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Sunday, June 30, 2013

How they love Obama in Africa

Isn't it funny how I missed this picture until it was sent to me by Will? Hmmm.

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Girl carries 'Palestinian' flag at Texas graduation

I went to a private Jewish school in the US, and because of that, we had both the Israeli and American flags at graduation. But at the public schools, it was always either the US flag, or the US flag and the state flag, never anyone else's.

Times are changing. Now, a girl who gets a public education in Texas (of all states!) doesn't have to be loyal to the Untied States. Now, she can be loyal to 'Palestine' instead. She can feel 'Palestinian' rather than American (Hat Tip: Jack W).
Abdallahi told him that US foreign policy should not define which students are permitted to participate in the flag ceremony and insisted that students from all backgrounds be entitled to equal treatment, whether they be from North Korea or an indigenous American tribal nation.
That may be true. But why should the flag of any other country be at a public American high school graduation?
Hadley assured her that he would make his decision based solely on the high school’s mission and eventually agreed to have Palestine represented at the ceremony. “We will buy you a flag and if someone gets upset, we’ll deal with it,” he said, according to Abdallahi. “It’s your graduation and you have a right to represent your heritage.”

Abdallahi was overjoyed. “I cried. I felt so Palestinian. You can go to Palestine or any other place and eat their food and breathe their air, but it’s not until you do something in their name that you feel that pride.” And so, Abdallahi marched through the Fort Worth Convention Center on 8 June, carrying the Palestinian flag. It was a small victory but not an insignificant one.
This is unbelievable, and it's going to come back to bite the United States in ways that many of you cannot even understand yet.

If this bothers you, you might want to contact the administration of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Worth Texas and let them know how you feel.

Read the whole thing and weep for what America has become.

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Kerry leaves empty-handed

No one really wants to call it a failure, but John Kerry's mission was... a failure.
US Secretary of State John Kerry wound up his whirlwind 72-hours of shuttle diplomacy by announcing at Ben-Gurion airport Sunday afternoon that "real progress" was achieved, and that with a little more work Israeli-Palestinian talks could be re-started.
Kerry said the sides were working to get to the "right place," and that the large gaps that existed at the beginning of his efforts were narrowed.
"There are a few details, but I am sure we are on the right track," he said after holding three meetings since Thursday afternoon with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and three more with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman and then Ramallah.


"We are working very, very hard," he said. "I know it is worth it. I know progress when I see it. That is what is important, and that is what will bring me back here."
Kerry declined to say where progress was made, and also would not set a deadline.
 Well, at least he wasn't foolish enough to set a deadline, but 'progress'? I don't believe there was any.

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'Palestinians': 'No breakthrough'; Israelis: More building in 'east' Jerusalem?

'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat whined to the media on Sunday that there was no 'breakthrough' in discussions with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Ramallah on Sunday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry made no breakthrough in talks on Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, a senior Palestinian official said.

"There is some progress but we can't say there's a breakthrough," said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat after Kerry and Abbas ended their meeting.
In response to the 'Palestinians' refusal to compromise, Israel is going to move ahead with the construction of another 900 housing units in Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood.
According to the report, the [Jerusalem municipality's finance] committee is set to discuss paving streets and adding needed infrastructure for the neighborhood which has been in planning since 2011.

Likud chairman in the Jerusalem Municipality, Elisha Peleg praised the decision to advance the plans. "Despite the visit by US Secretary of State Kerry in the region, nothing prevents us from starting to build, because it has been proved that freezing building in Jerusalem did not help to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, and only served to worsen the housing crisis in the city."
Ma'ariv reported on Sunday that the municipality is scheduled to approve a tax discount on the new Har Homa housing units.
The reported tax break is expected to bring down the price of the housing units by thousands of shekels and cost the Housing and Construction Ministry some NIS 100 million.
If only we would actually build. Actions should have consequences. But they probably won't.

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Netanyahu's referendum cop-out

In a bid to prevent his Right wing coalition partners from bolting the cabinet, Prime Minister Netanyahu promised on Sunday that any 'peace deal' with the 'Palestinians' would be brought for a referendum before the country.
Any future agreement with the Palestinians will be brought to the country in the form of a referendum, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the outset of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, just hours after finishing a six-hour late-night meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
This was Netanyahu's third meeting with Kerry since he arrived Thursday afternoon. Generally promises of a referendum are made to neutralize a political crisis by assuring ministers opposed that they need not bolt the government over the issue because the public will ultimately decide.
On the one hand, it would be absurd for Israel to make any kind of deal without a referendum. As I noted here,
With all that Israelis supposedly 'want' a 'two-state solution,' when you get specific, very few actually are willing to pay the price that 'everyone knows' we would pay - which is not enough to satisfy the 'Palestinians' anyway.

Saying that we could vote out the government if it made a peace deal Israelis didn't like is meaningless; it would be shutting the barn door after the cow has escaped.

And calling Israel's government representative is questionable at best and farcical at worst, given that you can only vote for a party into whose slate you have no input.
So you really can't make a 'peace deal' without a referendum. And yet... The key to a referendum is phrasing the question. Who will phrase it? What will it say? What kind of disclosure will the public be given before it votes? Will there be secret annexes? Who will be eligible to vote? What consequences will there if the referendum doesn't pass? What kind of pressure will be placed on Israelis to say yes?

What could go wrong?

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US has an ostrich-like view of Abu Mazen

Khaled Abu Toameh writes that the United States has an ostrich-like view of  'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen (Hat Tip: Bad Blue). This is from the first link.
Abu Zayda and other Palestinian officials say that Abbas's autocratic regime reminds them of the days when Yasser Arafat ran the Palestinian Authority as his private fiefdom.
No one dreamed that we would reach a situation where all the powers and top positions would be concentrated in the hands of one man, said Abu Zayda. Today, Abbas even has more powers than Arafat.
Abbas, according to Abu Zayda, has also appointed himself as the chief judge and prosecutor, making a mockery of the Palestinian judicial system.
Take, for example, the case of Ghazi Jabali, the former commissioner-general of the Palestinian Authority police force.
For many years, Jabali was wanted by the Palestinian Authority for corruption and theft. After fleeing to Jordan, the Palestinian Authority requested Interpol's help in the arrest of Jabali.
A few weeks ago, Palestinians were surprised to see Jabali staying at a luxurious hotel in Ramallah. It transpired that Jabali was able to return to the West Bank after receiving a written document from Abbas clearing him of any wrongdoing.
Abbas is surrounded by three or four people who are making important decisions on behalf of all Palestinians, noted another Palestinian official in the West Bank. These are the only people he consults with. Most PLO and Fatah leaders have no idea about Abbas's strategy.
The growing resentment about Abbas's autocratic regime and refusal to share powers and plans with other Palestinians cast doubt on his ability to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for resuming peace talks, let alone signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Abbas's autocratic rule and the frustration of many Palestinians do not seem to bother Kerry.
The U.S. seems to want to bring Abbas to the negotiating table with Israel at any price.
Kerry seems to be seeking to cut a deal with just one person -- who does not even have the backing of his people.
 That sounds like every Arab Muslim country....

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Here comes the coalition crisis?

Israel Radio reported on Sunday morning that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett will leave the government if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes the 'gestures' that US Secretary of State Kerry is trying to convince him to make.
The good will gestures that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is being asked to make in order to restart negotiations with the Palestinians could cause Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi party to leave the coalition, Israel Radio quoted diplomatic sources in Jerusalem as saying on Sunday.
I doubt Bennett would actually leave the government - he's too attached to his seat. Even if he does leave the government, I don't believe that the more secularly oriented elements of his party - like Ayelet Shaked - would leave with him. And even if the entire Jewish Home party left the government, their place would probably just be taken by the Labor party anyway.

It would be far more significant if the 'gestures' would motivate a large chunk of the Likud's MK's to break off from the party and form their own faction. When that happens, call me. Until then... what could go wrong?

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Graph: Humanitarian aid money 2000-09

Is this really the best use of the World's resources?

More here.


Showdown in Cairo

With 22 million people allegedly signing a petition calling on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy to resign, the stage is set for a showdown in Cairo on Sunday.

Mass demonstrations across Egypt on Sunday may determine its future, two and half years after people power toppled a dictator they called Pharaoh and ushered in a democracy crippled by bitter divisions.
The protesters' goal again is to unseat a president, this time their first freely elected leader, the Islamist Mohamed Mursi. Liberal leaders say nearly half the voting population - 22 million people - have signed a petition calling for change.

But with the long dominant, U.S-funded army waiting in the wings, and world powers fearing violence may unhinge an already troubled Middle East, Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood and militant allies pledge to defend what they say is the legitimate order.

Several people have been killed, including an American student, and hundreds were wounded in days of street fighting.
As I've been reporting for months, it's the economy, stupid. Or is it?
An economic crisis deepened by unrest and political deadlock may spur many less partisan Egyptians to join the rallies, due to start in the afternoon in Cairo. But many, too, are weary of turmoil and are skeptical that the opposition's demand to reset the rules of the new democracy is better than soldiering on.
U.S. President Barack Obama called on Egyptians to focus on dialogue. His ambassador to Egypt has angered the opposition by suggesting protests are not helping the economy. 
Liberal leaders, fractious and defeated in a series of ballots last year, hope that by putting millions on the streets they can force Mursi to relent and hand over to a technocratic administration that can organize new elections. 
"We all feel we're walking on a dead-end road and that the country will collapse," said Mohamed ElBaradei, former U.N. official, Nobel laureate and liberal party leader. "All Egypt must go out tomorrow to say we want to return to the ballot box, and build the foundations of the house we will all live in."
The economy will not magically be fixed if the 'liberals' take over. But it might give the population more of a feeling of a stake in the country's future than it has now. The question is what will happen if Morsy gets the army to crack down.

Religious authorities have warned of "civil war". The army has said it will step in if violence gets out of control but insists it will respect the "will of the people".

Mursi, who on Saturday met the head of the military he appointed last year, interprets that to mean army support for election results. Opponents believe that the army may heed the popular will as expressed on the streets, as it did in early 2011 when the generals decided Mubarak's time was up.

That would depend on a massive turnout, which is uncertain. Islamists suspect that agents of the old order are intent on shedding blood to trigger a military intervention.
If there's violence on Sunday, as appears likely, the US is likely going to be blamed. That's partly because of the behavior of its ambassador, and partly because of this story from last April and other stories showing US backing for the Muslim Brotherhood. 

You can follow a liveblog of all the action in Cairo here.

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Erdogan a Nobel peace prize candidate?

Could Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan be a candidate for a Nobel peace prize? (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News) (Given that they gave one to President Hussein Obama for his 'future potential' how much worse could this be)?

Well, there's a small catch....
Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin held talks with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland, who is on a visit to Turkey. After the meeting she said that “the process of EU integration strengthens Turkey’s positions and weight”, Turkish NTV reported.
Later on the minister wrote on her twitter page about her impressions from the meeting with Mr Jagland, as follows: “Apart from Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland, who told me literary the following: “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a Noble Prize candidate if he manages to solve the Kurdish issue”, is also Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee”. 
At the meeting Minister Şahin confessed that the violence over women in Turkey was a problem of the society and there was a need to take the necessary steps in this field.
I'd be amazed if Erdogan were to manage to 'solve the Kurdish issue' (unless genocide is a 'solution'), let alone his Islamist government do anything to ameliorate violence against women. 'Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me'?

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After all-night meeting with Netanyahu, Kerry going to Ramallah

After an all-night meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with  'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen on Sunday morning. Let's put the geography in perspective, I can walk up the block and see Ramallah, so the issue here isn't the travel. It's the length of the meetings and whether something is actually going on.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday morning in Ramallah before leaving the region later in the afternoon, Israel Radio reported.
The sit-down with Abbas, which would be Kerry's third meeting with the Palestinian leader in the last three days, follows a late-night, hours long meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There had been reports on Saturday that Kerry was on the verge of announcing a four-way peace summit in Amman, though this was denied by an Israeli official.
Sources told Israel Radio that military officials, legal experts, and political advisers sat in on the meeting between Kerry and Netanyahu, perhaps suggesting that the session was not routine.
Kerry is expected to convene a news conference later Sunday before his departure to Brunei.
While there were reports in the Jordanian media on Saturday that Kerry succeeded in securing an agreement for an Israel-Palestinian-American-Jordanian summit later in the week in Jordan, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the security cabinet, denied that such a meeting was imminent.
"To the best of my understanding, Abu Mazen (Abbas) is still demanding the same preconditions, which we have no intention of meeting," Erdan said.
Abbas has consistently demanded a complete cessation of new construction in east Jerusalem and in the settlements, a release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated before the Oslo accords, and an Israeli agreement to use the 1967 lines as the baseline of the talks.
I am sure that after all this effort, Netanyahu is not going to willingly send Kerry away empty-handed. But since Netanyahu is the one who has shown flexibility, it is deeply disturbing that Kerry continues to try to press him, and is spending comparatively less time pressuring Abu Bluff. Netanyahu's coalition is unlikely to go along with the preconditions demanded by Abu Mazen, nor should they. It's long past time that the 'Palestinians' learned to compromise. If they can't it will prove once again that Naftali Bennett was right: The 'two-state solution' is dead.

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As always, it's Israel's fault

This is incredible. With 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen not having compromised on anything, the Washington Post lists 'Israeli intransigence' as what makes John Kerry's mission here 'urgent.'
Among the things that Kerry believes make this time different is the urgency of the situation. The area is engulfed in crises that threaten to spill over borders; international weariness of what is seen as Israel’s intransigence has grown, manifested in a disinvestment movement and dwindling sympathy in Europe; and the Palestinians have been unable to put their political and economic house in order. This has led Kerry to warn repeatedly that the “window is closing” for meaningful talks.
Leo Rennert comments:
Really?  So, according to DeYoung, it's Israeli "intransigence" that's holding up a peace deal.  But her evidence is hardly convincing.  The anti-Israel  boycott drive has been a big flop. 
Israeli trade is up with regional and global countries, including Turkey.  As for "dwindling sympathy" for Israel in Europe, that's hardly a new factor.  If Israel had to depend on European "sympathy" for its existence and security, it would have folded a long time ago.

Far more telling is the fact that, far from indulging in "intransigence," Israel is on the same page as Kerry and the White House in calling for prompt renewal of negotiations without pre-conditions.

The real fly in the ointment, the real "intransigence," belongs on the Palestinian side, where President Mahmoud Abbas finds himself increasingly isolated from the U.S. in demanding a host of major Israeli concessions -- release of Palestinian prisoners, a construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank -- before talks even get under way. 

DeYoung, however, is oblivious to Abbas's "intransigence," reporting only that the "Palestinians have been unable to put their political and economic house in order."  Failure to put the Palestinian house in order doesn't begin to tell the tale. 
Read the whole thing.

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Orthodox Jews to guard London mosque

An Orthodox Jewish security patrol in North London has agreed to protect a mosque (Hat Tip: Will).
The Shomrim patrol group accepted a request for protection by the North London Community Centre in Cazenove Road, an Islamic institution situated in the heavily-Jewish Borough of Hackney in northern London.

The deal was brokered at a recent meeting coordinated by Ian Sharer, a member of the local council, the Hackney Gazette reported this week.
It came following a rise in anti-Muslim attacks after the slaying of a British soldier on May 22 in London. The suspect, a 22-year-old Muslim extremist, was filmed holding a large knife over the soldier’s decapitated body. A second suspect was charged with attempted murder and is believed to have acted as an accomplice.
Tell Mama, a watchdog on hate crime, recorded 212 incidents in the nine days that followed the murder, including 120 online. In 2012, the same group documented 12 anti-Muslim incidents per week on average and 624 in total.
Sharer, who is Jewish, told the Gazette that he was asked by “Muslim friends to chair the meeting. The meeting was a great success. The Shomrim patrols have agreed to include the local mosques and other buildings as part of their routine patrols.”
I am tempted to end this post with "what could go wrong?" but then I would not be clear where I stand on this. I'm ashamed. Ashamed that Jews feel the need to protect our enemies. From what? Islamophobia?

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Image: Osprey receiving fuel

In an earlier post, I wrote about Israel getting Osprey helicopters that fly like planes for use against Iran.

Here's a picture of one refueling (Hat Tip: Sunlight).
Sweet photo by SrA Laura Rahemiak of a CV-22B Osprey receiving fuel June 21, 2013 off the coast of Greenland by a 7th Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II. The aircraft landed in Iceland during its journey to RAF Mildenhall, England, to allow for crew rest and refueling. The CV-22, assigned to the 7th SOS, is the first of 10 slated to arrive as part of the 352nd Special Operations Group expansion, which will last through the end of 2014.

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Abu Bluff: Israeli 'gestures' not enough

I suppose that given the results of the survey above, it's not surprising that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is has rejected Israeli 'gestures' as not being enough to justify resuming 'peace talks.'
Kerry is bidding to broker a series of at least three meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas at the start of new direct peace talks, and is seeking guarantees from the Israelis and the Palestinians that a new peace effort will not quickly fall apart, as happened with the last resumption of negotiations in 2010, an Israeli TV report said Friday night.
However, Saturday’s Xinhua report showed Kerry had yet to make a significant breakthrough.
“What Israel offers in terms of releasing a limited number of prisoners and increasing the Palestinian Authority’ s influence in the West Bank is not enough for President Abbas to accept returning to the negotiating table,” the news agency quoted a Palestinian official as saying.
The official reportedly said Israel would have to freeze settlement building and accept a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders for talks between the two sides to continue, adding that Abbas had told Kerry as much during their meeting in Amman.
Kerry added a stop in Abu Dhabi to his two-week swing through the Mideast and Asia, then canceled it because of his ongoing meetings on the Mideast peace process.
There is deep skepticism that Kerry can get the two sides to agree on a two-state solution, something that has eluded presidents and diplomats for years. But the flurry of meetings has heightened expectations that the two sides can be convinced to at least restart talks, which broke down in 2008.
So far, there have been no public signs that the two sides are narrowing their differences.
Will this be the time that Kerry (and Obama) finally admit that the 'Palestinians' don't really want peace? Don't hold your breath.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Boycott McDonald's?

Revenant leaders are calling for a boycott of McDonald's in response to its refusal to allow a restaurant to open under its brand name in Ariel. This is from the first link.
Settler groups are urging settlers specifically and Israeli citizens in general to refrain from entering McDonald’s restaurants around Israel. The move is a response to a local McDonald’s franchise that announced earlier this week that it had turned down an offer to open a branch in the town of Ariel.
The fourth largest settlement in the West Bank, Ariel is a suburban-style development, home to roughly 18,000 people and a university that enrolls some 10,000 students. It’s located about 10 miles east of the Green Line, an armistice line drawn in 1949 that separates Israel from the West Bank, part of the territory on which Palestinians hope to establish a future state.
According to a report in the Israeli financial newspaper Globes, the owner and CEO of McDonald’s’ Israel franchise chain, Omri Padan, is also one of the founders of the anti-settlement watchdog organization Peace Now and has always had a policy of not operating in the West Bank. Padan’s franchises are independent from McDonald’s’ U.S. corporate headquarters, which does not have a say in his decision to not expand to Ariel.
Some of those angry at the franchise’s decision not to open a branch in Ariel urged disgruntled customers to call the local franchise in protest. They posted the phone number of McDonald’s Israel on the My Israel Facebook group under an image that read, “McDonald’s I’m not loving it.”
On Thursday, leaders of the settler movement argued that McDonald’s had “turned from a business into an organization with an anti-Israel political agenda.”


In light of the decision, Israel’s homegrown fast-food chain Burger Ranch announced it would open a branch in Ariel instead. On Thursday morning, Finance Minister Naftali Bennett, a former West Bank settlement council leader, announced on his Facebook page that he would be first customer at Burger Ranch when it opens in the town.
Given that most of the McDonald's in this country are not Kosher (120 out of 160), and most of the revenants and their supporters probably would not eat there anyway, if there's a boycott, will anyone notice?

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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Israeli official: Time for Turkey to pay a price

Despite a reshuffling of ambassadors, Turkey still has not posted an ambassador to Israel - and that's just the start of the problems (Hat Tip: Joshua I). Turkey has done none of what it promised President Obama it would do back in March, and it continues to raise obstacles to reconciliation with Israel, leading one Israeli official to conclude that it's time for Turkey to pay a price.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office at the time said the countries agreed to normalize diplomatic relations, including an exchange of ambassadors. Erdogan, according to the statement, said Turkey would terminate all legal proceedings launched against IDF soldiers who were involved in the raid and would prevent similar legal action in the future.

However, following Netanyahu's apology, the Turks appeared to be in no hurry to fulfill their end of the deal. Israel agreed to pay $5 million in restitution, while Ankara demanded $40 million. During talks held over the past few days the Turks have expressed their agreement to receive $24 million from Israel, while the Israeli side raised its offer to $14 million - a regular Turkish bazaar.

And if this wasn't enough, the Turks announced they could not guarantee that IDF soldiers and officers who were involved in the raid, including former IDF Chief Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, would not be prosecuted, claiming that in Turkey the "executive branch cannot influence the judicial branch."

According to the Turks, Erdogan cannot act to stop the legal proceedings while anti-government protests are taking place because he does not want his constituents to view him as being pro-Israeli.

In light of Turkey's conduct, Israel is considering the possibility of exacting a diplomatic price from Ankara with the help of a pro-Israeli Congressman. "After they fed us smelly fish and ran us out of town, it's time that the Turks pay a price for their nasty behavior," a senior official said.

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Israel's Foreign Ministry issues warning against travel to Egypt


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Dermer to be ambassador to US?

Last December, I reported that Ron Dermer was likely to become Israel's Ambassador to the United States when current Ambassador Michael Oren's term ends in August. In the same post, I blogged a column by Barak Ravid in Haaretz, who claimed that the Obama administration would not be happy with Dermer, because Dermer is from Florida and his family is close with that state's Republican governor and potential Presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Two weeks later, I reported on another likely candidate for the Washington position: Ehud Barak. I noted that Barak as ambassador might be more pleasing to the Leftist Obama administration.

Now, basing itself on an Army Radio report, JPost is reporting again that Dermer is going to be the ambassador.
According to the report, Dermer will replace Oren in Washington in August. Oren's four-year term is set to come to an end.
Army Radio reported that the appointment of Dermer to the post became possible after he was able to rehabilitate his relationship with the Obama administration in recent months following a falling out over his support for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
Dermer has often been mentioned as a potential ambassador to Washington or the United Nations in recent months.
I have met Dermer and he seemed like a nice guy. He also speaks perfect English. But 'rehabilitate his relationship with the Obama administration'? What the heck does that mean? The Obami don't forgive and they don't forget. 

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Israeli boots on the ground in Iran?

You might recall that when Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was here in April, an arms deal with Israel was announced. One element of the deal was up to eight V-22 Ospreys, an aircraft that can land like a helicopter and carry two dozen special operations forces with their gear over long distances at aircraft speeds. At the time, we were told it would be used for search and rescue missions in case Israeli pilots bombing Iranian nuclear facilities were shot down. But USA Today reports that there's more to it than that (Hat Tip: Lance K).
The Osprey "is the ideal platform for sending Israeli special forces into Iran," says Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst now at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
The aircraft could help solve Israel's inability to breach Iran's uranium enrichment facility buried under a granite mountain at Fordow. It might be impregnable to even the heaviest conventional bunker-busting munitions in the U.S. arsenal, Pollack said. Israeli military planners have been brainstorming how to conduct an effective operation, Pollack said, citing conversations with senior Israeli military officers.
"One of the possibilities is (Israel) would use special forces to assault the Fordow facility and blow it up," Pollack said.


Other parts of the arms package include Boeing's KC-135 "Stratotanker," which can refuel Ospreys and other aircraft while airborne and extend the tilt-rotor aircraft's 426-mile range almost indefinitely. The deal also includes anti-radiation missiles that are used to target air defense systems, and advanced radars for Israel's fleet of F-15 fighter jets, according to a Defense Department press release.
That equipment would increase Israel's capabilities against Iran, said Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.
The refueling equipment would extend the reach of Israeli special forces, which could be used against Iran as they were in Israel's attack on a Syrian nuclear facility under construction in 2007, Karmon said.
In the 2007 attack, at least one Israeli team was on the ground to provide laser targeting of sophisticated air munitions, Karmon said. "The same would be done for Iranian sites."
 Hmmm. Read the whole thing.

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What drives John Kerry

In case you were wondering what drives US Secretary of State John FN Kerry's Middle East 'peace' push, I think this tweet says it all.

We should commit suicide for his ego? No thanks.

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When is a meeting not a meeting?

When is a meeting not a meeting? When it's attended by Binyamin Netanyahu and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen without preconditions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry's formula for renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians consists of a marathon series of meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, some to be attended by Kerry himself.
Netanyahu has already told the Americans he agrees to the plan, and heavy pressure is now being placed on Abbas to accept the formula. 
The talks would only be considered part of the efforts to renew negotiations, and would not constitute an actual renewal of negotiations themselves. This formula would allow Abbas to circumvent the preconditions to negotiations that he has set and avoid criticism.
And that depends on the definition of 'is.' What could go wrong?

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The Kerry peace plan and the Heath Minister's organ donor program

Here's the weekly LATMA tribal update featuring the Kerry peace plan and the Health Minister's organ donor program.

Let's go to the videotape.

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Olim get early education in Israeli reality

Hundreds of potential olim are getting an unwanted education in the realities of living in the socialist paradise. Let's hope this causes them to seek change rather than to reconsider.

Here in the socialist paradise, anyone can go on strike. Even diplomats. It's not quite that bad this week, but due to foreign ministry 'sanctions' hundreds of olim worldwide are having their aliya held up.
According to Jewish Agency director of aliya Yehuda Sharf, potentially “hundreds” of prospective immigrants worldwide have been told that they must put their travel plans on hold, as Israeli consulates are no longer issuing aliya visas necessary for obtaining citizenship.
Sharf told the Post that the Jewish Agency is “saddened by the distress to the new immigrants caused by the strike, and intends to do everything in its power to alleviate their problems.”
“We are very concerned that olim may suffer financial damages, as many of them have already made plans and sold their property,” Sharf said. “There are others who have arranged to start new jobs or registered for educational courses. There are even those who have been assigned a call-up date to the Israel Defense Forces.”
Prospective immigrants are among the thousands of people – including Israelis abroad, foreign statesmen and diplomats – caught in the crossfire created by the Foreign Ministry workers’ five-month-old labor dispute.
The ministry’s workers’ committee has steadily ratcheted up its sanctions, issuing directives last week to end all consular services abroad – a move that would include measures impacting prospective immigrants. This week, the workers announced that they would end all support given to foreign diplomats in Israel.
As a result of the sanctions, the Foreign Ministry has stopped providing logistical support for any ministerial trips abroad, ceased all cooperation with the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and refused to give assistance to visiting foreign dignitaries. On Sunday, Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog canceled his planned trip because of the sanctions.
In a statement to the Post, Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said that, as part of the work dispute, “consular services are being provided only in the following cases at present: anything to do with saving lives, personal medical requirements, the transfer of bodies for burial and anything to do with adoption and surrogacy.”
Therefore, as of Wednesday, all aliya was put on hold.
I'm thinking of where we were at this time in 1991 - the year we made aliya in August. There was no Nefesh b'Nefesh back then, and there were no Nefesh b'Nefesh flights. But by this time, our house was under contract and we may have had our plane tickets. In those days, you did all the visa paperwork at the airport. I would guess that the worst nightmare is for people who have sold their homes and given up their children's places in school for next year. I wouldn't worry too much about what people's plans are at this end - they're so used to this sort of thing that it will all sort out in the end. But given a five-month strike which seems to have little prospect of being resolved anytime soon, I'd be really nervous if I'd sold my house (and perhaps already had most of my worldly belongings on a ship to Israel), given up my children's places in school and suddenly discovered that I cannot get the visas to come to Israel. If you're in that position, my amateur advice would be to come as a tourist and make aliya once you're here.

Oh - and what's the strike about? We only get a hint of it from the relatively lengthy article linked above.
Speaking with the Post on Thursday, union chief Yair Frommer said that he was fighting for the very survival of Israel’s diplomatic corps.
“Today we are in the situation that one out of three diplomats that have been recruited to the cadet program leave after 10 years, and that is what I’m talking about,” he said. “People don’t see a future in the foreign service because of the working conditions.”
While he agrees with critics of the strike that “aliya is crucial for the State of Israel” and that immigration is “one of the most important elements in Israeli policy toward the Diaspora and Israeli identity,” Frommer said that it “is also one reason why we should have an acting professional foreign service; this is what we are fighting for.”
“Unfortunately,” he lamented, “this labor dispute is affecting many people, but I think that’s the only way to get the attention of policy-makers so they will understand how important it is to attend to the problems of the foreign service.”
And what are the problems? While I'm not 100% sure, I believe that we're talking about the age old problem about Foreign Ministers appointing cronies to key ambassadorial posts rather than longtime members of the foreign service corps. Honestly, this cuts both ways. While I would not have wanted to see Dalia Itzik as the ambassador to King James' court, the diplomatic corps has also produced more than its share of incompetents and embarrassments, not to mention people not capable of representing the country's policies. And there's also an element of Right v. Left here....

In any event, olim (immigrants) should not be paying the price.

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Stolen properties: Jewish land seized in Arab countries

Where is their compensation?


The Boston JCRC and the Muslim Brotherhood

Charles Jacobs has a deeply disturbing report about cooperation between the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of Boston (ISB).
The ISB and the Muslim American Society (MAS) -- own and run both the Cambridge mosque (where the Tsarnaev [Boston Marathon] bombers prayed), and the Saudi-funded mega mosque in Roxbury. The MAS is, according to federal authorities, “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” The Muslim Brotherhood, a major fount of radical Islam, is also a major source of global terror. It has many branches. The one in Israel is called Hamas.

Burton exquisitely demonstrates the painful conundrums Jewish leaders face when trying to reconcile their progressive values and utopian dreams with observable facts and actual Jewish interest when it comes to dealing with radical Islam. They have not figured out how to articulate the threat without offending liberal and Islamist sensibilities. They see the real prospect of rising Islamist influence, but given the constraints placed upon them by their progressive values (and/or donors), they simply don’t know what to do.

So they continue to express wishful sentiments devoid of unpleasant reality. And most troubling: Our leaders will not state in public what they know about the real threats to Jews posed by radical Islamists in the Hub. They kick the can down the road; they “dialogue” and seek to accommodate.

A little background: Years ago when it came to light that certain ISB leaders were linked to terror and hate speech, had lied to Jewish leaders about their anti-Semitic statements and affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, CJP and JCRC leaders reacted by boycotting the grand opening of the ISB mega-mosque. Recently, Gov. Deval Patrick too seemed to have distanced himself from the Roxbury Mosque. So we thought and hoped that the matter of official Jewry working with ISB/MAS was finally settled.

Now comes the JCRC executive director and announces that even though he has “concerns,” he has re-established a working relationship with the ISB, “to focus on achieving our collective vision for Boston through our faith traditions.”

My hypothesis: [JCRC Executive Director] Jeremy [Burton] is a smart and decent man: he does not buy what ISB/MAS is telling him but feels he has no other option but to pretend, to be “politically savvy.” Jeremy knows that Imam Webb raised funds for a convicted cop-killer, makes outrageously homophobic remarks, and Burton may even know that Webb promotes a national MAS curriculum that radicalizes young American Muslims. Jeremy would like to believe that the Jews of Boston and the Muslim Brotherhood have a “collective vision.” Jews, he tells us, need to fight alongside Muslims for “health care, youth jobs, immigration and gun violence prevention.” Sounds more like Democratic Party talking points than Jewish community interests. Claiming that ISB/MAS are committed to preventing “Gun violence” is especially risible: Cambridge mosque leader Anwar Kazmi, who Burton would likely tell us is reasonable man, has been caught on videotape leading a rally on the Boston Common urging Muslims to support Tarek Mehanna -- a man convicted of plotting tomachine-gun shoppers at an Attleboro mall. A Roxbury mosque spokesman, Abdullah Faaruuq, was caught on video tape telling local Muslims to “pick up the gun and the sword” and “do your job” in support of Mehanna’s fight against the U.S. government. Roxbury mosque Imam Webb has raised money to try and get a gun-wielding cop killer off the hook. Burton tells us that he has expressed his “concerns” about ISB/MAS leaders directly with ISBCC, and with Christian groups. He says Imam Webb hasn’t dispelled his concerns, yet the JCRC maintains the relationship.
The reality is that Burton is probably representative of the majority of the Boston Jewish community. He is certainly representative of the non-Orthodox part of that community, and with the exception of a few synagogues, he is likely representative of the Orthodox community as well.

What will it take for the Jewish community to wake up and smell the coffee? That's hard to say. They're still holding their noses with their fingers.

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The 'sword of Damocles' has been picked up by the other side

For years now, we've been told that the 'inexorable' growth of the Arab population would 'inevitably' lead Israel to a Hobson's choice between being a Jewish and a democratic state. Although the myth has been debunked many times before, it continues to be espoused by politicians, including recently by Barack Hussein Obama and John FN Kerry, who are trying to prove the 'necessity' of a 'Palestinian state.'

In Thursday's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby debunks the myth again, but then goes on to remind us why it's important for the 'peace process' to recognize that the 'demographic time bomb' is a myth.
Is the “peace process” is worth pursuing? Would a two-state solution end the conflict? These demographic trends can’t answer such questions. What they can do is remove the artificial pressure on Israel to do something — anything — before the sword of Damocles falls. And maybe, just maybe, they can open a few eyes among those who have been waiting, like Arafat, for “the womb of the Arab woman” to put an end to the Jewish state. Israel, now home to nearly half of the world’s Jews, is a permanent fact of life in the Middle East. Any genuine peace process starts with the acceptance of that reality.
Indeed. If anything, it's the Jewish population that's now holding that sword.

Read the whole thing

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The State's Attorney's office informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that the government plans to present plans to build 40 new homes in Nokdim, which is part of the Gush Etzion bloc but outside the 'security fence.' The announcement was made in court a few hours before US Secretary of State John FN Kerry arrived in Israel, leading the media to imply that the timing was intended to impair the goals of Kerry's visit. The court responded by issuing an injunction against continuing the construction of 14 of the 40 homes, which had been started two years ago. Coincidences? Maybe.
News of the pending authorizations was first published by Army Radio on Thursday, hours before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was due to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss possibilities for resuming peace talks.
The Palestinians have refused to negotiate directly with Israel until it halts West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem. Israel has refused to accede to that request. Kerry is looking to break the impasse.


Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Army Radio that news of the plans broke as a result of the project’s legal situation and had nothing to do with Kerry’s visit.
Legal matters cannot be dependent on the diplomatic agenda or visits from foreign dignitaries, Elkin said, adding that Netanyahu’s last government established a policy to authorize Jewish West Bank construction when possible, particularly if it was on state land.
...[Gush Etzion regional council chairman Davidi] Perl noted that if the council approves the plans, the 14 homes would be retroactively authorized.
A spokesman for Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that the 40-home project was on state land. He added that former defense minister Ehud Barak had given initial approvals to the project.


The Gush Etzion Regional Council reacted angrily to the court’s decision to issue a temporary injunction against the 14 homes.
It charged that the court acquiesced to a baseless petition against a project on state land located within Nokdim’s municipal boundaries.
My guess is that the timing was fortuitous, but the government was happy to let it go ahead to show the 'Palestinians' that they have something to lose through their stubborn refusal to negotiate. After all, if the can make Israel stop building forever simply by demanding a freeze, why should they ever come to the table?

What could go wrong?

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Why the French court convicted Karsenty of libel in the al-Dura case

Incredibly, the reason that a French court found Philippe Karsenty guilty of libel for calling the al-Dura case 'faked' is that the French Supreme Court ordered the lower court not to consider any exculpatory evidence.
This week the Paris Court of Appeals disgraced itself and revealed the dark side of France’s arcane laws of defamation, elevating the principle of French honor above the value of truth-telling for French journalists. The appellate court’s sentencing of Philippe Karsenty to a fine of 7,000 Euros for the “crime” of speaking truth to power telegraphs how France has decided to treat whistle-blowers who have the temerity to demand that state-sponsored media outlets differentiate between theater and news. Perhaps this second panel of the appellate court was not entirely at fault for its misstep. It operated with blinders, since the French Supreme Court forbade it from viewing the relevant evidence that led the first panel of the court to acquit Karsenty. For the French legal system, the facts of what happened at Netzarim were and are essentially irrelevant. This case was not about getting at the truth, but about protecting the honor of French institutions.
Read the whole thing. Simply incredible.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nasrallah goes to Iran

The Iraqi newspaper Azzaman reports that Hezbullah politburo chief Hassan Nasrallah visited Iran recently to seek support for its efforts on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah sources told the paper that Nasrallah requested full financial and military backing for the fighting in Syria in a meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. 
He also asked Khamenei how long Hezbollah would have to continue its involvement in Syria and was told that it depended on how long it took to crush the revolt against Assad, which he promised would not be too much longer.
In any case, the Iranian leader assured him that an alternative Iranian option was ready. This option would involve the transfer of full units of the Revolutionary Guard to a military base in the country, which is currently being established.
Regarding the participation in the conflict in Syria, the source said that the party sent elite units, which also protected the headquarters of Assad’s regime in Damascus.
The visit took place on the eve of the battle for Qusair, where Hezbollah forces were instrumental in the important victory for the Assad regime.
Three words: Target rich environment. 

Seriously though, I have to wonder why Nasrallah seems unconcerned about his status in Lebanon.

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Karsenty, accountablility lose

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Thursday, June 27.

Karsenty, Accountability lose

A few weeks ago Israel's government released a critique of the Al Dura case. During the so-called "Aqsa intifada," Mohammed al-Dura was allegedly killed by the IDF during a shootout at the Netzarim Junction in Gaza. Or so it was reported by France's Channel 2 and its reporter Charles Enderlin. Al-Dura became a cause in the Arab world. His image was put on postage stamps to inflame the "Arab street" against Israel. The Palestinian Authority released a video starring "Al-Dura" encouraging other children to become martyrs.

When the report was released, the Jerusalem Post's diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wondered:
But still. Israel, by releasing this report 13 years on, has put this picture back into people’s minds, and it is not entirely clear whose interests are served by resurrecting this potent image.
Richard Landes responded:
What I’m afraid Keinon and the many others like him might be saying here is, in addition to our enemies, who will never drop that bone as long as there’s the most remote trace of the taste of blood on it – al Durah as symbol of Israeli evil – they also fear that the should-be rational people in the West, the liberals who should care about the truth, the journalists whose job it is to care about the truth – who won’t listen either.
But it’s these folks who are our target audience. They are the people – especially the journalists – who need to learn, when they see that image, that it is a symbol not of Israeli desire to kill children as Osama bin Laden and other blood libelers interpreted it, but a symbol of the incompetence of the media and the devastating impact of that incompetence, fortified with a stubborn, honor-shame reflex to deny any fault. Because we – and here I speak on behalf of democracies around the world, indeed all peoples who wish to live in peace and tolerance of the “other,” – we cannot afford the destructive impact of lethal journalism. We cannot afford to have our public sphere become the sewage dump of toxic, hate- and war-mongering lies, especially those of our enemies.
I agree. It wasn't simply about setting the record straight, but about holding the media accountable. Israel's decision to take a look at the case was a sign that Israel wasn't going to let the media get away with broadcasting straight propaganda anymore.

Yesterday, however, a French court disagreed. In 2008 media critic, Philippe Karsenty was vindicated of the charge that he had libeled Enderlin and France 2. Apparently a major factor in that verdict, was the Enderline was ordered to release the all the footage of the incident, but refused. But the case was appealed and yesterday Karsenty was found guilty of defamation. The AP reports:
In a report issued in 2004, Philippe Karsenty said the footage was orchestrated and there was no proof that the boy had been killed.
France-2 sued for defamation, and after a long legal battle, a Paris court fined Karsenty 7,000 euros Wednesday. He called the verdict “outrageous.”
Over the past decade Karsenty has amassed hours of video about the day of the shooting. At the heart of his claim is the fact that, according to the reporting by France-2, father and son received a total of 15 high-velocity bullets but in the video, neither appears to be bleeding. He says the firefight is real, but the shooting of the man and boy was staged for the camera.
At the end of the article, the AP gets reactions. Here's one:
Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers said the ruling confirmed that Israel and their supporters lied about the military’s practices in the coastal territory.
“They deceive and cover their crimes in front of the media and the world,” said spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
A spokesman for Hamas?!?!!?

Hamas is a terrorist group committed to Israel's destruction and that's who the AP gets a reaction from! Jonathan Tobin addressed statements like this that is encouraged all too often in the media:
The al-Dura myth is significant not so much because it annoys Israelis and their friends but because it reinforces the way Palestinians think of themselves and gives them carte blanche to commit any outrage. Debunking it is not pointless. It is the starting point for any effort to answer the lies about Israel that have become the foundation for efforts to isolate and boycott the Jewish state. Friends of Israel ignore it at their peril.
There is no libel against Israel that is too outrageous not to be published uncritically.

Perhaps the best debunking of the report comes from James Fallows who wrote Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura? in the Atlantic ten years ago.
The footage of the shooting is unforgettable, and it illustrates the way in which television transforms reality. I have seen it replayed at least a hundred times now, and on each repetition I can't help hoping that this time the boy will get himself down low enough, this time the shots will miss. Through the compression involved in editing the footage for a news report, the scene acquired a clear story line by the time European, American, and Middle Eastern audiences saw it on television: Palestinians throw rocks. Israeli soldiers, from the slits in their outpost, shoot back. A little boy is murdered.
What is known about the rest of the day is fragmentary and additionally confusing. A report from a nearby hospital says that a dead boy was admitted on September 30, with two gun wounds to the left side of his torso. But according to the photocopy I saw, the report also says that the boy was admitted at 1:00 P.M.; the tape shows that Mohammed was shot later in the afternoon. The doctor's report also notes, without further explanation, that the dead boy had a cut down his belly about eight inches long. A boy's body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag but with his face exposed, was later carried through the streets to a burial site (the exact timing is in dispute). The face looks very much like Mohammed's in the video footage. Thousands of mourners lined the route. A BBC TV report on the funeral began, "A Palestinian boy has been martyred." Many of the major U.S. news organizations reported that the funeral was held on the evening of September 30, a few hours after the shooting. Oddly, on film the procession appears to take place in full sunlight, with shadows indicative of midday.
Fallows critique is important. He is not, in any way pro-Israel. He also refuses to believe that Mohammed al-Dura is alive. Still he carefully reviewed all the available evidence and concluded that Enderlin didn't tell the correct story.

That is what any reasonable critic should have concluded. Unfortunately many in the media simply don't care.
They would rather see their preconceived narratives confirmed rather than examining their prejudices, premises or procedsses. Yeterday's verdict was a victory for continued media malpractice.

The Algemeiner carried a brief interview with Karsenty yesterday.

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Israel's heros

Arnold and Frimet Roth received an award on Wednesday for what they've done to commemorate their daughter Malki HY"D, who was murdered in the Sbarro terror attack in 2001.
Could you take what is, without a doubt, the worst tragedy imaginable – the intentional, violent murder of your sweet little girl – and turn your grief into the impetus to help others?
That is what Frimet and Arnold Roth did after their then-15 year old daughter, Malki, was murdered in the grotesque homicide bombing of the Sbarro Pizzaria in downtown Jerusalem.  Malki Roth and 14 other innocent civilans died violent deaths on the 9th of August, 2001. Eight of the murdered were children.  A woman pregnant with her first child also died in the bombing, and 130 were wounded.
The Roths created Keren Malki (Malki Foundation) within months of the bombing.  What would so understandably have made most parents turn inwards with grief, instead, for the Roths, became a mission to create something positive that would reflect the goodness of the daughter whose future was stolen.  Malki’s little sister is severely disabled and Keren Malki, formed 12 years ago, provides a myriad of services for the benefit of children with special needs and their families.
This week the Roths were honored for the work that Keren Malki (keren is the Hebrew word for ‘foundation’) has done over the past twelve years for the benefit of children with special needs and their families. Israel’s Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs, Meir Cohen, presented the Roths with the Minister’s Shield for Volunteerism – Lifetime Achievement Award.
Read the whole thing

One can only look with awe at all they have accomplished (and I know Arnold...). May Malki be a voice for good in Heaven for her family and for the entire Jewish people, and may her family's good deeds in her memory continue to place Malki on a higher and higher plane, closer and closer to God.

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Haaretz(!): Iran is becoming a nuclear power while Israel stands alone

Haaretz's Ari Shavit worries that Israel's nightmare scenario is coming true: Iran is becoming a nuclear power and Israel is standing alone.
Via the Economist, the mainstream of the international community admitted that its campaign against Iran's nuclearization has ended in failure. And via this journal, the school that favors containing a nuclear Iran came out of the closet.

While Israel was busy with light entertainment in the form of political reality shows, The Economist informed it this week that a difficult strategic reality is taking shape around it. What the world promised would never happen is happening at this very moment. What the top ranks of Israel's defense establishment promised would never happen is in fact happening. Iran is becoming a nuclear power, while Israel (which is sunk in summer daydreams ) stands alone.

From 2009 to 2012, a vigorous debate over Iran took place here. On one side were the optimists: President Shimon Peres, then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, then-Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin, then-Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the defense establishment, the media establishment and the refreshing spirit of hoping for the best. On the other side was a gloomy, besmirched pessimist: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

America is there, said the optimists. No, it isn't, said the pessimist. There's a hidden hand, said the optimists. No, there isn't, said the pessimist. There's time, said the optimists. No, there isn't, said the pessimist. Iran's nuclear program must be stopped by the fall of 2012, the pessimist said. It's not Iran's nuclear program that's the problem, but the prime minister, the optimists said.

For three and a half years, the optimists went from one journalist to another and from one American to another and said that the pessimist is a dangerous purveyor of doom and gloom who sees molehills as mountains and doesn't understand that the world won't let Iran go nuclear. For three and a half years, the optimists tied the pessimist's hands on the basis of the threefold promise of America, the hidden hand and time.

But suddenly, this week, along comes The Economist and says that the optimists' absolute promise was a false promise. That it's too late. That the enriched uranium horses have already fled the stables. The international optimists and the Israeli optimists were wrong, big time. Surprise surprise: Benjamin Netanyahu was right.


While the optimists were misled by their illusions, the pessimist read reality correctly. While the defense establishment and the media establishment were smitten with weakness and apathy, the pessimist kept sounding alarms. But because neither the sinking West nor partying Israel paid attention to his warnings, the world has entered a new and dangerous strategic reality. Wolf? Wolf? Wolf! A strategic wolf with nuclear teeth is now at the gate.

Perhaps it's still possible to disprove The Economist's situation assessment. Perhaps an immediate, complete diplomatic and economic blockade of Iran could still cause it to suspend its nuclear program in order to preserve its regime. But anyone who wants to refute the prophecy of disaster diplomatically rather than militarily must act immediately. We're out of time. We're really out of time.

Waking up at one minute to midnight will be hard. But waking up at one minute after midnight is liable to be catastrophic.
Meir Dagan should hang by his big toes. He has done more than anyone to prevent Israel from making use of a military option. It doesn't really sound like there's a diplomatic option left.

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