Israel

Just when you thought that you saw it all in the Jewish world.
Talmud Study is now Mandatory in South Korea
 
The following fascinating article was translated by The Muqata from YNET.
 
Close to 50 million people live in South Korea, and everyone learns Gemara (Talmud) in school.  W
e tried to understand why the Jews are geniuses, and we came to the conclusion that it is because they study the Talmud," said the Korean ambassador to Israel. And this is how "Rav Papa" became a more well known scholar in Korea than in Israel. It is doubtful if the Amoraic scholars, Abbaye and Rava, imagined their discussions of Jewish law in the Beit Midrash in Babylon would be taught hundreds of years later in East Asia. Yet it turns out that the laws of an "egg born on a holiday" ("ביצה שנולדה ביום טוב"), is actually very interesting to the South Koreans, who have required that Talmud study be part of their compulsory school curriculum.
Almost every home in South Korea now contains a Korean-translated Talmud. But unlike in Israel, the Korean mothers teach the Talmud to their children. In a country of close to 49 million people who believe in Buddhism and Christianity, there are more people who read the Talmud-or at least own their own copy at home- than there are in the Jewish state of Israel. Much more. "So we too will become geniuses"
 "We were very curious about the high academic achievements of the Jews," explains Israel's ambassador to South Korea, Young Sam Mah, who was recently a host on the program "Culture Today."
 "Jews have a high percentage of Nobel laureates in all fields: literature, science and economics. This is a remarkable achievement. We tried to understand what is the secret of the Jewish people? How they-more than other people-are able to reach those impressive accomplishments. Why are Jews so intelligent? The conclusion we arrived at is that one of your secrets is that you study the Talmud."
 "Jews study the Talmud at a young age, and it helps them, in our opinion, to develop mental capabilities. This understanding led us to teach our children as well. We believe that if we teach our children Talmud, they will also become geniuses. This is what stands behind the rationale of introducing Talmud Study to our school curriculum."
 Young says that he himself studied the Talmud at a very young age: "It is considered very significant study," he emphasized. The result is that more Koreans have Talmud sets in their homes than do the Jews in Israel.
"I, for example, have two sets of the Talmud: the one my wife bought me, and the second was a gift from my mother."
Koreans don't only like the Talmud because they see it as promoting genius, but because they found values that are ​​close to their hearts.
"In the Jewish tradition, family values
​​
are very, very important," explains the South Korean Ambassador.
"You see it even today in your practice of the Friday evening family meal. In my country we also focus on family values. The respect for adults, and respect and appreciation for the elderly, parallels the high esteem in my country for the elderly."
Another very significant issue is the respect for education. In the Jewish tradition, parents have a duty to teach their children, and they devote to it lots of attention. For Korean parents, their children's education is a top priority.

Gun Battle Flares as Israeli Soldiers Seek Missing Teens

Israeli forces traded gunfire with Palestinians on Thursday, the military said, in the fiercest street battles in the occupied West Bank since a search began for three Israeli teenagers missing for a week. Hospital officials said three Palestinians suffered bullet wounds in the overnight clashes in Jenin, a militant stronghold and the scene of deadly fighting during a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. There were no reported Israeli casualties. A military statement said about 300 Palestinians, including some who "hurled explosives and opened fire", confronted soldiers who entered Jenin looking for the three seminary students.

Arutz Sheva

Minister Says Search 'May Take Months or Years'

Science Minister Ya'akov Peri (Yesh Atid), who formerly was head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), stated Friday that the search for the three teenagers abducted by Hamas terrorists last Thursday may last months - or even years. Peri noted to Kol Yisrael radio that first of all a solution to the disappearance of the teens must be waited for, and that Israel must not sit in negotiations with a Fatah-Hamas unity government that "is based on a murderous terror organization." At the same time, Peri said in the end negotiations will be needed to reach a "peace arrangement," claiming it as an existential interest of Israel.

Jerusalem Post

Hamas Threatens Third Intifada

Hamas threatened to ignite a third intifada on Thursday as the IDF continued to arrest Palestinian suspects in the West Bank as part of Israel's search for three kidnapped teens. "We are capable of igniting a third Intifada and this is our irrevocable right. It will go off when enough pressure is exerted on the Palestinian people," said Hamas senior official Salah Bardawil on Thursday.

Glenn Beck: 'Liberals, You Were Right' About Iraq War

There are many things you'd never expect Glenn Beck to say, but:  "liberals, you were right" tops them all.  And yet.....


NOT REALLY....  the US should have gone into Iraq, but after getting out Saddam they should have DIVIDED the country into FOUR smaller NATIONS, following ethnic and religious lines: Kurds, Shiites, Arabs, and Sunni.  If we did, like we did in former Yugoslavia, we would not have had any more problems.   Personally I feel vindicated.  You can read my August 2003 article at: https://sites.google.com/site/northatlanticleague/hot-news-1?offset=10


Iran vs. Israel - Back to the Future 

Iran Reality and Illusion   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B80YXYslsW4

Terrestrial Jerusalem, at http://t-j.org.il/, is an excellent repository of interactive maps of Jerusalem, found in the section “Jerusalem Atlas.” The series of maps of ancient and modern Jerusalem may be viewed with a choice of various overlays denoting settlements, the green line, the separation barrier, municipal boundaries, various border proposals, and many other historic, demographic, and political features.


Yedioth Ahronoth Sharp Rise in Hamas Attempts to Kidnap Israeli Soldiers  There has been a dramatic increase in the number of attempts made by Hamas to kidnap soldiers in Judea and Samaria. According to statistics provided by the GSS, 24 foiled kidnapping attempts took place since the beginning of the year, as opposed to 33 such attempts throughout 2012. High-ranking officers in the Central Command warned that in the past months a worrying trend has been noted of an increase in the number of Hamas groups trying to kidnap soldiers for bargaining purposes. See also, “Hamas interior minister in Gaza promotes West Bank terrorist Attacks (Terrorism Information Center)

Wall Street Journal and Berlusconi

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Mr. Berlusconi was said to have

mentioned Mussolini in somewhat positive terms. The headlines are deceiving.

MR. BERLUSCONI MADE THE ALLEGED COMMENT DURING THE OFFICIAL
HOLOCAUST CERIMONY in Rome, with the highest JEWISH authorities present.

He actually said that during Mussolini EARLY Government there were more

cabinet post given to jewish italians than ever before or after.

The jewish community was very influential in italian politics in the early 1930's,

BUT that changed when Italy went too close to nazi Germany.

Mr. Berlusconi added, that today Italy should NOT follow Germany's lead of ARMING IRAN

and favoring arabs, but continue to be closed to ISRAEL, as it is in God's Will.

Wish the media was NOT so biased and superficial.

 
 
 
January 31, 2012

Yair Lapid: An Interview with Israel’s New Power Broker

By Karl Vick, Time’s Jerusalem bureau chief

· Yair Lapid is the Israeli anchorman and columnist who stunned Israel’s political world by finishing second in Jan. 22 balloting, nearly tying the total for Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu’s Likud Party (which ran with another right-wing party on the ballot.) A chastened Netanyahu is now trying to form a coalition government with a variety of parties, but he reached out first and most eagerly to Lapid, and his freshly minted credibility. My profile of the new star of Israeli politics, “Man in the Middle,” is in the new print edition of TIME. We met on Dec. 30. At the time, the momentum appeared to be moving away from the party Lapid, 49, had formed, Yesh Atid, which means “There Is a Future.”

· Israel’s right wing was surging, energized by a former hi-tech success story and onetime commando named Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party. Lapid acknowledged the headwind, but argued – presciently, as it turned out – that the silent, secular bastion of Middle Israel had not yet been heard from… He also spoke at length about why Israelis talk so much less about the issue that defines the region for the outside world — the Palestinian question.

Excerpts:

· Lapid: The only group of people who are not represented [in Israeli politics] are the majority. […] We are trying to create a voice for those. And some of them will come to us and in other arenas, what we will do is influence other parties at least to talking about middle class problems: tax rate, housing, education – all those things that Time magazine readers are not interested in because all they want to talk about is the conflict and what will happen next.

