Friday, October 31, 2014

Rehavam Ze'evi (“Gandhi”): Defending the Jewish People with Guns and Words

PM Netanyahu's Speech at the Special Knesset Session in Memory of Rehavam Ze'evi  (“Gandhi”)
29/10/2014 [Translation]: 

Rehavam Ze'evi  (“Gandhi”)

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your important and moving words. I believe they reflect the feelings of a great many Israeli citizens.

When Israel is pressured to make concessions regarding its security, it is easiest to give in. We receive applause and attend ceremonies on lawns, but later the rockets and tunnels come.

As Prime Minister, I stand firm with regard to Israel's security. I care about the lives of each and every citizen and each and every soldier. 

I have been on battlefields many times. I risked my life for this country, and I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger it. And it must be understood, our supreme interests, first and foremost security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not the top priority of those same anonymous sources that attack us and me personally. 

I am being attacked only because I am protecting the State of Israel. If I did not protect the State of Israel, if I did not stand up decisively for our national and security interests, they would not attack me. And despite the attacks I face, I will continue to protect our country; I will continue to protect the citizens of Israel.

I would also like to add that I respect and appreciate our deep connection with the United States. Since the establishment of the country, we have had disagreements with the US and we will have disagreements in the future as well. However, they are not at the expense of the close relationship between our peoples and our countries.  We have seen time and again, this year as well, that support for the State of Israel is ever increasing among the American public, and this support reached an all-time high. The strategic alliance and the moral covenant between our countries continues and will continue.

Dear Ze'evi family, my colleagues, Members of Knesset,
It is the way of the world that after a person's death, as the years pass the lines of their personality fade from our memories and their presence dims in public opinion and public consciousness. This did not happen in the case of Gandhi, Rehavam Ze'evi. In the 13 years that have passed since his horrendous murder here in the heart of Jerusalem, the special figure he represented has become sharper.

Gandhi was a fighter and a man of letters. 

He walked the length and breadth of the country. Nothing undermined his confidence in the justness of Zionism's path. He was consumed with a fire to complete his mission – to share his love for the Land of Israel, to contribute to the strength of the State of Israel and to ensure the well-being and security of the people of Israel.

Gandhi dedicated the best years of his life to defending the country and protecting its borders. He knew that the fight against our enemies was 

  • not only a security-military campaign, but also 
  • a fight to prove the rightness of our path and the justness of our historic rights to the Land of Israel and in the Land of Israel
These two challenges still concern us today, just as they did in the past

Even in the sixty-seventh year of our independence, we still have to deal with significant threats to the security of Israel in a changing Middle East, a Middle East in which radical Islam has raised it head and its proxies compete to see which of them can be the most extreme. It is enough to look at an updated map of Iraq and Syria to see the chaos that is raging there, instigated by the followers of the idea of a caliphate. The black flags are flying and the crimson blood is spilling like water.

In the face of the multitude of threats that surround us, we are determined to protect ourselves as necessary, first and foremost by defending our borders, and of course within our borders. Gandhi contributed significantly to this security doctrine. The more veteran members among us remember the years after the Six Day War. We remember the attacks that came from the Jordanian border, and we came to conclusions. Just recently we built a fence along a different border, our border with the Sinai Peninsula, a fence more than 200 kilometers long, a tremendous engineering wonder that helps us stop terror attacks from Sinai and the penetration of illegal infiltrators to the State of Israel. We are working diligently to strengthen our other borders similarly.

Gandhi was a pioneer in creating a security doctrine and implementing it. When he was Head of the Central Command, he led IDF soldiers in a joint engineering and operational campaign to prevent penetration from the Jordan River. He led IDF fighters in dozens of pursuits of terrorists who sought to break through our eastern defensive line. "In Israel, the commanders led the charge in pursuits; they adhered to their mission, charged forward, sometimes at the cost of their own lives." And indeed within a few years quiet was restored to the Jordan Valley, which was and remains the State of Israel's eastern security border.

As to the second challenge, Israel has long faced attacks on its right to exist.  Some people deny the strong affinity of the people of Israel for its land, an affinity that was formed 4,000 years ago in the Land of Israel and 3,000 years ago with Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Some people are not willing to recognize the right of our people to a nation-state of their own, who are not willing to recognize the right of the people of Israel to a nation-state for the Jewish people. This was and remains the root of the conflict. 

There are also quite a few people who accuse IDF soldiers of war crimes, even when we defend ourselves – when we defend ourselves with the highest morality against rocket attacks and terror tunnels, against a blood-thirsty enemy that uses its own children as human shields and does not care that these victims pile up. Or perhaps the opposite is true – the enemy does care and wants more and more victims, and more victims from among its own people. When we defend ourselves against such an enemy, we still face unbelievable hypocrisy and disrespect and baseless accusations.

Quite a bit of this slanderous propaganda was discredited by Gandhi, using his knowledge and expertise which were matchless.

He knew very well that the light of Israel had never been extinguished in the Land of Israel, and even when we were exiled from our land we yearned to return of the land of our forefathers. Zionism led to an unbelievable change: It ingathered the exiles back to our homeland; it transformed us into a strong and independent people; and it transformed Israel into a flourishing and prosperous country.

Gandhi said,
"The IDF is the only army in history that conquered the Temple Mount and did not destroy or loot the houses of worship on it." 
This is a proven fact – only under Israeli sovereignty was the freedom of access to the holy places of all religions upheld. Only under Israeli sovereignty.

So at this session in memory of Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, we will honor his great contribution, a dual contribution: First, his contribution to Israel's security; and second, his contribution to deepening our national consciousness and proving our justness.

May Gandhi's memory be blessed.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When it comes to Israel, the Arab world has moved on. But Obama doesn't get it.

From an Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate Conference Report, October 25, 2014 by Mark N. Katz:

... the inaugural Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, which took place October 19-20, 2014 ... was sponsored by the Emirates Policy Council with the support of the UAE Foreign Ministry...

The Debate began the morning of October 19 with a speech by Dr. Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Dr. Gargash set the tone for the conference, in my view, when he stated,
“Over the past few years, the UAE has repeatedly warned about the growing threat that extremist actors and ideologies pose to our region.  While some of our allies thought that we were being too alarmist, the rise of Daesh [ISIS] confirms the magnitude of the threat.  Instead of becoming moderated through engagement, so-called ‘moderate Islamists’ are increasingly being drafted into the ranks of radical groups.  This demonstrates the fallacy of trying to distinguish between ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ forms of ideological extremism.  Make no mistake:  many of these movements that are described as ‘moderate’ in some lexicons, provide the environment for greater radicalization and the emergence of groups such as Al Qaeda and Daesh.  Therefore, countering the threat posed by these groups requires a clear-sighted and comprehensive strategy.”
The bulk of the conference consisted of nine debate panels in which different themes were discussed. ... the first three debate panels were devoted to a discussion of the policies toward the Gulf of the

  • United States
  • the European Union
  • China, and 
  • Russia (the first session also included the Deputy Secretary General of NATO).  In much of the first session, though, the speakers from the West and from Russia argued about Ukraine—something that is of only secondary interest to the Gulf states.


  • Panel 4 focused on Iran (which most Gulf Arab states view quite negatively), 
  • Panel 5 on Turkey (whose “Islamist” foreign policy is viewed uneasily), 
  • Panel 6 on Egypt (where the UAE and Saudi Arabia welcomed the ouster of the elected president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsy by the Egyptian military), 
  • Panel 7 on Iraq (where the Shi’a-dominated government in Baghdad is seen as being heavily influenced, if not completely controlled by, Iran), 
  • Panel 8 on Syria (where the need to oust the Alawite minority Assad regime as well as combat ISIS was emphasized), and 
  • Panel 9 on both Yemen and Libya (where America and the West are not seen as being sufficiently concerned about restoring order in these increasingly chaotic countries).


