Friday, December 29, 2006

Carter's book: Anti-Semitism, not peace

From Ynet, 29/12/06, by Rabbi Levi Brackman ...

Jimmy Carter’s latest offering reeks of anti-Semitism, not because of what he has written but because of how he has written it, what he has left out

.... I do not use the term anti-Semite lightly; in fact, I am fundamentally against equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. However, Carter’s latest book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” takes my antipathy for the man to an entirely new level, for in my view with this book he has shown himself to be an anti-Semite. This article is not the place to delve into the details of the book and refute it line by line - this has already been done. However, it is important to consider the general impression a book makes on the reader.

Inner meanings All writers know that, besides the actual words that are written, there are many messages that are conveyed between the lines by use of language, sentence structure and omissions. Jimmy Carter’s latest offering reeks of anti-Semitism, not primarily because of what he has written but because of how he has written it and what he has left out. By the end of the book the reader will have picked up a number of completely false or partially false assertions or implications, and I will list ten here.
  • One, he gives the impression that Israel never sincerely sought peace.
  • Two, he promotes the notion that Israel is interested in inflicting long-term damage and pain on the Palestinians.
  • Three, he hints that Israel is bad for Christians and Christianity as well.
    Four, he implies that the disengagement from Gaza was just a ploy to further inconvenience and inflict suffering upon the Palestinians.
  • Five, he hints that Israel made unsubstantiated accusations against Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and thus treated him unfairly.
  • Six, he gives the impression that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak never made a reasonable offer to the Palestinians when he negotiated with Arafat at Camp David and it was Barak’s fault that the talks fell apart.
  • Seven, he implies that Israel never keeps to signed agreements and that she torpedoed the Road Map.
  • Eight, Carter insinuates that Israel purposely and inappropriately interferes with free and fair elections in the Palestinian Authority.
  • Nine, he implies that Hamas is a reasonable organization, which will fall into place the moment Israel becomes more reasonable with the Palestinians.
  • The tenth and most repulsive impression Carter gives is that Israel’s actions are the cause of most of the conflicts in the world.

Is he American or Palestinian? In fact, Carter’s book reads as if it was written by a Palestinian propagandist, not by a former United States President who has been engaged in the Arab–Israeli conflict for nearly thirty years.

To conclude, as some have, that, rather than being an anti-Semite, Carter is just an ignoramus who has a tendency to “always root for the underdog” is as absurd as the book itself. In an interview, Carter claimed that while writing this book he read almost every book on the subject. If this is indeed the case - and there is no reason to doubt it - then his intentional omissions and insinuations against Israel start to take on a more sinister face.

The fact is that any person who has even an elementary knowledge of history will be able to explain that Carter’s arguments are either completely or partially incorrect. However, Carter wants to push his false premise that if only Israel would pull back from the “occupied territories” and give them back to the Arabs, peace would rain for the entire region and maybe even for the whole world.

But why would an informed person such as Carter want to push Israel to do things that, bearing in mind the facts on the ground, which he almost entirely omits in the book, would be wholly against its national and security interests and tantamount to national suicide? Furthermore, why would Carter invest so much effort in writing such a completely one-sided and misleading book, which is clearly not a realistic way forward for peace between Israel and its neighbors? I have but one answer.

Being an anti-Semite is not a reasonable state of mind it is pathological. As an anti-Semite Carter cannot stand the fact that Israel is so overwhelmingly supported by the American people and he has therefore published a dishonest and poorly written book in a cynical attempt to change this. In doing so he has not only brought shame upon himself but also, as a former president, profoundly dishonored the presidency of the United States. By extension, he is a disgrace to America.

Rabbi Levi Brackman is executive director of Judaism in the Foothills ( ) and the author of numerous articles on a whole range of topics and issues, many of which can be found on his website ( )

"Harmless" Kassams continue to rain down

From JPost, Dec. 29, 2006 1:14 by ETGAR LEFKOVITS ...

With dad's ID tag around his neck, Solomon marks his bar mitzva

The 13-year-old slowly removed the phylacteries and prayer shawl his father had just recently bought him for his bar mitzva. Minutes earlier, at the culmination of the religious service at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue Thursday, the young man had recited the mourner's prayer for his father, who was killed last month by a Palestinian rocket in Sderot. Half in a daze, wearing his father's army ID tag around his neck, Solomon Yaakobov descended from the synagogue stage. "It is sad but there is nothing to do, I have got to do this," he murmurs. His mother, Purim, is too fraught with emotions and grief to even speak.

It was only one month ago that Yaakov Yaakobov, 43, was mortally wounded in the November 21 Palestinian attack on the Sderot factory he worked in. At the time, the family of four were at the height of preparations for the teen's bar mitzva, only to have their joy melted to grief.
A generous contribution by the One Family Fund, an organization that works to help Israeli victims of terror, enabled Yaakobov to celebrate his bar mitzva in Jerusalem ....The visit to Jerusalem, which took place the day after a rare snowfall in the capital, provided the teen a respite from the near-daily rocket attacks in his hometown and came just 48 hours after two teens were badly wounded in such an attack.

Still, the anomaly of the young man saying the mourner's prayer at his own bar mitzva exemplified the deep sorrow that overshadowed the event. "It is very hard without dad. We will never be the same again," he said. "But he will always be with me, in my heart."

The Jerusalem Summit

From the web-site of the Jerusalem Summit, an international forum seeking to develop moral and efficient strategies against twin dangers facing the mankind:

  1. totalitarianism of the East, as represented by radical Islam, and
  2. moral relativism of the West, aimed at depriving cultures of their spiritual content

[Note that we have a permanent link to the Jerusalem Summit Web site - to the right of the page]....

Gender apartheid and religious intolerance, are the two most objectionable aspects of Islamic radicalism today. These issues should become the target for assertive action by those who feel that their entire system of values and world view are gravely imperiled by the spread of Islamic extremism. For a concerted drive to abolish gender apartheid and religious repression on the one hand, and to enhance the status of Moslem women and install religious pluralism/tolerance in the Moslem world, on the other, would do much to underpin Judeo-Christian values and undermine the cause of Islamic radicalism across the international stage. Indeed, an endeavor of this kind, if successful, could be a major force for promoting positive and moderating change in the very fabric of Islamist regimes.....

II. UPCOMING SUMMIT IN LONDON - from January 28-30/07
This year we, in partnership with the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus, have made plans to hold the first Jerusalem Summit Europe - in London.
1) The need for UK to lead the European reconcista and Christian revival.discussing:- Practical steps to unite EU Christians against Islamization of Europe and for revival of Judeo-Christian Values - Ways to support Israel in UK and EU, and fight the replacement theology and divestment/boycott initiatives.
2) Joint diplomatic strategy of the West to resist Islamism.Discussing a concrete Strategy for the Diplomatic Defense of the Western Civilization. Conditioning foreign aid, trade and diplomatic relations with Moslem countries on 2 parameters:
1. Women's Rights
2. Religious (Christian) FreedomFor more information-keep checking the site.


  • De- politicization of the Problem;
  • De- militarization of PA;
  • De- jihadization of Palestinians
We continue working on an Alternative Plan to the Arab-Israeli conflict which integrates plans and arguments of the best minds connected to the Jerusalem Summit. .....

Balfour Books (USA) has published Jerusalem Alternative, a collection of best presentations from the first Jerusalem Summit. The book lays intellectual foundation to the necessity and parameters of the alternative to the failed Oslo process.

On 5 November 2006 the Jerusalem Summit announced that Prof. Kenneth Preiss, a renowned authority on international industrial competitiveness, joined their Advisory Board. He has held leadership roles in defense and industrial projects in Israel and in the United States, which encompassed both management and technology. A civil and nuclear engineer by training, he has held many positions on national advisory committees in Israel regarding structuring of the educational system.

Prof. Preiss has been active in both the Schools of Engineering and Management at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba, Israel, and in numerous international professional organizations. His extensive list of published works includes close to 200 original research papers and reports, as well as several books. We post extracts below from his insightful and thought-provoking essay “How Could God and the Jewish Holocause Co-exist?” which reflects upon the pivotal contributions of the Bible and the experience of the Jewish people, for human civilization and the future of mankind .....

Jewish experience brought to humanity, in biblical times, a philosophy of thought, law and action that had a deep and lasting effect. This brief paper points out that Jewish experience again offers humanity an essential message of thought and behavior.

