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Friday, May 31, 2013

About that $4 billion for the 'Palestinians'

Here's former Israeli Consul General Yoram Ettinger talking about that $4 billion that US Secretary of State John FN Kerry wants to provide to the 'Palestinians.' He asks some really good questions that ought to concern both Israelis and Americans.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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Red Cross: Okay for 'Palestinian' Red Crescent to use Red Cross funds to honor terrorists

As some of you may recall, the International Red Cross only recently admitted Israel's Magen David Adom after forcing it to change its symbol to a 'neutral' one. But when it comes to the 'Palestinians,' as is so often the case, the rules are different. While the International Red Cross claims not to have participated in a ceremony glorifying terrorists, they are happy to let the 'Palestinian' Red Crescent Society use Red Cross funds for the ceremony.
Earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported on a ceremony in the Palestinian Authority celebrating the International Red Cross' 150th anniversary. The official PA daily reported that the International Red Cross (ICRC) together with the Palestinian Red Crescent planted 150 trees bearing the names of "veteran prisoners," meaning security prisoners who have been imprisoned for many years.

Following PMW's report, the International Red Cross, in a letter to Weekly Press Pakistan - Canada, denied its involvement in the ceremony:
"Please note that ICRC was not present during the planting of the trees ceremony reported by your website."
However, not only did ICRC not condemn the Palestinian Red Crescent's glorification of terrorists in the ceremony, it chose to justify the use of ICRC money by the Palestinian Red Crescent. The ICRC issued a statement defending their right to use donor money any way they choose, even though the issue being raised was the use of ICRC money for terror glorification:

"Over the decades, the ICRC has provided support, including financially, both to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and to [Israeli] Magen David Adom for their humanitarian programs. It remains the prerogative of the National Society to define its own priorities and activities and to allocate funds accordingly."
The official PA daily wrote that "the International Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent... planted 150 fruit trees that carry the names of the veteran prisoners jailed in the occupation prisons... [during] a ceremony called 'My Honor is My Freedom'... to mark the 150th anniversary of their founding."

The PA uses the term "veteran prisoners" to refer to those who have been in jail the longest, and in most cases these prisoners are serving life sentences for murder or multiple murders.
Read the whole thing.  Icing on the cake: The European Union's Red Cross and Red Crescent representative participated in the ceremony.

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Apartheid where exactly?

No further comment needed.

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Why the EU doesn't condemn torture in 'Palestinian' prisons

Khaled Abu Toameh wonders why the European Union, which is so quick to condemn any Israeli 'human rights violations,' whether real or imagined, has nothing to say about 'Palestinian' human rights violations against fellow 'Palestinians.'
But the EU missions to Ramallah and Jerusalem are apparently reluctant to take such a position because of their direct and indirect involvement in funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The EU also seems to be afraid of criticizing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas out of concern for the safety of its representatives, especially those who operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As the human rights group's report shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.
More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas's security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.
Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.
Still, the EU did not see any need to refer to these cases. Nor did the EU comment on the report's accusations that Abbas's security forces are continuing to crack down on journalists and academics and ignore court rulings.
Expressing "concern" over serious human rights violations will not deter the Palestinian Authority or Hamas from pursuing their anti-democratic practices against their own people.
Praising Abbas for instructing his security forces to stop torturing Palestinian detainees is like welcoming a convicted armed robber's promise to retire.
All of that is true. But what's also true is that the world could care less about the 'Palestinians' - unless they can be used as a club against Israel. 

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Russia to provide Syria 10 MiG-29's; Netanyahu warns Putin

Russian sources say that their country will provide Syria with 10 MiG-29 fighter planes. The timing of the delivery was not disclosed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will stop the Russians from setting up the S-300 missile defense system in Syria.
On Friday, journalist Ali Branstien reported in Hebrew daily Ma'ariv that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted in his meeting earlier this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will prevent the Assad regime of making the S-300 missiles operational.
The paper reported the Russians were "shocked" from the prime minister's "boldness." Sources that were briefed on the meeting told Ma'ariv that Putin had "understood exactly what Netanyahu meant," and that "it came as no surprise to Moscow" when National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror warned European diplomats Israel might take such an action.
Well, at least there's still someone left in the world who doesn't kiss up to the Russians.... 

By the way, the MiG-29 is not the most recent edition of the fighter jet.

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What's another word for 'Israeli'?

Hat Tip: I Acknowledge Anti-Semitism.


Europe responds to its random violence and Shimon's World of Fun!

Here's the LATMA weekly tribal update featuring a report on racism in Europe and an interview with that unstoppable peace maker, Shimon Peres.

Let's go to the videotape.

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Report: Haredi yeshiva student attacked in bus station by IDF soldiers

A deeply disturbing report on a Haredi web site (link in Hebrew) claims that four IDF soldiers - apparently pictured above - tried to force a yeshiva student out of the line for a bus from Jerusalem to Bat Yam this past week, including physically attacking him to force him out of the line.

According to the report, which is described in some detail on the Facebook page of Haredi yeshiva student Eliran Sabah, four soldiers approached him while he was standing in line for a 404 bus from Jerusalem to Bat Yam in the Central Bus Station, and demanded that he give up his place in line, because they serve in the IDF and he is 'simply a parasite.' (As of now, by the way, that Facebook page doesn't work, nor does the video in the first link - I suspect someone complained to Facebook and they did the wrong thing for a change...).

When that didn't work, they called him a 'disgusting Haredi' and a draft dodger, and tried to physically force him out of the line. The female soldier attempted to grab and destroy Sabah's cell phone, with which he was documenting the incident, claiming that 'I am a soldier in the IDF and therefore you must respect me.'

Sabah, who claims that he seriously considered enlisting (a Haredi with a Facebook page is unusual in this country, and I suspect that Sabah is in fact much more open than the average Haredi), says that he will file a complaint with the military police.

And from his hot oven in the heat of summer, many levels below the ground, Tommy Lapid SR"Y is smiling at the civil war that his son Yair has wrought.

Et Tu Dov Lipman?

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Livni plans mass terrorist release?

Is Justice Minister Tzipi Livni planning a mass terrorist release? Here's a report that says yes.
The Almagor anti-terror organization expressed concerns Wednesday that Israel could be preparing for another mass release of Arab terrorists from Israeli prisons, among them terrorists who directly participated or plotted murders of Israelis. The organization said that it had obtained information that in recent weeks, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has ordered staff to examine the cases of over a hundred of these terrorists, with the suspicion being that she is seeking loopholes in the law that would enable their release.
Most of the terrorists have been in Israeli prisons for years or even decades, with many of the terrorist acts undertaken before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Almagor chairman Meir Indor told Arutz Sheva that he had requested an urgent meeting with Livni in order to discuss the matter. Indor said that the Palestinian Authority had launched a massive campaign aimed at pressuring Israel to release “long-term prisoner” terrorists, who are in prison for terrorist acts that occurred over two decades ago. The release of the terrorists, along with a full building freeze in all of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, are the two preconditions the PA has given Israel for a return to negotiations.
Indor said that his organization had obtained a list of 120 such terrorists. “All of them are murderers,” Indor said. “And they are all in good health. We are not talking about old men or sick men.” Indor added that the terrorists in question had participated in terror attacks that had cost Israelis their lives, not just “attempted” attacks. These are terrorists that Yitzchak Rabin, who signed the Oslo Accords along with chief PA terrorist Yasser Arafat, himself refused to release in the mass exodus of terrorists from Israeli prisons after the signing of Oslo.
Aren't you glad that Netanyahu brought Livni into the government with a position that far exceeds the pay grade of a party with six MK's? What could go wrong? 

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So maybe Assad was bluffing

Maybe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was bluffing when he gave an interview to Hezbullah's al-Manar television - which was broadcast on Thursday night - indicating that Syria already has the Russian S-300 anti-missile system. Two Russian newspapers are reporting on Friday that Syria will not have the S-300  before 2014.
Russia is scheduled to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria next year, two Russian newspapers reported on Friday, rejecting claims the missiles had already been transferred to the regime of President Bashar Assad, according to AFP.

The Vedomosti cited a Russia defense source as saying it was unclear if the weapons would be delivered to Syria this year, while the Kommersant quoted a source as saying the delivery was only planned for the second quarter of 2014.

Despite claims by Assad to Al Manar television that the missiles had already arrived in Syria, both sources said said the delivery has yet to take place.
Remember a couple of years ago when we were going back and forth over whether and when the Russians were going to deliver the S-300 to Iran? I think the Russians get a kick out of playing this game....  I doubt that they have delivered anything, and unless Assad is winning, I doubt they will. But they'll enjoy toying with everyone else.

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If you want to boycott Israel, you'd better give up your mobile device

If you have a mobile device, it's likely protected from viruses by a company called Red Bend Software. Red Bend protects 1.75 billion mobile devices around the world. And, you guessed it, they're an Israeli company.

Let's go to the videotape. 

So it’s up to manufacturers, cellphone service providers and app writers to help customers remain secure. One way to do this is through preemptive operating system and software updates. The company dozens of major service providers and manufacturers turn to for that service is an Israeli one called Red Bend.
Established in 1999, Red Bend has become the go to provider of FOTA (Firmware Over the Air) updates for phones and devices made by manufacturers like Kyocera, LG Electronics, Motorola, Sharp, Sony Ericsson and ZTE. Currently, Red Bend’s technology is used by more than 80 mobile device manufacturers, mobile operators and semiconductor vendors, and is present on more than 1.75 billion devices.
Using Red Bend’s technology, said company product marketing director Roger Ordman, service providers and manufacturers can keep their customers’ devices up to date with the latest firmware. “As devices have become more sophisticated we have expanded our offerings,” he told The Times of Israel in a recent interview. “Now we also do application management, and mobile virtualization. It’s more than just configuring software — it’s managing the operating system on a device.”
That has become much more important in the era of BYOD — Bring Your Own Device — in which employees use their own devices to check company email and access documents on company servers. This mixing of personal and business use on the same device could lead to compromised security, said Ordman. “Devices are integrated in the lives of people, both for work and personal use. People use the same device for work, and to access Twitter and Facebook. People want to be online anytime and anywhere.
“The problem arises when they use insecure networks to access services,” Ordman said. “Hackers could use those connections to get valuable information off the device, including corporate data. It’s a big concern for corporations, and our BYOD protection technology is able to solve this.”
Read the whole thing

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Which guy?

You can all vote on the question in the title.

Heh (Hat Tip: Yisrael Medad).

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And you thought your gas was expensive....

