Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Obama Misled the Palestinians

From an article by Khaled Abu Toameh, September 9, 2011:

If anyone is to be held responsible for the Palestinian Authority leadership's decision to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, it is US President Barack Obama and his Middle East advisors.

When and if violence erupts in the Palestinian territories after the UN vote later this month, it will be the direct result of Obama's failed Middle East policy, which is likely to see a dramatic rise in anti-American sentiments not only among the Palestinians, but also throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Through their statements over the past three years, the Americans gave the Palestinian Authority and many Arabs the impression that Washington is in favor of a Palestinian state at all costs.

The Obama Administration had also initially given the Palestinians the impression that the US was "on our side," and would force Israel to accept all their demands, first and foremost a complete withdrawal to the pre-June, 1967 lines and the re-division of Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders in Ramallah say that Obama has misled them twice in the past few years: first, when he gave them the impression that the US would support a Palestinian state even if it is not achieved through negotiations and, second, when he dropped his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction.

Obama is now being condemned by Palestinian Authority officials for being "biased in favor of Israel" and succumbing to the "powerful Jewish lobby" in the US.

The Palestinian Authority has reached a stage where it prefers to embark on a collision course with Obama than abandon its statehood plan.

In his meeting this week with US envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reminded them that his decision to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state was in accordance with "promises" made by Obama – who is not trying to stop the statehood bid.

The Palestinian Authority is even using a speech by Obama to the UN General Assembly last year in which he voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state before the end of this year.

In the speech, which is now being used as part of a media campaign, broadcast on Palestine radio to drum up support for the statehood initiative, Obama says: "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel."

At the end of the radio spot, Abbas states, quite sarcastically: "If he [Obama] said it, he must have meant it."

Abbas's aides say that the media campaign is intended to expose Obama's "lies" and "hypocrisy."
Many Palestinians are now planning anti-US demonstrations when and if Washington uses the veto to foil the statehood bid at the UN Security Council. The Palestinian Authority, which relies heavily on US funding, is also taking part in the campaign of incitement against the US.

"The same Obama who promised us a state by the end of 2011 is now threatening to veto it at the UN and impose financial sanctions on the Palestinian Authority," said one aide. "...Obama is sending us his envoys in an attempt to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state."

A Turkish Intellectual's Open Letter to Prime Minister Erdogan

From Rivka Shpak Lissak:
A liberal Turkish intellectual has written a powerful open letter to the leader of Turkey's Islamist regime. So great is the fear of the increasingly repressive government that this person is remaining anonymous but I know the individual as someone of great integrity. And I also know that many of his compatriots share many, most, or all of these views.

Read this article as the voice of the Turkish majority which is going to turn this regime out of office in the next elections:

Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister. You have accomplished in eight years what no other contemporary Turkish politician could achieve. You have successfully entered the final stages in your efforts to transform Atatürk's Turkey into an Arab-style Islamist dictatorship. Some people had warned the world 20 years ago about the likely Islamist outcome of the September 12, 1980 military coup—a momentous point in Turkey's history that "masterfully crushed" the Turkish left. They were right. You are here. Today.

How proud you must feel. After all your hard work, some of the Islamist Turks that you encouraged to sail to Gaza have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces. You and your fellow Islamists have been celebrating this like nothing I can recall. You have immediately declared them as şehitler (shuheda, the martyrs). With this Arab-style "martyrdom" discourse, you have surely strengthened your image in the entire Arab world and among the Ahmadinejad followers in Iran. Not surprisingly, you have even managed to nourish most of your citizens' anti-Jewish and anti-American sentiments. Your fellow Turkish Islamists, the great majority of the Turkish liberals, and, unfortunately, the many manipulated but otherwise ordinary, beautiful, innocent Muslims joined you and your not-so-strategically-deep brothers.

Congratulations on your jihadist "victory" over the "evil" Israel and the West. By the way, Mr. Erdoğan, instead of sending others to a certain death, would you ever consider yourself becoming a martyr on Allah's path? I mean, the real thing—in the language you understand —al-jihad fi sebili'llah? Although it might be much more painful than preaching and practicing political Islam, would you ever consider it?

Your partner Bülent Yıldırım's Islamist ship embarked toward Gaza amidst the crowds shouting "Allahu Akbar!" "Remember the Battle of Khaybar, O Jews! The Army of Muhammad will return!" You know, Mr. Erdoğan, that the IHH (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsanî Yardım Vakfı, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) is not just a "humanitarian organization." Their Islamist vessel was not a pleasure cruise ship. Most of its passengers had a jihadist, political mission, and they have accomplished it.

Your Islamist government declared the 17-year old high school student Furkan Doğan as "martyr." He wrote the following in his diary on the Mavi Marmara before the confrontation with the IDF: "The last hours towards the 'sweet juice of martyrdom'… Is there anything more beautiful than this? If there is, it is for sure my mother… But I am not sure about that either… Comparing the two is very difficult for me…"

Mr. Prime Minister, thanks to solely the vision and project of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, despite you and the vicious ideology you have been practicing, the Republic of Turkey has world-class medical professionals to assist you in interpreting this Jihadist condition.

Now the world is hearing evidence that the IHH has connections to Hamas, Hezbollah, IBDA-C, and al-Qaida. I know you have recently declared that "Hamas is not a terrorist organization." Will you also join the millions of Islamists throughout the world and pronounce publically that "al-Qaida is not a terrorist organization"? About a year ago, your Islamist brother Bülent Yıldırım delivered a jihadist speech in Gaza to tens of thousands of Hamas supporters declaring Israel, the United States and England as "terrorist countries." Yıldırım addressed the Hamas supporters as "the children of paradise." He openly offered the entire population of Istanbul to come to Gaza to "dive into the path of the bombs." And he added: "What can my enemy do to me? I am carrying paradise in my heart. My being killed is nothing but martyrdom!"

Please Mr. Erdoğan, please do not listen to your Islamist brother's advice. Do not send the 13 million people of Istanbul to be "martyred" in Gaza for the love of Hamas.

After the flotilla incident, thousands of your citizens chanted anti-Jewish slogans and called for the Turkish army's deployment to Gaza. Mr. Erdoğan, I am sure it is a tough call for you. After all, you and your dark, mafia-like Islamist forces have already declared the Turkish army itself as "the enemy of Islam." Many honorable members of the Turkish Armed Forces have been rotting in Turkish jails thanks to your so-called "Ergenekon" trials. Through the Ergenekon pretext, you have managed to declare many high-ranking officers of your own army, hundreds of Kemalist journalists, university professors, rectors, and many other intellectuals as "terrorists."

If Hamas is not a terrorist organization, I've got another question for you, Mr. Erdoğan: What if some countries start deploying "humanitarian aid ships" to the PKK in Turkey tomorrow? What if they argue that the PKK is not a terrorist organization? Regardless of what your "strategically deep" Islamist brothers might advise you, let me tell you, Mr. Erdoğan, what I really think: Both Hamas and the PKK are blood-thirsty terrorist organizations that the civilized world must destroy, and any kind of "help" to those organizations should be considered a crime against humanity.

Mr. Erdoğan, do you even care about the ordinary, normal Muslims of your own country and of the world? If you do, then why have you successfully established such frightening friendships and contacts with some of the most dangerous and brutal dictators of the so-called Islamic world? I know your honor is very valuable to you and sensitive. How does your honor handle and justify extending official invitations to the cruel Islamist dictator Ahmadinejad to Turkey? As the Prime Minister of Turkey, what honor is there in fulfilling his holy request not to have to visit Atatürk's mausoleum in Ankara? What will you eventually do with the dictator's enriched uranium in Turkey? Will you join him by declaring "now Turkey needs nuclear energy, too"?

No, Mr. Erdoğan, neither Iran nor Turkey needs nuclear weapons developed under the guise of peaceful energy needs. Both of these countries need genuine democracies, freedoms, and liberation from Islamism. The world does not believe in such nuke-seeking Islamist lies. Even the Islamists themselves do not believe their own lies. It is a deception, and you know it very well. How does it feel, Mr. Erdoğan, when you give hugs and kisses to the terrorist Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya? How does your honor justify it? When was the last time, Mr. Erdoğan, that an honorable Turkish leader bowed in front of the appalling dictators of Saudi Arabia, the main source of Islamist terror throughout the world? How does your honor handle it? Last but not least, how do you sleep at night, Mr. Erdoğan, when you officially invite the genocidal maniac Omar al-Bashir to Turkey? He is responsible for butchering hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Did it ever occur to you to send some "humanitarian ships" to Sudan?

