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March 31, 2009

Israel's 32nd government sworn in at Knesset plenum

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Mar. 31, 2009
Shelly Paz and Tovah Lazaroff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Israel seeks peace with the entire Arab and Muslim world but continues to be threatened by the forces of Islamic extremists, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said several hours before he was sworn in Tuesday evening.

He took the oath of office just before midnight, after the Knesset voted 69-45 to approve the new government.

"These are irregular times," Netanyahu told the Knesset plenum. "Today Israel is faced with two tests - an economic crisis and a security crisis. The source of these crises are neither our past actions nor past mistakes.... Our [current] actions, however, will determine the results of these crises."

Netanyahu was interrupted numerous times by critics of his extra-large government as he presented it and its guidelines to the Knesset. In the past, Netanyahu himself expressed opposition to large governments due to the expense involved.

"It is not with a victor's joy that I stand here today in front of you, but with a great sense of responsibility," Netanyahu began. "I ask for your trust at this time of worldwide crisis of a kind we haven't known before, and it is with a sense of worry, but also with hope and faith, that the State of Israel confronts two major challenges: the economic challenge and the security challenge. I am certain that the people of Israel will cope successfully with the challenges that lie ahead of it."

Regarding Iranian threats to "erase Israel from the map," Netanyahu criticized the international community for its lack of response.

"The Jewish people has experience with dictators and it cannot overestimate megalomaniac dictators who threaten to destroy it," he said.

The new prime minister added that the worst thing for the State of Israel and the world would be "that a radical regime obtains nuclear weapons."

The threat to Israel came from the spread of extremist Islam in the region and in the world, Netanyahu said.

"I separate extremist Islam from the general Muslim world, which is also threatened by extremist Islam," he told the plenum. "The Muslim culture is a rich culture that knew times of prosperity, of Arabs and Jews who lived together and created things together."

Six prime ministers had strived for peace with the Palestinians but failed, he said, adding that "the failure was not their fault. If the heads of the Palestinian Authority want peace, I tell them now - we can achieve it."

Netanyahu said his government would work for peace with all of Israel's neighbors on three levels: economic, political and security.

"We will carry out ongoing negotiations for peace with the Palestinians in an attempt to reach a permanent agreement," he said. "We don't want to rule another people, and the agreement will give the Palestinians all the rights to rule themselves, except for those that endanger Israel."

Netanyahu also explained how his government would handle the "truly unprecedented" economic crisis, saying it threatened the livelihood of tens of thousands of Israelis and that no one could tell when and how it would end.

"But I know that the Israeli market has clear advantages that enable it to cope with many challenges," he said. "The fact that we are a small country provides leverage in getting out of this crisis. The Israeli market is like a small and light speedboat whose direction can be changed more easily. I myself will lead this change of direction and the government I head will operate to protect work places, to resolve the shortage of credit in the market, and to maintain macroeconomic policies."

Netanyahu also promised a revolution in the education system and set a goal to place Israel among the top 10 countries in the world within 10 years.

"From my experience, when you set a goal, a process to achieve the goal starts right away," he said.

Netanyahu also discussed his plans to address the increase in crime, promising to strengthen the police, implement more severe punishments and advance reforms.

"It is unacceptable that the Jewish people, who were dispersed in more than a hundred countries in the Diaspora where they maintained high standards of morality, came back to their country where crime organizations that deal in murder, women and drug trafficking are emerging," he said.

Netanyahu also said he was committed to the Declaration of Independence from 61 years ago, "including the obligation for full equality for all people regardless of their religion, gender and race."

He praised departing prime minister Olmert and thanked him for the work he had done for the state, its security and its citizens.

Finally, Netanyahu read out the long list of ministers and deputy ministers that he asked the Knesset to approve - to loud catcalls from the opposition.

He explained that the coalition agreements had been checked with the relevant legal bodies, adding that when he was in the opposition, he had never shown disrespect for the Knesset.

He paused and look out to the spectators gallery where Aviva Schalit sat along with Karnit Goldwasser and Esther Wachsman.

Aviva's son Gilad was kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006. Until two weeks ago, hopes had remained high that Olmert would find a way to conclude a prisoner swap with Hamas for Gilad's return.

Now, it was Netanyahu's turn to speak of prioritizing Gilad's release.

It is right before Pessah, he said.

"At our national table, there is an empty chair. It is Gilad Schalit's chair. I will do everything in my power to ensure his speedy return, healthy and whole, to his family's bosom," Netanyahu said.

Then he moved from a personal address to the Schalit and said that as an expression of his feelings as Pessah approaches, he had chosen to read to the plenum a portion of one of the last letters that his brother Yonatan had written before he was killed in July 1976 leading a raid in Entebbe, Uganda, to rescue hostages.

His brother, Netanyahu said, had written that Pessah was the best holiday, because it focused on the liberty of the Jews. The Jews had gone through many long years of suffering, oppression, vagrancy and degradation, Yonatan wrote.

For many years, there appeared to be no ray of light, but that is no longer true, he wrote.

This holiday is a testament to the eternal goal of freedom.

"Pessah awakens an emotional bond, because of the Seder, and like all of us, I recall old memories from my personal past," Yonatan wrote.

But even, he said, as he reflected on his past, "I also see myself as an inseparable link in the chain of the existence and independence of Israel."

Then Netanyahu continued where his brother had left off.

"Israeli citizens, in this fateful hour, we are all an integral link" in that chain.

"From this podium in Jerusalem, which is our eternal capital, I am uttering a prayer to God, to bless that the work of our hands will be blessed, and that the unity with which we started on our way will be a good sign... that will ensure our future."

Kadima leader and outgoing foreign minister Tzipi Livni followed Netanyahu with a fiery speech that gave an indication of how her tenure as head of the opposition would be.

She criticized Netanyahu for the large government he had presented and warned that the public would soon tire of paying the heavy cost of the coalition's stability.

"You imposed this pompous government on the 'thin' public, a government of ministers of nothing and deputy ministers for anything," she said.

Livni attacked Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, as well as Netanyahu for giving Lieberman's party ministries responsible for enforcing the law while its leader was facing criminal investigations.

She also accused the Labor party and its chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, for joining the new government, accusing them of being stuck to their seats at the cabinet table.

In a speech that was a farewell to political life, Olmert said earlier that there had been an "unbearable gap between the criticism this [outgoing] government absorbed and its achievements," although he added that he was leaving with no complaints or bitterness.

He talked about the main event of his tenure, the Second Lebanon War, and said that time was changing perspectives on the war, which eventually brought quiet to a border that had suffered rockets attacks between 2000 and 2006.

Olmert spoke of his partners in waging that war, thanking Labor MK Amir Peretz, at the time defense minister, whom he described as a "decent man," and retired chief of General Staff Dan Halutz, "a noble man and a hero."

New Balad MK praises Iran's nuke quest

Samuel Sokol, Special to The Jerusalem Post , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 31,
New Balad MK Haneen Zuabi, the first woman to be elected to the Knesset as a
representative of an Arab party, has welcomed Iran's growing influence on
Palestinian affairs and praised Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon as a means
of offsetting Israel's regional military edge. Having Israel as the region's
sole nuclear power, she said, was "dangerous to the world."

Interviewed in English twice in recent days - in her Knesset office and in a
Jerusalem hotel - Zuabi, one of Balad's three MKs and the former director of
the I'lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, said Iran's role in
Palestinian affairs was "more useful" than that of regimes like Jordan and
Egypt, in that Iran stood more firmly "against occupation than a lot of the
Arab countries. This is our interest."

She said Egypt and Jordan were scared of a free and democratic Palestinian

Queried regarding Iran's quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, Zuabi stated
that having Israel as the region's sole nuclear power was disadvantageous.
"It would [sic] be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel,"
she said. "I need something to balance [Israel's] power."

Zuabi was asked if she felt worried, living among Jews, that Iran was
getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. She replied: "No, I am not."
Indeed, she said was "more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons]."

Israel does not officially admit to a nuclear weapons capability, but is
widely believed to have had such a capability since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Israel would use nuclear weapons, she
replied, "The Israelis? I think yes. And I am afraid from real risk rather
than from potential risk."

