Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Obama: I Know Better Than Israelis and Palestinians

Barry Rubin

March 31, 2009


President Obama got it wrong in answering a question about Israel-Palestinian issues in his press conference, March 25. But his mistakes are different from those everyone noticed.
The reporter asked:
“Mr. President, you came into office pledging to work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. How realistic do you think those hopes are now, given the likelihood of a prime minister who's not fully signed up to a two-state solution and a foreign minister who has been accused of insulting Arabs?”
The reporter’s wording betrays typical aspects of many mainstream media messages:
--Any fault must be Israel’s and Israel is the sole focus of why there’s a problem.
At least he formulated terms carefully. Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be “not fully signed up to a two-state solution,” instead of being labeled as opposed; Avigdor Lieberman is merely “accused” of insulting Arabs rather than being an evil racist.
--Palestinians only exist as victims so their politics aren’t worth studying or analyzing. After all, the PA’s prime minister just resigned, there’s a Hamas-Fatahn civil war, the PA announced elections in a year, and the current leader is ailing. As if that isn’t enough, the Palestinian leaders are really “not fully signed up to a two-state solution” and constantly insulting Jews.

What should Obama have said? If he were really professional something like this:
"It isn’t for me to characterize Israel’s new government. We'll have to wait to see.
But whatever it is we will keep trying and I’m sure we can count on Israel’s cooperation.....”

Here’s what he said:
“It's not easier than it was, but I think it's just as necessary. We don't yet know what the Israeli government is going to look like and we don't yet know what the future shape of Palestinian leadership is going to be comprised of. What we do know is this: that the status quo is unsustainable; that it is critical for us to advance a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in their own states with peace and security.”

The first half-dozen words, could be taken as hostile to Israel’s leaders. He shouldn’t have said it but not that big a deal. He even balanced by saying the Palestinian leadership’s future is also unclear.

The problem is not in the first but the third sentence: “What we do know is this: that the status quo is unsustainable….” Whenever someone says that, short of outright anarchy, they’re naïve. All status quos are unsustainable in a sense since time brings change. On the other hand, this status quo can continue for years. In fact, a serious study of underlying forces and factors indicates this is likely, probably inevitable.

Obama’s statement, like thousands in recent decades, basically says: things are so horrible change is vital no matter what the risk or cost. Things can’t possibly get worse. He adds, “We're going to be serious from day one in trying to move the parties in a direction that acknowledges that reality.”

To some extent, this is just rhetoric, a promise to work real hard. In practice, the policy is closer to saying: sure we’ll pretend to be serious but this looks tough and we have more urgent priorities on domestic and even foreign policy.

Yet to a considerable extent Obama—though not Secretary of State Hillary Clinson--thinks he understands true reality and the parties don’t. In fact they know far better than him. Back in the 1990s U.S. and European leaders would say: The status quo is unsustainable and Palestinians are desperate for a state so we have to move real fast? Today some of the same people—including Bill Clinton--say their big mistake was trying to force a resolution to the conflict when Yasir Arafat really didn’t want one.

Today, the PA believes the status quo is sustainable (at least if they can make a deal to reunite with Hamas) because they’re unwilling to make the compromises and concessions required for peace (full recognition of Israel, end of conflict, resettling Palestinian refugees in Palestine, security guarantees, stopping incitement, and so on).

Israel—no matter who leads it—believes the status quo is sustainable (at least if it can stop rocket firing from the Gaza Strip) because it won’t make any more concessions to a side that can’t and won’t deliver anything serious toward full and lasting peace.

So, no, Obama will not persuade anybody that very bad change is better than a bad status quo. And because he doesn’t comprehend that all his efforts are doomed to failure.

There’s one other feature to his answer that went unnoticed. He mentioned a recent St. Patrick’s Day meeting with “previously sworn enemies celebrating here in this very room,” people who, “even a decade ago, people would have said could never achieve peace.”

Well, he did have the St. Patrick’s day event but, leaving aside the huge differences between the two conflict, his answer shows how detached he is from the continuity of U.S. policy and Middle East history, things he had no role in and knows nothing about.

One might expect an American president to recall his predecessors’ brokering of Egypt-Israel, Israel-PLO, and Israel-Jordan agreements. They didn’t solve everything but made progress for which America can claim credit. By citing them Obama might have also shown some understanding of the reasons they fell short.

But that, too, is part of the problem. He’s coming into office thinking that a solution is easy and nothing can go wrong. In dealing with the Middle East, that’s the direct path to, at best, miserable failure and, at worst, outright catastrophe.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to http://www.gloria-center.org


In the Name of Islam: A Liberal Appeal

Soner Cagaptay
Middle East Strategy at Harvard
March 30, 2009

A trap awaits Turkey analysts seeking to explain rising anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Turkey. There is a tendency to look into the historic roots of both phenomena and to explain both as hardwired in the Turkish polity, not as products of current politics.
To be sure, there are anti-Western instincts in Turkish nationalism, not unlike most post-Ottoman nationalisms. Turkey has had past episodes of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism as well. However, these phenomena were never grassroots movements and never politically sanctioned. Moreover, the Turks have historically supported strong ties with the United States. They also did not oppose intimate ties with Israel, which Turkey recognized in 1949.

Today, though, this is no longer the case, as the Turks view the United States as the country's chief enemy. A recent poll shows that 44 percent of the Turks consider the United States the biggest threat to Turkey. And the number of people in the country who have anti-Semitic views is rising dramatically. In 2004, 49 percent of the Turks said they did not want a Jewish neighbor; in 2009, this number climbed to 76 percent.

So why are the Turks suddenly spiteful towards the United States and Israel, Americans and Jews? Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are surging in Turkey because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government sanctions both phenomena. This combination of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism is not a coincidence. The Islamist thinking is as follows: The Jews are evil, they run America, and therefore America is evil.

Take, for instance, the billboards that Istanbul's AKP government put up during the Gaza war in Istanbul's mixed Muslim-Jewish neighborhoods. These oversized billboards depicted a burnt-out child's sneaker, with a sign saying "humanity is slaughtered in Palestine" over it. Under the sneaker, in large print, the billboard quoted the Old Testament commandment "Thou shall not kill" and added "You cannot be the Children of Moses." What on earth does the Gaza war have to do with Jewish law? Is it an accident that a day after these billboards appeared in Istanbul's cosmopolitan Nisantasi neighborhood, vigilantes distributed fliers calling for a boycott of Jewish businesses? Or that the next day, Jewish businesses in the neighborhood took down their names?

The outrage sparked by the Gaza war has failed to subside. In early February, the AKP government of Istanbul opened a cartoon exhibit in the city's downtown Taksim Square metro station -- Taksim Square is to Istanbul what Times Square is to New York City -- which included many cartons depicting bloodthirsty Israelis killing Palestinians with American help, such as one in which a satanic-looking Israeli soldier with white pupils washes the blood on his hands of a faucet, labeled the United States. Each month, millions of Turks pass through the Taksim metro station -- a government-owned public service.

Unsurprisingly, such black propaganda is not without consequences. A sage once told me that a society is truly anti-Semitic when teachers say bad things about Jews in school. Last month, a group of Turkish schoolteachers distributed sweets in the Central Anatolian town of Kayseri to commemorate Hitler's blessed memory. During the Gaza war, Israelis, including Israeli teenagers who were visiting Turkey to play volleyball, were attacked. Shops plastered signs on their windows, saying that "Americans and Israelis may not enter." What is more, Turkish Jews felt physically threatened for the first time since they found refuge in the bosom of the Ottoman Empire.

All this has nothing to do with whatever historic causes one might seek for such developments. Popular anti-Semitism is driven in Turkey by the acts of the AKP government -- and that is a fact. Analysts should follow Turkey's current politics closely in explaining the Turks' shifting political attitudes. If we fail to point out how anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are spiked up by the AKP, once such sentiments lay roots, we will have no other explanation but to say that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are intrinsic to Turkish society and, god forbid, the Turks' religion, Islam.

I call on fellow liberals to think twice before they bypass Turkey's political transformation and turn to historicizing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Turkey. The surge of these sentiments since 2002 demonstrates that, when in power, Islamists can corrupt even the most liberal of the Muslim societies. The singular example of a Muslim society that is friendly towards Jews and Americans risks disappearing in front of our eyes if we do not point out the political nature of Turkey's current transformation.

If we ignore the political forces changing Turkey today, others will blame the change on the Turks and Islam tomorrow.

Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute.

Bibi Heads Largest-Ever Gov't

Hillel Fendel

Incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to present this afternoon the largest government in Israel’s history – 30 ministers and 8 deputy ministers.

The Kadima party will lead the new Knesset opposition, which will also comprise the National Union, Meretz and the Arab parties. Kadima has already filed a complaint against the coalition-forming process, and has asked that the presentation of the government be delayed until next week.
Complaint Rejected

Kadima faction head MK Yoel Hasson criticized, among other things, the “secret” coalition agreement reached with the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) faction. Likud faction head MK Ze’ev Elkin said that no agreement with UTJ had yet been signed. The bottom line of the dispute was written by the Knesset’s legal counsel, who ruled that the government may be presented as planned.

