Thursday, December 23, 2010

Envoy demands UN speak out against attacks

From JERUSALEM POST, 22 December 2010, by JORDANA HORN:

NEW YORK – The recent escalation in rocket attacks, culminating in the wounding of a young girl, should be met “with utmost seriousness” and a response from the UN, Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben wrote in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Kimoon and the Security Council on Tuesday.

“The incidents of the past several days are part of an escalation of terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza that target Israeli civilians, towns and military personnel..."
“[Hamas] holds the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip completely responsible for all of these incidents, which are carried out in clear violation of international law. In response to such attacks, Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self defense."

“With the intention of preventing the continued escalation of conflict, the security council, the secretary-general and the international community must send a clear and resolute message that these attacks are unacceptable..."

...Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, on Wednesday condemned the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

“These attacks are in clear violation of international humanitarian law and endanger civilians in Israel,” Serry said, adding that Israel has “a right to self-defense consistent with international humanitarian law..."...

Yad Vashem: 4 million Shoah victims identified

From Ynet News, 22 December 2010, by Olga Goretzki:

Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority announced Tuesday it has collected the names of 4 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust – some two-thirds of the total number of Jewish victims estimated to have been murdered by the Nazis.

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said that during the last decade the museum's staff had tracked some 1.5 million names and added them to the databases.

New Effort
Shalev said. "One of Yad Vashem's central aims is to give a face and a name to each Holocaust victim, and give them back their identities. We have managed to use technology in the service of memory, and thus accelerated the collection of names and the accessibility of the information for people around the world."
"The Germans not only wanted to annihilate the Jews, but also to wipe them from memory,"
Six years ago Yad Vashem launched a central database on the internet. At the time, the database included the names of some 3 million Holocaust victims. The center's staff then began a concerted operation to collect the missing names.

In addition, the digitalization process was accelerated for names from archived documents. Yad Vashem says some 55% of the 4 million names known at present are from testimonies of family members, while the rest are from archive documents and various remembrance initiatives of communities and survivors.

The names hardest to track are of those murdered in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In these regions, in contrast to Western Europe, Jews were murdered near their places of residence, and the Nazis made no deportation lists.

During the last five years, there has been significant improvement in this field. According to Alexander Avraham, director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names, there has been a huge increase in the known and documented names of victims in the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary and Greece.

Torah scrolls and synagogues
"After the Holocaust there was less awareness among survivors and relatives," Avraham explains. "During the last three years, there has been a special project for Russian-speakers in Israel, the former USSR, the US and Germany. We approach them with the help of volunteers and Jewish organizations to encourage them to submit documents, photos and anything connected with the identity of victims, but there is still a lot of work to be done."

Last year, he says, Yad Vashem staff managed to obtain a list of 38 people who were deported from Salonika (Thessaloniki) to Auschwitz, and a new project is now being launched to collect names from Poland. "Many names from there are still missing," Avaraham says.

Another project concentrates on collecting names among haredi communities. "The haredi population has developed various ways of remembering the victims," he says. "Haredim haven't really filled out testimony forms. They dedicated Torah scrolls to the memory of victims, and put up remembrance plaques at synagogues, and the names are detailed there."

Yad Vashem staff does not rest, and continues in its work identifying the 2 million victims who remain without a name and without a face.

"Every name we succeed in rescuing from oblivion is another victory over the Nazis who tried to destroy and annihilate the memory of these people,"
Avraham says.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No "1967 Borders" Ever Existed

From JCPA, Briefs Vol. 10, No. 17 21 December 2010, by Alan Baker, former Legal Adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada: The Palestinian leadership is fixated on attempting to press foreign governments and the UN to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within the "1967 borders." Indeed, this campaign appeared to have some initial successes in December 2010 when both Argentina and Brazil decided to recognize a Palestinian state within what they described as the "1967 borders." 

  • But such borders do not exist and have no basis in history, law, or fact. The only line that ever existed was the 1949 armistice demarcation line, based on the ceasefire lines of the Israeli and Arab armies pending agreement on permanent peace. The 1949 armistice agreements specifically stated that such lines have no political or legal significance and do not prejudice future negotiations on boundaries.
  • UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 acknowledged the need for negotiation of secure and recognized boundaries. Prominent jurists and UN delegates, including from Brazil and Jordan, acknowledged that the previous lines cannot be considered as international boundaries. 
  • The series of agreements between the PLO and Israel (1993-1999) reaffirm the intention and commitment of the parties to negotiate permanent borders. During all phases of negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, there was never any determination as to a border based on the 1967 lines. 
  • The PLO leadership solemnly undertook that all issues of permanent status would be resolved only through negotiations between the parties. The 2003 "Road Map" further reiterated the need for negotiations on final borders. 
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Iran is the issue, not "Palestine"

From The Australia/Israel review, January 2011 edition, by Dr. Uzi Rabi, Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University:

American diplomatic accounts of conversations with various Arab leaders, released this past month by WikiLeaks...[show that]regional and international leaders...are not focused primarily on Israel’s traditional struggle with the Arab states and the Palestinians. Rather...with the prospect of a nuclear Iran...

...Gulf leaders are quoted as urging the United States to attack Iran as quickly as possible. Saudi King Abdullah was particularly graphic, calling on Washington to “cut the head off of the snake.” Economic sanctions were preferable, he said, but “the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out.” Two years ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal went as far as proposing an Arab-led military force to destroy Hezbollah in order to prevent an “Iranian takeover of Lebanon.” In December 2005, United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid told US CENTCOM head, Gen. John Abizaid, that the Iranians had to be “dealt with before they do something tragic.” UAE military leaders were quoted as agreeing with the Americans that “President Ahmadinejad seemed unbalanced, crazy even.” Crown Prince bin Zayid called Ahmadinejad “Hitler” and pressed for an Israeli attack against Iran.

Earlier this year international media sources revealed that Israel and Saudi Arabia had engaged in secret talks, in which Saudi Arabia implied that it would turn a blind eye if Israel were to use the Saudi desert as a fly-over corridor to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Barring such an attack, nuclear Iran would become a regional superpower able to pressure Gulf states to line up behind it; it could serve as a source of inspiration and support for radical groups in the Gulf states and beyond; and a regional nuclear arms race would likely ensue.

...The WikiLeaks disclosures have widened the deep-rooted divisions between the Arab Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain (the Upper Gulf states), and Iran...

The WikiLeaks documents also shed light on the ongoing military and diplomatic cooperation between Iran and Turkey, suggesting the beginnings of a new axis in the region. ...the strains between Ankara and Washington reverberate throughout the documents and beyond. For example, one document states that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds eight private bank accounts in Switzerland...

While Israel has possessed a nuclear capability for over 40 years, WikiLeaks documents show that it is Iran’s nuclear ambitions that currently worry Arab states...

...There are relatively few references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the documents, and the issue has taken a back seat to nuclear Iran in recent Arab-American diplomatic discussions. The Arab states’ deep fear of Iran’s regional ambitions, which are a source of inspiration to its clients, Hamas and Hezbollah, outweighs their concern with the intractable, but not immediately threatening Israel-Palestinian issue.

...Arab leaders seem to view the Obama Administration’s insistent focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as coming at the expense of blocking Iran’s rising power. Together with what they view as administration impotence in affecting a change in Israeli policies, Arab states essentially confer a grade of “Poor” on Washington’s overall performance in the Middle East...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yoel Zilberman, from the heart of the heartland

From Youtube:
Yoel Zilberman - The Founder of "HaShomer HaHadash" (The New Guardian) talks at a Jerusalem Conference about the organization's activities, in response to Bedouin attacks on Jewish-owned farms in the Galil and the Negev, and Jewish farmers who are abondoning their lands in fear ...

"return of the narrative, Israeli sovereignty and dignity"

...young guys who join the farmers and work with them day by day...

Last week we did historical revolution preparatory programs ...a service year, a year before the army, when guys finish high school ...will start next year King David every 8,10 guys will be on a lookout in the fields with a herd of sheep learning Torah in the morning, learning Zionism in the evening, learning Arabic...we're in the Middle East.

And these guys, togther with the cattle herds with practice, running and full-contact training, ...they're going to retore the courage of the Jew in Israel, the Jew who guards ...

