Friday, February 12, 2010

Chalutz Wedding

From "Magnum Magnum", a collection of photographs from the famous photographic agency, first published in 2007 by Thames & Hudson:

Israel 1952
by David Szymin (David "Chim" Seymour), 1911-1956
[click on the photo to see it full size]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jihad Police in UK

From The Spectator, Thursday, 21st January 2010, by Melanie Phillips:

... the [UK] National Association of Muslim Police has attacked government policy on countering Islamic extremism.

In evidence to a parliamentary committee investigating Islamic extremism, the NAMP attacked

"the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, warning that it is an ‘affront to British values’ which threatens to trigger ethnic unrest... that ministers were wrong to blame Islam for being the ‘driver’ behind recent terrorist attacks. Far-Right extremists were a more dangerous threat to national security... that Muslims were being ‘stigmatised’ by the Government’s attempts to tackle terrorism, which was adding to ‘hatred’ against entire communities."

...The memorandum warned that Muslims were subjected to 'daily abuse' due to the strategy. 'We must not diminish our British values further by continuing to allow such behaviour and policies to continue unchecked.' ..."

This is an extremely alarming development.

...The very idea that police officers form themselves into interest groups of any stripe whatever should be anathema to the ethic of policing. That applies equally to Black, Gay, Jewish or One-Legged Transgendered Red-Haired Police associations.....

...the idea that there is no Islamic threat and that the real threat to Britain comes from the ‘far right’ is demonstrably ludicrous. The ‘far right’ poses no threat to Britain other than some low-level thuggery. The Islamist threat to Britain is very great indeed. Dozens of Islamist plots aimed at murdering thousands of people have been thwarted, and the security service say between 2000 and 4000 British Muslims are radicalised to potential acts of terrorism. This terrorism is part of a global holy war being waged in the name of Islam. While many British Muslims support neither the aims nor the tactics of this holy war, an insupportable number do. For Muslim police officers to deny this is extremely disturbing. It means they have bought into the radical narrative of systematic denial and deceit.

But the NAMP went much, much further than this. They
  • attacked government policy;
  • worse, they attacked government policy aimed at protecting the lives and safety of British citizens;
  • worse still, they suggested that British Muslims should resist that policy, and
  • implicitly threatened disorder if it were not changed.

...  these police officers must be considered to be part of [Islamist] threat.

On its website, moreover, NAMP recommends that British Muslims reporting crimes should also ‘report any such actions to the Islamic Human Rights Commission’ extremist organisation with links to Iran.

The NAMP is therefore advising British Muslims to use an extreme Iran-linked Islamic jihadi front organisation, which threatens the security of this nation, as a parallel law enforcement mechanism in Britain. The attempt to set up parallel Islamic institutions and jurisdiction in Britain is a core element of the Islamist attempt to suborn and take over this country.

The irony of this frightening situation is extreme. The government has bent over backwards to avoid associating Islam with terrorism. In an attempt to peel moderate Muslims away from the radicals, it has poured more than £140 million a year into ‘moderate’ Muslim groups. It has positively fallen over itself to encourage the recruitment of Muslim police officers in the belief that that this would persuade British Muslims that the government had no problem with them, only with the radicals in their midst. Yet these are precisely the policies which the NAMP claims have led to ‘hatred against Muslims’ which ‘has grown to a level that defies all logic and is an affront to British values’.

Thus the fruits of appeasement. Rather than taming jihadi extremism in Britain, the cowardice of politicians has merely resulted in fracturing the thin blue line that protects us -- and turning it into a potential weapon of the jihad.

Murderers for "neighbours"


The terrorist who stabbed an IDF soldier to death at the Tapuah junction on Wednesday afternoon was a Palestinian Authority police officer from Yabed...

The IDF soldier was named as First-Sgt. Ihab Khatib, 26, from the northern village of Marar ...a logistics non-commissioned officer in the Kfir Brigade. [He] was waiting in his Sufa jeep in a queue of traffic when he was stabbed in the chest through an open window.

In the soldier's attempt to speed away, the vehicle overturned.

