Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Morally Repugnant"

That Netanyahu agreed to release 104 Palestinian Arab prisoners was widely broadcast publicly -- starting with a letter to the Israeli public by the prime minister himself.  Heartache and fury, but no secret here.
However, release of the prisoners was only one of the three major demands of Mahmoud Abbas -- the others being agreement to begin negotiations on the basis of the '67 lines, and freezing of building beyond the '67 line, i.e., in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.  And we have pretty solid information that building will be slowed, if not terminated all together.  Actually, already has been slowed.
But what about beginning negotiations based on the '67 line?  This is a question -- of more than a little significance -- that has consumed me and many others.  Although definitive answers are next to impossible to come by.  
Yesterday I spoke with several persons connected with relevant government agencies and drew a "no comment" about the basis for negotiations.  Someone from the Foreign Ministry told me candidly, "We've put a fog out over everything."  Indeed.  He "explained" that "this increases the chances of success."  I didn't tell him that I thought what this really does is increase the government's ability to prevent the electorate from finding out something that it doesn't want us to know.  As well as stimulate the rumor mill.

Europe's "Moral Values"

Guy Millière
July 31, 2013 

International Law Officially Recognizes Jewish Claims in Judea and Samaria

Despite dubious claims to the contrary, Israel has international law on its side.

Contrary to claims made by Palestinian leadership and others in the international community, international law fully recognizes Jewish claims in Judea and Samaria. These areas were part of the Palestine Mandate, which granted Jews the right to settle anywhere west of the Jordan River and to establish a national home there.

History reminds us that the Palestine Mandate, supported by all 51 members of the League of Nations at the time, and codified in international law, is recognized as legally valid by the United Nations in Article 80 of the UN Charter. In addition, the International Court of Justice has reaffirmed this on three different occasions.
While some people argue that the Palestine Mandate became obsolete following its termination in 1947, international legal scholars claim otherwise. According to Eugene Rostow, a Dean of Yale Law School, “A trust never terminates when a trustee dies, resigns, embezzles the trust property, or is dismissed.

Why Europe Is an Enemy of Israel

Guy Milliere

For nearly two millennia, the European continent has been a land of persecution and hatred for the Jewish people. The blood libels and the vilest accusations against the Jews have been accompanied by violence, pogroms, and confinement in ghettos and of course death camps. Eight decades ago, in the 1930's, anti-Semitism was considered honorable and aroused few objections. Later, the Nazi machine set into motion the "final solution," and zealous collaborators existed in virtually all of continental Europe. "Willing executioners" were not only Germans -- far from it.

Painful Concessions and American Jews

A group of prominent American Jews released a letter last week, calling on painful compromises for peace. The sacrifices they envisioned potentially include hundreds of thousands of Jews leaving their homes and livelihoods behind, being uprooted and relocated, all for the sake of a Jewish majority in Israel. Similarly, in April 100 prominent American Jews signed a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu also calling for the proverbial “painful sacrifices” for peace. Apparently, such painful concession letters have become a trend.

This summer, thousands of American Jews are making precisely such painful sacrifices for peace. To preserve Israeli democracy, they will uproot themselves, leave everything behind, and move. They do so voluntarily, before the situation has reached a crisis. They do not await or expect compensation from the government. 

The Media’s “Take” on Negotiations: How Palestinian Cogwar has Checkmated Israel in Western Public Opinion

My friend Avi Bell sent me the following. While exaggerated for effect, it’s a recognizable Catch 22 for Israel and a “get-out-of-responsibility-free card” for the Palestinians. Heads we lose, tails, they win.
It’s a good example of a complete cogwar victory for the Palestinians. It shows that and how (but not why) our current herd of independent journalists so extensively plays voluntary dhimmi to the Palestinian cause. When Riccardo Cristiano told Yasser Arafat that his network always reported according to “the procedures for reporting from the Palestinian territories,” he meant, among many other things, this:
If Israel refuses to negotiate, that proves Israel is not interested in peace, because it refuses to negotiate.
If the Palestinians refuse to negotiate, that proves Israel is not interested in peace, because the Palestinians can see negotiations with Israel are pointless.

The unfolding failure

With the beginning of meetings in Washington, Mahmoud Abbas announced that in a future Palestinian state "we would not see the presence of a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our lands."
It is possible that the Palestinian Authority's president was referring to the land swap formula the negotiations are predicated upon. Within such a framework, Israel would retain large settlement blocs, and perhaps Abbas was hinting that he would not accept Israeli enclaves inside a sovereign Palestinian state. Surely the president, known for his Holocaust denial, meant to say, "Palestinian area completely free of Jews."
Also this week, right in the center of Israel at the junction along Highway 4 near Moshav Beit Hanania at the foot of the Carmel mountain range, stood Sammi el-Ali, the parliamentary assistant for MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly), leading a protest rally from the village of Jisr az-Zarqa while proudly waiving a Palestinian flag and demonstration signs.