The Iranian bomb was only "a potential" threat. The real danger was the
Israeli army, she said. "Every day the Israeli [army] uses its violence,
army violence."

Zuabi said that Israel was an aggressor state, and that only a situation
similar to that which existed between the Soviet Union and United States in
the form of the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" would restrain
Israel. "It is more dangerous to the world, more dangerous to everyone, more
dangerous to the Palestinians, to Israelis, to have Israel as the only
powerful state. I need something to balance its power because this balance
of power will [sic]restrict the Israeli using of power. The Israeli violence
of the army is an outcome of Israel's convenient feeling that no one will
restrict her, that no Arab country will really declare a war against

She added: "I believe that [Israel] would respect its use of power if she's
afraid of others. The fact that [Israel]is not afraid of Arab countries, the
fact that [Israel]is not afraid of a potential declaration of our Arab world
to declare war against Israel, makes Israel more violent. You understand

Asked whether an Iranian bomb would make America nervous and lead to more US
pressure on Israel, and whether that would be good from her point of view,
Zuabi replied: "Exactly."

Zuabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state was "inherently
racist", saying that Israel must be turned into a "state of all its
citizens," which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.

The Knesset Central Elections Committee disqualified the Balad party from
running in the recent elections due to its members' refusal to recognize
Israel as a Jewish state and reported calls for violence against it. The ban
was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Responding to Zuabi's comments, Balad party chairman Dr, Jamal Zahalka said:
"I think Ms. Zuabi tried to explain some analysis [about] what's [sic]better
if you have. [But] this is not a position. It's an analysis [of] what would
be safer for the region, if there is a balance." Her comments, he said, did
not constitute "supporting a nuclear weapon in Iran."

Some of Zuabi's statements were consistent with her previously stated views.
On February 13, she was quoted by the Balad-affiliated Arabs48 internet news
site saying that "Balad's concept, which rejects the 'Jewish state' idea, is
the only idea that can remove [Avigdor] Lieberman from the circle of
political and moral legitimacy. When you agree with the 'Jewish state' idea,
you necessarily agree with the idea of loyalty to this state. Rejecting the
'Jewish state' concept will block the road for anyone who demands our
loyalty to such a state. There is no logic in demanding that I be loyal to
an idea to which I do not agree to begin with, especially since I am
proposing an alternative and fighting for it. The language of democracy does
not speak of loyalty. This is a language of fascism, just like Lieberman.
The language of democracy speaks of rights, equality, and values."

The writer is a freelance journalist affiliated with the Philadelphia

Is their any wonder why Israel has the problems with the Arabs that we do?

When we allow such traitors into the Knesset it is very clear how stupid we are.

I can't write here what I think should happen to this woman since she is a member of Knesset, but it would end her term in office right now!

March 30, 2009

Arab leaders on Land Day: We're not afraid of Right

Thousands of Israeli Arabs marched in commemoration of the 33rd Land Day. MKs warned against Israel's Judaization of Galilee, Negev and vow to propose bill to acknowledge day as national holiday for Arab public. Two youths arrested for throwing stones during Kfar Kanna rally
Sharon Roffe-Ofir

Arabs in Israel and around the world commemorated the 33rd Land Day on Monday. The main event was held in Deir Hanna in northern Israel, and included Arab MKs, political activists and thousands of demonstrators.

Land Day is an annual day of commemoration in the Israeli Arab community and in Arab communities worldwide, meant to protest the 1976 killing of six Arab citizens during an Israeli government's bid to confiscate Arab lands. It is usually marked by general strikes and mass marches.

Leaders from the Arab public who participated in the event said Arabs should be concerned with the political right's entrance to the center of the Israeli arena.

Thousands of residents embarked on a procession Monday afternoon passing through the communities of Arab Arraba and Sakhnin and ending in Deir Hanna. The demonstrators carried PLO flags, and the slogan for this year's Land Day was: "We are all united under Israeli fascism and racism."

Hadash MK Afou Agbaria told Ynet during the march that "the reasons that led to Land Day are still relevant and valid today – the confiscation of lands continues".

United Arab List – Ta'al leaders also said this day of protest was no less important this year, in light of recent events.

MK Talab El-Sana commented on February's general elections for Knesset and the formation of the new government and said that "Land Day is especially important this year due to the extreme Right's rise to power and a rise in trends of Judaizing the Galilee and the Negev by marginalizing the Arab public".

El-Sana called on the government led by Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu "to put a stop to the racist plans of Judaizing the Galilee and Negev and adopt development policies for all the Galilee and Negev's residents".

Faten Hussein, a resident of Deir Hanna who was present at the rally, said, "It is important for me to come here each year with the kids so they know that they are Arabs who live in the State of Israel with Jews and that their roots are Arab."

Manaa Hussein, of Majdal Krum, who also came to the rally with his children, expressed similar sentiments: "The children must know the history of our people. The children must be taught what happened since the establishment of the State up to this day.

"It is also important to me that my children understand that we have to live in peace, coexistence and equality."

'Jewish population radicalizing to the right'

"This year Land Day expresses even more the outcry against racism and the toxic spews of Netanyahu's government," said Hadash Chairman Muhammad Barakeh, "We are concerned with the atmosphere brewing in Israel, but we are not afraid."

MK Masud Ganaim (United Arab List – Ta'al) expressed a similar position: "The election results indicate that the Jewish population is radicalizing to the right, and all the loyalty tests they want to put us through in the future will only increase suspiciousness."

The Balad party announced it would file a bill proposal to the Knesset aimed at recognizing Land Day as a national holiday for the Arab public.

"The next step will be to file another bill proposal demanding we get back the lands that were taken away from us. This is a law that exists in all civilized countries in the world and Israel is at the top of the list of land confiscation laws," said Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka.

On the 33rd Land Day in Israel, the West Bank and around the world, cries against Israel's policies towards the Palestinians were heard. At a local rally held in the northern community of Kfar Kanna two youths were arrested under suspicion of throwing stones at police officers.

The main rally in Deir Hanna will be echoed by mass gatherings in the US, Canada. Germany, Finland, France and Belgium.

Meanwhile, the World Social Forum (WSF) – an umbrella group for hundreds of social, anti-globalization and rights groups worldwide – announced it would be launching a campaign calling on all of its affiliates to excommunicate Israel.

Also on Land Day, some 120 Palestinians demonstrated near the security fence in the village of Naalin, near Ramallah. The protestors threw stones at security forces in the area, who responded with crowd dispersal means. No injuries were reported.

Near the security fence in Jiyus, near Qalqilya, some 40 Palestinians clashed with soldiers and threw stones at them. In addition, in Adna, which is near Hebron, some 60 Palestinians clashed with security forces.

Efrat Weiss contribute to this report

March 29, 2009

IDF Chief snubbed in Washington - a message to Israel

Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona U.S. Air Force (Retired) March 25, 2009

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi,
visited Washington, DC, last week to meet with senior American officials to
discuss what Israel believes is the growing Iranian threat to his country.
In light of President Obama's attempts to reach out to the mullahs in
Tehran - the most recent a Nowruz (Persian new year) video message - the IDF
chief brought new intelligence on Iran's nuclear and missile programs.

Both American and Israeli intelligence establishments believe that Iran is
intent on developing nuclear weapons. The difference between the two
assessments is how soon Iran will achieve that capability. The Israelis
believe the Iranians are on the verge of developing a nuclear warhead for
its ballistic missiles - missiles that can easily reach anywhere in Israel.

Press reports described Ashkenazi's reception in Washington as
"extraordinarily cool" - he did not meet with any of the Obama Cabinet,
including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He also was unable to schedule
a meeting with his counterpart, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Mullen. Add to that list Director of National Intelligence
Admiral Dennis Blair.

This is almost unheard of. The United States and Israel have close military
and intelligence ties. It is quite normal for the IDF chief to meet with
defense and intelligence officers. Keep in mind that in Israel, the defense
establishment is the senior intelligence authority, making Ashkenazi not
only Admiral Mullen's counterpart, but Admiral Blair's as well. Meetings
such as those that did not happen are commonplace, at least they were.

