Saturday, July 17, 2010

Abbas dictates terms for direct talks

From Reuters Africa, Sat Jul 17, 2010:

RAMALLAH West Bank - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel must agree to the idea of a third party guarding the borders of a future Palestinian state before direct peace talks can begin.

...Abbas said Israel must also agree in principle to an equitable land swap that would compensate the Palestinians for West Bank land absorbed by Jewish settlements in any peace deal.

...Speaking to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad, Abbas said ..."If they agree to that, this is what we would consider the progress that we want and that would make us go to direct negotiations..." ...

...Israel, however, wants to maintain a presence in the Jordan valley along the West Bank's eastern border with neighbouring Jordan....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friends of Israel launches in Western Australia

Calling Friends of Israel in Western Australia!  
Calling supporters of democracy and liberty!

Support Israel as the State of the Jewish people.
Defend Israel’s right to live in peace and security.
Ensure accurate and fair reporting on the Middle East.


When: 3.45PM for 4 PM start - Sunday 8 August 2010.
Where: Victory Life Centre, 1 Neil Street Osborne Park.

The Friends of Israel (Western Australia) Inc launch will be attended by:

Chairman The Hon. Bob Kucera, former WA Minister
Senator Glenn Sterle, Senator for Western Australia
Senator Mark Bishop, Senator for Western Australia
Senator Michaelia Cash, Senator for Western Australia
Senator Mathias Cormann, Senator for Western Australia
Hon Julie Bishop, Federal Member for Curtin; Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Michael Keenan MP, Federal Member for Stirling
Ambassador Yuval Rotem or Deputy Chief of Mission Eli Yerushalmi, Israel Embassy to Australia
Mr Michael Sutherland MLA BA, LLB, DipEd, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly
Hon. Kate Doust MLC, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Council; Shadow Minister for Energy; Science and Innovation
Hon. Liz Behjat MLC, State Member for North Metropolitan Region
Peter Abetz MLA, State Member for Southern River
Albert Jacob MLA, State Member for Ocean Reef
Bill Johnston MLA, State Member for Cannington
Councillor Rod Willox AM RFD ED JP, Councillor, City of Stirling
Margaret Court AO, MBE 

COME EARLY for the Pre-Launch Seminar

2pm – 2:50pm: Israel101, by Stanley Keyser
Israel’s history, modern Zionism, the Arab conflict, and peace efforts

3pm – 3:50pm: BOOK LAUNCH “Anzacs and Israel” by Kelvin Crombie
How the ANZACs helped the establishment of modern Israel

Australians in Support of Israel
90th anniversary re-enactment of the ANZAC light-horse charge in Beersheba, November 1917

All over the world, people are joining together to take a stand for Western democratic values and freedoms.
They know that to take such a stand also means to support Israel, her right to defend her citizens, and to live in peace and security, free from threats of terrorism.
They know that Israel is the West’s best ally - a champion of Western democratic values in the Middle East; and a dynamic and open society that has contributed abundantly to culture, science and technology.
they know that Israel is in the front lines of the global battle between those who love life and those who glorify death.
They know that if Israel falls, we all fall.

Friends of Israel launches globally

From the Wall Street Journal 7 July 2010 (subscription required):

The following statement has been signed by Jose Maria Aznar, David Trimble, John R. Bolton, Alejandro Toledo, Marcello Pera, Andrew Roberts, Fiamma Nirenstein, George Weigel, Robert F. Agostinelli and Carlos Bustelo (see below*):

Hostility to the Jews has been a stain on the Western world's honor for centuries.

Israel is a Western democracy and a normal country. Nonetheless, Israel has faced abnormal circumstances since its inception. In fact, Israel is the only Western democracy whose existence has been questioned by force, and whose legitimacy is still being questioned independently of its actions.

The recent flotilla crisis in the Mediterranean provided yet another occasion for Israel's detractors to renew their frenzied campaign. It was so even before the facts of that tragic incident had come to light. Eyes were blind to the reasons why Israel had to respond to the Gaza flotilla's clear provocation.

