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Thursday, November 30, 2006

If UNIFIL is disbanded, who will miss it?

There are a lot of reasons for Israelis to be concerned about tomorrow's planned mass demonstrations in Beirut to bring down Fouad Siniora's government. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing an Islamist state to our north. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing another openly terrorist state to our north. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing another state to our north that openly wishes to drive us out of our land and into the sea. But there is no reason to be concerned, as 'Israeli defense officials' purport to be, that UNIFIL will be disbanded and expelled from Lebanon if Siniora's government falls and Hezbullah takes over. If anything, the opposite is true. If I were Nasrallah, I would want UNIFIL to stay just where it is. While they are totally ineffective at enforcing the cease fire hudna in Lebanon (if indeed they are trying to enforce it at all), they make perfect human shields.

The 'new and improved' UNIFIL that has been in place since this summer's war has been anything but new and improved. UNIFIL has threatened Israeli reconaissance flights that have attempted to monitor the weapons smuggling that UNIFIL cannot or will not stop. UNIFIL is afraid to patrol in the dark, allowing Hezbullah free access to its bunkers in southern Lebanon, which it has restocked since the summer's war. Nabih Berri, the leader of the Shiite Amal militia, summed up UNIFIL's presence thusly:
Hizbullah will remain armed and fully operational in south Lebanon, despite the newly deployed UN forces, until Israel withdraws from all Lebanese territory and ceases its air, sea and land violations, Mr Berri said. "The Unifil presence will not hinder Hizbullah's defensive operations. The resistance doesn't need to fly its flags high to operate. It's a guerrilla movement; it operates among the people," he said.
UNIFIL includes troops from Islamist countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, that hate Israel and will never recognize its 'right to exist.' It also includes troops from Fwance. During the war this past summer, UNIFIL openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon. If there were When there is another war, there is no reason to believe they would not do so again.

If UNIFIL is disbanded and expelled from Lebanon, Israel should rejoice. At least it would rid us of the pretense that there are peacekeepers between us and Hezbullah.

Weapons smuggled into Gaza despite because of cease-fire

Early on Sunday morning, I broke word of the cease fire hudna. At the time I noted that "A cease fire hudna is to go into effect in the Gaza Strip at 6:00 AM Sunday. Israel accepted the 'Palestinian' offer, pursuant to which it will stop military operations in Gaza in return for an end to all Palestinian violence, including rocket fire, tunneling, and suicide bombers."

Now I thought, and I assume all of you did too, that the inclusion of 'tunneling' meant no weapons smuggling during the hudna. So I am sure that you will all be shocked - just shocked - to hear that the 'Palestinians' are smuggling weapons into Gaza 'despite' the hudna.
Since Israel and Palestinian militants agreed to a cease-fire four days ago, Palestinians have continued smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip from neighboring Egypt, including several pieces yesterday, Israeli and Palestinian security officials told WND.

The truce, which went into effect Sunday, called for a halt of smuggling activity by Palestinian groups in Gaza. It also called for a cessation of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza aiming at nearby Jewish communities in exchange for Israel withdrawing its ground troops from the Strip and halting military activity in the territory.


IDF sources told WND the Israeli army Sunday had identified seven militants about to launch rockets into Israel, but due to changed rules of engagement in response to the cease-fire, IDF forces were prohibited from taking out the rocket crews.

Olmert told reporters Israel would exercise "patience and restraint" in the face of Palestinian violations of the cease-fire.

Israeli and Palestinian security sources said Palestinian groups the past four days have continued to smuggle weaponry from Egypt into Gaza. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza last summer, hundreds of tons of weaponry reportedly have been smuggled into the territory. Palestinian sources said about 150 assault rifles and a small number of rocket-propelled grenades made its way into Gaza between Monday and yesterday in spite of the truce.

"It's business as usual," said a Palestinian security official in Gaza. "Nothing out of the ordinary as far as smuggling. Not a massive amount, just the normal routine amount."
Of course, we already knew earlier this week that this was happening. But now the Israeli 'security officials' have confirmed it too.

The Neville Chamberlain doctrine?

At Right Wing News, John Hawkins aptly characterizes the idea of the United States 'engaging' Syria and Iran as "replacing the Bush Doctrine with the Neville Chamberlain Doctrine." For those who have forgotten, Chamberlain was the British Prime Minister, who in 1938 promised 'peace in our time' after attempting to appease Adolph Hitler YMS"H by giving him Czechosolovakia. It should be obvious to all of you by now, that if God forbid this is going to become the Bush strategy, Israel will be starring in the role of Czechoslovakia.
And, what sort of help are we asking for? We're asking them to stop training and supplying insurgents and terrorists that are causing chaos in Iraq and attacking our troops. In other words, they're committing acts of war against the United States and the idea is supposed to be that we'll go to them with hat in hand and offer them goodies to stop picking on us. Put another way, the suggestion here is that the Bush doctrine be set aside so that we can pursue the Neville Chamberlain doctrine with Islamo-fascist run terrorist states that yearn for nothing more than our destruction.

Just about the only thing Bush has going for him right now is that he has been standing strong in the war on terrorism. If he gives that up to play pattycake with Syria and Iran, not only will it be counterproductive, it would cause the last remaining pillar of political support Bush has in the United States to crumble to earth as his staunchest supporters realize that he would no longer have his heart in the fight against terrorism.
I couldn't agree more.

Uncle Shimon goes to New Haven

Until the space shuttle Columbia crashed killing Israel's real first astronaut, Ilan Ramon z"l, there was a popular joke in Israel that Shimon Peres was our first astronaut. The reason: his feet were never on the ground. In other words, Peres lived in a different universe than the rest of us, a universe in which there is no problem that cannot be solved by money.

Peres visited Yale University last night, and delivered a speech that typifies that world view:
During his address, Peres - who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for their work on the Oslo Accords - said globalization and increasing economic interdependence worldwide are ushering in a new era of diplomacy.

"We live in a world of global relations," he said. "Globality is becoming more and more [the] life and style of your generation … Governments are pushed out of the economy because they can't become global governments."
The problem is that Peres continues to want to turn Israel into a web site:
In the modern world, countries need ideas, not land, to stimulate economic growth, Peres said. He said he believes Arab states do not need land from Israel to increase their welfare but instead need to focus on technological innovation. [But Peres will be happy to give them all the land they want. CiJ]

"There are no reasons for having another war," Peres said. "You can't conquer wisdom from war. You can't bring innovation with armies." [But if you don't keep yourself in a position to defend yourself from wars, you won't have the opportunity to be wise or to innovate. CiJ]
It was left to Yale sophomore Alexander Dominitz to express a more realistic viewpoint:
But Alexander Dominitz '09 said capitalism and its benefits will not dissuade those who oppose Israel ideologically.

"I think overall he's an idealist," Dominitz said. "His plan for integrating Israel into this nebulous global network will cause Israel to lose much of its strength, the strength of its own unity. You cannot have spirit and patriotism with corporations."
Dominitz is a staff columnist for the Yale Daily News. I hope he's considering aliya after graduation. We could use some clear thinking over here.

A few questions about Islam for Ehud K. Olmert

Hugh Fitzgerald at Jihad Watch has a few important questions for Ehud K. Olmert. If Olmert cannot satisfactorily answer them (and I assume he cannot), then I think we need to ask him to please, go home now! Here are some of Fitzgerald's questions:
Are you familiar with the agreement that Muhammad made with the Meccans in 628 A.D. when, feeling not yet strong enough to attack them directly, he made an agreement for a truce, a period of ten years, and then eighteen months later broke that truce on a pretext and, now with stronger forces, attacked the Meccans?

Are you aware that in the entire history of Islam, this behavior by Muhammad is hailed as being exceptionally clever, and has been taken as a model for all agreements and treaties made between Muslims and non-Muslims?

Are you aware, for example, that all of the Muslim commentators on the law of war and peace in Islam are in universal agreement that no permanent peace treaty can ever be made between Muslims and Infidels, only temporary agreements made necessary when the Muslim side is too weak?

Have you read, for example, or has anyone brought to your busy attention, Majid Khadduri's War and Peace in Islam, with its discussion of the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya?

These questions, and your answers to them, will be published in the five leading newspapers of Israel.

Please, Mr. Prime Minister, think carefully before answering.

And come to think of it, why shouldn't this little quiz, which so clearly will elicit for us information about the comprehension of Infidel leaders everywhere, be given, in one form or another, all over the world, beginning with those in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid?


Olmert, I'm afraid, has already failed with the surpassing idiocy of his every statement and move. Bush, in his messianic missing-the-point fervor -- he had an idea and now the idea has him -- to create a Light Unto the Musiim Nations instead of exploiting the situation to weaken the Camp of Islam -- has not done much better. Almost all of the known leaders of the Western world have similarly failed.
Read the whole thing.

An oh so true post-mortem

See the rest of it here.

The Beginning of the End for Lebanon? Part 7

Hezbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has called for mass demonstrations in the streets to bring down the government of Fouad Siniora according to an al-AP report originating in Beirut.
The leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, said Thursday that Lebanon's Western-backed government had failed and he called for peaceful protests to force it to resign.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government "has proven it is incompetent and has failed to fulfill its promises and achieve anything significant," Nasrallah said in a televised address broadcast on Hizbullah's television station, Al-Manar.

Hizbullah-led opposition groups have called for mass protests to begin Friday in downtown Beirut with the aim of bringing down the Western-backed government.

The call for peaceful street action came in a statement broadcast Thursday on the television stations of Hizbullah and other opposition groups. It said the street action would begin on Friday at 15:00 in downtown Beirut, where the embattled government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has its offices.

The prime minister and members of his Cabinet have been bracing for mass demonstrations for days. The security forces have deployed troops and armored vehicles outside government offices, where the prime minister is holed up.

The call for protests came after weeks of political tension between pro-Syrian groups in the opposition, led by Hizbullah, and anti-Syrian factions supporting the government, which has wide Western backing.

The opposition "calls on all the Lebanese of all sects and parties ... to gather peacefully and stage an open-ended sit-in to protest the absence of real political participation and to demand a national unity government, whose priority is to decide a new election law," the statement said.

It called on supporters to carry only the Lebanese flag and to avoid carrying party banners or posters.

Although the statement said the protest would be peaceful, any attempt by demonstrators to take over government buildings could lead to violence.

It was not clear from the opposition statement whether the groups would attempt to take over government buildings.

Previously, groups that support Saniora's government have vowed to call counter demonstrations.
You just knew this was going to happen. Hopefully, with Hezbullah being backed by Syria and Iran, this will give the Bush administration the courage to just say no to 'engagement' with the Syrians and the Iranians.

Israel to buy new, improved Skyshield from Lockheed - but will it be enough?

Back in September, I told you all that Israel was on the verge of deciding to purchase the Skyshield missile shield system from American defense contractor Lockheed Martin after the US killed the development of the Nautilus laser gun system in January.

Haaretz is reporting this morning that Lockheed has made some improvements to the Skyshield and hopes to have it available for the IDF early next year. It is hoped that Skyshield will provide an answer to the Katyusha rockets that Hezbullah shot from Lebanon last summer, and to the Kassam rockets that the 'Palestinians' continue to shoot from Gaza.
Skyshield, a gun-based air defense system for low-flying aircraft and helicopters, uses bursting rounds that explode in proximity of the target, destroying it.

Lockheed carried out improvements of Skyshield so it will be able to intercept rockets, mortars and artillery shells.

The rounds fired by the Skyshield's gun are made of tungsten, and have successfully penetrated and destroyed the warheads of several types of ballistic weapons, including Qassam and Katyusha rockets, during laboratory experiments.

The rockets were not destroyed in flight, and therefore cannot be considered as having been intercepted, but at Lockheed there is optimism regarding the possibility that in the future, Skyshield will be able to offer a counter to these threats.

The estimated cost of the system is $15 million and delivery will be possible as early as the beginning of next year.
But will it be enough and will it be in time? Arutz Sheva is reporting this morning that 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah's 'military wing,' the 'al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades' has a new type of rocket that it showed off in Samaria yesterday, that is capable of hitting Israeli cities and planes taking off and landing at Ben Gurion International Airport. The missile, called Jundalla (Allah's soldiers) was displayed at a press conference for the foreign press yesterday:
The Fatah terrorists, located in Palestinian Authority-assigned Shechem (Nablus), said that they were prepared to begin firing the rockets at Israeli towns.

At the press conference, to which Arab correspondents working for Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse were invited, twenty members of the terrorist group brandished at least four of the new rockets.

The five-foot long rockets have a range of more than two miles and carry at least 6.6 pounds of explosives, the terrorists claimed.

“We have a certain number of these rockets and we are going to use them when the time is right,” they told the newsmen.
Now this is not the first time these claims have been made. I would advise taking them seriously. Back in March, I blogged an article in which we were told:
Ben-Gurion International Airport is only eleven kilometers from the "green line," and Israel has real concerns over the potential threat of missiles launched against aircraft. Al-Qaeda tried to shoot down an Israeli Arkia aircraft with a missile in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 and they missed. It was a miracle that nobody was killed at that time.

In Israel, all the aircraft come from the west and land from west to east, then take off from east to west over the Mediterranean Sea. But due to weather conditions, there are seventy days a year when the aircraft must fly in the opposite direction, above the West Bank. We wanted to build a double fence in the area near the airport in order to secure it from missiles, but there are 19,000 Palestinians living in this area. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saw the maps and said Israel could not cause people to live in enclaves, so the government decided not to build a double fence in this area at this time.
In May, I warned that the government was minimizing the rocket threat from Judea and Samaria, because understanding the threat would awaken people to the inherent danger in the government's convergence consolidation realignment surrender, expulsion and suicide plan. And in July, I reported that the 'Palestinians' had fired rockets from Jenin in Samaria. By September, the IDF said that it expected rocket strikes on Israeli cities from Judea and Samaria by January 2007. According to Arutz Sheva,
A rocket factory in Jenin was uncovered during an IDF operation a year ago, but recent intelligence assessments have indicated that attaining rocket-launching capabilities in Samaria is a top goal for all of the PA’s terror groups.
I'm sure many of you are sitting and wondering what I'm complaining about. The Skyshield sounds like the perfect solution. And it might be. But....

How many Skyshield guns is Israel going to purchase and where are they going to be stationed? I have visions of hundreds of soldiers standing on and around the airport periphery trying to make sure that no missiles hit incoming or outgoing planes. But if the planes have to fly over Samaria to take off, how will we defend them? And how will we predict where else these short range missiles - that provide very little warning (in Sderot they have fifteen seconds from when the alarm goes off to make it into a shelter) - will hit?

What's worse is that the very presence of Skyshield in Israel's arsenal may provide the 'cover' for the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government to give the 'Palestinians' more Judenrein land.

All in all, I am happy to have Skyshield in our arsenal. I don't consider it a panacea for all of our troubles, which will only worsen if Israel actually adopts the the government's convergence consolidation realignment surrender, expulsion and suicide plan.

Update 12:08 PM

I was right.

Maariv is now reporting (link in Hebrew) that a senior staffer at the Defense Ministry says that the purchase of Skyshield will allow Israel to give up land unilaterally.

Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz has instructed senior staffers at the Defense Ministry, including director general Gabi Ashkenazy, to intensify the efforts to deploy an anti-missile system so that Israel can take 'unilateral steps' if 'negotiations' with the 'Palestinians' fail. Peretz is due to make the final selection of an anti-missile system (which as noted above is likely to be Skyshield) within two weeks.

According to Maariv, an answer to the Kassam fire will allow the politicians to make "pressure free" decisions. "At the moment that the system development is completed, and this can happen within two years if sufficient resources are invested, we will be able to carry out a unilateral process like 'convergence' vis a vis the Palestinians without apprehension ", said a senior Defense Ministry staffer. " The senior staffer also claimed that because "the choice between the solutions being offered by Israel Military Industries and Refael is difficult."

The IAF has made dealing with the rockets a priority in order to lessen the terrorists' motivation to produce them. A senior IDF officer claims that even if the 'Palestinians' extend their rockets' range, the IDF will be able to intercept them.

Note three things here:

1. No mention of Skyshield. Sounds like the Defense Ministry is trying to handle this locally.

2. They're talking about two years to a solution, which is much worse than the matter of months discussed in the previous article, especially when you consider that the 'Palestinians' are seemingly already prepared to start shooting from Samaria.

3. In Peretz's 'mind,' and probably in Olmert's and Livni's too, the idea of an anti-missile system is not to defend the country, but to provide cover for giving up more geographical assets (i.e. land).

I find the third thing to be the most frightening of all. They still don't get it.

Keeping your kids off the Internet, 'Palestinian' style

Do your kids spend too much time on the Internet? Do you? Well, here's one way to cut down on the time you spend on the Internet: Move to Gaza.
Unidentified gunmen attacked several Internet cafes in the Gaza Strip with hand grenades and bombs before dawn on Wednesday. The simultaneous attacks caused heavy physical damage, but no one was injured.

There were no claims of responsibility, but some cafe owners accused Muslim fundamentalists who have been campaigning against Internet cafes and surfers.

"Some fanatics are unhappy with the fact that many young people have access to the Internet," one owner told The Jerusalem Post. "They claim that the Internet is corrupting young people because it exposes them to Western values and culture and pornographic sites."

Another owner, Ala Shawwa, described the attacks as a "cowardly act." He estimated losses to his Internet cafe at $3,000, adding that the place had been entirely destroyed.

Nabil al-Atleh, owner of Coffee Net in the center of Gaza City [I thought good Muslims don't drink anything that has caffeine. CiJ], said the attacks occurred just after before dawn prayers in local mosques. He said all 30 computers were destroyed, estimating the damage at more than $5,000. [These people must be using awfully old computers. CiJ]

In Rafah, arsonists set fire to a shop selling cassettes and CDs. The owner, Farid Awad, said masked gunmen had warned him in the past not to sell modern music.

"Those behind these attacks are trying to turn Palestine into a Taliban-style country, where people were executed for watching TV," said a Fatah official. "What will the next move be? Are they going to confiscate satellite dishes and radios from our homes?"

Because most residents cannot afford personal computers, several Internet cafes have opened across the Gaza Strip in the past few months.
I know: Let's get UNRWA to buy them computers! That will stop them from being terrorists!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'Solidarity Day' at the United Nations

Today is November 29, 2006, the 59th anniversary of yet another missed opportunity by the Arabs (there was no such thing as a 'Palestinian' in 1947) to make peace with what was about to become the State of Israel. At the United Nations, November 29 is celebrated each year as the "International Day of Solidarity with the 'Palestinian People.'" Some of you may recall that last year, this was the day when the Middle East map that did not include Israel graced the UN.

The day almost sounds tame when you read about it on the UN's web site, but at the bottom we are told that the Committee on the Exercise of the 'Inalienable Rights' of the 'Palestinian people' arranged to screen a movie together with the 'Palestinian' Permanent Observer Mission. The movie is called "The color of olives." There is also an exhibition called “Contextualization: A Palestinian narrative.” Both 'events' are taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.

Israel to be pressured by Iraq Study Group recommendations

There's yet another article in the media today suggesting that Israel is to be sacrificed in a bid to 'engage' Syria and Iran if the Iraq Study Group's recommendations are to be adopted.
An expert adviser to the Baker-Hamilton commission expects the 10-person panel to recommend that the Bush administration pressure Israel to make concessions in a gambit to entice Syria and Iran to a regional conference on Iraq.

The assessment was shared in a confidential memorandum — obtained yesterday by The New York Sun — to expert advisers to the commission from a former CIA station chief for Saudi Arabia, Raymond Close. Mr. Close is a member of the expert group advising the commission and was a strong advocate throughout the panel's deliberations for renewed American diplomacy with Iran and Syria. In the memo, Mr. Close shares his "personal predictions and expectations" for what the Iraq Study Group will recommend in its final report next month.

Mr. Close writes that he expects the study group to urge President Bush to convene a regional conference "to enlist the support of neighboring states in establishing stability in Iraq." Among the participants in the regional conference should be "all principal states of the region," including Iran, Syria, and Israel. The inclusion of Israel, according to Mr. Close, is crucial because it will provide the only leverage by which Iran and Syria can be enticed to help stabilize Iraq.

"To have any realistic chance of success, I believe that the process would have to start with the announcement of a major initiative, promoted and vigorously supported by the United States, to reach a comprehensive resolution to the Israel-Arab crisis through a process of reasonable compromise and accommodation between Israel and its Arab neighbors," he writes.


Other members of the expert working groups yesterday, when asked about the memo, confirmed it was authentic. Mr. Close did not return an email seeking comment. But two members cautioned that the views of Mr. Close were his own and that in the last three weeks the commission and team of staffers at the U.S. Institute of Peace have not formally sought the opinions of the expert working groups. That said, some of the individual experts have provided private counsel and analysis to individual members.

Mr. Close believes a regional conference centering on Israel's conflict is so likely that "If the ISG suggests a regional conference to which would not be invited, that could only be because Israel and its supporters in the United States intervened to protect Israel from involvement in a process in which it would inevitably have to make significant concessions and compromises."
In other words, according to Mr. Close, if Israel does not come under pressure to make concessions commit national suicide, it will prove that Walt and Mearsheimer were correct.
Mr. Close does not specify what those compromises would be. He does however write that America and Israel will need to make "significant modifications" to their current positions. He also writes that America should not offer Syria an opportunity to restore its semi-sovereignty over Lebanon. But in lieu of that, "perhaps the US will have to put pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions in the Golan." The reference is to the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed after winning from Syria in the Six Day War of 1967.
Netanyahu was right. It's 1938 all over again, this is Munich, and Israel is cast in the role of Czechoslovakia. But not quite the way he expected. Or maybe not. You see, even Mr. Close agrees that George Bush is not going to be willing to play Neville Chamberlain:
The proposal to call a regional conference sounds good, but does not stand up very well to hard analysis. With George W. Bush in the White House, I cannot see a single prospective participant in a regional conference of this kind (particularly the United States and Israel) coming to the table prepared to make the compromises and concessions that will be essential to reaching a constructive outcome of US policy in Iraq. …

However …I believe that the ISG will nevertheless recommend the convocation of a regional conference. …Tragically, I think George W. Bush will not agree even to give it a sporting chance.
Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

Update 8:59 PM

Mr. Close is not exactly an unbiased academic. This is from Ed Lasky at The American Thinker (which has a brand new look on their website - worth checking out) (Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs):
More worrisome than Baker's tete a tete with Iran's Ambassador is the apparent fact, also disclosed by the Washington Post, that Ray Close, a former CIA hand, has been one of the "experts' the ISG has relied upon in formulating its recommendations. Anyone familiar with the ways of Washington (as Baker surely must be) would be aware that Close has a very checkered past regarding his opinion of our ally Israel, and has made comments regarding American Jews that can be characterized as anti—Semitic. One does not even have to be an old Washington hand, as Baker is, to know of this. A simple internet search would have disclosed that Close is far from a neutral observer or expert regarding the Middle East. He seems, in fact, to be a proponent of the view that American Jews have been instrumental in leading us into the Iraq War and that support for Israel is not in our national interest.

In one article for the radical Counterpunch magazine, for example, he states that he was on the verge of having a bit of admiration for Richard Holbrooke, Kerry's foreign policy advisor, until it became clear (to him) that Holbrooke (who is of Jewish heritage) supported Israel. He wrote that Holbrooke's

"intellectual convictions (and ethnic prejudice) make it impossible for him to comprehend how Israeli occupation of Palestine and American occupation of Iraq"

are perceived in the Muslim world. "Ethnic prejudice"? So Holbrooke's Jewish heritage makes him prejudiced? Recall that Holbrooke is a man others lionized for saving Muslims during the Bosnian crisis a few years ago.

In another article, Close called Israel's actions in defending itself against Hezbollah "disproportionate and counterproductive." However, unlike some other critics (mostly found in Europe and the relentlessly anti—Israel United Nations) who felt compelled to limit their criticism to these acts, Close took the opportunity to condemn Israel for the entire history of actions it has taken to defend itself against enemies that have promised to destroy it.

He characterized such Israeli defensive actions as part of a national philosophy. This comes very close to the views of certain anti—Semites who have a penchant for broadly characterizing actions of Jews as somehow genetically—based. Read the following and make up your own mind.

"For more than half a century, the Israelis have been applying the tactic of massively disproportionate retaliation to every provocative act of resistance attempted by the Palestinians, expecting every time that this would bring peace and security to all the people of the Holy Land. Every single time they have done this this, it has backfired. Every single time. The national philosophy (it is really deeper and more significant that just a military tactic) that underlies this devotion to massive over—reaction, and particularly its corollary, collective punishment, is obviously and demonstrably foolish and futile. It does not intimidate or deter the Palestinians, and it never will. It hardens their determination to resist and to defy. I don't care whether you consider the Palestinians to be terrorists or common criminals or freedom fighters or national resistance heroes. If you are an intelligent and sensitive human being, you learn from your past mistakes and you make a rational decision to try something different. The Israeli leadership for all these many generations has been incapable of performing that really rather simple mental and moral exercise."

Close appears to be one of a long line of Arabists who have worked in the State Department and CIA who have links to Arabs that lead to an anti—Israel bias. He disclosed that his ancestors had established Christian mission schools over a hundred years ago in Lebanon. As analyzed in the outstanding book, The Arabists, by Robert Kaplan, Americans with such roots have historically been anti—Israel. Close follows this tradition.

There's a lot more. Read the whole thing.

Olmert's not as dumb as we thought he was - he just can't say no

Ehud K. Olmert has come in for a lot of criticism since the weekend, when he agreed to a truce cease fire hudna in the Gaza Strip that has given 'Palestinian' terrorists time to rearm and regroup, against the advice of his own military. But if Middle East Newsline is correct, Olmert's hand was forced... by Condi Rice....
The Bush administration has pressed Israel not to respond to Palestinian missile fire.

Officials said the White House and State Department demanded that Israel end operations in and withdraw from the Gaza Strip in exchange for a Palestinian Authority agreement to a ceasefire. They cited the scheduled visit by President George Bush to Jordan on Nov. 29, where he planned to meet Iraqi, Jordanian and perhaps Palestinian leaders over the next two days.

"[Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert was first told of the ceasefire proposal when he came to Washington earlier this month," official said. "Last week, Condy [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] called Olmert and said she expected an end to Israeli military operations."

U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams was expected to meet Abbas over the next day in Amman. Officials said Abrams would then issue a recommendation regarding the feasibility of a meeting between Bush and Abbas. They said the U.S. president was not expected to meet Olmert.
What's not clear here is whether the 'officials' are American or Israeli. The article is datelined Washington, which implies that it was American officials. The report would certainly be more credible if it came from Americans, than if it came from Israelis who might have an interest in making Olmert look a little less bad.

Lebanese army under orders not to stop weapons shipments

We have known for a while what Time Magazine confirmed last week: that Hezbullah has re-armed and replaced all the weapons they used or lost in this past summer's war. I assumed that this was done under the noses of UNIFIL and the Lebanese army, that the Lebanese army was powerless to stop it, and that UNIFIL would not stop it unless the Lebanese army asked that it be stopped. There's apparently a bit more to it than that. This is from Middle East Newsline:
In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, [Israeli Chief of Staff Dan. CiJ] Halutz said the Lebanese Army has been cooperating with Hizbullah rearmament effort. The general said Lebanese military units have been under orders not to block weapons shipments from Syria.
If any of you are reading this in Lebanon, please blame your government - and not mine - if your infrastructure gets destroyed again six months from now.

Desmond Tutu to head UN mission to Beit Hanun

Al-AP is reporting that 'Nobel Laureate' Desmond Tutu is going to be heading the United Nations 'fact-finding mission' to Beit Hanoun. According to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso De Alba, Tutu will travel to Beit Hanoun to "assess the situation of victims, address the needs of survivors and make recommendations on ways and means to protect Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults." It goes without saying that they will not be looking at ways to protect Israelis from Kassam rockets being shot at Sderot from Beit Hanoun.

Now you had to know that if the mission was being sent by the 'Human Rights Council,' it was going to be biased against Israel. After all, Israel is the only item on its agenda - even Darfur cannot make the grade. But Tutu has his very own special history of relations with Israel. And that's why he was chosen for this 'mission.' It was Tutu who - in April 2002 - brought the comparison between Israel and the apartheid state in South Africa to the fore.
In a speech in the United States, carried in the UK's Guardian newspaper, Archbishop Tutu said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about".

The archbishop, who was a leading opponent of apartheid in South Africa, said Israel would "never get true security and safety through oppressing another people".
But of course, Tutu denies being an anti-Semite:
Archbishop Tutu said his criticism of the Israeli Government did not mean he was anti-Semitic.

"I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group," he said.
Tutu's speech was made shortly after Israel cleaned up Jenin in Operation Defensive Shield.
The archbishop said that while he condemned suicide bombings by Palestinian militants against Israel, Israeli military action would not bring security to the Jewish state.

Israel must "strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories side by side with Israel, both with secure borders," he said.
It should be noted just how wrong Tutu was in 2002. Defensive Shield was the beginning of a drastic reduction in the number of 'Palestinian' suicide bombers, and it worked specifically because it was a military action.

In a January 2003 article, John Perazzo wrote the following about Tutu's relationship with Israel:
Tutu further claimed that Americans are sometimes afraid to criticize Israel. "The Jewish lobby is powerful, very powerful," he said. "[Y]ou know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US], and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic. . . I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group."

Asserting that "Israel is like Hitler and apartheid," Tutu urged his Boston listeners to oppose Israeli "injustices" as fervently as they once opposed Nazism and South Africa’s system of racial separation. "We live in a moral universe," said Tutu. "The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust." How remarkable it is that he chose to compare Israel’s government to the regimes of such monsters, yet had no words of condemnation for his fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient Yasser Arafat – the man single-handedly responsible for the murder of more Jews than anyone since Hitler.

As a tangible expression of his view that Israeli policies stand in the way of peace in the Middle East, Tutu now endorses the burgeoning Israeli Divestment Campaign. "The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century," he says, "but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure – in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. . . . [A] similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation. Divestment from apartheid South Africa was fought by ordinary people at the grassroots. Faith-based leaders informed their followers, union members pressured their companies’ stockholders, and consumers questioned their store owners. Students played an especially important role by compelling universities to change their portfolios. Eventually, institutions pulled the financial plug, and the South African government thought twice about its policies. Similar moral and financial pressures on Israel are [now] being mustered one person at a time."

Notably, Tutu makes no call for divestment from any other Middle Eastern nation, though the political oppression, human rights abuses, and barbaric atrocities characterizing life throughout much of that region dwarf anything that the Palestinians have ever suffered in Israel, which Tutu dubs America’s "client state." This double standard is reminiscent, of course, of the equally curious double standard that characterized the anti-apartheid crusade in the 1980s. In those days, there was nary a whisper about possible divestment from any of the myriad African nations where campaigns of ethnic cleansing, wholesale torture and mutilation, and the genocide of millions were simply a way of life.
In sum, Tutu may be the only more 'worthy' candidate to head the Beit Hanoun 'investigation' than Dhimmi Carter. After all, he's not an American.

Educate an 'Israeli Arab,' get a 'Palestinian' a Palestinian Islamist

Israel's university campuses are known as hotbeds of leftist, pro-'Palestinian' activism, even among their Jewish students. But at the University of Haifa, things have gone much further. Haifa has become a hotbed of 'Palestinian' and Islamist activism.

YNet is reporting this morning that a journal was distributed to the Arab student population by the Islamic Movement's northern front, the group led by Sheikh Raed Salah. The journal displays pictures of Osama bin Laden, former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, and Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, with attached pages describing their terror activities and details of their lives. YNet reports that the journal was funded by a branch of the Islamic Movement that is located in Um-el-Fahm, which is within the green line.
The person responsible for distribution of the journals on campus was Islamic movement member and Haifa University student Mouad Hatib. [Hatib is likely an Israeli citizen. CiJ]

"I don't understand the fuss," he said. "It's a journal for Arab students at the university. The student body of the Islamic movement stands behind the distribution of these journals."

"It's important for us to note important dates for the Arab nation. Nasrallah and Arafat are both leaders of the Arab people. We mention Nasrallah and the date of the kidnapping of the two soldiers and the killing of eight others as a brave operation that led to the Lebanon war ," he explained.

"We mention Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, which started the intifada. We mention Sept. 11th and al-Qaeda. These things, and leaders like our leader Marwan Barghouti who is imprisoned in one of your jails, and the date of Arafat's death are very important."

"It's important for the Arab public to remember its leaders, the people who are paving the way for its independence, so why can't we mention bin Laden or Nasrallah?" he asked.
And why are such activities going on in an Israeli government-funded state university? Why just look at the administration's reaction:
The university administration said that the journals don't contain problematic information. When it was brought to the dean's attention that it contained lauding depictions of terror leaders such as Nasrallah and of Sept. 11, the statement was not renewed.

"We've learned our lesson and will pay full attention in the future to pictures within the material approved for university distribution," a statement said.
Does the University of Haifa administration really believe that only the pictures were problematic?

Syria still attempting 'regime change' in Lebanon

Israel Radio reported this morning that the Lebanese newspaper al-Mustakbal, which is owned by the family of assassinated Lebanese President Rafik al-Hariri, reports this morning that four days ago, Lebanese authorities arrested two people - a Syrian and a Saudi - who were part of an alleged network of two hundred people who planned to assassinate thirty-six senior Lebanese officials. According to the newspaper, the Syrian intelligence appointed a group belonging to the Fatah-Intifada organization to implement the plan.

Fatah-Intifada split from the Fatah movement in the 1970s and is led by Colonel Abu Moussa.

You can find more details about this story here.

The Wars of Perception

The New York Times - of all places - gives a lesson on how the media distorts. This article is important for Israel for two reasons: first, because it talks about Iraq, and the distorted reporting from Iraq could lead to a US withdrawal that would be against Israel's interests. Second, the same kind of distorted reporting that goes on from Iraq - and worse - goes on here and Israel and went on in Lebanon this past summer:
IN January 1968, Americans turned on their televisions to find scenes of chaos and carnage as Vietnamese communists unleashed their surprise Tet offensive. It would go down in history as the greatest American battlefield defeat of the cold war.

Twenty-five years later, in December 1992, the United States began a humanitarian intervention in Somalia that would be viewed as the most striking failure of the post-cold-war era. Then, in March 2003, American tanks charged across the dunes into Iraq, beginning, in the eyes of many Americans, the worst foreign policy debacle of the post-9/11 world. Tet, Somalia and Iraq: the three great post-World War II American defeats.

Except that, remarkably, Tet and Somalia were not defeats. They were successes perceived as failures. Such stark divergence between perception and reality is common in wartime, when people’s beliefs about which side wins and which loses are often driven by psychological factors that have nothing to do with events on the battlefield. Tet and Somalia may, therefore, hold important lessons for Iraq.


The illusion of defeat was heightened by two powerful symbolic events. First, the communists attacked the American Embassy in Saigon. It was one of the smallest-scale actions of the Tet offensive, but it captured America’s attention. The attackers had breached the pre-eminent symbol of the United States presence in South Vietnam: if the embassy wasn’t safe, nowhere was. News outlets reported that the embassy had been captured when in reality all of the attackers were soon lying dead in the courtyard.


Second, Eddie Adams’s photograph of South Vietnam’s police chief executing a Vietcong captive in the street caused a sensation. After he fired the shot, the police chief told nearby reporters: “They killed many Americans and many of my men. Buddha will understand. Do you?” Back home in the United States, the image spoke powerfully of a brutal and unjust war. For some Americans, this image was the Tet offensive.

Finally, the American news media painted a picture of disaster in Vietnam. Even though communist forces incurred enormous losses, reporters often lauded their performance. As the Times war correspondent Peter Braestrup put it, “To have portrayed such a setback for one side as a defeat for the other — in a major crisis abroad — cannot be counted as a triumph for American journalism.”
Read it all.

Israel’s “no war, no peace” policy and the Muqawama Doctrine

Ehud Yaari, former Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Television, and one of the more intelligent commentators on the Israeli scene, spoke last night in Toronto to more than 1000 people about the two topics in the title line. Ted of Israpundit was there, and blogged the occasion:
He advised that Israel wants to disengage from the Arabs even if there is no recognition or agreement on borders. This is called a “no war, no peace” policy.

He wrote about this in February of this year in Inside the Hamas Strategy when Hamas was first elected.

This is the concrete deal that Hamas is offering Israel: an open-ended armistice in exchange for a well-armed and independent Palestinian state; a prolonged cessation of hostilities, but no peace treaty and no resolution of the conflict’s underlying issues. According to conversations with its leaders and its public statements, Hamas will recognize Israel as an “occupier state” while still rejecting its legitimacy. As a sign of their seriousness, the heads of Hamas have already quietly given assurances that they will unconditionally extend the tahdiah, the lull in attacks on Israel, that they painstakingly maintained in the year leading up to their stunning victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections on January 25. They will keep their terrorist weaponry on safety, without giving it up.

Unfortunately, it is likely that the Europeans will soon advise Israel to accept such a deal. The Egyptians are already arguing in private that an armistice without a peace treaty is preferable to another intifada. And, rest assured, down the road there will be Israelis who will urge taking the deal that is possible and giving up on the one that is necessary–that is, a final-status agreement incorporating Palestinian recognition of Israel. This is how Hamas hopes to achieve legitimacy and to consolidate its gains.


He also described an other Arab policy often referred to as “resistance”.

The Muqawama Doctrine

Muqawama calls for constant combat against one’s adversary. The doctrine holds that, to defeat one’s adversaries, more can be achieved by armed resistance than by political agreement.

[..] the muqawama doctrine’s call for resistance. Others, such as Hamas bureau chief Khaled Mashal and Gen. Michel Suleiman, commander in chief of the Lebanese army, have been more explicit in their calls for muqawama against Israel and others.

The muqawama doctrine does not call for the strengthening of armies in order to compete against adversaries’ armed forces. Instead, it calls for battles to be waged against civilian populations.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bargaining the Arab way

How many of you have ever set foot in an Arab souk and tried to bargain? I'm not even talking about Israel now - let's take it out of that context. How many of you have ever been to (let's say) Marrakesh and tried to bargain in the souk (market place)? How many of you know where Marrakesh is? :-) (When I lived in America, there were television ads for Marrakesh all the time, but I don't know if those still exist).

When you go into an Arab market, the first price you are offered is never the final price and is always way more than the item is worth. Only a fool - or someone who has no concept of how the market works - takes the first offer in the souk. And the Arabs are actually disappointed if you pay them the first asking price and don't bargain with them. For them, the bargaining - the challenge, the game if you will - is the main event. If you don't participate, they make you pay for being a fool.

Ehud Olmert is now paying for being foolish enough to agree to the truce cease fire hudna that he agreed to over the weekend. Speaking at a meeting with European Union envoys at the Finnish Embassy, Olmert said that he was "a little disappointed" by the continuation of Kassam rocket fire at the South by the Palestinians (two more rockets were shot at Sderot this evening), and added, "I hope very much that the Palestinians will honor their obligations and stop the fire." The man just doesn't get it. What did he expect? Now that the 'Palestinians' got him to withdraw from Gaza for nothing, they want to get him to withdraw from Judea and Samaria for nothing. He's paying the price for not driving any kind of bargain - for just giving away the house.

Israel's Channel 1 (the government TV station) reported this evening that the terrorist groups have said that the shooting won't stop unless Israel ceases all its operations in Judea and Samaria. That would mean no more arresting terrorists. No more blowing up weapons factories. Even Channel 1 (which is one of the most leftist nightly newscasts in the country, but the only television newscast that is simulcast on radio for half an hour most nights) pointed out that the 'Palestinians' claim to have a rocket in Judea and Samaria that has a range of five kilometers. For the record, that's enough range to hit the airport from some parts of Samaria, if the IDF withdraws and allows them to have free shots. Do you have any idea what would happen if a missile - even a relatively primitive one (like a Kassam) God forbid hit a commercial jetliner? Even if every single passenger survived (God willing), Israel's tourism industry would be gone for years to come.

Will Olmert finally figure out that this is the time to walk away and let the shopkeeper come after you? Or is he going to continue to play his hand as poorly as he has until now?

The Crucial Difference

Shiloh Musings has some food for thought for those of you who think that America is the place to be:
Many people were upset about the fact that Olmert was invited to address the OU Orthodox Union Convention in Jerusalem because of his anti-Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) and anti-democratic policies. He wasn't the only Israeli official who spoke. After Jewish Agency Chief Ze'ev Bielski's call for American Jews to immigrate to Israel, outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the US, Danny Ayalon, told the attendees not too, that they are needed in America to pressure the powers there.

Yes, that is how many American Jews rationalize their staying in America. It's not the "easy life;" it's the American power and feeling of security that keeps them there. They want to be on the "winning team." People I spoke to who heard him told me how refreshing it was that somebody finally "told the truth."

A few years ago, I took a course in Coaching. Not sports coaching, Life Coaching. One of the skills we were told to do develop was to listen to more than the actual words a person is saying. I've tried to apply this and find it very useful and revealing.

In this case I hear that these people consider the main power in this world to be the United States. They want to be where the power is to influence. Actually, so do I. We just don't agree as to where and what the true power is. I think, I believe that the only true power is G-d. That is The Crucial Difference.
Read the whole thing.

Dhimmi Carter on Larry King

Allahpundit at Hotair has a video of Dhimmi Carter's interview on the Larry King Show on CNN the other night. Dhimmi blames Israel for the failure of the road map, and accuses Israel of 'oppressing' the 'Palestinians' and building an 'imprisonment wall' but claims he is not anti-Israel. Not very credible.

He also talks about Professor Dershowitz's column about his book (by the way, I have not seen any other bloggers who panned Dershowitz like I did). Make sure you go over to Allah's site and watch the video.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs

Abu Mazen and Fatah are not 'moderate'

Caroline Glick tears to shreds the myth that 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen and his Fatah organization are 'moderate.'
THE AMERICANS, for their part, are not merely cheering Abbas, they are funding, arming and training his "Presidential Guard" and pressuring Israel to allow an additional 1,500 PLO terrorists into Gaza from Jordan to join Abbas's personal army. As US Army Lt. General Keith Dayton, who oversees the US training of Abbas's forces explained to Yediot Aharonot on Friday, Abbas's private army is supposed to be a counterweight to Hamas to ensure "that the moderate forces will not be erased."

To Israelis concerned about the prospect of being erased, and for anyone concerned with fighting the global jihad, statements like Olmert's, Livni's and Dayton's are infuriating because they are based on two glaringly obvious factual errors. First, Abbas's forces are in no danger of being erased. Second, they are not and never have been moderate.

As The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh reported on Friday, Abbas is the commander-in-chief of all the PA's security forces. While it is true that in recent months Hamas has been fielding an army which now numbers some 6,000 jihadists in Gaza, Abbas has some 45,000 military forces in Gaza under his direct control. As the commander of all Fatah terror forces, Abbas also has several thousand additional terrorists under his thumb. Both the official Palestinian security forces and Fatah terror cells are armed to the teeth and are the chief beneficiaries of the weapons smuggling from the Sinai.

And yet, aside from shooting rockets, missiles, bullets and bombs at Israelis; co-kidnapping IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit with Hamas and holding him hostage; kidnapping foreign correspondents and forcibly converting them to Islam; murdering and torturing Palestinians suspected of assisting Israel in fighting Palestinians terror (as Abbas is pledged to do), and running protection rackets that terrorize Palestinian businessmen, workers and professionals alike, Abbas doesn't use his forces for much of anything.

The last thing Israel or the US should be worrying about is Abbas's forces' defeat at the hands of Hamas.

AT THE same time, the last thing they can expect is for these forces to act as moderates. Over the past six years, Fatah terrorists, both in and out of the official Palestinian security services, have committed more terror attacks than Hamas. While it is true that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are commanded by Iran, it is also true that Fatah terror units are deeply penetrated by Iran and Hizbullah.

And yet, rather than accept the fact that Abbas is an enemy, not an ally, and that his "security forces" and Fatah "party" are actively involved in terror and racketeering, the US and Israel pretend that they are credible interlocutors. The US trains them and Israel allows them to be trained and pretends there is a chance that they will protect us from themselves.

In its press release regarding the cease-fire, the Foreign Ministry stated: "Israel is interested in maintaining a cease-fire as a means to end the violence and to enable progress in the political negotiations. In doing so Israel is knowingly undertaking the risk that the terrorist organizations will exploit the cease-fire to rearm and to rebuild their infrastructure."

When asked on Israel Radio about the prospect of the Palestinians using the cease-fire to rebuild their arsenals, Defense Minister Amir Peretz's strategic adviser Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilad answered rhetorically, "And we were stopping the smuggling until now?"

He went on to assure his listeners that Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who has to date facilitated massive arms shipments to cross Egypt into Sinai, will now make sure that no weapons get through.
Read the whole thing.

France 2 loses second al-Dura trial

The second al-Dura trial had a better outcome than the first one. Here's more from Pajamas Media:

Just in from PJM Paris editor Nidra Poller: “Judge Nicolas Bonnal, with his hallmark two-day beard and looking like he just took off his motorcycle helmet, threw the second al Dura case out of court today, delivering a blow to Charles Enderlin’s aggressive lawsuit strategy.

Judging that France 2 did not provide proof for the allegation that Pierre Lurçat is the director of the site on which the incriminated statements were published [League de Défense Juïve], the court rejected the plaintiff’s case without further consideration. Will France 2 appeal? Questioned by Véronique Chemla of Guysen Israel News, a visibly embarrassed Maître Amblard said something about further research to find out how to establish individual responsibility for a given website. Maître David Dassa-Le-Deist, delighted by the terms of the judgment, notes that his client has endured six years of legal harassment from a plaintiff that used Wikipedia to establish the chain of responsibility… now snapped by the court.”

We cease and they fire - Part 2

The Jerusalem Post's Israel Alert Service has just reported that a Kassam rocket that was fired by 'Palestinian' terrorists from Northern Gaza landed near the Sderot cemetery a short while ago. No reports of wounded or property damage.

The truce cease fire hudna has yet to remain in effect for an entire day.

Israel allows Fatah to bring in re-enforcements; IDF not consulted on hudna

About a month ago, 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen asked Israel for permission to bring in 1200 armed troops that are loyal to him from Jordan, and to deploy them in Gaza. The troops are part of what is know as the Badr Brigade. Today, Israel rewarded Abu Mazen for mouthing the word hudna. It allowed Abu Mazen to import the Badr Brigade into Gaza, ostensibly to shore up the truce cease fire hudna. I trust that you are all savvy enough to realize that the Badr Brigade is not going to return to Jordan anytime soon, even if the hudna ends tomorrow.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said Israel's decision is part of the truce deal that ended five months of fighting in Gaza.

The Jordanian-based Badr forces would be deployed along the Israel-Gaza border to beef up Palestinian troops trying to prevent terrorists from firing homemade rockets at Israeli border communities.

In the past, Israel has been reluctant to let armed PLO forces into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but apparently hopes the Badr troops will strengthen Abbas and support the fledgling truce, possibly leading to a renewal of long-stalled peace talks.
In the meantime, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that "The IDF played only a partial role in the decision to reach a cease-fire agreement with the Palestinians." Whatever that means. To me that sounds remarkably like being "a little bit pregnant" and what Halutz was really saying was "we had nothing to do with this and it was done without consulting us." Halutz also said that the hudna should not be extended to Judea and Samaria:
"It is important that the IDF maintains its freedom of movement in the West Bank," he said.
And it goes without saying that the opposition representatives in the Knesset Committee slammed the government for its stupidity. Someone needs to ask them what they have done today to bring down the government. Especially Silvan Shalom, who has done everything possible to undermine the most viable candidate to bring down the government from his leadership position in the Likud.
MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) was equally harsh in his criticism of the cease-fire. "We are all dependant upon the good will of the other side," he said. "We are giving Hamas a break to rearm, and in the mean time, the prime minister delivers a speech to regain the support of the public and the media," Shalom continued.

He went on to say that the cease-fire did not help Israel's security, but just kept "Olmert's and Peretz's jobs safe."
Yes, Silvan, that's true. But until you stop undermining Bibi, their jobs are quite safe, thank you.

For the record, I am not surprised that Olmert did not consult the IDF before undertaking this stupidity. His behavior is completely in character.

Giving credit where credit is due

Last week, I panned the OU for inviting Ehud Olmert to address their biannual convention here in Jerusalem. So it's only fair that when they do something right, I should give it the same exposure.

On Saturday night, the OU's convention resolutions did well by the former revenants of Gush Katif. (Maybe it was all the right wing bloggers waiting for the NCSY reunion? :-) Arutz Sheva reports:
Among the resolutions passed was one that appeared to provide a sterling example of learning from mistakes and rectifying them.

In its convention two years ago, the OU did not take a strong stand against the Disengagement plan, to the consternation of many of its constituents in Israel and the U.S. Instead, the OU sufficed with a statement that it is "deeply aware that questions of Israeli foreign policy and domestic security are best left to the citizens of Israel and the State of Israel’s democratically elected institutions."

The OU resolved at the time only "to continue to mobilize public and communal support for a secure State of Israel, while sharing, sensitively and with due discretion, the full range of our constituents’ views on divisive issues with appropriate representatives of the Israeli and American governments."

This, despite what the OU called "the profound identification that so many in our community feel with the plight of Jews who face removal from their homes in areas that resonate in Jewish history, and where their presence was encouraged and supported by the State of Israel."

(It is of interest to note that several months later, in the summer of 2005, the OU did take a stand in demanding that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz protect citizens' right to protest against the expulsion plan.)

At last week's convention, however, the tone was very different than that of two years ago. Many speakers spoke of the "tragedy" and "fiasco" of the Disengagement plan, and of the OU's failure in not speaking out against it. As such, the following resolution was passed: "The Orthodox Union, in exceptional circumstances, may take public positions contrary to those of the Government of Israel. Such action shall be taken upon approval by the Board of Directors of the Executive Committee."

The resolution, though accompanied by intense debate, was passed by what participants called a "very healthy" margin.


Another resolution passed by the OU - this one unanimously - called for continuing aid to the evacuees from Gush Katif and northern Shomron. It is a call "not to 'stand by your brother's blood,'" one delegate said.

The resolution calls upon the OU's constituent communities to provide financial aid for a host of programs and causes designed to help the evacuees. In addition, "the OU shall continue to advocate, in the Jewish umbrella organizations in which we sit, to raise awareness regarding [the evacuees'] plight and seek necessary support for them."

Regarding the Israeli government, the OU resolved to "advocate in its meetings with Israeli government officials for the full compensation and rehabilitation of the Gaza and Northern Shomron evacuees, requesting that the [government declare this] a national mission of appropriate priority."

The OU specified that the government should "allow for appropriate flexibility in the Compensation Law to provide the necessary compensation for property, housing, farms and businesses... [and] encourage the preservation of communal ties and [provide] support to rejuvenate their once-rich communal lives, and work to addresses the alienation [felt] by the youth... and continue to provide services until they have sufficiently settled in permanent dwellings."

As a sign of the enthusiasm with which this resolution was accepted, one delegate pledged a sum of several thousand dollars towards the work that the OU is already carrying out in Nitzan. Several hundred former Gush Katif families live in temporary dwellings in Nitzan, just north of Ashkelon, rendering it the largest concentration of such families in the country.
Read the whole thing.

Moral clarity goes down the tubes

I don't know about the rest of you, but I miss the moral clarity of the immediate post-9/11 period when George Bush said "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." He even meant it, although it took him until the following June to realize what it meant with respect to Israel. That's when he made his famous speech calling for 'different leadership' for the 'Palestinians' if they wanted a state reichlet. At this point, the Bush administration seems to have thrown in the towel on the war on terror, and the consequences are reverberating all over this region.

It's bad enough that Russia and China have been protecting Iran's nuclear program in the UN. Not only have they been protecting Iran from military action, but they have even been protecting it from any effective sanctions. A month ago, China Confidential reported that Russia and China regard sanctions against Iran as a 'slippery slope' on the road to armed intervention against Iran's nuclear program. Isn't it amazing what people will do for money? Yes, that's the motive here folks: Iran is a big trading partner for both Russia and China.

But in the Russians' case it has gone a bit further. As was widely reported yesterday, the Russians are selling Iran sophisticated anti-missile systems that are capable of repelling an Israeli or American air assault on the nuclear plants. DEBKAfile reported yesterday:
The first of 29 Tor-M1 systems in the $700m deal have been delivered to Iran by Moscow despite US opposition to their sale of a weapon widely regarded as the most advanced of its kind in the world. Some Iranian and Russian air defense experts say its full deployment at Iran’s nuclear installations will make them virtually invulnerable to American or Israeli attack in the foreseeable future. Therefore, no more than six months remain, until the Russian Tor-M1 systems are in place, for any attempt to knock out Iran’s nuclear weapons industry.


The fact that officials in Moscow, albeit unidentified, announced the Tor-M1 missile’s delivery to Iran indicates the Russian president Vladimir Putin has decided to shrug off US objections, including a request put to him in person by President George W. Bush when they talked in Moscow and Hanoi earlier this month.

DEBKAfile adds some information about this super-missile: The first batteries to be delivered come ready with Iranian crews trained at Russian air defense corps facilities. The advantages of the Tor-M1 system are principally its ability to simultaneously destroy two targets traveling at up to 700km/h in any weather by day or night; its powerful, jamming-resistant radar with electronic beam control, and its vertically-launched missiles’ ability to maintain high speed and maneuverability throughout their operation.

According to military experts, the 3D pulse Doppler electronically beam-steered E/F-band surveillance radar feeds to a digital fire control computer range, azimuth, elevation and automatic threat evaluation data on up to 48 targets.

The 10 most dangerous targets are automatically tracked and prioritized for engagement. The maximum radar range is billed as 25 kilometers but may be more. On the lower right side of the tracking radar, which is located at the front of the turret, is an automatic TV tracking system with a range of 20 km that enables the system to work in a heavy ECM environment.
You have to wonder whether the Russians have noticed what's been going on in their own province of Chechneya for the last few years, and whether they appreciate the consequences of Iran exporting its 'Islamic revolution' around the world. What the heck is Putin thinking?

As to the Iranians themselves, they are becoming more meddlesome, waiting to see if someone will try to stop them. When no one does, they get worse. Two weeks ago, Iraq the Model reported on an Iranian-orchestrated kidnapping of Baghdadi's:
The mass abduction that shocked Baghdad yesterday was intended to be a clear message from Tehran-through its surrogates in Baghdad-to anyone who thinks productive dialogue with the Islamic republic over Iraq and Middle East peace is a possible option.

The operation was a show of victory and it was so smooth and perfect that neither the MNF nor the Iraqi military could do a thing to stop it.

And today the show continues with the assassination of the colonel who's in charge of internal investigation in the department of national police, also known as the police commandos, one day after an investigation was ordered.


Iran now considers itself the victor and it will not negotiate for peace but instead will try to impose conditions to accept America's surrender.
From the sounds of yesterday's report on the results of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, Iran is already doing well in trying to impose conditions on America's 'surrender.'

Today, there's another nail hammered by Iran into the coffin of peace for non-Shiites in the Middle East: The New York Times is reporting this morning that Iran is helping the Mahdi army headed by Moktada al-Sadr in Iraq. And they're doing it through Hezbullah:
The official said that 1,000 to 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. A small number of Hezbollah operatives have also visited Iraq to help with training, the official said.

Iran has facilitated the link between Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in Iraq, the official said. Syrian officials have also cooperated, though there is debate about whether it has the blessing of the senior leaders in Syria.

The intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity under rules set by his agency, and discussed Iran’s role in response to questions from a reporter.
Now the Times notes that this could help those in the Bush administration who don't want to 'engage' Iran and Syria - and that could well be true. But until and unless the US is willing to militarily engage Iran, that's just a recipe for continuing standoff and casualties in Iraq.

What does this all have to do with Israel? Plenty. Israel is being lined up to be the sacrificial lamb for American policy in Iraq. The return of Brent Scowcroft to a position of power is one indication of that. You see Scowcroft is the behind-the-scenes mover of the Iraq Study Group, and the Iraq Study Group is really about sacrificing Israel to get the US out of its mess in Iraq:
DEBKA-Net-Weekly disclosed on November 24 that the brain behind this new strategy belongs to Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to three Republican presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George Bush Sr. He is emerging as the live wire behind the latest US foreign policy departures and the pivotal figure behind the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group.

This panel - which submits its final report to Congress on Dec. 10 - recommends an international conference on Iraq attended by leaders from Europe, Russia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and the main Muslim nations. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Washington sources, such a conference would spend more time on the Palestinian-Israeli issue than on Iraq. The group’s leaders predict that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and other Arab participants will demand “progress on the Israel-Palestinian track” before letting the conference get down to brass tacks on Iraq.

To lay the groundwork, therefore, Washington will have to give the international community free rein to squeeze Israel for far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians - and not only the Palestinians, if Syria is to be engaged.

This would require a diametric reversal of George Bush’s previous warm attitude towards “our friend and ally” Israel, possibly even a reversion to the iciness directed against the Shamir government in the early 1990s by the elder Bush, whom James Baker served as secretary of state and Scowcroft as national security adviser.

Earlier this month, Scowcroft, as chairman of the American-Turkish Friendship League, visited Ankara for an appeal to Turkish leaders to persuade the Syrian ruler Bashar Asad to cooperate on Iraq.

His mindset was revealed in an interview he gave the Turkish Daily News of Nov. 9, 2006:

I think we need to embed Iraq in a larger regional solution, and that to me goes back to the Palestinian issue. I think this would put us back on the offensive psychologically and even make Iraq easier to manage.”

Scowcroft then linked this viewpoint to the notion of an international conference, saying: “But I don’t think this will start with some kind of a conference because everyone will come with their preset speeches and everything will freeze again. But I think that there will be some quiet consultations in the region. I believe the Arab states in the region are eager for such a conversation. Israel may not be eager, but Israel is in bad shape right now.”

Scowcroft was therefore the first American strategic thinker to say out loud what DEBKAfile has been reporting since early August, that George Bush and his key advisers have diagnosed Israel as coming out of the Lebanon War weakened and with its strategic situation impaired.

The cards in Washington are therefore stacked against Israel these days. An unfortunate combination has emerged of a president who regards the Jewish state as strategically weak and a brace of key US advisers on the administration’s new Iraqi policy who are drawn from the most anti-Israeli US administrations of the past. The Olmert government, however forthcoming, must brace itself for a period of intensive American pressure to cede ever more assets to curry favor with the Arabs.
And we all know that Olmert is all too ready to give the country away - even without American encouragement.

Maybe that's why there doesn't seem to be any urgency to deal with Iran: the policymakers think Israel's fate will be sealed long before Iran's nuclear program goes on line.

By the way, read the entire article from this morning's Times. What the Mahdi army has been taught is not pretty.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest arms purchaser of them all?

At Mere Rhetoric, Omri points out that the biggest arms purchaser in the Middle East during 2002-2005 was not Israel. In fact, according to Omri, Israel wasn't even the second biggest purchaser. That honor went to Egypt. The top prize went to the Saudis. Israel came in a distant third.

Of the many disagreements between MR and the left, one of the most fundamental involves the sources for global instability. We tend to say that Palestinians who endanger Palestinian civilians and murder Israeli civilians are responsible for the deaths of civilians, while the left prefers to blame Israel because they can't be bothered to remember what happened yesterday (seriously, dealing with these people is like arguing with Memento).

Another difference is that the left always demonizes Israel as the greatest source of regional instability, arguing that Israel's arms imports cause arms races across the Middle East. We, on the other hand, insist that Egypt is one disgruntled general away from being the most dangerous country on Earth. Now without peeking, whose side do you think is supported by the data in Richard F. Grimmett's CRS Report for Congress, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1998-2005":

Table 1H gives the values of arms transfer agreements with the Near East nations by suppliers or categories of suppliers for the periods 1998-2001 and 2002-2005. These values are expressed in current U.S. dollars. They are a subset of the data contained in Table 1 and Table 1C. Among the facts reflected by this table are the following:

For the most recent period, 2002-2005, the principal purchasers of U.S. arms in the Near East region, based on the value of agreements were: Egypt ($5.2 billion), Saudi Arabia ($4.2 billion), and Israel ($2.5 billion).

Read the whole thing.

Concern about Syrian demands

It's not just Israelis who are concerned that the American desire to 'engage' with the despotic Assad regime could put a lot of pressure on us and cost us dearly. Egyptian blogger Big Pharoah is also deeply concerned:

These days nothing makes me concerned as much as what Syria might ask in return for its assistance in Iraq. What reward does Assad want? Does he want Lebanon back? Does he want to save high profile Syrian officials from the Hariri tribunal? Does he want renewed talks with Israel over the Golan? Recognition from the west? Ending Syria's isolation?

Lebanon to Syria is like a toy to a child. Like a bone to a dog. That what really makes me very concerned.

Israel as 'the Jewish quarter of an Arab town'

Point of No Return, a blog about the forgotten Jewish refugees from Arab lands, reports that the Arab League would like to return the Jews to dhimmitude.

Hat Tip: Dhimmi Watch
For Ahmed Benhelli [assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States CiJ], one must learn the lessons of the past – before the creation of the state of Israel – in order to resolve the current conflict. “Throughout their history, the Jews have lived in the Jewish quarter of the Arab town. They enjoyed all rights and respect as citizens and had the same duties, in an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony. There were many Jewish ministers, governors, scientists and craftsmen. (My emphasis -ed).

"The time has come for Israel to agree to live in proportion to its ‘size’‘, like the Jewish quarter of an Arab town, as befits History and natural logic, to live in a State ‘to scale’ with its numbers of inhabitants, its surface area as defined by UN resolutions, in peace and security among the states of the region. And to devote its human and material resources to construction, progress and prosperity instead of wars, tears, suffering and selfishness."
Read the whole thing.

Read the original article in French.

Ahmadinadinnerjacket predicts collapse of Israel, US and UK

Bloomberg reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinadinnerjacket is predicting the collapse of Israel, the US and the UK.

Hat Tip: Jihad Watch
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the collapse of Israel, the U.S. and Britain, attacking what he called their ``oppressive behavior.''

``The Zionist regime is on a steep downhill towards collapse and disgrace,'' Ahmandinejad told supporters at a rally of Basiji militia forces near Tehran today. In a reference to the U.S. and U.K., he said ``the collapse and crumbling of your devilish rule has started.'' The speech was carried live on state television.

Iran doesn't recognize Israel, and Ahmadinejad drew international condemnation after saying in October 2005 that Israel should be ``wiped off the map.'' The U.S. and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since 1980 following the seizure of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

The U.K., which has an embassy in Tehran, is among the three European countries pushing for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

The Iranian president also called on neighboring countries to drive out ``foreign occupiers,'' in a reference to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

``The people of the region are well able to establish regional security,'' the president said in the speech near the shrine of the Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. ``The presence of foreigners is the source of discord and conflict.''