Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Bipartisan Fight Against the Obama Tax Hikes

Heritage Foundation

At 20 minutes after midnight this morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gaveled the House out of session, assuring that Congress will now adjourn until after the November elections without taking any action to stop the Obama tax hikes.
Earlier in the day, 39 Democrats defied Speaker Pelosi and voted with the minority to keep the House in session until they could vote on the impending tax hikes. Speaker Pelosi, who rarely votes on day-to-day legislation, was forced to cast the tie breaking vote (210-209) on the adjournment resolution. To the members of the majority who broke ranks with Speaker Pelosi, the meaning of the vote was clear: a vote to adjourn was a vote to raise taxes. They voiced their displeasure after the vote:

* Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): “I think we should stay and deal with taxes. We should extend the tax cuts now. Before we adjourn. I get paid to be here. Let’s do our job.”
* Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL): “I’m not ready to adjourn if there’s any work they expect us to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of unfinished business, and I’m ready to take it on. That’s my position. The vast majority of people in my district are saying ‘Don’t raise taxes when the economy is in such a bad state, on anybody.’”
* Rep. Zack Space (D-OH): “That’s an issue we should be resolving before we go home. I think that small business, big business, individuals, have a right to expect some certainty. The longer we keep this open, the more uncertainty there is. Our economy is such that I don’t think we can afford that.” House Democrats are not the only ones willing to fight the Obama tax hikes. Yesterday, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) explained to an audience at The Heritage Foundation why he was in favor of not raising any taxes until the economy shows stronger signs of recovery:

In my view, raising anyone’s taxes, given our fragile economy would be a move in the wrong direction. Nebraskans I represent tell me they feel a lot of uncertainty about the future. Nebraska business owners do to. The possibility of tax increases is just one more reason that companies at home and across the country are holding on to cash and are hesitant to invest in new equipment, new production and new employees.

Sen. Nelson’s speech yesterday was hosted by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis Director Bill Beach, whose recent study, Obama Tax Hikes: The Economic and Fiscal Effects, found that the Obama tax hikes would:

* Destroy an average of 693,000 jobs every year through 2020.
* Drain $726 billion from disposable income, $38 billion from personal savings and $33 billion from business investments.
* Raise taxes on the 55% of all joint filers earning more than $250,000 who run small businesses that employ others.
* Cost the average non-farm small-business owner $3,500 more in taxes.
* Cost the 49% of all seniors with income below $250,000 $525 in additional dividend taxes.
* Cost the 25% all seniors with income below $250,000 $742 in higher taxes.

The CDA is not alone in their verdict. A recent CNN survey of economists found that the most important thing Congress can do to help the economy is stop the Obama tax hikes. But now, thanks to the current majority in Congress, that will not happen.

At the beginning of his remarks yesterday, Sen. Nelson reminded the audience of Ben Franklin’s wisdom that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Sen. Nelson then added: “And it was Will Rogers who amended that by saying the only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” Hopefully the next Congress will prove Rogers wrong.

Quick Hits:

* McDonald’s is considering dropping the health insurance they provide for nearly 30,000 workers thanks to new Obamacare regulations.
* President Obama’s oil drilling ban is still in place, but Cuba will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys next year.
* For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans (57%) say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully.
* The metro Washington, D.C., area unemployment rate remains lower than the national average, 6.3% to 9.5%, and is the lowest among major U.S. metropolitan areas.
* George Mason University Law School professor Todd Zywicki dissects President Obama’s new White House czar Elizabeth Warren.

If Terrorism is Not a Muslim Threat, What About Muslim Violence?

Paul Williams, PhD

Picture above: Noor Almaleki was murdered by her Iraqi father in 2009 who ran his car over her in an honor killing. He objected to her living and dressing like an American.

A study (pdf) from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill maintains that the terrorist threat posed by radical Islam has been greatly exaggerated.

The study captured front page headlines in Arab News and newspapers throughout the Muslim world.

Charles Kurzman, one of the co-authors of the study, maintains that fewer than three dozen murders have been committed by American Muslims on American soil. What Kurzman fails to take into account are the number of murders committed by non-American Muslims on American soil and the homicides perpetuated by members of the Nation of Islam.

The actual figures show that Islamophobia is a justifiable stance since Muslims have been responsible for the murders of 5,000 Americans in the past fifty years.

This number includes the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11 and the hundreds of victims of the so-called Zebra killings that took place in the 1970s.

Kurzman and his crew also neglect to point out that the number of Muslims in America, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, is almost statistically insignificant. Of roughly 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas, more than half live in the United States and make up less than 0.8 percent of the population.

Yet Muslims have wreaked more death and destruction on American soil than the combined toll of all political, social, and religious hate groups, including the Ku Klux Khan.

The following is a very short list of incidents of Islamic violence that have taken place within America since 9/11:

Date: December 5, 2009- - Binghampton, New York - - A 46 year-old graduate student at Binghamton University stabs to death his Jewish professor and mentor because he was “persecuted as a Muslim.” The slain professor is the author of several books, including “Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements.” The killer, who was writing his dissertation on early Arab culture, once told one told his roommates: “I feel like destroying the world.”

Date: November 5, 2009 – Fort Hood, Texas - - Major Malik Nidal Hasan, 39, a Muslim American psychiatrist, opens fire on American troops at Fort Hood, Texas in a murderous rampage that leaves 13 soldiers dead and 38 wounded. The carnage begins as approximately 300 soldiers, in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan, line up to get vaccinations and to have their eyes examined at a Soldier Readiness Center. Hasan, who worshipped at the radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, with several of the 9/11 ops, screams “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire with his semi-automatic pistol. Six months before the massacre, Major Hasan drew the attention of law enforcement officials for his anti-American tirades and his statements of support for the global jihad. In an Internet posting, the Muslim Major equated suicide bombers to soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save the lives of their comrades. Reacting to the carnage, President Barack Obama says: “We don’t know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.”

Date: November 2, 2009 - - A 20-year-old woman dies in Glendale, Arizona from injuries suffered when her Muslim father ran her down with his Jeep Cherokee for becoming too Westernized. The father had taken his daughter to Iraq under the pretense of visiting relatives only to marry her off to a man nearly three times her age. The young woman managed to scrape up enough to escape from her forced marriage and to make her way back to the U.S. After killing his daughter, the Muslim father sets fire to his house in Glendale. Nine people are inside the house when the fire starts.

Date: October 29, 2009 - - Brighton, New York - - A 37 year-old Muslim housewife slits the throat of her sleeping husband at the couple’s home in Brighton, New York. She tells the police that she was forced to commit the crime because her husband was not a devout Islamist. She says that he pressured her to eat pork and even attempted to give her a drink that contained alcohol.

Date: August 21, 2009 - - Three members of a Somali street gang travel from Columbus, Ohio to Grand Island, Nebraska, where they gun down two Sudanese men at the Autumn Wood Apartments. The local television station reports that the motive of the shootings, which leaves one dead and another critically wounded, is religious. The gunmen are Muslims; the victims Christians.

Date: June 1, 2009 - - A Muslim convert opens fire at a recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one young soldier and wounding another. The convert - - Carlos Bledsoe, 24 - - says that he “is mad at the U.S. military” because of what American soldiers “had done to Muslims in the past.” The killing, he says, was for the sake of Allah. “I do not feel I am guilty,” Bledsoe further tells Little Rock police officers. “I don’t think it was murder because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason. U.S. soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women. We believe we have to strike back. We believe in an eye for an eye.”
Date: February 14, 2009 - - The founder of a Muslim TV station beheads his wife in the hallway of his studio in Buffalo, New York when he learns that she is seeking a divorce. Despite the heinousness of the crime, Muzzammil Hassan is only charged with second degree murder. Hassan had been hailed by the Buffalo community as a model example of a moderate Muslim. Bridges TV - - Hassan’s television station - - had been established “to fuse American culture with the values of Islam in a healthy, family-oriented way.”

Date: January 1, 2008 – A Muslim cabdriver in Irving, Texas shoots and kills his two teenage daughters in his taxi upon discovering they had dated non-Muslim boys. He had plans for Amina, his eldest daughter, to marry a man three times her age in Egypt. Discovering that she is no longer a virgin, he withdraws a 9 millimeter pistol and shoots her twice at point blank range in the chest, severing her spinal cord. Then he turns the pistol on Sarah, his younger daughter, who is sitting in the backseat of the taxi. He pumps nine bullets into her body before abandoning the cab in the parking lot of the Omni Mandalay Hotel. He escapes arrest and remains at large. Many believe that he has returned to the welcoming arms of his family and friends in Cairo.

Date: July 6, 2008 – A distraught Muslim smashes his daughter’s skull with an electric iron and strangles her to death with a bungee cord when she expresses her unhappiness over her arranged marriage. The incident takes place in Jonesboro, Georgia. Ajay Nair, Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University, sugar-coats the killing by saying to CNN: “I think there are ways that we can rationalize it and make sense of it particularly in thinking about new immigrant communities in the U.S. and thinking about some of the struggles that they face.”