The PA officer, identified as Mahmoud Hattib, was then run over and lightly hurt by a local security officer from the nearby settlement of Rehelim. He was then arrested by police....
....The soldier is survived by a father, a mother, two brothers and three sisters. Several years ago, his uncle was killed in action. In the Second Lebanon War, his aunt was killed when a Katyusha rocket fired by Hizbullah hit her house.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the attack and said it "conflicts with our national interests." [NOTE: no mention of ethics, morality or compassion for the murdered man or his family - just a concern for "national interests..."]...

[...and there's more murder from our "neighbours"]

...In December, after months of quiet in the West Bank, 45-year-old father of seven Meir Chai was killed in a drive-by shooting attack near the northern Samaria settlement of Shavei Shomron.

Chai was the fourth person killed by terrorists in the West Bank in 2009.

In March, two traffic policemen, Senior Warrant Officers Yehezkel Ramazreger and Chief Warrant Officer David Rabinovitch, were shot dead in the Jordan Valley, and in April, 13-year-old Shlomo Nativ was stabbed to death near his home in the Gush Etzion settlement of Bat Ayin.

New Australian Ambassador to Israel

rom the office of the Hon. Stephen Smith MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, 3 February, 2010:

Today I announce the appointment of Ms Andrea Faulkner as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel. Ms Faulkner replaces Mr James Larsen who has been Ambassador since September 2006. She is expected to take up her appointment in March 2010.

Australia and Israel’s longstanding and warm friendship is based on Australia’s historical support for Israel and our shared commitment to freedom, security and democracy....
Australia is proud of its Jewish community, which has made a significant contribution to Australian society and has given real depth and understanding to the bilateral relationship.

The commercial relationship is strong. As two sophisticated economies, there is good potential for further trade in ideas and new technologies between Australia and Israel, supported by the active business communities in both countries.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Foreigners agitating violence and conflict

From JPost, BY YAAKOV KATZ, 09/02/2010:

...Approximately 50 foreign nationals are currently residing in the West Bank and working together with Palestinian groups to disrupt and interfere with IDF operations, military sources said on Monday.

The High Court of Justice on Monday released two women from Spain and Australia who had been arrested in Ramallah for involvement in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Troops raided their apartment on Sunday on the grounds that the women had overstayed their tourist visa and were involved in violent anti-Israel protests.

The face of "social justice"? - agitator Brigette Chappell, from Canberra, Australia was detained and released on bail (APTN)

Overnight Monday, IDF troops raided the Ramallah offices of an organization called ‘Stop the Wall,’ which protests the construction of the West Bank security barrier. According to the organization, some 40 of its activists are currently being held by authorities. In January, another ISM activist from the Czech Republic was arrested in the West Bank and deported from Israel.

Defense officials confirmed that the IDF’s Central Command and Judea and Samaria Police, together with the Interior Ministry, have begun cracking down on foreigners engaged in violent anti-Israel activity in recent weeks.

“We do not have a problem with differences of opinions,” one officer said. “But we are forced to act when these activists and nationals participate in protests that are extremely violent and put peoples’ lives at risk.”

According to security officials, ISM has recently increased its activities against the construction of the security barrier and over the summer issued a call to its activists to come to Israel to participate in the protests.

According to the officials, the IDF has noted a growing presence of foreign nationals at the weekly demonstrations in Bil’in, Ni’lin and near the settlement of Neveh Tzuf (Halamish), where a top Palestinian government official was also spotted several weeks ago.

While the IDF is not concerned with the possibility of a third intifada “due to the tight grip it has on the Palestinian territory and the effective crackdown by PA security forces on Hamas infrastructure,” there is concern that the new wave of violence could flare up into a new conflict and undermine diplomatic efforts to restart negotiations.

(Finally) Sanctions on Iran Are Coming

From Fox News, February 9, 2010:

President Obama said Tuesday the deadline for sanctions against Iran is fast approaching and that the United States and its allies have extended a hand that has been rejected.

...The issue of sanctions against Iran has been in the works since 2009 with President Obama even laying out an end-of-the-year deadline with his French and British counterparts, but Iran continues to block international observers ....

“Despite their posturing that their nuclear power is only for civilian use, they in fact continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponization,” Obama said. “And that is not acceptable to the international community, not just to the United States.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates who was in Paris for meetings, said he hopes resolution can be reached with Iran before military action is needed. "Everybody's interest is in seeing this issue resolved without a resort to conflict," Gates said. " hope is we will able to keep this in economic and diplomatic channels."