What has changed? Obviously, we have a new administration whose foreign
policy is somewhat changed. The unavailability of virtually any senior
official is telling. This administration appears to have determined that
forging a new relationship with Iran may come at the expense of the close
relationship with Israel that goes back decades.

The only meeting with a senior American official was with National Security
Advisor General James Jones. However, the meeting was focused on U.S.
demands that Israel lift some military restrictions on the West Bank and in
the Gaza Strip. Jones was not there to listen to anything about what Israeli
leaders considers an "existential" threat to the Jewish state.

The IDF spokesman tried to soften the blow with this emailed explanation,
"The schedule for the United States visit of the IDF Chief of the General
Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, was preplanned according to requests made by
American officials. Any meetings that were canceled were substituted with
telephone conference calls." An IDF internet site claimed that Ashkenazi
returned to Israel to participate in talks revolving around the negotiations
for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Conference calls? I'm not buying it. This treatment of General Ashkenazi is
a not-so-subtle message to the Israelis: the situation has changed and you
may be on your own in dealing with the Iranians.

How else can the Israelis interpret it? Obama has made several overtures to
the Iranians - a terrorist country (unless you ask Janet Napolitano, then it
is a "state sponsor of human-caused disasters") according to the State
Department - all of which have been rebuffed. Obama advisors are urging the
President to talk to not only the Taliban (a terrorist organization), but
also Hizballah and Hamas (also terrorist organizations). As one analyst
(that would be me) puts it, "We are trying to talk to the exact people we
should be trying to kill."

Rather than dissuading the Israelis from a military strike on Iran's nuclear
facilities, the Obama Administration's refusal to talk to senior Israeli
military and intelligence officials may actually hasten the action they seek
to stop. If Israel cannot get some assurance of support from the United
States, it will feel compelled to act unilaterally.

Mr. President, you are talking to the wrong people.
Since retiring from the Air Force, Lt Col Francona has written Ally to
Adversary: An Eyewitness Account of Iraq's Fall from Grace, and consulted
with government and private firms. FROM 2003 to 2008, he was a media
analyst on Middle East political-military events for NBC News, and appeared
regularly on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, MSNBC, CNBC, Hardball,
Countdown, and others.

The colonel has a bachelors degree in government and the Arabic language,
and a masters degree in international relations with a concentration in
Middle East studies. His decorations include the Defense Distinguished
Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and nine Air Medals, as well as campaign
awards for service in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and the Balkans. The
colonel was awarded the Central Intelligence Agency Seal Medallion for his
service with that agency. In 2006, Lt Col Francona was inducted into the
Defense Language Institute Hall of Fame.

Discontent over Barak ministerial picks

After party chairman finishes handing out portfolios earmarked for Labor in coalition agreement, future-minister
Attila Somfalvi

Labor Chairman Ehud Barak finished manning the various ministerial positions reserved for his party in the Likud-led coalition on Sunday evening.

Barak made his decisions after a round of talks and inter-party discussions. But at least one future minister has already criticized the appointments, which are as follows: defense minister – Ehud Barak; minister of industry, trade and labor – Binyamin Ben-Eliezer; minister of agriculture – Shalom Simhon; minister of welfare and social services – Isaac Herzog; minister of minority affairs and member of the socio-economic cabinet – Avishay Braverman; deputy defense minister – Matan Vilnai; deputy industry, trade and labor minister – Orit Noked.

Regarding the change in his previous position Braverman said, "I believed the Labor Party would be rehabilitated better in the opposition. Once the decision was made in the committee I respect it, I am democratic and I will work accordingly. I have two options: To be an angry MK in the coalition, or to contribute. I chose to contribute."

Braverman explained that he had dealt with the issues of incorporating minorities in the academia. "When I got into politics this is part of what I believe in – coexistence and the social issue," he said.

He said he was "totally at peace with my conscience" regarding the change in his position on the issue of Labor's participation in the government.

MK Daniel Ben-Simon met with Labor Chairman Ehud Barak and the two agreed he would run for the office of chairman of the Labor faction.

Ben-Simon is seen as the prime candidate for the position, as he is backed by Barak. "This is a time for reconciliation, it's a challenge, and I hope I am equal to this task," he said.

The designated Deputy Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Orit Noked said she was satisfied with her portfolio.

"In light of the economic crisis commanding Israel, with an emphasis on the danger of dismissal hanging over the heads of thousands of employees, I chose to be deputy industry minister and did not take any other position on myself," she said.

March 27, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the host radio program web page

March 24, 2009

Barak, Netanyahu reach understandings for coalition deal

By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service Last update - 09:14 24/03/2009 www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1073506.html

Labor chairman Ehud Barak and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu reached
understandings on Tuesday morning for a coalition deal between their two

The negotiating teams, which spent the night in last-minute talks, were
expected to initial the agreement before a meeting of Labor's central
committee later in the day, to which it will brought for approval.

According to the clauses in the deal being drafted, Israel will formulate a
comprehensive plan for Middle East peace and cooperation, continue peace
negotiations and will commit itself to peace accords already signed.

The government will also enforce the law with regards to illegal West Bank
outposts, the draft states, as well as illegal Palestinian construction.

Barak, who is also the outgoing Defense Minister, was set to face a dramatic
political test at the central committee meeting, when he asks the 1,470
members of the committee to approve the deal he has hatched with Prime
Minister-designate Netanyahu.

While Netanyahu left the site of the talks in Ramat Gan by the mid-morning,
Barak and his negotiators stayed on for further discussions, according to
Army Radio.

In addition, Barak was to ask his party to give him the authority to
determine which of the party's 13 Knesset members will be appointed to
ministerial positions - a demand which is without precedent and which would
require an amendment to the party's constitution.

Should Barak get the approval he is seeking, the rift between opponents of
the coalition deal and its supporters would deepen still further; seven of
the party's MKs - more than half - oppose the agreement.

All the signs are that the vote will be close and no one in the party is
willing to predict which way members of the central committee will vote.

Opponents of Barak's proposal to join the coalition yesterday launched a
particularly vitriolic broadside against their party leader, accusing him of
"trying to turn Labor into Yisrael Beiteinu" and of "acting as if he got 50
seats in the Knesset, rather than suffering an electoral whipping."

The internal battle between Barak and the seven MKs who oppose him - Shelly
Yachimovich, Ophir Pines-Paz, Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben Simon, Amir Peretz,
Yuli Tamir and Avishay Braverman - was taken up a notch on Monday when the
Labor rebels sent an unprecedented letter to Netanyahu and his foreign
minister-designate, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, in which they
declared that they will not be bound by the coalition agreement that Labor
and Likud are working on, since Barak was acting without authority.

"This is the first time in the history of the Labor Party," they wrote,
"that the chairman has set up a coalition negotiating team without a
thorough and extensive discussion within the party and without getting the
approval of any of the party's organs. It is a gross violation of the
party's constitution." The rebels also warned Netanyahu of the consequences
of Barak's actions. "You should know," they wrote, "that the negotiating
team established by the 'Barak faction' within the Labor Party does not
enjoy our backing or the backing of any authorized party official. It is
unfortunate that the party chairman chose to manage party matters in this
way. Given the circumstances, we must inform you that you cannot count on
our support regarding any agreement that you may reach with Ehud Barak."

Barak spoke later in the day with several of the MKs who oppose his
proposals, telling them, "there is no legal impediment against establishing
a negotiation team, and I will be happy to brief the party MKs on its
progress. It is our duty to hold a legitimate political debate - on what is
right for the State of Israel, on what the citizens want and on what is good
for the party - instead of writing fallacious letters," Barak was quoted as

Former Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon (Likud),
meanwhile, afforded Netanyahu a small measure of satisfaction on Monday when
he declared that, given current circumstances, personal and party
differences should be set aside in favor of the national interest. Until a
few days ago, Ya'alon was considered the leading candidate to serve as
defense minister in Netanyahu's government - a position that would remain
with Barak if Labor does, indeed, join the coalition.

How can this be?

Bibi was the hope and dream of those on the right refused to understand what and who Bibi really is.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Can you say hello PLO state and goodbye Golan.

March 23, 2009

IDF soldier assaulted in Jerusalem

Published: 03.23.09, 19:46 / Israel News

An IDF soldier was assaulted in a bus stop the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus.

