Monday, June 29, 2009

Israel has rights to West Bank and settlements

Heard a Law prof last night give brilliant analysis as to why Israel has best and only legal claim to the west Bank and the "settlements" are absolutely legal in International Law. (not that law matters to the world. for more see

He said insistence of the USA for Jews to not buy houses in the West Bank violates US Law against racism. 60 years after civil rights cases decided by the US Supreme Court, the US wants to hang a "NO JEWS ALLOWED" sign up.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Daily alert

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Subscribe Via Smartphone
June 15, 2009


Daily Alert Needs Your Support


In-Depth Issues:

Lebanese PM Rules Out Veto Power for Hizbullah in Next Cabinet (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Sunday that Hizbullah's right to veto legislation would not be reinstated by the new Lebanese government. Hizbullah last year obtained the right to veto thanks to a deal that allocated them 11 of 30 cabinet seats.
"This formula was for a predetermined period which ends with the end of the mandate of the current government," Siniora said. "If a new government of national unity is formed, it will be based on partnership and not on the principle of veto."
Hizbullah and its allies have demanded that their veto power over key decisions be maintained.


Israel "Perplexed" by EU Meeting with Hizbullah (AFP)
Israel was "perplexed" by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's unprecedented meeting with Hizbullah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan on Saturday in Beirut, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Sunday.
"This meeting left us perplexed, and we dare hope that Mr. Solana took advantage of the occasion to press for a disarming of Hizbullah and for the end of the arms smuggling between Syria and Hizbullah," he said.


Carter: Etzion Settlement Bloc to Stay Part of Israel - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Sunday following a meeting with Gush Etzion council leader Shaul Goldstein, "I never imagined that Gush Etzion would be transferred to Palestinian hands."
Carter explained that the area is very close to the 1967 armistice line and will likely stay part of Israel forever.


Bill Clinton: U.S. Growing More Diverse - Christine Simmons (AP)
Former President Bill Clinton told the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee Saturday that Americans should be mindful of the nation's changing demographics.
He said the U.S. is no longer just a black-white country, nor a country that is dominated by Christians and a powerful Jewish minority, given the growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups.
Clinton told an audience of 1,000 people that it's important that they push government leaders for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He said the U.S. can't rely on its military might in global relations. "It has to begin by people accepting the fact that they can be proud of who they are without despising who someone else is," he said.


Amman March Calls on Jordan Government to Sever Israel Ties (DPA-Peninsula-Qatar)
Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated Saturday in a rally in Amman sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood, urging the government to sever ties with Israel and abrogate the peace treaty that Amman concluded with the Jewish state in 1994.
The Brotherhood's leader, Hammam Saeed, called for "breaking ties and stopping all forms of normalization with the Zionist enemy."


Poll: American Voters' Support for Both Israel and PA Declines - Haviv Rettig Gur (Jerusalem Post)
49% of U.S. voters consider themselves supporters of Israel, down from 57% in January, according to a Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research poll conducted for The Israel Project last week.
7% see themselves as supporters of the Palestinians, down from 8% in January.
Support for Israel is currently higher than the seven-year low of 38% during the August 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip or the high of 69% measured in September 2008.
Those who identified as Republicans showed the strongest support for Israel (65% to 3% for the Palestinians), followed by Independents (50% to 9%) and Democrats (38% to 9%).
57% of American voters reject requiring Israel to withdraw from the entire West Bank, while 23% support the move. Even among Democrats alone, 47% support Israel keeping some land for security purposes while 27% reject this idea.


Daily Alert Mobile Link for Blackberry and iPhone
Daily Alert is now available from your smartphone anywhere, at anytime. Add the Daily Alert link to your bookmarks now. Double-click on any headline to view the excerpt.

Key Links
Media Contacts
Back Issues
Fair Use/Privacy

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

Israel Prime Minister Calls for Demilitarized Palestinian State
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel could accept a peace agreement with a "demilitarized Palestinian state" as its neighbor. Netanyahu set conditions for moving forward. Among them: unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish national state with Jerusalem as its capital, and full demilitarization for a Palestinian state - no army, no rockets or missiles, no control of airspace. (CNN)
See also Netanyahu Backs Two-State Goal - Howard Schneider
Netanyahu's advisers said he had shown willingness to deliver a "secure peace" that allows Palestinians full self-governance - and has put the onus on the Palestinians to prove they are serious. (Washington Post)
See also below Observations: Israel's Quest for Peace - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)
Obama Welcomes Netanyahu's Speech
U.S. President Barack Obama "welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "The president is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples." "He believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel's security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu's endorsement of that goal." (Reuters)
See also EU Presidency Welcomes Netanyahu's Speech (Reuters)
See also Palestinian Officials Express Outrage over Netanyahu's Speech - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Ahmadinejad Wins Landslide Election Victory, Protests Erupt - Robert F. Worth and Nazila Fathi
Iran's Interior Ministry said Saturday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won 63% of the vote in Friday's presidential elections, with Mir Hossein Mousavi, the top challenger, taking just under 34%. In response, the streets of Tehran erupted in the most intense protests in a decade by demonstrators who claimed that Ahmadinejad had stolen the election. Mousavi, a former prime minister who had promised to reverse Ahmadinejad's hard-line policies, declared himself the winner by a wide margin Friday night and charged widespread election irregularities. However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, issued a statement congratulating Ahmadinejad and urging the other candidates to support him.
The Iranian state news agency announced that Ahmadinejad had won by a vast margin just two hours after the polls closed. The timing provoked deep suspicion because the authorities have never before announced election results until the following morning. Ahmadinejad was said to have won by large margins even in his opponents' hometowns. (New York Times)
See also Iranian Candidate Calls for Continued Protests - Thomas Erdbrink
A defiant Mir Hossein Mousavi, leading an opposition movement against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called on his supporters Sunday to continue protesting the outcome of the election. (Washington Post)
See also Hamas Welcomes Ahmadinejad Win (Al Bawaba-Jordan)
See also Hizbullah Congratulates Iran's President on Election Victory (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Sen. Lieberman Praises Obama's Cairo Speech But Questions Call for Settlement Freeze - Nicholas Johnston
Senator Joseph Lieberman said President Barack Obama's administration is off to a "very good start" and praised his address to the Muslim world while criticizing the administration's call to freeze all Israeli settlements as "risky." Obama's speech in Cairo "opened up some minds in the Muslim world," Lieberman said, even as he disagreed with the president's assertion that the construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank is a central obstacle to peace.
"The Israelis can freeze settlements altogether today and there wouldn't be peace between Israel and the Palestinians," Lieberman said. "Why? Because half of the Palestinians live under the rule of Hamas, which is a terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel." Lieberman said Obama's speech went too far in opposing Israel's "natural growth" in housing projects. "Within the existing major population centers" in areas that would stay in Israel in any two-state solution, "it's just wrong to expect them not to expand," he said. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

Congress: Lower Profile of Israel-U.S. Rift - Yitzhak Benhorin
Democratic senators and representatives have asked President Obama to "lower the profile" of tensions between the U.S. and Israel. Some senators and representatives, especially those in states with large Jewish populations, such as New York, New Jersey and Florida, are beginning to get some negative feedback from their constituencies, who feel uncomfortable with the media publications about a crisis in Israel-U.S. relations. In recent days, the White House has received a number of requests to curtail the "media fire" between Washington and Jerusalem. (Ynet News)
Palestinian Rocket Strikes Israel Saturday, Air Force Bombs Smuggling Tunnels in Retaliation
Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket into Israel on Saturday. In response, Israeli planes bombed two weapons-smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza on Sunday. In addition, an explosive device detonated on Sunday near IDF troops along the Gaza border. Some 670 Kassam rockets, mortar shells and Grad missiles have been fired at Israel since the beginning of 2009. (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Rocket Hits Ashkelon Beach on Sunday (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Netanyahu's Speech

Netanyahu Offers Obama Room to Maneuver - David Alexander
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave U.S. President Obama a narrow opening for pursuing Middle East peace on Sunday by offering a highly qualified endorsement for a demilitarized Palestinian state. "In terms of the concern that President Obama had about the need to promote a two-state solution, Netanyahu has said things now that...President Obama will be able to work with," said Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. He said a demilitarized Palestinian state was very similar to the nonmilitarized state put forward by President Clinton during negotiations toward the end of his administration.
"Netanyahu took a major stride by making clear that the issue is no longer his refusal to accept a Palestinian state but rather the very shape of the state," said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institution for Near East Policy. (Reuters)
The Unifier - Ari Shavit
Benjamin Netanyahu placed the spotlight squarely on one irreplaceable phrase: a demilitarized Palestinian state next to a Jewish State of Israel. He put on the table a clear, realistic and precise diplomatic formula that reflects the worldview of the Israeli majority. The root of the conflict is the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Jewish history, Jewish sovereignty and the Jewish people's right to a state in the Land of Israel. (Ha'aretz)
See also President Peres Praises Netanyahu's Speech (Jerusalem Post)
The Iranian Election

