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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fatah Precondition for Peace Talks: Israel must Cede West Jerusalem

According to Jerusalem Post, the moderate Fatah congress under the leadership of the ever moderate and peace loving Mahmoud Abbas has decreed that there will be no peace talks until and unless Israel cedes all of West Jerusalem and evacuates it, as well as East Jerusalem. Given the willingness of the United States to accomodate previous Fatah demands, there is no a priori reason to believe they will not support this one. The report states:

The sixth Fatah General Assembly decreed on Saturday that the return of both east and west Jerusalem to Palestinian control was a "red line" which was nonnegotiable, and would need to be fulfilled before any peace talks with Israel could renew, Israel Radio reported.

According to the report, a document adopted by the Fatah delegates of the assembly declared that Palestinians would "continue to be sacrificed until residents of Jerusalem are free of settlements and settlers." The document went on to state that all of Jerusalem, including the surrounding villages, belonged to the Palestinians, and lands conquered following the Six-Day war shared the same status as those located within the green line.

That is a condition for talks, not a condition for a final settlement. The news was reported by Israel radio and has not been denied by Palestinians. It is not a canard or a satire. The demand is in full accord with United States' diplomatic positions, which do not recognize any part of Jerusalem as being under Israeli sovereignty. It would require evacuation of the entire Israel government complex, the Hebrew University in West Jerusalem, even the Egged Bus station. Until Israel accedes to these demands, it is likely to find itself branded an "obstacle to peace" by major media outlets and EU and US diplomats.

Since the American government is paying for every aspect of the government of the "moderate" Fatah, some of our readers may want to write to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and your elected representatives and bring this Fatah decree to their attention.

In the past, so-called "pro-Israel" groups like J-Street and Brit Tsedek veShalom have supported efforts to stop Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. Since the Jewish settleements in West Jerusualem are equally "illegal," presumably such groups may support the latest Palestinian demand as well. There is no reason to leave the newer West Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew University if the older East Jerusalem one is decreed to be an "illegal settlement."

Ami Isseroff

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Arab response to Obama peace initiative?

The Egyptian government supported newspaper Al Gomhouriya has shown the response of one of the closest United States Arab allies to the Obama peace initiative, calling on the Palestinians to adhere to "resistance" (terrorism).
Egyptian Government Daily 'Al-Gumhouriyya': The Palestinian People, All of It, Should Adhere to the Path of Resistance

In response to statements byPalestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the sixth Fatah conference regarding the Palestinians' right to resistance, [1] the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya published a short editorial supporting his position and calling on the Palestinians to persist in resistance in order to obtain their rights.

The following is a translation of the editorial: [2]

"PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas provoked the wrath of the radical racists who rule Israel when he mentioned, at the Fatah conference, that the Palestinians have a right to resistance [muqawama] if the peace process has failed to restore their historic rights, and especially [their right] to their stolen land, to an independent state and to the return of the refugees.

"The angry racists in Israel have deluded themselves [into thinking] that the Palestinian people have laid down their arms, to which they clung so steadfastly throughout their exhausting and noble struggle, and have capitulated to the illusion of the peace process and the [empty] talk of the negotiation tables. The Palestinian people has gained nothing [from the peace process] except strife among comrades-in-arms, which are [now] divided into [two camps] - the fighters and the negotiators; while the Israelis have gained time to carry out their plans to Judaize Jerusalem and settle the West Bank, and to prepare for throwing those whom they call 'Israeli Arabs' over the Green Line.

"The Palestinian people, all of it, has no choice but to cling to the path of resistance, like all the oppressed people who seized their freedom and rights through force and steadfastness, struggle and unity..."

[1] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 538, "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," August 6, 2009,

[2] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), August 7, 2009.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

A miltary option in Iran?

Of course there is a military option in Iran, as there is always a military option. The questions are, who is willing to pay the price, and what is the alternative? It is quite true that raising the possibility of miltary action makes it clear to Iran that the USA means business about stopping Iranian weapons programs. It can also scare everyone half to death.

AUGUST 6, 2009, 11:35 P.M. ET
There Is a Military Option on Iran
U.S. Air Force and Naval forces could do serious damage to Tehran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails.
In a policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Iran, "We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage." But the Iranian government has yet to accept President Obama's outstretched hand. Even if Tehran suddenly acceded to talks, U.S. policy makers must prepare for the eventuality that diplomacy fails. While there has been much discussion of economic sanctions, we cannot neglect the military's role in a Plan B.
There has been a lack of serious public discussion of the military tools available to us. Any mention of them is either met with accusations of warmongering or hushed with concerns over sharing sensitive information. It is important to discuss, within legal limits, such a serious issue as openly as possible. Discussion strengthens our democracy and dispels misinformation.
The military can play an important role in solving this complex problem without firing a single shot. Publicly signaling serious preparation for a military strike might obviate the need for one if deployments force Tehran to recognize the costs of its nuclear defiance. Mr. Obama might consider, for example, the deployment of additional carrier battle groups and minesweepers to the waters off Iran, and the conduct of military exercises with allies.
If such pressure fails to impress Iranian leadership, the U.S. Navy could move to blockade Iranian ports. A blockade—which is an act of war—would effectively cut off Iran's gasoline imports, which constitute about one-third of its consumption. Especially in the aftermath of post-election protests, the Iranian leadership must worry about the economic dislocations and political impact of such action.
Should these measures not compel Tehran to reverse course on its nuclear program, and only after all other diplomatic avenues and economic pressures have been exhausted, the U.S. military is capable of launching a devastating attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities.
Many policy makers and journalists dismiss the military option on the basis of a false sense of futility. They assume that the U.S. military is already overstretched, that we lack adequate intelligence about the location of covert nuclear sites, and that known sites are too heavily fortified.
Such assumptions are false.
An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would mostly involve air assets, primarily Air Force and Navy, that are not strained by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, the presence of U.S. forces in countries that border Iran offers distinct advantages. Special Forces and intelligence personnel already in the region can easily move to protect key assets or perform clandestine operations. It would be prudent to emplace additional missile-defense capabilities in the region, upgrade both regional facilities and allied militaries, and expand strategic partnerships with countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia to pressure Iran from all directions.
Conflict may reveal previously undetected Iranian facilities as Iranian forces move to protect them. Moreover, nuclear sites buried underground may survive sustained bombing, but their entrances and exits will not.
Of course, there are huge risks to military action: U.S. and allied casualties; rallying Iranians around an unstable and oppressive regime; Iranian reprisals be they direct or by proxy against us and our allies; and Iranian-instigated unrest in the Persian Gulf states, first and foremost in Iraq.
Furthermore, while a successful bombing campaign would set back Iranian nuclear development, Iran would undoubtedly retain its nuclear knowhow. An attack would also necessitate years of continued vigilance, both to retain the ability to strike previously undiscovered sites and to ensure that Iran does not revive its nuclear program.
But the risks of military action must be weighed against those of doing nothing. If the Iranian regime continues to advance its nuclear program despite the best efforts of Mr. Obama and other world leaders, we risk Iranian domination of the oil-rich Persian Gulf, threats to U.S.-allied Arab regimes, the emboldening of radicals in the region, the creation of an existential threat to Israel, the destabilization of Iraq, the shutdown of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, and a regional nuclear-arms race.
A peaceful resolution of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions would certainly be the best possible outcome. But should diplomacy and economic pressure fail, a U.S. military strike against Iran is a technically feasible and credible option.
Gen. Wald (U.S. Air Force four-star, retired) was the air commander for the initial stages of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and deputy commander of the U.S. European Command. He was also a participant in the Bipartisan Policy Center's project on U.S. policy toward Iran, "Meeting the Challenge."

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Israel to chair European R&D program Eureka

Eureka! Israel to head the world's largest R&D initiative

Aug. 6, 2009
Karin Kloosterman , THE JERUSALEM POST

As evidence of the country's leading role in research and development, it has been chosen to head the largest R&D network in the world, the 'Eureka initiative,' a pan-European, inter-governmental initiative that sees investments of 1.5 billion euros every year

Israel belongs to the Asian continent, but when it comes to research and development, the United States and Europe seem closer to home. And like most countries operating in today's global village, it relies on cooperation with industrial partners from the European Union and the US to propel its high-tech and biotech products into the world market.

As evidence of its leading role in research and development, Israel has been chosen to head the largest R&D network in the world, the "Eureka initiative," a pan-European, inter-governmental initiative that supports European innovation and sees investments of 1.5 billion euros every year.

Since joining the program in 2000, Israel, the only non-European member country, has been among the most active of the 40 members.

In 1985, Eureka was set up as a legal framework within which European companies could collaborate and receive government funding. Thanks to a political push from France and Germany, Israel was granted permission to join Eureka as a full member.

"It's a very unique occasion," Israel Shamay, Israel's national project coordinator for Eureka, from the Israeli Industry Center for R&D (MATIMOP), says. However, Shamay believes that the vote that led to an Israeli representative being chosen to chair the network was an obvious choice, after Israel proved itself among the member countries.

"In the last three years, Israel became one of the five most active members in Eureka and had the same number of projects compared to [EU] countries, which are much bigger. Out of nearly 300 new projects initiated by Eureka, in 2008, we had 40 with Israeli companies participating in them."

Some of the more successful pairings since Israel joined Eureka are between the Israeli agricultural company Veterix, and DeLaval, a Swedish milk industry giant. Veterix developed a capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow to monitor the health of the animal from within, and worked with the Swedish firm to co-develop the idea.

"THIS IS an example that reflects the merits of Eureka," says Shamay. "The partner is a prospective business partner. In this case the Swedish government shared the risk."

Elbit Systems, the Israeli Defense Industries high-tech firm, had several projects in Eureka. One was to take cameras intended for military purposes and develop them for the auto industry. If the windshield fogs up or if there is poor visibility, the camera can still see the road. It's good for truckers, says Shamay.

A third success story is the partnership between Starhome, a Comverse subsidiary in Israel, and Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent to develop a smart home system.

Eureka is the largest joint project R&D initiative in the world. Main objectives are to foster R&D joint ventures between corporations, with financial support matched by representative countries.

Germany is now entering the chair position, with Israel to follow. The project maintains a troika system, with three representatives holding chair positions simultaneously - the past, present and future chairs. The name of the Israeli chairperson has not yet been announced.

SHAMAY IS hoping that Israel's upcoming leading role in Eureka will impact positively on the country's industrial development. "Over this period of one year, Israel will determine the agenda of Eureka and can prioritize along with our national interests," he says, pointing out that Israel could initiate new funding schemes for startups and companies, bring more EU investment banks and investors to Israel and expose EU countries to Israel's binational projects like the Red-Dead canal, proposed between Israel and Jordan.

Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper said in an interview with Israel's financial newspaper Globes: "During its year as president of Eureka, Israel will be able to set its agenda, which will enable us to promote important initiatives with European support, such as strengthening R&D in low technology industries or in other priority fields, such as the life sciences, water technologies and the environment."

Operating like the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (the BIRD Foundation), Eureka has a legal entity - the foundation. The task of the foundation is to select projects that will be eligible for a virtual fund.

"It's not like a common pot of money and then the commission selects projects for funding," says Shamay. This is how Eureka is different from BIRD and other joint R&D funds: "Eureka funding comes from different national programs.

"In our case [funding comes from] the Chief Scientist's Office. Eureka provides a platform to initiate this cooperation and provides a legal framework," explains Shamay. "It's important to note it's a national task, so we are involving the President of Israel (Shimon Peres), Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science and the Israel Venture Association. We invite all of them to take part in this opportunity," he adds.

Israel has other successful partnerships underway in EU R&D programs, in the EU Seventh Framework Programme for R&D, and in Galileo, a global satellite navigation program.

The original version of this article first appeared in Israel21c.

This article can also be read at

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Good news about Iran?