At every annual Passover dinner the Jewish family traditionally reads the exodus story. This....relates primarily the flight to freedom and the building of a community of free people under God-given laws for society and for the individual. ...Emerging from slavery to build a society of free people under God-given law .....

In current human affairs two major and related factors are exponentially expanding technological capability and exponentially expanding population. .... The historical data shows both how large the human population is and how rapidly it is increasing:
  • In 1800 there were 1 billion people on the planet.
  • In 1900 there were 1.6 billion, 15% in cities.
  • In 2000 there were 6.0 billion, 55% in cities.

The 20th century saw a fundamental change in humanity, from being sparsely distributed and rural, to being densely distributed and mainly urban. UN predictions for this century are that by year 2050 human population will be in the range 7.7 to 10.7 billion. By the time a baby born today in a developed country reaches its life expectancy, in the year 2080, the world population will be up to double the year 2000 value.

This increase in population, with all its many implications, will be the principle determinant of 21st century history.The exponential increase in population is accompanied by an exponential expansion of scientific and technical knowledge.

..... We live in an era when exponentially expanding scientific and technical knowledge meets an exponentially expanding human population. The Jewish experience during the 20th century illustrates the two opposite modes of behavior created by this collision.

The conceptual machinery that fueled the enterprise of systematic extermination by the Germans and their allies, of all the Jews they could find, was rational technology based upon scientific knowledge. That effort exhibited all the characteristics of technological planning: scale-up of the capacity of the killing process from Treblinka to Majdanek to Birkenau; experiments in the killing facility of Majdanek to find the dose of a carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide mixture and batch size, that would optimize the killing rate of people per day; supply chain scheduling and coordination to bring living raw material to the Europe-wide killing facility at Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau). Jews were bio-mass: useful while alive only as raw material to provide work or experimental media for medical experiments. After death they were processed into industrial products, and the residual bodies, being considered high-volume polluting waste (approximately 50 cubic meters for each 1,000 people), were disposed of by incineration. The Germans and their allies showed one pole of human behavior that derives from the interaction of human scientific knowledge and population. One third of the Jews in the world had been exterminated by the German Nazis and their helpers. Those who survived had been subjected to the most extreme and drawn-out humiliations imaginable. At the personal level their survival required superhuman perseverance, will and luck. At the end of the war hundreds of thousands of Jews suffered individually and collectively from symptoms of the then unrecognized condition known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During the 20th century, the Zionist movement succeeded in harnessing the energies of individual Jews to take their fate into their own hands and reclaim political independence in their ancient homeland. This movement got under way at the end of the 19th century and achieved recognized statehood three years after defeat of the Nazis. In the late 19th century, 30,000 Jews emigrated to Israel from Eastern Europe while 2,000,000 immigrated to other countries. Those 30,000 joined the Jews who had lived for many generations in Palestine, then were later joined by others including many who had survived the Nazis. The efforts of these people changed a country that had been largely desert and malarial swamp, making it fertile, a way station for half a billion birds that now land in Israel twice yearly while migrating between Africa and Europe, a country now rated by a UN survey as 22nd in the world in quality of life, and 8th in life expectancy. This is an achievement of biblical magnitude to which we are still too close to properly appreciate.

Now as in biblical times the Jewish collective faces intense and almost universal hostility. Nevertheless it has established a state based on tradition and governed by law, that is among the world leaders in many aspects of science, technology, high-tech industry, arts and culture. The fact that the future currently faced by the Jews appears uncertain, does not diminish the greatness of these achievements. They are the antithesis of Nazism.

The creation of material wealth, although based upon technology, is primarily a question of societal organization rather than of stand-alone scientific and technological knowledge. ...necessary conditions for prosperity are individual and property rights under law, and absence of predation by corruption or by special-interest groups abusing the legal process. Without respect for the individual and the concomitant balance between the individual and society, as immortalized by the Hebrew bible, countries are dysfunctional and poor, and will never be able to offer their citizens a decent life.

Civilization is based upon a delicate balance between the demands of the individual and those of society, expressed as a system of law and order, which itself is based on biblical teachings. .... In biblical times Jewish experience illuminated the path that led from barbaric slavery to modern civilization.

In the 20th century, that was prelude to our critical 21st century, Jewish experience again illustrated these two poles of choice for humanity. As victims they showed to what depths individuals and society can sink. As inheritors of an ancient culture that fueled the recreation of Jewish sovereignty in modern Israel, they showed to what heights the human spirit can rise.

Humanity today will choose its path, by default or by conscious decision. Under the weight of population and depredation of the environment, humanity will either sink into a new dark age, or will behave collectively in accordance with ancient biblical precepts of justice and societal organization, to provide a reasonable standard of life and health for all the many billions that soon will inhabit this planet.

....That Jewish experience illustrated both poles of human behavior 3,500 years ago and again today, may appear to some people as coincidence. Others may prefer to see this as a demonstration that Jewish experience is God-given, a message that humanity faces an unavoidable choice between the two extremes of human behavior - burgeoning population as biomass or people in the image of God, living under legal precepts that derive from Mosaic law.

What happens when you cave to blackmail

Doron highlights this article by ITAMAR MARCUS and BARBARA CROOK , THE JERUSALEM POST, Dec. 27, 2006 [my emphasis added - SL]...

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet have found a unique way to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Id al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice," that commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. But instead of slaughtering lambs or goats, as millions of Muslims throughout the world will do starting Sunday, Israel's leaders are prepared to sacrifice the lives of countless innocent Israelis. Olmert's willingness to free terrorists in exchange for our kidnapped soldiers, along with his newest plan to release terrorists as a goodwill gesture to PA President Mahmoud Abbas before the Muslim holiday, will cause more Israeli deaths than if he were to hand a terrorist a loaded gun.

Freeing terrorists by giving in to blackmail empowers an entire generation of terrorists with the knowledge that their actions have no lasting consequences, and that even the toughest Israeli prison sentence will never be permanent. They just have to wait for their fellow terrorists to kidnap another Israeli hostage, and kill a few more in the process. Then freedom will just be a matter of time.

It's important to recognize that Israel's past behavior has repeatedly proved the effectiveness of these murder-kidnappings and caused them to become an integral component of Palestinian policy and strategy.

WHEN ISRAEL released 400 terrorists in exchange for the freedom of Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah, PA leaders were quick to recognize the effectiveness of Hizbullah's strategy: "Fatah's military branch organized a civilian and military parade yesterday… in gratitude for the efforts Hizbullah made for the release of Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails as part of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel. In a public statement…Fatah's military wing emphasized the need to follow Hizbullah's example to achieve the release of all prisoners." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 29, 2004).

The recurring theme of public proclamations in the months before the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev confirms that Israel's previous surrenders to blackmail have made kidnapping a cornerstone of PA policy: "Islamic Jihad: Kidnapping of Israeli soldiers - the fastest way to the release of prisoners" (Al-Ayyam, May 9, 2006).

Said Siam, PA Minister of the Interior: "In the past, Hamas managed to kidnap many Zionist soldiers… I believe that there is no other choice than kidnapping soldiers and exchanging them [for prisoners]" (Abu Thaib TV, January 2006).

"[PA Foreign Minister] Mahmoud Zahar, said that his movement [Hamas] would not hesitate to kidnap soldiers in order to exchange them for prisoners" (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, March 7, 2006).
IF ISRAEL releases more terrorists this week there will be four waves of Israeli victims - starting with Gilad Shalit.

Israel hoped that Hamas would eventually lower its demands for Shalit's release and be satisfied with the symbolic victory of securing the freedom of a modest number of terrorist prisoners. By releasing terrorists to Abbas without getting anything in return, however, Olmert is forcing Hamas to raise the stakes and lessening Shalit's chance of early release.

As part of its escalating power struggle with Abbas and his Fatah faction, Hamas must be seen to win more concessions from Israel than its rival. Whatever number of terrorists Abbas receives gratis, Hamas will have to hold out for many times that number. Whatever the crimes committed by the terrorists released to Abbas, Hamas will demand the release of even more dangerous criminals. The result will certainly be much longer and harder negotiations, with Hamas's demands possibly becoming higher than even Olmert can accept. If Shalit is lucky this will merely extend his ordeal by months or years. If Olmert's goodwill gamble fails, Shalit could well become the next Ron Arad.