Tehran Is Running Scared of the Uncontrollable Forces of Freedom - Martin Fletcher
Scarcely had polling ended than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cronies in the Interior Ministry and Elections Commission declared him the winner. They gave him nearly two-thirds of the vote and claimed that the main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, lost heavily even in his own village. The crackdown began instantly. Mobile phone and text messaging systems were taken down so the opposition could not organize. Baton-wielding security forces flooded onto the streets as the regime showed how evil it is. All protests were ruthlessly suppressed. On the surface everything will gradually revert to the status quo ante, but below the surface a lot will have changed. Millions more Iranians will now seriously question the legitimacy of the regime. (Times-UK)
See also Iranian Election Outcome Complicates Obama's Plan for Talks - Farah Stockman
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election victory raised fears in Washington that President Obama's attempt to hold talks with the Iranian government will now be far more difficult. "The world just got a lot more complicated for Obama," said Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who tracks and translates Persian-language news reports. Obama has said he will try to engage Iran, regardless of the election results. Now Obama will be making his outreach to a regime that a wide swath of Iranians believe stole the election. (Boston Globe)
See also U.S. Officials to Continue to Engage Iran - Mark Landler
The Obama administration is determined to press on with efforts to engage the Iranian government, senior officials said Saturday, despite misgivings about irregularities in the re-election of President Ahmadinejad. "This is the worst result," said Thomas R. Pickering, a former undersecretary of state. "The U.S. will have to worry about being perceived as pandering to a president whose legitimacy is in question. It clearly makes the notion of providing incentives quite unappetizing." (New York Times)

Khamenei's Coup - Mehdi Khalaji
By declaring incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei conveyed a clear message to the West: Iran is digging in on its nuclear program, its support to Lebanese Hizbullah and Palestinian Hamas, and its defiant regional policies. A reformist group called the Council of Militant Clerics, led by former president Mohammad Khatami, apologized to the people for not being able to protect their votes and asked the government to overturn this result and hold new elections. In statements Sunday, two of the presidential candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, asked people to continue their "nonviolent demonstration" throughout the country and criticized the government for using violence against demonstrators.
The U.S. should respond by condemning the election and backing the Iranian people's demand for a free and fair revote under the supervision of international observers. Iranian society is watching to see how the free world reacts. The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Washington Post)
See also Israeli Assessment: Without Western Support, Anti- Ahmadinejad Protests Will Die Out - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)

Israel's Quest for Peace - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday:

Peace has always been our people's most ardent desire. Our prophets gave the world the vision of peace, we greet one another with wishes of peace, and our prayers conclude with the word "peace." I share President Obama's desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region. I turn to all Arab leaders and say: "Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace. I am ready to meet with you at any time. I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut." To our Palestinian neighbors, I say: "Let's begin negotiations immediately without preconditions."
In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict? And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland. Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles. We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza Strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children. The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up until now not stood the test of reality.
The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3,500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and Isaiah and Jeremiah lived, is the land of our forefathers. The right of the Jewish people to a state in the Land of Israel does not derive from the catastrophes that have plagued our people. There are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the State of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the State of Israel had been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred.
Within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them. In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect.
The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel. Without this condition, there is a real danger that an armed Palestinian state would emerge that would become another terrorist base against the Jewish state, such as the one in Gaza. We must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hizbullah and Iran. It is impossible to expect us to agree in advance to the principle of a Palestinian state without assurances that this state will be demilitarized.
Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths. The Palestinian refugee problem must be solved outside Israel's borders.
The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements. But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives. The settlers are not the enemies of peace. Rather, they are an integral part of our people, a principled, pioneering and Zionist public.
With a Palestinian leadership committed to peace, with the active participation of the Arab world, and the support of the United States and the international community, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a breakthrough to peace.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Friday, June 12, 2009

daily alert

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


June 12, 2009
Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

IAEA: Ahmadinejad Election Rival Launched Iran Nuclear Program - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
International Atomic Energy Agency documents revealed that Iran decided in 1987 to purchase the centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium during the tenure of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader running against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Report: Hizbullah Terrorists Caught in Azerbaijan Had Iranian Passports - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Two Hizbullah operatives arrested recently in Azerbaijan for plotting to attack the Israeli embassy were caught with Iranian passports and were working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as well as al-Qaeda, Azeri news reports have revealed.
The cell's targets also included a Jewish community center in Baku as well as the Gabala radar station in the northern part of the country which Russia leases from Azerbaijan.

PA Official: Hamas Planned to Tunnel Under PA Buildings (Maan News-PA)
Palestinian Interior Minister Sa'ed Abu Ali on Thursday revealed what he said were plans by Hamas to dig tunnels underneath security buildings in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israel Completes New Fuel Pipeline for Gaza - (Reuters)
Israel on Thursday completed its section of a new fuel and natural gas pipeline to directly supply energy to Gaza.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the pipeline could begin to operate within a week.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Man Convicted of Terrorist Support, Videotaped Potential Targets in D.C. Area - Carrie Johnson (Washington Post)
A federal judge in Atlanta on Wednesday convicted Syed Haris Ahmed, 24, a Pakistani American, of conspiring to support terrorists after he traveled to Washington to videotape possible targets and sent the footage to "jihadi brothers" overseas.
He made digital videos of the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the World Bank, and fuel tanks near Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia, which he shared with Younis Tsouli, an alleged recruiter for al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Aabid Hussein Khan, who has ties to Pakistani Islamist militant groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba.
Both men have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in British courts.

Daily Alert Mobile Link for Blackberry and iPhone
Daily Alert is now available from your smartphone anywhere, at anytime. Add the Daily Alert link to your bookmarks now. Double-click on any headline to view the excerpt.

Egypt to Publish Arabic Translations of Israeli Novels (AFP)
Egypt will publish Arabic translations of novels by Israeli writers Amos Oz and David Grossman, an Egyptian Culture Ministry official said Thursday.
"Because we can't deal directly with Israeli publishers, which would cause a scandal in Egypt and the Arab world, we decided to negotiate with European publishing houses," said Gaber Asfur, head of the ministry's center for translations.

Another Year of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism in Norway - Manfred Gerstenfeld (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
The past year witnessed significant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents in Norway. Among these were anti-Semitic television satire programs, physical attacks on a pro-Israel demonstration, death threats against Jews, and desecration of a Jewish cemetery.
The Norwegian government's attitude toward Israel is among the most negative in Europe. Some Muslim Norwegians participated in the largest riots in many years in Oslo in January 2009.
This article is a follow-up to the book Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel, and the Jews - Manfred Gerstenfeld, ed. (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)

Google Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
You can now use Google Search to explore seven years of back issues of Daily Alert - Israel News, which has been offering 100 linked excerpts each week from the mainstream world media on Israeli security and Islamic terrorism issues since May 2002.

Useful Reference:

New: Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem (Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies)

Jerusalem's Legal Status in International Law (Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies)

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.

