Monday, June 30, 2008

The Europeans Step Up

It has been nearly two years since the United Nations ordered Iran to stop enriching uranium. Tehran continues to defy that order, and its scientists are getting closer to mastering a process that is the hardest part of building a nuclear weapon. So we welcome the European Union's decision — after much foot-dragging — to impose new sanctions on Iran that go beyond what the United Nations Security Council has mandated. That means that 61 Iranians or companies — all with alleged links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs — will now be subject to a European visa ban, a freeze on assets or both. European states must lose no time in rigorously implementing these penalties.

Coming after Tehran again cold-shouldered a package of economic and diplomatic incentives offered by the major powers, the European Union's decision reinforces the only strategy that might — might — have a chance of peacefully persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The strategy — initiated in 2006 by Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China — offers Iran a reasonable choice: suspend nuclear fuel production and cooperate with international inspectors in exchange for rewards from the West, or continue down the current road and face harsher penalties and deeper isolation.

Tehran has until now played a weak hand brilliantly. Even as it defies the United Nations, it has staved off significant international penalties by showing occasional interest in negotiations and deftly leveraging its economic power as an oil-and-gas producer.

Europe's patience, we hope, is finally wearing thin and the tightening financial squeeze may yet have an impact. It would be foolish for the Senate to threaten this cooperation by passing a bill, now under consideration, that could force sanctions on European companies doing business with Iran.

While we deplore Russia's and China's continued enabling of Iran, a Senate proposal to kill an American-Russia civilian nuclear cooperation agreement would also be hugely counterproductive. Washington must find other levers to persuade Russia and China to impose tougher Security Council sanctions that all United Nations members would have to enforce.

The major powers also must improve on the incentives offered to Iran. Specifically, the Bush administration must make a more credible offer of security guarantees and improved relations if Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions.

We strongly urge the administration to follow through on a proposal now being floated to open an American-interests section in Tehran.

There is no assurance that Iran's leaders would accept the offer, nor do we know if there is any mix of incentives or punishments that would change Tehran's behavior. The Iranian people need to know that the United States is serious about reconciliation — and who is responsible for their isolation.


Michael Freund

Is American Jewry finally waking up from its love affair with the Democratic Party? That, at least, is the question that comes to mind when one considers some very interesting polling data that emerged recently. As odd as it may sound, Republican presidential candidate John McCain may just be poised to capture a significant percentage of the Jewish vote.

Early last month, you'll recall, headlines blared in the US and Israeli press trumpeting the results of a Gallup survey conducted back in April which found that American Jews preferred Democratic hopeful Barack Obama by a margin of 61 to 32 over his GOP rival. For many observers, it seemed to confirm the time-honored tradition that American Jews continue to remain solidly in the Democratic camp. After all, a two-to-one margin represents a fairly compelling advantage.

BUT HERE'S something the mainstream media has not, and likely will not, tell you: Obama's support among US Jewry is on the decline.

This became apparent in another, more recent Gallup poll published on June 5, which showed that the race for support among American Jews has begun to tighten, with Obama now leading McCain by a margin of 57 to 35.
That represents a narrowing of the gap from 29 to 22 points in just one month. And it comes despite the free ride, and the fawning coverage, that Obama has been getting from much of the American press.

Moreover, this latest poll was conducted after it had become clear that Obama was set to be the Democratic nominee, whereas the previous survey took place when Hillary Clinton was still very much in the race as well. In other words, now that American Jews are confronted with the stark choice between Obama and McCain, a noticeable shift has begun to take place towards the Republican contender.

THE REASONS for this shift are not too hard to identify. Clearly, the controversy surrounding Obama's contentious pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, hurt him among US Jews who might otherwise have supported him. Many are also wary of his connections with people on the far-left anti-Israel scene, and suspect that his inexperience will hinder his ability to perform as president. Moreover, Obama's stated willingness to court dictators such as Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raises serious question marks about whether he is up to the task of defending Israel and the West in an increasingly dangerous world.

His grand flip-flop on Jerusalem earlier this month will only serve to add to those concerns. Just one day after his rousing speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington, where he said he supports Israeli control over a united Jerusalem, Obama unceremoniously back-tracked in order to appease Arab anger. That will only exacerbate the growing unease that many Jews feel over where he really stands on core issues of importance to them.
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many US Jews, after taking a closer look at the senator from Illinois, are now scratching their heads and declaring "Obama? Oy-bama!"

SURE, YOU might be thinking, but he is still getting 57 percent of the Jewish vote in the latest poll, and that is still a healthy majority.

That may be true, but consider the following: both Bill Clinton and Al Gore each won approximately 80 percent of the Jewish vote when they sought the presidency. And even the dour and uninspiring Democratic candidate John Kerry was able to take home 75 percent in the 2004 contest.

So if Obama is slated to capture just 57 percent of American Jewish ballots, or possibly even less, that would nonetheless constitute a dramatic failure on his part.

How much does this really matter?
Quite a lot, actually.

According to a 2001 study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, some 30% to 35% of American Jewish voters "can be lured by any party depending on its position." Sprinkled among key battleground states in the campaign, that large group in the middle "adds up to a swing vote representing up to 2% of the electorate in states like Florida and Pennsylvania," the report noted.
And in the 2000 cliffhanger election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, which hinged on the outcome in Florida, that Jewish "swing vote" might have made all the difference.

"A shift of that amount," the study found, "would have changed the result in that state and, in all probability, singlehandedly crowned the American president. Put another way, the Jewish swing vote, mobilized behind a particular candidate, would have given him the 2000 election."

THIS SIMPLE fact of electoral life hasn't changed all that much in the intervening eight years, meaning that a historic opportunity may be at hand for Republican John McCain. If he continues to court the Jewish vote, and underline his opponent's obvious weak points when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, McCain could very well make further headway among American Jews and draw more of them into the Republican column.

By stressing bread-and-butter issues, like the security of the Jewish state, its right to self-defense, and the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the Arizona senator might conceivably match, or even surpass, the 40 percent of the Jewish vote that Ronald Reagan won back in the 1980s.

While that won't necessarily guarantee him victory in the race for the White House, it might just tip the scales in his favor in a close contest.

And, just as important, it could seal growing Jewish support for the GOP in the years and decades to come.

Britain to free another Al-Qaeda top dog

Abu Qatada was not enough. "Second al-Qaeda leader to be freed in Britain," from the Times, June 28 (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):

Secret negotiations have taken place to arrange the release from a British jail of one of al-Qaeda’s most important operatives in Europe, The Times has learnt. The prisoner, who can be identified only as U, is expected to be released from the high-security wing at Long Lartin jail next week.

Appeal Court judges ruled in April that the man, a 45-year-old Algerian veteran of al-Qaeda’s Afghan training camps, should be freed on bail. But discussions between security agencies and U’s lawyers became deadlocked over the conditions restricting his movements and whom he can meet when he leaves prison.

The authorities are understood to have sought bail terms more stringent than the 22-hour curfew imposed on the radical cleric Abu Qatada when he was freed last week. These conditions would require U to spend all his time indoors.

Security agencies blocked requests for U to live in London claiming that he has extensive contacts among extremist Islamist groups there. They also objected to an address in Brighton. U will be required to wear an electronic tag, subjected to round-the-clock monitoring and forbidden to use the internet or a mobile phone.

When the agreement is finalised the details will be passed to a judge who can release U from the prison in Worcestershire without any further court hearing. The Home Office refused to comment on the situation beyond saying it was seeking “the strictest bail conditions” possible.

While Abu Qatada is a preacher whose role in the al-Qaeda network is to justify and encourage jihad, U is alleged to be a terrorist leader who recruited, trained and facilitated operations. Members of his group, which was formed with the personal approval of Osama bin Laden, have been convicted in the US of a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport in December 1999 and, in Germany, of a plan to bomb the Strasbourg Christmas market a year later....

Thanks Dhimmi Watch

An informed citizen fights back

Robert Spencer

My friend Doc Washburn is a former talk radio host whose show I had the honor of appearing on numerous times. He recently got into a Letter-to-the-Editor dustup with Dr. Hashem Mubarak of Florida's Bay County Islamic Society, in which Dr. Mubarak repeated some soothing half-truths and untruths with which regular Jihad Watch readers will be quite familiar. It happened awhile ago, but I just happened upon it and believe it is illuminating: Doc's reply shows how valuable it is to be informed about the true nature of the jihad threat, so as to be able to keep from falling for the smooth deceptions that are so commonly retailed by those who would prefer that we remain ignorant and complacent in the face of the advancing jihad threat. He also, at the end, refuses to accept the tired "bigotry" charge that jihadists and their allies and dupes always make whenever anyone points out the violence and supremacism jihadists retail on a daily basis.

