What Obama doesn't get about the Middle East in one sentence?
Barry Rubin tries to sum up what Barack Hussein Obama doesn't get about the Middle East in one sentence:
The changes in the region are producing more extremism, not more moderation.
But here's the thing. When it comes to Israel, Barry is assuming that Obama actually doesn't want to see Israel destroyed. I'm not sure that's correct. In fact, I think Barry's wrong on that point. It's not politically correct to say it, but I would say that Obama is at best indifferent to Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state in the Middle East, and at worst would like to see it destroyed.
While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America's new role in the region. It was pathetic. "What is this 'role' thing?" an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. "Do they still believe we care about what they think?"
And it is true. Obama's failure to support the Arab revolutions until they were all but over lost the US most of its surviving credit in the region. Obama was silent on the overthrow of Ben Ali, only joined in the chorus of contempt for Mubarak two days before his flight, condemned the Syrian regime – which has killed more of its people than any other dynasty in this Arab "spring", save for the frightful Gaddafi – but makes it clear that he would be happy to see Assad survive, waves his puny fist at puny Bahrain's cruelty and remains absolutely, stunningly silent over Saudi Arabia. And he goes on his knees before Israel. Is it any wonder, then, that Arabs are turning their backs on America, not out of fury or anger, nor with threats or violence, but with contempt? It is the Arabs and their fellow Muslims of the Middle East who are themselves now making the decisions.
I wouldn't say he went on his knees before Israel. I would say he was outclassed by a real statesman. But it's true that Obama's Middle East policy is incoherent and that's because he refuses to lead like an American President should.
Amid all these vast and epic events – Yemen itself may yet prove to be the biggest bloodbath of all, while the number of Syria's "martyrs" have now exceeded the victims of Mubarak's death squads five months ago – is it any surprise that the frolics of Messrs Netanyahu and Obama appear so irrelevant? Indeed, Obama's policy towards the Middle East – whatever it is – sometimes appears so muddled that it is scarcely worthy of study. He supports, of course, democracy – then admits that this may conflict with America's interests. In that wonderful democracy called Saudi Arabia, the US is now pushing ahead with a £40 billion arms deal and helping the Saudis to develop a new "elite" force to protect the kingdom's oil and future nuclear sites. Hence Obama's fear of upsetting Saudi Arabia, two of whose three leading brothers are now so incapacitated that they can no longer make sane decisions – unfortunately, one of these two happens to be King Abdullah – and his willingness to allow the Assad family's atrocity-prone regime to survive. Of course, the Israelis would far prefer the "stability" of the Syrian dictatorship to continue; better the dark caliphate you know than the hateful Islamists who might emerge from the ruins. But is this argument really good enough for Obama to support when the people of Syria are dying in the streets for the kind of democracy that the US president says he wants to see in the region?
I don't believe that Obama's policies are being driven by support for Israel. But I do believe that he is spending far too much time on the 'Palestinians' (whose support he believes to be a sufficient for an entire foreign policy, let alone for the Middle East) in light of other events in the region. I also don't believe that the Israeli government is so enamored of Bashar al-Assad.
But isn't Fiskie the guy who thinks that supporting the 'Palestinians' is the most urgent item on the agenda? After all, the rest of his column is all about the 'Palestinians' and denigrating Israel.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be laughing his head off. As Abe noted yesterday, the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report unveiled evidence that Iran has been working on technology to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads. It also disclosed evidence of Tehran’s work “on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon.” If a smoking gun were needed, this is it.
Yet the “international community” hasn’t uttered a peep about the report. It’s too busy obsessing over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead.
Two days after the report’s publication, the G8 met in Deauville. Its concluding statement devoted six paragraphs to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notable for both their specificity (“we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011”) and their urgency (“The time to resume the Peace Process is now.”)
In contrast, Iran’s nukes merited exactly one content-free paragraph.
Yes, Iran is working on technology to arms its missiles with nuclear warheads, and somehow the World continues to believe - or to pretend to believe - that Iran is only targeting Israel, and therefore the rest of humanity has nothing about which to worry.
Turkey insists that it cannot prevent its citizens from attempting to break what is left of the Gaza 'blockade,' but says it 'will not accept' a repeat of last years incident on the Mavi Marmara, which took place one year ago today.
The IHH terror organization, which runs the flotilla, is talking big, claiming that Israel 'would not dare' to attack them again, and called on governments to ensure that there is no repeat of last year's incident.
Some 15 ships will sail toward Gaza in the last week of June, carrying approximately 1,500 activists from about 100 countries. The first flotilla, which set sail in May 2010, contained about 700 activists from 38 countries on six ships. The Mavi Marmara will be among the 15 vessels carrying humanitarian aid, as well as medical, school and construction materials, along with other ships departing from the United States, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Ireland.
“We do not believe that Israel will make the same mistake [as last year, to attack the flotilla]... We will sail peacefully, everything will be open,” said Hüseyin Oruç, a representative of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, which is one of 22 national networks in the coalition organizing the international flotilla.
Oruç also responded to the Israeli government’s efforts to get other countries’ governments to stop their citizens from participating in the flotilla. “We are living in democratic countries, where all rules are defined. No government has the right to tell us not to join the flotilla,” he said, adding that the activists are acting within the norms of both national and international laws.
“We are not violating the law. Israel needs to understand this is the democratic right of all people of the world,” Oruç said.
But Israel's Navy is preparing some surprises for this latest flotilla of fools. It will use force with the goal of non-violently taking over the ships, and it will not allow them to reach Gaza.
"We will order the ship to stop, but if they don't, we are prepared to intercept and board the ship," a senior officer told reporters.
The Israel Navy has been asked by the government to prepare an operational response to prevent the flotilla from breaking the sea blockade that Israel has imposed over the Gaza Strip. Under the blockade, Gazan fisherman are allowed to sail three kilometers off the coast of Gaza but no further. Ships are not allowed to enter waters that are twenty kilometers from the Gaza Strip.
According to international maritime laws, however, the Israel Navy is allowed to intercept and take control of a ship that declares its intentions to sail to Gaza even before it enters the waters that are under the blockade.