And you thought your gas was expensive.
The Water and Energy Ministry announced, Thursday, that the maximum price of 95-octane unleaded gasoline will be going up Saturday evening at midnight, when the value-added tax (VAT) rises from 17 percent to 18 percent. The VAT increase, coupled with the price of petroleum products in the European region and the current dollar-shekel exchange rate will result in an increase of 3.58 percent to 7.52 shekels per liter (comparable to $7.66 per gallon) for self service, up 26 agorot from the current price, plus an additional 18 agorot per liter for full service.
In Eilat, where VAT is not charged, the price is going up 16 agorot (2.58 percent) to NIS 6.37 per liter ($6.49 a gallon) for self service, plus 15 agorot for full service.
I'm sure that you'll be shocked to hear that nearly all stations charge the 'maximum price.' 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

'Palestinian' refugees from Syria burn Hezbullah aid

'Palestinian' refugees from Syria who are staying in the Ain el-Hilweh 'refugee camp' near Sidon have burned aid that was provided to them by Hezbullah, and told Hezbullah to stay out of Syrian affairs.
The refugees at the Palestinian Ain el-Hilweh camp in Sidon called on Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria and not to interfere in Syrian affairs, NNA said.
The military support of Hizbullah has helped Syrian regime forces gain the upper hand in the battle for control of Qusayr, a key town for both the regime and the insurgents, where a fierce army assault began 12 days ago.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had previously justified the group's involvement in Syria by saying they were defending Lebanese-inhabited border villages inside Syria and Shiite holy sites.
But the offensive on the mostly-Sunni town of Qusayr forced the movement to change its argument.
"Syria is the rear guard of the resistance (Hizbullah's fight with Israel), its backbone, and the resistance cannot stay with its arms folded when its rear guard is exposed," Nasrallah said on Saturday in a speech for the 13th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon.
Nasrallah stressed that Hizbullah will win the battle against the “United States, Israel and the Takfiris just like it emerged victorious in previous wars.”
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have fled to Lebanon after fierce clashes at the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.
Faster, faster.... 

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'We cannot have a terrorist state on our doorstep'


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What will happen if a Haredi refuses to enlist because he wants to learn Torah

Meet Natan Blanc. Blanc is 20-years old and was pronounced unfit for duty on Thursday, six months after walking into an IDF recruitment station and announcing his refusal to serve because he objects to the 'occupation.' In the interim, Blanc has been arrested nine times and will have served 177 days in jail by his release next Thursday.
Blanc has openly declared himself to be a conscientious objector, and never tried to take the route of evasion taken by other recruits, such as securing a lower physical or mental profile.
The committee made its recommendation on Thursday following Blanc's second appeal for exemption.
He first appeared before the committee on February 21, and was advised to fulfill his obligation by doing alternative service in a civilian hospital. Blanc happily accepted the decision, since he had already declared his intention to volunteer for national service with Magen David Adom when he first refused.
On February 24, the committee rejected his request to avoid military conscription. The committee is headed by Lt. Col. Yossi Malcha, who also heads the conscription reinforcement in the human resources department. Malcha is also the commander that sentenced Blanc the last three times.
Over the last decade, the IDF largely refrained from repeatedly putting conscientious objectors on trial.
And what will happen if a Haredi walks in and calls himself a 'conscientious objector' because he believes that his task in life is to learn Torah full time? Before you all jump up and say 'But Blanc is volunteering for Magen David Adom,' the IDF rejected that solution and it does not appear to be part of his current release. Not to mention that one has to wonder what would happen if, as a Magen David Adom volunteer, Blanc is asked to treat a revenant.


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Who's a combat soldier?

It was once a fairly simple question, but the IDF has just done a full review that seeks to answer what has become a much more complex question: Who is a combat soldier?
Following the plan's approval, the Israeli army will have three new classifications: combatants, support troops, and weapons operators. The remaining positions are considered back-up functions. Combatants are defined as those who hold battlefield positions – the infantry, armored corps, engineers, pilots, naval fighters and so on.
These soldiers endanger their lives and have been trained to engage in combat and to harm the enemy in "operational contact" – that is, on the actual battlefield. Support troops are defined as those who are trained to participate in operations where their lives may be endangered and who provide administrative assistance to the combatants on the battlefield.
Some roles that fall under this category are the Ordnance Corps soldiers who fix border fences, or the technicians who are embedded with combat units. The third definition of combat weapons operator encompasses those who fight on the growing technological battleground, against cyber-attacks or in the air defense system.
Gantz addressed the issue during a conference held a week ago. "We must be careful with our definitions," he said, '... there is a new operational arena, but those who are endangering themselves are the combatants."
Past discussions saw a dispute between the air force and the personnel directorate over the classification of drone operators. The personnel directorate had suggested they be classified as holding a position that is higher than the back-up troops, but lower than support troops. The different classification holds concrete economic implications, when it comes to the compensation package soldiers receive once they complete their army service.
However, a senior officer in the air force criticized this suggestion in the past, saying it would have a major effect upon these soldiers. "People don’t need to be at the front line in order to have an influence on the battlefield," he said, arguing that drone operators have a significant impact.
The relevant issue ought not to be who has a significant impact. A blogger can have a significant impact on the way a war is depicted in the media, and therefore on its outcome,  but that doesn't make bloggers into combat soldiers.

The relevant issue ought to be the degree of danger to the soldier in the event of enemy action. The infantry, armored corps, engineers, pilots, naval fighters and so on are all in much more clear and present danger of injury and death (God forbid) than is a drone operator sitting in a control room.


Earthquake-proof tables

At any given time, more than 300,000,000 pupils worldwide are facing impending danger since their schools are not built to withstand an earthquake. Of special concern are areas along geological rift lines and children in developing countries, where construction quality can be poor.

While it is common to instruct pupils to crawl under tables in case of an earthquake, existing non earthquake designated classroom tables often turn into lethal traps for those taking refuge.

The "Earthquake-Proof Table" is designed for a range of building types and collapse scenarios. It provides a comprehensive solution by creating both covering protection and passageways for rescue team accessibility.

To date, the patent pending design has successfully withstood a series of rigorous vertical impact tests and is currently awaiting official approval of the world leading Structural Engineering department of Padua University, Italy.

In addition to various weight and ceiling collapse patterns, the Earthquake-Proof Table addresses the financial limitations of the schools that need it through economical, yet responsible production methods and inexpensive materials.

Designed according to sound ergonomic principles, the Earthquake table is light enough for two children to lift and move, as well as adapted to classroom cleaning and other routine, non-emergency needs.