When it comes to demanding more freedom for Islamism, you talk big, Mr. Erdoğan, by defending and using democracy. In reality, you have a conveniently narrow understanding of the concept of democracy. During your long single-party dictatorship, your citizens cannot even talk on their phones freely: they fear they are being constantly monitored and recorded. Anyone who dares to criticize you and your radical views might find himself or herself in jail the following week. You have, Mr. Erdoğan, created an Arab-style regime of oppression. You have turned Atatürk's Turkey into a Republic of Fear.

Mr. Erdoğan, you and your partners in Islamism have been leading Atatürk's Republic of Turkey back into medieval darkness, and you have been doing this under the pretext of democracy and the so-called "alliance of civilizations." Iranian, Arab, Sudanese, and other Islamist dictators have no business referring to their shameful crimes against humanity as "civilization," and you should leave Turkey and Turkish Islam alone. You and your dangerous ambitions have no right to put Atatürk's Turkey into such a position.

Turkey is not and should not be the new Ottoman Empire of the region. Do not try to implement a radical Turkish foreign policy based heavily on the post 9/11 universal Islamism. Such grandiose idealism serves only to help Osama bin Laden's mission to destroy our world. Mr. Prime Minister, the Ottoman Empire is gone. If you have been dreaming that the Ottomans were all about your ideology's perception of "Islam," you are mistaken. You are a Prime Minister, I am a scholar. Mister Erdoğan, based on what you have been reading so far, you might think that I am some sort of "an enemy of Islam" (a dismissive response aimed at critics all over the "Muslim world" especially since 9/11). I am a proud Muslim, Mr. Erdoğan, and I refuse to let leaders like you hijack my religion for their deplorable political "gains."

The Palestinian, Hamas, Iranian, Hezbollah, and many other Islamist "causes" are not—and should never be—Turkish causes. There was a time, Mr. Erdoğan, you had proudly proclaimed: "Democracy is a streetcar. We will ride on it until we reach our destination, then get off!" Please tell the world, Mr. Erdoğan, if you have reached your final destination yet, so we can all get ready for where you may be headed next.

One Reaction to a Palestinian State Declaration

From United with Israel, 6 Sept 2011:

Israel is now preparing for what many believe will be a fatal blow to the peace process – the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in the United Nations.

According to the Oslo accords, co-signed by the United States and European countries, no unilateral steps were allowed to be taken by either side. Instead, peace would be negotiated directly between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority’s plan for a unilateral declaration of statehood openly breaks the agreements signed at Oslo.

Israel expects world leaders, especially in the United States and Europe, to understand that unilateral statehood declaration nullifies all aspects of the cooperation agreement and frees Israel from fulfilling any of its commitments in that agreement.

The Israeli government and various politicians have been coming up with “day after” plans to respond to this unilateral declaration.

In this video, Knesset Member Danny Danon promotes the idea of counteracting Palestinian statehood by annexing Judea and Samaria (known as the “West Bank”).

Anti-Israel Durban Declaration Reaffirmed

From National Review Online, 9 Sept 2011, by Anne Bayefsky:
On Thursday, Western negotiators at the U.N. caved in to the demands of envoys from Islamic states to renew a modern-day form of the decades-long U.N. smear campaign alleging that the Jewish state is racist. Diplomats agreed on a new “anti-racism” declaration that went public Friday at noon. The document is intended to be adopted by all the heads of state and government in attendance at the U.N. “Durban III” conference to be held in New York City on September 22. So far, nine democratic countries, including the United States, Israel, and Canada, have decided to boycott the event and will not agree to the racist “anti-racism” manifesto.

The final sticking point in negotiations, conducted at U.N. headquarters over the last two months, was whether the original Durban Declaration adopted in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, would be reaffirmed. Passed just three days before 9/11, with the enthusiastic participation of Yasser Arafat, the Durban Declaration grossly discriminates against Israel — the only one of 192 UN members charged with racism in the document.