"Positive proof of terror links exist," from the Panama City News Herald, May 22:

Dr. Hashem Mubarak recently responded to my letter in the 42-cent Forum criticizing the Bay County Islamic Society for bringing in a speaker who is a member of two organizations (Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research) with ties to terrorism ("Suspicious links," letters, April 30). I had also criticized the society for earlier hosting a talk by a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In his letter, "Muslims maligned," Dr. Mubarak stated that the Fiqh Council had "issued a religious fatwa explicitly prohibiting all acts of terrorism" and that "none of these organization's members have ever spoken favorably of terrorism" (May 6). He issued a challenge for me or anyone else "to bring a single piece of evidence proving otherwise."

I hereby accept his challenge.

First, the following link is all the evidence anyone would need to establish CAIR's ties to terrorism. It is a 10-part series devoted to CAIR that includes great detail on its origins, funding, ties to Hamas, terrorismrelated indictments of their officials, etc. (www.investigativeproject. org/profile/172).

Second, the fatwa issued by the Fiqh Council (and publicized by CAIR) was anything but explicit. It has been criticized roundly as a bogus document "designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate." It does not condemn, renounce or even mention the jihad ideology behind Islamic terrorist attacks. It does not condemn by name any person or group responsible for jihad attacks. Although it condemns violence against "innocent men and women," it conveniently ignores what the jihadists keep saying: There is no such thing as an "innocent" non-Muslim (www. jihadwatch. org/archives/ 018961.php).
The fatwa condemns going after "civilians," but again ignores the fact that (as far as jihadists are concerned), the concept of "civilians" does not exist in Islamic law ( es/007125.php).

The fatwa is so vague that even jihadists could agree with it!

The Fiqh Council's chairman, Taha Jaber Al-Alwani, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to the federal felony violation of providing assistance and support to members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization. Evidence in Al-Arian's trial showed that Alwani-funded Islamic Jihad front groups in Florida.

Also, Abdurrahman Alamode (a past trustee of the Fiqh Council) is serving a 23-year prison sentence for immigration fraud and illegal financial dealings with Libya. He has been named by the U.S. Treasury Department as having been a financier of al-Qaida. For good measure, he also admitted being a part of a plot to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and has expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah (counter the_counterterrorism_blog/ 2005/07/the_american_is. html).

As I mentioned in my previous letter, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has been vocal in his support of "suicide bombings." Here is more proof: www.experience _opinion_on_the_Israeli-Palestinian_conflict/id/19555 01 and stm.

In his letter, Dr. Mubarak accused me of "ugly bigotry and racism." I did not realize that Islam is a race. He also claimed that I "deliberately lied" and that when I did my radio talk show in Panama City, I "repeatedly incited hatred against the Muslim community and made false, libelous, and defamatory statements." So in closing, I have a challenge for him: Prove it.


Geert Wilders fears arrest if he travels abroad

Anyone who values freedom of expression should support Wilders as vocally as possible against this threat to his freedom of speech and movement. Otherwise, they may later note with regret: "First they came for Geert..."From Gates of Vienna, via Atlas Shrugs:

Geert Wilders fears he will be arrested soon when traveling abroad, due to his movie Fitna. Jordan is working on an international warrant for the arrest of the PVV leader in order to prosecute him. Last Monday the court in Amman found the complaint filed to be acceptable. Wilders expects that the court will soon appeal for an international warrant for his arrest, reports De Volkskrant. Jordan can possibly make a request through Interpol. Such an appeal can be fought by the Dutch government. It is also possible Jordan will ask individual nations visited by Wilders to extradite him. In any case, the Wilders' freedom of movement will be severely restricted. Wilders complains about the uncertainty.

"One never knows when it will happen. My freedom of movement will be enormously limited and I cannot operate as a politician," according to Wilders in De Volkskrant. The risks are being mapped by the ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Families of Missing Iranian Jews Petition Against Hizbullah Deal

Hillel Fendel

The families of 12 missing Iranian Jews have petitioned against one clause of the exchange with Hizbullah: Israel's consent to provide information on four missing Iranian diplomats.

Among the various obligations Israel took upon itself in the agreement approved by the Cabinet on Sunday is to provide information on four Iranian diplomats who disappeared in June 1982. Israeli forces had just invaded Lebanon in the Peace for Galilee War, in order to put a stop to incessant Palestinian terrorist and rocket attacks against northern Israel. Christian anti-Palestinian forces - the Samir Jaja faction of a Lebanese-Christian militia - apparently captured the four Iranian diplomats, who have never been heard from since. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, representing the families of the 12 missing Iranian Jews, filed suit in the Supreme Court Monday morning. The urgently-filed petition demands that Israel not provide information on the diplomats until reliable and detailed information is received about the missing Jews. The petition makes clear that the target is not the entire agreement with Hizbullah, but rather the clause regarding the information on the Iranian diplomats.

The families of the 12 Jews in question say their loved ones were arrested by Iranian security authorities in the 1990s as they sought to escape from Iran across the border with Pakistan. At least some of them are believed to still be in Iranian prison. The Iranians have never acknowledged the Jews' arrest, nor have they given any word on their status or whereabouts.

The petitioners argue that the government must honor the obligations imposed upon it by the Israeli High Court approximately two years ago to "push forward diligently, sparing no effort, to gain information about the [12 missing] Jews of Iran."

In addition to this Court-ordered obligation, Attorney Darshan-Leitner adds another consideration: "These individuals attempted to come to Israel at the encouragement and with the assistance of the Israeli government. It is therefore the responsibility of the Israeli government to do everything it can to gain reliable, specific information regarding their whereabouts in order to save them if we can, and give closure and end the suffering of the wives, children, fathers and mothers of those who were murdered by the Islamic Republic."

To do otherwise, the lawyer stated, means that the 12 Iranian Jews "have been abandoned. It is simply unthinkable that the State of Israel would convey information about the four Iranian diplomats without receiving in exchange information about the twelve missing Jews in Iran. Information about the diplomats is the last bargaining chip in Israel's hands toward acquiring information about the missing Jews in Iran. If we give it up with nothing in return, the possibility of knowing what happened to the twelve missing is totally dead."

"Saving the lives of these missing Jews, still being held in Iranian prisons after years of torture must be a central component of any deal with Hizbollah and Iran," she concluded.

Israel Law Center sources say that the information on the missing Iranian officials is being requested from Israel by Hizbullah's financial patrons in Iran.

Similar Suit Not Filed on Behalf of Ron Arad
The suit filed on behalf of the Iranian Jews raises the question of why the family of Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad does not do the same. Arad has been missing since his plane crashed over Lebanon in 1986, and is believed to have been last seen in Iran. Hizbullah claims that it has been unable to find information on Arad's whereabouts or fate. If any such information does exist, it would seem to be in Iran.

The release of Lebanese Druze murderer Samir Kuntar has been lamented as the loss of the last chance for information on Arad. No explanation has been offered as to why the same approach taken by the families of the 12 has not been taken by the Arad family.

A former major activist for Ron Arad said recently that he abandoned his efforts when the offer of $10 million for information on Arad produced absolutely nothing.

Hizbullah Deal Not Certain
Voice of Israel government radio reported this morning that after Hizbullah submits its reports on the steps it took to find out about Ron Arad, Israel will review them and will then decide if the exchange should actually be carried out.
Other MIA's
Still missing and with no information on their whereabouts are Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz and Zecharia Baumel - assumed to be in Syrian hands after they were captured in the Sultan Yaakub battle in June 1982, Guy Hever, who disappeared near the Syrian border in 1997, and Druze IDF soldier Majdi Halaby, who was last seen in the Golan Heights in May 1995. Their families have asked that the indirect negotiations that have recently begun with Syria take their sons into account.

Hizbullah: Ron Arad Probably Dead

Hana Levi Julian

The Hizbullah terrorist organization has reported to the United Nations that captive Israeli Air Force navigator Ron Arad is dead. Arad has been missing in action since 1986, when his F-4 Phantom fighter-bomber was shot down over Lebanon by Amal terrorists.

The information is reportedly revealed in a document to be passed on to Israel from Hizbullah by United Nations-appointed German negotiator Gerhard Konrad as part of the prisoner exchange agreement approved Sunday.However, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would not confirm that Arad was indeed dead. Speaking to Israel National News, Mark Regev said, "The report has not yet been received. We have to take a look at it first -- and then we'll see."

During previous negotiations with the terrorist group, carried out from 2003-2005, Hizbullah said it had failed to locate or verify the status of the Israeli captive airman.

Lebanese Druze terrorist Samir Kuntar, scheduled to be released as part of the current prisoner exchange, was being reserved by Israel for a prisoner swap with Ron Arad. But although Kuntar's freedom has been included as part of the deal approved by Israel's Cabinet on Sunday, the deal will not be signed until Israel receives the terrorist organization's information on Ron Arad.

When Arad was shot down in southern Lebanon, the pilot and aircraft commander were rescued in a daring helicopter operation by the IDF. However, Arad was captured by the Shi'ite militia before he could be rescued.

His wife, Tami, received one handwritten letter within the first year, and another, also written early in his captivity, that was handed over as part of a separate prisoner swap negotiation this past year.

In addition, this past year Lebanese media released a single, brief video clip of Ron Arad, bearded and clearly under stress, identifying himself to the camera. Experts said it was not possible to know exactly when the clip had been filmed, but that it had probably been shot within two years of Arad's capture.

The Hizbullah document reportedly details the efforts by the organization to ascertain Arad's status after it turned him over to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard headquarters in Ba'albek in 1989.

The report will also explain why the terrorists cannot provide concrete proof of Arad's death or the location of his grave.

The full document is to be passed on to Israel after Israeli government envoy Ofer Dekel signs the proposed agreement. The German negotiator Konrad will then convey the document to Beirut, where it will be signed by representatives of Hizbullah.

In exchange, Israel will also provide a report informing Hizbullah of the fate of several Iranian nationals who went missing during the first Lebanon War.

According to Israel, the Iranians, which included a number of diplomats and journalists, was captured at a Christian Lebanese Phalange militia roadblock. The Iranians were reportedly then interrogated by the Christian group, executed and then buried in a building site.

Fears that Terrorist-Release Deal Will Boomerang on Israel

Hillel Fendel

Responses to the Cabinet's decision to release five terrorists, including Haran family murderer Samir Kuntar, in exchange for the bodies of two abducted Israeli soldiers have been fast in coming. Many of them, while expressing sympathy for the families of the captive soldiers, say the deal endangers Israel and its other soldiers. Indor: The Lebanon War Ended Today in a Fiasco
Col. (res.) Meir Indor, head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, said in response to the Cabinet vote, "Hizbullah and Nasrallah have defeated the government of Israel, cleverly using terrorism and mass media, as well as the families of the captives, against the ministers. This strategy brought about the total downfall of the government's standing power, and a retreat from all its past promises not to cave in to the kidnappers..."

"The government must now explain to the 117 families of the soldiers who were killed in the war in Lebanon, and the dozens of families of civilians who were killed, why we went to war altogether," Indor said, "seeing as we could have just given in to the Hizbullah demands from the very beginning, without losing any lives, if we would have just released Kuntar right away! The bottom line is that the 2nd Lebanon War ended in a total fiasco."

Bachrach: Dangerous for Gilad Shalit
Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, head of the Bereaved Parents' Forum and spokesman for Almagor, said, "This deal, this surrender to Hizbullah, represents a total collapse of the government of Israel's standing power... The idea of giving live terrorists for dead bodies is dangerous for Gilad Shalit as well. After all, it is very difficult logistically for Hamas to keep him alive; why shouldn't they just shoot him in the head, in the knowledge that Israel pays high prices for dead bodies as well?"

Others have countered that the price Israel is expected to pay for Shalit is many times higher than that paid in the Hizbullah deal.

Israel will give four Hizbullah terrorists captured alive during the Second Lebanon War, bodies of eight Hizbullah terrorists, dozens of infiltrator and terrorist corpses and body parts, maps of Israeli mines in Lebanon, information on four Iranian diplomats who went missing in Beirut during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, an unspecified number of Palestinian terrorist prisoners, and maps of Lebanese targets at which Israel fired cluster bombs during the last war.

In return, Israel will receive the bodies of abducted IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, as well as a detailed account of Hizbullah's account of its efforts to secure information on missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad.

Orlev: Time to Pull Together
MK Zevulun Orlev (NRP), head of the Knesset lobby for the return of the captive soldiers, said, "Even if the government performed poorly in the way it went about this deal, and even if there were correct and significant reasons to oppose the deal, now that the decision has been made, we must all unite behind it, put aside our differences and embrace the captives' families."

Rabbi Sadan: A Totally Illogical Deal
Rabbi Eli Sadan, head of the first pre-military yeshiva academy - Bnei David in Eli - says that the release of murderers and terrorists in exchange for corpses is blatantly illegal. "This is an insane act that encourages and strengthens the enemy," Rabbi Sadan told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine. "I fail to understand why the sanctity of Jewish burial is more important than the sanctity of Jewish life."

"Anything that causes terrorists to return to the circle of murder is very grave," Rabbi Sadan said. "After many of these exchanges, many Israeli citizens paid with their lives. The question is, When exactly will someone in the State of Israel take responsibility to stop this madness?"

Mattot Arim: We Must Not Give Up
The Mattot Arim grassroots movement released this reaction: "We call on the public not to see today's government decision as the end of the story. We must continue to pressure the ministers to backtrack on their politically-correct vote, and begin to act only in accordance with the recommendation of the Mossad and Shabak (GSS) and not to carry out the terrorists-for-corpses deal. We recommend that the citizens of Israel not lose their nerve, but continue writing talkbacks on the internet against the collapse, in the best tradition of the democratic tradition of the resolute right-wing in Israel."

Ramon: Israel Forced Hizbullah to Give In
Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon (Kadima) said, "Until recently, I did not support the deal, because Hizbullah demanded the release of thousands, then 1,000, then 700 Palestinian prisoners. Only when they finally gave up and agreed to the formula that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners of a number and type that Israel itself would determine, did I agree to support the deal."

Steinitz: We Have Violated Two Basic Principles
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud): "All I can say is that with this decision, the entire country has simply derailed. In the 70's, we were strong and said that we would not give into terrorists' demands - and accused the rest of the world of giving in. Now we are in a situation that we return live terrorists for bodies and body parts."

Steinitz also said that Israel cooperated with Hizbullah "for a full year in Hizbullah's deception that the captives might be alive. By doing so, we tricked ourselves and the families... In accepting this deal, we have violated two fundamental principles that will hurt our soldiers in the future. One is not to even enter into talks without having some prior information on the condition of the captives, via the Red Cross or whatever. The second principle is that we must not negotiate over corpses - as this encourages them to collect bodies from the battlefield, and certainly not to try to save or treat wounded Israeli soldiers, in the knowledge that we will pay top price even for corpses."

PA Glorifies Child-Murderer Kuntar

Hana Levi Julian

The Palestinian Authority leadership considers Lebanese arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar to be the epitome of the "ideal" PA prisoner, according to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch. Kuntar, commander of a unit that attacked Nahariya in 1979, was convicted for the murders of four Israelis, including two toddlers. He has been serving four consecutive life terms in prison. The Lebanese Druze operative is likely to be freed from an Israeli prison within days if Hizbullah signs a prisoner swap deal for the return of the remains of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, approved by the Cabinet on Sunday.

On one hand, said PMW, Kuntar embodies what the PA deems the "heroism" of terrorists fighting Israel. On the other hand, he is also the ultimate symbol of all terrorist prisoners who have murdered Israelis and will eventually be freed by future kidnappings or through some other means.

According to a 1979 Maariv newspaper report, Kuntar first shot Israeli civilian Danny Haran on the Nahariya beach and drowned him in front of Einat his 4-year-old daughter. Kuntar then turned his attention towards the 4-year old. He took his rifle and then swung it across the toddler's head, knocking her to the ground. He, then laid her head on a rock and beat her on the head until her skull was crushed and she was dead.

The Palestinian Authority has made a special effort through its media to champion the cause of terrorism, indoctrinating even the youngest children toward a culture of becoming heroes through death -- their own and the deaths of those they murder.

PA TV lionizes those who deliberately seek "shahada" (martyrdom), even children. An example of such an instance is shown in the above vido clip. (Can't see the video? Click here. )

Kuntar bludgeoned four-year-old Eynat Haran to death, crushing her skull with rocks and his rifle butt after first killing her father before her eyes. He was also responsible for the death of her infant sister, who was accidentally suffocated as she hid with her terrified mother in a closet during the attack in Nahariya, in which two policemen were killed as well.