Netanyahu Justifies Large Gov't

The government is to be Israel’s largest, even though Netanyahu himself, as Opposition leader in the past, called the relatively large Kadima government “ostentatious and wasteful.” Netanyahu has explained that the cost to the Israeli taxpayer of not having a stable government would be many times higher than the costs of added ministers and ministries.

The ministerial table in the Knesset has already been enlarged to accommodate the burgeoned number of ministers.

The coalition was formed in a piecemeal manner. First to sign with the Likud was Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), headed by Avigdor Lieberman, followed by Shas and the Jewish Home. The Labor Party was a surprise addition at nearly the last minute. Ongoing negotiations with the National Union went nowhere, especially after Labor joined up, but talks with UTJ are expected to conclude successfully in the coming hours or days.

Finding Room for the Likud

Following the inclusion of Labor, Netanyahu then faced his hardest challenge: Finding enough ministerial portfolios to satisfy his fellow Likud colleagues. In the end, no fewer than 14 Likud members – more than half of the 27 party MKs – will receive portfolios, and another three are set to become Deputy Ministers.

Shalom is Miffed

Though he faces much public criticism for forming Israel’s largest government in history, Netanyahu appears to have succeeded in making his Likud colleagues happy – except in the case of his main challenger, Silvan Shalom. Having served in the past both as Foreign Minister and Finance Minister, Shalom demands the latter post, but Netanyahu decided to give it to MK Yuval Steinitz (see below). Shalom has been offered the Ministry of Regional Development, as well as the Vice Premiership, but he is rumored to be considering not joining the government altogether. He and Netanyahu are scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon, before the government is presented in the Knesset.

Commentators assume, however, that in the end, Shalom will accept the posts he has been offered – and hope that he will be next in line for the Foreign Ministry in the event that Lieberman is forced to leave. Lieberman has been under police investigation for 13 years, and is liable to be forced to resign from the Cabinet if the police recommend indicting him.

Shalom has reportedly been promised the Foreign Affairs ministry if that occurs – prompting Yisrael Beiteinu to respond angrily that if Lieberman is forced to quit the government, his party will also quit the coalition. Without Lieberman’s 15 Knesset seats, the coalition will not have a majority within the Knesset.

The New Government

The incoming government is to be sworn in at the Knesset at 5 PM on Tuesday. It will apparently look as follows:


Binyamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister

Yuval Steinitz - Finance

Gideon Saar - Education

Moshe Kachlon - Communications

Yisrael Katz - Transportation

Moshe Yaalon – Strategic Affairs and Vice Prime Minister

Gilad Erdan - Environment

Dan Meridor – Intelligence and Deputy Prime Minister

Limor Livnat – Culture and Sport

Yuli Edelstein - Information and Diaspora Affairs

Michael Eitan – without portfolio, responsible for gov’t services to the public

Benny Begin - without portfolio

Yossi Peled - without portfolio

Silvan Shalom – Vice PM and Regional Affairs Minister?

Yisrael Beiteinu:

Avigdor Lieberman – Foreign Affairs and Deputy PM

Yitzchak Aharonovitz – Public Security

Uzi Landau – Infrastructures

Sofa Landver – Immigration and Absorption

Stas Misazhnikov - Tourism


Ehud Barak – Defense and Deputy PM

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer – Industry and Trade

Yitzchak Herzog - Welfare

Shalom Simchon – Agriculture

Avishai Braverman - Minorities


Eli Yishai – Interior and Deputy PM

Ariel Attias - Housing

Yaakov Margi – Religious Affairs

Meshulam Nahari – without portfolio

Jewish Home:

Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz – Science

Independent appointment:

Yaakov Ne’eman - Justice

Deputy Ministers:

Yitzchak Cohen (Shas) – Finance

Gila Gamliel (Likud) – PM’s Office

Leah Ness (Likud) – Pensioners Affairs

Ayoub Kara (Likud)

Danny Ayalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) - Foreign Ministry

Matan Vilnai (Labor) – Defense

Orit Noked (Labor) – Industry and Trade

If and when a coalition agreement is signed with UTJ, Moshe Gafni is to serve as Deputy Health Minister, with Ministerial authorities.

CNN is still in the Game

Steven Shamrak

Last week CNN published an article with the title "Nearly 30 hurt as Israel extremists march in Arab town" . This is, as most people only read the headlines, an inappropriately 'primed' headline. The headline did not mention that most of the people who were hurt were Jews who were marching not in an "Arab town" but in Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli town.
The inappropriate headline was followed by an article in which author did not ask tough questions and avoided making factual comments that would inform readers about the reality of the incident. Therefore, CNN failed its readers as it is supposed to be a professional news organization!

A recent article stated: "Deputy Israeli police commissioner Shahar Ayalon and 15 other policemen were wounded by stone throwing demonstrators". But it did not emphasise that the stone-throwers were Arabs, citizens of Israel!

Briefly, and without comments, the article mentioned that Jewish citizens of Israel "were exercising their right to march under Israeli law as Arabs and Muslims have done in Israeli towns like Tel Aviv". So why would it be "setting people (Arabs) off"? Why was the word "people used, not Arabs? Isn't it done deliberately to hide the fact that an act of terror was perpetrated by Israeli-Arabs? And it seems that not only Jewish "extremists" have the right to worry about why Jews are not able to walk or drive through Israeli towns populated by Arabs without being abused and fearing for their lives; stones are regularly thrown by Arabs, one hardly can call them Israelis, at cars driven by Jews!

In the past, there have been many reports and petitions about CNN's anti-Israel bias and even some apologies were issued by the organization. However, it seems that CNN, just like many other 'Israel-friendly' news organizations, is still playing anti-Israel games by twisting or omitting facts and distorting the truth. This approach to reporting news deprives the viewers and readers of unbiased information, but provides the audience with heavily loaded and skewed, anti-Israel 'editorial' opinions.

CNN failed to make clear that: Umm al-Fahm is Israeli town; Jewish citizens were just exercising their right to walk through a town in their own country; Arab-Israelis violently opposed this right by throwing stones and injuring participants in the march as well as members of the police! But in order to report accurately, media 'professionals' need to have integrity and professional pride, commodities have been long forgotten by media personalities, especially where Israel is concerned!

Disrespectful Scum Must be Removed from Jewish Land.

Arabs deliberately brought a herd of sheep to desecrate the Jewish cemetery in Hevron on Friday.

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

I have lost count how many times I have rebuked deliberately anti-Israel or anti-Semitic assumptions and falsifications. I have never seen Muslim/Arab fake claims subjected to the same vigorous and enthusiastic 'research' or scrutiny. In spite of the fact that 'Crusaders' of any kind; Communists, Socialists, Fascists or Jewish self-haters, are next on the Islamists' hit list, those brainless idiots are still blinded by hate and have been helping Muslim expansionistic ideology to dig their own grave.

Ineffective and Gutless Justice System. After police arrested 13 Arab riot suspects during a pro-Israel flag march in the Israeli-Arab village of Umm el-Fahm, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen criticized the legal system in Israel: "Sixty percent of the cases we turn over to the courts end without a conviction, 80 percent receive probation, and those who are convicted get 15 percent of the maximal punishment." ( Only Jewish patriots receive the harsh treatment of the Israeli self-hating 'Justice' system! Why are Jews still not able to walk or drive safely through Israeli towns or villages populated by Arabs?)

Now Stealing Aid will Become Easier. The Hamas jihadist (terrorist) organization has won control of nearly two thirds of the Gaza branch of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) employees union. The same agency charged last month that Hamas was stealing its humanitarian supplies to the residents of Gaza.

There is Nothing to Celebrate. The Egyptian government said it is not going to host within its country any celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. "We didn't receive any invitations" said Shani Cooper Zubida, the spokeswoman of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. (When Sadat signed the treaty, his goal was to obtain the return of the Sinai as a step toward destruction of Israel. Israel hoped to have a partner in peace. Neither side achieved its objective !)

Another 'Delusional' President Israel Must Live with. United States President Barack Obama said last Tuesday that his government would continue the pressure on Israel and the PA to negotiate. The process is currently moving in "the right direction" he said. ( What direction? Does he have any evidence? Rockets are still launched into Israel; Gilad Shalit has been held by Hamas kidnappers for over 3000 days, etc...)

Israel Accused of Bombing Sudan. A 17-truck weapons convoy was bombed in Sudan before the arms could reach Egypt and then travel over the Sinai Desert. "A major power bombed small trucks carrying arms, burning all of them." Commented Sudanese Minister Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem. (Well done "major power"!)

Israel is "Land of Opportunity". The latest issue of the prestigious Economist news magazine praised Israel as a "Land of Opportunity" for entrepreneurs. According to the report, Israel currently has 4,000 high-tech companies and over 100 venture-capital funds. In addition, Israeli companies were responsible for innovations including the memory stick, the Pentium chip, voicemail, instant messaging and the firewall. (Well done again!)

New Ark is being Built in Israel. A historic replica ark to be put into the remodeled Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem. The Hurva synagogue was built in the 1700s, but destroyed by the Jordanians after the 1948 War of Independence. (No international condemnation was heard then!)