Date: February 12, 2007 - - An 18-year-old Muslim refugee goes on a shooting rampage at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City - - targeting shoppers who are buying Valentine’s Day cards. Five shoppers are killed; four more critically wounded. Witnesses say that the shooter - - Sulejman Talovic - - had a smile on his face every time he took aim, pulled the trigger, and cried out: “Allahu Akbar.” His aunt tells reporters: “We don’t know what happened, just like you guys. We know him as a good boy. He liked everybody, so we don’t know what happened.” Others claim to know what happened. Robert Spencer, noted author and journalist, says that Talovic is a victim of “sudden jihad syndrome” - - a malady increasing common among Muslim men, ranging in age from 14 to 40. The warning signs of this disorder are growing a beard, wearing long Islamic robes and skullcaps, going to mosques, and reading the Koran.

Date: October 6, 2006 – In Louisville, Kentucky, a Somali Muslim, clubs his estranged wife with a blunt object, leaving her for dead, and then proceeds to murder their four children for adopting American lifestyles. The children range in age from 8 to 3. The youngest of the children - - a boy and a girl - - are stabbed to death while sleeping in their bedroom; the other two girls are killed in the kitchen - - their bodies bearing defensive wounds on their hands and arms. The father tells the arresting police officers that he was compelled to kill his family because his wife had treated him with disrespect.

Date: September 20, 2006 – A self-professed Black Muslim shoots and kills a plain clothes police officer in Aurora, Colorado. He says that God wants him to kill. His mother later testifies that her son became transformed into a killer by reading the Koran.

Date: August 20, 2006 – An unemployed Muslim automobile worker uses his black Honda SUV to run down 18 pedestrians through the streets of San Francisco - one is killed. When the police arrive to take him into custody, the Muslim says: “I am a terrorist. I don’t care. Everyone needs to be killed.” A jury disagrees with the killer’s self assessment and rules that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Date: July 28, 2006 - - An angry Muslim American, making use of a 14 year-old girl as a hostage, breaks into a Jewish Center in Seattle, Washington. He selected his target by researching “something Jewish” on the internet and purchased two semi-automatic pistols from a local arms dealer. Upon entering the Center, he announces to the receptionist, “I’m a Muslim American and I’m angry at Israel” and shoots her. He proceeds to walk down the hallway, firing at women as they sit at their desks. Three of the workers are shot in the abdomen; one in the chest; and another in the head. He fires another shot at the stomach of an employee who is five months pregnant. The bullet misses and strikes the arm which she has raised for protection. He orders the pregnant woman to pick up her phone and to dial 911. He tells the operator: “I am tired of our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East.” The police arrive at the scene and persuade the angry Muslim to surrender. In the wake of the carnage, six women are hospitalized - - three in critical condition - - one is paralyzed by a shot to the spine; another is near-death with wounds to the liver, pancreas, kidney, and heart. A seventh victim - - the director the Center - - is found dead at the scene. An FBI spokesperson later says that the shooting rampage was “the work of a lone gunman” who was “acting out his antagonism” against the system. Media coverage of the incident is eclipsed by the news of actor Mel Gibson’s DUI arrest.

Date: July 25, 2006 – A Muslim warehouse worker in Denver, Colorado - - announcing it is “Allah’s Choice - - shoots four of his co-workers and a police officer with a long-barreled handgun. One is dead, the others critically injured, before a SWAT team arrives to take out the shooter who greats them with a hail of gunfire. The Muslim’s sister later explains to the police that her brother was upset because people at the warehouse were making fun of his religion.

Date: June 16, 2006 - - A 24 year-old Muslim gunman goes to a movie theater on the outskirts of Baltimore and opens fire with his .367 Magnum at the packed audience as they watch “X-Men: The Last Stand.” One man – a 62 year-old Jewish medical supply salesman is dead at the scene. The Muslim lives in a multi-million dollar home and has no criminal record. He graduated with a degree in biology from Loyola College in Baltimore. He provides the police with no motive for his act. Tried for 1st degree murder, the Muslim receives no prison time. He is rather sent for an extended stay at a Maryland psychiatric clinic.

Date: March 3, 2006 – An irate Iranian Muslim, experiencing sudden jihad syndrome, presses the pedal of his SUV to the metal in order to mow down nine students on the campus of the University of North Carolina. After striking each victim, he cries aloud: “Allahu Akbar.” The Iranian explains his actions by saying: “Allah’s followers have permission to attack those who have waged war against them with eternal paradise as an expected reward.”

Date: January 11, 2005 - - A quiet Muslim man, working as a housekeeper, at a retirement facility in Alexandria, Virginia, transforms into a homicidal maniac and commences to strangle, stab, and slash six elderly patients. One patient suffers a broken neck; another requires more than 200 stitches. Taken into custody, the Muslim, now subdued, reportedly recites the shahadah.

Date: August 6, 2004 – Houston, Texas - - A Saudi college student, upon receiving a so-called “religious awakening,” slashes the throat of his Jewish room-mate with a 4 inch butterfly knife, and nearly decapitates him. After the murder, the Saudi visits a mosque to give praise to Allah. Authorities refuse to treat the homicide as a hate crime. The Saudi is granted a deal which allows him to plead guilty to second degree murder and escape the mandatory death sentence. No motive for the crime is ever given.

Date: September and October 2002 - - Muslim snipers in the name of Allah killed ten people in suburban Washington D.C. for no apparent reason, save jihad. They critically wounded 3 more. Previous to this, the so-called Beltway snipers were responsible for additional murders in California, Georgia, Alabama, and the state of Washington.

Date: July 5, 2002 - - An Egyptian Muslim, living in Irvine, California, decides to celebrate his 41st birthday by going on a one-man jihad in order to gain martyrdom, entrance to 7th heaven, and the award of the 72 awaiting houris. He heads off to the Los Angeles International Airport, where he proceeds to shoot and kill a 24 year old ticket agent and a 61 year old diamond merchant. He critically wounds four more people before being gunned down and killed by security guards.

Date: September 11, 2001 - - Muslim terrorists conduct coordinated attacks that results in 2,993 deaths.

The carnage, listed above, could have been much worse, since of host of other attacks have been prevented by watchful law enforcement officials.

This list includes plots to set off radiological bombs in midtown Manhattan, to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge and the Sears Tower in Chicago, to down commercial American aircraft, to kill U.S. troops at Fox Dix, to attack National Guard facilities, to bomb transit systems and subway stops, and to ignite jet fuel arteries leading to the JFK Airport on the outskirts of New York.

Prior to 9/11, scores of additional eruptions of Islamic jihad have taken place throughout the country, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the homicidal rampage of numbers of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, and the above-mentioned Zebra killings.

The new study also fails to take into account the fact that four Islamic attacks take place every day throughout the world; that Muslims have been responsible for 16,132 attacks since 9/11; and that every conflict within today’s world from China to Chechnya, from Somalia to the Sudan, from Afghanistan to Argentina, from the Balkans to the Philippines, from Indonesia to India, from Iran to Iraq, from Pakistan to Denmark, from Britain to Bangladesh involves a manifestation of Islam. Contributing Editor Paul L. Williams, Ph.D., is the author of The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR. Visit his website at

Bombshell: J Street Tried To Help Convince Congress To Accept Bogus UN Report Accusing Israel of War Crimes

Yid with Lid

Less than one week after the faux Israel advocacy group J Street was caught lying about taking cash from progressive financier George Soros, new evidence has been revealed about the group that eliminate any doubt about its true intentions vis a vis the Jewish State. J Street was involved in trying convince the US Congress to accept the Goldstone Report, a one sided UN Report with trumped up charges of Israeli War Crimes during the Gaza war. The Goldstone Report, took its name from the South African Judge who lead the UN's inquiry into the Gaza War. The committee threw any standards of investigation out the window. The report violated international standards for inquries, including UN rules on fact- finding. The Commission systematically favored witnesses and evidence put forward by anti-Israel advocates including Hamas, and dismissed evidence and testimony that would undermine its case. For example it ruled that Hamas did not use its own citizens as human shields despite a wealth of video evidence. . The commission relied extensively on mediating agencies, especially UN and NGOs, which have a documented hostility to Israel; and reproduced earlier reports and claims from these agencies.

And that's just for a start. The Goldstone report has very serious, but untrue charges, no group claiming to advocate for Israel would ever want the US Congress to formally accept the document. In fact, a close analysis of the report’s methodology and conclusions raises some of the fundamental cognitive issues of the UN: ,scapegoating, cognitive egocentrism, political correctness accepting jihadi mentalities, anti-Semitism, and Jewish self-criticism. Anyone who understands the Goldstone report and its devastating ironies of content gains a basic insight into how and why the very nations that have inaugurated modernity and globalization are losing a cognitive war for the hearts and minds of world to forces with a mindset stuck in the Bronze Age.

Colette Avital a former member of Israel's parliament, from the left wing Labor Party used to be J Street's liaison in Israel. Avital told The Washington Times that she quit her J Street job partially because of the group's "connection to Judge Goldstone."

"When Judge Goldstone came to Washington, [J Street leaders were] suggesting that they might help him set up his appointments on Capitol Hill," she said.

Avital later had a joint conference call with J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and the paper where she denied she said J Street was working with Judge Goldstone, but thankfully the Times has their original conversation with her on tape .
While J Street was trying to promote the report in Congress the Obama adminsistration was trying to kill it at the UN

The chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee had also been circulating a bipartisan resolution condemning Judge Goldstone's report before the retired South African jurist came to Washington.
The Goldstone Report is widely viewed as slanderous toward the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) among the American Jewish community and in Israel. It accuses the IDF of deliberately targeting civilians in the ground and air war in Gaza, which resulted in at least 1,000 Palestinian deaths. The White House also has criticized the report.