PA TV, controlled by PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), has broadcast a picture in Kuntar's honor, depicting the bloodthirsty terrorist beside a map of Israel completely covered by the PA flag. The Olmert and Bush administrations consider Abbas to be a moderate. He previously has promised to halt incitement of violence against Israel.

In a recent letter to Hizbullah chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah, Kuntar vowed to continue his path of terror after his release.

Hizbullah Celebrates 'Victory', Promises More Terror
Lebanese sources report that families and home villages of the prisoners to be released in exchange for the kidnapped soldiers are "feverishly" preparing their welcome.

One young woman was photographed in Sidon under a banner depicting the soon-to-be-freed Kuntar. The young woman declared passionately that she would "not leave the spot until Kuntar comes here himself."

Hizbullah terrorist-backed Al Manar TV has broadcast around the clock since Israel's Cabinet voted Sunday to approve the prisoner swap deal.

"Today the promise of the resistance was kept… In a few more days Kuntar will put all his years in jail behind him… Our prisoners are freed not by words and not by diplomacy or tears and kisses… Only blood liberated the land and liberates man."

"Insanity Plus"

Arlene Kushner

Comprehension of what is going -- or, rather, WHY it is going on -- eludes me, my friends.

Announcement has been made of the Cabinet vote of 22-3 in favor of releasing Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, Palestinian prisoners, and bodies of Hezbollah guerillas for the bodies of Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev -- who at this point are clearly thought to be dead. The ministers who voted against were Roni Bar-On (Finance), Ze'ev Boim (Housing) and Daniel Friedmann (Justice).

For the details of the agreement, see: his vote came in spite of the advice of top security officials (the heads of Shin Bet and Mossad) that this was a bad move and would encourage further abductions. It even gives the message that it's OK to kill those Israelis who are abducted, and Israel will still trade.

Olmert's statement on the matter before the vote was that "...I came to the conclusion that as the prime minister of Israel I should recommended approval of the resolution that will bring to an end this painful chapter, even at the painful price that it extracts from us."

In the course of his statement, he indicated that release of Kuntar was probably the reason that Goldwasser and Regev were abducted in the first place. And we give them what they were seeking??

It must be noted that the families of Goldwasser and Regev have received a lot of publicity regarding their right to have their loved ones returned to them, and the pleading they've done to make sure the government would make this possible. Olmert and company undoubtedly hope to capitalize on popular sentiment in this regard.

Amongst leaders and potential leaders here, it was only former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon who raised the question of the price being too high.


And Samir Kuntar? We held this Lebanese Druse -- who was a member of Palestinian Liberation Front -- in prison for years, but the death penalty would have been more appropriate (if we routinely levied a death penalty, which we don't).

In 1979, he entered Nahariya, Israel from Lebanon, by boat, with a group of three fellow terrorists. Entering the apartment of the Haran family, and knowing the police were on the way, they took Danny Haran and his four year old daughter, Einat, hostage and brought them down to the beach. When a shoot-out with police erupted, Samir Kuntar shot Danny in the back at close range in full view of his four year old daughter. Then he drowned Danny in the sea to make certain he was dead, and proceeded to smash Einat's head against the rocks, while she screamed, "Mommy, Daddy help me!" Then he crushed her head with the butt of his rifle.

This subhuman we release from prison? A great deal has been made of the feelings of the Goldwasser and Regev families, but what of the feelings of the Haran family?

It should be noted, by the way, that Kuntar is a declared recidivist. He has already announced that he will return to terrorism. And this we release from prison.

Wrong, shamefully, pathetically wrong.


So the Kuntar family and other despicable beings in Lebanon are celebrating tonight.

The Israeli government should collectively hang its head in shame.


Meanwhile, Palestinian Media Watch reports that the PA, our alleged partner in peace negotiations, has made the claim that Kuntar represents "heroism." PA TV has broadcast a picture of Kuntar alongside a map of Israel completely covered with the Palestinian flag.

Insanity plus.


A correction: The link to the piece on the Hamas truce from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs was incomplete on Thursday, and I offer here the full link (with thanks to Cheryl Hoffer for calling my attention to this):

see my website

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"I won't let Hizzbollah use me"

In 1979 Samir Kuntar who murdered her family, now Smadar Haran refuses to let her personal tragedy impede the return of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. 'I don’t have a monopoly over pain, suffering or justice,’ she says, asking gov't to do what is best for Israel, not her

Roni Lifshitz
Israel News

“It is very difficult for me to be here today, I am here despite the difficulty. Kidnappings cause ongoing pain and torment for all those involved," began Smadar Haran as she addressed a press conference on Sunday while the cabinet voted on a proposal to release Samir Kuntar, the man who murdered her husband and two young girls, in exchange of captive Israeli soldiers. "Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s cynical tactic is to use victims in order to cause division, to split the public and to use the Israeli media as a sound horn and speakers for his manipulations,” said Haran.

“For this reason, I decided not to respond. I am not willing to be utilized by them. It raises the price that the other side demands.

“I don’t’ have a monopoly on pain, suffering or justice. This is a horrible test and I am gathering all my strength in order to sustain this.” Haran described her pain saying, “On my way here I stopped at the graves of my family members. My heart broke when I thought that their murderer is going to be released. This is a very said and painful day for me.”

‘Vile murderer not my private prisoner’
During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter presented the ministers with a letter written by Smadar Haran, Danny's widow, in which she said she had no objections to Kuntar's release.

"The despicable, vile murderer Samir Kuntar isn’t, nor has he ever been, my private prisoner. Kuntar is a prisoner of the State, which sentenced him to five terms if life imprisonment for his vicious crimes," she wrote.

"His fate must be decided now, according to Israel's best defensive needs and moral interests, which should serve the people of Israel, now and in the future.

"I ask that my own personal pain not be taken into account when you deliberate, despite its significance and implications. I cannot overlook the pain and suffering of the Goldwasser and Regev families, or the moral debt I have to all those who have worked for my safety.

"I have given this matter a great deal of thought, and as hard as it may be, I will not oppose any decision made (by the government). No matter how hard it may be, my mind is at peace," wrote Smadar Haran.

‘Our incident belongs to Israel’
"The mere thought that Kuntar might be freed makes my stomach turn," said Roni Keren Sunday. Terrorist Samir Kuntar was jailed 29 years ago for killing Keren's brother, Danny Haran, and his two daughters, Einat and Yael.

Any prisoner exchange deal which would result in Kuntar's release would carry "severe consequences," warned Keren: "This isn't about revenge. This vile killer never expressed any remorse and he might end up making a triumphant return to Lebanon. We cannot allow that."

Keren said that over the past few days, the family has received dozens of calls form other bereaved families, offering their support.

"Ours isn’t a private incident, it belongs to the State of Israel. Unfortunately, Kuntar's name has become more familiar than that of Danny Haran lately. I wish he could just be taken out of the equation," said Keren.

The thought that Kuntar might soon become a free man is haunting him, he said: "I can't imagine it. That vicious murderer, who bashed a four-year-old girl's head in with a gun, set free?!

"Bringing Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev back alive is very important, but the other side must realize that getting them back alive is non-negotiable. Otherwise it would carry severe political and military consequences," he said.

"I feel very bad about the way this thing is being conducted. We have to radically change the way we deal with such negotiations."

Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were kidnapped in Lebanon 718 days ago.

Roni Sofer contributed to this report.

Cabinet approves prisoner swap deal

Roni Sofer
Israel News

VIDEO - The cabinet approved Sunday the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah, which will facilitate the return of IDF captives Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The motion was carried with a majority of 22 ministers.

Diplomatic officials estimated later in the evening that the swap will likely take place in two week's time, even as early as 10 days from the vote. A date will be set after the German mediator receives the report on missing navigator Ron Arad. The initial stage of the deal will entail an exchange of information, the second phase will include the actual prisoner exchange. The two stages will be separated by mere days but the third part of the deal, the release of the Palestinian prisoners, will take place a full month after the exchange and following an additional cabinet meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged his ministers to vote in favor of the deal. "At the end of a long process, I have reached the conclusion that as the Israeli prime minister I must recommend that you approve the proposal which will bring this painful affair to an end – even at the painful price it requires us to pay," Olmert said during Sunday's cabinet meeting.

Olmert said during the discussion that as far as Israel knows, the kidnapped soldiers are no longer alive, and are believed to have been killed during the abduction or died of their wounds shortly afterwards.

The prime minister said the kidnapping was likely aimed at bringing about the release of Samir Kuntar, as Hizbullah knew it was unable to meet its commitment in a previous deal to provide information on missing navigator Ron Arad.