On Thursday, Islamic states led by Benin, as well as South Africa and the rest of the bloc of developing states called the G-77 — which constitutes a majority of UN members — held firm to their demand to reaffirm the whole message of the 2001 declaration. Western opposition fell apart. The document therefore reads:
“We heads of state and government … reaffirm our political commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration.”

The document also catapults the Durban Declaration and its racist-Israel libel into the center of the U.N.’s “anti-racism” agenda. It “reaffirms” — actually for the first time — that the Durban Declaration is “a comprehensive framework and solid foundation” for combating racism. It downgrades the relative status of the U.N. racism treaty, which has been on the books for 46 years; negotiators refused to repeat even the 2009 Durban II statement that the treaty was “the principal international instrument to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” or to call for the treaty’s universal ratification. Non-parties to the U.N. racism treaty include the likes of Angola, Malaysia, North Korea, and Burma/Myanmar.

In U.N. backrooms Thursday, Islamic states and South Africa taunted the weakness of Western negotiators. South Africa said: “You say you want to commemorate the ten years of the existence of that document, but you don’t want to reaffirm it … Come to terms with the fact that you are celebrating ten years of the existence of a document.” Indeed, the goal of the entire spectacle is now unmistakably set out in the new declaration’s opening words: “We heads of state … gathered at the UN Headquarters … to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration.” It will be a celebration of a conference best remembered for handing anti-Semitism a global stage.

What happens next? The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, a native of Durban and lead champion of the “anti-racism” sham, will begin to parade the new declaration as a contribution to the equal protection of human rights. Prior to Durban II, Pillay audaciously told reporters: “The Durban Declaration transcended divisive and intolerant approaches.” The one and only head of state to attend Durban II in Geneva was the tolerant Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And as soon as the conference adopted an “outcome document,” Pillay held a news conference calling the event “a success story” and pointing to the language which related specifically to Palestinians.
Pillay is well known as the U.N.’s top salesman of the notorious Goldstone report, which she continues to push despite the main author’s having retracted the central allegations against Israel. Not surprisingly, therefore, Pillay has been issuing statements calling objections to Durban III “political distractions” “from the legitimate goal of the commemoration.”

No doubt U.N. negotiators have been careful to conceal their intent by dressing-up U.N.-based anti-Semitism as an “anti-racism” proclamation. Nowhere on its face, for instance, does the document mention the word “Israel.” The new declaration contains multiple seemingly innocuous references to the “victims of racism.” But the references were promoted by negotiators for Islamic states because the Durban Declaration itself refers to Palestinians as “victims” of Israeli racism.

Most revealing of the pathology of today’s United Nations is what happened to Western democratic countries when they were outnumbered — they surrendered. Fifty-five Western states refused to vote in favor of the 2010 General Assembly resolution sanctioning Durban III. But now that the actual event is around the corner and has clearly shaped up to meet the worst expectations, only nine states have pulled out.

Consequently, there are just 13 days left to find out if there are any other world leaders who really care about combating racism and intolerance — perpetrated inside and outside the United Nations.