TIME: No one in Israel wants to talk about the peace process. They’re past that. Talk about that disconnect.

· Lapid: Israelis convinced themselves that there is no use in talking to the Palestinians because they’re not to be trusted. I think they’re wrong. I think the Palestinians are not to be trusted and this exactly why we should talk to them. Because you make peace with foes not with friends…. Interestingly enough, all polls show the mass majority of Israelis say the two-state solution is the only game in town, but is quite comfortable with the fact that nothing happens. I myself think this is irresponsible. I think we don’t want to make the mistake the Israeli left makes time and time again of telling up front what it is they’re willing to give up. But we have to go back to the negotaitions table.

In a sincere way or because that is what the world sort of expects?

· Lapid: No, in a sincere way. You know my father didn’t come here from the ghetto in order to live in a country that is half Arab, half Jewish. He came here to live in a Jewish state. And we have 3.3 million Palestinians now between the sea and the eastern border of Israel. If we don’t do something about it, her generation [nods toward a 15-year-old girl at our table] is going to spend her time with six or seven or eight million Palestinians. So doing nothing about it is shortsighted. Unbelievably enough I do believe Netanyahu believes the same, but he does not have the coalition, and right now not even the party to support him. So maybe in a few weeks one of my jobs will be to make sure he has enough fingers to vote about this, from within the coalition or from opposition, same thing.

The Likud list, and this surge by Naftali Bennett, has that helped you look more moderate by comparison?

· Lapid: There is one thing that is crucial. Right now we have with the Palestinians a national dispute. But the point of no return is the moment this has become a religious dispute. Jews versus Muslims. Not yet. With Hamas it’s a religious dispute. But not yet with Fatah. With the Palestinian authority we have a national dispute. And we should keep it this way, because a national dispute we can solve. When it gets into my God is better than yours, then it becomes an everlasting conflict.

Everyone says Israel’s becoming more religious, too.

· Lapid: I don’t think Israel’s becoming more religious. I think Israel’s politics is becoming more religious. There’s a difference. Definitely. We see by the way more and more religious people. My second in command in my party is a rabbi who lives in a settlement and talks about a two-state solution. There is within the religious population in Israel many different voices, some if not most, more moderate than the political representatives.

A lot of people are not finding politics very fascinating, but these guys [the right-wing settlers] are driving the bus because nobody else is interested. It seems to be happening this election.

· Lapid: Yeah maybe so but it’s always a mistake to question the determination of the majority of Israelis. We are all pretty determined people. And like Americans we tend to think about the place we live in not only as a place but also as an idea. And we’re pretty eager to make sure this idea will last. I know the whole saying that this cannot happen without civil war and so on and so forth. There is no civil war between 93% of the population and 7% of the population. It does not work like this. The thing that makes them [settler movement] flourish is the fact that the country does not know where it’s heading.

Right. It seems fairly clear that both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis are sort of ambivalent.

· Lapid: Right. And in the land of the ambivalent, those who are determined will flourish. So, yes. But this is the difference between… an ideological group and this huge carrier that is called the country, that moves slower, that makes decisions in a very different manner, but when it moves, it moves. And you know what? There’s been polling forever and ever, and the majority of Israelis understand that aside from the big blocs of settlements, Gush Etzion, Maale Adiumim and Ariel, we will withdraw eventually. […]

Israel is at once both this incredibly fractious society, and one of the most unified in the world, maybe the most.

· Lapid: In ways and at moments. What unifies us is forces in the outside. And the fact that we understand the complexity of what’s going on. If we feel we’re being misjudged by the world – mostly by the Europeans, by the way. You know I was talking with the BBC the other day, they said something about the two-state solution and I said, yeah, why didn’t you give back Ireland 100 years ago? People tend to feel that their problems are complex and other people’s problems are very simple to solve. It’s never the case.

Where are the swing voters or geographies? Where are these things decided?

· Lapid: Young people. Nobody knows how to poll them. In Israel, unlike the United States, they didn’t move the polling from households to cellular. My American strategist is Mark Mellman, pollster of the year in 2011 and 2012. He was horrified by the way polling is done here. So young people are going to be very interesting and crucial to every campaign. […]

Bloomberg – November 19, 2012

Seven Truths About Israel, Hamas and Violence

By Jeffrey Goldberg

· There are many lies being told about the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Here are seven things that are true.

· No. 1. This most recent outbreak of violence represents the opening round of the third Palestinian intifada. The first intifada, which began in 1987 and petered out in the early 1990s, was an uprising of stones and Molotov cocktails. The second intifada, which began 12 years ago, was an uprising of suicide bombers. The third uprising, inevitably, was going to feature rockets and missiles. I don’t care to think about what sorts of weapons and tactics will feature in the fourth intifada.

· No. 2. Hamas’s strategy in this latest conflict makes perfect sense. Hamas, which is the Palestine branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is theologically committed to the obliteration of Israel and believes, as a matter of faith, that Jews are Allah’s enemies. Its leaders have believed, since the group’s inception, that Jews are soft (“We love death and they love life,” a Hamas leader once told me, and it is a commonly expressed thought). Hamas also believes that eventually misery and fear will drive most Jews to leave Israel, which it views as a Muslim waqf, or endowment, not merely the rightful home of the Palestinian people.

· This strategy only works because Hamas leaders believe that the deaths of Palestinians aid their cause. As we have seen in this latest iteration of the Arab-Israeli war, every death of a Palestinian civilian is a victory for Hamas and a defeat for Israel. Palestinians in Gaza who dissent from this approach are often punished by Hamas.

· No. 3. Hamas’s decision to increase the tempo of rocket attacks at Israeli civilian targets -- the cause of this latest round of violence, as President Barack Obama and most Western leaders have asserted -- emerged not only from a desire on the part of the group to terrorize the Jewish state out of existence. It also emerged from a cold political calculation that the Arab Spring (or, in the eyes of Hamas, the Islamist Spring) means that the arc of history is bending toward them and away from the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas and its more moderate Arab supporters. This analysis has encouraged Hamas to assert itself now as the main player in the Palestinian “resistance.”

· No. 4. The Jews aren’t abandoning ship. One of the reasons Hamas’s strategy so far hasn’t worked is because Israel’s Jews are more patriotic, and braver, than Hamas ideologues can bring themselves to admit. The Jews didn’t abandon Israel during the height of Hamas’s suicide-bombing campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s, and hundreds of Israeli Jews, as well as Israeli Muslims, Christians and foreign visitors, died in those campaigns. As of this writing, three Israeli Jews have died in the past week’s rocket attacks.

· The majority of Israelis believe that they are finally home. Unlike their ancestors during the long period of exile from Israel following the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, they believe it is wrong and counterproductive to run from persecution and attack.

· No. 5. Israel, unlike Hamas, has no strategy in Gaza. It has only tactics. Israel is justified in defending itself. It isn’t tenable for a sovereign state to allow its citizens to go unprotected from rocket attacks from someone else’s territory. If Russia or the U.S. had come under similar attack, those responsible would almost immediately find themselves dead. All of them. But for Israel, military victory over Hamas is impossible, which is why a ground invasion of Gaza is a bad idea. So long as Hamas maintains the capability to fire even one rocket into Israel, or dispatch one suicide bomber to a Tel Aviv cafe, it will view itself as having won this round.

· For a while, at least, expect Hamas to have more difficulty launching attacks. It has, after all, lost much of its rocket force as well as its military commander, the allegedly indispensable Ahmed al-Jabari. But I’ve been to the funerals of four or five indispensable Hamas men over the years, and they are always replaced. Short-term, it is possible that Hamas will refrain from firing rockets and keep others from doing so as well. But there is no long-term military solution for Israel, short of turning Gaza into Chechnya or Dresden. This is militarily feasible, but it would be immoral and would end in Israel losing its international legitimacy.