These diplomatic channels also include China, a nation which in the past has cooperated with the United States on the issue of Iran, but has recently disappeared from negotiations. Experts warn the lack of Chinese participation could not only jeopardize talks on Iran, but also have a global effect. “Are we going to have China as a responsible partner or is China going to be cheating and undermining?,” says Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies....

President Obama said he remains optimistic the Chinese will work with the U.S., but seemed more hopeful Russia would also help on the nuclear issue...

....“...what we are going to be working on over the next several weeks is developing a significant regime of sanctions that will indicate to [Iran]how isolated they are from the international community as a whole,” Obama said.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - a public lecture for JIW readers in California

Assessing Israel’s Strategic Options: What Sherlock Holmes Would Say

Lecture by Dr. Martin Sherman

Monday, February 22, 2010 • 7:00 p.m.
Luxe Hotel Sunset, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Dr. Martin Sherman acted as a ministerial advisor in the 1991-2 Shamir government. He also served for seven years in various defense related capacities and now teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. His works have been published in academic journals such as Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence and Nations and Nationalism. He is the author of two books on international conflicts.

Dr. Sherman is also a member of the advisory board of the Nativ journal in which he is published frequently.

"...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"  Sherlock Holmes in the Sign of Four

After a detailed examination of Israel's geo-strategic parameters, its geo-political environment and the indispensible imperatives that arise from these parameters, the analysis proceeds to an assessment of the policy proposals on the table today for the resolution of the Middle East conflict. It will show how the current policy endeavors based on Israeli territorial concessions and the "land-for-peace/two-state" paradigm" are impossible to reconcile with the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. A comprehensive "out of the box" alternative of addressing the major challenges facing Israel is set out accompanied by an appraisal of the conditions required for its implementation and an evaluation of its feasibility and estimation of economic costs it would entail.

$10 per person at the door (cash or check only - does not include $5 for parking)
Registration for this event is recommended
You may also register by email at, click here
For more information please call (818)704-0523

Making the world a Better Place

From Yahoo Finance News, Sunday February 7, 2010, by Shira Rubin, Associated Press Writer:

RAMAT HASHARON, Israel (AP) -- Israel is on schedule to inaugurate a revolutionary electric car grid with dozens of recharge stations and thousands of cars on the road by next year, the project's developers said Sunday. The California-based company Better Place hopes Israel's model will lead a shift toward electric transportation worldwide.

...When the grid is complete, drivers will be able to recharge their vehicles using plugs installed next to parking spaces. On longer trips, motorists can stop at stations where a machine can replace the car's lithium ion battery. The cars, developed with Renault-Nissan, have a range of about 100 miles (160 kilometers) before the battery must be replaced.

...The company, founded by Israel-American businessman Shai Agassi, a former top executive at software giant SAP AG, raised $350 million from an HSBC-led investor consortium last month, one of the largest clean-tech investments in history. The new financing values Better Place at $1.25 billion.

Speaking Sunday, Agassi said his goal was to help end global dependence on oil. "Israel has taken on the problem (of oil dependency) and has decided independently to solve this for the entire world," he said....

Critique of General Eiland's Alternatives

In a BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 99, February 7, 2010, posted here in full, Stuart A. Cohen critiques General Giora Eiland's recent BESA monograph on "Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution," [excerpts previously posted on JIW ].


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In his recent BESA monograph on "Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution," General Giora Eiland faults all the currently conventional approaches to Israeli-Palestinian relations – a spectrum that is not restricted to the two-state solution but also extends to the belief in the efficacy of "interim" arrangements as well as the notion that Israel might somehow "manage" the current conflict indefinitely. Instead, he proposes two "regional" solutions. The present article argues that Eiland's suggestions suffer from several fundamental flaws and that there in fact exists no alternative to an option that Eiland did not examine in any depth: a unilateral Israeli dismantlement of the civilian settlements established since 1967 in Judea and Samaria.

General Giora Eiland divides his recent BESA monograph "Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution," BESA Memorandum No. 4, January 2010. into two sections. The first is diagnostic, and analyzes drawbacks that invalidate the currently conventional approaches to Israeli-Palestinian relations – a spectrum that is not restricted to the two-state solution but also extends to the belief in the efficacy of "interim" arrangements as well as the notion that Israel might somehow "manage" the current conflict indefinitely and thereby keep its dimensions within tolerable bounds.

