Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg told the Post that “we have no intention of participating in Durban III in September.” Austria has now joined the anti-Durban group of countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Australia, the United States, Canada, and Israel.
Schallenberg said that Austria has” doubts about the content and direction of the conference” and that is the reason for Austria's decision to skip the event.
Austria participated in Durban I in 2001 and the 2009 Durban II conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger , from the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), has now, with his decision to boycott Durban III, placed Austria as the first German-speaking country into the anti-Durban camp.
In response to Austria's decision to pull the plug on its participation in Durban III, Israel's Ambassador to Austria, Aviv Shir-On, told the Post on Wednesday, “ I was pleased to hear that our position on the Durban III process was accepted by the Austrian government.” He added that “not only Israel sees the issue (Durban III) as problematic,“ citing Canada, the United States , the Netherlands, Italy and other countries that are staying away from the Durban conference.
Shir-On said “Israel was singled out and bashed at the first Durban conference” and the countries at Durban I were “not interested in fighting racism but criticizing Israel.” He said that does not mean that the “basic of idea of fighting racism in all its forms is bad” but the Durban process has steered away from its anti-racism mission.
“I welcome the Austrian decision and that they realize this is a problem,” said Aviv Shir-On.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is seeking a unified European voice on the question of the 'Palestinian' UDI (unilateral declaration of independence).
"The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice," Sarkozy said in an opening speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors.
"The role of the US is uncontested and irreplaceable, but everybody sees that it is not enough. We have to widen the circle of negotiation, think of the role and pertinence of the quartet."
Sarkozy said the world could not continue to leave the Palestinian peace process frozen while the Arab Spring forces change elsewhere in the region.
Up until now most of the EU’s countries have refrained from committing on how they would vote on the resolution, saying that it depended on the text. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was scheduled to convene an informal meeting of the EU’s 27 foreign ministers on September 2 where the issue will be discussed.
If they actually manage to agree on how to vote, it could make or break our government's attempt at a 'moral coalition' to oppose the non-aligned nations and the Organization of Islamic Countries. But I doubt they'll get together.
By the way, sorry about the long break tonight. On Wednesdays right now, I am acting as a graduate assistant for a Dale Carnegie course (it's an eight-session course, and this is my second stint as a graduate assistant since finishing the course myself). Ordinarily you all don't notice because I manage to queue enough posts to keep them going while I'm in class. But I had too much work today and did not have time to do that before I left for the course.
Among the 81 who went on this "Magical Mystery Tour" was Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. While there, the Democratic congressman met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders but clearly deemed it unnecessary to undertake any real fact-finding, choosing instead to stick to the scripted tours laid out by lobbyists for Israel.
If 'lobbyists for Israel' are scripting these meetings, why are any 'Palestinians' included on the schedule?
According to David Kreizelman, who leads AIPAC's Israel office, "The question isn't so much going away with a different attitude, it's going away with more information. They have to go back to their constituents who are saying, 'We want (government help) and you are voting to give money to Israel.'"
Is that really what Jackson will do? Return home and tell his constituents that Israel should be getting billions from U.S. taxpayers while infrastructure and schools decay and unemployment rises in his district? Adding insult to injury, instead of going to Americans hard-hit by the economic downturn, this money is used by Israel to subjugate, humiliate and segregate millions of Palestinians.
The 'billions' are a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of wasteful spending that the Obama administration has incurred in the last two and a half years. Cash for clunkers. Obamacare. Quantitative enhancement. The jobs that each cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to create and pay almost nothing. Michelle's vacations. Date night in New York. Need I go on?
As far as 'subjugating, humiliating and segregating' the 'Palestinians,' that's a load of nonsense. The 'Palestinians' are better off than any other Arabs other than Arab rulers anywhere else in the Arab world without exception. Funny how Khalidi doesn't object to the billions that have been given to the 'Palestinians' that have been used to buy weapons for terrorists, pay 'salaries' to the families of 'martyrs' and terror masterminds, and to pad Arafat's bank account and pay for the extravagant living style of his widow in Paris. Shouldn't that also bother Jackson's constituents Rashid?
One thing is certain: Rather than spend his time touring Israel, and seeing what the flacks for Israel wanted him to see, Rep. Jackson could have stayed home and met with constituents facing difficult times. Instead, he followed the lobbyists to the Holy Land, where he urged Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel "as the homeland of the Jewish people." Absent in his statement was any demand for Israeli recognition of the rights of Palestinians in what they also regard as their homeland.
Congressional fact-finding missions are routine. And maybe Jackson felt that given that ISRAEL has recognized the 'Palestinians' 'rights' to a homeland, there was no need for him to say anything about that, while given the 'Palestinians' continuing refusal to recognize Israel's right to a homeland, there was a need to say something about that.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is entirely at odds with the principles of the modern-day United States and a throwback to an era in which the U.S. was considered a white state. Recognition of Israel as the Jewish state formally reduces Israel's 1.4 million Palestinian citizens to second-class citizenship. It's as if Jackson thinks that none of the goals and principles of the civil rights or anti-apartheid movements should apply to Israel, and instead that Israel should be allowed to lift its Jewish citizens above its Palestinian citizens — to say nothing of Palestinians in the occupied territories living under illegal occupation.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Islamic Republic of Mauritania. How come you don't object to any of those Rashid? Why are those okay, but a Jewish state is not?
If the congressman had chosen to stray from the well-worn partisan path laid out by AIPAC, he certainly would have drawn different conclusions than those included in a peculiar opinion piece he wrote for the Jerusalem Post earlier this month.
And maybe he wouldn't have because AIPAC told the truth.
Jackson explicitly lectured Palestinians for not using nonviolence, ignoring a long tradition of nonviolent resistance by occupied and disenfranchised Palestinians. In so doing he also implicitly placed blame on Palestinians for their miserable lot, apparently forgetting that it is they, not the Israelis, who are subjugated.
Jackson also approvingly quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for the forcible transfer of Israel's Palestinian citizens and whose stances have regularly been criticized internationally for their thinly veiled bigotry. The day that a prominent African-American and the son of a civil rights icon embraces a man like Lieberman for the sole purpose of greasing wheels in Washington is a sad one for anyone who cares about equality and justice.
Lieberman never called for the forcible transfer of 'Palestinian' citizens 'Israeli Arabs'. He called for a land swap - swapping land which is mostly Arab populated within the 1949 armistice lands for land that is mostly Jewish populated outside them. And the fact that Khalidi (and the Arabs who live there) refers to them as 'Palestinian citizens' is precisely why that kind of swap makes sense to some people (I don't like it but that's a separate issue). Saying that Lieberman advocates forcible transfer is an out and out lie.
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Wednesday, August 31:
1) The Lede's defense of Larry
Along with Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman, the New York Times has another writer, Robert Mackey who is reliably anti-Israel. It's little surprise, then, that Mackey has weighed in on the recent firing of Larry Derfner by the Jerusalem Post with Israeli Columnist Is Fired for Writing That Palestinian Terrorism Is ‘Justified’. Anyone familiar with Mackey's work would know that he would find plenty of support for Derfner from critics of Israel and not consider anything other than what those critics would say. One would also expect plenty of misinformation.
Actually he shares Israel Reconsidered with Richard Silverstein, a nasty American anti-Israel blogger. No one familiar with Silverstein would consider him a journalist. Silverstein also developed a habit of going to news outlets and complaining that other bloggers were mean to him. The New York Times apparently thought that was news.
Towards the end Mackey writes:
In a defense of Mr. Derfner, Dimi Reider, the other contributor to the blog “Israel Reconsidered,” argued that The Jerusalem Post — which lurched from the far-left to the far-right of Israel’s political spectrum in 1990, after it was purchased by the press baron Conrad Black — allows its conservative columnists the freedom to state extreme views without fear of reprimand.
The impression that Mackey gives (and Reider's subsequent comments give) is that the Jerusalem Post is a narrow "right wing" rag. Truth is if you check out the columnist page, you see prominent left wingers and critics of Israel such as David Newman, Gershon Baskin and Ray Hanania.
The suggestion that the Post went from "far left" to "far right" and never changed in 1990 is also misleading, but it's a mistake that the New York Times had made previously. In 1996, the papers Serge Schmemann reported (erroneously):
Even the conservative Jerusalem Post, once a staunch supporter of Mr. Netanyahu, now finds fault with him over the settlement issue for giving the Palestinian Authority ''the ammunition it needs'' to rally the world against Israel.
After Netanyahu was elected, David Bar Ilan left the Jerusalem Post to serve as Netanyahu's spokesman and was succeeded as editor by Jeff Barak. Barak was decided more liberal than Bar Ilan, which explained the switch in the paper's tone.
Still I wonder, would Mackey consider Ha'aretz "far left?" The New York Times?
A few months ago NPR fired Juan Williams citing statements he made outside of his work there. Fox then renewed Williams' contract and gave him a raise.
If Derfner is really worth reading, I'm sure some left wing publication will offer him a spot. Rob Miller pointed that Neil Rubin of the Baltimore Jewish Times left a note of support for Derfner. If Rubin wishes to show up the Jerusalem Post, he should offer Derfner his old job back as Israeli correspondent.
Do you support the 'Palestinian statehood' declaration?
Here's a video directed at people who generally support the 'Palestinians' suggesting why they should oppose the 'Palestinians' UDI (unilateral declaration of independence - an acronym you should see a lot over the next few weeks).
The horrific story was one of a number to emerge from Misrata after the group sent in a team of interviewers in June to catalogue human rights abuses just after Libyan forces expelled Gaddafi loyalists.
Researchers from PHR were also told that Gaddafi's men:
forced numerous civilians to act as human shields
perched children on top of tanks to deter Nato attacks
used rape as a weapon of war with deadly consequences
The human rights group, which is based in Boston, concluded that there was widespread evidence of war crimes during the siege.
And for those who habitually excuse this type of behavior as an aberration and complain when I refer to Islam as the 'religion of rape,'
Richard Sollom, who was the lead author on the report, concluded that no one had evidence that rape was widespread - but the fear of sexual assault was endemic.
'One witness reported that (Gaddafi) forces transformed an elementary school into a detention site where they reportedly raped women and girls as young as 14 years old,' the report noted.
It added that it had found no evidence to confirm or deny reports that Gaddafi troops and loyalists were issued Viagra-type drugs to sustain their systematic rapes.
Note those last two words: "systematic rapes." What a sick society.
The picture is Iman Al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who claimed she had been raped by Gaddafi's men when she rushed into the Rixos hotel in Tripoli. More about her story here.
A document produced by a group of prominent 'Palestinians' advocates seeking a 'one-state solution' in the event that - as expected - the unilateral drive for 'Palestinian statehood' does not produce a 'Palestinian state' (regardless of the vote in the UN General Assembly).
Among the participants in the group’s workshops over the past year in Jericho, Gaza and Istanbul were Omar Abdel Razek, the former finance minister in the Hamas government in the West Bank, and Nasser al-Shaer, that government’s education minister. Next to them sat senior Fatah officials including associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas − former Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath and senior adviser Mohammad Shtayyeh. Other signatories are Naser al-Kidwa, a former Palestinian observer at the United Nations, Fatah Deputy Secretary General and Communications Minister Sabri Saydam, and former economics minister and businessman Mazen Sinokrot.
Already in the preface, the authors stress that “strategic unity,” now greatly enhanced by the reconciliation process, is a key condition for putting together an effective strategy. The document’s starting point: Given the Israeli government’s intransigence, the option of settling the conflict via bilateral negotiations − the path pursued by the Palestinian leadership for 20 years − is no longer available.
Most of the document’s authors support the option of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital and a fair arrangement that will fulfill the right of return and the compensation of the Palestinian refugees. The document rejects the possibility of continuing the status quo, maintaining that the endless negotiations provide cover for expanding the settlements and consolidating the occupation. The authors also erase from the agenda the option of a Palestinian state with temporary borders and limited sovereignty, under effective Israeli control.
If the strategy of a diplomatic struggle for Palestinian independence − including sanctions, turning to the International Criminal Court and nonviolent resistance as in Egypt and Tunisia − does not change the situation, the group recommends switching to what the document calls Plan B: dismantling the Palestinian Authority and restoring responsibility for the West Bank’s inhabitants to Israel. The authors are not ignoring the price their public would pay for that, but wonder what honorable option would remain.
If it turns out that this option is unattainable, the authors recommend working toward a model of a binational state or democratic state without distinction between Israel and Palestinian citizens. Another possibility is a confederation between Jordan and the Palestinian state.
Let's go down the list of options:
The only intransigence the Israeli government has had has been its desire to survive. Israel offered far too much under Ehud Barak, under Ehud Olmert, and even under Rabin and Netanyahu. Abu Mazen himself has admitted that he has not made a single concession since 1993, nor did Arafat:
No one in good conscience can blame the current situation on 'Israeli intransigence.' Except Haaretz of course. So the starting point of this document is wrong.