The second wave of victims will be the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Israelis who stand to be killed and maimed by these released terrorists. According to a September 2006 report by the Almagor Terror Victims Association, at least 14 major terrorist attacks in recent years - accounting for 123 murdered Israelis - were carried out by terrorists released from prison through various "goodwill gestures" and Israeli prisoner deals. These terrorists may not have had "blood on their hands" when they were first released, but they were quick to sign their freedom with the blood of Israeli citizens. So will some of the terrorists Olmert is poised to release this week.

The third wave of victims will be all those killed by a new generation of terrorists empowered and emboldened by the images of "heroic" prisoners carried aloft as they step to freedom, laughing and cheering Israel's weakness and surrender.

And the fourth wave will be those soldiers and civilians who fall victim to the kidnappings and murders that will continue as long as Israel keeps proving to terrorists and their handlers that this tactic works.

OLMERT HAS a unique opportunity to break this cycle of killings, kidnappings and ransom by rejecting all attempts at this kind of blackmail, thereby depriving Palestinian terrorists of one of their favorite weapons. But instead, he appears so intent on demonstrating what he describes as "flexibility and generosity" that he ignores the reality of the deadly consequences his actions will inevitably have. "It is customary to make such a gesture on Id el-Adha," Olmert said of his desire to time the prisoner release to coincide with Islam's Festival of the Sacrifice. But it's time for Israel's leaders to stop doing what is "customary," and start doing what is right.

As Olmert and his cabinet prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice - with the lives of other people's children - they might want to recall that at the end of the biblical story, at the very last moment, God called off the sacrifice and saved an entire nation. It's not too late for them to do the same.

Itamar Marcus is director and Barbara Crook associate director of Palestinian Media Watch.

How the West could lose

From an article by Daniel Pipes, THE JERUSALEM POST, Dec. 27, 2006 ...

After defeating fascists and communists, can the West now defeat the Islamists? On the face of it, its military preponderance makes victory seem inevitable. Even were Teheran to acquire a nuclear weapon, Islamists have nothing like the military machine the Axis deployed in World War II nor the Soviet Union during the cold war.

...Islamists ...might in fact do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That's because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs. Three of them - pacifism, self-hatred, complacency - deserve attention.

Pacifism: Among the educated, the conviction has widely taken hold that "there is no military solution" to current problems, a mantra applied in every Middle East problem - Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the Kurds, terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. But this pragmatic pacifism overlooks the fact that modern history abounds with military solutions. What were the defeats of the Axis, the United States in Vietnam, or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, if not military solutions?

Self-hatred: Significant elements in several Western countries - especially the United States, Britain and Israel - believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as punishment for past sins. This "we have met the enemy and he is us" attitude replaces an effective response with appeasement, including a readiness to give up traditions and achievements.
By name, Osama bin Laden celebrates such leftists as Robert Fisk and William Blum. Self-hating Westerners have an outsized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions and the arts. They serve as the Islamists' auxiliary mujahideen.

Complacency: The absence of an impressive Islamist military machine gives many Westerners, especially on the Left, a feeling of disdain. Whereas conventional war, with its men in uniform, its ships, tanks and planes, and its bloody battles for land and resources, is simple to comprehend, the asymmetric war with radical Islam is elusive.

BOX CUTTERS and suicide belts make it difficult to perceive this enemy as a worthy opponent. Like John Kerry, too many dismiss terrorism as mere "nuisance." Islamists deploy formidable capabilities, however, that go far beyond small-scale terrorism:
  • A potential access to weapons of mass destruction that could devastate Western life.
    A religious appeal that provides deeper resonance and greater staying power than the artificial ideologies of fascism or communism.
  • An impressively conceptualized, funded and organized institutional machinery that successfully builds credibility, goodwill and electoral success.
  • An ideology capable of appealing to Muslims of every size and shape, from Lumpenproletariat to privileged, from illiterates to PhDs, from the well-adjusted to psychopaths, from Yemenis to Canadians. The movement almost defies sociological definition.
  • A non-violent approach - what I call "lawful Islamism" - that pursues Islamification through educational, political, and religious means, without recourse to illegality or terrorism. Lawful Islamism is proving successful in Muslim-majority countries like Algeria and Muslim-minority ones like the United Kingdom.
  • A huge number of committed cadres. If Islamists constitute 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population worldwide, they number some 125 to 200 million persons, or a far greater total than all the fascists and communists, combined, who ever lived.

Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency are lengthening the war against radical Islam and causing undue casualties. Only after absorbing catastrophic human and property losses will left-leaning Westerners likely overcome this triple affliction and confront the true scope of the threat. The civilized world will likely then prevail, but belatedly and at a higher cost than need have been.

Should Islamists get smart and avoid mass destruction, but instead stick to the lawful, political, non-violent route, and should their movement remain vital, it is difficult to see what will stop them.

The writer is director of the Middle East Forum.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hamas mimics Hezbollah

From WorldNetDaily Wednesday, December 27, 2006, by Aaron Klein ...

TEL AVIV -- Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have been using a cease-fire agreed to last month to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip and build Hezbollah-like guerilla armies to confront the Jewish state, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.

"In another few months, in the Gaza Strip we will have to deal with military capabilities of the terror organizations that we haven't been familiar with until now," said Sami Turjeman, head of the IDF's operations department.

Yossi Beidetz, head of research for the IDF's military intelligence unit, warned Hamas has been using the cease-fire, which went into effect Nov. 26, to strengthen its forces and prepare for conflict with Israel.

... Palestinian terror groups in Gaza have been focusing their weapons procurement and training efforts on mimicking guerrilla warfare actions carried out by Hezbollah during its confrontation against Israel in Lebanon this past summer. ...the Palestinian groups learned Hezbollah-like tactics, such as raids of military installations and the use of antitank fire, can be more effective than ordinary terror attacks. ...Hezbollah militants have been aiding in Palestinian training efforts in the Egyptian Sinai desert bordering the Gaza Strip.

... more than 20 tons of weapons have been brought into Gaza from the neighboring Sinai desert in the last 10 months, including a large number of anti-tank missiles, which caused the highest number of Israeli military casualties during the last Lebanon war. ... the Palestinian terror groups are also focusing much of their efforts on smuggling from Egypt longer-range missiles such as advanced Qassams and Katyusha rockets, which could target Jewish communities deeper into Israel similar to Hezbollah's use of Katyusha rockets that devastated northern Israel last summer.

....Israeli security officials have noted multiple breaches in border security, including the open transport of terrorists and weapons across the border. They say several key sections of the border are penetrable and that smuggling tunnels that snake under the border are "thriving."

... senior terror leaders in Gaza, including militants from Palestinian Authority President Abbas' Fatah party, admitted they are working to copy Hezbollah warfare tactics. "We are turning Gaza into south Lebanon," Abu Ahmed, northern Gaza leader for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group told WND. "We learned from Hezbollah's victory that Israel can be defeated if we know how to hit them and if we are well prepared," Abu Ahmed said. "We are importing rockets and the knowledge to launch them and we are also making many plans for battle."

Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' so-called "military wing" told WND his group is preparing for war against Israel. "In the last 15 months, even though the fighters of Hamas kept the cease-fire, we did not stop making important advancements and professional training on the military level. In the future, after Hamas is obliged to stop the cease-fire, the world shall see our new military capabilities," said Abu Abdullah, who is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department.

Al Aqsa's Abu Ahmed said his group is receiving help from Hezbollah to import long-range rockets and train in guerrilla warfare tactics. "We have warm relations with Hezbollah, which helps with some of the training programs," Abu Ahmed said. "We don't have anything to be ashamed of – that we are dealing with Hezbollah and that we are receiving training and information from them." He said Hezbollah maintains cells in the Sinai. "The Sinai is an excellent ground for training, the exchange of information and weapons and for meetings on how to turn every piece of land into usable territory for a confrontation with Israel," Abu Ahmed said.

Abu Ahmed said Palestinian groups are developing war bunkers inside Gaza similar to the underground Hezbollah lairs Israel found during the war in Lebanon. "Our preparations include the building of special bunkers. Of course, we are taking into consideration that Gaza is not the same topography as Lebanon," Abu Ahmed said.

Abu Ahmed said the most important "tool" in the Palestinian resistance arsenal was rockets. He said his group learned from Hezbollah that Israel can be defeated with missiles. "We saw that with the capacity to bombard the Israeli population with hundreds of rockets every day we can change the strategic balance with Israel," he said.