In the second section of his memorandum, General Eiland presents a prognosis, and tables two alternative courses – both regional in scope.
•    The first is the promotion of a Jordanian-Palestinian "federation" – an arrangement that would require Israel to renounce claims to all but a fraction of Judea and Samaria, but would also prevent the establishment of an independent, and intrinsically unviable, Palestinian state in that area.
•    The second is a three-way exchange of territory between Egypt, Israel and Jordan – designed to upgrade the economic viability of Gaza, to facilitate the marketing of goods, services and raw resources between the Jordanian hinterland and the Mediterranean shore; and, not least, to allow a higher proportion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank to remain in situ.

The present paper presents a critique of those two alternatives. It argues that the soundness of General Eiland's diagnosis of the reasons for the current impasse in Israeli-Palestinian relations itself undermines the validity of his prognosis with respect to their future "regional" course. Closer examination indicates that neither of General Eiland's alternatives is as realistic as he would have us believe.

Rather, they suffer from at least three fundamental flaws.

Flaw I: Has Anyone Asked The Bride(s)?
General Eiland details the several benefits that in his judgment will accrue to the Jordanians and the Palestinians as a consequence of their adoption of the Federation scheme (alternative 1). He also itemizes the advantages that he calculates that they – together with the Egyptians and indeed the entire Middle East – will gain as a result of the proposed territorial exchange (alternative 2).

Unfortunately, however, he provides no evidence whatsoever that his assessments are shared by any individual in Jordan, in Palestine or in Egypt. This is especially surprising in view of the possibility, perhaps even probability, that all three partners might turn both alternatives down flat.

In ascending order:
•    Are the Egyptians likely to regard with equanimity the presence of a stronger and perhaps larger Gaza, which for all we know might still be under Hamas control, right on their doorstep?
•    Is it realistic to expect the present rulers of Jordan to agree to a Federation, an arrangement that however construed would augment even further the Palestinian presence in their country and thus endanger the stability of what is already a fragile society?
•    Most important of all, does there exist a single Palestinian leader capable of substituting the aspiration for an independent Palestinian state with the far more amorphous notion of a Federation, in which – as General Eiland concedes – the Palestinians will be granted no greater a degree of independent national recognition than are the residents of New Jersey in the United States?

The expectation of Palestinian cooperation in a territorial exchange (alternative 2) seems even more unrealistic. As proposed by General Eiland, this arrangement would officially concede 12 percent of the West Bank to the state of Israel. Hence, it would require the Palestinians to relinquish all claims not merely to Jerusalem and its environs, but also to Ofra, Kiryat Arbah, and Ariel. The argument that Palestinian residents of the West Bank will pay this price in order to help the inhabitants of Gaza to attain a viable port etc., surely attributes to them a degree of altruistic compatriotism that their history has – thus far – belied.

In brief: Is General Eiland in effect suggesting that Israel play chess with itself – precisely the fault that he identifies in much of the current two-state discourse, which is likewise characterized by the absence of a viable Palestinian discussant?

Flaw II: Don't Fix What Ain't Broke
In a region notorious for its shifting political sands, anchors of stability are precious commodities and hence must be preserved with care. Currently, Israel possesses just two such local anchors, the peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and with Jordan (1994), both of which have survived despite being subject to numerous domestic and international strains.

General Eiland's proposed alternatives, however, threaten to undo that achievement.
•    The establishment of a Jordanian-Palestinian Federation will clearly require significant modifications in Israel's existing treaty with Jordan (for instance, in order to cover the de-militarization of the West Bank and allocate water rights there), and hence its re-negotiation.
•    Likewise, and as General Eiland admits, any territorial re-alignment on the Israeli-Egyptian border will require re-negotiating the existing treaty with Egypt (he specifically mentions revision of its de-militarization clauses).

Neither prospect is attractive. At best, re-negotiations will involve protracted wrangling over extremely delicate issues (such as the de-militarization of the Sinai) which, if past experience is anything to go by, will almost inevitably lead to mutual charges of bad faith. At worst, re-negotiations might become so bogged down that they could lead to the suspension of relations. Wherein lies the political wisdom of inviting such risks at the present juncture in Middle Eastern history, when regional stability is being undermined by events in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan, and is likely to be buffeted further by the impending departure of President Husni Mubarak.