Iran will require a least four more years to produce weapons grade uranium, according to experts. That is good news, as it gives everyone in the Middle East time to do essential things like write their wills - we have at least four more years to live, all other things being equal. Of course, experts have been wrong before. It is important to realize that the reality, whatever it is, did not change, only the pronouncements of experts. In 2001, the experts would have assured us that Iran had no uranium enrichment program at all, and the experts would have been wrong.
These experts are the same sort of people who could not see the Islamic revolution coming in Iran. They are the same experts who did not predict 9-11, and who insisted that there were WMD in Iraq. Quite a good record! So we had better believe them, right?
Another cause for confidence is that the report was prepared by Dennis C. Blair. Blair is the fellow who tried to appoint Arab lobbyist Charles Freeman to an important intelligence post. Freeman is the guy who said that the Tibet protests against Chinese occupation were race riots, and approved of the Tienanmen massacre, which he claimed was too tardy. So we know that Blair has excellent judgement.
Ami Isseroff
Iran Years From Fuel For Bomb, Report Says
U.S. Analysts Also Discount Strength Of Russian Military
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 7, 2009
Despite Iran's progress since 2007 toward producing enriched uranium, the State Department's intelligence analysts continue to think that Tehran will not be able to produce weapons-grade material before 2013, according to a newly disclosed congressional document.
The updated assessment, by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, emphasizes that the analysis is based on Iran's technical capability and is not a judgment about "when Iran might make any political decision" to produce highly enriched uranium.
The intelligence community agrees that a political decision has not yet been made. According to the assessment, State Department analysts think such a decision is unlikely to be made "for at least as long as international scrutiny and pressure persist."
The views on Iran's nuclear program are contained among answers in a document supplied by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence after a hearing in February. Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act request and published it Thursday on his Web site.
Among items included in the document is an analysis of Russia's military status. Blair concluded the Russian military "is a shadow of its Soviet predecessor." Its conventional forces are "not a direct military threat to central or western Europe," and its ability to project large forces abroad "is very limited."
In fact, according to the intelligence analysis, Moscow appears to be emphasizing the creation of a "smaller, more professional, mobile, survivable, highly technical military," one more adapted to deal with countries on its borders, except for China. The analysis describes recent Russian naval activities in the Mediterranean, the Indian and Pacific oceans, and the North Atlantic as "show the flag" exercises.
As a sign of the limitations, Moscow has "consistently" kept its defense spending to less than 3 percent of its gross national product in recent years. U.S. defense spending this year is around 4.7 percent of its gross domestic product.
The collapse of world oil prices, along with the worldwide economic slowdown, has helped curb Russia's defense spending. The intelligence report says that the country faces its first recession in years and that its companies are about $450 billion in debt to Western financial institutions.
Closer to home, Blair said that the intelligence community continues to look for al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States and that the FBI is particularly interested in people with contacts with "militants in Pakistan's FATA," the area near the Afghanistan border.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Secret of Zionist conspiratorial success revealed: The Other Israel

Don't reveal this pernicious Zionist plot to anyone.  
'War-torn' land is in fact economic, scientific, cultural powerhouse
Yoram Ettinger
Published:  08.07.09, 00:15 / Israel Opinion
1. Bankruptcy rate in Israel is one of the lowest in the world (19% increase during the first half of 2009), compared with the US - 45% increase, Spain - 58%, Spain - 75% and Switzerland - 15% (Yedioth Ahronoth, July 27, 2009).
2. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has rebounded to its September 10, 2008 (meltdown) level, scoring a 50% surge (Yedioth Ahronoth, July 27).
3. Sequoia Capital and Tanya Capital led a $15.5MN round of private placement by Israel's Kontera (Globes, July 24). Intel Capital, Cisco, Greylock Ventures and Menlo Ventures participated in a $13MN round by Israel's AeroScout (Globes, June 29). The Boston-based media giant, Medtronics, invested over $10MN in the Israeli VC fund, TriVentures (Globes, June 23). Motorola Ventures, Stata Venture Partners, Argonaut and Walden participated in a $10MN 4th round by Israel's Amimon (Globes, July 15). Arts Alliance Digital Ventures invested $9MN in Israel' YCD Multimedia (Globes, June 23). Innogest, Italy's largest venture capital fund, invested $8MN in the Israeli-Italian company, beeTV (Globes, June 4). The Boston-based Globespan Capital and Spark Capital invested $7.5MN in Israel's 5min, their 3rd investment in Israel (Globes, July 24).
4. Intel Vice President for Technology and Manufacturing Group and General Manager of Intel Israel (6 plants, 6,500 employees!), Maxine Fassberg: "We have developed breakthroughs in Israel that have changed the face of computerization…In Israel, we are developing and manufacturing network and communication products as well as microprocessors – in parallel to spearheading the mobile domain in Intel Corp. Among the technologies developed here are MMX, which constitutes the basis of the Pentium processor, platforms for Intel Centrino mobile computers and the Intel Core 2Duo processor. In addition, the first fast Ethernet and first wireless LAN (Local Area Network) were developed here…(Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2009).
5. The Med's best-kept secret (excerpts of Willy Stern, The Weekly Standard, July 27, 2009):
"Perhaps nowhere else on the globe does there exist a greater discrepancy between perception and reality than Israel. The press portrays the country as a savage land racked by war and terrorism... The reality, though, is a country of 7.4 million people whose stock market and economy are humming along quite nicely (at least in contrast to the rest of the globe) and whose citizens revel in their chic Mediterranean lifestyle…
"In Israel, life goes on. The Western newspapers just don't notice… Israel today has become a vibrant, functioning jewel of a nation tucked into the eastern flank of the Mediterranean. Tel Aviv looks more like San Diego or Barcelona than Baghdad or Kabul. On a recent five-mile run along Tel Aviv's Gordon Beach, I saw Israeli yuppies cycling the boardwalk on $1,500 Italian mountain bikes, teenagers in full-body wetsuits surfing the breakers, a deep-cleavaged Russian model (nobody seemed to know her name) doing a photo shoot in a skimpy bikini whilst middle-aged Israeli men with potbellies and hairy chests shamelessly gawked, rows of high-priced yachts docked at the Tel Aviv marina, an endless stream of private planes on final approach to small Sde Dov Airport, and two Israeli soldiers in drab green uniforms making out in the sand and drinking Heineken. A nation at war? It seemed more like high season at Coney Island…
"Israel has a world class cultural scene. Want to see Franco Zeffirelli and Daniel Barenboim? No problem. The Alvin Ailey Dance Company visits. The opera plays to audiences at 97 percent capacity. Even at lower pay, (Israel) attracts the best talents from around the globe…
"Israel enjoys top universities, upscale restaurants, million-dollar homes, hoity-toity architecture, and the like. In the fourth quarter last year, when the global economy went all to hell, Israel's annual, quarter-over-quarter rate of GDP was only off 0.5 percent, the best figure in the industrialized world. (The United States was off 6.3 percent and Japan 12.1 percent.) 'Think about the resistance of our economy in recent times,' suggests Zvi Eckstein, deputy governor of the Bank of Israel. 'Our prime minister (has a stroke). The war in Gaza. The war in Lebanon. The government gets replaced. But we've maintained a stable macroeconomic structure and a strong high-tech sector…'
What's the secret? A very conservative banking system…No mortgage crisis…A current account surplus since 2003…Negligible inflation…Prudent governmental fiscal policy… Healthy integration into the world economy. Last year, 483 Israeli high-tech companies raised a whopping $2.08BN (only US companies raised more). All the major tech players – Google, Microsoft, IBM – have large research centers in Israel. They go where the talent is…'Israel is today the third-hottest spot (after Silicon Valley and Boston) for high-tech venture capital in the world…' Israel produces more science papers per capita than any other country. Israel lags behind only the United States in number of companies listed on NASDAQ. Twenty-four percent of Israel's workforce has a university degree; only the United States and Holland have a higher number. Israel leads the world in scientists and technicians per capita…
"The cell phone? Developed in Israel. Ditto for most of the Windows NT operating system and for voice mail technology. Pentium MMX Chip technology? Designed in Israel. AOL Instant Messenger? Developed in Israel. The list goes on. Firewall security software originated in Israel. The latest breakthrough is the "PillCam," a video camera that can be swallowed and aids physicians in diagnosing intestinal cancer…it seems the other Israel - the land not of terrorists but of milk and honey and goats - may finally be being discovered."

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Doggone - or "Hail Sadat, the Dog is Dead"

The Sadat family is upset because a character in an American film called his dog "Anwar Sadat." Americans should understand that a dog in Arab culture is almost as bad as a Jew
From Ha'aretz:
The family of Anwar Sadat is demanding a public apology from the U.S. embassy in Cairo over an American feature film that includes a dog named after the late Egyptian leader.

The movie, "I Love You, Man" - a romantic comedy produced by entertainment conglomerate DreamWorks - hit theatres this year.

In one scene in the film, which was recently released in cinemas across Egypt, a character refers to his dog by the name "Anwar Sadat." The name was chosen by the character "because [the dog and Sadat] look exactly alike."

The Sadat family claims that the likening of the former Egyptian president to a dog offends its sensibilities and insults the Egyptian nation. It is also demanding that all copies of the film be turned over to its possession.

Good thing the dog was not named Muhammad, right? Americans are so doggone insensitive.

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HRW belatedly discovers: Hamas rocket attacks a 'war crime'

Better late than never, HRW discovered what was readily apparent: showering rockets on a civilian population for no reason is a war crime. You would think it would not exactly require a genius in military forensics and jurisprudence to figure that out, but the fact is, it has taken HRW several years to come around to that point of view. Too bad they couldn't figure that out during all the months they were busy villifying Israel for its alleged actions in Gaza.

HRW: Hamas rocket attacks a 'war crime'

Aug. 6, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The international watchdog organization, Human Rights Watch, came out with an unusually scathing attack against Hamas on Thursday, accusing the Islamic group of violating international law and committing war crimes for its indiscriminate rocket fire into Israeli territory.

"None of these rockets can be reliably aimed," the report stated. "Such weapons are inherently indiscriminate when directed towards densely populated areas.

"The absence of Israeli military forces in the areas struck by the rockets, as well as statements from the leaders of Hamas and other armed groups, indicate that many of these attacks are deliberately intended to strike Israeli civilians and civilian structures," the report continued. "Individuals who willfully authorize or carry out deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians are committing war crimes."

The Rights group also targeted Hamas justification for their rocket attacks, saying that such arguments cannot be supported by international law.

"To justify the attacks as appropriate reprisals for Israeli military operations and the ongoing blockade against Gaza, and as a lawful response to the Israeli occupation of Gaza…the "laws of war" do not support these asserted justifications," the report stated.

While previous reports published by the organization have condemned Israeli abuses and "war crimes" against the Palestinians, the group emphasized in the most recent publication that such behavior cannot warrant reciprocal Palestinian action.

"Even assuming the rocket attacks were intended as reprisals for Israeli attacks that killed and injured civilians, they still are unlawful under the laws of war," the group said.

Israel has long placed the responsibility for Palestinian deaths in the Gaza Strip on Hamas, saying that the group's use of the civilian population and residential areas when launching attacks puts non-combatants in harms way. In their latest report, Human Rights Watch seemed to support that claim.

"The rocket attacks have also placed civilians in Gaza at risk," it stated. "They're unreliable, and occasionally fall short of Israel and kill Palestinians.

"Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have frequently violated the laws of war by firing rockets from within populated areas," the report went on. "In doing so, they failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid placing military targets within densely populated areas […] and protecting civilians from the danger resulting from military operations."


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Palestinian lobby shuts down Kadima party Web site

It seems that the Palestinian lobby won't tolerate any sort of dissent.
Hackers attack Israeli party site

The site was down overnight and returned online Thursday
One of Israel's main political parties has shut down its website following an attack by Palestinian hackers, according to reports.
Attackers on the official Kadima website posted images of wounded Palestinians and the aftermath of suicide bombings in Israel.
Slogans in both Hebrew and Arabic were also placed on the site, including threats to party leader Tzipi Livni.
The website was back online early Thursday morning.
The Jerusalem Post, quoting an Israel Army Radio report, said the pictures included one of Livni, with the words "We promise you - we're coming".
According to AP news agency, the hacked web page was signed Gaza Hacker Team.
The images were removed shortly after the attack and the site was then shut down. It was brought back online at about 0830 BST.
Kadima, a centrist political party that favours a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict, is the largest party in the Israeli parliament.
It was unable to form a government, and is currently in opposition.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Foreign volunteers for IDF

Volunteering to help the defense of the Jews in the land of Israel began before the foundation of the Jewish state - MACHAL volunteers helped to bring in "illegal" immigrants and to organize an air force, as well as serving in the ground forces.
Today's Sar-el volunteers continue a proud tradition.
Ami Isseroff
Int'l volunteers 'stand together' with the IDF
Aug. 5, 2009
What do retirees from English-speaking countries, an Italian high school student, Spanish Anusim (Marranos), a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, a South African minister and a former IDF soldier have in common?
Not much, until they all moved into the volunteers' lodgings at the Tel Hashomer army base.
Coming from all walks of life, 33 volunteers from around the world arrived last week to prepare packages of medical supplies for soldiers. They were organized by the Sar-El Volunteer for Israel Program (, which has been bringing people to help the army since 1983.
The group is serving during the IDF's volunteer appreciation week and will participate in a special ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Sar-El veteran Natan Glassman, a dual Canadian-Israel citizen, who told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday he has done 75 stints with Sar-El, called this particular group of volunteers the most diverse he's ever worked with.
Groups usually have a common language or come from the same country, but he is impressed by the range of people participating in Sar-El this August.
"It's really special... This group is different because the people come from all over the world," he said.
Glassman has countless stories of his experiences volunteering with the army, of which he said he could "write a book." Even after all these years, though, his enthusiasm has not diminished, he said.
Marion Richer, from Connecticut, is also a devoted participant. She has "made a commitment" to visit and volunteer in Israel, calling it a "part of her life" for the past 16 summers.
"We made this commitment and we don't stop coming. This working is important and necessary," said Richer, who arrived last week and will be volunteering for the next three months. Most Sar-El volunteers complete three-week sessions.
"Many of us feel guilt when we are away from Israel and are not able to help the country in a tangible way," explained Rachel Schwartz, who was born here but has lived in Toronto for most of her adult life.
"Just touring and spending money to help the Israeli economy is not sufficient," she said. "This goes beyond that, and actually gives back to the community."
This is her first time volunteering with Sar-El.
"We all want to contribute in some way and this is a wonderful feeling [to help the soldiers of] the country we love," Schwartz said.
Nili Kimelman, a resident of Hallandale Beach, Florida, lived in Israel as child and served in the army.
Kimelman, now 71, "feels like a child again" in her IDF uniform.
During her military service more than 50 years ago, she was stationed near Tel Aviv, not too far from Tel Hashomer. She feels the she can best serve by giving back to the soldiers, particularly because she was once one herself.
"It's an unbelievable feeling and amazing to be volunteering with people from all over the world, because we all have our own connection to Israel," she said.
On his sixth trip to Israel, David Del Coso, from Toledo, Spain, is volunteering for the first time. He is here with six friends, all Spanish men who come from families that suspect they were Jewish many generations ago and were forced to forfeit their Jewish traditions by the Spanish Inquisition.
"We are very happy here, we feel connected," said Ruben Garcia Medina, a 20-year-old from Andalucia.
Del Coso explained that there is a lot of anti-Semitism in Spain and they feel it is important to come to Israel so they can learn enough to influence people back home. The last time he was in Israel, Del Coso studied Hebrew in an ulpan at Kibbutz Sde Eliahu. It was his dream to enlist in the army, but he was unable to do so because of his age.
"It's complicated because I need to convert, but I want to move here," he said.
He picked this particular volunteer session because he is a nurse in Spain and wants to continue that in Israel, so he finds it beneficial to help with medical supplies.
Oscar and Marsha Schwartz, who divide their time between New York and Florida, made the decision to volunteer after Oscar's recent retirement.
"It's the first year we can travel for long periods of time," said Marsha, who was born in Israel. "Israel has given so much for us, and this is a way we can give back."
She and her husband, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, hope to spend more time living, traveling and volunteering here because they feel very connected to the Jewish state.
Chazera Vitale, a student in a Jewish high school in Rome, said he was extremely content that he is spending his first trip to Israel as a volunteer. Though he's only staying for 16 days, he knows he will return.
Roberto Borri, a therapist based in Milan, is not Jewish but has volunteered four times with Sar-El in the past, always helping to organize medical equipment. Not just because he enjoys the work, but because he gets great satisfaction from helping Israelis, because Israel shares many of the same values as Europe, he said.
Vivienne Murison, a preacher who holds the second-highest position at a ministry in Cape Town, decided to come back to Israel for her third time as a volunteer.
"Israel is the center point of the whole wide world and I want to invest my time for the Jewish people because we really must all stand together," Murison said.
She arrived on Monday, and will stay at the army base for three months.
Twenty-year-old Greg Epshtein, from Colorado, signed up for three Sar-El sessions this summer. He is joining the army through the Mahal program in a few months and wanted a good way to spend his time and to meet people from all over the world.
The volunteers have a jam-packed schedule that involves working in the army's largest medical warehouses and preparing supply kits for paramedics and army bases.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Should Obama come to Israel?