· No. 6. There also is no direct political solution for Israel. If Hamas were willing to negotiate with Israel about anything more than prisoner exchanges or cease-fires, it wouldn’t be Hamas. It is impossible for Israel to do serious business with an organization that wishes it dead. But there is an indirect political solution for Gaza. The Palestinians are currently split between the moderate camp of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, on the West Bank, and the extremists of Hamas in Gaza. Successive Israeli governments have undermined the Palestinian Authority government on the West Bank by expanding the Jewish settler presence.

· The settlement project aids Hamas, which can point to it as proof that Israel is uninterested in the two-state solution endorsed by Hamas’s more-moderate rivals. If Israel were to reverse settlement growth, this could serve to buttress Palestinian moderates, who are in a position to negotiate with Israel. If the West Bank were to gain real freedom, the Palestinians of Gaza might turn away from Hamas. All of this is unlikely -- pessimism needs to be our guide in the Middle East - - but this plan represents the only alternative to continued military strikes on Gaza by Israel.

· No. 7. Opinions on both sides hardened in the first intifada and hardened further in the second. Here in the third, they will harden some more. Palestinian society is infected with dreams of physically eliminating its enemy. Parts of Israeli society, too, are succumbing to fever dreams of total victory. The trends on both sides are almost entirely negative. The most likely outcome of this round: A cease-fire, a period of quiet and then a gradual return to shooting.

 

Being a Hilltop Youth

By Kalman Liebskind

 

I would like to invite you for a tour of a kind you have not held before. This is a guided tour in the head of the hilltop youth who threw a stone this week at IDF officers. This will not make his action more legitimate or less terrible, but it will explain a few things that cannot be disregarded as if they did not exist.

Six years ago, his friends and relatives were expelled from Gush Katif. A military bulldozer destroyed their home. This happened despite the fact that in the democratic elections, the people chose the opposite political approach, but no one cared about this. The media, which were always described to him as the defenders of democracy, applauded the move.

For years he has lived under Palestinian terror that is not felt at all in Tel Aviv. Several of his neighbors in the settlement were murdered. Others were injured. He and his friends are attacked by stones and firebombs to this day, but nothing of this succeeds in making it into the news.

The Tel Aviv press is more interested in the olive tree of Ahmed the Palestinian from the nearby village than it is interested in the bleeding head of his neighbor, the eighteen month old baby. He knows that extreme left wingers riot every Friday in Bilin, Naalin and Nebi Salah. That they throw stones at IDF soldiers. Not just once, but every week. “If you’re so concerned about the safety of the soldiers,” he wonders, “why don’t you attack them this strongly too?” But there is no answer.

He sees how the media regard the riots of the Israeli Arabs with understanding and seeks a bit of this for himself as well. After all, he is also a citizen here. His father is a civil servant. His brother serves in a combat unit. “The Arabs are deprived,” people explain to him, “that is a completely different matter.”

He sees gravestones of Jews shattered every day on the Mount of Olives, and tries to understand how no news flash tells about this, while the latest graffiti that he sprayed featured in the main headlines. When he utters a word against the law or against a High Court ruling, he is made into an anarchist. “Hello, this is a state of law,” he is reprimanded in articles. “Fine,” he replies. “But why is it permissible for you? Why is it that when you don’t like the Grunis bill, the NPOs bill or the anti-defamation law, you can mock it and incite against it?”

And then he comes to Ramat Gilad. A plot of land purchased about 30 years by Moshe Zar, a 90-percent disabled person, mostly due to an eye that he lost in the Suez Campaign while wearing an IDF uniform, and the rest of his disability as a result of a murder attempt by a Palestinian. Zar paid the Arab land owner and has been cultivating the land for decades, but now the extreme left wing argues, with the support of the State Attorney’s Office, that since the deal was not registered properly, this is private Palestinian land.

Zar, the state demands, must evacuate the settlement he built on it, which bears the name of his son, a major in reserves and father of eight, who was murdered in a terror attack. “But I bought the land,” Zar cries out, “I want to see one Palestinian who says that it is his.” The thing is that there is no such Palestinian.

In Ramat Gan, no one will ever be evicted on the grounds of trespassing, unless someone comes and asserts that his property has been trespassed upon. With the settlers, everything is permissible. And this hilltop youth sees how Moshe Zar tries to bring his very simple story before the media and fails. And he sees how this 74-year old man sits with his wife opposite the Prime Minister’s Residence, in order to express his protest, and the press is unwilling to listen.

The youth observes all this and is beside himself with grief. He was taught about a free press. About democracy. “Where are all these when it comes to me?” he asks. And yet, there is no one there to respond. He looks around and sees dozens of Palestinian houses built illegally and without the necessary permits. “Why is nothing done when it comes to them,” he seeks to know.

And yet, there is no answer to this. And neither is there some curious reporter who will raise a discussion on the issue. But when the delusional idea of declaring the hilltop youth a “terror organization” is raised and subsequently rejected by the prime minister, all these reporters are quick to pounce on him in a fit of rage. They are always curious when it comes to such matters, these journalists who just two weeks ago, declared for the God knows what time, that Israeli journalism must do some soul searching over its partisanship and one-sidedness. A soul searching that will apparently have to wait for a new opportunity.

And so this confused, scarred and hurt hilltop youth observes and loses faith. In the state. In the media. In the court. In the democracy all these institutes proclaim in vain. The vast majority of his friends, miraculously and admirably, reach the age of 18, bite their lips and enlist en masse to the Naval Commando or Golani Commando. Some of them, who were also once called anarchists, and who people like Fuad say ought to be shot, are buried in his settlement’s military cemetery.

He, however, has failed to overcome his feelings. The insult. The pain. He believes he has learned the lesson he has been taught by these knights of democracy. “There are rules to the game,” they tell him, “only they don’t apply to you. For you there are other rules.”

 

And when this is the message, let us not be surprised, that much to our detriment, the stone is the only means this youth has to fight this feigned democracy.

 

Obama Sends Ambassador Ford Back to Syria, Chooses Engagement with Hostile Regime Once Again. And in Rare Interview, Assad Denies Ordering Crackdown in Syria

A defiant President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, speaking in a rare television interview broadcast on Wednesday, denied ordering the bloody crackdown that has convulsed his land for the past nine months and disputed a United Nations estimate that 4,000 people had been killed as protesters took to the streets of cities across his land demanding that he step down. ―We don・t kill our people,‖he said in the interview, excerpts of which were posted on line by ABC News. ―No government in the world kills its people, unless it・s led by a crazy person,‖he said, adding at another point: ―There was no command to kill or be brutal.

Israel Radio News

Israeli Air Force Thwarts Rocket Fire Attempt from Gaza

Gaza strike: The IDF last night prevented rocket fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel. An Air Force aircraft struck two cells that were preparing to fire rockets. Islamic Jihad stated that a member of its military wing was killed in the attack and that five others had been wounded.

Erdogan: The Next Flotilla Will Be Accompanied by War Ships
While Jerusalem is preparing the counter attack, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to escalate his statements against Israel. Last night Erdogan made an explicit threat on Al-Jazeera and said that in any case of a future flotilla to Gaza, Turkish war ships would escort them. He also said that Turkey had undertaken a series of steps to prevent Israel from unilaterally exploiting the natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Erdogan thereby hinted that Turkey was taking sides, for the first time, in the dispute between Israel and Lebanon over the gas fields. Israeli officials responded by saying: “Erdogan is a street bully trying to scare us, but is only getting himself in trouble.”

IDF Chief of Staff: Army gearing up for mass riots

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz addressed the various threats Israel faces amid unrest in the Middle East on Tuesday. Speaking at the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Gantz said that while past threats were still relevant, new ones present challenges to the IDF in handling numerous fronts under a tight timetable. "There's a new player in the Middle East - the street," he noted. "The IDF has drawn lessons from the Nakba Day events and knows it may find itself facing large-scale popular protests in the coming months. The IDF is preparing for demonstrations in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and Israel's borders by training relevant forces, forming the right MO and readying equipment. These threats warrant an extended budget framework for the security establishment."