The 9/11 ‘Overreaction’? Nonsense

America’s current demoralization is not a result of the War on Terror.
The new conventional wisdom on 9/11: We have created a decade of fear. We overreacted to 9/11 — al-Qaeda turned out to be a paper tiger; there never was a second attack — thereby bankrupting the country, destroying our morale, and sending us into national decline.
The secretary of defense says that al-Qaeda is on the verge of strategic defeat. True. But why? Al-Qaeda did not spontaneously combust. Yet, in a decade, Osama bin Laden went from the emir of radical Islam — jihadi hero after whom babies were named all over the Muslim world — to pathetic old recluse, almost incommunicado, watching shades of himself on a cheap TV in a bare room.
What turned the strong horse into the weak horse? Precisely the massive and unrelenting American War on Terror, a systematic worldwide campaign carried out with increasing sophistication, efficiency, and lethality — now so cheaply denigrated as an “overreaction.”
First came the Afghan campaign, once so universally supported that Democrats for years complained that President Bush was not investing enough blood and treasure there. Now, it is reduced to a talking point as one of the “two wars” that bankrupted us. Yet Afghanistan was utterly indispensable in defeating the jihadis then and now. We think of Pakistan as the terrorist sanctuary. We fail to see that Afghanistan is our sanctuary, the base from which we have freedom of action to strike Jihad Central in Pakistan and the border regions.
Iraq, too, was decisive, though not in the way we intended. We no more chose it to be the central campaign in the crushing of al-Qaeda than Eisenhower chose the Battle of the Bulge as the locus for the final destruction of the German war machine.
Al-Qaeda, uninvited, came out to fight us in Iraq, and it was not just defeated but humiliated. The local population — Arab, Muslim, Sunni, under the supposed heel of the invader — joined the infidel and rose up against the jihadi in its midst. It was a singular defeat from which al-Qaeda never recovered.
The other great achievement of the decade was the defensive anti-terror apparatus hastily constructed from scratch after 9/11 by President Bush, and then continued by President Obama. Continued why? Because it worked. It kept us safe — the warrantless wiretaps, the PATRIOT Act, extraordinary rendition, preventive detention, and, yes, Guantanamo.
Perhaps, says the new conventional wisdom, but these exertions have bankrupted the country and led to our current mood of despair and decline.
Rubbish. The total costs of “the two wars” is $1.3 trillion. That’s less than one eleventh of the national debt, less than one year of Obama deficit spending. During the golden Eisenhower 1950s of robust economic growth averaging 5 percent annually, defense spending was 11 percent of GDP and 60 percent of the federal budget. Today, defense spending is 5 percent of GDP and 20 percent of the budget. So much for imperial overstretch.
Yes, we are approaching bankruptcy. But this has as much to do with the War on Terror as do sunspots. Looming insolvency comes not from our shrinking defense budget but from the explosion of entitlements. They devour nearly half the federal budget.
As for the Great Recession and financial collapse, you can attribute it to misguided federal policy pushing homeownership through risky subprime lending. To Fannie and Freddie. To greedy bankers, unscrupulous lenders, naïve (and greedy) homebuyers. To computer-enabled derivatives so complicated and interwoven as to elude control. But to the War on Terror? Nonsense.
9/11 was our Pearl Harbor. This time, however, the enemy had no home address. No Tokyo. Which is why today’s war could not be wrapped up in a mere four years. It was unconventional war by an unconventional enemy embedded within a worldwide religious community. Yet in a decade, we largely disarmed and defeated it, and developed — albeit through trial, error, and tragic loss — the means to continue to pursue its remnants at rapidly decreasing cost. That is a historic achievement.
Our current difficulties and gloom are almost entirely economic in origin, the bitter fruit of misguided fiscal, regulatory, and monetary policies that had nothing to do with 9/11. America’s current demoralization is not a result of the War on Terror. On the contrary. The denigration of the War on Terror is the result of our current demoralization, of retroactively reading today’s malaise into the real — and successful — history of our 9/11 response.
*Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2011, The Washington Post Writers Group.

Turkish tantrums

Friday, September 09, 2011

WHO is practising apartheid?

From Hudson New York, February 2, 2011, by Herbert I. London:
(a while ago, but very relevant in the leadup to the PA unilateral bid for recofnition as a "state")

In a recent discussion of the anticipated Palestinian state, Mahmoud Abbas, leader in the territory, said he "would not tolerate one single Jew in his new country, Palestine." 

Speaking before journalists in Ramallah, he clearly noted, "We have already said, completely openly, and it will stay that way: 'If there is a Palestinian country with Jerusalem as its capital, we will not accept that even one single Jew will live there.'"
Abbas rejected any suggestion that Jews in Judea and Samaria, who have lived in their homes for decades, could remain under Palestinian rule. Meanwhile, in all negotiations, the Palestinian position is that "Palestinian refugees" have the right of return to Israel. According to the Abbas proposition, therefore, Israel should open its borders for Arabs while Palestine closes its borders for Jews.

Here is the deal: Arabs, who now represent about 20% of the total population in Israel, can now live in Israel as full fledged citizens with all the rights that being a citizen confers. They can have their own political parties and settle in their own communities. But on the other side of this political ledger, not one Jew, including those who reside on the West Bank, can remain, once Palestine becomes an independent nation.
What more does one have to know? Sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. There is, and will remain, in the proposed new state, different standards for Arabs and Jews. Hence, what precisely is a two state solution? An Arab state that immediately becomes a threat to the very existence of Israel, as Jews are regarded as the enemy and, by virtue of law, must be ostracized -- or worse.