While the choice of subjects to discuss in the nine debate panels was a good indicator of what is currently of concern to the UAE, the choice of subjects not to discuss was also revealing.  
Most noteworthy, there was no panel on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  Indeed, this was barely mentioned by any of the speakers...  [suggesting] that the rise of ISIS, the threat from Iran, the situation in Egypt, and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya are all far more important to the UAE....

From Commentary, 29 Oct 2014, by Evelyn Gordon:

The inaugural session of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate took place last week, with scholars coming from around the world to participate in two days of discussion on a plethora of topics. Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief for Al Arabiya News, subsequently published a lengthy summary of the proceedings on Al Arabiya’s website, and reading it, I was struck by the absence of certain topics one might expect to feature prominently. Egypt, Iran, oil, ISIS, Turkey, Russia, the U.S., and Islamic extremism were all there. But in 1,700 words, the Palestinians weren’t mentioned once...

... it was fascinating to attend a two day conference about the Middle East in times of upheaval in which Israel was mostly ignored, with the only frontal criticism of her policies delivered by an American diplomat.

And this explains a lot about the current U.S.-Israel spat. President Barack Obama entered office with the firm belief that the best way to improve America’s relations with the Muslim world was to create “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, and for six years now, he and his staff have worked diligently to do exactly that. Nor was this an inherently unreasonable idea: Even a decade ago, Arab capitals might have cheered the sight of U.S. officials hurling childish insults at their Israeli counterparts.

The problem is that the Arab world has changed greatly in recent years, while the Obama administration–like most of Europe–remains stuck in its old paradigm. 

Granted, Arabs still don’t like Israel, but they have discovered that Israel and the Palestinians are very far down on their list of urgent concerns. 

The collapse of entire states that were formerly lynchpins of the Arab world, like Syria, Iraq, and Libya; the fear that other vital states like Egypt and Jordan could follow suit; the rise of Islamic extremist movements that threaten all the existing Arab states; the destabilizing flood of millions of refugees; the fear of U.S. disengagement from the region; the “predicament of living in the shadows of what they see as a belligerent Iran and an assertive Turkey” (to quote Melhem)–all these are far more pressing concerns.

And not only has Israel fallen off the list of pressing problems, but it has come to be viewed as capable of contributing, however modestly, to dealing with some of the new pressing problems.

Last month, Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute published his impressions from a tour of the Mideast, including of Israel’s deepening strategic relationships with Egypt and Jordan. “Indeed, one of the most unusual moments of my trip was to hear certain Arab security officials effectively compete with one another for who has the better relationship with Israel,” he wrote. “In this regard, times have certainly changed.”

In fact, in this new Middle East, a U.S.-Israel spat probably generates more worry than glee in Arab capitals. Once, it was an Arab article of faith that America cared little about Arabs but greatly about Israel. Thus to the degree that Arab and Israeli concerns overlapped, as they do now on issues ranging from Iran to ISIS, America could be trusted to deal with the threat.


Now, the Obama administration still appears to care little for Arab concerns; it seems hell-bent on striking a grand bargain with Iran and withdrawing from the Mideast. But the Arab world’s former ace in the hole to prevent such developments–Israel’s influence in Washington–suddenly looks more like deuce.

Yet all these shifting winds seem to have blown right by the Obama administration: It still acts as if America’s position in the Muslim world depends on showing that it hates Israel, too. And thus you reach the farce of a two-day conference in Abu Dhabi where “the only frontal criticism” of Israel’s policies was “delivered by an American diplomat.”

When it comes to Israel, the Arab world has moved on. But the Obama administration remains stuck in the last century.

Who’s "Chickenshit", on Iran??

From PJ Media, October 28th, 2014, by Roger Simpson:

In an already much talked about article for The Atlantic, “The Crisis in U. S. – Israeli Relations is Officially Here,” Jeffrey Goldberg quotes a senior administration official accusing Benjamin Netanyahu – among a long list of unpleasant things — of being a “chickenshit.”

Never mind for a moment the absurdity of an (of course anonymous) Obama official calling the Israeli PM a coward when Netanyahu has been personally under fire in two wars, volunteering for the second after having been wounded by a gun shot in the first (his brother, as many will remember, was killed during the raid on Entebbe — both Netanyahus were in [the elite commando unit] Sayeret Matkal) at approximately the time the official’s boss Barry [Obama] was lulling on a balmy Hawaiian beach smoking “choom” with his gang.

Embedded image permalink
Bibi Netanyahu was in the elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal while Obama was in Hawaii smoking “choom” with his gang. 

What’s the right word for this?  Hypocrisy is a bit weak, isn’t it?  Or is it simply the desperate rumblings of a failed administration?

...We all know Obama et al don’t like the Israelis, not just their prime minister and ...defense minister Yaalon, and probably a whole host of other officials of the Jewish state, not to mention a vast percentage of the Israeli populace. This opprobrium on Obama’s part has been going on for a long time, even before he took office...

But there is something of importance in Goldberg’s article.... the following ..
The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
Goldberg goes on to explain this proves Bibi is a “chickenshit” ... because he didn’t act against the mullahs two years ago, but what it really shows, to people genuinely interested, is that the administration assumes Iran is too close to the bomb to make an attack worth it.  That is far more interesting and, needless to say dangerous, than anybody’s opinion about Benjamin Netanyahu.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a coward, how about the man who said nothing several years ago when the demonstrators in the streets of Tehran we’re shouting 
“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?”
That [Obama inaction exemplifies] a genuine “chickenshit.” ....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A crisis created by Obama’s failures

From Commentary, 28 Oct 2014, by Jonathan S. Tobin:

Since Barack Obama became president, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has been a reliable indicator of administration opinion about foreign-policy issues. Like some other journalists who can be counted on to support the president, he has been the recipient of some juicy leaks, especially when the White House wants to trash Israel’s government.

But Goldberg and his “senior administration sources” reached a new low today when he published a piece in which those anonymous figures labeled Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and a “coward.” The remarks are clearly not so much a warning to the Israelis to stop complaining about the U.S. push for appeasement of a nuclear Iran and the administration’s clueless approach to the conflict with the Palestinians. Rather the story is, as Goldberg rightly characterizes it, a genuine crisis in the relationship. That much is plain but where Goldberg and the talkative administration members are wrong is their belief that this is all Netanyahu’s fault. Their attacks on him are not only plainly false but are motivated by a desire to find an excuse that will be used to justify a drastic turn in U.S. foreign policy against Israel.

The administration critique of Netanyahu as a coward stems from its disgust with his failure to make peace with the Palestinians as well as their impatience with his criticisms of their zeal for a deal with Iran even if it means allowing the Islamist regime to become a threshold nuclear power. But this is about more than policy. The prickly Netanyahu is well known to be a tough guy to like personally even if you are one of his allies.

But President Obama and his foreign-policy team aren’t just annoyed by the prime minister. They’ve come to view him as public enemy No. 1, using language about him and giving assessments of his policies that are far harsher than they have ever used against even avowed enemies of the United States, let alone one of its closest allies.

So rather than merely chide him for caution they call him a coward and taunt him for being reluctant to make war on Hamas and even to launch a strike on Iran. They don’t merely castigate him as a small-time politician without vision; they accuse him of putting his political survival above the interests of his nation.

It’s quite an indictment but once you get beyond the personal dislike of the individual on the part of the president, Secretary of State Kerry, and any other “senior officials” that speak without attribution on the subject of Israel’s prime minister, all you have is a thin veil of invective covering up six years of Obama administration failures in the Middle East that have the region more dangerous for both Israel and the United States.

For all of his personal failings, it is not Netanyahu—a man who actually served as a combat soldier under fire in his country’s most elite commando unit—who is a coward or a small-minded failure. It is Obama and Kerry who have fecklessly sabotaged a special relationship, an act whose consequences have already led to disaster and bloodshed and may yet bring worse in their final two years of power.

