Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Unholy Alliance: North Korea & Iran



North Korea's ICBM Test Is a Win for Iran - Ted Poe (National Interest)
  • North Korea's recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is a game changer. It holds the potential for North Korea to transfer this dangerous technology to another rogue regime, its longtime ally Iran. 
  • For years, experts have suspected North Korea as being the key supporter behind Iran's missile and nuclear programs. Today, many of the missiles Iran would use to target American forces in the Middle East are copies of North Korean designs. 
  • North Korean engineers are in Iran helping to improve its missiles to carry nuclear warheads, according to a report released last month by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the same opposition movement that exposed Tehran's secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak in 2002. 
  • Iran is using North Korean blueprints to build as many as thirteen secret underground missile launch facilities and North Korean experts are assisting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' efforts to develop nuclear warheads and guidance systems. 
  • This would enable Iran to launch nuclear weapons at the large U.S. bases in the Middle East that restrain Iran's expansionist ambitions. 
  • The missile tested by North Korea in July demonstrated an ability that could put American cities as far as Chicago within its nuclear crosshairs. With North Korea outpacing our own expert expectations, Iran will likely not be far behind.

    Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.
UPDATE

- Emily B. Landau

Strong international actors cannot afford to be complacent about a negotiated deal when it does not reflect a strategic reversal on the part of the proliferator. 

If the Iran deal has achieved a delay, the challenge is to use this time to reverse negative trends and prepare better for the future, not to rest on one's laurels while celebrating a deal that has not stopped Iran in the nuclear realm, and could render that goal even more elusive in eight to nine years. 
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
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Monday, July 31, 2017

Jew Arrested for Praying on Temple Mount


 
Video of Jewish group defying status quo and saying Kaddish prayer for recently slaughtered family on Temple Mount

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Palestinians Score Symbolic Victory in Jerusalem

A Saudi newspaper featured a cartoon of The Dome of the Rock with a "victory" sign

Arab and Palestinian media are reveling in what they consider a decisive victory over Israel following its removal of all recently installed security measures at the entrances to the Temple Mount.
    
Cartoons depicting Palestinian resistance have flooded Arab media and Palestinian social media platforms. 
(Ynet News)


UPDATES:



It is ludicrous to view metal detectors as a threat to freedom of Islamic worship, or a change to the status quo at the holy site. Nevertheless, Israel's defense establishment recommended removing the metal detectors. Why?

Right now, Israel's enemies across the Middle East are busy fighting one another. Israel remains outside of the combat arenas. In the wider perspective, Israel's interest is not to enter into a new conflict. Israel has no interest in uniting the Islamic world against it.
(Ynet News)    
*




Netanyahu allows himself and his cabinet members to be bullied by his generals because he doesn’t have a policy for securing Israeli sovereignty and advancing Israel’s national interests at the Temple Mount. Without a positive goal, he is reduced to treading water with the hope of keeping a lid on Muslim jihadists. And so his “policy” of bowing to his politically subversive generals bears a disquieting resemblance to George Orwell’s quip, “The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.”

Perhaps the depressing aspect of all of this is that it isn’t hard to figure out what a reasonable, constructive policy would be for the Temple Mount.

As a liberal democracy, Israel has an interest, indeed a duty, to ensure that the holy site is open to all religions and that everyone has the right to freely worship on the Temple Mount. Given the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world for Jews, Israel has a vital interest in securing its sovereign control over the area.

To secure its sovereignty and advance its clear interest in facilitating religious freedom for all, Israel’s policy goal is straightforward. The government should enable all faiths to worship freely at the site.

The government should also state outright that if the Palestinians opt instead to incite and commit acts of violence and terrorism from the Temple Mount, Israel will secure its goal and enable Jews and Christians to worship at the holy site unilaterally.

To date, the Temple Mount has been the Palestinians’ ace in the hole. They recycle the blood libel that Jews are endangering al-Aksa every time they feel they are losing ground in their never-ending war against Israel. And Israel inevitably capitulates. But if Israel announces its policy is to secure religious freedom for all on the Temple Mount and makes a good-faith effort to advance it in conjunction with the Palestinians and all other relevant groups, it will set the conditions for taking that ace away.