The fortified walls of Jerusalem are those same farmers and cowboys, the same lands ...the 4 million dunams of state land, that's what protects our country.

...we foresee that in the year 2015, we'll have more than 2,000 guards, no less than 6,000 volunteers...and no less than 30 groups...of 8-10 guys before the army, out with the sheep in the fields, literally going back to the roots, and these guys relearn their own story and don't let anyone confuse them and their are no cracks and no confusion, 

and then the whole world will be clear on whose this is ...I ...include the Arabs... they're just waiting for us to tell them it's ours. They haven't yet understood that, they're just waiting and ... b"h will happen.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Israel Remembers the Holy Temple and the Holocaust on Tevet 10

From Israel National News, 17 December 2010, by Maayana Miskin:

Friday is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, a fast day on which Jews remember the siege of Jerusalem that preceded the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian exile.

The siege is described in the Bible in the Book of Kings.

The day is also the time at which mourning prayers are said for Holocaust victims whose date of death is not known. Many religious Jews mourn the Holocaust on the 10th of Tevet rather than on the date chosen by the Israeli government in the Hebrew month of Nissan.

The tenth of Tevet is observed as a fast from morning until nightfall. It is the only day-long fast day that can fall on a Friday.

Another event that is mourned on the 10th of Tevet is the day on which King Ptolemy of Egypt forced Jewish scholars to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Their translation was used by those who sought to assimilate Jews into Greek culture, and later formed the basis of the Christian Bible, which for many centuries was used to promote persecution of Jews.

Yet another is the death of Ezra the Scribe, who led Jews back to Israel from their exile in Babylon and directed the construction of the Second Temple.

Cyprus, Israel sign deal demarcating sea borders

From The Associated Press, Dec 17, 2010, MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS:

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus and Israel signed an accord Friday demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the east Mediterranean where huge natural gas reserves have been discovered.

...Cyprus has licensed U.S. firm Noble Energy to explore an 800,000-acre area bordering Israeli waters where massive gas fields have been found under the seabed.

Two fields, Tamar and Dalit, discovered last year, are due to start producing in 2012, and experts say their estimated combined reserves of 5.5 trillion cubic feet (160 billion cubic meters) of natural gas can cover Israel's energy needs for the next two decades.

Noble Energy is also part of a consortium developing the fields and predicted in June that Israel will also have enough gas to export to Europe and Asia from a third field — Leviathan, thought to hold up to 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters) of gas.

Cyprus Energy Service Director Solon Kassinis told The Associated Press in an e-mail that there are currently no estimates on gas reserves inside the Cypriot zone because drilling has yet to begin.

Noble has not said when drilling would start inside its Cypriot block.

...Lebanese lawmakers have said that some of Israel's recently discovered gas fields stretch into Lebanese territorial waters. Israel has denied the charge.

Hezbollah has threatened to use force to protect Lebanon's natural wealth.

Meanwhile, Turkey is mulling starting oil and gas exploration off Cyprus' northern coast...

the real peace process: Israeli companies outsourcing to Palestinians

From The Associated Press, 17 December 2010:

HOD HASHARON, Israel (AP) — Within the pastel walls of a modest suburban office, Israeli high-tech workers have accomplished a feat that still eludes their political leaders: They have created a partnership with the Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may be stalled, but that hasn't stopped a small but steady trickle of Israeli technology companies from seeking to work with people on the other side of the decades-old conflict.

Israeli CEOs say it's their way of bringing a little bit of peace to their troubled corner of the world. But the real reason they're hiring Palestinians, they acknowledge, is because it simply makes good business sense.

Israel's high-tech industry is among the country's crowning achievements. Israel has the most start-ups per capita in the world and has helped produce such game-changing innovations as instant messaging and Internet telephony. Many Israeli tech firms send work offshore to eastern Europe, India or China.

In the past three years, however, some have turned to Palestinian engineers and programmers. They are cheaper, ambitious, work in the same time zone, and — surprisingly to many Israelis — are remarkably similar to them.

"The cultural gap is much smaller than we would think," said Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up in this central Israeli town that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Teva.

At a previous job, he worked with engineers in India and eastern Europe, but found communication difficult. So in 2007, when he was looking to outsource work at his new start-up, he turned to Palestinian engineers. He said they speak like Israelis do — they are direct and uninhibited. Today, Comply employs four Palestinians.

Palestinian engineers have also warmed up to the idea. "I doubt you would find a company who says, 'I am closed for business'" to Israelis, said Ala Alaeddin, chairman of the Palestinian Information Technology Association....

...About 10 Israeli start-ups and international companies with centers in Israel have been outsourcing to the West Bank in the past three years, said Tova Scherr of Mercy Corps, an international aid group working to encourage these ventures. Scherr said visits by Israeli businessmen to Ramallah — with Israeli military permission — are becoming more common.

Networking giant Cisco says it was the first international corporation with research and development centers in Israel to begin outsourcing work to the West Bank. Israeli branches of Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have followed Cisco's example and begun to outsource to the Palestinian territories this year, according to Mercy Corps.

...Word of the West Bank's potential is spreading: Tahboub of Asal Technologies said he received about 20 inquiries this year from Israeli companies.

"We are doing great work for our country," Tahboub said, referring to the yet-to-be-born Palestinian state. "I believe the (technology) sector will become one of the pillars of the Palestinian economy."

France gives Lebanon anti-tank missiles

From AFP, 17 December 2010:

BEIRUT — France will give Lebanon 100 anti-tank missiles, a government official said on Friday, confirming a deal that raised concerns in Israel and the United States earlier this year.

"Prime Minister Saad Hariri was informed on Wednesday of the French decision to supply the army with 100 ... HOT missiles that will be used by the military's Gazelle helicopters," the official told AFP.

"The missiles will be delivered before the end of February and are being given with no conditions attached," the official added. In Paris, the office of French Prime Minister Francois Fillon confirmed that a letter to that effect had been sent to Hariri.

In August, a US lawmaker objected to the transfer saying the missiles could end up being used against Israel given the influence of the powerful militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"The influence of Hezbollah militants and their Iranian and Syrian backers in the Lebanese government is rising," Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had said.

"Therefore, to sell weapons to Lebanon at this time would be very irresponsible and could jeopardise security and stability in the region," she said.

Local press reports had said Israel, which fought a devastating war with Hezbollah in 2006, also expressed concerns.

In November, Washington lifted a hold it had placed on 100 million dollars in military aid to Lebanon after receiving assurances that the army would closely monitor the border with Israel and that the assistance would not be diverted to Hezbollah.

The Shiite movement is considered the most powerful military and political force in Lebanon.

Intelligence officials estimate Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of more than 40,000 short and long-range rockets as well as other sophisticated weapons, including anti-aircraft guns, that the party claims can reach deep inside Israel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kissinger: court Jew and Antisemite

From JPost, December 17, 2010, by Isi Leibler:

Few would be shocked with details of further anti-Semitic outbursts by former president Richard Nixon revealed in the latest transcripts of tapes released from the Nixon library. He was a vulgar man whose foul mouthing extended beyond Jews to Afro-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans and other ethnic groups.

...Nixon's anti-Semitism primarily amounted to appalling negative stereotyping. But he did employ a Jewish Secretary of State and, according to his Jewish speechwriter William Safire, his heroes included Benjamin Disraeli, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and Herman Wouk.

... despite his unsavory character and negative traits,  ...during the 1973 Yom Kippur War [Nixon] overruled his Jewish Secretary of State [Henry Kissinger] who sought to delay arms to Israel in order to boost Sadat and make Israel more pliable in negotiating with the Egyptians. Nixon's massive weapons airlift provided Israel with desperately needed arms. ...We should remain eternally grateful to him for having avoided countless additional Israeli casualties and possibly even having averted a disaster for the Jewish State.

Kissinger: antisemitic "Court Jew" with Nixon

...We are now privy to Kissinger's notorious outburst to Nixon following a meeting with Golda Meir during which she pleaded for the White House to support efforts to free Soviet Jews...
"The immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern."

He ended this obscene remark by conceding that gassing Jews "may be a humanitarian concern."