J Street was the only "pro-Israel" group that did not publicly condemn the Goldstone Report (they did not publicly endorse it either).

In a statement provided to The Washington Times this week, Mr. Ben-Ami said, "J Street did not host, arrange or facilitate any visit to Washington, D.C., by Judge Richard Goldstone."

He went on to say, however, that "J Street staff spoke to colleagues at the organizations coordinating the meetings and, at their behest, reached out to a handful of congressional staff to inquire whether members would be interested in seeing Judge Goldstone."

He added, "We believed it to be a good idea for him and for members of Congress to meet personally, but we declined to play a role in hosting, convening or attending any of the meetings."
When asked later how many congressional offices had been contacted, a J Street staffer told the Times that it was "two or three." Mr. Ben-Ami later said he did not remember reaching out to Congress at all.

A director of J Street and President of George Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI), played a central role in arranging Judge Goldstone's visit. The tax returns we provided to the Washington Times last week,list Mr. Halperin as a "director," and says he spends 10 hours a week on J Street business.

"He [Halerin] suggested — and I agreed — that it would be a good idea for me to meet with some of the leading members of Congress," Judge Goldstone said. "I thought it was important to correct the misimpressions." He added that Mr. Halperin had hand-delivered a personal letter he had written to members of Congress.

Mr. Ben-Ami acknowledged in his statement that OSI and a second organization facilitating Judge Goldstone's trip — the New America Foundation (NAF) — had approached J Street for help in making arrangements on the Hill.

Judge Goldstone said he remembers attending "10 or 12" meetings. J Street co-founder Daniel Levy, who accompanied the judge to several of the parleys, said that NAF — whose Middle East Task Force he co-chairs — had also hosted a lunch with Judge Goldstone for "a group of analysts and Middle East wonks." The judge, Mr. Levy, and J Street all declined to identify the members of Congress.

All three organizations associated with Judge Goldstone's visit to Washington — J Street, NAF and OSI — receive substantial funding from Hungarian-born billionaire, George Soros, a fierce critic of AIPAC and Israeli policies.

Judge Goldstone said that he "was keen to meet with [members of Congress] because of what I considered to be both an unfortunate and factually incorrect resolution." J Street said at the time that it was "unable to support" the resolution as written. It subsequently passed the House by a vote of 344-36.

When the J Street/Soros partnership was revealed last week, many in the liberal media wondered what the big deal was. The J Street Goldstone report scandal is a perfect example of "what the big deal was."

You see because he suffered through the Holocaust as a child, Soros feels a need to hurt Israel. Soros’ father had sent him to live with a bribed Christian government official who was involved in confiscating Jewish property for the Nazis.

As Dr. Barry Rubin hypothesized recently, Soros must prove to the enemies of the Jews that he is not someone they should see as an enemy. Just as he did when he was growing up in Hungry. By fighting Jewish interests he can claim to diminish antisemitism while also protecting his own interests.

What did Soros say was the main lesson he had learned on those streets in 1944 Hungary? “That one should think ahead. One should understand and--and anticipate events and when--when one is threatened.”

So for Soros, religious Jews, Zionists, and in effect the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of the world are bringing disaster on themselves by provoking an antisemitic backlash that will eventually hurt him. J Street is just another vehicle for him to "become friends" with those who would hurt him.

There have been detailed critiques regarding the UN’s Goldstone report some of the best can be found at a website called Understanding the Goldstone Report (which I helped to compile). This report was created for the sole purpose of de-legitimizing Israel by bashing her with phony claims of “war crimes.” during the Gaza War. The report is full of Hamas-led witnesses masking propaganda against Israel; and taken as the truth by Goldstone, his investigator, the United Nations, and many governments across the world. Little verifiable evidence was presented, and almost nothing was said about Hamas terrorist activities.

The saddest part about the report and its support from George Soros and J Street is that it will lead to additional deaths, not only in Israel and in the Palestinian controlled territories, but across the world. Terrorist see documents such as the Goldstone report as a Carte Blanche by the world community to continue their terrorist strategies and even expand them further. By creating and controlling J Street Soros, and his "puppet" J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami are appeasing and inciting terrorism throughout the world

Obama asks for 2-month W. Bank construction moratorium'


In return, US will not demand extension, will commit to UN Security Council vetos, weapon deliveries and presence of Israeli forces in Jordan Valley says David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

US President Barack Obama has requested Israel extend the West Bank settlement construction moratorium by only two months and in return "will not ask for a moratorium extension beyond sixty days," according to David Makovsky from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a close associate to Dennis Ross and Obama's Middle East adviser, Army Radio reported Thursday. "According to senior US officials," wrote Makovsky on Wednesday, the Obama administration's efforts to extend the construction freeze "culminated in a draft letter negotiated with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and chief Israeli peace negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and ultimately sent from President Obama's desk to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu."

Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process, explains that, "At its core, the letter offers a string of assurances to Israel in return for a two-month moratorium extension. More specifically, US officials indicate that the document makes commitments on issues ranging from current peace and security matters to future weapons deliveries in the event that peace-related security arrangements are reached."

The letter commits the US to veto any UN Security Council proposal regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the coming year. In addition, Washington will not object to the request of leaving Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley for a prolonged duration.

"Regarding policy issues," Makovsky writes, "the letter guarantees that Washington will not ask for a moratorium extension beyond sixty days. Rather, the future of settlements is to be settled at the table as part of territorial negotiations."

"Second," Makovsky continues, "the letter promises that the United States will veto any UN Security Council initiative -- Arab or otherwise -- relating to Arab-Israeli peace during the agreed one-year negotiating period."

"Third, Washington pledged to accept the legitimacy of existing Israeli security needs and not seek to redefine them," says Makovsky. "In this context, the letter explicitly mentions the need to ensure a complete ban on the smuggling of rockets, mortars, arms, and related items, as well as the infiltration of terrorists into Israel."

Addressing Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, Makovsky continues, "the letter offers to help maintain a transitional period for Jordan Valley security that is longer than any other aspect of a negotiated peace -- an apparent allusion to keeping Israeli troops in that region for an extended period of time."

Regarding future weapon deals, Makovsky writes that "the letter explicitly discusses the need to enhance Israel's defense capabilities in the event that the parties reach security arrangements. Even if a security deal fails to materialize, Washington's offer creates the baseline for Israel's defense needs in a post-peace era."

What does Obama know that the rest of us don't-2 months? Other than extortion for our change in policy, Obama once again demonstrates his naive "understanding" of the real issues here. Does he know that Abbas et al will cease incitement within their populations? Will they recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state? Does he know that Abbas will desist from playing the "freeze game" after the net two months are up? You know the answers to theses questions-so much for setting an opportunity up to denigrate Israel, to cause more internal upset and to support the Left inside Israel-isn't this your strategy Mr. Obama?

Obama's Next Two Years

Daniel Greenfield

The midterm elections are coming up, and they spell defeat for the Democrats. All that's left to be decided is just how bad that defeat will be. Poll after poll shows an American public that stolidly rejects their agenda and no matter how many stories the media churns out about Republican extremism, they view Obama and his agenda as radical and extreme. Obama's magic is gone and the axis of change has turned away from the Democrats. Meanwhile an insurgent Republican wave is sweeping across Capitol Hill. But what does all that means for Obama's next two years? Obama and his backers counted on having a decisive majority on their side in order to ram through their agenda. Now they will have to rely on bipartisanship, on building coalitions with Republicans to get the legislation he wants through. And while the Republican party lacks a Newt Gingrich to negotiate terms as it did in 1994, it does have the Tea Party movement looking over the shoulders of Republican representatives and senators who might be tempted to jump on the bandwagon. When the Dems can't even get a Maine Republican Senator to help them with repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, even the most optimistic of them has to get a sinking feeling about what the next two years are going to be like.

The national mood in general, combined with insurgent populism has rattled politicians on both sides of the aisle. Republicans are afraid, but so are many Democrats who have to run in actual elections, rather than farcical gerrymandered districts where elections are decided by community leaders, democratic clubs or union bosses. So while Charlie Rangel isn't going anywhere no matter what he does or who runs against him, parts of the West and Midwest, areas that helped give the Democrats control of congress have turned into hostile territory.

After making a last stand on ObamaCare, a defiant middle finger to Middle America, their courage has failed because it is clear to them that trying to fight this, the way the Japanese fought WW2 will just end in disaster. The DREAM Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell show how the same politicians who had been determined to ram through ObamaCare at any cost, don't have the stomach for it anymore. Instead they threw them up as political gestures to elements of their base, before running for cover. And no one is fooled by it at all. But once the lame duck sessions are gone, it will be time to talk turkey.