The Navy has been conducting training exercises in recent weeks in conjunction with the Air Force and in line with the lessons learned from last year's flotilla. Members of Israel Police and the Prison Service, who specialize in quelling civilian protests and violence, will participate in the operation to stop the flotilla together with the commandos from the Navy Flotilla 13, better known as the "Shayetet."
The senior Navy officer said that Israel was preparing a number of "surprises" for the ships that are expected to participate in the flotilla.
He said that soldiers were under order to use force to neutralize armed danger and neutralize attackers if necessary, but that in general, the objective and the goal would be to take over the ship non-violently and without casualties on either side.
Israel's policies based on the Prime Minister's speeches
Here's what I understand to be Israel's foreign ministry's latest take on our current policies based on Prime Minister Netanyahu's latest speeches. I do not necessarily support everything stated here, so please don't shoot the messenger.
Israel Policy Update
PM Netanyahu's 7 Points for Peace:
1. Mutual recognition of the Jewish state and the Palestinian state is necessary for peace.
“President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… "I will accept a Palestinian state." It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… "I will accept a Jewish state." Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about… In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
2. Israel recognizes that a Palestinian state should be independent and viable.
“We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
3. The Palestinian state should be fully demilitarized and there should be an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River.
“But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth. So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
4. The settlement blocs and areas of critical strategic and national importance will remain a part of Israel.
“This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“These areas [settlement blocs] are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
5. In any peace agreement, some settlements will end up outside Israel's borders.
“The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
6. The solution to the Palestinian refugees will be found outside Israel.
“President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
7. Jerusalem will remain Israel's united sovereign capital.
“As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“Israel is the cradle of our common civilization. It's the crucible of our common values. And the modern state of Israel was founded precisely on these eternal values. And this is why Israel's more than 1 million Muslims enjoy full democratic rights. This is why the only place in the Middle East where Christians are completely free to practice their faith is the democratic State of Israel. And this is why Israel, and only Israel, can be trusted to ensure the freedom for all faiths in our eternal capital, the united city of Jerusalem.” [Netanyahu Address to AIPAC, 23 May 2011]
Unilateral Declaration of a Palestinian State:
Palestinian attempts to impose a settlement in the UN will not bring peace.
“Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
Palestinian Unity Pact:
Hamas is not a partner to peace and Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to reject its accord with this terrorist organization.
“Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace. And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“Those who wish to obliterate us are no partners for peace. A Palestinian government with half its members declaring daily that they plan to annihilate the Jewish state is not a partner for peace. Those who say - and I am familiar with the saying - that "peace is made with enemies" must add a small but important qualifier: peace is made with an enemy, but with an enemy who has decided to make peace.” [Netanyahu Address to the Knesset, 16 May 2011]
Palestinian incitement is an impediment to peace.
“They [the Palestinians] were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
The greatest danger facing humanity is a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.
“When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
Israel and the US stand together to defend democracy, advance peace and fight terrorism.
“Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.” [Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, 24 May 2011]
“You understand that Israel and America stand shoulder to shoulder fighting common enemies, protecting common interests.… Israel and America have drawn from these deep well springs of our common values. We forged an enduring friendship not merely between our governments, but between our peoples. Support for Israel doesn't divide America. It unites America. It unites the old and the young, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans….” [Netanyahu Address to AIPAC, 23 May 2011]
I was sent the following by email and urged to publish it.
Iraq’s Kristallnacht: 70 Years Later
By Robert S. Wistrich
Seventy years ago, on June 1, 1941, the most dramatic and violent pogrom in the Arab Middle East during World War II took place in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Known in Arabic as the Farhūd, this devastating pogrom left approximately 150 Jews dead, hundreds more wounded, and led to the ransacking of nearly 600 Jewish businesses. The grim events of June 1-2, 1941 were the Iraqi Arab equivalent of the mass violence on Kristallnacht, which had taken place some two and a half years earlier across Nazi Germany. The anti-Jewish riots were mainly led by Iraqi soldiers (bitter and frustrated by their defeat at the hands of the British Army), some members of the police and young paramilitary gangs, swiftly followed by an angry Muslim population that went on the rampage in an orgy of murder and rapine.
The pogrom struck at what was the most prosperous, prominent and well-integrated Jewish community in the Middle East – one whose origins went back more than 2,500 years – long before there was any Arab presence in the country. The 90,000 Jews of Baghdad, it should be said, played a major role in the commercial and professional life of the city. However, in the 1930s they already found themselves confronted by an increasingly virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda in the Iraqi press and among nationalist political groups. This agitation treated the intensely patriotic Iraqi Jews as an alien, hostile minority who had to be ejected from all the social, economic and political positions it held in the Iraqi state.
Iraqi Arab nationalists, like their counterparts in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt, had been much influenced in the 1930s by the rise of Nazi Germany. Hitler’s National Socialism attracted them as a spectacular, authoritarian model for achieving Iraqi national unity and a wider union of Arabs in the region. It was no accident that the pro-German ideologue of pan-Arabism, Sati al-Husri, exerted a major influence on Iraqi education after arriving in Baghdad in 1921, or that Michel Aflaq, the chief theoretician of the Iraqi and Syrian Ba’athists had also absorbed German national-socialist ideas while studying in Paris between 1928-1932. The Director General of the Iraqi Ministry of Education in the 1930s, Dr. Sami Shawkat, was another fanatical ideologue, especially active in instilling a military spirit (resembling the German Nazi model) in Iraqi youth. He also developed radically anti-Jewish ideas which were heavily indebted to Nazi anti-Semitism. In a book published in Baghdad in 1939, These Are Our Aims, Shawkat openly called for the annihilation of the Jews in Iraq, as a necessary prerequisite for achieving an Iraqi national revival and fulfilling the country’s ”historical mission” of uniting the Arab nation.