His assailant, believed to be a young Arab man, stole his military ID and his wallet. The soldier was not harmed. Police forces are canvassing the area. (Efrat Weiss)

Why wasn't the Arab shot and killed for robbing a soldier?

What in the world has happened to Israel, can Israel survive the path it is on?

Responsibility Belongs To The Parents Of Leftist Scum

Responsibility sought by injured American's parents

Nancy and Mike Anderson, parents of Tristan, who was apparently injured by IDF tear gas shell during protest in Naalin hold press conference. His mother says no one expressed any sorrow or regret. Father demands justice for son, wishes for whole world to hear truth
Ronen Medzini

The parents of American national Tristan Anderson, who was critically injured during a protest in Naalin against the security fence by a tear gas shell fired by anti-riot forces, held a press conference Monday in Jerusalem. Nancy and Mike Anderson said their son never presented a threat to anyone and demanded that the State of Israel take responsibility for their son.

Tristan was injured during the protest some 10 days ago, and remains in critical condition. The IDF reported that the dozens of Israelis, Palestinians and foreigners took part in the demonstration, during which they trespassed into closed military areas and threw stones at the forces. The forces returned fire using crowd dispersal mechanisms.

The parents explained before the reporters their son's reason for coming to Israel, saying that he wished to observe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the side.

They said that he met his girlfriend here and planned on traveling in Israel with her for a few months. The Andersons said their son likes photography and writing and never posed a threat to anyone, though now he is fighting for his life just as he fought for justice throughout his life.

Nancy Anderson claimed that it firing at peace activists is "simply horrible."

The American's mother said that she does not hold a grudge against the soldier who fired the shot at her son, but feels a deep sense of injustice for the lack of responsibility taken for the incident. She said no one ever called to express sorrow or regret, leaving the family in shock and fear.

Mike Anderson, Tristan's father, said that his son is an excellent world citizen and that he is disturbed, as any father would be, to see his son in such pain. He pointed out what is in his eyes the irony of his son being injured during a peace demonstration. He said that he and his wife demand justice for their son and that the whole world hear the truth.

Next to Tristan's bed in the neurological wing of Tel HaShomer Sheba Medical Center, Israeli peace activist Yonatan Pollak sat for many long days.

"I met Tristan nine years ago at a demonstration in Prague," said Pollak. "We met at various junctures throughout the world. He even demonstrated in Iraq at the outset of the war and has really wanted to come here for a while. He arrived here a month ago with his girlfriend out of commitment and passion to try and oppose the things he views as damaging and unjust, as he does in any other place."

Since the injury, Tristan has undergone three head surgeries. Last week, dozens of peace activists gathered outside Tel Aviv's Kirya in response to what they claim is the IDF's excessive use of force against weekly demonstrators in the village of Naalin.

Nancy and Mike Anderson, parents of Tristan you are responsible for your son and his injuries.

Your son stuck his nose into a war, that is none of his business and he got what he deserved even if it was not done with intent.

I would allow the use of live ammo against international radicals that come to side against Israel. I also call upon the Israeli government to turn loose the proper agencies to hunt down these radical scum and member of ISM and give them the bullet in the head they deserve.

Mike and Nancy I also call on the Israeli government to send you a bill for three surgeries Tristan has gone through no doubt paid for with my taxes.

Mike and Nancy since your son loves Palestinians so much, I would ask you to take your son to Gaza for medical treatment instead of his using up bed space and my taxpayer money.

March 22, 2009

U.S. furious over Israel's demolition of East Jerusalem homes

By Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya Haaretz Last update - 09:06 22/03/2009

The dispute between the United States and Israel over the razing of
Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is intensifying and will likely become
the first clash between the Obama administration and the government of
Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S. argues that the destruction of homes constitutes a violation of
commitments made as part of the road map. Israel says this is a domestic
issue of law enforcement and that the future status of Jerusalem is only to
be discussed in the final status negotiations.

"Apart from a dispute this issue will lead to nothing," a senior government
official told Haaretz.

U.S. attention to the demolitions began after the visit to the region by
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, catching Israel by surprise.
Clinton was highly critical of Israel regarding the matter during her visit.
She said that the demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem did not
contribute to the peace process. Clinton was under considerable pressure
from the Palestinian Authority to condemn the razings. The PA says the
demolitions are politically motivated and insists that the issue is a
bilateral one between Israel and the Palestinians.

Following Clinton's criticism the State Department asked Israel for detailed
clarifications on the issue. Even before Israel had a chance to respond,
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat added fuel to the fire by suggesting that
Clinton's criticism was baseless.

The Americans reiterated during talks with Israeli officials that the
demolitions are a contravention of the road map for peace. An April 2003
document approved by the cabinet states that no punitive action will be
taken against Palestinians such as home demolitions.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials who discussed the matter with their U.S.
counterparts argued that the East Jerusalem demolitions were not punitive,
but rather part of enforcing municipal building codes.

In response to a State Department request Jerusalem prepared a detailed
letter on the legal background to the issuing of demolition orders. The
Foreign ministry argued that the matter is not a political one, but rather a
legal one, and that all demolition orders were approved following a hearing
of appeals at the Supreme Court.

The Foreign Ministry also insisted that the matter is internal and suggested
that no U.S. involvement is necessary.

A senior political source in Jerusalem said the matter represents a serious
disagreement between Israel and the U.S. that will be raised at the start of
the dialogue between Washington and the Netanyahu government.

The Israeli embassy in Washington called the issue "sensitive" and said
Israel is keen on "restoring the matter to its true proportions so that [the
U.S. does] not seek clarification every time a home is demolished in East

An Israeli diplomat added that "We intend to go to great lengths to reassure
the American administration."

March 20, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the host radio program web page http://kknt960.townhall.com/

f the State can not provide security for it's citizens then what good is it?

Israeli Minister: "Two-Thirds of Freed Hamas Prisoners Returned to Terror and Murdered Israelis" (Voice of Israel Radio-Hebrew) www.iba.org.il/bet/?entity_code=515079 Translation bhy Daily Alert - March 19, 2009 the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Israeli Minister Haim Ramon, a member of the Ministerial Committee on
Security Prisoners, told Israel Radio Thursday that Hamas did not negotiate
over the release of prisoners but rather presented an ultimatum for Israeli

Ramon emphasized that two-thirds of Hamas prisoners released in the past
had returned to terror and murdered many Israelis.

So how can Israel ever agree to release terrorist.

I don't care if it is a "good wiil" gesture as part of the "peace process" or it is to get a hostage returned.

How can the State place it's citizens at risk by setting free terrorist.

If the State can not provide security for it's citizens then what good is it?

March 19, 2009

Assad: Olmert agreed to give up all of the Golan

By Haaretz Service and Reuters Last update - 13:36 18/03/2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to withdraw from all of the Golan Heights
during indirect peace talks with Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad
told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

In an interview which appeared in the newspaper's Wednesday edition, Assad
said Israel and Syria were within "touching distance" of clinching a peace
The Syrian premier told La Repubblica that during the Turkish-mediated peace
negotiations, Olmert indicated to Turkey's prime minister, Reccep Tayip
Erdogan, that he is ready to relinquish all of the Golan Heights to Syria.

Assad added that both sides were very near an agreement, and that all that
remained was to finalize last details over the precise route of the 1967
line which would serve as the future border between the two countries.

As both sides reached the final stages of talks, Olmert requested a pause in
the talks so as to consult with his government. Shortly afterwards, Israel
launched its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"Turkey became exasperated with Israel because it felt duped [because of the
Gaza war]," Assad added.

The Syrian leader said he was concerned over the future of peace talks given
the make-up of Israel's next government, which in all likelihood will be
formed by Benjamin Netanyahu. "I see the finish line moving further away,"
Assad said. "I am not fearful of Netanyahu, but from the fact that Israel
voted for a rightist government. This is the biggest hurdle to peace."

Assad also said he hoped to meet U.S. President Barack Obama and expressed
his willingness to help mediate between the West and Iran.

"With the pullout in Iraq, the will for peace, the closing of Guantanamo,
(Obama) has shown himself to be a man of his word," he said, referring to
the U.S. naval base in Cuba where hundreds of suspected Islamist militants
have been held, most for years without trial.

But Assad said it was too soon to speak of a "historic shift" in U.S.
foreign policy.

Asked about meeting Obama, Assad said: "Yes, in principle. It would be a
very positive sign. But I'm not looking for a photo opportunity. I want to
see him, to talk".

Obama has been reviewing U.S. policy toward Syria, including whether to
return an ambassador to Damascus. Earlier this month he sent two envoys to
Damascus earlier this month, where in a change of tone after years of
animosity with Syria, one of the officials said they had found "a lot of
common ground".

Washington pulled its ambassador out of Syria after the 2005 assassination
of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Syria, which is on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, denies any
involvement in Hariri's murder but the United States pointed fingers at

Assad said the United States under Obama could play an important role
bringing peace to the region. Although he voiced confidence about the
growing diplomatic roles of countries like Turkey and France in the area, he
said "only Washington can press Israel".

On Iran, which Washington believes wants to build nuclear weapons, Assad
said: "... with Iran, I'm ready to mediate".

He urged the West to come up with concrete proposals for Tehran, which he
said was "an important country, like it or not". Iran says its nuclear
program is for peaceful purposes.

Of Iran's role in Iraq, he said Tehran's influence should not be seen as
negative if based on "reciprocal respect" and drew distinction between
influence and interference.

"If instead we're talking about facilitating dialogue with Tehran, a
concrete proposal is needed to give to that government. Until now, I've only
received an invitation to play a role. Agreed, but that's not enough," Assad

"What's lacking is a plan, rules and specific mechanisms to put forward to

Iranian defector tipped Syrian nuke plans

Swiss daily says retired Revolutionary Guards general Ali Reza Asghari told US Intelligence Tehran was financing secret nuclear project of Syria and North Korea; 'Israelis who were immediately informed also were completely unaware,' according to report
Associated Press

A top-ranked Iranian defector told the United States that Iran was financing North Korean moves to make Syria into a nuclear weapons power, leading to the Israeli air strike that destroyed a secret reactor, a report said Thursday.

The article in the daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung goes into detail about an Iranian connection and fills in gaps about Israel's Sept. 6, 2007, raid that knocked out Syria's nearly completed Al Kabir reactor in the country's eastern desert.

The February 2007 defection to the United States of Ali Reza Asgari, a retired general in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and a former deputy defense minister, provided considerable information on Iran's own nuclear program, said the article, written by Hans Ruehle, former chief of the planning staff of the German Defense Ministry.

"The biggest surprise, however, was his assertion that Iran was financing a secret nuclear project of Syria and North Korea," he said. "No one in the American intelligence scene had heard anything of it. And the Israelis who were immediately informed also were completely unaware."

Ruehle, who did not identify the sources of his information, publishes and comments on security and nuclear proliferation in different European newspapers and broadcasts and has held prominent roles in German and NATO institutions.

'Syrians were completely surprised'

US Intelligence had detected North Korean ship deliveries of construction supplies to Syria that started in 2002, and American satellites spotted the construction as early as 2003, but regarded the work as nothing unusual, in part because the Syrians had banned radio and telephones from the site and handled communications solely by messengers - "medieval but effective," Ruehle said.

Intensive investigation followed by US and Israeli intelligence services until Israel sent a 12-man commando unit in two helicopters to the site in August 2007 to take photographs and soil samples, he said. "The analysis was conclusive that it was a North Korean-type reactor," a gas graphite model, Ruehle said.

Other sources have suggested that the reactor might have been large enough to make about one nuclear weapon's worth of plutonium a year.

Just before the Israeli commando raid, a North Korean ship was intercepted en route to Syria with nuclear fuel rods, underscoring the need for fast action, he said. "On the morning of Sept. 6, 2007, seven Israeli F-15 fighter bombers took off to the north. They flew along the Mediterranean coast, brushed past Turkey and pressed on into Syria. Fifty kilometers (30 miles) from their target they fired 22 rockets at the three identified objects inside the Kibar complex.

"The Syrians were completely surprised. By the time their air defense systems were ready, the Israeli planes were well out of range. The mission was successful, the reactor destroyed," Ruehle said.

Israel estimates that Iran had paid North Korea between $1 billion and $2 billion for the project, Ruehle said. Israel has not commented on the strike, but after a delay of several months Washington presented intelligence purporting to show the target was a reactor being built with North Korean help.

Iranian officials were not available for comment because of a national holiday. In general, Iran has been silent about the Syrian facility bombed by Israel. Syrian officials could not be reached for comment. But Syria has denied the facility was a nuclear plant, saying it was an unused military building. It has also denied any nuclear cooperation with North Korea or Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this year said UN Inspectors had found processed uranium traces in samples taken from the site.

Syria has suggested the traces came from Israel ordnance used to hit the site, but the IAEA said the composition of the uranium made that unlikely. Israel has denied it was the source of the uranium.

Syria has told diplomats that it built a missile facility over the ruins of the site.

March 18, 2009

Phalanx gun may be best defense against Hamas rockets

By MARTIN SIEFF UPI Senior News Analyst March 17, 2009 at 11:22 AM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- Israel has spent years prioritizing its
ambitious Iron Dome interceptor program to shoot down very-short-range
rockets that bombard towns and settlements within range of the Hamas
stronghold of Gaza. Yet Iron Dome will not be near deployment until the
middle of next year at the very earliest, if then.

And there are grave questions about using an anti-ballistic missile
interceptor system, each of whose super-fast rockets costs 10 to 50 times as
much as the extremely cheap, low-tech Qassam rockets they are meant to

Yet the development of U.S. defense systems against very-short-range missile
attack suggests that when tactical missiles are fired at close range, the
best U.S. weapon to shoot them down may be a good old-fashioned machine gun.

Except there is nothing old-fashioned about Raytheon's Mark 15 Phalanx
Close-In Weapons System, or CIWS: It is already the BMD weapon of last
resort of the U.S. Navy and has been increasingly used by the U.S. Army in

Interest in the Phalanx CIWS stirred in Israel in fall 2006 following the
massive Katyusha rocket mortar bombardment of northern Israel by Hezbollah
in its brief conflict in July that year.

The Katyusha attacks followed an escalating series of less intense and
formidable, but still potentially dangerous, attacks against Israel by
relatively low-tech, very-short-range Qassam missiles fired by Hamas and its
allies from within Gaza, which Israeli forces evacuated in summer 2005.

The Israeli army made a massive three-week incursion into Gaza in January
this year but failed to seriously attempt to topple Hamas, and as soon as
the army left, the rhythm of Qassam bombardments started again.

The Israeli military establishment, spearheaded by Defense Minister Ehud
Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, continues to bet big on
the technologically pioneering Iron Dome concept. The Phalanx, however, has
several striking advantages over Iron Dome.

First, it is already operational and being produced and deployed in
relatively large numbers.

Second, it is the outgrowth of an already mature technology. Super-powerful,
ultra-high-speed machine guns have been a key element of the U.S. armed
forces for decades. The awesome Gatling gun was used to devastating
operational effect in Vietnam.

The radar-guided, rapid-firing Phalanx CIWS is a worthy successor to the
Gatling. Defense Industry Daily noted in a late 2006 report that it can
"fire between 3,000-4,500 20mm rounds per minute, either autonomously or
under manual command, as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and
other targets."

"Phalanx uses closed-loop spotting with advanced radar and computer
technology to locate, identify and direct a stream of armor piercing
projectiles to the target," DID said.

Defense Industry Daily noted that two and a half years ago the Phalanx CIWS
was already installed "on approximately 187 U.S. Navy ships and is in use in
20 foreign navies."

Third, the Phalanx CIWS is vastly more flexible than the ambitious and
promising, but still experimental Northrop Grumman Skyguard/Nautilus THEL
laser systems. Whatever their other differences, the U.S. armed forces and
the Israeli Defense Ministry have exhibited a shared reluctance to push
ahead with Skyguard/Nautilus/THEL.

March 16, 2009

Terror victims' relatives vow revenge

Brothers who lost family in Jerusalem attack: We'll pursue terrorists freed in swap deal
Tzvika Brot

The relatives of some Israeli terror victims are preparing for the "day after" a possible Shalit prisoner swap, in an effort to locate and target terrorists freed as part of the deal, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

The new organization has already started to raise funds and held several meetings in order to formulate its "eye for an eye" policy. The initiative is being led by Attorney Meir Schijveschuurder and his brother Shvuel, who lost their parents and three siblings in the suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizza parlor in Jerusalem in 2001.

The brothers recently started to bring together relatives of terror victims and initiated contacts with donors in Israel and abroad. The new organization aims to prepare an "intelligence dossier" on terrorists with blood on their hands to be released in future swaps and pursue them worldwide.

"We have a file about most of the murderers, including information about their families," Meir Schijveschuurder said "The parents of one of the terrorists involved in the Sbarro attack, for example, own a pizza parlor in Jenin. We have their residential address."

"In addition, there is the female terrorist who organized the terror attack, and she will be the first one for me," he said. "She kept on smiling during the trial, and we shall erase her smile. I am mentally and physically ready to send her to the next world. As to the ones who will remain in Palestinian Authority areas, we will implement against them the customary law there: Eye for an eye."

Schijveschuurder made it clear that he has no qualms with the Israeli government, but added that "the moment it decided to stop punishing them, we will do it as a last result. It would be very worthwhile for those killers to remain in Israeli prisons, with all the benefits and perks. Out of jail they won't be able to sleep well at night. We will pursue them and get to all of them.

Meanwhile, victims' relatives made it clear that they will deal with every terrorist in line with the laws prevalent in his or her place of residence. For example, terrorists located in Germany or Holland will be subjected to lawsuits.

"We need about $5 million in order to hire teams and complete the mission, and we already have a part of this sum," one of the organizers said.

March 15, 2009

Arab Terrorists Kill 2 Policemen in Jordan Valley Attack

Adar 19, 5769, 15 March 09 08:50
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) Arab terrorists killed two Israeli traffic policemen Sunday evening near Moshav Massua in an apparent drive-by shooting in the Jordan Valley between Beit She’an and Jericho. The victims’ squad car overturned after the terrorists shot them in head. Medical officials say one victim died as a result of injuries suffered by the car overturning.

Different terrorist groups took responsibility for the attack, the first in the Jordan Valley since January. Fatah-Tanzim terrorists initially were quoted as saying they carried out the murders, but an unknown group called the Imad Mughniyeh Squad later said it was behind the attack. The cell is named after the Hizbullah terrorist mastermind who was assassinated a year ago in Damascus. Hizbullah blames Israeli agents, although a Syrian investigation cited a power struggle involving a relative of President Bashar al-Assad. The unknown group said the attack was "in response to the crimes of occupation against the Palestinian people."

The murders occurred at the same time that two Israeli officials were concluding talks in Egypt on agreement by which Israel would free hundreds of murderers and others terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who is presumed to be alive and physically well after nearly 1,000 days of captivity.

The Almagor terror victims’ group responded to the attack with a statement that “the terrorists who carried out tonight’s attack can rest easy. According to the present policy, even if they are caught they will soon be released. This message from government ministers - in addition to the recent gestures which included removal of roadblocks, enabling free traffic from Ramallah and Shechem to the Jordan Valley roads - was the deadly cocktail that led to the unnecessary deaths of the two Israelis.”

Ichud Leumi (National Union) Knesset Member Uri Ariel and Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan also condemned that government’s “good will” measures that allow terrorists to travel freely and make it easier for them to attack Israelis.

March 14, 2009

Obama aide: Talk to Hamas

Economic Advisor Volcker, nine former senior American officials urge Obama Administration to change stance on Hamas, engage in talks with organization, Boston Globe reports
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - Economic Recovery Adviser Paul A. Volcker and nine former senior American officials have urged President Barack Obama to engage in dialogue with Hamas leaders, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.

According to the report, the group of former US officials includes former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. In a letter handed to Obama before he took office, the officials called on the president to look into the possibility of convincing Hamas to disarm and join a peaceful Palestinian government.

"I see no reason not to talk to Hamas," Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, told the Boston Globe.

The timing of the letter's publication is apparently not coincidental, as the group is expected to meet soon to discuss its position and is interested in meeting with Obama in the near future to present their views on the matter.

Other former officials who signed the letter include former United Nations and Israel Ambassador Tomas Pickering and Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who served as a special envoy to the Middle East. Former Republican Senators Chuck Hagel and Nancy Baker also signed the letter.

The contents of the letter have not been made public for the time being, but its writers reportedly plan to make their views public in the coming days.

March 13, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the host radio program web page http://kknt960.townhall.com/

More Pain

Sources: Israel agrees to free all 450 Hamas prisoners for Shalit By Avi Issacharoff and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents Last update - 06:19 13/03/2009 www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070739.html

Israel has agreed to free all 450 of the prisoners demanded by Hamas in
exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, and the
dispute now revolves around Israel's demand that some of these prisoners be
deported rather than returned home, Palestinian sources in Cairo said

Ofer Dekel, Israel's lead negotiator on the issue, was in Cairo Thursday for
further talks with Egyptian mediators.

According to the sources, Israel is insisting that several dozen of the
released prisoners be exiled abroad and that others be released to Gaza
rather than the West Bank. However, Hamas has thus far agreed to the
deportation of only a handful of prisoners, and has conditioned even this on
the consent of the prisoners to be deported. It also opposes releasing
prisoners to Gaza rather than the West Bank.

Though Hamas officials are concerned that a deal might be harder to strike
once a new Israeli government takes office, they insist that they will not
agree to any further compromises. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud A-Zahar even
denied Thursday that talks were taking place at all and said Israeli reports
of progress are false.

"Hamas isn't talking with anyone about a prisoner exchange for Shalit," he
told the Nazareth-based newspaper Kul al-Arab by telephone from Cairo. "If
anyone's holding negotiations, it isn't us."

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, also denied reports of
progress in the talks.

"It's a lie," he told Kul al-Arab. "The talks with Egypt on the matter are
currently frozen."

Meanwhile, Hamas and Fatah continued their reconciliation talks in Cairo
Thursday. The talks are expected to continue at least through Saturday.

If this is true I would never want my son to be traded for a bunch of terrorist scum.

Israel has lost the ability to fight our enemy to their defeat and now always seeks the easy way out which will only cause Israel more pain down the road.

March 12, 2009

E Mail

Hi Yoni‏ From: Peter Clement (peter.alet@gmail.com) Medium riskYou may not know this sender.Mark as safe|Mark as junk Sent: Wed 3/11/09 4:59 PM To: yonitidi@msn.com

Dear Yoni

Just read your blog

How is it possible you serve 2 countries, in my eyes you are a traitor and a racist, it is incredible that the American people didn´t throw the Jewish people out long time ago. al that misery, war and lies

I also believe that Mossad was behind 911, the 7/7 bombings, Bali etc

I am living in Sweden Scandinavia and i can tell you that more and more people are waking up and open their eyes for the Zionist deception and lies

The "Goy" are not so stupid as you think, despite the total Jewish control of media and politics

Have a nice day



I must be doing something right, if I can upset a piece of Euro Trash like yourself.

It is a sad thing to see a male that has lost the ability to man up and fight for his country against the threat of Islam and is willing to throw others to the Islamic wolf to try and buy some time before the representatives of Islam kneel you down and start to work on cutting your head off with a dull knife.

This post contains the words of a racist.

But Peter you are wrong about who it is.

I believe that if the Arabs living inside Israel want to live with me in peace and they admit that Israel is the land of the Jews given to the Jews by G-D, then I must give them a better life than they can obtain any where in the world.

I also believe that those Arabs that do not agree with the above should not live in Israel.

That if someone is going to engaged in an act of murder it is my duty to rise up and ambush the murdering scum on their way to the attack and not let them murder innocent people.

Peter please forgive me for I cannot wish you a good day for you are my enemy, I only wish we could meet face to face sometime so I could show you the contempt I feel for a coward .


March 11, 2009

Likud MK confirms he met Syrian official in U.S.