The Democrats faced this same dilemma in 1994. And the show remains the same. So do the talking points. Declaring the recession over, over and over again. Blaming the Republicans for legislative gridlock. Calling the voters spoiled children. We're seeing it all come back again. But this time it's a slipperier problem. Because the most recognizable Republican in the opposition is Sarah Palin, who doesn't hold any elected office. Clinton was able to successfully turn Gingrich into the face of Republican stonewalling. But it's hard to assign blame to Palin for anything that happens in congress. And trying to turn John Boehner into the next Gingrich is a losing proposition. Palin has become associated with the insurgent populism of the Tea Party, and while she may well have plans to run for President, that just gives her a lock on the "Change" brand, without any of the responsibility.

Obama's people know that without an actual economic recovery that they can experience as fact, rather than take on faith, he is almost certainly doomed. And his own visibility, combined with the viability of a populist opposition, will make it hard to shift the blame. Democrats are still stuck on labeling their opponents as extremists, but that's just another way of giving up the "Change" brand. The new Democratic slogan, "The Change that Matters" tries to fix their brand as that of moderate and reasonable change. Which is exactly the wrong slogan when the public is angry and frustrated with the arrogance blowing out of Capitol Hill.

Soros and his ilk could buy Obama the election, but all the liberal billionaires in the world can't buy him every election. Just like we couldn't refight WW2 every decade. Especially when Obama and his supermajority didn't have much to show for it. That means Obama has to switch gears or resign himself to one long vacation while he prepares for 2012. The latter is not an impossibility. Obama's egoism and childishness are difficult to underestimate. He has very little patience for people who don't agree with him. And unlike LBJ or Clinton, he lacks the wheeling and dealing skills of a good horse trader. With Reid out, and Pelosi cracking up, and no one all that eager to take their place as the public face of failure, it's possible that we will have real gridlock.

On the other hand if Obama does listen to his advisers, what we may have is Faust and the Devil instead, with Republicans auditioning for the Faust spot. For all that the Tea Party may be a power, once congressional Republicans have a sense of power again, all bets are off. It was easy enough to be the Party of No, back when they were out of power. But it's much harder to be the Party of No, when getting power means having to say, Yes. The Tea Party may have terrorized some liberal Republicans, it may have even lost some seats, but the gain is preventing another bipartisan sellout, which without a Contract with America and firm positions by a committed Republican leadership would be almost a certainty.

In the next session there will be Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives of a type that the Democrats never seriously thought they would have to deal with, whose positions predate Bush and Reagan, and go back all the way to Goldwater. It's a brand of politics that hasn't been seen in D.C. much, because it's hostile to D.C. and what it stands for. And their presence alone will shift the balance of the Republican party, making former conservatives seem positively liberal by comparison. And this time the definition of the center will change in a new direction, sliding right for the first time since the early days of the Bush Administration.

Obama's old economic advisers are being thrown out, as everyone predicted. This may mean a ramping up of the anti-corporate rhetoric that is the closes the Dems can come to populism. But corporations are already tried of being Obama's fire hydrant, and he needs their money for 2012. Or it may mean an attempt to actually pull back, akin to Lenin's "two steps forward, one step back", and go business friendly. Pushing domestic protectionism, taking on NAFTA and cutting some of the crap out of ObamaCare that they put in there, could win Obama and the Democrats some points in the swing states. But that would require junking carbon emissions regulation, and pull back on the coal bashing, and a lot of their legislative agenda.

With few good choices, Obama may just decide to stay out of it. His ability to craft legislation is non-existent, he's a bad diplomat and gets frustrated easily. And when it's on the outs with the public, the White House usually turns to foreign policy to shore up its occupant's credentials.

But Obama doesn't have much of a menu when it comes to foreign policy either. The public has already seen him do a world tour, what more is there to offer. He could try tackling one of the world's crisis regions, but that would just make him look like one of the ex's, Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, who have tried to stay relevant with conferences and charity work, in the hopes that people will forget their actual terms in office. Bush already did Africa, but Obama's brand was supposed to be the Muslim world. With just one problem. The Muslim world doesn't much care about Obama.

Obama's weakness means that his only leverage is over American allies. Which is why countries like Israel, Columbia or the UK are afraid of Obama-- while America's enemies laugh in his face. Something Russia has been done openly of late. That means aside from photo ops, all Obama can do is badger and weaken our allies. But to what end?

Obama can pick another economic fight with the UK, over tariffs or oil spills, but it's the international equivalent of a cafeteria food fight. A tariffs fight might play okay in the rust belt, but it's not going to be much of a home run. Obama has been aggressively pushing Turkey's entry into the EU, but that only sets European teeth on edge. When Obama and Cameron champion Turkey's entry into the EU, France and Germany stiffen up. And whatever does happen there, the odds of Obama being able to take the credit are negligible. And even if he did get to pose as the man who got Turkey into the EU, this wouldn't exactly score points with many Americans.

There is the War on Terror, but that's not something Obama wants to be too associated with. It's something he tolerates, because he doesn't want to face the political consequences of shutting it down completely. So he lets the former Clinton people play out the old "Smart War" game, using drone attacks and intel, while letting the Afghan war run down, because it was Biden's idea for winning points on national security, by focusing on the key war in Afghanistan, rather than Iraq. And beyond his own insecurity with the military, Obama believes that appearing to be the man behind the war machine, would trash his appeal for the Muslim world.

That doesn't leave much, except the old standby, Israel. That country has been the longtime whipping boy of leaders who want to look like Gandhi, while looting like Attila. Pressuring Israel into appeasing terrorists is supposed to score valuable points with the Muslim world, and peace conferences make for good photo ops. A White House occupant is less likely to get called out for a peace with conference with a few rounds of golf thrown in, than for just the golf alone. Of course when the economy is bad, tinkering with another peace agreement won't win much applause, but it will keep Obama above the fray and looking like an international leader, instead of a lazy lame duck.

Even many liberal Jews got their backs up over Obama's unprovoked assault on Israel earlier this year, but even conservative Jews have generally been conditioned to accept some amount of pressure in the context of a peace agreement. Which means that what earned Obama a backlash when done outside the context of negotiations, when it just looked like bullying, will instead be made to look like statesmanship now.

But even there Obama is letting his chips ride, letting Hillary Clinton have her moment in the middle eastern sun, but always ready to snatch the credit from her, if there is any to be had. The Peace Process is a longer shot than ever, because despite having the most Anti-Israel Administration in the White House, since Sadat was organizing Egyptian Muslims to pray for Jimmy Carter's hemorrhoids after Camp David, there isn't a whole lot to work with here. No one is under the illusion that Abbas can offer a final status agreement that means anything, which means the negotiations become just another chance to bully Israel, with no serious hope of gain. The PLO state that Clinton backed no longer exists, in its place is Hamas run Gaza, and rabbit run militias in Ramallah. Israel can be forced to cede more territory, even parts of Jerusalem, but it can't cede governance, where there isn't any.

So what's left for Obama, but more of the same. More speeches, golfing, vacations, globe-trotting tours, pressure on Israel, blame the Republicans, rinse and repeat all over again.
Yet despite the rumors, Obama isn't prepared to walk out in 2012. There's too much at stake for the left, and for himself personally. Charity work and penning your memoirs is fine for Carter and Clinton, but Obama is too detached for the former, and he's already written more memoirs than most rock stars. His next two years will be a compromise between fighting for popularity and fighting for his radical agenda. Which way the compromise will swing, will help determine if Obama gets shown the door in 2012 or not.

Senate to Obama: Respect Israel

P David Hornik

Back when Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a ten-month moratorium on settlement construction in late November, the timing was not accidental. It was reasonably speculated that the expiration date—late September, i.e., now—was calculated as a point at which U.S. president Barack Obama, under whose pressure the freeze was instated in the first place, would be in a weak position. Back in November, Obama’s once-soaring domestic popularity had already taken a plunge, and it could be conjectured that he would be in the same or worse shape come September—with, moreover, his party facing midterm elections. Presumably, then, once Obama inevitably began pressuring Israel to extend the moratorium, whether or not talks with the Palestinians were taking place, he wouldn’t be able to do it with much “oomph” given Israel’s support in Congress and the U.S. public at large.

Has Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas outsmarted this strategy? It may well seem so.

As it turned out, Abbas continued stonewalling putative “peace talks” with Israel until the settlement moratorium had almost run out, and then claimed he was hanging his further participation on its extension. By all accounts, he only finally agreed to enter the talks under heavy U.S. and European pressure. Yet, thanks to his timing, with the end of the freeze approaching, the pressure now shifted to—Netanyahu.

And, sure enough, when the moratorium ran its course early this week without being renewed, and building, albeit small-scale, resumed in a few Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), it was Israel that drew international ire.

U.S. State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said the U.S. was “disappointed” by the building resumption. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon also said he was “disappointed” and “concerned at provocative actions taking place on the ground,” and claimed settlement activity was “illegal under international law.”

The same term served British foreign secretary William Hague, who said he was “disappointed to hear that the moratorium has not been renewed” and “call[ed] on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government to show leadership to resolve this so the parties can focus on the real challenges ahead.” As for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, she too was unequivocal, saying she “strongly regrets” the resumed construction and that “the position of the EU is very clear: settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Whether or not the talks eventually resume, this de rigueur but significant tongue-lashing may make it seem that Abbas has again won the PR battle, setting up Israel as the villain that prefers the supposedly nefarious settlements to peace.

Jewish Settlement


We often hear, on foreign news or on our travels around the world, the claim that the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace. We’ve put together a number of facts which will clarify what exactly settlements are and why the fate of the peace process is not dependent on them...