Religious Ruling
Chief military rabbi 'convinced captives are dead' / Ronen Bergman
Brigadier-General Avi Ronsky tells his associates information presented to him enough to declare kidnapped IDF soldiers Regev, Goldwasser 'killed in action'
Full story

Olmert explained that although the report submitted to Israel regarding the status of missing navigator Ron Arad was more detailed than the previous reports, it offered no clear answer as to the missing navigator’s fate.

“The goal and assumption leading us all this time has been that we are working to return live men. Today we know for certain that this is not the case. The report must be the focus of today’s discussion."

Ehud Goldwasser's father Shlomo told Ynet in response to Olmert's remarks, "We welcome the prime minister's words. It's nice that the prime minister has decided to rectify his error. He has made a brave decision and the right one at that."

The meeting was attended by Mossad Director Meir Dagan and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin. During the meeting, defense sources told the ministers that approving the deal may prompt additional kidnappings, and asked them not vote in favor of it.

At the start of the meeting, Olmert said the deal would affect Israelis' lives in the coming years.

"Even people with the utmost responsibility, like me, have the right and duty to have doubts, as this decision deals with the repercussions on our lives in the coming years."

The prime minister noted, "I admit that I had a lot of doubts due to the problem's multiple aspects, and due to history and the different considerations.

"We have the utmost collective responsibility and mist look the Regev, Goldwasser, Haran (family killed by Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar), (Ron) Arad and (Gilad) Shalit families in the eye – as well as our conscience."

He added that the government is faced with sensitive issues on a weekly basis, but that there was no doubt that the discussion on the captives had particular value, was extraordinarily sensitive and had deep national and moral ramifications.

Olmert said that the negotiations for the kidnapped soldiers' release were held for two years, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War. according to the prime minister, during this time Hizbullah attempted to use manipulations and take advantage of the Israeli society's special sensitivities.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai said before the cabinet meeting that "this is a difficult decision… The question is whether Ron Arad could be brought back today, would we pay the price? We mustn’t wait 22 more years… In any event, this is a difficult decision."

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said, "I support this deal wholeheartedly. It's our commitment as a government which sends soldiers. They should have been released by now. The media drama is unnecessary and is the result of politics."

Culture, Sports and Minister Raleb Majadele, who supports the deal, said that "we must stop the families' humiliation campaign, and must carry out a mutual and immediate release."

Rallying in favor of deal
The ministers spoke as dozens of people rallied in the government building area in Jerusalem, calling on the ministers to approve the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah.

"I hope the ministers will come to their senses and vote in favor of the deal," Miki Goldwasser, Ehud's mother, told Ynet. "We've spoken with the prime minister and we've made our case," she said.

The rally was also attended by several of missing Israeli Air Force navigator Ron Arad's friends, who called on the cabinet not to forget the MIA airman and to continue in their efforts to find out what became of him.

Should the Regev-Goldwasser deal be pushed through, the government would be greenlighting the release of Samir Kuntar, who has long been considered Israel's strongest bargain chip for any information pertaining to Arad's fate.

Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser have been held captive by Hizbullah for 718 day.

Ronen Medzini contributed to this report

Irena Sendler -VS- Al Gore

No kidding: 'Decision shows Hizbullah's strength' Staff

The Israeli decision to release Samir Kuntar in exchange for kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev reflected Hizbullah's strength, the group said Sunday evening.
"What happened in the prisoners issue is a proof that the word of the resistance is the most faithful, strongest and supreme," the group's Al-Manar TV quoted Hizbullah's Executive Council chief Hashem Safieddine as saying.
The proposed deal would require the approval of Hizbullah's secretive, decision-making Shura Council. Germany has been trying to mediate a prisoner exchange since Israel's war with Lebanon ended in August 2006.
The group has tried for Kuntar's release for years, but Israel has held him for nearly three decades, hoping to use him as a bargaining chip to extract information from Hizbullah about the fate of the missing Israeli airman, Ron Arad.
Recently, Israeli leaders concluded Hizbullah has no new information about Arad. His family, who had been told by a previous government that Kantar would not be released without more information about Arad's whereabouts, shunned an invitation to meet with Olmert to discuss the prisoner swap.
In the end, however, Hizbullah agreed to turn over additional information about Arad as part of the prisoner exchange deal.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1214726151868&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Comment: This is no surprise-stupid decision. Allow me to be politically in correct, Arabs do not perceive events, situations, people or circumstances as most of us in the West do! That's correct, calling me names like racist etc does not undo the truth on the ground. You can continue to deny this, you can demonstrate "how tolerant and understanding" you are but until you wrap your understanding the truth around the idea I have presented you will give the advantage to our collective enemy. An enemy who has time and gain indicated he wants to either kill us or take over our entire way of living. May I remind you that being tolerant of those who are intolerant is not only stupid but demonstrates a lack of courage to stand up for our own values. Please note that our enemy does not hesitate to proudly state what it values-no sense of political correctness on their part-this is a Western value and one that is getting us killed.

Comment #2: I am currently in the USA, returning to Israel next week. I am watching Israeli TV right now and viewing a story that shows Hizzbollah already creating and singing a song created just for Kuntar-disgusting!How can anyone with any remaining honor or dignity "cave in" to such actions?

PA leaders: Quntar a hero

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

According to the Palestinian Authority leadership, Samir Quntar epitomizes the ideal Palestinian prisoner. Quntar, who crushed the head of four-year-old Eynat Haran with his rifle, is serving four life sentences for murder in an Israeli prison, but is almost certain to be freed in a prisoner swap with Hizbullah this week.

On one hand, Quntar embodies what the PA considers the "heroism" of terrorists fighting Israel. On the other hand, he's the ultimate symbol of all terrorist prisoners who have murdered Israelis and will eventually be freed as a result of future kidnappings or through some other means. PA TV, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast the following picture honoring Quntar. He is depicted beside a map of Israel completely covered by the Palestinian flag.

Following are several recent quotes from PA leaders since April 2008, describing Quntar:
"Samir Quntar, the warrior from Lebanon."
"The brave warrior, Samir Quntar."
"The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are standing behind you (Quntar)."
"You (Quntar) are an inseparable part of the action to free our homeland."
"Your (Quntar) patience and strength are a lesson for us."

Besides bludgeoning Eynat Haran to death with rocks and his rifle, Quntar killed her father and was responsible for the death of her infant sister. He also killed two policemen in the 1979 attack in Naharia. The Israeli cabinet today approved a prisoner exchange that would free Quntar and several other prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah in 2006. The exchange could happen within the next few days..

Prosecute Abu Abbas

Smadar Haran Kaiser

The world should know what Abu Abbas and Samir Kuntar did to my family.

(June, 29, 2008) The Israeli government is deciding whether it should agree to a prisoner exchange, including the release of terrorists with blood on their hands. The most infamous is Samir Kuntar, who brutally murdered this writer's family in April, 1979. This article originally appeared in the Washington Post.

Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas's terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.

The next day, Abu Abbas announced from Beirut that the terrorist attack in Nahariya had been carried out "to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty" at Camp David the previous year. Abbas seems to have a gift for charming journalists, but imagine the character of a man who protests an act of peace by committing an act of slaughter.

Two of Abbas's terrorists had been killed by police on the beach. The other two were captured, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Despite my protests, one was released in a prisoner exchange for Israeli POWs several months before the Achille Lauro hijacking. Abu Abbas was determined to find a way to free Kuntar as well. So he engineered the hijacking of the Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt and demanded the release of 50 Arab terrorists from Israeli jails. The only one of those prisoners actually named was Samir Kuntar. The plight of hundreds held hostage on a cruise ship for two days at sea lent itself to massive international media coverage. The attack on Nahariya, by contrast, had taken less than an hour in the middle of the night. So what happened then was hardly noticed outside of Israel.

One hears the terrorists and their excusers say that they are driven to kill out of desperation. But there is always a choice. Even when you have suffered, you can choose whether to kill and ruin another's life, or whether to go on and rebuild. Even after my family was murdered, I never dreamed of taking revenge on any Arab. But I am determined that Samir Kuntar should never be released from prison.

In 1984, I had to fight my own government not to release him as part of an exchange for several Israeli soldiers who were POWs in Lebanon. I understood, of course, that the families of those POWs would gladly have agreed to the release of an Arab terrorist to get their sons back. But I told Yitzhak Rabin, then defense minister, that the blood of my family was as red as that of the POWs. Israel had always taken a position of refusing to negotiate with terrorists. If they were going to make an exception, let it be for a terrorist who was not as cruel as Kuntar. "Your job is not to be emotional," I told Rabin, "but to act rationally." And he did.