...Far from apologizing now for his outburst Kissinger justified it. In an email to the JTA, he insisted that the most callous statement about Jews ever recorded by a senior US official "had to be viewed in the context of what was happening".
Kissinger at the time had just lost a tough battle with Senator Henry Jackson who had managed to persuade Congress to adopt the Jackson-Vanik amendment linking trade with the Soviet Union to the extension of human rights and freedom of emigration.

Whilst this proved to be a turning point and a major victory for the campaign to free Soviet Jewry, it was enormously frustrating for Kissinger, whose principal objective was to bring about detente with the Soviet Union, even if that required ignoring human rights violations including the persecution of his own people...

There were other occasions when Kissinger adopted inexplicably negative attitudes relating to Jews. For example, he opposed the construction of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington claiming that it would provide too high a profile for the Jews and reignite anti-Semitism.

...Menachem Rosensaft of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors called on Jewish organizations which had previously honored Kissinger, to strip him of his honorary doctorates, medals and awards. He caustically suggested that Kissinger still felt closer to Germany than to his Jewishness, noting that in 2007 when receiving a medal from the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Kissinger had referred vaguely to "the difficulties of my childhood" and then went on to lavishly praise Germany without making any reference to Nazism or the Holocaust.

...God help us from dependency on [such] Jews [like Kissinger,] appointed or elected to public office ...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Stuxnet virus set back Iran’s nuclear program by 2 years'

From JPost, 15 December 2010, by YAAKOV KATZ:

The Stuxnet virus, which has attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities and which Israel is suspected of creating, has set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by two years....

...[Top German computer consultant] Langer said ... “This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”

...Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, said that Iran had suspended work at its nuclear-field production facilities, likely a result of the Stuxnet virus.

According to Langer, Iran’s best move would be to throw out all of the computers that have been infected by the worm, which he said was the most “advanced and aggressive malware in history.” ...
“It is extremely difficult to clean up installations from Stuxnet...Just to get their systems running again they have to get rid of the virus, and this will take time, and then they need to replace the equipment, and they have to rebuild the centrifuges at Natanz and possibly buy a new turbine for Bushehr.”

Widespread speculation has named Israel’s Military Intelligence Unit 8200, known for its advanced Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities, as the possible creator of the software, as well as the United States...

Jordan hedges its bets with Iran

From Ynet News, 12 December 2010:
Jordan's King Abdullah II said Sunday he was seeking "practical steps" to improve his frosty relations with Iran, a contrast to his regime's frequent criticism of Iran's policies.

...Abdullah has been one of Iran's harshest critics in recent years, warning that its growing influence in the region could undermine him and other pro-American moderates.

The Royal Court statement said Abdullah accepted Ahmadinejad's invitation to visit Tehran soon, but no date was set.

...As early as 2004, Abdullah warned of Iran's growing influence in Iraq and the rest of the region.

In US cables released by WikiLeaks, US Ambassador to Jordan Stephen Beecroft quoted Jordanian officials describing Iran as an "octopus" whose tentacles "reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates."

Iran's "tentacles" include Qatar, Syria, the militant Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government linked to Iran and Shiite communities across the Mideast, according to the cables.

ISM: Cheerleaders for Boycotts and Terroism

From Israel National News, 16 December 2010, by Elad Benari:

According to a study released last week by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is clearly an organization which supports terrorism.

The study says that ISM, originally a network of anti-Israeli activists founded by a group of young, extreme leftist Americans, attracted to it leftist Arab activists and several extreme leftist pro-Arab Israelis. Later, the organization also recruited volunteers from various Western countries, some of them Jews, on a platform of hostility to Israel and its policies towards Palestinian Authority Arabs.

...The ISM, stressed [Dafka investigative reporter Lee] Kaplan, was put together by the Arab communist and terror-linked PLFP group which is
“allied with communist anarchists...and now with Hamas... to promote the destruction of the State of Israel. They are doing a great job. I believe they pose a greater threat than the armed terrorists do.”

... during the second Intifada Between 2001 and 2005, ISM volunteers waged activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. These activities were not limited to simply helping the Arab population of these areas, but rather included the hindering of IDF operational activities. These included participating in Arab protest demonstrations and rallies, serving as human shields for terrorist operatives wanted by the Israeli security forces, locating themselves near IDF roadblocks throughout Judea and Samaria, providing terrorist operatives and their families with financial, logistic and moral support, hindering the razing and sealing of houses of suicide bombers, and holding protests along the security fence from Jenin to Jerusalem.

...The ISM’s operations did not end with the second Intifada, emphasizes the study. After the second intifada senior ISM activists moved the center of their operations to the Gaza Strip, where Hamas was gaining a foothold before violently taking over it in June 2007.

Four senior American ISM activists played a key role in founding an international pro-Hamas umbrella organization called the Free Gaza Movement, which sends ships to the Gaza Strip for the stated purpose of “breaking the siege,” but in fact aims to strengthen Hamas administration and intensify the delegitimization of Israel.

...The group also takes part in anti-Israeli activities in the United States and European and other countries worldwide, which include calls for boycotting Israel and its products and protests against its policies toward PA Arabs. During these protests, Israel is repeatedly represented as racist, oppressive and employing an apartheid policy.

The study also says that these anti-Israeli activities go far beyond demonstrations in various cities and agitation on campuses, but also make use of visual and digital media, the Internet, and books and plays to engage in anti-Israeli hate propaganda.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Recognition of a Palestinian State - Premature, Legally Invalid,

From The The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 12 December Alan Baker:
  • The acts of recognition of a Palestinian state in 1967 borders by Brazil, Argentina, and possibly other Latin American states have no significance other than as a political expression of opinion.
  • These acts of recognition run counter to statements by Brazil and Argentina in the United Nations Security Council in 1967 in favor of freely negotiated borders between the parties and an internationally sponsored peace negotiation process as set out in Resolution 242.
  • The unceasing efforts among states by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to attain recognition of unilateral statehood within the 1967 borders and thereby bypass the accepted negotiation process, runs counter to their commitments in their agreements with Israel, as witnessed and guaranteed by members of the international community.
  • The hostile actions and statements of the Palestinian leadership lack bona fides and prejudice any reasonable negotiating ambiance between parties that seek to establish peaceful relations between them, and are indicative of an utter lack of a genuine will to reach a peaceful settlement.
Click here to read the full article.

NEW (release of) US Intelligence on Nazi War Criminals & The Mufti of Jerusalem

The US National Archives has released to Congress a new report on Nazi War Crimes: Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War. [110 pages]

The report is based on findings from newly-declassified decades-old Army and CIA records released under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 (the Act), these records were processed and reviewed by the National Archives-led Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), and written by IWG historians Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda. . [110 pages]

Chapter Two refers to the "intent to murder the Jewish population of Palestine with a special task force that was to accompany the Afrika Korps past the Suez Canal in the summer of 1942."

"...Today we have more detailed scholarly accounts today of Husseini’s wartime activities, but Husseini’s CIA file indicates that wartime Allied intelligence organizations gathered a healthy portion of this incriminating evidence. This evidence is significant in light of Husseini’s lenient postwar treatment...."

"Scholars have also re-examined the relationship between the Nazi state and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, as well as the postwar place of the Holocaust in Arab and Muslim thinking. Newly released CIC and CIA records supplement this scholarship in revealing ways...."

"...Recent books have added greatly to our knowledge of Haj Amin al-Husseini’s activities as leader of anti-Jewish revolts in the British Mandate in Palestine in 1929 and 1936, as the impetus behind the pro-German coup in Iraq in April 1941, and as a pro-Nazi propagandist in Berlin, broadcasting over German short-wave radio to large audiences in the Middle East starting in late 1941.

CIA and U.S. Army files on Husseini offer small pieces of new evidence about his relationship with the Nazi government and his escape from postwar justice..."

"...In the fall of 1943 Husseini went to the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi ally, to recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS. During that trip he told the troops of the newly formed Bosnian-Muslim 13th Mountain Waffen-SS division that the entire Muslim world ought to follow their example...."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Extradition Request for Zentai, accused Nazi murderer, still stands

From a Press Release of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, December 10, ‏2010:


Perth man, Charles Zentai, wanted to stand trial for murder

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today that it would continue its efforts to press for the extradition to Hungary of Charles Zentai for his role in the November 8, 1944 murder of 18 year old Peter Balazs, a young Jew whom he is accused of murdering, after catching him without the yellow star on a Budapest streetcar.