....Israel has noted improvements in Qassams, including rockets carrying double engines.
Israeli security officials say a large number of Katyusha rockets have been brought into Gaza. ...In August, Islamic Jihad fired a Katyusha rocket into the Israeli Negev. It landed in an empty area. In June, the group fired a Katyusha-like rocket that traveled about nine miles. "The Katyusha we fired (in August) shows we can have every weapon we need," said Abu Ahmed. "It is only a matter of a small period before Gaza is ready for war."

King of Jordan snubs Abbas, invites Haniya

From a DEBKAfile Exclusive: December 26, 2006, 10:15 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Abbas was due to report to the king in Amman Monday, Dec. 25, on his Saturday night talks with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and the steps offered to ease life in the Palestinian territories. When told that he had arrived in Amman without the Hamas PM, Abdullah called the meeting off. Observers report the humiliated Palestinian leader left the Jordanian capital abruptly. He has a date for Tuesday with President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Meantime, Jordanian prime minister Maarouf Batih phoned Haniya and invited him to the palace. The Jordanian monarch is the first pro-Western Arab ruler to open his door to the Hamas prime minister. Egyptian and Saudi rulers have declined to receive him.

...the slap in the face to Abbas was directed with greater force at Olmert, who a week earlier visited Amman to report to the king on the benefits he proposed to pledge to Abbas at their forthcoming interview. Abdullah dismissed the package as too little and demanded far more drastic concessions to put the brakes on the Palestinians’ descent into civil war before it spilled over into his kingdom. He then offered to receive Olmert, Abu Mazen and Haniya in Amman and personally mediate their disputes. The Israeli prime minister rejected the offer on the spot. The king made no response.

It transpired later that Abdullah resolved there and then to have nothing to do with the Olmert-Abbas track, which he regards at best as a side-show of the main Palestinian power play. By standing Abbas up, he made this view plain to the Palestinians and the Arab world. He also showed the Israeli prime minister that his steps to consolidate Abbas were a pointless exercise, unless Hamas was simultaneously addressed.

..... Army chiefs have warned that the easing of restrictions carries the risk of disrupting the counter-terror measures which have kept Israel relatively free of terrorist attacks for two years.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gaza missile front

From DEBKAfile December 27, 2006, 11:44 AM (GMT+02:00)...

Iranian officers take command of Palestinian Gaza missile front. But Olmert ties IDF to pinpoint fire on missile crews after two Sderot schoolboys seriously hurt

The cabinet decision Wednesday ordered the IDF to stick to attacking missile crews and refrain from breaching the month-long “ceasefire,” in the course of which the Palestinians fired 70 missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilian locations. An Israeli appeal went out to the (non-functioning) Palestinian Authority to halt the six-year old barrage.

Translation by DEBKAfile’s military experts: Sderot and its neighbors will continue to live under daily missile harassment. Until the latest attack, the army was constrained on the prime minister’s order – and against its will - to hold its fire against the daily assaults, although they could clearly see the assailants in Gaza. Surgeons operated through Tuesday night to save the life of Adir Basad, aged 14, who was critically injured in all parts of his body by a falling missile outside his home in Sderot, the 8th fired in one day. His friend, Matan Cohen’s foot was smashed. Eight civilians suffered shock.

Our military sources report that the IDF does not accept the Iran-sponsored Jihad Islami’s claim to have shot the missile which wounded the schoolboys because since Monday, Dec. 25, two changes were detected in the Palestinian offensive: A new type of homemade missile called Al Buraq 2 (after the Western Wall Jewish shrine in Jerusalem), and a new unit, calling itself the Mujahiddin Brigades, identified by military experts as the first Palestinian terrorist unit set up by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ al Quds Brigades.

This group’s first action was to fire the new missiles at Kibbutz Nahal Oz Monday. They were diagnosed at first as mortars, but the fragments did not match any ordnance seen before. It was then discovered that the Mujahiddin Brigades units - consisting of Hamas, Jihad Islami, Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Popular Resistance Committees operatives - are commanded by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer.

Such direct Iranian command of front-line Palestinian missile units is another innovation; it did not occur even on the Hizballah side of the of July-August Lebanon war.

Monday, too, the Americans disclosed the capture in Baghdad of Iranian officers, members of the same RG al Quds Brigades, on another front line: against Iraqi and coalition forces. It looks as though the Islamic Republic has gone into action in Iraq and Gaza in reprisal for the tepid sanctions the UN Security Council imposed Saturday, Dec. 23, for its continuing pursuit of uranium enrichment.

...and from Ynet 12.27.06, 12:22 , by Ronny Sofer ....

MK Hendel: Only death of civilians will affect Olmert...

MK Zvi Hendel (National Union), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, criticized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 's decision to authorize only striking at cells launching Qassam rockets from Gaza.

"Apparently boys being mortally wounded in Sderot aren't enough for Olmert's cold tally of blood; only the death of civilians will move him from his arrogant apathy. Olmert is dangerous for Israel," Hendel said.

In an urgent security meeting Wednesday it was decided that Israel would act against the rocket cells while simultaneously maintaining the ceasefire and acting with the Palestinian Authority in the hopes that they will take action to prevent the rocket attacks emanating from their territory.

.... Head of the organization for the defense of Sderot Alon Davidi, who organized a protest rally in front of Peretz's house, said that "unfortunately only the severe injuries sustained by the teens forced the prime minister to act against the Qassam cells....We look forward to his disillusionment from the ceasefire, and for him to order a wide-scale operation against the terror groups. Failure to do so will cause more casualties..." ....

U.S. Blocks Arms, Technology To Israel

From Middle East Newsline, TEL AVIV, 23 December 2006 [subscription needed]--

The Bush administration has blocked arms and technology transfers to Israel.

Israeli and U.S. sources said the State Department has blocked the transfer of weapons and technology to the Jewish state over the last three months. The sources said the halt reflected deteriorating relations between the two countries since the end of the war in Lebanon in August 2006. "Nobody will say openly that there is a problem," a government source said. "But there is a serious problem that reflects the marginalization of Israel in U.S. strategy."

The unofficial suspension of U.S. arms deliveries began in late September, the sources said. They said the suspension halted the airlift of air-to-ground and other munitions conducted during and immediately after the Israeli war with Hizbullah.

"Several weeks after the war, the U.S. supplies stopped," the source said. "There was no real explanation."

The sources said the administration has held up a list of weapons requested by Israel in wake of the Lebanon war. They said the weapons and equipment -- including the Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM -- were meant to replenish munitions and other stocks in preparation for a larger war that would include Syria in mid-2007.

"The administration has not rejected any Israeli request," a U.S. official said. "Instead, the State Department and Defense Department have said that all requests must be examined." The administration refusal to approve the Israeli requests has also hampered military cooperation between the two countries. In November, the Israel Air Force canceled plans to send delegations to the United States to examine air systems and munitions.

A U.S. official said the White House was deeply disappointed by the Israeli failure to defeat Hizbullah. The official said the war undermined U.S. confidence in Israel's military and government. "The word in the White House was that Israel lost the war," the official said. "That alone led to a plummet in Israel's stock in the administration, particularly the Pentagon."

The U.S. refusals have also hampered Israeli defense programs. The sources said the State Department has prevented the transfer of data and technology, even from projects that included Israeli participation. In one case, State prevented Northrop Grumman from providing details of its Skyguard laser weapon, which the company has sought to sell to Israel. The ban led to the suspension of Israeli negotiations to procure Skyguard, designed to intercept short-range rockets and missiles.

The sources said the halt in U.S. weapons exports to Israel was designed to assuage Saudi Arabia. They said Riyad has increasingly linked regional cooperation with Washington to pressure on Israel to halt attacks on Palestinian insurgency strongholds in the Gaza Strip. "The White House believes that Saudi help is vital for the United States in Iraq," a diplomatic source said. "There's nothing like stopping the weapons flow to Israel to show the Saudis that the United States means business."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Second War of Independence

This article from the Shalem Center's Azure magazine, Winter 5766 / 2006, No. 27, by MICHAEL B. OREN rebutts the now-widely-accepted "New Historian" interpretation of Israel's Suez campaign [my emphasis added - SL]....