So Kuntar remains in prison. I have been shocked to learn that he has married an Israeli Arab woman who is an activist on behalf of terrorist prisoners. As the wife of a prisoner, she gets a monthly stipend from the government. I'm not too happy about that.

In recent years, Abu Abbas started telling journalists that he had renounced terrorism and that killing Leon Klinghoffer had been a mistake. But he has never said that killing my family was a mistake. He was a terrorist once, and a terrorist, I believe, he remains. Why else did he spend these last years, as the Israeli press has reported, free as a bird in Baghdad, passing rewards of $25,000 from Saddam Hussein to families of Palestinian suicide bombers? More than words, that kind of cash prize, which is a fortune to poor families, was a way of urging more suicide bombers. The fortunate thing about Abbas's attaching himself to Hussein is that it set him up for capture.

Some say that Italy should have first crack at Abbas. It had already convicted him of the Achille Lauro hijacking in absentia in 1986. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi now wants Abbas handed over so that he can begin serving his life sentence. But it's also true that in 1985, the Italians had Abbas in their hands after U.S. fighter jets forced his plane to land in Sicily. And yet they let him go. So while I trust Berlusconi, who knows if a future Italian government might not again wash its hands of Abbas?

In 1995, Rabin, then our prime minister, asked me to join him on his trip to the White House, where he was to sign a peace agreement with Yasser Arafat, which I supported. I believe that he wanted me to represent all Israeli victims of terrorism. Rabin dreaded shaking hands with Arafat, knowing that those hands were bloody. At first, I agreed to make the trip, but at the last minute, I declined. As prime minister, Rabin had to shake hands with Arafat for political reasons. As a private person, I did not. So I stayed here.

Now I am ready and willing to come to the United States to testify against Abu Abbas if he is tried for terrorism. The daughters of Leon Klinghoffer have said they are ready to do the same. Unlike Klinghoffer, Danny, Einat and Yael were not American citizens. But Klinghoffer was killed on an Italian ship in Abbas's attempt to free the killer of my family in Israel. We are all connected by the international web of terrorism woven by Abbas. Let the truth come out in a new and public trial. And let it be in the United States, the leader in the struggle against terrorism.

Author Biography:
Smadar Haran Kaiser is a social worker. She is remarried and has two daughters.
Thanks Aish

Top US commander briefed on IDF’s four-front strategy in potential Iran war context

The visiting Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, carried out a guided tour of Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip over the weekend. It was led by the IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and OCs Northern and Southern Commands, Maj. Gens. Eisenkott and Galant.

He was briefed on IDF tactics in a war on all these potential flashpoints in the context of a comprehensive conflict with Iran and then held long conversations with defense minister Ehud Barak and Ashkenazi. . DEBKAfile’s military sources report that it is very unusual for the top American commander to carry out a close, on-the-spot study of Israel’s potential war fronts. It was prompted on the one hand by skepticism in parts of the US high command of Israel’s ability to simultaneously strike Iran’s nuclear installations and fight off attacks from three borders while, at the same time, Adm. Mullen showed he was open to persuasion that the IDF’s prospective tactics and war plans were workable.

Military circles in Washington, commenting on the large-scale air maneuver Israel carried out with Greece earlier in June, have opined that 100 warplanes are not enough for the Israel Air Force to destroy all of Iran’s secret nuclear sites; more than 1,000 would be needed. Israel military tacticians in contact with US commanders have countered that, while Iran’s secret nuclear locations are scattered and buried deep, still, every chain has weak links and is therefore vulnerable.

The tough threats issued by Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohamed Ali Jafari on Saturday, June 28, were prompted by the Adm. Mullen’s Israeli border tour, word of which was flashed to Tehran by Syrian-Iranian observation posts inside Syrian and Lebanese borders.

(The Sunday Times added that Iran moved its ballistic Shihab-3 missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among its possible targets.)

Saturday, DEBKAfile reported:

The IRGC chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari issued Tehran’s toughest and most explicit threats yet in response to recent reports of Israeli preparations to strike Iran’s nuclear installations.

Hinting at an American attack, he said: “If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region , definitely the scope will reach the oil issue.”

After this action (of imposing controls on the Gulf waterway), the oil price will rise very considerably,” he said.

Speaking to the Iranian newspaper Jam-e Jam, Jafari differentiated between Iran’s responses to possible American and Israeli attacks.

The oil weapon would be applied in reprisal for the former – “and this is among the factors deterring enemies”, he said, while “Israelis know if they take military action against Iran… the abilities of the Islamic and Shiite world, especially in the region, will deliver fatal blows.”

Jafari noted that Israel was in range of Iranian missiles.

He said Iran’s “allies in the region” could also retaliate, referring to those living in “Lebanon’s heartland of South Lebanon,” without naming Hizballah.

US forces were “more vulnerable than the Israelis” because of their troops in the region. “Iran can in different ways harm American interests, even far away,”

Jafar warned Iran’s neighbors not to let their territory be used.

“If the attack takes place from the soil of another country ... the country attacked has the right to respond to the enemy's military action from where the operation started," he said.

Contemporary Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism, its Significance and Implications


The Main Findings of the Study

1. The study examines contemporary anti-Semitism in the Arab-Muslim world, its roots, its characteristics and the strategic dangers inherent in it for the Jewish people in general and the State of Israel in particular. Classic Christian European anti-Semitism made its way into the Arab world at the end of the 19 th century and was amplified by the Arab-Zionist conflict. Its spread accelerated during the 1930s after the Nazi rise to power in Germany , and particularly after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It includes elements of classic European anti-Semitism combined with Islamic motifs, and has become more prominent in the past three decades, following the escalation of radical Islam.2. Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism has a number of conspicuous descriptive traits:

i) It is generally directed against Israel as a Jewish-Zionist state as an enemy of the Arab-Muslim world , and against the Jewish people, perceived as supporting Israel . Often no clear distinction is made between vicious criticism of the State of Israel and the Zionist movement on the one hand, and fierce incitement against both as representing the Jewish people on the other.

ii) Anti-Semitism with Muslim roots is growing . Verses from the Qur'an and the Islamic oral tradition are politically interpreted in the spirit of radical Islam to delegitimize Zionism and the State of Israel and to dehumanize the Jewish people .

iii) The dimensions and manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Arab-Muslim world are influenced by events taking place in the Middle East . Thus, the worsening of the confrontations between Israel and the Palestinians or Hezbollah or, on the other side of the scales, progress in the peace process which is opposed by many Arabs and Muslins, all increase anti-Semitic manifestations in the Arab-Muslim world.

iv) Holocaust denial or minimization and accusing Israel of carrying out a holocaust against the Palestinians, and drawing a parallel between Israel and Zionism on the one hand and Nazi German on the other, are central themes in contemporary Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism . The motifs used in anti-Semitic propaganda are often taken from Western neo-Nazi literature, media and rhetoric and there are clearly reciprocal relations between Holocaust denial in the West and denying it or trying to minimize it in the Arab-Muslim world . Accusing Israel of carrying out a holocaust against the Palestinian people is fostered by the Palestinian and Arab media (as part of their intensive propaganda campaign against the State of Israel) and is well received and assimilated in the Arab world.

v) Anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel provide the justification for violence and terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews. The radical Islamic Palestinian terrorist organizations (especially Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad), Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al-Qaeda and the global jihad around the world regard the Jewish people in general and Israel in particular as their eternal enemy and whom they must fight to the death. For individuals and organizations who accept that ideology, Israelis and Jews are legitimate targets for indiscriminate violence and terrorist attacks.

vi) There is a link between anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiment in general . Al-Qaeda, the global jihad and various radical Islamic groups claim that the struggle between Islam on the one hand and Judaism and Christianity on the other is an integral part of the ancient, multidimensional struggle between Islam and the “infidel” West. The Iranian regime which rose to power following the Islamic revolution in 1979 regards the confrontation with Israel and the Jewish people as part of its campaign against the United States and the West. Hezbollah and some of the radical Islamic Palestinian terrorist organizations hold the same anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Western ideology, and are often anti-Christian as well.

3. Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism has a broad field, rather than being marginal . It is not only popular among the lower classes nor is it the exclusive province of intellectuals, opposition groups or radical Islamic movements. Arab-Muslim regimes in the Middle East all use it, although the way they use it changes from country to country. It is not limited to the Middle East, since anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic propaganda are distributed to Muslim communities all over the world, especially in Europe . Anti-Semitism is marketed in a variety of ways (books, the Internet, television) and helps fan the flames of hatred for Jews and Israel among Muslim communities far beyond the Middle East .