It was, after all, Obama (and in the last two years, Kerry) who has spent his time in office picking pointless fights with Israel over issues like settlements and Jerusalem. They were pointless not because there aren’t genuine disagreements between the two countries on the ideal terms for peace. But rather because the Palestinians have never, despite the administration’s best efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their favor, seized the chance for peace.

No matter how much Obama praises Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and slights Netanyahu, the former has never been willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. They also chose to launch a peace process in spite of the fact that the Palestinians remain divided between Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas-ruled Gaza, a situation that makes it impossible for the PA to make peace even if it wanted to do so. The result of their heedless push for negotiations that were bound to fail was another round of violence this summer and the possibility of another terrorist intifada in the West Bank.

On Iran, it has not been Netanyahu’s bluffing about a strike that is the problem but Obama’s policies. Despite good rhetoric about stopping Tehran’s push for a nuke, the president has pursued a policy of appeasement that caused it to discard its significant military and economic leverage and accept a weak interim deal that began the process of unraveling the international sanctions that represented the best chance for a solution without the use of force.

Even faithful Obama supporter Goldberg understands that it would be madness for Israel to withdraw from more territory and replicate the Gaza terror experiment in the West Bank. He also worries that the administration is making a “weak” Iran deal even though he may be the only person on the planet who actually thinks Obama would use force to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.

So why is the administration so angry with Netanyahu? It can’t be because Netanyahu is preventing peace with the Palestinians. After the failure of Kerry’s fool’s errand negotiations and the Hamas missile war on Israel, not even Obama can think peace is at hand. Nor does he really think Netanyahu can stop him from appeasing Iran if Tehran is willing to sign even a weak deal.

The real reason to target Netanyahu is that it is easier to scapegoat the Israelis than to own up to the administration’s mistakes. Rather than usher in a new era of good feelings with the Arab world in keeping with his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama has been the author of policies that have left an already messy Middle East far more dangerous. 

Rather than ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his decision to withdraw U.S. troops and to dither over the crisis in Syria led to more conflict and the rise of ISIS. Instead of ending the Iranian nuclear threat, Obama is on the road to enabling it. And rather than manage an Israeli-Palestinian standoff that no serious person thought was on the verge of resolution, Obama made things worse with his and Kerry’s hubristic initiatives and constant bickering with Israel.

Despite the administration’s insults, it is not Netanyahu who is weak. He has shown great courage and good judgment in defending his country’s interests even as Obama has encouraged the Palestinians to believe they can hold out for even more unrealistic terms while denying Israel the ammunition it needed to fight Hamas terrorists.

While we don’t know whether, as Goldberg believes, it is too late for Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is Obama that Iran considers weak as it plays U.S. negotiators for suckers in the firm belief that the U.S. is a paper tiger that is not to be feared any longer.

If there is a crisis, it is one that was created by Obama’s failures and inability to grasp that his ideological prejudices were out of touch with Middle East realities.

The next two years may well see, as Goldberg ominously predicts, even more actions by the administration to downgrade the alliance with Israel. But the blame for this will belong to a president who has never been comfortable with Israel and who has, at every conceivable opportunity, sought conflict with it even though doing so did not advance U.S. interests or the cause of peace. No insult directed at Netanyahu, no matter how crude or pointless, can cover up the president’s record of failure.

Submerged by a human tsunami ...might as well blame the Jews

From Spengler, 20 October 2014:

There are now nearly 18 million refugees and internally displaced persons in seven Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen), up from slightly over 7 million in 2011, according to the UN. ...Much of the population of Syria has left their homes, including 3 million who have left the country due to the civil war and an additional 8 million internally displaced.

That is cause for desperation: unprecedented numbers of people have been torn from traditional society and driven from their homes, many with little but the clothes on their backs. There are millions of young men in the Muslim world sitting in refugee camps with nothing to do, nowhere to go back to, and nothing to look forward to. And there are tens of millions more watching their misery with outrage. Never has an extremist movement had so many frustrated and footloose young men in its prospective recruitment pool.

Israel has nothing whatever to do with any of this suffering. It is all the result of social and political disintegration in the Muslim world itself.

To blame ISIS’ recruitment of young Muslims on the refugee problem of 1948, as Secretary of State John Kerry did [earlier this month], boggles the imagination....

To be fair, the secretary of State did not assert as a matter of fact or analysis that the Israeli-Palestinian issue was the cause of rising extremism. What he said was this:
”As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the [anti-Islamic State] coalition … there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt they had to respond to.”
It is quite possible to imagine that some leaders in the region cited the Israel-Palestine issue. They face social unraveling on a scale not seen in the region since the Mongol invasion. They are submerged by a human tsunami, and might as well blame the Jews. Or the bicycle riders.


refugees

Refugees + Internally Displaced Persons by Country
Country2011201220132014
Afghanistan450,556502,485648,147648,147
Iraq1,367,5711,230,6321,200,4221,800,000
Libya103,69566,49079,13579,135
Pakistan2,155,6322,396,4522,363,9932,363,993
Somalia1,358,9441,135,2721,135,4161,135,416
Syrian Arab Republic755,4452,493,0066,670,06611,000,000
Yemen562,035622,502547,890547,890
Total6,753,8788,446,83912,645,06917,574,581

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's the INCITEMENT, stupid...

From JCPA Daily Alert, 24 Oct 2014:

Abbas' Fatah Honors Jerusalem Hit-and-Run Terrorist - Elhanan Miller

Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement published a poster Thursday celebrating Palestinian terrorist Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and injured eight other Israelis in a hit-and-run car attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday. 
"The Silwan branch of Fatah honors the heroic martyr Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem," 
read the notice, posted on Fatah's official Facebook page. (Times of Israel)

Hamas Confirms Driver in Jerusalem Attack was Group Member - Qais Abu Samra

The Palestinian driver who ran over and killed an Israeli baby and injured eight other people in Jerusalem on Wednesday was a member of Hamas, the group said Thursday in a statement. (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Ya'alon: Terror Attacks Result of Palestinian Education System

    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday in Washington: 
     "For the Palestinians, the conflict will not end at the 67' lines. The heart of the conflict is the lack of desire to acknowledge us and our right to exist as a Jewish state. The Palestinian educational system and rhetoric are the causes of the events occurring in Jerusalem."
    "Yesterday we saw the result of this in the murder of a baby girl in Jerusalem by a young man with a Hamas background and a history of security offenses. Why did this happen? It happened because in PA preschools, children as young as three are taught, for example, to wear an explosive belt in order to kill Jews. As long as the situation is like this, and young Palestinians are taught to kill Jews, there will not be real peace here."  
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Aid to the Palestinians: A Case of Flagrant Discrimination

    From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 275, 22 Oct 2014, by Prof. Hillel Frisch*:

    Aid for Gaza

    The disproportionate dispensation of international aid to the Palestinians is discriminatory and biased. 

    • The Palestinians receive considerably more aid per capita than the economic aid offered to African states; and 
    • international aid to the Palestinians indirectly abets Palestinian Islamist terrorism.

    If officials in any developed country would dispense aid to their citizens the way the international community dispenses aid to the Palestinians, they would be placed behind bars for blatant discrimination if not racism. This would clearly be the verdict of any court that compared international aid to the 4.2 million Palestinians (World Bank estimate), to Ethiopia, a western ally, and other African states.

    The facts of this discrimination are beyond dispute. In 2013, Ethiopia received 3.2 billion dollars in financial aid. The Palestinians in 2013 received approximately 2 billion dollars in aid, and this was before the last round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.


    International Economic Aid to Palestinians compared to African States (2013)
    Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/DT.ODA.ALLD.CD

    ...Ethiopia’s population is twenty times even the most generous estimate of the combined populations of the West Bank and Gaza: 94 million Ethiopians compared to 4.2 million Palestinians. This means that the average Palestinian receives fifteen times more aid per capita (US$476) than the average Ethiopian (US$35)! (See table)

    But the discrimination does not end there.