As far as Israeli-Palestinian relations are concerned, there seems an even greater likelihood that the introduction of new proposals at the present juncture might backfire and defeat the very purposes that General Eiland has in mind. Only last year, Israel's Prime Minister publicly announced his acceptance of the Palestinians' right to statehood. To inform them that Israel is now backtracking from that position, and has reverted to the idea of a Jordanian-Palestinian federation (a notion that Israel itself did much to torpedo in the past) is to invite even the most moderate of Palestinians to believe that Hamas has been right all along. Israel simply does not want any agreement with the Palestinians, who hence have no choice other than to resort to a renewed campaign of violence.

Flaw III: If It's Worth Doing, Then Why Not Do It – Even Unilaterally?
Essential to General Eiland's prognosis is the argument that both of his alternatives are inherently good for the state of Israel, which is likely to benefit from their implementation at least as much as its neighbors. A Jordanian-Palestinian Federation, the Palestinian section of which will encompass virtually all of Judea and Samaria, will relieve Israel of the onus and stigma of internationally disputed occupation and settlement; a territorial exchange will lead to an improvement of trade and atmosphere, which will likewise redound to Israel's advantage.

But if such is indeed the case, why wait for the agreement of other parties? The question is especially pertinent where the Jewish settlements are concerned. If, as General Eiland's diagnosis suggests, the overwhelming majority do need to be dismantled – for Israel's own sake – then why not do so unilaterally, leaving in Judea and Samaria only an IDF presence, required to maintain Israel's security needs?

Sadly, Gen. Eiland studiously avoids analyzing this alternative. All he is prepared to say is that although the 2005 disengagement was a good idea in principle, it was mishandled tactically. Mr. Sharon, he argues, would have done far better to have maneuvered others into proposing that initiative. Surely the issue warrants much more attention. How would Israeli public opinion have responded to Eiland's proposed scenario? Wouldn't it have been feasible – and politic – to retain a military presence in Gaza, even after the dismantlement of the settlements? Gen. Eiland's failure to consider these and other questions intimates an uncharacteristic hesitancy to think as openly about future options as his own diagnosis requires.

This is unfortunate. As General Eiland himself points out, unless the present impasse is broken, the inevitable alternative to a two-state solution will be a one-state solution, in which the Palestinians would either be denied equal rights or constitute a minority sufficiently large to imperil its Jewish character. Both outcomes would mean the bankruptcy of Zionism. Hence, both must be avoided, if necessary by action of a drastic kind. The time for half-measures, if it ever existed, has by now certainly passed.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Facts about "Palestine"

From by Daniel Pinner ( 10 January 2010:

The Koran never mentions Palestine

Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran.

Moslems pray on the Temple Mount: kneeling facing Mecca, their backsides towards the Dome of the Rock.

Moses – the Jewish national leader – is quoted as saying: “O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you…and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has decreed for you”. This speech of Moses is recorded in: the Koran (Sura 5:20-21).

In popular literature, historical discussions, political debates, and other forums, the Palestinians’ claim that they are:
a) the descendants of the Biblical Philistines (a European tribe originating in Crete, who invaded the Holy Land in the early Biblical period);
b) the continuation of the Biblical Canaanites (a Hamatic tribe, in perpetual warfare against the Philistines);
c) the descendents of the earliest Christians (i.e. Jews);
d) an integral part of the Arab nation (a Semitic nation originating in Arabia, and entirely unconnected to the Philistines, the Canaanites, and the Jews)
(all of the above)

There was never in history an independent country called Palestine.

The earliest mention of a place called Palestine in history is: in the year 135 CE, after the European Roman invaders defeated the Jewish revolt in Judea, and re-named the province Palestine.

Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, addressing the British Peel Commission, 1937 said: “There is no such country ! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us.”

Zahir Muhsein, executive member of the PLO, in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, March 1977 said: “The ‘Palestinian People’ does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel.”

On the eve of Israel’s independence in May 1948, approximately 600,000 Arabs lived in the areas that would soon become the State of Israel. When the War of Independence was over (March 1949), 150,000 Arabs were still there. This is why the UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) officially recognized that the number of Arab refugees was: 1,300,000.

