politics within any American city (hence the nickname "Bezerkley"). While we previously wrote about anti-Israel activism on the UC campus and its insinuation even into Berkeley Hillel itself, there's another Berkeley institution that helps bring anti-Israel hate speech into print just about every week. The Berkeley Daily Planet (the "DP") doesn't employ Clark Kent, the mild-mannered alter ego of Superman; it is, however, owned and edited by one Becky O'Malley. And Ms. O'Malley has decided that of all the issues Berkeley residents care about, whether local, national or international, the one that deserves a wholly disproportionate amount of space (in particular in the letters to the editor) guessed it: Israel.

Continued (Permanent Link)

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