If after it begins good-faith efforts to collectively advance the liberal, democratic goal of ensuring religious freedom for all at the holy site, the Palestinians again turn to violence, then the Islamic world, or parts of it, will be in a position to blame them when Israel unilaterally enables Jews and Christians to pray on the Temple Mount parallel to Muslim worshipers.

Israel ceded the Temple Mount to terrorists last week. But with a clear goal, we can get it back in short order and keep it perpetually for the good of all humanity.
[Jerusalem Post]
*

MORE UPDATES:  

Temple Mount Affair: What Has Changed? - General Yossi Kuperwasser

While Israel's own status on the Temple Mount sustained no evident damage, a new reality has emerged in which Israel has acknowledged the limits of its ability to stipulate the rules of the game. It has also recognized the status of the PA and Jordan as actors capable of deploying popular demonstrations in the streets in a controlled, competent fashion, meaning Israel must consult with them in advance before making any move that affects the Mount.

The Palestinians are caught up in a sense of achievement, which inspires them to harden their positions.
The writer, , former chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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- General Yaakov Amidror

The decision to reconsider the metal detectors indicated maturity and self-confidence on the part of the Jewish state. Once it became clear that this was neither the time nor the place to prove Israel's might, there was no point in insisting on them. Israel did well to grant the Jordanian request and ease pressure off its ally in the war on terror.

In hindsight, the events on the Temple Mount, serious as they were, had little effect on Israel's relations with the Jordanians or the Palestinians. Israel demonstrated responsibility and managed to maintain its strategic relations with Jordan. 
The writer is former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel and former Head of Israel's National Security Council. 
(Israel Hayom)
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Monday, July 24, 2017

Riots, Jihad Murders & A Mounting Crisis

Arabs riot in Jerusalem over metal detectors [Reuters]

Little Sympathy for Palestinians Protesting Metal Detectors
- Walter Russell Mead

Palestinians rioted in Jerusalem following Israel's decision to install metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount. Last week, Palestinian terrorists smuggled guns into their own holy site, then used those guns to murder two Israeli police officers guarding one of the entrances to al-Aqsa. It's the installation of metal detectors, not the heinous use of a holy site as a launchpad for murder and terrorism, that has the Palestinians enraged.
 

It would be difficult to imagine a less sympathetic grievance to attract Western support to the Palestinian cause. Metal detectors are now a fact of life in the West, found at sports events and outside religious sites like Notre Dame in Paris. There is also the irony that Palestinian terrorism has done more to force the introduction of metal detectors into our daily lives than any other cause.
  

If this issue is going to be the chief grievance of the Palestinians, they shouldn't be surprised if the rest of the world shrugs.
The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College.
(American Interest)


Lapid: PA and Wakf Are Inciting to Murder - Anna Ahronheim

Former Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who heads the opposition Yesh Atid party, said, "The biggest problem right now is the volume of incitement coming from the PA and numerous speakers in the Arab world and Israel." Israel's placing metal detectors on the Temple Mount "did not come in a vacuum," but as a "direct result" of the deadly attack carried out by three Muslims who were supposed to be on the Temple Mount to pray.


"The fact that people are pretending that putting in place metal detectors to save innocent lives is in some way an attack on Islam and freedom of prayer is terrible incitement that causes violence and death for no reason."


"Every country on earth would have done the same. Are we not allowed to respond and protect ourselves? That is grotesque. Last week two Israeli officers, who were Druse, not even Jewish, were killed by people who brought weapons into a holy place. And instead of telling them that this is the wrong thing to do, they say that those who were killed are to blame; this is monstrous."  
(Jerusalem Post)


Palestinian Terrorist Murders Three Israelis Inside Their Home
- Barney Breen-Portnoy

Three Israelis were stabbed to death and another was seriously wounded on Friday night by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who broke into a home in the West Bank community of Halamish. An off-duty soldier shot and wounded the terrorist. 

(Algemeiner)
    


Wife of Terror Victim Recounts Moments of Horror
- Elisha Ben Kimon and Rotem Elizera

Michal Salomon and her husband Elad arrived at Neveh Tzuf-Halamish to visit his parents. When she heard a man speaking in Arabic and realized the danger, she took three of her children and ran to the top floor of the house where her one-year-old twins were sleeping. "I started hearing screaming and shouting," Michal recounted. "I held the door with all my strength because it couldn't be locked."
 

