Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Turkish Jews Living under the Threat of Extremism

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - A nervous Rabbi recently appeared at The Bulletin’s bureau in Jerusalem and related that the small Jewish community in Turkey feels threatened by the new Islamic resurgence and by the new Turkish alliance with Iran.

As a result, there is a a significant increase in the number of Jews leaving Turkey and immigrating to Israel.

One hundred and thirty five immigrants from Turkey have made the journey this year, compared with 108 in 2008.

The Jewish Agency predicts that, by the year’s end, some 200 immigrants will have come, nearly twice as many as in previous years.

The assessment is based on the fact that, for the first time in many years, Jewish Agency representatives are being swamped with calls. As of now there is a 100 percent increase in those expressing interest in immigrating to Israel, inquiring as to their rights and obligations - and for the first time, a long list of Jews hoping to relocate their businesses from Turkey to Israel.

Most of those asking to register as new immigrants explain that this is due to the new extremist attitudes towards Jews in Turkey.

One of those who have registered, a 39-yard-old father of four who did not give his name, is the owner of a large and prosperous shop in the capital. The man decided to sell his business and move to Israel.

“We are being harassed, Turkey is no longer the same Turkey. They listen to the words of the prime minister and refrain from setting foot in Jewish shops. Turkey is falling into extremism,” he explained.

He said that many of his Jewish colleagues were leaving for the West, not only to Israel, and others were considering doing so.

“We anticipated that the number of people interested in moving to Israel was going to rise, but we didn’t anticipate that there would be such a large number of people who wanted to immigrate and so swiftly,” said a senior Jewish Agency executive. He said that 600 Jews were expected to immigrate to Israel from Turkey in 2010, which is an unprecedented number.

Eli Cohen, the director of the Aliyah Department in the Jewish Agency, personally oversees the immigration of Turkish Jews told the Yediot Ahronot newspaper that “2009 is going to be a very successful year in terms of Aliyah - immigration to Israel - mainly from Turkey. We are pleased with this and have been operating to absorb them across Israel in the best way possible.”

Mr. Cohen said that there has been a 20 percent rise around the world in immigration to Israel, after years in which interest had declined, and that interest in Turkey was significantly higher than that.

“That proves that Israel is the home of the Jewish people. We serve as a safe haven for Jews. We do everything we can to improve the methods of absorption and to give the new immigrants a sense of belonging,” said Mr. Cohen.

Three Jewish families that came from Turkey not long ago currently live in an absorption center in Ashdod. One of the families explained yesterday that the reason they decided to immigrate to Israel was the sense that the Turkish public was taking the statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan into action.

“I was born in Turkey, I grew up in Turkey, I know the Turks, and they’re tolerant of Jews. Regrettably, in the past year there has been a shift that has hurt the Jews. Curses, anti-Semitic comments, radicalization on the street - all of that left me with no choice. I took my family and immigrated to Israel. Some of my extended family intends to immigrate to Israel or to uproot for America,” said one woman who recently moved to Israel from Turkey.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Turkey, Austria Fail to Play Israeli Anthem at Sporting Events

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Moments after her moving victory in the world junior chess championship, Marcel Efroimsky of Kfar Saba, Israel, stood proudly at the podium as the new world champion. She grasped her silver cup, stole another glance at the gold medal around her neck, and expected the Israeli national anthem to be played in the background, as is customary in every competition. But silence filled the air. An irksome silence.

Ms. Efroimsky, 14, comes from a dynasty of chess masters. She began playing at the age of 6 and at 9 competed in her first world championship. Her dream came true when she won the first place in the world championship for players ages 14 and under, which was held in Turkey, but was very disappointed when the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikva,” was not played, as the winning country’s national anthem customarily is.

“This is simply a scandal,” fumed Shai Efroimsky, the new champion’s father. “How dare they mix politics with sports? The rules explicitly say that the national anthem is to be played. And that was the case two years ago as well, when she won the championship for girls up to the age of 12 that was held in the same location in Turkey.”

Indeed, two years ago Ms. Efroimsky won the championship for girls aged 12 and under, held in Turkey, and she became the first Israeli girl to do so. At that time, before relations between Ankara and Jerusalem had deteriorated, the Israeli national anthem was played.

But, this time the competition ended in a very different way. The medals were handed out, the trophy was presented to Ms. Efroimsky and, after the speeches, the organizers suddenly decided not to play the national anthems of the countries from which the award-winners hailed. The exception was the Russian national anthem, after Russia won the largest number of awards in the various competitions that were held. This is the second incident in the space of a week in which Israel’s national anthem was not played despite the fact that an Israeli won first place.

The organizers claimed in their defense that they had been forced to shorten the ceremony and that was the reason why the national anthems were not played, but officials involved in the competition said they suspected that the Turks’ intentions had been clear-to refrain from playing the Israeli national anthem. “I suspect that this was a specific move against Israel,” said Mr. Efroimsky.

In the wake of the incident last night, Aviv Bushinsky, the chairman of the Israeli Chess Association, sent a telegram to the president of the World Chess Federation with a request that he investigate the incident. Mr. Bushinsky wrote that steps ought to be taken against the Turks if it should become evident that the decision to refrain from playing the national anthem was deliberate.

Hatikva Not Played At Fencing Championship

Precisely one week ago Daria Sterlinkov, of Israel, won the gold medal in a prestigious fencing competition in Austria, while Alona Komorov won the bronze medal. However, in this case, too, the Israeli national anthem was not played upon the conclusion of the ceremony at which the awards were handed out.

The Israeli team coach, Yaakov Federman, said that the person responsible for playing the national anthems told him they were unable to find the Israeli national anthem.

“So, we decided to take the initiative and all the members of the delegation, 22 in number, sang Hatikva ourselves,” said Mr. Federman, who added that this was not the first time that an incident of this sort has happened. “Five months ago in Sweden we had the same story,” he said.

Yesterday, a moving ceremony was held at the Ort Maalot school in honor of the pupils Ms. Sterlinkov and Ms. Komorov, and in honor of the teacher at the school, Yaakov Federman, their professional coach. “We decided not to be silent over the Austrian decision to ignore playing the national anthem of the first place winner and that is why we held a ceremony at the school, in the course of which the Israeli national anthem was played proudly,” said the school’s principal, Avi Manshes.

“The Austrian ambassador was also invited to the ceremony, but he did not attend and sent a letter of apology about what happened in Austria as well.” The ceremony was conducted with the blessing of Dr. Orna Simhon, the director of the Israel Education Ministry’s northern district

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Iran Launches Largest Air Force Exercise

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - Iran launched its largest air force exercise this past week.

The air exercise is part of an effort to introduce new indigenous platforms and systems and protect nuclear facilities. They said the five-day exercise, titled “Seal of the Prophets,” began last Sunday and would integrate operations by the regular air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“The Iranian Air Force and IRGC will hold the largest air exercise in the history of the country,” Iranian Air Defense Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmed Miqani said Nov. 21.

Mr. Miqani told a news conference that Seal of the Prophets is taking place in central and western Iran and focus on air space protection and air defense. He said the exercise tested new systems, including air defense and electronic warfare. He said Iran has deployed air defense batteries around its nuclear facilities.

“The Air Defense Command is responsible for sensitive installations in the country, including nuclear facilities and will shoot down any plane that violates Iranian air space,” Mr. Miqani said. “This week’s air defense maneuvers will be held with the intention of protecting the country’s nuclear facilities.”

The exercise would also seek to enhance interoperability between fighter jets of the regular air force and IRGC. They said Seal of the Prophets would also test integration of operations by combat and reconnaissance platforms.

“Our unit will be in charge of the maneuver, but there will be units from IRGC and the Basij militia,” Mr. Miqani said.

Seal of the Prophet would contain three stages and envisioned an attack by an unnamed enemy, officials said. They said the exercise would test Russian-origin air defense systems, including the TOR-M1 and Pantsyr-S1.

Iran has been awaiting the longer-range S-300 system from Moscow. Mr. Miqani said Iran would test S-300 interceptors, but did not elaborate.

“In various maneuvers, new and modern missile networks will be used and evaluated, including the advanced S-300 missiles, for which production capability exists in Iran,” Mr. Miqani said.

IRGC has asserted that Iran reached the capability to defend against any Israeli air strike. IRGC Air Force Chief Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the military has developed an air defense umbrella that combined surface-to-air missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and fighter jets.

“Be assured that in case of aggression, the Zionist F-15 and F-16s will be trapped by our air defense and destroyed,” Mr. Hajizadeh said. “And, if one of their aircraft manages to escape Iran’s air defense, the bases from which these aircraft took off will be struck by our destructive ground to ground missiles.”

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Darwish Engagement Canceled at Princeton

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - For more than a generation, people who follow the Arab-Israeli War wonder if articulate Arab spokespeople will emerge to express genuine recognition of Israel, with a clear and unambiguous desire for peace.

Seven years ago, when Israel marked the 25th anniversary of the 1977 visit by the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel - which led to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab State - a young Egyptian native, now an American citizen, Nonie Darwish, whose late father fought against Israel, made a presentation for a large mixed audience of Arabs and Jews at the same place President Sadat had landed - at Jerusalem’s posh King David Hotel.

At the same hotel where Sadat first proclaimed his desire for peace with Israel, Nonie Darwish, announced that she had formed a new organization, calling it Arabs For Israel.

Ms. Darwish described her passion and pride for Arab nationalism and the need for every Arab nationalist to embrace the state and people of Israel as a neighbor in the Middle East.

Skeptical reporters who felt that Nonie Darwish was, perhaps, too good to be true began to bombard her with questions after her erudite presentation.

After all, one reporter said, this has been a “cold peace” and very few Egyptians have come to visit Israel with any such proclamation.

