Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ethical Journalism

In Ma'an News:

CORRECTION: 31 October 2010
Published today (updated) 31/10/2010 18:47

An article published 30 October 2010, "Israel expands Nablus settlement," contained an out-of-date response from a representative of the Shvut Rachel settlement. Yisrael Medad had only denied information contained in a prior report, not Saturday's. Due to an editing mistake, Mr Medad's subsequent confirmation was overlooked despite being received well in advance of publication. Ma'an regrets the error.


HaEtzni Condemns "Price Tag" Policy

Elyakin Haetzni on the "Price Tag" Policy:-

Despicable Jewish revenge

What at first appeared to be individual mischievous acts, and later became methodical “hooliganism,” is increasingly taking the shape of a threatening phenomenon: The desecration of an Arab cemetery and the torching of mosques, schools, fields and vehicles.

The perpetrators of these crimes refer to them as “price tag,” an infuriating term in terms of both morality and logic.

...Here, the perpetrators are not even targeting anonymous Arabs to avenge the acts of other Arabs; rather, we see Jews hurting Arabs who are not accused of anything only in order to “pay back” other Jews...

The “price tag” lawbreakers won’t like this truth, yet with their acts they are hitting the nadir of their worst Arab enemies, whose revenge is blind even within their own people, where it’s enough for the victim to belong to a certain tribe or clan. Questions of justice and morality, such as the victim’s innocence, are irrelevant.

Yet who thought that young Jews would adopt this despicable method and settle their scores with authorities through burned down mosques?

When condemning the “price tag” low point aimed at innocents, we must stay away from sophisticated PLO-style statements: That is, bogus condemnations while assigning blame to the victim. We must not remain silent...the “price tag” tactic also does not “pay off”, as it taints the settlement enterprise - which is as just and moral as it gets – more than radical leftist smearing could ever do. Nonetheless, the public outcry must discount any such cost-benefit considerations. We must not show restraint, we must not get used to it, and we must not tolerate a wicked tactic of hurting people who had done no wrong, regardless of who these people are.

We must also not justify the “price tag” actions indirectly...The defense minister’s cruelty towards Jews does not justify a “response” directed at Arabs. If we lose our humanity along the way, one day we’ll be asking what’s the point of it all...


That's Shiloh in the Background

And that's Salam Fayyad picking olives on the left and perhaps Robert Serry, UN Rep, assisting him.

Quoted in a Story on the US Consulate-General and YESHA

In Yisrael HaYom:-

Sorry for the delay in providing a translation.  The story deals with the activities of the US Jerusalem Consulate-General (which reports directly to Washington and has always been independent of the Embassy.

The section above notes that I have bee engaged with the Consulate for a quarter of a century and that I regret that the YESHA Council did not adequately employ a Foreign Desk unit that would employ the latent power of upwards of 15,000 American citizens residing in Judea and Samaria, and before that in Gaza.  I note there that Senators and others have visited my home and I was able to elucidate Zionism to them.  I meet with Consulate officials who receive open information as there are few secrets today.  I am invited for the Independence Day event and I enjoy being seen there by Peace Now and other anti groups.

The US views us as an element and I am satisfied that I have done a job in preventing a one-sided story.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is Gershon Baskin a...Criminal? A Lawbreaker?


One of Egypt's best-selling novelists lashed out on Friday at an unauthorized Hebrew translation of his best known novel, describing it as intellectual "theft."

Alaa al-Aswany told AP that he will sue an Israeli center for translating his hit book, "The Yacoubian Building," without his permission.

The Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information acknowledged it translated the novel against al-Aswany's will on the grounds of "expanding cultural awareness."

The center's founder, Gershon Baskin, said that al-Aswany is against culture normalization with Israel and that is why he turned down several requests to translate the novel into Hebrew.

In consultation with the organization's board, Baskin said, he decided to offer a link to a PDF file of the Hebrew translation, sending it out to the 27,000 people on the group's e-mail list.

"This man apparently rejects the fact that his country has been at peace with Israel for 30 years," Baskin said. "With all due respect to his copyright privileges, we decided it was important for people here to read this book. Let's give the Israeli Jewish public an opportunity to understand Arab society better."

(Kippa tip: DH)

"East" Jerusalem? No. New Jerusalem Neighborhoods

Elliot Green:

Jerusalem has had a Jewish absolute majority population since 1853, according to the contemporary French historian and diplomat, Cesar Famin.

Thus, the notion of "Arab east Jerusalem" is a post-1948 invention.


"La population sedentaire de Jerusalem est d'environ 15,500 ames:"
("The sedentary population of Jerusalem is about 15,500 souls:")

Jews . . . 8,000 . . . Juifs
Muslims . .4,000 . . . Musulmans
Christians 3,490 . . . Chretiens
- - - - - - -------
. . . . . . . 15,490

This is the place for the name and other data about Famin's book: L'Histoire de la rivalite et du protectorat des Eglises chretiennes en Orient (Paris: Firmin Didot freres, 1853). The breakdown of Jerusalem's population is on page 49.


My Comment on Roger Cohen



On his "crunch" suggestion.


No Comment


Members of Chicago's Jewish community carried on with their weekend services, undaunted by news that two Jewish houses of worship on the North Side may have been the targets of a foiled terrorist plot.

Two packages containing explosives — sent to Chicago addresses — were intercepted in London and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, late Thursday...

...Jewish Congregation Or Chadash last used the church facilities for its worship services several years ago. The congregation — which serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews — has since moved to Edgewater, where it shares space with Emanuel Congregation.


Pallywood: They've Been Faking Olive Tree Destruction & Damage

A special unit, "Tatzpit", near Halamish, a community north-west of Ramallah, had caught on film Arabs and left-wingers engaged in producing faked scenes of olive tree destruction and damage.

Hebrew story at Ynet is here.

Here's one picture taken by Ohad Amiton:

The trees were being sawed with an electric saw in an aggressive manner which indicates that the Arab was not simply trimming.  The photographer saw branches broken, started taking pictues but was warned off in a threatening manner.  The site was east of Bir Zeit, close to Highway 60.

I am thinking that it was done Friday close to Shabbat so that the bad news could take advantage of the Shabbat when we observant Jews do not hear the news nor can be respond and a whole day of domination would go by before we could try to find out what happened and then deal with it.

Evil people.  Devious, too.

(not yet up in English)

In the JC.


The English:

Settlers: Arabs, leftists staged 'price tag' act

Arabs and leftist activists staged an attack on Palestinian fields in a bid to accuse settlers of vandalism, an organization that claims to have documented the incident says.

The photos, taken by members of the Tazpit Unit, were shot on Palestinian land Friday, near the Neveh Tzuf settlement. The images allegedly show Palestinians and left-wing activists cutting down Palestinian olive trees using an electric saw.

Many so-called "Price Tag' acts targeting Palestinians were recorded in the last few weeks, and the settlers now claim they were staged by the Palestinians themselves and intended to harm the settlers' image.