Playing for Islam Against Ourselves

Sultan Knish

WWI was caused less by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and more by Germany and Austria Hungary's eagerness in courting the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Before and during WW2, England and Germany both assiduously courted Muslim support in the Middle East. The Holocaust was one of the byproducts of this rivalry, as Germany courted Muslims by appealing to the genocidal impulses of the Mufti of Jerusalem, while England reneged on its agreements, and shut the door to Jewish refugees trying to Israel. The Holocaust would have happened regardless, but the death toll would have been lower without Islamic appeasement.

After the war nothing changed except the names of the players. The competition still went on with America and Russia taking England and Germany's seats at the table. Both sides cultivated patron Muslim countries, spent and lost huge sums of money on them, and then got a knife in the back for it, time and time again.

Unlike the EU-Gulf States to Sanction All of Hezbollah

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has decided that its sanctions against the Lebanese terror organization will not distinguish between its military and political wings.
A group of Persian Gulf states has begun blacklisting Hezbollah, carrying out a decision made in early June to implement sanctions against the Lebanese terrorist organization. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – has decided to sanction all of Hezbollah, without distinction between the group’s military and political wings.
The GCC decision comes against the backdrop of Hezbollah’s ongoing participation in the Syrian civil war, fighting on behalf of the Assad regime. A report in Al Ahram (link in Arabic) quoted terrorism expert Fayez Al Nashwan, who noted that the GCC made the decision as a response to Hezbollah’s direct intervention in Syria.

Spy drone can see what you're wearing from 17,500 feet high - and that's not all

Israel Matzav
A new camera developed by the Pentagon's research arm was highlighted in a recent special on PBS' "Nova" in an episode called "Rise of the Drones." It's a camera system so detailed it can discern specific movements and even what a subject is wearing.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS) has 1.8 billion pixels (1.8 gigapixels), making it the world' highest resolution camera. The sensors on the camera are so precise, PBS stated it is the equivalent to the capabilities of 100 Predator drones in a medium city.

In the clip from PBS, it is said this is the first time the government has allowed information to be shared about these capabilities.

Mr. Kerry et al-what say you?

Guess who says "armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine"? 

Elder of Ziyon

While Mahmoud Abbas sends one team to Washington to pretend to want a negotiated solution, his Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades (Nedal Division) of Fatah is giving a very different message.

Both groups report to, and are paid salaries by, Mahmoud Abbas. At the same time that Abbas speaks of his desire for peace to Westerners, his "armed wing" is saying the opposite.

Besides saying explicitly that "armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine" they also are showing off their latest weapons. Theirwebsite says "we will continue developing our own weapons to crush the enemy wherever he is." Additionally, it brags that Fatah can manufacture its own weapons.

Just like Hamas.


In the magazine Israel Today (July 29, 2013) my friend Ryan Jones wrote about the renewal of the so-called peace negotiations that have just been held in Washington DC.

It is truly remarkable and, at the same time, deeply disturbing, that those who have believed in this notion - that there is any real wish for peace on the Palestinian side - have been so blinded by their own repeated deception that they are unable or unwilling to see the truth when it is right in front of their eyes!

Here is Ryan's article headlined "PA minister: New peace talks will help us conquer Israel later."

There are more than a few in the Palestinian Authority who are upset over the pending renewal of peace talks with Israel. Hamas in particular believes the move to be a detriment to the Palestinian cause.

The elephants in the room, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The elephants in the room, 2013

Now that US has successfully pressured Israel and the PA to attend talks, it seems to be a good time to revisit the list of "elephants in the room" that are still being mostly ignored. The list, sadly, has not changed much since I last did this in 2010.
Elephant 1: Hamas controls Gaza

Every peace plan includes Gaza in a Palestinian Arab state, and none of them has any provision on how to handle the fact that Gaza is a terrorist haven, in much worse shape since Israel uprooted the settlements there, controlled by a terrorist group that is consistently and wholeheartedly against Israel's existence.   Peace is impossible with this elephant, so it is easier to pretend it isn't there. (See also Elephant 11.)

Elephant 2: Palestinian Arabs elected a terror government

In the only fair, democratic elections in the territories, the Hamas terrorists were chosen by the people. Poll after poll shows that Palestinian Arabs support terror in Israel itself. (Over 40% still support a violent intifada in 2013.) The elections proved that the conventional wisdom was wrong - and the conventional wisdom proceeded to ignore it.

Wild party at Teddy closes out 19th Maccabiah


Barkat, Casspi present most outstanding athlete award to American swimmers Andrea Murez and Garrett Weber- Gale.

Musical performance at closing ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, July 30
Musical performance at closing ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, July 30 Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
The 19th Maccabiah Games came to a close on Tuesday night at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, as an audience of about 20,000 – including the record of over 9,000 athletes, coaches and staff members – were treated to musical performances by some of the Israel’s top artists.

The accomplishments of all participants were celebrated throughout the evening with a lively concert accompanied by fireworks and light shows, all on a brightly lit, ornate 70-meter stage.

Cali: Saudi princess out on bail doesn’t show for arraignment in slavery case

Did she hop a plane back to Arabia? via Hearing Delayed for Saudi Princess in Slavery Case
An arraignment was delayed Monday for Saudi princess Meshael Alayban, who is charged with human trafficking for allegedly enslaving a domestic servant from Kenya in her Irvine, Calif., condo.