In June 1982, the Israel Defence Forces entered south Lebanon to fight against the PLO, which had invaded Lebanon in 1975. The total population in southern Lebanon was about 400,000, of whom vast numbers – perhaps as many as 10% – fled northwards to escape the fighting. UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) officially estimated the number of refugees as: 600,000.

The Palestine National Covenant (the constitution of the PLO) states that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit” (Article 2). 77% of this “indivisible territorial unit” is today: The Kingdom of Jordan, and the remaining 23% is Israel (including Judea, Samaria, and Gaza).

As its name suggests, the raison d’etre of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) is to liberate Palestine. Accordingly, the PLO has fought to establish its independent state in:
a) the whole of Israel, starting with Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (the “occupied territories”);
b) sovereign Israel alone, rejecting any claim to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (prior to the Six Day War);
c) Jordan (in the late 1960s and early 1970s)
d) Lebanon (from the mid-1970s until 1982);
(All of the above.)

The PLO’s purpose, as they and their supporters make clear, is to liberate the “occupied territories” which Israel captured in the Six Day War (5th-10th June 1967). This claim is proven by the historical fact that the PLO was founded: 3½ years before the Six Day War, on 1st January 1964, in Cairo (the capital of Egypt).

In the 25-year period 1950-1974, the Arab countries (including Iran) donated a total of $26,476,750 in aid to Palestinian refugees, representing 0.04% (i.e. $1 out of every $2,500) of their combined oil revenue for 1974 alone. The only country in the entire Middle East which gave no aid at all to Palestinian refugees was: Algeria.

Israel has often been accused of “ethnic cleansing” of the Arabs in the “occupied territories”. The demography bears this out, because the Arab population of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza has: increased from about 750,000 in 1967 to an estimated 3,700,000 in 2009, a population growth of nearly 500% in barely more than a generation, which is one of the highest rates of increase anywhere in the world.

Israel has also been accused of “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs who are citizens of the state, and deliberately enforcing policies designed to keep the Arab population small. This, too, is shown by the demography, in that the Israeli Arab population has: increased from 150,000 (15% of the overall population) in 1948 to about 1,420,000 (22% of the overall population) in 2009.

As of 2009, there are five universities (the Islamic University of Hebron; Bir Zeit University; Bethlehem University; Al-Najah University in Shechem ; and Al-Ahzar in Gaza), and five religious higher education academies, throughout the “occupied territories”. These institutes are: all founded since the Israeli “occupation” of 1967, under Israeli auspices, the oldest one being the Islamic University of Hebron, founded in 1971.

Since the Israeli “occupation” of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in 1967, nine Palestinians have been sentenced to death by the courts and judicially executed, and scores – probably hundreds – more have been executed in extra-judicial killings. All of them, without exception, were executed: since September 1993 by the Palestinian Authority in the autonomous zones, because Israel, alone in the Middle East, does not use the death penalty.

In early October 2005, an estimated 650 people charged the security fence/separation barrier, and an estimated 350 succeeded in crossing it. Security forces responded with bayonets, shotguns, and rubber bullets, killing between ten and fifteen people and injuring dozens more. This incident was given minimal media attention, and has been entirely forgotten, because: the incident occurred along the security fence in Morocco, separating sovereign Morocco from the Spanish Sahara, and the security forces in question were Spanish.

The West is fed up with Iran's bullshit


BERLIN – Top Western diplomats and defense secretaries see Iran as exploiting the negotiating process to ward off new sanctions, while allowing its scientists to further develop highly enriched uranium, which can be used for nuclear weapons.

US and European officials at a gathering of the world’s top defense officials in Munich rejected statements from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki late on Friday that Teheran was “approaching a final agreement.”

Mottaki attempted to revive a UN proposal in which Iran would swap enriched uranium for fuel rods to be used in its nuclear power plants, but with new Iranian conditions added to the plan.

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Iran’s tactics were a “transparent play for time.” And German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he saw Teheran’s latest offer to settle the ongoing nuclear dispute as another sign of bad-faith bargaining.

Westerwelle said on Saturday at the security conference in the Bavarian capital that “our hand is still reaching out toward them. But so far it’s reaching out into nothingness. And I’ve seen nothing since yesterday that makes me want to change that view.”