Significantly, it was also in Baghdad that the first official Arabic translations of parts of Hitler’s Mein Kampf appeared in 1934. In order not to offend Arab sensibilities the final translation “edited” out Hitler’s racial theories about inferior “Semites” – making it clear that anti-Semitism related only to Jews, not to Arabs. The Iraqi translator of Hitler’s “magnum opus” was Yūnus al-Sab’āwī, a young Nazi enthusiast and extreme anti-Semite. A close confidant of nationalist officers in the Iraqi army, Al-Sab’āwī came to play an important role in Iraqi politics. From April to June 1941 he even served as Iraqi Minister of Economics. Al-Sab’āwī was indeed one of the architects of the Farhūd in which his anti-Semitic para-military youth group also took part. Al-Sab’āwī had earlier established a close connection with Nazi Germany’s Ambassador to Iraq in the late 1930s, Dr. Fritz Grobba. The latter was a distinguished Orientalist (fluent in Arabic, Persian and Turkish) who eventually convinced Hitler that helping Arab nationalists to throw off British control of Iraq should be part of German strategy. Grobba also contributed much through the networks he had established in Iraq, towards spreading the idea that Iraqi Jews were a “fifth column” of Great Britain – sworn enemies of Germany and of the Arab nation. Equally, Palestinian nationalists, led by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini (who had had fled to Baghdad in the late 1930s), conducted an especially vicious campaign to incite a jihad among the local Arab population against Great Britain, Zionism and the Jews of Iraq. The Mufti – a close ally of Hitler during the four years he spent in Berlin between 1941 and 1945 – would also exert a particularly toxic influence on the pro-Nazi politician Rashid Ali al-Kailani, whose successful anti-British coup had forced the unpopular Hashemite Regent Abd al-Ilāh to flee the country. The coup brought to power on April 1, 1941 some of the most rabid Jew-baiters in Iraq. Anti-British and anti-Semitic propaganda now reached a zenith that greatly contributed to the violence that burst forth two months later.
Ironically enough, it was the decisive victory of the British and the return of the Regent on June 1 that immediately provoked the pogrom, an act of unparalleled revenge by the Muslim masses against the Jews of Baghdad that expressed their deep disappointment at the fall of the popular Rashid Ali regime. The British Army, now encamped on the outskirts of Baghdad, could easily have intervened but it chose not to do so, dubiously claiming this would have damaged the prestige of the (pro-British) Regent in the eyes of his own people. The British behaved in a similar fashion on several occasions in Mandatory Palestine, in Libya (November 1945) and in Aden (December 1945) – standing by as Arab mobs killed defenseless Jews. In fact, for most Iraqi Muslims in 1941, the British were perceived as oppressive colonizers, the Jews as their “agents” and the German Nazis as “anti-imperialist” saviors! But German military assistance, when it finally came, was too little and too late to save the Rashid Ali regime.
The Farhūd has been incomprehensibly ignored or downplayed both in Zionist historiography and even more in general histories of the Middle East. Arab historians have been silent or else falsified the facts and there are even Israeli and Jewish writers who have unconvincingly tried to dismiss its importance. Yet this traumatic event was indeed of seminal importance. It proved beyond reasonable doubt the strength of Arab nationalist anti-Semitism and of Nazi-style incitement on a Muslim population that had come to see in its patriotic Jewish minority “the enemy within.” The Jews of Iraq, seventy years ago, suddenly found themselves in the crossfire of three converging forms of murderous anti-Semitism – that of the German Nazis, the Palestinian exiles in Baghdad led by Amin el-Husseini, and Iraqi pan-Arab nationalists. Ten years later, the government of Iraq under the pro-British Nuri es-Said, expropriated, dispossessed, disenfranchised and brought about the forced emigration of nearly 120,000 Iraqi Jews, thereby cruelly terminating the oldest of all Diaspora histories. This was not only a crime against humanity but an insufficiently acknowledged part of the history of the Holocaust. The Farhūd exposed with shocking clarity just how vulnerable the Jews in Arab lands really were and what their fate was likely to be under any decolonized Arab regime in the future, especially if there was a breakdown of law and order.
Despite the “Arab Spring” not much has changed for other minorities in the Middle East in the last 70 years. As for the Jews, from Morocco to Iraq and Iran they would be “ethnically cleansed” after 1945 by their Muslim rulers. The Farhūd already represented the writing on the wall for those willing to read it. The reinforcement of a strong Israel was and still remains the only viable long-term answer to the repetition of such horrific atrocities in the future.
Prof. Robert S. Wistrich is the director of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/) and the author of A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (Random House, January 2010). This article is a condensed version of a recent lecture on the 1941 pogrom in Baghdad hosted by the Center in Jerusalem.
Egypt administered virginity tests to female demonstrators
An Egyptian general - who of course wishes to remain anonymous - has admitted that the Egyptian army administered involuntary virginity tests to women arrested at a demonstration in March. And he's trying to justify it.
In the weeks following the 9 March protest, Amnesty International published a report that alleged women had been beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.
Despite previous denials that such events had taken place, a senior general has now admitted that ‘virginity tests’ were conducted – and also defended the practice – to CNN (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs),” he said.
“We didn’t want them to say (the military) had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general continued. “None of them were (virgins).”
Enough stereotypes there for you about bad girls asking for it?
In the 63 years of the State of Israel's existence there has not been a single proven case of rape committed by an IDF soldier against an enemy non-combatant.
Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail announced his intention to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections.
He said that if elected he would implement Islamic sharia law and cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Ismail was the Brotherhood’s candidate in 2005 parliamentary elections for Dokki in Giza.
The group announced earlier that it would not take part in the presidential elections and confirmed that it would compete for only half the seats in Parliament. But Ismail is the second Brotherhood member to have announced his intention to run for president in defiance of the group's leadership. The other Brotherhood candidate is Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a liberal-minded Islamist.
Abu Ismail said Saturday during a speech in a Dokki mosque that he will sweep the elections. Since he is an ordinary man, he said, the masses will support him.
Concerning the peace treaty with Israel, he said, “The Camp David peace treaty is insulting to the Egyptian people, so it must be canceled, and I will do my best to convince people to cancel it.”
Unfortunately, this video is only in Hebrew. It was sent to me by Shy Guy with the comment that it needs to be translated into English ASAP. He's right. If you see this and know someone at the Yesha Council, please pass this on to them and let them know that this must urgently be translated into English (at which time I will repost it).
In the meantime, since people in Israel and others who understand Hebrew do read this blog, let's go to the videotape.
Britain's University and College Union (UCU) is a UK trade union of academics. Since being formed in 2006, it has spent most of its time determining how best to boycott Israel, as should be obvious from a look at its Wikipedia page.
Now, these perverters of academia have decided to redefine the term "anti-Semitism" so as to make it devoid of content.
