Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two Lessons of the long-dead "Two-State Solution"

From Commentary magazine, 11 April 2013, by Rick Richman:

As Secretary of State Kerry proceeds to gin up yet another peace process, armed with the Israel Policy Forum letter urging more “confidence-building steps”  from Israel[release of more terrorists from jail], it might be worthwhile to reflect on two things we have learned about the “two-state solution” from the repeated failures over two decades [actually nine decades] to effectuate it.

First, the Palestinians have shown that they are unable to form a peaceful democratic state.
They have a “president” who next week enters the 100th month of his 48-month term; he has now been “out of office” longer than he was in it. The person who held the office before him served 107 months of his own 48-month term, until he had to leave office on account of death. Between them, the two presidents rejected three offers of a state (in 2000, 2001 and 2008). The current president has not been able to set foot in half his putative state for more than five years; he cannot arrange a new election, even in the half-state where he resides. There is no functioning legislature, so he rules by decree; those who would criticize him for this are best advised not to put their thoughts on Facebook. He is 78 years old, in uncertain health, with no known successor, and has long said he wants to retire; he continues to serve as “president” because peace processors need someone to play one on TV.
The Palestinians don’t even need Jews to have a failed peace process. Saudi Arabia and Egypt each tried to mediate one of the periodic “reconciliation” agreements between Fatah and Hamas, but found that Fatah and Hamas can’t live side by side in peace and security with each other, much less next to Jews. The “two-state solution” presumes a Palestinian state would be a stable entity, but there is no evidence that a Palestinian state would be anything other than what it is right now–half quasi-terrorist state and half fictitious “authority,” with neither half having the institutions of a successful state, or a self-sustaining economy.

Second, the Palestinians have repeatedly stated they do not view a Palestinian state as a “solution”...[which] means recognition of “two states for two peoples” and an end to claims.
In November 2011, when the Palestinians first went to the UN to avoid negotiating such a solution, Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor noted that the UN resolution recommending partition in 1947 had referred 30 times to a “Jewish State,” but that 64 years later:
We still do not hear Palestinian leaders utter the term. The Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge Israel’s character as a Jewish state. You will never hear them say “two states for two peoples.” If you ever hear a Palestinian leader say “two states for two peoples,” please phone me immediately. My office has set up the equivalent of a 911 number in the event of such an unprecedented occurrence.
The call never came. In November 2012, when the Palestinians returned to the UN to avoid negotiating a two-state solution, Ambassador Prosor addressed the Palestinian president as follows:
President Abbas, I did not hear you use the phrase “two states for two peoples” this afternoon. In fact, I have never heard you say the phrase “two states for two peoples.” Because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. They have never been willing to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago.
It should be obvious that an unstable and unpredictable Palestinian state is a problem, not part of a solution, particularly when its putative leaders are unwilling even to utter the phrase “two states for two peoples.” No amount of Israeli “confidence-building steps” for the chronically confidence-challenged Palestinians can solve that problem; the Palestinians can only solve it themselves.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The New World Disorder

With a diminished team at State, Defense, and the CIA, Obama can be Obama.
President Obama with Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, January 7, 2013.
["Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."]
John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry will be confirmed. The three will provide a force-multiplying effect on the Obama foreign policy of disengagement.
  • The chameleon Brennan will be very different from David Petraeus at the CIA;
  • Hagel is no circumspect Leon Panetta; and
  • there was a reason why the appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was greeted with praise in a way John Kerry’s will not be.
The trio is less competent than their predecessors, but also perhaps more representative of a country on its way to a $20 trillion national debt and a “lead from behind” foreign policy of managed decline.

Let us take stock of the world since 2008.
Reset with Russia was an abject failure; and relations with Vladimir Putin have never been frostier — and pettier, as even the U.S. adoption of Russian orphans has now ended. Nothing is more counterproductive than to lecture a proud rival nation from a position of looming financial and military weakness.
China remains China: an enigma, as liberals wait for its new wealth to translate into political reform, while conservatives expect instead that Chinese profits will more likely lead to a powerful authoritarian military eager to challenge America. The more Obama talks of global arms reduction and a nuclear-free world, coupled with a lower U.S. profile, the more likely South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan will be to make contingency plans to go nuclear.
Not since the end of World War II has the Mediterranean world been such a mess. On the northern shore, the insolvent Spain, Italy, and Greece threaten to bring down the entire European Union. None of the three can continue to borrow as before, nor apparently can they cut back enough to remain solvent. None has a military to speak of — in a neighborhood increasingly dangerous.
To the east, Syria is on its way to becoming Somalia — but a quagmire much closer to Europe. The West goes back and forth, sometimes fearful that the thug Assad won’t go, sometimes worried that what would replace him would be far worse.
Likewise, Mohamed Morsi’s new Egypt is now a mix of Iran and Haiti, a theocracy ruling over a wrecked economy, a nonexistent tourist industry, and a massive flight of capital and expertise. In a year, Morsi may pull off the impossible feat of making Hosni Mubarak look good. Why we continue to give sophisticated weaponry to this fascistic, anti-Semitic ex-professor from southern California remains unexplained.
Turkey is an Obama favorite; but why is not quite clear, as it clamps down on internal dissent, becomes increasingly Islamist in the imperial-Ottoman sense, and grows as hostile to Israel as it was once friendly.
Leading from behind turned Libya from an odious but secure dictatorship into a chaotic terrorist haven.
Hostage executions now characterize Algeria. The understandable intervention by the French in Mali to stop an Islamic takeover is nonetheless the sort of unilateral “neo-colonialist” operation that they used to smear Americans for — a fact that is mostly ignored by American liberals and seen with Schadenfreude by conservatives.
Obama has forged an odd domestic coalition that supports his deliberate diminution of American power abroad:
  • liberals who like the savings abroad in order to splurge at home and who resent the use of raw power;
  • conservatives who are in no mood to support intervention given the demagoguery they suffered over the war on terror and Iraq.
The result is that nothingness has become the new Obama foreign policy.
Relations with Israel have reached an all-time low, but will further descend with the ascent of John Brennan at the CIA and Chuck Hagel at Defense.
Both will let Obama at last be Obama, and he, by admission, alone knows what is in Israel’s best interests. The Iranian nuclear weapon is a matter of when, not if; the only mystery is how clever will be the foreign-policy establishment’s post-facto rationalizations about how Iran can be contained. But if a nuclear Iran is supposed to be managed like nuclear Pakistan, what neighbor will play the role of India to keep it in check?
After all that, no wonder the Obama administration is now “pivoting” toward Asia. Let us hope that the Sea of Japan does not turn into another Mediterranean. In any case, new American oil and gas drilling on private land, Obama’s own personal story, his thinly disguised distaste for European traditions, and the demographic reality in the U.S. of a relatively smaller European-American population make the changes easier to take for a people exhausted by European ankle-biting, Islamic terrorism, corrupt oil intrigue, and the one-election, one-time “Arab Spring.” Goodbye, Mediterranean.
Our war on terror is now reduced to euphemisms and symbols about moderate Islam — masking a deadly escalation in targeted assassinations via drones. That paradox is quite sustainable because the American progressive media decided that waterboarding three confessed terrorists for information about future terrorist plots was an intolerable crime, whereas rendering 3,000 suspected terrorists mute through remote-controlled Hellfire missiles is not. Because we no longer have a truly honest and independent press, the limits of tolerance for U.S. mishaps have expanded as never before. Losing an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, with no real idea of why they were so vulnerable or, indeed, why they were all there in the first place, is a curious artifact, not a scandal. Al-Qaeda was declared on the run by the Obama administration — an ironic truth, because it is metastasizing in new directions, to Algeria, Libya, Mali, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, even as we declare jihadism to be a personal journey.
The George McClellan–like plan for leaving Iraq and Afghanistan on strict timetables, after much lost American blood and treasure, perhaps will bring a sense of release to Americans who are tired of both those ungrateful places. Yet soon some disturbing videos of what our abdications wrought — reminiscent of Saigon in 1975 or Kurdistan in 1991 — may usher in as much moral embarrassment for us as joy for our enemies.
Looming behind these changes in U.S. foreign policy is the reality of borrowing nearly $6 trillion in four years, with another $4 trillion scheduled in the Obama second term. That massive indebtedness — known as “investments” or “stimulus” — will weaken U.S. influence and eventually ensure huge defense cuts in the manner of the 1990s. As it is now, behind almost every current American foreign initiative is the reality that 40 cents on the dollar are borrowed to pay for it — a fact well appreciated by our opportunistic enemies in waiting.
As the U.S. slowly withdraws, in the manner of the British before and after World War II, all the old hot spots that have receded in our memory — Cyprus, the Aegean between Greece and Turkey, the Falklands, the 38th Parallel, the Persian Gulf, contested islands off Japan — will become news again. If Afghanistan does not return to its pre-9/11 status as a terrorist haven, then Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen will have to do.
In short, interested parties rightly assume the U.S. cannot or will not intervene abroad.
They envision making opportune territorial adjustments during this remaining four-year window of opportunity — just as China invaded Vietnam, Russia went into Afghanistan, Communists infiltrated Central America, and Islamists stormed our embassy in Tehran in the waning years of the Carter administration.
Will the world lament the consequences of a U.S. retreat? Not likely.
A theme of Western philosophy from Plato to Tocqueville has been the people’s preference for equality, rather than greater freedom and prosperity with the attendant cost of inequality. The idea of an America more or less the same as other countries — imperiled by debt, class tensions, and festering social problems, and without a global footprint — will be welcome news to most of the world, even as their own neighborhoods become much poorer and more dangerous places.
Indeed, the worse the U.S. performs, and the lower the American profile abroad, the more the world likes Barack Obama — almost as if to say, “At last, they’re just like us.”
*NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Monday, April 08, 2013

30% increase in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide in 2012

From the Times of Israel, 7 April 2013:
Hungary showing gravest trends...
A monument found desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti at a Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie, Poland (photo credit: AP/Jedrzej Wojnar)

The European Jewish Congress found a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the world in 2012, according to an annual report the organization published on Sunday in cooperation with Tel Aviv University.
The study linked the surge to Europe’s economic troubles and a deadly attack on Jewish schoolchildren last year in Toulouse, France.
“It appears that rather than the Toulouse attacks being a shock to the system, they had the opposite effect and perhaps allowed terrorist groups in Europe to become more emboldened,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said at an anti-Semitism press conference Sunday at Tel Aviv University, pointing to attempted terror attacks across the continent against Jewish targets.
In Europe, Hungary was identified as experiencing the most worrying anti-Semitic trends and a “correlation was observed between the political strengthening of extreme right parties and the high level of anti-Semitic manifestations, including incidents of violence and vandalism,” the study revealed.
Greece and the Ukraine were also seeing similar trends of extreme right-wing parties whose anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric have apparently helped ignite attacks.
Tel Aviv University said Sunday that 686 attacks were recorded in 34 countries, ranging from physical violence to vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, compared to 526 in 2011. The sharp increase followed a two-year decline.
“We should be doing all we can to reverse these negative trends and there needs to be a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for racism,” Kantor said. “We are reaching out to the leaders in Hungary and the EU and calling for the initiation of hearings in relevant committees, because this situation cannot continue.”
The EJC said in a press statement that it has written to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, “calling on him to initiate parliamentary hearings and provide an official and regular monitoring of developments around these issues,”

Bringing Nazis to justice is still relevant

From Times of Israel, APRIL 5, 2013, by Efraim Zuroff:

On the eve of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day in Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has released its latest list of the “Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals” and the primary findings of its twelfth annual report on the “Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals.” This report chronicles the efforts all over the world during the previous year to facilitate the punishment of the perpetrators of Nazi crimes and assess and give grades to all the countries that are actively involved – or should be – in bringing these criminals to justice.
In one sense, the “Most Wanted” title of the list is a misnomer because it does not enumerate the most infamous Nazi war criminals who have never been apprehended. Rather it names those whose whereabouts are known to the authorities, some of whom are already in various stages of investigation and prosecution, and who we hope to see convicted in the foreseeable future. In that respect, it is a list of realistic candidates for punishment, not a wish list of Nazis who can be brought to justice in our fantasies. Thus, arch criminals like Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller do not appear. Given the fact that he was born in 1900, there is no hope of apprehending him, regardless of the enormous scope of his crimes. His case was “lost” many years ago. We do list (in a special category) notorious Holocaust perpetrators like Eichmann’s chief lieutenant Alois Brunner and Mauthausen sadist Dr. Aribert Heim, even though it is almost certain that they are no longer alive, because the Center tried very hard to find them and to this date there is no physical proof of their death. (In that respect, it would be wonderful if, as a result of the revolt in Syria, it would be possible to find Brunner, or more likely his remains, but that does not appear likely.)
The 10 men on the list are basically the most important Nazi war criminals who have already been found, men of middle or lower ranks whose inclusion and place on the list are based on three criteria: command responsibility, whether they personally committed murder and the scope of the crime that they committed, i.e. the number of persons negatively affected by their actions. Believe it or not, there were many candidates for inclusion. And in fact, the number of potential cases of Nazi war criminals who are still alive is far larger than most people imagine. In that respect, the wonders of modern medicine have many beneficiaries, including people who certainly do not deserve longevity, although there is much to be said for ruining their “golden years.” Or perhaps those without a conscience live longer, since they almost certainly suffer less stress: In my experience, I have never encountered a Holocaust perpetrator who expressed any regret or remorse whatsoever.
The men on the list represent a cross section of nationalities, not only Germans and Austrians, and fulfilled different roles in the implementation of the Final Solution and other crimes. The common denominator is active participation in the persecution and murder of innocent civilians, primarily Jews, doomed to destruction by the Nazis who classified them as “enemies of the Reich,” or in one case were victims of a reprisal against innocent villagers in the fighting in Italy.
None of them adopted false identities after the war. Not being among the most prominent Nazi war criminals, they never dreamed they would be prosecuted by the Allies, but the east Europeans among them all escaped to Anglo-Saxon democracies, as they feared Communist postwar justice, which was far more inclusive than that meted out by the Allies. Thus among the 10 men on the list, five initially fled to the United States and three escaped to Canada. To the Americans’ credit, all of those who immigrated to the US were stripped of their American citizenship and ordered deported, whereas, with one exception, that was not the case in Canada. The civil proceedings launched in the US and Canada have been very helpful in paving the way for subsequent criminal trials of these suspects in Europe, which we hope will take place in the coming months.
No doubt, there will be those who are skeptical of the continued pursuit of Nazi war criminals, now all elderly. Others might point to the fact that the people on the list were not the most important perpetrators of Holocaust crimes. The truth remains, however, that the passage of time does not, in any way, diminish the guilt of the murderers, nor should old age afford protection to those who committed such heinous crimes. And regardless of the arguments raised by the skeptics, our generation still has an obligation to the Nazis’ victims to make a serious effort to find and punish those who turned them – innocent men, women, and children – into victims. If the criminals in question had been the ones who murdered the skeptics’ grandmother or parent or uncle, I have no doubt that the importance of pursuing these criminals would suddenly be seen in a very different light.
Yom Hashoa is a good time to remember not only the victims, but also those who murdered them and remain alive and can be brought to justice. The Most Wanted list and the global investigation report are a timely reminder that there is still important work to be done in this regard as well.

In Their Final Days: Helping Holocaust Survivors at the End of Life

From Targum Shlishi, 8 April 2013 (Yom Hashoah), by Aryeh Rubin:

The end of an era is upon us—the last and the youngest of the Holocaust survivors are dying. These survivors are part of a unique patient population with particular needs who require a new protocol to address their singular challenges.
I am proud to share with you Caring for Holocaust Survivors with Sensitivity at End of Life: A Guidebook for Clinicians, an important educational resource created by Metropolitan Jewish Hospice and Palliative Care (MJHS) in New York and supported in part by Targum Shlishi (additional support came from the MJHS Foundation).
This guide helps train health care professionals, professional caregivers, and community leaders to deal more effectively and compassionately with Holocaust survivors and their families at the end of life. There is an urgent need for this resource: survivors and their families can pose unique challenges, and unfortunately many health care professionals are not aware of the lingering effects of Holocaust trauma on the survivors and therefore lack the tools to deal most effectively and compassionately with this population.
Under the able direction of Toby Weiss, director of Cultural Diversity and Jewish Programming, MJHS has developed this guide rooted in the core Jewish values of compassion, dignity, and respect. We as Jews all share a personal, moral, and professional obligation to care for Holocaust survivors through their final journey, honoring their lives, managing their pain and suffering, and bringing comfort to their families. Caring for this special community is a tremendous privilege and allows us to bear witness to a generation of people whose pain and survival is a legacy from which we must continue to learn.
This is important work, and it is our last chance to do right by the survivors of our people’s greatest tragedy. As I have written in the past, the Jewish community holds a particular responsibility in view of the faults of our history—we were not there to stop the killings, we were not there to bring the murderers to justice, and we were not there to fully honor the memory of the millions who lie nameless in unmarked mass graves. At the very least, let us be there to help the remaining survivors pass away as peacefully as possible.
As we transition from the era of personal memory of the Shoah to a historical narrative of the Holocaust, we must reach out to the survivors and their families with compassion for what they have been through; let us approach this difficult moment with respect for their resilience and tenacity, with appreciation of the meaning and awareness they have bestowed through their memories, and with empathy as they pass through the end of their lives.
Please share this guide with doctors, nurses, other health care practitioners, professional caregivers, community leaders, the families of survivors and anyone else who will find this material helpful or of interest.
Aryeh Rubin

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Israel’s Apology to Turkey: A Mistake

From BESA, March 24, 2013, by Prof. Efraim Inbar:

Mavi Marmara
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 201
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel’s apology to Turkey for “operational errors” in the Mavi Marmara incident is a diplomatic mistake both in terms of substance and timing. It is highly unlikely that we will see a reversal or turnaround in Turkey’s anti-Western and anti-Israeli policies. Jerusalem’s apology only enhances Turkish ambitions and weakens Israel’s deterrence.
It’s hard to understand or justify Israel’s weekend apology to Turkey. While the use of Israeli force in the Mavi Marmara “flotilla” incident was not very elegant, it was perfectly legitimate – as the UN-appointed Palmer Commission unequivocally determined. Moreover, the incident was a Turkish provocation that warrants a Turkish apology to Israel, not an Israeli apology to Turkey.
Worst still, the hopes in Jerusalem for a new era in Israeli-Turkish relations are simply illusory. The Israeli apology will hardly stop Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regular Israel-bashing rhetoric. It has not secured a clear Turkish commitment to the resumption of full diplomatic relations. Moreover, Erdoğan already has conveyed his intention to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. Such a visit is a slap in the face of both Jerusalem and Washington.
Turkey under the Islamist AKP has gradually adopted a new foreign policy, fueled by neo-Ottoman and Islamist impulses, and has a goal to gain a leadership role in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Attaining this objective requires harsh criticism of Israel, which has generated great popularity for Erdoğan and Turkey. Unfortunately, vicious attacks on Israel come easily for Erdoğan, who is plainly anti-Semitic.
Israel has failed to fully grasp Turkey’s new Islamist direction. For several years already we no longer have a pro-Western Turkey with which Israel can cooperate in the turbulent Middle East. Ankara and Jerusalem have very different views on a variety of issues. While Turkey is truly an important and powerful player in regional politics, its behavior over the last decade actually harms Israeli interests. It does not abide by US policy on Iran; on the contrary, Turkey helps circumvent the international sanctions imposed on Tehran. Turkey has even helped Iran, a country with genocidal intentions toward Israel, progress in its nuclear program.
Turkey also sides with Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. It has helped Hamas entrench its rule in Gaza and gain international support and recognition.
Turkey is also actively helping radical Islamic Sunni elements take over Syria. It also supports the idea of violent opposition against Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights. As such, the hope that Israel and Turkey can cooperate together with the US in limiting the damage from a disintegrating Syria has little validity.
Furthermore, Turkey, still a NATO member, is obstructing the efforts of Israel in developing its ties with this organization. The Turkish position in NATO also hinders the Western alliance’s ability to deal more effectively with the Iranian nuclear challenge.
Turkey’s policy in the Mediterranean similarly clashes with Israel’s vital interests. Its bullying of Cyprus interferes with Israel’s plans to export via this island its newly found gas riches to an energy-thirsty Europe. Turkey, who sees itself as an energy bridge to Europe, does not want Israeli competition. It may even use military force to maintain its role in the energy market.
What is also important is how the Israeli apology will be perceived in a region whose prism on international relations is power-politics. Inevitably, Israel under Netanyahu will be seen as weak, bowing to American pressure. Public regrets about the use of force erode deterrence and project weakness. Perceived weakness usually invites aggression in our tough neighborhood. This is also what Ankara thinks, which is very problematic for Israel. Moreover, Tehran and Cairo, both ruled by radical Islamists, cherish the Turkish victory over the “Zionist entity.”
The Israeli-initiated apology is an American diplomatic success, but it reflects a dangerous American misperception of Turkey as representing “moderate Islam,” which is incredible naïve. Turkey is distancing itself from the West and its values. Nowadays, more journalists are in jail in Turkey than in China. Israel’s friends in Turkey, part of the democratic opposition, must be bewildered as Israel hands Erdoğan a diplomatic achievement, buttressing the grip of the Islamist AKP on Turkish politics.
The timing is particularly troubling. Turkish foreign policy is in crisis because its much-heralded approach to the Middle East (“zero problems with its neighbors”) is in shambles. Turkey needed a diplomatic success here more than Israel did. Israel could have negotiated a better formula to end the impasse in bilateral relations.
Only very recently, we heard Erdoğan call Zionism a crime against humanity. He did not apologize, as he should have, but told a Danish newspaper that he was “misunderstood.” This was part of a concerted effort on part of Turkey to prevent additional international criticism on this issue. Nevertheless, the pressure was on Ankara not Jerusalem.
Furthermore, an apology to a Hamas supporter, just a day after Hamas again launched rockets against Israel, communicates terrible weakness. Sanctioning an Erdoğan victory trip to Gaza at this particular moment is terribly foolish, too, particularly when Israel is seeking to bolster the standing of the rival Palestinian Authority.
It is highly unlikely that we will see a reversal or a turnaround in Turkey’s anti-Western and anti-Israeli policies. The apology from Jerusalem only enhances Turkish ambitions and weakens Israel’s deterrence.

The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves

The flow of natural gas from Israel’s Tamar reservoir in the Mediterranean to the Ashdod reception facility was inaugurated on March 30, 2013, ushering in a new era in Israel’s energy sector. Israel will not only become independent in being able to supply its own energy needs, but it is likely to become an energy exporter as its maritime gas fields are further developed.
  • On January 17, 2009, Israel’s economy and even its strategic stature changed when a team led by the Texan firm Noble Energy discovered gas in the Tamar field in the eastern Mediterranean, which is estimated to contain 9.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. The Tamar well-heads which contain methane gas are rated at a high level of purity, with an energy value of production per well-head over four-fold higher than Saudi oil well-heads. Two years later, the same team drilling a few dozen kilometers further west discovered a monstrous gas field, appropriately called Leviathan, which is now estimated to contain 18 TCF and could begin supplying gas in 2016.
  • Tamar was only the beginning. The amount of gas subsequently discovered offshore now dwarfs any feasible, projected Israeli demand for at least half a century. The Tamar field alone represents two decades of consumption. As such, Israel will become a net exporter of gas. The Israeli gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean are only part of new gas fields in what is called the Levant Basin, which includes the maritime areas of Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, and even parts of Syria’s waters. The Levant Basin could hold 125 TCF.
  • The most likely short-term destination for Israel’s natural gas is Jordan. Connecting Israel’s emerging gas grid to Jordan is a relatively inexpensive and simple endeavor. Yet Israel will almost certainly have much larger amounts to export.
  • Given its geographic proximity, Europe would seem to be the natural export market for Israeli gas. Moreover, Europe is facing a major gas supply crisis because of the spread of instability in Algeria and the rest of North Africa. Yet Asia may emerge as Israel’s preferred export destination. The Australian firm, Woodside, which acquired about a third of the rights to the Leviathan field, is oriented toward marketing gas in Asia, and envisions building a liquefaction plant to service that trade.
  • Israel’s recent experience with Egypt, where half of its natural gas supply was permanently severed following the collapse of the Mubarak regime, suggests that Israel will view with apprehension any scheme to anchor its critical infrastructure in countries beyond its own borders, such as Jordan, Cyprus, or Turkey. Thus, it is likely that ultimately the gas will be liquefied on Israeli territory and exported directly via sea to the consuming market.
  • Israeli officials view a cross-Israel natural gas pipeline connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas as an alternative to the Suez Canal. But an export structure operating directly from Eilat to markets in Asia would face a rising strategic problem: Iran’s increasing naval presence in the Red Sea. This will require Israel to establish and expand a Red Sea fleet as well as a significant expansion in the size and capability of its Mediterranean fleet.

Go to the JCPA web site to read the full article.

UN does NOTHING to track Hezbollah arms

From Reuters, Fri Apr 5, 2013, by Dan Williams:
There has been no UNIFIL report about any weapon of any Hezbollah person since UNIFIL has existed...

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon have failed to report on Hezbollah guerrilla armaments as required, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday, arguing that Israel could not rely on foreign intervention for its security.
The remarks underscored the conservative strategies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as instability rocks Israel's neighbours and world powers urge it to roll back its West Bank occupation to make way for a Palestinian state.
"Under pressure, a multi-national force is like an umbrella that gets folded up on a rainy day," Yaakov Amidror, Netanyahu's national security adviser, said in a Tel Aviv University speech.
Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah, Amidror said, has been building its arsenal despite the 35-year presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in its heartland.
"Has Hezbollah avoided bringing any kind of rocket, missile or other arms into southern Lebanon because UNIFIL is there?" he said. Israel believes Hezbollah has amassed 60,000 rockets, including 5,000 with heavy warheads capable of hitting Tel Aviv.
"Under their (UNIFIL) mandate, they cannot stop Hezbollah and confiscate its arms, but they can write a report. There has been no UNIFIL report about any weapon of any Hezbollah person since UNIFIL has existed," Amidror said.
As part of the U.N. ceasefire that ended Israel's inconclusive 2006 war with Hezbollah, UNIFIL's mandate was enhanced to include "assisting" the Lebanese army with keeping guerrilla "personnel, assets and weapons" out of south Lebanon.
UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said that since 2006, the U.N. peacekeepers had "not witnessed the entry of any illegal weapons into the UNIFIL area of operations in south Lebanon".
While the border is largely quiet, Israel fears Hezbollah could pound it with rockets in retaliation should it carry out long-threatened strikes on Iran's nuclear sites.
Israel also worries that Hezbollah could obtain advanced weapons, including chemical munitions, from Syria. But the militia has said its current capabilities are sufficient...
Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000...

Israel’s Jewish Demographic Tailwind

From “Israel Hayom”, April 5, 2013, by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger:

On March 21, 2013, President Obama stated at the Jerusalem Convention Center:
“Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”
President Obama was misinformed by his advisors. The suggestion that Israel should concede Jewish geography, in order to secure Jewish demography, ignores demographic trends in Israel, in the Muslim world in general and west of the Jordan River in particular.
These trends reaffirm that time is working in favor of Israel’s Jewish demography.

In 2013, in sharp contrast with projections issued by the demographic establishment, there is a 66% Jewish majority (6.3 million Jews) in the combined area of Judea, Samaria (1.66 million Arabs) and pre-1967 Israel (1.65 million Arabs),compared with a 40% Jewish minority in 1948 and a 9% Jewish minority in 1900. The Jewish majority benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility rate and migration, which could produce an 80% Jewish majority by 2035.

The 66% Jewish majority of 6.3 million (including 350,000 Olim not yet recognized as Jews by the Rabbinate) exposes the systematic errors of leading demographers. In 1898, the leading Jewish demographer/historian, Simon Dubnov, projected a meager 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel by the year 2000. In 1944, the founder of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the guru of contemporary Israeli demographers and statisticians, Prof. Roberto Bacchi, projected only 2.3 million Jews in Israel by 2001, a 34% minority. On October 23, 1987, Hebrew University’s demographer Prof. Sergio DellaPergolla, told Yediot Achronoth that no substantial Aliya was expected from the USSR, but, one million Olim arrived. In a September, 2006 article, Prof. Sofer projected that by 2011 there would be 4.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, double the number published in 2011 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics – 2.6 million. And, in fact, the Palestinian number was inflated by one million Arabs: 400,000 overseas residents; a double count of 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are counted as Israeli Arabs and as West Bankers; etc.

In defiance of demographic projections, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate of three births per woman is higher than any Arab country other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan. The modernity-driven downward trend of Muslim demography is highlighted by Iran’s fertility rate of 1.8 births per woman, Saudi Arabia’s 2.3 births and Syria’s and Egypt’s 2.9 births per woman. The Westernization of the Muslim fertility rate was triggered by the unprecedented expansion of education among women, urbanization and family planning. The surge of Israel’s Jewish fertility rate was triggered by high level optimism, patriotism, collective responsibility, the stable economy and attachment to roots.

In contrast with conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish-Arab fertility gap has been reduced from six births in 1969 to half a birth in 2012. Moreover, the fertility rates of Jewish and Arab women in their 20s and 30s – in Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – has converged at three births per woman, with the Jewish rate trending above – and the Arab rate trending below – three births. Furthermore, the fertility rate of Israeli-born Jewish women is already above three births per woman.

In defiance of the demographic profession, the annual number of Israel’s Jewish births has surged by 62.5% from 1995 (80,400) to 2012 (130,000), while the annual number of Israeli Arab births has been sustained at around 40,000 annually. In 1995, there were 2.3 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth; in 2012 – 3.2 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth. In 1995 Jewish births amounted to 69% of total births; in 2012 – 77% of total births. In 2013, the Jerusalem Jewish fertility rate is 4.2 births, compared with the 3.9 Arab fertility rate.

Contrary to political correctness, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is surging at a time when the fertility rate of the ultra-orthodox sector declines, due to its growing integration into the employment market and military service. The surge in fertility is produced by Israel’s secular Jews, and mostly by the yuppies around Tel Aviv and the Olim (immigrants) from the former USSR.

David Goldman, author of How Civilizations Die, wrote:
“the stronger the Jewish commitment, the more likely Jews are to have children. Living in the Land of Israel is one of the strongest manifestations of Jewish commitment…. As unique as the Jews are among the world’s people, their fertility in Israel is also unique among the nations, and cause for optimism about the future of the Jewish people (inFocus, Spring, 2013, The Jewish Policy Center).”
Anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading....