Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hamas fires heavier rockets at Israel

From ABC News, 14/11/08:

Hamas Islamists have fired their longest-range rockets at a southern Israeli city after an Israeli air force attack on their Gaza stronghold, in the 11th day of skirmishes threatening a five-month-old truce.

A statement from the armed wing of the Islamist group said Hamas fired five 1960s-era, Soviet-made Grad rockets at an Israeli town, the longest range weapon they have claimed to shoot at the Jewish state.

Israeli rescue services said five rockets struck the southern coastal city of Ashkelon but caused no casualties. The Grad has a maximum range of 25 kilometres.

...Israel has closed border crossings with Gaza, halting food and fuel supplies to the blockaded enclave, between Israel and Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. ...A senior Israel defence official on Friday said that "due to the continued rocket fire the crossings are shut today... there is no intent to open them today".

...The clashes began on November 4 when Israeli forces killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid to destroy a secret infiltration tunnel and a strike at militants who had fired mortars. Israeli troops killed four gunmen in a raid on Wednesday (local time), and Hamas responded with more rocket and mortar attacks...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our World: From Tel Aviv to Teheran, with love

This article from JPost, Nov 10, 2008, by CAROLINE GLICK, is posted in full, because its worth reading every word:

Two weeks ago, the Palestinians and their anti-Zionist Israeli and international partners finally produced a smoking gun. They had a videotape of evil settlers brutally attacking poor, defenseless Palestinians as they innocently picked olives with their enlightened supporters in a grove by the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron.

The local media went into a feeding frenzy. The footage led the television news broadcasts. Photos taken from the video were plastered across the front pages of the newspapers. Radio talk show hosts denounced the criminal settlers and celebrated the guileless Palestinians and their heroic Israeli supporters. The Olmert-Livni-Barak government was quick to weigh in, promising stiff punishment for the Jewish fascists involved and a curtailment of their supporters' civil rights.

In the weeks that have followed, and with elections looming, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have stepped up their attacks on the evil right-wing extremists. At Saturday night's memorial ceremony/political rally for slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv, Barak called right-wing activists "cancers." He claimed that they are a "threat to democracy." And he pledged, "We will uproot this evil from within us."

The crowd loved Barak's statement. The few audience members who might have booed him had already been beaten and arrested by police for disturbing the peace. A handful of anti-leftist activists from the student group Im Tirtzu came to Kikar Rabin carrying signs decrying leftist demonization of the Right. The police beat them and carted them off before the rally began.

If it were true that settlers are marauding around Judea and Samaria beating innocent Palestinians, perhaps it would be possible to understand this assault against the Right. But as it works out, the videotape that was supposed to be the definitive proof that settlers are violent criminals was a fabrication. It was simply the latest anti-Israel snuff film brought to us by our friends at Pallywood Productions. These are the same creative filmmakers whose previous credits include the fabricated IDF shooting of Muhammad al-Dura, the Jenin massacre that wasn't, the Kafr Kana massacre that wasn't and a host of other notable blood libels.

The inconvenient truth that these activists remain liars was exposed at the remand hearings of the settlers accused of beating the Palestinian olive harvesters. As the NFC news Web site reported exclusively on Sunday, the Palestinians showed their film as evidence against the arrested offenders in two separate hearings before two different judges at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. And at each hearing, after viewing the film the judges concluded that through heavy editing, the video had inverted reality. Both stated that it was impossible to know who began the fight - the Palestinians and their Israeli and foreign supporters who beat the settlers, or the settlers who walked to the grove on Shabbat carrying nothing but their prayer shawls and hit them back.

The judges also noted that one of the Palestinians threw a large rock at the back of one of the settlers after he and his friends had disengaged from the fight. The judges expressed anger and amazement at the police for failing to arrest the Palestinian who had clearly attacked the Jewish defendant without provocation.