To make matters even more surreal, Abbas is considered an ideological moderate. After all, he does not call for killing Jews, only for a form of apartheid, of absolute separation. Should such a Palestinian nation be created, how long would it take for open hostilities between the two states to break out, especially with the old problem of succession we are now witnessing in the Arab world?

These questions, and a host of others, will have to be addressed to meet the demands of a two state solution. But even more fundamental is the attitude of the Palestinians themselves. If Jews are not permitted there, does that mean that Jewish tourist dollars and investment capital are not welcome there, either. Where does one draw the line?

In context, if Abbas did not have to mollify radical sentiment -- that he continues to create -- in the West Bank, these unmistakably racist comments would be an embarrassment, uttered only in private, if then. But his are the views of a radical, sensing that the tide of world opinion is with him. Unfortunately, he may be right about that: the media elite, as well as so-called human rights organizations, have so far remained silent over -- let alone condemned -- his forthright endorsement of Arab apartheid.

If this Palestinian state is created, Israelis should not have any illusions about what it will mean. Further isolation, increased hostility, border tension and suicide bombings. Rather than have a new Palestinian state that would be a force for peace the region, Abbas "The Moderate" has made it unmistakably clear that he plans to stack the deck against Israel.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Greece, Israel sign Cooperation Memorandum

From Athens News, 4 Sept 2011:

Greek Defence Minister Panos Beglitis and his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak, with whom he met in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon starting his three-day official visit to Israel, signed a Cooperation Memorandum in the security sector between Greece and Israel.

Beglitis said "I come as my country's Defence Minister to state our political will as a government, as well as the majority of the country's political forces, for the two countries, the two governments, the two peoples, to work together so that we can further develop and deepen our bilateral relations in all sectors of mutual interest and concern".

This is the first visit by a Greek Defence minister to Israel and part of a cooperation memorandum agreed last year between Prime Minister George Papandreou and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while it is also taking place at a moment when Israel's relations with Turkey are worsening, shaping new balance factors in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Defence minister ...said he shares concerns on the security of the state of Israel and its legal right that emanates from International Law on self defence, condemning all those terrorist acts from organisations that operate from occupied Palestinian territory against citizens of the State of Israel.

Barak also spoke with positive words of the upgrading of the two countries' military and defence cooperation, expressing his satisfaction over his Greek counterpart's visit.

"We are seeing with satisfaction the deepening and widening of relations between us and the Greeks in all sectors, including the security sector, and we desire to see the deepening and widening of this cooperation between the governments, between the Defence Ministries and between our peoples," Barak said.

Beglitis also met with the chief of general staff of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz., while on Monday he will be received by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while he will also have a private meeting with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (AMNA)

Obama Again Omits Israel in His List of Countries Suffering Terrorist Attacks

...President Obama once again omitted Israel in his list of countries suffering from terrorist attacks. 
 In the talking points issued by the Obama Administration for the forthcoming tenth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C, Israel is ignored as one of the targets of terrorism.

In the talking points provided by officials in several government agencies to the New York Times, the following statement appears
"As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world … We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London
(Thom Shanker & Eric Schmitt, "White House Issues Guides on Sept. 11 Observances," New York Times, August 29, 2011).

This is not the first time that President Barack Obama has omitted mention of Israel as a target of terrorist groups. When running for President, then-Senator Obama said in his Berlin speech, "we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York" ("Obama Speech Transcript: Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery) "A World that Stands as One", Berlin, Germany, July 24, 2008).

Also, President Obama conspicuously omitted mention of Israel's extraordinary contribution to relief efforts in the wake of Haitiâ's terrible January 2010 earthquake. Although Israel's relief efforts were exceptional, only matched by those of the United States, and were in fact singled out for praise by former President Bill Clinton, President Obama omitted any mention of Israel, saying instead  that "help continues to flow in, not just from the United States but from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others" President Obama's Remarks After His Call with Haitian President Pr'val," White House Blog, January 15, 2010).