So what is it that the UCU Executive believes about such allegations? We can be sure that it doesn't accept the first possibility, that such allegations are bound to be anti-Semitic. If it believed that, it would be calling for the EU definition of anti-Semitism to be strengthened, not abandoned, and it would (assuming that it objects to anti-Semitism) be disciplining any pro-boycott activists who made allegations of that kind. Nor does the Union accept the second possibility: this is exactly what it's seeking to reject in Motion 70 at the forthcoming Congress. So we're left with the third possibility, that such allegations are never anti-Semitic, that they just can't be. This is what the UCU executive appears to believe. And in fact we've got good reason to think that that is indeed what they believe, since a year or two back it declared that criticism of Israel can't be anti-Semitic.
Here we have the academic union wanting to declare that presenting Jews as malignant forces of sinister power, controlling the media and the economy and the government, can't be anti-Semitic. That the assertion that the population of Gaza (around one and a half million and rising) is in the same position as the population of the Warsaw Ghetto (around half a million falling to virtually zero after three years, as part of a deliberate genocide) just can't involve any prejudice against Jews. That singling out Jews, and the Jewish state, for condemnation and punishment alone among the nations, just can't be anti-Semitic. That's what the EU definition denies, and that's what the UCU believes, since they have rejected the only alternatives.
Maybe it's time for some enterprising sorts to try to set up an alternative union that's actually concerned about the working conditions of academics in the UK.
On Monday, I reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned as a patron of the Jewish National Fund. Melanie Phillips rips him for his decision.
The JNF thing (despite Downing Street's unconvincing claim that Cameron has stepped down from a number of charities through lack of time) is the latest act of aggression against Israel by HMG, and is particularly offensive. For the JNF is identified closely with the foundational Zionist dream of making the desert bloom, by buying up and developing the land for decades before the State of Israel was established. And so now– of course – it stands accused of the ‘theft of Palestinian land’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and even ‘war crimes’. Ah yes – that terrible weapon of mass destruction, the sapling.
Without getting into the imbecilic interstices of precisely what and where, one key, crucial, overarching, all-important, nothing-else-matters-as-much-as-this point needs to be made (and yes, I have made it before many times, but it needs to be taped to Cameron’s eyeballs and rammed down the throats of the malevolent mandarins of the Foreign Office and delivered by diplomatic cable to Israeli spokesman as their line–to-take in answer to any statement-disguised-as -a-question about their intrinsic belligerency routinely lobbed at them by the Guardian-of-the Airwaves, aka the BBC).
This is quite simply that the territory beyond the ceasefire lines (formed when Israel fought off the attempt by five Arab armies to destroy it at birth in 1948-9, and now falsely deemed to be Israel’s ‘border’) is not Palestinian land. It is not land that is owned by the Palestinians in general, or to which they have any general right or title. On the contrary, it is land to which the Jews in general are legally entitled. All of it. This is not some crazed, ultra-nationalist dogma. It is a matter of historical fact. international law and basic justice.
Does pushing Gaza off to Egypt make a better case for annexing Judea and Samaria? At least one person thinks so.
"It is not in Israel's interest to see Gaza and the West Bank as one entity," Eiland observed.
That's a view shared not by Palestinians -- whose strong sense of nationalism takes in both enclaves, and overwhelmingly welcome the announced reunification of Hamas and Fatah -- but it's endorsed by Israel's settlers, as determined and implacable a group as you can find in the modern world. They want to hold onto the West Bank, an area rich in Biblical sites and significance to the observant Jews who are the most "hard core" of Jews living on West Bank hilltops, notes Naftali Bennett, director general of the Yesha Council, which represents settlers. Gaza has nothing of consequence to religious Jews, which is one reason to be rid of it.
Another reason: Without the Strip, Israel can make a better case for annexing the West Bank. As Bennett explained the other day to a room of foreign journalists, the case against annexation has always been the assumption that Palestinians would soon outnumber Jews, making Israel a defacto apartheid state, with the minority governing the majority. Few Israelis want to be in that position. But, Bennett maintains, "the myth that demography is against us is wrong. Demography is not against us."
His math is instructive in more ways than one.
Within its borders, Israel has some six million Jewish residents and 1.1 million Arabs, descendants of Palestinians who did not leave in 1948. How many Palestinians reside on the West Bank is a matter of dispute, but Bennett thinks 1.8 million is about right. Combine them, and you have a nation of six million Jews and about three million Palestinians, a comfortable Jewish majority, Bennett says, given the declining birth rate among Israeli Arabs.
And Gaza? What about the 1.5 million Palestinians there?
Of course, Egypt being 'responsible' for the Gaza Strip has some bad aspects to it too, as Barry Rubin points out.
Story 1: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Egypt is losing control of the Sinai Penninsula where there are a lot of terrorists who can go into the Gaza Strip and attack Israel or stage cross-border attacks.
Story 2: Arab newspaper reports an estimated 400 al-Qaida terrorists in the Sinai.
Story 3: Egypt opens border to Gaza Strip so money, terrorists, and weapons can flow in freely.
French shipping company may be sanctioned for smuggling Iranian weapons
The World's third largest shipping company, France's CMA CGM, may be sanctioned by the US for smuggling Iranian weapons to Hamas and Hezbullah.
In March, the CMA CGMoperated container ship MV Victoria was seized by the Israel Navy in the Mediterranean and escorted to Ashdod Port. More than 50 tons of weapons from Iran were aboard. They included anti-ship missiles, 3,000 mortar shells and almost 70,000 rounds of ammunition for machine guns.
The Victoria’s route took it from Latakia, Syria, through the port of Mersin in Turkey to Alexandria, Egypt, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben said. According to Israeli security officials, the weapons were destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
This is not the first time CMA CGM has reportedly been involved in controversial trade with Iran.
In December, Rep. Peter King (R-New York) wrote to Philippe Soulié, CEO of the shipping company. King said he was “deeply concerned” about the French firm’s trade relationship with the regime in Iran. King is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
A few weeks earlier, the company’s MV Everest container ship was seized off the Nigerian coast, fully loaded with Iranian weapons. King warned the shipping company against half-heartedly monitoring its freight in light of international sanctions.
In a letter made available to the Post, he said the shipper should expect “severe penalties” in the United States.