Michal said she heard "horrible screams and gunshots," and then came downstairs and realized her husband Elad, 35, was no longer among the living, murdered along with his sister, Haya Salomon, 46, an elementary school teacher, and father, Yosef Salomon, 70. Elad's mother, Tovah, 68, was seriously wounded in the attack, stabbed several times in the back.
(Ynet News)


Halamish Terrorist Disguised Himself as a Religious Jew
- Tovah Lazaroff
  

Omar al-Abed, who murdered three Israelis in Halamish, had disguised himself to look like a religious Jew. He wore a white shirt and skullcap, and arrived at the Salomon family home just as they were about to start a celebration to mark the birth of a grandson.
  

He knocked on the door and they let him in because they were expecting people to visit.
(Jerusalem Post)


Halamish Terrorist Was Arrested and Released by PA for Planning Attacks
  

The Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family while they were eating Sabbath dinner at home on Friday night was arrested three months ago by PA security forces, his uncle said Saturday. Ibrahim al-Abed said his nephew Omar al-Abed spent two weeks in PA detention for planning attacks.
(Times of Israel)


U.S. Jewish Leaders Back Metal Detectors on Temple Mount
- Rafael Medoff

There is a broad consensus among American Jewish leaders in support of Israel's use of metal detectors to intercept terrorists on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations "supports taking the necessary and appropriate steps to assure security for all and to protect the sanctity of these holy sites," said the group's executive vice chairman and CEO, Malcolm Hoenlein.


"In a world where security measures are being enhanced in major gathering places, it's only surprising that the Temple Mount didn't have such measures until now," said American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris. B'nai B'rith International said, "Metal detectors are one way, used globally, to keep the public safe. There may be other methods, as well, but doing nothing is not an option." 

(JNS.org)


Guard at Israeli Embassy in Jordan Stabbed; Kills Assailant
- Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury

A guard at the Israeli Embassy in Amman was stabbed on Sunday by a Jordanian carpenter who was installing furniture in his apartment. The Israeli security officer shot and killed the attacker. 

(Ha'aretz)
    


Jordan Won't Let Israeli Embassy Guard Leave the Country
- Raphael Ahren

An Israeli security guard at the Israeli Embassy in Amman is being prevented from leaving Jordan, after he killed two Jordanians Sunday after being attacked by one of them with a screwdriver. The Israeli security guard, who was injured in the attack, enjoys diplomatic immunity according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and is safe from arrest and investigation, Israel's Foreign Ministry said Monday. Israel is in talks with Jordan on ways to defuse the crisis.

(Times of Israel)


Abbas Cuts PA Security Ties with Israel over Metal Detectors
- Herb Keinon

PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced he has cut security ties with Israel until it reverses its decision regarding the metal detectors at the Temple Mount. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded that Israel has managed for many years without PA security cooperation, "and we'll manage now as well." He said security cooperation was "first and foremost" a Palestinian interest.

(Jerusalem Post)
 


Muslims Reject Smart Cameras as Alternative to Metal Detectors on Temple Mount
 

The Israel Police set up special surveillance cameras at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount on Sunday. The cameras can identify anyone with knives, weapons, hand grenades or other suspicious items. But Muslims at the site rejected any form of compromise inspection.
(Ynet News)
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UPDATES:  

  • How could putting metal detectors to protect a holy site from a recurrence of murder provoke outrage, violence and a promise of mass riots? The answer is that this isn't about metal detectors. It's about the right of Jews to be in Jerusalem. 
  • Israel didn't change the status quo at the Temple Mount. Jews are still denied the right to pray at the holiest place in Judaism. The Islamic Waqf was left in charge of the Temple Mount's Al-Aqsa mosque. 
  • Nor was the new security measure discriminatory. Any Jew or non-Jew who wishes to enter the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount compound must also pass through metal detectors. 
  • For a century, Palestinian Arab leaders have been playing the "Al-Aqsa is in danger" card. It was the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas who also claimed Jews were going to harm the mosque. His rhetoric sought to remind Palestinians that the conflict wasn't over borders or settlements, but something far more basic: a religious war that mandates Arab opposition to the Jewish presence. 
  • The new security measures are merely the latest pretext for Arab violence intended to make the point that Jews have no right to be there at all. 
  • The threats of violence are just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn't Al-Aqsa that is in danger, but any hope for peace.
(JNS.org)


Murderous Palestinian Math - Liel Leibovitz 

Omar al-Abed murdered three Jews last Friday night. This means he will almost certainly be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.
   