Alayban, 42, did not appear in court and Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston judge was concerned.

“I have a question to ask here,” Johnston said. “In all cases in which a felony is charged, the accused shall be present at the arraignment … Why is she not here?”

Attorneys Paul S. Meyer and Jennifer L. Keller said that Alayban did not appear in court as authorized and she has complied with all court orders.
“The nannies traveled to the U.S. on $10,000 first-class tickets, along with the family,” they said in  a statement. “These women had cell phones, Internet, Facebook, and the family even bought cable in their native language for them. They enjoyed full use of the spa, gym and pool and were often dropped off to shop alone at neighborhood malls, all paid for by the family.”
Her arraignment was postponed to Sept. 20.

Hussein Obama celebrates Ramadan, lies about Muslims building U.S.

As if celebrating Ramadan at the Pentagon and State Dept. weren’t enough. Your tax dollars at waste.
via Obama celebrates Ramadan: ‘Islam has contributed to the character’ of US – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room.
President Obama late Thursday celebrated Ramadan with a traditional dinner in the State Dining Room, saying that throughout the nation’s history, “Islam has contributed to the character of our country.”
“As the Koran teaches, whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see its results.”
Jihad is good and is the surest way for a Muslim to get to heaven.
Muslim-Americans and their good works have helped to build our nation, and we’ve seen the results,” he added.
We’ve seen the results:
Obama, who has hosted five Iftar dinners, focused on entrepreneurship during much of his speech.
“Every day, Muslim-Americans are helping to shape the way that we think and the way that we work and the way that we do business,” he said. “And that’s the spirit that we celebrate tonight — the dreamers, the creators whose ideas are pioneering new industries, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities for all of us.”
Every day, Muslims in America are shaping the way we think, work and do business. It’s called sharia.

Obama drops the other shoe (on Israel)

In Israel, only the Left, for whom a complete removal of Jews from the territories is literally more important than the survival of the Jewish state, thinks that it would be a good thing for Israel to sign an agreement with the terrorist organization PLO today.

Obama drops the other shoe (on Israel)

Obama mentor Edward Said symbolically throws a stone at Israel across Lebanese border, July 2000
Obama mentor Edward Said symbolically throws a stone at Israel across Lebanese border, July 2000
With the start of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington, there is one overriding question:
What does the Obama administration think it will get out of this?
We know what the Palestinians want: They hope to see Israel forced to stop construction outside of the Green Line, while they push forward with EU-funded projects to create facts on the ground in Israeli-administered Area C. They hope to make it impossible for Israel to back away from the idea that the 1949 armistice lines are in fact the boundaries of ‘Palestinian land’, and not mere accidents of history. They want to further cement their narrative about history and international law, including fantastic conceptions like ‘right of return’ in the world’s — and America’s — consciousness. They have already gained agreement to the release of many convicted murderers, a humiliating loss of face for Israel and a huge propaganda victory for them.

Facts and implications: Notes on Diana West’s American Betrayal

What are the implications of the extensively documented fact that agents of the Soviet government were employed in high positions in the United States government in the 1930s and 1940s?  Do we have a skewed view of World War II because we have failed to address that question?  If our perspective changed, would we judge that we didn’t even win World War II – but, to be more accurate, Stalin did?
Diana West’s remarkable new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, compiles some potential answers to these questions.  As West argues early in the book, the American mind has become accustomed to the delinking of fact from implication – in large part, although we don’t see this connection, because of the troubled history of public revelations about Soviet infiltration of our government.  She cites, as a model, the line of obfuscation that has protected the reputations of men like Alger Hiss, Robert Sherwood, and Harry Dexter White – all proven Soviet agents – by deflecting, not disproving, the fact that they were Soviet agents, while focusing attention elsewhere, typically on attacking the character and motives of those who exposed them.
But that line of obfuscation has done something even more important than blacken the names of Whittaker Chambers, Martin Dies, and Joseph McCarthy.  It has succeeded in preventing three generations of Americans from considering the implications of the fact that our national government was infested with agents of the Soviet Union.  What does it mean about our policies, that these men were so involved in making them?

Lawmakers to Finally Hear from Benghazi Special Ops Commander — Behind Closed Doors

Bridget Johnson

The former commander of the special operations task force in Northern Africa the day of the Benghazi attack will speak to Congress behind closed doors tomorrow — the day before he retires.

Lawmakers have long sought the testimony of Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, who left his post in March.

“He held a key position. You look at the chain of command of what happened in Benghazi. He was in charge of Special Forces for North Africa. The Pentagon hid him for a long time. They told us repeatedly over a long period of time that this person had retired. They didn’t have an e-mail or an address. They couldn’t get in contact with him,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on Fox.

COP: Incredible statement...I am beyond words

Obama: If There Were More Gov Workers, Deficit Would be Lower, Tax Revenues Would be Higher


Maybe instead of asking for his birth certificate, we should have been asking for his first grade math scores. Sometimes the only response to something so insanely stupid is an old meme.
Barack Obama – citing the job losses since he took office — said “the economy would be much better off,” unemployment would be 6.5 percent and the national deficit would be in decline if there were more federal, state and local government workers.
“If those layoffs had not happened, if public sector employees grew like they did in the past two recessions, the unemployment rate would be 6.5 instead of 7.5,” Obama said. “Our economy would be much better off, and the deficit would still be going down because we would be getting more tax revenue.”
This isn’t one of those, “If a train going over the cliff at 1000 miles an  hour passes another train that’s on fire and being attacked by coyotes, which of them is more like Obama” puzzles.

Numbers are finite. If you add more government workers, then you have to pay for them. Tax revenues from employed government workers is never going to begin to equal the tax revenues spent on paying their salaries. And that means the deficit will go up, barring some of the deceptive number games that Obama Inc. has been playing.

Abbas reverts to form

Rick Moran

Not that he actually strayed from his unalterable position that no Israeli would live in a Palestinian state. It's just that once again, an American negotiator has been taken in by this clown and is led to believe that Abbas is serious about peace.

He never is. He never was.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out his vision on Monday for the final status of Israeli-Palestinian relations ahead of peace talks due to resume in Washington for the first time in nearly three years.
Abbas said that no Israeli settlers or border forces could remain in a future Palestinian state and that Palestinians deem illegal all Jewish settlement building within the land occupied in the 1967 Six Days War.
For the record, those borders have never been envisioned in any previous agreement, for a Palestinian state.

WaPo Obsessed with Settlements

Leo Rennert

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are obstacles galore in the path toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown flexibility and readiness for compromise, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas remains intransigent as ever. 

Spitting in the eyes of diplomacy, Abbas continues to glorify terrorist killers and to teach Palestinian children that "Palestine" will swallow all of Israel -- the Jewish state will be gone. And, he adds, "not a single Israeli" will be permitted to set foot on a Palestinian state. 

Beyond all this, it's fair to ask who really speaks for the Palestinians? Abbas rules only in the West Bank. Hamas rules Gaza and denounces Abbas and the peace negotiations. Abbas himself brings dubious credentials to the negotiating table. His presidential term expired several years ago. 

Is Egypt the Next Syria? Qaradawi Calls on Muslims around the World to Wage Jihad in Egypt

Daniel Greenfield 

Call this the Syrianization of Egypt. It’s pretty close to a call for a civil war backed by foreign fighters.It’s the clearest signal yet from a key Muslim Brotherhood figure that he intends to do to Egypt what he did to Syria. If the call was made from Qatar, that would suggest that Qatar will back this war on Egypt the way it has backed a war on Syria.

There have been already claims that many of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian Sunni refugees in Egypt are participating in Muslim Brotherhood riots. But this would take things to the next level.

Danon: Livni Won't Think About Judea and Samaria

In New York, Deputy Defense Minister warns that the interests of Judea and Samaria will not be represented by the negotiating team.

By Elad Benari 

As Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators met in Washington to restart peace talks, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) was in the U.S. as well, presenting his own view on the talks.

Danon, who also heads the Likud Central Committee, visited the offices of 5W Public Relations in New York, where he warned that Judea and Samaria had no representation at the talks.

“I don’t like the fact that Tzipi Livni is the chief negotiator of the State of Israel along with Abu Alaa and Martin Indyk,” Danon stated during the meeting. “Who is representing us? Who thinks about the Jews who are living in Judea and Samaria? No one! It was proven that all of them, in the past 10 years, were willing to sign agreements that were bad for Israel.”

Giving without taking

 Nahum Barnea
Op-ed: It's a shame prime minister isn’t telling Israel's citizens his real reason for restarting peace talks 

On Sunday I got a letter from the prime minister. The letter begins with the State's symbol, blue on white, and ends with Benjamin Netanyahu's personal signature – a huge, proud and secure B, a firm, resolved, uncompromising E, followed by diminishing letters: A falling A, a collapsing H, and finally a U seeking to reverse. That's how my prime minister begins most of his moves – and that's how he ends them.

In his letter, Netanyahu is trying to convince me, a citizen of the State, of the rightness of his decision to release 104 heavy terrorists from prison, including many murderers, who were tried for crimes they committed before the Oslo Agreement was signed. "Prime ministers are required from time to time to make decisions against public opinion," Netanyahu wrote. "In order to make decisions supported by public opinion, there is no need for prime ministers."
Peace Talks

Ya'alon on prisoners' release: We'll pay a price / Yoav Zitun

Day after cabinet votes to release 104 Palestinian prisoners as part of peace talks, defense minister says, 'We had to choose between a bad decision and even worse one. We will pay a cost in terms of deterrence'
Full story