Fifty years ago, at dawn on October 29, 1956, Israeli paratroopers under the command of Colonel Ariel Sharon dropped into the Mitla Pass deep in the Sinai Peninsula, twenty-five miles from the Suez Canal. The action was the first phase in a plan secretly forged by representatives of France, Britain, and Israel, triggered by Egypt’s nationalization of the canal three months before. According to the scheme, the paratroopers’ landing would provide a pretext for the French and British governments to order both Egypt and Israel to remove all of their forces from the canal area. The Europeans anticipated that Cairo would reject that ultimatum, thus allowing them to occupy the strategic waterway. Israel dutifully executed its part of the scheme, smashing the Egyptian army in four days and conquering all of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip. The Anglo-French armada, however, was late in arriving, and soon withdrew under intense international pressure. The Suez War -- known in Israel as the Sinai Campaign, or Operation Kadesh -- was over within a week, but the battle over its interpretation was merely beginning.

Numerous books and articles have been written about the Suez Crisis, the first post-World War II crisis to pit nationalism against imperialism, and the West against the Communist bloc. Historians have long agreed that the invasion was an unrelieved catastrophe for Britain and France, precipitating their expulsion from the Middle East and their decline as great powers. By contrast, the first three decades after the crisis saw debate over Israel’s fortunes in the war, with some scholars asserting that Israel had benefited from the destruction of the Egyptian army, the opening of the Straits of Tiran, and the strategic alliance with France. Starting in the 1980s, however, a movement of self-styled New Historians, dedicated to debunking the alleged “myths” of Israeli history, depicted the Sinai Campaign as no less disastrous for the Jewish state. “Israel… paid a heavy political price for ganging up with the colonial powers against the emergent forces of Arab nationalism,” wrote Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. “Its actions could henceforth be used as proof… that it was a bridgehead of Western imperialism in the… Arab world.”

Twenty years later, Shlaim’s analysis of the 1956 war has become universally accepted in academia, and not only among revisionists. In a New York Times article marking the fiftieth anniversary of Suez, Boston University’s David Fromkin, author of the widely acclaimed study of the origins of the modern Middle East, A Peace to End All Peace (1989), similarly portrayed Israel’s victory as Pyrrhic. “Israel compromised itself through its partnership with European imperialism,” Fromkin alleged, echoing Shlaim. “The more Israel won on the battlefield, the further it got from achieving the peace that it sought.”

Those who have challenged the magnitude of Israel’s victory in 1956, however, fail to take into account the incompleteness of Israel’s triumph in its 1948 War of Independence. Customarily, states that win on the battlefield dictate the terms of the peace. But while Israeli forces had repulsed the invading Arab armies and compelled them to sue for truce, Israeli negotiators failed to transform that military accomplishment into a diplomatic device for ending the conflict. The armistice agreements that Israel signed with its four neighboring Arab states between February and July 1949 did not, for example, extend recognition or legitimacy to the Jewish state; nor did they endow that state with permanent borders. Further complicating this anomalous situation, the agreements created various demilitarized zones of uncertain sovereignty along Israel’s frontiers -- at the foot of the Golan Heights, for instance, and in Nitzana, along the Sinai-Negev border. Most deleterious of all for Israel, the armistice did not provide for peace. On the contrary, the agreements allowed the Arabs to insist that a state of war continued to exist between them and the “Zionist entity.” This state of war, the Arabs argued, enabled them to fire at Israeli settlements in the demilitarized zones, to conduct an economic boycott of the Jewish state, and to blockade Israeli ships and Israel-bound cargoes through the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran. Arab states engaged in a relentless anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic propaganda campaign, designed to prepare their publics for a “second round” with Israel, this time to annihilate it. Propaganda did not suffice for some Arab countries, however, like Syria and Egypt, which sponsored cross-border terrorist (Fedayeen) attacks like that which killed eleven Israelis at Maaleh Akrabim in March 1954.
For the Arab states, the Palestine War, as they called it, had never really ended. Yet they were not alone in regarding Israel as an impermanent and unwanted presence: The Great Powers -- the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union -- routinely treated Israel as a passing phenomenon and ignored its fundamental interests. Indeed, for the Powers, Israel was little more than what United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles called “a millstone around our necks.”

The period of 1948 to 1956 was one of profound upheaval in Great Power diplomacy in the Middle East. The United States was on the one hand striving to oust the old colonial powers, Britain and France, from the region, while on the other working with its European allies to prevent Soviet penetration. In response to the American threat, Britain and France sought to strengthen their alliances with local states -- Britain with Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, and France with Syria and Lebanon -- by guaranteeing their security and selling them modern arms. Israel, which was in no Power’s interest, was completely left out of these arrangements. Worse, Israel’s clashes with Egypt in 1949 and Jordan in 1956 nearly resulted in direct conflict between the IDF and British forces.

Viewed antagonistically by both Britain and France, Israel was hardly valued as an asset by the United States. The Republican administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower owed nothing to the Jewish vote, and was closely aligned with State Department Arabists and American oil companies active in the Middle East. Apart from parade items such as helmets and batons, the United States adamantly refused to sell arms to Israel, even laboring to prevent Israel from purchasing weaponry from its allies. Such transactions, the administration reasoned, would push the Arabs into the Soviet sphere and endanger vital oil supplies.

For their part, the Soviets had also thrown their support behind the Arabs. Though they had provided crucial diplomatic and military backing to the Jewish state in 1948, the Soviets, having secured their objective of ousting the British from Palestine, proceeded to change sides. By 1951, they were unremitting in their hostility to Israel, and after Stalin’s death in 1953, the Kremlin adopted a policy of nurturing “bourgeois nationalist” regimes opposed to the West, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

America and Britain reacted to the Soviet threat by trying to organize Middle Eastern states into a regional defense organization similar to nato. The alliance, known first as the Middle East Defense Organization (medo) and later as the Baghdad Pact, was to include Iraq, Jordan, and hopefully Egypt. Israel, though it repeatedly petitioned for admission to the group, was continually rejected.

Moreover, while actively fortifying the Arabs, the Powers also implicitly upheld their own interpretation of the armistice. They refused, for example, to pressure the Arab states to end their economic boycott and blockade of Israel or to stem armed infiltration. Rather, they condemned Israel’s attempt to establish settlements in the demilitarized zones, to send ships through the canal and the straits, and to retaliate against Fedayeen strongholds. They also opposed Israel’s construction of a national water carrier that would transfer Galilee water to the Negev, thus facilitating the desert’s settlement. The Negev, the Americans and the British determined in 1949, would eventually be detached from Israel and transferred to Arab sovereignty as part of a land-for-peace deal. Indeed, an Anglo-American plan, inaugurated in 1954 and codenamed “Alpha,” called for the transfer of large swaths of the Negev to Egypt as a means of incentivizing it to join medo; the Egyptians, in turn, would grant non-belligerency -- not peace -- to Israel. Though Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion rejected Alpha, American and British leaders were prepared to exert immense pressure on him to implement the plan should Cairo accept it.

Indeed, the Egyptians had long demanded the Negev as a land bridge between them and the Arab world. In secret meetings with Israeli diplomats after the armistice, Egyptian representatives repeatedly demanded that Israel forfeit all of the Negev -- 62 percent of its territory -- as the price of ending the conflict. But the Egyptians were also express in stating that peace with the Jewish state was inconceivable for the foreseeable future. That position remained unchanged after the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952 and the ascendance of Colonel Gamal Abd el-Nasser to power. Though Nasser continued the secret contacts with Israel, at one point even exchanging letters with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, at no time did he waver from the demand for all of the Negev, or change his rejection of immediate and full peace. In fact, starting in December 1954, Nasser embarked on a campaign to extend his primacy over the entire Arab world -- an effort that required escalated hostility toward Israel and intensified opposition to the West. He proceeded to tighten the blockade and boycott of Israel, to order the Egyptian army to occupy parts of Nitzana, and to set up Fedayeen units to operate out of Gaza. He also declared war against the Baghdad Pact, rejecting Alpha and signing, in September 1955, the largest-ever Middle Eastern arms deal with the Soviet bloc.

This, then, was the regional and international situation that Israel confronted in the period before the Sinai Campaign. Surrounded by Arab states that were conducting acts of war against it -- indeed, were arming themselves to obliterate it -- Israel had no allies, no diplomatic support, and no reliable supplier of weapons. Moreover, saddled with tens of thousands of new immigrants, many of them indigent, and a near-bankrupt economy in the wake of a devastating war that had killed 1 percent of its population, Israel was scarcely capable of maintaining its existence, much less of defending itself against Nasser, a regionally beloved and lavishly armed leader committed to its destruction. “O Israel! Weep… and await your end at any time now,” declared the Egyptian-run Voice of the Arabs radio in 1955. “The Arabs of Egypt have found their way to Tel Aviv.”