Soulié wrote in response that the MV Everest had been chartered by a company that did not appear on the US Treasury’s sanctions list.
Soulié assured King that the company was fully aware of the UN, US and EU sanctions. He insisted that CMA CGM was at the “forefront of shipping companies” in adherence to laws and regulations, especially in regard to the Iranian regime.
However, barely three months later, the MV Victoria became the next French ship to be seized with Iranian weapons aboard.
“The group is working closely with the responsible authorities in the fight against illegal transports,” CMA CGM wrote in a statement to the Post.
“CMA CGM was, like other important world-wide shipping companies, a victim of false transport documentation from the sender, and with help of the consignor, CMA CGM was misled about the true nature of the transportation goods.”
The website “Third Palestinian Intifada” and its Facebook page, “Countdown to the Third Palestinian Intifada,” have posted detailed plans for marches on Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza, as well as processions to Jerusalem’s Al- Aksa Mosque, on three separate dates before and during the war’s anniversary.
The group’s “plan of action” calls for mass rallies on June 3, 5 and 7 – the Friday leading up to the Six Day War anniversary, the date on which the war began and the date Israeli troops took Jerusalem, respectively.
This time, military officials said the IDF will deploy larger forces along Israel’s northern borders to avoid a repeat of the Nakba Day disturbances.
The officials said they expect the rallies to be relatively peaceful, and that they hope an effective troop deployment can prevent border infiltrations altogether.
“The goal is twofold,” one defense official said. “To prevent infiltrations, and at the same time, to try to ensure there are no casualties on either side.”
How about making sure that if there are any casualties, they are on their side and not ours?
According to Third Palestinian Intifada’s “plan of action,” following prayers on Friday, Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem will march on the Al- Aksa Mosque to declare their “allegiance” to the holy city. Egyptians are instructed to gather in Tahrir Square to do the same, as are residents of “the rest of the Arab, Islamic and Western capitals.” Gazans and Jordanians are encouraged to march on their respective borders with Israel.
Two days later, Arab residents of Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem are again instructed to march on Al-Aksa Mosque, and to “clash with Israeli soldiers in contact areas,” while in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, protesters are to march “peacefully” to their respective border with Israel.
In the capitals of Arab, Islamic and Western countries, rallies are planned outside “Zionist embassies,” including Israel’s diplomatic missions in Egypt.
On June 7, “millions of Arabs, Muslims, Christians and liberals of the world, led by university students in different places will swear allegiance to Jerusalem on the day Jerusalem fell and the mosques and churches fell to the hands of the Zionists.”
Organizers are calling again for marches on Al-Aksa Mosque, and for a “construction convoy” from Egypt to Gaza to bring building materials to the Strip.
France to vote against unilateral declaration of 'Palestinian state'?
France has hinted that it may vote against a unilateral declaration of a 'Palestinian state.'
An agreed upon solution between Israel and the Palestinians is the only one that will put an end to the current status quo, the French embassy said in a statement released Monday announcing the visit to the region of French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
That comment is significant in light of Israeli efforts to convince the Europeans that supporting Palestinian statehood at the UN in September would be counterproductive.
Unlike Germany and Italy, which have said they would not support a PA move to the UN in September, France and Britain have signaled they may support this bid.
Hezbullah planned attack on Israeli borders with Lebanon and Syria on May 15
Lenny Ben David presents evidence that Hezbullah was behind the invasions of Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon on May 15.
Below are excerpts from an article written by one of the Maroun al Ras participants, Nour Samaha, a 28-year-old Swiss-Lebanese freelance writer based in Beirut. Presumably, Israeli security officials are studying similar photographs and the accounts of the May 15 attack on Israel's borders in preparation for the next onslaught.
Sunday 15th May, 2011
7.30am, Nada calls. "The buses are already full and they told us if we want to hitch a ride we'd have to stand the whole way down, is there space with you?" The buses are full? Big smile on my face. "Of course!" After a stop for coffee, we began our journey down, with Ahmad leading our two-car convoy. It was very unlikely we would get lost though, because every kilometre or so we'd pass half a dozen buses decked out with Palestinian flags, clearly heading in the same direction as us. And if somehow we missed those, someone had kindly taken the time to signpost the entire journey down with directions to Palestine. I guess for future reference, you know, after we've liberated it and we can make plans to hang out in Haifa for the weekend. Forward planning; I like.
Trying to be clever, Ahmad searched for an alternate route to beat the crowds to Maroun el Ras. Clearly the organisers, in conjunction with Hizbullah, had predicted there would be people with Ahmad's mentality, and blocked all other roads leading to the hill top, ensuring complete control of the masses of people descending on the border from all corners of the country. And it was very well executed. Herding us like sheep into a pen, we got in line behind each other, slowly moving forward.
From the start we had taken the decision to go to the border fence, so once we found the others, we headed down towards the fence. Looking into the distance at the border, one could see a hail of stones being thrown over the fence, almost automatic, as if in time with some invisible beat. Some had even managed to throw a couple of flags onto the fence. As the shots continued to ring out, news quickly travelled up the hill, with people passing on unconfirmed statistics of the dead and wounded. "1 dead." "4 dead." "10 wounded." The shots continued.
At the bottom of the hill was a dirt road. By this time it was probably around 1pm, and the [Lebanese] army had started to gather, forming a blockade to prevent protestors from crossing into the field which led to the fence. We had seen scores of people retreating from the fence following several shots from the Israelis, before returning, hurling stones with renewed anger. Attempting to pass the blockade, we were at first politely asked to back away, before being roughly pushed back by the army, who were shouting at us to back up. "But we want to be at the fence," we pleaded with them. "What? You want to go over there are get shot? Are you not seeing the bodies they're bringing back?" One soldier responded aggressively.
But we were. We were seeing the bodies alright. We were seeing them, boys as young as 15, critically wounded. We were seeing them, wrapped in make-shift blankets and stretchers made of keffiyehs and Palestinian flags tied together. We were seeing them, covered in blood from gunshot wounds to the head, chest, or abdomen. And that's why we wanted to be at the fence. The more bodies were pulled away from the fence, whether dead or wounded, the more we, as a crowd, wanted to be there. To help, to support, to get angry, to chant, to do whatever was necessary to defend.