The table was initiated as a final project at the Industrial Design department at the "Bezalel Academy of Art and Design" in Jerusalem, Israel. The table was designed by (then) student Arthur Brutter under guidance of Senior Lecturer Ido Bruno. After completion of Arthur's studies, and upon his request, the project became a joint venture of Arthur, Ido, and Bezalel labs R&D.

The table is currently licensed for manufacture and distribution in Israel by "A.D. Meraz industries Ltd." a school furniture manufacturer.

Product design and development: Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno.

Yes, it's Israeli high tech. 

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).

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If Omar doesn't practice BDS, why should you?


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UN Shocker: Most Syrian rebels don't want democracy

All those people who think they can find the 'non-Islamists' to support in the current conflict in Syria may be in for a surprise: The United Nations is out with a report that claims that most of the rebels in Syria are not seeking a democracy.
Speaking to reporters in Paris, Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said his team of investigators had documented horrific crimes on both sides, although the scale of those committed by President Bashar al-Assad's forces was greater.
"It was said the rebels were angels, but there is only a minority of fighters with a democratic history who believe in the Syrian mosaic and want a state for all," he said.
"The majority of rebels are very far from having democratic thoughts and have other aspirations."
The U.N. Security Council is set to blacklist Syria's Islamist al-Nusra Front as an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq. Foreign fighters, many of them from Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, have also radicalized the rebels.


Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general who served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and is one of four commissioners on the team, said she had never seen violence like that in Syria.
"The crimes are committed by both sides," she said. "The cruelty of these crimes is unbelievable. I have never seen that, not even in Bosnia."
I wonder if there will be a Goldstone Report....

In the meantime, a curse on both their houses. The only difference between one side and most of the other seems to be what kind of tyranny they want to install.

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At least five pro-Israel organizations harassed by Obama's IRS

At least five pro-Israel organizations were harassed by Obama's IRS in 2009 and 2010 according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon. Some of them are still afraid to talk about it (Hat Tip: Noah P).
One pro-Israel targets was HaYovel, which was featured prominently in the New York Times article. Six months after the article was published, the IRS audited the Nashville-based charity, which sends volunteers to work in vineyards across the Green Line.
“We bookend that [New York Times] story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They really kind of focused on us,” said HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller. “Then six months later we had an audit.”
Shari Waller, who cofounded HaYovel with her husband, said the couple received a phone call from the IRS in December 2010. She said she was not aware of anything in their tax documents that may have prompted the audit, and added that the additional scrutiny came during the group’s first five years of existence [deleted comma] when audits tend to be rare.
“They contacted us the week of Christmas and told us they wanted to audit us, right now,” she said. “The most unusual thing to me was they contacted us at a time [that] for most people is a very hectic time, and we had just returned from Israel. To think about taking calls for an audit on the telephone—official business is usually conducted through the mail.”
Tommy Waller said he found the timing of the audit “suspicious” and believes it may have been politically motivated.
“We 100-percent support Judea and Samaria, and Jewish sovereignty in that area, and the current administration is 100 percent opposed to Jewish sovereignty in that area of Israel,” he said. “That’s why we suspected that we would have to deal with [an audit].”
Two other organizations—the American arm of an educational institution that operates across the Green Line and the American arm of a well-known Israeli charity that was mentioned in the New York Times article—say they were also audited.
Another organization that was criticized in multiple articles during 2009 and 2010 was audited last year. The organization, like many of the groups with whom the Free Beacon spoke, asked to remain anonymous out of fear of political retaliation and concern that exposure would harm fundraising efforts.
Read the whole thing.  The last time I heard anything like this was the 1970's....

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What can Israel do about the S-300?

One of my Twitter trolls issued a challenge today, saying that if Assad has the S-300, why isn't Israel hitting him? (Note that I do not respond to Twitter trolls with less than about 1,000 followers on Twitter - it's not worth giving them the exposure). But there are several answers to that question. One is that the fact that Assad says he has the S-300 doesn't mean he has the S-300. In fact, Israel is checking that report now.

And if anyone thinks that Israel does not have the capability of seeing what Assad is doing, maybe this report will change your mind.
Israel tracks every heavy missile fired in the Syrian civil war, keen to study Damascus's combat doctrines and deployments and ready to fend off a feared first attack on its turf, a senior Israeli military officer said on Thursday.
Colonel Zvika Haimovich of the air defence corps said southward launches against Syrian insurgents by President Bashar al-Assad's forces gave Israel mere seconds in which to determine it was not the true target - a distinction that could prove crucial for warding off an unprecedented regional conflagration.
"Syria's batteries are in a high state of operability, ready to fire at short notice. All it would take is a few degrees' change in the flight path to endanger us," he told Reuters in an interview at his base in Palmachim, south of Tel Aviv.

Long-range radars feed real-time data on the barrages to Haimovich's command bunker, where officers brace to activate Arrow II, a U.S.-backed Israeli missile shield that has yet to be tested in battle.
The more threatening launches set off sirens across Palmachim, whose warplanes also await orders to scramble.

"We are looking at all aspects, from the performance of the weaponry to the way the Syrians are using it. They have used everything that I am aware exists in their missile and rocket arsenal. They are improving all the time, and so are we, but we need to study this, and to be prepared."
He would not detail how Israel determines a missile fired in its direction will not cross the border, saying only that the process took "more than a few seconds, but not much more". 
Another Israeli expert, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it combined split-second analysis of the strength of the launch with up-to-date intelligence on Assad's intentions.

Haimovich also described as 'credible,' a report that Assad has used up about half of his SCUD missiles. Read the whole thing.

Finally, here's former Defense Minister Moshe Arens talking about the delivery of the S-300 to Syria in an interview this morning on Israel Radio.

Let's go to the videotape (Hebrew with English translation).