IT GOES without saying that the local media have chosen to ignore the court's exposure of the latest hoax. The truth doesn't fit their anti-right-wing narrative and so it isn't being covered.
What the local media and politicians such as Barak and Livni who seek to criminalize the Right for political gain refuse to acknowledge is that their embrace of these lies not only harms the settlers, it harms the country as a whole.

Although from the rap they've gotten from the political Left and its supporters in the media, it seems like right-wing extremists are both numerous and powerful, the fact of the matter is that the number of right-wingers who reject the authority of the state or would take the law into their own hands is tiny. And they are politically isolated both at home and abroad and have no money.

In stark contrast, the anti-Zionist, Israeli Left is an integral part of a well-funded international movement actively engaged in waging political warfare not against the settlers, but against Israel as a whole. The end of this political war is Israel's destruction. The anti-Zionist Israeli Left advances this destruction both by directly assisting terror groups and by indirectly assisting terror groups through activities aimed at delegitimizing Israel's right to defend itself.

The clear collusion between both Israeli and international anti-Israel leftist activists with terrorist groups like Hamas is nowhere more evident than in the terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement's newest spin-off, the Free Gaza campaign. On Saturday, this group broke the IDF's sea blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gazan coast for the third time in recent months by sailing a ship filled with rabidly pro-jihadist and anti-Israel European politicians from Cyprus to Gaza.

According to a credible source with close ties to the operation, the Free Gaza campaign works closely with Israeli far-left groups including Anarchists against the Wall, Gush Shalom, Gisha, Machsom Watch, New Profile and Women in Black. These organizations are generously funded by the US-based New Israel Fund, by European governments and by anti-Israel church groups like the Quakers. The Free Gaza campaign's first ship, which arrived in Gaza in late August, was led by Israeli anti-Zionist activist and former lecturer at Ben-Gurion University Jeff Halper.

The Free Gaza campaign is a clear assault on Israel's national security. Under the banner of "human rights," this new ferry service between Cyprus and Gaza is meant to compromise the country's ability to combat terror operations and to provide political support for Hamas. Crew members and passengers on board these boats meet with Hamas terror commanders in Gaza and coordinate future missions.

Their newest campaign is to prevent the navy from interdicting fishing boats. Hamas and other terror groups make wide use of fishing boats to import weapons and transport terror personnel from abroad into Gaza. By demonizing the navy for interdicting fishing boats, and in open collusion with Hamas, the activists provide political cover for weapons transfers and jihadist maritime traffic into and out of Gaza.

To date, Israel has chosen not to intercept the Free Gaza campaign's boats out of concern that taking such necessary action will prove a public relations disaster both at home and abroad. And this concern is reasonable. But by taking no diplomatic or military steps to prevent this terror-supporting traffic from continuing and expanding, the government allows these Israeli and European terror supporters to strengthen Hamas's war machine and legitimize Hamas's objective of destroying Israel.

Official Israel's failure to act against this breach of its security is directly related to its support of Israeli anti-Zionist groups when they direct their guns at the Israeli Right - rather than Israel as a whole. As a practical matter, it is difficult for the government to show that the Free Gaza campaign actively supports the war against Israel when it willingly embraces the bona fides of the Free Gaza campaign's supporters when they attack settlers, or when the government adopts these organizations' false assertion that the Right is the greatest threat to the country.

By the same token, it is difficult for the government to discredit films purporting to demonstrate the human rights plight of Gazans as Pallywood propaganda flicks when the government accepts these films as accurate when their culprits are right-wing activists.

BUT WHILE the domestic Left sees a distinction between its right-wing opponents and the country as a whole, the international community sees no distinction between the two. Indeed, the international community has used the cover that official Israel provides anti-Zionist activists for their settler vilifying activities in order to advance the cause of criminalizing Israel as a whole.

Case in point is what has become known as the Durban II conference in Geneva. Durban I, it will be recalled, was the UN's 2001 "anti-racism" conference in Durban, South Africa. The conference, which took place the week before the jihadist attacks on the US, was an anti-Semitic hate-fest. The American and Israeli delegations walked out as Israel and the Jewish people were castigated as the greatest human rights abusers, genocide committers, apartheid propagators and general all purpose bad guys in the entire world.