ZOA (Zionist Organisation of America) Board Chairman Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, "The ZOA is appalled that President Obama refuses to include Israel as a country that has suffered from Islamic terrorism.  He cites country after country that has endured far less terrorism than Israel.  This is the third time President Obama has ignored Israel in an important citation.  It seems impossible to believe that this could be anything less than intentional.

"Israel has been a primary target of Islamist and Arab terrorist organizations for decades, with special intensity in the past eleven years. Almost 2,000 Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in this period and over 10,000 more wounded and maimed. Eight more Israelis were murdered only last week in a terrorist missile attack. In fact, in per capita terms, far more Israelis have been murdered by terrorists than Americans were murdered in 9/11. The scenes of repeated terrorist carnage on Israeli streets are, tragically, all too familiar to all of us. It is therefore hard to believe that President Obama's omission of an Israeli city when referring to cities around the world that have been targeted by terrorists in recent years was coincidental, especially when he has omitted mention of Israel in comparable contexts in the past.

"As we saw in the earlier examples cited, President Obama will avoid mentioning Israel in a favorable or sympathetic context even when such an omission is glaring. Sadly, it would seem that President Obama is willing to exclude Israel from the common concern of mankind in confronting and memorializing the terrorism of which he speaks. Worse, such omission implies that those who murder and maim Israelis are not really terrorists. We urge President Obama to publicly explain this omission and correct it." 

Israel is vindicated on the Gaza flotilla, but Turkey still pouts.

From The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011:

...The United Nations has conducted another inquiry into an Israeli military operation—and produced a report that mainly vindicates the Jewish state. ...The Turkish government has responded to the U.N. report by withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelling Israel's from Ankara.

[The UN's  full Palmer Report into the Mavi Marmara maritime incident last May is available  here, and a summary of its key provisions is here.

The Palmer report—named for the inquiry's chairman, former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer—was commissioned by the U.N.'s Secretary General to investigate the May 2010 "flotilla incident," when six ships sailing from Turkey to Gaza on an alleged humanitarian mission were boarded by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of Gaza. Nine passengers were killed (and several Israeli soldiers badly beaten) in the ensuing melee, sparking a crisis in Jerusalem's already frayed relations with Ankara.

Given the U.N.'s track record on Israel, one might have expected this latest report to be a reprise of Richard Goldstone's notorious report alleging Israeli war crimes during its 2009 war with Gaza (charges later retracted by Mr. Goldstone). Instead, the Palmer report offers a point-by-point rebuttal to some of the most preposterous accusations leveled against Israel.

One such accusation from the Turks is that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is illegal because blockades can only be legally imposed on another state, and Israel has never recognized Palestine as a state. The Palmer report dismisses that legal legerdemain, noting that  
"Hamas is the de facto political and administrative authority in is Hamas that is firing projectiles into Israel or permitting others to do does not operate in a political vacuum...Israel was entitled to take reasonable steps to prevent the influx of weapons into Gaza."

Then there is the fiction that the flotilla had embarked on a "humanitarian mission." If that were true, its organizers would not have spurned Israel's offer to off-load their supplies in the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod. As the report acidly observes, the flotilla's largest ship and the site of the fighting—the Mavi Marmara—barely contained any humanitarian goods beyond "foodstuffs and toys carried in passengers' personal baggage."

The report also gives weight to the view that a "hardcore group of about 40 activists" from an Islamist NGO known as the IHH "had effective control over the vessel during the journey and were not subjected to security screening" when they boarded the ship in Istanbul. "It is clear to the Panel that preparations were made by some of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara well in advance to violently resist any boarding attempt."

Simply put, the flotilla's organizers were spoiling for the fight they later would claim as evidence of Israeli criminality. That's a fight Israel went out of its way to avoid, both through high-level diplomatic representations to Ankara and repeated warnings to the flotilla to turn away from the blockade. Too bad, then, that the report makes a weak stab at balance by chiding the conduct of Israeli soldiers in the heat of a battle against dozens of thugs armed with iron bars, chains, knives and—given that two of the Israeli commandos were shot—probably firearms as well.

All of this might have provoked a bit of soul-searching within the Turkish government, just as its once-warm embrace of Syria's Bashar Assad has. Instead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has doubled down on his anti-Israel bets, insisting that Jerusalem apologize to Turkey, compensate the victims and lift its blockade of Gaza as the price for his forgiveness. 

The Palmer report is a fresh reminder—from the least likely of sources—of why Israel has no honorable choice but to spurn those demands. The Turks will learn in their own time that being Hamas's patron is a loser's game.

Is Iran Turning its Back on Syria?

From RSIS Commentaries, No. 129/2011 dated 6 September 2011, by James M. Dorsey:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest ally, Iran, is hinting that its support for the embattled leader is not unconditional. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is preparing for the likelihood that Assad will fall.

THE ONGOING popular revolt in Syria against President Bashar al Assad is putting strains on his relations with Iran’s theocratic ruler Ayatollah Khamenei. Syria’s relationship with Iran has been based on political opportunism rather than a shared common good. Unlike the Islamic republic, Syria has been ruled as a secular country even if its Shia-related Alawite sect dominates the Arab nation’s Sunni Muslim majority.

Nevertheless the alliance with Khamenei puts Assad at odds with his Arab brethren, many of whom see Iran as a subversive power seeking to undermine them with the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. But it gave Assad political clout and allowed him to position himself as the one Arab leader who had not bowed to the West.

Safeguarding Iranian interests

In return Assad was Khamenei’s wedge in the Arab world and his conduit to Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon on Israel’s northern border. Syria was the only Arab state to back Iran in its eight-year long war against Iraq in the 1980s. The Arab League that groups the region’s 22 Arab states has condemned Assad’s brutal crackdown on the anti-government protesters; Saudi Arabia and most other Gulf states have withdrawn their ambassadors from Damascus. The Syrian military’s violent crushing of the protesters in the past six months has isolated Assad internationally. Turkey, and even his staunchest non-Muslim friends, China and Russia, are pulling back and demanding that he halt the bloodshed against his own people.
As the international community anticipates that Assad’s ouster is just a matter of time, Iran’s Khamenei is not about to become the only leader to back a loser. However Khamenei is unlikely to declare his change of heart publicly, for that would make the Islamic republic look like a fair weather friend.
Khamenei, however, will want to salvage what he can by positioning himself for the post-Assad era so that he can safeguard Iran’s strategic interests in Syria. He is conscious that support for Assad erodes Iranian credibility in the Middle East and North Africa. A recent poll conducted in six Arab countries by the Arab-American Institute showed that Iranian popularity had dropped dramatically, while there are reports by defectors from Assad’s security forces that Iranian military personnel and snipers have been deployed alongside the Syrian leader’s acolytes to fire on protesters. Khamenei is said to be signalling that their alliance may not be eternal.
Writing on the wall
Going by the Iranian state-run media Khamenei and other Iranian leaders are for the first time starting to prepare for a world without Assad.  

To be sure, the Iranian press continues to give loud support to Assad and denounce the protesters as foreign agents backed by the United States, Britain and Israel. Iranian news agencies still allege that millions are on the streets of Syrian cities to express their support for Assad. But for the first time, the media are also reporting on Syrian military attacks on unarmed protesters, quoting human rights activists, and not just echoing Syria’s official version that it is battling armed Al Qaeda-inspired gangs operating on behalf of foreign powers. 

In fact, the Iranian media have started to go further, calling on Assad to engage the protesters and embark on a road of reform rather than rely on military might to resolve his domestic problems. "Assad's salvation is in reforms and not in the barrel of the gun," read a recent headline in Jomhouri Eslami, a newspaper with close ties to Khamenei.

The newspaper reported that the Syrian military had killed hundreds of civilians in the cities of Homs and Dera’a. "A question which Assad and his advisers have to answer is: how long can they continue with armed confrontation and violence? Can they use more violence than Gaddafi and bombard demonstrators like him? Did Gaddafi's use of violence return the people to their homes?" Jomhouri Eslami asked in reference to Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi’s bitter war against rebels seeking to overthrow him. The paper’s comments are remarkable given the United Nations-authorised no-fly zone in Libya and NATO backing for the rebels.

Losing Iran would leave Assad completely isolated – especially in the wake of Turkish warnings that Ankara can no longer stand idly by as the killing in Syria continues. The writing is clearly on the wall for the embattled Syrian president.

*James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.