In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, in the wake of today’s proceeding in Perth in which the same judge who accepted Zentai’s appeal against his extradition ordered the government to pay his court costs, the Center indicated that it was determined to continue its efforts to bring the accused to justice.

According to Zuroff:

“The Center will do its utmost to help achieve justice in this case. I am in contact with Hungarian Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics, who was indicated that there is no statute of limitations on such crimes and that the request for Zentai’s extradition remains in force. During my visit next week to Budapest, I will continue to pursue this matter with the relevant local officials in order to facilitate justice. The Balazs family, Hungarian society, and all persons of morality and conscience deserve no less.”

Hamas will never recognize Israel

From Just Journalism :
Hamas contradicts itself on peace referendum

enemy with forked tongue

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh was quoted last week as saying he will accept a peace deal subject to a referendum of the Palestinian people. However Hamas’ subsequent statements reject this position.

In a WikiLeaks cable detailing a meeting between Senator John Kerry and the Amir of Qatar in February 2010, the Amir is revealed as stating that ‘Hamas will accept the 1967 border with Israel.’ This is in line with a statement by Ismail Haniyeh on 1 December, in which according to Reuters, he said:
‘Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles… We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees’.
However, according the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, this statement has since been substantially qualified. The organisation reports that a mere three days later on 4 December:
‘… Salah Bardawil, head of Hamas’ “information” department, clarified Ismail Haniya’s remarks, claiming that Hamas would not recognize Israel “under any circumstances’.
Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar is also reported as qualifying the position further on 6 December, stating that Hamas members ‘would not recognize Israel or cede any part of Palestine.’ The report outlined his position further, saying:
‘he would not accept a referendum about fundamental principles. He said that a referendum could be held regarding “modus operandi” but not about “the holy places, faith, money, land or personal worth.” He hinted that should a future agreement which ran counter Hamas’ position be accepted, the movement would renounce it as it had renounced the Oslo Accords’.
This follows a statement issued by Hamas on the 29th November in which they state that ‘the land of Palestine is one unified entity from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and the private property of the Palestinian people.’

Friday, December 10, 2010

WikiLeaks reveals Iran's ISOLATION

From Just Journalism "Media Analysis: Regular briefings on trends in the news", December 8, 2010:

As the Wikileaks cables continue to be published ... Below is a selection of recently disclosed cables and what they reveal.

  • Saudi plan for ‘Arab force’ to confront Iran in Lebanon
  • Lebanon blasts Iranian interference
  • Syria refused war against Israel in event of Israeli attack on Iran
Saudi plan for ‘Arab force’ to confront Iran in Lebanon
A cable released by Wikileaks and reported in today’s Guardian shows Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia proposing an ‘Arab force’ which would destroy Hezbollah.

At a meeting between US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in 2008, the document records that the latter:

‘brought up events taking place in Beirut and emphasized the need for a “security response” to Hizballah,s “military challenge to the Government of Lebanon.” Specifically, Saud argued for an “Arab force” to create and maintain order in and around Beirut’.
The cable also quoted the Saudi foreign minister calling for ‘naval and air cover’ from the US and NATO.
...the story shows the level of anxiety felt by Saudi Arabia at what it perceived as a process leading to an “Iranian takeover of all Lebanon.” Saud elaborated on the threat, saying:
‘Such a victory, combined with Iranian actions in Iraq and on the Palestinian front, would be a disaster for the US and the entire region.’
 Prince Saud also detailed other “regional fronts” on which Iran was advancing, describing this as a ‘disaster’:
‘Of all the regional fronts on which Iran was now advancing, the battle in Lebanon to secure peace would be an “easier battle to win” (than Iraq or on the Palestinian front).’

Also of note is the statement from Prince Saud in which he claimed that UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), which is entrusted to ‘restore international peace and security [and] assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area,’ was ‘sitting doing nothing.’
Lebanon blasts Iranian interference
Another leaked cable published in Haaretz on Monday quotes the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunication Marwan Hamadeh saying in 2008 that ‘Iran Telecom is taking over the country!’ Hamadeh was referring to
‘the complete fiber optic system that Hezbollah had established throughout Lebanon’ which he claimed receives funding from Iran and signals ‘a strategic victory for Iran, since it creates an important Iranian outpost in Lebanon, bypassing Syria.’
The cable then goes on to state the value of such a network to Hezbollah:

‘The value for Hizballah is the final step in creating a nation state. Hizballah now has an army and weapons; a television station; an education system; hospitals; social services; a financial system; and a telecommunications system’.
Syria refused war against Israel in event of Israeli attack on Iran
The Israeli daily Yediot today reports that:

 ‘Syria refused to fight on Iran’s side in case of a military stand-off between Tehran and Israel following an attack on its nuclear facilities.’
The Syrians also told Iran not to expect Hamas or Hezbollah to get involved in the war... 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Claims Conference agreement to provide homecare for Holocaust victims in 2011

From a Press Release of the CONFERENCE ON JEWISH MATERIAL CLAIMS AGAINST GERMANY, Inc. (1359 Broadway, Room 2000, New York, NY 10018, December 6, 2010 / 29 Kislev 5771:

... the Claims Conference has successfully negotiated an agreement with the German government to provide €110 million (approximately $145 million) for homecare for Holocaust victims in 2011.

This is double the amount that we received for 2010 as a result of earlier negotiations. This unprecedented amount of funding means that we can provide additional hours of care for survivors already receiving assistance as well as give additional Holocaust victims around the world the aid that they desperately need as they grow more frail.

This development speaks volumes for the skill and commitment of our negotiating delegation and the Claims Conference staff. Tens of thousands of Holocaust victims will live easier lives and in more comfort because of their efforts.

....At this time of Chanukah, indeed, we shall be able to bring some light to those who suffer alone in the dark.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Former EU Commissioner Frits Bolkenstein: " future for Jews in the Netherlands"

From JPOST, 7 December 2010:
Fritz Bolkenstein: piss off Jews...

Former European Union Commissioner Frits Bolkenstein said that Jews have no future in the Netherlands and recommended that they emigrate to the US or Israel....

...Bolkestein, former leader of the right-wing VVD party, said that due to anti-Semitism amongst young Moroccans Jews who look like Jews - those who wear kippahs or payot - should leave Holland for their own safety.

"I see no future for recognizable Jews, in particular because of anti-Semitism, specifically in Dutch Moroccans, who continue to grow in number," Bolkestein reportedly said.

The former politician added that the many Arab television channels in the Netherlands contribute to the spread of anti-Semitism. He said he has no confidence in proposed measures to combat anti-Jewish sentiment.

....Politician Geert Wilders, who visited Israel this week, responded that "Jews shouldn't emigrate, anti-Semitic Moroccans should."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Saudi Arabia is the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide

From New York Times, 5 December 2010, by ERIC LICHTBLAU and ERIC SCHMITT:

WASHINGTON — Nine years after the United States vowed to shut down the money pipeline that finances terrorism, senior Obama administration officials say they believe that many millions of dollars are flowing largely unimpeded to extremist groups worldwide, and they have grown frustrated by frequent resistance from allies in the Middle East, according to secret diplomatic dispatches.

The government cables, sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and senior State Department officials, catalog a list of methods that American officials suspect terrorist financiers are using, including a brazen bank robbery in Yemen last year, kidnappings for ransom, the harvesting of drug proceeds in Afghanistan and fund-raising at religious pilgrimages to Mecca, where millions of riyals or other forms of currency change hands.

While American officials have publicly been relatively upbeat about their progress in disrupting terrorist financing, the internal State Department cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations, offer a more pessimistic account, with blunt assessments of the threats to the United States from money flowing to militants affiliated with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups.

A classified memo sent by Mrs. Clinton last December made it clear that residents of Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, all allies of the United States, are the chief financial supporters of many extremist activities. “It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” the cable said, concluding that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

The dispatch and others offered similarly grim views about the United Arab Emirates (“a strategic gap” that terrorists can exploit), Qatar (“the worst in the region” on counterterrorism) and Kuwait (“a key transit point”).

The cable stressed the need to “generate the political will necessary” to block money to terrorist networks — groups that she said were “threatening stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and targeting coalition soldiers.”