The root of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the size of the country, but Israel’s very existence – even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are seen as settlements in the Palestinian narrative. The Palestinian Authority views “1948 settlements” as the root of the conflict, and therefore in the media, in mosques, in textbooks and at every other opportunity the Authority refers to the 1948 borders, including Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods, as settlements. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t make the distinction between Northern Tel Aviv, which it calls Sheikh Munis, and the settlement Betar, which it considers to be the village Battir.

The fact is that the areas currently called hitnachaluyot, or settlements, were founded after the Six Day War in 1967, well after the founding of the PLO in 1964, the wars in 1948 and 1956, the Hebron Massacre and banishment of the Jews from Gaza in 1929, the uprooting of Gush Etzion’s communities and the massacre of its residents and the destruction of Kfar Darom in 1948.

Prior to Israel's declaration of independence, the British Mandate and the United Nations declared that Jews have the right to settle in Israel, including Judea and Samaria.
According to the UN the last governing body of Judea and Samaria was the British mandate, which designated the region for a Jewish nation. The British mandate was discussed at the San Remo conference on April 24th 1920, put into writing in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10th 1920, and approved by the UN on July 24th 1922. According to section 94 and 95 of Treaty of Sèvres “The mandate of Palestine (Israel) was created for the Jewish people”. According to section 6 of the mandate, Jews have the right to settle in any part of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. The mandate document calls for the “creation of political , administrative and economic conditions that will ensure the founding of a Jewish nation”.

The settlements reestablish historical Jewish settlements, and do not uproot Arab residents in the process
The Palestinians claim that Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is in breach of article 49, paragraph 6 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits occupying forces from deporting local populations or transferring parts of their own civilian population into the occupied territory. As opposed to the historical reference of article 49 (Germany settled in conquered territories and forcefully uprooted local residents), the Judea and Samaria settlements are reestablishing Jewish towns in the area. In addition, the settlements do not uproot local Arab population. Despite the fact that article 52 of the Hague Agreement regulations permits the expropriation of private land by the government, Israel avoids doing so in Judea and Samaria.

Most Arab villages and towns in Judea and Samaria have biblical names proving Jewish roots in Judea and Samaria
If asked “who was there first?” you can name a number of Arab towns that were founded over ancient Jewish towns, for example:

* Bethlehem is where King David was born and is mentioned 44 times in the Old Testament.
* Beit Jala is (the neighborhood) Gilo, where Sennacherib was camped during his siege of Jerusalem.
* Hebron is King David’s first capital, the burial site of the Jewish nation’s three founding fathers, and three of the four mothers.
* The Arab village Mukhmas is (the settlement) Michmash, the site of King Saul’s palace and the residence of Jonathan Apphus of the Maccabees.
* The Arab village Seilun is (the settlement) Shiloh, the location of Joshua’s altar, the Ark of the Covenant, and where Samuel the Prophet was active.
* The Arab village Teqoa is (the settlement) Tekoa, the birthplace of Amos the Prophet
* The Arab village Dura is (the settlement) Adoraim from the days of King Rehoboam and the Maccabees.
* The Arab village Anata is (the settlement) Anathoth, where the prophet Jeremiah lived.
* The Arab village Battir is (the settlement) Betar, the location of a great battle in the Bar-Kokhba revolt against the Romans, and part of Gush Etzion whose Jewish residents were slaughtered and cast out in the ‘20s, ‘30s and '40s.
* The village Hor is (the settlement) Beit Horon, where Judas Maccabeus defeated Nicanor. The Arab village Beitin Hor is (the settlement) Beit El, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, Samuel the Prophet’s court was held, the location of Jacob’s dream and the second place where Abraham stopped in his journey.

The difference between peaceful coexistence and an obstacles to peace

* Some claim that the 300,000 Jews (17%) living alongside 1.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace. Can we forget that 1.4 million Arabs (20%) live side by side with 6 million Jews within the Green Line (i.e., west of the Green Line) – can one side be open to peaceful coexistence, but not the other?
* Dozens of Jewish buildings constructed in Judea and Samaria have no permit and are considered an obstacle to peace. There are also approximately 100,000 illegal Arab homes within the Green Line (including 1100 illegal houses that are built every year in Jerusalem) and an even greater number in Judea and Samaria...
* When people tell you that uprooting Arab towns within the Green Line is a violation of human rights, ask how uprooting Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria values human rights?

And yet, Israel uprooted 25 Jewish settlements in Gaza and Samaria, in an overture towards peace
Remind your friends that, in spite of our legal and historic rights, in September 2005 Israel uprooted 25 Jewish settlements in Gaza and Samaria, taking a significant step towards a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, this was seen by the Palestinians as a show of weakness and the breaking of Israeli stamina. Since then production, smuggling and launching of rockets towards Negev towns has only escalated. Hamas has only gotten stronger in Gaza, and two wars have since broken out: the second Lebanon War, and Operation Cast Lead (a.k.a. the Gaza War) which led to the Goldstone report and an increase in international pressure on Israel, more exacting demands by the Arabs, and painful injustice to the Jews who were uprooted from their homes.

Until this changes, nothing else will

A Culture of Hatred

Israel Project

Educating for Peace in the Classroom: Israeli Textbooks Teach Children Acceptance and Peace with Palestinians

Despite economic progress and progress on the peace front, Palestinian leaders continue to promote a culture of hatred against Israel. This year, the Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah Party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, have named schools, summer camps and football tournaments after Palestinian terrorists while Palestinian politicians have propagated incitement over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The Oslo II agreement and the Road Map for Peace explicitly call for an end to incitement. In contrast, when an Israeli Rabbi recently made inflamatory remarks about the Palestinians, Prime Minister Netanyahu was quick to respond, distancing himself and his government from the remarks: “These things do not reflect PM Nethanyahu’s approach, nor do they reflect the position of Israel’s government. Israel is coming to the negotiations when it is willing to move forward to an agreement with the Palestinians that will end the conflict and will secure peace, security and good neighboring between the two peoples.”

Some examples:

* A computer center in Hebron named after Dalal al-Mughrabi in 2009. Al-Mughrabi was a female Palestinian terrorist who in 1978 led a terrorist attack inside Israel, which became known as the Coastal Road Massacre, in which 37 civilians—including 12 children and an American—were killed. [1]
* A town square named after al-Mughrabi in the West Bank town of el-Bireh in March 2010. [2]
* A ceremony held in December 2009 celebrating the birthday of al-Mughrabi. [3]
* A camp named after al-Mughrabi that helped manage a Palestinian elections campaign in March 2010. [4]
* A soccer tournament held in May 2010 in the West Bank town of Abu Dis (outside Jerusalem) named after Palestinian terrorist Abu Jihad who was responsible for planning the Coastal Road Massacre. [5]
* Two educational camps in April 2010 named after Abu Jihad and set up by a Fatah youth committee. [6]
* A street named after Abu Jihad in April 2010 at a ceremony in Ramallah. [7]
* A research center named after Abu Jihad in April 2010. [8]
* A soccer tournament held in May 2010 in Bethlehem named after Palestinian terrorist Abu Daoud. Abu Daoud planned what became known as the Munich Massacre, an attack in which Palestinian terrorists took hostage and ultimately killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. [9]

For more information: Palestinian Media Watch


[1] “Abbas sponsors birthday celebrations honoring terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, killer of 37,” Palestinian Media Watch, Dec. 31, 2009,

[2] “Senior Fatah officials joined Fatah youth movement in "popular inauguration" ceremony for terrorist square,” Palestinian Media Watch, March 14, 2010,

[3] “Abbas sponsors birthday celebrations honoring terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, killer of 37,” Palestinian Media Watch, Dec. 31, 2009,

[4] “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority’s Institutionalization of Incitement,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 2010,

[5] “Glorifying terrorists and terror,” Palestinian Media Watch,, accessed July 29, 2010

[6] “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority’s Institutionalization of Incitement,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 2010,

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Abu Daoud,” The Daily Telegraph, July 4, 2010,; “Glorifying terrorists and terror,” Palestinian Media Watch, Accessed July 29, 2010

Comment: The West has an important role in the ME if it truly is interested in peace.Until the incitement stops no peace is possible.Until the Arab community's minds and attitudes are collectively shifted, there is no possibility for peace. Until brave Arab leaders stand tall and say "it is not a dishonor to live in harmony with the Jews or even the country of Israel-we do not loose face by extending a hand of peace.We need to transcend our ancient ways and demonstrate the greatness of Arab society by such a gesture."

If the West would put the effort, time and money into this message, peace would be a legitimate possibility.

A Reminder:Who Is In Breach Of International Law: Israel--Or The US?

Originally posted June 28, 2009
Caroline Glick makes a compelling case that not only is Israel not in breach of signed agreements--or international law--on the issue of settlements, the US is breach of both international and domestic law.