Then the authors claim they want "the option of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital and a fair arrangement that will fulfill the right of return and the compensation of the Palestinian refugees." That statement is a landmine. First, note that there's not even a mention of 'adjustments' in that statement (and in any event, such a mention would be empty because it would still presuppose Israel going back to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines unless the 'Palestinians' agree otherwise). And what the 'Palestinians' consider a 'fair arrangement' for the 'refugees' would mean flooding what is left of Israel with 'Palestinians' (really Arabs), which would leave two states: An Arab state and another Arab state with a few Jews. No Israeli - not even the revered (by Haaretz) Shimon Peres - could agree to that.
As a matter of law, the International Criminal Court ought not to take jurisdiction of any case involving Israel and the 'Palestinians.' First, because Israel is not a signatory to its treaty and therefore cannot be compelled to appear. Second, because 'Palestine' is not a state and therefore cannot be a signatory, regardless of the outcome at the General Assembly. They don't fulfill the Montevideo criteria, and they will not be a full member of the United Nations.
I suppose they can dismantle the 'Palestinian Authority,' but I question whether that would force Israel to take responsibility for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. The good news would be that dismantling the 'Palestinian Authority' would abrogate the Oslo Accords, and hopefully remove our 'right wing' government's inhibitions about building in Judea and Samaria (contrary to popular perception, the Oslo Accords place no restrictions on 'settlement construction').
Binational state? The 'Palestinians' would never agree because no 'refugees' would get to move here, because they'd be an underclass in our society, and because their real goal is destroying the Jewish state. A binational state would fulfill none of those goals.
Awesome: South Sudan to establish embassy in Jerusalem
Just a few days ago marked five years since El Salvador moved its embassy to Tel Aviv, leaving Israel's capital city without a single foreign embassy. Now, we're finally going to have an embassy in Jerusalem. South Sudan has decided to establish their embassy here (Hat Tip: Lisa Graas via Twitter).
South Sudan president [Salva Kiir] also agreed to [Likud MK Danny] Danon’s request that the future South Sudanese embassy in Israel be built in Jerusalem and also pledged to pay a visit to Israel at an unspecified date.
Kiir’s position contrasts sharply with South Sudan’s pledge a few weeks ago that it will support Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations next month. The move is strongly opposed by Israel.
Maybe South Sudan will vote against 'Palestinian statehood' too. Heh.
And by the way, I'm not posting this based solely on a fellow blogger whom I don't know. The original story is here.
In a written statement, the IDF – which is also drilling its troops in how to deal with possible violence next month – said it was "devoting great efforts to training local forces and preparing them to deal with any possible scenario".
Some scenarios envisage protesters reaching the gates of settlements, which could set the stage for confrontations.
The statement said the military recently "completed training the majority of the first response teams" and the exercises were ongoing.
Danny Dayan, chairman of the settlers' YESHA Council, said in a telephone interview that "Certainly during a period of tension, with intelligence reports of possible threats, of course readiness crews are being trained."
Dayan saw these preparations as "nothing extraordinary", noting how most settlers involved have already done compulsory duty in the IDF, which drafts most Israeli men at the age of 18.
"The Israeli army is responsible for them, they are not private settler militias," Dayan said.
Armed settlers "operate under orders to avoid killing civilians. In the event of a break-in at a settlement, the response would be purely defensive, nothing offensive," he added.
Israel said it arms settlers so they can protect themselves against Palestinian attack. Palestinians and human rights groups said settlers have used weapons to attack Palestinians and that Israel has been lax in investigating such incidents.
Avigdor Shatz, who oversees security in the Benjamin settlement district of the West Bank... would not provide details or figures on how many settler security personnel exist, but said most of the 140 or so enclaves Israel has built in the West Bank had defense teams, and said "very few" of their members had firearms.
The problem is that this is an attempt by the IDF to save manpower, and while it's understandable (they're going to be stretched way too thin no matter how many reservists they call up in September), there's a real risk here that people who aren't in appropriate physical condition, and who aren't sufficiently trained and equipped, are going to be left doing the army's job.
Jordan's King Abdullah II advised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the Palestinian statehood bid, Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Madina reported Tuesday.
King Abdullah, after consulting with a team of international lawyers, explained to Abbas that declaring a state in Palestine would possibly result in the loss of the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, according to the report. He therefore asked him to reconsider his plan to bring statehood to a vote at the United Nations on September 20th.
Abbas however, planned to move forward with his move, nonetheless, the report said.
The Palestinians will continue to demand the right of return for millions of refugees to their original homes inside Israel even after the UN recognizes a Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.
Responding to legal experts’ claims that a Palestinian state could affect the status of the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians, Abbas told the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour: “The PLO represents all the Palestinians, not only those in the Palestinian territories and whose number is estimated at 4 million. The PLO represents all 8 million Palestinians in the world.”
He said that the PLO would continue to function until all Palestinian issues were resolved, including the case of the refugees. The PA, he added, is part of the PLO and not a separate body.
The Saudi newspaper said Amman "advised" Abbas of its position via several diplomatic channels within the Arab world, adding that so far, the Palestinian president has chosen to shrug off Jordan's recommendation and is forging on with the plan to appeal to the UN General Assembly.
The PA's unilateral move is perceived as highly premature and detrimental to the peace process by many in the international community and particularly by Washington, which has already declared it will oppose the move.
Several reports have suggested that Abbas is covertly seeking ways to renege on the nearing bid, but the Palestinians declared that they are adamant to see it through.
Should they do so, the General Assembly – which is ruled by third-world countries that are predominately Arab and Muslim – will see a majority vote in their favor. Nevertheless, General Assembly resolutions are symbolic and to truly be accepted into the UN, the Security Council – where the US has veto power – would have to grant the Palestinian's bid.
Israel has already recognized that it has no real chance of stopping the General Assembly vote, and is now concentrating its diplomatic efforts on establishing a "moral majority" within the UN, to vote against the bid.
Jerusalem is currently focusing on rallying the support of Britain, France, Germany and Spain, to name a few, with the aim of creating a 30-nation bloc.
A few points to consider:
1. The deep, dark secret of the Arab world is that Jordan regards a 'Palestinian state' as a threat and does not want one.
2. The only thing Jordan wants less than a 'Palestinian state' is a solution to the 'refugee problem' that doesn't allow him to ship as many 'Palestinians' as he wants to Judea and Samaria.
3. The 'Palestinian' attempt at unilateralism was not well thought-out, but having undertaken it and stuck by it, it is almost impossible for Abu Mazen to back off it and remain in power. No ladder reaches high enough to help him down from that tree.
4. Abu Mazen is hoping to have just enough violence from his 'people' to bring about a lethal Israeli reaction that will serve his propaganda purposes and help him to remain in power. The IDF is attempting to avoid giving Abu Mazen his dead bodies so long as it can do so without endangering Israeli lives.