I have to agree with Shmuel Rosner that there is no point in Obama coming to Israel, though not exactly for the reasons stated. Actually, it would depend a lot on what Obama were to say if and when he came to Israel, wouldn't it?
Ami Isseroff.
The New Republic: Mr. President, Save Your Breath! No Speech for Israel!
by Shmuel Rosner
August 5, 2009
Two Israeli writers caused a stir last week by calling on President Obama to speak directly to Israelis, similar to the way he has addressed populations from Cairo to Moscow. "Simply stated, take your campaign directly to the Israeli people, and soon," Bradley Burston wrote in a Haaretz blog post. "Fail to do this, or wait too long, and you'd be well advised to leave the table while you still have chips." Aluf Benn echoed this sentiment in The New York Times: "This policy of ignoring Israel carries a price." Similar points were made just two weeks ago in a study by the Center for American Progress.
Both Benn and Burston seem to believe that Israelis disapprove of Obama because they don't understand what he wants—simply because he has failed to explain it to them. It's unsurprising that columnists friendly to the ideas of the Israeli center-left would suggest that Israelis are actually in line with Obama's agenda. But there's an easier way of interpreting Israelis' uneasiness with Obama: They do understand him, and do not agree with him. If that's the case, more Obama-talk will not make a big difference. It is very common to blame "communication" when things go badly between two parties. However, there are many things that no improvement of communication will remedy.
Both writers assume that Israelis don't care much for settlements, and I tend to agree. However, as Benn starts explaining while not quite completing his argument ("Mr. Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze"), Israelis also don't care much for doing something for no particular reason, or just because there's a new sheriff in town. The settlements should certainly go, most Israelis believe—but they should go at this specific time only if the president can logically explain the benefit Israelis will gain from letting them go now. If all he has is the general "settlements are bad for Israel" argument, then nothing much has changed; Israelis already know that.
Yes, Israelis might appreciate the honor of having the U.S. president talking directly to them. (As Benn writes, "In the 16 rosy years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Israelis became spoiled by unfettered presidential attention.") But what exactly is he going to tell them? That peace is good for all and that he wants to advance peace? They know. That Palestinians suffer? They know. That he cares deeply for Israel's security? They know he says that, and would like to believe it, but the real game-changer will require proof, not words. Clinton and Bush didn't just say "We care for Israel" and instantly become darlings of the Israeli public. They showed they care—mostly by getting along well with the Israeli governments of Rabin and Sharon respectively. The Obama administration has done little to curry Israeli trust with their churlish attitude toward Netanyahu. In this sense, I agree with Benn and Burston: Regardless of the inevitable vapidity of an Obama speech directed at Israelis, the act of making the trip to Israel would be at least be a "deed"—a demonstration of good will on his part.
But words alone will not make Israelis trust Obama. Israelis do not suffer from lack of understanding of the issues; they suffer from peace-fatigue. They look at "peace processes" with suspicion, based on experience and events. They are scarred enough to know what has working and what has not, and they are tired of the good intentions of enthusiastic novices, believing that with their youth and their smarts they'll be able to come up with some magic trick that can somehow round a square. What Obama needs is a convincing plan that makes sense. It does not look like he has one.
The president has reportedly sent letters to seven Arab leaders reminding them of "the need for CBMs [confidence-building measures] in exchange for [a settlement] freeze and to [get] peace talks restarted." It hasn't worked very well, and Israelis will be aware of this failure if they hear Obama talking about the need to stop settlement construction. So perhaps instead of the president making the effort of "talking directly" to Israelis with nothing new to say, maybe he ought to put his efforts into convincing someone else to address Israelis -- somebody whose very act of speaking to Israelis would be significant in its own right. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia or President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria come to mind.
Regardless of its futility, my sources tell me that an Obama address to Israelis is coming soon. (Joe Klein was first to report this.) If he must do so, I can offer three pieces of advice: First, don't lecture Israelis like you know what's good for them better than they know themselves. You don't. Second, don't try to do an end-run on the Israeli government like you've done in other world capitols by speaking directly to "the people." Don't patronize them by saying that the Israel public knows better than its government what needs to be done. The public elected this government; the public you're talking about is the public of some liberal American Jews, which has little relevance to the current reality in Israel. And third, don't promise peace within a year or two. History is a better teacher of that lesson than I am.
I, for one, will not be disappointed if Obama chooses not to make the effort. I don't think that Obama needs the approval of Israelis--nor, for that matter, that it is crucial for Israelis to have the personal sympathies of the American president. In fact, I think those "spoiled" Israelis can benefit from being reminded that not all presidents will be a Clinton or a Bush. Presidents come with different priorities and changing agendas -- and Israel should make sure that it is always strategically benefiting the United States rather than relying on intangible romantic notions of shared values and religious sympathies to bolster the relationship. And perhaps more importantly, Israelis need to be reminded that we can live, for a long or short period of time, with a less demonstrably friendly America with no need for hysteria.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NGO funding and national priorities: EU support may be conditional on allowing anti-Zionist agitation

Everyone knows the old joke about the mugger who says "Your money or your life." The victim says, "Take my life, I need my money for my old age."
This is the proposition that Gush Shalom shamelessly and seriously threatens to try to implement. If Israel does not allow the EU to support anti-Zionist groups like Alternative Information Center, Badil and Adalah, then Gush Shalom will lobby the EU to withdraw support for universities and hospitals. The EU is trying to give complete coverage: first they support the terrorist groups, and then they support the hospitals to fix up the victims. A good deal.
Under the rubric of supporting peace, education for democracy and promotion of understanding and dialogue, the EU and some non-EU European countries have funded organizations that educate for violence and armed resistance, fight to destroy the right of the Jewish people to self determination, generate outrageously falsified historical narratives, incite Palestinians to demand "right of return" and encourage one state "solutions." Groups like Adalah, Badil, Alternative Information Center, ICAHD and several other organizations are all trying to destroy the Jewish state, eliminate "Apartheid Israel and fight the "Zionist enemy." With no state, we don't need any hospitals or any universities either, as none of us will be here.
As far as anyone knows, however, there is no actual proposition afoot for blocking NGO funding by anyone, just some unnamed "senior officials" who were thinking aloud. Gush Shalom therefore seems to have floated this balloon in order to get a bit of publicity for themselves, a forgivable and understandable propensity of such groups. If they can blacken Israel in the process, so much the better.
However, rather than blocking funding, Israel should insist on complete transparency of donor operations and funding, which are currently hidden intentionally in a mire of red tape and euphemisms. NGO status should also be contingent on strict criteria that prevent NGOs from operating in Israel if they are working to destroy the state or encouraging violence. See (How to deal with foreign NGO dunding), The goal is to stop the organizations from operating, not just to cut off funding from a particular source. It is not the business of the Israeli government to tell Europeans how to spend their money. As it is, they are directly or indirectly subsidizing the Hamas regime in Gaza and there is not much Israel can do about it. But it is the business of the Israeli government to decide what groups can be NGOs.  
In any case, it is a monstrous idea to propose that the EU can force Israel to allow them to subsidize groups that advocate overthrowing the state in order to get funding for universities. Would Spain tolerate a proposition that requires that they allow funding of the ETA terrorists if they want funding for hospitals?
Here is Gush Shalom's proposition:
As the Israeli government steps up efforts to limit foreign funding for human rights group, an Israeli peace organization sent a letter to European diplomatic missions in Israel this week urging them to tell Israel that that legislative action against NGOs may threaten the budget of universities, hospitals and other non-profit organizations.
The government has sought to limit the activity of Breaking the Silence, an organization that has published a damning report of the IDF's conduct during last winter's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
In the letter, Gush Shalom told the diplomats that "the discriminatory blocking of European government funding to a specific group of legal and legitimate NGOs may well result in a public backlash in the EU, which would force your government to cut all funding to Israeli NGOs, including to universities and hospitals."

The group added that it had been opposed to campaigns, which sought to withhold funding to Israeli non-profits, in the hope that the Israeli government would also reconsider.
Gush Shalom also noted that the tax exemptions for non-profit organizations constitute indirect funding for organizations, and asked that the EU Commission warn the Israeli government that these benefits "could be withdrawn for the large number of Christian Zionist organizations in the EU financially supporting West Bank settlement activities."
Human rights groups in the European Union are reportedly preparing to launch a public campaign lobbying EU governments as well as the
European Commission to stop funding Israeli non-governmental
Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

Yet another Zionist conpiracy

The article speaks for itself. Us Zionists are everywhere, so you folks who disagree had best surrender right now. .
Last update - 21:43 04/08/2009    

Israel may not be the only country where efforts to secure the release of a kidnapped citizen affect government policy. Just as former U.S. President Bill Clinton was in North Korea in a bid to negotiate the release of two American journalists, a similar series of events was taking shape in Iran.
Several days ago, Iran arrested three Americans who strayed across the border from Iraq on allegations they illegally entered the country, and a lawmaker said Tuesday that authorities were deciding whether they will be accused of spying.
Officials in northern Iraq's Kurdish region said Sunday that the three - Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal - were tourists who inadvertently crossed into Iran on July 31 while hiking in the region. Friends and family say the three were adventurous travelers who accidentally stumbled into the wrong place at the wrong time.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that the U.S. was "worried" and called on the Iranian government to provide updates regarding the status of the three backpackers.
However, two days ago, when the Kurds gave Iran details regarding the three, things got complicated. An Iranian television channel reported that the three were not backpackers, but rather "Jewish reporters" ? and even called one of them an "extreme Zionist."
Bauer, a California resident, reportedly writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor, The Nation and New American Media. Shourd, Bauer's partner, writes for the Website Matador, and Fattal, who studied at a yeshiva in New York, has penned several articles published in the Jewish Week. His father was born in Iraq and he wrote on several social networks that he was planning to explore his family's heritage.
The Kurds said that two of them were studying Arabic in Damascus.
As devoted travelers, the three habitually wrote about Middle East issues as freelancers.
Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's repeated calls on Iran to accept his invitation for dialogue, the two nations have had no formal diplomatic relations since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Swiss diplomats, representing American interests in Tehran, have tried to gain access to the three detainees.
Deputy Secretary of State Philip Crowley said Monday that the U.S. was making every effort to understand what happened and to bring them home as quickly as possible.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Fatah prepares two different stories - retains goal of elimination of Israel

The big story about the Fatah congress is not whether or not it will give up the "right" of armed struggle. Rather, the problem seems to be, as related below, that Fatah is preparing two documents. A document for external use that calls for a two state solution, and an internal document that reportedly calls for elimination of Israel and implementation of a so-called "One State Solution" as its real and only goal. Here is what Fatah plans:
 Article 22 calls for: "objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the occupying Zionist entity in Palestine and all the projects that aim for the elimination of the Palestinian problem, or seek to internationalize it or put an outside custodian on its people from any possible party."4 This article is in contradiction to the call in the Political Program for greater international involvement in the problem and its welcome for the involvement of international forces in Palestine. 