The Nazi-like propaganda emanating from the conference led to violent attacks against Jews all over the world. Durban I's resolutions also provided the policy blueprint for much of political warfare that has been waged against Israel by so-called human rights groups ever since. These include the violent demonstrations against the security fence organized by anti-Zionist Israeli groups, the Free Gaza campaign they support and the international boycotts against Israeli exports and academics they advocate.

Today, the UN is busily organizing its follow-up conference that will be held next year in Geneva. As the watchdog group Eye on the UN reported over the weekend, the conference's organizing committee just met and approved most of the resolutions it is set to adopt at Geneva. These resolutions again castigate Israel as the chief violator of human rights in the world. Israel is accused of committing genocide, crimes against humanity and being an apartheid state. It is also condemned as the most serious threat to international peace and security.

But of course, what starts with Israel doesn't end with Israel. The conference organizers have used the basic unanimity about Israel's criminal nature to launch an assault against the foundations of Western civilization. In addition to the numerous and repetitious attacks against Israel and Jews, the conference organizers passed multiple resolutions calling for the abrogation of freedom of expression and the criminalization of political speech in order to outlaw discussion of Islamic terrorism and block counterterror efforts in the West.

Among the conference's chief organizers are Iran, Libya, Egypt and Cuba. Iran is the vice-chairman of the executive committee responsible for planning Durban II. Much of the language in the proposed resolutions is taken directly from resolutions passed at a planning session last year in Teheran.

Israel had no hand in organizing this conference, which, following Canada, it announced it will boycott. But over the years, it could have taken actions that might have tempered or weakened the international coalition arrayed against it.

If the government had outlawed anti-Israel groups like Machsom Watch, New Profile, Gisha, Gush Shalom, Women in Black and Anarchists against the Wall, rather than tolerate them on account of their activities against settlers, it could at least have weakened their efforts. Had they been disbanded, they would have had less capacity to legitimize and assist Palestinians and Europeans who engage in political warfare against Israel on the ground.

By refusing to recognize the international consequences of their domestic battle against their political opponents on the Right, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government and the local media have strengthened Israel's enemies in their battle to destroy the country.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Charges against former Nazi death camp guard

From The West Australian, 11th November 2008:

A German body investigating Nazi war crimes says it has enough evidence for prosecutors to bring charges against an alleged former death camp guard now living in the United States.

According to a preliminary report, Ukrainian-born Ivan Demjanjuk - nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible" - was a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland between March and September 1943, said the Fahndungsstelle fuer NS-Verbrechen (Central Investigation Centre for Nazi Crimes).

The identity of Demjanjuk, who changed his first name to John after emigrating to the United States in the 1950s, has been "100 per cent" established, the body's head Kurt Schrimm told AFP.

He had been extradited to Israel in 1986 where he was sentenced to death two years later for his participation in the slaying of thousands of Jews in a camp in Treblinka. But the conviction was overturned for lack of evidence by Israel's Supreme Court in 1993 and Demjanjuk then returned to the United States where he was stripped of US citizenship for having lied about his wartime activities.

Schrimm said the most recent investigation into Demjanjuk's time in Sobibor was unrelated to this previous Israeli court judgement. "Unlike in other concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, which were also labour camps, Sobibor was set up solely for the purpose of exterminating people," Schrimm said. "Guards there may therefore not use the excuse that they did not know what was happening."

The report has now been passed to prosecutors in the southern German city of Munich, where Demjanjuk had his last known address in Germany, Schrimm said.

Weizmann Institute ranked best academic employeer

From JTA, November 9, 2008:

The Weizmann Institute of Science was ranked the best international academic institution at which to work by a leading science magazine.

The Israeli institute in Rehovot topped The Scientist’s annual survey of “Best Places to Work in Academia.” The magazine cited Weizmann’s research resources, infrastructure and work environment.