    The second golden rule in allocating resources in most developed countries is that you benefit proportionately the citizens who are poorer and suffer more hardship. Thus, not only do richer citizens proportionately pay higher taxes, they receive proportionately less allocations or services for the taxes they pay.

    Applying this golden rule to our comparison would show that Ethiopians are far needier than the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza – and by a considerable amount. The GDP per capita in Ethiopia is US$500, one of the lowest in the world. In the West Bank and Gaza combined, the GDP is US$2,800. There are no authoritative figures for the GDP per capita for Gaza, but even it were only half of the total average for the West Bank and Gaza, the GDP per capita in Gaza would be nevertheless, three times higher than that for the Ethiopians. Yet, once again, the Ethiopians receive only one-fifteenth the aid the Palestinians receive, though they are over five times needier.

    Just imagine if it were discovered that residents in the Upper East Side received fifteen times more services from the state and the City of New York, than, let’s say, the residents of Harlem.

    Yet, the most disturbing aspect in this ongoing project of blatant discrimination is that Ethiopia is a state that actively participates in the war against terrorism. For example, it is the largest contributor of troops to the peace-keeping force in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops along with troops from other African states risk and lose their lives in the long war against Harakat al-Shabab, a murderous militia affiliated to al-Qaeda. The Palestinians, in contrast, produce terrorism. Hamas, the rulers of Gaza and arguably the largest political force amongst the Palestinians, has been engaged in indiscriminate acts of terror ranging from suicide bombings to missile launchings for over twenty years.

    International aid to the Palestinians, albeit indirectly, abets Islamist terrorism. The billion dollars Abbas spends on Gaza, at least one-third of which is provided by international aid, finances the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Battalions in Gaza who belong to Fatah, a movement President Abbas heads, and which launches rockets indiscriminately at Israeli population centers. It also lets Hamas off the financial hook in governing the Gazan population in order to devote almost all of its resources to fighting the Islamist war against Israel and in paying the salaries of 25,000 teachers they hired after taking over Gaza in 2007. These teachers have since been indoctrinating school children with the jihadist ideology.

    This blatant discrimination in the dispensation of international aid repeats itself in the comparison between aid to the Palestinians and Liberia, which may be comparable to the Palestinians in population but by no other human welfare indicator. Take life expectancy; in Liberia is stands at a devastating 60 compared to a respectable 73 for the Palestinians. A comparison between the Palestinians and Kenyans, which like Ethiopians, fight against terrorism rather than produce it, reveals the same picture (See table). The recent conference which promised US$5 billion for Gaza reconstruction only makes the issue of the discriminatory and disproportionate aid to the Palestinians even more salient.

    What explains this largess towards the Palestinians?

    Much of it can be explained by the belief both amongst the Europeans and the US, the major providers of aid (many of the wealthy Gulf States are too busy financing terrorist organizations elsewhere), that economic aid buys peace and quiet. However, some of the discrimination might be due to perceptions that Africans are less worth the effort, perceptions that might be called ‘racist’.

    President Obama has recently embarked on the difficult task of forging an alliance against the Islamic State. Much easier, but no less necessary, is to make sure that international aid, in which the US is a major contributor, avoids rewarding actors that undermine his efforts in the war against terrorism, like many of the Palestinians, instead of discriminating against states like Ethiopia and Kenya who are on the front lines in the battle against extremist Islamic movements.

    *Prof. Hillel Frisch, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is a professor of political science and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Iran Threatens To Attack Israel Should US Strike Assad

    From FDI, Wednesday, 22 October 2014, by Ben Pattison:

    Washington’s resolve to oppose Assad while attacking Islamic State (IS) has prompted Iran to threaten to attack Israel if the US attacks Syria...

    Background
    On 11 October, Iran’s deputy foreign minister made clear the government’s decision on a US-led attack on the Assad regime in Syria: should Damascus be targeted by the US or its allies, Iran will strike Israel. Assad seeks Israel’s destruction and maintains his power because of Iranian capital.

    Comment
    Israel and Iran have an inimical relationship, with Tehran having openly advocated Israel’s total destruction and Israel relentless in its opposition to Iran’s nuclear program. Prior to Iran’s statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the world’s media, assessing the West’s possible nuclear-concessions towards Iran as a reward for their support in defeating Islamic State (IS). Netanyahu decried the international climate of diplomacy stating
    ‘I’ve heard in the press that people are saying… Let's reward Iran for fighting ISIS… What for? They are going to fight ISIS anyway’. 
    As IS’s conquest of Shi’ite Islam is a stated goal of the Caliphate, Netanyahu is right: Iran will fight IS to ensure its own survival. Naturally, as Netanyahu perceives, it will attempt to configure the ensuing international diplomacy to suit its long-term interests.

    Earlier in October, a weapons testing facility thirty miles from Tehran was reported to have exploded, either deliberately or by accident, killing at least two Iranians. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not been given access to this site since 2005, leading analysts to believe that it is a warhead-detonation experimental facility. Israel denied responsibility for the explosion and Iran, fearing the embarrassment of having to admit to potential Israeli breaches of their security, declared the incident an accident.

    Since Israel is adamant that Iran’s nuclear program has more than just civilian aspirations, it is possible that Israel pre-emptively targeted the site....

    For IS, possessing a nuclear arsenal is undoubtedly in their interest. This makes the defeat of Iran a key goal and another reason for Israel to want to limit Iran’s nuclear programme.

    During talks in New York last week, officials from Tehran sought permission to keep and upgrade their centrifuge capacity.

    In his speech, Netanyahu exposed the ruse of a peaceful Iranian nuclear programme:
    ‘17 countries around the world… have civilian nuclear energy. They don't have one centrifuge. Because the centrifuge you really need is for one thing: not for civilian nuclear energy, but for making a bomb; for military use’.
    The USA has long called for the Assad regime to be dismantled, perceiving it to be a client of Iran. Tehran’s propping up of the Shia sect known as the Alawites (Assad’s ethnic group) came as a response against united orthodox Arab (Sunni) aggression towards the Shi’ite Islamic State’s revolution in 1979. After Israel and the USA, Saudi Arabia is Iran’s chief ideological opponent and a militarily and financially strong adversary.

    Seeking to establish Iran as the leader of a united Shia Muslim community across the region, the Ayatollahs have funded and armed groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and other groups in Yemen and Bahrain; they also fund Shia doctrine world-wide (much like the Saudis fund Wahhabism).

    The question now, however, is whether Iran believes it could feasibly attack Israel.

    Nakhijevan in Azerbaijan, on the border with Iran and under 800kms from Tehran and the Iranian nuclear facility of Natanz, now houses a squadron of Israeli fighter aircraft, with drones known to embark from there on intelligence missions. The Israeli presence on Iran’s border is tactically prudent, enabling swift retaliation should Iran strike Israel.
    [Also see Israeli Drone Caught Spying on Iran ‘Took Off from Nakhijevan’]

    ... The situation is now clear. ... attacks on Syria will only add another dimension to a very convoluted war.

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Hezbollah is facing a formidable Sunni threat.

    From JPost, 18 Oct 2014, by JONATHAN SPYER:

    As the Syrian civil war spills over Lebanon’s border, Hezbollah finds itself facing a formidable Sunni threat.

    Hezbollah is under pressure as the consequences of its ongoing intervention in Syria have come back to bite the terrorist organization.

    There are increasing indications that the sectarian war raging in Iraq and Syria is now moving irrevocably into Lebanon.

    The Shi’ite group is currently seeking to shore up its legitimacy by reminding its constituents, and other Lebanese citizens, of the role that gains it the most domestic sympathy – resistance against Israel. It is likely the strike [against Israel] at Mount Dov last week was part of this effort.

    It is also, in its propaganda, somewhat oddly trying to assert that Israel and the Sunni jihadis of the Nusra Front and Islamic State are allies.

    All this activity comes as the Nusra Front is demonstrating its ability to hit at Hezbollah across the border with increasing impunity.