Article 9 states clearly that "the liberation of the Holy Land and the defense of its holy sites (that are forbidden to infidels) is an Arab, Muslim, and humanitarian duty."5


Article 13 calls for "establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory that will preserve the legitimate rights of the citizens on the basis of justice and equality without discrimination on the basis of race, religion and belief, and Jerusalem will be its capital."7 While the Political Program lists the "one-state solution" as an option in case the "two-state solution" fails, the Internal Order document mentions the "one-state solution" as the only solution.  
Article 17 says: "The armed popular revolution is the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestine."8

Finally, Article 19 notes: "The armed struggle is a strategy and not just a tactic and the armed revolution of the Arab Palestinian people is a decisive factor in the war of liberation and the elimination of the Zionist existence, and the struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine."9 

Read the whole thing below, and think about whether peace is really possible if this report is correct.

Will Fatah Give Up the Armed Struggle at Its Sixth General Congress?
04/08/2009 Pinhas Inbari -  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The Sixth Fatah General Congress, convening for the first time in twenty years, will be judged mainly by two factors: its decisions and the composition of its new leadership. Here we will examine the nature of its expected decisions and leave the evaluation of the new leadership for future examination.

There is great international interest in the Fatah Congress since so much of the international community perceives the Palestinian problem as the key to the entire spectrum of conflicts in the Middle East. Many observers are watching to see to what extent the congress will advance or retard the prospects for re-launching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and even launching a regional peace process based on the Israeli-Palestinian bilateral track.

In this regard, the crucial question is: Is Fatah going to waive its historical principle of "armed struggle" - muqawama - and devote itself to peace negotiations based on compromise, as was discussed extensively between the former Kadima-led Israeli government and Palestinian negotiators - led by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and former Prime Minister Abu Ala?

  Two Documents: One for International Consumption and the Other for Internal Use

The two relevant documents to be discussed and approved by the Fatah Congress are the Political Program1 and Fatah's "Internal Order."2 The Political Program might be seen by many as reflecting progress in terms of accepting a political solution and rejecting violence - but it falls short of waiving the principle of armed struggle. The document endorses the Arab Initiative, talks in vague expressions of the "right of return" - using a formula "based on UN Resolution 181" and not on fulfillment of this resolution, and offers the model of the "Intifada of the Stones" (the first intifada) as preferred over the model of military struggle.

The principle of the "armed struggle" is mentioned as an option of the past that must be re-examined in comparison to other options of struggle. The model seen to fit our times is the anti-wall campaigns in Nil'in and Bil'in, but "10,000 times as fierce." The political program uses the term "the struggle" (not quite describing it as the "armed struggle") and even the "peaceful struggle." However, there is more than one reference to the term "the struggle of all options," that includes the armed struggle as well. In an interview with Maan News, the Fatah leader in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Einein, made it clear that the "struggle of all options" includes the armed struggle as well.


Fatah's Internal Order Presents a Different Face

Developing the Nil'in-Bil'in model of struggle is problematic because it can easily deteriorate into violence, as past experience shows, but the real problem lies in the Internal Order document. All of the phrases that were omitted in the Political Program are present in this would-be "bureaucratic" document. The term "armed popular struggle" appears at the very beginning. While the Political Program sought to subordinate the struggle to the need for "international legitimacy," the Internal Order is very clear in rejecting all international peace initiatives: "The projects, agreements, and resolutions that were issued or will be issued by the UN or group of states or any separate state on the Palestinian problem that waives the rights of the Palestinians on their homeland is null and void."3

Furthermore, Article 22 calls for: "objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the occupying Zionist entity in Palestine and all the projects that aim for the elimination of the Palestinian problem, or seek to internationalize it or put an outside custodian on its people from any possible party."4 This article is in contradiction to the call in the Political Program for greater international involvement in the problem and its welcome for the involvement of international forces in Palestine. 

Article 9 states clearly that "the liberation of the Holy Land and the defense of its holy sites (that are forbidden to infidels) is an Arab, Muslim, and humanitarian duty."5


Fatah Retains the Strategy of the Armed Struggle

And here we come to the essence: Fatah retains the armed struggle as a strategy in order to liberate the whole of Palestine and eliminate Israel. Article 12 calls for "the liberation of Palestine completely and the elimination of the state of the Zionist occupation economically, politically, militarily, and culturally."6 (Indeed, one of the methods mentioned in the Political Program for the "peaceful intifada" is an economic boycott of Israel.) 

Article 13 calls for "establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory that will preserve the legitimate rights of the citizens on the basis of justice and equality without discrimination on the basis of race, religion and belief, and Jerusalem will be its capital."7 While the Political Program lists the "one-state solution" as an option in case the "two-state solution" fails, the Internal Order document mentions the "one-state solution" as the only solution.  
Article 17 says: "The armed popular revolution is the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestine."8

Finally, Article 19 notes: "The armed struggle is a strategy and not just a tactic and the armed revolution of the Arab Palestinian people is a decisive factor in the war of liberation and the elimination of the Zionist existence, and the struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine."9

While Fatah's Political Program tries to accommodate international expectations and seems designed to mobilize international legitimacy for the re-launching of a "peaceful intifada," Fatah's "Internal Order" reminds us how deeply ingrained in Fatah is its ideology from the 1960s and 1970s.   


*     *     *

*     *     *

3 المشاريع والاتفاقات والقرارات التي صدرت او تصدر عن هيئة الامم المتحدة او اية مجموعة من الدول او اي دولة منفردة بشأن قضية فلسطين والتي تهدر حق الشعب الفلسطيني في وطنه باطلة ومرفوضه.

4 لمادة (22) - مقاومة كل الحلول السياسية المطروحة كبديل عن تصفية الكيان الصهيوني المحتل في فلسطين، وكل المشاريع الرامية الى تصفية القضية الفلسطينية او تدويلها او الوصاية على شعبها من اية جهة.

5 لمادة (9) - تحرير الديار المقدسة والدفاع عن حرماتها واجب عربي واسلامي وانساني.

6 المادة (12) - تحرير فلسطين تحريراً كاملاً وتصفية دولة الاحتلال الصهيوني اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً وثقافياً.

7 المادة (13) - اقامة دولة فلسطينيه ديمقراطية مستقلة ذات سيادة على كامل التراب الفلسطيني تحفظ للمواطنين حقوقهم الشرعية على اساس العدل والمساواة دون تمييزفي العنصر او الدين والعقيده وتكون القدس عاصمة لها.

8 المادة (17) - الثورة الشعبية المسلحة هي الطريق الحتمي الوحيد لتحرير فلســطين.

9 المادة (19) -الكفاح المسلح استراتيجية وليس تكتيكاً والثورة المسلحة للشعب العربي الفلسطيني عامل حاسم في معركة التحرير وتصفية الوجود الصهيوني ولن يتوقف هذا الكفاح الا بالقضاء على الكيان الصهيوني وتحرير فلسطين.

Pinhas Inbari is a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently reports for several foreign media outlets. He is the author of a number of books on the Palestinians including The Palestinians: Between Terrorism and Statehood.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Iran - A kiss on the robe can be quite presidential

One of the conservatives who ran for the Iranian elections, Mohsen Rezaei, said Tuesday that he participated in the official nomination of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second presidential term "out of respect to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and not out of recognition of Ahmadinejad's presidency."
Rezaei, a conservative, was previously commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Reformist candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi did not participate in the ceremony.
On Monday, Iran's supreme leader bestowed his formal endorsement on Ahmadinejad's second term as president but withheld a powerful symbolic gesture - the kisses and close embrace that portrayed their bond four years ago.

The awkward and halting moment came when Ahmadinejad leaned forward to kiss Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the supreme leader raised his left hand and momentarily stopped Ahmadinejad, who spoke a few words and then kissed Khamenei's robe.
Both now are battered and bound together against the pro-reform backlash. But it's still a potentially testy relationship.
Khamenei appeared to signal he is willing to stand by Ahmadinejad - as he has since the election - but that the supercharged political climate requires new sensitivities to public opinion.
Ahmadinejad also crossed a political line last month by resisting Khamenei's calls to dismiss a top aide - whom Ahmadinejad eventually dumped.
After Ahmadinejad's surprise election in 2005, Khamenei allowed him to kiss his hand in a show of profound loyalty. Then Khamenei drew him close and kissed him on both cheeks with a benevolent smile.
This time, Ahmadinejad moved toward Khamenei but was offered only the chance to kiss the leader's robe - a gesture of respect but far more restrained than four years ago.
"It's as if Khamenei was saying, 'Hey, listen. Don't think that we are this close team we once were,'" said Patrick Clawson, deputy director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The state Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad had a cold, suggesting this could be the cause for the more cautious reception.
Examination of  livers was used to predict the future in the Roman Empire. It is not clear which method gives better results.

Continued (Permanent Link)

New organization - Z-Street

A new grass roots Zionist organization - obviously a reaction to J-Street, The reasons for the name are obvious. So why did Richard Silverstein write:
Their group is going to be called Z Street for reasons no one understands and about which no one cares.
Maybe 'cause he is infantile?
Z-street's Web site -
The American Thinker
August 02, 2009
Z street
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus
There is a chilling scene in the 2002 movie "The Pianist."  In it the train was already chugging along on the path to insanity and destruction, but before all was destroyed.  The family of the protagonist has been moved into the Warsaw Ghetto and the head of the family is sitting at a table, reading a newspaper.  He looks up and says, "I blame the American Jews."

He was talking to me.

At least, that's how I heard it.  I resolved then not to be our time's analog of a World War II American Jew -- you know, the ones who read the newspapers, see what is happening to Israel, mutter "tsk, tsk" and turn the page.

Others have had similar epiphanies, but the light from our bulbs going off is obscured by the clouds of appeasement and apologies, dressed up as tolerance and even-handedness. 
For several years we have agonized over the gathering storm of hostility towards Israel, and the organizational human shields which eagerly validate those positions.  Finally we decided that action - an immediate, decisive, in-your-face facts war, was imperative.  Allyson Rowen Taylor and I spent a few hours on the phone and created Z (Zionist) Street.

Z STREET is based on these ironclad positions:

The right of the Jewish people to a state, and the right of Jews to live freely anywhere, including inhaling oxygen in areas the world insists are reserved for Arab Palestinians;

Relishing the terms "Jewish State" and "Zionism" - ones currently derided as shameful instead of sources of pride;

Circulation of facts -- not deceptive "Palestinian" narratives -- about the Middle East, Israel and terrorism;

Condemnation of those who revile Israel for actions they ignore when taken by Israel's enemies and virtually all states throughout history;

Categorical rejection of agreements with, or concessions to, terrorists (or their supporters) who are dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Unlike other organizations that claim to be pro-Israel, Z STREET will not pander to politicians who invite us to their offices and pay attention to our pocketbooks but ignore our positions.  For those who do not embrace our principles, there are plenty of other organizations to join. This catalyzing organization seeks to change the way discussions about Israel are crafted and viewed.

A fuel source previously untapped has been released: within days of the launch  thousands clamored to our site, asking how to join and how they can help.  Z STREET already includes members from five continents and more than twenty states.  News articles are being written about Z STREET from the far right and the center, and we have been viciously denigrated and cartooned from the far left - all of which is gratifying.

The rising groundswell is in part a response to organizations whispering into the ear of this US administration that pervert the meaning of "pro-Israel." Their ultimate loyalty is to left-wing principles including a secular Israel and tolerance of terrorism only when directed at Jews.  They are ashamed of an avowedly Jewish State, yet completely comfortable with 22 Muslim ones, and are actively seeking the creation of a 23rd, based in Jerusalem, whose governing documents call for the destruction of Israel.

The idea that weakening Israel, either because of ideological conviction, animosity towards a strong Jewish State, cowardice, or the grossly misguided belief that compromise or dialoging with committed terrorists will lead to Middle East or global peace, is obscene.

A very few World War II Jews acted as catalysts for those who refused to be cowed.  They adamantly, sometimes theatrically, demanded action to prevent the incineration of millions of Europeans Jews, along with millions of members of other minority and political groups.  

This band of warriors, led by Peter Bergson and Ben Hecht, staged marches, rallies and theater events.  They refused to mimic the Jewish leaders who shrank from their moral duty to demand the US government face the irrefutable facts of the plans, and then the execution of those plans, to murder millions.  It would be an honor for Z STREET to be compared to the Bergson Group.  Others should join so that the present horrors, and worse, are prevented.  The policy implications are profound and the time is now.

I sleep better knowing that when my grandchildren ask me what I did to help prevent the destruction of Israel, I can tell them about Z STREET with a clear conscience and a sense of pride.  What will you say?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a Z Street co-founder with Allyson Rowen Taylor


Continued (Permanent Link)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jerusalem evictions: Whose land, and whose houses?