In my case, Netanyahu had turned to a sympathizer, a person seeking to be convinced. The fact that he made a decision and is willing to publicly stand behind it is should be appreciated. The fact that the decision contradicts everything he has preached in the past does not necessarily go against him. Ariel Sharon taught us that what you see from there, from the speakers' stand at the Knesset and from the comfortable chairs around the government table, you don't see from here, from the prime minister's throne. Netanyahu saw, internalized and implemented.
Releasing terrorists prematurely irritates every decent person. The pictures of murderers with no regrets celebrating on their way to the bus are a humiliating, tormenting and outrageous sight. Beyond the emotions, there is a dispute here between two approaches: One says that terrorists with blood on their hands must die in prison, as a lesson for all to see; the other seeks to classify the prisoners according to their dangerousness. Whoever aged in prison and has become rusty can go home. He won't return to terror.
Most prisoners Netanyahu agreed to release this time have been sitting in prison for at least 20 years. Some of them have been there for 30 years and more. In the terrorism industry they will be considered pensioners. The damage expected from them is much smaller than the damage from those released as part of the Shalit deal, who were younger and belonged mostly to Hamas.
For all these arguments, and the knowledge that it's a tough and tormenting decision, which Netanyahu is not doing for himself but for what he sees as a national interest, I wanted to write Netanyahu a two-word response: Well done.
Until I read the entire letter, what it has and mainly what it doesn’t have. It doesn't have a single word of explanation, of regret, over the fiery speeches delivered by Netanyahu, the retired Mr. Terror, against such deals in the past; it doesn’t have a single word about the fact that the Shalit deal, with the huge prize it gave Hamas, made Israel obliged towards the Fatah organization and the Palestinian Authority. Abbas could not have reached the talks without a deal releasing his murderers.
It doesn’t have a single word about what Israel is supposed to get in return. "If they give – they will get," Netanyahu used to say about the Palestinians in each and every one of his speeches. "If they don’t give – they won't get." The Palestinians did not give anything this time, apart from willingness to hold talks about holding talks. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to guess what Netanyahu would have said about it had someone else been prime minister.

'Difficult like no other decision'

The real explanation for this decision is the deterioration in Israel's global status at a time when we need the West more than ever, both because of Iran and because of Syria and Egypt. He is going to negotiations not in order to reach an agreement but in order to authorize his government in the eyes of the West. It's a legitimate consideration. It's a shame that Israel's citizens, who the prime minister sent his letter to, don’t know about it.
It's a shame that he won't tell them about his deliberations between accepting the demand to release terrorists and accepting the demand to freeze settlement construction completely, in public. It's a shame that he won't explain why he favored one demand over the other – did he see Israel's citizens in front of his eyes or the rightist wing of his party?
It's a shame that he won't tell them that he learned the limits of power during his term. The United States is a world power, he could have told them. It can afford not to release terrorists. Israel cannot afford such luxury.

Leadership is not done by shedding tears, Yitzhak Rabin once said. The weepy element in Netanyahu's letter is unnecessary. He repeats the saying that the decision is "difficult like no other" several times. Those who remember how Netanyahu celebrated the Shalit deal, another decision which he defined as "difficult like no other," will understand that in his case, the distance between a difficulty like no other and a celebration like no other is pretty small.

Israel slams Iranian bid for key position on UN nuclear disarmament committee


UN envoy Prosor says allowing Iran to serve on disarmament c'tee would be like inviting Assad, "responsible for the death of 100,000 of his own people, to be the head of the population census bureau."

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor [file]

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor [file] Photo: Shahar Azran
UNITED NATIONS - Iran is campaigning for a key position on a UN General Assembly committee that deals with disarmament and international security amid strong criticism from Israel and others who accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran is competing against Kuwait to be the rapporteur of the UN General Assembly's First Committee for its 68th session, which begins in October, UN diplomats said. The rapporteur reports on the proceedings of the 193-member committee.

What Does Martin Indyk Believe?

Secretary of State John Kerry added to the already ample fanfare surrounding the launch of talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators by holding a press conference yesterday to introduce his new special envoy to the peace process, Martin Indyk.
Martin Indyk
Indyk, unlike his predecessor George Mitchell, has made a career out of the peace process – first as an active participant in the negotiations during the Clinton administration, where he was a National Security Council official and then as ambassador to Israel, and more recently at the Brookings Institution, where he has written, lectured, advised, and founded the Saban Forum, an annual Brookings conference on the peace process.

Kerry gave a simple reason for selecting Indyk: “He knows what has worked and he knows what hasn’t worked, and he knows how important it is to get this right.” Indyk indeed has cultivated the perception that he has not emerged from decades in the Middle East business empty-handed – itself a shrewd way of transforming his involvement in repeated failure into a story of hard-earned wisdom. In Indyk’s (and Kerry’s) telling, twenty years of trafficking in bad ideas and marching down dead-ends have forged a wise elder statesman, a hard-bitten veteran who won’t make rookie mistakes. Indyk’s memoir of his involvement in the peace process, published in 2009, is self-deprecatingly titled Innocent Abroad.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Case for Keeping the Muslim Brotherhood Out of Politics

Yes it’s obvious common sense to 99% of the people reading this, but it’s not at all obvious to much of the political establishment which insists that political participation moderates.