Ms. Darwish responded in the affirmative, saying that, indeed, the same radical Muslims who murdered Sadat had intimidated Egyptians from all walks of life from visiting Israel and from expressing any kind of affinity for the Jewish state.

Three years later, Nonie Darwish addressed a memorial rally for victims of Arab terror in Berkeley, Calif., where the rally organizers had brought the remains of a bombed out bus in which 17 people had been murdered.

Ms. Darwish’s message had not changed. She remained a proud Arab who spoke with passion about the state and people of Israel and stated that she felt shamed by what the crimes that people do in the name of Islam.

Yet, by 2005, Ms. Darwish did not exude the same smile that she bore in her appearance in 2002 in Jerusalem. She described in private conversations how radical Muslims had stalked her all over the United States and have tried to prevent her from speaking.

Indeed, radical Muslims even succeeded in preventing Ms. Darwish from speaking at Princeton University Hillel Foundation’s “Center for Jewish Life.”

Last week, on November 18th, a student group Tigers for Israel, a Princeton undergraduate student organization that is also affiliated with the Center for Jewish Life, scheduled then, suddenly, cancelled a lecture by Nonie Darwish.

Jewish students had invited her to speak on campus because they felt it was important to hear her critique of radical Islam.

However, the Islamic leader on campus, Muslim Life Coordinator, Imam Sohaib Sultan threatened Tigers for Israel and demanded that they cancel Ms. Darwish’s appearance because, he contended, “she perpetuates stereotypes about Islam that implicate all Muslims, not just Muslim fundamentalists”.

In the spirit of academic freedom and dialogue, Tigers for Israel Vice President Rafael Grinberg offered Imam Sultan the opportunity to rebut and respond to Nonie Darwish after her presentation and to offer him equal time to express his point of view.

The Islamic leader would hear nothing of any such a suggestion for a dialogue in an academic setting and furthered his demand that Nonie Darwish’s lecture simply be cancelled.

According to Mr. Grinberg, Rabbi Julie Roth, the Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Life at Hillel in Princeton, supported the intimidation of the campus Imam and told the students, “An invitation to Nonie Darwish is like an invitation to a neo-Nazi.”

According to a statement by Rabbi Roth to The Bulletin, however, “The students made an independent decision to cancel the lecture because it is not in accordance with their mission to perpetuate stereotypes or generalizations about any group.”

When The Bulletin asked as to why Rabbi Roth did not encourage a dialogue with Ms. Darwish that would befit the academic and democratic atmosphere of a University, Rabbi Roth acknowledged that, “It is true, in our university environment and in our country, free speech and open debate and exchange of ideas are primary values.” However, she added, “It is also true that our university environment and our country support the right of any group to disassociate themselves with views they deem do not represent their mission or goals or values.”

Asked as to whether Rabbi Roth had met with and spoken with Nonie Darwish to discern for herself whether Ms. Darwish would be an appropriate speaker, Rabbi Roth did not respond because she did not make any effort to meet with or speak with Ms. Dawrish before expressing her passionate support for the decision of Tigers for Israel to buckle under the demand of the radical Muslims on campus to cancel the appearance of Ms. Darwish in front of the campus Jewish community.

This leads one to wonder if Rabbi Roth, who describes herself as a leader in the promotion of “dialogue between the Muslim and Jewish communities on campus,” can ever muster the courage to present views that disturb radical Muslims at Princeton.

So much for the spirit of academic freedom and dialogue on an Ivy League campus.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel Warned To Prepare For Ballistic Missile Threats

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Israel has been urged to prepare for ballistic missile threats from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

A senior defense executive warned that Israel’s military and Defense Ministry might not have been allowed to prepare its missile defense umbrella to combat possible future threats from Middle East states, which are not directly threatening Israel at this time, due to political constraints.

The executive, who works closely with the Defense Ministry, said the threat could come from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which have been developing or procuring medium- and intermediate-range missiles.

“We are not paying attention to what is going on in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) vice president Yair Ramati said.

Mr. Ramati, who for years headed IAI’s Arrow missile defense program, cited Turkey’s growing missile and rocket capabilities.

He said Ankara has been acquiring U.S. and Chinese systems as well as developing Turkish weapons.

This included the Chinese-origin 302 mm rocket, with a range of 150 kilometers.

The Israel Defense Ministry has never cited Egypt or Turkey as threats. Egypt has maintained a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, and Turkey was regarded as a strategic ally of the Jewish state from 1996 until 2008. Over the last year, Turkey increased ties with neighboring Iran and Syria.

In a presentation to the International Aerospace Conference and Exhibition-Israel on Nov. 17, Mr. Ramati said Egypt and other Arab states could constitute missile threats by 2020. He said Saudi Arabia, concerned over Iran’s military modernization effort, was expected to replace its Chinese-origin intermediate-range CSSS2 for an advanced modern ballistic missile.

Yet, leading strategists in Israel forget that Saudi Arabia remains in a state of war with Israel. Saudi Arabia is the only neighboring country contiguous to Israel to have never signed a peace treaty or even an armistice with Israel since 1948.

Mr. Ramati stated clearly that Israeli missile defense exercises do not take the Egyptian, Saudi and Turkish capabilities into account.

He suggested that the Defense Ministry and military were under political constraints from the government.

“Are these scenarios politically correct?” Mr. Ramati asked.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Born In India, Doctor Has Jewish Spirit

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Dr. Aharon Avraham opens his Jewish prayer book with trepidation.

His lips mouth the verses in Hebrew, his new language.

When he finally lifts his eyes from the page, his gaze stops at the framed photograph on the shelf. Dr. Avraham glances at the photograph of the couple who changed his life, and his eyes glimmer.

"I truly loved Rabbi Gabi and his wife Rivka," he sighs. "I miss them so much."

On Wednesday night, Dr. Avraham was one of the guests of honor at the central memorial ceremony held by Chabad's youth division to mark the first anniversary of the terror attack at the Chabad House in Mumbai in which six Israelis were murdered. Those attending the ceremony will also mark the third birthday of Moishie, the little son of Gabriel and Rivky Holtzberg. His parents, who were Chabad emissaries in the Indian city, were murdered by terrorists. Moishie survived.

This coming Thursday, the morning after the memorial ceremony, Dr. Avraham will mark one of the most meaningful days of his life. The 51-year-old physician, who was born to an Indian family, will remarry his wife Ruth-Malka, this time in a Jewish ceremony. In attendance will be the couple's three children, who converted together with them: Shmuel, 18, Sarah, 15 and Sharon, 10.

The ceremony will be held at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, fairly close to Kiryat Arba, a Jewish community close to Hebron, where the physician from India has made his home.

Dr. Avraham was born Bhagirath Prasad. Materially speaking, he was very well off. He excelled in his medical studies, became well-known and served as the director of the intensive-care department at the prestigious Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai.

Spiritually speaking, an abyss opened up in his heart. In his youth, he shrank from Hinduism, a polytheistic faith.

"I found no rest for my spirit because I felt that I did not believe in the true God," he said last night.

"Twenty years ago, I was exposed to the Bible and began to come close to Judaism. Over the past five years, I began to study the Torah and observe the commandments as a way of life. I changed my Indian name to a Jewish one, and I went to the Chabad House in Mumbai almost every day to study with Rabbi Gabi. Chabad House became my second home, until that terrible day."

Dr. Avraham will never forget Nov. 26, 2008, the day of the terror attack in Mumbai.

"I met with Rabbi Gabi and Rebbetzin Rivky almost every day," Dr. Avraham said. “

I was as close to them as family. On the day of terror attack, I was about 1,000 kilometers away from Mumbai. I remember that I prayed for a miracle, that the Holtzberg family wouldn't be harmed. On the way back to Mumbai, my thoughts ran wild: how to treat Gabi and Rivky if it turned out that they'd been wounded. But when I got there, I realized that of the whole family, only little Moishie had survived."

The massacre shocked Dr. Avraham to the depths of his soul.

He decided to immigrate to Israel with his wife and children.

"I got fed up with the corrupt way of life in India," he explains. "Relations with my family have remained very good. I don't believe in their religion, but I still have a great deal of love for them. They weren't happy with my decision, but accepted it in a good spirit. 'It's your life,' they told me."

Five months ago, the physician arrived in Israel. Today, he is crowded into a tiny apartment with his wife and their three children in Kiryat Arba.

Dr. Avraham says that no one is happier than he. "I'm thrilled anew every day that I live near Hebron, the second-holiest place to the Jewish people. Soon, when I get my Israeli medical license, I'll start working at the Kiryat Arba first-aid center. At the same time, I hope to be accepted for work at Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem."

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: ARE THERE QUESTIONS PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO ASK FAYAD?

Are there Questions People are Afraid to Ask Fayyad?

In his column of November 20, Salam Fayyad builds Palestine, Jerusalem Post Editor David Horovitz describes “two staunch Jewish supporters of Israel” - Senator Joe Lieberman, former vice presidential candidate, and Representative Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee - “nodding their encouragement” at a recent Ramallah press conference, where Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad explained how he was preparing Palestinians for statehood. The piece goes on to outline a Palestinian state in formation, regarding security forces, the economy, and civic institutions, with an optimistic sense of what the PA is achieving.

Regrettably, Senator Lieberman and Representative Berman did not use the press conference to raise some troublesome questions.

Since these American elected officials let that opportunity pass, perhaps it was the journalistic responsibility of Mr. Horovitz to explore these matters, to offer a more balanced picture. Instead, he alluded to “staunch supporters of Israel nodding their agreement,” conveying the notion that, except for some technical problems, all is well.