Key Links
Media Contacts
Back Issues
Fair Use/Privacy
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

* North Korea, Iran Joined on Missile Work; Iranian Missile Threat on U.S. Seen by 2015 - Jim Wolf
Iran and North Korea are working together to develop ballistic missiles and have made significant progress, Lt.-Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, the head of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, said Thursday. They are sharing know-how on avionics, propulsion and materials. The U.S. Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center said in a new report: "Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and, with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015." (Reuters)
* Israel to Outline Conditions for Palestinian State - Eli Lake
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will accept the notion of a Palestinian state under strict conditions, Israeli officials and Americans briefed on the Israeli leader's thinking said Thursday. Mr. Netanyahu will deliver a major speech Sunday setting Israeli parameters for recognizing Palestinian sovereignty. The officials said Mr. Netanyahu will emphasize Palestinian obligations under the Roadmap - a three-phase process for negotiations initiated by the George W. Bush administration, which so far has not been followed.
The conditions he is expected to put forward include: Any Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without an air force, full-fledged army or heavy weapons. Palestinians may not sign treaties with powers hostile to Israel. A Palestinian state must allow Israeli civilian and military aircraft unfettered access to Palestinian airspace, allow Israel to retain control of the airwaves and to station Israeli troops on a future state's eastern and southern borders. (Washington Times)
* U.S. Envoy Urges Arabs to Make Peace with Israel
U.S. envoy George Mitchell called on Thursday for Arab states to make peace with Israel, after talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit in Cairo. "We are working hard to achieve our objective, a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel," Mitchell said. This includes "peace between Israel and its other immediate neighbors and full normalization of relations between Israel and all of the Arab nations as contemplated by the Arab peace initiative....We regard the Arab peace initiative as an important proposal that we are trying to integrate into our effort. Proposing the initiative was just the beginning. It brings with it responsibilities to join in taking meaningful steps and important actions that will help us move towards our objective." (AFP)
* Gazans Increasingly Frustrated with Hamas' Hard-Line Policies - Erin Cunningham
Nearly six months after the fighting with Israel, Gazans are growing increasingly restless under Hamas rule. Many privately complain that Hamas' hard-line approach with both Israel and the rival Palestinian party, Fatah, has intensified their suffering. According to a poll conducted by the West Bank-based Bir Zeit University in May, just 23% of Palestinians in Gaza would vote for Hamas in a new parliamentary election, as opposed to to 37% for Fatah. "People who voted for Hamas did not know their real policies. And if they knew the consequences of these policies, they wouldn't have voted for them," says Abu Khaled, a Gaza City shop owner. (Christian Science Monitor)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

* Mousavi Win Wouldn't Stop Iran's Nuke Drive, Israel Warns - Yaakov Katz
Senior Israeli defense officials stress that the outcome of the Iranian elections on Friday is unlikely to have any impact on Tehran's continued race toward nuclear power. If elected, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who helped lay the foundations of the country's atomic program when he was prime minister from 1981 to 1989, may succeed in "laundering" the program in a dialogue with the U.S., the officials fear. Some officials are concerned that Iran will be allowed to build and operate nuclear reactors like Japan - which has reactors but no weapons. This would put the Islamic republic a turn of the dial on the centrifuges and mere months away from an atomic bomb. (Jerusalem Post)
See also All Iran Candidates Will Bolster Hamas, Hizbullah Ties - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
* Poll: 56% of Israelis Back Settlement Construction
Nearly six of every 10 Israelis think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resist U.S. demands to completely freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements, according to a new poll released Friday by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute. 56% said Netanyahu should not consent to the American demand, as opposed to 37% who said he should. 50% said failure to comply would not provoke a crisis with the U.S., while 32% said they thought it would. Maagar Mohot also found in a separate poll that two-thirds of Israelis have little appetite for dismantling West Bank settlements. 36% oppose any evacuation as part of a final peace deal and 30% said only a small number should be dismantled. (AP/Ha'aretz)
See also Poll: 69% of Israelis Oppose Dividing Jerusalem
According to a poll carried out on 10-11 June by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute, 69% oppose, while 18% support, rescinding Israeli sovereignty over the Old City and other parts of Jerusalem. (IMRA)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

* Lebanon's Triumph, Iran's Travesty - Elliott Abrams
Should we celebrate the outcome in Lebanon and push for elections throughout the Middle East, or sourly note that Hizbullah has exactly as many guns now as it had when it was defeated at the polls on Sunday? Is the Iranian presidential election today a festival of freedom or a cover for theocracy? We should not idealize Lebanon's election, nor its politics. Most voters support only candidates from their own religious group, and the political talk is not of liberals and conservatives but of Armenians, Maronites, Druze, Shiites and Sunnis. Still, the majority of Lebanese have rejected Hizbullah's claim that it is not a terrorist group but a "national resistance."
Unfortunately, Iran's election presents the voters with no similar opportunity. The candidates have been carefully screened to exclude anyone opposed to the ruling clerical establishment; each is part of the Islamic Revolution's old guard. Voting in Iran is a contrivance for settling certain policy disputes and personal rivalries within the ruling elite.
The failed presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005 reminds us that the power of a putative reformist is illusory. The Khatami years saw increased repression inside Iran, growing support for Hizbullah and Palestinian terrorist groups, and the covert construction of the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. A victory by Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is more likely to change Western policy toward Iran than to change Iran's own conduct. The writer, who was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (New York Times)
* Obama's Resolve on Mideast Facing a Blunt Reality - Richard Boudreaux
"We have a 'yes we can' president who believes he can make it happen, but he faces a 'no you can't' reality in a region that has changed for the worst over the past eight years," said Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. Middle East negotiator. The Palestinian movement is in disarray, with the U.S.-backed leadership in the West Bank at odds with militant Hamas rulers in Gaza. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, traditional leaders of the Arab world, are ruled by wavering octogenarians who are hesitant to step in as peacemakers. Meanwhile, Iran's Islamist allies, Hamas and Hizbullah, have boosted their arsenals with logistical help from Syria and pose a lingering threat to Israel, giving Iran the power to sabotage any Israeli-Palestinian accord.
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition took office ten weeks ago on a wave of voter apprehension that withdrawing Israeli troops and settlers would turn the West Bank into a base for militant rocket attacks, as the 2005 pullout did in Gaza. Meanwhile, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas appears to have no strategy to reassert control over Gaza, and is so hamstrung by infighting in his own Fatah movement that he's scarcely able to govern the West Bank. His weakness helps explain Netanyahu's reluctance to negotiate with him on the core issues of a peace accord. "It's really hard to imagine how you get Abbas and Netanyahu into a negotiation that leads to a conflict-ending agreement," said Miller. "Why inflate expectations in such a grandiose manner when the odds of a breakthrough are so low?" (Los Angeles Times)
* Trust Is Not Enough - Saul Singer
President Barack Obama's Cairo speech embodied the paradox of the modern age: the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world is also the most idealistic. "Why can't we all just get along?" Americans want to know. Would it were true that the world is suffering from a vast misunderstanding.
The danger is that moderate Arab leaders will take Obama's speech to mean 1) the pressure is off on us to liberalize and 2) we're on our own because Iran is going nuclear. The Arab people will similarly conclude that America is retreating and will not stand with them against their sclerotic governments or the spread of Islamism. The only way Obama will convince them otherwise is if he shows that the U.S. will put muscle behind its vision. (
* A Tall Order for Saudi Arabia? - Michael J. Totten
The New York Times inadvertently highlights how much more intransigent than Israel most Arab states are. President Obama went to Saudi Arabia where he presented a wish-list from the U.S. and Israeli governments for a few symbolic tourist visas, meetings between Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts, and the opening of a Saudi interests office in Tel Aviv. "These would be a tall order for the Arab kingdom," the Times says. Good grief. The Obama administration expects Israelis to stop building houses in Jewish neighborhoods in suburban Jerusalem that they never intend to abandon, yet the Saudis won't even talk to Israelis or let a few Jews visit the beach.
Israel isn't a threat to Saudi Arabia. The idea that Saudi Arabia "can't" have diplomatic relations with Israel until the Palestinian question is resolved has become mainstream, even axiomatic, but it's nonsense. Egypt and Jordan are Arabic countries, yet they both signed peace treaties years ago. There is no iron law of geopolitics that requires Saudi Arabia to remain in a state of cold war with Israel. The only reason the Saudis don't have normal relations with Israel is because they prefer hostile relations. Israelis will not have peace until Palestinians pitch their pig-headed rejectionism over the side. Arabs, including the Saudis, can opt out of that ridiculous conflict whenever they feel like it. (Commentary)
* What Would Come After a Settlement Freeze? - Mitchell Bard
Should Jewish communities be uprooted from the West Bank? If so, this endorses the Palestinian idea that Jews should not be allowed to live in the state of Palestine. Does President Obama want to endorse the idea that Jews can live anywhere in the world except in the country America helped create? Must Israel dismantle cities such as Ma'ale Adumim with a population comparable to Annapolis, Md.? Most Israelis believe the settlement blocs should be incorporated into Israel.
The Israelis have fought three wars in the last nine years during which more than 1,000 of their people were killed. They continue to face terrorist threats and rocket bombardments. Does the Obama administration expect them to accept the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank with the capability of launching rockets into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, or targeting commercial jets at Ben-Gurion Airport? Finally, will pressuring Israel change the attitude of the Arabs to abandon six decades of hostility? Will the radical Islamists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah suddenly accept a Jewish state in the Muslim heartland? (JTA)
* Israeli Settlements - R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
In his Cairo speech, Mr. Obama emphasized his government's sudden opposition to Jewish settlements on the West Bank, although some of those settlements are crucial to Israeli security. Heretofore, our government understood that in any peace treaty with the Palestinians, Israel was expected to keep some of these settlements. It was a matter of national security for a nation that faces war daily.
The Israelis began giving up real estate to the Palestinians 16 years ago in the Oslo Accords. The gesture has gotten them no thanks and no closer to peace. The West Bank shows no development and remains incompetently governed and a source of poverty and radicalism. Gaza is a nightmare, abounding with tunnels for smuggling weaponry and launching guerrilla attacks, including rocket attacks into Israel. Israel has already given up real estate to the Palestinians. It is now time for the Palestinians to govern their real estate peacefully. The Egyptians live in peace with Israel. The Palestinians can, too. All they need to do is put down their arms and accept Israel as a neighbor. (Washington Times)
* It's Boycott Time Again - David Newman
Once again, the UK University and College Union passed a motion condemning Israel at its annual convention. Once again it recommended boycotting Israeli universities. Once again, this will have negligible impact on academic links between the two countries. Those who have scientific links with their UK counterparts all reported that these had not been affected in any way. As the representative of Israel's universities in the UK for the past two years, I have met countless senior British academics. Regardless of whether, as individuals, they like or dislike Israel, they are interested in developing strong research links with top scientists and scholars throughout the world - many of whom come from Israeli universities. Ironically, the scientific links between the two countries have strengthened in the past few years. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
* The Exodus Obama Forgot to Mention - Andre Aciman
For all the president's talk of "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," he never said a word about me or, for that matter, about any of the other 800,000 Jews born in the Middle East who fled the Arab and Muslim world or who were summarily expelled for being Jewish in the 20th century. With all his references to Islam's (questionable) "proud tradition of tolerance" of other faiths, he never said anything about those Jews whose ancestors had been living in Arab lands long before the advent of Islam but were its first victims once rampant nationalism swept over the Arab world.
He failed to remind the Egyptians in his audience that until 50 years ago a strong and vibrant Jewish community thrived in their midst. Or that many of Egypt's finest hospitals and other institutions were founded and financed by Jews. In Alexandria, my birthplace and my home, all streets bearing Jewish names have been renamed. The writer, a professor of comparative literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center, is the author of the memoir Out of Egypt. (New York Times)


