Monday, December 27, 2010

How is Israel supposed to make peace with them?

Hamas Commander: Israel Will Cease to Exist - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas' military wing, said in a statement issued Saturday that the Palestinians will not give up their struggle until Israel ceases to exist.
"You will disappear and we will have Palestine," Deif said in a direct message to Israel.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pro Israel forces blocked the Seattle anti-Israel bus ad campaign

How about these ads? I'd like to see these on busses

Palestine-another terrorist state
Palestinians train kindergardners to use machine guns
Palestinians shoot missiles from schools and hospitals
Palestinians aim missiles at schools and hospitals
Coming to a your neighborhood-another extremist Wahabbi mosque
Palestine-where Arabs can be terrorized and brutalized
Palestine-another Arab state where Christians will be terrorized

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PA considers all Israel Palestine

3 PA TV shows present Israeli places
Tiberias, Rosh Hanikra and all of Israel as "Palestine"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Contrary to the repeated statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to foreign leaders that the PA recognizes Israel, the PA internally in Arabic continues to deny Israel's existence and to present a world without Israel.

The PA transmits the message to its people that it does not recognize Israel's existence, describing all Israeli land, cities and regions as "Palestinian." Palestinian TV is one tool among many used by the PA to disseminate this message.

In three recent programs on PA TV, which is owned by the PA and operated under the auspices of Mahmoud Abbas's office, Palestinians were presented with a world without Israel, which is the most explicit non-recognition:

1. The Israeli city of Tiberias was said to be "in northern Palestine, close to the Palestinian-Jordanian-Syrian border."
- "Palestine" could not share a border with Syria unless Israel did not exist. Tiberias is in northern Israel and not "northern Palestine."

2. The coast of "Palestine" was said in an educational program to be 224 km. long, reaching Rosh Hanikra in northern Israel.
- The coast of "Palestine" could not be 224 km. long unless there were no Israel, since the coast of the Gaza Strip is only 40 km. long.

3. "Palestine is big - 27,000 sq. km.," said PA TV host.
- The area of "Palestine" could not be 27,000 sq. km. unless Israel were to disappear, since the West Bank and Gaza together are only about 6,000 sq. km.

The following are the transcripts and context of the statements defining Israel as "Palestine":
1. Host: "In Palestine there are very beautiful historical sites and cultural and natural sites... The city of Tiberias is one such area, where history, nature and water come together."
Reporter: "The city of Tiberias is in northern Palestine, close to the Palestinian-Jordanian-Syrian border

stop the Seattle anti Israel ads

Despite continuing terrorist policies and refusal to negotiate in good faith with Israel, the supporters of the Palestinians want to take out ad space on Seattle buses to condemn Israel. Here are ways to help.

Thank you for your continued action and interest in the important events unfolding in Seattle. A lot is happening, especially on the political and media front! In red are suggested actions you can take – as you will see below, your efforts are making a difference. Thank you to all of you who submitted the information, and who took the actions, summarized here. Please continue to send me your ideas and updates, and I’ll compile and distribute. (If you did not receive the first batch, it’s appended below. And if you have had enough of this and want to drop off the list, just say so, no offense taken….)