The survey, published in the November issue, reviewed entries from more than 2,300 respondents representing 73 institutions worldwide.

An analysis by the magazine determined that Australia is the best country overall in which to conduct scientific research. Runners-up were Israel, Belgium, the United States and Canada.

Refugee’s son wins as New Zealand PM

From JTA, November 9, 2008:

The son of a Jewish refugee was elected the prime minister of New Zealand.

John Key’s conservative National Party swept to victory in the Nov. 8 election, snapping the nine-year reign of Helen Clark and her Labor Party.

Key, 47, said the National Party, with 59 seats, had avowed support from two minor parties that would enable him to forge a coalition of 65 seats in the 122-seat parliament. Labor garnered 43 seats.

Key was raised by his mother, Ruth Lazar, in government-run housing after his alcoholic father died when Key was 7. Lazar’s aunt had arranged a marriage in Britain on the eve of World War II that enabled Lazar, her mother and several other family members to escape Austria in 1939.

In an interview with JTA on the eve of the election, Key attributed his success to his mother.
“She was an amazing lady,” he said. “She had a strong sense of what was right and wrong, and a strong belief that I could achieve and could do great things, so she pushed me very hard.”
Key went on to become a foreign currency dealer with Merrill Lynch in London before returning home in 2001 to begin his political rise.

A father of two children, he does not practice Judaism but says he is “very respectful” of the Jewish faith.

Key, who spoke at a celebration to mark Israel’s 60th birthday earlier this year, said he hopes to visit the Jewish state, where he has cousins, and pay his respects at Yad Vashem.

Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel: attack dog, committed Jew

From JTA, by Ron Kampeas · November 9, 2008:

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Political insight, killer in a fight, Yiddishkeit – it’s an inseparable package when it comes to Rahm Emanuel, say those who know President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be the next White House chief of staff.

Since his days as a fund-raiser and then a "political adviser" – read: enforcer – for President Clinton, Emanuel has earned notoriety as a no-holds-barred politico. Accept the good with the bad because it’s of a piece, said Steve Rabinowitz, who worked with Emanuel in the Clinton White House. "He can be a ‘mamzer,’ but he’s our mamzer," said Rabinowitz...

...Even his allies acknowledge that Emanuel, 48, can be on edge at times.

...Emanuel, an Illinois congressman who boasts strong ties to his local Jewish community and the Jewish state, also can be seen as embodying Obama’s stated commitment to Israeli security and diplomacy: During the first Iraq war, Emanuel flew to Israel as a volunteer to help maintain military vehicles. Two years later he was an aide to Clinton, helping to push along the newly launched Oslo process.

Within four months of joining the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003, Emanuel had an impressive command of the issues, said Michael Kotzin, the director of the Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council. "He gave a thorough and insightful analysis of issues on our agenda," said Kotzin, adding that Emanuel was responsive to his Jewish constituents.

...One thing Emanuel is not, all agree, is the president-elect’s conciliatory signal to the Jewish community ....Emanuel was chosen strictly for his political skills and his closeness to Obama, said Rabinowitz, whose public relations firms does work with both Jewish groups and the Democratic Party and its affiliates. His closeness to the Jewish community "would be a tiny factor, if at all" in the hiring, Rabinowitz said.

...Emanuel will be a strong voice for Israeli security – but also one with the standing to cast a skeptical eye on some Israeli claims. "Rahm, precisely because he’s a lover of Israel, will not have much patience with Israeli excuse-making,” Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for The Atlantic, suggested on his blog. “So when the next prime minister tells President Obama that as much as he’d love to, he can’t dismantle the Neve Manyak settlement outpost...Rahm will call out such nonsense, and it will be very hard for right-wing Israelis to come back and accuse him of being a self-hating Jew.”

...In general, Emanuel is fiercely loyal to his family, and they were a consideration in his hesitation to take work he’s always dreamed of having – he waited two days to say yes. Obama, in his statement announcing the pick, recognized the pain it would cause Emanuel’s wife, Amy, and “their children, Zach, Ilana and Leah."