While President George W. Bush frequently vowed to cut off financing for militants and pledged to make financiers as culpable as terrorists who carried out plots, President Obama has been far less vocal on the issue publicly as he has sought to adopt a more conciliatory tone with Arab nations. But his administration has used many of the same covert diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement tools as his predecessor and set up a special task force in the summer of 2009 to deal with the growing problem.

...In hundreds of cables focusing on terrorist financing, the problem takes on an air of intractability, as American officials speak of the seeming ease with which terrorists are able to move money, the low cost of carrying out deadly attacks, and the difficulty of stopping it. Interdictions are few, and resistance is frequent.

In Kuwait, for instance, American officials have voiced repeated concerns that Islamic charities — largely unregulated by the government there — are using philanthropic donations to finance terrorism abroad...

Saudi Arabia, a critical military and diplomatic ally, emerges in the cables as the most vexing of problems. Intelligence officials there have stepped up their spying on militants in neighboring Yemen, and they provided the tip that helped uncover the recent parcel bombs. But while the Saudis have made some progress, “terrorist funding emanating from Saudi Arabia remains a serious concern,” according to a cable in February. Mrs. Clinton’s memo two months earlier said Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups “probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan.” Officials said they believed that fund-raisers for extremist groups had often descended on the pilgrims to seek money for their causes...

Argentina, Uruguay follow Brazil - recognize "Palestinian state"

From Ynet News, 6 December 2010, by AFP and Ali Waked:
Following Brazil's public recognition last week, neighboring state issues similar statement recognizing 'Palestine within borders defined in 1967.' Uruguay followed suit...

Argentina said Monday it recognized a "free and independent" Palestinian state, days after Brazil drew sharp criticism from US lawmakers for taking the same step.

...Also Monday, Uruguay made a similar statement. The step is part of efforts to reignite peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

US lawmakers have called Brazil's decision "severely misguided" and "regrettable."

Western countries have agreed that any definition of a Palestinian state required Israeli approval.

...The Palestinians have been working to persuade other countries to acknowledge their right to establish an independent state....

...Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: "This is a very disappointing step which contributes nothing to furthering the peace process." He described the announcement as "a verbal gesture which goes against the Oslo Accords whereby a permanent solution can only be the result of negotiations." Palmor stressed that the gesture "encourages the Palestinians at the very time when they insist on avoiding negotiations."

Foreign Ministry officials have therefore started holding low-profiles talks with Latin American leaders, Ynet learned. "This is a meaningless paper, a virtual declaration. These declarations may look good in print but lack any understanding of the Middle Eastern reality," a ministry source said.

Israel police arrest four teens over huge inferno

From AFP, 7 December 2010:

BEIT OREN, Israel — Israeli police said on Monday they arrested four teenagers suspected of starting a blaze that swept through a forest and killed 42 people in the country's worst fire disaster.

"We have made four arrests -- two teenagers from the Druze village of Isfiya who were arrested on Saturday, and another two who were questioned on Sunday and released to house arrest," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, without saying where the second two were from.

The four were suspected of negligence that sparked the wildfire, he said, adding that the two teenagers from Isfiya were scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

The fire in the Carmel hill range near the northern city of Haifa began on Thursday, killing 42 people before it was brought under control three days later after a massive international firefighting effort.

An initial investigation appears to show the blaze, the biggest in Israel's 62-year history, was started by accident by several teenagers who were having a picnic in the area, Rosenfeld said.

Light rain fell on Monday morning on the forests of Mount Carmel, dampening the ground, with meteorologists estimating there would be a total of 15 millimetres (0.6 inches) throughout the day.

The rain is some of the first the country has had this year, after a particularly dry summer and an unusually warm autumn. Last month saw the driest November in nearly 50 years.

Firefighters were still on the scene on Monday morning, working to ensure that the blaze, which consumed thousands of acres of forest, did not reignite.

Government officials cited by the Israeli media on Monday said the fire had caused damage estimated at two billion shekels (400 million euro, 533 million dollars).

In addition to those costs, Israel now plans to buy several firefighting planes, after scathing domestic criticism at the Jewish state's lack of an aerial firefighting capacity.

The country has just 1,500 firefighters and no firefighting planes, forcing it to rely on international assistance to put out the blaze.

The government has also announced plans to create a new body charged with overseeing the response to fires.

For the first time, the Israeli government has released emergency funding of 30 million euros to help residents who lost their homes in the fire.

"I don't want delays or bureaucracy. I want all the people who were evacuated to be able to return to their lives as soon as possible," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The prospects for a Palestinian state have rarely been more grim

From Tablet Magazine, Dec 2, 2010, by Benny Morris, professor of history at Ben-Gurion University:

In recent years, starting with the Israeli handover of West Bank cities and the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in the mid-1990s, the Palestinians, ever-so-slowly and inefficiently, have built pre-state institutions of governance—most recently and competently under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

During the past few years alone, Western observers have noted substantial improvements in Palestinian taxation, infrastructure, and economic development, and in the functioning of the (American- and European-trained) security services. Indeed, under Fayyad, the West Bank is flourishing economically (around 9 percent annual growth, according to the International Monetary Fund, even if the gains are fragile) and is a largely peaceful place, with residents even paying traffic tickets, and militants of Hamas and other organizations largely inactive, with some jailed in periodic round-ups.

At the same time, Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the Palestinian National Authority, in the process throwing PA officers off of tall buildings and knee-capping others, has also demonstrated an ability to rule, in an orderly if brutal fashion.

A series of question marks hangs over these recent improvements in the governance of the West Bank:
  • How deep do they run?
  • And can they outlast Western financial aid and political backing and the overriding guardianship of Israeli bayonets?
  • Will the American- and European-trained security forces, in crisis, hold their own against Hamas or fade away, like the Western-trained Iraqi and Afghani forces have when left to perform independent of their American and British instructors?
Even before we can get to such practical questions, though, there is a another more fundamental question that goes to the heart of the continuing historical struggle between two peoples for the same piece of land: What will be the geographical contours of the envisioned Palestinian state and what will be its nature? Put simply, will the envisioned state encompass all of Palestine, including the territory of the existing Jewish state, Israel, or will it include only the West Bank and Gaza Strip and, perhaps, Arab-populated East Jerusalem? And will the envisioned state be a secular, perhaps even “democratic,” republic as promised by the Fatah-led PNA, which rules the West Bank, or will it be a fundamentalist, Islamic, sharia-based state, as sought by Hamas, which rules Gaza? Will one of the parties absorb or co-opt the other, or will the Palestinians maintain this political bifurcation indefinitely?


Which brings us to the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiating impasse...a basic, strategic impasse which, unfortunately, is far more cogent and telling than the ongoing “negotiations,” which are unlikely to lead to a peace treaty or even a “framework” agreement for a future peace accord.

This unlikelihood stems from a set of obstacles that I see as insurmountable, given current political-ideological mindsets.

The first [obstacle] that Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called “secular” and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews. They regard all of Palestine as their patrimony and believe that it will eventually be theirs. ...They do not want a permanent two-state solution, with a Palestinian Arab state co-existing alongside a (larger) Jewish state; they will not compromise on this core belief and do not believe, on moral or practical grounds, that they should.

This basic Palestinian rejectionism, amounting to a Weltanschauung, is routinely ignored or denied by most Western commentators and officials. To grant it means to admit that the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation, by one side of the other)—which leaves leaders like President Barack Obama with nowhere realistic to go with regard to the conflict.

Philosophically, acceptance of the rock-like unpliability of this reality is extremely problematic ...our age, it may turn out, resembles the classic age of appeasement, the 1930s, when the Western democracies (and the Soviet Union) were ranged against, but preferred not to confront, Nazi Germany and its allies, Fascist Italy, and expansionist Japan. During that decade, Hitler’s inexorable martial, racist, and uncompromising mindset was misread by Western leaders, officials, and intellectuals—and for much the same reasons. Living in unideological societies, they could not fathom the minds and politics of their ideologically driven antagonists. The leaders and intellectuals of the Western democracies, educated and suffused with liberal and relativist values, by and large were unable to comprehend the essential “otherness” of Hitler and ended up fighting him, to the finish, after negotiation and compromise had proved useless.