Political Action
· According to King 5, Metro is “scrambling to reassess its advertising policies” in the wake of your protests and the outpouring of indignation and concern. YAY!!! Your indignant calls and emails are having an effect on Metro. And KIRO Radio reports that “A spokeswoman for Metro Transit says the county has received about 600 comments since plans for the proposed bus ad became known.” WOW – that’s grassroots activism at its finest. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Dow Constantine as saying, “These provocative ads bring in a negligible amount of revenue, but cost hundreds of hours staff time to address the intended controversy – time that is better spent providing bus service.” Constantine has asked Metro to review and update their policy regarding controversial or potentially inflammatory ads – if that’s done quickly enough, it may kill this campaign, if not for moral or political reasons, maybe only due to financial considerations for Metro. So….
· Keep the pressure on Metro, by calling their Customer Assistance Office (206-553-3060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-553-3060 end_of_the_skype_highlighting), emailing, or submitting the form at I’m told that email and online comments can take a while to make their way through the Metro system, so phone calls are best.
· Please also keep the pressure on the King County management: County Executive Dow Constantine ( and the County Council members (listed at This is having an effect! King Councilmember, Bob Ferguson from District 1, wrote to a supporter, “I have travelled to Israel and am sensitive to the issues raised in your e-mail. I have received a great deal of feedback on this issue. This morning, I contacted Kevin Desmond, General Manager of King County Metro Transit, and Executive Dow Constantine to express my concerns. Executive Constantine has stated that Metro will be reviewing their policies regarding ads on buses.”
· King County Council President Pete von Reichbauer wrote to County Executive Dow Constantine (12/20), “I am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and a strong believer of common sense. And I believe very strongly that dangerous language can create dangerous environments in a society. I believe that this proposed bus advertising needs to be reviewed and reevaluated.” Von Reichbauer specifically mentioned the July 2006 murder at the Jewish Federation as an example of how anti-Israel rhetoric can provoke anti-Semitic hate crime. His letter was reported by King 5 and KIRO Radio (links above).
· You can also contact Linda Thielke, Transit Spokesperson for Metro at 206-684-1151 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-684-1151 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Press & Blog Coverage
· The original King 5 story is still generating a lot of traffic. Last night at 10pm there were over 16,000 votes posted, running very slightly in our favor (“No” votes). By today (1pm) that number has more than doubled, and 65% have voted “Yes,” so the “other side” is also effectively campaigning for this. Please continue to vote and forward the link to this poll, asking others to vote “No”:
· King 5 ran a follow-up piece about the community outrage,
· KIRO Radio has a similar story: You can add comments to the KIRO story.
· Dori Monson had Ed Mast on his show on KIRO 97.3 FM today. Barbara Lahav of Seattle J Street called in and did a fabulous job stating the community concerns, rebutting Mast, and avoiding the trap Monson tried to set for her to call for censorship of the offending ads. Rob Jacobs (StandWithUs Northwest) is scheduled to be on the show at 2:15pm Pacific Time today. You can listen to it live here: andpossibly call in. (I couldn’t find an MP3 archive of the show; let me know if you know of one.)
· Seattle Times: “Metro's acceptance of 'Israeli war crimes' bus ad draws complaints,” is also accepting comments.
· The Seattle P-I piece mentioned above:
· Word has reached Israel – this is clearly not a local issue only: is open for your comments.
· See also blog postings:
o David Brumer, 'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Seattle Metro buses: That's Right: Not Hamas War Crimes, but Israeli
o Judy Balint in Jerusalem, Anti-Israel Signs on Seattle Buses
o Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugged, Jew-Hatred Bus Ads Run in Seattle
o Elder of Zion, An answer to the anti-Israel Seattle bus ads
· Family Security Matters has a long and detailed exposé by Adrian Morgan on the people behind the campaign and its funding, in Seattle and elsewhere. Fascinating reading if you really want a deep dive:

Organizations Statements
· The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle statement to the media and supporters can be found at Federation has also created an online form petition – personal notes are always taken more seriously, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to write, you can add your name to the form letter here:
· The Seattle Chapter of the American Jewish Committee has also issued a statement titled “An AJC Analysis of Planned Metro Bus Ads.” I haven’t found this online but have it in email and am happy to forward to anyone who’d like to see it.

Pro-Israel Ads
· A number of people have proposed running a pro-Israel (or even anti-Arab) ad campaign, either to educate and promote an alternative message or simply to challenge Metro’s policies regarding what ads they will accept. A few of you creative types have even gone as far as designing actual ads. StandWithUs (and possibly other organizations) is considering this and open to your ideas. Send them my way & I’ll compile and share as appropriate.

Other updates
· Another Facebook group has been formed, “Stop The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign”, currently with over 450 members. If you’re a Facebook member, join it at
· Continue to mobilize Israel supporters, distribution lists, Facebook and Twitter friends…. Feel free to forward this message and let people know they can contact me ( to be added directly to future updates.
· An out-of-town activist proposed some “passive resistance,” such as sit-ins in front of buses with the ads so they can't leave station, or continuous calling to Metro’s lines to jam them. Once again, we do not condone or promote any illegal or disruptive behavior!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


ADL Highlights Top 10 Issues Affecting Jews in 2010

New York, NY, December 20, 2010 … The Obama Administration's efforts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, the drumbeat of Israel delegitimization, the stubborn potency of global anti-Semitism, Iran's unyielding march toward nuclear weapons, and the fallout from the Gaza flotilla affair were among the top issues affecting Jews in 2010, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) annual list.

"For much of the year there was a glimmer of hope that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would finally get off the ground, and yet our hopes diminished with each passing week as the parties failed to reach a consensus and the settlements issue became a major excuse for the Palestinians," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Meanwhile, the unrelenting global assault against Israel's legitimacy continued apace, with calls for divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state and efforts to undermine Israel's credibility in international forums and at the United Nations."

"The threat of terrorism once again hit close to home, with authorities thwarting multiple plots to detonate bombs on U.S. soil," added Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. "While Jewish communities around the world largely remained safe and secure, anti-Semitism continued to be a concern, as did the threat of an attack motivated by Islamic fundamentalism."


* Mideast Peace Process Drags On
* Despite Stronger Sanctions, Iran Defiant
* Anti-Semitism Still A Potent Force
* Israel Delegitimization Continued Apace
* Jews Targeted for Terror
* Midterm Elections Shake Up Washington
* Human Rights Scorecard Mixed
* Flotilla Affair Sparks Backlash
* Catholic-Jewish Relations Tested
* Bullies & Anti-Semites Proliferate Online

Monday, December 20, 2010

Muslims support Bin Laden

a new poll shows that 130 million Muslims are sympathetic to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden , and that is from just 7 Muslim majority countries.

Friday, December 17, 2010

China behind the worm?

Stuxnet’s Finnish-Chinese Connection
Dec. 14 2010 - 8:07 am | 29,508 views | 1 recommendation | 15 comments
Posted by Jeffrey Carr
Chinese flag

I recently wrote a white paper entitled “Dragons, Tigers, Pearls, and Yellowcake” in which I proposed four alternative scenarios for the Stuxnet worm other than the commonly held assumption that it was Israel or the U.S. targeting Iran’s Bushehr or Natanz facilities. During the course of my research for that paper, I uncovered a connection between two of the key players in the Stuxnet drama: Vacon, the Finnish manufacturer of one of two frequency converter drives targeted by this malware; and RealTek, who’s digital certificate was stolen and used to smooth the way for the worm to be loaded onto a Windows host without raising any alarms. A third important piece of the puzzle, which I’ll discuss later in this article, directly connects a Chinese antivirus company which writes their own viruses with the Stuxnet worm.

Most people who have followed the Stuxnet investigation know that the international headquarters for Vacon is in Finland, but surprisingly, Finland isn’t where Vacon’s frequency converter drives are manufactured. Vacon’s manufacturing plant is actually located in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) under the name Vacon Suzhou Drives Co. Ltd., located at 11A, Suchun Industrial Square 428# Xinglong Street, SIP Suzhou 215126 China.

Vacon isn’t the only company involved with Stuxnet that has a Chinese connection. The first genuine digital certificate used by Stuxnet developers was from RealTek Semiconductor Corp., a Taiwanese company which has a subsidiary in (of all places) Suzhou under the name Realsil Microelectronics, Inc. (450 Shenhu Road, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou 215021 Jiangsu Province, China).

The question, of course, is what, if anything, does this say about China’s possible role as the source of the Stuxnet worm. There are scenarios under which China would benefit such as the rare-earths scenario that I presented in my white paper, however there’s a lack of data on mining failures that can be attributed to Stuxnet. The closest that anyone has come to identifying compromised operations is at Natanz however their centrifuge failures go back several years according to this February, 2010 report by ISIS, while the earliest Stuxnet sample seen by Symantec’s researchers was June, 2009 and that’s before it had signed driver files or exploited the remote code execution vulnerability that appeared in January, 2010 and March, 2010 respectively. Natanz may very well have been the target of an earlier cyber attack, or even multiple attacks, which had nothing to do with Stuxnet.