Emanuel, born to an Israeli doctor who married a local woman after he moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s, speaks Hebrew and fondly recalls summering each year in Israel as a child – including just after the 1967 Six-Day War. He attends Anshe Sholom, a Modern Orthodox synagogoue in Chicago, and sends his children to Jewish day school.

...“He has a very deep commitment and feel for Yiddishkeit," [his rabbi, Asher] Lopatin said, "and it’s a Yiddishkeit that’s about ‘tikkun olam,’ having a positive effect on the world."

Rabin and the Oslo Process Revisited

From the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies Perspectives Papers No. 51, November 10, 2008, by Efraim Inbar, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, director of the BESA Center [my own emphasis added - SL]:

Thirteen years have passed since Yitzhak Rabin was murdered and it's time to take an unvarnished look at his diplomatic legacy.

Conventional wisdom, as manipulated by political circles of the Left, commemorates and venerates Rabin as the hero of peace. Yet, Rabin was first and foremost a military man. To him, peace was primarily a means to buttress security, and the cautious Rabin believed that the transition to peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors would take decades.

The shift to the role of peacemaker was not easy for Rabin. While he had the courage to make difficult decisions, he was ambivalent toward the path chosen. His honesty and skepticism prevented him from articulating a soaring "vision" of peace that would convince the majority of Israelis to go along with his preferences. Nevertheless, Rabin was successful in bringing about a de facto partition of the Land of Israel and in greatly limiting the appeal of the Greater Israel ideology.

Most Israelis were ready for partition, but the Oslo agreements never received the whole-hearted support of the public and the Knesset. Rabin's government coalition barely maintained a majority in parliament. Had he not been assassinated, Rabin probably would have lost the 1996 election to Benjamin Netanyahu, as he was trailing badly in the polls.

Rabin always believed in the principle of land for security, reflecting the prevalent view of mainstream Israeli society. Therefore, it was with reluctance that Rabin allowed the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to take control of parts of the Land of Israel in exchange for an unfulfilled promise to prevent terrorism. He also knew that dealing with the PLO – even a reformed PLO – meant placing difficult issues on the agenda, such as the establishment of a Palestinian state, the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, and Jerusalem.

He was also aware that the PLO was a danger to his preferred partner, Hashemite Jordan. Moreover, it is important to remember that he tried to first reach a deal with Syria. Indeed, his power politics prism led him to attribute greater importance to the interstate dimension of the Arab-Israel conflict than to the Palestinian dimension. In his eyes, the Arab states, which had at their disposal tanks and airplanes, could harm Israel much more than the Palestinians, who lacked military strength. The Arab states constituted a military threat and were therefore the address for making war and negotiating peace.

This idea is reemerging in current Israeli politics, as hopes of a Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel are confronted with the bitter reality of a fractured and increasingly fanatic Palestinian body politic. Following the failure to implement a two-state solution, I believe that Rabin would have supported attempts to involve Arab states that signed a peace treaty with Israel in tackling the Palestinian issue. What is today called the "regional approach" is much more in tune with Rabin's thinking then the attempts to placate the Palestinian national movement and build a Palestinian state, which was once deemed by Rabin a potential "cancer in the Middle East."

The tragic assassination of Yitzhak Rabin only delayed the recognition that the two-state paradigm was not working. We know that Rabin was frustrated with the Palestinians’ dismal record of state building and counter-terrorism. There are indications that Rabin started having second thoughts about his peace partner, Yasser Arafat. If he had survived, Rabin himself might have decided to put an end to the Oslo experiment and expel Arafat and the incorrigible PLO leadership, which did not deliver their part of the deal. Rabin explicitly believed that the Oslo process was reversible because Israel was strong. He could have easily mobilized popular support for such a policy reversal among Israelis.

Yet his assassination by a religious fanatic galvanized what had previously been lukewarm support for the “peace process”. This event paralyzed the Israeli political right and minimized opposition to the transfer of Palestinian cities to the PLO in January 1996.