    Attacks by Sunnis in Lebanon are not new, and similar incidents have taken place throughout the Syrian civil war.

    The longstanding tension in the Tripoli area between the mainly Alawi, pro-regime inhabitants of the Jebel Mohsen neighborhood and the mainly Sunni, pro-rebel Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood is continuing.

    Hezbollah, in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), managed to stem a bombing campaign by the Sunnis in the Shi’ites’ heartland of southern Beirut in the middle of 2013.

    And tensions between Hezbollah supporters and the local Salafi leader Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir in June 2013 ended in pitched battles and the destruction of Assir’s local power.

    The current tension, however, differs from previous episodes.

    It does not involve Hezbollah fighting much weaker local Sunni forces. This time, the movement is clashing directly with Syrian Sunnis.

    The current phase began with the seizure of the Lebanese border town of Arsal in August by members of both the Nusra Front and Islamic State. They left with a number of captured Lebanese soldiers, some of whom have since been executed.

    The LAF then tried to crack down on local support for the jihadis in Arsal, carrying out a large raid on the town in September, arresting hundreds accused of being Nusra Front members or for supporting the movement.

    More importantly, most of the individuals in the crackdown were not Lebanese Sunnis but rather members of the 1.5 million Syrian Sunni refugees, now in Lebanon.

    The Nusra Front then struck back hard in an operation whose stated goal was to “avenge Syrian refugees whose tents were burned” during the crackdown on Arsal.

    Hundreds of fighters of the organization attacked from across the Syrian border, forming a line from Baalbek up to Arsal itself.

    The attack wasn’t directed against the LAF, but against Hezbollah’s positions.

    The attackers were eventually defeated (or the battle was intended to be a hit-and-run attack, depending on who one chooses to believe). But the jihadis fought a two-hour pitched battle with Hezbollah fighters near the village of Britel.

    The Nusra Front overran a Hezbollah position, killing at least 11 of the movement’s fighters.

    The Sunnis filmed the attack, as well as its aftermath. The jihadis can be seen moving backwards through the Hezbollah position, removing equipment, nonchalantly ignoring the corpses of dead defenders.

    The Britel battle represents an eruption into Lebanon of a wider campaign, in which Hezbollah and other pro-Assad forces have been desperately trying to clear out the Sunni jihadis from the Qalamun mountain range along the border and seal the line between Syria and Lebanon.

    The Nusra Front and its allies are trying to establish a connecting route between Arsal and al-Zabadani, west of Damascus, long held by the rebels.

    The fight for Qalamun has turned into a grinding affair for Hezbollah, costing the lives of many of its fighters, while it never quite seems to end. The Britel losses indicate the failure of the pro-Iranian bloc’s efforts to finish this fight, and show that the direction of events, for now, at least, are in the Nusra Front’s favor.

    But the wider implications and challenges of the intensification of cross-border Sunni activity are political.

    As its casualties in the seemingly unending Syrian war continue to mount, Hezbollah needs to redouble efforts to explain to its constituency why this sacrifice makes sense and how it fits into the movement’s more familiar justifications for its existence.

    Hence the increase in public statements by top officials, including leader Hassan Nasrallah.

    Nasrallah paid a rare visit to Bekaa this week. In his speech, he sought to link the fight with the Sunni jihadis to Hezbollah’s war with Israel.

    “Victory will be the ally of the mujahideens in their fight against takfiri [apostate Muslims] and terrorist groups, the same way it was their ally in the confrontation against the Israeli enemy,” Nasrallah said.

    Interestingly, the Hezbollah leader didn’t stress the military campaign in Bekaa, but rather boasted of the attack in the Mount Dov area, which he said showed “the resistance, which is always vigilant, will protect any attempt to attack Lebanon or its people.”

    Pro-Hezbollah publicists, meanwhile, are seeking to color in this picture with claims that Israel and the Nusra Front have reached an understanding with one another and are cooperating against Hezbollah, as Jean Aziz, a columnist at the pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar wrote in a recent article.

    These statements and claims notwithstanding, the main concern for Hezbollah and its supporters is the effect that the Nusra Front’s offensive into Lebanon is having on the delicate balance between the Sunnis and Shi’ites in the country.

    Since the internal political and military conflict in 2008, with the humiliation of the mainly Sunni March 14 Alliance by Hezbollah and its associates, it looked like the Lebanese Sunnis were finished.

    The Shi’ites, because of their political and demographic strength, achieved a clear dominance. The underlying concern of recent events is that this balance may be shifting.

    There are 1.5 million new Sunnis in the country. For a country with a population of less than five million, this is a major shift.

    A number of articles in the Lebanese media this week have reflected the widespread sympathy felt among many Sunnis for the Nusra Front, which is widely felt in both Lebanon and Syria to be less extreme and more local in its orientation than Islamic State.

    It is noteworthy that the Nusra Front mentioned the desire to avenge an affront against the refugees as the main goal of its Bekaa offensive.

    All these topics point to a possibly emergent, new strategic challenge for Hezbollah – namely the emergence of a new, powerful, Sunni Islamist opponent, one possessing some popular legitimacy, considerable military ability and a capacity to operate across borders.

    Hezbollah appears to be aware of this threat and is currently attempting to formulate its response to it. This is a new and emerging front in the sectarian war that has already consumed Syria and Iraq. It remains to be seen if the Shi’ite Islamists of Lebanon will succeed in resisting the challenge from their Sunni opponents.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    "Recognising" a culture of hate and death

    From Arutz Sheva, 18 Oct 2014,  by Mark Silverberg:

    In a spectacular display of ignorance, moral illiteracy and malice, the Swedish parliament voted in favor of unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state in early October.

    Then, on October 13th, a group of backbench British MPs succeeded in obtaining a symbolic, non-binding vote in the British House of Commons to the effect “that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution towards supporting a negotiated two-state solution”.

    Similar parliamentary votes on Palestinian statehood are expected shortly in Ireland, Spain, Denmark, France and Finland.

    These votes disregard the realities of the conflict. If the Palestinians would:
    ● recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people (which would mean acknowledgment of the character and permanence of Israel, and is thus rejected outright);
    ● accept demilitarization of Gaza and the 'West Bank';
    ● change their culture of hatred by amending their founding documents that proclaim their intention to annihilate Israel;
    ● forego their unconditional and non-negotiable position on their absolute “right of return” to Israel;
    ● cease incitement against Jews and Israelis in their schools, newspapers, mosques, media, summer camps, TV programming and educational system;
    ● cease portraying Palestine on their maps as including the State of Israel;
    ● cease their acts of murderous violence across Israel; cease justifying violence against Israelis as a legitimate form of political action;
    ● cease naming tournaments, marketplaces and streets after Palestinian “martyrs" whose claim to fame is that they murdered Jewish "occupiers" of Palestine (meaning Israelis);
    ● cease firing thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers;
    ● cease building terrorist tunnels into Israel for the sole purpose of kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians;
    ● cease referring to Jews as “the descendants of apes and pigs”;
    ● cease providing payments to the families of suicide bombers;
    ● cease embracing as ‘heroes’ released Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israelis;
    ● cease attempting to bring war crimes charges against Israeli officers and officials at the International Criminal Court;
    ● cease insisting that the UN Security Council impose a deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the 'West Bank';
    ● cease playing the victim on the international stage and begin taking responsibility for their own failures, and cease promoting the apartheid, racist idea that any future Palestinian state will be “Jew-free” (as Mahmoud Abbas said in 2010), ........

    then recognition of a Palestinian state based on a two-state solution would become feasible.

    At this moment in time and for the foreseeable future, however, there is no serious evidence that the Palestinian leadership (be it Fatah or Hamas or both) want a state of their own that will live in peace with Israel as a Jewish state which rests on land they consider to be a sacred part of the Islamic ummah. In fact, there is ample evidence that they will treat anything they get as a staging ground for further attacks on Israel until it has been annihilated or subjugated to Islamic rule.