Another problem for Westerners is that ...Hamas, which may represent the majority of the Palestinian people and certainly has the unflinching support of some 40 percent of them, speaks clearly. It openly repudiates a two-state solution.

Hamas leaders...occasionally express a tactical readiness for a long-term truce under terms that they know are unacceptable to any Jewish Israelis (complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and acceptance of the refugees’ “Right of Return”), but their strategic message is clear, echoing the Roman statesman Cato the Elder: “Israel must be destroyed.”

The secular Palestinian leadership looks to a similar historical denouement but is more flexible on the tactics and pacing. They express a readiness for a two-state solution but envision such an outcome as intermediate and temporary. They speak of two states, a Palestinian Arab West Bank-Gaza-East Jerusalem state and another state whose population is Jewish and Arab and which they believe will eventually become majority-Arab within a generation or two through Arab procreation (Palestinian Arab birth-rates are roughly twice those of Israeli Jews) and the “return” of Palestinians with refugee status. This is why Fatah’s leaders, led by Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flatly reject the Clintonian formula of “two states for two peoples” and refuse to recognize the “other” state, Israel, as a “Jewish state.” They hope that this “other” state will also, in time, be “Arabized,” thus setting the stage for the eventual merger of the two temporary states into one Palestinian Arab-majority state between the River and the Sea.

The Palestinian national movement, since its inception in the 1920s, has sought to establish a unitary Arab state in all of Palestine as defined by the British Mandate: the territory lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, stretching southward to the Gulf of Aqaba.

...Since the early 1990s, the PLO—at least in its overtures toward and contacts with Western governments—has identified its goal as establishing a Palestinian state in those territories captured by Israel in 1967: the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Yet the Palestinian national movement failed to prepare their people and movement for statehood. In contrast with their Zionist rivals, the Palestinians, during the years of Ottoman rule (ending in 1917 and 1918) and the subsequent British Mandate (1917 or 1918 to 1948), failed to set up representative or substantive political parties, or to establish a competent, public-service-oriented leadership cadre, institutions of self-government, and a national militia that could carry their people toward statehood when the moment ripened.

This reinforced the image of a national movement bent only or mainly on destruction of the “other” rather than seeking self-realization.


The key to understanding Fatah objectives today lies in its leaders’ stance on resolving the refugee problem. Contrary to what many Western commentators and analysts have chosen to believe, the Palestinian stress on the importance of the refugees is not a tactical matter—a way to gain further leverage in negotiations.

The Palestinian leadership is unanimous and resolute in insisting that the problem’s solution lies in the “Right of Return”: Israel, and the world, must accept the principle of repatriation and eventually facilitate repatriation. The idea that the refugees must return to their homes has been the ethos, the be-all and end-all of Palestinian politics and policy, since 1948. No Palestinian leader can or will ever abandon this principle, on pain of assassination, and none has.

...And this represents the second insurmountable obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The United Nations has on its rolls 4.7 million Palestinian refugees; the PLO claims that there are 7.5 million ...The vast majority of the ...“refugees”—say nine-tenths of them—are the children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren of the originally displaced 700,000. And more than half of them live in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinian demand that Israel accept a mass refugee return means that, if implemented, Israel, with its 6 million Jewish and 1.5 million Arab citizens, would instantly or over a short time, become an Arab-majority state.

Paradoxically, the Palestinian demand for Israeli acceptance and implementation of the “Right of Return” is universally endorsed by Arab leaders—including those, like President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah II of Jordan, whose countries have peace treaties with Israel. No Arab leader has ever publicly disavowed the “Right of Return” or castigated the Palestinian insistence on it as contrary to the interests of peace. ...even the Saudi plan proposes that the solution to the Palestinian refugee problem be based on U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, of December 1948, which the Arabs interpret as unequivocally endorsing the “Right of Return.”

To these formidable obstacles to peace-making—the unchanging Arab desire for what amounts to Israel’s disappearance and consistent advocacy of the demographic means by which this can be achieved—one may add the hardly routine challenges of
  • differences over future Israeli-Palestinian borders,
  • ...sovereignty over Jerusalem’s Old City and, in particular, its Temple Mount complex...
  • the fate of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank
  • ...demilitarization of a future Palestinian ...state...
It is hard to envision any circumstances under which the current Obama-initiated direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks can succeed.

...even if, by some miracle, Abbas and Netanyahu were to reach a framework agreement or even a detailed peace treaty (a departure into the realm of total fantasy) with Abbas accepting the Jewishness of the “other” state and waiving the “Right of Return,” and Netanyahu conceding Arab sovereignty over the bulk of Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Temple Mount, such an agreement would fail to stick and would never be implemented.

Abbas might sign off on “an end to the conflict” and “no more demands”—and most likely be assassinated by Arab extremists in consequence—but a majority of Palestinians, and certainly a large minority of them, would continue the struggle, rendering the agreement no more than a wind-blown piece of paper.

Hamas, which won the 2006 Palestinian general elections, would denounce the signers as traitors and continue the fight for all of Palestine, as would many in Abbas’ own Fatah party. The agreement would not end the conflict. Nor would it deter or obstruct future, continuing Palestinian claims.


In short, a Palestinian state will not arise out of the current round of negotiations.

But it might emerge some time after their failure—and on the model of Hamas’ Gaza “republic.”

Put simply, if faced with continuing Palestinian unwillingness to sign an end-of-conflict agreement...Netanyahu or his successor—may opt for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the bulk of the West Bank (and, perhaps, parts of East Jerusalem).

...But a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem ...uprooting tens of thousands of Israeli settlers from the hill-country of Judea and Samaria, east of the Security Fence, would, in terms of Israeli politics, be a major national trauma. The right would fight it tooth and nail, perhaps to the point of largescale bloodshed....

Alternatively, the IDF and the Israeli police could in theory unilaterally withdraw to the Security Fence while leaving a minority of the settlers in situ (the majority, in the border hugging settlement blocs, such as the Etzion Bloc, would remain on the “Israeli” side of the Security Fence, which runs more or less along the old Israel-West Bank divide, and leaves only some 7 percent of the West Bank in Israeli hands). But Arab attacks on the remaining settlers, their homes or transport, would most likely trigger Israeli re-entry into the evacuated areas.

Viewed militarily, a unilateral pullback to the Security Fence would pose a major strategic problem. Hamas as likely as not would try to take over the West Bank: How could Israel prevent this without physically re-entering the territory?

And, even without a Hamas takeover, Arab control of the territory could result in continuous rocketing by Hamas and perhaps by Fatah itself. The scene would be reminiscent of that which followed Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip, but with this difference: Where Hamas since 2005 has rocketed small border towns and villages, short-range rocketry from the West Bank would doubtless hit Israel’s main population centers, such as West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, rendering life in central Israel untenable. Moreover, how would Israel ensure that foreign troops—Iranian, for example—would not be invited by the Palestinian government, the present one or a future Islamist regime, into the West Bank, strategically threatening the Jewish state?

What remains, in the absence of a basic change of Palestinian mindset, is a bleak picture. No viable peace agreement is remotely in prospect. Neither is the emergence of a full-fledged Palestinian state. A unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank is so problematic as to be virtually unimplementable. Yet continued Israeli rule over the territory and its people, obnoxious to most Israelis and to the rest of the world, raises the prospect of a bi-national state or an apartheid state, both of which most Jews regard as anathema. That, unfortunately, is where we’re at.

The flames are out, now come the recovery and recrimination

From JPost, 5 December 2010, by YAAKOV LAPPIN:

Carmel inferno finally defeated after four days, though emergency teams still on standby; forest will take 40 years to recover; state comptroller finalizes "grave" report on years of Fire and Rescue Service neglect.

Millions of Israelis breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday after firefighters from here and abroad succeeded in overcoming the worst fire disaster the country has known, which killed 41 people, destroyed at least 50,000 dunams of Carmel forestland, damaged 250 homes, and caused over NIS 200 million in damage, according to initial estimates.

A number of small fires remained active in the Mount Carmel region, and the fleet of international fire planes that proved decisive in putting an end to the fires on Sunday, including a Boeing 747 supertanker leased by the government from a US company, remained on standby as night fell.

Weather forecasters said rain would likely help put out the remaining fires overnight.

“From our point of view, the danger has passed for all the places that were evacuated,” fire official Boaz Rakia said.