[Lebanese] army got tetchy with the crowd's pushing and shoving, and fired warning shots in the air. Followed by another round. People ducked to the ground to avoid the spray of bullets, unsure of what just took place. This wasn't supposed to happen; isn't the army supposed to fire at the enemy? Wasn't the enemy on the other side of the fence currently killing our protestors? The crowd reacted quickly, picking up whatever was around them and throwing them at the army; sticks, stones, bottles. A rain of objects fell on the soldiers, who retaliated with another round of shots. People started screaming at them; "Why??" "You should be firing at the Israelis not at us!" "Use your fire on the Israelis!" "You fire on your own people?!"
At one point the shots rang out. Everyone scrambled to the ground, face down, while shouting "watch out for the mines!", "Heads down! Keep your heads down!". But within seconds, everyone was on their feet again, running towards the fence, with their arms cocked and ready to throw. It would take about a minute before you heard "ambulance!", "injured!", or "killed!" as a result of the latest barrage of bullets, causing the protesters to get riled up even further. This did not happen just once, or twice. This was happening all the time. It got to a point where some people stopped ducking the bullets.
Here we go again... Boogie says Iran may need to be attacked
We haven't heard this kind of talk in a while.
Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon told a Russian news service on Monday that a military strike may be necessary to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
"We strongly hope that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike," Yaalon said.
Ya'alon emphasized that not only Israel would be endangered by a nuclear-armed Iran. "An Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be a threat to the entire civilized world," he stated.
Western analysts say increasingly tough sanctions on Iran as well as the Stuxnet virus and possible other sabotage have delayed Iran's nuclear progress, even though they say the country now has enough low-enriched uranium for two bombs if refined more.
Enriched uranium can be used to fuel power plants, Iran's stated aim, or provide bomb material if processed much further.
Mark Fitzpatrick, a senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, said last week that "the totality of the evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt" that Iran was seeking a capability to make such weapons.
This video comes with a story, which is in Hebrew. The person who posted the video (not a native English speaker) posted a brief translation of the story which is below:
The story is about a student in Baltimore who was visiting a nursing home, and prayed with the elders. One day I said in one of the rooms there is an old man very hard to persuade them to put the tefillin and pray. This student went to the room, touch the door and the old man received.After greetings, the student asked:
"A to be its refusal to use tefillin. The old man looked at him and says "Honey, I boy was in the concentration camps and I remember that in our field was just the tefillin of the head and everyone took turns using it"
I grew up and slowly approached my Bar Mitzvah, my father then had an idea, he knew that in the other camp was a complete pair of tefillin, that is, arm and head.
Then my father went in search of the tefillin, and I remember that I was waiting by the window to see anything happen, until suddenly I see him coming with the tefillin in hand, and when I was about to enter the room where we were, a Nazi (Imaj shemo), shot him in front of me.
And after the story, the old man told the student and tell me how you want me to put the tefillin after what I witnessed.
Time passed and the student went back to the asylum and saw an old man lacked had Yortzai and one for Minian.
And of course was where the old man who had had a conversation, and asked him please to go to complete the Minian, since it is not next year if this person is going to stay alive .....
The song is Av HaRachahmim (Merciful Father) and it is sung by Mordechai Ben David.
A letter drafted jointly by lawyers of the Legal Forum for Israel and by Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has been signed by lawyers from around the World and sent to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The letter says that it is illegal to create a 'Palestinian state' by a unilateral vote in the United Nations General Assembly.
We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in general matters of international law, as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, appeal to you to use your influence and authority among the member states of the UN, with a view to preventing the adoption of the resolution that the Palestinian delegation intends to table at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly, to recognize a Palestinian state "within the 1967 borders."
By all standards and criteria, such a resolution, if adopted, would be in stark violation of all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as contravening UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and those other resolutions based thereon.
Our reasoning is as follows:
1. The legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed by both houses of the U.S. Congress.
2. Article 80 of the UN Charter determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations). Accordingly, the above-noted League resolution remains valid, and the 650,000 Jews presently resident in the areas of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem reside there legitimately.
3. "The 1967 borders" do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 Armistice Agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbors, establishing the Armistice Demarcation Lines, clearly stated that these lines "are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto." Accordingly, they cannot be accepted or declared to be the international boundaries of a Palestinian state.
4. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) called upon the parties to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and specifically stressed the need to negotiate in order to achieve "secure and recognized boundaries."
5. The Palestinian proposal, in attempting to unilaterally change the status of the territory and determine the "1967 borders" as its recognized borders, in addition to running squarely against Resolutions 242 and 338, would be a fundamental breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in which the parties undertook to negotiate the issue of borders and not act to change the status of the territories pending outcome of the permanent status negotiations.
6. The Palestinians entered into the various agreements constituting what is known as the "Oslo Accords" in the full knowledge that Israel's settlements existed in the areas, and that settlements would be one of the issues to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. Furthermore, the Oslo Accords impose no limitation on Israel's settlement activity in those areas that the Palestinians agreed would continue to be under Israel's jurisdiction and control pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.
7. While the Interim Agreement was signed by Israel and the PLO, it was witnessed by the UN together with the EU, the Russian Federation, the U.S., Egypt, and Norway. It is thus inconceivable that such witnesses, including first and foremost the UN, would now give license to a measure in the UN aimed at violating this agreement and undermining major resolutions of the Security Council.
8. While the UN has maintained a persistent policy of non-recognition of Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a negotiated solution, despite Israel's historic rights to the city, it is inconceivable that the UN would now recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, the borders of which would include eastern Jerusalem. This would represent the ultimate in hypocrisy, double standards, and discrimination, as well as an utter disregard of the rights of Israel and the Jewish People.
9. Such unilateral action by the Palestinians could give rise to reciprocal initiatives in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) which could include proposed legislation to declare Israel's sovereignty over extensive parts of Judea and Samaria, if and when the Palestinians carry out their unilateral action.
Of course, the real question is, given the facts in their letter, why should there be a 'Palestinian state' at all?
Sammy Levine writes about a session at the recent AIPAC convention which attempted to prove that the Tea Party is pro-Israel.