    Despite the fact that the British resolution was non-binding and may have been motivated more for internal political purposes (conflicts between the British Labor Party and the governing Conservative Party), formal recognition of a Palestinian state (should it ever come to pass) would be a disaster for many reasons:

    1. The Palestinians, despite numerous historical opportunities, have consistently refused to accept a Palestinian state (unless it includes the state of Israel). That is, their negotiation stance is contingent not on compromise but on struggle until victory.

    2. The Palestinians have never been able to set up the infrastructure of a responsible state that would include transparent governance, a fair judicial system and a competent administration. Anything short of this would be a recipe for another failed Arab state.

    3. The Oslo treaty is quite clear that resolution of borders and other issues must come through direct negotiations between the parties. Unilaterally declaring a state (as the British and Swedes have done) effectively undermines the treaty that committed both sides to a negotiated settlement between the two parties. That is, imposing Palestinian demands upon Israel using European or American pressure effectively destroys the Oslo treaty and undermines the peace process. In honor-shame Islamic cultures such as that of Palestinian society, if a foe (Israel) is forced to make concessions, it is seen as a sign of weakness and encourages further demands for further concessions.

    4. It is a certainty that any Palestinian state so created will become a militant jihadist state controlled initially by Hamas and, later, quite possibly by ISIS. As the 2007 Hamas coup in Gaza showed, and as polls continue to show in the wake of Operation Defensive Edge, Hamas would end Fatah control over the 'West Bank' within months. This is what the Swedish and British parliaments have in fact endorsed in the name of “peace”.

    5. With 48 Muslim majority states in the world (including 22 Arab states) - most of them failed states, none of them true Western-style democracies, and most of them belligerent - why on earth would the Europeans want to establish yet another guaranteed failed state? Given the current Palestinian leadership, establishing a formal state with all the rights that come with statehood (the right to govern, diplomatic immunity, a standing army, defined borders, an air command, sovereign control over land, territorial waters and air space, the right to collect taxes, and the capacity to enter into treaties with other states and to join specialized UN agencies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Law of the Sea Treaty, and the International Criminal Court) would be madness.

    More importantly, this new “state” would be ruled half by a terrorist group (Hamas) and half by an unelected administrative entity (Fatah) whose last election occurred years ago. The government of each half considers the government of the other half illegitimate - and both are correct.             

    6. Forgetting the fact that the Palestinians have been offered a state on numerous occasions over the past 70 years, there are plenty of other ethnic and religious peoples who have a far greater claim to statehood in the world - peoples who maintain their own language, their own religion, and in many respects, their own history - peoples that include the Kurds, Tibetans, Tamils and Chechens. To favor formal statehood to a group that shares the same language and religion as 22 other Arab states sets a dangerous precedent.

    7. As ISIS expands its murderous Islamic juggernaut across Iraq and Syria and threatens Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and eventually Israel, Europe and the U.S., Western recognition of another failed state (Palestine) would represent a major victory for radical Islamist forces in the Levant to establish a new base of operations in Palestine that would allow them to use state status, rights and diplomatic immunity to further their global Islamic crusade

    8. Israel is the West’s only truly reliable ally in the Middle East. Establishing a jihadist, genocidal Islamic enemy with full state powers on her borders would not only sow the seeds of a new war with a jihadist-controlled Palestine, but would guarantee the collapse of other moderate Arab nations with whom Israel is currently allied in its war against the jihadists.

    None of those speaking for the creation of a Palestinian state appear to have taken any of these critical issues into account. The countries who voted (and will vote) for a Palestinian state have done nothing to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. They have only sown the seeds of further war. The responsibility for the escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rests with the Palestinians who continue to turn their backs on peace.

    Palestinian national identity is predicated on winning a zero-sum struggle with Zionism, not on a vision of a state of their own. Rather than take the many opportunities offered to them to build a future for their children, they have refused to relinquish their embrace of a culture of hate and death.

    Consequently, eminently sensible proposals regarding borders, Jewish communities in the 'West Bank' and even Jerusalem are rendered irrelevant. What Britain, Sweden, France and the other European countries refuse to recognize is that no peace is possible until Palestinian society makes the compromise it has been unwilling to do for nearly a century – to share the land.

    When will John Kerry leave us in peace?

    From Times of Israel, 17 Oct 2014:

    US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during an Eid reception to mark the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage on October 16, 2014, at the State Department in Washington, DC (photo credit: State Department/Flickr)
    US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during an Eid reception to mark the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage on October 16, 2014, at the State Department in Washington, DC (photo credit: State Department/Flickr)

    WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called for a resumption of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, saying the talks were vital in the fight against extremism. 

    “It is imperative that we find a way to get back to the negotiations,” Kerry said at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

    ...He said the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fueling recruitment for the Islamic State jihadist group.

    “There wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation,” Kerry said.
    “People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity,..”..

    From Times of Israel, 17 Oct 2014:

    ...Writing on Facebook, [Economy Minister Naftali] Bennett, who heads the nationalist Jewish Home party, a major coalition member, linked to an article about Kerry’s remarks, commenting in Hebrew that 
    “Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian, someone will always blame the Jew.”

    Gilad Erdan on July 8, 2013. (photo credit: Flash 90)
    Gilad Erdan on July 8, 2013. (photo credit: Flash 90)

    Likud minister Erdan, thought to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pick to become Interior Minister, also blasted Kerry on Facebook, asking sarcastically whether anybody truly believes Islamic State fighters would put down their arms if Israeli-Palestinian talks were restarted.

    “I actually respect Kerry and his efforts, but every time he breaks new records of showing a lack of understanding of our region and the essence of the conflict in the Middle East I have trouble respecting what he says...” 
    Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked also expressed dismay over the statement.

    This is not the first time Kerry has been criticized by members of Israel’s ruling coalition.
    In January, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was quoted calling Kerry “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic” in his efforts to coax the two sides into a peace agreement. Ya’alon said Kerry has “nothing to teach me about the conflict with the Palestinians.

    “All that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace,” Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted him saying at the time....

    England's Vote for Hamas: An unforgiveable act of mega-spinelessness

    From American Spectator, 17 Oct 2014, by Hal GP Colebatch*:

    I am half-English, half-Australian...

    I have been prouder than I can easily say of England’s past. I saw, close up and with horror, the corruption of many of its institutions under Tony Blair while living there in 1998-99. I arrived just in time for the surreal madness of Princess Diana’s funeral. My book, Blair’s Britain, was one of the first to try to expose a strange, dream-like malaise, of which Blair’s “cool Britannia” was near the essence. Blair’s Britain was chosen by the London Spectator as a book of the year and quickly sold out though for some reason was not reprinted.

    ...The recent vote, 274-12 by British MPs to recognize the Hamas regime ... (with 450 or so spineless abstentions, including that of its mega-spineless Prime Minister)...is a cause not only for disgust, but for unutterable shame. ... this is treason to everything that is fine and noble in the spirit of England.

    Make no mistake: for at least some of the movers of the resolution it was not about the rights of the Palestinians: it was about Jew-hatred. Consider the statement of Richard Ottoway, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, that despite having been “a friend of Israel long before I became a Tory,” its recent policies had “outraged me more than anything else in my political life’” Not much pretense there that the vote was prompted by hopes that it would somehow contribute (Who knows how?) to a peaceful,  two-state solution. No suggestion that by its rocket-attacks on cities Hamas had forced Israel to retaliate.

    And then there were the degenerates of ISIS and the televised beheadings of the innocent and the machine-gunning of helpless prisoners, forced to dig there own graves. The girls carried off in hundreds to sexual slavery. Yes, I know Hamas and ISIS are not exactly the same, but they are connected, and the beheadings and machine-gunnings are a pretty clear sign of what Israel could expect if the Islamic fanatics and perverts somehow gained the upper hand. This is not a matter of esoteric knowledge but of obvious and well-known fact, such as it would seem unnecessary even to state. 