According to the Palestinian Authority compensation law, this entitles him to $3,364 each month, four times what the average Palestinian earns. That's $40,368 a year, or $1,211,040 for 30 years.
  

Imagine there was a government-sponsored program here in America that paid you a million bucks every time you murdered members of another ethnic group.
  

In 2016, 11% of the PA's budget - $500 million - came from the U.S. 
(Tablet)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Champions Moderate Muslim Thinkers

 
The book's author: Christine Douglass-Williams

Why Islam's Reformers are Vitally Important - Daniel Pipes, PhD

My library contains a wall of books about modern Islam. But hardly a one of them covers the topic of this important study by Christine Douglass-Williams. With all the attention paid to Islamists, who has the time or energy to devote to modernizing Muslims?

Indeed, the paucity of books on anti-Islamist Muslims symbolizes their larger predicament: they are threatened, marginalized, and dismissed as frauds.

Threats come from the Islamists, the advocates of applying Islamic law in its entirety and severity as a means to regain the medieval glory of Islam. Islamists attack modernizers with words and weapons, rightly sensing that these liberal Muslims pose a profound challenge to the current Islamist hegemony. However much they dominate today, Islamist reactionaries fully understand modernity's great appeal, not to speak of its victories over two other modern radical utopian movements, fascism and communism. They know their movement is doomed because Muslims will opt for the benefits of modern life, so they fight modernizers tooth and nail.

The Left marginalizes. One might expect that the many differences between socialism and Islamism would make the two camps enemies. One would be wrong. The intensity of their common hostility toward the liberal order brings them together. Leftists overwhelmingly prefer the Islamist program to the modernizing one and so reject the modernizers, going so far to revile them as anti-Islamic, a truly choice insult.

The anti-Islamic Right dismisses. Ironically, it endorses the Islamist claim that Islamists alone are true Muslims while waving away the modernizers as outliers, fabulists, and frauds. The anti-Islamic right does so despite sharing the same enemy with modernizing Muslims – the Islamists. Instead of joining forces, it perversely keeps its distance from them, muttering about their taqiya (dissimulation), finding only fault with their analysis, and lobbing colorful slurs at their leaders.
Thus do modernizing Muslims face the problems of establishing current credibility and future potential. Islamists dominate the news with their carnage and cultural aggression, Leftists turn reality on its head, and the anti-Islam types fumble on.

How many of you have heard of the Center for Islamic Pluralism?

Here, Christine Douglass-Williams, a Canadian journalist and civil rights activist, enters the picture. She took the time to find eight leading North American modernizers and gave them the opportunity to present themselves and their views.

After laying out these interestingly divergent viewpoints, Douglass-Williams devotes the second half of her book to their commonalities. She focuses on the modernizers' efforts to: Create an alternative vision to the Islamist one; re-interpret the Koran and other problematic Islamic texts; respond to accusations of "Islamophobia" directed against them; formulate a humane positon on Israel; and challenge the Islamist hegemony.

She helps establish this movement as a serious intellectual endeavor, putting contemporary modernizers on the map as never before, thereby boosting their cause. Given the global threat of Islamism, that is a constructive, indeed a great achievement.
[DanielPipes.org]

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Kotel Wars

One "Kotel War" is the one some Palestinian Arabs are having with Israel.  The terrorist murders of two Israeli police recently has challenged the "status quo" on the Temple Mount.  Another "Kotel War" is happening among American Jews and Israel.  That is the topic of the second article below, by liberal Democrat Alan Dershowitz.

The Temple Mount is in our hands - Gilad Sharon

The Temple Mount is a holy site, but there is nothing sacred about the status quo. We’ve been hearing repeated oaths of allegiance to the status quo, with people on all sides declaring they have no intention of changing it. If I forget thee, O status quo, let my right hand forget her cunning, Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I remember thee not.

But if something isn’t working, it can – and should – be changed, and then the new order will become entrenched. We’ll have a new status quo.

Leaving control of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Wakf after the Six Day War was a big mistake.

When Moshe Dayan asked, “What do we need this whole Vatican for?” he displayed appalling insensitivity to the significance of the site for the Jews.