The realization that the perennial search for a partner to divide the Land of Israel did not end with granting the PLO territorial control sunk deep into the Israeli psyche only when Prime Minister Ehud Barak returned from Camp David in July 2000 and the Palestinians subsequently launched a terror campaign. Barak, Rabin's heir and disciple, coined the "no partner" diagnosis to which most Israelis subscribe. More than anyone, Barak is responsible for discrediting the messianic doves in Israeli politics, whom Rabin generally detested.

Rabin would have been pleasantly surprised by the resilience of Israeli society during the Second Intifada. He, like others in the Israeli political leadership, expressed pessimism about Israelis' ability to withstand protracted conflict. Such a pessimistic evaluation of the willingness to suffer within Israeli society was one of the reasons that led Rabin and others to advocate far-reaching concessions. Evidence that Israelis were ready to fight and bear pain, contrary to his original belief, might have led Rabin to display less tolerance of Palestinian violations and led him toward a serious search for an alternative to the two-state paradigm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Australia votes against Israel at the UN

From The ABC News, 10/11/08:

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says Australia has voted against Israel on two United Nations resolutions ....

...Over the weekend Australia changed its vote to support a resolution calling on Israel to stop establishing settlements in the Palestinian territories. It also supported a resolution calling for the Geneva Conventions to apply to Palestinian territories.

Mr Smith says the new position is consistent with the Government's view on peace in the Middle East. ..."Nothing this Government will do will jeopardise our long-standing public policy and foreign policy commitment to a two-nation state solution for the Middle East and our very strong support of the roadmap to peace and the Annapolis peace process."

But the Federal Opposition has accused the Government of jeopardising the Middle East peace process. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has questioned the merits of voting against Israel.
"[That is] not simply highly critical of our friends in Israel but accuse the state of Israel of acting in breach of international humanitarian law," he said. "Does the Prime Minister consider this change of policy, Australia making that grave allegation of misconduct against Israel, is conducive to achieving peace in the Middle East?"

President Obama and the Middle East Challenge

Follow the link to a brief, but comprehensive analysis in the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies Perspectives Papers No. 50, November 6, 2008 by Jonathan Rynhold, senior lecturer of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at BESA. Brief excerpts:

Executive Summary
Barack Obama's general outlook on foreign policy is the opposite of George W. Bush's approach. He has enunciated a clear program for Middle East policy based on multilateralism and negotiations to deal with Iran, Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In reality he will have to make tough choices about what to prioritize and do when other countries reject the US approach. The most important challenge he faces concerns Iran, rather than the Arab-Israeli conflict.

[The body of the paper includes brief, one paragraph statements on general Foreign Policy, Iraq, the War on terror, Iran, The Arab-Israeli Arena, Foreign Policy Appointments...Implications for Israel, etc]

.... Conclusion
Aside from his policy preferences, Obama's foreign policy will be dependent on his managerial and decision-making abilities. He is smart and has run a superb campaign, but he lacks experience. The real tests are yet to come, and given the volatility of the Middle East, they will come thick and fast. In such situations, ideologues can fall back on a set of assertions that provide a clear guide for resolving ambiguity; pragmatists have to be more analytical and pay attention to shifting realities.

The central challenge for Obama in the Middle East is neither democratization nor securing a comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict (though those are worthy long term objectives), but rather the maintenance of a stable pro-American balance of power in the region. First and foremost that means dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue.

PA Official Claims Temple Mount is Not Jewish

From Arutz Sheva (, 10/11/08, by Hillel Fendel:

Top PA officials continue to deny Israel's connection to Judaism's most sacred spot in the world - the Temple Mount. [...just one more piece of historical revisionism in the Israel-bashing arsenal - SL]

The latest to do so is Ahmed Qurei, known also as Abu Ala, who has led and continues to lead Palestinian Authority negotiations with Israel. In a small media briefing this past Wednesday, Qurei said, "Israeli occupation authorities are trying to find a so-called Jewish historical connection between Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, but all these attempts will fail. The [Temple Mount] is 100 percent Muslim."