Quote of the Week: "Don't we deserve independence? Don't we deserve a state? We will keep struggling and will do so until we get them back." - PA President Mahmoud Abbas - The answer is NO! One can't get back anything if one never owned it! Fake Palestinians never had a state or any kind of independence, even when Judea, Samaria and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. This blood-thirsty terrorist mob does not deserve a state. Definitely not on Jewish land!

Israeli Aid to the US. Jewish Home leader Daniel Hershkowitz called on the country to make a greater effort to return Israeli scientists from abroad. It costs Israel approximately one million shekels to train a scientist. Almost 3,000 scientists have left Israel for other countries, meaning Israel is subsidizing those countries at a cost of almost three billion shekels.

Revolving Door of Terrorism. Israeli Minister Haim Ramon, a member of the Ministerial Committee on Security Prisoners, told Israel Radio that Hamas did not negotiate over the release of prisoners but rather presented an ultimatum for Israeli capitulation. Ramon emphasized that two-thirds of Hamas prisoners released in the past had returned to terror and murdered many Israelis.

Israel is Number 1 in Water Management. Israel was named the world's most efficient recycled water user in a United Nations. Israel purifies and reuses almost 70 percent of its waste water each year for agriculture, outranking the second most efficient recycled water user - Spain - which only recycles 12 percent of its waste water.

Attack Came from 'Fatahstan'. The attempted car bomb placed near a busy mall in Haifa a week ago came from Fatah controlled territories according to the estimation of the security services.

'Consideration' which is 60 Years Late. The mayor of a small German town, Schwabach in Bavaria, wants to withdraw the honorary citizenship granted in 1933 to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. (Why are all 'pro-Jewish' considerations taking so long and so difficult to make?)

Druze Know their Arab Neighbours Better! Druze MK Ayoub Kara said that Israeli government should stop negotiating to exchange kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit for terrorist prisoners and instead embark on a military operation to return him. He also explained that you have to speak with Hamas (and Fatah) in Arabic, and not in French or "cutesy-mootsy."

CIA: Israel Will Fall in 20 Years.

A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel's survival beyond the next 20 years...

The CIA report predicts "an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, ...the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of two million Israeli - who would move to the US in the next fifteen years..."

The study further predicts the return of over one and a half million Israelis to Russia and other parts of Europe, and denotes a decline in Israeli births whereas a rise in the Palestinian population... (Israel must prove our 'friends' wrong by changing direction toward the reunification of Eretz-Israel! Why is creation of 6 million Jewish refugees is expectable, but orderly relocation of 4 million of so-called Palestinians is not?)

NOTE: Dear readers this editorial letter is distributed to educate

COP: In Praise of Capitalist Exploitation

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/31/2009

For well over a century, socialists, progressives, and even many Christians have railed against the capitalist exploitation of workers. They denounce capitalists—whether the Carnegies and Fricks of yesteryear or the Nikes of today—for paying low wages for hard work. Their antagonism toward individual and corporate targets is misplaced. The inexorable law of supply and demand, not greedy exploiters, determines wages. When the supply of labor exceeds capital’s demand for labor, wages are low. Carnegie could pay low wages because if Smith wasn’t willing to work for a pittance, Jones was. Why? Because those low wages were superior to Jones’ other options. The choice wasn’t between a carefree life in the country and hard labor for low wages. It was between regular income or destitution, misery, and too often an early death. That is why our ancestors took those jobs, and that is why, in poor countries today, when a sweatshop has openings, eager applicants line up for blocks.

The subsistence wages prevalent in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Capitalism impelled the classical economist David Ricardo to posit the “iron law of wages”—the theory that workers were doomed forever to earn subsistence wages. But a funny thing happened on the way to perpetual poverty. Ricardo (and indeed, all his contemporaries) did not foresee the rapid multiplication of wealth that capitalism would generate. Had they lived for another 50 years, they would have seen the law of supply and demand cuts both ways. When capital’s demand for labor exceeds supply, wages rise, which is exactly what happened as more and more capitalists began to “exploit” labor. The same phenomenon has been witnessed in China in this decade (before the recent global economic contraction). Chinese workers, who had been at the mercy of employers, demanded—and got—much better compensation, as employers competed for their labor.

It isn’t the Carnegies’ and Nikes’ fault when wages are low. They aren’t responsible for an area having a large pool of labor, nor are they to blame when there aren’t more capitalists competing to employ those workers. Where wages are low, the cause isn’t the presence of exploitative capitalist employers, but precisely the opposite: there aren’t enough capitalist employers to tilt the law of supply and demand to labor’s advantage.

There are two ways to shift the labor/capital ratio to raise wages—either reduce the supply of labor (after the bubonic plague wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century, wages rose smartly for the survivors) or increase capital investment. Some radical environmentalists favor the former, but isn’t peaceful investment preferable to genocide?

According to Marxist-Leninist dogma, capitalists are economic bloodsuckers, enriching themselves while impoverishing their employees. The fallacy in this assertion is evident in the indisputable fact that most of the world’s capital is invested in the rich, developed countries, not in poor countries. It is no coincidence that the United States has both the most invested capital and the most wealth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel “exploited” or victimized. However, I suspect that millions of people around the world wish they were so exploited.

Critics of sweatshops apply a static rather than dynamic analysis. They take a mental snapshot of a rich company making large profits while paying meager wages. From this picture, anti-capitalist critics perceive sweatshops as the end-result of capital investment. That is an error. Life is a motion picture, not a snapshot. In country after country that has made its peace with profit-seeking capitalists, grim working conditions have been a transitional phenomenon, marking the early stages of a society’s emergence from lethal poverty to improved standards of living and longevity.

Sweatshops comprise the first couple of grim rungs on the ladder of economic development. While no humane person would wish sweatshops to be a permanent condition for a society, neither should any humane person wish to cut off the bottom rungs of the ladder of economic progress and condemn a society to remain permanently poor.

Those who condemn sweatshops categorically for being “harsh” should specify “harsh relative to what?” Harsh by our standards, indeed, but often an improvement over work standards prevalent in those countries and far less harsh than the conditions those workers would face without those jobs. Nike gets bashed for allegedly paying “low wages,” but that is only true by the standards of a developed country. In Vietnam, Nike pays workers twice a teacher’s salary and more than government-employed doctors make; in Honduras, Nike’s starting wage is above the average per capita income, etc., etc.

Over the course of human history, profit-seeking business leaders—scorned as “greedy capitalists”—have done more to preserve human life and lift human beings out of poverty than all the churches, charities, and government welfare programs combined. That isn’t to argue the self-evident absurdity that all capitalists have been decent or well-intentioned individuals; nevertheless, the evidence is overwhelming that capitalists, as a group, have done far more to benefit the human race than anyone else. It is economic ignorance or, in a minority of cases, warped character, that impels critics to vilify society’s benefactors. These benefactors deserve our gratitude and praise, for without them, there would be a lot fewer people alive today and a lot more poverty. Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is a faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College.

The Partition Plan and the "Two State Solution"

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

March 31, 2009 | Eli E. Hertz

In 1947 the British put the future of western Palestine into the hands of the United Nations, the successor organization to the League of Nations which had established the Mandate for Palestine. A UN Commission recommended partitioning what was left of the original Mandate - western Palestine, into two new states, one Jewish and one Arab. The UN Partition Plan - (Resolution 181), was a non-binding recommendation to partition Palestine - Eretz-Israel whose implementation hinged on acceptance by both parties - Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews. The resolution was adopted on November 29, 1947 in the General Assembly by a vote of 33 - 12, with 10 abstentions. Among the supporters were both the United States and the Soviet Union, and other nations including France and Australia. The Arab nations, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia denounced the plan on the General Assembly floor and voted as a bloc against the vision of the two state solution promising to defy its implementation by force.

Aware of Arabs' past aggression, the resolution, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

"... determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution." [italics by author]

The ones who sought to alter by force the settlement envisioned in the two state solutions were the Arabs, who threatened bloodshed if the UN were to adopt the Resolution:

"The [British] Government of Palestine fear that strife in Palestine will be greatly intensified when the Mandate is terminated, and that the international status of the United Nations Commission will mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations.

"Thus, the Commission will be faced with the problem of how to avert certain bloodshed on a very much wider scale than prevails at present. ... The Arabs have made it quite clear and have told the Palestine government that they do not propose to co-operate or to assist the Commission, and that, far from it, they propose to attack and impede its work in every possible way. We have no reason to suppose that they do not mean what they say."1 [italics by author]

Arabs' intentions and deeds did not fare better after Resolution 181 was adopted:

"Taking into consideration that the Provisional Government of Israel has indicated its acceptance in principle of a prolongation of the truce in Palestine; that the States members of the Arab League have rejected successive appeals of the United Nations Mediator, and of the Security Council in its resolution 53 of July 7, 1948, for the prolongation of the truce in Palestine; and that there has consequently developed a renewal of hostilities in Palestine."2

The Partition Plan of 1947 was the last of a series of recommendations that had been drawn up over the years by the Mandatory and by international commissions, plans designed to reach a historic compromise between Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews in western Palestine. Every scheme since 1922 was rejected by the Arab side, including decidedly pro-Arab ones because these plans recognized Jews as a nation and gave Jewish citizens of Mandate Palestine political representation.