On September 28, 2000, we visited the Temple Mount. At the time, our presence there was a protest against Ehud Barak’s intention to hand it over to the Palestinians. My father, Ariel Sharon, was firmly opposed to such a move, as was the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public, as evidenced by the results of every election since. We entered through the Mughrabi Gate with my father in the lead, along with several Knesset members from the Likud. An official from the Israel Antiquities Authority showed us around. Our visit was secured by hundreds of police officers.

In fact, I saw a great many more policemen than Arab demonstrators. What kind of sovereignty do we wield if a short visit to the compound required this sort of security detail? The whole scene upset me. Israel wasn’t behaving like a confident sovereign power, but with unwarranted hesitancy, and all because of the authority it had granted the Wakf.

Here’s what we should do: send the Wakf officials packing. Deploy security forces throughout the Temple Mount, so that everyone, including Jews, will feel safe. And make it clear that our sovereignty over the site is more than just empty words.

[Jerusalem Post]


Now American Zionists want to boycott Israel - Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat,
critiques fellow Americans

Several prominent American Zionists, including long-time supporters of Israel, are so outraged at the Israeli government's recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-orthodox conversion that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel.

This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing President Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UN's recent anti-Israel resolution.

I strongly disagree both with the Israeli government's capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli government's recent decisions with regard to religion.

I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: "We shall . . . prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant Rabbis] within the confines of their temples."

It was David Ben Gurion, Israel's founding prime minister, who made the deal with the Orthodox Rabbinate that violated Herzl's mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state. He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the groundwork for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years.

So, do not blame current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the recent capitulation. His government's survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulated. The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities.

This is not to say that I am happy with the end result.

I want to see a part of the Western Wall opened to conservative and reform prayer. I also want to see conservative and reform and modern Orthodox rabbis deemed fully competent to perform rituals including marriage and divorce. I will continue to fight for these outcomes, and I think we will ultimately be successful.

But in the meantime, I will also continue to fly El Al, contribute to Israeli hospitals, attend AIPAC events, and encourage Americans to support Israel, both politically and financially. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS — the tactic currently employed by Israel's enemies to delegitimize the nation state of the Jewish people. Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones. If BDS is an immoral tactic, as it surely is, so too is punishing the people of Israel for the failure of its government to be fully inclusive of Jews who do not align themselves with the ultra-Orthodox.

Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard-left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli government's recent decisions regarding religion. The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement with Israel on matters that involve world Jewry.

I, too, am furious about the arrogant and destructive threats of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the current government. I, too, would prefer to see a coalition that excluded the ultra-Orthodox parties. I, too, would like to see a high wall of separation that kept the Rabbis out of politics.

But I do not live in Israel, and Israel is a democracy. Ultimately it is up to the citizens of Israel to change the current system.

The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion.

In the end, we will be successful in persuading the Israeli people to take the power of religious coercion out of the hands of the ultra-Orthodox minority because that would not only be good for secular Israelis — who are a majority — but also for religious Israelis. History has proven that separation of state from religion is better not only for the state, but also for religion.
[Washington Examiner]
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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Killing Oslo: The Thug & The Prime Minister