Let's put it this way: Have the Russians yet confirmed that they delivered the S-300 to Syria? Not that I have heard.

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Nixon and Obama: Like brothers from another mother

Many pundits and journalists, including CBS' Bob Schieffer, have drawn parallels between the Obama White House's handling of scandals plaguing the administration and Former President Nixon's management of Watergate. We looked back in the archives to see just how close they were.

Let's go to the videotape.


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Wahhabi's come to Syria

A radical Wahhabi group affiliated with al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) is seen surrounding and then destroying with a bulldozer a historic mausoleum or shrine visited by pilgrims for the prophet Abraham, who supposedly spent some time with his wife Sarah in the town of Ayn al-Arous where the shrine was built. Ayn al-Arous is located south of Tal Abyad in the Raqqa province in northern Syria.

The person filming the scene refers to the shrine as containing heresies and being worshiped besides Allah without specifying who exactly worshiped the edifice.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit). 

I have no idea what this shrine is or whether it had any connection to our forefather, Abraham. The references to it having been worshiped for '40 years under Assad' make me suspect that it has nothing to do with Jews

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Source of report on Syria getting S-300: Assad himself

The source for the earlier report that Syria has already received the Russian S-300 missile system is Bashar al-Assad himself, in an interview to be broadcast Thursday evening on Lebanon's and Hezbullah's al-Manar television. Here are more details.
Syria received the first shipment of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia, and would receive the rest "soon," Syrian President Bashar Assad told Lebanese network Al Manar, Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported.
In an interview set to air on the Hezbollah TV network on Thursday evening, Assad repeated past threats to respond immediately should Israel strike in Syria.
He added that the Syrian government will not stand in the way of any Syrian groups that would attack Israel in order to liberate the Golan Heights.
Russia has said it would deliver the missile system to the Syrian government over Western objections, saying the move would help stabilize the regional balance.
The United States, France and Israel have all called on Russia to stop the delivery.
Note that he said that Syria 'received' the missiles - not that they have been deployed. It's been reported in the past that it would take 'months' to manufacture the missiles and for Syrian technicians to be trained to deploy them.
“It will take months to manufacture the missiles and to assemble them into an integrated operating system,” Ruslan Aliev, a Russian weapons researcher, told the newspaper.

In addition, Syrian troops would have to fly to Russia to train on the missiles because it would be impractical to send experts into the Syrian conflict zone, he said.

According to the report, there are also doubts whether Syria, battered by more than two years of conflict, still has the means to pay. 
So let's assume the worst case scenario: The missiles were manufactured, Russia has decided to be charitable or to extend credit to Assad, and to send its own troops into Syria to operate them. This is a 'system' and it sounds like the system isn't deployed yet.

There's still time to stop it.

Or Russia could deny the report.... 

What could go wrong?

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No kidding: Argentinean prosecutor accuses Iran of infiltrating several Latin American countries

Alberto Nisman, the Argentinean prosecutor who is seeking to prosecute the Iranians involved in the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires in the early '90's, is accusing Iran of infiltrating several Latin American countries. No kidding.
In a 500-page indictment realeased today, the General Prosecutor in the AMIA case, Alberto Nisman, accused the Iranian regime of "infiltrating" several South American countries "by building local clandestine intelligence stations designed to sponsor, foster and execute terrorist attacks, within the principles to export the Islamic revolution.
"Based in countless reports, evidence, testimonies, court and investigative records related to other countries of the region, North America and Europe, including rulings of foreign courts against the Iranian regime, he proved the identical decision-making mechanism, planning and execution of terrorist attacks verified in different countries, which were judicially attributed to Iranian intelligence agents," according to a briefing sent to the media.
In this presentation, Nisman was able to corroborate and strengthen with new evidence, the responsibility of the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the AMIA bombing, which cost the life of 85 people, stressing the higher decree of responsibility that Mohsen Rabbani had not only in the attack, but also as a coordinator of the Iranian infiltration in South America.
 That's been known for years....

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Breaking: Syria has already received first shipment of S-300 missiles

Reuters Dan Williams has just tweeted that the Assad regime in Syria has received its first shipment of Russian-made S-300 anti-missile missiles.

What  could go wrong?

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Oh my: Waze gives up $1 billion to stay in Israel

Facebook is no longer in talks to buy Waze, Mike Isaac at All Things D reports.

The two companies couldn't reach an agreement because Waze wanted to stay in Israel, while Facebook wanted the company to relocate to California, says Isaac.
But the talks dissolved in recent days, according to sources, due in part to conflicts over whether or not the Waze team — which is predominantly based in Israel — would move over to the United States and fold itself into Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, among other reasons.
Reps from both Facebook and Waze declined to comment.
Waze’s mobile application seemed like a logical acquisition target for Facebook, as Waze relies on crowdsourced traffic data, accident reports and police traps from its 40-million-plus userbase to help drivers better navigate their road trips. While competitors Google and Apple both offer mapping services, Facebook currently does not offer any sort of maps app.
And buying a popular mapping service could have been another way for Facebook to push into mobile, complementing the social giant’s widely adopted photo and messaging applications.
Moreover, Waze was built as a social application “from the ground up” — a philosophy Facebook especially espouses — rather than as a mapping application with a social layer slapped atop it. In essence, it fit with Facebook’s vision of a social service. So it wouldn’t be impossible for the two companies to figure out terms that make sense for both sides.
It has been widely speculated that Apple was in talks to acquire Waze, which would also make sense given the company’s missteps with its own mapping app.
Of course, Apple's commitment to Israel is relatively recent too. 

Maybe Google, which has a commitment to Israeli high tech, will buy them even though they want to stay here.  