Needed: An Affirmation of Israel's Historical Right to Exist - Judea Pearl (Wall Street Journal)

* In theory, Mr. Obama's speech in Cairo affirmed everything Israelis have ever hoped for. Peaceful coexistence and mutual acceptance with its Arab neighbors has been the ultimate dream of the Zionist movement since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The peace offers that Ehud Barak made to Yasser Arafat in 2000 and that Ehud Olmert made to Mahmoud Abbas in 2009 prove that the idea of a two-state utopia is still firmly lodged in the psyche of most Israelis.
* Palestinians view Israeli settlement construction as the litmus test for Israel's intentions vis-a-vis a future Palestinian state. Israelis view Palestinian textbooks, TV programs and mosque sermons to be the litmus test of Palestinian intentions. A society that teaches its youngsters to negate its neighbor's legitimacy, so the argument goes, cannot be serious about respecting a peace accord as permanent.
* Mr. Obama's speech had crisp and stern words to say about Israeli settlements, but hardly a word about Palestinian denial and incitement. The president said, "It is time for these settlements to stop." But the hoped-for reciprocal sentence - "It is time for Palestinian incitement to stop" - was conspicuously absent. In Israel, even the harshest opponent of the settlement movement would not support the emergence of a sovereign neighbor, rocket range away, that is unwilling to invest in education for a lasting peace.
* Secondly, Mr. Obama's rationale for Israel's legitimacy began with the Holocaust, not with the birthplace of Jewish history. "The aspiration for a Jewish homeland," he said, "is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied." Who else defines Israel's legitimacy that way? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does. Iran sees Israel as a foreign entity to the region, hastily created to sooth European guilt over the Holocaust. Israelis consider this distortion of history to be an assault on the core of their identity as a nation.
* An affirmation of "Israel's historical right to exist," based on a 2,000-year continuous quest to rebuild a national homeland, is what the region needs to hear from Mr. Obama. The magic words "historical right" have the capacity to change the entire equation in the Middle East. They convey a genuine commitment to permanence, and can therefore invigorate the peace process with the openness and goodwill that it has been lacking thus far.

The writer, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Why Israelis did not like Obama's speech

A friend asked me to explain why people in Israel, including seasoned peace activists, felt less than buoyant about Barack Obama's speech in Cairo last week.

In theory, Mr. Obama's speech has affirmed everything Israelis have ever hoped for. Peaceful coexistence and mutual acceptance with its Arab neighbors has been the ultimate dream of the Zionist movement since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. So, why not embrace a major U.S. presidential speech that calls for concrete steps to advance that dream?

My friend reminded me of the outburst of joy that seized the Jewish world on Nov. 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted to partition the Biblical land into a Jewish and an Arab state of roughly equal size. There was hardly a dissenting voice then among Israelis. Half a century later, the peace offers that Ehud Barak made to Yasser Arafat in 2000 and that Ehud Olmert made to Abu Mazen in 2009 prove that the idea of a two-state utopia is still firmly lodged in the psyche of most Israelis. Why then weren't Israelis ecstatic over Mr. Obama's speech?

There are two main reasons.

The first stems from crossed signals that are blocking the resumption of peace talks. Palestinians view Israeli settlement construction as the litmus test for Israel's intentions vis-à-vis a future Palestinian state. Israelis view Palestinian textbooks, TV programs and mosque sermons to be the litmus test of Palestinian intentions. A society that teaches its youngsters to negate its neighbor's legitimacy, so the argument goes, cannot be serious about respecting a peace accord as permanent.

Mr. Obama's speech, keenly recognizing the importance of emitting trust-building signals to break the stalemate, had crisp and stern words to say about Israeli settlements but hardly a word about Palestinian denial and incitement. "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," the president said. "It is time for these settlements to stop."

The hoped-for reciprocal sentence -- "It is time for Palestinian incitements to stop" -- was conspicuously absent. Commentaries on Israeli TV noted disappointedly that not a single demand was addressed to the Palestinian Authority.

This has left many Israelis wondering if the Obama administration is aware of the fierce, subterranean "battle of intentions" that has prevented the peace process from moving forward. In Israel, even the harshest opponent of the settlement movement would not support the emergence of a sovereign neighbor, rocket range away, that is unwilling to invest in education for a lasting peace.

A call for a simultaneous freeze on both Israeli settlements and Palestinian incitement, clad in timetables and monitoring methods, would have invited both sides to an equal honesty test. That test could help jump start the "new beginning" that Mr. Obama called for.

Secondly, Mr. Obama's rationale for Israel's legitimacy began with the Holocaust, not with the birthplace of Jewish history. "The aspiration for a Jewish homeland," he said, "is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied." Who else defines Israel's legitimacy that way? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does. Iran sees Israel as a foreign entity to the region, hastily created to sooth European guilt over the Holocaust. Israelis consider this distortion of history to be an assault on the core of their identity as a nation.

An affirmation of "Israel's historical right to exist," based on a 2,000-year continuous quest to rebuild a national homeland, is what the region needs to hear from Mr. Obama. The magic words "historical right" have the capacity to change the entire equation in the Middle East. They convey a genuine commitment to permanence, and can therefore invigorate the peace process with the openness and goodwill that it has been lacking thus far.

I hope that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a policy speech this Sunday, makes historic recognition an axiomatic part of any peace agreement, and that Mr. Obama backs him up. This would turn Mr. Obama's speech in Cairo into a huge leap forward in the quest for peace and understanding in the region.

Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obma and Islam

> Brigitte Gabriel - Letter to President Obama.
> Dear Mr. President,
> You face difficult challenges in matters such as achieving peace in the
> Middle East and protecting America from the threat of radical Islam and
> terrorism. These are challenges that have vexed past presidents, going as
> far back as our second president, John Adams. I have no doubt you
> appreciate
> both the gravity of these challenges and the enormous obstacles that exist
> to solving them.
> I also have no doubt that you and your staff understood that, no matter
> what
> you said in your speech last Thursday in Cairo, there would be those who
> would take issue with you. That is always the case when attempting to
> solve
> problems that are as deep and emotionally-laden as these challenges are.
> I am assuming it is your sincere hope that the approach you have chosen to
> take, as evidenced by what I'm sure was a carefully crafted speech, will
> ultimately prove successful. However, it pains me to say this sir, but,
> while you said in your speech that you are a "student of history," it is
> abundantly clear that, in these matters, you do not know history and thus,
> as Santayana noted, you are doomed to repeat it. In doing so your efforts,
> however well-intentioned they may be, will not produce what you profess to
> hope they will produce.
> A wise man once said that if you start with the wrong assumptions, no
> matter
> how logical your reasoning is, you will end up with the wrong conclusion.
> With all due respect Mr. President, you are starting with certain
> assumptions that are unsupported by history and an objective study of the
> ideology of political Islam.
> You began in your speech by asserting that "tensions" exist between the
> United States and Muslims around the world, which, of course, is correct.
> Unfortunately, you then proceeded, incorrectly, to lay virtually all the
> blame for these tensions at the feet of America and the West. You blamed
> western colonialism, the Cold War, and even modernity and globalism.
> A student of American history, who is not trying to reconstruct it to fit
> a
> modern politically correct narrative, would state that tensions between
> America and Muslims began with the unprovoked, four-decades long assault
> by
> the Muslim Barbary pirates against American shipping in the late 18th and
> early 19th centuries. I find it telling that you mentioned the Treaty of
> Tripoli in your speech but ignored the circumstances that led to it. That
> treaty was but one of numerous attempts by the United States to achieve
> peace with the jihadists of the Barbary Coast who were attacking our
> shipping and killing and enslaving our citizens and our soldiers and who
> by
> their own admission were doing so to fulfill the call to jihad.
> These jihadists were not acting to protest American foreign policy, which
> was decidedly isolationist, and there was no state of Israel to scapegoat.
> They were doing what countless Islamic jihadists have done throughout
> history, acting upon the hundreds of passages in the Qur'an and the Hadith
> that call upon faithful Muslims to kill, conquer or subjugate the infidel.
> A student of world history would know that, for all the acknowledged evils
> of Western colonialism, these evils pale in comparison to the nearly 14
> centuries of Islamic colonialism that began in Arabia under the leadership
> of Mohammed. The student of history would know that Islamic forces
> eradicated all Jewish and Christian presence from Arabia after Mohammed's
> death, and then succeeded in conquering all of North Africa, most of the
> Middle East, much of Asia Minor, and significant portions of Europe and
> India, eventually creating an empire larger than Rome's was at its peak.
> The number of dead and enslaved during these many centuries of Islamic
> imperial conquest and colonialism have been estimated to total more than
> 300
> million. What's more, the wealth of many of the conquered nations and
> cultures was plundered by the Islamic conquerors, and millions of
> non-Muslims who did survive were forced to pay onerous taxes, such as the
> "jizya," a humiliation tax to the Islamic caliphs. Indeed, in some areas
> Christians and Jews were made to wear a receipt for the jizya around their
> neck as a mark of their dishonor.
> These facts have not been invented by Christian or Jewish historical
> revisionists, but were chronicled by Muslim eyewitnesses throughout the
> past
> 14 centuries and are available to be researched by any person seeking an
> objective understanding of how Islam spread throughout the world.
> You say in your speech that we must squarely face the tensions that exist
> between America and the Muslim world. That is a laudable notion with which
> I
> agree, but by casting Islam as the historical victim and the West (and by
> implication, America) as the aggressor, you do not face these tensions
> squarely, but alleviate the Muslim world from coming to grips with the
> jihadist ideology embedded in its holy books and acted upon for 1,400
> years.
> Even worse, you empower and embolden militant Islamists who regard your
> gestures as signs of weakness and capitulation.
> The issue is not that all Muslims are terrorists or radicals or
> extremists.
> We all know that the majority of Muslims are not. We also know that many
> peace-loving Muslims are victims of Islamist violence.
> The issue is this: what drives hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide
> to
> call for the death of Jews?
> What drives millions of Muslims to riot, destroy property, and take
> innocent
> lives in reaction to the Danish cartoons?
> What drives tens of thousands of Muslims to demand the execution of a
> British teacher whose only "crime" was allowing her students to name their
> teddy bears "Mohammed"?
> What drives countless Muslims worldwide to actively participate in, or
> fund,
> or provide nurture to terrorist organizations?
> What drives Muslims in mosques in America to proclaim and distribute
> materials that call for hatred of and the destruction of infidels?
> What drives entire Islamic countries to prohibit the building of a church
> or
> synagogue?
> To assume, as you apparently do, that what drives these actions is not an
> ideology embedded in the holy books of Islam, but rather other "root
> causes," most of which you lay at the feet of America and the West, is at
> best naïve and at worst dangerous.
> Lastly, I must address your statement that "Islam has a proud tradition of
> tolerance." Unfortunately, the examples you gave are the exception rather
> than the rule.
> Historically speaking, I seriously doubt the Egyptian Copts, the Lebanese
> Maronites, the Christians in Bethlehem, the Assyrians, the Hindus, the
> Jews,
> and many others who have been persecuted by Islamic violence and
> supremacism, would agree with your assertion.
> For instance, Christians and Jews became "Dhimmis," a second class group
> under Islam. Dhimmis were forced to wear distinctive clothing; it was
> Baghdad's Caliph Al-Mutawakkil, in the ninth century, who designated a
> yellow badge for Jews under Islam, which Hitler copied and duplicated in
> Nazi Germany nearly a thousand years later.
> I witnessed first-hand the "tolerance" of Islam when Islamists ravaged my
> country of birth, Lebanon, in the 1970's, leaving widespread death and
> destruction in their wake. I saw how they re-paid the tolerance that
> Lebanese Christians extended toward them. My experience is not an isolated
> one. When you make an unfounded assertion about the "proud tradition" of
> tolerance in Islam, you do a great disservice to the hundreds of millions
> of
> non-Muslims who have been killed, maimed, enslaved, conquered, subjugated
> or
> displaced in the cause of Islamic jihad.
> Mr. President, those of us like me who are ringing the alarm in America
> about the threat of radical Islam would like nothing better than to
> peacefully co-exist with the Muslim world.
> Most Americans would like nothing better than to peacefully co-exist with
> the Muslim world. The obstacle to achieving this does not lie with us in
> America and the West. It lies with the hundreds of millions of Muslims
> worldwide, including many of their spiritual leaders, who take seriously
> the
> repeated calls to jihad in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Who regard
> "infidels"
> as inferior and worthy of conquering, subjugating and forcibly converting.
> Who support "cultural jihad" as a means to subvert non-Muslim societies
> from
> within. Who take seriously the admonitions throughout the Qur'an and the
> Hadith to convert the world to Islam by force if necessary and bring it
> under the rule of Allah.
> Unless you are willing to courageously and honestly accept this, your
> aspirations for worldwide comity and peace in the Middle East are doomed
> to
> fail.
> Sincerely,
> Brigitte Gabriel

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Daily alert

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Subscribe Via Smartphone
DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
June 10, 2009


Daily Alert Needs Your Support


In-Depth Issues:

Barak: U.S. Arms May Reach Hizbullah - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Tuesday: "We don't like the supply of American weapons to Lebanon's army over recent months, as well as the [further ones] planned; these arms are likely to reach Hizbullah's hands."


Does Gen. Petraeus Really Believe Hizbullah Exists Only Because of the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute? - Nicholas Guariglia (Pajamas Media)
I consider Gen. David Petraeus to be among the best military leaders in American history. Yet the Arabic-language al-Hayat recently quoted him as saying, "Hizbullah's justifications for existence will become void if the Palestinian cause is resolved."
Hizbullah is an Iranian-backed, Iranian-financed, Iranian-armed jihadist organization that was created by the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s and sent to Lebanon to kill and intimidate those who oppose theocracy and fascism.
Hizbullah terrorists have killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world, save al-Qaeda. They have conducted attacks on innocents and civilian targets in the Middle East, in Latin America, in Asia; they have bases all over the world.
To suggest Hizbullah's primary motivations are minimalist and nationalist is baloney. The rationale for Hezbollah's existence is to overtake and ransack Lebanon and make it a satrapy state for Iran, to Islamize the secular Lebanese polity, to kill Westerners wherever and whenever possible, and to strive for the end of Israel's existence.


Hamas Steals Donated Medical Equipment, Converts Ambulances to Military Vehicles - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch/IMRA)
The Palestinian Health Ministry stated that during the Gaza war, Hamas militias raided 46 ambulances donated by Arab states, removed the medical equipment that they contained, and used them as military vehicles to arrest civilians, after painting the ambulances black, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on May 20.


