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Friday, November 30, 2012

Same old, same old, except...

Eugene Kontorovich finds nothing new in the 'non-statehood' resolution that passed the United Nations on Thursday, except....
6) Abbas’s repeated refusal to heed any of America’s insistent and increasingly pathetic requests (stop the resolution, or even tone it down) represents a slap in the face for President Obama – a flat refusal to cooperate or accomodate American (and many European) interests.
This demonstrates the failure of Obama’s policy “outreach” towards the Palestinians, and his general courting of the Arab world. Despite his explicitly creating “space” between Israel and the US in his first term, it has not made the Palestinians even the least bit tractable on any issue, even when it comes to embarrassing the U.S.
Presumably all those who were indignant about Netanyahu’s purported “defiance” of Obama will now take up the President’s honor against Abbas.
7) Speaking of the President – credit where credit is due. I have previously criticized the record of his first three years on Israel, and stand by that. My criticism was always non-partisan. As I often point out, the Democratic Party has always been in lock-step with the general American solicitude for Israel, but Obama in his first three years took a different, confrontational course.
In the year before the election, he switched gears. I am happy to observe that since the election, his support of Israel has been what one would expect of any generic American president. One suspects that Abbas’s obvious rejection of any serious peace process, and his open use of Obama as a cat’s paw, began to grate.
There's a /sarc tag missing at the end of Item 6, but Item 7 sounds really hopeful.

Read the whole thing.

Shabbat Shalom everyone. 

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The chickens have come home to roost

Once again, my college classmate, Rabbi Pruzansky, is excellent.
It should not be overlooked that the foundation for this vote was laid by the Israelis many years ago. The Oslo Accords, whatever the technical language, was obviously designed to create a Palestinian state. That agreement was an explicit admission by the Jewish state that the Jewish people are not the exclusive sovereigns in the land of Israel, despite G-d’s eternal promises set forth in the Bible. Governments of the left and the right embraced that outcome in one form or another. Menachem Begin himself recognized (in 1978) the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,” a phrase that stuck in his craw but that he accepted based on his lawyerly interpretation that the words “legitimate rights” could be interpreted to mean anything he wanted it to mean and not what the other signatories understood it to mean. So the chickens of Oslo, Lebanon, and Gush Katif have indeed come home to roost.
     And yet, whatever the psychological value (and most Arabs will assume that the vote means something that it does not, and fire their weapons in the air in celebration), the vote has no effect in the real world. Nothing changes here, today, anymore that Arafat’s declaration of statehood amounted to anything in 1988. A General Assembly vote has no legal status at all. Abba Eban said it eloquently: “If Algeria introduced a General Assembly resolution that the world is flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would find overwhelming support in the Arab world” and elsewhere. And he said it almost forty years ago. Nothing has changed there, either.
     Abbas still needs to be propped up by Israel. There is no Palestinian state. The PA and Hamas are still bitter rivals, and Abbas knows that his political career ends the moment the people are given the right to vote him out, whenever that is. The UN carnival, typically, just distracts the world from the real crises in the region – Iran’s nuclear bomb, Syria’s civil war and Egypt’s ongoing unrest. Anyone who still needs proof of the mendacity and hypocrisy rampant in the Arab world needs to consider only the howls of protest when 150 Arabs were killed and several hundred wounded in the clashes in Gaza – squeals that were intended to awaken the world to the horrors of a nation (Israel) exercising its right of self-defense – while the Arab world is dormant at the massacres in Syria of more than 35,000 people, and the turmoil in Egypt where already more than 500 people have been injured.
    It’s not the civilian deaths or injury that seem to disturb the Arab world and its malevolent allies across the world; it’s that the cursed Jews are doing it, and in defense of their right to exist.
    There are two obvious conclusions to this vote. One, that Oslo is officially dead, and this declaration vitiates its very premises of negotiations over final status issues, and, two, that the United States is now bound by law to cut its funding of the Palestinian Authority. But neither will happen and the blatant violations will be finessed, because neither the US nor Israel has any real interest in changing the dynamic of the struggle. That complicity is emblematic of the failures of Israeli politicians for decades that have seen Israel’s strategic position deteriorate slowly but inexorably.
    Nonetheless, in the beleaguered town of Sderot, barely two miles from Gaza and the recipient of thousands of missiles and rockets in the last ten years, one encounters today personal strength and courage, a desire to rebuild, lifelong residents who have no interest in moving to safer zones. Their resilience is an inspiration to all Jews, and their heroic story will yet be told. In the new communities built to house the Jewish refugees driven out of Gaza in 2005, one encounters the same determination, along with sadness about what was lost and the unshakeable (and usually unmentioned) feeling of “I told you so,” the unheeded warnings of what would befall Israel if they retreated under pressure from Gaza.
    All these brave souls have been betrayed by governments with convoluted miscalculations, wishful thinking and illusions disguised as policies, unkept promises repeated in every election cycle, or statecraft that is often illogical and self-destructive.
   The people of Israel deserve better; if only they would realize it and act upon it.
 Read the whole thing.

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Labor to push socialism, skip 'peace process'

This may be speculation on my part, but based on who won and who lost in the Labor party primary on Thursday, I would venture to guess that Labor's voters are a lot more interested in returning the country to socialism (God forbid) than they are in the 'peace process.'

The proof? High placements of the likes of (former Welfare Minister) Yitzchak Herzog, (former Histadrut Labor Union Chairman) Amir 'Comrade' Peretz, (social protest leader) Stav Shafir and (student union head) Itzik Shmuly, and out-of-the-money placements for (selfish hypocrite) Noam Shalit and ('Peace Now' chairman) Yariv Googleheimer Oppenheimer.
The vote showed how much influence party leader Yacimovich has, as opposed to the growing opposition within Labor led by MK Amir Peretz. Yacimovich has tried in recent weeks to position Labor as a centrist party, saying on Tuesday night that she hoped the list would not be “too left-wing.”
Former defense minister Amir Peretz got the third spot, followed by Itan Cabel, former Haaretz columnist Merav Michaeli and MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Herzog received 3,000 votes more than rival Peretz.
Peretz told Israel Radio he is pleased with the results. "I'm very pleased with what we got here today - both important experienced Labor members, people I've aided, and new, young members that I believe will help the Labor party," Peretz said.
Peretz stated he intends to "bring back the diplomatic agenda to the negotiating table" in the 19th Knesset. "I was the first to put the social topic on the agenda, but without peace we can't fix the social issue," Peretz told Israel Radio.
Leaders of the summer 2011 social protest Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuly also got high spots, with Shaffir getting the 8th spot and Shmuly getting the 12th spot.
Michaeli and Yacimovich are not the only former journalists to receive high spots on the party's list, investigative journalist Mickey Rosental got the 13th spot on the list.
Noam Schalit came through just 39th on list after he left his hi-tech job and met Labor members across the country for a year, whilst Peace Now former secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer came in 27th.
Yacimovitch was trying to attract Tzipi Livni to run with her. Maybe she should send Livni Shalit and Oppenheimer instead. 