Daniel Pipes once again makes the point that it does not.
Yes, we do indeed want to break the brotherhood’s neck because that is good for Egypt, the region, and (not least) ourselves. Both the above assumptions are wrong. (1) Islamists can do more damage within the political process than outside it. To put it graphically, I worry more about a Turkey, with elected Islamists in charge, than Syria, where they are engaged in a civil war to attain power. (2) Islamists have a history of using the political process for their own ends, and not of being tamed by it: see Mohamed Morsi’s year in power for one clear example.

Analysis: Global arms trade as seen through the Syria lens

Scott Stewart
The many and diverse efforts to arm the various actors in the Syrian civil war are really quite amazing to watch. These efforts are also quite hard to decipher — and intentionally so — since many of the arms transfers occur on the murky gray and black arms markets. Indeed, it is quite doubtful that anyone, whether Syrian intelligence, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service or the CIA really has a complete picture of all the channels used to funnel arms into the conflict. Certainly, I cannot hope to catalogue all of them here. However, the efforts to arm all of the factions fighting in Syria do provide a great opportunity to discuss the global arms trade and its various facets.
The Nature of Weapons

To understand the global arms markets we must first understand some critical things about the nature of weapons. First of all, it is important to realize that weapons are durable goods. While certain types of weapons and weapon components have a limited shelf life — such as battery-coolant units for the FIM-92A Stinger missile — numerous other weapons remain functional for many decades. It is not unusual to find a militant or a soldier carrying an AK-47 assault rifle manufactured before he was born — and in many cases even before his father was born.

Israel's Security Policy in a Changing Middle East

Moshe Yaalon
Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon discusses how Israel is calm but cautious about the latest developments in the region.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon believes that Israel's recent period of relative peace could be shattered by conflict and instability spilling over from its neighbors.
Speaking to a standing-room-only audience at The Washington Institute on June 14, he provided a sweeping assessment of the risks confronting Israel today, from Iran's nuclear objectives, to the conflict in Syria, to the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize Israel. Below are highlights from his speech; for more, download the complete PDF transcript or watch video of the event.

Now We Know The Truth: What’s Behind U.S. “Peace Process” Policy

Barry Rubin

At last we have an explanation for what has been going on with Israel-Palestinian talks. It is credible yet ridiculous. And it is very important.
Here is today’s New York Times.
“In recent weeks, Mr. Kerry and his aides have outlined several basic arguments for why his efforts might bear fruit. Perhaps the most important one, which Mr. Kerry advanced almost the moment he was picked for the State Department post, is that the United States does not have the luxury of staying on the sidelines.
“With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis.”
Now, what is this saying?

A New Declaration of Principles

By Salomon Benzimra
Twenty years ago, a Declaration of Principles (DoP) initiated the Oslo peace process. We have witnessed an unmitigated disaster ever since: terrorism; two “wars” in Gaza; incitement against Jews; indoctrination of Palestinian children; recrudescence of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism in academia, the media and among NGOs, delegitimation of the State of Israel, etc.
One may wonder about the lofty Principles which triggered this mayhem. Sadly, nobody wonders. Whereas all respected professionals – engineers, architects, physicians, etc. – are accountable for their malpractice, the architects of the DoP and its ensuing Oslo Accords seem to be perpetually immune from scrutiny. The lawyers, politicians, diplomats, journalists and academics who promoted these insane policies – and continue to do so to this day – never had their day of reckoning.
Yisrael Medad

Yes, I'm for preconditions and I intend to assure their fulfillment, first.

As we all know, Israel's official approach to peace negotiations withe the Palestinian Authority is clear:
    Prime minister says Palestinian calls for a building freeze before negotiations constitute an ‘impassable obstacle’
    ”I want to achieve peace,” Netanyahu declared.  ”We’re ready to start negotiations now, without preconditions,” he continued, “and I hope the Palestinian leadership will be too.” 
That was last month.  And back in September 2011:
    Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Negotiations without preconditions'
And in April 2012:
    Netanyahu to ask Abbas to return to negotiations without preconditions
And so, at the end of July 2013:
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu turned to the citizens of Israel in an open letter on Saturday explaining his decision to release Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority ahead of the renewal of peace talks in Washington next week..."This is an incredibly difficult decision. It hurts the bereaved families, it hurts all of the Israeli people and it hurts me very much. It clashes with the most important principle, the principle of justice," Netanyahu stated..."sometimes prime ministers are forced to make decisions that go against public opinion - when the issue is important for the country."

Christians Murdered Nonstop in Nigeria

Raymond Ibrahim

A man accused of helping a Saudi woman convert to Christianity was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes. The daughter was also sentenced to six years and 300 lashes, causing her to flee, reportedly to Sweden, where authorities are trying to find her and extradite her back to Saudi Arabia.
Nigeria continues to be the most dangerous nation for Christians—where more Christians have been killed last year than all around the Muslim world combined. In one instance, Boko Haram Muslim militants stormed the home of a Pentecostal pastor and secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and opened fire on him, instantly murdering him.