Israel’s plight indeed seemed hopeless when, suddenly, in July 1956, Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal. The event prodded the French, who had begun to view Israel as a possible ally against Nasser and his support for Algerian rebels, to open secret discussions on a joint operation in Egypt and undertake to arm the IDF. The French, in turn, urged the British to cease threatening the Israelis and join in the clandestine talks. The result was the Sevres agreement, named after the Paris suburb in which it was surreptitiously signed. According to the document, Israel agreed to commence hostilities against Egypt. One month later, Sharon and his paratroopers descended into the Mitla Pass and the Sinai Campaign began.
The fighting was brutal, but the Israeli forces succeeded in crushing Nasser’s troops with their newly supplied Soviet arms, conquering all of the Sinai and Gaza, and reaching the Suez Canal. Though a combination of Soviet military and American economic threats eventually persuaded Ben-Gurion to evacuate these territories, in return he received American pledges for Israel’s future defense, along with the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the border with Egypt and in Sharm al-Sheikh, overlooking the Straits of Tiran. Finally freed of the danger of Egyptian attack and strengthened through commerce with Asia by way of the straits, Israel enjoyed a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity. It took advantage of those years to absorb waves of new immigrants and to galvanize its civil society. Many Israelis who lived through that time remember the decade after 1956 as the most halcyon in their lives, and in their country’s history. And though Nasser unilaterally evicted the UN force in May 1967 and again blockaded the straits, the security guarantees Israel had obtained from the United States in 1956, and the international commitments it received regarding the inviolability of its borders and shipping rights, proved essential to generating support for Israel in the Six Day War.

Equally important, at least, was the permanence that Israel achieved as a result of the Sinai Campaign. In the aftermath of the war, the Powers ceased to regard Israel as a temporary entity whose territory could be bargained off to the Arabs. There would be no more Alphas, no more attempts to deprive Israel of the Negev or of any other part of its sovereign land. Nor did the United States endeavor to block Israel’s acquisition of modern arms, which continued to flow from France. Indeed, with French assistance, Israel built the nuclear reactor that endowed it with capabilities unequaled except by those of the world’s greatest powers.

Finally, though Israel did, by virtue of its collusion with Britain and France, confirm the Arab charge that the Jewish state was little more than a beachhead for imperialism, in truth that charge exists far more in the minds of contemporary Western historians than in Arab thinking of the late 1950s. An examination of Arab broadcasts and newspapers from the period reveals no substantial change in Arab hostility toward Israel -- it was absolute before the war, and no less total after it. Similarly, the war could not have lessened chances for the success of a peace process that simply did not exist and, according to Nasser, would not for many, many years.

Contrary, then, to the conventional wisdom in academic circles today, Israel emerged from the Sinai Campaign economically, diplomatically, and militarily strengthened. It had forged vital alliances and earned the respect, if not yet the affection, of the Great Powers, while also enhancing its citizens’ security. The situation that existed after 1948, in which Israel was denied legitimacy, permanence, and such fundamental rights as safe borders and freedom of shipping, had ended. The 1956 war allowed Israel to realize, finally, the unfulfilled aspirations of 1948, and in this represents the culmination of Israel’s fight for independence.
Michael B. Oren is a Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center and a Contributing Editor of Azure....

Why won't Carter debate his book?

From the Boston Globe December 21, 2006, by Alan Dershowitz ...

YOU CAN ALWAYS tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Carter's book has been condemned as "moronic" (Slate), "anti-historical" (The Washington Post), "laughable" (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by "representatives of Jewish organizations" as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's "persecution" of Palestinians was "[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda," Carter answered, "Yes. I think -- yes."

When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn't read the book and then blustered, "You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him." (He never did answer King's questions.)

The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his "most troubling experience" had been "the rejection of [his] offers to speak" at "university campuses with high Jewish enrollment." The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."

As Carter knows, I've been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times -- certainly more times than Carter has been there -- and I've written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won't debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It's not that I know too little; it's that I know too much.

Nor is Carter the unbiased observer of the Middle East that he claims to be. He has accepted money and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan , saying in 2001: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed's rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed's personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who "were the people who killed the Jews in Europe" during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11. Carter's acceptance of money from this biased group casts real doubt on his objectivity and creates an obvious conflict of interest.

Carter's refusal to debate wouldn't be so strange if it weren't for the fact that he claims that he wrote the book precisely so as to start debate over the issue of the Israel-Palestine peace process. If that were really true, Carter would be thrilled to have the opportunity to debate. Authors should be accountable for their ideas and their facts. Books shouldn't be like chapel, delivered from on high and believed on faith.

What most rankles is Carter's insistence that he is somehow brave for attacking Israel and highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people. No other conflict in the world -- not even the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan -- evokes more hand-wringing in the media, universities, and human rights organizations than the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Jimmy Carter isn't brave for beating up on Israel. He's a bully. And like all school-yard bullies, underneath the tough talk and bravado, there's a nagging insecurity and a fear that one day he'll have to answer for himself in a fair fight.

When Jimmy Carter's ready to speak at Brandeis, or anywhere else, I'll be there. If he refuses to debate, I will still be there -- ready and willing to answer falsity with truth in the court of public opinion.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at HarvardUniversity. His most recent book is "Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways."

Israel's Domestic Enemy

From the New York Sun December 19, 2006, by Daniel Pipes ...

After nearly sixty years on the sidelines, Israel's third and final enemy may be joining the battle.
Foreign states are Israel's enemy no. 1. With the declaration of Israeli independence in May 1948, five foreign armed forces invaded Israel. All the major wars that followed – 1956, 1967, 1970, 1973 – involved Israelis at war with neighboring armies, air forces, and navies. Today, the greatest threat comes from weapons of mass destruction in Iran and Syria. Egypt increasingly presents a conventional arms danger.

External Palestinians are enemy no. 2. Eclipsed for two decades after 1948, they moved to center-stage with Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The 1982 Lebanon war and the 1993 Oslo accords confirmed their centrality. External Palestinians remain active and menacing today, what with terrorism, missiles landing on Sderot, and a global public relations campaign of rejectionism.

The Muslim citizens of Israel, usually known in English as Israeli Arabs, constitute enemy no. 3. (But I focus on Muslims, not Arabs, because Arabic-speaking Christians and Druze are generally less hostile.) Israeli Muslims began inconsequentially; in 1949, they constituted a population of 111,000 and 9 percent of Israel's population. They then multiplied ten-fold, to 1,141,000 in 2005, 16 percent of the population. Beyond numbers, they took full advantage of Israel's open, modern society to evolve from a small, docile, and leaderless population into a robust, assertive community whose leaders include a Supreme Court justice, Salim Joubran; an ambassador, Ali Yahya; members of parliament; academics; and entrepreneurs.

This ascent, along with other factors – enemies no. 1 and 2 at war with Israel, increased ties to the West Bank, the surge of radical Islam, the Lebanon war in mid-2006 – emboldened Muslims to reject the Israeli identity and turn against the state. Their blatantly celebrating Israel's worst enemies evidences this, as does growing Muslim-on-Jewish violence within Israel. This month alone, Muslims pillaged a Jewish religious school in Acre and nearly murdered a Jezreel Valley farmer. A teenage boy was arrested for planning a suicide attack on a Nazareth hotel.

This hostility has been codified in an impressively crafted document that was published in early December, The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel. Issued by the Mossawa Center in Haifa – which is partially funded by American Jews – and endorsed by many establishment figures, its extremism may well mark a turning point for Israeli Muslims. The paper rejects the Jewish nature of Israel, insisting that the country become a bi-national state in which Palestinian culture and power enjoy complete equality.

The document's notion of a "joint homeland" means Jewish and Arab sectors that run their own affairs and have the right of veto over certain of the other's decisions. Future Vision demands adjustments to the flag and anthem, canceling the 1950 Law of Return that automatically grants Israeli citizenship to any Jew, and elevating Arabic to be the equal of Hebrew. It seeks separate Arab representation in international fora. Most profoundly, the study would terminate the Zionist achievement of a sovereign Jewish state.