Media misleading on Jews evicting Arabs from Jerusalem
Aaron Klein: 'Painting picture that could not be further from the truth'
Posted: August 02, 2009
9:22 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – The U.S. and international media are rife with misleading stories of club-wielding Israeli police evicting Palestinians from homes in Jerusalem, failing to provide proper background information while painting a picture of Jewish expansionist activity that could not be further from the truth.
A BBC article entitled, "Palestinians evicted from Jerusalem," tells of Israeli police who evicted nine Palestinian families living in two houses in "occupied East Jerusalem."
"Jewish settlers moved into the houses almost immediately. The U.S. has urged Israel to abandon plans for a building project in the area," reported the British outlet.
An AFP report, "Israel evicts Palestinians from Jerusalem homes," begins with a scene of intimidating Jews removing peaceful Arabs from their apartments.
"Israeli riot police wielding clubs kicked out two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied east Jerusalem on Sunday, defying international protests over Jewish settlement activity in the area," reported AFP.
"I was born in this house and so were my children," Maher Hanoun, one of the evictees, was quoted as stating. "Now we are on the streets. We have become refugees."
Reuters reported that Israeli police "evicted two Palestinian families on Sunday from homes in Arab East Jerusalem, and Jews moved in, despite pressure from Israel's main ally, the United States, to freeze settlements."
Scores of other news outlets featured similar pieces. Most of the articles focused almost exclusively on international condemnation of the Israeli moves. The pieces did not provide much background on just why these Arabs were being evicted other than one sentence in each article stating an Israeli court ruled the Arabs should be removed.
Most of the pieces did not cite the justification for the court ruling, with the exception of Reuters, which wrongly claimed the decision was based solely on "19th century documents."
Now, let's reveal what is really happening.
The housing complex in question is located in the Sheik Jarra neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. The home was originally Jewish, but its Jewish occupants were chased out during countrywide anti-Jewish Arab riots in 1929. Arabs then squatted on the property, with one family, the Hejazi family, becoming the de facto occupants despite never having purchased the property.
Even though documentation proves the complex is owned by Jews and that Arabs have been squatting on it illegally for almost a century, Jewish groups still legally re-purchased the property from the Hejazi family. Following pressure from the Palestinian Authority, however, the family later denied selling the complex back to the Jews despite documentation and other evidence showing the sale went through.
Israel's court system, not exactly a friend of Jewish "settlers," twice ruled now the property undoubtedly belongs to Jews.
Many of the articles on the home use the terms "occupied" and "East Jerusalem." Reuters called it "occupied Arab East Jerusalem."
According to the United Nations, eastern sections of Jerusalem are not "occupied" but "disputed." Referring to the area as "Arab East Jerusalem" presupposes the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have yet to take place and ignores British documentation that authenticates Jews outnumbered Arabs in eastern Jerusalem from the 1800's until Jews were expelled by Arabs in 1929.
Now let's talk about "East Jerusalem."
Historically, there was never any separation between eastern and western Jerusalem. The terminology came after Jordan occupied the eastern section of the city, including the Temple Mount, from 1947 until it used the territory to attack the Jewish state in 1967. Israel reunited Jerusalem when it won the 1967 Six Day War, although the Palestinians claim eastern sections for a future capital.
Palestinians never maintained any state or official national entity in Jerusalem. Demographics from the late 1800's show Jews actually outnumbered Arabs in Jerusalem at the time.
The eviction of squatting Arabs from a Jewish-owned property in Jerusalem follows recent U.S. demands for Israel to halt all "settlement activity," meaning Jewish construction, in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank.
Last month, Israel's ambassador to Washington was summoned by the State Department to demand a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem be immediately halted.
The construction project at the center of attention, a hotel financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just meters from Israel's national police headquarters and other government ministries. It is a few blocks from the country's prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S.
Moskowitz's housing project, legally purchased, formerly was the house of the infamous mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who spent the war years in Berlin as a close ally of Adolf Hitler, aiding and abetting the Nazi extermination of Jews.
Al-Husseini was also linked to the 1929 massacre of Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron and to other acts of incitement that resulted in death and destruction in what was then called Palestine. Some Palestinians have expressed a desire to preserve the building as a tribute to Husseini.

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Obama Middle East policy

Barry Rubin is certainly right that too many people are trying to "explain" US Middle East policy. If it was working, there would be no need to explain. How does one explain pressing Israel for concessions while Arabs remain intransigent and the Fatah prepares for a conference that promises to bolster every anti-peace position in the Palestinian polity, in order to out Hamas the Hamas?  

How does the USA explain that despite its "unbreakable bond" with Israel, it never bothered itself to recognize that even West Jerusalem is a part of Israel?

Obama Middle East Policy: Clueless is an Understatement

By Barry Rubin

The best thing to read about Western Middle East policy is Richard Dowden writing about some of the anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa, in his book Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. The difference is that in Africa there are also some good anti-AIDS campaigns. He explains:

"It is these vital cultural perceptions that outsiders miss when they rush to save Africa from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The bring with them quick, slick jingles and images thought up in…New York, London or Paris and try to impose them on…rural and shanty-town Africa. Often they do not even know they are imposing anything. They have no idea that they are in a different cultural world. When the results don't work, they become frustrated and angry and start muttering about stupid Africans."

Well, there are some differences. The problems with the Middle East are not just cultural but also ideological, historical, and political, too. And when the results don't work, they start muttering about stupid Israelis.

And the amazing thing is that they never learn. Here is President Obama's Middle East envoy, as quoted in the New York Times:

"George J. Mitchell likes to remind people that he labored for 700 days before reaching the Good Friday accord that brought peace to Northern Ireland. So the fact that Mr. Mitchell has shuttled back and forth to the Middle East for the last 190 days without any breakthroughs, he said, does not mean that President Obama's push for peace there is stalled."

True, the length of time alone does not prove failure, though it can be an indication. For the record, U.S. policymakers have been working on Israeli-Palestinian peace since 1974 which is roughly 12,775 days. Moreover, there is the not unimportant detail that in Northern Ireland, both sides wanted peace while in the Middle East only Israel (along with the Egyptian and Jordanian governments) does...
Mitchell explains:

"One of the public misimpressions is that it's all been about settlements. It is completely inaccurate to portray this as, 'We're only asking the Israelis to do things.' We are asking everybody to do things." Continued - Obama Middle East Policy: Clueless is an Understatement

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Blow to family values? Jordan bans hymen examinations for would-be brides

Last update - 14:41 03/08/2009       
Jordan bans hymen examinations for would-be brides
A top-level panel of Islamic scholars in Jordan have issued a judgement that bans the examination of a bride-to-be's virginity even if it is requested by her fiance, local newspapers reported Monday.
"The examination of hymens is taboo because the genitals of both men and women should not be exposed except out of necessity," according to the judgement issued by the state-funded Council of Eftaa and Islamic Studies.
However, the Jordanian council permitted such examination of a woman's hymen if it were requested by "judicial authorities" for the resolution of disputes.
The panel said that it adopted this opinion in response to reports of an increasing number of cases of citizens asking the country's National Forensic Centre (NFC) to conduct virginity tests.
The NFC reportedly dealt with at least 1,200 such cases last year.
According to strict Islamic teachings, women are barred from sexual intercourse before marriage.

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Christians in Muslim society - once again

Is there any place in the Muslim world that offers a welcome to Christians comparable to the rights they enjoy in Israel ?
GOJRA, Pakistan — The blistered black walls of the Hameed family's bedroom tell of an unspeakable crime. Seven family members died here on Saturday, six of them burned to death by a mob that had broken into their house and shot the grandfather dead, just because they were Christian.
The family had huddled in the bedroom, talking in whispers with their backs pressed against the door, as the mob taunted them.
"They said, 'If you come out, we'll kill you,' " said Ikhlaq Hameed, 22, who escaped. Among the dead were two children, Musa, 6, and Umaya, 13.
The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.
More than 100 Christian houses were burned and looted on Saturday in a rampage that lasted about eight hours by a crowd the authorities estimate was as large as 20,000 strong. In addition to the seven members of the Hameed family who were killed, about 20 people were wounded.
The authorities, who said the Koran accusation was spurious, filed criminal charges in the case late Sunday and apprehended at least 12 people. Officials said a banned Sunni militant group, Sipah-e-Sohaba, was among those responsible for the attacks, the third convulsion of anti-Christian mob violence in the region in the past four weeks.
Christians, who make up less than 5 percent of the entire population, are often treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan, where Islam is the official religion. Non-Muslims are constitutionally barred from becoming president or prime minister.
While some Christians rise to become government officials or run businesses, the poorest work the country's worst jobs, as toilet cleaners and street sweepers.
It was the poorest class who lived in Christian Colony, a small enclave of bare brick houses where the mob struck Saturday. Its residents work as day laborers and peddlers in the market, often earning far less than the minimum wage, $75 a month.
The Hameeds were having breakfast when the mob descended, wielding guns, hurling stones and shouting insults ("Dogs!" "American agents!") through their window. The Hameeds did not appear to have been singled out but had the misfortune of living where the mob entered the neighborhood and happened to be home at the time.
When the grandfather, Hameed Pannun Khan, 75, a house painter, opened the door to see what was happening, he was shot in the temple and crumpled to the ground. The crowd then pushed inside, and the rest of the family — at least 10 people — fled to the back bedroom and locked themselves inside. They listened from behind the door as the mob looted the house, dragging away a refrigerator and a cupboard.
Then came the smoke, thick white plumes under the door.
"Everyone was shouting to escape," said Umer Hameed, 18. "There was no oxygen."
They waited as long as they could, until they thought it was safe, and then made a run for it, but not everybody made it. Three women, the two children and a man were trapped when the roof collapsed in flames.
As he ran, Ikhlaq Hameed glanced back and saw his aunt. "She tried to come out, but the fire caught her," he said. "The fire was on her face."
The rampage began Thursday in a nearby village when Christians at a wedding party were accused of burning a Koran. Few here believed that, and state and federal officials who looked into the case said it was false. Still, local mullahs seized on the news, filing a blasphemy case against the Christian family.
"We were afraid because the clerics had been railing against us in the mosques," said Riaz Masih, a Christian and retired math teacher whose house was gutted. "They said, 'Let's teach them a lesson.' "
Pakistan's blasphemy law has been criticized as too broad, and many legal experts say it has been badly misused since its introduction in the 1980s by the military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq. Anyone can file a charge, which is then often used to stir hatred and to justify sectarian violence.
"The blasphemy law is being used to terrorize minorities in Pakistan," said Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister of minority affairs, in an interview in Gojra on Sunday.
The attackers here left a singed trail of destruction in their wake. The Hameeds' house was a charred shell, its central room a heap of twisted fans, bicycles, children's toys and a collapsed cage that had kept pet parrots. The kitchen was empty except for a teapot and a half-burned English dictionary open to the word "immoral."
Their neighbor, a grain seller, Iqbal Masih (whose surname means "a follower of Jesus"), stood looking dazed, his dried corn spilled on the heap of twisted metal wheels that had been his sales cart. A chest for his daughter's dowry had been destroyed.
Typical of such attacks, the police, overwhelmed by the mob, did little to stand in its way.
Christians here protested all day on Sunday, blocking the roads and refusing to bury the Hameeds until the authorities filed a criminal case. Late Sunday the authorities did, and the bodies were buried. That was little comfort to the Hameeds.
"Everything is gone now," said Ikhlaq, his hand and arm blistered. "Our family. Our house. We don't want to live here anymore."
Waqar Gillani contributed reporting.

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About Jerusalem Demography

The impudence of those who insist that Israel is "ethnically cleansing" Jerusalem of its Arab population is a source of continual amazement. These facts stand out:
1. It was the Arabs and not the Jews who ethnically cleansed Jerusalem in 1948 - evicting the Jewish population of East Jerusalem.
2. During the 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation, no Jews were allowed to live in East Jerusalem
3. There are more Arabs living in Jerusalem today than ever before in recorded history.
Ami Isseroff
JAMES CARROLL'S "A shared Jerusalem'' distorts facts and omits key information regarding Arab population growth and home-building in Israel's capital. Carroll deplores "the steady Jewish population increase in the disputed part of Jerusalem,'' saying this occurs "in combination with the Jerusalem municipality's ongoing demolition of Palestinians' homes, constructed without permits.''
Yet Jerusalem's Arab population grew much faster than its Jewish population, rising from 25 percent of the total in 1967 to 35 percent in 2008. Likewise, Arabs have enjoyed a building boom in the city as Palestinian demographer Khalil Tufakji candidly observed in a CNN interview, stating: "We can build inside Jerusalem, legal, illegal, rebuild a house. . . Maybe we lose 10 houses [to demolition], but in the end we build 40 more houses in East Jerusalem.''
Arabs and Jews have equal access to building permits, pay the same costs, and experience the same waiting period to get approvals. Some in both groups sidestep the law and build illegally, then face removal - just as in Boston or any other city with zoning laws.
Carroll also neglects to mention concerted Arab efforts to alter Jerusalem's demographic and housing realities. Natan Sharansky, then minister of housing, reported in 2002 that at least 40,000 housing units had been built with Saudi money for political purposes.
Casting Israel as the heavy while ignoring Palestinian activity in Jerusalem may suit an ideological preference, but it's inconsistent with the realities.
Andrea Levin
Executive director Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

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Mother of murdered Iranian protestor continues to defy regime

This Spiegel interview underlines the stubborn persistence of the opposition to tyranny in Iran.  
'We Will Continue to Fight'
Tehran reform supporter Parvin Fahimi, 52, talks about the killing of her son Sohrab Aarabi, says she doesn't believe the government's claim that it will investigate the violence against demonstrators and dismisses the trials being held against protesters as a mockery to justice.