5. If push comes to shove, the UN will find a way to allow the putative 'non-member state' of 'Palestine' to continue to represent the 'Palestinian refugees.' The UN is more than happy to change international law when it suits it.
6. In those days when there is no King... each man does what appears fair in his eyes.
Palmer Report accuses IHH of pre-meditated violence and Turkish government of working with IHH
First, sorry for the very spotty posting yesterday.
Anyway, the JPost is reporting that the Palmer Report on the Mavi Marmara incident is finally going to be released.
The Foreign Ministry is drawing up talking points and writing press releases in the run-up to Friday’s expected release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident.
The preparations follow Turkey’s rejection of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that publication of the report be postponed for another six months. Release of the report has been delayed repeatedly since May 15, when it was first scheduled to be published.
According to Israeli officials, the Turks – in addition to demanding an apology for the incident and compensation for the families of the nine Turks killed on the ship – are also interested in seeing the report buried because it upholds Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and places Ankara in a negative light.
What Netanyahu hoped to do by postponing publication of the report, the officials said, was to give the Turks what they wanted regarding burying the report, as well as to postpone the apology issue.
Something very strange is happening here. Why is Netanyahu trying to spare Erdogan and Turkey? Why are we requesting a postponement when it seems clear that the report is in our favor (and when you see what's in the report, you'll see that I have been right about that all along)? Look what's in the report....
According to Israeli officials, the 102-page report comes to the following conclusions:
• Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, as was the interception of vessels trying to break the blockade.
• The IHH activists behind the flotilla were looking for a violent provocation.
• Turkey had a role with the IHH in the flotilla setting sail.
• The IDF soldiers defended themselves after coming up against premeditated violence by those on the ship.
• The IDF soldiers used excessive force.
Now, it's been alleged that the reason Israel is worried about this report is the last finding - that the IDF soldiers used excessive force. But if that's the case, why is this happening?
Meanwhile, a Kuwait-based English website, Arab Times, cited on Tuesday the country’s Al-Dar daily as reporting that the Kuwaiti Justice Ministry will “shelve the case which has been filed by MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and others against the Israeli government for humiliating and assaulting them while they were aboard the Turkish flotilla.”
According to the report, “The ministry was preparing to file a lawsuit in international courts, but was advised by lawyers not to go ahead with the suit because Israel could win the case and Kuwait would end up paying billions of dollars in compensation because the ship had violated international law by entering the Israeli territorial waters without permission.”
So why has our government been putting off this report's release? It seems overwhelmingly in our favor. It's shocking that a UN commission reached these conclusions!
The only explanation I can think of for the Netanyahu government's behavior regarding this report is pressure from the Obama administration.
A Syrian Kurdish opposition leader has told the Jerusalem Post that peace between Israel and Syria would be possible in a post-Assad era.
“We have a new vision for Syria – a federal Syria, a just Syria – not an Arab republic – that is inclusive, whether you’re Kurd or Arab, Christian or Muslim,” said Sherkoh Abbas, president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNAS).
He said a country as homogeneous as Syria is best suited to a federal model, in which areas with high minority populations enjoy certain powers not wielded by the national government.
The new Syria that Abbas envisions would be at peace with all of its neighbors, including Israel.
“Many Syrian religious and tribal leaders who are now part of the Syrian Democracy Council have no problem recognizing Israel and making peace,” he said. “They want to focus on Syria, and they have problems replacing one dictator with another – whether that’s Islamists or another group.”
Abbas dismissed the notion that because Assad has kept the Syrian-Israeli border largely quiet during his reign, the Syrian president is somehow a force for regional stability.
“Look at Hamas and Hezbollah.
Is Israel more stable today, or its borders more secure?” he said. Syria is a major sponsor and arms supplier for both radical groups, and a close ally of Iran.
“The only people who benefit from this regime staying in power are Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations that promote terrorism. Everyone else will win by removing this regime,” he said.
Of all Syrians, he said, Kurds are among the most favorably inclined to Israel. “Kurds in general have absolutely no problem with Israel. Israelis don’t kill us; they don’t take our land or oppress us. Why would we have a problem?” he said. “As for Kurdish religious leaders, they often say that the Koran says Israel belongs to the Jews, who are God’s chosen people, so why we should fight them? Even atheists say why should we fight the fight of Arab nationalism, which uses Islam to serve its own needs? We don’t want to fight – Jews are God’s people as well.”
You will note that every time you read a story like this, you do not see what the territorial demands are. Obviously, that's a key issue. So far, I have not seen any Arab political party - even an opposition party - that's willing to compromise on land demands.Hmmm.
Iran to deploy submarine and warship in Gulf of Aden and Red Sea
Iran is planning to deploy its 15th fleet, consisting of a submarine and a warship, in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea (see map).
Iran is planning to send its 15th fleet, comprised of a submarine and a warship, to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, semi-official news agency Press TV quoted Iranian naval commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying on Tuesday.
The announcement came after the IDF modified the operational doctrine of the Navy Command Center in Eilat which is responsible for protecting southern Israel from threats originating in the Red Sea. On Monday, two large Navy corvettes were seen docked in Eilat, likely for anti-terror and smuggling operations in the Red Sea.
Sayari stated that the purpose of the Iranian deployment is to patrol in the high seas and display the great capabilities of the Islamic Republic. He added that the fleet would combat pirates as well.
The Iranian naval commander said that Iran's presence in the Red Sea would tighten security for all countries.
“The presence of Iran's Army in the high seas will convey the message of peace and friendship to all countries,” he said.
Of course, the Iranians don't consider the 'Zionist entity' a country, but one has to wonder how 'our friends the Saudis' feel about this. They're probably not too thrilled, but I doubt that they would openly cooperate with Israel even on this. Hmmm.
Iran will not stop uranium enrichment activities the UN has demanded it halt, the country's nuclear chief said Monday.
Iran says it needs stockpiles for a medical research reactor, and that the level of enrichment up to 20 percent is far below the more than 90% needed to build a nuclear weapon. But US officials have expressed concern Iran is taking steps toward greater enrichment.
The official IRNA news agency on Monday quoted nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi as saying that Iran will continue to enrich uranium to 3.5% in its main uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, but will carry out 20% enrichment activities at its underground Fordo site.
IRNA also quoted Abbasi as saying Iran had asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide documentation of accusations about its nuclear program "so that we can examine them."
He added: "These allegations must be limited and not continue. We are not required to respond should thousands of claims be raised regarding our country's nuclear issue."
The International Atomic Energy Agency claims that Iran continues to stonewall attempts to follow up on information it has received from member states that points to possible experiments with a nuclear weapons program.