Israel Developing Battlefield Robot Snake (AP/Jerusalem Post)
A six-foot long robotsnake with a camera and microphone in its head is the IDF's latest battlefield weapon, according to a Channel 2 TV report broadcast Monday.
The channel showed video of the snake twisting into caves, tunnels, cracks and buildings, broadcasting pictures and sound back to a soldier controlling it with a laptop computer.


Useful Reference:

Report: Israel's Efforts in Supporting the Palestinian Economy, Security Reforms and Civil Affairs (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
This report provides an overview of Israeli measures to help develop Palestinian capacity during 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 in three main fields: economy, security, and civil cooperation.

Key Links
Media Contacts
Back Issues
Fair Use/Privacy

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

Gates: U.S. Increasingly Concerned about Iranian Threat
The U.S. is increasingly concerned about recent advances in Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday. "Our concern about the nature of the Iran problem has continued to rise as they continue to make further progress in enriching uranium," Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee, "and also as they have enjoyed some success in their missile field." "Our concern with Iran, with Iran's programs - and I believe I can say also Israel's - has continued to grow, given the unwillingness of the Iranians to slow, stop or even indicate a willingness to talk about their programs," Gates said. (AFP)
Obama Architect on Iran Seeking Engagement with Pressure - Glenn Kessler
As one of the main architects of the Obama administration's Iran policy, diplomatic troubleshooter Dennis Ross is crafting a way to reach out to Iran to persuade its leaders to abandon any plan to develop nuclear weapons. President Obama says this effort will have to show results by the end of the year. If engagement fails, Ross probably will have to shift course and help devise a blunt-force strategy to accomplish the same goal.
In a new book, Ross and co-author David Makovsky lay out the elements of a strategy for approaching Iran. Myths, Illusions and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East recommends the establishment of a "direct, secret back channel" with Iran's leaders before any public talks commence, thus allowing for both sides to have a "thorough discussion and to see whether there is a common agenda that can be constructed." The book argues for a "hybrid approach," in which the U.S. seeks to talk to Iran but keeps up the pressure with aggressive enforcement of existing sanctions. (Washington Post)
Lebanon Leader Rules Out Independent Peace Track with Israel
Saad Hariri, head of the "March 14" coalition which retained its control over Lebanon's government in elections this week, ruled out an independent peace track with Israel, sticking by his previous assessment that Lebanon will be the last country to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state. "We will follow after the Arab initiative," he said. "You see, the Arab initiative includes many countries for the peace process, and Lebanon will come as we see fit." (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

Mitchell: U.S. Won't Yield on Demand for Settlement Freeze - Barak Ravid
The U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, reiterated on Tuesday in Jerusalem that the Obama administration adamantly insists on a freeze of construction in all Israeli settlements in the West Bank. However, Mitchell assured Israel that Washington would remain its close ally despite differences over West Bank settlements. "We come here to talk not as adversaries and in disagreement, but as friends in discussion," he said. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel Tells Mitchell It Won't Halt Natural Growth in Settlements - Herb Keinon
U.S. envoy George Mitchell was told that Israel would not bring all settlement construction to a complete halt, even though this continues to be the U.S. position. (Jerusalem Post)
See also U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements - Dore Gold (ICA-JCPA)
Lebanon Election Results Make No Difference for Israel - Eyal Zisser
For Israel, the Lebanese election results make no difference. Hizbullah will continue to do whatever it wishes in Lebanon, particularly in respect to building its military force. The fact that Lebanon was ruled by a pro-Western government headed by Fouad Siniora did not prevent Hizbullah from embarking on a war with Israel in July 2006, and did not stop the group from arming itself in the wake of the war with an arsenal of nearly 50,000 missiles, which cover most of Israel's territory. The challenges to be faced by Israel in the near future would therefore be to convince Western governments, headed by the U.S., not to rush to hug the Lebanese government while ignoring the "Hizbullah state." The writer heads the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ynet News)
See also Frustrated Hizbullah More Dangerous in Wake of Election Defeat - Ron Ben-Yishai
The statements made by Hizbullah leaders, who said they will accept the voters' decision, do not delude anyone. It is reasonable to assume that Hizbullah will try to prove to Lebanon's citizens that they made a mistake when they prevented it from sinking its teeth into a bigger share of the government pie. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Clarity for the Deniers - Michael Gerson
In Obama's Cairo speech he drew one vivid line. Holocaust denial, he said, is "baseless," "ignorant" and "hateful." He talked about the "evil" of genocide, repudiated "lies about our history" and challenged Iranian President Ahmadinejad to visit Buchenwald. Obama's intensity and clarity on this issue were unexpected - and needed. Holocaust denial has long been a staple of Middle Eastern anti-Semitism. The political purpose of Middle Eastern Holocaust denial is to delegitimize the State of Israel. Since Israel, in this view, was created by the West out of Holocaust guilt, disproving the Holocaust removes the reason for Israel's existence.
Yet this conception of Israel's history is itself a distortion. Zionism existed well before the European genocide. The ties between Jews and the Land of Israel reach back for millennia. Israel does not exist merely because of Holocaust guilt. It exists because of its own tenacity, sense of purpose and national success. (Washington Post)
Iran's Potemkin Election - Con Coughlin
After suffering three decades of international isolation and unremitting Islamic revolution, millions of pro-democracy voters in Iran were supposed to have the opportunity in this Friday's presidential election to express their disenchantment with religious dictatorship. It is not to be. The guardians of Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution will remain deeply entrenched.
For the past two elections to the Iranian parliament, the Revolutionary Guards have carefully vetted all the candidates to ensure only those with the right revolutionary credentials are allowed to stand. Now the regime has employed the same tactic ahead of the presidential election: Of the original 475 applicants, only four candidates have survived the cull. All of them have revolutionary credentials beyond reproach. The writer is the executive foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph in London and the author of Khomeini's Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam (Ecco, 2009). (Wall Street Journal)
Iran Must Be Held Accountable - Irwin Cotler and Alan Dershowitz
Former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has introduced the Iran Accountability Act (IAA) in the Canadian parliament to hold Iran to account for its genocidal threats, nuclear ambitions, and domestic repressions. The IAA seeks to divest Canada from investment in Iran. It establishes a mechanism to monitor incitement to hate in Iran, and would render the most virulent inciters inadmissible to Canada. It freezes the assets of those that contribute to Iran's nuclear or military infrastructure - as well as its machinery of hate. It uses the framework of the international community to bring Iran to justice through recognized principles of international law. And, similar to a recent American legislative proposal, it targets Iran's dependence on imported petroleum - so long as the incitement continues. (National Post-Canada)

Strategic Challenges in a Changing Middle East - Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Moshe Yaalon (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon told the Washington Institute on Tuesday:

The media frames the Iranian issue as if a combination of a sincere dialogue and non-military sanctions will peacefully persuade the Iranians to give up their military nuclear program. This mistaken assumption is based primarily on wishful thinking. The media approaches this issue with the assumption that Iran is a rational actor, very much like Western states.
The alternative view suggests that the Iranians have a completely different agenda and set of motivating factors. For example, many key Iranian players, in particular the Mullahs, consider the destruction of Israel as just a step on the way to changing the entire world order. The Iranians want to bring about this change, and they have many allies who share their desire to bring down American-led global liberalization. The goal of such an alliance is not just the conquest of Israel, but the entire Western world as well. Furthermore, the Iranians view the West's reluctance to use force against them as a lack of will and proof that Iran is moving in the right direction.
In the reaction in the Arab world to President Obama's reconciliation speech last week, the audience was very receptive and supportive to those words they considered a move towards them, but very cold at any mention of the need to give up the use of violence or to accept Israel's right to exist. The pragmatists show no intention to adopt this advice, but expect the administration to follow up on its demands from Israel.
The main reason for the pragmatists' animosity has very little to do with the reality of the way they are treated by the Americans or the Israelis, and much more with their being persuaded by the radical's propaganda which portrays all shortcomings of Muslim society as the outcome of a Western plot against them. Thus, it is counterproductive for the West to make more and more concessions and to continue to express regret and contrition, since this "mea culpa" attitude just plays into the hands of the radicals and strengthens their claim about the plot. In the West, we expect that concessions and apologies will lead to reciprocal moves on their part. In the Middle East, it just strengthens their convictions of victimhood and their resolve to restore their honor.
The combination of the strengthening of the radicals and progress on the Iranian nuclear project are the main threat to Israeli and American security and other interests. As long as the radicals feel that they are marching towards victory, we cannot afford to show signs of weakness. That will only make our job harder.
The Palestinians do not accept that "the two-state solution" refers to two states for two peoples. In their view, one state should be the Palestinian state and the national identity of the other state should remain undefined, so that in the future it can become a Palestinian state as well. This means that there's an asymmetry between the Israeli recognition of the Palestinian demand for self-determination and the Palestinian recognition of the existence of Israel. A solution cannot be realized before the Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state.
See also Yaalon: U.S. Push for "Instant Peace" Will Fail - Yitzhak Benhorin
An American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within two years may lead to the establishment of "Hamastan in the West Bank," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday. (Ynet News)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dore Gold on Settlements