SPIEGEL: Last Thursday, many again answered the call of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to join a mourning march. Was it comforting for you that so many people took to the streets?
Fahimi: It shows me how great the sympathy is and that Sohrab didn't die in vain for his ideals.
SPIEGEL: Protesters were attacked again.
Fahimi: There were a large number of security forces at the cemetery, including plain clothes officers, in order to intimidate us. Only this time they weren't as brutal as before. The regime is aware that the world is paying close attention to its actions. But there were still many arrests. We will continue to fight.
SPIEGEL: The occasion for the protest march was the 40th day after the death of protester Neda Agha Soltan. Will there be further actions of this type?
Fahimi: This is a very important form of protest. Prior to the protest, our former President Mohammed Khatami visited me and -- as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had done -- also assured me that the deaths of the young people would be atoned for. On the 40th day marking the death of Sohrab, we will also mourn publicly.
SPIEGEL: Do you believe the government's claims that it will investigate the assaults?
Fahimi: I cannot take them seriously. The government has had enough time to make an effort to clarify the events, but nothing has happened.
SPIEGEL: Can the trials against the arrested protesters aid in clearing up what happened?
Fahimi: At these political trials at the Revolutionary Court, people are being branded "insurgents." To say that this will serve justice is a mockery.


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About Jerusalem: Poor misunderstood George Mitchell and Uncle Sam

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell believes people are misinterpreting the Obama administration's pressure on Israel as well as the Arab response to Washington's regional peace push.

"One of the public misimpressions is that it's all been about settlements," Mitchell told the New York Times in an interview published Sunday. "It is completely inaccurate to portray this as, 'We're only asking the Israelis to do things.' We are asking everybody to do things."


"These are discussions among friends, not disputes among adversaries."

Like the song says, "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good; please don't let me be misunderstood."

There are two types of quarrels: Those based on misunderstanding, and those based on understanding only too well.

What George Mitchell is asking Israel to do is to give up its capital city. What are friends for after all, if not to oblige other friends with little favors like that? This is an even handed policy. The Saudis are asked to allow Israeli overflights (and refuse) and Israel is asked to renounce sovereignty over its capital city. Everybody is asked to do something for the cause, and to please smile while doing it.

The heart of the disagreement is that the US insists that Jerusalem is just another "settlement," that the US does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem, and that they can and should dictate to Israel what policies to adopt in Jerusalem and when and where to build. The most recent "misunderstanding" was a public and ugly US protest against removal of illegal Palestinian occupants squatting in propery owned by Jews. It may not be wise for Israel to build in areas that might be subject to future negotiations, but it certainly understandable that Israel will enforce Israeli law, backed by a supreme court decision, in an area that is declared by Israel to be under its sovereignty. There is no misunderstanding. The problem is not that the United States wants Israel to negotiate, but rather that the US is telling Israel and the world that there is nothing to negotiate about in Jerusalem, since the city does not belong to Israel according to them, but to a hypothetical international administration or Palestinian state. This is not a disagreement among friends. It is a hostile diplomatic act. In the 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem, the United States did not once protest any Jordanian action, including the building of King Hussein's summer house, or the wrecking of the last remnants of the Jewish quarter and the Jewish cemetery in the Mount of Olives.

There is no misunderstanding of US policy in this regard whatever and the policy is unmistakable. The United States does not recognize any part of Jerusalem, East or West, as part of Israel, and certainly not as Israel's capital city. UN Security Council Resolution 250 condemned Israel for holding a military parade (the Independence Day parade) in Jerusalem in 1968. The parade was held in West Jerusalem only. The United States did not veto the resolution. The Web site of the United States Conuslate in Jerusalem is all about Palestinian Arabs - in the West Bank and in Gaza. Not a word about Jews, though Jerusalem has a Jewish majority. The consulate refuses to recognize that there are Jews living in any part of Jerusalem it seems. Are they trying to tell us something?

Perhaps some of the misunderstanding is caused by the reticence of the Israeli government, which has never openly protested against the hostile policy of the United States. On the one hand, Israeli governments grandiosely proclaim that "United Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Israel." On the other hand, no Israeli government has seriously tried to get the United States to recognize even Kiriat Hayovel and Rehavia as part of Israel.

West Jerusalem, of course, has been part of Israel since 1948, but the US, to placate Arab opinion, continues to pretend that the internationalization of Jerusalem mandated by the UN in 1947 is a reality. The policy of the United States government regarding Jerusalem is contrary to its own laws, since the 1995: Jerusalem Embassy Act mandated that the United States recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and mandated that the embassy must be moved there and that US citizens born in Jerusalem be registered as having been born in Israel. Using a hypocritical loophole, the law has been ignored by successive presidents. If you think this policy is bizarre, you can write to the consulate at and to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:, U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, 202-647-4000

Ami Isseroff

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Fresh rumors and leaks of Iran Sanctions

It is hard to know if this NYT article about contemplated sanctions says anything new or genuine. The fuel sanctions against Iran have been discussed and the congressional bill is public knowledge. Likewise, the supposed September deadline is also public knowledge. Considering that the United States has done nothing about Iran whatever in recent months, that's a lot of publicity for a non-policy that does nothing, and the New York Times observation that "The White House has been extraordinarily tight-lipped about its Iran strategy, and has not publicly discussed the legislation" is simply untrue. On the contrary, it is much ado about nothing whatever so far.
In a humorous twist, the bill to give President Obama the power to impose fuel sanctions, which was sponsored by the Obama administration, was condemned by an anti-Israel "Jewish" lobby, which urged its members to "Support President Obama" by protesting the legislation! How could opposition to a bill that enlarges presidential power be construed as "support for the President?
After the US and other countries frittered away the time for several years, the following comment is really an insult to our intelligence:
"The question we have to face," one American diplomat said, "is whether any sanction at this point can really deter them, given how close they are now."
The accurate description of the "Iran Strategy" seems to be to wait until it's too late to do anything, and then say, "Well it's too late to do anything."
The article is below.
Ami Isseroff
August 3, 2009
U.S. Weighs Iran Sanctions if Talks Are Rejected
The Obama administration is talking with allies and Congress about the possibility of imposing an extreme economic sanction against Iran if it fails to respond to President Obama's offer to negotiate on its nuclear program: cutting off the country's imports of gasoline and other refined oil products.

The option of acting against companies around the world that supply Iran with 40 percent of its gasoline has been broached with European allies and Israel, officials from those countries said. Legislation that would give Mr. Obama that authority already has 71 sponsors in the Senate and similar legislation is expected to sail through the House.
In a visit to Israel last week, Mr. Obama's national security adviser, James L. Jones, mentioned the prospect to Israeli officials, they said.
The White House refused Sunday to confirm or deny the contents of Mr. Jones's discussions. But other administration officials said that they believed his goal was to reinforce Mr. Obama's argument that the Israeli government should stop dropping hints about conducting a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities if no progress is made this year, and to give the administration time to impose what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls "crippling sanctions" that might force Iran to negotiate.
The Bush administration considered, and rejected, trying to engineer a cutoff of gasoline to Iran, which produces oil but does not have enough refining capacity to meet its own needs for gasoline.
But enforcing what would amount to a gasoline embargo has long been considered risky and extremely difficult; it would require the participation of Russia and China, among others that profit from trade with Iran. Iran has threatened to respond by cutting off oil exports and closing shipping traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, at a moment that the world economy is highly vulnerable.
Mr. Obama has said nothing in public about the possibility since a presidential debate last October with Senator John McCain of Arizona. "If we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need, and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis," Mr. Obama said at the time. "That starts putting the squeeze on them."
Now, the White House will not discuss the issue at all. Denis McDonough, a deputy national security adviser, said the administration would not comment on any of its private discussions with allies. But European diplomats confirm that in recent weeks they have held private talks with administration officials about whether to move toward such a sanction if Iran ignores Mr. Obama's deadline to begin talks by the opening of the United Nations session in mid-September.
Assessing how effective such a cutoff might be — even if Russia, China and most of Europe went along — has been complicated by the political turmoil inside Iran.
Some analysts have argued that the action could further destabilize a weakened regime; others say it could be exploited by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to change the subject from the still-challenged presidential election to Iran's confrontation with the West.
"Draconian sanctions did not make sense in 2005 and 2006," said R. Nicholas Burns, who led the Bush administration's Iran strategy as under secretary of state for policy. "But given the new weakness and vulnerability of the Ahmadinejad government, much tougher sanctions make sense now, with one caveat," he said in an interview. Congress, he said, must give Mr. Obama complete flexibility to threaten, impose or waive the sanctions, if he has any hope of holding together a coalition of countries.
Mr. Burns and other Iran experts testified last week at a hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee, whose chairman, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, declared that "our job is to arm the president with a comprehensive set of tough sanctions designed to ratchet up pressure on the Iranian regime."
Some of the co-sponsors say the Senate bill, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, is a more prudent way to deal with Iran's nuclear program than authorizing the president to use military means if necessary, as the Senate did for President George W. Bush when he was confronting Saddam Hussein.
There is similar legislation in the House, and Representative Jane Harman, a California Democrat active in intelligence and national security issues, said over the weekend that "most people think that this is how you really hurt Iran." She predicted the bill would "breeze through" both houses of Congress.
But easy passage would not make the sanctions any easier to carry out. As the Bush administration discovered as it pushed through three mild sanctions resolutions at the United Nations, Iran has enormous leverage over companies and countries dependent on its oil production. As Mr. Burns warned, "If Americans are the only ones sanctioning, those sanctions will not succeed."
One of the Iran experts who testified last week, Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution, cautioned that Iran was so porous it could circumvent an oil cutoff, and that the potential for confrontation would be high. "The Iranians are not terribly good at capitulation," Ms. Maloney said. "This is a regime that tends to believe the best defense is a good offense."
The legislation would impose sanctions on any company that sold or delivered gasoline to Iran, cutting it off from selling to the United States government and seeking to freeze its financing or shipping insurance. But many experts fear that true enforcement would require patrols off the Iranian coast, and that could lead to confrontations with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The White House has been extraordinarily tight-lipped about its Iran strategy, and has not publicly discussed the legislation. But already it has become part of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering with Israel. Israeli officials have argued in recent weeks that the American unwillingness to confront North Korea more forcefully as it develops a nuclear program was evidence that the United States might be willing to tolerate an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.
Mr. Obama's aides, in return, worry that the Israelis are trying to force action too soon by shortening their estimate of how long it would take Iran to manufacture a weapon. In fact, no one knows how quickly it might be able to do so, but it has already solved many of the technological problems.
"The question we have to face," one American diplomat said, "is whether any sanction at this point can really deter them, given how close they are now."

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Cheery News: Iran can build a nuclear weapon any time they want

Many have long suspected that Iran can build a nuclear weapon. The Sunday Times claims they have some proof.  Of course, the ability to "build a bomb" does not guarantee that it is a practical bomb that could fit in a warhead. The Iranians may have a primitive detonation mechanism for a heavy and crude "gun" type bomb, but not a sophisticated implosion detonator. The difference is that the gun type device would require a much larger quantity of fissionable material (80-90% highly enriched Uranium-235 or Plutonum-239)  to get to critical mass - about 50 KG ,and the entire device would not be usable in a missile warhead. An implosion device would push all the fissionable material together at once, and would require much less than 10 KG of fissile uranium.
Now it is seems that that is precisely the claim being made by the Sunday Times, which claims Iran has perfected a "multipoint initiation system" Multipoint initiation systems are usually associated with non-nuclear fragmentation explosives, but  could apparently be used to build an implosion system for a nuclear device. 
Sunday Times has in the past predicted several Israeli attacks on Iran that never happened, and is responsible for many other canards, but this report cannot be ignored, because in fact, it is at least partly corroborated by previous IAEA evidence as well as US National Intelligence Estimate information.  Hopefully, if there are such British intelligence sources, they have also been talking to the Americans. But that is not necessarily the case. British Intelligence was rather surprised at the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that announced that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.
An earlier New York Times story described a secret part of the NIE that supposedly reported on Iranian activities that were unmonitored and could be nuclear weapons development sites:
The public version made only glancing reference to evidence described at great length in the 140-page classified version of the assessment: the suspicion that Iran had 10 or 15 other nuclear-related facilities, never opened to international inspectors, where enrichment activity, weapons work or the manufacturing of centrifuges might be taking place.
According to the Sunday Times story:
James Hider, Richard Beeston in Tel Aviv and Michael Evans, Defence Editor
Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times.
The sources said that Iran completed a research programme to create weaponised uranium in the summer of 2003 and that it could feasibly make a bomb within a year of an order from its Supreme Leader.
A US National Intelligence Estimate two years ago concluded that Iran had ended its nuclear arms research programme in 2003 because of the threat from the American invasion of Iraq. But intelligence sources have told The Times that Tehran had halted the research because it had achieved its aim — to find a way of detonating a warhead that could be launched on its long-range Shehab-3 missiles.
They said that, should Ayatollah Khamenei approve the building of a nuclear device, it would take six months to enrich enough uranium and another six months to assemble the warhead. The Iranian Defence Ministry has been running a covert nuclear research department for years, employing hundreds of scientists, researchers and metallurgists in a multibillion-dollar programme to develop nuclear technology alongside the civilian nuclear programme.
"The main thing (in 2003) was the lack of fissile material, so it was best to slow it down," the sources said. "We think that the leader himself decided back then (to halt the programme), after the good results."
Iran's scientists have been trying to master a method of detonating a bomb known as the "multipoint initiation system" — wrapping highly enriched uranium in high explosives and then detonating it. The sources said that the Iranian Defence Ministry had used a secret internal agency called Amad ("Supply" in Farsi), led by Mohsin Fakhri Zadeh, a physics professor and senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council.
The system operates by creating a series of explosive grooves on a metal hemisphere covering the uranium, which links explosives-filled holes opening onto a layer of high explosives enveloping the uranium. By detonating the explosives at either pole at the same time, the method ensures simultaneous impact around the sphere to achieve critical density.
"If the Supreme Leader takes the decision (to build a bomb), we assess they have to enrich low-enriched uranium to highly-enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, which could take six months, depending on how many centrifuges are operating. We don't know if the decision was made yet," said the intelligence sources, adding that Iran could have created smaller, secret facilities, other than those at the heavily guarded bunker at Natanz to develop materials for a first bomb. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency only keep tabs on fissile material produced at monitored sites and not the number of centrifuges that Iran has built.
Washington has given Iran until next month to open talks on resolving the nuclear crisis, although hopes of any constructive engagement have dimmed since the regime's crackdown on pro-reformist protesters after June's disputed presidential elections.
Ehud Barak, Israel's Defence Minister, last week reiterated that a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities was still an option, should the talks fail. Israeli officials estimate that a raid on Natanz and a nuclear facility at Arak, in central Iran, would set Iran's nuclear programme back by two to three years.
An Israeli official said that Iran had poured billions of dollars over three decades into a two-pronged "master plan" to build a nuclear bomb. He said that Iran had enriched 1,010kg of uranium to 3.9 per cent, which would be sufficient for 30kg of highly enriched uranium at 95 per cent. About 30kg is needed to build one bomb.
British intelligence services are familiar with the secret information about Iran's experiments, sources at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. Although British agencies did not have their own "independent evidence" that Iran had successfully tested the explosive component of a nuclear warhead, they said there was no reason to doubt the assessment.
If Iran's leader does decide to build a bomb, he will have two choices, intelligence sources said. One would be to take the high-risk approach of kicking out the international inspectors and making a sprint to complete Iran's first bomb, as the country weathered international sanctions or possible air strikes in the ensuing crisis. The other would be to covertly develop the materials needed for an arsenal in secret desert facilities.
The suspicion is not new. An IAEA report in 2008 cited similar evidence:

The first charge is that Iran is suspected of conducting high explosives testing. This includes work with exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonators and a detonator firing unit, which could be used for triggering a nuclear weapon; 500 EBW detonators were tested.

In addition, a five-page document described experiments for a "complex multipoint initiation system" to "detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry" that could be employed in an implosion-type nuclear device.

Both Israeli and Western intelligence have claimed that Iran would not have a bomb plus delivery system until 2014. In addition to the implosion detonator and the required quantity of fissile material, the Iranians would require a delivery system. Recently tested solid state long range missiles may provide that piece of the puzzle, and may be ready sooner than was previously thought. It is true that recent instability might make the regime more vulnerable to sanctions, but it also may cause the regime to adopt an agressive line against the west in order to promote national unity and restore its legitimacy.

Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

South Lebanon Arms cache: Hezbollah Runs Lebanon's Foreign Ministry

Actually, it seems we have to conclude that Hezbollah runs much more than just the Lebanese Foreign Ministry.
August 02/09

It has become clear even to the blind that the Lebanese state is massively dominated by the Hezbollah Mullah's leadership. This terrorist militant organization boldly dictates its Iranian decrees on all the Lebanese officials and institutions, manipulates their activities and greatly influences the whole country's decision making process through cancerous infiltration, intimidation, and multifold tactics of terrorism. Not even one decision could be made by the Lebanese government or any of its institutions without Hezbollah's approval.
In this context, Hezbollah forced the Lebanese state to adopt all its derailed concepts, vicious justifications, bizarre explanations and plain fabrications in a bid to camouflage and cover up the actual causes of the massive series of explosions that occurred on July 14/09 in the southern Lebanese town of Khirbat Silm, located about 10 miles north of the Israeli-Lebanese border. In fact, Khirbat Silm was hit seriously due to a series of Hezbollah's huge underground weaponry caches.
Observers and local residents have confirmed that the Hezbollah militiamen did not allow the Lebanese army or the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to approach the scene of the blast until after they had removed all the burned weapons and ammunition, and transferred all the weapons that did not explode to nearby depots located in a number of civilian houses in the town itself.
The Hezbollah civilian militiamen with their families in the town attacked the UNIFIL soldiers (French contingent) with stones when they tried to search the houses close to the explosion location injuring 14 of them and aborting their search assignment.
At a time when Hezbollah leaders boast and brag openly that their stockpiles of missiles have doubled, their military capabilities are increasing and that they are militarily still as strong in the southern region adjacent to the Israeli borders as they were before the war in July 2006, the Lebanese state only buries its head in the sand and adopts stances that are childish, forged, naive and void from any kind of actuality or credibility.
Official statements issued by the UNIFIL forces confirmed clearly and explicitly that the weaponry caches that exploded in the town of Khirbat Silm belonged to Hezbollah and tagged the incident as a serious violation of  UN Security Council Resolution 1701, notably the provision stating that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of its operations between the Litani River and the Blue Line.
In spite of the solid facts that the UNIFIL statements presented, the Lebanese authorities turned a blind eye on all the infringements that were committed by Hezbollah, not only in regard to the explosion of its weaponry caches, but also on the two others incidents that targeted the UNIFIL forces afterwards that were engineered and executed by Hezbollah
In the first incident, about 100 of Hezbollah's civilians from the residents of the town of Khirbat Silm threw stones at the UNIFIL soldiers and injured 14 of them. In the second incident, a group of Hezbollah civilians crossed the Green Line of the Israeli-Lebanese border near Shabaa Farms and overran a non-guarded Israeli post.
Meanwhile, the letter that the Lebanese Foreign Ministry sent to the United Nations regarding the Khirbat Silm explosions and the incidents that followed was void of any credibility, childish, and a mere mouthpiece for Hezbollah's stances. Anyone who had thoroughly read the letter would have known immediately that it was written by the Hezbollah leadership and not by the Lebanese Foreign Affairs diplomats.
The Lebanese political analyst, Bechara
Charbel, described the letter as a "diplomatic joke" and said: "It would be great to know who is that genius diplomat that wrote the letter to the United Nations addressing the Khirbat Silm explosions because it is so bad and so fake that he in return deserves to be stripped of his university degrees, fired from his job, slapped on the face and  kicked on the back".
The letter alleged that the explosions were due to a fire breaking out in an abandoned building that housed un­exploded munitions from the summer 2006 war with Israel.  It stressed that cooperation between the Lebanese Army and  UNIFIL was strong, adding that Lebanon was fully committed to the implementation of Resolution 1701,  and that an investigation committee was formed by the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL officers to supervise the scene of the explosion.  According to the letter, the investigations had been launched the day after the explosion, "because experts judged working the first day to be too dangerous since explosions continued until late July 14". The letter said that the Lebanese soldiers stayed on location despite possible hazards, adding that one soldier had been injured.
The letter goes on to say that the investigations had revealed that the unexploded ammunitions bore writings in Hebrew and were of the type used during the summer 2006 war. It slammed Israel's claims that Hezbollah endangered civilians by storing its weapons in populated areas. "Israel is trying to justify any future deliberate attack on Lebanese civilians," the letter said.  
Regarding the July 18 incident in which a UNIFIL team investigating the blast was hampered by civilians from the Khirbat Silm town, the Foreign Ministry's letter revealed the Lebanese Army had decided to investigate leaks that unexploded ammunitions might have been transferred to three houses in Khirbet Silim.  "UNIFIL was informed and decided to crack down on the three houses without being escorted by the Lebanese Army," the letter said. "Clashes with the residents ensued," it added.
"As a result, 14 UNIFIL personnel were slightly injured". 
The letter is not only diplomatic nonsense, but also a stupid joke and a mere forgery of the facts. For heaven sake, is there any sane individual that would take such a report seriously and grant any kind of credibility to those who wrote it and to the Lebanese government that adopted it? Definitely no one if we exclude Hezbollah and its Iranian masters, the Mullahs.
It is sad, shameful and heretical that the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Fawzi Salloukh, is actually Hezbollah's Minister for Foreign Affairs and has nothing to do with Lebanon.  He is Hezbollah's man and its diplomatic mouthpiece.

In conclusion, Lebanon will remain a mere hostage, and will not become a free, democratic, and independent country again until the terrorist organization Hezbollah is dismantled and disarmed

Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator

Web sites &

Continued (Permanent Link)

Israel FM Lieberman on Iran in interview with El Comercio, Peru

FM Liberman interview with El Comercio, Peru

This visit is intended to strengthen bilateral ties between Israel and the countries of the region. One of Liberman's aims is to counter the growing Iranian influence in Latin America.
Published in El Comercio, 29 July 2009
(Translated from Spanish)
Interviewer: The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, is on a tour that has taken him through various Latin American countries. The leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party visited Brazil, Argentina, and our country and was staying in Colombia at press time. As one of Liberman's aims is to counter the growing Iranian influence in our region, El Comercio took the opportunity to talk with him about the issue.
Q: This visit to Peru is part of a Latin American tour, one of whose purposes is countering the Iranian influence in the region. What response have you received from the various countries you visited?
Liberman: There have been several responses. We are not asking countries to decide in accordance with Israeli interests, as we understand very well that everyone has their own. The most important thing is to know the facts well, and that was our task: to present them as we see them ourselves. First, we saw how the election in Iran ended and the government's response to the legitimate demonstrations of the Iranian youth. If the government itself is willing to kill its young people, it is clear to us that it is a vicious regime and that it will not let any kind of democratic considerations stop it. The live broadcast of the death of a young woman is one of the most horrific images I have seen in recent years.
Also, in the two terrorist attacks that were perpetrated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, against the Israeli embassy (1992) and the Jewish community building, AMIA (1994), hundreds of people died and hundreds more were injured. Most of those killed were not Israelis or Jews but Argentineans. An Argentine judge issued an international arrest warrant against eight Iranians who were heads of intelligence of Iran. Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons, and almost every day the Iranian president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) denies the existence of the Holocaust. Every day he calls to expel all Jews from Israel and disperse them in the European countries again. They finance all terrorist acts and organizations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Iraq. That is why it is important that the facts be known so that reasonable people may draw their own conclusions.
Q: The Iranian government is strengthening links with governments such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. How dangerous do you consider Iran's influence in our region to be?
Liberman: It is quite dangerous. We can see that the government of Hugo Chavez is trying to influence several of its neighbors, interfering in their internal processes. Bolivia is doing the same thing and we can see it even in Peru. Chavez is someone who completely denies access to freedom of speech and information. It is no coincidence that he has rigged the Constitution so that he can be elected to infinity, and he has shut down a television station and several newspapers that did not agree with him. So, very clear conclusions may be drawn.
Q: What are they? Can you tell us?
Liberman: I do not want to give advice. But they are trying to develop anti-democratic, terrorist activities, and this will hurt all those involved. You must draw your own conclusions.
Q: You met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is going to hold a meeting with his Iranian counterpart. Are you concerned that this meeting is going to take place?
Liberman: I had a very good meeting with President Lula. As I said earlier, everyone has their own interests. We have different opinions and it is very difficult to change them in a single meeting. Our task is to put forward our concerns and request the change.
Q: The tour includes Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia, but not Iran's allies, such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Have you had any contact to discuss the issue of Iran?
Liberman: Bolivia and Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with us and La Paz did it two days after receiving a high-level Iranian delegation. The Israeli Minister of Infrastructure will travel to Ecuador in a short time. But I want to emphasize that Iran was not the main issue, there were many other topics. This visit is intended to strengthen bilateral ties between Israel and the countries of the region.
Q; What progress has been made with Peru?
Liberman: Here I met with the President (Alan García), with the Foreign Minister (José Antonio García Belaunde), with the Minister of Defense (Rafael Rey), and with the President of the Congress (Luis Alva Castro), and we had very good meetings. We talked about many issues, such as economic development. The investments of Israeli companies in Peru now reach six hundred million dollars and we plan to double that amount in the next few years. We have also signed an agreement under which visas are no longer necessary to travel between our countries, so we are expecting bilateral tourism to grow.
Q: Is it a time of greater rapprochement between Israel and Peru?
Liberman: There are many points of rapprochement. For instance, at the parliamentary level, there is a Peru-Israel friendship group, several members of which have recently traveled to our country and another group will be traveling in a few months. There has been an exchange all along. There are thousands of Peruvians who were trained by Israel in the field of agriculture and, of course, we must mention the influence of the Jewish community that lives here in Peru, which in some ways is the bridge between the two countries.
Q: Due to the Palestinian conflict, today there are conflicting positions between the government of Barack Obama and that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu...
Liberman: Even among friends there are sometimes disagreements. We cannot agree one hundred percent of the time. There is a very positive dialogue and we must remember that today (27 July), the special envoy of the United States, George Mitchell, is in Jerusalem and yesterday (26 July), the Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates) was there.
Q: One of the most significant points of the disagreement between the two governments is the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It is precisely in that area that you have your residence...
Liberman: I would say that there are errors of understanding about historical processes. We must remember that settlements appeared after the Six-Day War of 1967. The first settlements appeared in 1968-1969, but the question is what happened during the nineteen years between 1948 and 1967, when there were no settlements. The situation was exactly the same as today. There was friction, tension, and terrorism. We must remember that during those nineteen years the Arab countries controlled the West Bank and during that stage no one wanted to create a Palestinian state. All the organizations such as the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and Fatah were created before 1967. We can go further back: what happened in 1948, before the establishment of the State of Israel? The situation was the same: tension, friction, and terrorism. Therefore focusing the whole problem on the issue of the settlements is a mistake.
Q: Even though the topic is fairly complex, what is then the solution proposed by the Israeli government for the conflict with Palestine?
Liberman: The solution is quite simple. Peace cannot be imposed, it must be created. It cannot be achieved from one day to the next. We have to create several stages: economic security, physical security, stability, and only then can there be peace. You cannot skip any of these requirements to reach the end point. What the Oslo Accords tried to do since 1993 has been to skip these three points. The last three governments of (Ehud) Barak, (Ariel) Sharon, and (Ehud) Olmert offered almost everything, but achieved nothing.