Tazpit photographer Ehud Amiton, who documented the vandalism act on Friday, says that this is exactly what can be seen in his images.

"We are talking about an olive grove east of Beit Zayit, located near Route 60," Amiton said."I immediately saw that it was no ordinary pruning, it was done very aggressively...Some of the branches broke and other trees were cut off entirely. When I approached closer with my camera, the Palestinian man waved his saw at me threateningly. I felt uneasy so I backed off".

Tazpit unit director Amotz Eyal said that "during every olive harvest season, just like this one, there are many cases of Arab farmers cutting down olive branches, later blaming it on the settlers."

"Time after time photos prove that these Arabs are not holding back; they provoke in order to tarnish the image of Jewish settlers," he said.

Eyal vowed that Tazpit photographers will continue to document such activities in order to show the public actual events on the ground.

And this, too:

Arabs uproot and cut down trees in Netzer-Gush Etzion

...members of Women in Green received notice that twelve Arabs had come to Netzer with axes and saws in order to uproot the big olive trees that belong to the Jews and that had been planted last week. The plot of land where the Arabs came yesterday, had already been declared by the Civil Administration as being state land. Despite that the Arabs continue to come and try to steal it away from the Jewish people.

[last] Sunday, the Arabs came and uprooted the olive trees. Women in Green and the Netzer group came back that night, between Sunday and Monday, and in a complicated operation, with tractors, replanted the big trees.

Yesterday, Friday October 29th, some twelve Arabs came, with axes and saws and cut down three trees. The IDF came, the Commander in charge of the area and others. They saw the damage and promised to catch the Arab perpetrators.

Before the army arrived, some activists from the area had run to the place to defend the trees and thus managed to prevent the Arabs from cutting down more trees. The Arabs fled before the army came.

For the Hebrew article and pictures on Arutz 7.


Friday, October 29, 2010

And Israel Has Odd Legislation?


The New Zealand government on Friday passed legislation clearing the way for two "Hobbit" films to be made in the country despite stiff protest by opposition lawmakers, who said it was a "day of shame."

The government's decision to rush through amended labor laws, part of the deal made with Warner Bros. Pictures to keep director Peter Jackson's lucrative project in his native New Zealand, has split public opinion.

...The government said announced a deal on Wednesday to keep the films in New Zealand, although it was forced to hand over tens of millions of dollars for the privilege...Included in the deal was an offer of $25 million, some $15 million of that in tax breaks, and the law changes, which were pushed through without the normal process of referral to a parliamentary committee and public submissions.

...said opposition lawmaker Charles Chauvel. "This is a government which, in the words of the Financial Times today, has reduced New Zealand to client status of an American film studio."

RivkaA Has Passed Away

Three years ago, I met blogger Rivka who put up Chemo and Coffee. And again on a few other occasions, like a Succot picnic:

Here's a picture my wife photographed at that Bloggers Conference:

She has succumbed this morning to the cancer that invaded her body.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Funeral to take place this Motzei Shabbat, at Givat Shaul's Kehillat Yerushalayim cemetery.

Here's what she wanted:

When you think of me, be happy.

When you see me, smile.


Dr. Israel Eldad's 100th Birthday Commemoration

The family of Dr. Israel Eldad commemorated the 100th anniversary of his birth last Sunday at the Begin Center.

The event opened with Greetings by Professor MK Arye Eldad; Herzl Makov, Head, Begin Center; and
Yair Stern, Chairman, Lechi Veterans' Association.
There were three lectures by:

Prof. Yehuda Friedlander on "Uri Tzvi Greeneberg and Eldad, Prophesizing in the Camp";

Roni Eldad-Shasha on "The Presence of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai in Eldad's Writing";

Rabbi Benny Lau (substituting for Dr. Micha Goodman) on "The Vision of the Divine Chariot [Ma'aseh Merkava] of Rav Kook".

The Musical Interlude was provided by Karni Eldad.


Using The Bible

This is the sign of the vehicle of my friend, Yisrael Zev, who deals in storm windows:

You notice that text:

שְׁקֻפִים אֲטוּמִים

Well, it comes from I Kings 6:4.

However, the translation there is wrong.

Those words mean "transparent and sealed".

Nice way of using Biblical Hebrew.


From "Tough Love" All The Way To "Crunch Time"

These liberals can get very violent, verbally at least.

Roger Cohen goes: Crunch Time

Yes, he's back, physically. After his daughter's Bat Mitzva in the summer, he's back in Jerusalem.

In December 2008, he was fomenting "tough love".

Another time, he referred to Benjamin Netanyahu is terms of "dangerous, mythologizing attempts" in relation to Iran's bomb!

Cohen, of course, is the dangerous one in this matrix.

And now this:

...What is it that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to do that he never dreamed of doing? He recently got to “two states for two peoples,” but that was just playing catch-up...

The Palestinians have stated their position: The 1967 borders plus or minus agreed land swaps, meaning a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. In return, President Mahmoud Abbas has said, Palestinians will drop all “historical claims” and live alongside a secure Israel in peace.

I am not convinced of that finality supposition of Cohen. And I have given examples but more importantly, is the PA education and sensitizing its populace to that goal or it it a few spokespersons mouthing for the media?

Cohen admits:

Netanyahu and Israelis have plenty of cause for skepticism, not least the Fatah-Hamas division in the Palestinian national movement and the way withdrawal from Gaza led to rockets from Hamas.

His new line of pressure is:

...Obama has to look over the horizon and ask Netanyahu this question:

“Mr. Prime Minister, I understand your security concerns. The United States will always stand by Israel. But tell me this: If all your security concerns are met, all of them, what is the border you want for Israel?”

And he suggests:

The only possible Palestinian flexibility on the settlement-building moratorium issue lies in U.S. guarantees that borders are going to be addressed pronto. Once borders come into focus, it matters not if Israel builds within them.

Of course, we can ask the PA (or Hamas? or Islamic Jihad? or...?), no right of return?

Sometimes, Roger, the "world" is really irrelevant if not mistaken:

I don’t believe Israel has yet got to where the world is: the inevitability of a Palestinian state.

And here you are correct:

I don’t believe the Judea and Samaria illusion — all the land — has died entirely in Netanyahu.

And not only him. And who says their 'state' need not go through a process, including autononmy or confederation first?

But Cohen suggest that Obama has agree with Medvedev and Sarkozy and Cameron and Hu that we will go to the Security Council and seek a resolution establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and suggest that every state recognize it.”

That Israeli worry is some leverage. Netanyahu has to grasp that it’s crunch time.

Cohen wants Israel to worry, to feel under pressure.

That, Mr. Cohen, is not diplomacy.

And you know what, why don't we turn the tables and ask Mr. Obama:

If you can't resolve Iran, which is a far-away danger to Israel (not really, but Cohen doesn't believe it's a danger at all so I have to go slow with slow-thinking people), why should I trust you to solve a much closer danger - and we'll ignore Iran's influence in Lebanon and Gaza.


A Demographic 'Problem'


The growth of the settler Jewish revenant population slowed slightly in the first five months of 2010, but the numbers still rose at almost three times the national average, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data released this week. This despite the government’s efforts to dramatically curb construction in settlements communities.

Based on the figures for January 1- June 1, the CBS projected a 4.8 percent rise in the settlers’ numbers of revenants for 2010 as a whole, down slightly from 5.3% in 2009. The projected rise for 2009 was similarly down to 4.9% when measured in September of that year, but the rate had risen by the year’s end.

The nationwide population rose by 1.8% in each of the two years.

The new CBS figures are the first official population data to be published since the 10-moratorium on new construction went into force in November 2009, and the first to provide a picture of the impact it had on the number of people who live in or chose to move to West Bank settlements communities.

Settlers Yesha leaders said Thursday they were pleased by their region’s growth...

In 2009, the settler Jewish population grew by 15,000, out of which 10,600 represented births and the remaining 4,400 people who moved to Judea and Samaria.

As of June 2010, 303,900 Jews lived in Judea and Samaria, a rise of 7,200 from 296,700 on December 31, 2009, according to the CBS...

Yes, that was my editing in italics.

Someone may have a demographic problem with this.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

On A Walking Tour

I took 25 graduates of the Haifa Military Cadet High School on a walking tour in Jerusalem today.

From Menachem Begin's first apartment in Jerusalem in 1942 at Alfasi 27 to the Prime Minister's Residence to the King David Hotel and to the Old Jerusalem Railway Station:

Take Note

Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, in a telephone interview from Ramallah...said the Palestinian leadership believed that Mr. Netanyahu was only placing obstacles in the way of peace...Dismissing the Geneva Accord as an effort of private individuals, Mr. Shtayyeh and other Palestinians argue that recognition of Israel as the Jewish state will negate their demand for a right of return for Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war and their descendants, before any negotiation. They also say it undermines the status of the Palestinian-Arab citizens who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population, and who are afforded equal rights in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leave The Circumcisions for the Mohel


Baby Injured During At-Home Circumcision
Infant Expected To Survive, Officers Say

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A 3-month-old child was taken to a hospital in critical condition after his mother attempted to circumcise him at home, police said.

Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said officers arrived at a home at Northeast 127th Avenue and Burnside Street at about 2 a.m. Sunday to assist medics after a call of an injured child.

Police said they learned the mother had attempted to perform a medical procedure on the infant.

The child was taken to a hospital, Simpson said, and is expected to survive.

I just hope this wasn't a Jewish family.

a) it's done at 8 days;

b) it isn't done by a woman;

c) it is done by a mohel.

Pollard Picked The Wrong Country To Work For


American pleads guilty to spying for Chinese

Glenn Duffie Shriver, 28, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady to conspiring to provide national defense information to intelligence officers of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Shriver pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to communicate national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it. In a plea agreement, the defense and government jointly recommended a prison sentence of 48 months. Sentencing is scheduled for January 21, 2011.
Some observers believe that Shriver received too much leniency and should serve a longer sentence.


Badmouthing at Darmouth

I left this comment

Since Prof. Pressman surely has been trained in rigorous methods of scholarship and research, can I ask: you claim that “Settlements are an obstacle to peace”. However, prior to 1967 when Israel assumed the administration of Judea and Samaria in a defensive war, there was no Israeli occupation nor any so-called settlements in the area (there were Jewish communities there before 1948 [4 kibbutzim in Gush Etzion; Neveh Yaakov and Atarot north of Jerusalem; Bet Haareavah at the Dead Sea; Hebron, Gaza, Nablus and Jenin until 1929; but all were ethnically cleansed of Jews either in the Mandate riots or the Arab aggressive war against the UN partition resolution]) - but there was no peace. In the 1950s, Arab terror, of the fedayeen killed hundreds of Israelis until 1956 and then in 1964, the Fatah was founded by the PLO. So, why was there no peace then and additionally, what problem of the Arabs then will dismantling of Jewish communities today solve?

And did you discuss the 1924 Anglo-American Covention that recognized the Jewish right to reconstitute its national home in areas including Judea and Samaria and Gaza in your talk? See:

At the Darmouth College campus newspaper.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look Who Almost Came To Visit


The United Nations Security Council could support the Palestinians' unilateral bid for statehood if Israel does not renew its freeze on new settlement construction, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry warned Israel on Tuesday.

"If the freeze is not renewed, then yes, maybe this is going to happen," Serry said as he spoke with The Jerusalem Post in an olive grove in the West Bank village of Turmus'ayya, located in the Binyamin Region near the Shiloh settlement.

"If the Palestinians living in this beautiful little town do not see that these things are being rolled back, it is difficult to convince them that we are working toward a two-state solution," Serry told reporters.

...One of the more significant symbols of the Palestinians' desire to struggle for freedom from Israel "occupation" was the olive tree, said Serry.

"There could be nothing more symbolic here in Palestine than to participate in the olive harvest. The harvest is an act of identity and self-reliance. It is a symbol of a people's unyielding attachment to their homeland," he said.

As for Salam Fayyad who was also there:

Fayyad added that the government of Israel should be held accountable for "acts of violence and terrorism committed by settlers against our people."

He called on Israel to stop settlement construction, which he said was illegal under international law. "The youngest of these olive trees, is more deeply rooted in this land than the largest Israeli settlement," he said.

Gee, had I known they were coming, I'd have baked a cake offered to discuss peace, security, Jewish rights and other items with them.

Earlier this year, Hebron with the Cave of the Patriarchs and Bethlehem with the Tomb of Rachel are also problematic for Serry:

In a statement, Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he was concerned by Israel's announcement regarding the Hebron holy site and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, another shrine Netanyahu wants to include in the heritage plan.

"I call on Israel not to take any steps on the ground which undermine trust or could prejudice negotiations, the resumption of which should be the highest shared priority of all who seek peace," Serry said.

By the way, Haaretz adds from the Reuters report:

A senior UN official condemned attacks by Jewish "settler extremists" on Palestinians' olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to "combat violence and terror by Israelis."

Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel's settlement freeze last month.
West Bank mosque arson

Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks.

Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month.

"I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians," Serry said.

"Israel states its condemnation of attacks, which I welcome, but its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable," he said.

"Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians," he said.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Serry's use of the term "terror" in reference to Israelis and said he should have chosen his words more carefully.

"We understand that he decries acts of violence by certain settlers, but the Israeli government has been the first to condemn them and to instruct law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators - but when he speaks of terror by Israelis, does he mean Israeli suicide bombers on Palestinian buses?" spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

So, Arabs who destroy Jewish agricultural property are terrorists, too, Mr. Serry?


Suggested Reading


a takedown of Ali Abunimah.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So Obama Is A Snob?

I didn't say he's a snob.

But he has.

In the Washington Post.

An intellectual snob.


Interpreting Obama does not require psychoanalysis or the reading of mystic Chicago runes. He is an intellectual snob. Not that there is anything wrong with this. Some of my best friends are intellectual snobs. But they don't make very good politicians.

- - -

From Congress to the White House: Letter Concerning Jonathan Pollard


Letter to Congress from the Offices of Congressmen Barney Frank, Bill Pascrell, Eldolphus Towns and Anthony Weiner

Date: 9/28/2010

Twenty-five years is enough.

Dear Colleague,

We invite you to join us in sending the following letter to President Obama [see below], asking him to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, the former civilian defense officer who has been incarcerated since 1985 and is serving a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel.

The letter stresses that we are not questioning Mr. Pollard's guilt, or the process by which he was convicted and sentenced, or the necessity of punishing those who engage in espionage on behalf of allied countries. Rather, the appeal for clemency is based on the vast disparity between Mr. Pollard's sentence and the sentences given to many others who have been convicted of similar activities, even with countries that unlike Israel are or have been adversaries of the United States.

We also note the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people. This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors.

If you wish to sign, or have any further questions, please contact Markus Rose with Congressman Frank at


October 12, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to urge you to use your constitutional power to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, thereby releasing him from prison after the time he has already served. As you know, such an exercise of the clemency power does not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted. Those who have such views are of course entitled to continue to have them, but the clemency grant has nothing to do with that.

We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served - or not served at all - by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations adversarial to us, unlike Israel.

Recently, we allowed a large number of Russians, who had been spying on us for the country that had long been our major adversary, to leave with no punishment whatsoever. This makes it very hard for many to understand why Mr. Pollard should continue to serve beyond the nearly twenty-five years he has already been in prison. We agree that it is important that we establish the principle that espionage of any sort is impermissible, but it is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.

We further believe that at a time when Israel, our democratic ally, is being faced with difficult decisions, a decision by you to grant clemency would not only be a humane act regarding Mr. Pollard, but it would also be taken in Israel as a further affirmation of the strong commitment the U.S. has to the ties between us, and we believe that such an affirmation could be especially useful at a time when those decisions are being made.

In summary, we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system; as an act that will do nothing whatsoever to lessen our defenses against espionage; and a step that far from hurting the national security, could advance it by the impact it would have within Israel. We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.

Fair and Balanced

Fair and balanced is what reporting is supposed to be.

As someone pointed out to me, there's a Reuters story about how the midterm elections in the US may affect the "peace process". It was "edited by Samia Nakhoul".

If you click over to her Facebook page, you'd learn that her complete list of "Likes and Interests" includes:

Lambeth & Wandsworth Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War against the Palestinians,
Russell Tribunal on Palestine,
10,000 United Against the Blockade on Gaza,
Lebanon Page,
Neil MacFarquhar,
Rola Mahmoud,

That is such a "fair and balanced" list, don't you agree?


On the Olive Tree and The Clergymen

Over at my Jerusalem Post Green-Lined blog.


High Flying Arabs


Minister of Transportation Saadi Kurunz said that the planned international airport will be built on a 5-square-mile plot in an open area of the West Bank between Jerusalem and the ancient city of Jericho.

The area is considered Area C, according to the Oslo peace accords' breakdown of the West Bank. Area C means it is a sparsely populated area that falls under full Israeli control. About two-thirds of the West Bank falls into this category. The Palestinian Authority cannot be present, let alone carry out any kind of work, in Area C, which Palestinians hope will one day be part of their independent state.

But this is not supposed to deter the Palestinians because the building program is set to specifically challenge Israel's control of Area C.

"An airport means sovereignty, freedom, progress and economic development," Kurunz said. He said the Palestinian Authority "did not and will not ask permission from Israel" to build the airport. It wants to do it "despite the occupation," he added.


State Asserts Israel's High Court for Justice Supports "Illegal" Outpost

Serves those judges right.


In a 14-page document, the state argued that it did not plan to demolish the [Amona] outpost at this time, even though it acknowledged that the hilltop community was illegally built...penned by the Defense Ministry’s settlement adviser Eitan Broshi.

...enforcement has to take into current circumstances into consideration, he added. In this case, considerations that stem from the diplomatic process with the Palestinians have to be taken into account...These decisions that are of a sensitive nature should be beyond the court’s jurisdiction, he said.

To bolster his argument, he referred to a High Court decision not to interfere with the 10-month moratorium on new construction in Judea and Samaria that lasted from November 26, 2009, to September 26, 2010. The court refrained from acting because the issue was diplomatic, he said.

This same logic works here as well, Broshi argued. The court understood in that instance that the nation’s diplomatic agenda was at stake and that as result the court should not get involved. It should take the same stance here as well, he said...

That's telling them!


Even The Washington Post Knows

From Jackson Diehl's piece:

So why does Abbas stubbornly persist in his self-defeating position [of demanding a continued construction freeze as a condition for negotiations - YM] ? In an interview with Israeli television Sunday night, he offered a remarkably candid explanation: ``When Obama came to power, he is the one who announced that settlement activity must be stopped,'' he said. ``If America says it and Europe says it and the whole world says it, you want me not to say it?''

...the settlement impasse originated not with Netanyahu or Abbas but with President the surprise of Netanyahu and some in his own administration, Obama reintroduced the settlement issue. First in a news conference and then in his September address to the U.N. General Assembly, he called on the Israeli government to extend the settlement moratorium, which expired on Sept. 26. In doing so, he made it impossible for Abbas not to make the same demand...both leaders are trapped. Netanyahu is a hostage to his cabinet; Abbas is the prisoner of Obama's misguided rhetoric.

And from an earlier one this last month:

...the Obama administration has once again chosen to ask Netanyahu for an unnecessary concession -- and one he may be unable to deliver...the prime minister is unlikely to accept the deal with the U.S. unless he can persuade his coalition partners to go along.

At the same time, Netanyahu knows that if he rejects the deal, he will anger Obama -- who hasn't shied from open confrontations with Israel over settlements. Obama isn't likely to turn on Netanyahu before the U.S. midterm elections; but a breakdown in the peace process could seriously complicate relations between the two countries next year, when Israel hopes the United States will act decisively to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Another U.S.-Israel crisis is probably what Abbas is hoping for -- and why he has taken a hard-line position on the settlement issue. The Palestinian president has engaged in negotiations with Israeli governments for years without demanding any such freeze...All along, Abbas has shown scant interest in these peace talks -- he made a point of saying he was dragged to the bargaining table. He turned down a far-reaching peace offer from Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert. If he were genuinely interested in reaching a peace settlement with Israel, he could set aside the settlement issue without risking his own hold on power.

So why has the Obama administration chosen to focus its diplomacy on extracting a purely symbolic but next-to-impossible concession from Netanyahu? That will be the question worth asking if the peace process breaks down this weekend.

Jackson Diehl is Deputy Editorial Page Editor of the WashPost.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out of the Mouths of 'Babes'

She says:

Resistance can be through music.
Palestinian hip hop, for example, is very popular.

The 'she' is Anne Baltzer. Her site.

She is, it appears, almost venerated.  Saint Anne:

But she is quite a presentable person:

And Jewish, too.
But she is dangerous.


Is that what gets people excited about "resistance"?

The only hip-hop I ever see is when a Arab youngster is running forward to throw a stone.

Was that flip over the hood of David Be'eri's car a hip-hop?


Jonathan Pollard and the LA Times

As the LATimes editorial has it:

Pollard's lawyers have petitioned Obama for a commutation of his sentence to the time he already has served. What criteria should
influence the president's decision? The fact that Pollard spied for a friendly nation isn't an extenuating factor; even if Israel and the United States have identical interests, which isn't always the case, the decision to share intelligence with another country belongs to the political leadership of this nation, not to individual government employees.

[And the Justice for Pollard Committee points out: Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. Proportional justice, or "equal justice for all" which is supposed to be guaranteed by the American Constitution means similar sentences for similar offenses. There is no reasonable or acceptable way to explain or justify why the median sentence for this offense is 2 to 4years for everyone else, but for Pollard it is life.]

But there's another consideration:

After World War II, certain Germans, Nazis or not, were allowed to enter the US and serve America in one way or another.

Like Werner Van Braun:

In his 20s and early 30s, von Braun was the central figure in Germany's pre-war rocket development programme, responsible for the design and realization of the deadly V-2 combat rocket during World War II...In November 1937 (other sources: December 1, 1932), von Braun joined the National Socialist German Workers Party. An Office of Military Government, United States document dated April 23, 1947, states that von Braun joined the Waffen-SS (Schutzstaffel) horseback riding school in 1933, then the National Socialist Party on May 1, 1937, and became an officer in the Waffen-SS from May 1940 until the end of the war...After the war, he and some of his rocket team were taken to the U.S. as part of the then-secret Operation Paperclip. In 1955, ten years after entering the country, von Braun became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

There were many more like him via Operation Paperclip.

I would never compare Jay Pollard to a Nazi war enemy of America but I would compare the woeful injust atttitude and practice of US authorities to Jay as compared to Van Braun.

It's time Jay was released - without any need to plead that the act will assist American relations with Israel.


Pardon Their French

Found here.

Understatement of The Day

In a review article on a new exhibition, "Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam", I read this:-

The focus on similarities among the three religions is partly meant to disconnect terrorism from the mainstream Islamic tradition. In the British catalog, Karen Armstrong, who has written widely about the Abrahamic religions, minimizes the scale of Islamist violence by suggesting that each religion has its dangerous extremists, but more important, she argues, is that the faiths share a devotion to the ideal of transcendence through holy texts. The British exhibition even had the subtitle “Discover What We Share.” And in New York, too, the emphasis throughout is on commonality. At this historical moment, this is meant to defend Islam against anticipated accusations. Thus: out of three distinct monotheisms, one humanist perspective. This argument deserves more analysis

"More analysis"?

Or disputation?


Teenage Female "Settler" In Action

No, the headline is not "Young 'Settler' Attacks Police":-

Photo by Miriam Tzachi, located in Makor Rishon October 15, 2010

Action at Ramat Migron

The Hot Desert Sun Can Scramble One's Brains

This is the view of Prince Turki al-Faisal, a leading figure in Saudi Arabia's royal family:-

"In the public sphere," he said, "there are journalists whose view is so distorted by the neoconservative mantle -- or, as I call it, 'burqa,' that they wear -- that they cannot see that the call for independence from Middle East oil is a canard that defrauds the average consumer of energy by promising him clean energy, which is nonexistent, and to pay a higher price for that energy regardless of the abundant availability of the secure source of energy that comes from the Middle East -- and at a cheaper price."

If that sounds weird to you, let's quote him some more:

...[he] called Israel "a drain on the United States, and not an asset" Friday while accusing the Obama administration of a blatant pro-Israel bias in its Middle East policy.

"Within the makeup of this administration, ladies and gentleman, there are officials who rationalize, excuse, and condone Israeli intransigence while seeking to put more pressure on the Palestinians to concede even more," Mr. Al Faisal said, in a speech to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. "These same officials believe that the Palestinian problem is not the root cause of Arab and Muslim antagonism to the United States. It is these officials who propose that the Netanyahu government should be rewarded for its intransigence rather than sanctioned."

..."Saudi Arabia," he said, "agreed with other Arab states to give peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine a chance -- more than once -- under the United-States-negotiated partial colony freeze. The United States failed to stick to its assurances and, to add insult to injury, offered the Netanyahu government more money, arms, protection from U.N. sanction, and, shamefully, the stationing of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory -- as if this territory were part of the United States' sovereign lands. And this was to get him to extend the partial freeze for a few more days. Now that the Netanyahu government has rejected that offer, we are waiting to see what else the United States will offer."

And he went on:

He said that throughout history, the United States had shown "its capability to bring Israeli craven ambition to heel in many instances."

"However -- and there is always a however as well when dealing with the United States -- there has grown over the years a web of very tight and strong strings that bind the U.S. to her client state, Israel."


"Palestine" Was Not Promised to the Arabs

I came across this resource and quickly reading through, realized that it contains a remification on exactly what "country" the Arabs were demanding prior to World War I and before.

First, we have this letter:

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 6672/6672/14/44.
(No. 22.) Secret.
Cairo, D. February 6, 1914.
R. February 14, 1914.

The Sherif Abdullah, son of the Sherif of Mecca, is now staying in Cairo on a short visit called upon me yesterday.

He begged me to convey to you his father's compliments, and said that affairs in the Hedjaz not going on as well as could be wished owing to the recent appointment of a new Turkish Vali who combined civil and military functions and who is not in sympathy with the people and does not act harmoniously with his father in the conduct of the internal affairs of the holy places as well as for the comfort and security of the Moslem pilgrims from all parts of the world which his father as Sherif has been so long responsible.

He wished me to ask you whether in case this friction became acute and an attempt was made by the Turkish Government to dismiss his father from the hereditary office of Sherif of the holy places, you would use your good offices with the Sublime Porte to prevent any such attempt. He pointed out that his father had always done his best to assist Indian Moslem pilgrims amongst whom he had many friends. He stated very decidedly that in case the Turkish Government dismissed his father the Arab tribes of the Hedjaz would fight for the Sherif and a state of war against the Turkish troops would ensue. He hoped in such circumstances that the British Government would not allow reinforcements to be sent by sea for the purpose of preventing the Arabs from exercising the rights which they have enjoyed from time immemorial in their own country round the holy places.

He wished his remarks to be kept very secret and on no account to be known in Constantinople, and he also asked me whether you would send his father some message. I said I thought would be improbable that you would do so.

I have, &c.

In my reading, the country he desired liberated with British help from the Turkish Ottoman rule did not inlcude "Palestine" but was restricted to the Saudi Arabain Peninsula.

Nevertheless, you might presume that "holy places" still would include Jerusalem, yes?

Well, look at this in context:

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 15883/4588/14/44.
(No. 58.) Confidential.
Cairo, D. April 4, 1914.
R. April 11, 1914


In the enclosure to Sir Louis Mallet's despatch No. 193(1) of the 18th ultimo of which His Excellency forwarded me a copy, I notice it is stated that the Sherif of Mecca sent his son, Abdullah Bey, to me. This does not, however, quite accurately represent what took place, as Abdullah Bey was actually on a visit to the Khedive and only called on me quite unofficially, and some time after his arrival in Cairo, when he spoke to me as reported in my despatch No. 22 Secret,(2) of the 6th of February last. You will remember that he received no sort of encouragement from me.

I quite agree with Sir Louis Mallet in thinking that great care will have to be taken in dealing with the Arab question, so as not to wound Turkish susceptibilities and arouse their suspicions. At the same time we cannot afford to lose sight of the interests which Great Britain must always take in the Holy Places, owing to the annual pilgrimage which is attended by thousands of Indian Moslems and also by many Egyptians. The welfare and indeed safety of these pilgrims is intimately bound up with the maintenance of order in the districts in question and of a good relationship between Turks and Arabs whose animosity has undoubtedly been roused by the recent Turkish policy of centralization adopted during the last few years and more especially by the proposal to push forward railway communications which would cause great pecuniary loss to the Arabs who live on their camel hire.

I take this opportunity of saying that the suspicions entertained by the Grand Vizier with regard to my interest in the case of Aziz Bey el Masri are quite groundless (see Sir Louis Mallet's Telegram No. 191 of March 27th(3) ). Egyptian public opinion has been genuinely and sincerely aroused by the arrest and trial of this officer, and so far from taking the initiative in pressing the matter at Constantinople I have had some difficulty in calming the resentment caused by the proceedings of the Turkish Government. Nothing is known here of his alleged intrigues with the Arab leaders in Mesopotamia and his arrest is generally attributed to the personal animosity and. jealousy of Enver Pasha.

I have, &c.

This correspondence, at the highest levels of British-Arab communications, would at the very least, cast doubt that the British in any way could have presumed that "Palestine" would be under Arab control after the war but rather it was outside any Arab sphere and most definitely could have been promised to the Zionist movement.

Absent But Voting



The BBC Is Addictive

I just thought this interesting:

...He passed the BBC, an institution for which he had once worked and cherished idealistic hopes but which he now hated to an irrational degree. Had it been rational he would have taken steps not to pass the building as often as he did. Under his breath he cursed it feebly — '[expletive],’ he said.

A nursery malediction.

That was exactly what he hated about the BBC: it had infantilised him. ‘Auntie’, the nation called the Corporation, fondly. But aunties are equivocal figures of affection, wicked and unreliable, pretending love only so long as they are short of love themselves, and then off. The BBC, Treslove believed, made addicts of those who listened to it, reducing them to a state of inane dependence. As it did those it employed. Only worse in the case of those it employed — handcuffing them in promotions and conceit, disabling them from any other life. Treslove himself a case in point. Though not promoted, only disabled.

There were cranes up around the building, as high and unsteady as the moon. That would be a shapely fate, he thought: as in my beginning, so in my end — a BBC crane dashing my brains out. The [expletive]. He could hear the tearing of his skull, like the earth’s skin opening in a disaster movie. But then life was a disaster movie...

It's excerpted from Howard Jacobson's new novel, "The Finkler Question".


Jewish Humor

Shabbes Goy.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Now, I'm Not Saying Anything But...


It's probably just coincidence:


It's Iran, Stupid

Forget Israel. The US needs to take down Iran for its own security:

From this: Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias

On Dec. 22, 2006, American military officials in Baghdad issued a secret warning: The Shiite militia commander who had orchestrated the kidnapping of officials from Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education was now hatching plans to take American soldiers hostage.

What made the warning especially worrying were intelligence reports saying that the Iraqi militant, Azhar al-Dulaimi, had been trained by the Middle East’s masters of the dark arts of paramilitary operations: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese ally.

“Dulaymi reportedly obtained his training from Hizballah operatives near Qum, Iran, who were under the supervision of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) officers in July 2006,” the report noted, using alternative spellings of the principals involved.

...Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look — at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence — at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

...Iraqi militants went to Iran to be trained as snipers and in the use of explosives, the field reports assert, and Iran’s Quds Force collaborated with Iraqi extremists to encourage the assassination of Iraqi officials.

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran’s leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

...According to the reports, Iran’s role has been political as well as military. A Nov. 27, 2005, report, issued before Iraq’s December 2005 parliamentary elections, cautioned that Iranian-backed militia members in the Iraqi government were gaining power and giving Iran influence over Iraqi politics.

“Iran is gaining control of Iraq at many levels of the Iraqi government,” the report warned.

...The reports suggest that Iranian-sponsored assassinations of Iraqi officials became a serious worry.

A case in point is a report that was issued on March 27, 2007. Iranian intelligence agents within the Badr Corps and Jaish al-Mahdi, two Shiite militias, “have recently been influencing attacks on ministry officials in Iraq,” the report said.
...A Shiite militant from the Jaish al-Mahdi militia, also known as the Mahdi Army, was planning to carry out a mortar attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, using rockets and mortar shells shipped by the Quds Force, according to a report on Dec. 1, 2006. On Nov. 28, the report noted, the Mahdi Army commander, Ali al-Sa’idi, “met Iranian officials reported to be IRGC officers at the border to pick up three shipments of rockets.”

...An intelligence analysis of a Dec. 31, 2009, attack on the Green Zone using 107-millimeter rockets concluded that it was carried out by the Baghdad branch of Kataib Hezbollah, a militant Shiite group that American intelligence has long believed is supported by Iran. According to the December report, a technical expert from Kataib Hezbollah met before the attack with a “weapons facilitator” who “reportedly traveled to Iran, possibility to facilitate the attacks on 31 Dec.” Read the Document »

That same month, American Special Operations forces and a specially trained Iraqi police unit mounted a raid that snared an Iraqi militant near Basra who had been trained in Iran.

...According to the Dec. 22, 2006, report, a militia commander, Hasan Salim, devised a plan to capture American soldiers in Baghdad and hold them hostage in Sadr City to deter American raids there.

To carry out the plan, Mr. Salim turned to Mr. Dulaimi, a Sunni who converted to the Shiite branch of the faith while studying in the holy Shiite city of Najaf in 1995. Mr. Dulaimi, the report noted, was picked for the operation because he “allegedly trained in Iran on how to conduct precision, military style kidnappings.”

...At 7:10 p.m., several sport utility vehicles of the type typically used by the American-led coalition blocked the entrance to the headquarters compound. Twenty minutes later, an “unknown number of personnel, wearing American uniforms and carrying American weapons attacked the PJCC,” the report said.

The attackers managed to kidnap four American soldiers, dragging them into an S.U.V., which was pursued by police officers from an Iraqi SWAT unit. Calculating that they were trapped, the militants shot the handcuffed hostages and fled. Three of the American soldiers who had been abducted died at the scene. The fourth later died of his wounds, the report said, and a fifth American soldier was killed in the initial attack on the compound.

Summing up the episode, the American commander of a police training team noted in the report that that the adversary appeared to be particularly well trained. “PTT leader on ground stated insurgents were professionals and appeared to have a well planned operation,” the report said.


Two Responses to Tom Friedman: One Sensible & One Antisemitic

Here is Gerald Weisfogel of Piscataway, N.J. being rational. cogent and sensible:

To the Editor:

In “Just Knock It Off” (column, Oct. 20), Thomas L. Friedman acknowledges that Israel has enemies that want to wipe it off the map and that he does not know whether Israel’s proposed peace partner, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, has the will or guts to actually make peace.

Yet he chides Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for not extending the settlement freeze, an act that would have likely threatened his government’s stability and would not have been supported by the majority of Israelis.

Let’s not forget that Mr. Netanyahu said he would extend the freeze for one simple quid pro quo — acknowledgment by the Palestinians that Israel is a Jewish state. Had this been agreed to, there likely would have been overwhelming sentiment in Israel to continue with the freeze and negotiations.

The Palestinian failure to accept Israel as a Jewish state just perpetuates the belief among Israelis that the ultimate goal of its neighbors is still its destruction. With that mind-set, a continued settlement freeze makes no sense.

And here is Richard D. Hyman of Alamo, Calif. who plays the money angle which is always the underline of the antisemitic approach to the Middle East:

To the Editor:

Israel is behaving not just like a spoiled child, as Thomas L. Friedman says, but also like one who has run away from home but still has full use of the family credit card.

Could there be a clearer message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s obstinacy regarding settlements that Israel is not interested in peace under any reasonable terms?


I Thought That Was A New Style of Kaffiyeh

But no, it's just Coleen Rooney.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Jewish State 1920

Lord Curzon at the San Remo Conference, April 24, 1920:

His Britannic Majesty's government had, two years previously, promulgated a formal declaration which had been accepted by the Allied Powers, that Palestine was in future to be the National Home of the Jews throughout the world.

Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939
First Series, Vol. VIII, p. 159

and see this.



The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Treaty of Sevres, 1920


The Palestine Order in Council.
The 10th day of August, 1922.

WHEREAS the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them;

And whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country;

- - -

There Was Antisemitism

In response to: The Divine Sarah from the October 14, 2010 issue of the NYRB:-

To the Editors:

I was surprised that, in his agreeable review of my recent biography of Sarah Bernhardt [“The Divine Sarah,” NYR, October 14], Graham Robb writes:

Gottlieb’s biography is part of a series titled “Jewish Lives,” but apart from some bigoted remarks by journalists in the United States and Australia, and anti-Semitic demonstrations during her tour of Russia, there appears to be surprisingly little to report on the subject.

In his trawl though the text, Mr. Robb must have skimmed over two passages about Bernhardt’s reception in Montreal.

In that intensely Catholic and deeply anti-Semitic community she was the object of violent attack, and was actually threatened by riffraff at the railroad station and at her hotel.

And in reference to an appearance several years later in that city:

Playing La Sorcière in Montreal, she would once again be the target of verbal and physical attacks encouraged by the current archbishop, who found this reproach to the Inquisition blasphemous: rotten eggs pelting the stage, stones and sticks pounding her carriage on the way to the railroad station, cries of “Kill the Jewess.”

I call attention to these passages (and there are others) not to be contentious but to make it clear to readers that Bernhardt was frequently in the line of anti-Semitic fire, which she stoutly defied—even, perhaps, with a certain relish.

Robert Gottlieb
New York City

-   -

My Interview on the Rabin Memorial Day in Israel

My appearance on IBA's English language news broadcast on Wednesday, Octobwer 20, on the issue of Rabin's Memorial Day.

What Is The Main Element to the Conflict?


Dennis Mitzner, a MA student in Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, posted this insight and I've extracted a few good points:

Putting aside the many intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are the settlements really the main reason why there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians? To accept the notion of the omnipotence of the settlements-issue vis-à-vis the peace process is to set a dangerous precedent...

...The constant human rights violations and the rabid anti-Semitism emanating from the Palestinian territories have become non-issues to those — mainly European and American analysts and experts — trying to provide solutions to the conflict.

...Palestinians are given a free pass on hatred that has become one of the main tenets of the forming of a Palestinian national identity. Why does the West cultivate a Palestinian narrative which is defined according to the existence and consequent actions of Israel?

...The PA-run media is airing programs depicting Jews as sons of pigs and monkeys and recently, the seemingly moderate technocrat Saeb Erekat proclaimed that Palestinians will never accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.

...The Obama administration would do well to pursue an aggressive liberal — in the classical sense — agenda to demand that the seemingly eternally oppressed peoples would take responsibility for their actions

...Accepting the notion that the existence of settlements in the West Bank is the main obstacle to peace is indeed patronizing and a dangerous disservice to the Palestinians and their cause. Succumbing to a false narrative will not free Palestinians of their plight, but gives tacit consent to anti-Semitism and Islamic radicalism...The only approach to the conflict must be cultural, because it is the only approach which treats them as a people capable of change.

I can sign off on that.

And I left this comment there:-

One other "liberal" consideration: if, for "peace", locations of residency of Jews in Judea and Samaria are to be dismantled and their residents expelled, as is the Pal. position, do not these liberals see that ultimately, in the name of a better peace, Arabs may be required to move out of Israel into this new state of "Palestine"? That way, for sure there'll be no friction or tension. Is that what they want? Total separation? If there are to be no Jews in "Palestine", why not no Arabs in Israel?

- - -

Jerusalem Theme Quiz of "Who Said?"

Who said:

"Anyone familiar with international affairs knows that international regimes of this kind have invariably proved unworkable and produced nothing but insecurity, friction and economic decay.  In the case of Jerusalem...all these disastrous effects would be tenfold.

We cannot agree and we cannot be expected to agree, that our ancient Mother-city be severed from the new commonwealth of Israel."

No, that was not Benjamin Netanyahu, nor Avigdor Lieberman, nor Arye Eldad.

It was

President of Israel Chaim Weizmann in a letter
to US President Harry S. Truman, January 3, 1950

Documents on the Foreign Policy of Israel, 1950
Vol. 5, page 5


Spotted in Geulah this last Thursday:

This wall poster rants against against stores that are selling close-fitting women's apparel, especially made of "lycra" stretch fabric and cotton light-weight yarn like for T-shirts as well as short skirts.

At the bottom, they also go after CD selling stores, general knowledge books and other corrupting influences.

Right, There Just May Not Be A Solution

From a Blog at Haaretz:

However wonderful they may be, settlers are an insurmountable obstacle to peace
The settlers' pain is understandable as the state tries to freeze their vision, but it is also apparent that the settlement enterprise cannot continue if we want to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

By Avi Issacharoff

Last week I was invited to visit the Hayovel neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Eli (erected on the 50th anniversary of Israel's establishment). This neighborhood includes several structures that were likely built on Palestinian land and are slated for demolition, pending a court ruling.

I was treated to a pleasant breakfast and a breathtaking view of the Shiloh region, and more importantly, I had the pleasure of meeting wonderful unique people, what we call "salt of the earth," who are driven by a sense of duty. Israel Defense Forces officers of the past and the present, social activists (within the Green Line), and many more fine people.

Though most of them have never set foot in a settlement, the Israeli left, especially in Tel Aviv, tends to lump all settlers together – all rightist, extreme, ignorant and narrow minded. In Eli, like in many other settlements, the residents are actually very intelligent and well educated. They are enthusiastic Zionists, true, but not the kind who rejoice when a Palestinian olive grove goes up in flames. In a way I felt envious of these people – while I chase my next scoop they are making their dream of populating the land of Israel come true.

According to Jewish tradition, the settlement of Eli is situated across from Shiloh – the capital of the Kingdom of Israel where the pre-temple Ark of the Covenant was housed for 369 years. In the valley between Shiloh and Eli, again according to local lore, the women of Israel danced and gave to the Jews the holiday of Tu B'Av – the holiday of love.

I personally believe that under any future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, these people need to evacuate their land and relocate to land within the Green Line. But I feel obligated to say one or two positive words about the ones I met.

I don't meet a lot of settlers. My journalistic beat encompasses Arabs, and when I do come into contact with Jews living in the West Bank, it is usually when they perpetrate violent incidents, especially during the Palestinian olive harvest. Even during my visit to Eli there were several such violent incidents. On the day before my tour of the area, the residents of the neighboring Palestinian village found that hundreds of their olive trees had been poisoned, apparently by settlers. But the people I met in Eli don't support these kinds of actions.

Now the rightists will say that even in writing these things I am displaying Tel Avivian, condescending qualities because it is obvious that not everyone is the same. But, still, it is important to say these things. It is important to understand that it was the State of Israel that sent these people to live where they currently reside, and now it is the same state trying to pressure them and restrict them. Their pain is understandable as the state tries to freeze their vision, but it is also apparent that the settlement enterprise cannot continue if we want to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

An overview of the region reveals that all the hilltops surrounding Eli are in Jewish hands. Some of them legally owned by Jews, and others illegally claimed. Such is the case in the hilly region surrounding Nablus as well: Yitzhar and its outposts, Itamar and its outposts. The Palestinian aspiration to establish a territorially continuous state seems imaginary, almost infantile, in light of the settlers control over every hilltop surrounding Nablus and Ramallah. Even more imaginary – the discussion surrounding the possibility that Israel will evacuate theses settlements one day. This is an impossible mission, at least for now. We're talking about some 100,000 Jews who will be forced to leave their homes, and that's not to mention the 250,000 Jews living in the settlement blocs that will likely remain under Israeli sovereignty.

The big scandal surrounding the Gaza settlement evacuation, when 9,000 Jews were evacuated, seems like a drop in the ocean when compared to the West Bank. Even if we do achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians, it is unrealistic to expect the IDF and the police to be able to evacuate such a large number of people. It is especially unrealistic in light of the massive transformation that the IDF is undergoing currently - more and more of its officers are religious Zionists who identify with the right and oppose evacuating settlements.

Will the army be able to complete such a task? I don't have a clear answer. I can be sure, however, that despite my appreciation for the residents of Eli, Shiloh and other mainstream settlements, the continuation of construction in these settlements will absolutely prevent the possibility of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

So what is the solution? The one I support remains the two-state solution. I may be overly optimistic, knowing what I know about the changes in the army and on the ground, but regardless, when I listened to the people who hosted my visit in Shiloh and its surroundings, the sentence that I kept repeating was that for them, there is no solution.

Finally, I Can Quote Roger Cohen Happily (Almost)


the rapid White House-to-wipe-out course of Middle Eastern diplomacy

He continues, though, and asserts:

Palestine can’t get born if the land for it keeps eroding

Wait! Isn't that how Israel got born?

First, the 1919 borders were truncated.

The in 1922, we lost TransJordan.

In 1937, there was this partition plan. Peel.

In 1938, another partition plan. Woodhead. (and here and here).  And another.

In 1944, Churchill was mulling another.

And in 1947, the UN recommended another.

None of which the Arabs accepted.

Now, some Cohen punditry:-

1.  "Netanyahu’s push for up-front Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” is a non-starter. The Palestine Liberation Organization has recognized Israel; it’s not going to get into the state’s nature. In reality the “Jewish state” opening gambit is an attempt to settle the Palestinian refugee issue ahead of discussion of other final-status questions like borders. That can’t work."

Cohen, but that's the whole point.  If Israel doesn't condition that, there's no Israel.  That's a Pal. gambit to eradicate Israel demographically.

2.  "If there is enough momentum by the second half of next year to suggest Palestinian statehood is a train leaving the station, a majority of Palestinians in Gaza will board it. Then peace becomes a political dilemma for Hamas."

That, Mr. Cohen, is wrong. Gaza is Iranian, basically.  They will not go along.

3.  "There will be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital."

To echo Abbas, they can call what they want, but they ain't getting any Jerusalem.

- - -

And I put up a version at Green-Lined at the JPost:

Wanna See Some Dirty Pictures?

Well, pictures of dirt anyway.

AP video footage of new construction, Peace Now's Hagit Ofran, a Pal. official and Mark Regev:

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here Comes Ehud...Olmert

Should we trust any report penned by someone named Attila?

The Palestinians' intention to seek international recognition of a Palestinian state did not catch Israel's political echelon by surprise...the source noted, "Israel needs to prepare for a different course of action. If there's no partner, we have to think of alternatives."

...In other words, former Prime Minister Olmert's "convergence plan" might come back to life. This plan includes a unilateral withdrawal from extensive areas in the West Bank, and convergence of the settlement blocks.

What? Where'd that pop in?

Those advocating the revival of the convergence plan note that in order for Israel to maintain control over the entire West Bank, the government must come up with an organized plan to evacuate settlements, while leaving IDF forces deployed throughout the area, in order to maintain the necessary security arrangements and prevent terror organizations such as Hamas from taking control of the evacuated areas.

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Forget Serugim; We've Got "Another Life"

From Serugim, the series of Jerusalem's singles from the modern Orthodox religious demographic, we now have "Another Life".

I just caught some of it.

Yakir leaves his Yeshiva of Maaleh Elisha to become a dancer in Tel Aviv and meets secular society.

Based on this source