Subject: Dore Gold on Settlements

Jerusalem Issue Brief

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 9, No. 2 9 June 2009

U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements

Dore Gold

a.. The Obama administration's tough, confrontational rhetoric on Israeli settlements raises a number of specific questions: Were Israeli settlements a violation of international law? Were Israeli settlements a violation of agreements and an obstacle to further progress in any future peace talks? Did the administration envision Israel withdrawing completely to the 1967 lines or did it accept the idea that Israel would retain part of the territories for defensible borders?
b.. Many observers are surprised to learn that settlement activity was not defined as a violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords or their subsequent implementation agreements. If the U.S. is now seeking to constrain Israeli settlement activity, it is essentially trying to obtain additional Israeli concessions that were not formally required according to Israel's legal obligations under the Oslo Accords.
c.. President Bush's deputy national security advisor, Elliot Abrams, wrote in the Washington Post on April 8, 2009, that the U.S. and Israel negotiated specific guidelines for settlement activity, whereby "settlement activity is not diminishing the territory of a future Palestinian entity." If the U.S. is concerned that Israel might diminish the territory that the Palestinians will receive in the future, then the Obama team could continue with the quiet guidelines followed by the Bush administration and the Sharon government.
d.. Given the fact that the amount of territory taken up by the built-up areas of all the settlements in the West Bank is estimated to be 1.7 percent of the territory, the marginal increase in territory that might be affected by natural growth is infinitesimal. Moreover, since Israel unilaterally withdrew 9,000 Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the argument that a settler presence will undermine a future territorial compromise has lost much of its previous force.
e.. The U.S. and Israel need to reach a new understanding on the settlements question. Legally and diplomatically, settlements do not represent a problem that can possibly justify putting at risk the U.S.-Israel relationship. It might be that the present tension in U.S.-Israeli relations is not over settlements, but rather over the extent of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank that the Obama administration envisions.
f.. Disturbingly, on June 1, 2009, the State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, refused to answer repeated questions about whether the Obama administration viewed itself as legally bound by the April 2004 Bush letter to Sharon on defensible borders and settlement blocs. It would be better to obtain earlier clarification of that point, rather than having both countries expend their energies over an issue that may not be the real underlying source of their dispute.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bizarre anti Israel left

Daily alert

f Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Subscribe Via Smartphone
June 8, 2009


Daily Alert Needs Your Support


In-Depth Issues:

Mitchell: Obama Wants "Immediate" Mideast Talks (Reuters)
President Obama wants "immediate" talks between the Palestinians and Israel to forge a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement, U.S. envoy George Mitchell said on Monday.
"The President has told me to exert all efforts to create the circumstance when the parties can begin immediate discussions," Mitchell said at the start of a Palestinian donors' conference in Oslo.


Obama Seeks Global Uranium Fuel Bank - Bryan Bender (Boston Globe)
As part of a new strategy to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, President Obama plans to seek the creation of an international supply of uranium that would allow nations to obtain fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but limit the capacity to make bombs, according to senior administration officials.
Many arms-control specialists consider the idea of a "fuel bank" controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency a key way to test the sincerity of Iranian leaders, who maintain that their enrichment program is only for civilian use.
The idea is to have a relatively small, but guaranteed supply of low-enriched uranium available as a backup should a country's supplies of civilian nuclear fuel from other nations be cut off.


Israel Lifts More Checkpoints after Obama Speech (Reuters)
Israel lifted restrictions at two checkpoints in the West Bank on Friday, the army said, after President Obama urged Israel to take concrete steps to improve the lives of Palestinians.
The announcement came two days after Israel said it had ended inspections of Palestinian cars at two other roadblocks close to the city of Ramallah.


Obama Postpones U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem (AFP/Ynet News)
President Obama delayed for six months moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the White House said on Friday.
Ever since Congress passed a law in 1995 ordering the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, U.S. presidents have routinely delayed the move.
The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.


Hamas Arrests 76 Fatah Members in Gaza (Maan News-PA)
Hamas security forces in Gaza on Saturday detained 76 Fatah members and others loyal to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported Sunday.
The sweep comes after nine Palestinians were killed in two gunfights last week between Hamas fighters and PA forces in Kalkilya in the West Bank.

Key Links
Media Contacts
Back Issues
Fair Use/Privacy

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

Pro-Western Bloc Defeats Hizbullah in Lebanese Election - Nicholas Blanford
The Western-backed March 14 bloc appeared to have retained its parliamentary majority in Lebanon's closely fought election in the face of a strong challenge by the Hizbullah-led opposition, according to preliminary results. Lebanese television predicted that March 14 had won 70 seats in the 128-seat parliament. "We've lost the election," a source close to the opposition told Reuters. "We accept the result as the will of the people." (Times-UK)
See also Israel Calls on Next Lebanese Government to Stop Arms to Hizbullah (DPA)
IAEA: Iran Nuclear Program Advancing, Uranium Found in Damascus Lab - Borzou Daragahi
Iran has significantly boosted its supply and output of reactor-grade nuclear material, according to a quarterly report issued Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's arms control division. The report says Iran has increased its supply of low-enriched uranium during the last three months by 30%, to nearly 3,000 pounds, and is now feeding uranium gas into about 5,000 high-speed centrifuges, up 25% since February. It also has an additional 2,000 centrifuges spinning in preparation for being fed uranium gas to turn into nuclear material.
Meanwhile, in Syria, international inspectors reported finding unexplained particles of modified uranium at a lab in Damascus. The particles "are of a type not included in Syria's declared inventory of nuclear material," the report says. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Israel Calls for Action to Block Iran Nuclear Weapons, IAEA Should Investigate Syria
The report on Iran again contains serious findings of increased uranium enrichment in Iran, in violation of Security Council resolutions, as well as other activities that could be connected to a military nuclear program. The report also emphasizes the IAEA's inability to carry out full and effective monitoring in Iran due to that country's continued lack of cooperation. These findings demonstrate that the international community, no more than Israel, cannot place its trust in IAEA monitoring in Iran. Accordingly, what is needed from the international community is immediate and determined action to ensure that Iran will not be able to produce nuclear weapons.
Regarding Syria, the report details many suspicious findings as well as Syria's unresponsiveness to the Agency's demand to visit the various sites and to provide answers to disturbing issues. The Agency should condemn Syria for hiding the facts pertaining to secret nuclear activity at Dir a-Zur in eastern Syria. The IAEA Director General should use all the means at his disposal to investigate Syria. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Obama Visits Buchenwald, Calls for Arab States to Open Ties with Israel - Chris Bryant and Tobias Buck
President Obama Friday called on Arab states to show willingness to set up diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel in return for "tough commitments" from the Jewish state, ahead of a poignant visit to the former Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. "I will not forget about what I have seen here," the president said, referring to the ovens, barracks and barbed wire. "To this day there are those who insist that the Holocaust never happened, a denial of fact and truth that is baseless and ignorant and hateful." Obama told NBC News that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, should also visit the camp. "I have no patience for people who would deny history." (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