On the issue of Israeli settlements and international law, Glick makes a number of points:

* Israel has never signed an agreement whereby a Jewish community can be characterized as "illegal," and therefore has no legal obligation to forbid their expansion
* Both former prime minister Ariel Sharon's chief of staff Dov Weisglass and former president George W. Bush's deputy national security adviser for the Middle East Elliott Abrams have gone on record that when Sharon agreed to limit the building of Jewish communities in the West Bank--not including Jerusalem--in accordance with the Road Map, he did so based on explicit understandings with the Bush administration. * The approval of the Road Map was a cabinet decision--not an international agreement. Therefore, the Israeli government has no legal obligation to advance it, and can legally abrogate Israel's acceptance of the Road Map by calling for another vote.
* The Road Map does not have the force of international law: Glick writes "Although it was adopted by the Security Council, it was not adopted as an internationally binding document under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Consequently, Israel has no international legal obligation to end Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem."
* As a signatory to the 1976 International Convention for Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits all forms of discrimination against people on the basis of religion and nationality, Israel cannot discriminate specifically against Jews who wish to build homes on legally controlled lands in Judea and Samaria. The convention is a binding treaty, which trumps the Road Map, which is non-binding.
* In response to the claim that Jewish communities located beyond the 1949 armistice lines are illegal because of the Fourth Geneva Convention from 1949, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its population to the occupied territory--there has long been a dispute among legal authorities if this applies to the West Bank. Even assuming that it is applicable, Prof. Avi Bell from Bar-Ilan University Law School explains that "The Fourth Geneva Convention does not purport to limit in any way what individual Jews may or may not do on their legally held property or where they may or may not choose to live."

On the other hand, Caroline Glick demonstrates how the policy of the Obama administration towards the Palestinian Arabs is itself in violation of both international and domestic US law.

The key is the UN Security Council binding Resolution 1373, passed by authority of Chapter VII. It commits all UN member states:

* to "refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts."
* to "deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts or provide safe haven" to those that do.

In light of the stipulations of UN Resolution 1373, a number of actions of the Obama administration become questionable according to international law:

* In 1995, the US State Department put Hamas on its list of terrorist groups--and the actions taken by the Obama administration thus put the US in breach of both international and US law. Since the US has or is in the process of transferring $300 million to Gaza through USAID, which based on past experience has ended up in the hands of Hamas--the transfer of these funds constitute indirect assistance to Hamas and are prohibited by Resolution 1373 and US law.
* The US pressure on Israel to open passages between it and Gaza and limit travel restrictions--putting Israel at risk of facilitating the movement of Hamas terrorists and thereby supporting them is also a breach of Resolution 1373, which states that all states must "prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls."
* The US is pressuring Israel to allow cement to be imported into Gaza to rebuild the Hamas infrastructure and transfer money into Hamas-controlled banks while the Obama administration has pledged $900 million to rebuild Gaza. In addition, Dan Diker reported in a study published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad has admitted that the US-financed PA continues to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists. All of this is in violation of Resolution 1373 which requires all states to "ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetuation of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice."
* Obama's apparent attempt to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian government including Hamas legitimizes that terrorist group and would both aid a designated terrorist organization and help provide it with a safe haven, in violation of Resolution 1373
* By meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is suspected of providing material support to Hizbullah--a designated terrorist organization, Obama was arguably illegally providing indirect assistance to Hizbullah, which is in breach of Resolution 1373 and US law.
* US military assistance to the Lebanese military, which has been shown to be influenced by Hizbullah is also possibly in breach of Resolution 1373 and US law.
* Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook wrote in The Jerusalem Post last month that the US is financing the construction of a Palestinian computer center--which is named for Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 bus bombing on Israel's coastal highway in which 37 civilians, including 12 children and US citizen Gail Rubin, were murdered--yet the 2008 US Foreign Operations Bill bars US assistance to the Palestinians from being used "for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism."

Glick concludes:

Obama, the former law professor, never tires of invoking international law. And yet, when one considers his policies toward Israel on the one hand, and his policies toward illegal terrorist organizations on the other, it is clear that Obama's respect for international law is mere rhetoric. True champions of law in both Israel and the US should demand an end to his administration's contempt for the US's actual - rather than imaginary - legal obligations.

Read the whole thing.
It is time to hold Obama accountable for his claims about international law.

So the ball is vollyed back into our court

PLO: Talks won't continue unless freeze decision reversed



Hanna Amireh says there is widespread opposition to resuming talks without a settlement curb; EU's Ashton calls for moratorium extension, due to arrive in Israel to meet with Netanyahu.

The PLO said on Wednesday that they cannot be expected to continue peace talks unless Israel reverses the decision to lift restrictions on settlement construction.

Hanna Amireh, a member of the PLO body, said there was widespread opposition to resuming talks without a settlement curb."The consensus is that since the entire world is in favor of a Palestinian state and against settlements, then let us throw this problem in the face of the world and see what they can do about it," Amireh said.

Also on Wednesday EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said that the recently expired settlement construction moratorium must be extended if the peace talks are to have any hope of succeeding

Ashton made the comments after a Washington meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ashton announced an imminent trip to Israel, where she is expected to land on Thursday. Ashton said she was heading to the region "as a matter of priority" after talking to Mitchell and international Mideast envoy Tony Blair.

She reiterated in a statement that the European Union regrets Israel's decision not to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on West Bank housing starts that expired this week.

Starting Thursday, the EU foreign policy chief will meet with Netanyahu, Abbas and Mitchell over two days to try to prevent the collapse of negotiations. She reiterated in a statement that the European Union regrets Israel's decision not to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on West Bank housing starts that expired this week.

So much for Abbas saying he would wait until October meeting with the Arab League to help him make up his mind re: a way forward. After spending time with Israel's "friends" in the EU, after our American "friends"shifted their position, again, Abbas says he cannot continue the "talks". No one should be fooled by these power politics. Be reminded of the following: until Obama made the connection between settlement building and talks, historically the "settlement" building was NEVER a point to prevent the two sides from negotiating. Abbas,unelected "leader" of the "Palestinians" Arabs, his term expired nearly 2 years ago, knew and knows he has no authority to make any deal. All of us in the region know this and as long as the building issue resonates as a rationalization/justification or excuse, it will be played out for a variety of political reasons-all disingenuous!

It is shameful how certain"democratic" allies are playing dirty politics with this-they are complicit with any violence that occurs. Rather, they should all get some courage, stand up to this political extortion and say all together: "Abbas, you need our support, stop this nonsense and get back to the table-Israel has leadership ready to give you much, not all, of what you need to survive."
Arab perspective is the eradication of Israel-in the immediate future create a situation on the ground that at least gives the possibility of change in this mindset.

Iran's European Helpers

Swiss and German business deals may be directly and indirectly supporting Tehran's nuclear program



The European Union in July imposed unprecedented sanctions against Iran's energy and financial sectors. But despite the crackdown, some European companies continue to sign up for business deals in Iran that may be both directly and indirectly supporting Iran's nuclear-weapons development Take the example of Ceresola TLS. According to a hard copy of the confirmation of a contract we have obtained, the Swiss firm recently signed an agreement worth over €1 billion with Rahab Engineering Establishment in Tehran. According to the contract, Ceresola has agreed to provide Rahab with tunneling technology to facilitate the construction of a metro line in .
Take the example of Ceresola TLS. According to a hard copy of the confirmation of a contract we have obtained, the Swiss firm recently signed an agreement worth over €1 billion with Rahab Engineering Establishment in Tehran. According to the contract, Ceresola has agreed to provide Rahab with tunneling technology to facilitate the construction of a metro line in Iran. But in the past, the regime in Tehran has used similar agreements to help hide its nuclear-weapons program. Although the confirmation order lists the deal as a project for a metro line, obtaining heavy earth-moving equipment and technology is also a top priority for Iran's nuclear program. Tehran needs this know-how to hide military nuclear installations deep underground, as it did with the Qom and Natanz enrichment facilities.

A June United Nations resolution lists the similarly named Rahab Engineering Institute as one of the firms involved in "nuclear or ballistic missile activities," and says the Institute is owned by the government's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Given Iran's history of simply renaming sanctioned firms or using front companies, it may be no coincidence that both businesses have their offices on the same Valiasr Street in Tehran. Ceresola manager Doris Ceresola, whose name is listed on the confirmation order, refused to comment when asked about the possibility that Rahab Engineering Establishment and Rahab Engineering Institute could be one and the same company.

Ms. Ceresola asked to know how we obtained copies of the confirmation detailing the Swiss company's delivery of sophisticated technology to Rahab. While stating that she was "upset" that Ceresola's contract with Rahab will be exposed, Ms. Ceresola declined to comment on the nature of the contract, or whether the contract violates international sanctions. She also declined to comment on whether Ceresola was worried that its tunnel technology could be misused for Iran's nuclear program.

The Swiss, EU and U.S. governments should get those answers. Specifically, officials should determine if Rahab is in fact related to the Rahab Engineering Institute owned by the Revolutionary Guard and, if so, if it intends to use Ceresola's equipment to build new underground nuclear sites, instead of metro lines. In another example, the Swiss firm Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft Laufenburg (EGL) signed a gas contract two years ago estimated at between €18 and €20 billion with the state-owned National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC). NIGEC is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Gas Company, which the U.K. placed on its Proliferation Concerns List last year. The U.N.'s June resolution spelled out in its preamble the clear nexus that exists between revenues from Iran's energy sector and its nuclear activities. The U.S. administration has from the start complained about this Swiss-Iranian business contract.

AFP/Getty Images
Ahmadinejad unveils domestically manufactured fuel rods.

