Saturday, May 07, 2011

Fatah, Hamas and Co. have Slain 981 Israeli Civilians Since 2000

From, 5 May 2011, by Gil Ronen:

Nine hundred and eighty three civilians have been murdered by Muslim Arab terrorists since 2000.

The vast majority of the murders were carried out by the Fatah and Hamas terror groups.

About 17,200 civilians were wounded in these premeditated and intentional attacks upon civilian targets.

The statistics were released by the National Insurance Institute, for the upcoming Memorial Day for Fallen IDF Soldiers and Victims of Terror Attacks.

The total number of civilians killed in Muslim-Arab terror attacks since January 1, 1950 stands at 2,443. This figure includes 119 foreign nationals.

The numbers indicate that 40% of the total number of Israeli civilians murdered by terrorists since 1950 were killed from 2000 onward.

The massive and merciless terror onslaught that Israel suffered in the years 2000-2005 has yet to be officially named, even though the number of casualties surpasses that of some of Israel's wars. It is usually referred to either as "The Oslo War" or "The Second Intifada" (an Arab-language term).

The carnage was inflicted upon Israel after PLO terror chiefs and their militias were allowed into the Land of Israel following secret negotiations between Israeli leftists and PLO representatives in Oslo, Norway. This resulted in the Oslo Accords, which recognized the PLO leaders and terrorists as legitimate, after dozens of years in which Israel saw them as unworthy of any respect.

Seven years after being allowed into the Land of Israel, after they had established themselves on the ground and prepared for mass murder, the Arabs launched an unprecedented wave of horrific killings. Their favored targets were concentrations of citizens, be they on passenger buses, in coffee shops, or on lines to enter discotheques or malls.

Nine hundred and eighty-one civilian deaths, for a population Israel's size, is the equivalent of over 40,000 civilian deaths in the USA.

Will the "Arab Spring" halt at the Syrian border?

From, Sat 30 Apr 2011, by Jonathan Spyer:

'If you mess around with Assad [right], you are issuing a challenge also to Iran [and Ahmadinejad, left] … the west doesn't want to do that.'
Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

...Syria's strategic alliance with Iran was thought of as an uncomfortable fit for the non-Islamist rulers of Syria – so it was assumed that President Assad was looking for a way out if it. Assad's relations with allied Islamist movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas were considered similarly instrumental in nature, and hence similarly susceptible to alteration. ...

These assumptions were noteworthy in that they were not only untrue, but in many ways represented the precise opposite of the truth. Syria's alignment with Iran and its backing of local paramilitary and terrorist clients are not flimsy marriages of convenience. They were and are the core of a successful regional policy. Through it, Damascus has magnified its local and regional influence, and obtained an insurance policy against paying any price for its activities.

This insurance policy is now paying dividends. Syria's alignment with the regional axis led by Iran represents Assad's best hope of survival. Indeed, western fear of Iran is the crucial factor making possible the crackdown in Syria and hence the survival of the regime.

The pro-western Arab authoritarian rulers, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, were forced aside by a combination of internal and subsequent western pressure. Non-aligned, isolated Muammar Gaddafi now finds himself fighting in Libya against a coalition of local rebels and western air power.
Assad, by contrast, who is aligned with the coalition of anti-western states and movements led by Iran, is currently facing only nominal and minimal western pressure. This is despite the fact that he appears to be engaged in the energetic slaughter of his own people.

The US administration disapproves of the repression, but the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, remains firmly in place. The British foreign secretary finds the violence unacceptable but the defence secretary makes clear that a Libya-type option is not on the cards.

This is because if you mess around with Assad, you are issuing a challenge also to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and their various regional allies and interests in Iraq and further afield. The leaders of the west don't want to do that.

According to opposition reports, Iranian personnel are on the ground helping to crush the rebellion in Syria. Many Syrians believe that the snipers whose bullets are reaping a terrible toll among the protestors are Iranians. Syrian-Iranian military co-operation is formalised (a co-operation treaty was signed in 1998) and intensive. Syria gives Iran a presence on the Mediterranean, and is the key arms conduit between Tehran and its Hezbollah client in Lebanon. It is also a major recipient of Iranian arms and aid. And Iran, evidently, sticks by its allies.

Since the west's commitment to regional liberty and freedom does not appear to extend to entangling itself in a general confrontation with the Iran-led regional bloc, Assad may feel reasonably confident. Now he just needs to crush the internal challenge.

... The Syrian dictator is currently getting away with slaughtering large numbers of his people because of western fear of Iran and its proxies. The question of whether the Arab spring stops at the borders of the Iran-led regional alliance will thus be decided in Syria.