End the False Israeli-Palestinian Parity - Daniel Pipes, PhD

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords' signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
It's now clear that Rabin's vanity got the better of him at that supremely high-profile event on the White House lawn. As the elected head of a democratic and sovereign government, he never should have consented to Arafat, the henchman of an unofficial, dictatorial, and murderous organization, enjoying equal status with himself.
Appearing together as equals created a dysfunctional illusion of equivalence that over subsequent decades became assumed, ingrained, and unquestioned. In fact, this false equivalence became even more inaccurate with time, as Israel went from one success to another and the Palestinian Authority brought on a reign of ever-deeper anarchy, dependency, and repression.
Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian Authority, presently in the 12th year of his 4-year term, has been neither able to prevent creeping anarchy on the West Bank nor a rogue group from taking over in Gaza, one-half of his putative domain.
Rather than use the prestige of the Oslo signing ceremony to build a constituency that accepted the Jewish state and thereby end the Palestinians' conflict with it, Arafat exploited his heightened standing to develop new resources to reject Zionism and attack Israel. Palestinian "embassies" popped up worldwide to delegitimize Israel, while Palestinians killed more Israelis in the five years after the Oslo signing than in the fifteen years before it.
In other words, Rabin recklessly put faith in an historic and barbaric enemy changing not just tactics but goals. Israel has paid a heavy price for this error.
Instead of the prime minister, the Israeli standing with Arafat on the White House lawn should have been someone like the second secretary at the Israeli embassy in Norway. That would have delivered the necessary signal that Arafat's protocol equivalent registers stoopingly low in the diplomatic hierarchy. To be sure, that would have meant no Nobel Peace Prize for Yitzhak Rabin. In retrospect, however, would it not have been better to skip celebrating so exuberantly a flawed, doomed, and destructive agreement?
For good measure, the signing ceremony should have taken place in the modesty of Oslo, not the grandeur of Washington, the imperial capital, the home town of the only hyper-power.
Had a lowly precedent been set in 1993, today's false parity between Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas would not exist; the true imbalance of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship might be more clearly seen. As low-level diplomats, not prime ministers, negotiate with Arafat, Abbas, and the assorted other villains and self-styled Palestinian leaders, the world would be constantly reminded not of a sham parallel but of the vast moral and power gulf dividing the two sides.
Well, that did not happen. But is it too late? Can Netanyahu or a future Israeli prime minister escape the indignity of meeting as equals with the leader of a gangster enterprise?
No, it's not too late. Netanyahu could eloquently explain that he meets his legitimate counterparts; he will leave it to functionaries in the Foreign Ministry to handle whoever the Palestinian Authority throws up.
Imagine the benefits of such a step: Israel would gain in stature while the fetid nature of the PA would be exposed. American presidents would lose interest in the "ultimate deal." Other assorted would-be mediators and do-gooders would have a much harder time trying to revive a quarter century of botched negotiations.
So, I suggest Israeli prime ministers leave "peace-processing" with Palestinian hooligans to low-ranking staff.
[Israel Hayom]
*

Monday, July 03, 2017

Ambassador Bolton: Iranian Regime Must Be Overthrown


 
In a Paris gathering of the Iranian opposition on July 1st, 2017, former UN Ambassador John Bolton delivered a powerful speech calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.  The National Council of Resistance of Iran's (NCRI) annual gathering had an audience of 100,000 [really] of Persian Muslims.  Paris hosts a large population of Iranians in exile.  Former Senator Joe Lieberman also addressed the crowd. 
  
 
In Paris, on 1st July, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) will be holding its annual meeting where this will be the central topic. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend to show their support for its call for regime change. The Muslims in the NCRI are sickened by the terrorism that Iran has perpetrated.
 
The President of the opposition has outlined a plan for Iran’s future. It is based on democratic elections and the separation of religion and state. It also requires that Muslim societies align, generally speaking, with the principles of democratic countries.
[Iran Freedom Gathering]
 
 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jewish Homeland: "A Universal Right"



The Holocaust Did Not Create Israel - Einat Wilf

Music conductor Daniel Barenboim wrote in Ha'aretz on June 8 that Israel exists because of the Holocaust. The claim is that Israel "was given" to the Jewish people by the guilt-ridden world after the Holocaust.

Israel was not "given" to the Jews. The last thing on the agenda of the European nations at the end of World War II was guilt feelings toward the Jews.

Just as India and Pakistan and other nations did not need the murder of a third of their people to receive a country at that time, the Jewish people would have obtained its own state at the end of World War II, not because of the Holocaust, but rather because of the dismantling of the British empire as a result of the war.

The right of the Jewish people to have a country in its own homeland is a universal right, which is reserved for every people - the right to stand on its own authority and to control its fate.

(Ha'aretz)

Monday, June 12, 2017

US - Arab Alliance Emerges

Trump in Arabia

A Pro-American Arab Alliance that Fights? - Jonathan Spyer

The decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen to cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar is the latest step in the reemergence of a clearly defined US-led Sunni Arab bloc of states. The task of this alliance is to roll back Iranian influence and advancement in the region, and to battle against the forces of Sunni political Islam. Little noticed by Western media, this conservative Sunni alliance against Iran and Sunni Islamism has been under construction for some time.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the first to recognize the new regime of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following the military coup on July 3, 2013. Financial support from both countries has been crucial in ensuring the avoidance of economic disaster in Egypt. The Saudis and Emiratis were the moving force behind the interventions into Bahrain in 2011 and Yemen in 2015. In both cases, the intention was to prevent the advance of Iranian interests.