Questions that Senator Lieberman, Rep. Berman or Mr. Horovitz could have asked would have included:

Renunciation of the PLO state of war with Israel

The charter of Fatah - the predominant element in the PLO and the PA - to this day continues to call for the destruction of Israel. Written in 1964, before Israel controlled the West Bank and Gaza, it uses the term “Palestine” to refer exclusively to Israel within the Green Line. The charter declares that “Liberating Palestine is a national obligation,” and that “Armed public revolution is the inevitable method” for doing so. This cannot be dismissed as an irrelevant anachronism. Last August, Fatah held its first General Congress in 20 years. Hope was held out for a charter revision, with violence officially renounced, but it never happened. Instead, Fatah continued to unambiguously embrace “armed resistance” to liberate Palestine.

Cessation of incitement via changes in PA-produced textbooks

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education has issued six reports on new PA textbooks issued over the last eight years. Journalist and scholar Dr. Arnon Groiss, who translated these PA textbooks, has just completed an update. He writes that the new PA texts...

- Deny the historical and religious presence of Jews in Palestine.
- Fail to recognize the State of Israel.
- Demonize Jews and Israel.
- Assign blame for the conflict exclusively on Israel, totally absolving Palestinians.
- Stress the idea of a violent struggle of liberation rather than a peaceful settlement.
- It is disingenuous for Fayyad to profess dedication to peace, while the PA curriculum infuses these ideas within its youngsters. Peace is impossible until the message changes. Why do visiting elected officials and journalists not hold Fayyad and the PA accountable for the new PA textbooks?.

Cessation of PA pursuit of Hamas as a coalition partner.

The PA inclination to participate in a government that includes Hamas remains an “elephant in the room” that the international community, somewhat inexplicably, has chosen to ignore: Hamas is recognized by the US and the entire Quartet as a terrorist entity. Yet in March 2007, Fatah and Hamas briefly formed a “unity government” - negotiated by Saudi Arabia via the Mecca Accord - that saw Fatah acceding to Hamas demands. It fell apart with the Hamas coup in Gaza, but in recent months the news is awash with reports of negotiations via Egypt for a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Pursuing negotiations with Israel and Hamas at one and the same time is not acceptable. Why not ask the PA to make a choice?.

Renunciation of the “right of return.”

The “right of return,” promoted for 60 years by UNRWA and embraced by the PA as a non-negotiable right, remains a recipe for the destruction of Israel from within. If Fayyad and the PA are serious about peace, why not ask them to accept the principle of perma­nent resettlement of the refugees? UNHCR, the UN High Commission for Refugees - which oversees all refugees except Palestinians - operates according to this principle. Only Palestinian refugees are not resettled, but instead, for purely political reasons, are forced to linger in a (rage-inducing) state of limbo. Fayyad, in his master plan for a Palestinian state, openly states that he supports the “right of return.” Isn’t it time to ask Fayyad and the PA to openly embrace the UNHCR policy and pave the way for UNRWA to adjust its mandate?

Lastly, Mr. Horovitz writes that “most of the international community completely supports [PA] demands for a 100% Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank,” noting that “Netanyahu...is intent on driving a harder bargain.” The reader is left with the impression that Netanyahu is obstinately resisting what the world expects. Left unsaid is that the Israeli electorate is most definitely not in favor of complete withdrawal, and that the prime minister simply reflects the will of the nation in this regard. What is more, Mr. Horovitz neglects to say that neither does international law support this: UN Security Resolution 242, which does not demand full Israeli withdrawal, acknowledges Israel’s need for secure borders.

David Bedein works as the Director of the Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research, www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and the Middle East Correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, www.TheBulletin.us.

Arlene Kushner is the senior research analyst for the Center for Near East Policy Research and author of a daily blog, “Arlene From Israel”, www.arlenefromisrael.info


Are there Questions People are Afraid to Ask Fayyad?

The Philadelphia Bulletin: America Slams Israeli Construction Efforts

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Despite firm opposition from the American government, the Jerusalem municipality decided to approve the construction of 900 new housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in southern Jerusalem. Gilo, which was no man’s land between 1949 and 1967, was acquired by Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 war and annexed to Jerusalem and Israel.

U.S. administration officials voiced their anger over the decision. Special U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell relayed to the Israeli government a request from the Americans not to build in Gilo.

A few hours after that news emerged, the Jerusalem municipality’s District Committee for Planning and Construction unanimously approved the plans to expand the built-up area in the northwestern part of the neighborhood. Within sixty days, after objections to the plans have been submitted, the plans will reach the implementation stage.

“Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs,” explained Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “The demand to stop construction for Jews only is not legal, neither in the United States nor anywhere else in the world.”

Israel Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: “We won’t permit construction in Jerusalem to be stopped.”

However, U.S. administration officials responded to the decision sharply.

“While we’re working to renew the negotiations, an act of that sort makes it even harder for our efforts to succeed,” said a high-ranking State Department source. “This is a unilateral step, and we’ve demanded of both sides not to take any such steps. Our position is clear, Jerusalem is a final status arrangement issue.”

An official statement released by the White House noted the administration was “dismayed” by the decision, and that the United States also objected to other Israeli actions in Jerusalem that pertained to construction, including the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the demotion of Palestinian buildings.

A U.S. administration official said that the Israeli government had “given a slap in the face to the United States’ efforts to bring about successful dialogue between the parties.”

The decision to approve the construction in Gilo was perceived by the U.S. administration as a departure from the agreements that had been reached in the previous number of weeks.

“Israel is taking unilateral measures while it demands that the world oppose unilateral measures by the Palestinians,” said an American official. “That isn’t going to work on the ground. We’re disappointed in (Israel Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau rejected the American criticism and said: “The Gilo neighborhood is an integral part of Jerusalem, just as Ramat Eshkol, Rehavia, French Hill and Pisgat Zeev are. This issue is part of a broad national consensus.”

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau said that “construction in the Gilo neighborhood has been underway continually for dozens of years and there is nothing new in the construction permit procedures.”

They added that there was no crisis in relations between Israel and the United States.

Rules Of The Game Have Changed

If anyone among the Israeli decision-makers still believed the Americans would ultimately get on with business as usual in the aftermath of the Israeli decision to build 900 housing units in Gilo, along came reality and slapped them in the face.

The U.S. administration does not accept the Israeli decision to apply Israeli law to any area acquired by Israel in the wake of the 1967 war.

Even more important to remember is that the American government does not recognize any part of Jerusalem as an integral part of Israel.

All documents processed by the American government in Jerusalem - passports, birth certificates, affidavits and even death certificates are stamped “Jerusalem” with no nation state mentioned.

Instead, successive U.S. administrations abide by the UN’s 1949 definition of Jerusalem as an international zone.

While lobbyists for Israel have, for many years, tried to influence countless American administrations to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, very few of Israel’s friends abroad ask the American government to simply recognize Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, as a part of Israel.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: US Weary over Turkey-Iran Deal

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that the United States has expressed increasing dissatisfaction with Turkey's alliance with neighboring Iran.

U.S. officials said the Turkish rapprochement with Iran would be a leading item on the agenda of talks during a summit in Washington in December and added that President Barack Obama would raise the Turkish alliance with Iran during his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

"It's not a good thing to make business, at the moment, with Iran," U.S. Assistant Secretary Philip Gordon said.

Mr. Gordon, responsible for European and Eurasian affairs, met Turkish officials in November to discuss the agenda for Mr. Erdogan's meeting with the Obama administration. During a wide-ranging briefing, the U.S. official stressed that Ankara and Washington would be required to resolve a range of issues.

"There were more points of disagreement than of agreement with Turkey," Mr. Gordon said.

In November, Iran and Turkey signed a multi-billion-dollar energy agreement that elicited strong opposition from Washington.

Officials said the Obama administration warned the Erdogan government that the accord sent the wrong signal to Iran amid the international drive to stop its uranium enrichment program.

"Iran needs to be assured that it has to cooperate with the international community," Mr. Gordon said.

"Otherwise, it will face consequences."

The Obama administration has also been alarmed by Mr. Erdogan's statements that Turkey would not support United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran. Turkey, a leading member of NATO, has been a non-permanent member of the council.

Other disagreements between Ankara and Washington were said to include Turkey's warm relationship with Sudan. In November, Turkey invited Sudanese President Omar Bashir, accused of war crimes in the Darfur province, to an Islamic summit in Istanbul.

The American government has also been dismayed by Mr. Erdogan's efforts to reduce Turkish defense and strategic relations with Israel. Mr. Erdogan was warned by the U.S. that the prime minister's policy would hurt Turkish interests in the U.S. Congress.

"Americans watch closely Turkey’s relations with its neighbors," Mr. Gordon said.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lawrence of Palestine

by Marc Prowisor

It seems that ignorance and arrogance rule when it comes to US policy in the volatile situation in Israel. Since 2005 the US has been leading the effort of the building of a “Palestinian Army”. Partnered with Britain, Canada and a few others, they have been training and building a military force for the “Palestinian Authority”. This force is said to bring law and order back to the “West Bank”, or as said by Lt Gen Keith Dayton in his address to the Soref Symposium in Washington DC, “to create a Palestinian State”, “The three 500-man battalions are intended to grow, to as many as ten battalions. Their mission, he said, is to “create a Palestinian state.” “If you don’t like the idea of a Palestinian state, you won’t like the rest of this talk.”

General Dayton takes his job very seriously, as he has agreed to sign on another two years to complete the goal. The general of course is aware how the situation overturned in Gaza and is doing his best to avoid the same happening on his watch. Yet reality on the ground is different. The simple fact is that this force is charged at keeping Abbas in power. The United States see him as a partner in their plans and demise for Israel, and they will go to all lengths at this point to keep him alive. Despite the fact that they are well aware of his weakness in the field, his ever sliding popularity, the vast corruption that runs through his government, and not to mention the current negotiations with Hamas, training and support continue full speed ahead. General Dayton regards the Jewish residents as obstacles to his goal of a “Palestinian State” in Israel. His concept of “Las Vegas laws” shows his lack of understanding of the situation in Israel and the Middle East.

Indeed I am amused by his observations of Yasser Arafat’s forces, as he describes them as not properly trained and equipped and lacking an effective security mission. I have news for the General, they knew exactly what they were doing, and thank Gd they were not “properly trained and equipped”, otherwise we would have had a lot more dead Jews around Israel. I guess we should be happy he and the US led team will assist in the training and equipping of the troops to achieve their “goals”, by the way, using US tax dollars. What will their response be when this equipment and training also ends up in Hamas hands, or before that, being used to kill Jews throughout Israel. Such a warning was even stated by the General at the symposium. The rhetoric coming out of the Palestinian mouths presented to the symposium could be considered the best stand up comedy for years to come, how many times will you subject us to the continued lies? How much Jewish blood must flow before the US administration and General Dayton is able to admit error in their doings. I would hate to think that this may be part of their motive, as we know war is used by politicians as a tool and blood is just a statistic to them, couldn’t be. If I sound skeptical, forgive me as I have had to clean up the bloody mess of mistakes, time and time again and am irked by the “Consultants” and “Advisors” who just go home and so “oh well”.

It was presented to the unassuming “Think Tank” how the Israeli’s are grateful to the General and agree with his “view”. I guess “Think Tank” has other meanings that I am unaware of.

More and more US money is being poured into the training, equipping and the creation of the Palestinian Army, or lining many pockets in the Abbas infrastructure while Israel cuts it’s security funding to the Jews of Judea and Samaria, at the request of our “friends”. Sounds devious, yet it is true. It’s all part of the big plan, the two State Solution that will bring peace to the world, that eludes us because of a piece of land smaller than some national parks in the US. Please stop insulting us.

So the US has it’s own Lawrence of Arabia (or Palestine), and who knows, maybe Hollywood will make a movie of the heroic dedication the US advisors and their friends are showing in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

I am sure the strangle hold on Israel being attempted will continue on and the attempted Ghettoisation of Jewish communities will continue in the Jewish heartland. US policy gets worse regarding Israel in its feeble attempt to please world Islam and give Yusuf (Cat Stevens) more song material. The US will go through the pangs of change, and the world will learn that friendship does have a price and the words Honor, Duty and Loyalty translate different in Arabic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Peres Warns Brazil About Terror Activity

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - As an integral part of his visit this week to South America, Israeli President Shimon Peres shared intelligence with Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim regarding Iran and Hezbollah being active in the three-way border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.


Israel's President Shimon Peres, right, shakes hands with Brazil's Defense Minister Nelson Jobim in Brasilia on Tuesday. (Eraldo Peres/Associated Press)

Hezbollah terrorist cells working there are engaging, among other things, in money laundering, arms trafficking, drug trafficking and diamond smuggling in order to finance terrorist activity, according to the information conveyed by President Peres.

Israel warned Brazil and other Latin American countries of Hezbollah's intentions to perpetrate terror attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets in South America similar to the large-scale, murderous terror attacks that were committed during the 1990s against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the Jewish community center in that city.

This is the first visit by an Israeli president to Brazil in 40 years.

Upon landing, Mr. Peres received a magnificent reception that included an honor guard, a military parade and a gun salute. Afterwards, Mr. Peres held a long meeting with Defense Minister Jobim, who is considered to be one of the strongest men in the Brazilian government.

Mr. Peres brought three leaders of Israel's defense industry - the director-general of Israel Aerospace Industries, the director-general of Elbit and a representative of Rafael - to the meeting in order to advance defense deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Brazilian army is currently undergoing a modernization, and Israel's defense industries wish to take part in this process.

Mr. Peres was invited to address the Brazilian parliament, where Israel's president made specific reference to the fact that Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be visiting Brazil this week. Mr. Peres remarked that he "finds it amazing to come from a nation where it is common to see people branded with concentration camp numbers to address a nation who will hear from another nation's leader that the mass murder of Jews never occurred."

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel, United States Joint Military Exercise Considered a Success

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The U.S. Army and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) successfully completed the Juniper Cobra 10 exercise this week.

The exercise was geared to improve cooperation between the two armies and to simulate defensive action against missile attacks on Israel by Syria and Iran.

This is the fifth time this exercise has been held. It was held in Israel, over a three-week period and involved 1,400 troops from four different branches of the U.S. Army. The exercise involved field training in which the two sides practiced cooperation between the American and Israeli troops in a variety of scenarios, a training of command posts, which practiced cooperative air defense and the firing of a live Patriot missile, which occurred yesterday.

Commanders from the U.S. Army and the IDF voiced their satisfaction with the results of the joint exercise, and noted the exercise had allowed the participants to learn from the knowledge and experience possessed by each other's army.

Commander of the Anti-Aircraft Forces Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish said, “We used the active defense system in collaboration with American forces and Israeli forces. The exercise manifested challenging scenarios and the conjoining of the most advanced weapons systems in the world in this field. The exercise was completed successfully. The professional level of the troops and the degree of cooperation between the armies manifested itself in the way in which the troops were put to use.”

The commander of the American task force, John Richardson, said, “We trained together in a challenging scenario. We presented new technologies and means of operation, and we scored tremendous results.”

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: US to Review Military Police after Attack

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that the U.S. military plans to begin a review of its increased Muslim presence in the armed forces.

The U.S. Defense Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to discuss an examination of the Muslim presence in the U.S. military and the threat of Al Qaida influence. They said Congress was pressing for such a review in wake of the Nov. 5 killing of 13 U.S. troops by a Muslim officer.

“We have to go back and look at ourselves and ask ourselves the hard questions," U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said. "Are we doing the right things? We will learn from this."

The review will focus on the exact number of Muslims in the U.S. military, which has encouraged such enrollment.

The U.S. Defense Department reported 3,409 Muslims on active military duty as of April 2008, but officials said the number could be at least three times higher.

"We believe there are many more Muslims who, when recruited, did not list their religion," an official said. "Some of these people simply wanted to avoid harassment; others might have had a sinister agenda."

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, born in the United States and alleged to have killed 13 soldiers in the army base at Fort Hood, Texas, did not identify himself as a Muslim when he enlisted.

Mr. Hasan was, however, recruited as part of a U.S. military drive to reach out to the Muslim community. Over the last decade, the military has intensified its recruitment of Arabic-, Farsi- and Pashtun-speaking soldiers for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Pentagon has been receiving reports of Muslim soldiers who expressed opposition to the U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. They said the opposition was encouraged by Islamic clerics as well as Muslim officers such as Mr. Hasan, who warned Muslims against harming co-religionists.

In 2003, U.S. Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar, said to have opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, killed two officers and injured 14 others in a grenade attack. Mr. Akbar, a convert to Islam, was sentenced to death.

The U.S. military has sought to shield Muslims from retaliation in Afghanistan and Iraq. In many cases, they said, Muslim soldiers were ordered to use fake family names to prevent reprisals against their families abroad.

Some in Congress have called for clear guidelines on allowing soldiers to express political views in the military. They said Mr. Hasan's pro-jihad views were tolerated by officers concerned over charges of discrimination.

"I want to say very quickly we don't know enough to say now, but there are very, very strong warning signs here that Mr. Hasan had become an Islamist extremist and, therefore, that this was a terrorist act," Sen. Joseph Liberman, a Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said.

Senator Lieberman said his committee would investigate the Hasan shooting, particularly the motive for the attack. He said a focus would be whether the U.S. Army ignored warning signs that Mr. Hasan was heading for an attack.

Mr. Hasan underwent an investigation in April on suspicion that he had adopted Al Qaida doctrine of holy war against the West. They said Mr. Hasan was suspected of trying to contact Al Qaida via the Internet.

"I am intending to begin a congressional investigation of my homeland security committee into what were the motives of Mr. Hasan in carrying out this brutal mass murder and to ask whether the Army missed warning signs that should have led them to essentially discharge him," Mr. Lieberman said. "If Mr. Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance. He should have been gone."

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel: Hezbollah Acquired Long-Range Missiles

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - Israel's military has detected Hezbollah acquisition of missiles and rockets with ranges of up to 325 kilometers. They said the weapons could strike targets in most of Israel.

"Some of them have a range of 300 kilometers (180 miles) and some of them have a range of up to 325 kilometers," Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said.

In a Nov. 10 briefing to the Israel Knesset Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mr. Ashkenazi said Hezbollah has already deployed the long-range rockets in Lebanon. He said a rocket attack from the Beirut area could reach the nuclear reactor in the southern Israeli city of Dimona.

"There is a paradox," Mr. Ashkenazi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said. "On one hand, there is calm. But when you peek over the fence you can see armament and empowerment."

The latest acquisition marked the longest-range missiles and rockets in Hezbollah's arsenal. Until this year, they said, Hezbollah wielded weapons with a range of about 120 miles.

Mr. Ashkenazi did not identify the latest Hezbollah missile. The missile approximated the range of the Soviet-origin Scud B.

Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 40,000 missiles and rockets, most of them short-range weapons. They said Iran has increased weapons and other military support to its Lebanese proxy.

"We don't delude ourselves," Mr. Ashkenazi said. "The situation is delicate and Hezbollah is growing stronger all the time. The Iranian challenge is to increase control over the Middle East through training, arms and money provided to all terror organizations."

The Hezbollah acquisition of arms from Iran and Syria represents a violation of UN Resolution 1701, which implemented a ceasefire that put an end to the Second Israel-Lebanon War in August 2006.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Saudi Arabia:The Source Of Islamization In US Military

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - Saudi Arabia has been identified as the source of the growing Islamization in the U.S. military.


Army Pfc. Michael Pearson’s mother, Sheryll Pearson, is comforted by her son, Kristopher Craig, who is also Michael’s brother, at their home in Bolingbrook, Il. on Nov. 6. Pfc. Pearson was shot and killed at Fort Hood Army base in Texas on Nov. 5. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)

A leading analyst asserted that Saudi Arabia spent millions of dollars in its effort to convert U.S. soldiers to Islam. Dr. Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, said the campaign pioneered by the Saudis began during the 1991 war against Iraq, which involved the deployment of nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.

"Nearly two decades have passed since the Saudi conversion campaign, and most of the converts may no longer be in uniforms," Dr. Luft said.

"But the seeds sown during the Gulf War have germinated, creating scores of radicalized Americans who are a threat to their comrades in uniforms as well as to their civilian communities."

Dr. Luft traced the recent killing of 13 U.S. soldiers by a Muslim officer to a Saudi indoctrination campaign.

Dr. Luft said the Saudi campaign resulted in the spread of Wahabi doctrine, which stresses Islamic war.

"While Muslim soldiers have served in uniforms loyally for decades, it is the rising number of Wahabi-trained and converted Muslims that is a relatively recent phenomenon," Dr. Luft said in a report, "Since Wahabism is one of the most radical and puritan strands of Islam, the penetration of Wahabi thinking into the ranks of the military must be treated with care."

Dr. Luft's report, released on Tuesday, said the spread of Wahabi influence has endangered U.S. soldiers. A recurring prospect has been the turning of Wahabi-indoctrinated soldiers on their colleagues.

Dr. Luft, quoting former U.S. officers, said Saudi military personnel were directed to identify and missionize their American counterparts. He said the Saudi campaign was a "well-orchestrated and generously funded effort sponsored by the Saudi government to convert as many American military members as possible to Islam."

At one point, Saudi commander and now deputy defense minister, Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, bragged that more than 2,000 U.S. troops converted to Islam in 1991. Some of the U.S. officers were said to have been given as much as $30,000 to convert.

"These Muslim troops are now the messengers of Islam in the U.S. forces," Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips, an Islamic convert who missionizes in the military, was quoted by the report as saying.

The report said the shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas represented an Islamic attack. Dr. Luft quoted Hasan as shouting to fellow

soldiers, "You guys are coming into our countries and you’re going to rape

our women and kill our children."

"It is time to investigate what exactly happened back then in the desert

and assess how serious and deep-rooted the damage is," Dr. Luft's report said.
View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israeli Bill Includes Rights Of Jewish Refugees From Arab Lands

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Israel's Knesset Parliament passed a seminal bill last Wednesday that will affect any future Middle East peace negotiations.

According to the bill, it will not be possible for Israel to sign any diplomatic agreement with any state or foreign entity without arranging for the interests and rights of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

The refugees are defined, according to the UN's Refugee Convention as, "the Jewish citizens of Israel who immigrated from Arab countries in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel and forced to leave the property that had been in their ownership in their countries of origin."

The terms received by the Jewish refugees, moreover, must be on par with the terms received by Arab refugees in the final status negotiations. 


In addition, the bill says, "In any discussion on the subject of Palestinian refugees as part of peace negotiations in the Middle East, the Israeli government will raise the subject of awarding compensation for loss of property and the granting of equal status to the Arab refugees, who left their property from the day that the state was established, and Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

The background explanatory statement about the bill notes that a million and a half Jewish refugees either were expelled or fled from Arab countries and were forced to leave their homes and property since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

The U.S. Congress passed a resolution in February 2008 stipulating that these Jews were defined as refugees in keeping with the explicit definition of the UN Refugee Convention. The bill states that the Israeli government already made the decision about registering claims of Jews from Arab countries. Now, this bill will obligate the government not only to "register" these claims, but also to include them in any future peace treaty and also in the negotiations which precede it.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A DAY OF INFAMY: NOVEMBER 10, 1975

by Alex Grobman

Justice Richard Goldstone’s U.N. report charging Israel of “deliberate attacks” against civilians in last January’s defensive war against Hamas, is just the latest assault to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state and her right to defend herself.

That the U.N. continues to play a central in this effort is not surprising. After failing to defeat Israel on the field of battle, the Arabs chose to employ the U.N. to wage a political war against the Jews.

On November 10, 1975, the 37th anniversary of the Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), the U.N. General Assembly declared that Zionism is Racism and racial discrimination (Z=R) by passing Resolution 3379. The passage was part of an orchestrated worldwide campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel, after her enemies failed to expel her from the U.N.

On the same day the U.N. declared Z=R, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 3376, establishing an Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Sixteen of the original 20 members on the Assembly committee did not have relations with Israel, and some had never acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.1

The Z=R resolution initiated a new strain of international antisemitism. Although the resolution was abrogated in 1991, depriving it of legal status, the hostility against Israel it generated in most U.N. member nations-and in the U.N.’s own institutions-continues unabated.

Implications of the Resolution

“In the U.N., words take on a life of their own,” noted John R. Bolton, then Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, “To declare as ‘racist’ the historical and cultural underpinnings of a state is tantamount to branding that state an international criminal, for racism is a crime enumerated in the Genocide Convention and numerous other instruments commonly accepted under international law.’’2

Abba Eban, Israel’s first permanent representative to the U.N. was the man who negotiated her entry into the U.N. and was later Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, believed that this was the first time in history that an international body directed its criticism against ideas and articles of faith venerated by one of its member states-and not against its policies. The U.N. had never endorsed or denounced an “-ism” before. Even at the height of the Cold War, the United States never sponsored a resolution condemning communism, socialism, or any other “-ism.” 3

A racist state has “no rights at all, not even the right to defend itself.” observed Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. After 3379 was passed, Israel became “fair game for armed ‘liberation.’” The U.N. General Assembly deliberately branded Israel as illegitimate on the same day it recognized the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).4

Antisemitic rhetoric in the U.N. was no longer taboo. Diplomatic representatives were free to use antisemitic stereotypes in their speeches, reflecting classical Christian antisemitism in their political attacks against Israel.5

Demonizing Israel has turned it into a physical target for terrorist organizations, and into apolitical target for left wing and reactionary forces. Whether there are fatwa’s (legal rulings by Muslim clerics issued to legitimize suicide terrorism) or there are organizations demanding divestment from Israeli corporations, destruction of Israel-physical, spiritual or economic-is one of the mantras of the day. This is political antisemitism.6

For the majority of the members in the U.N., Israel is a locus of evil deserving of international condemnation-unlike many countries in the U.N. who practice ethnic cleansing, offer no rights to women or the poor, starve their own people for political reasons, and commit genocide.

These same nations, in the halls of an institution that was designed to prevent exactly this from happening, deny Israel her rights even in the courts of international law. Israel is the target of the majority of U.N. sanctions, is vilified by The Hague for defending herself and is singled out by the Geneva Convention as the utmost violator of human rights.7

Political science professor Ehud Sprinzak suggests this deliberate delegitimization leads to gradual erosion of Israel’s stature and ultimately her right to exist. Those targeted are the last to recognize the transformation until the consequences of ostracism become evident. This occurs when remarks by the country’s spokesman are “perceived as irrelevant,” and when the leadership is no longer regarded as worthy of engaging in legitimate discourse with other countries.8

Branding Israel as racist, portrays her as a country that harms civilian populations, oppresses minorities, establishes restrictive immigration laws and religious statutes as part of their ideological raison d’ĂȘtre. Thus, Israel’s wars, its military response to terror and laws passed by the Knesset are racist. A significant danger to Israel is that if this charge becomes a new stereotype through popular culture, the media, literature and daily speech, it will taint the Jewish state and become a part of the legacy of the West.9

No logical argument ever succeeded in disputing the blood libels or any other spurious allegation leveled against the Jews. Limited response to Z=R ensured that anti-Zionist resolutions continued to be passed. To counter the process of delegitimization, the charges have to be seen as a “corruption of language and thought,” a threat to freedom, and a campaign of disinformation orchestrated by the Arabs and their collaboraters.10

Dr. Alex Grobman is a Hebrew University trained historian. His is the author of a number of books, including Nations United: How The U.N. Undermines Israel and The West, Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and a forthcoming book on Israel's moral and legal right to exist as a Jewish State.

===

1. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, “The U.N.’s Day of Infamy,” The Washington Post (November 11, 1985): A23; Harris O. Schoenberg, A Mandate For Terror:The United Nations and the PLO (New York: Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., 1989), 108-125.

2. John R. Bolton, “Zionism Is Not Racism,” NYT (December 16, 1991).

3. Abba Eban, “Israel, Anti-Semitism and the United Nations,” The Jerusalem Quarterly (Fall 1976): 110, 118.

4. Kirkpatrick, “The U.N.’s Day of Infamy,” The Washington Post (November 11, 1985), A23; Schoenberg, op. cit., 108-125.

5. Avi Beker, The United Nations and Israel: From Recognition to Reprehension (Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1988), 3, 5, 94.

6. Irwin Cotler. “Why is Israel singled out,” The Jerusalem Post (January 16, 2002); Irwin Cotler, “Human Rights And The New Anti-Jewishness,” The Jerusalem Post, (February 5, 2004); Irwin Cotler.” Durban’s Troubling Legacy One Year Later: Twisting the Cause of International Human Rights Against the Jewish People.” Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs Volume 2, No. 5 (August 20, 2002).

7. Ibid.

8. Ehud Sprinzak, “Anti-Zionism: From Delegitimation to Dehumanization.” Forum-53 (Fall 1984): 3-5.

9. Ibid 7-8.

10. Ibid.9-10

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel-U.S. Missile Exercise Confirmed

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed Israel and the United States have been conducting a multi-phased missile defense exercise meant to defend against an Iranian attack.

The two countries have been engaged in Juniper Cobra-2010 in several areas of Israel.

“Juniper Cobra”, organized by the Israel Air Force and U.S. European Command, marked the biggest edition of the biannual exercise and sought to counter Iran’s new Sejil-2 solid-fuel ballistic missile. The exercise began on Oct. 21 and is scheduled to end on Thursday.

“Each exercise varies in focus and scope, and this year we are concentrating on combined air defense,” U.S. Navy 6th Fleet chief of staff Capt. Mike Martin said.

The exercise, the fifth edition since 2001, has been divided into three phases. Officials said the first phase was the deployment of more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel, including 17 naval vessels, around Israel.

The second phase would consist of a simulation of ballistic missile attacks meant to reflect Iran’s capabilities. Officials said this phase would link such missile-defense systems as Israel’s Arrow-2, PAC-2 and the U.S. PAC-3, sea-based Aegis and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

“The simulation would test against a salvo of advanced Iranian missiles,” an official said.

The third phase of Juniper Cobra would feature a live-fire missile defense test. Officials said Israel and the United States would oversee the fire of PAC-3.

“JC-10 is the fifth iteration of this exercise with this year’s focus on testing the active missile-defense capabilities of both U.S. and Israeli armed forces,” the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Higgins to transport sailors and soldiers to the Israeli port of Haifa. The exercise was also the first in which the U.S. military’s AN/TPY-2 X-band radar was deployed in Israel.

“We will advance both the art and science of ballistic missile defense between our two forces, and in the end, I am confident we will have a safe and successful Juniper Cobra exercise,” Rear Sixth Fleet deputy chief Adm. John Richardson, also the commander of JC-10’s joint task force, said.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel Cuts Off Arms Shipment To Hezbollah

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - Israeli naval forces, led by Israel's elite Naval Commando Unit, stormed the Francop cargo ship before dawn on Wednesday and, after searching its containers, found large quantities of weapons and ammunition on board.

This cargo, earmarked for Hezbollah, originated in Iran. The seized weaponry was hidden inside containers, which supposedly were filled with goods.

A senior Israeli government official said, "Our work now is to show the world what Israel has to deal with. The photographs of arms and ammunition will prove that Israel is defending itself against fierce terrorism, and you don't fight terror with silk gloves. What country would allow terrorist groups to arm themselves in a way that endangers the lives of the citizens in its heartland?"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to frame the issue somewhat differently and said, "Anyone who still needed proof that Iran continues to send arms to terrorist organizations received it today, clearly and unequivocally. Iran is sending these arms to terrorist groups in order to strike at Israeli cities and kill civilians. The time has come for the international community to apply real pressure to Iran to stop this criminal activity and give support to Israel when it defends itself against terrorists and their patrons."

Meanwhile, a senior Israeli military source predicted Iran would attempt to find other ways to supply Hezbollah with weapons. He said Iran had settled on a maritime strategy after having confronted difficulty when smuggling over land. The source stressed the seizure of the arms ship was proof that Iran was continuing to invest great energy in smuggling munitions despite the restrictions placed on it. He said it was quite possible Iran had in the past made use of civilian commercial vessels as a cover to supply weapons to various destinations.

Israeli Navy Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Rani Ben Yehuda said yesterday the amount of munitions apprehended on the ship would have allowed Hezbollah to fight Israel for about a month.

Detailing The Capture

Former Israeli Navy Commander Maj. Gen. Yedidia Yaari still remembers how, seven years ago, he planned and commanded the operation to capture the arms vessel Karine A, which was bound for the Palestinians, at sea.

This time, however, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Marom sat in the war room in the north, commanding from afar the capture of the Francop, which carried hundreds of tons of arms for Hezbollah - 10 times the quantity of arms aboard the Karine A.

The waves were high and the winds reached speeds of 50 knots. But the intelligence information in Operation Four Species was accurate. Using aircraft and Navy missile boats, they tracked the German vessel continuously. The Navy commander gave the order to begin the operation, despite the weather conditions, and had to relax the safety instructions for the ships. Once the missile boats spotted the vessel and contacted it, the information was passed to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Mr. Barak then issued the order to board the ship.

The countries involved - Antigua, under whose flag the vessel sailed, and Cyprus, the country of its operating firm - were informed. Several hours later, the picture became clear: A ship of the Iranian national merchant fleet had left the port of Bandar Abbas carrying hundreds of containers, in which hundreds of tons of arms were concealed.

The ship's Polish and Ukrainian crew steered the vessel through the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal to the Egyptian city of Domiat.

The containers were unloaded from the Iranian vessel in Domiat and loaded onto the German vessel, Francop, which set out for Cyprus on Tuesday.

One hundred miles out, two Saar 5 missile boats surrounded the German vessel and contacted the Polish captain. The Israeli Navy asked him to inspect the vessel's cargo. The captain agreed to do so at around midnight, and allowed the naval commandos and soldiers of the Combat Engineering Corps's Yahalom unit to search the ship. The troops from the Yahalom unit, covered by naval commando troops, opened the containers and discovered the boxes of arms behind containers of pencils, toilets and polyurethane, a material used in the plastics industry.

The captain and crew were informed of the findings, and, after brief coordination with the Cyprus-based firm and Antigua, were brought to the Ashdod Port, where port workers began to unload the cargo.

A high-ranking security official said last night, "The Iranians hid the fact that the containers concealed arms, thus endangering the ship's crew and all the ports at which the vessel had stopped. Containers carrying explosives are treated completely differently from those carrying civilian material."

As one of the crew members watched the port workers unloading the cargo, he remarked, "We look at the containers, see all the ammunition, and don't believe it."

Gift From Heaven

Officials in Jerusalem had not dared even to dream of better timing for the capture of the vessel carrying so much arms and ammunition bound for Hezbollah. For all practical purposes, in light of the discussion of the Goldstone report that began in the United Nations yesterday and the campaign against Iran, the capture of the ship was, for Israel, like a gift from heaven.

In light of the capture of this ship, Israeli government officials expressed hope that "now the international community will understand whom we're dealing with," as a high-ranking minister said.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials have been preparing for a major public relations battle in the UN's institutions and Security Council.

High-ranking ministry officials said they intended to bring the subject to the attention of the UN's member countries by means of both photographs and written messages. Jerusalem officials claim the fact that the weapons captured on the ship originated from Iran proves what Israel has been saying for a very long time: Iran has been consistently violating the UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1747, which forbids Iran from exporting arms and is a blatant violation of Resolution 1701, which had led to the end of the Second Lebanon War and determined that southern Lebanon, between the Blue Line and the Litani River, would be demilitarized and that Hezbollah would disarm.

"None of the papers that we signed, including the Security Council resolutions, are being upheld. They are not worth the paper that they were written on. We have been saying loudly that Hezbollah and Hamas were being armed by Iran, and now we have clear proof that this is the situation that we're dealing with," a high-ranking diplomatic official said. "Iran continues to send arms to Hamas and Hezbollah, ignoring the UN and the international community."

The Israeli PR campaign made an effort to list the long line of UN Security Council resolutions Iran has been violating by such activities as the one thwarted yesterday.

The important aspect of this success, and this is no small thing, is a certain element of deterrence and encumbrance. The Francop is the visible tip of the iceberg. The smuggling routes are known. It is clear the intelligence was good enough to follow the cargo as it made its way on the Iranian ship, that led it from Bandar Abbas to Egypt, and then to the Francop and then to the point where it was detained. It is far more convenient to stop the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, where a NATO policing force, which Israel is a part of, patrols the seas, and far from Egypt's coast, near which any operation is extremely sensitive.

---

The Francop

The Francop

Name of vessel: Francop

Length: 137 meters

Width: 22 meters

Capacity: 8,622 tons

Year of manufacture: 2003

Ownership: United Feeder, which has a fleet of 41 ships and concentrates on shipping goods in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

1. Oct. 26: Dozens of containers filled with arms and ammunition made their way from Iran to Egypt on a ship belonging to Iran's national merchant fleet.

2. In the Egyptian port of Domiat, the containers were unloaded in order to trick anyone who might be trying to track the shipment.

3. The vessel Francop, on which the camouflaged arms were loaded, made its way to Cyprus, from which it was to proceed to its final destination: Syria.

Distance from Israeli coast: 130 miles

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Improvements Made in Turkish-Iranian Relations

Erdogan Terms Iran Visit As ‘Positive’

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described his visit to Iran and his meetings with Iranian officials as “positive.”

Speaking at a press conference at the Turkish embassy in Tehran on Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan referred to the results of his trip to Iran, and said, “regarding settlement of regional issues, we share common views and on economic issues we can also perform some works jointly.”

“As regards foreign policy, our main goal is attracting friends and having no enemies, and this is our basic (principle of) thinking at national and international levels,” he told reporters.

Mr. Erdogan received a red carpet welcome by Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi Tuesday morning.

Earlier in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday, the Turkish prime minister called for further expansion of all-out bilateral ties between the two neighboring states.

Mr. Erdogan once again stated that pursuance of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is the legitimate right of all world countries, including Iran.

Mr. Erdogan asked for joint efforts by all regional states to provide security in the Middle East.

“Iraq should enjoy stability. All nations should work for stability in the Middle East because other countries are under the effect of terrorism as much as us,” Mr. Erdogan said at a joint meeting between Iranian and Turkish traders and businessmen in Iran’s Chamber of Commerce in Tehran on Thursday.

“There exists no one to provide security in the region, but us. We cannot rely on other parties. We should be brothers and stand firm,” Mr. Erdogan noted.

He described Iran and Turkey as stable islands in the region, adding, “In order to make the whole region stable like our countries, we should initiate joint plans for Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Elsewhere, Mr. Erdogan underlined Iran’s responsibility for peace and security in the Caucuses, “Iran, like Turkey, is responsible for peace and security in the Caucuses. The presence of foreign troops is not a solution to the problems of the region. A decision by the regional states is needed.”

Mr. Erdogan arrived in Tehran Monday night leading a high-ranking delegation, comprising of five cabinet ministers, 30 parliament members, 80 representatives of the private sector and 30 representatives from the media.

Regarding economic relations between Ankara and Tehran, Mr. Erdogan said that Turkey agrees with Iran on increasing the volume of trade exchange to $30 billion.

He noted that the two countries enjoy the necessary capacities to materialize such amount of trade exchanges.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel Wages Battle Against ‘NY Times’

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - For the past 10 days, the State of Israel has been waging a battle against the New York Times, for what it calls tendentious and unfair coverage of the Jewish state.

At the focus of the storm is the Goldstone report. Recently, there were many exchanges between the newspaper's journalists and editors with Israel Foreign Ministry representatives, and yesterday the Israeli delegation in the UN sent an official complaint to the newspaper's editorial board.

The complaint, signed by the Israel UN delegation's spokeswoman, Mirit Cohen, says that the newspaper uses subjective negative language about Israel and failed in writing fair and accurate coverage.

The complaint also states: "Again and again we encounter distorted phraseology that is liable to cause the innocent reader to think that the report found definitive proof that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. This is a report that is flawed from the outset, which gives legitimacy to a terror organization that fires missiles at innocent civilians. The New York Times's bias in ignoring this reality requires reexamination", wrote Cohen.

The New York Times has yet to respond to the Israeli government's unprecedented attack on the paper.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Tunnel Smuggling into Gaza Increases

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - The Middle East Newsline confirms that the Hamas regime has approved a huge increase in the number of smuggling tunnels from the Gaza Strip to neighboring Egypt.

Palestinian sources said tunnels that span the Gaza Strip to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula have more than doubled this year.

They cited the Israeli and Egyptian closure of their borders as well as increasing Gazan demand for consumer goods.

“We can get anything for anybody at almost any time,” a Palestinian source said.

The Hamas regime approved the sharp increase of tunnels in wake of the war with Israel in January. They said the number of tunnels skyrocketed from about 700 to 1,500 over the last eight months.

“Hamas directly controls about 100 tunnels and this supplies the government and security forces,” the Palestinian source said. “Whenever they need something fast, they turn to private tunnel operators.”

In August, tunnel operators began smuggling luxury cars from Egypt to Gaza. Over the last two months, the sources said, about 100 late model cars were dismantled in Egypt, transported through the tunnels in parts and reassembled in the Gaza Strip. The price per car was reported at $20,000.

Tunnels are a part of the smuggling industry, the largest industry in the Gaza Strip.

About 30,000 people are employed in the smuggling industry, with diggers earning about $30 day.

The number of tunnels discovered and destroyed by Egypt or Israel marked less than one percent of the smuggling network.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Syria Denies Transporting Weapons, Blames Seized Boat On Piracy

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem disputed Israel's claim that a ship sailing from Syria to Iran was carrying weapons in a press conference held on Thursday in Tehran.

Mr. Muallem, instead, said the ship was carrying goods to Iran.

"The report of the seizure of the Iranian ship carrying weapons to Syria in the vicinity of the Zionist entity is baseless," he argued.

He added that the ship was a victim of piracy.

"There are pirates that take over ships under the pretense of searches and try to halt the passage of commercial vessels," he said.

Iran also denied reports that it had attempted to send weapons to Hezbollah in the ship.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Iranian news agency Irana: "The report is incorrect. The ship was making its way from Syria to Iran carrying goods, not weapons."

Mr. Mottaki argued that "Syria and Iran are peace loving nations which are interested in the stability of the region."

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: A Soft Military Coup could Surface in Egypt

by David Bedein

A report to the United States Congress warns that Egypt’s military could stage a coup to prevent the transition of power by President Hosni Mubarak to his 46-year-old son, Gamal.

The Congressional Research Service has found the likelihood of Gamal becoming Egypt’s
next president has alarmed the military as well as the Islamic-led
 opposition.

“If such a situation were to occur, many observers wonder whether the
military and security establishment would remain in their barracks or
re-enter politics to establish order,” the report, titled “Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations,” said.

The report was released as Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party
(NDP), intensified efforts to prepare Gamal for succession. Senior officials,
including Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, have already called for Gamal to be
groomed as Egypt’s next president.

The 81-year-old Mubarak, president since 1981 and said to be in declining health, has not ruled out a re-election bid in 2011. The report, 
however, said Gamal, the No. 2 figure in the NDP, could emerge as the next
 candidate for presidency, while retaining his rival, Maj. Gen. Omar Suleiman, as intelligence chief.

Mr. Suleiman has been raised as a candidate to succeed Mr. Mubarak. Arab League
secretary-general Amr Moussa was also said to be considering running for
president.

“However, at age 73, it is unlikely that Mr. Suleiman, should he become
president, would rule for a long period of time,” the report said.
“Furthermore, as head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Mr. Suleiman
would need to retire from military service since active-duty military
officers are not allowed membership in political parties. Mr. Suleiman is
currently engaged in a number of sensitive diplomatic operations and is one of Mr. Mubarak’s closest confidants, making his departure from
military service unlikely.”

Another scenario was that of a military takeover to prevent a Gamal
 presidency.

The Congressional Research Service’s report, authored by Jeremy Sharp and dated Sept. 2, said the
elder Mubarak has banned military officers from NDP’s Supreme Council.

“An Egyptian military officer carries out a soft coup, in which constitutional proceedings are set aside and civilian elites quietly
acquiesce to the military’s re-assertion of power,” the report said.


Some U.S. analysts have raised the scenario of a military coup. Michele Dunne, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has discussed the prospect of the General Staff helping to install a military officer as president.

Mr. Sharp said that many experts have deemed Egypt’s political system stable and discount a coup. The report also said the student clashes with the Iranian
regime in wake of a controversial presidential election in June could
signal a similar scenario in Egypt.

“Some analysts fear that a less-than-smooth transition of power could
open the door for the Muslim Brotherhood to mobilize its supporters and
demand an Islamist government,” the report said.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israelis Dispute Claims Over Conference - Yet Allegations of Egypt Excluding Israel From Cancer Conference Confirmed

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The Bulletin of Oct. 25 publicized the revelation that Israeli experts in breast cancer have been barred from attending a conference concerning cures for breasts cancer in Cairo. However, the spokesperson for Nancy Brinker, founder and head of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, which raises significant amounts of money to fight breast cancer, wrote to The Bulletin that despite threats in Egypt, Israelis were not barred from the Cairo conference.

Yet the Israeli government and the Hadassah Women’s Organization claim that Israeli medical professionals were indeed barred from the conference, leaving The Israel Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday to denounce “all boycotts of Israelis at international medical conferences such as the one held in Cairo last week on coping with breast cancer.”

IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman told the Jerusalem Post that “Israeli doctors and scientists are often confronted by hostility when attending professional conferences abroad.”

Dr. Eidelman emphasized that medicine and science are not political. Even those who oppose policies of the government of Israel should never inject politics into these fields, which aim to save lives and to which Israelis contribute a great deal, he said.

Dr. Eidelman added that conferences that keep Israelis out would constitute a “black day for science in Israel and around the world.”

Ms. Brinker was asked for comment on her letter dispatched to The Bulletin, which claimed that Cairo has not barred Israeli medical professionals from the conference. No response was received from her office.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ten Obstacles to Middle East Peace

by David Bedein

1. November 2, 2009 marked the 92nd anniversary of Balfour day, which led to the 1922 San Remo Treaty and to the 1924 League of Nations ratification of the San Remo Treaty, which recognized the right of Jews to purchase land in the Jewish national homeland, defined as anywhere west of the Jordan River. Ratified by the UN in 1945, that is the basis of international law by which Israel can, indeed, settle the land of Israel with Jews who come from the four corners of the earth. The internationally ratified legal basis for Israel has been forgotten.

2. The Arab league rejected the idea of a Jewish national home, declaring a war of extermination in 1945 and actualizing that declaration in 1948. That declaration which is still extant, and the Arab League’s war to exterminate Israel continues. Egypt was then the dominant factor of the Arab League. The Saudis, however, remain the dominant factor of the Arab League today, as the only nation contiguous to Israel to have never signed any armistice or peace treaty with the Jewish state.

3. Perhaps the most effective tactic of the Arab League was to spawn the PLO under its aegis, whose task it would be to coordinate indigenous Palestinian Arabs to join the Arab States in their war to conquer and displace the Jewish state. To this day, the PLO, led by the Fatah reports to the Arab League, which has never changed its charter to destroy Israel. For that matter, neither has the PLO changed its charter to destroy Israel. At the same time, the Fatah conveys the false impression to the world that it is the product of a grass roots Palestinian national movement. Yet the PLO, course, changed the map and the perception of the Arab war to exterminate Israel, to make the war look like some kind of war of national liberation.

4. The Arab League continued its war of extermination by confining Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 to the squalor of refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the right of return. Their presence in UNRWA refugee camps continues to this day, under the aegis of the UN, through UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

5. The purpose of UNRWA is to fulfill successive UN resolutions that promote the supposed “inalienable right” of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendent's to return to villages from before 1948. Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants in the UNRWA camps learn that the 531 Israeli villages, kibbutzim, moshavim and neighborhoods that replaced the Arab villages are the illegal Israeli settlements, which are located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ashkelon, BeerSheva, Ashdod, Sderot and hundreds of other Israeli communities that were established on the ruins of Arab villages after 1948. While the popular imagination posits that the Palestinian Arab national ambition is only to replace the Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and Katif, the Palestinian Arab ambition as dictated by the PLO and its patron in the Arab League, is to take back the lands lost in 1948. UNRWA, financed by the US and other western nations, reinforces that ambition. UNRWA has recently been taken over by Hamas, to ensure that the ambition to actualize the right of return has gained a new, Islamic emphasis. Just look at how many Palestinian Arab refugees have left the teeming UNRWA Arab refugee camps in Gaza to live on the lands of the expelled Jewish communities from Katif. Not one. Why? Because the dictate of the PA, the PLO and Hamas is that Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants must return to the homes and villages that they left after 1948 - to Jaffa, Beer Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, etc.

6. The Palestinian Authority, established in 1994, instead of spurring the newly recognized Palestinian national entity to establish a nation state alongside Israel, has instead launched a base from where they can liberate the rest of of Palestine.

7. Meanwhile, the PA has established an educational system to educate the next generation that Israel must not exist. The new PA school books and the new PA maps speak for themselves, as the first school curriculum since the Third Reich that inculcates the idea that you must make war on the Jews and that Jews are less than human. The PA school books go one step beyond the Nazis, however, as they introduce lesson plans which praise those who murder Jews. While the Nazis murdered Jews, the Nazis always tried to obfuscate their acts. The Palestinian Authority instead teaches their children to take pride in the act of murdering a Jew.

8. To further reinforce the Palestinian entity around a renewed religious determination of the continued war to liberate all of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority adopted the draft of an Islamic constitution, based on the Sharia law. This was revealed to the public by a senior official in the Vatican who addressed visiting US congressmen in March 2003. This radical constitution was sponsored by the US government, through US AID.

9. Meanwhile, the Hamas Islamic movement took control of the PA legislature in democratic elections that were held under the sponsorship of the American government, in January 2006, which led to a Fatah-Hamas power sharing agreement known as the Mecca Accord, signed between the Fatah and the Hamas in March 2007. When the Fatah began to hesitate in carrying out the Mecca Accord, Hamas took over Gaza in its entirety in June, 2007.

10. The PA has made it clear that it will make no deal with Israel that does not assure the right of return of Palestinian Arab refugees, the PA control over Jerusalem, and the establishment of full and total sovereignty, which includes an army.

View the Original Link at Israel Behind the News: Ten Obstacles to Middle East Peace

The Fatah Conference in August: An Opportunity Missed

The Fatah Conference in August: An Opportunity Missed

By Arlene Kushner, Senior Research Policy Analyst, Center for Near East Policy Research

Fatah - which defines itself as a nationalist movement - is the dominant force within both the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the PA. There is no way to understand the possibilities for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without understanding its policies.

Contrasted routinely with Hamas, Fatah is seen as “moderate.”

Its constitution,[1] however, tells another story. Written in 1964, when Israel did not yet control the West Bank and Gaza, it uses terms such as “liberation” to refer exclusively to Israel within the Green Line, which it calls “Palestine.” The constitution states:

Liberating Palestine is a national obligation.
UN projects, accords and resolutions, or those of any individual country which undermine the Palestinian people's right in their homeland are illegal and rejected.
The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial...base...
[A Fatah goal is] complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.
This struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
Many well-informed persons are unaware of this Fatah constitution. And many of those who are familiar with it believe it is an anachronism: That is, as Fatah itself has changed, post-Oslo, its original constitution, which has remained static, is rendered irrelevant.

The fact, however, is that Fatah has two faces. We see this revealed in the “Phased Program” adopted by the PLO in 1974. (Fatah was, and is, by far the largest and most influential faction of the PLO.) This program was an acknowl edgement that “total liberation” in one fell swoop had become unrealistic; instead there was to be a “Strategy of Stages” - to “give the appearance of moderation” while “total liberation” would be pursued slowly over time as Israel was weakened.

The summer of 2009 was not simply post-Oslo, it was also post-Annapolis. What is more, the new American president, reaching out to the Arab world, had made resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a centerpiece of his administration.

It was an auspicious time for Fatah, if it truly was moderate, to come forth with a stance that definitively demonstrated this. It was the moment to renounce the positions of its pre-Oslo constitution to and speak in unambiguous terms about compromise, end of conflict, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

As it happened, Fatah had an extraordinary opportunity to do just that: In early August 2009, Fatah’s Sixth General Congress was held in Bethlehem.

This was a remarkable event historically, for even though its constitution requires the Congress - which is Fatah’s highest authority - to convene every five years, there had been no conference for 20 years.

Now some 2,000 delegates - most selected by Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas and his associates - came together, presumably prepared to establish new policies and elect new representatives to Fatah’s decision-making bodies: the 21-member Central Committee and the 120-member Revolutionary Council. Since the Congress had last met before Oslo, and since many of the leaders elected earlier were now either old or deceased, there was considerable international expectation that genuine changes for Fatah, reflecting new realities, might emerge from the Congress.

On the eve of the Congress, (Arabic-speaking) journalist and commentator Pinchas Inbari, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,[2] provided insight into the process that was about to unfold. Two documents would be discussed and approved at the Congress: The Political Program, which could be seen as promoting a political process, and the Constitution, referred to by Inbari as the “Internal Order.”

Here we see Fatah’s two faces. The Political Program, which moves in the direction of a political solution, “tries to accommodate international expectations and seems designed to mobilize international legitimacy...” It doesn’t overtly reject the concept of “armed struggle,” and occasionally speaks of a “struggle of all options,” which would include “armed struggle.” But most frequently it refers to “struggle” more generically. This includes a variety of other options, such as peaceful demonstrations, with “armed struggle” alluded to as something from the past.

The “Internal Order” - as is clear from its term of reference - is intended for use in-house (and includes procedural matters). As described above, it rejects negotiations and fervently and unambiguously embraces “armed struggle.”

The key to a genuine change in Fatah, then, would be modification of its “Internal Document.”

Hopes were high, as the Congress began on August 4:

“We have made mistakes,” said Mahmoud Abbas - head of Fatah and PA president - in his opening address. “Twenty years is too long. [This conference should be a] platform for a new start.”

But his words also carried a subtle endorsement of violence:

“Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law...

“We are not terrorists, and we reject a description of our legitimate struggle as terrorism. This will be our firm and lasting position.”

There was a nod early during the proceedings to Fatah’s terrorist past, as a moment of silence was called for the martyrs [i.e., terrorists] of Palestine, and reverence was duly expressed for Yasser Arafat. Discussion was held regarding whether Arafat had been poisoned; in the end, a resolution declared Israel responsible and called for an investigation. (In July, hard-liner Farouk Kaddoumi, secretary-general of the Central Committee, had accused Abbas himself of being involved in Arafat’s poisoning.)

After its first day, Conference proceedings deteriorated. In good part this was a reflection of enormous party rifts - old guard vs. new, hardliners vs. pragmatists, representatives of one region vs. those of another. Anger was expressed about persons not invited to the Conference and the manner in which nominees for the Central Committee were selected, indicating discontent with Abbas’s tight-fisted control. Commented one Fatah official: “There is so much corruption that is occurring from those who hold high positions that I don't think we can come together...”[3] Ahmed Qurei, chief PA negotiator during Annapolis negotiations, was so angry when he discovered that he had lost in the Central Committee elections that he questioned the vote-counting process, declaring that Fatah’s electoral fraud was even greater than Iran's.

On-going tensions so delayed proceedings that the Conference had to be prolonged by some days.

About half of the new members elected to the all-important Central Committee were from the “young guard,” but this is no assurance of increased moderation or revitalization in Fatah. Those who are considered “young” average about 50 years in age (compared to the age of “old guard” members, which is often over 70 years).

Two men elected from the “young guard” to the Central Committee elicit the greatest enthusiasm with regard to hope for change: Marwan Barghouti and Mohammad Dahlan, seen as pragmatists who, each in his way, might unite the party and combat corruption. There is more than a bit of irony in this regard, as Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his terrorist involvements, and Dahlan has been identified by the CIA and others as being directly associated with terrorism as well.

As it is, Dahlan came in only 10th of the 18 new members who were being elected. The biggest vote getter was Muhammad Ghneim, 71 (who, as an Abbas ally, helped to draft the list of attendees). A hard-liner opposed to Oslo, he for years remained self-exiled in Tunisia. Committed to the “total liberation of Palestine” he has vowed to keep the term “armed resistance” as part of the lexicon of Fatah’s program. A co-founder of Fatah, with Arafat, Abbas, and others, he has continued to maintain close ties with Abbas.

Coming in second was another Abbas ally, Mahmoud al-Aloul, former member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council; he had been a close associate of terrorist Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) before Israel killed him in 1988.

As to increased moderation in Fatah policy, it would be difficult to say that any progress was made at the Congress. According to veteran Palestinian analyst Hussein Agha, “There was no real political discussion in Bethlehem at all..”[4]

A revised “Political Program,” contained in a 40-page document, was presented to the attendees for approval. It downplayed the concept of “armed resistance” but did not overtly reject it. (It was represented as a practice of the past that would have to be re-evaluated now.)

While it accepted negotiations in principle, across the board it advocated a hard-line: the suspension of peace talks until all Palestinian prisoners are released from Israeli jails, all settlement-building is frozen, and the Gaza blockade is lifted. Some analysts saw in this position an attempt to accommodate Hamas, with which Fatah was scheduled to discuss reconciliation shortly after the conference. Others interpreted this as a necessary attempt to mollify hard-liners within Fatah.

Meyrav Wurmser, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Hudson Institute, described the Fatah position thus: “...What Fatah gives, if even somewhat vaguely, it then takes in starker terms. Whatever more peaceful language it adopted, was completely contradicted elsewhere in the document.”

With regard to the critical “Internal Document,” presented as a re-write at the conference, there was no change in substance: “armed resistance”(violence and terror as the means of achieving a Palestinian state) was unambiguously embraced and all international peace initiatives were rejected.

“It is a declaration of war on the State of Israel,” declared Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), echoing a sentiment expressed by many.

=======================

Citations


[1] http://middleeastfacts.com/middle-east/the-fatah-constitution.php.

[2] http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=1&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=3062&TTL=Will_Fatah_Give_Up_the_Armed_Struggle_at_Its_Sixth_General_Congress ?#

[3] Sousan Hammad, who was present at the Conference, writing for Menassat, a website from Lebanon reporting on the Arab world.

[4] Cited on Electric Intifada, August 17, 2009.