The Iranians and their allies, who enthusiastically cheered the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia, are keen to ensure that it does end there. Western policy, meanwhile, looks likely to be too confused and hesitant to ensure that it does not. This matter will be decided in the weeks and months ahead.

The fall or weakening of the Assad regime in Syria would constitute a serious body blow to Iranian regional ambitions. Its resurgence under the protective tutelage of Tehran, by contrast, would prove that membership of the Iranian alliance provides a handy guarantee for autocratic rulers hoping to avoid the judgment of their peoples. In the ongoing cold war that remains the key strategic process in the Middle East, the west should see preventing this outcome as a key objective.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Global double standards: Bin Laden versus Yassin

From Ynet News, 3 May 2011, by Manfred Gerstenfeld:

Double standards applied against Israel: compare the international reactions to the killing of Osama bin Laden by USA, with those to the killing of Hamas terrorist leader Ahmed Yassin by Israel in 2004.

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters that "the death of Osama bin Laden, announced by President (Barack) Obama last night, is a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism." Yet after the killing of Sheikh Yassin, then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said "I do condemn the targeted assassination of Sheikh Yassin and the others who died with him. Such actions are not only contrary to international law, but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution.”

The now-defunct UN Commission on Human Rights condemned “the tragic death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in contravention of the Hague Convention IV of 1907.” At the Security Council, the US had to use its veto power to prevent condemnation of Israel.

After the bin Laden killing, the leaders of the European Council and European Commission stated that his death made the world a safer place and showed that terrorist attacks do not remain unpunished. Following the Yassin killing, then-EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said, "This type of action does not contribute at all to create the conditions of peace. This is very, very bad news for the peace process. The policy of the European Union has been consistently condemnation of extra-judicial killing."

British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated President Obama on the success of the bin Laden assassination. Cameron considered it a massive step forward in the fight against extremist terrorism. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair also welcomed bin Laden’s demise. However, the killing of Sheikh Yassin was called by the then-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw “unacceptable” and “unjustified.” The official spokesman of then-Prime Minister Blair condemned the “unlawful attack“ and observed: "We have repeatedly made clear our opposition to Israel's use of targeted killings and assassinations.”

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed Bin Laden’s killing as a coup in the fight against terrorism. He called President Obama, praised his determination and courage and all others who had pursued the head of al-Qaeda for 10 years. Sarkozy added that the two heads of state had agreed to continue the just and necessary fight against terrorist barbarity and those who support it. Yet after Sheikh Yassin’s death, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Herve Ladsous, said, “France condemns the action taken against Sheikh Yassin, just as it has always condemned the principle of any extra-judicial execution as contrary to international law.” Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared that “such acts can only feed the spiral of violence.”

German Chancellor Angel Merkel said at a recent press conference, “I’m glad that killing bin Laden was successful.” She also called it “good news.” Then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had stated after the killing of Sheikh Yassin that “the German government is deeply concerned about the development.”

Russia released a statement regarding bin Laden which the Voice of America quoted as saying that retribution inevitably reaches all terrorists and that Russia is ready to “step up” its coordination in the international fight against global terrorism.” After the Yassin assassination, a foreign ministry spokesman said that Moscow was deeply concerned about the situation.

President Abdullah Gul of Turkey declared that the killing of bin Laden was a message for terrorist organizations all around the world. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the killing of Yassin “a terrorist act” and said that “the assassination was not humane.”

A case of anti-Semitism?

This comparison gets even more meaningful when seen in the context of the definition of anti-Semitism as regularly used in the European Union. It was prepared by one of the EU agencies. It gives examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel, including the following: “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Israel could considerably improve its public diplomacy by using the comparison of the two killings and other comparisons of events which occur with great frequency to stress such double standards. This is one of the many ways that Israel can fend off at least part of the unjust criticism against it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The time has come to call a spade a spade. Their "resistance" is war.

From JPost, 29 April 2011, by CAROLINE B. GLICK:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s peace deal with Hamas [was]

“The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.”
[But...] The PA made the choice in 2000 when it rejected Israel’s offer of peace and Palestinian statehood and joined forces with Hamas to wage a terror war against Israel.

The PA made the choice in 2005 again when it responded to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza with a tenfold increase in the number of rockets and missiles it fired on Israeli civilian targets in the Negev.

The Palestinians made the choice in 2006, when they elected Hamas to rule over them.

They made the choice in March 2007 when Fatah and Hamas signed their first unity deal.