The results in Yemen have been mixed, but by no means constitute the debacle that the intervention has been presented as in some quarters. The Houthis remain in control of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, but the nightmare scenario in which an Iran-supported force acquires control of the narrow Bab al-Mandab Strait, through which all shipping between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea must pass, was avoided. Emirati and Saudi special operations forces played a key role in the fighting.

[T]he election of US President Donald Trump appears to have sharply increased the scope and ambitions of the pro-US Gulf Arab states. It is clear that they identify a regional outlook similar to their own in Trump and key figures around him. This raises the possibility of a more assertive and clearly defined strategy regarding both the Iranian and Sunni Islamist adversaries.

At the Riyadh meeting on May 21, 55 Muslim-majority countries signed a declaration pledging to establish “a reserve force of 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed.”


Declarations by Gulf states have not always been followed by concerted action on the ground, of course. But with the current emergent standoff between pro-Western and pro-Iranian forces in eastern Syria, and the incremental loss of territory by Islamic State in that area, it is not hard to think of the type of roles that a standing Gulf Arab counterterrorism force would play – for example, in holding and administering Sunni Arab areas in cooperation with local forces.

Qatar, through its support for Muslim Brotherhood-associated movements and via its enormously influential Al Jazeera satellite channel, tried to turn the energies of the Sunni Arab masses in Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian territories into political power and influence for itself (while, of course, harshly suppressing any attempts by its own largely noncitizen population to claim rights). This project has failed.

For a moment, [in the recent past] a large Sunni Islamist bloc based on Qatari money and Muslim Brotherhood power seemed to be emerging. Brotherhood-associated parties controlled Cairo, Ankara, Tunis and Gaza. Similar movements seemed plausibly within reach of Damascus. But this bloc proved stillborn, and little of it now remains.

The hour of the revenge of Doha’s Gulf neighbors has thus arrived. The shunting aside of little Qatar, however, is ultimately only a detail in the larger picture. What is more significant is the reemergence of an overt alliance of Sunni Arab states under US leadership, following the development of military capabilities in relevant areas, and with the stated intention of challenging the Iranian regional advance and Sunni political Islam.

Originally published under the title "Lines in the Sand: Qatar's increasing isolation in the Arab world"
Jonathan Spyer, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs
[Jerusalem Post]
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Saudi Newspaper Criticizes Hamas - Yasser Okbi

The Saudi newspaper Okaz reported Friday that Hamas has invested "$120 million in the last three years in intensive tunnel construction....Hamas allocates millions of Saudi and UAE dollars in order to support Iranian-orchestrated terror."
 

Saying "there is no difference" between the Islamic State and Hamas, the paper called for immediate Arab intervention in order to prevent Hamas' exploitation of Gaza's citizens. "Hamas uses all the aid that the Palestinians receive to support their interests, it digs tunnels beneath schools, houses and hospitals and thereby poses a danger to the lives of Palestinian civilians." 
(Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
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UPDATE:

Iran nuclear deal - Daniel Pipes, PhD

Trump's trip to the Middle East revealed the degree to which he sees the Iranian threat as the organizing principle of the region: "What's happened with Iran has brought many of the parts of the Middle East toward Israel." A common fear of Tehran (and to a lesser extent, of ISIS) seems to be the foundation on which he plans to build an Arab-Israeli alliance...
[Tehran Times]
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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Far Left Protest Blocks Israel Parade

JVP protesters block Celebrate Israel Parade's gay contingent

The gay contingent supporting Israel, before being blocked by protesters


Gay contingent member [with black head covering & rainbow Israel flag] yells at JVP protester [red shirt]
JVP member arrested

Israel Parade LGBTQ Coalition Infiltrated - Shira Hanau

As an LGBTQ group was nearing the end of the Celebrate Israel Parade route last Sunday, several marchers took off their button-down shirts, revealing red Jewish Voice for Peace shirts. Linking arms to block the rest of the group, they raised protest signs that read, “Queer Jews for Free Palestine” and “No Pride in Apartheid.”

The protesters were part of Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish activist group that calls for withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank and east Jerusalem and supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. They marched in the LGBTQ coalition without informing the coalition’s leaders of their intent.

