Saturday, October 27, 2012

US is not holding new Egypt regime to account

From FoxNews, 26 Oct 2012, by Paul Alster:

The new tone coming out of Egypt - punctuated by President Mohammed Morsi mouthing "Amen" to an Imam's call for the destruction of Israel - is rattling residents of the Jewish state, who claim the Obama administration isn't taking the ratcheted-up rhetoric seriously....

...“There is no question that the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood has prompted open expressions of anti-Semitism in ways that were never publicly expressed during the Mubarak period," Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office told Fox "The Obama administration is treating this far less seriously than it should be.”...
...The party that propelled Morsi to power ...has made no secret of its contempt for Judaism and Christianity....

..."They are giving Egypt’s new leadership tremendous latitude when it comes to things like this, despite the fact that these are the type of issues on which they should be held accountable,” Zuroff said....

...Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaking on Israel radio, voiced rare recent criticism of Egypt’s efforts to rein in Jihadists in Sinai, saying, “It’s a question of Egypt deciding to assert its sovereignty against terrorists... It hasn’t happened yet.”

CIA minders in Benghazi were denied readily-available support

From Fox News, 26 Oct 2012, by Jennifer Griffin: urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command...
... the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from....
...Tyrone Woods [and] fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty ...Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection ...were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began -- a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe....

Friday, October 26, 2012

'Likud-Yisrael Beytenu merger will make Israel stronger'

From Israel Hayom, 26 Oct 2012, by Mati Tuchfeld and Shlomo Cesana:

Netanyahu and Lieberman announce joint list for their parties and trigger a political earthquake that could solidify the right's dominance and diminish strength of ultra-Orthodox parties
PM: Now is the time to project strength in the face of threats.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took the political world by surprise on Thursday when they announced their parties, Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, would run on a joint list in the upcoming elections on Jan. 22.The move comes as a political earthquake, which some call the Right's Big Bang, that could reshape the race. Analysts believe the joint run is designed to cement the right's hold on the premiership and will likely make it easier for Netanyahu to forge a 61-member coalition. If polls are accurate, the joint list could potentially increase the parties' Knesset representation. Currently Likud has 27 seats and Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu has 15. Lieberman's Knesset candidates will be afforded slots on the Likud list in a way that reflects the party's current size.
Netanyahu will still head the Likud list, but Lieberman would be guaranteed the number two slot. He would also become the most senior minister in Netanyahu's government if the latter is elected to a third term in January. The agreement does not, however, make Lieberman the first in the line of succession in the event the prime minister is incapacitated. Lieberman has already indicated he wants to continue serving as foreign minister.
..."By joining forces we will have the necessary strength to defend Israel from the national security threats it faces overseas and the power to introduce economic and social reforms at home," Netanyahu said.
...Netanyahu went on to list the challenges the new government was likely to face: "Now is the time to project strength vis-a-vis our enemies, and show unity at home."
"I prefer a strong coalition that relies on one big, united party that is based on true partnership," the prime minister said.
..."In light of the challenges we face, we need national responsibility," the foreign minister said. "It is time to do away with the leftovers of the trendy, flash-in-the-pan parties that become obsolete after a single Knesset term."
Likud and Yisrael Beytenu both categorically denied a Channel 2 report on Thursday that Netanyahu and Lieberman both plan to serve as the prime minister on a rotating basis, where Netanyahu would hand over power to Lieberman a few years into his third term in office.
"Channel two did not ask us to comment on this, but they went ahead with this false claim," a Likud official said on Thursday. "This claim is baseless." Yisrael Beytenu issued a similar statement as well.
...Running on a joint ticket could greatly diminish the strength of the ultra-Orthodox parties and would likely make it impossible for a similar left-wing alliance to unseat Netanyahu by winning more Knesset seats. Likud officials believe the merger may ultimately serve as a springboard for Lieberman if he chooses to run for the Likud leadership and become the head of the right-wing bloc.
Under the agreement, Lieberman's party would receive slots 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 20 on the Likud list as well as additional slots further down. Despite having entertained the notion of canceling the Likud primaries in favor of an organizing committee that would handpick candidates, the party will go ahead with the internal mechanism as planned...