Because we believe Israel is subjected to unfair treatment, and are convinced that defending Israel means defending the values that made and sustain our Western civilization, we have decided to launch the Friends of Israel Initiative. Our goal is to bring reason and decency back to the discussion about Israel. We are an eclectic group, coming from different countries and holding different opinions on a range of issues. It goes without saying that we do not speak for the State of Israel and we do not defend every course of action that it decides upon. We are united, however, by the following beliefs, principles and aims:
  • First, Israel is a normal, Western democracy and should be treated as such. Its parliamentary system, legal traditions, education and scientific research facilities, and cultural achievements are as fundamental to it as to any other Western society. Indeed, in some of these areas, Israel is a world leader.
  • Second, attempts to question Israel's basic legitimacy as a Jewish state in the Middle East are unacceptable to people who support liberal democratic values. The State of Israel was founded in the wake of United Nations Resolution 181, passed in 1947. It also arose out of an unbroken Jewish connection to the land that stretches back thousands of years. Israel does not derive its legitimacy, as some claim, from sympathy over the Holocaust. Instead, it derives legitimacy from international law and from the same right to self-determination claimed by all nations.
  • Third, as a fully legitimate member of the international community, Israel's basic right to self-defense should not be questioned. Nor should it be forgotten that Israel faces unique security threats—from terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and from an Iran seeking nuclear weapons. United Nations condemnations of Israel arising from last year's Goldstone Report on the recent war in Gaza, for example, ignore the security challenges that Israel faces. All democracies should oppose such campaigns, which ultimately undermine the legitimacy not merely of Israel but of the U.N. itself.
  • Fourth, we must never forget that Israel is on our side in the battle against Islamism and terror. Israel stands on the front line of that fight as a bulwark of Judeo-Christian values. The belief that the democratic world can sacrifice Israel in order to placate Islamism is profoundly wrong and dangerous. Appeasement failed in the 1930s and it will fail today.
  • Fifth, attempts by people of good faith to facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians are always to be supported. But outsiders should beware of attempting to impose their own solutions. Israelis and Palestinians should know how to build a viable peace on their own. We can help them, but we cannot force them.
  • Sixth, we must be alive to the dangers that the campaign against Israel poses in reawakening anti-Semitism. Hostility to the Jews has been a stain on the Western world's honor for centuries. It is a matter of basic self-respect that we actively confront and oppose new manifestations of an old and ugly problem.
The Friends of Israel Initiative has come together to encourage men and women of goodwill to reconsider their attitudes toward the Jewish state, and to relocate those attitudes inside the best of Western traditions rather than the worst. We urge them to recognize that it is in our own best interests that an increasingly jaded relationship between Israel and many of the world's other liberal democracies is rescued and reinvigorated before it is too late for us all.

Mr. Aznar is a former prime minister of Spain.
Mr. Trimble is a former first minister of Northern Ireland.
Mr. Bolton is a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Mr. Toledo is a former president of Peru.
Mr. Pera is a former president of the Italian Senate.
Mr. Roberts is a British historian.
Ms. Nirenstein is vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
Mr. Weigel is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Mr. Agostinelli is managing director of the Rhône Group.
Mr. Bustelo is a former minister of industry in Spain.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Presbyterians Amend anti-Israel Resolution

From, 14 July 2010, by Gil Ronen:

The Presbyterian Church's General Assembly amended at week's end a report [see this previous post] that had originally condemned Israel as an “apartheid” state, and called for divestment from it.

A group of influential pastors from within the denomination including Rev. John Buchanan was unhappy with the report issued by the PC-USA's Middle East Study Committee (MESC). That report was so harshly anti-Israeli that even radical leftist group J-Street took exception to it. After a group called Presbyterians for Middle East Peace called on the assembly to reject the report in its entirety, it was decided to delete the historical analysis from the report and replace it with eight personal narratives – four pro-Arab and four pro-Israeli ones – which have yet to be written.

The committee also added a clause that affirmed Israel’s right to exist.

The original report called for the members of the MESC to be appointed to a “monitoring group” that would observe events in the Middle East for two years and then report again to the General Assembly. The amended version of the report reduces the MESC's representation on the monitoring group to one or two members.

According to Israel advocacy NGO CAMERA, “This change in the composition of the monitoring committee gets at the heart of the problem.”

“The Middle East Study Committee was fundamentally biased against Israel,” CAMERA explained. “One member had stated previously stated that in his heart of hearts he wanted a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. And another had stated that she could not reconcile herself to Israel’s 'right' to exist.”

“The appointment of members such as this to the Middle East Study Committee by one current and two past PC(USA) moderators in 2008 set the stage for disaster a the 2010 General Assembly,” the group commented, adding that it hopes the people who decide on the personal makeup of the monitoring group “will learn from past mistakes.”

...“What is new at the 2010 General Assembly is that people started to realize that drawing attention to Palestinian suffering and working to end it does not require demonizing Israel,” CAMERA concluded.