Iran accuses a "few arrogant countries" a phrase it often uses to refer to the United States and its allies of providing misinformation and false information to the IAEA.
It sounds like Ahmadinejad is betting that no one will confront him and try to stop him. And unfortunately, so long as Obama is in power, Ahmadinejad is right.
A majority of US Muslims are content with the nation's direction in contrast to many Americans and few Muslims believe there is support for Islamic extremism here, a survey released on Tuesday found.
With the 10th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks on New York and the Pentagon approaching, the Pew Research Center found that most Muslims felt ordinary Americans were friendly or neutral toward them.
In contrast to the majority of the general public dissatisfied with the nation's direction, 56 percent of the estimated 2.75 million American Muslims said they are satisfied, the survey showed. Seven out of 10 view President Barack Obama's tenure favorably.
"On a variety of measures, Muslims in America are very content with their own lives and with the communities where they live," Pew researcher Greg Smith said in an interview.
Four out of five Muslim Americans surveyed were satisfied with the way things are going in their lives and rated their communities very positively as places to live.
"We've seen Muslims move in a different direction than the rest of the country (with more) believing America is going in the right direction," Smith said.
'Islamophobia,' you ask? Even most Muslims admit there's no such thing.
Since 2007, there has been little change in how Muslim Americans see how they are viewed by the rest of America, with 28 percent saying other Americans viewed them suspiciously and 22 percent saying they had been called offensive names. Only 6 percent said they had been threatened or attacked, while 38 percent were bothered by their sense that they were singled out for increased government surveillance.
In response to questions about being a Muslim in the United States since the September 11 attacks, 55 percent said it is more difficult while 37 percent saw no change.
Two-thirds of those survey said the quality of life for Muslims in the United States is better than in most Muslim countries.
In 2007 only one-quarter of Muslim Americans believed the US-led war on terrorism was sincere, while 43 percent surveyed this year believed the effort was sincere.
And a couple of other things that might be of interest:
The general level of satisfaction among American Muslims was reflected in the 76 percent who approved of Obama's performance as president - nine out of 10 said they voted for the Democrat in 2008. Muslim support for Obama contrasts with unfavorable views of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
There are an estimated 1.8 million Muslim adults in the United States, including US-born converts, a 300,000 increase since 2007. Two-thirds were born in other countries.
Hmmm. Obama's even lost support among Muslims, and you can bet he's never going to pass any immigration reform.
A video has emerged of U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford being assaulted by a pro-regime demonstrator on the streets of Damascus last week.
The assault took place before Ford's unapproved trip to the city of Jassem on Aug 23. Ford was present at a gathering of demonstrators who support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the Cham Palace Hotel in Damascus when one demonstrator ran up to Ford and tried to wrap him in a poster that featured Assad's face.
Ford's security intervened quickly and rushed Ford to his car. The incident was then replayed in a highly produced segment on a Syrian television station owned by Mohamed Hamsho, a businessman is the brother-in-law of the president's brother, Maher al-Assad. Hamsho was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this month for siding with the Assad regime during its brutal crackdown on protesters.
During the attack several mortar shells hit the Erez Crossing, just as three Palestinian women and two infants were crossing back into the Gaza Strip after receiving medical treatment in Israel, causing damage to the crossing's infrastructure and an electrical shutdown. The power outage disabled gates at the crossing. Two of the women passed through safely but a third woman, along with her infant daughter, got caught between two disabled gates while rockets were falling.
The commander of the Erez crossing and another security officer rescued the woman and her daughter. All of the Palestinian women were brought to a protected shelter at the crossing where they were given a meal for the end of the daily Ramadan fast.
How often do you hear anyone - including these same NGOs - condemning attacks on the crossings?
Last week there were two similar article in the New York Times and the Washington Post; both dealt with how the changes in the Arab world (and more generally in the Middle East) were affecting Israel. Ethan Bronner of the New York Times wrote With Mideast in Turmoil, Israel Debates Strategy:
As angry rallies by Egyptians outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo this week have shown, Israel’s relationship with Egypt is fraying. A deadly exchange of rockets fired at southern Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza this week showed the risk of escalation there. Damaged ties with Turkey are not improving. Cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank seems headed for trouble.
“We are witnessing a paradigm shift in front of our eyes,” said a top Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Egypt was a major stabilizer in the region, and that may be over. Coordination with the Palestinian security officials could be lost. We are concerned about Turkey.”
There is a growing realization in Israel that maintaining ties with post-revolutionary Egypt no longer depends solely on cultivating the relationship with its leaders. Adopting stances that are more acceptable to ordinary Egyptians and the various political forces emerging in that country after Mubarak’s ouster has become important as well.
“There’s a new factor now, the masses, who are setting the pace and dictating moves,” said Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a veteran politician and former defense minister long known for his relationships with Mubarak and senior Egyptian officials.
The New York Times article, seems a bit better and more detailed. But both articles lack certain information.
Neither article gives a sense that Israel sacrificed the Sinai and with it, strategic depth and a wealth of natural resources, in order to achieve peace with Egypt. Israel didn't simply rely on the goodwill of a corrupt and unpopular dictator. The growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood isn't addressed in either article; the Greenberg article simply attributes it to "ordinary Egyptians and various political forces" without naming those forces. Similarly, Bronner doesn't mention that Turkey, under Erdogan has been moving away from Israel from well before the Mavi Marmara and that Turkey has been becoming more of a radical Islamic state. Neither article is especially bad, but neither fully describes the forces in play.
Ten of the eleven students who disrupted a talk by Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren nearly two years ago are finally going on trial for conspiracy to disturb a meeting and disturbing a meeting. And all over Southern California, mosques are holding prayers for them.
The students from the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, Riverside are set to go on trial Monday. Each is charged with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of the disturbance of a meeting. If convicted, each student could face a sentence of up to a year in jail or lesser punishments, including probation with community service and fines.
Charges against an eleventh student were dropped earlier this month.
“There is no question that these students are being treated like criminals because they’re Muslim,” Kifah Shah, spokesperson for the Stand with the Eleven Campaign, said in a statement on the group's website. The organization also is signing up supporters to attend each court session.
The campaign's website listed six Southern California cities where mosques would hold prayers for the students on August 29.
Uh no. They're going on trial because they allegedly committed a crime (two of them in fact) and if they are convicted, hopefully they will go to jail.
This is from the first link. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no intentions of visiting the Gaza Strip in the near future, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, hinting that there may be threats on Abbas's life should he choose to do so.
Zahar stressed that Hamas was not interested in jeopardizing the internal security situation in the Gaza Strip should Abbas decide to visit and cause internal Fatah violence to occur as a result of "unsettled accounts."