The remarks were reported by Aaron Klein of, one of only three journalists present for the briefing. The others, Klein reported, were an Arab affairs correspondent for a major Israeli newspaper and a reporter for PA newspaper Al-Ayam. The Israeli newspaper chose not to publish Qurei's remarks.

"The world must be mobilized against all these Israeli attempts to change the symbols and signs of Jerusalem," Qurei said. "There was no so-called Jewish Temple. It's imaginary. Jerusalem is 100 percent Muslim." ..."They are competing against time in order to create facts on ground in the surrounding imaginary Temple," added Qurei, who is considered a moderate by both the U.S. and Israeli governments.

Waqf Debunks Claim
The Waqf itself - the Supreme Moslem Council of Jerusalem which now runs the Temple Mount day-to-day - has debunked the Moslem claim that the holy site is not Jewish - in a Temple Mount guide it published in 1925....

Different views on Obama

From The Globe and Mail, by PATRICK MARTIN, November 6, 2008:

JERUSALEM -- Admiration for U.S. president-elect Barack Obama extended across much of the Middle East yesterday with Palestinians in particular holding out hope he would be the answer to their prayers.

However, Palestinian pollster Jamil Rabah cautioned against reading too much into such wide-eyed support. "They like this guy because he's black, because he's not the typical blue-eyed white Westerner. But they don't know anything about what he stands for.

...If some Palestinians were reading too much good into the president-elect, most Israelis were seeing a lot that was bad.

..."The average Israeli is very suspicious of Obama," explained veteran Israeli pollster Rafi Smith. "If the U.S. election had been held in Israel, John McCain would have won in a landslide."

...Barry Rubin, director of research at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, said it's not the relationship between the United States and Israel that he's fearful of. "That relationship will hold," he said. "But I'm extremely worried about the unintended consequences of what might be Obama's approach to the region."

The modern Middle East breaks down into two blocs, Mr. Rubin believes - the Islamists, led or inspired by Iran, and the pro-Western governments. "My concern is that the Islamists will see Obama as weak, and feel able to do what they want. Iran won't be afraid to develop nuclear weapons, Hezbollah won't be afraid to attack Israel and Hamas will be the same."

In that event, he said, "I worry that pro-Western Arab leaders won't feel they're getting the support they need from Washington and that, then, they'll try to appease Iran. In the end, Islamists everywhere will feel bolder."

Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University in Beirut, draws a very different conclusion. "The Islamists have fed off stupid U.S. policies in this region," he said. "If the new American president were to try a more intelligent approach - one of engagement rather than trying to intimidate - the U.S. would cease to be a target of scorn and the Islamists would lose support." It's the prospect of Mr. Obama adopting just such an approach that has so many people in the region feeling excited, he said....

Obama Sends Advisor Malley to Cozy Up to Egypt and Syria

From Arutz Sheva (, 10/11/08, by Gil Ronen [my own emphasis added - SL]:

According to a report on Middle East Newsline, President-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his "senior foreign policy adviser", Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline Obama's policy on the Middle East. Malley reportedly relayed a promise from Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo and reconcile differences with Damascus.

"The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests," an aide to Malley was quoted as saying. The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria. Malley met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad "to explain Obama's agenda for the Middle East."

F-16s for Egypt
Aides to Malley also said that Obama told Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Malley was an advisor to President Bill Clinton and played an active role in the Camp David summit with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. He later published an article in which he laid some of the blame for the failure of those talks on Israel's doorstep.