Does China Benefit By Attacking Natanz?

In 2008, China decided to assist the IAEA inspectors after it learned that Iran was in possession of blueprints to shape uranium metal into warheads, according to this article in The Telegraph. That same article discloses that Chinese designs for centrifuges were discovered in Iran, supplied via Pakistan’s AQ Khan.

On April 13, 2010, Beijing reiterated its opposition to Iran’s goal to develop nuclear weapons capabilities while stating that sanctions against Iran would be counter-productive. In other words, the PRC wanted to support its third largest supplier of oil (after Saudi Arabia and Angola) while at the same time seeking ways to get Iran to stop its uranium fuel enrichment program. What better way to accomplish that goal than by covertly creating a virus that will sabotage Natanz’ centrifuges in a way that simulates mechanical failure while overtly supporting the Iranian government by opposing sanctions pushed by the U.S. It’s both simple and elegant. Even if the worm was discovered before it accomplished its mission, who would blame China, Iran’s strongest ally, when the most obvious culprits would be Israel and the U.S.?

Reviewing The Evidence

China has an intimate knowledge of Iran’s centrifuges since, according to one source quoted above, they’re of Chinese design.

China has better access than any other country to manufacturing plans for the Vacon frequency converter drive made by Vacon’s Suzhou facility and specifically targeted by the Stuxnet worm (along with an Iranian company’s drive). Furthermore, in March 2010, China’s Customs ministry started an audit at Vacon’s Suzhou facility and took two employees into custody thereby providing further access to Vacon’s manufacturing specifications under cover of an active investigation.

China has better access than any other country to RealTek’s digital certificates through it’s Realsil office in Suzhou and, secondarily, to JMicron’s office in Taiwan.

China has direct access to Windows source code, which would explain how a malware team could create 4 key zero day vulnerabilities for Windows when most hackers find it challenging to develop even one.

There were no instances of Stuxnet infections in the PRC until very late which never made sense to me, particularly when Siemens software is pervasive throughout China’s power installations. Then, almost as an after-thought and over three months from the time the virus was first discovered, Chinese media reported one million infections, and here’s where the evidence becomes really interesting.

That report originated with a Chinese antivirus company called Rising International, who we now know colluded with an official in Beijing’s Public Security Bureau to make announcements encouraging Chinese citizens to download AV software from Rising International (RI) to fight a new virus that RI had secretly created in its own lab. Considering this new information, RI’s Stuxnet announcement sounds more like a CYA strategy from the worm’s originators than anything else.

In Summary

The conventional wisdom on which nation state was responsible for the Stuxnet worm has relentlessly pointed the finger at Israel or the United States almost from day one of the worm’s discovery. No other scenarios were discussed or even considered with the exception of my own conjecture about India’s INSAT-4b satellite failure and Britain’s Heysham 1 nuclear plant shutdown, and then my white paper proposing 4 additional alternative scenarios; all of which were my way of trying (and failing) to expand the discussion beyond Israel and Iran. The appeal of a U.S. or Israeli cyber attack against first Bushehr, then Natanz, was just too good to pass up even though there was no hard evidence and very slim circumstantial evidence to support a case for either country. The best that Ralph Langner, CEO of Langner Communications (and the leading evangelist for this scenario) could point to was an obscure Hebrew word for Myrtus and a biblical reference for a date found in the malware that pertained to Persia; both of which could have been explained in a half dozen alternate ways having nothing to do with either Israel or the U.S.

As far as China goes, I’ve identified 5 distinct ties to Stuxnet that are unique to China as well as provided a rationale for the attack which fits China’s unique role as Iran’s ally and customer, while opposing Iran’s fuel enrichment plans. There’s still a distinct lack of information on any other facilities that suffered damage, and no good explanations for why there was such massive collateral damage across dozens of countries if only one or two facilities in one nation state were the targets however based solely on the known facts, I consider China to be the most likely candidate for Stuxnet’s origin.