4. Conspicuous in recent years has been the Iranian regime's turning anti-Semitism and the desire to destroy the State of Israel into a strategic weapon . The regime makes intensive use of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments to further its own national objectives. Anti-Semitism supported by a state which publicly adheres to a policy of genocide and is making efforts to arm itself with non-conventional weapons which will enable it to carry out that policy is unprecedented since Nazi Germany .

5. Arab countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan enable (and some even encourage) anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement for a variety of internal reasons: they can use the struggle against Israel and the image of support for the Palestinians as a way of letting opposition groups let off steam (especially when Israel-Palestinian confrontations escalate), for increasing their identification with Islamist groups and for increasing support for their own regimes. However, the Arab regimes are well aware of the international community's opposition, in principle, to anti-Semitism , especially in the United States and Western countries. Therefore, they play down the support (direct or indirect) they give anti-Semitism and do not initiate extreme or vulgar anti-Semitic policies as does Iran, and they sometimes attempt to represent anti-Semitism as a legitimate criticism of Israel and a show of support for the Palestinians. In addition, various Arab spokesman (although they are in the minority) do not support anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, claiming that such support only helps Israel, since manifestations of anti-Semitism cause the West to identify with Israel and back it up.

6 . Anti-Semitism and the accompanying hate industry are a strategic danger for Israel and the Jewish people : generations of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are brought up hating the Jews; the peace process is damaged and obstacles to the normalization of Israel's relations with the Arab countries of the Middle East are erected; indiscriminate Palestinian terrorism against Israel is made palatable, as is Hezbollah's Shi'ite terrorism and that of Al-Qaeda, when directed against Israel and Jews around the world.

7. The dangers of anti-Semitism in general and Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism in particular require the State of Israel and the Jewish people to cooperate with the international community to struggle effectively against it . The struggle must be based on the methodical monitoring of anti-Semitic publications and the exposure of the countries, regimes, individuals and organizations participating, directly or indirectly in anti-Semitic activities of all kinds. It is not an easy mission because a flood of anti-Semitic propaganda are published and distributed in many Arab-Muslim countries in a variety of languages and are disseminated by all the media, with the result that dealing effectively with them requires a high level of professionalism. The results of monitoring should be used as the basis for a practical campaign of preventative action.

8. For the struggle to be effective, there must be an international task force with the ability to take action, leading the struggle against Arab-Muslim anti-Semitic incitement as part of a general campaign against anti-Semitism, with political, media and legal tools . Not only Jews must take part, but people of all religions with moral authority, senior representatives and leaders of enlightened countries and top-flight jurists. Past experience has shown that a determined struggle can make it difficult for anti-Semitism to manifest itself and can reduce its dimensions, even if it cannot stamp it out entirely.

There is NO Calm-stop pretending there is!

Mortars by Night, 'Calm' by Day

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza fired mortars at Israel overnight in another violation of the Egyptian-brokered tahadiyeh, or temporary ceasefire, which began on June 19.

The impact points of the shells, which were directed at civilian targets, were not released for publication.

Despite repeated terrorist attacks, Deputy Defense Ministry Matan Vilnai has decided that the Gaza crossings will reopen to traffic Sunday morning. The Sufa Crossing will allow a maximum of 80 trucks loaded with equipment and other goods to enter the region.

The Erez Crossing never closed, despite numerous attacks. This is the conduit through which personnel from humanitarian agencies and Gaza residents requiring medical care in pre-1967 Israel travel to and from the area.

The Nahal Oz fuel terminal was opened on Friday to allow transfer of petroleum products into Gaza, during which time it was shelled by terrorists.

Khaled al-Batch, spokesman for the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in Gaza, told reporters on Saturday, "If the crossings do not reopen, if the siege and the aggression does not stop, the 'calm' will go up in smoke."

Al-Batch threatened that Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza would retaliate against IDF counterterrorism operations carried out in Judea and Samaria. The Egyptian-mediated agreement does not apply outside of Gaza.

Hamas terrorist commander Mahmoud a-Zahar later warned that, "There is an agreement between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, stating that all people from Jihad or Hamas who violate this accord will be arrested and their weapons confiscated."

A-Zahar added that those who were responsible for the attack on the Nahal Oz terminal during the transfer of fuel to the terrorist-controlled region had been arrested.

How much can we squeeze from this turnip?

Hamas Rejects Latest Israeli Prisoner Swap Deal for Shalit

Hana Levi Julian

The Hamas terrorist organization has reportedly rejected another proposed prisoner swap deal by Israel for the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

According to the Arabic Al-Hayat daily newspaper, Hamas turned down Israel's offer to free hundreds of Palestinian Authority terrorists, many of whom had "blood on their hands", in exchange for the captive soldier.

Government envoy Ofer Dekel, who is in charge of soldiers who are missing in action, presented the terrorist group with a list of 450 PA prisoners Israel was willing to include in a deal. Israel also proposed adding several other new elements in the deal, including a specific timeline for the negotiations and establishing Hamas as the sole responsible party for the kidnapped soldier. In addition, Israel has demanded a diplomatic binder which would force Hamas to continue talks even if Israel is attacked and responds.

Hamas, meanwhile, has demanded that Israel release 1,000 terrorists. Among them is Fatah Tanzim arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to five consecutive sentences of life in prison for murdering Israeli civilians, Jews and a Christian monk, in terrorist attacks during the Oslo War.

A second "star terrorist" on the Hamas list is Ahmad Sadat, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, who was suspected of involvement in the murder of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001.

A senior Hamas official was quoted by the paper as saying that the group had patience. "Shalit has begun his third year in prison and could also begin a fourth," said the unnamed terrorist.

Egypt is exerting considerably more pressure than it has in previous negotiations, however. Egyptian officials have been holding talks with Hamas representatives since the Gaza ceasefire began a little more than a week ago.

According to Egyptian sources, there is intense pressure on the Egyptian mediators to gain Shalit's release; "Cairo's prestige is now at stake, and this is palpable," said the source quoted by Al Hayat. "They are exhibiting a newfound commitment to progressing in the negotiations," he said.
Comment: Israel continues to capitulate-notice who controls this topic-from media control to political and military control, the winner is Hamas-do not expect soon for Hamas to terminate "discussions"

Terror Victims Appeal to Government: Don't Release Kuntar

Gil Ronen

?Almagor, an organization that represents victims of Arab terror, and the Bereaved Parents' Forum say they are trying to mount a last-minute counter-offensive to the current political and media campaign in favor of a deal with Hizbullah which Almagor chairman Meir Indor admits caught him off guard. The media is cooperating with the campaign for the deal "with complete devotion," Indor said, while it "almost completely rejects bereaved families' objections to the deal, and Channel 2 boycotts them outright." Once the terror groups noticed the great Israeli media interest in the abducted soldiers, he explained, they "tripled and quadrupled" the price they were demanding for their release.

"The Arabs and the European Union backers know how important the NGOs are for shaping public opinion," Indor told Israel National News. "They created a massive political and legal lobby and they use it to work with the media and politicians in the same way that a bank robber who holds hostages would use the hostages' parents to cry to the media and demand that his demands be met."

Vote expected Sunday
Once the terror groups noticed the great media interest in the soldiers, they "tripled and quadrupled" the price they were demanding.

With the cabinet vote expected Sunday, the two groups fired off a letter Saturday night to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which they demanded that any government discussion of a deal involving terrorists who were convicted of murder be postponed until the IDF Chief Rabbi decides whether or not to accord abducted IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev the status of servicemen who were killed in action.

Approving a deal without determining whether Israel will be receiving live soldiers or bodies, the groups wrote, "would constitute a radically unreasonable step." They noted that Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin determined that a deal in which Hizbullah succeeds in receiving child-murdering terrorist Samir Kuntar and others in return for dead bodies "would encourage the terror organizations to kill their abductees in the future and directly endangers Gilad Shalit who is being held by Hamas."

Karnit's agunah status
Recent statements by politicians regarding the proposed trade with Hizbullah have largely favored it, and the media reported a majority in the cabinet is expected to vote to approve the deal if it is brought to a vote Sunday. Shas chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai came out with a new reason for approving the deal last week: leaving matters as they currently stand, he said, would mean leaving Karnit Goldwasser – Ehud's wife – in "agunah" status, which would prevent her from remarrying by Jewish law.

Indor estimated that Karnit's status could be resolved by other means, however: "The question could, perhaps, be solved by the IDF Chief Rabbi in conjunction with other rabbinical authorities even without a deal with Hi
"Surrendering to blackmail also involves chilul HaShem and humiliation for Israel."