The Partition Plan was met not only by verbal rejection on the Arab side but also by concrete, bellicose steps to block its implementation and destroy the Jewish polity by force of arms, a goal the Arabs publicly declared even before the resolution was brought to a vote.

Arabs not only rejected the compromise and took action to prevent establishment of a Jewish state but also blocked establishment of an Arab state under the Partition Plan not just before the Israel War of Independence, but also after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967), rendering the recommendation a 'still birth.'

The UN Palestine Commission's report dated February 16, 1948 (A/AC.21/9) to the Security Council noted that Arab-led hostilities were an effort

"To prevent the implementation of the [General] Assembly's plan of partition, and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory [Eretz-Israel]."

Attempts by Palestinian Arabs to 'roll back the clock' and resuscitate Resolution 181 - the 'original' two state solution - 'as if nothing had happened' are a baseless ploy designed to use the resolution as leverage to bring about a greater Israeli withdrawal from parts of western Palestine and to gain a broader base from which to continue to attack Israel with even less defendable borders. Both Palestinians and their Arab brethren in neighboring countries rendered the plan null and void by their own subsequent aggressive behavior.

Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just the kind of rogue state and a home to renegade organizations the world is grappling with today.

In light of the Arab Palestinians' history of violence, incitement against Jews, and its poor performance coping with limited freedom or autonomy - the equivalent of a 'half-way house' to test their readiness to join the family of nations is in order. Considering the support (rather than pressure to 'toe the line') that Palestinians enjoy in the international arena, Palestinian independence could very well turn into a genuine nightmare.

[1] United Nations Palestine Commission. First Monthly Progress Report to the Security Council. A/AC.21/7, January 29, 1948. See: www.mefacts.com/cache/html/un-resolutions/10923.htm. (10923)
[2] See among others, Security Council Resolution S/RES/ 54 (1948) at: www.mefacts.com/cache/html/un-resolutions/10894.htm. (10894)

Netanyahu names professionals to his new inner military-security cabinet

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis

March 31, 2009

During his years in opposition, the incoming Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu turned over ideas for making his next government substantially more effective and efficient than any of its predecessors, including his own, which ended disastrously ten years ago. Preparing to take over as Israel's 32nd prime minister this week, he bound 7-8 ministers and senior officials into a powerful new body to assist him in top-level decision-making on military, diplomatic, security and intelligence policy-making and actions. Its members fall into two main groups, military and strategic-intelligence. Their input will guide Netanyahu's steps on such critical matters as whether to strike Iran's nuclear facilities or the tenor of his government's relations with the Obama administration.

It will be up to him as prime minister to pick his way among the divergent views offered him, because the members of the two teams, far from being yes-men, are individualists on the security issues in their fields of expertise.

While taxed with pulling together to produce the best strategic, economic and military guidelines for the country, each at the same time will want to leave his imprint on the next chapter in Israel's history.

The four ministers are ex-chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, strategic affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, foreign affairs, Dan Meridor, intelligence and nuclear energy, and Benny Begin, minister without portfolio.

Dr. Uzi Arad, who is in line as Netanyahu's national security adviser, and the heads of Israel's three intelligence arms, Mosad, Shin Bet and AMAN will be attached to the team.

DEBKAfile's military sources note, that political views aside, this group ranks as Israel's A-team in terms of professional competence in the most sensitive policy areas Netanyahu will be called on to confront in his first weeks in office.

Yaalon's appointment as czar for strategic affairs aspires to learn from Lieberman's failings in this capacity in the outgoing Olmert administration. One of his advantages is that he will have no hang-ups about working with defense minister Ehud Barak. Because they respect each other and because as a former army man, he will defer to the defense minister both as his superior in the chain of command and the more experienced in military affairs, Yaalon will not find it hard to cooperate with Barak.

New to politics, his ranking will approximate that of deputy defense minister, a post which Barak handed formally to his fellow-Laborite Matan Vilnai, who will focus mainly on organization.

If this teaming-up works out, the new government will boast a four-man military leadership made up of Netanyahu, Barak, Yaalon and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi.

Dan Meridor's task is more complex and chancy: He must carve out a new niche as boss of intelligence and nuclear affairs, the first minister to officiate in this task in any Israeli government. His function is political and diplomatic, unlike Egypt's intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman, who comes form the army.

In filling this complicated slot, Netanyahu acted on a recommendation common to every inquiry commission examining the lapses and errors in Israel's conduct of previous wars and all the secret panels dissecting the competence of its intelligence services. They all recommended the concentration of Israel's clandestine spy and security agencies in one hand for the sake of operational coordination.

Meridor will have his work cut out to assert interdepartmental authority over the innately reclusive Mossad (external intelligence), Shin Bet (domestic intelligence) and AMAN (military intelligence), as well as the foreign ministry's research and intelligence department and the national security council.

The weights tied to his feet include bad relations with the new prime minister. To have any hope of changing the policies bequeathed by the outgoing Ehud Olmert, Meridor will have to cultivate Netanyahu's close adviser and friend, Uzi Arad, who is an old intelligence hand, in the same way as Yaalon and Barak will need to work in harmony.

On the credit side, the new intelligence minister and prime minister share a friend in Benny Begin, who both admire. If Begin can bury the hatchet between them, Israel will acquire the services of a powerful intelligence-strategic policy-making team of four at one end of the spectrum to match the military grouping at the other.

As prime minister, Netanyahu will be supplied with first-rate, professional position papers from the two groupings. He will have the option of balancing them against each other before reaching decisions.

Balad's Zuabi praises Iranian quest for nuclear weapons

Mar. 31, 2009
Samuel Sokol, Special to The Jerusalem Post , THE JERUSALEM POST

New Balad MK Haneen Zuabi, the first woman to be elected to the Knesset as a representative of an Arab party, has welcomed Iran's growing influence on Palestinian affairs and praised Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon as a means of offsetting Israel's regional military edge. Having Israel as the region's sole nuclear power, she said, was "dangerous to the world." Interviewed in English twice in recent days - in her Knesset office and in a Jerusalem hotel - Zuabi, one of Balad's three MKs and the former director of the I'lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, said Iran's role in Palestinian affairs was "more useful" than that of regimes like Jordan and Egypt, in that Iran stood more firmly "against occupation than a lot of the Arab countries. This is our interest."

She said Egypt and Jordan were scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Queried regarding Iran's quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, Zuabi stated that having Israel as the region's sole nuclear power was disadvantageous. "It would be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel," she said. "I need something to balance [Israel's] power."

Zuabi was asked if she felt worried, living among Jews, that Iran was getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. She replied: "No, I am not." Indeed, she said was "more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons]."

Israel does not officially admit to a nuclear weapons capability, but is widely believed to have had such a capability since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Israel would use nuclear weapons, she replied, "The Israelis? I think yes… And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk."

The Iranian bomb was only "a potential" threat. The real danger was the Israeli army, she said. "Every day the Israeli [army] uses its violence, army violence."

Zuabi said that Israel was an aggressor state, and that only a situation similar to that which existed between the Soviet Union and United States in the form of the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" would restrain Israel. "It is more dangerous to the world, more dangerous to everyone, more dangerous to the Palestinians, to Israelis, to have Israel as the only powerful state. I need something to balance its power because this balance of power will restrict the Israeli using of power. The Israeli violence of the army is an outcome of Israel's convenient feeling that no one will restrict her, that no Arab country will really declare a war against [Israel]."

She added: "I believe that [Israel] would respect its use of power if she's afraid from others. The fact that she is not afraid from Arab countries, the fact that she is not afraid from a potential declaration of our Arab world to declare war against Israel, makes Israel more violent. You understand me?"

Asked whether an Iranian bomb would make America nervous and lead to more US pressure on Israel, and whether that would be good from her point of view, Zuabi said: "Exactly."

Zuabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state was "inherently racist", saying that Israel must be turned into a "state of all its citizens," which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.

The Knesset Central Elections Committee disqualified the Balad party from running in the recent elections due to its members' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and reported calls for violence against it. The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Responding to Zuabi's comments, Balad party chairman Dr, Jamal Zahalka said: "I think Ms. Zuabi tried to explain some analysis [about] what's better if you have. [But] this is not a position. It's an analysis [of] what would be safer for the region, if there is a balance." Her comments, he said, did not constitute "supporting a nuclear weapon in Iran."

Some of Zuabi's statements were consistent with her previously stated views. On February 13, she was quoted by the Balad affiliated Arabs48 internet news site saying that "Balad's concept, which rejects the 'Jewish state' idea, is the only idea that can remove [Avigdor] Lieberman from the circle of political and moral legitimacy… When you agree with the 'Jewish state' idea, you necessarily agree with the idea of loyalty to this state. Rejecting the 'Jewish state' concept will block the road for anyone who demands our loyalty to such a state. There is no logic in demanding that I be loyal to an idea to which I do not agree to begin with, especially since I am proposing an alternative and fighting for it… The language of democracy does not speak of loyalty. This is a language of fascism, just like Lieberman. The language of democracy speaks of rights, equality, and values."

The writer is a freelance journalist affiliated with the Philadelphia Bulletin
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1238423651844&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Comment: No more apartheid talk-if you use it I know you are ignorant, stupid, or agenda driven-your credibility (not that you had any) is once and for all GONE!