International Crisis Group
In May 2008, Malley said in an interview that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, as part of his work for a conflict resolution think-tank called the International Crisis Group. This aroused ire and concern in pro-Israel circles, and prompted a spokesman for Obama to say that “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

One of the sponsors of the International Crisis Group is billionaire George Soros, who sits on its board and its executive committee. Other members of the board include former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former general Wesley Clark, who called US support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War a "serious mistake" and said that "New York money people" were pushing the United States towards a confrontation with Iran.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Architectural plans of Auschwitz death camp found in Berlin

(photo from Der BILD)

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Nov. 8, 2008:

The German newspaper Bild published never-before-seen architectural plans of the Auschwitz extermination camp on Saturday that reveal, in their unequivocally marked sections, that everyone involved in the operation of Auschwitz knew full well that it was intended for the systematic extermination of human beings, the paper said.

(Follow this link to the original BILD article in German, or this one to a Google translation to English.)

The floor plans, cross-sections and maps on yellowing paper, mostly on a scale of 1:100, were reportedly found during the evacuation of an abandoned Berlin apartment. They were drawn up between 1941 and 1943.
The 28 documents include detailed blueprints of prisoner barracks, gas chambers marked clearly Gaskammer (Gas chamber) in a gothic-inspired font and a cross-section of the gate into which the rails of trains entered carrying Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons and other people the National Socialists sent to die.

One of the maps carries the handwritten signature of Gestapo commander Heinrich Himmler.
The plans were not construction plans but were drawn after Auschwitz-Birkenau was built (on the foundations of an old military base from the Austro-Hungarian Empire).

On January 20, 1942, Nazi officials met in the resort of Wannsee east of Berlin where they devised the Final Solution, and this has traditionally been taken by historians as the beginning of the Nazis' extermination campaign.

One of the drawings, predating the Wannsee Conference by eight months, sheds new light on the chronology of the German genocide machine.

Dr. Hans-Dieter Kreikamp, chief director of the Bundesarchivs, the federal archives in Berlin, said the find was of "extraordinary importance."

"The plans are authentic certificates of a systematically planned genocide of European Jews," Bild quoted Kreikamp as saying.

As the plans show a "Laundry and shower room" leading into a "Dressing room" and then to the "Gas chamber," there could be no doubt of the purpose of the large room marked Gaskammer.

The documents rebut the last of those who would deny the Holocaust, Bild said in its report.

Israel Braces for Obama's Engagement in Iran, Gaza

From, updated Nov 08, by Peter Hirschberg:

Israeli leaders have become accustomed to President George W. Bush's reticence to push them into making tough decisions. In Barack Obama, they are bracing for a president who may not be so accommodating.

Obama's plan to engage Iran in direct negotiations over the Shiite Muslim state's drive to enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons could limit Israel's option to use military force to block the program. And his pledge to be actively involved in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians could lead him to exert pressure against settlement-building and travel restrictions on the Palestinians in the West Bank.

"There could be more pressure on Israel to take more risks, like removing security checkpoints in the West Bank,'' said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. "The Iranians will exploit Obama's willingness to talk to them to play for time.''

As Obama prepares his transition, Israeli politics are in a state of limbo brought on by Foreign Minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni's inability to form a governing coalition. The move sparked national elections, which will be held in February 2009.

Opinion polls show Livni and Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu in a tight race. A poll in the Haaretz newspaper on Oct. 31 showed Likud and Kadima winning 31 seats each in the 120-seat parliament.

...When Obama visited Israel in July, he said he would not wait "until a few years into my term or my second term'' to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace process moving. He has also said that Israel will have to make concessions if it wants to reach an agreement with the Palestinians over the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the borders of an independent Palestinian state. "Israel will have some heavy stones to carry,'' Obama said in remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington in May.

In addition to Israel's political stalemate, Obama will have to decide how to deal with the Islamic Hamas movement, which seized control of Gaza in June last year, routing the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas, which had won parliamentary elections in January 2006, refuses to recognize Israel and has said it will not abide by previous

...Up at Night
Obama has raised concerns in Israel that he will be more sympathetic to the Palestinians than was Bush. "To be honest, Obama doesn't make us sleep well at night,'' Eitan Haber, who was a senior aide and negotiator for former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, wrote in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper last month. "We are about to see a president who has nothing to do with Judaism, Jews, and the State of Israel.'' ...