How can anyone seriously suggest the Palestinians will ever seek peace

Last Friday, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority's chief peace negotiator with Israel published an op-ed in Britain's Guardian newspaper in which he declared eternal war on the Jewish state. This he did by asserting that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that does not permit the immigration of some 7 million foreign Arabs to Israel will be "completely untenable."
So as far as the supposedly moderate chief Palestinian negotiator is concerned, a peace deal in which Israel cedes Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the Israeli Left desires will not be sufficient for the Palestinians. Unless Israel also agrees to commit national suicide by accepting 7 million foreign Arabs as citizens, the Palestinians will continue to wage their war. So with or without a Palestinian state, as long as Israel exists, the Palestinians will continue to seek its destruction

40% of Palestinians live in Gaza, 60% in the West Bank. The leader of Hamas in Gaza does not accept PA authority, and makes plain that it will never accept the existence of any state of Israel, regardless of whether a Palestinian state is established

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Palestinians don't want peace

The Palestinians Are the Real Obstacle to Peace - Moshe Ya'alon
Unfortunately, what stands between the Palestinians and eventual statehood is their insincerity when it comes to real peace. Israel has repeatedly proposed the independence that the Palestinians ostensibly desire. But instead of concluding a deal with Israel, they have demonstrated a total unwillingness to compromise, often favoring terrorism. Is it any wonder Israelis find it ever more difficult to trust the Palestinians?
We do not yet have two states for two peoples because the Palestinians refuse to accept that there even exists a Jewish nation that lays legitimate claim to its land. They reject the entire premise of a state for the Jewish people - not only beyond the pre-1967 lines but even within the 1948 boundaries.
Israel remains committed to the cause of peace. We have no desire to govern the affairs of another people. But our acceptance of a viable Palestinian state awaits a similar Palestinian acceptance of the rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, recently wrote that such a step would require a modification of the Palestinian narrative. He's absolutely right. Until this happens, there can be no chance for peace. Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff, is Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. (Foreign Policy)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

some good news

Stuxnet Worm Still Out of Control at Iran's Nuclear Sites, Experts Say
By Ed Barnes
Published December 09, 2010
Print Email Share Comments (418) Text Size

Iran International Photo Agency, via AFP
Aug 21: The first fuel is loaded into the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.
EXCLUSIVE: Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the United States and Europe say.
The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran's two nuclear sites.
The Stuxnet worm, named after initials found in its code, is the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created. Examination of the worm shows it was a cybermissile designed to penetrate advanced security systems. It was equipped with a warhead that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing center in Natanz, and it had a second warhead that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.
Stuxnet was designed to take over the control systems and evade detection, and it apparently was very successful. Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran's nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled.
The second part of that claim, experts say, doesn’t ring true.

Eric Byres, a computer expert who has studied the worm, said his site was hit with a surge in traffic from Iran, meaning that efforts to get the two nuclear plants to function normally have failed. The web traffic, he says, shows Iran still hasn’t come to grips with the complexity of the malware that appears to be still infecting the systems at both Bashehr and Natanz.
“The effort has been stunning," Byres said. "Two years ago American users on my site outnumbered Iranians by 100 to 1. Today we are close to a majority of Iranian users.”

Read more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians-they are after you too

n the wake of a series of attacks in Baghdad and Mosul, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled abroad or to the relative safety of the Kurdish north. More Photos »
Published: December 12, 2010 NYT

* QOSH, Iraq — A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.
Some fleeing Christians are finding sanctuary in Qosh.
The flight — involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular — followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus, which is not the first, highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqis despite improved security over all and the near-resolution of the political impasse that gripped the country after elections in March.

It threatens to reduce further what Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East called “a community whose roots were in Iraq even before Christ.”

Those who fled the latest violence — many of them in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars — warned that the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq. Several evoked the mass departure of Iraq’s Jews after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
“It’s exactly what happened to the Jews,” said Nassir Sharhoom, 47, who fled last month to the Kurdish capital, Erbil, with his family from Dora, a once mixed neighborhood in Baghdad. “They want us all to go.”

Iraq’s leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, have pledged to tighten security and appealed for tolerance for minority faiths in what is an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

“The Christian is an Iraqi,” he said after visiting those wounded in the siege of the church, Our Lady of Salvation, the worst single act of violence against Christians since 2003. “He is the son of Iraq and from the depths of a civilization that we are proud of.”