And for those of you who are high tech entrepreneurs who are thinking of going public, here's a word of advice. Waze is not a public company. While they have done three rounds of investment financing, their private investors are a lot less likely to sue them for not maximizing shareholder value by moving the company to Menlo Park. Think about it. And drop me an email if you're a high tech company and have any questions.

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Did the IRS act on behalf of the 'Palestinians'?

Rick Richman raises the possibility that exaggerated IRS scrutiny of applications for tax-exempt status by pro-Israel groups may have been undertaken at the behest of the 'Palestinians.' The proof is in the 'Palestine papers' published by al-Jazeera in 2011.
At the June 16 meeting, Erekat said Benjamin Netanyahu’s June 14 Bar-Ilan speech had sought to put the Palestinians on the defensive. Netanyahu endorsed a two-state solution and stated that in the meantime, “we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements,” but would “enable the residents to live normal lives.” He urged the Palestinians to engage in immediate negotiations, without preconditions. Erekat wanted to respond to the speech with a letter to the U.S. that would cite the number of individual housing units under construction. Dr. Mohammed Shtayyed made an additional suggestion to Erekat:
“We should also focus on the government incentives to settlers: loans without interest, land for free, agricultural subsidies in the Jordan valley. We can’t stop a pregnant lady from having a baby, but look at what we can do. We should look at the 501(c)(3) organizations in the States that make donations to settlers. Let the US administration investigate this.” [Emphasis added].
Shatayyed was wrong about Israeli government incentives, which had been terminated by Israel during the Bush administration, as part of a negotiated arrangement (detailed by Elliott Abrams in Tested by Zion) allowing new construction only within already built-up areas, which permitted normal growth without an increase in the Israeli “footprint” in the territories. Given our evolving knowledge of how the IRS operated under Obama, however, it seems possible the Palestinians followed through on Shtayyed’s other suggestion, asking the administration to investigate pro-Israeli groups.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Did Lapid win the battle and lose the war?

Yair Lapid spent a lot of time on Wednesday bragging about how he succeeded in imposing criminal sanctions on Haredi 'draft dodgers.' But in the end, he may not have really succeeded. While the sanctions are part of the bill, the person who gets to decide them is Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who opposed them (Hat Tip: Eliana).
Ya'alon said that he believed that the automatic imposition of criminal sanctions without any discretion was a "serious mistake that would only hold back the process" of integration of haredim and Arabs into the army and the public service.

The Minister of Defense wrote that he was happy that his position was accepted by the Committee on the issue of imposition of criminal sanctions which would leave for the minister of defense the ability to decide on the appropriate handling of individuals or groups who do not get drafted

Ya'alon's request that was accepted by the Peri Committee was that the intervening period when criminal sanctions would not be levied on draft dodgers would be increased from three years to four years, Israel Radio reported.
Of course, the problem will arise when someone other than Yaalon is Defense Minister.... 

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Experts: Hezbullah forces in Syria exhibit 'major lack of operational preparation'

Adam Kredo reports that Hezbullah troops in Syria are exhibiting a 'major lack of operational preparation,' and that's why so many of them have been killed.
“It doesn’t look good” for Hezbollah said Tony Badran, a research fellow who focuses on Syria at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Hezbollah has convinced many observers that their Iranian-trained “elite” fighters are a force to be reckoned with, a reputation now at risk.
Anywhere from 80 to 200 Hezbollah fighters have already been killed in action in Syria over the past week, exposing a major lack of operational preparation, Badran said.
“If it was intended to showcase Hezbollah’s power it’s not doing that,” he said. “It’s showcasing their vulnerabilities. It’s showing a lot of problems in the fighting force.”
Hezbollah forces are believed to have been stationed in Syria since at least 2012 despite the terror group’s official denials, experts said.
The brigades are comprised of mid-level operational commanders and younger troops who were trained in Iran in the wake of Hezbollah’s 2006 war against Israel.


Former Bush administration national security adviser Elliott Abrams warned that Iran is succeeding in its goal of creating a pro-Assad haven in Syria.
“It is not so shocking that we are not grasping the reality facing us in Syria,” Abrams recently wrote in the Weekly Standard. “That reality is a humiliating defeat of the United States at the hands of Iran and Hezbollah, aided by Russia, in a manner that destabilizes and weakens all our allies and our influence in the Middle East, emboldens our worst enemies, and has a significant geopolitical impact.”
“There is a corridor [Hezbollah] needs to control” in order to protect Assad and Iranian interests, said Badran, who dubbed the area an “IRGC island” in reference to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
However, Hezbollah’s persistent problems on the battlefield could jeopardize Iran’s pro-Assad plan.
Forces that have been dubbed as “elite” are turning out to be incompetent fighters, experts said.
So why didn't we win decisively in 2006 against Hezbullah? Because we had an incompetent defense minister, and a Prime Minister who didn't have the guts to fight to win. 

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Heh: IDF jeep Assad forces 'seized' from rebels came from a museum

Remember the IDF jeep that Bashar al-Assad's forces allegedly seized from Syrian rebels? Well what a shock: It came from a museum.
There was an absurd moment in the battle for the small city of Qusair when, last Monday, an old Israeli military jeep was paraded before Syrian state television cameras. According to the state news agency SANA, the jeep, which the army had supposedly captured in Qusair, was clear proof of Israeli involvement in the Syrian civil war. In fact, it added: "This confirms that Israel, Turkey and Qatar are leading the aggression against Syria with a joint operations center."
The SANA report did not explain why they would do so with a vehicle model that was taken out of service 10 years ago. As it turned out, the jeep was from a museum's inventory. Before that, it had been used in the Khima military prison, in southern Lebanon, to transport prisoners until the Israeli army withdrew from the area in May 2000. After that, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah set up a memorial at the prison, and now it had apparently brought the vehicle to Qusair. This would explain why a tractor could be seen in front of the jeep in the photos.

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Ya think?

This stuff makes Watergate look tame.

Come to think of it, Nixon also used the IRS against those on his 'enemies list.'

But Nixon didn't steal the election. He didn't have to. And had he not been so paranoid as to order Watergate, he would have served out his second term.

P.S. I was too young to vote in 1972, but I would have voted for Nixon with no regrets once Watergate came out.

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Peri Committee approves criminal sanctions for Haredi 'draft dodgers'

The Peri Committee on 'equalizing the burden' on Wednesday approved criminal sanctions for Haredi 'draft dodgers.'
The ministerial committee for equalizing the burden approved Wednesday imposing criminal sanctions on draft dodgers, including haredim.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Peri, culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich voted in favor of the move. Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz and MK Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) abstained.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid lauded the decision in press conference following the vote, describing the measure as the first significant step toward equality in the burden.
"This government proved it can make a change, even in the most explosive topics," he said.
But if the goal is for Haredim to enter the IDF and the workforce, that goal was not served today. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who opposed the sanctions, expressed fear that the committee has set up a confrontation with the Haredim in which all progress that has been made toward Haredi enlistment, including Nachal Haredi (which is now the largest unit in the IDF), could be lost (link in Hebrew).

Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel points out that criminal sanctions would prevent many Haredim from entering the workforce by closing many (if not most) jobs to them even after the criminal sanctions period ends. In response to Ariel's claim, Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz proposed that the criminal sanctions be expunged from the person's record (it's not clear when and under what conditions), but that proposal was defeated by the committee.

After the committee vote, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. son of Tommy, called a press conference to gloat (link in Hebrew). His main argument was that this isn't an attack on the Torah world. I can tell you that 99.99% of the Torah world sees it as precisely that. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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'Peace partner's adviser: Terrorist responsible for death of 38 Israelis

About a month ago, my car broke down on the Tel Aviv - Haifa highway, just before the southbound entrance to the Ayalon Expressway. On the side of the road was a prominent monument that marks the spot as the location where an Egged bus on which 38 people were murdered came to a stop on a Saturday in 1978. That terror attack is known as the Coastal Road massacre.

When I tried to describe to the towing company where I was, I said that I was next to the Coastal Road massacre monument. They were clueless. When I told them that I was a few hundred meters north of the entrance to the Ayalon Expressway on the southbound side, they understood where I was. The Coastal Road massacre has been largely forgotten by Israelis.

But not by 'Palestinians,' to whom the terrorists who carried out the massacre - still the bloodiest terror attack in Israel's history - are heroes. Now, it has been disclosed that our 'peace partner,' in whom Shimon Peres has so much confidence, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, has appointed Hussein Fayyad (no relation to Salaam), who commanded the Coastal Road massacre terror attack, to be a top adviser.
Hussein Fayyad, one of the commanders of the terror group that carried out the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, revealed on Tuesday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had appointed him as one of his advisers.
The attack, which led to the killing of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, was planned and carried out by Abbas’s Fatah faction.
Fayyad, who was released in a prisoner swap with Israel in 1985, said that Abbas signed a decree in 2008 promoting him to the position of “advisor” to the PA president.
However, Fayyad – who is not related to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad – complained that the PA leadership has not done anything to ensure that he get the job.
He also accused the PA of abandoning him and failing to meet its promises to support him financially.
 Bet on Mr. Fayyad getting one of those 'Palestinian prisoner' salaries real soon.

Peace is at hand....

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Did the IRS target Americans in Israel?

Americans in Israel constituted one of the largest groups to oppose President Obama's election both in 2008 and in 2012.

On Purim day in 2011, a US citizen in my neighborhood, who has been living here since he was a child, came up to me and asked whether I could help him with something to do with the IRS. It seems that the IRS had audited him because he had claimed the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and had come back with a bill that was likely more money than he made in those years. The IRS decided that it had discovered fraud (with Americans in Israel reporting undocumented income in order to qualify for the credit) in claiming the child care credit. While that claim has some basis, the IRS has spent the last two years auditing the returns of - literally - every American in Israel who has ever claimed the credit.

In light of what has come to light over the past couple of weeks about the IRS targeting pro-Israel organizations and groups that do not support Obama, could it be that the IRS's widely targeted audits of American Israelis was more Obama vindictiveness?

To give you some idea of how Americans in Israel can claim this credit and the scope of the problem:
Americans living abroad are allowed to claim the ACTC, a refundable credit of up to $1,000 per child that is available to taxpayers who can't receive the full amount of the child tax credit because it exceeds their income tax liability. But because some return preparers have filed fraudulent returns fabricating earned income in order for their clients to claim the child credits, the IRS has begun scrutinizing all returns of Americans in Israel claiming the ACTC, practitioners said.

Philip Stein, a CPA who practices in Israel, said that in the last year, his firm hasmhandled more audits of Americans living in Israel than in the previous 30 years combined. He said the audits focus on one group: U.S. citizens living in Israel who claimed the refundable child tax credit. He added that the ACTC seems to be the sole area of expertise of the auditors involved.

The ACTC was "talked about a lot, particularly in the Orthodox community in Israel who have large families where salaries aren't very high," Smith said. "A lot of these Orthodox are people whose parents moved from the U.S. to Israel. Accountants and lawyers said to these people, 'You know, you don't make that much money. You're a U.S. citizen at birth. Your kids are not U.S. citizens. Make them U.S. citizens and you might be able to get checks from the U.S. government for the ACTC,'" he said.
Let's stop there for a minute. Orthodox Jews in Israel are a demographic that votes overwhelmingly against Obama. Could it be that they were targeted by the IRS because of that? Well, it's not so simple....
Because taxpayers must have earned income to be eligible f or the ACTC, and because most U.S . taxpayers living abroad do not have their wages reported to the IRS, the credit is susceptible to fraud. In Israel, some unscrupulous tax return preparers have fabricated earned income for clients in order to get a cut of the refunds, practitioners said. "They saw this as an opportunity to file returns, create large refunds, and their billing was a percentage of a refund," Stein said.