The relief quickly gave way to mourning, as 24 fire casualties – 22 Prisons Service staff and two policemen – were buried on Sunday.

As smoke rose from the smoldering forests of the Carmel, public pressure on the government and anger mounted over decades of neglect of the Fire and Rescue Service.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said he would soon publish a “grave” report on the shortcomings that led to the present state of the service. He was “only sorry” that warnings about the dangers that became evident in recent days had been disregarded by the authorities.

Magen David Adom officials said 33 people suffering from fire-related injuries were evacuated to hospitals during the four-day blaze.

Three of the injured – including Haifa police chief Asst.-Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer – were in critical condition, while three others were moderately hurt and the remainder lightly hurt.

Prof. Avi Pervolovski, a senior researcher at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that it would take around 40 years for the Carmel forests to recover.

All of the estimated four to five million trees incinerated in the inferno will be replaced naturally, Pervolovski said, due to a fire-coping mechanism evolved by trees over millions of years, such as seeds that take flight during blazes and survive the flames, and underground branches that can also survive. But, he stressed, it will take decades for the forests to regain their natural heights.

“It will be a long time before the view we were used to in the Carmel will return,” Pervolovski said.

“Experts knew that this was the most likely area for a fire of this type,” he added.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, police notified residents of the worst-hit area that they could return to their homes in Nir Etzion, Ein Hod, Ein Hud and Kibbutz Beit Oren.

Emergency officials said 250 homes suffered extensive damage, mostly in Ein Hod and Beit Oren. Live TV broadcasts carried images of shocked residents returning to Ein Hod and inspecting blackened homes.

The government has estimated that around 70 homes will have to be torn down and rebuilt, and allocated funds for mobile homes for displaced residents...

Obama’s Iran failure

From an Op-ed in Ynet News, 5 December 2010, by Shoula Romano Horing:

Unlike Arab leaders, American president fails to understand scope of Iranian threat

For the last two years President Obama has been obsessing with “engaging” the Muslim world while ignoring the “moderates” in the Islamic countries who have been imploring the US to stop Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

For two years President Obama and his administration have fabricated a mythical argument that progress on the Israeli–Palestinian issue through the stopping of settlement construction will help get the “moderate” Arab nations in the region like Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf State, Egypt and Jordan on board in stopping Iran.

But the confidential documents from US embassies made public on WikiLeaks reveal that those countries have already been on board, by hounding and begging the Obama administration to take military action, including airstrikes and the use of ground forces, against the Iranians

Moreover, while Obama was wasting time and personally orchestrating public confrontations with Israel over the settlement issue and the creation of a Palestinian state, it seems that Arab Sunni leaders, in private communications with US officials, did not even mention the settlements or the Palestinian issue as their main urgent concern. As one Middle East expert from Cairo told the Los Angeles Times, the official stance in the Middle East led by Arab Sunni states has always been” that it is Iran and not Israel that poses the main threat to the region.”

According to WikiLeaks, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah urged the US to attack ”evil” Iran, saying that “it is necessary to cut the head of the snake.” King Hamad of Bahrain was quoted in 2009 as saying ”the Iranian nuclear program must be terminated by whatever means necessary. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.” Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed urged the US not to appease or engage Tehran, referring to it as an “existential threat” and stating that “Ahmadinejad is Hitler.”

Iran is not Soviet Union
It appears that Arab leaders agree with Prime Minster Netanyahu‘s assessment that Iran is the main threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and not the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and that economic sanctions may hurt Iran but military action is the only way to stop it.

It seems that Obama chooses to ignore the concerns about Iran from his friends, and feels compelled to occupy himself with sideshows like the Israeli-Palestinian issue and “settlements” because he does not understand the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran. Obama does not believe in a military solution because he believes it is possible to “contain” Iran as the US contained the Soviet Union. But he does not understand that contrary to the Communist leaders, Iranian leaders are not “rational “adversaries.

To understand Iran’s ambitions it is necessary to understand Iran’s religious ideology. The Iranian regime believes that the right religion for humanity is Islam and the right sect of Islam is Shiite and not Sunni. Iran’s ultimate aim is to establish global Islamic rule, a new Islamic empire, but this time under Shiite leadership.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated in the past his belief that amidst the chaos of a catastrophic war, the 12th Imam, the Mahdi, would make his prophesied Messianic return and establish new order where the whole world would convert to Shiite Islam. This belief lies at the heart of Iran’s ambition to spread its influence and acquire nuclear weapons and this is the reason such ambition is dangerous not only for Israel but for Sunni Arab countries, Europe and the world.

Acquiring nuclear capability would give Iranian leadership even more room for reckless and aggressive foreign policy.

The Sunni Arabs understand the Iranian Shiite ambitions for regional hegemony and the threat to their survival, even though Obama does not. The Israeli government should stop participating in the sideshows of Obama and refuse any requests for a settlement freeze or negotiations over a future Palestinian state until the Iranian threat is eliminated.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Wildfire in Israel: Firefighters face 'wall of flames'

From Ynet News, 4 December 2010*:

Forces fighting wildfire near Hai-Bar nature reserve on Mount Carmel receive reinforcement after running out of water. 'The flames are 15-20 meters high,' their commander reports. Fire and rescue commissioner: It'll take a day or two to contain fire

Firefighters on Saturday night continued their efforts to contain a wildfire on Israel's Mount Carmel, which has claimed the lives of 41 people since it broke out on Thursday morning. The forces were aided throughout the day by firefighting aircraftsent from many countries across the world.
"At this point we have reached the best situation since the fire began," said Israel Fire and Rescue Commissioner Shimon Romach. "We are still not talking about controlling the fire.

It will take us a day or two and then we'll still have the final extinguishing work, so there is a lot of work ahead."

Live: Ynet's Yoav Zitun and Roee Idan with firefighters

The wildfire has so far burnt some 50,000 dunam (12,300 acres) of land. The firefighting operations continued Saturday night in the Hai-Bar animal and nature reserve near Haifa and west of Haifa University. Fire was also raging near a garbage site in the village of Usfiya and in the western part of Dalyat al-Carmel.

Four firefighting teams operating in the Hai-Bar area ran out of water on Saturday evening and were forced to pull back before getting reinforcement. "The fire is 15-20 meters (50-65 feet) high – a wall of flames," their commander reported.

"We are fighting fire from three directions," he said. An Israel Air Force unmanned aerial vehicle was reporting of the flame's progress to an Israel Defense Forces officer stationed in the area with the firefighters, who continued to request more and more water.

צילום: AP
Israel on fire - NASA satellite image (Photo: AP)

Boaz Rakia of the firefighting services reported earlier of "several areas where the fire is raging". He said that "fires are still erupting from time to time, for example in the Ein Hod and Nir Etzion areas. The fire died down there during the day, but there are still places where it hasn't been completely extinguished. A sudden gust of wind could ignite the fire again. Our people are in those places to provide a response."

Some of the residents of Ein Hod and Nir Etzion chose to remain in their communities despite a police evacuation order, and are patrolling the houses in a bid to prevent plunder.

Internal security minister 'not optimistic'

Hezy Levy, a spokesman for Haifa's firefighting services, expressed cautious optimism on Saturday evening, saying that "the battle will be relaunched tomorrow with renewed forces. Some 400 firefighters are expected to arrive from their homes all freshened up, and the aerial activity will resume as well."

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, on the other hand, said during a press briefing at the command post at Haifa University that he remains "not optimistic".

"My working assumption is that it will take a few more days. The fleet of planes which will join us tomorrow will provide real aid. You must remember that we hardly engage in fire extinguishing at night."

צילום: דפנה מרוז
Carmel forest before fire (Photo: Dafna Meroz)

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi spoke of more than 25 different aircraft which had arrived from various countries. "The weather forecast for tonight is slightly better," he said. "The massive operation of hundreds of tons of water being thrown every hour and dozens of tons of material are eventually leading to the desired income. We'll defeat this fire. It will take a day or two more, and we will then draw the conclusions."

Meanwhile, the police have arrested a 16-year-old boy and his 14-year-old brother from the Druze village of Usfiya on suspicion of negligence which started the major fire. The two suspects' mother claimed that her sons were in school when the fire broke out and expressed her hope that they would be released from custody soon.
"At this stage we are talking about negligence and nothing more," said Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen. "There have been several cases of arson in the northern district and we have appointed a special investigation team."