By Haaretz Service and Reuters Last update - 23:01 10/03/2009

Likud MK Ayoob Kara confirmed on Tuesday meeting a senior Syrian
representative in Washington earlier this year on behalf of Prime
Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu. News of the meeting was first
reported on a Lebanese Web site.

The site, Lebanon Now, quoted Israeli sources as saying that Kara and the
Syrian official agreed to meet after Netanyahu (Likud) forms the next

Kara confirmed the report in an interview on Tuesday with Channel 1

Kara told Channel 1 that Israel could see a breakthrough under the new
government after his meeting with the unnamed official, who he described as
"a very central figure" in Syria.

"They (Syrians) want these things to be discreet now," said Kara, who is
from the Arab Druze community, which has branches in Israel, Syria and
Lebanon. He said the Syrian had requested the meeting and that Netanyahu had
been told of its results.

"When the day comes, and it's not far, you will hear new things,
heartwarming things, which will generate a good atmosphere. And contrary to
all expectations, there will be a positive surprise in everything to do with
the peace process."

The Web site, which is affiliated with the anti-Syrian camp within Lebanon,
reports that the meeting was initiated by American officials. "Members of
the new American administration requested that Netanyahu consider the
possibility of holding a meeting with the Syrians in an effort to understand
what his plans are and the chances of renewing negotiations with Syria,"
sources told the Web site.

"Netanyahu answered positively and sent an official on his behalf to
Washington to meet with the Syrian official."

"The Syrians were interested to know what the Netanyahu government plans in
connection to renewing negotiations between Syria and Israel," sources told
Lebanon Now. They noted that the U.S. administration plays a key role in the
process due to Damascus' desire to extricate itself from international

"Netanyahu has positive intentions towards progress in the peace process in
the region," the sources said. "Whatever he declared during the election
campaign will be different than what he will do once he arrives at the
practical stage."

"That is what Ariel Sharon did in his last term when he decided to withdraw
from the Gaza Strip, in contrast to the statements he made during his
election campaign," the sources said.

The Web site noted that Netanyahu refused to comment on the report.

March 10, 2009

PSR Poll #31 of Palestinians: Fatah's popularity over Hamas declines

09 March 2009
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (31)
The popularity of Abbas and Fayyad declines sharply while the popularity of
Haniyeh and Hamas increases significantly; but Fateh can still defeat Hamas
and the overwhelming majority believes Palestinians after the war on Gaza
are worse off than before the war

5-7 March 2009
These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center
for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
between 5 and 7 March 2009. The poll was conducted several weeks after the
Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. The poll period witnessed return of
Palestinian factions to reconciliation talks sponsored by Egypt. Total size
of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly
selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. This press release covers
domestic Palestinian issues; issues related to the peace process and
Israeli-Palestinian relations will be covered in a separate joint
Palestinian-Israeli press release. For further details, contact PSR
director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email

Main Findings:

Findings of the first quarter of 2009 indicate a significant increase in the
popularity of Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas and decease in the popularity of
president Mahmud Abbas and Fateh. They also indicate a significant decline
in the status and legitimacy of Salam Fayyad. Despite these findings, Fateh's
popularity remains higher than that of Hamas. The two most important factors
shaping public attitudes regarding these issues seem to be the Israeli
offensive against Gaza, particularly the performance of Abbas and the
government of Fayyad during the war, and public perceptions of the end of
Abbas's term in office and hence the loss of legitimacy suffered by the
Fayyad's government.

If new presidential elections were held today and the two candidates were
Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmud Abbas, the former receives 47% of the vote and the
later 45%. Three months ago, Abbas received 48% and Haniyeh 38%. In the Gaza
Strip Abbas wins with 50% of the vote compared to 44% for Haniyeh.
But if the competition was between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former
wins with 61% of the vote compared to 34% for Haniyeh. Three months ago,
Barghouti received 59% and Haniyeh 32%.

Popularity of Hamas increases from 28% in our December 2008 poll to 33% in
this poll while the popularity of Fateh drops from 42% to 40% during the
same period. The gap between Fateh and Hamas reaches 12 percentage points in
favor of Fateh in the Gaza Strip but reaches only 3 percentage points in the
West Bank, also in favor of Fateh.

Decline in the popularity of Abbas and Fateh reflects a decline in the
percentage of popular satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas
from 46% three
months ago to 40% in this poll. Moreover, positive evaluation of the
performance of Salam Fayyad's government declines from 34% to 32% during the
same period while positive evaluation of the performance of Haniyeh's
government increases significantly from 36% to 43%.

Moreover, it seems that public perception of the ending of Abbas's term in
office is leading 27% to believe that the legitimate president today is the
Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and 24% to believe that
there is no legitimate president today, while only 39% believe that the
legitimate president today is Abbas.
In the competition over legitimacy between the governments of Haniyeh and
Fayyad, 35% say Haniyeh's government is the legitimate one while only 24%
say Fayyad's is the legitimate one. Thee months ago, 28% said Haniyeh's
government was the legitimate one and 30% said Fayyad's government was the
legitimate one.

Despite the visible increase in the popularity of Hamas and Haniyeh, the
overwhelming majority (71%) says that given the outcome of the Israeli war
on Gaza, conditions of the Palestinians today are worse off than they were
before the war, while only 11% say conditions today are better off than they
were before the war. 17% say conditions have not changed. In the Gaza Strip,
the percentage of those who believe that Palestinians are worse off today
reaches 79%.

Moreover, despite the decline in the popularity and status of Abbas and
Fayyad, 25% say conditions in the West Bank are good while only 7% say
conditions in the Gaza Strip are good.

Similarly, Hamas's call for the establishment of a new representative body
that can serve as an umbrella for the resistance groups receives the support
of only one
third of the Palestinians while 57% say that the PLO should be maintained.

The largest percentage (46%) believe that the most important priority for
Palestinians today should be the unification of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip while 28% say it should be the return to quite and the opening of Gaza
crossings and 25% say the top priority should be the reconstruction in the
Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, belief that Gaza reconstruction should be
the top priority stand at 21% only compared to 27% in the West Bank.

Finally, Fateh's greater popularity compared to Hamas's reflects public
perceptions regarding possible implications of election outcome on two major
issues that seem to influence electoral behavior more than any other issue
as we saw in our last poll in December. These two issues are the ending of
siege and blockade and the unification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Current findings indicate the following:
- if Hamas wins new presidential and legislative elections, 63% of the
public believe that such an outcome would lead to the tightening of the
siege and boycott while an additional 19% say current conditions of boycott
would remain the same and only 12% say a Hamas electoral victory would lead
to the lifting of the siege and boycott. By contrast, if Fateh wins new
presidential and legislative elections, only 11% say that such outcome would
lead to the tightening of the siege and boycott and an additional 24% say
current conditions would remain the same, but the majority (61%) says a
Fateh electoral victory would lead to the lifting of the siege and boycott.
It is worth noting that the belief that a Fateh electoral victory would lead
to the lifting of the siege increases significantly in the Gaza Strip
reaching 76% and decreases to 52% in the West Bank.

- Similarly, if Hamas wins new presidential and legislative elections, 47%
of the public believe that such an outcome would lead to the consolidation
of the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and an additional 23%
say current conditions would remain the same but only 24% say a Hamas
victory would lead to the consolidation of West Bank-Gaza Strip unity. By
contrast, if Fateh wins new presidential and legislative elections only 31%
say that such an outcome would lead to the consolidation of the split
between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and an additional 26% say current
conditions would remain the same, but 37% say such a Fateh electoral victory
would lead to the consolidation of West Bank-Gaza Strip unity. It is worth
noting that the belief that a Hamas electoral victory lead to the
consolidation of West Bank-Gaza Strip split increases considerably in the
Gaza Strip compared to the West Bank (56% compared to 42%) while the belief
that a Fateh electoral victory would lead to the consolidation of West
Bank-Gaza Strip unity increases significantly in the Gaza Strip reaching
47%% and decreases to 31% in the West Bank.

Egyptian Cleric: Boycott Starbucks Because Queen Esther in Logo

Adar 14, 5769, 10 March 09 09:09
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) An Egyptian Muslim cleric has called on the Muslim and Arab world to boycott Starbucks because he claims thefemale character depicted in the company’s logo is actually Queen Esther, the heroine in the story of Purim.