According to al-Quds al-Arabi, Zahar may have been referring to the ongoing conflict between the Palestinian Authority president and ex-Fatah official and strident Abbas critic Muhammad Dahlan.
Or maybe Hamas itself would like Abu Mazen dead.
Zahar also dismissed any attempts by Abbas to rekindle the stalled reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah's leadership as futile, saying of the failed process: "the [reconciliation] agreement was completed [in Cairo], but it's implementation is defunct."
Zahar dismissed any sort of talks that have occurred between officials in Fatah and Hamas of being concerned simply with "peripheral matters."
More than a week after it was taken down during a demonstration over the deaths of the Egyptian soldiers at the Israel-Egypt border, the Israeli embassy in Cairo is once again flying the Israeli flag.
Nonetheless, the Egyptian flag which was placed there instead of the Israeli flag last week, remains in place.
According to a Monday report in Egypt's al-Youm al-Saba daily newspaper, Egyptian citizens who noticed that the Israeli flag was "once again being waved on Egyptian land" were less than thrilled by the sight. According to the report the eyewitnesses said: "This time we need the Green Lantern or Spiderman to get the flag down."
10-man terror cell planning to attack Israel from Sinai
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai says that a 10-man terror cell is planning to attack Israel from Sinai during Id el-Fitr, the three day holiday that follows Ramadamadan starting today.
“Islamic Jihad is trying for a long time to perpetrate the attacks from the Sinai and the of Id al-Fitr is a good time for attacks,” Vilnai said during a visit to an Elbit Systems factory in Sderot in reference to the Muslim holiday which begins on Tuesday. “The defense establishment has concrete intelligence regarding plans by a terror cell from the Sinai consisting of more than 10 people.”
Vilnai said that the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) were working in close cooperation to thwart the attack and that Israel was also coordinating with Egypt.
On Monday, the IDF went on high alert along Israel’s southern border with Egypt on Monday and significantly bolstered its forces there amid concrete intelligence that Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to infiltrate into Israel and carry out a similar attack to the one near Eilat 10 days ago.
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made the decision to beef up forces along the border late Sunday night and instructed OC Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to update the Egyptian military of the decision.
IDF sources said that intelligence indicated that the Islamic Jihad cell had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip and was planning to carry out an attack along one of the roads that runs alongside the border in the coming days. As a result, both Roads 12 and 10 remained closed on Tuesday.
A senior defense official said on Tuesday that Israel was restraining itself and not taking action against the Islamic Jihad in order to not undermine the Egyptian regime.
So how long are we going to continue this way with one of the two main roads to and from Eilat closed at the height of tourist season (most schools start on Thursday) in order to keep Egypt happy? At what point does the IDF finally go clean up the vipers' nest in Gaza?
Neither Israel nor the US seems to care much about Ilan Grapel.
The US has not been putting pressure on Egypt to release the accused Israeli spy, Ilan Grapel, Egyptian semi-official Al-Ahram quoted an "Egyptian security official" as saying on Tuesday.
On Monday, Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said that the US had threatened to reduce aid to Egypt unless Cairo released the alleged Israeli spy, a dual US-Israeli citizen who was arrested in Egypt in June on charges of espionage for the Mossad.
Al-Ahram also said that Cairo and Jerusalem never discussed formulating a prisoner-swap deal for securing Grapel's release, which the report claimed would involve freeing a number of Egyptian Beduin from Sinai serving "long sentences in Israeli prisons."
According to the source Cairo informed both Washington and Jerusalem that "Grapel is in the hands of the Egyptian judiciary."
Something tells me he's not a spy - or not a very valuable one. He's just a foolish kid.
Iron Dome is overrated, cannot protect Ben Gurion Airport from a 'Palestinian state'
Forgive me for pooh poohing our 'great success' but Iron Dome is overrated.
A third Iron Dome battery is to be deployed 'within ten days' outside of Ashdod. The two current batteries are deployed outside Ashkelon and Beersheva.
“We plan to move the Iron Dome forward and within 10 days we will have a third battery which will be able to protect over Ashdod in addition to Ashkelon and Beersheba, if there is another escalation,” Barak said.
By the end of 2012, Barak said that Israel would have nine operational Iron Dome batteries including thousands of Tamir interceptors. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception.
And what area will those nine batteries cover? No one is saying. But here's a hint: It's 14 kilometers from Ashdod to Ashkelon (see map above) and the government admits that the battery that is covering Ashkelon cannot defend Ashdod. For those of you who are mathematicians, please figure out how many batteries are required to cover the entire State of Israel (except for areas within seven kilometers of the Gaza, Lebanon and possibly - God forbid - 'Palestinian' border which cannot be defended by Iron Dome). An inside source informs me that the number that the government is currently using is 24 batteries to protect the entire country. Color me skeptical.
Barak (as in defense minister Ehud Barak) hints at where this is going:
“This is something that completely changes the way we protect our citizens, who still need standard shelters, but will also increase the government’s operational freedom in the future,” he said.
The battlefield success of Iron Dome could change the political calculus in Israel by providing protection against attacks that prevented Israel from withdrawing after it dismantled settlements in Gaza in 2005.
Mr. [Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael] Oren said 1,000 Qassam rockets were fired into southern Israel from August 2005 to May 2006. At the time, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formed a political party, Kadima, to complete what he called disengagement, or the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the dismantlement of settlements in Palestinian areas of the West Bank that the Jewish state did not intend to keep within its final borders. The continuous barrage of rockets from Gaza is widely seen as stopping disengagement in its tracks.
“This restores Israel’s deterrence against a weapons system that Israel’s enemies believed Israel was incapable of defending against,” said Patrick Clawson, the director of research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Second, by doing that, it makes it politically possible to talk about trading territory for peace, even if you are not confident that the new authorities can stop missile attacks by terrorists from that territory.”
That, of course, explains why the Obama administration has given Israel $205 million to purchase four Iron Dome batteries: They hope that Iron Dome's 'success' will 'help' Israel to feel confident returning to the 1949 armistice lines. But what is perhaps more telling is that the IDF has yet to commit to purchasing a single battery of Iron Dome. And for good reason. (Note that this article - contrary to my source - says 16-18 batteries will be enough).
In a radio interview on July 21, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, a former IDF deputy chief of staff, attempted to cool the Israeli public’s response to the July 12 test, explaining that Iron Dome is at best 80 percent effective at intercepting incoming rockets [so far it's at 85% - a bit better than predicted. CiJ]. He also explained that cost issues would prevent Iron Dome from being permanently deployed on the southern and northern borders.
Israel would only be able to procure and maintain a handful of batteries with the $205 million U.S. grant and the IDF has no plans to fund multiple Iron Dome batteries. Ha’aretz estimates that each intercept missile could cost approximately $40,000 and each Iron Dome battery $500,000, while Hamas’ Qassam rockets cost roughly $150 each to produce.
Senior IDF officers, including Deputy Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, continue to insist that the IDF should not have to pay for the system from its budget, and alternate sources of funding, potentially from sales of the system to other governments, have been touted as a solution. India has expressed interest in either the David’s Sling, a medium-range missile intercept system being developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. in partnership with the Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company, or the Iron Dome system, also produced by Rafael. The Israeli government, however, has banned the transfer of David Sling’s technology to foreign customers, a major hang-up that could derail sales negotiations. With funding issues a priority, however, the pressure to reach a deal is high. Singapore has also expressed serious interest in the Iron Dome system.
Ha’aretz reported on July 21 that Gantz, “who observed the trials Monday, was impressed with the system's capability, but was doubtful this would alter the army's view on funding.” His comments suggest that the IDF continues to focus on preparing for conventional ground and air assaults against renewed attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah. Gantz expressed this view previously in a May 31 interview with Defense News, then hinted at further confrontations in Lebanon and warned that Israel has learned from the mistakes of the 2006 Lebanon War and is prepared “to keep all [its] horses in the stable for as long as possible, because when [Israel] let(s) them out, it will be painful [for the enemy].”
MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) pointed out that “we did not hear even a weak condemnation of the terrorist attack and rockets from the Palestinian Authority. Launching rockets from Gaza must be part of the reconciliation between Hamas and the PA.”
Dichter also called for the government to quickly buy and build more Iron Dome missile defense systems.
“The fact that there are only two [Iron Dome] batteries is unacceptable,” Dichter said. “Students lying under school desks while rockets fall are like ostriches burying their heads in the sand.”
MK Amir Peretz (Labor) said the government was supposed to buy 13 anti-missile batteries, and added that the government should find a way to pay for it even if it does not receive adequate funds from the US for the purchase.
Translation: There is NO Israeli money committed to paying for this (Refael - the company that developed Iron Dome - is sort of a hybrid of a private and a public company, and is no longer a part of the IDF as it was years ago).
So to this point, we have shown three weaknesses of Iron Dome: It doesn't work within seven kilometers of any border (did I mention that Ben Gurion Airport is less than seven kilometers from the '1967 borders'? See below), it covers a small area which will necessitate dozens of batteries to cover the entire country, and it is very expensive, especially in comparison with the cost of the 'Palestinian' rockets it is shooting down.
On Saturday, the terror groups attempted to break through the intercept system's defenses by firing a particularly large volley of rockets at Be'er Sheva, where one of the batteries is deployed.
After the Palestinian launch teams realized that the intercept systems deployed in the past two weeks around Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva provided near-perfect protection from rockets, they began targeting Ashdod and Ofakim more frequently. And when they did aim at Be'er Sheva on Saturday night, they did not fire one or two rockets, as in the past, but rather a volley of seven rockets almost simultaneously. Iron Dome intercepted five of them successfully, but one penetrated the defense system, exploding in a residential area and killing Yossi Shushan.
And wounding eight other people and doing lots of property damage. Seven rockets cost Hamas $1,050 ($150 each). The six that Iron Dome shoots down cost $600,000 to shoot down ($50,000 per interceptor, two interceptors per rocket). The one got through cost one dead Israeli, eight wounded Israelis, and several hundred thousand dollars in property damage. That sounds like a pretty favorable calculus for the terrorists.
Hezbullah is said to be capable of shooting hundreds of rockets at once from the north, which will only make matters worse.
Obama wants us to give up territory for a 'Palestinian state,' which would create a third direction for terrorist rocket fire, with Ben Gurion Airport only four miles (which is less than seven kilometers) away from that 'Palestinian state.' So does our own Left. In other words, in addition to its limited effectiveness, Iron Dome cannot protect Ben Gurion Airport.
According to the report, an encrypted file has been circulating on the Internet since the beginning of the year which contains the full collection of some 250,000 US State Department cables obtained by the whistle-blower organization last year. WikiLeaks began making select cables from the collection public in November 2010, but had been editing them to protect sources. The file floating around on the Internet containing all 250,000 cables, however, is entirely unedited, according to the report.
The password-protected file had been hidden on a WikiLeaks server. Assange had given the password to an external contact, according to Der Spiegel. WikiLeaks supporters, attempting to create a public archive of cables which had already been released through various news outlets, unwittingly released the hidden, encrypted file as well. In the spring of 2011, Assange's external contact made the password to the file public.
Domscheit-Berg's rival organization OpenLeaks has now drawn attention to the fact that both the file and the password have been available on the Internet for months. Domscheit-Berg's OpenLeaks colleagues said the slip-up proved his contention that data in the hands of WikiLeaks was not secure.
WikiLeaks denied the report by way of its Twitter account, saying, "There has been no 'leak at WikiLeaks'. The issue relates to a mainstream media partner and a malicious individual,” in reference to Domscheit-Berg.
If Domscheit-Berg is circulating the names, isn't that the same thing? The consequences are the same: Hundreds of confidential State Department sources have been compromised. Would you want to talk to the State Department off the record again?
The new batch of hundreds of diplomatic cables sent out from the US embassy in Tel Aviv published on the WikiLeaks website last week includes one from January 20, 2005, with the subject title: “Snapshot of a West Bank Amcit [American citizen] Settler,” and another a couple weeks later, on February 10, entitled, “Another West Bank Amcit Settler’s account.”
The first relates to a US consular officer’s conversation with a 36-year-old American citizen who went to report the birth of her “American citizen child” at the embassy. The woman, unnamed, immigrated to Israel at the age of 20, married an Israeli Technion graduate who works in Tel Aviv, and lives in Neve Tsuf.
“As a resident of the West Bank she is technically within the consular district of the US Consulate in Jerusalem,” the cable read. “However she said that she did not wish to travel through east Jerusalem streets ‘surrounded by Arabs’ to get to the Consulate. She would go there only if accompanied by her husband, who is usually armed.
“When asked why, if she fears east Jerusalem, she is willing to live in a settlement in the heart of the West Bank, she said that she thinks of Neve Tsuf as a suburb of Tel Aviv. She feels secure at home and is comforted by the presence of Israeli soldiers in her settlement and on the roads. She does not feel that she is in any more danger in Neve Tsuf than she would be in Tel Aviv.”
The cable said the woman “considers herself religious and cited ideological reasons, not financial incentives, for moving to Neve Tsuf. She believes that the God-given land of Israel includes the West Bank.
However, she also cites practical reasons for wanting to live in a settlement. She says that, whereas within Israel she would live in an apartment, in Neve Tsuf she has a house.”
The cable then quoted a Nefesh B’Nefesh study saying that 4 percent of American immigrants to Israel in 2004 settled over the Green Line. In 2004, the cable said 1,700 Americans immigrated to Israel, roughly the same number as in 2003.
According to the cable, signed by then-US ambassador Dan Kurtzer, the woman “opposes the disengagement plan and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
She said there are ‘21 Arab nations, and they don’t need another one.’ In a tone more sheepish than strident, she said the conflict in Israel and the territories is part of the biblical struggle between the Jews and the ‘sons of Ishmael.’ However, she said she is not an ‘Arab hater.’ She stated that an Arab built her house.”
I know a few people in Neve Tzuf, and I can guarantee you that's enough biographical detail for them to know who that was.
Deja vu all over again: 'Palestinian' minister accuses Israel of harvesting 'Palestinian' organs
As Israeli's defenseless defense minister prepares to release 'Palestinian' terrorists from Israeli jails to 'ease tensions' in September (as if it will make a difference), the 'Palestinian Authority' minister of prisoner affairsuncontrollable rage Issa Qaraqi (pictured) accuses Israel of - what else - harvesting 'Palestinian' organs.
By contrast, the Saudi-based Arab News.com reported Sunday that Qaraqi’, “during the national day of Palestinian campaign to retrieve martyrs’ bodies,” accused Israel of harvesting parts from “the bodies of dead Palestinian martyrs without the consent of their families.” According to the website, Qaraqi’ said Israel was holding on to the remains of “Palestinian martyrs to conceal the crimes it committed against the martyrs’ bodies and to punish their families.”
Claiming that Israel was “holding the remains of 338 Arab and Palestinian fighters” in secret cemeteries, he said the “holding of the martyrs’ remains for many years casts doubts and accusations that Israel assassinated them after detention, or harvested their organs.”
The PA minister’s comments were swiftly denounced by Israel, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor saying that by “promoting heinous lies and blood libels, the Palestinians may score a few cheap points among the ignorant and the racists, but they will not be gaining any dignity and respect.
Dealing in hate mongering will not lead anyone to respect them,” Palmor said, adding that “they that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”
According to the story, the Defense Ministry is considering releasing 'Palestinian' terrorists and turning over bodies of terrorists buried in Israel for reburial by the 'Palestinians' in a bid to improve the atmosphere on the 'Palestinian street' in September. According to the report, none of the terrorists to be released are on Hamas' list for exchange for Gilad Shalit, and all of the terrorists to be released are affiliated with Fatah and not with Hamas. What could go wrong?
Qaraqi has a history of this sort of thing. Just two weeks ago, he complained bitterly because Israel is not letting 'Palestinians' complete their education (why should we when Gilad Shalit cannot even have a Red Cross visit after five years?). In March, he presented an award to the family of Abbas al-Sayid, who planned the Seder night massacre (note different spelling of last name, but it's the same person) and in 2010 he handed out a 'Mother of the Year' award to a woman who has four sons in Israeli jails for murdering Jews. In 2005, he accused Israel's prison authorities of allowing cancer to go untreated in Israeli prisons. And also in 2005, he claimed that 25% of 'Palestinians' (of which, as we know, there are 'millions') have been imprisoned in Israel.
One would think this would be enough for accusations by Qaraqi not to be taken seriously. But no. Any accusation against Israel will do.
Larry’s dismissal is made all the more obscene by virtue of the light it sheds on the egregious double-standard that once-professional publication now employs in regard to conservative versus liberal opinion; I say that as someone who fondly remembers the fairly conservative op-ed editor of my own time at the Post soliciting op-ed pieces he openly disagreed with. Larry worries his post might end up on some Hamas website. This is yet to occur, and even if it does take place, it’s doubtful it would influence the decision of any young Palestinian whether to become a terrorist or not. By contrast, the writings of Jerusalem Post deputy-editor Caroline Glick were cited in the manic manifesto of Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik in justification of the bloodbath he executed earlier this summer; unlike Derfner, Glick has yet to be shown the door.
Moreover, right after the Norway carnage the Jerusalem Post published an outlandish editorial suggesting the calculated, murderous rampage of a self-confessed xenophobe was an opportunity for Norway to revisit its immigration policy. The editorial was so beyond the pale the Post only put it up on the website with a disclaimer, and sparked such an outrage in Norway the newspaper had to spend another editorial on an apology; to my knowledge, all of those responsible for this serialised farce kept their jobs. Not so for Derfner.
Now, I’m not suggesting Glick and the author of that editorial (assuming they’re not the same person) should be fired for their opinions. There are many other reasons not to retain Glick’s services. Serious complaints of her conservative column’s ultra-liberal attitude to facts should be a warning sign for any reader; her suggestions regarding the possibility of an alliance between Israel and the Vatican, instead of fickle, fickle USA, are enough to give anybody pause; and as far as embarrassing appearances outside the Jpost go, her responsibility for a “satirical” clip showing a blackface minstrel Barack Obama singing to Israel’s destruction is hard to forget.
Yet Glick’s right to express even the strangest and most obsolete of opinion from the pages of what publication would have her remains in place and should not be infringed upon. Opinion is up there to be read, to be disagreed with and to be criticised; this is the fundamental principle of op-ed pages. The Jerusalem Post has obviously sunk so low and became wedded to Glenn-Beck-type readership so tightly it now applies this principle to conservative opinion only. Pity. It used to be a newspaper once.
Hello? It was a business decision! By Derfner's own admission, the Post had HUNDREDS of subscription cancellations because of what Derfner wrote. A newspaper is a commercial enterprise (unlike blogs which are written by true believers who toil in anonymity for free). Is the Post supposed to lose money to give Derfner a platform to spew his noxious venom at Israelis?
Caroline Glick is probably the most popular columnist in Israel and is certainly the most popular Israeli columnist among Israelis abroad. Given that the writer - Dimi Reider - acknowledges Glick's right to write whatever she pleases, what is the point of implying that she should be fired because Derfner was?
Finally, Glick did not suggest that Norway revisit its immigration policy. Neither did Barry Rubin, who has also been subject to constant attack on the Post's editorial pages by representatives of the Norwegian government. Rather, Glick and Rubin suggested that Norway ought to do some introspection as to whether their support for 'Palestinian' terrorists was giving succor to those who would terrorize Norwegians. Norway still has not (or doesn't want to) get that point.
And for those wondering why Reider didn't mention Barry Rubin along with Glick, go here.
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