*Ahiya Raved, Yoav Zitun, Adi Sardas and Roni Sofer contributed to this report

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Fires in Israel Rage

From a TIP press release, Dec. 3, 2010:
  • 42 dead - toll expected to rise
  • Turkey, Egypt and Jordan among those sending aid
  • Massive Russian firefighting plane on the way
Jerusalem, Dec. 3 - Turkey, Egypt and Jordan were among many countries rushing help to Israel to combat the nation’s worst-ever wildfire which has killed 42 people, destroyed homes and villages, consumed forests and is still threatening the major port city of Haifa.

“We are talking about one of the worst disasters in the country's history. This is hard day for the entire nation,”
said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Egypt, Jordan and Turkey were quick to offer help to the Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thanked him for his country’s help.
"We very much appreciate this mobilization and I am certain that it will be an opening toward improving relations between our two countries, Turkey and Israel," Netanyahu said. It was his first conversation with the Turkish leader since the flotilla incident soured relations between the traditional allies earlier this year."
With several people listed in critical condition and others reported missing, the death toll was expected to rise.
Emergency services evacuated more than 15,000 people from their homes as flames swept through at least 5,000 acres of woodland. Police arrested two people, residents of a Druze village, on suspicion of setting fires. The Jerusalem Post said they were detained after being seen hurling Molotov cocktails in a forest on a Carmel mountain hilltop.
Israelis watched helplessly as their homes were destroyed by flames hundreds of feet high. Firefighters said one village was burnt to the ground.
The IDF sent soldiers and equipment, including helicopters, bulldozers, medics and army units to combat the blaze. More help came from Greece, Bulgaria which sent 100 firefighters, Spain, Azerbaijan, Romania Russia, Cyprus, France and Britain. The United States also offered aid. Israel is better known for sending its own rescue teams and medical personnel to other countries to help in their disaster-relief efforts.
"The Russians are sending and we are waiting for the biggest firefighting plane in the world... an Antonov with huge firefighting capacity," Lieberman told Israel Radio.
One of the main country's highways was closed as trees smoldered and smoke billowed toward the Mediterranean coastline and flames closed in on a hotel and a spa south of the city.
"The size of the fire is huge, the wind is very strong and there is a problem accessing the mountains and valleys," said Yoram Levi, a spokesman for Israel's fire and rescue service. "We don't have big aircraft that can carry a large amount of water. It is not enough for a large-scale fire."
“As rescuers and firefighters continue in their work, the United States is acting to help our Israeli friends respond to the disaster,” U.S. President Barak Obama said at a candle-lighting ceremony on Thursday marking the Jewish Chanukah holiday.
Jewish organizations in the U.S. and beyond have launched campaigns to help the victims. The Jewish National Fund, which planted a large percentage of Israel’s forests, called for public support.
American firefighters are on alert to join the operation. The Israel Emergency Volunteers Project will coordinate any call up for the volunteers who have been fully trained under the auspices of the EVP.
The Israeli cabinet met on Friday to discuss the crisis with questions being asked about Israel’s preparedness for such disasters.

Friday, December 03, 2010

At least 40 dead on fire-engulfed bus in North Israel

From JPOST.COM, 12 December 2010, by YAAKOV LAPPIN:

Fire-fighting crews, planes attempt to control fire in brush-covered Carmel area amidst heavy winds; over 6,000 dunams burned; Damon Prison, University of Haifa evacuated.

The majority of the 40 people burned to death in a bus caught up in the Carmel forest fires were prison wardens en route to the Damon prison.

The wardens were meant to assist in the evacuation of some 500 prisoners from the facility, situated near Kibbutz Beit Oren, when their vehicle became engulfed in fast moving flames which had spread to the narrow mountain road linking Atlit to Kibbutz Bet Oren.

A firefighter spokesman said the fire had traveled 1500 meters in less than three minutes, adding, "the bus had no chance. They tried to escape but were burned alive. It was a horrific scene."

The spokesman added at the fire was very far from the road on which the bus was travelling when it first set off towards the prison, but had spread far faster than expected.

Shimon Romach. Fire and Rescue Commissioner, added that the firefighting operation would be limited to ground forces after sunset, since fire planes cannot be used at night. "I don't think we will get control of this tonight," he added.

Thousands of dunam have gone up in flames in the Carmel forest between Haifa University and Ussafiya, and it remains unclear how the incident will end at this stage

Police described the incident as a "major disaster. Many of the dead are from the security forces, and include civilians. The fire is continuing to spread and is endangering many areas....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Fatah declares refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state

From JPost, 27 Nov 2010, by KHALED ABU TOAMEH:

The Fatah Revolutionary Council concluded its fifth convention in Ramallah over the weekend by declaring its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

...“The council affirms its rejection of the so-called Jewish state or any other formula that could achieve this goal,” said a statement issued by the council...
The statement said that the Fatah council was categorically opposed to proposals for a land swap between Israel and the Palestinians...
The Fatah leaders said they supported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s policies, especially with regards to the peace process with Israel. “The council salutes President Mahmoud Abbas for adhering to the basic rights, first and foremost the right of return for Palestinian refugees,” the statement said. “Also, the council salutes President Abbas for standing up against pressure aimed at resuming the peace talks without achieving the demands of the Palestinians.”
...Abbas ...also ruled out the possibility of returning to the negotiating table without a full cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.

...An Israeli government official on Saturday night called on the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations without any preconditions. ...
“I would ask the Palestinians the following question: If the Jewish state is fundamentally illegitimate in your eyes, what sort of peace are you offering us?” 

“It is clear that their refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy is the true obstacle to peace and reconciliation...” ...

UN Goldstone Committee Head Resigns

From an Eye-on-the-UN Press Release, December 1, 2010 by Anne Bayefsky:

Christian Tomuschat, who headed a UN committee charged with implementing the Goldstone Report, has reportedly resigned.

He had been appointed by UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay.

Tomuschat’s credentials were questioned earlier this year, in a July 14th, 2010 article by Anne Bayefsky.

Tomuschat’s resignation is the second blow to the credibility of the UN’s efforts to implement the Goldstone report. Following Bayefsky’s July article, the UN secretariat official whom Pillay had assigned to coordinate the Tomuschat committee’s activities, Ahmed Motala, was removed from the case.

In July, Bayefsky pointed out that Tomuschat and the other two members of his committee were tainted by their close affiliation with an NGO which had been deeply involved with the Human Rights Council’s campaign to vilify Israel.

Bayefsky’s article also revealed that the UN staffer Motala appointed to work with Tomuschat doubled as an anti-Israel blogger. In the midst of the Gaza war he had written that Israel targeted Palestinian civilians in order to impress voters. The Tomuschat committee staffer wrote “What better way to gain the support of the Israeli electorate than to…kill innocent civilians”

On July 15 Jerusalem Post correspondent, Benjamin Wienthal, revealed prior statements by Tomuschat that indicated deep prejudices on the very issues he had been assigned to tackle. Wienthal reported in the Weekly Standard and the Jerusalem Post that in 2007 Tomuschat told a German newspaper that Israel’s killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin was “as ruthless as the attacks of terrorists.” Later in July, Wienthal reported that Tomuschat had once provided legal advice to Yasser Arafat’s PLO.

Last month, UN Watch reported on further examples of Tomuschat bias.

Tomuschat’s resignation ought to further undermine the credibility of the report he submitted to the Council in September. In his report Tomuschat repeated the odious claim that Israel engaged in “violence against civilians as part of a deliberate policy.” Tomuschat’s report went on to criticize Israel’s legal system for failing to mount a witch hunt for “officials at the highest levels.”

Referring to a Hamas internal “investigation,” in which Hamas exonerated itself from all wrongdoing, Tomuschat’s team could only conclude that it “is not in a position to ascertain the veracity of any of these assertions.”

Following that report, the Human Rights Council reappointed Tomuschat and his other two committee members, Param Cumaraswamy and Mary Davis. They have been charged with producing yet another report by next March.

Unfortunately, many other UN authority figures, selected precisely because of their history of anti-Israel and anti-Western bias, remain.

For further information see EYEontheUN’s list of current UN authorities.