Lawfare and Obama's Transnationalist

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

What is wrong with this picture? We learned this weekend that a Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, is preparing to prosecute six Americans who worked as senior legal and policy advisors to President George W. Bush - including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith. The alleged crime? The opinions they provided Mr. Bush supported the use of torture against enemy combatants. Most Americans would find this assertion of what has come to be called "transnational law" to be troubling on several grounds. Its application is an affront to due process and the rule of law in this country. It would criminalize internal U.S. policy-making deliberations, with profound implications for U.S. sovereignty. If allowed to run its course, this prosecution would have a profoundly chilling effect on the willingness of subordinates to provide a president with advice, or perhaps even to serve in government.

One would hope that President Obama would recognize that this use of legal mechanisms as a form of warfare against the United States - increasingly known as "lawfare" - holds serious dangers not just for the country and those who ran it for the past eight years, but for his administration, as well. That would appear not to be the case, however, in light of his choice of Harold Koh to be the State Department's top lawyer.

In fact, as dean of Yale's law school, Mr. Koh has been an unalloyed enthusiast for transnational law. For example, in a 2006 article in the Penn State Law Review, he extolled the "transnationalist faction" on the Supreme Court and the wisdom shown by four, and sometimes five, of its justices in rejecting the impulses of what he disdainfully calls "the nationalist faction":

Generally speaking, the transnationalists tend to emphasize the interdependence between the United States and the rest of the world, while the nationalists tend instead to focus more on preserving American autonomy. The transnationalists believe in and promote the blending of international and domestic law; while nationalists continue to maintain a rigid separation of domestic from foreign law. The transnationalists view domestic courts as having a critical role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law, while nationalists argue instead that only the political branches can internalize international law.

The transnationalists believe that U.S. courts can and should use their interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system, while the nationalists tend to claim that U.S. courts should limit their attention to the development of a national system. Finally, the transnationalists urge that the power of the executive branch should be constrained by judicial review and the concept of international comity, while the nationalists tend to believe that federal courts should give extraordinarily broad deference to executive power in foreign affairs.

How many Americans are aware that some, let alone an actual majority, of the Supreme Court's justices believe that this country should be ruled by something other than the Constitution of the United States, laws made pursuant thereto and treaties clearly consistent with it? Assuredly, few of us know that such an assault on our sovereignty is afoot; in all likelihood, fewer still would support it.

The same would likely apply to Harold Koh's embrace of myriad other controversial transnationalist initiatives. He favors U.S. submission to the International Criminal Court, enabling that tribunal to have the right tomorrow to take up the sort of foreign prosecutions of Americans contemplated by Spain's Judge Garzon today.

Dean Koh goes even further than John Kerry, who argued that American uses of force must meet what the Senator euphemistically called a "global test." Koh believes the United States must obtain pre-authorization by the UN Security Council. In keeping with this view, he condemned the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which lacked such a mandate, as "illegal."

The State Department Legal Advisor-designate has also actively opposed virtually every instrument the previous administration deemed necessary to wage and win the war against terror-wielding adversaries. Koh insisted that Guantanamo Bay be closed coercive interrogation techniques be halted and trials in civilian U.S. courts be afforded to captured enemy combatants. To be sure, these positions largely track with those of President Obama, although the latter has left himself some latitude in their implementation. Koh's critique of the government's terrorist surveillance, though, is even more extreme than that of Mr. Obama, who as a Senator voted to allow the program to continue.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Koh seems untroubled by international accords that assault our Constitution-based sovereignty. These include such onerous and invasive agreements as the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Another candidate could be the Organization of the Islamic Conference's effort to circumscribe freedom of expression by criminalizing speech that "offends" Islam.

It is absolutely predictable that the United States will find itself under ever greater assault in the form of lawfare as notions of the supremacy of transnational law take hold among elites, both here (notably, in the Supreme Court) and abroad. Mr. Obama can spare himself and the country considerable grief when he meets this week in Europe and Turkey with some of the leading practitioners of lawfare by repudiating Judge Garzon's extraterritorial over-reach, rejecting the application of transnational law more generally and selecting a State Department Legal Advisor who is an avowed "nationalist," not a committed "transnationalist."

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.
Comment: This is part of the CHANGE Obama et al were not talking about while they were talking! Pay attention, this is crucial in terms of our future legal direction.

COP: The Top Seven Techniques Liberals Use to Lie About Conservatives

John Hawkins
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Liberals spend much of their time trying to hide what they believe from the public while conservatives are perpetually frustrated by the fact that the American people don't seem to understand what we really believe. Both problems spring from a single source: liberals lie incessantly. That's not to say that there aren't conservative liars or truthful liberals; there are, but for liberals, lying is the rule, not the exception. There are two reasons why liberals lie much more than conservatives. First off, this is a center-right country and liberal beliefs are much more unpopular than conservative ones. If liberals told the truth about what they believe and want to do, the Democratic Party would practically be wiped out in much of the country.

Additionally, conservatives tend to think liberals are merely stupid or emotional, while liberals tend to view conservatives as evil -- and liberals use that belief to justify lying about conservatives. After all, if you lie about someone who's evil to keep them from doing bad things, couldn't that be considered virtuous? You may disagree with that, but liberal politicians, bloggers, and journalists live by that rule. Any lie told about a conservative, even one that liberals know isn't true, will be uncritically repeated ad nauseum by the Left until the point it becomes politically disadvantageous to do so.

So, in order to help fight the lies of the Left, here's a guide to the most prevalent techniques that liberals use to mislead people about conservatives. If you're listening to liberals talk about conservatives, you're virtually guaranteed to hear at least one of these techniques used.

1) Question The Motivations: When liberals are losing an argument, they love to shift the discussion not to the facts at hand, but to the motivation of the person on the other side. That's because it's almost impossible to prove what someone's motive may be for a particular action.

Thus, liberals can claim that Charles Pickering, a man who went toe-to-toe with the Mississippi Ku Klux Klan in the sixties, is actually a racist or that George Bush invaded Iraq to try to steal its oil.

From the liberal perspective, the more shameless the lies, the better because the target of the scandalous accusation and his defenders will often waste inordinate amounts of time and energy fighting ridiculous, unfounded allegations that a certain percentage of uninformed Americans will simply assume are true without evidence.

2) The Anonymous Smear: Want to launch an attack at a conservative, but don't have a credible source handy? No problem. Just take a vicious critic or an unreliable source and make them "anonymous."

CBS did it with Bill Burkett, who provided them with the fake "Bush was AWOL" documents during the 2004 campaign. Had they revealed who he was, the story would have been treated as not credible from day one.

If even that proves too troublesome, some members of the media (I strongly suspect Seymour Hersh is guilty of this) just make things up and attribute them to non-existent sources. Since their sources are anonymous, unless they make the mistake of including verifiable details like the New Republic's Scott Beauchamp, it's almost impossible to prove they're lying.

3) The Teary Eyed Spokesman: One of the Left's favorite tactics of late is to pick pathetic figures we're supposed to feel sorry for as spokesmen. That way, if you try to respond to the lies of someone like Cindy Sheehan, you're accused of picking on the mother of a dead soldier. If you try to respond to the lies of Max Cleland, you're accused of picking on a crippled vet. At this point, I'm surprised they haven't found a gaunt, stuttering orphan to serve as Obama's Press Secretary. Worst-case scenario, he couldn't do much worse than Robert Gibbs.

4) Rewriting History: The American public has a short memory and liberals count on that to get away with many of their most egregious lies. For example, that's the factor liberals count on when they try to pretend that George Bush lied about WMDs to get us into Iraq. Lies of that sort usually seem to work until someone points out that Democrats, including our current Secretary of State, were saying things like this before the war,

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

5) Everybody Knows: When liberals want to avoid a losing argument, they sometimes just refuse to have the argument at all and assure everyone that the matter has already been decided. Why, there's no need for Al Gore to even debate global warming with people who could easily blow holes the size of the Grand Canyon in his arguments because he insists that there's a non-existent "scientific consensus."

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? As long as the Kerry campaign ignored them, most of the mainstream media did, too, but then the line of attack was immediately that the Swifties had already been "discredited." Who discredited them? How did it happen? What made them less credible than Kerry, particularly since they made him change his story more than once? Whenever you hear liberals in some form or fashion insisting that the argument with conservatives on a particular issue is already over, it's a good indication that they believe they'll really get their clocks cleaned in a straight up debate.

6) The Ransom Note Method: One of the Left's favorite tricks is to take something a conservative says completely out-of-context and to attack that comment, even if it's obvious that they're twisting the meaning of what was said. This is how the Left can accuse John McCain of wanting to fight for 100 years in Iraq or say Rush Limbaugh wants Barack Obama to fail even if it hurts the country.

This one is especially insidious because some conservatives foolishly blame other conservatives for having their words taken out of context. However, the reality is that if someone is determined to distort what you say, he can always find something to twist around. The people who deserve blame in that situation are not the people whose words were misrepresented; it's the liars who have chosen to misrepresent what they said.

7) The Straw Man: If you can't find a sin conservatives have committed to attack, then invent one. This is one of the most used arrows in the quiver of liberals who claim the Right wants to create a theocracy, kick senior citizens off of Social Security, or reward the rich at the expense of the middle class.

The Left uses this tactic against specific politicians as well. Remember during the 2004 campaign when the Left kept promising to fight a draft that Bush didn't propose and didn't support? How about all the attacks on Saxby Chambliss because he supposedly questioned the patriotism of crippled war vet Max Cleland? Except, of course, Saxby Chambliss never questioned Cleland's patriotism.

Unlike liberals, conservatives believe most Americans share our values and so, if you want to know what we think, all you have to do is ask us and we will tell you.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Comment: I'm curious, do you agree with any of the preceding? Let me know-doc



Yoram Ettinger

But, what if that assumption ignores the severe demographic decline in Muslim societies? What if the real demographic tailwind has been Jewish, yielding a long-term robust 67% Jewish majority over 98.5% of the land west of the Jordan River? What if the official number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is inflated by 53%? The assumption that Jews are doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has eroded confidence in the future of the Jewish State. It has also triggered the thesis that Israel must, supposedly, retreat from Jewish geography (Judea and Samaria), in order to secure Jewish demography. This assumption has facilitated the recent entrenchment of the Two State Solution.

But, what if that assumption ignores the severe demographic decline in Muslim societies? What if the real demographic tailwind has been Jewish, yielding a long-term robust 67% Jewish majority over 98.5% of the land west of the Jordan River? What if the official number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is inflated by 53%? How would a transformation from baseless demographic-fatalism to well documented demographic-optimism impact the morale of the Jewish People and the Jewish State? How would it affect Aliya, Israel's national security and posture of deterrence, its economy and the confidence of overseas investors in the Jewish State?


In sharp contrast to conventional wisdom, the UN Population Division reports a sharp decline of fertility rate (number of births per woman) in Muslim and Arab countries, except in Afghanistan and Yemen. The myth of "doubling Muslim population every 20 years" has been shattered against the rocks of modernity and reality. UNESCO's Director-General, Koichiro Matsuura, stated, during a May 22, 2007 UNESCO conference on Population - From Explosion to Implosion:

"There is an abrupt slowdown in the rate of population growth... also in many countries where women have only limited access to education and employment... In the last fifty years, median fertility has fallen from 5.4 to 2.1 [births per woman]… There is not the slightest reason to assume that the decline in fertility will miraculously stop just at replacement level (2.1 births)...."

The collapse of Muslim fertility rates is a derivative of modernization, rapid urbanization and internal security concerns by dictators. They fear the consequences of rapid population growth, while economic growth lags far behind. As a result, the UN Population Division has reduced its 2050 population projections by 25 percent, from 12 billion to 9 billion, possibly shrinking to 7.4 billion.

For instance, the fertility rate in Iran has declined – as directed by its religious leaders - from 9 births per woman, 30 years ago, to 1.8 births in 2007. The Muslim religious establishment has also promoted decreasing fertility rates in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from 8 and 7 births per woman 30 years ago, to less than 4 and 2.5 births respectively in 2007. Jordan, which is demographically similar to Judea and Samaria, and Syria have diminished from 8 births per woman, 30 years ago, to less than 3.5 in 2007. A substantial dive of fertility rates in Muslim countries - trending toward 2-3 births per woman - is documented by the Population Resource Center in Washington, DC.

According to demographic precedents, there is only a slim probability that high fertility rates can be resurrected following a sustained period of significant reduction.


In defiance of demographic fatalism, Israel's demographic momentum has been Jewish. Since 1882 (the launching of annual Aliya), the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has grown 238 fold, while the Arab population increased only 6 fold. Since 1948, the Jewish population increased almost 10 fold and the Arab population expanded 3 fold.

Thus, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), the annual number of Israeli Jewish births has grown by 45% from 1995 (80,400) to 2008 (117,000), while the number of Israeli Arab births has stabilized at 39,000 annually. The sharp decline of fertility rate among "Green Line" Arabs has been the outcome of their successful integration into Israel's education, employment, commerce, health, banking, cultural, political and sports infrastructures.

The proportion of Jewish births has increased from 69% (of total births) in 1995 to 74% in 2006 and 75% in 2008. The total fertility rates of Jewish and Arab women, in Jerusalem, have converged at 3.9 births per woman. The Arab-Jewish fertility gap shrunk from 6 births in 1969 to 0.7 births per woman in 2008! The secular Jewish sector has been mostly responsible for such a development, especially the Olim from the former USSR, who are shifting from a typical Russian fertility rate of 1 birth per woman to the typical secular Jewish rate of 2-3. While Israel's Jewish fertility rate (2.8 births) is the highest in the industrialized world, the decline in Arab fertility rate (3.5) has occurred 20 years faster than projected. The Jewish demographic tailwind is further bolstered by the highly under-utilized potential of Aliya from the former USSR, the US, Europe, Latin America, South Africa and Australia, which has increased due to the global economic meltdown and intensified anti Semitism.


On December 11, 1997, upon conclusion of the first Palestinian census, the head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) told the New York Times that "the census is a civil Intifada!"

Indeed, the census has been leveraged by the Palestinian Authority in its confrontation with Israel and in its attempts to increase contributions from the US and other western countries.

The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), headed by Bennett Zimmerman, confirmed that Israel’s demographic establishment embraced the PCBS census and projections without scrutiny. Israel's demographic establishment was unaware that the PCBS numbers were refuted annually by the documentation of births, deaths, migration and eligible voters, as performed by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education, by the Palestinian Election Commission, by Israel’s Border Police, by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) and by Jordan’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Israel's demographic establishment did not question the addition of some 650,000 Palestinians (30%!) as a result of the 1997 PCBS census. The establishment did not raise an eyebrow when the PCBS contended a 170% population growth from 1.5 million in 1990 to 3.8 million in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 2007. Such a growth rate would be substantially higher than the population growth rates of Afghanistan, Niger and Eritrea, which have the fastest growing populations – much faster than in Gaza, Judea and Samaria - according to the UN Population Division. Israel's establishment did not examine, did not know and did not report.

The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), whose groundbreaking study was scrutinized by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

) has uncovered a number of significant flaws in the PCBS numbershttp://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/MSPS65.pdf(

For example:

1. Some 400,000 overseas Palestinians – who have been away for over a year - were included the census, as documented by the PCBS director and website. Such a practice defies globally acceptable demographic standards, which include only de-facto residents and those who are away for less than a year. Thus, Israel does not count Israelis, who have been away for over a year.

2. Over 200,000 Jerusalem Arabs – possessing Israel ID cards – are doubly-counted as Israeli Arabs (by the ICBS) and as West Bank Arabs (by the PCBS). The UN, the State Department and other organizations combine the PCBS and ICBS figures, in order to find out the total number of Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, hence the double-count.

3. 113,000 persons should be deleted due to a discrepancy between the total of eligible voters (18 and older) in the PA as contended by the PCBS and those actually documented by the PA Election Commission during the January 2005 election.

4. A 40,000-50,000 annual gap between the number of babies born according to the PCBS on one hand, and the number of documented births by the PA Ministries of Health and Education on the other hand. The Ministry of Health documents down to the level of village midwives.

5. A 50,000 net annual immigration was factored into the PCBS numbers. However, the average annual net emigration of well over 10,000 has been documented since 1950 by Jordan, Egypt and Israel in the various land, air and sea international passages in Israel, along the Jordan River and around Gaza. For instance, 16,000 net emigrants in 2005, 25,000 in 2006 and 25,000 in 2007. Emigration has escalated since the 2000 Intifada and has shifted to an even higher gear since the 2006 ascension of Hamas, the Hamas-Fatah civil war and the rise in the price of oil, which has increased demand for Palestinian manpower by the Gulf Sheikdoms.

6. 105,000 Palestinians received Israeli ID cards (since 1997). They are doubly-counted as Israeli Arabs (by the ICBS) and West Bank Arabs (by the PCBS).

AIDRG findings have been supported by The World Bank 2006 survey of education, in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The survey documents a 32% gap between the number of Palestinian births claimed by the PCBS, and those documented by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education. The World Bank attributes the gap to reduced fertility and escalated emigration.

AIDRG highlights a declining trend in the Palestinian population growth rate in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, mostly due to escalated emigration, as well as accelerated urbanization (60% urban in 2009 compared with 30% in 1967), expanded education and career mentality (especially among women), all time high divorce rate, a higher median marriage age and an unprecedented family planning campaign, which includes contraceptives and instructions to prevent teen pregnancy.

AIDRG has documented a robust long-term Jewish majority of 67% west of the Jordan River without Gaza and 60% with Gaza, compared with an 8% Jewish minority in 1900 and a 33% Jewish minority in 1947 between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. The number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is inflated by 53% (1.5MN and not 2.3MN) and the number of Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is inflated by 40% (2.7MN and not 3.8MN).


In March 1898, Shimon Dubnov, a leading Jewish historian-demographer, who acted against Zionism and for Jewish autonomy in Europe, projected a population of 500,000 Jews west of the Jordan River by the year 2000. However, in 2000 there were 5 million Jews west of the Jordan River!