...The Anti-Defamation League issued a separate statement that credited the assembly for having "averted a rupture," it condemned the recommendation that the U.S. consider withholding aid to pressure Israel.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paul McGeough takes Fairfax to a new low journalistic standard

From a Zionist Council of Victoria update, by Emily Chrapot on 14 July 2010:

The Fairfax organisation whose flagship newspapers are the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are so mired in the flawed narrative of their employee activist/analyst/commentators that they have lost the capacity to objectively deal with the Gaza Flotilla incident of late May in which their own reporter played an integral part.

This is clear from today's two-pronged attack on Israel per medium of the Age editorial entitled ‘Flotilla inquiry doesn’t hold water’ and an extraordinarily poorly constructed propaganda piece by Paul McGeough entitled ‘Flotilla inquiries fail to consider culpability of Israeli government.

McGeough sailed with some of the activists on the flotilla but not on the same ship as the problematic types who, the evidence clearly shows, set out to confront by violent resistance any attempt to prevent the flotilla from breaching Israel’s blockade. His writing more and more resembles active advocacy on their behalf.
Both pieces ...display an incredible lack of understanding of the purpose of  [Israel’s military inquiry into the incident of 31 May 2010]. Additionally, they display a complete refusal to accept that there is a narrative of the events which differs to that which the Age and its reporters have been pushing. The Age’s version happens to coincide with the version of the gang of cutthroat militants who embedded themselves in the flotilla with mischief and mayhem in mind.

It's a narrative that's short on verifiable facts and one that flies in the face of a large body of real evidence which  ...Fairfax and its resident flotilla spin doctor are working hard to keep under cover. For their benefit, here is a sample of the body of evidence ignored or dismissed...

Israeli Humanitarian Aid into Gaza before the Flotilla Incident:
A report of the Humanitarian Aid being delivered to Gaza from Israel
A report putting this aid into perspective
Video: Israel unloads aid from the flotillas and transfers it to Gaza
Why the “aid” delivered by the flotilla in question was not considered humanitarian aid
Israel’s new policy on Gaza – completely outlined with reasons why certain items are banned

The organisation behind the Mavi Marmara was the IHH. Age reports have routinely ignored who the IHH are and what they stand for, instead continually referring to them as “activists” and “protestors”.
The IHH is a militant Islamist movement with a record of supporting terrorism
Analysis – IHH Preparations for a violent confrontation with IDF soldiers aboard the Turkish Ship Mavi Marmara: Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ships
Additional evidence of the preparations of the Hard Core of IHH operatives for the confrontation with the IDF
Several Flotilla Passengers are active terror operatives linked to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and other organisations
IHH is being banned elsewhere in the world – Germany bans IHH for Hamas links

Video evidence of the violence that the IDF was met with:
Video of the cache of weapons including knives, slingshots, rocks, smoke bombs, metal rods, improvised sharp metal objects, sticks and clubs, 5kg hammers and firebombs
Close up video of “peace activists” attacking the metal batons
Video taken by the IDF showing passengers of the Mavi Marmara violently attacking IDF officers trying to board the ship
Video of the radio exchange between the soldiers on their way to the bridge and the IDF ship. The soldiers are reporting their encounter with live fire and serious violence.
Video of Israeli Navy officer describing the violent mob aboard the Mavi Marmara
Video of the Mavi Marmara passengers attacking the IDF before the soldiers boarded the ship
Video of the flotilla rioters as they prepared rods, slingshots, broken bottles and metal objects to attack IDF soldiers
Video of Israeli naval officers addressing the ship
Photographs published in the Turkish media taken by IHH operatives in order to embarrass Israel of injured Israeli soldiers.

...Hamas and its evil racist covenant routinely ignored in Fairfax publications. It is Hamas (and not the Palestinian or the Gazan people) which is the beneficiary of these attacks on Israel.

This brings me to the piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald entitled ‘Flotilla inquiries fail to consider culpability of Israeli government’.

For those playing at home, Paul McGeough has been exposed before on these very pages – to read more, click here. His piece in today’s paper is a reminder to all that if he becomes the new Middle East Correspondent for the Age, as the rumours are suggesting, the Age will enter a new universe of reporting, lacking in balance, objectivity and credibility.

McGeough opens by informing us that the ‘Israeli spin machine… has painted the Turkish non-government organisation IHH in the darkest possible terms.’ He declares that any evidence that the Israelis have on the IHH is the result of the ‘a lot of ominous dots to join’. But it’s McGeough who is attempting to join a lot of ominous lines himself by continually ignoring the evidence put forward above and repeatedly attempted to paint the operatives on board as nothing more than “troublemakers”. This is nothing more than a poor attempt to wriggle out of the awkward situation he created in his early reports which totally ignored the IHH and its violence even as Turkish newspapers were publishing photographs which contradicted the very same version he had been pushing.