"As we noted in the past when this deal was first announced, oil and gas deals with Iran send the wrong message when Iran continues to defy U.N. Security Council resolutions," a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Bern told us. "We have raised our concerns with the Swiss government about this arrangement on multiple occasions."

The U.S. State Department and U.S. Congress are currently investigating a number of foreign companies to determine if they are in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran. While the list of the companies being scrutinized has not been made public, U.S officials have told us that they are concerned that EGL's 25-year, multi-billion euro supply agreement could violate EU and U.S. sanctions prohibiting the transfer of technology and technical expertise to Iran. The EGL supply deal may only be a simple purchase agreement. But given its size and complexity, U.S. officials have told us that they fear it may involve the transfer of technology or technical expertise by EGL, which Iran could use to develop its natural gas sector.
Asked about those U.S. concerns, EGL spokeswoman Lilly Frei told us in August: "We are not violating any regulations; and [we] follow the rules. We feel we are not really deserving to come on the sanctions list."

Neither EGL nor any other company has been sanctioned by the U.S. Senior Obama Administration officials have told us that they are "very, very close" to a decision on which firms will face penalties under U.S. law.

The EGL deal may also expose a loophole in sanctions laws. U.S. and EU rules severely limit investments in Iran's natural gas sector. In the case of U.S. law, the investment limit is $20 million per year. U.S. Congressional foreign policy staffers have expressed to us concerns that by using long-term supply contracts like EGL's to collateralize billions of dollars in energy bonds, the regime could circumvent sanctions to finance its natural gas sector. Bondholders will require evidence that Iran can make payments on these bonds and one way for Iran to do this would be to sign a long-term supply contract, using this guaranteed revenue stream in hard currencies to collateralize the bonds. The EU and U.S. need to close any loopholes that would allow this kind of investment activity.

Another EGL spokesman, Richard Rogers, declined to comment Wednesday on whether his company was concerned that its long-term contract with Iran could be used to collateralize Iranian energy bonds. At the same time, Mr. Rogers said that "the current political environment does not tolerate procurement of Iranian natural gas" through the proposed Trans Adriatic Pipeline project. However, Mr. Rogers also confirmed that EGL is in negotiations with Turkey's state-owned Botas Petroleum Pipeline Corporation, and declined to specify the nature of those negotiations. Mr. Rogers specifically declined to say whether their plans include transporting Iranian gas through a Botas pipeline in the future. Turkey, along with Brazil, voted against the U.N.'s latest round of sanctions on Iran in June. Iran currently provides Turkey with a third of its energy needs.
Like Turkey, Switzerland is not a member of the EU. While the Swiss have always insisted on neutrality, the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that officials in Switzerland's economics ministry have criticized Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey for not safeguarding U.S. security interests. The EU should capitalize on this discord and put pressure on the Swiss to make sure the country complies with the letter and spirit of international sanctions. The U.S. should also replace Switzerland as the representative of its diplomatic interests in Iran with a country that doesn't interpret "neutrality" as a license to let companies potentially help Iran develop—directly or indirectly—its nuclear-weapons program.

Germany also remains a problem. Europe's biggest exporter to the Islamic Republic provides roughly 60% of the technology Iran uses in its natural gas sector. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has long lobbied against the sort of sanctions that now prohibit European companies from investing in Iran's energy projects and providing technology or technical assistance. VDMA's members are the engine behind Germany's 14% increase in exports to Iran during the first six months of 2010 as compared to same period last year. In the Sept. 13 issue of the Handelsblatt, VDMA spokesman Klaus Friedrich referred to the European Commission's plan for mandatory approval of all payments to and from Iran as a "useless monster bureaucracy."

Chancellor Angela Merkel has still not shut down the Hamburg-based European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH), which the U.S. Treasury Department has designated as a proliferator for what it says is the bank's role in abetting Iran's nuclear activities and earlier this month barred from accessing the American market. The EIH said in a statement that it "at all times strictly fulfills and observes applicable legal regulations and all sanctions and export guidelines."

Mrs. Merkel must take action against both the EIH and those members of the VDMA who continue their business with Iran. The Chancellor should be held to the promises she made, including to the U.S Congress and Israeli Knesset, to stop Iran's nuclear drive. The same goes for the rest of Europe.

To read on click here

Comment: Several points to state once again: First, sanctions do not work if all the participating countries do not agree to honor them even if it hurts their bottom line; Second,Iran knew and continues to know that it can "play" Western countries off one another using specific incentives and it is not only money; Third, this action by these two countries demonstrates for the "umpteenth time" the absolute failure of the Obama Administration's foreign policy-he has not ,could not and can not get these countries to support basically what are USA sanction requests. His so-called power of persuasion is null and void. His rhetoric only plays in the USA, others are not fooled at all. Finally, always follow the money.

The UN Accuses Israel of War Crimes — Again

Michael Weiss

A mere two days after May’s deadly flotilla raid off the coast of Gaza, the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in a special “emergency session,” passed a resolution by a 32 to 3 count that “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces against the humanitarian flotilla of ships.” Despite already forming its consensus view of the flotilla raid, it nonetheless ordered a “fact-finding Mission,” which went ahead despite the support of Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for a wider and more legally consequential UN inquiry, which Israel later agreed to cooperate with.

In addition to agreeing to work with the general UN inquiry, Israel has conducted an internal military review which acquitted the IDF commandos of any professional misconduct, faulting them only for not anticipating the violence they were met with onboard the Mavi Marmara. Furthermore, Israel is also now engaged in a domestic civil review headed by retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel and observed by Northern Irish First Minister Lord David Trimble and former Canadian military judge Ken Watkin. The results of the UNHRC flotilla investigation were published last week in an “Advance Unedited Version” of its official report and the verdict is as predictable as it is one-sided. As with the Goldstone Report, Israel is once again accused of war crimes. And once again, the UNHRC’s Mission sacrifices methodological rigor and dispassion for a politicized and prefabricated ruling.

It claims to have interviewed “more than 100 witnesses in Geneva, London, Istanbul and Amman” but in perhaps the most naked acknowledgement of its own distorted approach to fact-finding, the report states the following in its Methodology section:

In ascertaining the facts surrounding the Israeli interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla, the Mission gave particular weight to the direct evidence from interviews with eye witnesses and crew, as well as the forensic evidence and interviews with government officials. In light of seizure of cameras, CCTV footage and digital media storage devices and of the suppression of that material with the disclosure only of a selected and minute quantity of it, the Mission was obliged to treat with extreme caution the versions released by the Israeli authorities where those versions did not coincide with the evidence of eyewitnesses who appeared before us.

This act of dismissing from the outset the ample video footage of protesters attacking and beating up Israeli soldiers where its contents did not chime with the passengers’ versions of events tarnishes the entire mission from the start. Moreover, much of the seized footage referred to above actually corroborates the documentary video, audio and photographic footage recorded by the IDF.

The report thus begins by proceeding from a ridiculously tendentious premise. Interviews with “government officials” in Turkey and Jordan are to be taken at face value, but nothing of consequence from the Israeli government passes the mission’s smell test. That is, unless it expressly undercuts the Israeli version of events.

In attempting to justify its rejection of the validity of Israel’s domestic inquiry the report states in its introduction that “public confidence in any investigative process in circumstances such as the present is not enhanced when the subject of an investigation either investigates himself or plays a pivotal role in the process.” But this principle is hardly adhered to in a report whose conclusions were reached almost entirely on the basis of flotilla passenger testimony and passenger-produced documentary footage—did these individuals not play a “pivotal role” in the subject of the presently under investigation?

Moving on from these bankrupt starting points, the reader is then treated to serious flaws in the mission’s recounting of the history of the Gaza naval blockade. For instance, Israel is judged to have implemented it “to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas.” If that were the case, then why was it established on January 3, 2009, coinciding with Operation Cast Lead, two years after Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, and a year after Israel and Egypt jointly instituted the land blockade of Gaza? In the intervening period, Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist organization, engaged in a bloody civil war with its chief secular rival Fatah, resulting in the former’s coup and unilateral takeover of Gaza at around the time it began indiscriminately firing rockets and mortar bomb into southern Israel. In 2007 alone, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Hamas fired 1,115 rockets and 1,435 mortar bombs at cities such as Sderot and Ashkelon, the majority of which armaments fell on civilian sites such as playgrounds and schools.

Moreover, as the mission does indeed indicate, in mid-2008 Israel undertook a series of preventive measures prior to implementing a full maritime closure of Gaza in order to hamper Hamas’s ability to import weapons. These included posting notices to mariners that informed all seagoing vessels of Israel’s intent to inspect their cargos. The report even cites one such notice posted in August 2008, which read: “In accordance with the agreements between Israel and the PA, entry by foreign vessels to this zone is prohibited.” According to this declaration, the Palestinian Authority under the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas was equally responsible for Israel’s regulation of the Gaza seaways in 2008. And yet, the UNHRC Mission reserves no censure for that government or the “illegality” of its decision.

Nor does it employ an especially impartial reading of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. The mission claims Israel violated this relevant covenant because, according to the language of the Manual, a naval blockade is unjustifiable when:

(a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or

(b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.