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Did Netanyahu put Israeli lives at risk to avoid attacking Hamas before the US election?

Jonathan Schanzer argues that Operation Pillar of Defense was a net positive for Prime Minister Netanyahu's relationship with President Obama, because Israel put off its hunting expedition for game-changing Fajr-5 rockets until after the US Presidential election.
For Israel, Pillar of Defense was not about killing terrorist masterminds like Ahmed Jabari or blowing up Hamas headquarters. Those were ancillary targets. This round of hostilities was actually a hunting expedition for Fajr-5s.
As Israel's air force methodically struck these rocket sites, one after the next, Hamas realized it was "use 'em or lose 'em." They began — along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad – firing off their Iran-supplied weapons. But even then, the Fajrs hurtled some 50 miles out of Gaza only to be shot out of the skies over Tel Aviv by Iron Dome, an anti-missile system developed jointly by the U.S. and Israel.
The Israelis claim to have destroyed most if not all of the Fajr-5s – about 100, give or take – in the first few days of fighting. Only then, after Israel had destroyed the bulk of the rockets, did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make any serious effort to pressure Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy into brokering a ceasefire.
In other words, Operation Pillar of Defense bears unmistakable signs of close coordination between Netanyahu and Obama. And while the White House may not admit it in public, Netanyahu appears to have done everything in his power to ensure that Israeli military operations did not get in the way of Obama's bid for reelection.
If anything, Netanyahu may have put off striking the Fajr-5s until well after the election, even if it put his own population at risk.
Of course, Obama and Netanyahu may yet come to loggerheads over when and whether to attack Iran's nuclear sites. Even before that, Obama may demand the Israelis return the favor, either by asking anew for a settlement freeze, or even pushing Netanyahu to forgive PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas' unilateral theatrics at the United Nations tomorrow.
But, for now, Pillar of Defense has resulted in a surprising new understanding between two leaders who have struggled to find common ground. And that's a victory for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
While the delay in the operation may have been positive for our relations with the US in the short term (and I'm not so sure even that can be said in the long run, although clearly Obama did not object to Israel's bombing Hamas for an entire week), I'm afraid it sets a  bad precedent and that in the end Obama will not help us with Iran anyway. This story reminds me of Operation Desert Storm, where Israel sat back and absorbed rockets for the sake of the Bush (I) administration's coalition, and then found itself the target of a gang rape a couple months later in Madrid. What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

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Susan Rice owns shares in companies doing business in Iran

The Washington Post reports that Susan Rice, who is apparently going to be President Obama's nominee to be Secretary of State, has 'modest' holdings in companies that are doing business in Iran. I'm sure you're all shocked....
One of the biggest of the holdings, between $50,000 and $100,000, according to Rice’s disclosure statement for 2011, is Royal Dutch Shell. The international oil giant stopped buying crude oil from Iran early this year as sanctions were tightened to block oil exports by Iran and to stop financial transactions with its central bank.
A company spokesman said officials dealing with Iran could not be reached, but a person familiar with the company, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of a lack of authorization to discuss the topic, said Royal Dutch Shell owes Iran about $1 billion.
Rice and her husband also own between $15,000 and $50,000 of stock in ENI, the Italian international oil company. ENI has said that it is no longer doing business with Iran, but it has a waiver from sanctions to enable it to collect oil as payment for about $1 billion Iran owes the company from earlier business deals. The company had been purchasing crude oil and developing natural gas fields.
On Thursday, Republicans on Capitol Hill began circulating information about Rice’s investments connected to Iran. Asked about the disclosure revelations, one senior GOP official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the topic, said, “This news adds to the list of questions about Susan Rice — not only her public statements, but now there are broader concerns about her past record.” Democratic staffers also said on condition of anonymity for the same reason that the investments would prompt questions of her if she is nominated.
Several ethics advisers interviewed Thursday said they did not see an immediate problem with the Rice’s investments but suggested that people on such a career track not hold stock in individual companies.


Rice is one of the richest members of the Obama Cabinet. She and her husband, Ian Cameron, were worth between $23.5 million and $43.5 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Cameron, a former television producer, is, like Rice, a Stanford University graduate. His father owned Victoria Plywood, a lumber company in British Columbia.
Rice, a Rhodes scholar, worked for the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. before joining the Clinton administration, where she served on the National Security Council and later as assistant secretary of state for african affairs. Her late father was an economics professor, World Bank director and a governor of the Federal Reserve. Her mother is an education expert and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.
The flap over Rice’s investments began Wednesday over much larger stakes she and Cameron have in TransCanada, owner of the Keystone XL pipeline, and companies active in the development of Canadian oil sands. Early next year, the State Department is expected to rule on whether to allow the construction of the controversial pipeline, which is opposed by environmental groups.
The post gave a hat tip for the report to the Washington Free Beacon.

By the way, aside from Iran, ENI also has a huge stake in Libya.


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LATMA's tribal update featuring Morsy's letter from Obama and an ode to the man who fled too much

Latma's Tribal Update presents Egyptian President Morsi receives a letter from Obama, the results of the Likud primaries and an ode to the man who fled too much.

Let's go to the videotape.

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Disgraceful: Israeli police prevent burning 'Palestinian' flag

The Israeli police - who never act to prevent the burning of Israeli or American flags by 'Palestinians' - grabbed a 'Palestinian' flag away from two members of the Israeli Knesset on Thursday in order to prevent them from burning it. Then, since they could not arrest the Knesset members, who have legal immunity, they arrested three of the activists who accompanied the Knesset members.

Three right-wing activists were arrested on Thursday at a protest outside the UN headquarters in east Jerusalem, after two members of Knesset attempted to burn the Palestinian flag. MKs Michael Ben Ari and Arieh Eldad (Strong Israel) wanted to burn the flag as a symbol of their opposition to the Palestinian bid at the UN for observer status.
“We will prevent any attempts to create a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river,” Eldad said outside the UN Headquarters located in between the neighborhoods of Arnon Hanatziv and Jebl Mukaber. 
“The minute that Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] begins his speech, the Oslo accord is cancelled,” he said, since no state can take unilateral actions.
“We will never agree to any foreign statehood other than the state of Israel in our homeland,” he added.
Dep. Cmdr of the Moriah precinct, Yaakov Cohen, asked the MKs not to burn the flag. “This will disrupt public order and I ask you not to do this,” he said.
“I ask that you take care of the terrorists before you take care of us,” Ben Ari retorted.
When the MKs took out the Palestinian flag in order to burn it, police forcibly tore the flag of their hands, initiating a short scuffle between the twenty protesters and police.
Chanting “Strong Israel!” and “No more Palestinians!” protesters screamed at police that they had no right to stop them. Police arrested three right-wing activists.
“There never was a Palestinian state and there never will be a Palestinian state!” shouted an agitated Ben Ari as the protest began to disband.
“Instead of taking care of our enemies they are attacking members of Knesset. The UN is giving a tail wind to people who are trying to destroy the state of Israel! Sixty five years ago they gave us a little tiny piece of land. But this was ours and it will always be ours – we don’t need them and we will never need them. This is our land because it is our land, not because the UN gave it to us!” he yelled.
Eldad slammed the police’s use of force. “This was not an act to protect the order and the peace of Israeli society, it was a violent act of the police against members of Knesset abusing their force and preventing us as members of Knesset to express our objection to any creation of a Palestinian state,” he said.
 Let's go to the videotape.

Naftali Bennett, the new leader of Jewish Home, said on Thursday that the United Nations 'mess' is the result of Israel's schizophrenic policies.
"You can't support the establishment of a Palestinian state on the one hand, and on the other – wonder when the world takes action to establish it," he said. "This is schizophrenic policymaking."
Bennett added that "intensive negotiations" are underway with Ichud Leumi (National Union) with the aim of unifying the two parties in a common list ahead of the national elections.
"This is being carried out good-naturedly," he said. "I have instructed the negotiations team to respect the other guys, and make sure that unity is accomplished."
Bennett also denied having made a statement attacking Moshe Feiglin, which has been attributed to him recently.  "I respect him, and know he is a man with values who loves our land and nation," he added.
 He's definitely right about the schizophrenia....

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Cartoon video: Israel has the right to defend itself

This extremely clever video is going viral - 110,000 views in two days. If you cannot figure out what's happening from the fact that the bully is wearing green and the bullied is wearing blue and white, you can find a full explanation here.

Let's go to the videotape.

And if I weren't in mourning, I would add a video of Bob Dylan's Neighborhood Bully at the bottom, so you can all go find that one yourselves.


How Hamas and Islamic Jihad use 'journalism' as a cover for terrorism

The IDF has documented the use of journalism as a cover for terrorism by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It's not just that the terrorists are using media buildings as hiding places. Some of them are actually journalists by day and terrorists by night.
Al-Shamalah had no connection to anything media-related. But that isn’t the case for all Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives who try to claim the title of “journalist”. Some of them do, in fact, carry cameras, but they are paid by a terrorist organization, and they are serving the goals of a terrorist organization.
For example, Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussam Salama [pictured] were Hamas operatives and cameramen for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa television network, which regularly features programming that encourages and praises attacks on Israeli civilians. The IDF targeted Al-Kumi and Salama on Nov. 20.
Palestinian media reported that the two men were indeed Hamas operatives.
Faced with serious accusations of Al-Aqsa TV’s connections to terrorism, the head of the network, Mohammad Thouraya, denied that Al-Aqsa was the voice of Hamas — a hard fact to deny, since the channel is financed and controlled by Hamas — but he did admit that his employees were “all part of the resistance.”
Being “part of the resistance”, in other words, could mean that those carrying a camera during the day could be carrying rockets at night.
Another example: Mohammed Abu Aisha was an employee of Al-Quds Radio, which some media outlets have labeled an “educational” network. Abu Aisha was also an Islamic Jihad terrorist, and that’s why his car was targeted in an IDF airstrike on Nov. 20. Abu Aisha appears on Islamic Jihad’s official website — in an Islamic Jihad uniform.
Read the whole thing

Yes, of course it violates the Geneva Convention to have terrorists dress up as journalists.

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Rebels close Damascus airport, internet connections down

Rebels have caused the closure of Damascus Airport, and someone keeps taking down the country's internet connections.
A rebel fighter who identified himself as Abu Omar, a member of the Jund Allah brigade, told Reuters that insurgents fired mortars at the airport's runways and were blocking the road linking it with the capital.
He said insurgents were not inside the airport but were able to block access to and from it.
Another source in a Damascus rebel unit said mortars had been used in clashes near the airport but did not know whether rebels had fired mortars directly at the airport.
Their accounts could not be immediately verified because of severe restrictions on media access to Syria.
Two Austrian soldiers in a UN peacekeeping force deployed in the Golan Heights, disputed by Syria and Israel, were wounded when their convoy came under fire near the Damascus airport, the defense ministry said in Vienna.
An official at EgyptAir said it had cancelled its Friday flight to Damascus due to the "deteriorating situation" around the airport. He said the airline would hold an urgent meeting in the next few hours with Egyptian officials to discuss halting all flights between Egypt and Syria.
Residents also reported Internet connections in the capital were down and mobile and land telephone lines working only sporadically in what appeared to be the worst disruption to communications in Syria since an uprising began 20 months ago.
Syria's minister of information claimed that "terrorists", not the state, were responsible for a countrywide Internet outage, a pro-government TV station said.
It looks like the game may soon be over in Syria. Unfortunately, the country is about to fall to al-Qaeda.

What could go wrong?

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Iranian Jewish woman murdered in Isfahan

An Iranian Jewish woman has been murdered in Isfahan by Muslims who obviously misinterpreted the Koran's calls for peaceful coexistence.
Muslim extremists murdered a Jewish woman and then dismembered her body in the Iranian city of Isfahan, Israel Radio reported.

The woman's relatives said that a mosque had recently been built near their home, and that worshippers had demanded that the family leave their home in order to expand the building. The homeowner had submitted an official compaint against the worshippers.
So far I have not heard any comment from New York Times columnist Roger Cohen


Europeans more supportive of 'Palestinians' than a year ago

The Washington Post printed the map above, which shows how (mostly) the Europeans voted on the 'Palestinian' issue at the United Nations on Thursday.

A comparison of Thursday's vote with last year's vote on UNESCO does not bode well for Europe's relations with Israel, or for the so-called 'peace process.'
Here are the big changes between the 2011 vote and today’s:
Five countries switched from “abstain” to “yes”: Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Georgia. 
Three countries switched from “no” to “abstain”: Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania.
One country switched from “no” to “yes”: Sweden.
One country was absent: Ukraine, which had abstained in 2011. It happens.
Excluding Ukraine’s absence, that means that nine European countries moved their votes in a way that suggests greater support for Palestinian U.N. statehood efforts. That might just be about these two particular U.N. votes and nothing more, or it might represent shifting European diplomatic energy away from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (the U.S. and Israel have warned that approving the Palestinians’ bid would undermine the process) and toward supporting more such unilateral Palestinian efforts.
It is difficult to see good news here for Israel or for the U.S.-led peace process.
Smart diplomacy....

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Ban Ki-Moon becomes a one-stater

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released the tweet below on Thursday.

Unfortunately, I doubt he has in mind that the one state be Jewish (Hat Tip: Herb G).

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Abu Mazen's real intentions

Did anyone for a minute think otherwise?

Hat Tip: Will.

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Video: 'Palestinian' children talk about being suicide bombers

Here's a video that's mostly 'Palestinian' children talking about how they want to be suicide bombers and destroy Israel.

This is why there will not be peace between Israel and the 'Palestinians' in your lifetime or mine, because these kids have been brainwashed into thinking that all life is about is making sure you kill as many people as possible when you die.

This video was mainly taken in Jenin about ten years ago. I actually know one of the people in it.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Tundra Tabloids).


UN grants non-member state status to non-existent state of 'Palestine'

The United Nations on Thursday granted non-member state status to the non-existent state of 'Palestine.' The vote was 138-9 with 41 abstentions.
"We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine," he said.
"We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace," he said. "Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed."
Abbas said that the Palestinians will accept no less than "the independence of the State of Palestine, with east Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194."
Well, it doesn't sound like there's going to be a 'Palestinian state' anytime soon. That unelected putz isn't going to dictate terms to us.
Abbas said nothing about immediately resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though he did pledge to "act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace."
Well, of course he didn't. Why should he when the duplicitous Europeans will vote with him anyway?
Among the few states that voted against the move, were the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands.
The resolution was presented to the General Assembly by the representative of Sudan, who called this a victory for the "values of truth."
Staunch European allies such as Germany and the Netherlands, who opposed Palestinian admission into UNESCO last year as a state, were among those who this time only abstained. And other friendly countries, such as Italy, voted for the move.
The vote took place on the annual "Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Senior diplomatic officials voiced deep disappointment at the EU vote.  Up until a few days ago, when France declared that it would support the move, senior officials held out hope that the EU might abstain as a bloc, something that would have deprived the Palestinian Authority of a moral victory.
One senior official said that the recent fighting in Gaza tipped the European scales, with the Europeans worrying that if PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not gain some kind of diplomatic victory, he would loses all stature and authority.
"Had the vote taken place before the Gaza operation, the EU would have voted differently," one official said.
 Yeah. All we had to do was to let a few more Jews get murdered and the Euroweenies would vote differently....
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement after Abbas' speech, saying that by going to the UN the Palestinians have "violated agreements with Israel, and Israel will act accordingly." Israel has made clear in recent days that it would free Israel of its obligations under the Oslo accord since Jerusalem views the move as a blatant violation of the underlying principle of those agreements: that all outstanding issues be resolved through negotiations, not through unilateral actions.
Israel's immediate reaction is expected to be the deduction from tax transfers it makes to the PA each moth of some NIS 800 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation.  Further steps are expected if the Palestinians use this new status and try to join other UN bodies or, as a result of their enhanced status, attempt to haul Israel or Israelis before the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court on war crime charges.
Well, I hope our government will at least do something. So far. it doesn't look good on that front either.

What could go wrong?

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Finally: Iran has a deadline

The United States has finally given Iran a deadline to stop playing games with the IAEA and start cooperating: March 2013.
The comments by US diplomat Robert Wood to the 35-nation governing board of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency signaled Washington's growing frustration at the lack of results in the IAEA's inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran's nuclear program. Iran denies the charge.
"If by March Iran has not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA, the United States ... would urge the board to consider reporting this lack of progress to the UN Security Council," Wood said, according to a copy of his statement.
"Iran cannot be allowed to indefinitely ignore its obligations ... Iran must act now, in substance," Wood said.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano earlier on Thursday said the UN agency had made no progress in a year-long push to find out if Iran worked on developing an atomic bomb, despite "intensive efforts" by his agency.
"No concrete results have been achieved," Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a quarterly meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.
I'm sure Iran is laughing all the way to the bank. By the time the case is referred to the Security Council in March, they should already have a nuclear weapon. And even if they don't, it will take many more months for the Security Council to decide when and how to act. And even if the Security Council decides to act, Russia and China will make sure that no serious action is taken.

What could go wrong?

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The third largest party of the Center-Left

For this she's going back into politics? Personally, I'd rather practice law.
The Tzipi Livni Party, which the former Kadima leader formed with great fanfare Tuesday, would win no more seats than United Torah Judaism, according to a Smith Research poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post and the Globes business daily.
The poll of 500 Israelis representing a sample of the adult population found that Livni's party would win six seats, much less than she envisioned when she declared herself the only possible alternative to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference Tuesday.
Livni's party swallowed up retiring Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Independence Party and took away seats from Yesh Atid and Labor. Livni's former Kadima party would not pass the electoral threshold.
But The Tzipi Livni Party, as her associates asked that it be called, would only be the third largest list on the Center-Left, trailing Labor, which would win 20 seats and Yesh Atid, which would win 10.
The poll found that Livni's party would take no seats away from the Center-Right bloc, which remained strong with 68 mandates, up three from the current Knesset.
Two comments: The Tzipi Livni party? Good grief. Well, no one ever said that the woman has no ego.

And the implosion of Kadima is amazing. It is the largest party in the current Knesset, and yet it likely won't even make the threshold. That's amazing.

'Palestinian refugee' rips Arab treatment of 'Palestinians'

A 'Palestinian refugee' has a lot to say about the Arab world's treatment of 'Palestinians' (Hat Tip: Raquel R).
I posted this on r/worldpolitics, and somebody told me I should do an AMA, not sure if you'd be interested. I'm sure most of this information is new to you considering the considerable lack of media reporting on the issue. FYI, I'm a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon. Here's the proof.
Let me start with a couple of countries:
Around half of the 400,000 refugees live in camps, deprived of many rights. Refugees don't have any property rights, no access to the Lebanese healthcare system and there are certain restrictions on jobs we are allowed to do. We are issued handwritten [travel documents](www.passport-collector.com/2011/08/10/lebanon-refugee-passport-for-palestine/) of appalling quality (large size, cheap paper). The travel documents don't even have a full date of birth, just the birth year. You probably know about the Sabra and Chatila massacre (from the movie Waltz with Bashir, perhaps my favorite animated movie) were 3000 Palestinian civilians were killed in cold blood. These are at the top of my head, I'm sure there's more. This is what a British MP Gerald Kaufman said in 2011 when he visited the camps:
When I went to Gaza in 2010 I thought I had seen the worst that could be seen of the appalling predicament of Palestinians living in conditions which no human being should be expected to endure. But what I saw in the camps in Lebanon is far worse and far more hopeless. The conditions are unspeakable, but for over 400,000 of our fellow human beings this is their life: today, tomorrow and for a future that cannot even be foreseen. At least in Gaza, frightful though the situation is, the people are free within the confines of their blockaded prison. In the camps of Lebanon they are not free.
UPDATE1: Since many here are blaming the PLO and its involvement in the civil war. That's definitely true to a large extent, however you're missing a few points. Most Palestinians refugees were placed in camps in south Lebanon when they arrived. These camps were gradually militarized and became the grounds for operations against Israel and because the PLO had so much power back then, they started making trouble and trying to control part of the country. So had the Lebanon absorbed it's Palestinian population properly, this wouldn't have happened. Look at the Palestinians of Syria, they didn't make any trouble and didn't start any wars, why? Because they were treated like equal citizens. Also, FYI, Lebanon naturalized more than 100,000 Palestinian Christians and Shiites. Second, who do you think was funding the militarization of the PLO? THE ARAB GOVERNMENTS, whether it's Saudi Arabia or Iraq or some other Arab country.
What do I want from Lebanon as a Palestinian refugee? Some of you say that naturalizing 450,000 Palestinians would be a strain on the country. You think that much Palestinian refugees aren't already a strain? Everyone knows if Lebanon naturalizes Palestinians the whole debt Lebanon has would disappear. I'm not exactly fond of naturalization myself though. However, so many laws can be quickly enacted that will significantly improve the life of a refugee, like property law or proper ID and passports formats that aren't from the 1950's. Also, you say that refugees put a strain on Lebanon. Mind you that a large number of Palestinians work abroad and they all send money to their families in Lebanon so they contribute a lot to the Lebanese economy. Hell, I've been told the Lebanese lira dropped significantly when the PLO left the country in 1982. One more thing, all Lebanese factions and leaders involved in the civil war are now reigning free in the country many of them ministers or MPs, the same people that committed massacres towards their fellow Lebanese. Nobody was punished for the civil war, except for the Palestinians. Why? Because they're not Lebanese, so it's perfectly fine to discriminate against them.
Read the whole thing


I just want to make sure that none of you missed this part:
Moral of the story: Israel naturalized over 1.5 million Palestinians. They enjoy full citizen rights and many of them would remain in Israel even if a Palestinian state is established. Palestinians in the Arab world on the other hand suffer from discernible and vile discrimination. If a non-Palestinian Arab speaks of the maltreatment of Palestinians by Israelis, tell them to STFU and demand rights for Palestinians in their countries before they complain about Israel. People living glass houses shouldn't throw stones. 

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Netanyahu: No one will force us to compromise on our security

Prime Minister Netanyahu made a strong statement at the Begin Center in Jerusalem on Thursday's proceedings at the UN General Assembly.

Let's go to the videotape.

More here and here.

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Jewish group to be barred from UN vote on 'Palestine'

Breitbart.com reports that the United Nations has barred a Jewish group from being present at Thursday's General Assembly fiasco over 'Palestine.'
For kick-off day and the vote at the General Assembly, which is supposed to be all about mutual respect and coexistence, “Palestine” has teamed up with the “UN Division for Palestinian Rights” and UN officials to pack the Assembly hall with Palestine supporters while denying access to a prominent Jewish organization.
Staging thunderous applause with no discernible dissent for the unsuspecting global media is evidently a top Palestinian priority.
The extraordinary scheme to deny access to the General Assembly to an unpalatable, though formally accredited, UN NGO looked like this.  
Yesterday, the UN Division for Palestinian Rights sent a letter to the UN pass office to insist that they step in to deny invitees of the UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, the passes they had duly requested in writing. (A copy of the letter follows this article, below.)
The passes had in fact already been printed and issued (see below), but after receiving the Palestinian branch's demand, UN security officials took the extraordinary step of insisting upon their return. The denial affects 23 Jewish young adults who were part of an educational program associated with the Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni community.
The Jewish group had requested passes for November 29, 2012 to attend separate events: the “UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” in the morning and, the General Assembly debate on “The Question of Palestine” which commences at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Solidarity Day is an annual event that takes place on the anniversary of the General Assembly vote of November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Sixty-five years ago, the resolution was immediately rejected by all Arab countries, but welcomed by the soon-to-be citizens of Israel.
Solidarity Day is widely advertised, including on the UN website, with the words “NGOs are invited to attend.”  Furthermore, the Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni completed individual registration forms and submitted them to the host of Solidarity Day, the Division for Palestinian Rights (which is part of the UN Department of Political Affairs). And the Division sent out letters of acceptance. However, yesterday the same UN employee, one Mable Chan, reneged on the confirmations and abruptly sent emails to the suddenly-rejected Jewish and pro-Israel participants claiming the event was “filled.”
Read the whole thing.

Is anyone surprised?

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Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Thursday, November 29.
1) Israel responds ... officially

In his recent "Media Equation" column, David Carr of the New York Times wrote Using War as Cover to Target Journalists:

Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama worked as cameramen for Al-Aqsa TV, which is run by Hamas and whose reporting frequently reflects that affiliation. They were covering events in central Gaza when a missile struck their car, which, according to Al-Aqsa, was clearly marked with the letters “TV.” (The car just in front of them was carrying a translator and driver for The New York Times, so the execution hit close to our organization.) And Mohamed Abu Aisha, director of the private Al-Quds Educational Radio, was also in a car when it was hit by a missile.
Carr was taken to task by Adam Chandler of Tablet:
Now let’s say that being identified as a major Hamas military commander in a news story prior to the Gaza war isn’t enough evidence to warrant a second look. (Also suppose that you’re unconvinced by this martyr’s tribute to one of the other “journalists” on the website of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad.) Let’s zoom out and look at the media affiliation itself. Two of the men that Carr mourns worked for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, which he acknowledges in his story–apparently in the belief that Hamas’ TV network plays by similar-enough rules, and serves as similar-enough social function, to be thought of as Gaza’s CNN.
But that’s simply not true, which is why Al-Aqsa TV, has been designated by the United States Treasury as a terrorist financing organization. “Al-Aqsa is a primary Hamas media outlet and airs programs and music videos designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood,” notes the 2010 press release. “‘Treasury will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself,’ [Treasury Secretary Stuart] Levey said.”
Now Col. Avital Leibovitch has a letter in the New York Times objecting to the column, Terrorist or journalist?
The real question raised by Mr. Carr’s column is whether a station that is ideologically motivated and subsidized by a terrorist organization deserves the same treatment as CNN or The New York Times. Moreover, should a Hamas commander who painted the words “TV” on his car be considered a journalist?
Mr. Carr is quick to incriminate the Israel Defense Forces for targeting journalists, but he does not mention that terrorists are actively exploiting journalists as shields.
Mr. Carr is worried about freedom of the press and rightly so. However, when terrorist organizations exploit reporters, either by posing as them or by hiding behind them, they are the immediate threat to freedom of the press.
Another media effort to whitewash Hamas was Photo of dead baby in Gaza holds part of the ‘truth’ by the Washington Post's ombudsman, Patrick Pexton:
I think we can all agree that the Gaza rocket fire is reprehensible and is aimed at terrorizing Israeli civilians. It’s disruptive and traumatic. But let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.
These rockets are unguided and erratic, and they carry very small explosive payloads; they generally fall in open areas, causing little damage and fewer injuries.
Gaza, meanwhile, is almost entirely urban and densely populated; bombs there will kill civilians no matter how precisely targeted.
The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, responded to Pexton's column (which is linked to but not explicitly named) in an op-ed today, Falling for Hamas’s media manipulation:
In reporting Palestinian deaths, media routinely failed to note that roughly half were terrorists and that such a ratio is exceedingly low by modern military standards — much lower, for example, than the NATO campaign in the Balkans. Media also emphasize the disparity between the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, as though Israel should be penalized for investing billions of dollars in civil-defense and early-warning systems and Hamas exonerated for investing in bombs rather than bomb shelters. As in Israel’s last campaign against Hamas in 2008-09, the word “disproportionality” has been frequently used to characterize Israeli military strikes. In fact, during Operation Pillar of Defense this year, Hamas fired more than 1,500 missiles at Israel and the Israeli Air Force responded with 1,500 sorties.
The imbalance is also of language. “Hamas health officials said 45 had been killed and 385 wounded,” the Times’ front page reported. “Three Israeli civilians have died and 63 have been injured.” The subtext is clear: Israel targets Palestinians, and Israelis merely die.
The media perpetuated Hamas propaganda that traced the fighting to Jabari’s elimination and described Gaza as the most densely populated area on earth. Widely forgotten were the 130 rockets fired at Israel in the weeks before Jabari’s demise. For the record, Tel Aviv’s population is twice as dense as Gaza’s.
2) The editors on the bid

The New York Times has an editorial, The U.N. bid from Palestinians. There is little to object to in the opening paragraphs of the editorial:
On Thursday, a week after the Gaza cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of the West Bank, is scheduled to ask the United Nations General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinian status to nonmember observer state.
The 193-member body is expected to approve the application. That support has grown since the Gaza fighting, with France and other European nations declaring their backing for the Palestinian bid — in part as a way to bolster the more moderate Palestinian forces, which recognize Israel’s right to exist and seek a two-state solution.
But passage of the resolution — which would allow the Palestinians to try to join the International Criminal Court, where they might be able to bring cases against Israel — would not get the Palestinians any closer to statehood. A negotiated deal with Israel is the only way to ensure creation of a viable Palestinian state and guarantee Israel’s security.
There is a notable omission. A year and a half ago, Abbas wrote an op-ed in the New York Times advocating this lawfare strategy against Israel. That underscores the overall problem with the editorial.

The rest of the editorial portrays Abbas as a hapless participant in Middle East peace processing. But he's one of the reasons there has been no progress since 2008. He refused to respond to an offer from then Prime Minister Olmert and once Netanyahu was elected, he waited for American pressure on Netanyahu to get what he wanted with no negotiation. (The truth is that Hamas is too powerful. Any agreement Israel achieved with Fatah - assuming one could be reached - would be worthless.)

The Washnington Post's What will Palestinians do after the U.N. vote? is more sober, though imperfect:
The Palestinian leader has hinted at a couple of different and contradictory courses. One would involve immediately entering into direct peace negotiations with Israel — something Mr. Abbas has refused to do for almost all of the past four years. A spokesman said this month that after the U.N. vote “the way will be open to direct talks,” and Mr. Abbas himself made a conciliatory-sounding statement about the Palestinian claim of a “right of return” to Israel, though he later retreated from it. By engaging the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in unconditional talks, Mr. Abbas could force it to spell out its bottom line on terms for Palestinian statehood — something that, thanks to Mr. Abbas’s intransigence, this Israeli government has never had to do.
Mr. Abbas’s advisers, however, have also talked of another strategy: using the new U.N. status to bring cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court and possibly other international forums, while describing its continued occupation of parts of the West Bank as an act of international aggression. This would cheer many opponents of Israel, but it would also provoke a backlash from European governments as well as Israel and the United States, which would probably respond by cutting off funding to the cash-strapped authority once and for all. Meanwhile, any U.N. agency Palestine sought to join would probably find itself, like UNESCO, contemplating the loss of the one-fifth of its budget supplied by Congress.
At age 77, Mr. Abbas may well shrink from either course, instead claiming the U.N. vote as his legacy. For the umpteenth time, there are efforts underway to broker a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas; this could lead to long-overdue Palestinian elections, along with Mr. Abbas’s retirement. Though touted by the Obama administration as a peacemaker, the Palestinian leader appears unwilling to commit himself to the concessions that would be needed for a deal with any Israeli government. Meanwhile, with Israeli elections due in January, Mr. Netanyahu appears to be more dependent than ever on nationalist hard-liners in his Likud Party.
Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, of course, will end the peace process. (Ironically, the Post worries about Israeli hard-liners, but seems unbothered by the presence of the unreformed terrorist organization in the Palestinian government.) At least the Post, unlike the Times acknowledges that Abbas is part of the problem, not some innocent swept up in events out of his control.

3) Peace Diehl?