It seems that it would be easier for McGeough to keep trotting out the same rubbery narrative except for the fact that there is so much evidence of these “troublemakers” waiting for the Israelis with clubs, chains and metal slingshots. As much as I try to stretch the memory, I simply cannot recall the last time an innocent boy scout threw an unconscious soldier over the bows of a ship.

And that is exactly where the truth had gone as far as Fairfax and this sordid flotilla incident – dumped over the bows of the ship....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Arab League to review its position regarding negotiations with Israel

From Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt (translated from the Arabic Edition), 12 July 2010, by Khalifa Gab Allah:

...Netanyahu had announced on Sunday that he would visit Cairo to discuss the possibility of restarting direct negotiations with the Palestinians. ...Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo on Wednesday night and meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the following day.

...According to Hisham Youssef, chief of staff for Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa, the peace talks [between the Israelis and the Palestinians] were still on track.

...Youssef added that an Arab League commission responsible for the Arabic Peace Initiative will hold a meeting on 29 July with Abbas to review the league's position towards the indirect negotiations currently in progress.

Moussa's chief of staff explained that the commission's assessment of the indirect negotiations will be presented at a gathering of Arab foreign ministers in September, marking the end of a four-month trial period the Arab League had previously set for the negotiations. The ministers will then adopt a collective position regarding the negotiations, he said...

Direct Talks ...maybe? If the Arab League permits.

From JPost, 13 July 2010, by By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND HERB KEINON:

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah on Monday did not rule out the possibility that the PA would agree to begin direct negotiations with Israel, in what appears to be a departure from its previous position.

...Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Likud Knesset faction on Monday there was no alternative to “sitting around the table and talking,” and that the conditions were ripening for such talks. There was growing agreement among leaders in the world on the need for direct talks, Netanyahu said.

... the PA was waiting for US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell – who is scheduled to return to the region at the end of the week to once more push for direct talks – to see if he is carrying replies to a number of questions presented to him by the Palestinians. Among the questions the Palestinians want answers to are whether Israel would be willing to freeze construction in all West Bank settlements and in east Jerusalem, and to recognize the June 4, 1967, lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu, when he was asked repeatedly during his visit to Washington last week whether he would extend the 10-month settlement freeze that expires on September 26, was careful not to give an unequivocal answer, saying that he wanted to first get into direct negotiations...

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed that Obama had urged the PA to agree to direct negotiations...

...Netanyahu is expected to go to Sharm e- Sheikh on Wednesday to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and discuss the issue of direct talks, with Abbas expected to meet with the Egyptian leader shortly thereafter....

...Abbas has made it clear that he would not agree to launch direct negotiations with Israel unless he first received backing from the Arab League foreign ministers. The Arab League had approved an earlier request from Abbas to launch the indirect “proximity talks” with Israel, and the issue of Arab League approval was expected to be high on the agenda of the Netanyahu-Mubarak talks....

Libya disowns Gaza "aid ship" - preventing Gaddafi Jr. from joining

From Ynet News, 12 July 2010, by Roi Kais:

...Libyan authorities decided Sunday to restrict the takeoff of private flights from the country for fear that [Libyan leader's son] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi would try to join an aid ship attempting to reach the Gaza Strip, the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Monday.

The vessel, "Amal," which set sail from the Lavrio port in Greece, docked in Crete on Sunday afternoon. Saif Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and head of the organization which initiated the sail, is interested in joining the ship and has begun preparing to do so.

A Libyan official told the London-based paper that the Libyan authorities were trying to prevent Gaddafi Jr. from reaching the ship. ..."Libya does not wish to intervene and believes the aid sail to Gaza conceals an adventure and a risk," he said. "Therefore, it has been decided to ban private flights. The decision is aimed at preventing Saif al-Islam and other Libyan figures from joining the ship.

"Officially, Libya has nothing to do with the ship, and if any problem occurs it will cause an embarrassment on the international level," the official added. ...

German Bans IHH (Flotilla) Terrorist Group

From, 12 July 2010, by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu:

Germany in effect vindicated Israel Monday by outlawing the IHH “charity” group whose Turkish branch viciously attacked Israeli Navy commandoes on the high seas. Germany said that IHH is linked with Hamas, which the European Union classifies as a terrorist organization.