For those who fled, though, such pronouncements have been met with growing skepticism. The daily threats, the uncertainty and palpable terror many face have overwhelmed even the pleas of Christian leaders not to abandon their historic place in a diverse Iraq.

“Their faith in God is strong,” said the Rev. Gabriele Tooma, who heads the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, part of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Qosh, which opened its monastic rooms to 25 families in recent weeks. “It is their faith in the government that has weakened.”

Christians, of course, are not the only victims of the bloodshed that has swept Iraq for more than seven and a half years; Sunni and Shiite Arabs have died on a far greater scale. Only two days after the attack on the church, a dozen bombs tore through Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 68 people and wounding hundreds.

The Christians and other smaller minority groups here, however, have been explicitly made targets and have emigrated in disproportionate numbers. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, these groups account for 20 percent of the Iraqis who have gone abroad, while they were only 3 percent of the country’s prewar population.

More than half of Iraq’s Christian community, estimated to number 800,000 to 1.4 million before the American-led invasion in 2003, have already left the country.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an iteration of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, claimed responsibility for the suicidal siege and said its fighters would kill Christians “wherever they can reach them.”

What followed last month were dozens of shootings and bombings in Baghdad and Mosul, the two cities outside of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. At least a dozen more Christians died, eight of them in Mosul.

Three generations of the Gorgiz family — 15 in all — fled their homes there on the morning of Nov. 23 as the killings spread. Crowded into a single room at the monastery in Qosh, they described living in a state of virtual siege, afraid to wear crosses on the streets, afraid to work or even leave their houses in the end.

The night before they left, Diana Gorgiz, 35, said she heard voices and then screams; someone had set fire to the garden of a neighbor’s house. The Iraqi Army arrived and stayed until morning, only to tell them they were not safe there anymore. The Gorgizes took it as a warning — and an indication of complicity, tacit or otherwise, by Iraq’s security forces. “When the army comes and says, ‘We cannot protect you,’ ” Ms. Gorgiz said, “what else can you believe?”

There is no exact accounting of those who have fled internally or abroad. The United Nations has registered more than 1,100 families. A steady flow of Christians to Turkey spiked in November to 243, an official there said.

The Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq offered itself as a haven and pledged to help refugees with housing and jobs. Many of those who fled are wealthy enough to afford rents in Iraqi Kurdistan; others have moved in with relatives; the worst off have ended up at the monastery here and another nearby, St. Matthew’s, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world.

* 1
* 2

Next Page »

Yasmine Mousa contributed reporting from Erbil, Iraq, and Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul.

Obama's obsession with settlements proven and dumb

Richard Baehr writes
the mainstream media has been completely silent about one significant revelation from the Wikileaks release- that the Administrations' approach to linkage in the Middle East has had it completely backwards- dealing with the Iranian nuclear program, and their aggressive interference in many areas in the region, was on the minds of all area leaders. That should have been the focus of U.S policy. Instead the Obama team chose to make Israeli West Bank settlements the issue arguing the following:
1. Israel needs to completely halt all "settlement construction" beyond the green line.
2. With that step, the Palestinians and Israelis will meet for fruitful negotiations, and solve all their problems
3. The Arab states will then back the U.S in getting tougher sanctions against Iran.
4. Iran will abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Of course, as for #2, there has been almost no progress in 63 years, but hey, time is not really a factor when we are discussing the Iranian nuclear program, is it? As for sanctions, do they appear to have done the job (#4)? My conclusion is that the two year obsession with settlements reflects something more than a "strategy" for dealing with Iran. Put quite simply, the Obama administration has an obsession with settlements.
Barry Rubin on the same subject:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Israel news