The three discussed the fear of some, including a UCLA professor present at another session, that the tea party movement’s focus on dramatically reducing the federal budget might threaten the three billion dollars per year America gives to Israel. This is a legitimate concern to anyone who is not familiar with the tea party movement. Though the tea party movement is determined to reduce the budget, it is conservative enough in political ideology to believe in a robust national defense. According to [Gary] Bauer, Ron and Rand Paul are outliers who do not represent the mainstream of the tea party movement on foreign affairs. As it happens, when Rand Paul made public his wish to cut off all of American foreign aid, including to Israel, Bauer mobilized twenty thousand emails asking for reconsideration. And Bauer declared that in addition to current levels of aid, “we should take money we’re giving to the Palestinians, and give it to Israel” too, in response to the new unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah.
Dick Armey told the audience he believes America’s investment in Israel is in our vital national security interest because both countries are on the front lines in the war against radical Islam. The tea party movement supports Israel, he said, because it is an “island of freedom” in a sea of despotism. Plus, Americans and Israelis share the same fundamental values: liberty, democracy, and justice.
There is, Armey continued, an even more fundamental reason as to why the tea party — like conservatives in general — is so forthright in its support of Israel: the overwhelming majority of new tea party members in Congress are evangelical Christians. And, as anyone who is familiar with the Old Testament knows, God instructs the Israelites that “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee.” Christians support Israel, said Armey, because “God gave this land [of Israel] to Abraham and the Jews.” For Armey, it doesn’t go too far to say that the tea party movement believes supporting Israel is a moral imperative, a command from God.
Critics of Israel's 'Palestinian' policies just don't get it
Meir Shlomo, Israel's consul general to the Southwestern United States, writes that critics of Israel's 'Palestinian' policies just don't get it.
The conflict between Israel and the Arab world, and part of the Muslim world, is first and foremost about the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to have a Jewish state in the land of Israel. The rest, including the territorial aspect, is secondary at best.
We have no territorial dispute with Iran, and yet every Monday and Friday its leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calls for the annihilation of the state of Israel from the face of the Earth. Moreover, Iran is pressing ahead with its nuclear program, which is designed to give him the necessary tools for his vision.
We have no territorial dispute with Lebanon. The border is marked by the United Nations itself, to the last inch, and still Hezbollah is seeking nothing short of the destruction of Israel.
Still, many say that all these countries are seeking the destruction of Israel in support of the Palestinians. Wrong again. The proof? Even during the Oslo process, when it looked like we were going to achieve a final peace accord with the Palestinians, these countries kept instigating Israel, and even threatened the Palestinian leadership at the time.
The Palestinians also refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. True, with them there is a territorial dispute. Here we come to another truism: the settlements. Are they the reason for the conflict? If so, surely removing all of them would solve the conflict. That is the flawed logic of Israel bashers who insist on disregarding an uncontested fact of history:
The first settlement was established after 1967; however, the conflict started long before, at least in 1948, and persisted for 19 years with the absence of any settlements whatsoever.
So if it is not the settlements, why not use the 1967 line as the basis for a solution? Let's put this one to bed right away. To see Israel before 1967 is to understand how unbelievably small and vulnerable it was. Imagine that two-thirds of the entire population of Texas, and all the industry and economy of Texas, were concentrated in Houston. Now imagine that you live in the Galleria area. On your border, which is as close as the Astrodome, your opponents can gather an exceedingly large army. Is that a formula for peace or a war waiting to happen?
Spain to recognize 'Palestine' on the '1967 lines'
Spain has announced that it will recognize the imaginary state of 'Palestine' on the '1967 lines.'
The Palestinian Authority announced on Thursday that Spain has decided to recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines before September. A spanish diplomat told Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath that Spain would support making the state of Palestine a UN member.
PA negotiator Nabil Shaath announced on Monday that Spain was planning to recognize the Palestinian state before September.
Shaath’s announcement came after he met in Ramallah with Spanish Consul-General Alfonso Portable.
Shaath said that the PA was pursuing its efforts to secure additional backing and international recognition for the statehood bid.
He said that the Spanish diplomat stressed that his country would support making the state of Palestine a member of the UN.
Shaath said that he was planning to visit Armenia, Moldavia, the Philippines, Mexico and Columbia to persuade them to support the statehood bid in September.
Israel's VC and startup industry headed for collapse?
Is Israel's venture capital and start-up industry headed for collapse? So says Zeev Holzman of Giza Ventures, but others disagree (Hat Tip: Gary P).
Famously and strikingly, last year zero dollars in new venture funds were raised. This year things are looking up, with another big Israeli VC, Pitango, raising $350 million. But the picture is still dire.
Why is Israel, the "Startup Nation" with more Nasdaq-listed companies per capita than any other country, in such a funk?
One reason is that Israeli startups have often been specialized in sectors like security, semiconductors and networking equipment, which can be capital-intensive and that many feel are "played out" for startups.
Another reason is that, like everywhere else, venture firms got too big too fast with the dotcom bubble and so have been delivering poor returns for the past decade. When the lousy VC firms wind down it's going to be felt more in tiny Israel than in Europe or the US.
There's a bright light however: Israel seems to start to "get" the consumer internet. Facebook just bought a local startup for $70 million. Famously, MyAncestry is the fastest-growing genealogy site, crushing Silicon Valley and PayPal Mafia darling Geni. (Believe it or not, genealogy is a huge market online, so this is a big deal.)
The appeal of the consumer internet isn't just that it's sexy, it's that it's much more capital efficient than other sectors, and also seems to be where all the innovation is.
I also note that they don't mention the medical sector, another sector in which we seem to be doing quite well.
I wouldn't count out Israeli venture capital yet, although some sectors might see (and are seeing) a retrenchment.
A senior Egyptian security official has told the satellite television station al-Hayyat that there are now over 400 al-Qaeda terrorists present in Sinai.
Egyptian security officials were pursuing the terrorist, who are composed of Palestinians, Beduins and foreign Arab citizens, according to the report. The group was reportedly planning to carry out terror attacks in Egypt, the official said.
Additionally, the terrorists carried out "a number of attacks against [Egyptian] security forces in the Sinai city of El Arish," the official told Al-Hayyat.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday also addressed Egypt's security problems in Sinai. "Egypt has had difficulties exercising its sovereignty over Sinai," he said at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"We saw this in the two gas pipe explosions that occurred there," Netanyahu said. "What's happening in Sinai is that global terrorist organizations are meddling there and their presence is increasing because of the connection between Sinai and Gaza."