Jackson Diehl has written Lessons from Gaza. In it he concludes:
Rather than watch another sterile round of diplomatic maneuvering among Abbas, Netanyahu and Obama, Egypt seems bent on overseeing another attempt to broker a reconciliation between the Palestinian factions. In the short run this would prevent peace negotiations, to the satisfaction of hard-liners on both sides. But in the long run it might make a deal more possible. Palestinian elections — a likely part of any internal accord — could bring in new and stronger leaders. Meanwhile Morsi’s government will have to choose between pushing the Palestinians toward an accord with Israel or tolerating growing instability on Egypt’s border.
Even if no comprehensive peace is possible, the new regional alignment may allow Israel and Hamas to work out a modus vivendi that benefits both sides. In exchange for more open borders and an opportunity to develop economically with backing from its new Arab allies, Hamas could agree to a more thorough and reliable truce that leaves southern Israel in peace. That’s a long way from real peace — but it’s better for both sides than going to war every couple of years.
When I first read this, I thought he was hyping Hamas too much. It's not as bad as my first impression, I still think he gives Hamas too much credit. The reliability of a truce with Hamas will depend on how well Israel is able to police the situation.

Khaled Abu Toameh offers some advice to those inclined to trust Hamas, How Hamas is trying to fool everyone:
Hamas is engaged in a subtle campaign to win the sympathy of the international community by appearing as if it is ready to abandon its dream of destroying Israel. Mashaal's remarks should be seen in the context of a new Hamas tactic aimed at turning the radical Islamist movement into a legitimate and recognized player in the international and regional arenas.
Those who have been misled into believing Hamas's lies should be referred to the movement's charter, where it is clearly stated that "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…the liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere. When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad [holy war] becomes a duty binding on all Muslims."
The next time CNN or any other Western media outlet interviews a Hamas leader, it would be advisable to ask him whether his movement was willing to change its charter. Unless Hamas does so, the talk about changes in its strategy only serves to spread the movement's campaign of deception.
4) Diplomacy

Last week, Yaacov Lozowick made an excellent observation:
International relations: they played out well, don't you think? If there was any light between the Israeli and American governments, I didn't see it. William Hague, a British fellow not know for giving pro-Zionist speeches, was supportive. His German counterpart traveled over to say Israel has a right to defend itself and Hamas has no right to be shooting at Israeli civilains. The UN passed no resolutions - and now won't set up any new version of the Goldstone Commission, either.
None of this happened by accident. Israel doesn't get international support by default, and certainly not at time of war. Just as with the the military and media aspects, someone worked hard in advance to achieve the result. Syrian bestiality helped, as did blatant Hamas ciminality, but the diplomats have apparently been earning their upkeep by the sweat of their luggage.
Yesterday Jonathan Schanzer made a parallel observation in Why U.S. Israeli Ties just got warmer:
For Israel, Pillar of Defense was not about killing terrorist masterminds like Ahmed Jabari or blowing up Hamas headquarters. Those were ancillary targets. This round of hostilities was actually a hunting expedition for Fajr-5s.
As Israel's air force methodically struck these rocket sites, one after the next, Hamas realized it was "use 'em or lose 'em." They began — along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad – firing off their Iran-supplied weapons. But even then, the Fajrs hurtled some 50 miles out of Gaza only to be shot out of the skies over Tel Aviv by Iron Dome, an anti-missile system developed jointly by the U.S. and Israel.
In other words, Operation Pillar of Defense bears unmistakable signs of close coordination between Netanyahu and Obama. And while the White House may not admit it in public, Netanyahu appears to have done everything in his power to ensure that Israeli military operations did not get in the way of Obama's bid for reelection.

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Why the IAF bombed a soccer stadium

In an earlier post, I reported that FIFA, the international soccer soccer federation, is going to pay the costs of rebuilding Gaza's bombed out soccer stadium for the second time since 2006.

In case you are wondering why the IAF destroyed the stadium in the first place, here's an image that was released by the IDF (I had previously seen a much smaller version that wasn't very useful, and I saw this one this morning). Note that the stadium had been used to launch Fajr-5 rockets at both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Sounds like a military target to me.

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Finally: An Israeli government representative speaks out against media bias

This is the first time I can remember a senior Israeli government representative going after the media directly for its anti-Israel bias. Michael Oren rips the media for its slanting the news in Thursday morning's Washington Post.
But Hamas also has a media strategy. Its purpose is to portray Israel’s unparalleled efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza as indiscriminate firing at women and children, to pervert Israel’s rightful acts of self-defense into war crimes. Its goals are to isolate Israel internationally, to tie its hands from striking back at those trying to kill our citizens and to delegitimize the Jewish State. Hamas knows that it cannot destroy us militarily but believes that it might do so through the media.  

One reason is the enlarged images of destruction and civilian casualties in Gaza that dominated the front pages of U.S. publications. During this operation, The Post published multiple front-page photographs of Palestinian suffering. The New York Times even juxtaposed a photograph of the funeral of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, who was responsible for the slaughter of dozens of innocent Israelis, with that of a pregnant Israeli mother murdered by Hamas. Other photos, supplied by the terrorists and picked up by the press, identified children killed by Syrian forces or even by Hamas itself as victims of Israeli strikes.
In reporting Palestinian deaths, media routinely failed to note that roughly half were terrorists and that such a ratio is exceedingly low by modern military standards — much lower, for example, than the NATO campaign in the Balkans. Media also emphasize the disparity between the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, as though Israel should be penalized for investing billions of dollars in civil-defense and early-warning systems and Hamas exonerated for investing in bombs rather than bomb shelters. As in Israel’s last campaign against Hamas in 2008-09, the word “disproportionality” has been frequently used to characterize Israeli military strikes. In fact, during Operation Pillar of Defense this year, Hamas fired more than 1,500 missiles at Israel and the Israeli Air Force responded with 1,500 sorties.
The imbalance is also of language. “Hamas health officials said 45 had been killed and 385 wounded,” the Times’ front page reported. “Three Israeli civilians have died and 63 have been injured.” The subtext is clear: Israel targets Palestinians, and Israelis merely die.
The media perpetuated Hamas propaganda that traced the fighting to Jabari’s elimination and described Gaza as the most densely populated area on earth. Widely forgotten were the 130 rockets fired at Israel in the weeks before Jabari’s demise. For the record, Tel Aviv’s population is twice as dense as Gaza’s.
Read the whole thing.

I constantly hear justified complaints about how Israel has no media strategy and doesn't do hasbara properly. I can't think of a better answer to both of those claims than having our ambassador go after the host country's media for being biased against Israel. I hope that others in the diplomatic corps will follow suit.

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BBC reporters rooting for 'Palestinian state' on Twitter

I suppose that these two tweets shouldn't surprise anyone who has a clue just how biased the BBC is against Israel.

Something tells me no one will be monitoring their Twitter feed despite the obvious bias. 


Why a 'Palestinian state' was a bad idea in 1989 and is a worse one today

In February 1989, Professor Louis Rene Beres wrote an article in which he discussed why a 'Palestinian state' is a bad idea for Israel. The article was positively prescient (well, maybe except for the part about Iraq which no one could have foreseen). Arutz Sheva reprints it with two small updates in brackets.
The following article appears exactly as it was written by Professor Louis René Beres more than 23 years ago, except for two editor's comments in brackets. It is important to reconsider at this particular moment, in late November 2012, when the Palestinian Authority leadership, in a diplomatic end-run around still-binding international legal obligations to Israel, expects to receive formal U.N. recognition as a nonmember observer state.
A pair of prominent Israeli commentators has recently pointed out that continued control of the "territories" – that is, Judea and Samaria - would have grave consequences for Israel's security. In this connection, Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former chief of military intelligence (AMAN), argues, in his newest book, ISRAEL'S FATEFUL HOUR, that a refusal to end “occupation” of West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza will produce escalating terrorism and further incentives for war by neighboring Arab states. Abba Eban, Foreign Minister of Israel from 1966 to 1974, insists in a January 2, 1989 editorial in The New York Times ("Israel, Hardly the Monaco of the Middle East"), that Israel would have nothing to fear from an independent “Palestine.” Such a state, he claimed, "would be the weakest military entity on earth."
In these assessments, Harkabi is certainly correct, but nowhere does he compare the risks to Israel of an ongoing "occupation" with those of a Palestinian state. If he had offered such a comparison, perhaps he would have understood that continuing Israeli administrative control of Judea/Samaria/Gaza would certainly have its risks, but that a bordering state of Palestine would be far worse. As for Mr. Eban, he is wrong altogether.
If there were to be an Arab-ruled state in Judea/Samaria/Gaza, its particular danger to Israel would lie less in its own army, than in the assorted insurgents that would soon shelter themselves in "Palestine." To suggest that the principal risks to Israel could be ascertained by simply comparing the Israeli army to the far more modest forces of this 23rd Arab state, would assume an incorrectly static condition in the new enemy country, one that would offer only the "best case" scenario for Israel.
These suggestions, therefore, are hardly in Jerusalem's best interests. Israel is not "the Monaco of the Middle East," but neither would Palestine be as benign a mini-state as Abba Eban suggests. Before Israel can reasonably conclude that the so-called "occupation" is intolerable, its leaders will first have to determine whether it is actually less tolerable than Palestinian statehood. If it isn't less tolerable, then rationality would require continuing administrative control, however painful, costly and unfortunate.
And such rationality would not even take into account the overwhelmingly all-important fact that Judea and Samaria are inherent parts of the Jewish State under authoritatively binding international law.

It follows from all of this that Palestine would pose a very serious security risk to Israel, and that this risk could become far greater than that of maintaining Israeli control of "the territories." This does not mean that Israel and the Palestinians should steer clear of meaningful negotiations, or that Israel should neglect concerning itself with protecting the peremptory human rights of Arab populations under its control.
But it does mean that any reasonable assessments of Israel's security must always compare the expected costs of both principal options for Judea/Samaria/Gaza: IDF military administration versus independence.
In the absence of such an essential comparison, Israel could go from bad to worse, from a situation that is conspicuously debilitating and demoralizing, to one that is utterly intolerable.

Read the whole thing.


Who won that war anyway?

How big a mistake was last week's 'cease fire'? Consider this: Hamas is already making threats about the next war.
In an interview with a Palestinian TV station in the Gaza Strip, [Hamas’s Minister for Prisoners Affairs, Atallah Abu al-]Sabah claimed that thousands of Israelis had fled to the North to escape from Hamas’s rockets and missiles.
“The era of Israeli victories has gone for good,” he said.
The Hamas official predicted that Israel would from now on rely on short-term wars “because it is not able to lead long-term wars of attrition.”
The claim that Israelis fled north is not entirely untrue. Recall this scene from Beersheva on the first night of the Operation:
Yes, that's the train station....

And then there's this from Khaled Meshaal himself:
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was quoted Thursday as saying that “the resistance will soon occur in the West Bank too.”
Mashaal attributed the absence of “resistance” in the West Bank to “security pressure by all parties.” He said that although Hamas agreed to a cease-fire with Israel, this did not mean that the movement has relinquished the “resistance to achieve the liberation of Palestine.”
Stopping Operation Pillar of Defense without destroying Hamas was a mistake - a huge mistake. It's the second time Israel made that mistake, with the first being in Operation Cast Lead nearly four years ago. Will we get a third chance?

What could go wrong?

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Video: ZOA's Morton Klein debates J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami on a 'Palestinian state'

CNN's Erin Burnett interviews ZOA's Morton Klein and J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami about a 'Palestinian state' and the 'two-state solution.'

Let's go to the videotape.

I think Klein got the better of Ben Ami.

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Israel gives 'Palestinians' NIS 200 million reward for UN gambit

The government of Israel has decided to give the 'Palestinian Authority' a NIS 200 million reward for their UN gambit  by transferring that amount of 'tax money' to the 'Palestinian Authority' just two days before the UN vote. Of course, as usual, much of that money will go to pay the salaries of the PA's 'employees' in Gaza (you know, the ones who bragged that they shot 516 rockets at Israel last week), to pay Hamas, and to pay the 'salaries' of 'Palestinian' terrorists in Israeli jails.
The transfer of the money, 200 million shekels, took place just two days before the vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the PA’s unilateral bid to become a non-member observer state.
The transfer was done despite recent threats by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that if the PA goes ahead with its statehood bid, he will work to ensure the entity collapses.
Army Radio noted that Israel has said it would not take extreme steps in response to the PA’s statehood bid but has continued to threaten to freeze the funds it transfers to the PA each month. Despite this threat, however, and despite PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s statements that he does not intend to back down from the move, Israel transferred the funds on Tuesday.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who has also threatened the PA with sanctions if it goes ahead with its bid, told Army Radio on Wednesday that Israel would respond to the move at the correct time and place.
“If the Palestinian Authority thinks it will attack us in the UN in such a harsh way and will continue to benefit from the cooperation with us, I think that some surprises await it,” said Steinitz.
If only our politicians had the courage of their convictions.... 

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