Rabbinical opinions
Indor and Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, who heads the Bereaved Parents' Forum, noted that esteemed Rabbi Yakov Ariel and rabbis from all streams have declared that live prisoners must not be exchanged for bodies. Ariel determined in an essay that "a country that is responsible for the security of its citizens does not have to succumb to any demand."

While the fact that the enemy holds bodies or body parts constitutes a personal and national dishonor, the Rabbi explained, surrendering to blackmail also involves chilul HaShem and humiliation for Israel. "The very fact that they believe that they have succeeded in defeating us raises their morale and spurs them on in their quest to kill children, women, civilians and soldiers," he wrote.

The letter also mentions the Maharam of Rotenburg, a leading 13th century Talmudist who was imprisoned by Emperor Rudolf I, who demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. Tradition has it that 23,000 marks were raised for him but the Maharam refused it for fear of encouraging the imprisonment of other rabbis and died in prison after seven years.

Iran Aims Shahab-3B Missiles at Dimona

Hana Levi Julian

Iran has aimed its Shahab-3B ballistic missiles at the State of Israel, according to a report published Sunday in a British newspaper.

The Times of London reports that the missiles were moved on to launch pads and are reportedly focused on several targets in the Jewish State, among them the nuclear reactor in the Negev city of Dimona. The Shahab-3B can be armed with a variety of different types of explosives, including conventional high explosives and submunitions as well as chemical, biological, radiological dispersion and, potentially, nuclear warheads. The missile, an "enhanced" version of the Shahab rocket, is believed to have been produced in ranges of approximately 1,300-1,500 km and 2,000 km, according to Jane's Defence News, bring it well within range of Israel's cities.

The move came following a large-scale exercise earlier this month in which the Israel Air Force flew en masse over the Mediterranean in an apparent rehearsal for a threatened attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Defense sources quoted by the newspaper said the missiles were readied for a counterstrike should Israel attack Iran.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which operates the missiles, threatened over the weekend that "Iran has many different ways to strike worldwide… and the important part of this is based on our missiles."

Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran is preparing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, and has stated that it will not tolerate a threat to its existence.

Shabtai Shavit, the former director of Israel's international intelligence agency, the Mossad, said in an interview with the British Telegraph newspaper published Sunday that the window of opportunity to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is rapidly closing.

The intelligence chief estimated that the Islamic Republic would achieve its goal of developing such a weapon within "somewhere around a year."

He added that the sooner Israel made plans for that probability, the better off the Jewish State would be. "As an intelligence officer working with the worst-case scenario, I can tell you we should be prepared," he said. "We should do whatever necessary on the defensive side, on the offensive side, on the public opinion side for the West, in case sanctions don't work. What's left is a military action."

Shavit said it would be preferable to have American support for a strike on Iran, if Israel is forced to fall back on that option, but predicted that US presidential elections might eliminate that possibility.

"If (Republican candidate John) McCain gets elected, he could really easily make a decision to go for it. If it's Obama: no. My prediction is that he won't go for it, at least not in his first term in the White House," said, Shavit.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed numerous times over the past two years that he intends to annihilate the State of Israel. He has referred to the Jewish State as a "malignant cancerous growth," which he has repeatedly said he intends to "wipe off the map."

Captive Soldiers Probably Dead, Exchange Must Go Through

Hillel Fendel

The Cabinet is about to conclude a five-hour session and vote to approve the proposed exchange of five Hizbullah terrorists for two abducted Israeli soldiers. The families of the two abducted soldiers - IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said are probably dead - were invited to the end of the meeting, before the vote.The proposed deal involves the release of five Hizbullah prisoners from Israeli prison and ten Hizbullah corpses, for IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The two abducted soldiers have long been assumed to be dead - but now Prime Minister Olmert has all but confirmed this.

Among the five Hizbullah prisoners is Samir Kuntar, who not only murdered three Israelis and caused the death of a fourth - members of the Haran family and a policeman - but is also considered Israel's final hope of ever receiving information on captured IAF navigator Ron Arad. Arad was captured after his plane was felled over Lebanon in 1986 and was held by various terrorist groups; he was ultimately probably taken to Iran, and his whereabouts have been unknown for years.

Olmert, who said before the meeting that he himself is not sure how he will vote, took a strong position during the Cabinet session. He recommended outright that the ministers approve the exchange, and said that Israel's information is that the two IDF soldiers were killed during the abduction, or shortly afterwards.

"It is a difficult dilemma," Olmert told his aides this morning, "but when I go to the Cabinet meeting, I'll know how to vote."

On the one hand, his top aide Yoram Turbovitz opposes the deal, as do the chiefs of the Mossad and General Security Service. On the other hand, Olmert has promised the Goldwasser and Regev families that he would do everything he could to return their loved ones, and diplomat Ofer Dekel has been working for months to consummate the deal.

At the start of the meeting, Olmert said he was torn by doubts: "Even those with the utmost responsibility, such as those in a position like mine, have the right to have doubts and deliberate, as well as the duty to do so, because this decision will have repercussions on our lives in the years to come... We have to be able to look directly in the eyes of the Regev, Goldwasser, Arad, Haran and Shalit families, as well as those of the citizens of Israel, and say that we made the decision with a clear conscience."

The meeting will begin with a security briefing: Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Shabak (General Security Service) head Yuval Diskin expressed their strong objection to the deal, while IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin support it.

"Deal Will Encourage Terrorists to Kill Abductees"
Opponents of the deal, including security experts, politicians, the ?Almagor terrorism-victim organization and the Bereaved Parents Forum, say that a deal for dead bodies "would encourage the terror organizations to kill their abductees in the future, and also directly endangers Gilad Shalit who is being held by Hamas." Shabak chief Yuval Diskin has said the same.

Shas, Labor in Favor
The Cabinet ministers are expected to approve the deal, especially now that Olmert has come out in favor. The ministers of Shas, the Pensioners, and Labor have said they will support it, as have some Kadima members. Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, head of the Labor Party, is among those who will raise their hand in favor, having said, "We have a moral obligation to bring the boys home, dead or alive." He admitted last week that the deal is "problematic."

Barak's party colleague Welfare Minister Yitzchak Herzog said he would vote for the exchange if he does not hear "anything significantly different during the security briefing than I have heard over the media."

Vice Premier Chaim Ramon (Kadima) said the deal is reasonable, as "receiving Goldwasser and Regev is for sure, while receiving information on Arad is only a maybe..."

One Cabinet minister said, "You'll notice that we have never received a live body from Hizbullah in any prisoner exchange, except for Elchanan Tenenbaum; the three soldiers kidnapped in 2000, and apparently the current two as well, were returned dead."

Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) actually used this information to support the deal. He noted that back in 1996, the Netanyahu government released 45 Hizbullah prisoners and the remains of 141 Hizbullah terrorists, in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers - Yossi Fink and Rahamim Alsheikh - who had been kidnapped by Hizbullah ten years earlier. Yishai did not mention that 17 Israel-allied South Lebanese Army prisoners were also freed by Hizbullah in the deal.

Beilin: Against
Yossi Beilin, former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, noted that in 1998, Israel returned 40 terrorists corpses and 60 Lebanese prisoner for the body of Itamar Ilya, one of the 11 IDF commandos killed in a terrorist ambush in Lebanon in September 1997. "It was a grave mistake then, and it will be a mistake to repeat it again now," Beilin wrote.

Rabbi Ronsky Expected to Rule That They are Dead
Opponents of the deal have also demanded that the government not vote on the exchange until IDF Chief Rabbi Avi Ronsky issues a ruling as to whether Goldwasser and Regev can be considered dead according to Jewish Law. They noted that it is absurd that the government does not even know whether the soldiers to be returned are alive or dead.

Rabbi Ronsky is reportedly very close to announcing that the soldiers are, in fact, dead.

Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of Ehud Goldwasser and currently in total limbo in that she does not know if she is married or a widow, said, "We ask that the ministers vote in favor of the deal, as this is the last stop in our drive to return Udi [Ehud] and Eldad."

The Media's Role
This emotional appeal opened the popular "It's All Talk" Israel Radio morning radio show, hosted by Yaron Dekel - who prompty accused the Maariv and Yediot Acharonot newspapers of mounting a public campaign in favor of the deal. Political Science Prof. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University and veteran journalist Mati Golan agreed; Kedar said the media had "brought Israel to its knees," and Golan added that the owners and editors lack the necessary knowledge to take such responsibility upon themselves..