A Three-State Solution? - Chuck Freilich
Israel's preeminent demand has been for an "end to conflict", i.e., to be able to live in security, without further demands, once an agreement has been reached. Hamas, however, will do everything it can to derail an agreement, including attacks on Israel and attempts to delegitimize and topple the PA. If Gaza is not part of the agreement, the conflict will not end.
Talks were to initially focus on the supposedly easier issue of territory which, if resolved, would inherently resolve the settlement issue. In reality, territory is one of the difficult issues. Under the 2000 "Clinton parameters," Arafat rejected an offer of 98-99% of the West Bank. In 2007 Abbas, the purported pragmatist, rejected Olmert's offer of 100% (including a 3.5% land swap). Is there reason to believe that anything has changed?
Rightly or not, the U.S. is perceived in the Arab world today as weak, preoccupied with its domestic problems, lacking in the determination and resources necessary to address the major issues facing the region, such as Iran and Iraq, let alone the intractable peace process. Major progress is unlikely as long as this perception persists. Rather than an imminent two-state-solution, the reality is that a de-facto three-state solution is evolving (Israel, West Bank and Gaza). The ongoing focus on settlements obscures the truth, that until the PA becomes a functioning, united entity, a final breakthrough is not feasible. The writer is a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School. (Huffington Post)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Richard Baehr-incompentancy of Obama

2. The same cartoon characters who explained "the quantitative easing" (QE2), have now taken but two minutes to display what the latest releases from Wikileaks make pretty evident- that the attempt to link an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank, to garnering Arab support for pressure on Iran to cease its nuclear program was utterly unnecessary. It turns out that the Arabs were as gung ho as anyone for a U.S or Israeli attack on Iran. This suggests two possibilities- the Obama foreign policy team is incompetent and stupid (a real possibility despite the plethora of advanced degrees obtained from fancy schools) , or that the obsession over Israeli settlements, reflected something different- namely, an obsession over Israeli settlements. That obsession has forced the PA to be even more unwilling than normal to participate in substantive talks with Israel, and hardened their positions on pretty much all issues. After all, the Palestinians can not appear be more pro-Israel than the American are. So what is the explanation for the Obama obsession? I think it is not that hard to explain. Barack Obama was two years removed from the Illinois State Senate, when he decided to run for President. In other words, we are witnessing the amateur hour. But the problem goes deeper. As Ed Lasky explored in many articles on American Thinker in 2007 and 2008,. Barack Obama is a product of having spent most his entire adult life as a community organizer, os studying, teaching or living amidst the academic left in a series of elite schools. Hostility to Israel is a litmus test for professional success, and acceptance in these environs. His buddies in Chicago were radicals on the Middle East- - Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, Ali Abunimah. At heart, Obama is a redistributionist. Whether within the U.S or abroad, he seeks to take from those he perceives as rich and powerful , and provide to those he perceives as poor and weak. In the Middle East, he sees the conflict as Israel, the strong, versus the Palestinians , the weak. His world view ignores that Israel is trying to survive against the efforts and contempt of 21 Arab states and 56 Islamic nations, and the United Nations, and misguided anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic "progressives" all over the western world.
The two minute video:
A longer explanation from David Horovitz:
The Pentagon papers of the Jewish right
Editor's Notes: Exposed by WikiLeaks


Obama, we now know, had the diplomatic cables to prove that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was no obstacle to wide Arab backing for the toughest possible measures against Iran.

After the first meeting between newish President Barack Obama and new Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in May of 2009, I wrote in these pages about the “acutely uncomfortable clash of divergent outlooks” so readily evident at their media conference.

I noted that while the Netanyahu camp had “rushed to talk up a purported meeting of minds over Iran,” it was plain that there was a gulf between the two men on the issue. Specially, I wrote, it had been Netanyahu’s hope that he would persuade Obama of the imperative to halt the Iranian nuclear drive “as a precondition for encouraging Arab moderation and thus enabling progress with the Palestinians, and on this he failed.”

Instead, I pointed out, “Obama insistently placed tackling the Palestinian issue – which has defeated even the most generous and flexible Israeli governments – on the road to fixing Iran.”

While Israel had argued internationally that stopping Iran would enable headway with the Palestinians, and other foreign heads of state, senior ministers and diplomats had politely suggested it was best to try to chivvy both processes along simultaneously, Obama, I observed, “has gone all the way over to the other side, and done so in public.”

I was referring to the president’s assertion, publicly contradicting Netanyahu, that, “If there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way. To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians – between the Palestinians and the Israelis – then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.”