    This is one of those times in history when, as Chesterton said, evil is not done furtively in dark corners or by moonlight but glorifying itself in the full light of the noonday sun. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Hamas to dissociate itself from ISIS, let alone do anything to help resist it..

    The British Union of University Students, incidentally, has also just passed a resolution not to condemn ISIS, lest this be taken for Islamophobia. This is the action of people not merely mistaken but somehow biologically deficient, like apologists for, or deniers of, the Holocaust.

    Hamas has shown its savage ruthlessness by its general use of its own people as human shields. Its charter calls for the extermination of the Jews and it has never shown interest in a peace treaty.

    This, like ISIS, is sheer evil, undisguised, like Nazism or Stalinism, the inveterate foe of what Churchill, at the time of the Battle of Britain, called “Christian civilization.“ Israel knows, to quote Kipling:
    We asked no more than leave
    To reap where we had sown,
    Through good and ill to cleave
    To our own flag and throne …
    The terror, threats, and dread
    In market, hearth, and field --
    We know, when all is said,
    We perish if we yield.
    As for the rest of us, and for the gentlemen of the House of Commons in particular, there are the words of another poet, the great Australian James McAuley, written at the time of the Soviet butchery of Hungary in 1956: (I quote from memory):
     “Suddenly upon the horizon rears up this great staring mask of blood and lies, and the question: ‘What are you going to do about ME.’” 
    At this moment England’s Parliamentary democracy stinks.

    Perhaps the one potentially good thing to have come out of this disgusting business is that it has shown Israel and its many English friends in and outside Parliament, how deeply the anti-Semitic (or whatever you wish to call them ) tentacles have penetrated into public life, and highlighted the need for a really determined pushback.

    There is, at this particular time, only one other thing to do. And it is not to pass resolutions that aid Hamas in its objective of the total destruction of Israel.

    In World War II about 80 Members of the British Parliament died fighting Nazism. No other legislative body had such a brave record. Is it beyond hope that those men’s honor may be reclaimed?

    About the Author
    *Hal G.P. Colebatch, a lawyer and author, has lectured in International Law and International Relations at Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and worked on the staff of two Australian Federal Ministers.

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    Deranged Europeans

    From Spengler, 14 Oct 2014:

    Coming soon after Sweden’s recognition of a non-existent state of Palestine, the British Parliament’s 274-to-12 resolution to recognize “Palestine” flags a sea-change in European sentiment towards Israel. France is thinking of following suit. The European Community bureaucracy, meanwhile, has readied sanctions against Israel.

    One remonstrates in vain. The Gaza War should have taught the world that Israel cannot cede territory to Mahmoud Abbas, now in the 10th year of a 4-year term. Hamas has the support of 55% of West Bank Palestinians vs. just 38% for Abbas, and Hamas openly brags that it could destroy Israel more easily from firing positions in the West Bank. Only the Israeli military keeps Abbas in power; without the Israelis Hamas would displace Abbas in the West Bank as easily as it did in Gaza; and a Hamas government in the West Bank would make war on Israel, with horrifying consequences.

    To propose immediate Palestinian statehood under these circumstances is psychotic, to call the matter by its right name. The Europeans, along with the United Nations and the Obama administration on most working days, refuse to take reality into account. When someone tells you that Martians are transmitting radio waves into his brain, or that Elvis Presley really is the pope rather than an Argentine Jesuit, one doesn’t enquire into the merits of the argument. Rather, one considers the cause of the insanity.

    The Europeans hate Israel with the passion of derangement. Why? Well, one might argue that the Europeans always have hated Jews; they were sorry they hated Jews for a while after the Holocaust, but they have gotten over that and hate us again. Some analysts used to cite Arab commercial influence in European capitals, but today Egypt and implicitly Saudi Arabia are closer to Jerusalem’s point of view than Ramallah’s. Large Muslim populations in Europe constitute a pressure group for anti-Israel policies, but that does not explain the utter incapacity of the European elite to absorb the most elementary facts of the situation.

    Europe’s derangement has deeper roots. Post-nationalist Europeans, to be sure, distrust and despise all forms of nationalism. But Israeli nationalism does not offend Europe merely because it is one more kind of nationalism. From its founding, Europe has been haunted by the idea of Israel. Its first states emerged as an attempt to appropriate the election of Israel....

    .... Europe’s nationalisms were not simply an expansion of tribal impulses, but a nationalism refined and shaped by Christianity into a ghastly caricature of Israel’s Chosenness. In turn, each European country asserted its status as God’s new people: France under Richelieu during the 17th century, England under the Tudors, Russia (“The Third Rome”) from the time of Ivan the Terrible, and ultimately the Germans, who substituted the concept of “master race” for the Chosen People.

    The flowering of Jewish national life in Israel makes the Europeans crazy. It is not simply envy: it is a terrible reminder of the vanity of European national aspirations over the centuries, of the continent’s ultimate failure as a civilization. Just as the Europeans (most emphatically the Scandinavians) would prefer to dissolve into the post-national stew of European identity, they demand that Israel do the same. Never mind that Israel lacks the option to do so, and would be destroyed were it to try, for reasons that should be obvious to any casual consumer of news media.

    Europeans cannot live with their past. They cannot live with their present, and do not plan to have a future, for they do not bear enough children to forestall demographic ruin at the hundred-year horizon. 

    With its high fertility, national spirit, religiosity and unabashed national self-assertion, Israel reminds the Europeans of everything that they are not. Much worse: it reminds them of what they once desired to become. The idea of Israel as well as the fact of Israel are equally intolerable to them.

    It remains to be seen whether Germany–the one European country that has made a vigorous effort to come to grips with its dreadful past–will allow anti-Israel sentiment to turn into diplomatic isolation. One hopes that Angela Merkel, Germany’s talented and well-intentioned chancellor, will stand in the way of this. Europe may not be quite a lost cause for Israel, but it is at grave risk of becoming one.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Turkey strikes Kurds ... not ISIS...

    From VOA14 Oct, by Dorian Jones:

    Hakkari province, Turkey

    Turkish aircraft pounded Kurdish rebel bases in Turkey on Tuesday for the first time since a peace process began almost two years ago. The attacks follow major unrest across Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast over what Kurds see as Ankara's inaction while the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani is under siege by the Islamic State militant group.   
      
    The air attacks against the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, are reported to have occurred in Hakkari province on Iraq’s border.

    ...The air strikes follow last week’s violent protests by Kurds throughout Turkey over the government’s refusal to allow military assistance for Syrian Kurds under siege by the Islamic State in the city of Kobani on Turkey’s border.

    At least 35 people were killed in riots last week when members of Turkey's 15 million-strong Kurdish minority rose up in anger at the government for refusing to help defend the Syrian border town of Kobani from an assault by Islamic State militants.

    International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University says the Turkish air strikes are part of a wider power struggle between Ankara and Turkey’s Kurdish movement.

    "That was the response, to a certain extent, to last week’s riots. That corresponds to what the prime minister said today [Tuesday] --  that they will respond disproportionately to vandalism, to terrorist activities and violence and all that," said Ozel. "And that they in their minds make a distinction, between the peace process which they believe is not defunct and those who try to force Turkey’s hand, by threat or use of violence."

    Since March 2013, the PKK has largely observed a cease-fire with the Turkish state as part of a peace process with the Turkish government. The process seeks to end a three decade conflict by the PKK for greater Kurdish minority rights.

    But PKK military leaders based in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan have linked the fate of the peace process to the fate of Kobani.

    Kadri Gursel, an expert on the conflict and diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet,  warns that Kurdish anger over Kobani is part of a wider disillusionment with the peace process.

    "For more than two years nothing," said Gursel. "No concrete step has been taken by the government to advance the so-called peace and solution process. And also there is this Kobani and Rojava situation. There is anger - a growing anger among Kurds."