The PA made the choice in 2008 when Abbas rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of statehood and peace.

The PA made the choice in 2010 when it refused to reinstate peace negotiations with Netanyahu; began peace negotiations with Hamas; and escalated its plan to establish an independent state without peace with Israel.

Now the PA has again made the choice by signing the newest peace deal with Hamas.

...Netanyahu’s call for the PA to choose is the political equivalent of a man telling his wife she must choose between him and her lover, after she has left home, shacked up and had five children with her new man.

...It is a tragedy that after more than a decade of the PA choosing war with Israel ...[we] cannot find the courage to ...[state] the truth and [end] the 18- year policy nightmare in which Israel is an active partner in its own demise.

[This] has been the central pillar of Israel’s foreign policy and domestic politics since Yitzhak Rabin first accepted the PLO as a legitimate actor in 1993 – it doesn’t matter how obvious it is that the Palestinians are uninterested in peaceful coexistence with Israel. It doesn’t matter how openly they wage their war to destroy Israel. Irrespective of the nakedness of Palestinian bad faith, seven successive governments have adopted the view that the only thing that stands between Israel and international pariah status is its leaders’ ability to persuade the so-called international community that Israel is serious about appeasing the Palestinians.

For the past several months, this profoundly neurotic perception of Israel’s options has fed our leaders’ hysterical response to the Palestinians’ plan to unilaterally declare independence.

The Palestinian plan itself discredits the idea that they are interested in anything other than destroying Israel. The plan is to get the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel.

The PA will first attempt to get the Security Council to endorse an independent “Palestine.” If the Obama administration vetoes the move, then the PA will ask the General Assembly to take action. Given the makeup of the General Assembly, it is all but certain that the Palestinians will get their resolution.

THE QUESTION is, does this matter? Everyone from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hard-left, post-Zionist retreads like Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg says it does. They tell us that if this passes, Israel will face international opprobrium if its citizens or military personnel so much as breathe in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem without Palestinian permission.

These prophets of doom warn that Israel has but one hope for saving itself from diplomatic death: Netanyahu must stand before the world and pledge to give Israel’s heartland and capital to the Palestinians.

And according to helpful Obama administration officials, everything revolves around Netanyahu’s ability to convince the EU-3 – British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – that he is serious about appeasing the Palestinians. If he doesn’t offer up Israel’s crown jewels in his speech before the US Congress next month, administration officials warn that the EU powers will go with the Palestinians....

Happily, these warnings are completely ridiculous. UN General Assembly resolutions have no legal weight. Even if every General Assembly member except Israel votes in favor of a resolution recognizing “Palestine,” all the Palestinians will have achieved is another non-binding resolution, with no force of law, asserting the same thing that thousands of UN resolutions already assert. Namely, it will claim falsely that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza are Palestinian territory to which Israel has no right. Israel will be free to ignore this resolution, just as it has been free to ignore its predecessors.

The threat of international isolation is also wildly exaggerated. ...despite its frosty reception from the White House [and] Whitehall, life in Israel has never been better.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010.

The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all time high last year.

These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: ... the threat of international isolation is empty.

The same people telling us to commit suicide now lest we face the firing squad in September would also have us believe that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is the single greatest threat to the economy. But that lie was put paid this month with the demise of the Australian town of Marrickville’s BDS-inspired boycott.

Last December, the anti-Israel coalition running the town council voted to institute a trade, sports and academic boycott against Israel. Two weeks ago the council was forced to cancel its decision after it learned that it would cost $3.4 million to institute it. Cheaper Israeli products and services would have to be replaced with more expensive non-Israeli ones.

Both Israel’s booming foreign trade and the swift demise of the Marrickville boycott movement demonstrate that the specter of international isolation in the event that Israel extricates itself from the Palestinian peace process charade is nothing more than a bluff. The notion that Israel will be worse off it Netanyahu admits that Abbas has again chosen war against the Jews over peace with us has no credibility.

...Nothing that Israel does will have any impact on [EU] votes [in the UN]. ...Since 1967, the Europeans have consistently been more pro-Palestinian than the US. Now, with the Obama administration demonstrating unprecedented hostility towards Israel, there is no way that the Europeans will suddenly shift to Israel’s side. So when European leaders tell Israelis that we need to convince them we are serious about peace, they aren’t being serious. They are looking for an excuse to be even more hostile. If Israel offers the store to Abbas, then the likes of Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy will not only recognize “Palestine” at the UN, (because after all, they cannot be expected to be more pro-Israel than the Israeli government that just surrendered), they will recognize Hamas. Because that’s the next step.