Continued (Permanent Link)

'Moderate' Palestinians adament about inflexible Jerusalem demands

Prospects for peace look slim even if Israel freezes all settlement activity, or even if Israel dismantles settlements as weill as outposts. The most moderate of Palestinians insist on "Full Sovereignty" in East Jerusalem, reinstating and perpetuating the Arab ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Jerusalem  that took place in 1948. Likewise, Jews would once again lose control over, and access to the wailing wall, the Mount of Olives cemetery and  the campus of Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.
Fayyad: East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine
Published today (updated) 01/08/2009 17:19

Bethlehem – Ma'an – East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, and the future state must have full sovereignty over it, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
said near Ramallah on Saturday.

Speaking at a conference organized by Birzeit University's Institute for Palestine studies entitled, "Jerusalem: History of the Future," Fayyad said
that peace in the region depended on protection of the Palestinian capital.

"The conference's title bears a meaning that all of us believe in, which is that the future of the national project and the future of a comprehensive peace in the region are both dependent on protecting Jerusalem, its status, its history, and Palestinian rights in the city," the prime minister added.

He said that achieving these rights would be key to peace, security and stability in the region, and that any Israeli attempt to trespass on these rights would be doomed to fail. He reiterated that a future Palestinian state must have full sovereignty over its capital.
Indeed, the history of Jerusalem must be protected. Its actual history as the capital city of the Jewish people, not the invented "narrative" of the Palestinian Arabs. Jerusalem is not a settlement, Mrs. Clinton.
Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

Netanyahu: We uprooted citizens from Gaza, and now it is a terror base

Anyone who lectures and pressures Israel about "concessions" and wonders why Israel is not eager to make such concesions must study the lesson of the Gaza diisengagement.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 12:26 02/08/2009       
PM: We uprooted citizens from Gaza, and now it is a terror base
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked on the four-year anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that "Israel uprooted 10,000 of its citizens from their homes and Gaza has turned into a terror base under the control of Hamas, and sponsored by Iran."
"I want to stress the fact that we are committed to the full rehabilitation of those uprooted, and the cabinet will discuss the matter next week," Netanyahu added.
"We will not put up with rocket fire [from Gaza] into our communities. We will decisively respond to every attack," the prime minister went on to declare. "Peace will once again be based on reciprocation."

"Israel expects the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, it expects that the refugee issue be resolved outside of Israel and the implementation of effective security solutions with international guarantees -  all these are conditions for the advancement of a sustainable and stable peace agreement," Netanyahu explained.
The prime minister said furthermore that Israel was ready to relaunch peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, with Syria and with any other Arab nation with no preconditions.
"Anyone who insists on preconditions is standing in the way of peace talks," he said....

Continued (Permanent Link)

Socialist summer camp for "neo-con Zionists"

Perhaps this can help dispel the idea that Zionism is synonymous with reaction and "neo-cons."
Das Camp-ital – Kids Overthrow Bosses on 'Capitalism Day'
Ben Case

LIBERTY, New York, 28 Jul (IPS) - Workers at a munitions factory in Almosnino walked out last Wednesday, joining an anti-war protest nearby. The combined strikers and protesters later stormed the factory after a scuffle with police who were trying to arrest a crowd that was blocking a truck from leaving the factory.

Workers immediately held a meeting inside their occupied factory and unanimously voted to suspend production of weapons and switch to the production of solar panels.

Later that day, the people of Almosnino, reeling from economic woes and unable to pay for food, convinced the chief of police to cede power and allow a population without money to eat for free.

This was the culmination of a daylong social experiment, practiced once a year by Shomria summer camp.

Shomria, located outside the small town of Liberty, New York and open to children aged eight to 15, is run by Hashomer Hatzair, a Socialist Zionist youth movement in Israel, the U.S. and Canada.

Once per summer, the camp runs a 'Yom Capitalism' (Hebrew for 'Capitalism Day') in which the entire camp simulates a town with a free market economy. The remarkably realistic exercise comes complete with a bank, government offices and printed money in a make-believe town named Almosnino.

"It might seem weird to think about a 'capitalism day' in a capitalist society. But what we normally do here at camp is live in a kibbutz-style socialist village," explained Yotam Marom, head of continuing education for Hashomer Hatzair, and facilitator for the oldest age groups at Shomria.

"This day has meaning in contrast with the way we run things on a day-to-day basis. It gives us the ability to reflect on capitalism in a way that you don't get just living in a capitalist society," Marom told IPS.

Shomria is run according to egalitarian philosophies. Work is shared evenly, issues are discussed collectively and everything is decided by consensus.

"We do all of our own work," Marom told IPS. "Aside from a few support staff, the camp is run exclusively by youth."

Central to the camp's ideology is the concept of youth leading youth. The youngest camper is eight years old and the oldest counselor is 23. "Everyone is connected to each other, everyone is an educator and everyone learns," Marom added.

When campers wake up on Capitalism Day, they are handed an envelope containing their starting financial situation. Most will start with both some money and some debt, a few will start with a lot of money and even fewer will start with land and a business.

Throughout the day, kids are able to get jobs, acquire loans from the bank, and start businesses. Everything that goes on in the day, including eating, requires money, which is printed up the night before and available through the bank or through their labour.

Some counselors were also workers and business owners, but many were pre-set 'characters' such as the mayor, the factory owner, chamber of commerce and bank officials, and police officers.

Early in the day, a multitude of businesses opened, ranging from lemonade stands to massage parlors and salons to a sign shop, selling advertising materials to other businesses.

Most campers found jobs working in the factory, making 'bombs' out of plastic bottles, water and food coloring. A truck picked up the finished products and delivered them to an imaginary military buyer.

"We used a munitions factory this year because we wanted to connect labour issues to the war," said Adam Bresgi, a 20-year-old counselor who played the part of the mayor.

The day also included politics. An election pitted Bresgi, a socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro-war incumbent, against a green, pro-worker's rights, anti-war challenger, played by a 23-year-old counselor.

Throughout the day, two 'TV anchors' put on periodic live news shows to inform everyone about what was happening all over the camp, even holding a debate between mayoral candidates.

By the afternoon, when the bank began calling back loans, nearly all businesses defaulted and closed, leading to an economic crisis in Almosnino. The mayor proceeded to simulate a bailout, giving government money to the factory and several other businesses deemed 'too big to fail'.

This, along with divisions that had been forming throughout the day, sparked protests and a strike that led to the eventual 'revolution'.

As interesting as the outcome, though, was the social dynamics throughout the experiment. "The most educational part of Capitalism Day is watching relationships transform," Marom told IPS.

"Normally everything is collective: They pool their candy and share. Their counselors care about their feelings. They work to understand each other and really try to provide for each other," he said.

"But on Capitalism Day the relationships get flipped on their heads in a moment," he continued. "Kids wake up and have money or don't, and that creates class divisions on the spot that in turn create divisions between the kids in reality not in the game." Indeed, many campers reported having serious feelings about what happened on Capitalism Day.

"It was much harder than I thought to get money," Gal Gelbard, age 10, told IPS. "When you don't have money today, you don't have fun. You can work hard all day and still not have enough money."

Nine-year-old Idan Cohen told IPS he enjoyed the experience even though it wasn't easy. "Today taught you how to take care of yourself with no parents and just your own money," he said. "It taught you how to be responsible."

"If you have no money now you know how it feels, how it can be for our parents," Cohen went on. "You are sometimes being a little spoiled to your mom, but now we get it and we know."

Tamar Golan, at age 23 one of the oldest people at Shomria, said she distinctly remembered her first experience with Capitalism Day as a camper.

"I just remember walking around and having all of my interactions with other people be through money," she told IPS. "That's when it clicked for me what the social influence of capitalism is – isolating."

Golan played the part of the opposition mayoral candidate, who beat the pro-business incumbent mayor by a landslide in a late afternoon election as the economy crumbled.

Despite not knowing Capitalism Day was happening until the morning of, campers were astonishingly clever and resourceful. Prime examples were workers organising a class action lawsuit against the factory owner and police putting undercover agents in spontaneously forming organised crime gangs.

"People acted just like their roles, it was amazing," Marom told IPS. "Cops acted like cops. Bosses acted like bosses. Workers acted like workers," he said.

Perhaps the most important question raised by Yom Capitalism was: Why do people in society behave the ways that they do – are there certain roles because people are just different from one another or do power relationships inherently create such dynamics?

Shomria was founded in 1946, then serving as a training farm for people to learn how to live on kibbutzim before they would move to Israel, and later developed into a summer camp.


Continued (Permanent Link)

How to deal with foreign NGO funding in Israel: Transparency, not Ban

An article in Jerusalem Post made it seem as if Israel is arbitrarily seeking to shut up legitimate dissent by cutting off funds from European governments to NGOs operating in Israel. This provoked the sort of Israel baiting that might be anticipated, but actually there is probably no such plan underway, just an unnamed official, talking about other unnamed officials who are supposedly discussing the feasibility of such a banning proposal:

Recent revelations about foreign government funding for local NGOs involved in political activity have triggered discussions by senior Israeli officials about the possibility of making such aid illegal, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The senior officials are looking into whether it might be possible to ban donations from foreign governments to political NGOs, just as it is forbidden for foreign residents, let alone governments, to contribute to Israeli political parties.

One of the questions that will have to be addressed, according to an official involved in the discussions, is what constitutes a political NGO.

No doubt it would have been better had this official waited to discuss the idea only if it became an actual possibility, and it also would have been better if the article had clarified the nature and extent of the problem. Gerald Steinberg, founder  of NGO Monitor, a group that has been tracing the actions and funding of various NGOs, explains the alarming extent of the problem and the measures taken by European governments to avoid transparency.  He proposes not a ban, but rather a requirement for transparency, to make it easier to hold governments accountable for funding projects and groups that delegitimize Israel and Zionism, decry dialogue, and call for "armed resistance" and violent struggle. It is all the more ironic that such funds are regularly distributed to groups like Alternative Information Center, BADIL, ICAHD and others as part of programs that are supposed to promote "peace."

Ami Isseroff
Aug. 2, 2009
Gerald M. Steinberg , THE JERUSALEM POST
Herb Keinon's article "Israel targets foreign gov't NGO funds" (July 31) quotes an unnamed Israeli official as advocating a law to ban foreign government funding for numerous radical organizations.
If this, in fact, is the thinking among some Israeli government officials, it should be dropped. Prohibitions in democracies are generally undesirable, and while the claims that such curbs would violate free speech are exaggerated, this approach is unnecessary.
Instead, a policy of complete transparency regarding such funding would be entirely justified and be a major and very belated step towards protecting Israeli democracy from such crude manipulation.
Tens of millions of euros, British pounds, Norwegian krona and Swiss francs are provided by European governments every year to dozens of political NGOs, but most of this is hidden. These governments treat their funding for groups like Yesh Din, ICAHD, PHR-I, Breaking the Silence, Bimkom, Peace Now, etc. as "top secret," reflecting the realization that such activities lack legitimacy.
This obsessive secrecy is reflected in the fact that the Dutch ambassador to Israel and the Spanish deputy chief of mission acknowledged that they were not informed of their own governments' support for Israeli NGOs.
Indeed, much of this funding comes from outside the foreign ministries, and is funneled through separate aid groups, such as the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the British Department for International Development. The officials in these agencies often have close relations with the officials in the NGOs that they fund, and share their ideological biases, or know how to prey on their weaknesses.
Similarly, the European Commission (EC) sends tens of millions of euros every year (the total is classified) under numerous programs, and there is no central listing or accounting for the funds. When NGO Monitor officially requested the details under the EU's own "freedom of information" of regulations, the first response was an attempt to invoke security claims.
Following an appeal, and six months later, the EC sent a CD with some documents, from which almost all of the information was deleted - again demonstrating that this massive manipulation is a highly guarded secret.
A law requiring full disclosure of foreign government transfers of funds to any Israeli non-governmental organization 60 days in advance would lift the cover from this illicit and anti-democratic practice. Israel is the only democratic country in the world where other democracies use massive funding for political groups to influence policies and public opinion.
Israeli NGO recipients would be also be required to disclose funding information involving foreign governments whenever they place an advertisement in a newspaper, organize a demonstration, or initiate one of the flood of cases in the High Court. How many Israelis knew that the EC had allocated money to the Four Mothers movement that pressed for the 2000 unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, and all of the consequences that resulted?
Such a policy would not be unique to Israel. In the United States, lobbyists who are funded by other nations must register as agents of foreign governments. This does not restrict their freedom of speech, but it does alert the public, members of Congress, and others to the origins of the resources used for such lobbying.
Such transparency may not end such foreign government funding for NGOs, but it is likely to make it far more difficult to justify.
The writer is the executive director of NGO Monitor and chairs the political science department of Bar-Ilan University.
This article can also be read at

Continued (Permanent Link)

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