Palestinians Attack IDF Forces near Gaza Border - Hanan Greenberg
A Palestinian force numbering at least 10 gunmen approached the Gaza border with Israel near the Karni fuel terminal close to Nahal Oz early Monday morning and shot at IDF troops, who responded with fire. At least four of the gunmen were hit. Mortar fire was launched from Palestinian territory in order to help the terror cell escape, and several vehicles arrived at the scene to evacuate the gunmen. An IDF helicopter struck the vehicles. The gunmen were apparently planning to launch a major attack against the military forces or an Israeli community in the region. (Ynet News)
See also Four Palestinian Terrorists Killed in Gaza Border Battle - Sakher Abu El Oun
At least four Palestinian militants were killed on Monday in a gunbattle with Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border. The bodies of all four had explosives belts around them and two of the bodies were torn to shreds by explosions, medics said after retrieving the remains. At least another 12 Palestinians were wounded in the fighting. (AFP)
Netanyahu to Present Israel's Vision for Peace - Roni Sofer
Prime Minister Netanyahu will lay out his political stance on peace with the Palestinians in a speech at Bar-Ilan University next week in response to President Obama's address in Egypt last week, officials close to the prime minister said on Sunday. "The prime minister is adamant to make clear to Israelis and to the world that Israel is not against peace, and that it is willing to adopt the principles of Obama's vision while maintaining Israel's security interests," the sources said. (Ynet News)
Israel Proposes Joint U.S.-Israeli Team Monitor Settlements - Roni Sofer
A senior Israeli official said on Saturday night that Israel will continue to build in the larger settlement blocs, in communities adjacent to the security fence and in the neighborhoods on Jerusalem's outskirts. Another official sought to stress that Israel was "willing to work towards a solution, one that culminates in the creation of a Palestinian state with limited authorities" pertaining to security issues. Israel has offered the Americans to form a joint body that would be tasked with overseeing construction in the settlements to ensure that the building does not go beyond the existing limits of any given community, and that no new settlements are being built. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Obama in Cairo: Actually, the Arab World Needs to Reach Out - Editorial
Respect is a two-way street. If they want respect, Muslim states must seek active ways to improve relations with the U.S. We would like to see fewer anti-American harangues in official media and firebrand sermons in state-controlled mosques. Respect for Islam would be much more palatable if the Muslim world decriminalized conversion to other faiths and allowed true religious freedom, as Muslims enjoy in America.
With respect to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, many Muslim leaders seem to expect progress to come through the United States pressuring Israel unilaterally to surrender to Arab demands. But they, not U.S. officials, will play the decisive role in settling the matter, since they are the countries refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist (excepting Egypt and Jordan). A good first step would be to end the Arab League boycott of Israel, which will also help develop the Palestinian economy. Muslim governments can make gestures such as granting civilian overflight rights, establishing postal and telecommunications ties and promoting regional travel. Israel has shown a desire to do all these things, so the ball is in the Muslim world's court. (Washington Times)
Settlements Are No Threat - Aron U. Raskas
As one looks out from Rimonim, a Jewish settlement in the heart of the West Bank, the most telling fact is what one does not see. Over the miles of rolling hills, there is not an Arab village, building, home or even a herd of sheep to be seen. The scene is the same at other Jewish settlements as well. Palestinian propaganda has for years purveyed the myth of Israeli settlements choking Palestinian communities the way residential developments have encroached upon rural America. Yet, in reality, nothing like this exists in the largely unsettled expanses of the West Bank.
Even the group Peace Now concedes that Israeli settlements - mostly bedroom communities of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv - occupy less than 3% of the West Bank. More than 98% of Palestinians already live under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and there is no shortage of land there for Palestinian expansion. (Baltimore Sun)

Compromise Is Achievable on Settlements - Editorial (Washington Post)

In the weeks before President Obama's Cairo address to the Muslim world, his administration opened a striking public breach with the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
What Mr. Netanyahu almost certainly will not do is abandon the position of previous Israeli governments - accepted in practice by both the Bush and Clinton administrations - that some "natural growth" must be allowed in existing settlements. No Israeli government - not Mr. Netanyahu's, not even one led by the current opposition - is likely to agree to a total construction ban.
By insisting on one, the administration risks bogging itself down in a major dispute with its ally, while giving Arab governments and Palestinians a ready excuse not to make their own concessions.
Meanwhile, the practical need for a total settlement freeze is debatable. Palestinian negotiators have already conceded that many of the towns will be annexed to Israel in any final deal; so did former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
A good compromise is achievable. Then Mr. Obama can turn to the equally important task of pressing Palestinian leaders and Arab states for measures that match Israel's actions.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert

the Settlements

Opinion » Op-Ed Contributors » Article

Jun 7, 2009 22:35 | Updated Jun 8, 2009 10:14
The settlements canard
Print Subscribe
E-mail Toolbar
+ Recommend:

What's this?

Talkbacks for this article: 29
Article's topics: Barack Obama, Settlements, Palestinians, Hillary Clinton

Obama the Humble declares there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told Al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating." An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone - Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity.

Ma'aleh Adumim
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimksi
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions." What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them - not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that.

The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns - even before negotiations.

To what end? Over the last decade, the US government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements - and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.

Editorial: Why Obama is wrong on Israel and the Shoah
That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why turn towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?

This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the last decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 - and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.

Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations.

The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. It's farcical to suggest that the peace process is moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren - when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode - waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave - before he'll do anything to advance peace.

IN HIS MUCH-HERALDED "Muslim world" address in Cairo Thursday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations - Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1947, Yasser Arafat in 2000, Abbas in December 2008 - rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.

In the 16 years since the Oslo Accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders - Fatah and Hamas alike - built no schools, no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, no institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.

Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.

Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter.

Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.

- The Washington Post Writers Group


Friday, June 5, 2009

Caroline Glick on Obama

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The End of America’s Strategic Alliance with Israel? [Caroline Glick]

From an Israeli perspective, Pres. Barack Obama’s speech today in Cairo was deeply disturbing. Both rhetorically and programmatically, Obama’s speech was a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel.

Rhetorically, Obama’s sugar coated the pathologies of the Islamic world — from the tyranny that characterizes its regimes, to the misogyny, xenophobia, Jew hatred, and general intolerance that characterizes its societies. In so doing he made clear that his idea of pressing the restart button with the Islamic world involves erasing the moral distinctions between the Islamic world and the free world.

In contrast, Obama’s perverse characterization of Israel — of the sources of its legitimacy and of its behavior — made clear that he shares the Arab world’s view that there is something basically illegitimate about the Jewish state.

In 1922 the League of Nations mandated Great Britain to facilitate the reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan River. The international community’s decision to work towards the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in Israel owed to its recognition of the Jewish people’s legal, historic, and moral rights to our homeland.

Arab propaganda finds this basic and fundamental truth inconvenient. So for the past 60 years, the Arabs have been advancing the fiction that Israel’s existence owes solely to European guilt over the Holocaust. As far as the Arabs are concerned, the Jews have no legal, historic, or moral right to what the Arabs see as Islamic land.

In his address, while Obama admonished the Arabs for their pervasive Jew hatred and Holocaust denial, he effectively accepted and legitimized their view that Israel owes its existence to the Holocaust when he said, “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied,” and then went on to talk about the Holocaust.

Just as abominably, Obama compared Israel to Southern slave owners and Palestinians to black slaves in the antebellum south. He used the Arab euphemism “resistance” to discuss Palestinian terrorism, and generally ignored the fact that every Palestinian political faction is also a terrorist organization.

In addition to his morally outrageous characterization of Israel and factually inaccurate account of its foundations, Obama struck out at the Jewish state through the two policies he outlined in his address. His first policy involves coercing Israel into barring all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank), and Jerusalem.

Obama claims that this policy will increase prospects for peace. But this is untrue. As Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas made clear in his Washington Post interview last week, Obama’s trenchant campaign against Jewish construction in these areas has convinced the Palestinians they have no reason to be flexible in their positions towards Israel. Indeed, Obama’s assault on Israeli construction and his unsubstantiated, bigoted claim that the presence of Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem impedes progress towards peace ensures that there will be no agreement whatsoever between Israel and the Palestinians.

After all, why would the Palestinians make a deal with Israel when they know that Obama will blame Israel for the absence of a peace agreement?

Even more strategically devastating than his castigation of Israel as the villain in the Arab-Israel conflict is Obama’s stated policy towards Iran. In Cairo, Obama offered Iran nuclear energy in exchange for its nuclear-weapons program. This offer has been on the table since 2003 and has been repeatedly rejected by the Iranians. Indeed, they rejected it yet again last week.

Obama must know that his policy will not lead to the hoped for change in Iran’s behavior. And since he must know this, the only rational explanation for his decision to adopt a policy he knows will fail is that he is comfortable with the idea of Iran becoming a nuclear power. And this is something that Israel cannot abide by.

The only silver lining for Israelis from the president’s speech in Cairo and his general positions on the Middle East is that Obama has overplayed his hand. Far from bending to his will, a large majority of Israelis perceives Obama as a hostile force and has rallied in support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against the administration. This public support gives Netanyahu the maneuver room he needs to take the actions that Israel needs to take to defend against the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran and to assert its national rights and to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists and other Arab and non-Arab anti-Semites who wish it ill.

— Caroline B. Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Center for Security Policy and the senior contributing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

06/04 06:06 PMShare