 
“This situation could have escalated,” she said. “I think it’s tremendously scary and should be universally condemned by the entire Jewish community that these are not tactics that are acceptable for discourse.”
 
In addition to the LGBTQ infiltration, JVP had about 100 people “repeatedly disrupting” the parade from the sidelines, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Mordechai Levovitz, executive director of JQY, an organization supporting LGBTQ youth in the Jewish community, condemned JVP’s targeting of the LGBTQ community.
 
Until 2012, the Celebrate Israel parade had a policy prohibiting openly LGBTQ groups from marching. JQY first marched in the Israel Day Parade in 2012 after the policy was changed. “Every year there are more people celebrating with us and showing us support, said Levovitz.
[Jewish Week]
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Muslim Anti-Jihad Video Goes Viral



Anti-Jihadist Video Goes Viral
  

A video by the Kuwaiti telecommunications giant Zain that depicts a would-be suicide bomber confronted by the Muslim faithful has gone viral at the start of Ramadan. 
(AFP)


Friday, May 26, 2017

East Jerusalem is Not Arab



Media Myth - East Jerusalem Is Arab Territory

Only between 1948 and 1967 was eastern Jerusalem exclusively Arab, after Jordan occupied it and expelled the area's Jewish residents, destroyed its synagogues, and desecrated the historic Jewish cemetery. Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem goes back to King David in 1004 BCE and Jews continued to live there ever since.

The New York Times reported on May 30, 1948, "The Jews have been eliminated from the City of David for the first time since the sixteenth century. Except for 60 years in the sixteenth century they are believed to have been there continuously since the return from the Babylonian captivity [after 539 BCE]." Next time journalists say "East Jerusalem is Arab," send them this video.

(CAMERA)
BLOGGER'S NOTE: My maternal grandmother's family owned a house in a Yemenite Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. 
Bruce

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25X More Aid to Palestinians Than All the Money Used To Rebuild Europe After WW2



The Palestinians Can Win If They Give Up Victim Status - Jim Hanson

After World War II, the Italians, Germans and Japanese left behind their failed attempts at conquest and consequently they were treated to the benevolence of the Allies and a rebuilding process that turned them into modern nations. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have maintained belligerence and failure to even accept the existence of Israel in any meaningful way. Their Arab friends have made multiple attempts to destroy Israel and failed each time. Then the Palestinians switched to terrorism as a strategy and turned their proto state into an international pariah. This profound failure to comprehend their profound failure to destroy Israel has kept them in perpetual victim status.
  

Billions of dollars in aid have flowed into the Palestinian territories.

Some studies show it to be 25 times more per capita than was spent to rebuild Europe after World War II. Yet there is little in the way of progress and there are still "refugee" camps that have stood for decades. Their state of perpetual grievance has prevented them from using this largesse to build an actual state. If they were to do so, they could dedicate themselves to the challenge of giving their people quality of life rather than a false hope they will somehow drive the Israelis out of Israel. 
(Fox News)
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UPDATE:

A Day Inside the Palestinian Authority - Aviva Klompas

As part of a study tour for American academics, I spent a day in and around Ramallah. The al-Am'ari refugee camp, just east of Ramallah, is one of 19 in the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In reality, the Palestinian government refuses to take responsibility or provide basic services for the 7,000 residents. As a result, it has become a hotbed of resentment toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The shutters of shops are papered in posters of "martyrs" killed while perpetrating terror attacks against Israelis.
  

Ramallah, by contrast, is a prosperous cosmopolitan center, clean and contemporary, boasting museums, cultural centers and cafes. We meet with Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and a leading candidate to succeed Abbas. I ask about the ongoing payments by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons.
  

Rajoub proceeds to yell that it is "a crazy question" and that his government had a "social responsibility" to support the 7,000 prisoners. He bangs his fist on the table and declares, "Of course we must pay. If we don't pay, Iran will pay." He eventually calms down and asks if I have another question. I ask how he can speak to us about non-violent resistance while simultaneously endorsing payments to terrorists. He again explodes with anger, banging the table, and railing at the "absurdity" of my question.
  

One of the academics shares that we had come from the al-Am'ari refugee camp and he asks why the PA doesn't assist the people living there. Rajoub dismisses the question, saying, "What do you expect me to do about the refugees? It's Netanyahu's problem."
The writer is Associate Vice President of Strategic Israel Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.
(Times of Israel)