However, most of the ACTC claims by Americans in Israel are legitimate, and the IRS audits are straining the firms handling the cases, practitioners said. There are many legitimate preparers "in Israel with clients who have been compliant for a decade," Stein said. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn't have a way to distinguish between "preparers who have been working the field for many decades and those who set up shop for this purpose," he said.

The IRS audits have created tension between U.S. taxpayers in Israel and the IRS . The agency has raised the bar for what documentation it will accept as proof of earned income, according to practitioners. It now wants to see an Israeli Form 106, the equivalent of a U.S. Form 1040, to verify earned income, along with a certified translation of the form, they said [Actually, the 106 is the equivalent of a W-2 in the US. Israelis who are not self-employed are generally not required to file Israeli tax returns, so most Israelis don't file anything like a 1040. CiJ]. Stein said that to meet the IRS standards , taxpayers must translate a notarized document [It's the translation that has to be notarized or certified by an attorney, so you have to hire a professional translator or an attorney to translate. CiJ] and hire an accountant to represent them in the audit. "Besides the time and aggravation factor, they spend half of what they were supposed to get in the refund" on the audit, he said.
Plus many of them have to take their children to the US to register them as US citizens in the first place (that is the case where there is only one parent who is a US citizen). That's an expensive trip, the costs of which might be offset by the ACTC.

Admittedly, a minority of returns filed by Americans residing in Israel were fraudulent. In most cases involving fraudulent returns that I have heard about, the income wasn't fabricated but it was paid 'off the books' in Israel, which means that they are evading taxes in Israel, but telling the US how much they really earned. Surely, in those cases, one cannot argue that they're not legally liable to report that income in both countries. It's not the IRS's job to do tax enforcement for another country.

The other - less common - form of 'fraud' is declaring an educational stipend as earned income and being told by the IRS that it doesn't qualify. But many of the people who do that are actually being paid to teach and not just an educational stipend. Teaching is a legitimate occupation and that income happens to be earned. The IRS response, according to people I've talked to in that situation, is 'we don't believe you.'

What's unsaid here - and what would be most telling - is how many US citizens in other countries who claim the credit are audited by the IRS. For example, how many US citizens in the 'Palestinian territories' - where almost nothing is paid 'on the books' - are audited? How many US citizens in Greece - where tax liability is determined via a negotiation with the tax authorities - are audited? I'm going to bet that the numbers in those two countries are close to zero, as was the case in Israel until just 2-3 years ago. And I'm going to bet that almost no US citizens with income under $1 million who reside in any other foreign country get audited. Keep in mind that the IRS is unlikely to recover more than a few thousand dollars from each of these people, and would have a difficult time recovering from anyone who does not still maintain assets in the US.

So is the IRS targeting US citizens in Israel because we don't support Obama? I leave it to all of you to decide.

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'Kidnapping IDF soldiers at the heart of Palestinian culture'

In an earlier post, I reported that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen had made a thinly veiled threat to kidnap IDF soldiers, saying that doing so is not part of 'Palestinian culture.' Hamas begs to differ. They believe that kidnapping IDF soldiers is at the heart of 'Palestinian culture.'
“Those who refuse to abduct Zionist soldiers renounce the pain and suffering of thousands of prisoners yearning for freedom,” wrote Abu-Ubaida, a spokesman for the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, on his Facebook page, echoing the words used by Abbas in his speech. 
“Operations to capture enemy soldiers and trade them for our heroic prisoners are at the heart of our people’s culture, and are a source of pride for them and their resistance,” Abu-Ubaida added.
Well, at least Abu-Ubaida is honest.

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CIA released Jihadi mastermind known for encouraging 'lone wolf' attacks to Syria

A Jihadi mastermind who is known for encouraging 'lone wolf' attacks was allegedly released to the Syrian intelligence services by the CIA in 2005, according to a report by Newsweek's Paris bureau chief and Middle East editor Christopher Dickey.

Abu Musab al-Suri was held in a Syrian prison until January 2012 until he was released by the Assad regime.

Here's a radio interview with Dickey about al-Suri.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Russia to 'just fulfill contracts' by sending S-300 to Syria; Israel threatens to prevent deployment

Russia has announced that it will send the S-300 anti-missile system to Syria.

Al-Jazeera reports that Russia claims it's just going to fulfill its contracts to send the S-300 anti-missile system to Syria.

Let's go to the videotape.

What's unmentioned here is that there were hints from Israel today that it might intervene militarily to prevent the S-300 from being deployed. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz fears that the S-300 could be used against commercial aircraft arriving and departing from Israel.
“Clearly this move is a threat to us,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said as he stood outside the Home Front Command Headquarters in Ramle.
“At this point I cannot say that there is a step-up in the shipment of the S-300. The deliveries have not taken place, I can attest to this, and I hope they do not. But if, by some misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do,” Ya’alon said.


Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said of Russia decision, “one can not understand or justify such behavior. It is totally wrong.”
He spoke in Jerusalem at a one day conference called, “Israel: A new reality?” hosted by the Israel Project. Steintiz explained to the audience of diplomats and journalist that the S-300 could be used both as a defensive and offensive weapons. It is capable of hitting aircraft, including civilian planes, he said.
“Supply such weapons to Assad in the middle of a civil war, while he is slaughtering his own people,” Steinitz said, could be seen as a sign of encouragement and support.
Russia used a European Union decision not to renew its boycott of weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels as an excuse to justify shipping the S-300 to Assad.

What could go wrong?

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