...and from JPost, 27 Oct 2012:

... Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Israeli our Home) ... have worked closely, separated, and again came together since Lieberman's first serious political office as Director-General of Likud when Netanyahu was party leader 1993-96, and then Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office during Netanyahu's first term 1996-97.
Initial responses to the party union from centrist and leftist politicians branded it extremist. Some Likud Members of Knesset also expressed their opposition. They accused their party head of moving too far to the right, perhaps out of concern that bringing politicians from Israel our Home into Likud would reduce their own chances of getting a high enough place on the new party's list to assure their return to the next Knesset.
... Lieberman himself has moderated his pronouncements as Foreign Minister. Some Likud MKs accuse him of not being sufficiently clear in support of settlements. Labor Party leader Shelli Yehimovitch, when pressed by an interviewer to say that she would never coalesce with Likud our Home, avoided ruling out her participation in a post-election coalition with the new party. Individuals affiliated with Israel our Home in the current government, notably Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, have both acted as responsible professionals, reflecting their backgrounds in the Foreign Ministry and the Police. They would fit with any left-of-center to right-of-center Israeli government.
Speculation is that the Netanyahu-Lieberman union will push three or four claimants of leading the Israeli center (Livni, Lapid, Mofaz, Olmert) to form some kind of unity. Until now, however, none of these self-appointed Messiahs have been able to accept second place on anyone else's party list.
The moderation of the Israeli government (including Netanyahu and Lieberman in key positions since 2009) appears in ...Israel's actions vis a vis Gaza .... Not only have Israel's responses to periodic episodes of rockets and other attacks been measured and directed against individuals involved in the violence, but the moderation is apparent in what has not been discussed. Politicians, military personnel, and the media have avoided talking about some potentially juicy targets, including high-rise, upscale apartment blocks, that could--in an explicit--tit for tat--be turned to dust along with their occupants in response to rockets aimed at Sderot, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, and other Israeli cities and towns.
Gaza has miserable slums, but also some spiffy developments seldom portrayed by those concerned to emphasize Gazans' suffering. Pictures are available here, here, and here.
Most rockets from Gaza land in empty fields, and most of those aimed at cities are brought down by Israeli anti-missile missiles. However, enough get through to civilian areas to cause deaths, injuries, property damage, and a great deal of anxiety. Israeli governments, including that led by Netanyahu and Lieberman, absorb the considerable domestic criticism about their inability to stop the violence coming from Gaza rather than ordering artillery and air strikes that in a matter of minutes could demonstrate to Gaza the cost of targeting Israeli civilians.
Those who know what U.S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman did to the Confederacy, what Harry Truman did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the British did to Dresden may be asking why Israel does not do it to Gaza. Or maybe to Tehran.
The Israeli reality is that such options are not in the discussion....

Bombing of the Khartoum weapons factory

A mission with multiple messages
If, as Sudan claims, those were Israeli planes that bombed its military factory on Wednesday, Jerusalem would not have lacked reasons.
If, as the Sudanese claim, the four desert-camouflaged fighter planes that swooped down on a military factory near Khartoum early Wednesday took off from Israel, then the ruin they left in their wake was a message not just to the country’s genocidal leader Omar al-Bashir but also to Gaza’s terror groups, to Iran and to the West.
The mission might also have been ordered to remove a large stockpile of weapons slated for Gaza or Sinai; as a warm-up drill for Iran; and as a preemptive strike, albeit risky, that preserves the fragile peace with Egypt, which Iran has every interest in destroying.
So many potential aims. Such rumbling silence from Jerusalem.
Let’s start with the West. Surely several officers in the Pentagon and elsewhere noted that the distance between Jerusalem and Khartoum is identical to the distance between the Israeli capital and Qom. Over recent months, there has been ample talk of Israel’s ostensible inability to strike deep within Iran. Much of that talk admittedly revolved around the potency of an Israeli attack and its capacity to inflict damage on Iran’s nuclear plants, but an apparent ability to evade or cripple enemy radar for a distance of some 1,700 kilometers would doubtless now be duly noted.
For Tehran, the strike might have sharpened the message that so long as part of the nuclear program remains above ground, it is vulnerable to attack. Perhaps Iran’s air defenses are better than Sudan’s — or Syria’s, for that matter. And surely a strike against Iran would be far more complex. But Iran might now be wondering afresh whether its radar will detect enemy planes cutting through its air space.
The attack would also seem to underline that the Iran-Sudan-Gaza link, channeling an increased flow of arms, will not thrive undisturbed. “Sudan is the pivot on which Iran’s Africa relations turns,” said Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. From there, he noted, Tehran long worked to undermine Hosni Mubarak’s hold on power in Egypt, and from there Iran has been sending arms shipments to Gaza.
President al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague on three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, has longstanding ties with an impressive array of terror organizations – both Sunni and Shiite. From 1991-1995 he hosted Osama bin Laden in Sudan, and his ally, Hassan al-Turabi, the head of the National Islamic Front in Sudan, organized joint training camps for Hezbollah, the PLO and al-Qaeda operatives among others, according to the 9-11 Commission report.
Critically for Israel, and despite al-Bashir’s Sunni beliefs, those partnerships include links to Iran. “The ties between Tehran and Khartoum were significantly tightened ever since al-Bashir came to power in 1989,” said Karmon. Much as it did for al-Qaeda during the nineties, he added, Khartoum has allowed Iran to build several “very large bases.”
At one point, many shipments of those made-in-Sudan arms went to Hamas. It was in this context that many viewed the 2010 assassination in Dubai of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the chief of Iranian weapons procurement for Hamas, and the air strikes against weapons convoys and arms dealers in Sudan that began in 2009.
Today, Karmon said, Hamas is out of the loop. Ever since the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hamas leadership’s decision to leave Damascus, Hamas, unlike the Salafist groups that will cooperate with any element fighting the West, has taken sides with the Sunni mainstream — which is to say it is locked into a struggle for regional supremacy with Iran and Shiite Islam. "The visit of the Emir of Qatar is the final proof that Hamas has moved to the Sunni side," Karmon said of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s visit to Gaza on Tuesday.
Iran, on the other hand, still maintains “a distinct interest” in pitting Israel against Egypt. For this reason it continues to supply Islamic Jihad and the Salafist groups in Gaza and Sinai with weapons — hoping to draw Israel into a battle with Egypt, which would weaken both Israel and the Sunni camp in the Middle East.
Israel, finally, has several possible reasons to strike Khartoum. One, there may have been a large stockpile of weapons that Israel wanted to remove from the market. Two, hitting a major arms factory and not just a convoy, as in the past, “sends a signal to the Iranians” that their installations are vulnerable, Karmon said. And lastly, he speculated, “it could be a sort of live fire drill” in preparation for Iran.
Israeli officials, for their part, were keeping mum on Thursday. Cheerfully so.

For an in-depth analysis of Sudan’s pivotal role in the Iranian penetration in Africa see Ely Karmon's article “The Iran/Hezbollah Strategicand Terrorist Threat to Africa

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rockets Rain on Israel. Do You Care?

From Huffington Post, 24 Oct 2012, by Arsen Ostrovsky, International Human Rights Lawyer:
I'm angry. most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel -- over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
In the space of 24 hours, since Tuesday evening, 80 rockets have been fired on southern Israel...
A dozen Israelis have already been injured, with several of them seriously. The only reason more have not been hurt is because Israel has invested millions of dollars in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome defense system, while Hamas has invested millions of dollars in foreign aid in more rockets. 2012, over 600 rockets have already been fired from Gaza with no end in sight.
I'm angry that the world only notices when Israel undertakes its (sovereign) right to defend its citizens. Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on Washington, London, Paris or Moscow? No nation on earth can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people.
I'm angry that while the United Nations never hesitates to call a 'special emergency session' on the 'Question of Palestine' or pass the umpteenth resolution blindly condemning Israel, that I am still waiting for a session on the 'Question of Israel' and Palestinian terror. In fact, 24 hours after the rocket attacks started, I am still waiting for even one syllable of condemnation from the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly or Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
I'm angry that Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, could not find a moment to condemn the Palestinian rockets....
I'm angry that while the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton slammed Israel last week over the building of several hundred apartments ...I am still waiting for her to slam the Palestinians for firing 80 rockets in one day.
I'm angry that there are those who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish State, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror.
I'm angry that ships and flotillas continue to set sail for Gaza to show 'solidarity' with the Palestinians, but where is their solidarity with the people of southern Israel?
I'm angry that while human rights organizations like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and others do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians, the human rights of Israelis are seemingly not important enough for them. Is Jewish blood really that cheap.
I'm angry that mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, lead their stories about the rocket attacks with such headlines as "Four Palestinian Militants Killed in Israeli Airstrikes," and not "Palestinian Terrorists Rain Down Over 80 Rockets against one million Israelis."
...I'm angry at the fact that all civilians in southern Israel today were instructed not to send their kids to school and stay in bomb shelters. What sort of inhumane way is that for children to live?
I'm angry when people continue to say that 'settlements' are the main impediment to peace, and not Hamas, a terrorist group which does not recognize Israel's right to exist and seeks its destruction.
I'm angry when I see pictures like this, of a home in southern Israel hit by a rocket from Gaza today, yet have the audacity to say "ah, but they're just like toys; what damage can they do?"
I'm angry that there is someone out there who does not know me and has never met me, yet still wants to kill me -- for no other reason than being Israeli.
I'm angry when I hear residents in southern Israel say "we just lie on top of our children and try to protect them with our bodies" or that "we're living on borrowed time" -- yet the world seems oblivious to their desperate cries for help.
No, I am not angry. I am outraged.