Hezbollah's Wonderful Wings

Douglas Murray  •  July 30, 2013 
It does appear that, unbeknownst to the "political wing," while its members were going about their respectable daily business, with absolutely no private army of their own, some of their colleagues were heading around the globe, committing massacres and terrorist attacks. This must be very embarrassing for them.
A Hezbollah poster featuring the group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Does the EU consider him Hezbollah's political, or military, leader?
Last Monday the EU bravely managed to ban what it terms the "military wing" of the terrorist group Hezbollah. It has not, of course, banned the "political wing."
As noted here before, nobody in Iran, Lebanon or, come to that, Hezbollah itself, believes that such a distinction exists. The EU -- led by the unimpeachable rationale of the British Foreign Office, among others, has invented this pleasant and convenient little fiction.
Perhaps we ought to ask the EU officials some questions. Now that one part of Hezbollah is a designated terrorist entity and another is not, perhaps they could tell us the following:

How Liberal Jewish Groups Harm America and Israel

9154299550_5e95f151fc_b-e1372361582802The liberal American Jewish establishment continues to manipulate the public, via their allies in the liberal media, by falsely claiming that American Jews support the upcoming Middle East peace talks. Patriotic Americans (including American Jews) may indeed want peace talks in the Middle East – in countries like Egypt and Syria where significant American interests in the region are in danger. Despite the fact that liberal Jewish lemmings issue press releases indicating they haven’t learned from history and ignore political reality on the ground in the Middle East, American Jews do not support endangering Israel at a time when Western interests are so endangered in the region.

Listening to the loud-mouths of the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), one may wrongly believe that the Oslo peace process was a success.  Universally, Oslo is regarded as a colossal failure, where violence continues in part because of this catastrophic disaster.


bob-beckelThough no one remembers him or his show anymore, former MSNBC attack dog Keith Olbermann used to have a segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann called “The Worst Person in the World,” a label he awarded to figures like his Fox News nemesis Bill O’Reilly or such formidable political threats as then-teenager Bristol Palin. It’s time we resurrect that label and award it this week to Bob Beckel.

Beckel is the left-leaning co-host for the Fox News show The Five. He’s easy to recognize among the other four personalities on that show: he’s the one in suspenders whose mumbling becomes clearly understood only when he accidentally drops F-bombs on-air.

Stuck With Shtayyeh (and Thank God for Abbas UPDATE)


The State Department announced yesterday that Secretary Kerry

"personally extended an invitation to send senior negotiating teams to Washington to formally resume direct final status negotiations...The Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh

And Secretary Kerry subsequently announced that the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations will be Martin Indyk.  His deputy is Kerry's senior advisor - Frank Lowenstein.

As already noted by me, Lowenstein comes from the fringes of progressive radicalism.  And Raheem Kassam informs us that

Remember this position? Netanyahu Said: Freeing Terrorists Strengthens Terror

Just five years ago, Netanyahu declared that releasing prisoners “reflects weakness and a loss of direction.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90
"The government decided to release terrorists and I ask, why? In return for what? What have we received? This crossing of a line, of releasing murderers, is dangerous in the struggle against terror."
These words were spoken just five years ago, when the Kadima government released 200 terrorists as a “gesture” to Mahmoud Abbas. Only two of those had blood on their hands.

Reminder: The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum

(September 4, 1999)

Israel-PLO Negotiations: Table of Contents | Declaration of Principles | Oslo II


The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of
Outstanding Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations

The Government of the State of Israel ("GOI") and the Palestine Liberation Organization ("PLO") commit themselves to full and mutual implementation of the Interim Agreement and all other agreements concluded between them since September 1993 (hereinafter "the prior agreements"), and all outstanding commitments emanating from the prior agreements. Without derogating from the other requirements of the prior agreements, the two Sides have agreed as follows:
1. Permanent Status negotiations:

Abbas: 'Not a single Israeli' in future Palestinian state


PA president says would agree to int'l presence in W. Bank.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, July 28, 2013.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Photo: REUTERS/Issam Rimawi/Poo
CAIRO - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out his vision on Monday for the final status of Israeli-Palestinian relations ahead of peace talks due to resume in Washington for the first time in nearly three years.

Abbas said that no Israeli settlers or border forces could remain in a future Palestinian state and that Palestinians deem illegal all Jewish settlement building within the land occupied in the 1967 Six Days War.

The forceful statements appeared to challenge mediator US Secretary of State John Kerry's hopes that the terms of the talks, scheduled to begin Monday night over dinner, be kept secret.

Human Rights Watch Protects the Arab Tyrants

Gerald M. Steinberg
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2013, pp. 49-58 (view PDF)

In October 2011, as the Libyan uprising neared its end with the death of Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi, Human Rights Watch (HRW)—a highly influential global organization claiming to promote universal moral principles—published a statement condemning Western governments for their "apparent eagerness to embrace Qaddafi because of his support on counterterrorism, as well as lucrative business opportunities" that, according to HRW, "tempered their criticism of his human rights record in recent years."[1]

Kerry Names Oslo-Defender Indyk to Direct Peace Talks

Every US “peace process” mediator has failed. Martin Indyk is next in line. He has said Israel must cede the Temple Mount and the PA must give up the “right of return.” If he succeeds, expect war.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, after a week of denials, is naming former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk to direct and maneuver the direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, whose negotiators are meeting officially Monday night for the first time in three years.
American officials, leaked the expected appointment on the basis of anonymity, one more carefully orchestrated step in a process that has been manipulated with “white lies” to make sure that the talk will resume.
Indyk’s qualifications are similar to those of every other American Middle East “expert” who has failed to force the Palestinian Authority and Israel to accept the American dream of a peace agreement.

Most pointless “peace talks” ever?

What exactly are John Kerry and Barack Obama trying to accomplish with the new round of “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs – an event that has been put together with chewing gum and baling wire, and that won’t produce squat in terms of agreements, because no one has any incentive to negotiate?
It’s interesting to try to account for the urgent – even unseemly – push for talks, given the absence of realistic objectives for or benefits from them.  I include in the latter any potential benefits for Obama’s political standing at home, and specifically the chances for Democrats in the 2014 election.  No matter what happens between now and November 2014 – and I mean no matter what – the progress of the Israeli-Arab “peace process” will have no effect on the mid-term election.
Nor, taking a general view, will it affect Obama’s political reputation.  He could preside over the most epically comprehensive final-status agreement ever conceived, complete with Time-cover-ready photo op, and it wouldn’t affect his foreign policy street cred.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Israel as a Gulf State

Malcolm Lowe
July 29, 2013 

In Europe, Israel is vilified in parts of the press, the trades unions and the churches, but government and industry are often better informed and more concerned for national interests in working with Israel. The discovery of Israeli gas and oil shifts the balance toward the latter. The horrendous behavior of the existing Gulf states allows us to imagine the extremes to which Israel could now indulge itself, although one hopes it will not.
It is a longstanding complaint that Israel is unfairly harassed in those international forums that deal with human rights. On the other hand, countries that are too big to harass, such as Russian and China, or that are oil rich, such as the Gulf states, get away with anything. Well, here's news: Now that Israel has discovered vast offshore deposits of natural gas and even some oil, it can aspire to the status of a Gulf state. Not quite geographically, but in terms of the scruples that others can brush aside in their eagerness to do business.

"Those Talks"

Before I write about "those talks," I want to return to the matter of the Palestinian Arab prisoner release approved by the Cabinet yesterday at the strong-arm prodding of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
This entire incident signals for me a time for activism.  Those of us who care deeply about this issue must not be silent.  From time to time I've asked my readers to participate in activism by way of sending messages to members of our government.  And I'm asking it here, more extensively than I ever have before. 
If you care, truly care. If you are alarmed. And angry. And saddened.  Please, work with me here so that our voices can begin to be heard. 

Obama praises new talks as Kerry names Indyk special envoy to peace process


Livni, Molho meet UN chief in New York before continuing on to Washington to resume peace negotiations with Palestinians after a three-year hiatus.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new Middle East peace envoy on Monday, as he prepared to receive Israeli and Palestinian diplomats in Washington and President Barack Obama praised their return to the negotiating table after a three-year hiatus.
"During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary," President Obama said in a statement.

7/29 Links Part 1: Peace Talks Roundup

Elder of Ziyon

From Ian:

Jpost Editorial: Too high a price
Israel should not have to foot the bill for the failure of the Palestinian leadership to prepare its people for peace with the Jewish state. And no Israeli who has already experienced the unfathomable pain of knowing that another person intentionally killed a loved one should be forced to endure the additional torture of seeing that murderer go free in exchange for the dubious prospect of a renewed peace process.
What’s more, by caving in to the Palestinian demand to pardon terrorists convicted of murdering innocent civilians, Israel blurs the clear differentiation that must be made between legitimate political activity used by Palestinians in pursuit of self-determination and the illegitimate use of terrorism to further their political goals.
Can Netanyahu go all the way in peace talks? And does it matter?

Why are 104 Palestinian Terrorists Being Released? No Good Reason

Barry Rubin

What is truly puzzling about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposing to release more than 100 of the worst Palestinian terrorists to have ever murdered Israelis is that it is so impossible to figure out any reason to do so.  It is not just that one might oppose this plan, it is that I cannot think of a single reason for supporting it.

Let’s go very carefully through the arguments and try to find one.

It is true, of course, that Israel has released prisoners before. Yet this was under different circumstances.
In one case,  prisoners, sometimes in very large  numbers, were released in exchange for Israeli soldiers. This could be controversial but also one could make a case for it. The prisoners might have been convicted on less serious charges or they might have been near the end of their imprisonment. There was a nobility in putting the value of Israelis high, keeping the promise of doing everything possible to rec use them. And while the families of the victims could be considered so were the families of the captives.

Benjamin Netanyahu, DON'T! But You DID!

Nurit Greenger | July 29, 2013
When, in a democratic society the prime minister of the country and his cabinet take actions that are not democratic and are wrong and they hide all the reasons for their wrong actions they lose the trust and support of the public that elected them. This is what Prime minister Netanyahu did this week, has lost the trust and support of the public. He lost mine!
I do not see any reason to have released 104 arch terrorists in return for a dubious privilege to have the humiliating right to come to Washington and speak with terrorists in suits who do not want to have any peace with you but pieces of you.
I do not see any reason to come, and mind you from a weak position, to the talks after com