In that column and many others since, I have often come back to Obama’s unconvincing assertion that Netanyahu, and much of Israel besides, has the Iran- Palestinian equation wrong. I often noted how illogical it seemed for Obama to argue that there was a good prospect of dramatic progress on the Palestinian front even while Iran, and by extension, Palestinian extremists, were in the ascendant, and how much more room for optimism there would be on the Palestinian front if Iran had been faced down, its nuclear march halted, and relative moderates throughout the region emboldened and empowered.

To my mind, the president’s thinking defied common sense. Now we know, however, that it also defied the concrete information he was receiving from his own diplomats.

THE OBAMA administration, it is now clear for all to see, was not pressing a reluctant Netanyahu to make settlement-freeze and other concessions to the Palestinians in part because it truly believed this would be helpful in generating wider support for tackling Iran.

Not at all. The United States, we now know courtesy of WikiLeaks, was being repeatedly urged by a succession of Arab leaders to smash an Iranian nuclear program they feared would destabilize the entire region and put their regimes at risk. Their priority was, and is, battering Ahmadinejad, not bolstering Abbas.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in 2008, had not urged the US to chivvy those recalcitrant Israelis toward concessions to the Palestinians as a pre-condition for grudging Saudi support for a firmer US-led position against Iran. Anything but. Never mind the Palestinians, the king simply implored Washington to “cut off the head of the [Iranian] snake.”

Likewise, with minor variations in the course of the following year, the rulers of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

We are now starting to hear, courtesy of WikiLeaks, what Jordan and Egypt had to say on the matter too.

Obama, that is, was not the prisoner of a misconception, convinced in absolute good faith that if he could deliver Israeli concessions at the negotiating table he might stand a greater chance of getting the Arabs on board for the battle with the mullahs. No, he had the diplomatic cables to prove that the Israeli- Palestinian conflict was no obstacle to wide Arab backing, indeed wide Arab entreaties, for the toughest possible measures against Iran, emphatically including military action.

Either the president, it can be concluded, was so attached to his misconception that he refused to let the concrete information he had on Arab leaders’ thinking get in the way – sticking to his view of the region in defiance of the facts.

Or, more plausibly, he had internalized full well that he didn’t actually need the cover of a substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace process to generate Arab support for tackling Iran’s nuclear program, but chose to pressure Israel just the same, as a tactic, because he felt Israel was not being sufficiently forthcoming on the Palestinian front.

Neither explanation sits well, to put it mildly.

TELL NETANYAHU – who at the time of their first meeting had yet to endorse the two-state solution, and who is extremely unlikely to repeat the peace offer that Ehud Olmert had spurned by Abbas – that you feel he should be doing more? That’s fair enough.

What’s not fair enough is to indicate to the Israeli prime minister, when it’s patently untrue, that he ought to put aside some of his skepticism and take risks for peace because otherwise Israel might impede the US’s capacity to thwart the genocidal enemy, Iran.

In that May 2009 column, I noted that “If building international, and more specifically regional pressure on Iran is perceived to be contingent on dramatic progress toward resolving our vexed conflict with the Palestinians, the outlook may be bleak indeed. To judge by the fate of Israel’s peace overtures since the early 1990s, the Iranians, one can only fear, would be up to their eyes in enriched uranium before there’s a breakthrough here.”

So now here we are 18 months later. The peace process is deadlocked and Iran is indeed a good deal closer to the bomb. And the Obama administration has been pressing Israel for a second settlement freeze, even though Abbas wasted the last one, even though Netanyahu has demonstrably sought to encourage reconciliation by improving the economic climate on the West Bank, and even though Israel’s uncertainty about its Palestinian partner is magnified every time Fatah derides the legitimacy of a Jewish nation-state or the PA endorses “research” denying Jewish sovereign history here.

Until WikiLeaks, the US was presumably still reminding Israel of its view that the “linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process… runs the other way.”

That the route to thwarting Teheran runs via Jerusalem. That, whatever Israel’s misgivings, it should consider giving ground on the Palestinian front in part because of the demands of the wider struggle against Iran.

What’s the president going to tell Israel now?