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates sharply criticized the Iranians during a visit to Ankara, suggesting that Washington was losing its patience. “The reality is they’ve done nothing to assure the international community” or “to stop their progress toward [building] a nuclear weapon,” Gates said, “and therefore various nations need to think about whether it is time for a different tack.”

Iran is the only country in the region that has publicly declared its intent to destroy another country in the region,” Gates told reporters in Turkey, in reference to Iran’s threats to Israel. If Iran proceeds with this program “unrestrained,” there is a “real danger of proliferation” that would destabilize the region.

US National Security Adviser Gen. (ret.) James Jones spoke of Iran’s continued “puzzling defiance” of Western demands that it freeze uranium enrichment. “We have not seen indications that it is willing to do so at this time,” he said.

US Sen. Joe Lieberman, the influential Connecticut independent, said the time for talk was over and that the international community should pursue “tough economic sanctions to make diplomacy work.” He called Mottaki’s comments “laughable” and “intellectually dishonest.”

“He came here to talk, talk, talk and not to walk the walk,” Lieberman said.

On the sidelines of the Munich conference, Mottaki met with International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano behind closed doors on Saturday...

...The icy response of Germany’s top diplomat to Mottaki comes in the wake of a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily that a high-level scientist from a former Soviet Union nuclear laboratory is in Iran developing a construction plan for functioning atomic warheads.

... The disclosure about the Russian scientist and the blueprint for atomic warheads stems from an International Atomic Energy Agency document obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Writing in Die Welt, Richard Herzinger, a prominent commentator on Iran, urged in a front page Saturday editorial that the “West must, in the meantime, rapidly make the transition to intensified sanctions,” even if China fails to join a new round of penalties. “Iran must be diplomatically isolated and that Iran’s foreign minister Mottaki was fawned over at the Munich Security Conference is not a good beginning,” Herzinger wrote.

While Russia has sent a lukewarm signal that it is prepared to move forward with a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions, China has vehemently rejected new sanctions and insisted on diplomacy and the negotiating process...

US and Israeli Navies active in the Persian Gulf - Egypt assists

From Ynet News, 6 Feb 2010, by Roee Nahmias:

Two Israeli missile boats pass through Egypt's Suez Canal en route to Red Sea, according to Arab media reports; Cairo adopts strict security measures to ensure ships' safety. Egyptian sources estimate vessels headed to Persian Gulf.

...The sail through the Suez Canal was coordinated with Egyptian authorities, which reportedly adopted strict security arrangements to ensure the safe passage of the two Israeli ships. According to Arab media, Egyptian forces prevented any vessels from passing through the Canal and also stopped the vehicular traffic on the road leading to it.

According to the reports, one Israeli missile boat already passed through the Suez Canal in June and July of last year. In one case, the Israeli ship was said to have been accompanied by an Israeli submarine.

Last week, Egyptian newspaper al-Shuruq reported that the US has been holding extensive maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, including some across Iran's shores. The report was based on information provided by senior Egyptian sources.

In addition, the newspaper reported that Israeli vessels have been mapping the Persian Gulf's waters in the past six months in cooperation with American forces belonging to the Fifth Fleet. However, it appears the report regarding Israel was baseless, and that it was leaked in an attempt to gauge Jerusalem's response.

Syria threatens Israeli population

From The JPost, 6 Feb 2010, by HERB KEINON:

[Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman] ...said ... “It needs to be understood that we are not looking for either confrontation or friction with Syria, but when the Syrian foreign minister says that they will attack population centers in Israel, that is crossing a red line.”

[Earlier] ...Wednesday, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned that Israel “should not test Syria’s determination” and added that Israel “should know that a war will move to Israeli cities.” Lieberman said that Assad, the same day, delivered a similar message.

“A red line was crossed like we have never seen before,” Lieberman said. “A direct threat to attack population centers."

...Lieberman said he was opposed to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights. “I think that the Golan Heights need to remain a part of Israel,” he said. “Just as Syria gave up on its dream of Greater Syria and opened an embassy in Lebanon, there is no reason why that can’t happen in our case as well.”

...Reacting to Lieberman’s comments on Thursday, [Syria’s official newspaper Tishreen said in an editorial on Saturday] wrote, “The path to destruction could lead to the moment that Israel will comply with its leaders, who have criminality flowing through their veins... Whichever path Israel chooses, it will find Syria ready for either peace or war.”