...The German branch of the IHH was not directly associated with the IHH in Turkey, which organized the six-ship flotilla that was stopped by Israel May 31 and diverted to Ashdod. After the ships were unloaded, it was discovered that the Mavi Marmara vessel was not carrying any humanitarian aid.

European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor applauded Berlin’s decision and called on the rest of the EU to follow suit.

“Over a month ago, we called on front-groups like the IHH to be proscribed and banned from raising funds in Europe. Now that Germany has shown the way, we hope that European Union and other European governments will officially ban the IHH,” he said.

Dr. Kantor added, “Today, there is a global network of terror that works under our noses in Europe, and they try and stay one step ahead of the authorities. It is unfortunate that it took the tragic flotilla incident to wake us up to this reality.”

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere charged that the IHH—officially known as the International Humanitarian Relief Organization—used “the cover of humanitarian aid [and] supported Gaza-based so-called social associations which are attributable to Hamas, for a long period of time and to a considerable financial extent.

Israeli intelligence officials and researchers have provided widespread evidence that IHH terror activists thoroughly planned to attack Israeli navy commandos who intercepted the Mavi Marmara ship due its announced destination of Gaza. Israel maintains sovereignty over Gaza’s coastal waters.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Obama whitewashes Abbas

From The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, July 09, 2010 , shortly after (as reported in JIW) Abbas said to the Arab states: "If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor. But the Palestinians will not fight alone because they don't have the ability to do it.":

The President spoke with Palestinian Authority President Abbas today. The President expressed strong support for President Abbas's leadership on behalf of the Palestinian people and his commitment to peace...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Iranian spy: Tehran will attack Israel

From Ynet News, 10 July, by Dudi Cohen:

Former Revolutionary Guard member who relayed its secret operations to CIA for 10 years says Iran will commit 'most horrendous suicide bombing in human history' if not stopped

...During a conference held at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Friday, Reza Kahlili (pseudonym) estimated that Iran will eventually attack Israel, Europe and the Persian Gulf states. He called for a preemptive strike on the regime in Tehran, but not on the Iranian people or the country's infrastructure.

Kahlili accused the Obama Administration of being naïve. According to him, the American overtures are viewed by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness, while the Iranian people consider the efforts to engage the regime an act of betrayal against their struggle for freedom.

Click here to listen to Kahlili speak at the conference

"This is a messianic regime. There should be no doubt – they are going to commit the most horrendous suicide bombing in human history. They will attack Israel, European capitals, and (the) Persian Gulf region at the same time," said Kahlili in one of his first public appearances to promote his new book "A Time To Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran".

Kahlili said he joined the Revolutionary Guard following the Islamic revolution of 1979, but volunteered to work for the CIA when he became disillusioned with the Khomeini regime after witnessing acts of rape, torture and murder.

Kahlili, arrived at the conference wearing a surgical mask, sunglasses and a baseball cap to conceal his identity. Out of concern for his safety, as well as that of his family inside Iran, his voice was also disguised.

For 10 years, under the code name "Wally," he relayed the secret operations of the IRGC back to American intelligence, eventually fleeing to the United States. In the aftermath of 9/11, Kahlili reestablished contact with his sources in Iran and began once again providing information to the CIA, according to the Washington Institute.

Presbyterian antisemites cuddle up to J-Street

From Israel natinal news, 10 July 2010, by Gil Ronen:

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) convening in Minneapolis will debate this week whether to endorse an official church study committee report that compares Israel to the worst regimes of the 20th century, including Nazi Germany. The report ...also mentions ultra-liberal Jewish lobby group J Street as a sign of “hope...” .

J-Street Vice President Rachel Lerner called out to the Presbyterians to reject the 'study.' She said that the report’s authors never consulted her group before choosing to mention it.

She added that “with the passage of this study, the Church will alienate us  ...She said she was “saddened” and “angered” by the report. However, Lerner clarified that even if the study is adopted, J-Street will not be issuing a directive to its local branches to cease partnering with local Presbyterian churches.

Presbyterian Alan Wisdom also asked his fellow church members to reject the report....

...The study further urges that the U.S. cut off aid to the Jewish state in order to “bring Israel to compliance.”

New York Times religion reporter Gus Niebuhr, grand nephew of pro-Zionist Christian ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr, warned fellow Presbyterians that the “terribly imbalanced” report would “obscure” Presbyterian influence in America. Niebuhr was joined by Presbyterian pastor and Christian Century magazine publisher John Buchanan...

...In June 2004, the U.S. Presbyterian Church's General Assembly adopted a resolution that called on the church "to initiate a process of phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel."