I'll have more Purim things later tonight, because it's Purim here in Jerusalem, but here's a new blessing you all should recite at your Purim seuda (meal)(Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl). Okay, I'll translate for the Hebrew-impaired.
Blessed art Thou O Lord our God, King of the universe, who made it possible for Mordechai and Esther to do all that they did without forging passports.
On Sunday, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, told Army Radio that while he had no idea who killed al-Mabhouh, the slaying shows Hamas that "none of their people are untouchable, they can all be reached."
The comments from Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, were the most direct yet on the by an Israeli official.
He said the results were "immediately translated," claiming that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently disguised himself in a wig on a trip to Syria.
"He understands that eyes are watching him and that is what is important," Ben-Eliezer said.
Ben-Eliezer's claim could not immediately be verified with Hizbullah, but Nasrallah has largely lived in hiding since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Hmmm. But please wait until after Nasrallah has been liquidated to tell stories like that.
The Dubai police have issued a toxicology report on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and if you were hoping for the slow, painful death he so richly deserved, you're going to be disappointed.
Dubai police said Sunday forensic tests show a Hamas operative who was killed in his hotel room by an alleged Mossad hit squad was drugged with a fast-acting muscle relaxant and then suffocated with a pillow.
The drug, called succinylcholine, is frequently used by doctors to administer a breathing tube or anesthesia. Dubai police said tests discovered the drug in the bloodstream of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas commander whose body was found in his room at a luxury Dubai hotel on Jan. 20.
On Sunday, Dubai deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina told the Gulf News daily that succinylcholine can "cause immediate and temporary paralysis." He added that the forensic report confirms al-Mabhouh died of suffocation "using a pillow."
5 Lebanese arrested, charged with spying for Israel
Hezbullah's al-Manar TV reported on Saturday that five Lebanese citizens have been arrested and charged with spying for Israel. That makes a total of six this week.
Lebanese security and military officials contacted by The Associated Press refused to confirm or deny the Lebanese terrorist group's report.
Al-Manar said that two former policemen were among those detained, though it did not say when the arrests took place.
But note that the charges relate to providing Israel with information about Hezbullah. Remember that when Israel gets attacked by Hezbullah again, God forbid, and starts blowing Lebanon's infrastructure back to the 8th century. Lebanon is Hezbullah and Hezbullah is Lebanon. Unfortunately for those Lebanese who still care about their country more than they do about hating Jews.
Congressman William Delahunt (D-Mass), who led the J Street delegation to Israel two weeks ago, and then complainedlied about being snubbed by Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, may be retiring from Congress rather than face re-election.
Delahunt's retirement may well have nothing to do with Israel or J Street. He has bigger problems than that.
But it's nice to see a schmuck put out to pasture. Heh.
The campaign manager for former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina on Thursday criticized past donations to Campbell from four men. One was arrested for spying on Congress for Saddam Hussein. Another pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a Palestinian terrorist group.
Campaign manager Marty Wilson said the donations reinforce a congressional voting record by Campbell that was decidedly anti-Israel. He noted that Campbell had voted to cut foreign aid to the country while he served in the House.
The donations cited by Fiorina's campaign were from Campbell's unsuccessful 2000 Senate bid.
The second donor is clearly Sami al-Arian. I have no idea who the first one is and they give no indication who the third and fourth donors are. I didn't find the story on Fiorina's website. Hmmm.
It is widely known among Jerusalemites that Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, who was the Jerusalem Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community's Chief Rabbi 80-100 years ago, placed a 'curse' upon our city that we should never have beautiful weather on the holiday of Purim. The reason for his 'curse' was to reign in wild behavior that he felt was getting out of hand even then.
Most years the 'curse' is not blatantly fulfilled. We have some clouds, some wind, some cold and maybe even some rain, but not enough to put too much of a damper on the festivities in a day when cars are much more commonplace than they were in Jerusalem a century ago. This year, however, Rav Zonnenfeld's 'curse' is being fulfilled with a vengeance.
Purim's weather is set to be rainy and cool, with thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds. Hail is possible, and the wet weather will spread throughout the day from north to south. Flooding is possible. Rain should weaken in the evening hours. There is still a chance of rain Monday morning, and Tuesday should be pleasant and warmer.
I put the word 'curse' in scare quotes, because after five years of drought, this has been an exceptional year for rain, but there is still room for plenty more in the Sea of Galilee and in the underground aqueducts. Besides, I will be thrilled if it pours Sunday night (as it has all day) - keeping all the kids from lighting off dangerous and illegal fireworks in the streets (which are mostly purchased from 'Palestinians') and then clears a bit on Monday so that my three youngest kids can wear their rain-sensitive costumes to deliver Purim treats to our friends.
By the way, the 78th anniversary of Rav Zonnenfeld's death is the 19th day of the month of Adar, which is this coming Friday.
Writing in al-Ayyam (link in Arabic), 'Palestinian' Hani el-Masri asks why a third 'intifada' has not happened yet (the following is from a Google translation).
The first reason that prevents this is that the outcome of the previous two uprisings were not encouraging, ended the first Intifada to the Oslo agreement, and the second intifada was very expensive and ended in destruction, death and adoption of Israel's disengagement plan, which began the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, and can be completed for a state of ghettos dissected with temporary borders, do not have the ingredients of the States in name only.
The second reason which prevents the outbreak of the uprising is the political and geographical divisions. Dichotomy break the back of the Palestinians and led to a situation of despair, frustration and concern to the Palestinian forces in a destructive internal conflict had sapped its energies, and enabled the occupation to proceed with his plans through the application of occupation more quickly and at lower costs.
The third reason is because the Authority announced on the lips of the president himself over and over again that it was against a third intifada; because the authority is betting on the option of negotiations as the sole solution to the conflict. When it stopped the peace process since more than a year, and negotiations came to a standstill recognition Authority leaders, the leadership encourages the peaceful popular resistance and began to plan for a boycott of settlement, but without regard to the new strategic plan, but as a tactic to pressure primary objective of persuading Israel to resume negotiations on the basis of a settlement freeze and the Agreement reference to clear and binding, and that there are individuals and segments within the authority and the community is in their interest to keep the status quo without an uprising, and thus opposes the authority to lead the popular resistance.
The fourth reason is due to improving the conditions of the Palestinians economically by taking the occupation number of steps such as removing some barriers and facilitate the movement and more permits to enter Israel and the promotion of economic projects.
El-Masri believes that these four factors cannot keep the 'Palestinians' in check forever. Well, maybe. Although that doesn't mean that the results of a third 'intifada' would be any better for the 'Palestinians' than the first two.
A tense calm was reported on the Temple Mount Sunday morning, a couple of hours after Jerusalem police forces entered the compound following a disturbance at the site. Several dozen young Muslim men had holed themselves up in the Aksa Mosque on Saturday night and began hurling stones at visitors early Sunday morning.
The young men fled back into the mosque after security forces stormed into the compound, but some of them continued throwing rocks at police deployed in the plaza outside the building.
After failing to convince the Arab youths to leave the Aksa Mosque the previous night, the Wakf Islamic trust was negotiating with the men on Sunday morning.
So far, at least, it seems to be under control, although those 'several dozen young Muslim men' are still holed up inside the 'holy mosque.' Let's hope that the calm continues and that the 'intifada' doesn't start.
In a Friday speech to the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he does not believe that Iran will drop a nuclear weapon on Israel.
Barak also said he doubts Iran would launch a nuclear attack against Israel, but warned that a nuclear-armed "I don't think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, are going to drop it in the neighborhood," Barak said.
"They fully understand what might follow. They are radical but not total 'meshugah,'" said Barak, using the Yiddish word for crazy. "They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process and they understand realities."
Barak said Israel appreciates the U.S. push for "effective" sanctions against Iran, within a limited time frame, but said the international community must prepare for "the possibility that in spite of all effort, it will not lead to Iran accepting the international norms." Iran could destabilize the Middle East, disrupt oil supplies and strengthen Hezbollah and Hamas, which Iran sponsors financially and militarily.
I would not want to stake my survival on Ehud Barak's assessment that the apocalyptic Iranian regime is not 'meshugah' and understands what would happen if God forbid they dropped a nuclear bomb on Israel.
Moreover, we already know that 23% of Israelis will consider not bothering to hang around to see whether Iran will use their nuclear weapon if Iran God forbid gets one. For Israel, Iran with nuclear weapons is simply not an option. And Barak knows it.
New NIE on Iran unlikely to include a declassified version
In the next couple of weeks, the Obama administration is likely to release a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which will essentially gut the clearly mistaken conclusion of the 2007 estimate and bring the US into line with its allies and with the IAEA report that was released earlier this month. All of the other reports conclude that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The 2007 NIE concluded that Iran had abandoned nuclear weapons development in 2003. Unfortunately, unlike the 2007 report, which had a declassified version that gave it wide publicity, the new report is likely to have only a classified version, leaving ordinary citizens in the dark.
David Albright, a nuclear-weapons expert and president of the Institute of Science and International Security, said that the administration might want to avoid a lengthy and complicated public debate about the new estimate's conclusions, seeking to prevent the fractious debate that followed the release of the older estimate.
He said the nature of the estimate, which seeks to find consensus between all of the various intelligence agencies, makes it tough to give out enough information to make it bulletproof. Regardless, he lamented that the administration might not provide some of the information in a public way.
"They owe it to us to provide clarification of their position publicly," he said. "Speaking just as a citizen, I want my government to be transparent about something that could potentially involve military strikes."
Any clarification would bring the U.S. position more in line with that of with key allies like France and Germany, who have been long arguing for a stronger public position on Iran's nuclear program, according to Albright. A clarification would also help square the U.S. conclusions with the recent IAEA report on Iran that went further than previous reports in expressing concerns about weaponization, he added.
"The 2007 NIE really hurt things politically for getting sanctions and building momentum and they had to relook at this," Albright said. "Who knows if was really a mistake? It may be what they honestly believed at the time."
Albright only hints at the real issue here: Who ordered the issue of the 2007 report, which was so clearly mistaken that many parties disputed it immediately upon its release? And why?
If, as many on the Right suspect, the report was issued in a bid to take a military option out of President Bush's hands during his last year in office, history will not look kindly on those who were responsible.
The New York Times' David Sanger has picked up on a line in the IAEA report that came as as surprise: Iran has moved its entire known supply of low-enriched uranium to an above-ground outdoor facility. It's practically painted a bullseye on it, begging to be attacked. Why did they do it? Here's Sanger.
The strangest of the speculations — but the one that is being talked about most — is that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is inviting an attack to unify the country after eight months of street demonstrations that have pitted millions of Iranians against their government. As one senior European diplomat noted Thursday, an Israeli military strike might be the “best thing” for Iran’s leadership, because it would bring Iranians together against a national enemy.
Others, including some officials in the White House, say they do not buy that theory. Iran has worked too hard to let its supply be destroyed, they argue. “I really doubt they are taunting the Israelis to hit them,” said Kenneth Pollack, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who recently ran a daylong simulation of what would happen after an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “It would be humiliating for the Iranian regime,” he said. He speculated that Iran would have to retaliate, and “the ensuing confrontation would go in directions no one can really predict.”
Mr. Pollack numbers among those who suspect another explanation: brinkmanship. The Iranians have made clear that they do not like the terms their own negotiators came home with for swapping their nuclear fuel for specialized fuel for the medical reactor. By moving their fuel supply to the enrichment plant, they are essentially threatening to turn it all to near-bomb-grade fuel — and perhaps force the United States to reopen negotiations.
But the simplest explanation, that the Iranians had no choice, has its proponents. The fuel is stored in one big, specialized cask. When someone ordered that the fuel begin being fed into the giant centrifuges for further enrichment, engineers moved it to the only spot available — the exposed plant. Or, as one American intelligence official said, “You can’t dismiss the possibility that this is a screw-up.”
I think it's brinksmanship. I believe Iran has more fuel underground and that it is seeking to get a better enrichment deal from the West or to provoke an attack. But I don't believe they'd expose their entire stockpile like that. I'd love to see that thing sabotaged in a way that could not be traced.
Now, I'm starting to wonder what happened to those two alleged Mabhouh assassins who went to Iran. We Jews have a rule that an angel only carries out one mission at a time. Does that rule apply to Mossad agents? Hmmm.
Remember Baghdad Bob? Baghdad Bob was the guy who kept going on television during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 to say that Saddam Hussein's government was winning the war. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Dubai police chief Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim is starting to remind me of Baghdad Bob. Tamim went on al-Arabiya on Friday to announce that his team had recovered DNA of one of the 'suspects' in the Dubai Hotel Room in which Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh met his 72 virgins. Tamim also claims to have several sets of fingerprints.
Authorities in Dubai have found DNA traces of one of the suspects in killing senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, as well as finger prints of several members of the suspected hit squad, Dubai Police Chief Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the Al-Arabiya television network on Friday.
Earlier Friday, Khalfan announced that Dubai intends to seek the establishment of an international team to investigate Mabhouh’s death. Such a team could bring to the arrest of 26 suspects identified so far, against whom police in Dubai have “clear cut evidence,” he explained.
In an interview with Al-Bayan, a newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, Khalfan revealed that a special Dubai police team has already visited in several European states in the framework of the investigation into Mabhouh's killing.
There's only one problem with Tamim's claim: If the Mossad is behind this, where does he think he is going to find the agents' DNA to match up with his samples? Heh.
That calls for Part 3 of the Mission Impossible episode I've been running. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Let's go to the videotape.
Marty Peretz at New Republic jumped all over this story, but given the sources and the explanations, I would take it with a grain of salt.
Haaretz's Jack Khoury reported on Friday that US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell asked to resign and that the Obama administration turned him down. But consider the source and the reasons given:
An Arab political source said Friday that special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has requested to resign due to his frustration with the way the Obama administration has been handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a Nazareth-based daily.
Hadith a-Nass reported that Mitchell's request stemmed partly from to his own failure to advance the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and also from his perception that certain elements within the State Department hold biased favor toward Israel.
As much as Mitchell is biased against Israel, I find it hard to believe that he ever bought into Obama's attempt to railroad Netanyahu into a de jure freeze of construction in 'east' Jerusalem. I highly doubt that anyone other than Obama was behind that move (possibly with the goading of Obama buddy Rashid Khalidi).
It once was thought that Hillary Clinton, with a relatively friendly attitude towards Israel and a firm understanding of the perils it faces, might put her stamp on the department. But, as it happens, she has turned...
Parroting every false issue that comes her way, she leaps to the front of the diplomatic line to reproach Bibi Netanyahu and his government which, pressed by its hard right, has tried (valiantly, I would say) to accommodate the Palestinians. It is the Obama administration which invented the demand that Israel cease all settlement building, including in Jerusalem. Are they mad? Anyway, Hillary went along, as did groggy old George.
And now the Obami have discovered a new cause célèbre. Bibi has put on “the national heritage list” two sites that are somehow controversial, and the controversy seems to assume that the territorial issues on the West Bank are already settled. Which they are not. Not by a long shot. The sites are “Rachel’s Tomb” and the “Cave of the Patriarchs.” The first is located less than a stone’s throw from the southern lines of Jerusalem. The second is situated in hotly disputed Hebron, an ancient city in which Jews lived freely until the massacre of 1929. I don’t much like most of the present Hebron Jews, as I’ve written before. But they are certain to have a presence there regardless.
In any case, can anyone imagine that a list of national heritage sites of the Jewish people in the Jewish state would not include both the Tomb and the Cave?
So the Obama administration has not tilted towards Israel at all, regardless of what Mitchell says.
Peretz thinks that Mitchell wants to resign because he's been such a failure. I don't believe Mitchell wants to resign, but I agree that he's been a failure. Then again, given the mistrust of Obama by the average Israeli since even before he was elected, and the mood against concessions in Israel in light of the Gaza fiasco, could any envoy have succeeded in Mitchell's position? I doubt it.
I've seen a lot of people asking why Dubai has gotten so excited over the liquidation of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and over the use of foreign passports to do so, while ignoring the fact that al-Mabhouh himself was a terrorist and entered the country on a false passport. Perhaps this will explain why.
Dubai is also considered the most "Western" of the Gulf states - in other words, the most Americanized. But it is there that thousands of Iranian companies operate, exploiting the freedom to conduct business in order to construct commercial "annexes" for the Iranian regime and thus circumvent international sanctions. Iran also received Pakistani nuclear instruction via Dubai, after A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear program, established a company to "disseminate information" in Dubai.
But Dubai has several masks. It helps Iran, but behind its back it provides the United States with an opportunity to gather intelligence about that country. The U.S. Consulate in Dubai also operates as a station for gathering information and enlisting agents. A few years ago the U.S. State Department wanted to close the consulate, but the CIA succeeded in convincing it to leave it open and even to boost the number of employees so that it could handle the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Iranians who come to request visas.
It's not only the U.S. intelligence services that love Dubai: The tremendous scope of commerce and the large number of companies and foreign agencies there are an excellent cover and an appropriate disguise for any city of spies.
Dubai has now replaced 20th-century Istanbul, Nicosia, Casablanca and Berlin as a hotbed of spying activity. Russians exchange information with Pakistanis, Afghans and Chechens trade tactics, members of Hezbollah convert illegal money and diamonds in bank transactions "for widows and orphans," and all while enjoying car races and performances by international artists.
Dubai is proud of the fact that it is one of the safest cities in the world. It was, at least until Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum was kidnapped there, or until a famous Lebanese singer, Suzanne Tamim, was murdered there by a senior security guard working for Egypt's most important businessman, Hisham Talaat Moustafa (who is now appealing the death sentence imposed for the murder). Or until Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated by a group that utilized not only disguises, but also the cover provided by Dubai to anyone who wants it: of living it up in a city of entertainment and big money, of tennis tournaments and freedom. This is a place that is still committed to the Arab boycott of Israel, but has no problem hosting an Israeli tennis player [this year- but not last year. And given that this year she almost won, maybe next year they won't let her back in. CiJ].
A few weeks ago I contacted a Dubai real estate agent to discuss the market there, in the wake of the crisis in the emirate. I asked the agent whether he has any problem selling apartments to Israeli citizens. "You know what our situation is. But we have no problem selling to you if you come with a foreign passport," he replied without hesitation. But on another occasion, when I asked whether a scientific convention in the city was open to Israelis, they told me: "We have no business with Israel. You cannot participate."
For those who haven't figured it out already, please allow me to state the obvious: Sanctions - even 'crippling' sanctions - against Iran are not going to put a stop to its nuclear weapons program. The time for 'crippling' sanctions was a year or two ago; it's far too late now. And yet, last week, we were treated to the spectacle of Prime Minister Netanyahu traveling to Moscow to seek support for 'crippling' sanctions, and being slapped in the face a few days later, when the Russians said nyet yet again. Why is Netanyahu behaving this way? Caroline Glick tries to explain.
RECENT REPORTS indicate that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi - who strangely received a nice medal from Mullen two years ago - is the main opponent of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear installations. If this is true, then Ashkenazi must either be forced to change his position or lose his job. The Iranian threat is too great to place in the hands of a commander the US reportedly views as its "friend" in Israel's decision-making circles.
They have waltzed into Dubai, allowed themselves to be videotaped every which way -- including while putting on costumes and wigs -- killed a man, and waltzed right back out. They did it in plain sight. And they did it using British passports.
What does this say to Hamas, and Arab nation onlookers? It says that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, however many video cameras you may have watching you, we will find you, and we will kill you. And you will know who we are, and yet you will never find us. And MOST importantly: we are going to do it in as brazen a manner as possible.
We are even going to swipe the passports of some innocent British citizens, daring the West to criticize us. But we don't care. We are going to kill you in such a manner that you will immediately be able to track us down - but we'll already be gone. The Israelis didn't use fake passports not because they didn't have the technical expertise or the brains, but because they wanted to pull off their assassination in the most brazen, flagrant manner possible, while still allowing themselves to get away with it.
And just because the British and American pundits didn't pick up on this, doesn't mean Hamas didn't get the point.
UN General Assembly gives 5 more months for Gaza probes
The UN General Assembly voted on Friday to give Israel and the 'Palestinians' five more months to conduct probes of their respective actions in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead. The vote was more lopsided than in November. The 'Palestinian' drafted resolution passed 98-7 with 31 abstentions. 56 countries did not vote. General Assembly resolutions are not binding.
[Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad] Mansour welcomed the decline in the number of countries opposing the resolution from 18 in November to just seven.
He noted that the European Union, which was deeply divided in November with some countries voting for the resolution, some against and some abstaining, was more supportive in Friday's vote. No EU country voted "no" and more EU members supported the resolution including Britain, France and Spain, he said.
Some EU members had objected to the draft text calling on Switzerland to reconvene a meeting of the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention "within five months" to enforce the convention, which spells out the obligations of an occupying power. The reference to five months was replaced in the final version with the words "as soon as possible," the same language as the November resolution.
US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff, who voted against the resolution, reiterated that the US considers the Goldstone report "deeply flawed" and "unbalanced" in its focus on Israel and "its failure to assign appropriate responsibility to Hamas for deliberately targeting civilians."
Tom Campbell, the front runner in the Republican race for the California Senate nomination, took a campaign contribution for his previous run for the Senate in 2000 from a group that backed the use of armed force by 'Palestinians' against Israel. Campbell also accepted a 'lifetime achievement' award from a Muslim group that called Israel and poverty the root causes of Islamic terrorism a month after 9/11.
One month after the September 11 attacks, Tom Campbell accepted a lifetime achievement award from a Muslim group at a conference in which speakers cited poverty and U.S. policy toward Israel as the "root causes" of terrorism.
And in 2000, Campbell, who as now, was running for U.S. Senate in California, raised $35,000 from Muslim groups “grateful for his efforts to cut aid to Israel,” according to a newspaper account at the time.
The American Muslim Alliance held its annual conference in San Jose California on October 14, 2001, and an article from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, recounted: “In light of Sept. 11… the convention’s focus shifted to urging that the U.S. government re-evaluate its foreign policy—specifically its positions on Israel and Iraq.”
The account says that Dr. Agha Saeed, leader of the AMA, presented Campbell with a lifetime achievement award. Saeed had already been a controversial figure at this time. In her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton returned money raised by the group.
During the conference at which he presented Campbell with an award, Agha Saeed declared, “an Osama bin Laden arises where there is poverty and other social ills.”
Back during his 2000 campaign for Senate, according to a Forward article from the time (registration required), the group also helped raise money for Campbell.
Still haven't heard answers to those questions from the Campbell campaign, but I did get an email suggesting that I send the same questions to his two opponents.
UPDATE MONDAY 2:19 AM
I got an email from the Campbell campaign correcting the record. They didn't suggest that I ask the other two Republican candidates the questions, but provided me with contact information for the other two campaigns since I posted that I wanted to ask them the questions as well.
Coats: Military option is the only way to stop Iran
Indiana Republican Dan Coats, who is trying to win back his old Senate seat, says that the only way left to deal with Iran is to use the 'military option.'
Coats said most Americans agree that Iran must not be allowed to have such weapons, even though Iranian leaders continue to press forward with their nuclear program.
"And yet, no one has gone past that point and said 'If it's unacceptable, what are we going to do?,'" Coats said. "And now it seems we're being asked to accept the unacceptable."
"And the only option now is potential military action if we're going to stop this," he continued. "The unknown factor in all of this is the situation the Israelis are in, sitting there looking at the nation that's proclaiming it wants to eliminate that country from the face of the earth. And that's the kind of threat that I think America has not understood."
The problem is that the American people are gradually being pushed into accepting 'containment' rather than doing something to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Most Americans don't even realize it. And there is no effective 'containment' strategy for Iran.
The annual 'Israel apartheid week' begins on Monday. It is a week in which Jew hated on American college campuses reaches its annual peak. This year, they decided that one week of Jew hatred isn't enough - so they're having it for two weeks. It starts Monday, March 1 (Purim here in the Holy City of Jerusalem) and ends on Sunday, March 14.
Israel Apartheid Week has become a unifier for many radical groups in North America. But perhaps the most pathetic groups that fall in line behind Israel Apartheid Week are the gay groups. Leonard Stern explains why.
Of all the sponsors of Israeli Apartheid Week, the participation of gay and lesbian groups is most disheartening. Harvard University’s Alan Dershowitz tells an anecdote about the time he gave a speech and spotted an anti-Israel sign in the crowd, held aloft by a gay rights group. Dershowitz reminded the protesters that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where they’d be able to hold a gay rights sign in public and not be lynched.
Israel’s official government website celebrates Eytan Fox, one of the country’s best known filmmakers. Fox’s recent movie The Bubble, about a love affair between two men, Arab and Jew, won an award from the U.S.-based Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, for its sensitive depiction of gay people.
Films like that aren’t being made in Syria or Gaza. Gay Muslims have to flee to democratic countries if they want to come out. Israel itself recently took in a gay Palestinian from the West Bank town of Jenin. The man settled in Tel Aviv, moving in with his partner, an Israeli. Thousands of couples — Arab, Jewish, mixed — show up for the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv.
Yet back in Canada, gay student groups denounce Israel as their enemy. They aren’t protesting against the many Muslim countries where homosexuality is criminalized — where, as Der Spiegel recently reported, men suspected of being gay are found with their genitals amputated and anuses sealed with glue.
(When Israel last year suffered an isolated act of homophobic violence — a gunman shot up a gay nightclub — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly expressed his personal horror.)
Talk about acting against your own self-interest....
The Mossad's alleged role in the liquidation of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh hasn't just helped t-shirt sales: It's also helped recruiting efforts.
The Mossad website has become extremely popular in recent weeks, particularly its job openings page, through which one can apply for a position with the agency. Global media reports on Mossad's alleged involvement in the assassination of the Hamas commander has led to a soaring number of civilian applicants who wish to join the secret service.
The agency, which did not post any new job openings for over six months, posted a statement on February 12 – almost a month after the Dubai operation – that read: "You have an opportunity to create a reality in which you play the lead role. If you possess, intelligence and sophistication, you can make a difference and fulfill a national and personal mission. If you can engage, charm and influence people – you may have the qualities we are looking for."
As for the job requirements listed, the ideal candidate must hold an academic degree, diverse life experience, good communication skills, flexible thinking and creativity, curiosity, and the ability to work individually and in a team as well as good command of second language. A preference, the ad noted, would be given to those with a background abroad and willingness to leave for an immediate mission abroad, right after the training period.
The Mossad's website is here. The English website is here. Tell them Carl in Jerusalem sent you.
Evelyn Gordon expands on a point I made here regarding the results of the European court ruling that denies the benefits of the Israel - EU free trade agreement from companies that manufacture in Judea and Samaria.
Europeans are obviously entitled to put principle above the consequences for Palestinian employment; countries make such decisions all the time. But the fact remains that once again, the biggest victims of efforts to advance the “peace process” will be ordinary Palestinians.
Thousands of Gazans, for instance, used to work for Israeli firms in the Erez industrial zone on the Israel-Gaza border. Today, Erez is a ghost town with no prospect of ever reopening: having withdrawn from Gaza, Israel could no longer protect these firms, and the Palestinians would not.
Moreover, tens of thousands of Palestinians used to work inside Israel; today, almost none do. The second intifada made a massive flow of Palestinians into Israel too risky, and Israelis felt no obligation to employ residents of a state-in-the-making that was waging nonstop physical and diplomatic warfare against them. The Palestinians, after all, cannot simultaneously demand independence from Israel and jobs inside Israel. The result is unemployment that now totals 18 percent in the West Bank and 39 percent in Gaza.
Israel is the region’s strongest economy; it will be years before the Palestinian Authority can match its employment capacity. So unless those who favor Palestinian statehood think that massive unemployment somehow contributes to this goal, they ought to be encouraging Israeli firms to hire Palestinians. Instead, Palestinian terror and international pressure have steadily combined to do the opposite.
Haaretz reports that the Dubai police cannot identify any of the people whose photographs are in the European passports that were used in the liquidation of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The reason: All of the photographs were doctored.
The passport photographs of the agents who assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai were doctored so the agents would not be identified, a Haaretz probe discovered Friday.
The discovery casts doubt on claims that the espionage agency that carried out last month's hit on the senior Hamas operative committed grave errors.
Various features of the people in the photographs, such as eye color or the line of a lip, were changed - slightly enough so as not arouse suspicion at passport control, but still enough that the real agent could not be recognized.
According to the Dubai police, only a few of the agents were caught on security cameras without their disguises. However, it had been assumed until now that publication of the photos of the 26 agents had blown their cover. Now it appears that the Dubai police still do not have viable information about their real appearance.
That calls for the second part of that Mission Impossible episode (I showed the first part here). Let's go to the videotape.
Shavua tov - a good week - to everyone and freilichen (happy) Purim to those of you celebrating tonight, which is just about everyone outside of the Holy City of Jerusalem. We will celebrate Purim tomorrow night, God willing.
Ahead of Friday's UN General Assembly session on the Goldstone Report, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that the report is problematic for the United States as well.
The US secretary of state told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in a testimony Thursday that the Obama administration believed the issues raised by the Goldstone Report must be subject to an internal inquiry. She said she believed Israel has the ability and the institutions to do so and that the Jewish state was carrying out its own inquiry.
Clinton warned that the US would not be the only one to be affected if the Goldstone Report sets the international standards, and that nearly any other country will be found responsible in a similar way. "I share the concern," she said.
Meanwhile, more than 100 Congress members have sent a letter to Clinton, urging the Obama administration to keep the Goldstone Report from reaching the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The letter was initiated by Congressman Ron Klein.
“We know you share our concerns about an anticipated UN General Assembly resolution that is expected to refer the Goldstone Report to the Security Council, and ultimately to the International Court of Justice,” said the letter. “This is an extremely troubling development that threatens to undermine the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a critical time, and is counterproductive to our foreign policy goals.
“We believe that the correct venue for investigating issues related to Operation Cast Lead is not the Security Council or the International Court of Justice, but the world-class Israeli justice system itself," the Congress members wrote.
They also asked Clinton to work to defend the right for self defense of Israel, the US and all free democracies, saying this was a top priority of the American foreign policy.
Unfortunately, Clinton getting it doesn't mean that Obama does. His head is much thicker than hers.
But if the US is held to the same standards as Israel, some of what has gone on recently in Afghanistan could be quite problematic.
Days after the United States announced the return of an ambassador to Syria for the first time in five years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hosted a dinner meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and de facto Lebanese leader and Hezbullah chairman Hassan Nasrallah. The three discussed the 'Zionist threat' at their meeting in Damascus on Thursday night.
The meeting was not reported until after it took place due to 'security reasons.' It's been quite a while since Nasrallah was out in the open....
On Thursday Ahmadinejad and Assad together unleashed vicious rhetoric against Israel, with Ahmadinejad declaring that the “criminal” state of Israel is doomed, and Assad charging that Israel “is capable of aggression at any point.”
Visiting Damascus, Ahmadinejad vowed that Arab nations will usher in a new Middle East “without Zionists and without colonialists.”
In remarks that extended to vicious criticism of the US, and made a mockery of Washington’s efforts to engage his Syrian hosts, Ahmadinejad said the United States should leave the Middle East and stay out of regional affairs.
“[The Americans] want to dominate the region but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that,” Ahmadinejad said during a news conference with Assad. “We tell them that instead of interfering in the region's affairs, to pack their things and leave.”
He added that “if the Zionist regime wants to repeat its past mistakes, this will constitute its demise and annihilation.”
Assad, for his part, said Syria was “facing an entity that is capable of aggression at any point, and we are preparing ourselves for any Israeli aggression, be it on a large or small scale.”
He added that America should not dictate relationships in the Middle East.
"I find it strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same time talk about dividing two countries," Assad told reporters when asked about US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's call Wednesday for Syria to move away from Iran.
Assad took a swipe at Clinton for making such a suggestion, saying he and Ahmadinejad "misunderstood, maybe because of translation error or limited understanding." In a show of unity, the two signed an agreement canceling travel visas between the their countries.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, said Assad "need only look around the region and recognize that Syria is increasingly an outlier."
"We want to see Syria play a more constructive role in the region and one step would be to make clear what Iran needs to do differently. And unfortunately, there was no evidence of that today," he said.
Crowley and his bosses are dreaming. The real Assad was on display in Damascus Thursday night. Washington is being run by a bunch of dreaming morons.
Pajamas Media's Bill Whittle interviews Caroline Glick, who says that based upon the IAEA report on Iran issued this week puts Israel at a moment of truth. She believes that there is no international will to work against Iran, and that we now have to work outside the Security Council, which means no biting international sanctions. Glick does not believe that the United States will act, and sanctions won't happen. It's all in Israel's court to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power by attacking its nuclear facilities.
Glick agrees with a post I did earlier this week, which said that the Eitan (Heron TP) drone gives Israel a strategic bombing capability. She also says that Iran is capable of carrying out an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States. The world's fate, says Caroline, is falling on Israel's shoulders. This is a fascinating interview which must be watched.
China may be the 'number one espionage threat to the United States. On Sunday Night, those of you who watch 60 Minutes will see a Pentagon employee hand a Chinese spy classified documents in exchange for cash. The Pentagon employee got five years in jail and the Chinese spy - a naturalized US citizen - got 15 years.
But Jonathan Pollard has been in prison serving a life sentence since 1986 for giving classified information to Israel, a US ally.
EU court: Products manufactured by Israelis in Judea and Samaria aren't Israeli
Europe's highest court has ruled that products manufactured by Jewish-owned companies in Judea and Samaria are not 'made in Israel' and are therefore not entitled to the benefits of the free trade agreement between Israel and the European Union. The ruling was rendered as an advisory opinion in a case posed by an appeals court in Hamburg, Germany. The case involved Brita GmbH, which was importing sparkling water and fruit syrups from Soda Club Ltd., an Israeli company located in Mishor Adumim, which is next to Maaleh Adumim, a few minutes east of Jerusalem.
The court said the EU deal with Israel "applies to the territory of the State of Israel" and the Palestinian one to "the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
Each of those two association agreements has its own territorial scope," it said, adding Israeli goods made in the West Bank cannot enjoy duty-free access to the vast EU market.
A source in the Foreign Ministry told Army Radio that the EU ruling "surprised no one," adding that "Israel regrets a decision which authorizes the persecution of Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria and a constitution of the European political campaign against the settlements."
But it is likely to stir Israel, whose military maintains control over the area, its Israeli settlements and Israeli companies there.
The latter can benefit from cheaper labor in the West Bank.
Many of the settlements there use Palestinian workers, who earn less than their counterparts in Israel.
But since Palestinians are largely barred from working in Israel and have few job opportunities in the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, jobs in settlement factories are sought after.
Jobs in 'settlement factories' also pay much better than jobs in 'Palestinian' factories, which means that if Israeli companies leave the industrial zones in Judea and Samaria, it's the 'Palestinians' who work for them who will once again lose out.
The Arabs seem to love cutting off their respective noses to spite their faces. One has to wonder why.
Good news: US not seeking 'crippling sanctions' against Iran either
State Department spokesman PJ Crowley says that the US is not seeking 'crippling sanctions' against Iran. Really.
The United States said on Thursday it does not aim to impose crippling sanctions on Iran but rather to pressure the Iranian government to change course on its nuclear program while protecting ordinary people.
"It is not our intent to have crippling sanctions that have ... a significant impact on the Iranian people," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. "Our actual intent is ... to find ways to pressure the government while protecting the people."
New 'Palestinian' political faction formed in Lebanon
A new 'Palestinian' political faction has been founded in Lebanon. If you think that it's going to advocate for things like equal rights for 'Palestinians' in Lebanon so that they can hold normal jobs and have decent living conditions without discrimination, you're wrong.
“The living condition of the Palestinian people has reached boiling point because of Israeli political obstinacy, and the American support of this,” Bilal Al-Hassan, a Palestinian journalist, writer and co-founder of the organization said at the launching ceremony. “This situation will now be translated into action and advancement.”
The exact nature of the movement’s policies remains unclear but leaders of the organization plan to meet in May to “decide on its actions democratically.”
The movement, which is declaredly independent, opposes negotiations and supports resistance against the Israeli occupation but insists armed combat is “not its objective”.
“There are martyrdom factions for this purpose that engage in resistance and we give them our blessing,” Al-Hassan told the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
“By establishing a Zionist entity on Palestinian land, [the Zionists] are targeting Arabs,” the movement’s manifesto says. “Resisting the occupation in all its forms is an obligation, not just a right. Any talks about a just and permanent peace which is based on recovering parts of the land that were occupied in 1967 or even all of it would effectively accomplish the Israeli aim of this war which is to garner acceptance of Israel’s existence and legitimacy, without solving the Palestinian issue and without granting them their rights.”
“Achieving peace between the Arab and non-Arab nations and individuals can be done regardless of their sectarian roots and religious inclinations but peace is not obtainable with the occupation,” it continues. “The Oslo approach is a second nakba [catastrophe], but the difference is that this nakba was furnished by the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
One of the founders of the movement is Azmi Bishara (pictured) who resigned from the Knesset and fled Israel ahead of an indictment for treason.
The more things change for the 'Palestinians,' the more they stay the same. They've gained a lot in the last 60 years, haven't they? What could go wrong?
MEMRI reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his calls to eliminate Israel over the past couple of weeks.
At a press conference with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus on February 25, 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "A Middle East without Zionism is a divine promise... Time is on the side of the peoples of the region. The Zionist entity is nearing the threshold of nonexistence. Its raison d'être is finished, and its path is a dead end. If Israel wants to repeat the mistakes of the past, the death of the Zionist entity is certain... This time, all the nations of the region will stand fast in the face of the [Zionist regime], and will uproot it."
Ahmadinejad promised further that "the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance and the Syrian people are standing alongside each other."
In a February 23, 2010 speech in Birjand in eastern Iran, Ahmadinejad said: "I have told Israel's neighbors to be prepared. I told them that if Israel makes one more mistake, this is the end of this regime."
In a February 18, 2010 phone conversation with Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad assessed that Israel wants war in the region as compensation for its defeats in Gaza and in Lebanon – but that it "fears the ramifications of such a move." He called on Hizbullah to prepare for a possible Israeli attack, and said: "We must be ready at such a level that if they [Israel] repeat their mistake from the past [that is, attack Lebanon], an end will be put [to the Zionist regime], and the region will be delivered from its evil." He promised that "on this issue, the Iranian nation stands alongside the nations of the region, and alongside Lebanon."
In another February 18 conversation, this time with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Ahmadinejad reiterated his statements to Nasrallah and called for planning "for every kind of possible attack by the Zionist regime, so that if it repeats its mistakes of the past, the matter [of Israel] will be ended. This is possible," he continued, "because they [i.e. the Israelis] are in a position of weakness... Without a doubt, Israel will take heavy blows due to the solidarity among Lebanon, Syria, and the other friendly countries."
In a February 10, 2010 phone conversation with Syrian President Assad, Ahmadinejad promised that "Iran will always stand alongside Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance [organizations,] and the rest of the Muslim nations." He called on Syria to act together with Iran against Israel: "If the Zionist regime again repeats its mistakes from the past, and launches a military operation, all forces must be brought into action, and an end must be put [to the Zionist regime], by means of steadfastness and resistance."
He added that Israel was "on the slope of downfall" and that "all its moves are being made from a position of weakness."
If he keeps this up, those planes are going to be there to bomb him real soon.
Working from high altitudes, the Eitan will likely be used to provide prestrike information on targets, to eavesdrop on electronic communications and to send battle damage assessments back after an attack. It will also undoubtably be used to monitor any retaliation for the airstrike—seeking rocket launches and eavesdropping on Iran. The onboard power required to electronically jam radar and communications equipment is not in the Eitan, Israeli defense industry officials told the trade journal Defense News. But the ability to carry so much weight opens up questions about the drones' ability to conduct long-range, high-risk bombing missions on their own.
Early literature suggested the Eitan would have a role in shooting down enemy missiles in flight as well as in bombing targets. But the craft at the ceremony featured a pod under the nose that contains only sensors, which can track moving targets at high resolution, day or night. Eitanhas the eyes of a predator, but seemingly no claws. Unless, of course, the less public Israeli Eitan fleet has hidden surprises in UAVs' bays or tacked onto the wings at various hard points. But just providing information could greatly assist with an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities—especially if Israeli special forces are present on the ground. Deep in enemy territory, they would be avid consumers of such recon.
Israel has been at the forefront of UAV development for decades, and taught the U.S. a thing or two about drones. The U.S. Air Force flew unmanned recon drones called Lightning Bugs during the 1970s in Vietnam, but shut down all its UAV funding until the mid-1980s. Israel changed world opinion about UAVs in 1982 when they used small UAVs to trick radar installations into becoming active during the battle in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley; manned airplanes then moved in to destroy the radar sites after the unmanned planes revealed their locations. This is not the kind of mission the Eitan will fly—they soar at high altitudes that make them difficult targets, and flirting with surface-to-air missile sites is not their role. The United States realized UAV potential only after the Bekaa Valley campaign. Still, during the 1990s, the Pentagon spent only $3 billion on UAV development, procurement and operations. It took wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to change all that: The Defense Department is spending $5.4 billion on UAVs this year alone.
America sees the advantage of UAVs in insurgent campaigns, both urban and rural. But in a "big war" operation, when enemy radar and missiles are robust, as they are in Iran, the way Israel could use its UAVs is worth watching. Israel's long-distance Eitans are not that new, but the way they could be used during a complex air raid could be groundbreaking. Literally and figuratively.
Hmmm. (Well what else do you want me to say - I'm a lawyer, not an engineer).
The mainstream media discovers Tom Campbell's Israel problem
The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that support for Israel - or one of the candidate's allegedly less-than-warm support - has become an issue in the California Republican Senatorial primary.
Rivals in the race for the Republican nomination are questioning whether former Rep. Tom Campbell is sufficiently supportive of Israel. They base their criticisms on his voting record, statements about a Palestinian homeland and capital, and some of his past associates.
Their allegations have raised enough concerns for Campbell that he plans to meet Monday with the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He also is reaching out to other Jewish leaders. His campaign's honorary chairman, former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, weighed in to call Campbell's support for the nation "unwavering."
"He clearly understands the very real threats facing the Israeli people, all the more urgent now as Iran rushes toward nuclear arms," Shultz said in a statement released to The Times. "Tom Campbell's record of action tells you where he stands, and I stand with him."
The two other major Republican primary contestants, former businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, have launched criticisms of Campbell. The rhetoric has grown so heated that a prominent supporter of Campbell's has accused Fiorina's campaign manager of calling Campbell an "anti-Semite." The campaign manager denies the accusation.
Curiously, this time, it's not the Jews Campbell is afraid of losing - it's the Evangelical Christians.
Read the whole thing - it summarizes several posts I've done over the past week. The comments of Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center are devastating.
"He's a brilliant gentlemen and an engaging personality, and I don't think he's particularly pro-Israel," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who has known Campbell since the 1980s. "I think there's enough there on the record that would send real alarms that this is someone who maybe doesn't fully understand, doesn't fully value or fully support a strong ongoing relationship with the state of Israel, an alliance with the state of Israel."
Jennifer Rubin reminds us that there's one detail that the Times left out: His association with Alison Weir.
This is in essence the almost unimaginable story of Mosab, 32, who decided to go against everything that he had been taught by his father, family, religion and surroundings. This heavy, even heartbreaking story, is about a young Palestinian who turned his father in to the Shin Bet in order to save him from being assassinated. Mosab even used his mother by sending her to his father in hiding, allowing IDF troops to follow her to his father's location.
Sheikh Hassan Yousef released a message on Wednesday saying the article was not true. I am saddened that he has been hurt by the personal dimension of this story.
I have always believed that if there is someone in Hamas that Israel would be able to talk with, it would be Sheikh Hassan Yousef. I met him in prison in 2004 while conducting interviews with my colleague Amos Harel for our book "The Seventh War" about the second intifada. The Sheikh is an exceptional man who does not support the use of violence despite the fact that he is part of Hamas. He used to tell his son Mosab that it is important to protect even the life of a cricket in a field. The Sheikh was very interested in Israeli society and at a certain point in our acquaintance even tried to pass along calming messages to the government of Ariel Sharon.
Unfortunately, Hamas in Damascus was not like the Sheikh.
Whether or not Hassan Yousef is 'someone you can talk to,' it doesn't sound like he has the power within Hamas to change things anyway.
From shooting at a car that drove repeatedly past his home in Syria -- he later discovered it belonged to Syrian minders -- to shunning room service in hotels, the Hamas arms procurer took his personal security very seriously.
"He used to wear colored contact lenses and dye his hair when traveling to European countries," said the confidant, who is based in the Gaza Strip, an enclave run by Hamas Islamists. He told Reuters he spent two years in exile with Mabhouh.
"He used to supply money and arms to Hamas and other allied factions," the confidant said.
"He had many passports of different nationalities -- all Arab," he added. "Recently he underwent surgery to reshape his nose. It became narrower."
I wonder what he looked like when he murdered Avi Sassportas and Ilan Sa'adon.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was a piece of human drek. Good riddance!
Many of us on the Right in this country joke about Shimon Peres' 'New Middle East,' the Messianic vision where the lambs and the wolves lie down together. It will happen, God willing, when the Messiah comes.
Back in the present, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Damascus on Thursday, where he set out his vision for a 'New Middle East.'
Arab nations will usher in a new Middle East "without Zionists and without colonialists," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday.
Ahmadinejad spoke Thursday during a trip to Syria. The trip follows a string of US efforts to break up Syria's 30-year alliance with Tehran.
He said that "if the Zionist regime wants to repeat its past mistakes, this will bring about its demise and annihilation."
Assad must be feeling pretty good about himself. The very week that the United States agrees to send an ambassador to Syria, he has a visit from his good friend Ahmadinejad whom the United States is trying to get him to abandon. Talk about actions having no consequences.
Alas, peace in the Middle East is unlikely in your time or mine, but the road map to starting the process is at the top of this post.
The Obama administration has slammed Israel's designation of the Machpeila Cave and Rachel's Tomb as Jewish heritage sites for being 'provocative and unhelpful.'
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table.
Toner said US displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the flash point town of Hebron and the traditional tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.
But the truth is that this has nothing to do with Israel and nothing to do with whether or not there will eventually be a 'Palestinian state.' If you don't believe that, I suggest that you go over to Elder of Ziyon, where he has quoted the Arab media outlets. In each case, their objection is to the Jewish connection with the site being highlighted.
Like the UN, the US, and even the Arab countries, dismiss Jewish history because we do. We are still paying the price for Moshe Dayan's failure to expel the Arabs in 1967 when it could have been done and no one would have batted an eyelash. And each time we propose to give the Arabs parts of the Land of Israel, we cheapen our own history a little bit more.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and six grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com