In October 1944, Prof. Roberto Bachi, the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, contended that – under the best case scenario - there would be 2.3MN Jews in the Land of Israel by 2001, constituting a 33% minority. In 2001, there was a solid 60% Jewish majority west of the Jordan River.

In 1967 and in 1973, Israel's demographic establishment pressured Prime Ministers Levy Eshkol and Golda Meir to retreat from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in order to avoid an Arab majority west of the Jordan River by 1987/90. Once again - and during the peak of the Arab population growth rate – demographic doom's day projections were frustrated by a robust Jewish majority of about 60%.

In 2000, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics projected that the Jewish fertility rate would trend downward toward the European rate of 2 births per woman. In 2009, the Jewish fertility rate approaches 3 births.

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, Israel’s demographic establishment has tended to under-project Jewish fertility, over-project Arab fertility, ignore the scope of Arab emigration and minimize the scope of potential Aliya. It has also misread the trend of Arab demography, which reached its peak in the 1960s (“Green Line”) and in the early 1990s (Judea, Samaria and Gaza), and since then it has declined towards secular Jewish demography.

In 1949, Prof. Bachi contended that there would be no Aliya to the poor, conflict-ridden Jewish State. Three million Olim have arrived since then.

In the mid-1980s, Prof. Sergio DellaPergola and Prof. Arnon Sofer, senior members of Israel’s demographic establishment, discounted the prospect of substantial Aliya from the USSR, even if the gates would be opened. Prof. DellaPergola also estimated the number of Soviet Jews at 50% of their actual number. One million Olim arrived from the USSR since then.

Today, DellaPergola and Sofer employ refuted-PCBS numbers as a basis for their own projections. They impressed upon Israel’s policy-makers that the demographic threat was lethal and more significant than historical and security considerations in determining the future of Judea and Samaria.


Paradoxically, early Zionist leaders did not allow demographic fatalism to divert them away from their vision, when Jews constituted a mere 8% minority (Herzl – 1900) and a 33% minority (Ben Gurion – 1947), devoid of sovereignty. They did not subordinate long-term national security to a tenuous demographic predicament; they made it a top priority to enhance demography, in order to advance overriding national security. In contrast, current Israeli politicians tend to succumb to Demographobia (illogical fear of demography), at a time when the Jewish State has acquired the critical mass of sovereignty - demographically, militarily, economically and technologically. They subscribe to flawed demographic assumptions, yielding flawed national security policy, which is hazardous to the survival of the Jewish State.

There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal and the demographic trend is Jewish. Therefore, anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River, that there is a demographic machete at the throat of the Jewish State, and that the Jewish State must concede Jewish Geography in order to secure Jewish Demography, is either grossly mistaken or outrageously misleading.

The Wizard of Oz or, the Man behind the Curtain… aka Obama

Arlene Peck

After living in Marina del Rey, California, and being in the film industry for the past twenty years, I've accepted living in La La Land… better known as the Land of Oz. However I don't know how much more I can handle the Obama worship. They wanted “change” and we are getting it! Our founders would drop dead all over again if they saw how Obama has already turned America into a Socialist nation. Everything is changing, yet, too much is staying the same. I know that we, as a nation, have “dumbed down” considerably over the past few years. However, it wasn’t so long ago that you should have forgotten the campaign promises of Candidate Obama.

Remember the teleprompter speeches where he, as a candidate, said, “I don’t tolerate earmarks!! If necessary, when bills that have them are placed on my desk I will go over each and every one of them, if necessary line by line”!

Yeah, right. Until he had a bill that he wanted passed, and the Messiah conveniently forgets to note the almost 9,000 pork bills that he wanted passed for an additional trillion dollars. We’re at almost ten trillion or, is that zillion, and climbing. I don’t know how you feel about his financial “leadership” but it scares the hell out of me.

I tried; but, I can’t wait until the first hundred days to mention how minute by minute, we're sinking into the abyss of socialism with the new government's idea “change.” Change? We got it, alright. And now, I’ve just about lost hope.

Did I mention that Obama was the second largest recipient of the AIG “donations?” He almost made #1 on that list of AIG largesse with $101,332; but, Sen. Chris Dodd won that “lottery” and came in first at $103,332. Gee, has anyone asked him to “donate” that back to “the people?” I don’t remember even hearing about it much.

But, truth be told, that is only a drop in the bucket of my concerns. Do any of you remember any discussions of AIG’s promotion of Sharia (Islamic law) in its Takaful division? That, for you novices like me, is the Sharia-compliant insurance section of AIG. For you doubters out there who think I’m on another hate speech rampage, why don’t you go to the AIG Takaful web site where they gleefully tell you it, “Avoids prohibited elements in accordance with Sharia law.” Also, “We do not invest in anything that is haram (prohibited under Sharia). We do not borrow, lend or enter into any financial transaction that is not Islamic.”

So, now the American taxpayer is directly funding sectarian Islamic religious activities. Don’t believe me? Go check out a lawsuit being conducted by the Thomas Moore Law Center against the government. Or, Google either one of the only two elected officials, Representative Myrick, R NC, or Frank Wolf, R-VA, who have publicly come out against the US government’s AIG Sharia-bailout.

Hmm, I wonder if Messiah Obama knew of the Islamic ties when he collected his money. Even if he didn’t, do you think his involvement right? Now that I think of it, the man who swore he’d never consider using lobbyist and now has an administration full of them. He even hired as Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, who before his job for Obama earned at least $320,000 in a 14-month stint on the board of mortgage giant, Freddie Mac. Gee, I wonder if he’s going to receive a multi-million dollar severance from them. I’ll bet, though, you never even knew that … did you?

Amazing that in such a short period of time, his administration has been able to carefully construct a series of conditions in which he is the head honcho of manipulation. Obama is working non-stop and, as a result, we are now a socialist nation. A once democratic nation now has a new agenda under which everything will continue to be controlled by massive government bureaucracy.

Truthfully folks, can you name me one area where government has been the solution of anything? As President Regan once said, "government is never the solution... it is the problem!"

How can we trust that the people who got us into this mess in the first place will now get us out? We are creating a culture which contrary to the American spirit.

Remember when he said, before the election, that he intends to spread the wealth? And, Obama announced himself as a “citizen of the world." Well, folks, I am having a lot of difficulty with that concept. You see, I grew up as a citizen of the USA. My parents were charitable and gave to good causes. But, they were old fashioned enough to believe with hard work and education anyone could become successful. I was taught those same ethics and did my best to pass them on to my children.

They did little jobs around the house to earn their allowances. They sold cookies and flower seeds as class projects. My son even went to work for the newspaper and became a “group leader” in high school, which gave him an override on the people they sold subscriptions too! My daughters had the entrepreneurial spirit and started their own “businesses.” This, I believe, was the foundation of the success that they've achieved today. Now however, I’m seeing the basic principles that I've tried to live by being destroyed. The new “leadership,” or lack thereof, is teaching that individual achievement is a “bad thing;” all they need to do is have trust in the government and everything will be just fine as individual leadership and ambition are crushed.

Obama and company are on a 'fast track' to restructure everything from education and medical care, to interfering with your charitable donations. Soon, it will be the charity that the government deems appropriate;

Recently, I went to the library and checked out the classic "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. We have become so dumbed down that I'm almost grateful that books such as this and George Orwell’s "1984" haven't been banned or burned. Yet. Entire schools of enlightenment have sprung up because of the philosophy we learned from them. What is so upsetting is that they were written in the 1930's, and we are living everything that was predicted so long ago? Big Brother is now in our lives ... big time. And, folks, I don't like it one bit.

I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I blame both of these inept parties for the mess that we find ourselves in today. What I find astounding is how a full twenty-five percent of these people who are in our House of Representatives, Senate and Executive branch of our government, not only got us into this depression, but have never had a “real job.” And, this goes double for our illustrious president.

A moron should be able see that we, as a nation, are on a fast road to financial disaster. The budget that our vacuum of leadership has created is beyond financial irresponsibility, it’s criminal! And, because Obama is charming, my neighbors believe him when he praises Timothy Geithner, the same way he once touted Rev. Wright.

When my son was in high school and had his “team,” he had to keep records about the progress or lack thereof; he had to keep showing what they were doing. Yet, this body of people went right into politics from college and haven't a clue as to what is needed in the “real world” to earn a living. Yet, these are the people that we, in our stupidity, have turned over our finances and allowed to quadruple debt for future generations, in order to 'bail us out of the disaster that they created in the first place.

What gives Obama the experience to tell the country how and where their savings are going to go? What in his background gives him the knowledge to know what we should be doing to get out of this quagmire of gook that we find ourselves?

Certainly not from his years of working as a county organizer. Or , his close relationship with the dubious organization, "Acorn?” If I had my druthers, I'd feel a lot more comfortable if there were men like Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Sam Walton, Steve Forbes, etc., or even, Oprah, giving directions of how we should be handling our finances. These are men and women who actually know how to run businesses and make money. That won't happen because such people are now in the process of being demonized and soon will the enemy as the filthy rich.

And, speaking of that, I find it ironic that so many of my neighbors in the film industry not only supported Obama, but contributed heavily to his campaign. It wasn’t so long ago that the “Hollywood crowd” was a “good thing;” but these people were stupid enough to think that the euphoria would continue once their “friend in Washington” got into power. It’s amazing how shocked they were, SHOCKED, to have not even been invited to the inauguration.