So far as (a) is concerned, the people of Gaza are not “starving” by any credible metric thanks to the importation of over half a million tons of food annually by Israel – another fact breezily elided in this report. Indeed, according to the CIA World Factbook, in 2010, the population of Gaza grew by about 3.5 percent: hardly an indicator of mass famine. Infant mortality is lower and life expectancy is higher there than in Turkey. Various accounts, based on first-hand investigation from Time magazine to the New York Times to Slate, have similarly failed to uncover starvation in Gaza.

As to point (b), the mission’s analysis is extremely debatable. Consider the following. In 2008, Hamas fired 1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar bombs into southern Israel. As of 2010, those numbers have reduced by 95.2 percent and 95.7 percent, respectively: 83 rockets and 65 mortar bombs. Might this not constitute a reasonable definition of a “direct military advantage”?

The San Remo Manual stipulates the right of a belligerent nation to “visit, inspect and control the destinations of neutral vessels on the high seas” if there is reasonable suspicion that those vessels are “engaged in activities which support the enemy.” From this, the report takes the fatuous view that the Mavi Marmara engaged in no such activity, scanting on abundantly well-attested information that connects I.H.H., the Turkish organization that owned and convened the ship, to the Hamas government in Gaza. Given the mission’s sometime reliance on “the internet and other sources,” one wonders how it failed to come across this revealing statement made by Mehmet Kaya, IHH’s Gaza representative, in the course of an interview with the New York Times granted after the flotilla raid: “We only work through Hamas, although we don’t limit our aid to its followers… We consider Israel and the United Nations to be the terrorists, not Hamas.”

Indeed, I.H.H. is a member of the Saudi-based umbrella group known as the Union of Good founded by the Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi for the express purpose of fundraising for Hamas. (The Union was outlawed by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2008 as a Hamas financier and all of I.H.H.’s U.S. funds were consequently frozen.) The report instead un-ironically refers to I.H.H. as a “Turkish humanitarian organisation,” or “Turkish charity,” ignoring the crucial fact that Ankara, prior to the election of the ruling Islamist party AKP – key members of which also have been shown to serve on the I.H.H. board of trustees – was the first government to accuse I.H.H. of being an ally of global terrorism.

In 1997, Turkish police raided I.H.H.’s headquarters in Istanbul and arrested key members of the organization after discovering caches of weapons, explosives, and bomb-making instructions as well as a “jihadist flag.” The Turkish authorities at the time believed that “detained members of IHH were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.” For this and other salient reasons, the French counterterrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière, who now oversees the U.S. Treasury Department’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, has plausibly linked I.H.H. to al Qaeda, noting:

“The essential goal of this Association was to illegally arm its membership for overthrowing democratic, secular, and constitutional order present in Turkey and replacing it with an Islamic state founded on the Shariah. Under the cover of this organization known under the name of I.H.H., [its leaders] acted to recruit veteran soldiers in anticipation of the coming holy war.”

That I.H.H. may have altered its raison d’etre since the 1990s is acknowledged. But that none of its history as a militant Islamist organization is ever so much as hinted at by the mission is a seminal failing of any inquiry purporting to act with investigatory scruple. Instead, the report recycles I.H.H. and Free Gaza talking points as to the true purpose of the flotilla, plus an anodyne characterization of comments made by I.H.H. president Bulent Yildirim, who sailed with the Mavi Marmara. He spoke, we’re casually informed, “with some bravado about preventing an Israeli takeover of the ship.” What Yildirim actually said was this:

“We’re going to defeat the Israeli commandos –we’re declaring it now. If you bring your soldiers here, we will throw you off the ship and you’ll be humiliated in front of the whole world.”

Prior to the flotilla’s launch from the port of Istanbul, various participants on all eight original ships (only six made it to the Gaza coast) were recorded on film declaring their intent to become “martyrs” for Palestine; others chanted antique slogans about Islamic conquest and defeating the Jews. Of this, though, the mission is happily oblivious.

At no point is the question asked why, if one of the avowed motives of I.H.H. was to “deliver humanitarian aid” to Gaza, there was no viable humanitarian aid onboard the Mavi Marmara. In fact, much of the aid carried by the flotilla was completely useless. As Jane Corbin of BBC’s Panorama made clear by visiting the warehouse in Ashdod where the Free Gaza cargo was offloaded, much of the medicine included had already expired. The report does raise one intriguing point only to then drop it without slightest trace of piqued curiosity: namely, that Gaza Strip “does not possess a deep sea port designed to receive the kind of cargo vessels included in the flotilla, raising practical logistical questions about the plan to deliver large quantities of aid by the route designated.” How was the Mavi Marmara going to dock to deliver all that expired medicine? And does this not do more than invite “logistical questions” about I.H.H.’s real intentions?

Most laughable is the mission’s assertion that Israel was in violation of the laws of armed conflict because “military force can only be used against a combatant or against civilians participating actively and directly in combat activities, which cannot be said of the civilians on the Mavi Marmara.” Here it isn’t even necessary to cite the well-trafficked video footage produced by the IDF showing the opposite (although such footage found no hearing under this UNHRC remit), or even the footage produced by independent Turkish and Arab media doing so. The mission’s own report explodes the merit of the preceding claim by establishing the following in the section that purports to tell what happened onboard the Mavi Marmara:

“During the night of 30 to 31 May, some passengers took electric tools from the ship’s workshop, which was not kept locked and sawed sections of railings into lengths of approximately one and a half metres, apparently for use as weapons. Lengths of metal chains from between the railings were also removed...

“The Israeli forces attempted to board the ship through attaching ladders to the hull. Passengers engaged in efforts to repel the attempted boarding using the ship’s water hoses and the throwing of various items at the boats including chairs, sticks, a box of plates and other objects that were readily to hand...

“A fight ensued between passengers and the first soldiers to descend onto the top deck that resulted in at least two soldiers being pushed down onto the bridge deck below, where they were involved in struggles with groups of passengers who attempted to take their weapons. The equipment jacket of at least one soldier was removed as he was pushed over the side of the deck...

“A number of the passengers on the top deck fought with the soldiers using their fists, sticks, metal rods and knives. At least one of the soldiers was stabbed with a knife or other sharp object. Witnesses informed the Mission that their objective was to subdue and disarm the soldiers so that they could not harm anyone.”

The mission insists that while Israeli commandos did not fire live rounds at the passengers whilst abseiling down onto the Mavi Marmara, the helicopter from which they descended did open fire, resulting in “fatal injuries” for four passengers and debilitating “injuries” for 19 others. Israel’s military investigation has found that the only live ammunition fired at the passengers came from commandos aboard the ship who were first fired upon by guns that IDF forensic analysis show did not belong to the commandos. The Israeli military investigation also maintains that in the midst of the violent skirmish on the upper deck, commandos were shot at with their own confiscated pistols.

The mission does acknowledge the commandeering of these pistols but credulously regurgitates the passengers’ claim that removing a soldier’s weapon was only to “subdue and disarm” him. Dismissed out of hand is Israel’s allegation of being fired upon first; the mission “finds no evidence” to suggest that the passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara were armed with guns.

More revealing, though, is the mission’s feeble attempt to find contradictions in the Israeli narrative. In a footnote, the authors cite IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s testimony to the Turkel Committee in which he claimed that one soldier had been “shot in his abdomen by one of the activists” and that “in the course of the battle, five soldiers [were] wounded by stabbings, blows and shooting [sic].” This is meant to be at odds with what Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar, the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, told the UNHRC on June 1: that passengers “shot two Israeli soldiers.” But Ashkenazi’s testimony, which was delivered orally to the Turkel Committee, can easily be read to mean that five soldiers were wounded variously by “stabbings, blows and shooting” – not that all five were shot. When it suits its purposes, the Mission finds disparity where there is none and neglects disparity (as with I.H.H.’s declared versus actual motive) where it screams for attention.

Given the mission’s gravest accusations against the Israeli commandos – that they employed “extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions” of already wounded passengers – one is again given to wonder why it would even bother citing nominal abuse as acts of “torture.” In detaining the pacified combatants aboard the Mavi Marmara, the commandos’ use of plasticuffs, evidently fitted “in an overly tight manner” and causing “neurological damage up to three months after the events of the flotilla,” is treated herein as tantamount to waterboarding.

Other examples of supposed gratuitous violence visited upon the flotilla passengers, which occurred after they were remanded to Israeli custody, are said to be “so consistent and vivid as to be beyond question,” which again invites scrutiny of the, mission’s methodology. (Can a group of people, cooperating months after an event, not invent consistent and vivid accounts of what happened?)

Finally, if the mission’s goal was to present a judicious portrayal of the flotilla raid and its aftermath, then its repeated recourse to polemics and moralizing rhetoric have compromised that goal. Stating in its conclusion that “[p]eace and respect have to be earned, not bludgeoned out of an opponent” is inappropriate for such a “fact-finding” exercise, as is this descent into the bathos of the peace process poetaster: “The apparent dichotomy in this case between the competing right of security and the right to a decent living can only be resolved if old antagonisms are subordinated to a sense of justice and fair play. One has to find the strength to pluck from the memory rooted sorrows and to move on.”

The italics are mine; the absurdity of the sentiment now belongs to the UN Human Rights Council.

Michael Weiss is the executive director of Just Journalism, a London-based think tank that monitors the British media's coverage of Israel and the Middle East.