And they think we're going to let the IHH into Gaza? Not on our side.
Egomaniac Tzipi Livni finally found something on which she disagrees with Barack Hussein Obama.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke out against the sequence for peace talks that US President Barack Obama outlined in a landmark Middle East address 10 days ago, when she told students at the Rishon Lezion College of Management on Sunday that all the core issues of the conflict must be discussed simultaneously.
In a question and answer session that was broadcast live on Facebook, Livni came out against Obama’s assertion that the issues of refugees and Jerusalem could only be dealt with after borders and security arrangements are set.
“We don’t need to delay any issue,” Livni said. “I think we should be dealing with all the disputes. I am worried when we put the spotlight on one issue – it raises too many international questions.”
Livni expressed concern that dealing with issues one at a time could change a conflict between nations to a religious conflict.
She warned that “religious conflicts are not solvable.”
She's right about having to deal with all the issues at once but only because borders and security arrangements (and Jerusalem) are the areas in which Israel has something to give, while 'refugees' is the area where the 'Palestinians' have something to give. You can't deal with the areas in which Israel has something to give and leave the rest for later. That's suicidal.
But it's already a religious conflict and has been all along. That's one of many things the egomaniacal fool doesn't get.
The Israel Police is preparing for the possibility of major riots in September, when Palestinians are expected to unilaterally declare statehood, Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said in a speech to the Israel Bar Association in Eilat on Sunday.
“The Israel Police is currently preparing for September, and for the possibility that various declarations regarding a nonviolent-civil struggle against the background of a declaration of a Palestinian state will end up becoming a violent conflict, and turn into wide-scale rioting,” Danino said.
The police commissioner added that his forces faced a “new reality” due to areas of friction between populations, attempts to infiltrate the borders, and “calls on Internet sites and Facebook to violate Israel’s sovereignty, as well as the the situation that the whole of the Middle East is experiencing during these days.”
Intelligence officers have been working together with operational planners at police headquarters in Jerusalem, including the Border Police, the Jerusalem police district, and the northern district, to draw up the plans.
The Obama administration has been telling anyone who would listen that the reason President Barack Hussein Obama made that statement about the '1967 borders' was that it's the only way to get the Europeans to vote against a unilateral declaration of 'Palestinian statehood' at the United Nations in September. But even assuming that there ever is such a vote, Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post writes that Obama has received no assurances from the Europeans. In other words, once again, Obama has given something (and far too much) for nothing.
But, according to various assessments in Jerusalem, it would have been more effective had the US first received European agreement not to support the Palestinian Authority move in the UN, and then make the statement about the 1967 lines, rather than the other way around.
The way it stands now, the 1967 language is out there, and there is no certainty the Europeans will support the US position against a Palestinian state at the UN.
Keinon goes on to say that the Israeli government believes that better coordination with the United States is necessary. Good luck with that so long as this administration is in power.
Following the visit, there is a strong sense in Jerusalem that much better coordination is needed with the US at the highest levels. Jerusalem was only made aware that Obama was going to make his remark about the 1967 lines the night before he delivered his speech. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then called Netanyahu the next day, and heard a furious reaction from the prime minister.
There still remained much speculation in Jerusalem as to why the US sprung the 1967 language on Israel, with one assessment being that Washington did not believe it would be possible to coordinate strategy with Israel on this matter.
According to this line of reasoning, since Washington believed Israel would simply not accept this, and did not believe there was any language that Netanyahu could accept, they concluded there was no other choice than to unilaterally make the declaration.
In this assessment, the US did not foresee Netanyahu’s strong and public opposition.
Following the visit, the focus of diplomatic activity is expected to be on coming up with a coordinated strategy with the US to avoid the possible repercussions of a Palestinian initiative at the UN in September. This is based on the widespread assumption that there is no way PA President Mahmoud Abbas will return to negotiations.
The idea is to examine whether it is possible to articulate a vision of a future agreement that has elements in it that are important both for Israel and for the Palestinians, and that would receive widespread European support and convince the Europeans not to back Palestinian statehood at the UN.
If Obama believed that Israel simply would not accept the '1967 borders' reference, why were they so surprised that Netanyahu would express strong and public opposition? Do they think he's a wimp like Obama?
Moreover, if no one believes that Abu Bluff is going to come back to the negotiating table (which I believe is correct), then why should Israel keep negotiating against itself to try to satisfy him, so that the next time he or his successor decides to come to the table, they will claim the starting point should be 'Netanyahu's concessions' and not 'where we left off at Annapolis.'
In the meantime, with a statement to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu is preparing for the reality that the resolution declaring a 'Palestinian state' is going to pass the UN General Assembly if it gets there in September.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that there is no way to stop the United Nations General Assembly from recognizing Palestinian statehood in September. In the General Assembly, he remarked, "it would be possible to get a resolution [passed] saying the world is flat," speaking at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.
Netanyahu added, however, "It's impossible to receive recognition of Palestinian statehood that doesn't come from the Security Council, whose procedures will lead to failure. We don't have any way to stop the resolution in the GA, we're only expecting to be supported by a number of countries."
The Turkish terror organization IHH has announced that despite the opening of the Rafah crossing point from Gaza into Egypt, it will be sending a flotilla of ships to attempt to bust what is left of Israel's 'blockade' of Gaza (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
“In the past, we went there for Gaza, but now we are going for humanity and the law,” Bülent Yıldırım, head of the İHH, told daily Hürriyet in an interview published Sunday.
Though admitting that Israel had loosened its embargo over Gaza since last year and had lifted its embargo on many items of humanitarian aid, Yıldırım said: “If they had told us before our departure last year that they would [loosen the embargo], we wouldn’t have gone. But now we have lost nine of our friends as martyrs.”
And therefore they want to lose some more?
The Turkish government - led by the Jew-hating Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ahmet Davutoglu - clearly could stop this if they were so inclined. But they are looking to go to war with Israel. And war, they shall get.
I'm going to show you some pictures of a place that may be familiar to some of you (should be familiar to those who are regular readers) and you should guess where it is. For those who read Hebrew, just scroll down to the answer. For those who do not, I will put the answer below the ScribD embed.
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-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children 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