My goodness, do you think that they are getting a taste of what the big donors from Israel who live out here are also beginning to experience. The truth is emerging that Mr. Obama ain’t no friend of Israel. The columns are already beginning to emerge that Israel’s leaders are being snubbed by the White House.

Frankly, I hope it continues because my gut feeling is that when he does have a minute to devote to his solutions in the Middle East, it’s going to be nothing but harmful to the Jewish state. In fact, one of the first items on Obama’s agenda was to give over a billion, with a “B” of our hard earned dollars to support Hamas terrorism under the guise of rebuilding Gaza. The translation to that is that Hamas will take that money and spend it to re-arm itself and build more tunnels in order to complete its stated mission: Israeli genocide.

Obama is waiting on Netanyahu

Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

While aides to Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were busy formulating the coalition agreement and dividing up ministerial portfolios, Barack Obama's men were working on a bipartisan document and burrowed through files. The document they produced is waiting for the new Israeli government to be sworn in. The American president is due to use it as the basis of a special speech in which he will present his vision for the Middle East.

Of prime importance among the files on the desks of those who composed the document is a report drawn up at the end of 2008 by 10 senior figures from the two principal political parties in the United States.

One of them, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, has in the interim been appointed a senior economic adviser to the president.

The authors of that report recommended to the president that he replace "the conditions of the Quartet" with a readiness to recognize a Palestinian unity government, on condition that that government would agree to a cease-fire with Israel, authorize Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to conduct negotiations on a final-status solution, and bring the agreement to a referendum. Since Netanyahu refuses to accept the principle of a Palestinian state being established alongside Israel, he would have some difficulty complaining about the U.S. relieving Hamas of the same demand.

The report's authors proposed that the president adopt the following positions with regard to the components of a final-status agreement: an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with the exception of large settlement blocs; Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and divided on a demographic basis; adoption of a special regime in the Old City; the rehabilitation of refugees within the Palestinian state, with Israel accepting a degree of responsibility for the problem; and the stationing of a multinational force in the territories during an interim period.

The experts who drew up the report placed the Palestinian channel ahead of the Syrian channel in urgency, and expressed the opinion that 2009 constitutes the last opportunity for a partition solution.

They suggested as well that a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would be a central factor in the struggle against Islamic fundamentalists and world jihad.

In his column in The New York Times last week, Roger Cohen wrote that the approach of Volcker and the other authors of the report, an updated version of which Volcker recently presented to the president, was to a large extent in keeping with the approach of Obama's national security advisor, James Jones, and special emissary George Mitchell. The 10 members of the team that prepared the report included Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both of whom headed the National Security Council; former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, former Republican senator Chuck Hagel; James Wolfensohn, formerly president of the World Bank as well as the Quartet's Middle East emissary; and Thomas Pickering, a former under secretary of state. All of them are members of the U.S. Middle East Project, headed by Henry Siegman. True, Siegman is considered a member of the "far left," but Netanyahu will have a hard time accusing him of anti-Semitism, since he is an ordained Orthodox rabbi, and he served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress.

Ehud vs. Barak

One paragraph that stands out in the coalition agreement between Likud and the Labor Party is that which states that "the government will take steps to enforce the law with regard to the illegal [settlement] outposts." (Someone apparently forgot that their name was laundered to "unauthorized"). This is the first time that a politician has dictated a demand viv-a-vis himself.

According to data collected by Peace Now, Defense Minister Barak not only defaulted on his commitment to freeze construction in the settlements and to dismantle at least 24 outposts, but 1,518 new buildings were constructed on his watch last year in the territories, 261 of them on outposts.

Barak found devious ways to circumvent the High Court of Justice's order to evacuate the outpost of Migron, which had been set up on stolen private land.

Hagit Ofran, a member of Peace Now's follow-up team, says that there are no grounds for the claim made recently before the Court that the Israel Defense Forces had evacuated 30 outposts.

In return for the settlers' agreement to evacuate some of their mobile homes, the vast majority of which were in any case unoccupied, Barak gave the go-ahead for "new neighborhoods," a code name for new settlements.

The coalition agreement makes no mention of renewing the work of the ministerial committee for applying the recommendations of the report on the outposts, which was intended to block practices of this kind.

Nor does a single word appear in it about the voluntary evacuation by settlers who live east of the separation fence, an idea that had won the wall-to-wall support of the Labor faction and even received the blessing of Barak himself.

Incidentally, the report presented to President Obama calls for Israel to evacuate all of those settlements. Those that are willing and those that are not.

Who's to watch over the watchman?

Several days ago there appeared in the newspapers advertisement declaring the establishment of a committee that is tasked with filling the vacant position of deputy to the attorney general (for economic-fiscal matters) and the new position of deputy attorney general (in charge of counsel and legislation). The advertisements include job descriptions, minimum qualifications, and a deadline for submission of candidacy. A government decision from 2002 stated that the committee would not only be the body to choose the candidates, but would also determine the job descriptions and define the minimum conditions required of the candidates.

Even in normal times, such a mechanism would be considered irregular, a method for sidestepping tenders. But it's far worse for it to operate during a period of a transition government, after the resignation of the prime minister, and before the new government has received the approval of the new Knesset.

Two weeks ago, attorney Gilad Barnea, an expert in constitutional and administrative law, asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to explain why he postponed the establishment of the search committee until after the swearing-in of the new government.

Mazuz and the civil service commissioner, Shmuel Hollander, explained that there had been "a technical mistake or error in the government decision" from 2002, and that they intended to propose that it be amended.

And until such time? Even though the deadline for candidates to present their candidacies has passed, Mazuz announced that this was merely "a preliminary measure" and that the committee would be appointed after the government is instated.

In the interim, Barnea has petitioned the High Court on the matter in the name of MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union). The court is expected to rule during the coming days on whether it is fitting that those appointed to guard over the law and the rules should violate decisions of the government.

Comment: Why would any group of people change if they are not held accountable? Notice that there is no mention of performance standards expected of the "Palestinians"-in return Israel gives up a great deal-read the report. For a president who praises CHANGE he fails to indicate that along with change is behavior consequence-this he conveniently NEVER addresses. I also warned my readers to pay attention to Obama's inner circle would be-my worst fears have come true. Now, to see if the new Israeli government has any courage-this is our only fall back position.

Netanyahu names Likud ministers

Just one day before his new government is sworn in, prime minister-designate informs his party's Knesset members of their designated portfolios. MK Kahlon appointed communications minister, Erdan to become environment minister, Steinitz slated to be named finance minister, Yaalon named strategic affairs minister; MK Reuven Rivlin named Knesset speaker

Attila Somfalvi
Israel News

Speculations over: Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday informed his party's Knesset members of their designated positions in his new government.

The first to meet with Netanyahu was MK Michael Eitan, who will serve as a minister-without-portfolio in charge of improving the governmental service to the citizens.

MK Moshe Kahlon will be appointed communications minister, MK Yossi Peled will be a minister-without-portfolio, and MK Gila Gamliel will serve as deputy minister for women and youth affairs. MK Yuli Edelstein will receive an operational role, Netanyahu said, although his areas of responsibility have yet to be determined.

MK Gilad Erdan, who was next in line, was informed of his appointment environment minister. Erdan said in response, "I'm very excited. We'll lead a green revolution." He will also be a member of the Judges' Election Committee and serve as the liaison minister between the government and the Knesset.

MK Limor Livnat will serve as science, culture and sport minister, and will also serve in the National Security Cabinet.

Likud MK Reuven Rivlin was appointed Knesset speaker. Rivlin received a majority vote of 90 MKs, with no objections.

Speaking at the Knesset after his appointment, Rivlin said, "The Knesset is not just a stage for ceremonies, but a panel for debating and decision making. We were not elected to act as stand -ins, but to take an active part, a central part in democracy."

Later Monday evening, MK Gideon Sa'ar was named education minister, and will also sit in the National Security Cabinet. "Most of the meeting focused on the education system, the problems, and the need for a change in the system," Sa'ar said upon exiting Netanyahu's office.

Netanyahu also informed MK Yisrael Katz of his decision to appoint him to the position of transportation minister.

MK Yuval Steinitz is slated to be named finance minister, and former IDF chief Moshe Yaalon will be appointed minister of strategic affairs and will also serve as vice premier.

MK Dan Meridor will be appointed to the post of minister in charge of secret services and deputy prime minister, and will also be a member of the National Security Cabinet and the Kitchen Cabinet. Benny Begin was named as minister without portfolio and as a member of the National Security Cabinet and the Kitchen Cabinet.

Communications Minister-designate Kahlon leaves meeting with Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

The designated ministers were invited to meet with Netanyahu one after the other. Israel's 32nd government is expected to include 30 ministers and is slated to be one of the biggest government's in the State's history.

Other positions still to be named are minister for development of the Negev and Galilee and the Knesset liaison.


The ministers whose positions have already been secured are: Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak , Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov , Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, Minister-without-portfolio Meshulam Nahari, Minister for Religious Affairs Yakov Margi, Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister for Social Affairs Isaac Herzog, Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon.

Amnon Meranda contributed to this report