Hizbullah's Unspoken War in Syria

  • The fighting in Syria has already spilled over the border into Lebanon, threatening the fragile sectarian balance holding that country together. Cross-border attacks have become customary, with the Syrian Army shelling and shooting into Lebanese villages that it says are harboring Syrian rebels.
  • Across from El Hermel in northeastern Lebanon and inside Syrian territory, a string of villages inhabited by Shiites has been clashing with majority-Sunni villages that back the Syrian opposition forces in the countryside of Qusayr, on the outskirts of Homs. Hizbullah is interfering directly and militarily in Qusayr under the pretext of protecting the Shiite villages in the area. It currently claims control of 18 villages along the widest part of the Orontes River Basin.
  • The French Mandatory authorities delineated the Lebanon-Syria border in the years following the creation of Greater Lebanon in 1920, but the border was never finalized. What is happening on the ground could be called de facto demarcation since Hizbullah has a presence in the string of Shiite villages (annexing them de facto to Lebanon), while the Free Syrian Army is present in most Sunni villages, thus annexing them to Syria.
  • Hizbullah appears to be carving out a 20-kilometer (12-mile) border corridor to the Syrian Alawite enclave on the coast. Hizbullah appears to be seeking to control strategic access to the Orontes River Basin in Syria and Lebanon to form a contiguous Alawite-Shiite mini-state. Yet the Shiite belt would likely face a major challenge from Sunnis on both sides of the border.
  • For the first time, Hizbullah is "exporting" its military know-how and might for use against Arab neighbors, in order to respond to Tehran's strategic scheme to protect the Assad regime from falling. But by doing so, Hizbullah has alienated the Sunni majority in Syria and also in Lebanon. It would be fair to assess that in case Assad's regime falls, Hizbullah will also have to fight for its life in the Lebanese context.
  • Hizbullah has been fighting for years to prove its "Lebanese" credentials. Fighting alongside the Alawite regime has turned Hizbullah back into what it really is: just another Lebanese armed militia, a Shiite army at the service of its patrons, sponsors, and protectors in Tehran.
*Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.
Click here to read the full article.

Libya - Failed Foreign Policy

From SecureAmericaNow, 20 Oct 2012:

America was attacked on September 11th, 2012 by Al Qaeda at our consulate in Libya. Our consulate was burned and four Americans including our ambassador were murdered. President Obama and his administration denied it was a terrorist attack for weeks.
Since then, Americans have learned that Obama and his administration knew it was an act of terror all along and chose to tell the public it was because of a Youtube video protest. It's time for Obama to tell the truth on Libya. We can't afford more apologies, excuses, and weakness.

Radicals at the White House


Israel's occupation is LEGAL

From Myths and Facts, October 24, 2012, by Eli E. Hertz:
Resolution 242 is the cornerstone for what it calls “a just and lasting peace.” It calls for a negotiated solution based on “secure and recognized boundaries” – recognizing the flaws in Israel’s previous temporary borders – the 1948 Armistice lines or the “Green Line” by not calling upon Israel to withdraw from ‘all occupied territories,’ but rather “from territories occupied.” [...and it has done that, in the entire Sinai, which is larger than all the territories it now holds, combined - SL]
The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242 in 1967 following the Six-Day War. It followed Israel’s takeover of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan. The resolution was to become the foundation for future peace negotiations. Yet contrary to Arab contentions, a careful examination of the resolution will show that it does not require Israel to return to the June 4, 1967 Armistice lines or “Green Line.”
Resolution 242 was adopted on November 22, 1967, more than five months after the war. Although Israel launched a pre-emptive and surprise strike at Egypt on June 5, 1967, this was a response to months of belligerent declarations and actions by its Arab neighbors that triggered the war: 465,000 enemy troops, more than 2,880 tanks and 810 aircrafts, preparing for war, surrounded Israel in the weeks leading up to June 5, 1967. In addition, Egypt had imposed an illegal blockade against Israeli shipping by closing the Straits of Tiran, the Israeli outlet to the Red Sea and Israel’s only supply route to Asia – an act of aggression – in total violation of international law. In legal parlance, those hostile acts are recognized by the Law of Nations as a casus belli [Latin: Justification for acts of war].
The Arab measures went beyond mere power projection. Arab states did not plan merely to attack Israel to dominate it or grab territory; their objective was to destroy Israel. Their own words leave no doubt as to this intention. The Arabs meant to annihilate a neighboring state and fellow member of the UN by force of arms:
§ “We intend to open a general assault against Israel. This will be total war. Our basic aim will be to destroy Israel.” (Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, May 26, 1967)
§ “The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.” (Egyptian Radio, ‘Voice of the Arabs,’ May 18, 1967)
§ “I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.” (Syrian Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad, May 20, 1967)
§ “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. ... Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.” (Iraqi President Abdur Rahman Aref, May 31, 1967)
Arab declarations about destroying Israel were made preceding the war when control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as Sinai and the Golan Heights, were not in Israel’s hands, and no so-called Israeli occupation existed.
That is why the UN Security Council recognized that Israel had acquired the territory from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria not as a matter of aggression, but as an act of self-defense. That is also why Resolution 242 was passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter rather than Chapter VII. As explained above, UN resolutions adopted under Chapter VI call on nations to negotiate settlements, while resolutions under the more stringent Chapter VII section deal with clear acts of aggression that allow the UN to enforce its resolutions upon any state seen as threatening the security of another state or states.
Although Resolution 242 refers to “the inadmissibility” of acquiring territory by force, a statement used in nearly all UN resolutions relating to Israel, Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, explains that the principle of “acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible” must be read together with other principles:
“Namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”
Resolution 242 immediately follows to emphasize the “need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security.”
While Resolution 242 may call upon Israel to withdraw from territory it captured during the war, the UN recognized that Israel cannot return to the non-secure borders existing before the Six-Day War that invited aggression – frontiers that the usually mild-mannered and eloquent former Israeli diplomat, the late Abba Eban, branded “Auschwitz borders.”
The Meaning of the Words “All” & “The”
As noted above, the UN adopted Resolution 242 in late November 1967, five months after the Six-Day War ended. It took that long because intense and deliberate negotiations were needed to carefully craft a document that met the Arabs’ demand for a return of land, and Israel’s requirement that the Arabs recognize Israel’s legitimacy, to make a lasting peace.
It also took that long because each word in the resolution was deliberately chosen and certain words were deliberately omitted, according to negotiators who drafted the resolution.
So although Arab officials claim Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from all territory it captured in June 1967, nowhere in the resolution is that demand delineated. Nor did those involved in the negotiations and drafting of the resolution want such a requirement. Instead, they say Resolution 242 explicitly and intentionally omitted the terms ‘the territories’ or ‘all territories.’
The wording of UN Resolution 242 clearly reflects the contention that none of the territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war.
Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 is Israel branded as an invader or unlawful occupier of the territories.
The minutes of the six month ‘debate’ over the wording of Resolution 242, as noted above, showing that draft resolutions attempted to brand Israel an aggressor and illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council.
Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, went on record in 1991 to make this clear:
“Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War - not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”
Professor Rostow continues and describes:
“Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from ‘all’ the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile’ and ‘vulnerable’ Armistice Demarcation Lines [‘Green Line’], but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries …”
Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN and the key drafter of the resolution, said several years later:
“We knew that the boundaries of ’67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers; they were a cease-fire line of a couple decades earlier. We did not say the ’67 boundaries must be forever.”
Referring to Resolution 242, Lord Caradon added:
“The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary ...”
In a 1974 statement he said:
“It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967. … That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.”
It is true, as Arab leaders correctly note, that certain suggested drafts of Resolution 242 exist that contain that tiny controversial “the” in reference to territories. Arab leaders say this proves that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. However, those versions of the resolution are in French. Under international law, English-language versions are followed and accepted as the conclusive reference point, and French versions are not.
Arthur J. Goldberg, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key draftee of Resolution 242, stated:
“The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967 lines. I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.”
Political figures and international jurists have discussed the existence of “permissible” or “legal occupations.” In a seminal article on this question, entitled What Weight to Conquest, Professor, Judge Schwebel wrote:
“A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense. … Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.
“As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”
Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, has concurred, further clarifying:
“Territorial rights under International Law. ... By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel’s territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article.”
The Drafting History of 242 Shows it Pertains to all Refugees – Jewish and Arab
Lastly, Resolution 242 speaks of “a just settlement of the refugee problem,” not ‘the Palestinian or Arab refugee problem.’ The history of the resolution shows that it was intentional and reflected recognition that the Arab-Israeli conflict created two refugee populations, not one. Parallel to the estimated 600,000 Arabs who left Israel, more than 899,000 Jews fled from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war – 650,000 of them finding asylum in Israel.
A history of the behind-the-scenes work drafting the resolution shows that the former Soviet Union Ambassador Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov sought to restrict the term ‘just settlement’ to Palestinian refugees only. But former U.S. Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the American Ambassador to the UN who played a key role in the ultimate language adopted, pointed out:
“A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of ‘achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.’ This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hamas & Hizballah alliances with Iran weakened

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No.185, October 23, 2012, by Dr. Ehud Eilam*:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: ... in the event of an Israeli strike on Iran ...Hizballah and Hamas ...participation will be limited at best.
Hizballah must consider its crumbling support from the weakened Assad regime, as well as popular opposition within Lebanon to its role in military conflict with Israel. Hamas’ recent feud with Iran over the group’s lack of support for the Assad regime could render it reluctant to assist in the fight against Israel...

Hizballah – Not the Right Time for War
Hizballah represents an Iranian presence in Lebanon and possesses 80,000 missiles and rockets that can hit almost anywhere in Israel. ...Hizballah might not dare refuse a direct order from Tehran to retaliate. Yet Iran might order Hizballah to launch a limited attack, as starting a full-scale war might not serve Iranian interests at the time. If Hizballah shells Israel, the Jewish state would launch a massive offensive aimed at pounding the terror organization and reducing its capability to launch missiles and rockets from Lebanon. Iran might not be willing to take that risk, particularly since it might also lose Syria, which would undermine Iran’s grip in the Levant.

Iran is currently trying to help keep the Assad regime afloat. Iran might choose to concentrate its efforts in assisting Assad instead of waging war against Israel. On the other hand, Iran might conclude that it should encourage Assad to attack Israel while he still can, in order to divert the worldwide attention away from himself. If the Assad regime crumbles, Hizballah would not only lose an important ally but might have to deal with a sworn enemy, the Sunnis in Syria, if that group seizes power there. The Sunnis, as part of a revenge campaign against those who assisted Assad, might collaborate with anti Hizballah elements in Lebanon. Hizballah might need to save his resources for what could be its biggest test yet.

Additionally, Israel has warned several times that during a war with Hizballah the Lebanese infrastructure might be bombed. Therefore, following an Israeli attack on Iran, Hizballah might face a strong demand from within Lebanon not to respond to Israel. This demand would come from the many Lebanese who hate Hizballah and/or Iran, as well as from those who tolerate and even support Hizballah but are opposed to turning their country into a battlefield once again. In the next war the destruction in Lebanon could be worse than in 1982 and 2006.

Hamas – Better to Stay Out
Hamas refused to back the Assad regime’s attacks on its own citizens, although some of its leaders spent the past few years in Damascus, enjoying the government’s support. This refusal not only caused a rift between Hamas and Syria, but with Iran as well; therefore, Hamas might ignore Iran’s request to intervene in a war against Israel.

Hamas would not necessarily wish to provoke an Israel engaged in conflict with Iran. Even if Israel focuses on Iran and Hizballah in Lebanon there would be enough Israeli troops to deal with Hamas as well. The last major skirmish between Israel and Hamas in December 2008–January 2009 received world attention that limited the Israeli operation. In the case of a confrontation pitting Israel against Iran and Hizballah, a clash between Hamas and Israel would be an unwatched sideshow that would allow Israel to deliver a devastating and unrestricted blow to the Hamas.
Hamas’ policy largely depends on if the Arab world, particularly Egypt and its Muslim Brotherhood government, come to the rescue. Egypt, whose government is busy dealing with economic problems, might convince Hamas not to do battle with Israel, fearing that it would become entangled in the war. Egypt doesn’t want Hamas to risk itself, let alone Egypt, for the benefit of Iran unless it serves a vital Egyptian interest, such as the militarizing of the Sinai. Egypt could use an Israeli attack on Hamas as a justification to deploy forces in the northeastern Sinai. Yet this would be a dangerous move for Egypt and might not be worth it, considering the ramifications and its other priorities.

Without Hamas, Iran would be left with its last proxy in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad. This organization is much smaller than Hamas but could initiate a serious of strikes against Israel, hoping to drag Hamas into the brawl. Hamas would be caught in the middle, torn between trying to restrain Islamic Jihad from initiating a conflict with Israel and trying not to appear weak.

If Israel attacks Iran, Hamas would probably stay out of it. Hizballah and its Iranian patrons might hesitate because of Syria and the concern about the political future of Hizballah in Lebanon. Hizballah would open fire on Israel but would not start an all-out war. They might wait for a better opportunity, such as when Iran gets the bomb.

*Dr. Ehud Eilam is the US representative of Israel Defense magazine. He is a former private contractor for the Israeli Ministry of Defense where, among other duties, he conducted research on different branches of the Israeli military. He recently published an article on a potential future war between Israel and Egypt.

Remembering San Remo

From CBN News, April 2010:

This 4-minute news item, aired on the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, is a succinct reminder of the Jewish people's right to western Palestine, including the West Bank.

Obama's abysmal record on Israel

From, 23 October 2012, by Anne Bayefsky:

Oct. 22, 2012: President Barack Obama answers a question during the third presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP)

[Click here for complete transcript of the final debate between Obama and Romney on US foreign policy.]

During the final debate, President Obama pointed to his 2008 pre-election visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, as an answer to Governor Romney’s criticism of his foreign policy on Israel. That same stop was made by over a million visitors and hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries the same year. Invoking it as a means to establish the President’s pro-Israel credentials is an insult to the intelligence of voters who care about the welfare of the Jewish state.
The president’s move is reminiscent of a similar game played by the United Nations. The organization trashes the state of Israel 364 days a year, and pauses on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27th for an “International Day of Commemoration.”
Undoubtedly, keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive is a service not only to Jews but to anyone interested in preserving and protecting universal human rights and freedoms.
But the question before American voters, who value our special bond with the Middle East’s only democracy, is whether the specifics of the president’s four-year record are consistent with the well-being of the people who live and breathe Jewish self-determination as a bulwark against modern anti-semitism.
Just a partial rap-sheet speaks for itself.
  • President Obama has never visited Israel during his time in office, despite having been as close as thirty minutes away in Egypt, and managing to go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq.
  • President Obama told Jewish leaders in July 2009 that he was deliberately adopting a policy of putting daylight between America and Israel.
  • President Obama has legitimized the UN body most responsible for demonizing Israel ...[by joining] the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 and seeking a second 3-year term, despite Israel’s requests that he do the opposite. 
  • President Obama made Israeli settlements the key stumbling block in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Starting in 2009 he chose to castigate Israel publicly, often, and in extreme terms at the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Palestinians took the president’s cue and ended direct negotiations until such time as Israel capitulates, even though the subject is supposed to be a final status issue.
  • President Obama treated Israel’s Prime Minister to a series of insulting snubs during his visit to the White House in March 2010.
  • President Obama cut a deal with Islamic states at a May 2010 meeting of parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, contrary to assurances given to Israel. He agreed to help convene a 2012 international conference intended to pivot attention towards disarming Israel and is currently negotiating the details of this diplomatic onslaught.
  • President Obama introduced in his September 2010 address to the General Assembly, a September 2011 timeline for full Palestinian statehood and membership in the UN, thus encouraging Palestinians to push the same unilateral move.
  • President Obama suggested in May 2011 that Israel use the 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations – knowing full well that Israel considers those borders to be indefensible, and that agreements require the border issue to be determined by the parties themselves.
  • President Obama created a “global counter-terrorism forum” in September 2011 and invited eleven Muslim states to join – on the grounds that they were “on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism.” At the insistence of Turkey, he then denied entry to Israel.
  • President Obama told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in November 2011 – when he thought he was off-mike – that he regretted having to deal with Israel’s Prime Minister.
  • President Obama asked Congress in February 2012 to waive a ban on American funding of UNESCO ...[despite a] U.S. law denying funding for any international organization that recognized Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel.
  • President Obama has indeed put daylight between American and Israeli policy on Iran. In August, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dempsey said: “our clocks are ticking at different paces” and he wouldn’t be “complicit” in an Israeli effort to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. In September Secretary Clinton explained this divergence. In her words, the Iranian threat is “existential” only for Israel; only Israel is “right in the bull’s eye.” President Obama’s “pro-Israel” policy, therefore, is to wait past the point that the intended victim of the planned genocide believes is safe.
  • President Obama denied Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request to meet with him in September, despite the Iranian peril.
  • President Obama’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, didn’t even attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly in September – during which he made a plea for global attention to the Iranian threat.
And on Monday night, at the final debate, Governor Romney answered the question he was asked about what poses the greatest threat to our national security with “a nuclear Iran,” while President Obama responded “terrorist networks.”
Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. An Iranian nuclear weapon will result in a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world. And it will make the chance of nuclear weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists all the more likely.
It isn’t hard to figure out which man will better partner with Israel to combat anti-semitism today and ensure that the lesson of Yad Vashem is more than a glib debating point.
*Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Obama makes it easy for Assad

A cartoon depicting Bashar al-Assad thumbing his nose at Turkey, while shells were fired from his fingers. (Al-Hayat)
Over the last two weeks, the Syrian regime has directed mortar and artillery fire at Turkish villages. The US ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, might have stated, in response, that the United States stands behind its ally, Turkey, however it sees fit to protect itself. Instead, he confidently declared that Washington sees no possibility of war between Turkey and Syria. What the ambassador couched as a benign prediction was, in fact, an obvious instruction to Turkey.
Many have wondered whether the Assad regime’s shelling was meant to provoke Ankara. A
cartoon in the daily al-Hayat depicted the Syrian president thumbing his nose at Turkey, while shells were fired from his fingers.
Assad’s aggression is an expression of his contempt not just for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan but, in addition, the United States. He sees, on the one hand, Iran rallying all the members of its alliance network in the region (
Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militants, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) to prop him up and to isolate their common adversary, Turkey. On the other hand, Assad sees the US leaving its Turkish ally and the Syrian opposition alone in the cold.
Assad correctly interpreted the US position and concluded that he could attack Turkey with impunity. Washington not only had no interest in coming to the defense of its NATO ally, but also did not want to see any escalation from the Turkish side. 
Reading Obama’s preferences is easy for Assad. The US president has been advertising his inhibitions for many months. Last March, when the Turks came to plead with the administration to take the lead on more assertive measures in Syria, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,
shot them down repeatedly. The Turks tried again in August and were once more rebuffed.
The more the US has signaled its intent, no matter what, to stay out of the game in Syria, the more aggressive Assad and his Iranian patrons have become.
Since as early as last summer, the Iranians have been showing the Turks that they would use the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against them. Tehran has shown its ability to reach a tactical alliance with the PKK in order to exploit one of Ankara’s principal vulnerabilities: the Kurdish issue. They first released the PKK’s commander, Murat Karayilan, in July of last year. A year later, Iran was
allowing the PKK to use its soil to launch operations against Turkey.
But the most brazen attack came in July with the shooting down of a Turkish F-4 jet over international waters off the Syrian coast. The Turks were enraged, but once again, word immediately came from Washington that left no doubt about the Obama administration’s preferences. In
comments to the Wall Street Journal, an anonymous senior US defense official not only did not endorse the Turkish account of what happened, but also seemed to lend credence to the Syrian version.The Turks, rightly, saw this leak as a calculated American effort to tarnish their credibility. The purpose of the sleight was clear: the Obama administration did not want this incident to become a slippery slope to US involvement in Syria, on the side of Turkey. The downing of the jet, therefore, had to be papered over, and Turkey had to swallow its pride. That was, in effect, the point made by US Chief of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who admitted publicly that he impressed upon the Turks the importance of not being “provocative.”
This display was not lost on the Russians. At the time, the Obama administration was in the middle of its ill-conceived attempt to coax Moscow into supporting a “peaceful transition plan” for Syria. Seeing that the Americans had thrown the Turks under the bus, the Russians
piled it on. They upheld the Syrian account, and then rubbed Erdogan’s nose in it by offering to provide him with “objective observation data” about the incident. They then advised the Turks not to allow the incident to “ignite passions.”
Ambassador Ricciardone’s comments on Tuesday repeated Dempsey’s message: The US will not support Turkey escalating its response against Syria’s provocations.
Riacciardone’s comments are a perfect distillation of the US position on Turkey and Syria. After encouraging Turkey to take the lead on the Syria policy, the Obama administration has now
opted to leave the Turks alone in facing Assad’s Iranian and Russian allies.
The American policy is short sighted. At stake is the balance of power in the region that is favorable to US interests. Iran is marshaling all the elements of its national power to support its Syrian ally and pressure Turkey. By urging restraint on Ankara, Washington is inadvertently helping.
In Moscow, in July 2009, Obama
said that powers forging “competing blocs to balance one another” was an antiquated “19th century view.” Two months later, he again asserted at the UN General Assembly that “no balance of power among nations will hold.”
Power politics may be dead and buried in Washington, but for Assad and his allies, it is alive and well.

*Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He tweets @AcrossTheBay.