It would seem that Israel’s leaders should have gotten wise to this game years ago. And the fact that they haven’t can be blamed [partly] on ...the Israeli Left. ...Its members – from university lecturers to anti-Zionist has-been politicians, artists, actors and hack writers ...have taken it upon themselves to scare the rest of us into taking this ridiculous charade seriously. So it was that last week a group of washed-up radicals gathered in Tel Aviv outside the hall where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israeli independence, and declared the independence of “Palestine.” They knew their followers in the media would make a big deal of their agitprop and use it as another means of demoralizing the public into believing we can do nothing but embrace our enemies’ cause against our country.

... The BDS haters have no leverage. matter how much these people hate Israel, they will continue to buy our technologies and contract our researchers, because Cambridge is no longer capable of producing the same quality of scholarship as the Technion. is well past time stop playing this fool’s game. We don’t need anyone’s favors. Abbas has made his choice. Now it is time for [us] to [call a spade a spade].

Not by bread alone

It’s before dawn on Yom Hashoah (27th of Nisan 5771) and the Yahrzeit candles for: my grandmother, Chaya bat Yitzchak; my grandfather, Zvy ben Yosef; and my uncle, Mordechai ben Zvy; are alight nearby. I dedicate this personal note to their memory.

Man does not live by bread alone, but he needs bread in order to aspire to higher aims.

At the seudah shlishit yesterday, Rabbi Freilich asked: what is more important – Yom Hashoah or Yom Ha’atzmaut? I’m certain that they are both absolutely essential, but I feel in my heart that Yom Ha’atzmaut predominates. I wonder why?

Yom Ha’atzmaut follows Yom Hashoah. The latter promises a better future, while the former commemorates a terrible past event. We hope that such a Shoah will never be repeated, however if we don’t remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it.

On the other hand Yom Ha’atzmaut is older than Yom Hashoah. The exodus from Egypt was the birth of Jewish nationhood. We stood as a people and proclaimed that though we are slaves, we are nobler than our wealthy and powerful taskmasters. Our father Abraham loved his fellow man and showed hospitality to desert wayfarers, while our taskmasters worshipped idols and treated their fellow men as cattle. “Love your neighbour as yourself” is greater than wealth and power.

We undertook our first national project: to reject subservience to wealth and power and return to claim the land of Abraham. We sacrificed lambs, which our taskmasters idolised, and the household of Joseph, 70 souls that went to Egypt and had grown to a “mixed multitude” of probably 2-3 million spiritual descendents of Abraham: all ages and from many backgrounds including “converts” (and including 600,000 able-bodied men), stood as one nation.

3,500 years later, this national project to redeem the land of our spiritual forefathers, is still a work in progress. We are still struggling to defend ourselves, our land and our national legitimacy. As we read at our Seder table: “in every generation they rise up against us, to annihilate us…”

Since we left Egypt, we have faced: Amalek; the despots and dictators of the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans; the Spanish Inquisition; the Crusaders; the Tzars; and the Nazis. Today we face the false “mullahs” of Iran; the baby dictator Assad in his fine suits; the thugs and murderers of Hamas and Hezbollah; the genocidal dreams of the murderous, so-called “Palestinian resistance”; their useful idiots around the world who either deceptively pretend to be pursuing “social justice” or stupidly believe that they are; and the just plain antisemites whose hatred blinds them from seeing that we are one people, one nation, one spirit. We conclude our Seder with Had Gadya to remind ourselves of this on-going parade of enemies.

Yom Hashoah is emblematic of the inhuman tyranny that stands against us. Yom Ha’atzmaut is our antidote.

The Rabbis who proclaimed 27th of Nisan as Yom Hashoah, sandwiched as it is between Pesach and Yom Ha’atzmaut, did so for this reason. We stood as one, first in Egypt. Then despite tribulations like the Shoah, we continue to aspire to higher aims. But just as we took the remains of Joseph with us from Egypt to Israel, we also carry with us the souls of all the loved ones we have lost, on our way to celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut

We continue our national project: to reclaim the land of our father Abraham as our national homeland. But we do so, not because we aspire to wealth, nor to power. We don’t wish to rule over others, but we will defend ourselves, because only by having our feet rooted firmly in the earth, can we hold our head and hearts above the clouds. Only thus can we ensure that the spirit of Abraham, who loved others as himself, and every soul that is with his, will endure forever and in the world to come, when nation will no longer lift up sword against nation.

Man does not live by bread alone, but he needs bread in order to aspire to higher aims.