Unsurprisingly, Jewish Israelis reacted negatively. In Ma‘ariv, Dan Margalit dismissed Israeli Arabs as "impossible." In Ha'aretz, Avraham Tal interpreted the outrageous demands as intentionally continuing the conflict, even should Israel's external conflicts be settled. Israel's deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, implicitly rejects the document's very premises. "What is the logic," he is quoted in The New York Sun, of creating 1½ countries for Palestinians (an allusion to the Palestinian Authority becoming a full-fledged state)* and "a half country for the Jewish people?"

Mr. Lieberman wants to restrict Israeli citizenship to those willing to sign a statement of loyalty to the Israeli flag and anthem, and prepared to do military service or its equivalent. Those who refuse to sign – whether Muslim, far-leftist, Haredi, or other – may remain in place as permanent residents, with all the benefits of Israeli residence, even voting and running for local office (a privilege non-citizen Arab residents of Jerusalem currently enjoy). But they would be excluded from voting in national elections or being elected to national office.

The diametrically opposed proposals of Future Vision and Mr. Lieberman are opening bids in a long negotiating process that usefully focus attention on a topic too long sidelined. Three brutally simple choices face Israelis: either Jewish Israelis give up Zionism; or Muslim Israelis accept Zionism; or Muslim Israelis don't remain Israeli for long.** The sooner Israelis resolve this matter, the better.
* Several readers have suggested that Lieberman is alluding here to Jordan, not a possible Palestinian state. I have checked with him and the above is correct. Adding Jordan to the equation would, by his reckoning, make 2½ countries for the Palestinians, ½ a country for Jews.
** Some readers have interpreted this phrase incorrectly. By proposing that Muslim Israelis won't "remain Israeli for long," I was referring to the possible withdrawal of their citizenship, such as proposed by Avigdor Lieberman, not their physical removal from the State of Israel.

US military set to strike at Tehran’s meddling in Baghdad violence

From DEBKAfile December 25, 2006, 10:59 AM (GMT+02:00)....

Washington reveals capture of Iranian military agents red-handed – just two days after UN passes mild sanctions against Tehran

The New York Times of Dec. 24 disclosed the capture of a group of Iranians in Baghdad. This, according to our military sources, is an opening shot in the Baghdad salvation operation at the center of the revised strategy for Iraq which President George W. Bush promised to unveil in the New Year..... two of its key elements are a crackdown on Shiite militias and death squads and cleansing the capital of Iran’s military and intelligence presence.

According to The New York Times , the American military in Baghdad is holding at least four Iranians, including senior military officials, seized in two raids last week in central Baghdad, in circumstances highly embarrassing to top Iraqi leaders. Two Iranian diplomats in the group were turned over to the Iraqi authorities and released to the Iranian embassy; a number of suspected members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards al Quds force remain in custody and under US interrogation. They were captured with people involved in terrorist attacks.

Al Quds is responsible for Tehran’s training projects for Hizballah and other terrorists groups.
One of the US raids took place in the Baghdad compound of the powerful Shiite SCIRI leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who visited the White House three weeks ago. At least two of the captured Iranians were invited by Iraqi president the Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani during a visit to Tehran earlier this month.

An official in Washington said the US military, acting on information that the people detained in Baghdad had been involved in attacks on Iraqi security and coalition forces, did not know what they were going to find. The arrests in Hakim’s compound were made inside the house of Hadi al-Ameri, chairman of the Iraqi parliament’s security committee and leader of SCIRI’s armed wing, the Badr Organization.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that these were not the first Iranian RG and intelligencer officers caught by US forces in Iraq - only the first time that such detentions have been published. This indicates that the Bush administration has decided finally to crack down on years of Iranian subversion in Baghdad.

According to our Iranian sources, officials in Tehran were so preoccupied with firing off derisive comments on the UN Security Council sanctions against their nuclear program that they were caught unawares. The ayatollahs had not bargained on a swift US second-strike action in Baghdad. Now, they must now decide whether to pick up the American gauntlet or let it ride until an opportunity presents itself in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Our Washington sources reveal too that the White House has changed Iraqi partners for its new strategy. Instead of the present political incumbents in Baghdad, the US has brought on board the most influential Shiite and Sunni religious leaders for the effort to stabilize the capital and end sectarian warfare. The White House’s hopes rest now with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najef, and more controversially with the noted Sunni authority, Sheik Harith al-Dari, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars (also called the Muslim Ulema Council), from which the Sunni insurgency derives its religious legitimacy.

With backing of this caliber, US forces finally staged a raid - previously unthinkable - on the SCIRI leader’s compound in Baghdad. ...US forces are in intensive preparations for the Baghdad offensive. Military sources report Iraqi forces are in the process of rotation: two divisions of 20,000 men are being brought into the capital from other parts of the country, to replace the military and police which are heavily infiltrated by Shiite militias. American reinforcements are also streaming into Baghdad. Altogether, an extra 50,000 Iraqi and US troops are planned for the Baghdad clean-up operation.

Jordanian teachers attend Yad Vashem seminar

From Ynet, 21/12/06, by Zvi Zinger ...

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Foreign Ministry organize seminar on Holocaust for Muslim Jordanian teachers

While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to fan Holocaust denial propaganda, a group of Jordanian educators secretly attended a seminar on the Holocaust at Yad Vashem. The delegation of Muslim Jordanian teachers learned about the history of the Holocaust for a month, toured the country and met with senior Israeli officials.

....Yaniv conceived the project during talks with Jordanian officials who showed interest in sending a Jordanian delegation to Israel to learn about the Holocaust. "They had no knowledge whatsoever of the Holocaust, they were unfamiliar with its effect on Israel society," Yaniv said.

Changed perception of Israel, Jews and Judaism
Taught in English and Arabic, the seminar opened the Jordanian participants' eyes to the horrors committed by the Nazis against the Jews and other groups, the history of anti-Semitism in Europe and WWII. A special class was dedicated to Muslim Righteous Gentiles who saved Jewish families from Nazi capture.

The apprentices were treated to a tour in Jerusalem which included stops at the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulture, and the al-Aqsa Mosque where they prayed. Officials at Yad Vashem said the one-month stay in Israel changed the Jordanian teachers' perception of Israel, the Jews and Judaism.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Olmert favors release of PA prisoners

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Dec. 24, 2006 ...

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked ministers in a cabinet meeting on Sunday whether Israel should agree to release security prisoners as a gesture of goodwill .....

The issue was raised following a request from Abbas to release prisoners ahead of the Muslim holiday Id al-Adha, Israel Radio reported.

...Three ministers supported the release of some prisoners.
Vice Premier Shimon Peres said that releasing prisoners would strengthen ties with the moderate factions in the Palestinian Authority. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said the gesture was welcome and should not be dependent on the release of Shalit, while Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that Israel has acted similarly in the past and there was no reason to deny Abbas's request.

Noam Shalit, father of the kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, expressed ...his dissatisfaction with the government's dealing with his son's kidnapping. ....Shalit said he feels ignored by the Prime Minister's Office.

...The issue of a prisoner swap was raised at Olmert's earlier meeting with Abbas, but no agreement was reached on the subject.

The issue of releasing prisoners followed a decision reached by Olmert and Abbas to release $100 million in tax revenue to the PA, a decision unanimously approved by the cabinet.

The Knesset is to convene Sunday evening to vote on Abbas's request for releasing prisoners.

Qassams continue - Israel "restrained"

From Ynet, 24/12/06, by Shmulik Hadad ...

...A Qassam rocket was fired Sunday from the northern Gaza Strip and landed in a Sderot neighborhood, near a nursery school. Several children were inside the kindergarten at the time of the attack.

...Adi Rafael, who owns the apartment used by the nursery, told Ynet, "The rocket hit a ... wall [that] saved the children who were here, because it was very badly damaged. Had the rocket hit the house, I don't want to think what would have happened...Some of the children are trembling and scared, and we are all quite shocked by what have happened here...." .

Avi Farhan, who lives nearby, rushed to the scene and said he plans to file a petition to the High Court of Justice in the coming days on behalf of Sderots' residents, calling on the government to instruct the army to act against the Qassam cells and put a stop to the attacks against Sderot.

"How long can the government continue to restrain itself, risking the residents of Sderot and the near-Gaza communities in the process?" Farhan asked, referring to a report in the cabinet meeting Sunday according to which the army was refraining from targeting Qassam cells......

...also, on the 'Ceasefire' by Shmulik Hadad...

51st Qassam since truce lands in south

... Since the beginning of the ceasefire, 51 Qassam rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip – two of which were launched early Sunday morning.

....The Qassam issue came up during Olmert and Abbas’ meeting, when the prime minister warned that Israel could not continue to show restraint much longer.....

...and from the same issue of Ynet, by Ronny Sofer ...

Diskin: Israel trapped by restraint policy
Shin Bet chief describes current situation as catch-22 that leaves Israel unable to defend against rockets. Ministers slam continuing restraint while Olmert says response will only deteriorate situation

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin voiced his concern on Sunday during the cabinet meeting over the policy of restraint currently being employed by Israel in the face of the continuous rocket attacks emanating from Gaza. "....We have two problems," said Diskin, "the rocket fire and the growing power of Hamas. It's a complicated and complex situation."

Five ministers expressed their support for changing the restraint policy: Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and ) Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai.

... Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the government's policy, saying that all the concerns and criticism were legitimate but that given the current conflict within the Palestinian Authority Israel's restraint policy gives it many relative advantages. Olmert made clear the fact that he is not interested in a prolonged Palestinian blood feud, but that an Israeli response will allow them to try to end their infighting by uniting against Israel.....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Olmert agrees to release $100m. to PA

From THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 23, 2006, by Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh ....

Israel will turn over $100 million in tax revenue that it has collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority but held up since Hamas came to power earlier this year, Israeli officials said after a surprise meeting in Jerusalem Saturday night between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The tax issue was one of several, including the release of Palestinian security prisoners and Cpl. Gilad Shalit, that Olmert and Abbas discussed at the Prime Minister's residence. According to the Israeli officials, it was the only issue on which the two leaders achieved tangible results.....Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rudeina was quoted after the meeting as saying it was the first of what will be a series of meetings between the two men.

.... According to a statement the Prime Minister's Office put out after the meeting, the money will not go the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Releasing the money was one of the steps Israel would take, the statement said, to ease the humanitarian situation in the PA.

....Olmert...expressed concern over the continued firing of Kassam rockets, and said Israel restraint could not continue indefinitely in the face of the attacks from Gaza. Nevertheless, Olmert and Abbas discussed extending the Gaza cease-fire to the West Bank.

They also agreed to revive joint committees established at Sharm es-Sheikh in 2005, and that Abbas's Force 17 "Presidential Guard" would be deployed along the Philadelphi Corridor.
Abbas was also accompanied by negotiator Saeb Erekat and former PA prime minister Ahmed Qureia. Olmert was joined by his chief of staff, Yoram Turbowicz, foreign policy adviser Shalom Turgeman, and military secretary Brig.-Gen. Gadi Shamni.

Olmert has been saying since July that he was willing to meet with Abbas at any time, but that the Palestinians had conditioned the talks on a release of security prisoners, something Olmert has refused to do until Shalit is freed. Last Monday, Olmert announced that an joint Israeli-Palestinian committee would be set up to discuss the criteria for which prisoners would eventually be released, a move that apparently paved the way for Abbas to agree to the meeting.

....International leaders have for months encouraged both Olmert and Abbas to hold talks, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who visited here last week, the latest to urge a meeting.
The two-hour meeting was only announced shortly before it began at 7:30 p.m., though it has been widely anticipated for days.

PA officials claimed that the meeting took place after Israel accepted some of Abbas's demands, including the deployment of the Jordan-based Badr Brigade - which belongs to the PLO's Palestine Liberation Army - in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the release of frozen Palestinian tax and tariff revenue.

....The meeting took place despite the continuation of Kassam rocket fire on Israel. The attacks continued over the weekend....

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

Carter's Arab financiers

Hellush draws attention to this article from The Washington Times, December 21, 2006, by Rachel Ehrenfeld ...

To understand what feeds former president Jimmy Carter's anti-Israeli frenzy, look at his early links to Arab business.

Between 1976-1977, the Carter family peanut business received a bailout in the form of a $4.6 million, "poorly managed" and highly irregular loan from the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). According to a July 29, 1980 Jack Anderson expose in The Washington Post, the bank's biggest borrower was Mr. Carter, and its chairman at that time was Mr. Carter's confidant, and later his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance.

At that time, Mr. Lance's mismanagement of the NBG got him and the bank into trouble. Agha Hasan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), known as the bank "which would bribe God," came to Mr. Lance's rescue making him a $100,000-a-year consultant. Abedi then declared: "we would never talk about exploiting his relationship with the president." Next, he introduced Mr. Lance to Saudi billionaire Gaith Pharaon, who fronted for BCCI and the Saudi royal family. In January 1978, Abedi paid off Mr. Lance's $3.5 million debt to the NBG, and Pharaon secretly gained control over the bank.

Mr. Anderson wrote: "Of course, the Saudis remained discretely silent... kept quiet about Carter's irregularities... [and] renegotiated the loan to Carter's advantage." There is no evidence that the former president received direct payment from the Saudis. But "according to... the bank files, [it] renegotiated the repayment terms... savings... $60,000 for the Carter family... The President owned 62% of the business and therefore was the largest beneficiary." Pharaon later contributed generously to the former president's library and center.

When Mr. Lance introduced Mr. Carter to Abedi, the latter gave $500,000 to help the former president establish his center at Emory University. Later, Abedi contributed more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects. Even after BCCI was indicted — and convicted -— for drug money laundering, Mr. Carter accepted $1.5 million from Abedi, his "good friend."

A quick survey of the major contributors to the Carter Center reveals hundreds of millions of dollars from Saudi and Gulf contributors. But it was BCCI that helped Mr. Carter established his center.

BCCI's origins were primarily ideological. Abedi wanted the bank to reflect the supra-national Muslim credo and "the best bridge to help the world of Islam, and the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists."

Shortly after assuming office, in March 1977, Mr. Carter made his first public statement regarding a Palestinian "homeland." Since then, he has devoted much of his time to denouncing Israel's self-defense against Palestinian terrorism, which he claims is not only "abominable oppression and persecution" of the Palestinians, but also damages U.S. interests in the region.

By the time BCCI was shut down in July1991, it operated in 73 countries with a deficit of $12 billion, which it had managed to hide with wealthy Arab shareholders and Western luminaries. Among them Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan of Abu Dhabi, who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Yasser Arafat and Palestinian terrorist groups, and who branded the United States: "our enemy number one"; Former head of Saudi foreign intelligence service, and King Faisal's brother-in-law, Kamal Adham — who with another Saudi, the banker of the royal family, Khaled bin Mahfouz, staged BCCI's attempt to illegally purchase the Washington-based First American bank, in the early 1980s.

True to its agenda, BCCI assisted in spreading and strengthening the Islamic message; they enabled Pakistan's nuclear ambitions, and helped the Palestinian leadership to amass a $10 billion-plus fortune, used to further terrorist activities and to buy more influence in the West.

BCCI founders also supported the Islamic fundamentalist opposition to the Shah of Iran, and saw it as an opportunity to undermine Western influence in the Gulf. They assisted the revolution financially, reinforcing their position within the leadership of the Iranian revolution. Ironically, the success of that revolution cost Mr. Carter his presidency.

BCCI's money also facilitated the Saudi agenda to force Israel to recognize Palestinians "rights," convincing Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to sign the Camp David Accords in September 1978. Since then, Mr. Carter repeatedly provided legitimacy to Arafat's corrupt regime, and now, like the Saudis, he even sides with homicidal Hamas as the "legitimate" representative of the Palestinian people.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Carter again laid responsibility for U.S. bias against the destitute, depressed and (consequently) violent Palestinians on American policy makers' helplessness, over the last 30 years, against the menacing tactics of the powerful American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC).

However, it seems that AIPAC's real fault was its failure to outdo the Saudi's purchases of the former president's loyalty. "There has not been any nation in the world that has been more cooperative than Saudi Arabia," the New York Times quoted Mr. Carter June 1977, thus making the Saudis a major factor in U. S. foreign policy.

Evidently, the millions in Arab petrodollars feeding Mr. Carter's global endeavors, often in conflict with U.S. government policies, also ensure his loyalty.

Rachel Ehrenfeld is the director of the American Center for Democracy.

Nazi Archive Made Public

Follow this link to see a 13-minute video from CBS News Online about the recently-opened Red Cross archives of Nazi records and the reactions of three US survivors who were allowed to inspect them.