    Observers point out that anger among Turkey’s large Kurdish minority is also growing over reports Ankara is refusing to allow the delivery through its territory of a shipment of arms from Iraqi Kurds to Kurds besieged in Kobani. Syrian fighters have repeatedly said they are in urgent need of military supplies.

    There are growing calls internationally for Turkey to open its border to allow military supplies of Kobani. But, Ankara accuses the Syrian Kurds of being terrorists linked to the PKK and has ruled out any delivery of military supplies.

    Analyst Ozel warns the government is paying an increasingly high diplomatic price for its stance.

    "[They are] pretty isolated but it's also a country that the world system cannot afford to isolate totally," said Ozel. "It's obviously putting itself in a position where it does not have too many friends."

    But Ankara’s stance appears to be hardening along with air strikes against the PKK.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for similar action to be taken against both the Islamic State group and the Syrian Kurdish fighters, claiming both are terrorist organizations and that Turkey has no interest in the fate of Kobani.  
    Political observers warn that is likely to only further alienate Turkey's Western allies as well as its large Kurdish minority. 

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    "My family's story in 1948 - fleeing Jaffa, building a future in Israel."

    From YouTube, 1 Oct 2014:



    George Deek, Israel's vice ambassador to Norway, giving a lecture in the House of Literature in Oslo,  27 September 2014.

    Some excerpts:

    ...According to the U.N. 711 thousand Palestinians were displaced, we’ve heard that before – some fled and some forcefully expelled.
    At the same time, because of the establishment of Israel, 800 thousand Jews were intimidated into leaving the Arab world, leaving mostly empty of Jews.
    As we’ve heard before, atrocities from both sides were not uncommon.

    But it seems that this conflict was not the only one during the 19th and 20th century that lead to expulsion and transfer.


    • From 1821 to 1922, 5 million Muslims were expelled from Europe, mostly to Turkey.
    • In the 90’s Yoguslavia broke apart, leading to 100,000 people dead and about 3 million displaced.
    • From 1919 to 1949, during the Visla operation between Poland and Ukraine, 150,000 people died, and 1.5 million were displaced.
    • Following World War II and the Potsdam convention, between 12-17 million Germans were displaced.
    • When India and Pakistan were established, about 15 million people were transferred.
    • This trend also exists in the Middle East, For example the displacement of 1.1 million Kurds by the Ottomans,
    • 2.2 million Christians who were expelled from Iraq,
    • And as we speak today, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and even Muslims are being killed and expelled in a rate of 1,000 people per month, following the rise of Radical Islam.

    The chances of any of those groups to return to their homes, is almost non-existent.
    So why is it then,
    Why is it that the tragedies of the Serbs, the European Muslims, the Polish refugees or the Iraqi Christians are not commemorated?

    How come the displacement of the Jews from the Arab world was completely forgotten, while the tragedy of the Palestinians, the Nakba, is still alive in today’s politics?

    It seems to me to be so, because the Nakba has been transformed from a humanitarian disaster to a political offensive.

    The commemoration of the Nakba is no longer about remembering what happened, but about resenting the mere existence of the state of Israel.

    It is demonstrated most clearly in the date chosen to commemorate it:
    The Nakba day is not April 9th – the day of the Deir Yassin massacre,
    Or July 13th – the day of the expulsion from Lod.
    The Nakba day was set on May 15th – the day after Israel proclaimed its independence.
    By that the Palestinian leadership declared that the disaster of the Nakba is not the expulsion, the abandoned villages or the exile – the Nakba in their eyes in the creation of Israel.

    They are saddened less by the humanitarian catastrophe that befell on Palestinians, and more by the revival of the Jewish state.

    In other words: they do not mourn the fact that my cousins are Jordanians, they mourn the fact that I am an Israeli.


    By doing so, The Palestinians have become slaves to the past, held captive by the chains of resentment, prisoners in the world of frustration and hate...

    ...If the Palestinians wish to redeem the past, they need to first focus on securing a future, on building a world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

    And the first step in that direction, without a doubt, is to end the shameful treatment of the Palestinian refugees.

    In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights.

    Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees?
    Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere.

    And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations.

    Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.

    While there is one U.N. agency in charge of all refugees in the world – the UNHCR, another agency was established to deal only with the Palestinian ones – UNRWA.

    This is no coincidence – while the goal of the UNHCR is to help refugees establish a new home, establish a future and end their status as refugees, the goal of UNRWA is opposite: to preserve their status as refugees, and prevent them from being able to start new lives.

    The International community cannot seriously expect the refugee problem to be solved, when it is collaborating with the Arab world in treating the refugees’ as political pawns, denying them the basic rights they deserve.

    Wherever the Palestinian refugees were granted equal rights – they prospered and contributed to their society – In South America, in the U.S., and even in Israel.

    In fact, Israel was one of the few countries that automatically gave full citizenship and equality for all Palestinians in it after ‘48.

    And we see the results: despite all the challenges, the Arab citizens of Israel built a future.
    Israeli Arabs are the most educated Arabs in the world, with the best living standards and opportunities in the region.
    Arabs serve as judges in the Supreme Court;
    Some of the best doctors in Israel are Arabs, working in almost every hospital in the country;
    There are 13 Arab members of parliament who enjoy the right to criticize the government – a right that they exhaust to the fullest – protected by the freedom of speech;
    Arabs win popular reality shows;
    And you can even find Arab diplomats – and one of them is standing in front of you.

    Today, when I walk the streets of Jaffa, I see the old buildings and the old port,
    But I also see children going to school and university; I see flourishing businesses; and I see a vibrant culture.
    In short, despite the fact that we still have a long road ahead of us as a minority, we have a future in Israel.

    ...rather than reviving the successful approach of tolerance, Arab youth are being taught to hate Jews, using anti-Semitic rhetoric from medieval Europe, mixed with Islamic radicalism.

    And once again, what started as hostility towards Jews has become hostility towards anyone who is different.

    Just last week more than 60,000 Kurds fled from Syria towards Turkey, afraid of being slaughtered.
    On the same day, 15 Palestinians from Gaza drowned in the sea trying to escape the claws of Hamas;
    Bahai and Yazidis are at risk.

    And on top of it all, the ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East is the biggest crime against humanity in the 21st century. In just two decades Christians like me have been reduced from 20% of the population of the Middle East to a mere 4% today.

    And when we see that the main victims of Islamist violence are Muslims, it is getting clear to everyone –
    At the end of the day, hate destroys the hater.
    So friends,
    If we wish to succeed in protecting our right to be different, if we want to have a future in that region, I believe we should stand together – Jews, Muslims and Christians:

    We will fight for the right of Christians everywhere to live their faith without fear, with the same passion with which we will fight for the right of Jews to live without fear.

    We will fight against Islamophobia, but we need our Muslims partners to join the fight against Christianophobia and Judeophobia.

    ...I fail to see a debate questioning the wisdom of the destructive leadership of the Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Hussaini; or the unnecessary war launched by the Arab league in 1948, or any of the wars against Israel, in the years that followed until today;
    And I fail to see self-criticism in the Palestinian mainstream today about the use of terrorism, the launching of the second intifada, or the rejection of at least two Israeli offers in the last 15 years to end the conflict.

    Self-reflection is not a weakness; it is a sign of strength.
    It brings forth our ability to overcome fear and face reality.
    It demands us to look sincerely into our decisions, and take responsibility for it.

    Only the Arabs themselves can change their reality.
    By stopping the leaning on conspiracy theories and the blaming of outside powers – America, the Jews, the West or whoever – for all the problems;
    By learning from past mistakes,
    And by making wiser decisions in the future...

    ...We cannot change the past.
    But we can secure a future for our next generations, if we want to mend the past some day;
    We can help the Palestinian refugees have a normal life;
    We can be sincere about our past, and learn from our mistakes;
    And we can unite – Muslims, Jews and Christians – to protect our right to be different, and by that preserve our humanity;

    Indeed we can’t change the past,
    But if we do all that, we will change the future...