(by Yair Altman)

Channel 10 News

Palestinians organizing June 5

th "Naksa Day" protests

In another week the Palestinians will mark June 5, which is known as Naksa Day, to commemorate the

naksa or setback of the Six-Day War. Palestinians are now being asked to march on Israel’s borders, and they are trying once again to enlist masses of demonstrators who will intensify this event and turn it into a recapitulation of the Nakba Day events, only more successful.

Ha’aretz

Arab League to seek full UN membership for Palestinian state

An Arab League committee decided on Saturday to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital, it said in a statement. The Arab League's peace process follow-up committee said it would request membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly's meeting in New York in September. Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there were "no shared foundations" for peace talks with PM Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option.

Ha’aretz

PM: Israel cannot prevent UN recognition of Palestinian state

"No one has the power to stop the decision to recognize a Palestinian state in the UN General Assembly in September," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday. "It can also be possible to make the decision there that the world is flat… We have no way to obstruct the UN decision," Netanyahu said, but warned that that the Palestinians will not succeed in their efforts in the UN Security Council. "It is impossible to recognize a Palestinian state without passing through the Security Council and such a move is bound to fail."

On Friday, the president of the United Nations General Assembly said there was no way that a Palestinian state could become a member of the United Nations without a recommendation from the Security Council.

(by Jonathan Lis) 3

Ma’ariv

Jerusalem continues to become more religious

The Central Bureau of Statistics’ figures leave no room for doubt: Jerusalem 2011 is more Haredi, more Arab and has particularly high negative immigration percentages. The data, which were released yesterday to mark Jerusalem Day which falls tomorrow, show that whereas the general population of Jerusalem is growing (789,000 people), the percentage of secular is shrinking and comes to 31.1%, numbering only 247,000 (In 2004 – seculars numbered 261,000, 37% of the population).

On the other hand, the number of Haredim and Arabs has risen. Today the number of Haredim in the capital is 245,000 people (30.9%), in contrast to 2004 when their number was only 204,000 (29%).

The percentage of Arab residents has also increased significantly. As of 2010, the Arab population is 273,000 residents (35%) compared to 2004, when their number was about 220,000 (31%).

(by Yossi Eli)

Yedioth Ahronoth

The Value of the Settlements: USD 18,793,513,125

The participants at a special meeting that was held about three years ago in the Prime Minister’s Office received a first-of-its-kind report: basically, it was the first study ever prepared in Israel, with government funding, on the settlement enterprise. The report that they received estimated, in minute detail, the value of each settlement and every community beyond the Green Line—from places like Oranit and Har Adar located on the border, to large cities like Ariel and Maale Adumim to tiny settlements like Avnat or Neguhot.

A price (in dollars) was determined, in this unique report, for each and every home and every public property in each of the 123 cities and communities located beyond the Green Line. This was in order to prepare the economic basis for the evacuation-compensation bill, for a possible future scenario of evacuation or of a land swap. The report did not address the illegal outposts. According to the report’s data, there was significant development in the overall cost of the settlement enterprise over the years: In 2004 the overall value of the settlements was estimated at USD 12.7 billion, in 2010 it soared to USD 17.5 billion and in May 2011, it came to USD 18.8 billion.

(by Shosh Mula and Ofer Petersburg)

Ha’aretz

Olmert begins testifying, declares 'I am fighting for my life'

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began testifying Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court, opening the defense phase of the ongoing corruption trial against him. As he took the stand as the first defense witness, Olmert began to tell the judges his life story. When they tried to cut him off and direct him toward the issue at hand, Olmert said: "Maybe these sound like stories from a distant past, but they have to do with who I am and what I represented, not the person that they are making me out to be… I am fighting for my life here and nothing else."

Over several court sessions, Olmert will respond to the three main charges against him: double-billing nonprofits for the same overseas flights and using the surplus to fund personal vacations, receiving cash-filled envelopes from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky, and improperly interfering in decisions at the Industry Ministry's Investment Center. Most of the alleged offenses occurred while he was either industry minister or finance minister.

(by Nir Hasson) 4

New York Times

Inspectors Pierce Iran's Cloak of Nuclear Secrecy

The International Atomic Energy Agency last week presented a report to its board that laid out new information on what it calls "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program. The report raised questions about whether Iran has sought to investigate seven different kinds of technology ranging from atomic triggers and detonators to uranium fuel. Together, the technologies could make a type of atom bomb known as an implosion device, which is what senior staff members of the IAEA have warned that Iran is able to build.

(by William J. Broad)

Jerusalem Post

MK Ya'alon: Military strike may be needed to stop Iran nukes

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon called on the world to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, by all means necessary, including a military strike, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Ya'alon made the comments in an interview to Russian news agency Interfax ahead of a visit to Moscow. "We strongly hope that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike," Yaalon said.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Al-Qaida in Sinai

Israel has been monitoring events in Sinai with concern: in light of reports about an infiltration of al-Qaida and Palestinian terror elements, Israel fears that the Egyptians have lost control over the peninsula. The Arabic-language newspapers,

Al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat, reported yesterday that Egyptian security forces were currently looking for 400 al-Qaida activists who are suspected of carrying out a number of attacks on Egyptian army bases and outposts in Egyptian Rafah and in el-Arish. The activists are reportedly planning more acts of terror in Sinai.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Europe Invests in Israeli Desalination

The European Investment Bank signed a financing agreement to facilitate the construction of a desalination plant at the mouth of the Soreq river, providing EUR 142 million. The desalination plant will have production capacity of 150 million cubic meters water annually. The bank also helped finance the construction of the desalination plant in Hadera at a cost of UER 130 million.

(by Eldad Beck)

JTA

Israel’s AG to investigate Ofer brothers over Iran ties

Israel's attorney general is investigating the Ofer Brothers Group, which was sanctioned for its role in providing a tanker valued at $8.65 million to an Iranian shipping company; the brothers deny knowledge of involvement in the sale, saying the ship had been sold to a third party before it was sold to Iran. At least eight ships belonging to companies owned by the Ofer group are also alleged to have docked in Iranian ports to load and offload cargo in recent years, according to reports.

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Reuters – May 29, 2011

For Israelis, "defensible" border means more land

By Dan Williams

To ask Israeli officials how the border with a future Palestine should look is to invite a deluge of data -- from the regional military balance, to topographical surveys, to intelligence projections on Hamas strength. But no one will map it out. For while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused any return to the "indefensible" lines held before the West Bank's occupation in the 1967 war, the Israelis themselves have no ready alternative to hand.

The issue was at the center of a White House spat last week between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, who in an unprecedented step proposed publicly the 1967 boundaries serve as the basis for delineating the Palestinian state.

"Is there some kind of borders chart that can be whipped out and presented now? No," said Yosef Kuperwasser, a former chief military intelligence analyst who now serves as director-general of Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry. Such planning, he argued, is impossible given the nebulous menaces of a Middle East in upheaval and of the Palestinian polity, which has balked at Netanyahu's peacemaking terms that include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. "We can't have a map until we know what the solutions will be, in terms of both strategic security and the philosophical security of being assured that the Palestinians have ceased to be even a prospective source of hostility," Kupperwasser said.

The Netanyahu government's sequencing promises to bedevil U.S. peace mediation that seeks to set borders before other core disputes -- such as Jerusalem's status and the future of Palestinian refugees -- are tackled.

Palestinians, and Netanyahu's domestic critics, see in his rejection of the pre-1967 lines a right-wing legerdemain designed to scrap draft territorial deals of previous Israeli governments and prepare for sweeping West Bank annexations. While Israel's hope of keeping swathes of its West Bank settlements under an accord would appear to have been met by U.S. and Palestinian calls for "mutually agreed swaps" of land, this falls far short of satisfying Netanyahu's defense doctrine.

Like his predecessors, Netanyahu insists the Palestinian state be demilitarized and that Israel have free access to its airspace and control of sensitive communications frequencies.

EYES EAST

The worst-case scenario posited by Netanyahu advisers and confidants for the post-withdrawal West Bank, meanwhile, recalls the pan-Arab mobilizations in 1967 against a fledgling Israel just 10 miles wide at its coastal heartland:

Once U.S. forces leave Iraq, it could close ranks with Iran and send tanks toward Israel; the buffer offered by Jordan might not hold, especially if revolutions seen in Egypt and Tunisia reach Amman; the West Bank would risk becoming a springboard for Palestinian militants, bolstered by Arab armies as well as the Hezbollah and Hamas guerrillas to Israel's north and south.

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More immediately, Israel's commercial hub of Tel Aviv and nearby Ben-Gurion Airport, its international gateway, could be paralyzed should Palestinian rocket and mortar crews have the run of the West Bank highlands overlooking them.

"Israel cannot base itself on a snapshot of reality in 2011," said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations who accompanied Netanyahu to Washington as a consultant. "No one can guarantee, for Israel, which regimes to the east will be in power in five years' time."

Past Palestinian land offers to Israel had amounted to single-figure percentages of the West Bank -- enough, Gold said, to take in settlements but not to ensure national security.

How much might that require? Gold, like Kupperwasser and other officials, would not be drawn on figures. But he said Israel would be hard put to compensate the Palestinians. "You would have to carve out from the living flesh of Israel -- roads, kibbutzim, military bases," he said.

Shaul Arieli, a center-left peace activist who in the late 1990s served as a military consultant under first-term premier Netanyahu, said Israeli negotiators' maps then called for a 40 percent West Bank annexation.

That has likely been pared down to between 15 percent and 20 percent due to Netanyahu's current openness to keeping a minimal Israeli military garrison in the Jordan Valley, Arieli said: "In any event, Israel does not have land that it can give up in exchange for anything more than a 3 percent swap."

Though few dispute the region's volatility, Netanyahu's views are challenged by experts who say they play down Israel's military primacy and the corrosion caused to its demographics and international legitimacy by remaining mired over Palestine.

"Any border the political echelon sets as the State of Israel's border is a border that the Israel Defense Forces would be capable of defending," said Dan Halutz, a former military chief now aligned with the centrist opposition party Kadima.

"Of course I wouldn't rule out that we must prepare for the possibility of tanks being lined up on the border, but the kind of wars being waged in recent years do not have a territorial dimension as much as an aerial one," he told Israeli television.

Military historian Martin van Creveld credited Israel's current containment of Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria to its superior arms and said these could be brought to bear in turning the kidney-shaped West Bank into a "noose" for any Arab invader.

"It is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank," he wrote in the Jewish Daily Forward. "Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge" of maintaining the West Bank occupation.

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Ha’aretz – May 30, 2011

Obama is preventing a solution to Mideast peace

Obama is trapped in a worldview that has become obsolete. He believes that Israel and the Palestinians must and can reach a final-status agreement that will solve all the issues.

By Gidi Grinstein, Founder and President of the Reut Institute

President Barack Obama is unable to succeed. He tries and misses. He wants to bless the peace process and ends up cursing it. Another chapter in this sad story was written last week when the president once again channeled the sides into the dead end of a final-status agreement, while standing in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state - the only chance for diplomatic progress between Israel and the Palestinians.

His intentions were good: to anchor the principle of two states for two peoples, which ostensibly is acceptable to both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. Obama shared his goodwill: He gave the Palestinians 1967 and the Israelis recognition of Israel's Jewishness. He called on both sides to return to negotiations on a final-status agreement, while stating his opposition to the declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.

But there's a catch. Since the Hamas victory in the January 2006 elections, there is not and cannot be a Palestinian partner to such a diplomatic process. On the one hand, a Palestine that includes Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and existing agreements, cannot be a partner to negotiations on a final-status agreement. On the other hand, without Hamas, the Palestinian system lacks internal legitimacy, which prevents a historic concession. That's why all the calls out of Washington, Brussels and Jerusalem for a renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians are hollow, and the negotiations that were conducted during the Annapolis process had no chance of success in the first place.

Only one format is likely to enable progress to a permanent situation based on the principle of two states for two peoples: coordinated unilateral steps based on understanding and quiet cooperation. That's how the Palestinian Authority's institutions were established in recent years, with security achieved in Judea and Samaria and economic growth in the West Bank. Despite this significant progress, the array of possible agreements and cooperation among Israel, the PA in the West Bank and the United States is far from exhausted. The upcoming declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September should be seen in this context.

[…] Obama is missing the opportunity under his nose; a declaration of a Palestinian state in September includes the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough as well as significant advantages for Israel. The establishment of such a state will help anchor the principle of two states for two peoples, shape the permanent situation with Israel controlling the security assets and the new state's surroundings, and diminish the refugee problem by marginalizing UNRWA and limiting refugee status.

Despite Obama's speeches, the diplomatic process will remain at a dead end as the moment of decision in September approaches. Then the United States will have another opportunity to do

the right thing: to ensure that the establishment of a Palestinian state conforms to Israel's needs

Jerusalem Post

Israeli official: "Speech shows disconnect from Israel's reality"  U.S. President Barack Obama does not understand the reality of Israel's situation, a senior Israeli official said on Friday, just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington D.C. ahead of his meeting with the American president. "The prime minister's tough response expresses the disappointment with the absence of central issues that Israel demanded, chiefly the refugee (issue)," he added. Tensions between Israel and the U.S., already strained by a lengthy stall in Mideast peace talks, seemed to reach fever pitch following Obama's speech, and ahead of Netanyahu's planned address to Congress next week. Earlier Friday, the New York Times reported that the American president had told his close aides that he did not believe that Netanyahu would be able to make the concessions necessary to strike a peace deal that would even the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Jerusalem Post

Likud MK: Obama adopted Arafat's plan for Israel's destruction

Likud MK Danny Danon on Thursday said that "Barack Hussein Obama adopted the staged plan for Israel's destruction of Yasser Arafat, and he is trying to force it on our prime minister," referring to the US president's Middle East speech in which he called for the creation of a Palestinian State on the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps. "All that was new in the speech was that he called for Israel to return to 1967 borders without solving the crisis. Netanyahu has only one option: To tell Obama forget about it," Danon stated.

  
 
Ma’ariv Netanyahu launches PR offensive on Washington   Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning a massive public relations blitz in the course of his upcoming Washington visit next week. No fewer than seven spokespeople are scheduled to join him— a record number by any criterion. Some of the spokespeople are planning a media blitz in the various languages and will be interviewed in the media in Arabic, English and Russian. Netanyahu is also expected to be interviewed.Yedioth Ahronoth Outgoing Shin Bet Director: ‘I am very worried about September’
“Personally I am very worried about what is called „September‟,” said outgoing Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin, who will formally leave office on Sunday. “September is always a terrible month in the Middle East.” Diskin, who appeared before the Friends of Tel Aviv University, was speaking about Palestinian intentions to declare statehood unilaterally in September—and his remarks could be interpreted as a call for progress on the political front: “I am not sure that anything will happen in September, but I assume that it will put several processes into motion, that could snowball if there are no new developments.”
Jerusalem Post Top Fatah official: 'PA won't be able to stop 3rd intifada'
The Palestinian leadership won‟t be able to contain the street protests planned for this weekend marking the 63rd anniversary of the creation of Israel, said a senior member of Central Committee of the Fatah movement. Abbas Zaki, whose tasks include monitoring the Arab Spring revolts, told The Media Line that Palestinians have been encouraged by how Arabs across the Middle East have toppled two leaders and threaten others with mass protests. With no peace talks with Israel on the horizon, Zaki warned, the Palestinian leadership will be hard pressed to contain the rage of demonstrators.
Berlusconi: No to unilateral PA bid
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared that his country would not, in any way, support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. During a reception held by Israeli Ambassador to Italy Gideon Meir in Rome in honor of Israel's Independence Day, guest of honor Berlusconi, said that "unilateral recognition isn't the way to make agreements between countries" and that this was also the EU's stance.
The Italian prime minister said that Israel was "the only real democracy in the Middle East and Italy is concerned when Israel is in difficult situations. There can be no solution but peace in the region."
According to Berlusconi, "Italy has always stood by Israel…" (by Ronen Medzini)
 
Al-Ahram Thousands of SMS messages call for third Intifada In preparation for a third intifada, which it is hoped will be ignited on Friday, 13 May, tens of thousands of SMS messages flooded the mobile phones of Palestinians in the West Bank, urging them to take part. The messages, which also urged participation on Sunday, were signed "Muslim Youth Association." (by Saleh Naami)
 
Arabs Riot in Jerusalem Over Bin Laden's Demise
 
 

World leaders hail Bin Laden killing

World leaders on Monday hailed the death of al-Qaida chief by American forces in Pakistan as a decisive blow in the fight against terrorism, but some sounded a note of caution that reprisals by the Islamist group could follow.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Never Again

More than any of the speeches given at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square, the red berets of the IDF Paratroopers at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day expressed the main message of the day: Never Again. All the symbols of the country’s leadership sat there on plastic chairs: The president, prime minister, government ministers. Behind them were Holocaust survivors and family members of righteous gentiles.

"The Holocaust proved once and for all: There is no replacement for a home of our own and the Israel Defense Forces," said President Shimon Peres, "but even after the Holocaust there is still a regime whose leaders deny the Holocaust. The ayatollahs’ regime in Iran is dangerous to the entire world, not only to Israel." Peres told the Holocaust survivors in the audience, "Israel is the realization of the dreams of 1.5 million children who were murdered before they had a chance to taste life. A classroom in Israel is what Janus Korchak dreamed of as he led his students to Treblinka. An ordinary Knesset debate is the realization of the dreams of freedom for millions of Jews whose citizenship was rescinded and rights trampled."

(by Akiva Novick)  

A Roma, in Piazza Venezia, una dichiarazione di guerra.   Una vera e propria dichiarazione di guerra santa fatta a Roma questo 22 aprile 2011, durante Venerdi Santo. Anche se fatta da pochi esponenti islamisti, NON e' da sottovalutare. Video di giornalista francese  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHfSUdmQho4

During Palm Friday, Muslim protest, illegally, with pretend prayers on the Piazza Venezia, in front of the national monument dedicated to Vittorio-Emanuele II, and, more precisely, in front of the "Altar to the homeland," announcing the beginning of a holy war against Italy.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Military official: Targeting a school bus is a ‘defining moment’

The anti-tank missile fired at the school bus yesterday in the Gaza perimeter was considered one of the most serious scenarios raised by the IDF. A high-ranking officer said that the high technical ability required to fire an accurate guided missile such as the Kornet was probably gained from Iranian organizations or from Hezbollah, and constitutes a significant step up in Palestinian capabilities. "The firing of the anti-tank rocket at a civilian target is certainly a defining event," a high-ranking military official said yesterday. Now, in practice, all the patrols moving along the border fence are under direct threat from guided missiles. 

Jerusalem Post

Merkel: We will oppose ‘unilateral’ Palestinian statehood

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday voiced her government’s opposition to a possible United Nations resolution creating an independent Palestinian state. "The Federal Republic of Germany is championing a two-state solution...Any kind of unilateral recognition does not promote this goal. This will be our position in September," she said, during a joint press conference here with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

 

Libya: a big mistake getting bigger by the day.

The Obama administration obsession with regime change in Libya is creating more enemies for the US and its allies. Eliminating secular regimes, to favor islamists, religious fundamentalist regimes, is only weakening American and European influence in the region and in the world and further isolating Israel in a sea of fundamentalist extremist fanatics. 

 
 

SAUDI KINGDOM TREMBLES

The SAUDI Kingdom will be next to fall. Then Islamic fundamentalists will blackmail Europe to accept MILLIONS of new immigrants and later impose Sharia law. Not fiction, but a REAL possibility. The USA is also under attack, do not fool yourself. Posted Feb 20, 2011. Protest begins in Saudi Kingdom. We continue to look up close to the developments in Lybia, since it may hint at the position of the Obama Administration in case of troubles in the Saudi Kingdom. March 15 Two Saudi brigades of 3,500 troops plus tank battalion in Bahrain.
Makor Rishon

Norwegian Labor MP: Holocaust Never Occurred Anders Mathisen, a Norwegian MP from the Labor Party, denied that the Holocaust ever occurred, noting in an interview to a Danish newspaper that “there is no evidence that the gas chambers or mass graves existed‖ in the concentration camps. The reaction of his fellow party members was not long in coming. “You have to resign immediately and free us of the disgrace that you have caused Norway,” he was told yesterday. Mathisen has announced that he has no intention of resigning from parliament.Makor Rishon Norwegian Labor MP: Holocaust Never Occurred Anders Mathisen, a Norwegian MP from the Labor Party, denied that the Holocaust ever occurred, noting in an interview to a Danish newspaper that “there is no evidence that the gas chambers or mass graves existed‖ in the concentration camps. The reaction of his fellow party members was not long in coming. “You have to resign immediately and free us of the disgrace that you have caused Norway,” he was told yesterday. Mathisen has announced that he has no intention of resigning from parliament.

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
March 18 U.N. no-fly zone – Hours after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action and the imposition of a no-flight zone on Libya, French and British officials said on Friday that military action could start soon. In London, Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that Britain, a leading backer of the no-flight resolution, would deploy Tornado and Typhoon warplanes along with aerial refueling and surveillance aircraft. Italy will allow use of all its military bases. The New York Times writes: Libya calls for an “immediate ceasefire” Following the U.N. imposition of a no-flight zone, Libya performed what seemed a remarkable about-face after weeks of defiance, saying it would call an ―immediate ceasefire and the stoppage of all military operations‖ against rebels seeking the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The pledge came from the Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, even as western powers said they were readying warplanes for imminent action to enforce the Security Council resolution.

Yedioth Ahronoth Israel send aid to Japan The extent of the disaster with which Japan is coping can also be learned from the emergency shipment that left Israel yesterday on its way to Tokyo: Japan‘s stock of Geiger counters, used to measure radiation, has run out, and the Japanese authorities relayed an urgent request for help. Yesterday 100 such devices were sent from Israel and another 200 will be sent next week. In addition to this shipment, a massive Israeli aid package is now being put together for Japan. Among other things, Israel offered to send water purification devices, casualty-identification teams, medication, mattresses and tents.

http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk

March 15, Makor Rishon

IDF seizes freighter of Iranian weapons headed to Gaza

The IDF seized a freighter ship with dozens of tons of weaponry from Iran headed for Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The ship, known as Victoria, was flying a Liberian flag, and was seized by the navy in the Mediterranean Sea, 200 miles off of Israel's coast. The Victoria was boarded by commandos from the Israeli Navy's Flotilla 13, also known as the Shayetet, and is expected to arrive in the Ashdod port on Tuesday evening.

Haaretz

„Weapons on seized ship came from Iran through Syria‟

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the weapons seized from a ship earlier in the day were from Iran. "We are currently collecting information and the one thing that is certain is that the weapons are from Iran with a relay station in Syria," Netanyahu said. "Last night, I granted permission to take over a ship for which we had the basis to think that there were weapons on it destined for Gaza," Netanyahu said. "The source of the weapons is Iran, which continues to try to arm terrorist forces against Israel." "It is our right and duty to stop the smuggling of these weapons," the prime minister said, adding that all nations connected to the ship had been updated on the situation. The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Unit said that the ship "Victoria" originated from the Lattakia port in Syria and sailed to Mersin, Turkey. It was seized while on its way from Turkey destined for the El-Arish port in Egypt.

Clinton to Travel to Egypt, Tunisia, Meet with Libyan Opposition

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she will go to Egypt and Tunisia next week and meet with members of the Libyan opposition. Clinton said the U.S. was reaching out to Libyan opposition leaders and she would be meeting with them in the weeks ahead. ―We know there are people we want to be associated with; we know there are people we don’t want to be associated with,‖ Clinton said. Clinton will carry with her a message from three U.S. senators who today announced plans to create an enterprise fund for each country that will invest in new ventures to spur their economies.

U.S. Escalates Pressure on Libya Amid Mixed Signals

The White House announced a five-point program on Thursday of steps to isolate Libyan Col. Muammar Gaddafi and ultimately drive him from power, all stopping well short of military action. The steps include a partial embrace of the opposition movement as well as threats to track and prosecute, in international courts, Gaddafi loyalists who commit atrocities. In Brussels, NATO deferred until at least next week any decision on establishing a no-flight zone over Libya, amid hesitations in Washington and several European capitals over being drawn into a civil war in a country the West does not consider critical to its security. 

  

 Ma’ariv

‘Marshall Plan’ to Stop Islamism

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is trying to promote the establishment of an international fund that would encourage democratic processes and major economic growth in Arab states in the Middle East, with the goal of preventing their regimes from being taken over by radical Islamic organizations and parties. Netanyahu’s model is the American Marshall Plan for rehabilitating the countries of Europe after WWII. As Netanyahu sees it, the money for the fund should come mainly from private donors. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also recently raised the identical idea, but he said that the money should come from the wealthy Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. 

A Soldier Story. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sezF3GN09jA&feature=player_embedded

Top two Iranian opposition leaders secretly jailed

DEBKAfile Special Report

The White House strongly condemned Iran's "intimidation campaign and blatant violation of its citizens' universal rights," Sunday night, Feb. 28 after a human-rights group said two opposition figures had been taken to an unknown location. They may be too late: DEBKAfile's Iranian sources reveal that the two prominent opposition leaders, Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were secretly hauled out of their homes in sacks Thursday, Feb. 24 and taken to the infamous Parchin prison in Tehran. Their wives have also disappeared.
Our sources have learned that when they were unloaded in the prison forecourt, the two men could not stand unaided and their faces were streaked with blood. They must have been seriously weakened by enforced hunger while still at home. Not permitted to shop for food, they were told to eat food supplied by their guards, which they refused for fear of poison. Iranian opposition activists were asking this week how come Western leaders are so ready to push Muammar Qaddafi' out when Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rate no more than a slap on the wrist for the savage repression they mete out over the slightest expression of dissent.

This Is Just the Start

By Thomas L. Friedman 

THE OBAMA FACTOR 

Americans have never fully appreciated what a radical thing we did — in the eyes of the rest of the world — in electing an African-American with the middle name Hussein as president. I‘m convinced that listening to Obama‘s 2009 Cairo speech — not the words, but the man — were more than a few young Arabs who were saying to themselves: ―mmm, let‘s see. He‘s young. I‘m young. He‘s dark-skinned. I‘m dark-skinned. His middle name is Hussein. My name is Hussein. His grandfather is a Muslim. My grandfather is a Muslim. He is president of the United States. And I‘m an unemployed young Arab with no vote and no voice in my future.‖I‘d put that in my mix of forces fueling these revolts. ......

February 28, 2011

Americans Maintain Broad Support for Israel

http://www.gallup.com/poll/146408/Americans-Maintain-Broad-Support-Israel.aspx

UK Considers Recognizing Palestinian State

The UK has hinted that it will recognize an independent Palestinian state unilaterally in September. The British are also considering issuing a statement placing blame for the failure of the negotiations on Israel. According to the British source, if the UK sees no progress in the negotiations, it will announce its intention to declare its recognition of an independent Palestinian state as early as September. A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office would not confirm the report. ―We continue to believe that the best way to achieve a permanent solution is by means of negotiations,‖said the spokesperson. ―We will do everything in our power to achieve that goal by September.‖

Israel Radio News

Norwegian Foreign Minister: Israel is Living on Borrowed Time

Israel is living on borrowed time. If we fail to see any progress by September towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, we will expose Israel‟s true face and we will call it by its real name, said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store in an interview to the Norwegian media.

Iranian warship enters Suez Canal

The Iranian warship and the ship that is escorting it entered the Suez Canal this morning on their way to the Mediterranean Sea. This was reported by the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia. Israel has yet to comment officially but high-ranking officials in Jerusalem said that they were monitoring developments. They said that Israel knows where the ships are and is holding situation assessments with high-ranking American officials. Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed the matter with US Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham. Egypt said yesterday that its decision to let the Iranian ships pass through the Suez Canal did not reflect any change in its foreign policy because international law mandated that it approve their passage.

 
Yedioth Ahronoth

Oslo Against the Israeli Embassy

The Israeli embassy in Oslo received official notice a few days ago emanding that it evacuate the premises within a year and move to another location. The reason: The Norwegians say that the embassy poses a security risk to its urroundings and damages the residents’ quality of life. A Foreign Ministry official said yesterday that the affair attested to an unprecedented low in the relations between Israel and Norway. "The authorities in Norway are giving in to public opinion, which is hostile toward Israel," the officials said. Israel, apparently, is not alone. The Oslo municipality has succeeded in also removing the US embassy under similar circumstances.

Fatah Organizing “Day of Rage” Against U.S.

Palestinian Authority officials are furious with the United States, which decided to veto their motion to the UN Security Council to condemn Israel. Officials in Ramallah said they hoped that the American step would unite Palestinian ranks, and have called for a “day of rage” against Israel and the United States. PLO Executive Committee Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo said, “the step taken by the United States reflects the administration’s biased view regarding the illegitimate actions by Israel on the West Bank.” Abed Rabbo said that the US veto notwithstanding, the fact that 14 out of the 15 members of the UN Security Council had voted in favor of the resolution was a victory for the Palestinian position.  Top PA official Tawfik Tirawi yesterday called on all the factions of the Palestinian people, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to go into the streets on Friday for a demonstration of rage in response to the American decision. “We must not continue to be divided, and if we want to achieve the aspiration of the Palestinian people to have an independent state, we must close our ranks and send out hundreds of thousands of demonstrators into the streets,” said Tirawi.

Jerusalem Post

 

Ha’aretz

Libya clashes reach Tripoli; central government building ablaze

Protesters and security forces battled in the center of Tripoli as anti-government unrest spread to the Libyan capital on Monday, after Muammar Gadhafi's son went on state television to proclaim that his father remained in charge with the army's backing and would fight until "the last man, the last woman, the last bullet." Even as Seif al-Islam Gadhafi spoke Sunday night, clashes were raging in and around Tripoli's central Green Square, lasting until dawn Monday, witnesses said. They reported snipers opening fire on crowds trying to seize the square, and Gadhafi supporters speeding through in vehicles, shooting and running over protesters. According to Al Jazeera, witnesses have reported that the Libyan air force bombed protesters on their way to an army base. A major government building in the capital was on fire on Monday morning, a Reuters reporter said. The building is where the General People's Congress (parliament) meets when it is in session in Tripoli.

Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Prime Minister offers united front to Hamas against US and Israel

The Palestinian prime minister on Sunday angrily denounced the US veto of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel's West Bank settlements and offered to form a unity government with the rival Hamas militant group. Seeking to resolve the deadlock, Fayyad proposed forming a unity overnment with Hamas in order to hold the election on time. The details of Fayyad's plan appeared vague but proposed leaving much of the status quo in place. He said Hamas could retain security control in Gaza under his proposal as long as it preserved a cease-fire with Israel. Fayyad would continue to govern from the West Bank, and would work with Hamas to place both territories under a single governing authority. "The split has been too long and should not continue, and it won't end by itself. We need to move to end the split," Fayyad said. In Gaza, Hamas officials refused to comment, saying they needed more details on Fayyad's plan. Any unity government would likely end any hopes of reviving Mideast peace talks. Israel and the international community have said there will be no dealings with Hamas until it formally renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist. Palestinian officials in the West Bank appear willing to take this risk, saying they have little faith the U.S. can revive negotiations in any case.

Anti-Defamation League

ADL Welcomes U.S. Veto Of 'Flawed' UN Resolution

“The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed appreciation to the United States for vetoing the "fundamentally flawed" U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements and for making clear to the Palestinian Authority that the only route to peace is through direct negotiations with Israel. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following tatement: We express our strong appreciation to the United States for its forceful action in vetoing this resolution. The Obama Administration has made clear to the Palestinian Authority that it will not be a party to its efforts to avoid direct negotiations with Israel. We hope the Palestinians will now buckle down and return to direct talks with Israel”.

 
Support US aid for the State of Israel

President Obama has requested $3 billion in security assistance for Israel for fiscal year 2011. This aid reflects the third year of a 10-year U.S.-Israel security agreement signed in 2007 to gradually increase U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet increasing threats, including a potential nuclear-armed Iran. Please urge your House and Senate member to support security assistance for Israel and the overall foreign aid bill.

Contact Congress : e-mail your Representative
 
 
Urge US Congress to impose sanctions on Iran

Last summer, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (H.R. 2194), which aims to stifle Iran's energy sector, restrict Tehran's ability to conduct international financial transactions, and hamper its ability to obtain components for its nuclear and missile programs. Quick implementation and strong enforcement by the Obama administration hold the last best hope of persuading Iran to suspend its quest for nuclear weapons through political, economic, and diplomatic means. Please urge your members of Congress to maintain pressure on the administration to ensure that it fully implements the sanctions.
 
Contact Congress : e-mail your Representative



 

SLOUCHING TOWARD "PALESTINE"

ANTI-ISRAEL TERRORISM, AGGRESSION, AND THE LAW OF WAR

                                                                             

Louis René Beres

Professor of International Law

Department of Political Science

Purdue University

West Lafayette IN 47907

             Intra-Palestinian politics remain on a steady course.  Following a carefully choreographed rapprochement with Hamas, the more “moderate” Fatah forces, still trained and funded by millions of U.S. tax dollars,  will quickly resume their ritualized terror attacks against Israel. More or less simultaneously, Hamas will do the same. In Lebanon, Shiite Hezbollah, steadily mentored by Iran, and, oddly allied with Sunni Hamas, has already begun active operational preparations, with Syrian collaboration, for the next war.

            Ironically, however, Israel’s required efforts to defend its citizens will predictably be met with a sanctimonious barrage of assorted criticisms. Although international law allows any such imperiled state to use necessary force preemptively,  Israel’s  indispensable efforts to stave off existential harms will be harshly condemned throughout the “international community.”

            Humanitarian international law, or the law of war,  requires that every use of force by an army or by an insurgent group meet the test of “proportionality.” Drawn from the core legal principle that “the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited,” proportionality stipulates, among other things, that every resort to armed force be limited to what is necessary for meeting military objectives. This  principle of both codified and customary international law applies to all judgments of military advantage, and also to all planned reprisals.

            Proper determinations of proportionality need not be made in a geopolitical vacuum. Instead, these legal decisions may always take into consideration the extent to which an  adversary has committed prior or ongoing violations of the law of war. In the frequently interrelated examples of Hamas/Islamic Jihad/Fatah terrorists in Gaza, and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, there is ample evidence that all of these belligerents have been guilty of repeated “perfidy.”

            In law, deception can be acceptable in armed conflict, but the Hague Regulations expressly disallow the placement of military assets or military personnel in any heavily populated civilian areas. Further prohibition of perfidy can be found at Protocol I of 1977, additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949.  These rules are also binding on the basis of an equally authoritative customary international law.

             Perfidy represents a very serious violation of the law of war, one that is even identified as a “grave breach” at Article 147 of Geneva Convention No. IV. The legal effect of perfidy committed by Palestinian or Hezbollah terrorists, especially their recurrent resort to “human shields,” is to immunize Israel from legal responsibility for any inadvertent counter-terrorist harms done to Arab civilians. But even if Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Fatah and Hezbollah have not always engaged in altogether deliberate violations, any terrorist-created links between civilians and insurgent warfare still bestowed upon Israel a fully legal justification for military self-defense.

            This is not to suggest that Israel should now have a jurisprudential carte blanche in its necessary applications of armed force, but only that the reasonableness of these applications always be appraised in the context of  identifiable enemy perfidy.

            Viewed against the historical background of extensive and unapologetic terrorist perfidy in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel has been innocent of any prior “disproportionality.”  All combatants, including all insurgents in Gaza and Lebanon, are bound to comply with the law of war of international law. This important requirement derives not only from what is known as the “Martens Clause,” a binding paragraph which makes its first appearance in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention No. II on land warfare, but additionally from Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12,1949.   It is also found at the two Protocols to these Conventions.

            It is easy to condemn Israel with rhythmic chants of “disproportionality.” Yet, competent legal scholars will always acknowledge the vital evaluative significance of context.

             It should be clear, until now,  that any seemingly disproportionate use of force by the Israel Defense Forces had actually been the permissible outcome of antecedent and perfidious crimes committed by its enemies.

            What about charges, from one war to the next, that Israel had committed “aggression” in Lebanon?  At Lebanon’s insistence, certainly not Israel’s, a formal state of war has existed between the two tiny countries since the Jewish State came into existence in May 1948. Only an armistice agreement obtains between Israel and Lebanon. Signed on March 23,1949, this was not a war-terminating agreement, but merely a pledge to “cease fire.”

             Legally,  it is not possible for Israel to commit aggression against Lebanon. This is because the latter already considers itself in a formal condition of belligerency with the Jewish State. Israel cannot commit aggression against another state with which it is already at war.

             Faced with multiple and sometimes cooperating enemies on several fronts who often make no secret of their genocidal intentions, Israel has nonetheless adhered to the law of war. Indeed, in starkly marked contrast to the conscious indiscriminacy of its terrorist foes in Gaza, Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Lebanon, Jerusalem has struggled mightily to respect this law.

             The authentic legal issue in recurrent Middle East conflict is not Israeli “disproportionality” or “aggression,” but rather a persistent enemy resort to terrorism and perfidy. Notwithstanding foreseeable U.S. and Israeli objections to any Fatah/Hamas merger, neither Palestinian party has any effective reason to refrain from further terrorism against Israel. Already engaged in a far-reaching diplomatic end-run around Jerusalem, neither Fatah nor Hamas will require Prime Minister Netanyahu's negotiated approval to proceed toward complete Palestinian sovereignty.

            In September, probably with very little prodding, the U.N. General Assembly will take up the issue of membership for "Palestine." Almost certainly, although any such consideration would likely not meet the more stringent requirements of statehood that were formally established at the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (Montevideo Convention), a generally-recognized and totally militarized Palestinian state would then become a fait accompli. Should this U.N. conferral of sovereignty be implemented, Israel's starkly limited future will be discoverable in Article 12 of the PA (Fatah) Charter, which calls for "the liberation of Palestine completely....," and in Article 19: "The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine."

            As for the less-moderate Hamas Covenant (Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement), it begins with Israel's annihilation: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it...." Significantly, especially in view of what is still happening in Egypt, the Covenant refers to Hamas as "one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine."

            In the Middle East, wishful thinking is always perilous. Israel's enemies plainly have no regard for compliance with the law of war. Once granted a new state carved out of Israel's still-living body, "Palestine" would enthusiastically seize new opportunities not "only" for war and terrorism,  but also (in the literal jurisprudential sense of pertinent international treaties) for genocide.

            In the final analysis,  Fatah/Hamas seek not to enlarge a secular power over life, but rather a supremely religious power over death.

            Is there any power in world politics or diplomacy that can conceivably compete with such a sacred promise of immortality?

           

 

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES, Professor of International Law at Purdue, was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971).  He is the author of many books and articles dealing with terrorism, international law and the law of war. Dr. Beres, who has counseled governments in Washington and Jerusalem, was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945.

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