The logo shows a woman with a crown, topped by a five-pointed star on her head. Although there is no apparent reference to anything Jewish in the portrayal, cleric Safwat Higazi recently declared on Egyptian television, “The girl in the Starbucks logo is Queen Esther." The video of Higazi's statement was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Do you know who Queen Esther was and what the crown on her head means?" Higazi asked. "This is the crown of the Persian kingdom. This queen is the queen of the Jews. She is mentioned in the Torah, in the Book of Esther. The girl you see is Esther, the queen of the Jews in Persia."

He pointed out that Starbucks coffee shops are located in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, as well as in Cairo.

“You should boycott this company,” he declared. “It is not enough to avoid entering this coffee shop. It is not enough to refrain from drinking this coffee. You must urge people never to go there.”

The cleric explained that the crown on the logo woman’s head is the crown of the Kingdom of Xerxes, who he said "gave an order that the seven most beautiful girls in the kingdom be brought to him. So they held contests and auditions, and selected the seven most beautiful virgins, one of whom was the Jewish Esther, whose uncle, Mordechai – or actually, it was her cousin’s brother – was a villain."

"It was Mordechai who hatched this plot. Esther was one of the seven girls brought before King Xerxes in the palace. When Esther, who was very beautiful, was shown to King Xerxes, she captured his heart, and he chose her to be his queen. He placed a crown on her head, and the crown you see here [in the Starbucks logo] is the crown of the kingdom of Xerxes.”

"We Want Starbucks To Be Shut Down Throughout The Arab And Islamic World... Can you believe that in Mecca, Al-Madina, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, and all over the Islamic world there hangs the picture of beautiful Queen Esther, with a crown on her head, and we buy her products?” Higazi demanded.

March 08, 2009

Dichter: Anti-Aircraft Missiles in Gaza

Reported: 12:39 PM - Mar/08/09

(IsraelNN.com) Public security Minister Avi Dichter told the cabinet Sunday that Hamas had smuggled anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza over the last few days. He also complained that Egypt has not acted to prevent weapons smuggling by Hamas.

One of Israel’s goals in Operation Cast Lead was to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza. The government choose to end the war, however, without any clear change in the status quo by which Hamas freely smuggles weapons into Gaza.

Military Intelligence: Iran Can Produce Nuclear Weapon

Reported: 15:13 PM - Mar/08/09

(IsraelNN.com) Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin told the cabinet Sunday that Iran has achieved the technological ability to produce a nuclear weapon. According to Yadlin, all that remains for Iran to produce the weapon is will and time.

Yadlin estimated that Iran will try to draw out the U.S. in futile negotiations to give it time to produce a nuclear bomb. Many Israeli officials have said that Israel will stop Iran and that “all options” for dealing with the threat are on the table.

Jihadism on the Rise in Judea and Samaria

Reported: 03:20 AM - Mar/09/09

(IsraelNN.com) The number of terrorists ready to act in the name of "World Jihad" has risen in recent months in Judea and Samaria, according to a Shabak Israel Security Agency report on al-Qaeda activity in Israel.

The report says the terrorists have not formed a network but are taking part in jihadist forums on the internet. According to the agency, al-Qaeda sees these forums as a recruiting ground for terrorist operatives.

Thousands of Tons off Aid Flow into Gaza

Reported: 05:22 AM - Mar/09/09

(IsraelNN.com) More than 17,000 tons of food, medical supplies and merchandise crossed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom terminal and Karni conveyor belt this week despite the ongoing rocket and mortar shelling attacks by Hamas on the western Negev.

More than 2 million liters of heavy-duty diesel fuel for the Gaza power station and more than 400 tons of cooking gas entered via the Nahal Oz fuel depot, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Israeli escort also accompanied 88 Gaza Arabs for medical treatment in Israel.

Gas Drilling Begins Off Hadera Coast

Adar 12, 5769, 08 March 09 03:23
by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) The company which discovered abundant gas reserves off the coast of Haifa in January has begun drilling in a new site, west of Hadera.

Noble Energy Inc., the Houston-based partner of Isramco Ltd., Delek Group Ltd., and Avner Oil and Gas LP, said the new offshore well, named Dalit-1, is located approximately 60 kilometers west of Hadera.

The company moved its rig on the ship "Atwood Hunter" to the new drill site on Friday after having completed drilling at the Tamar-1 well 90 kilometers west of Haifa. The Tamar-1 find was eventually discovered to be more than 60 percent larger than originally estimated, according to Noble Energy officials -- reportedly more than enough to fuel the State of Israel for at least 15 years.

The drilling is expected to last approximately two months and cost $130 million, company officials said. Once drilling is completed at Dalit-1, the "Atwood Hunter" will proceed to the next well, dubbed Tamar-2.

There is a 40 percent chance the company will find commercial quantities of up to 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the site, referred to as the Michal prospect, according to the Globes business news agency.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

March 06, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 9pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the host radio program web page http://kknt960.townhall.com/

We are now making deals with terrorist.

'Israel promised not to hurt Hamas No. 2' By Haaretz Service Last update - 13:51 06/03/2009 www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1069174.html

The powerful chief of Egypt's intelligence services, Omar Suleiman, secured
a promise from Israel not to harm top Hamas political bureau deputy Moussa
Abu Marzouk during a visit he made last week to the Gaza Strip, the pan-Arab
London-based newspaper Al Hayat reported on Friday.

According to the report, Suleiman expressed his desire to expedite talks on
a prisoner swap involving captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad
Shalit, who has been held in Gaza since his abduction in a cross-border raid
by Palestinian gunmen in June 2006.

Palestinian sources told Al Hayat that during his visit Abu Marzouk met with
the commander of the Hamas military wing, Ahmed al-Jabari, and with the head
of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

Sources said al-Jabari is the official who is responsible for concealing
Shalit and is also charged with preserving his welfare. Al-Jabari is also
said to be intimately involved in drafting the list of prisoners Hamas seeks
in exchange for Shalit's release.

The newspaper reports that Israel is adamant in its refusal to release
between 6 and 10 prisoners whom Hamas is demanding. Officials have yet to
schedule a date for marathon, indirect talks between Israel and Hamas which
would in all likelihood consummate the agreement.

This is just wrong.

We are now making deals with terrorist.

It is simple no money into Gaza, no food or fuel into Gaza until Shalit is released.

EXCLUSIVE-Record donor pledges to Palestinians raise questions
Fri Mar 6, 2009 7:44am EST
* Unprecedented pledges to Palestinians lack transparency
* Unclear what money is new and when it will arrive
* Some pledges were double counted, diplomats say

By Adam Entous

JERUSALEM, March 6 (Reuters) - Rich states and investors have announced a
record $14 billion to aid the Palestinians and their economy in a string of
Western-backed meetings meant to boost President Mahmoud Abbas in his power
struggle with Hamas.

But diplomats said many of the pledges made at five donor and investor
conferences held since December 2007, including one in Egypt on Monday, were
counted more than once, have yet to materialise or were too vague to rely

Much of the money depends on Israel fully opening border crossings with
Hamas-ruled Gaza, and lifting restrictions in the occupied West Bank where
Abbas's Palestinian Authority holds sway, or has been linked to progress in
stalled peace talks and Palestinian reconciliation, casting doubt on future

One senior Western diplomat criticised the pledging process as "smoke and
mirrors" because of double-counting. Another said the big-figure headlines
from donors eager to look forthcoming, combined with a lack of transparency,
were "getting ridiculous", noting that despite the cascade of pledges, the
Authority was still struggling to pay full wages to its workers on time.

Conference organisers have disclosed little about individual donor pledges
or disbursement schedules, making it difficult to track how much money was
really in the pipeline for Abbas.

Donors also differ over how to deliver their aid, underscoring divisions
over isolating Hamas, which has decried the pledging process as financial
"blackmail" to marginalise the group after its 2006 election victory. Israel
and the United States say they want to prevent any money from going to the
Islamists, who they consider "terrorists".


The large sums announced at conferences in Paris, Berlin, the Egyptian
resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and the West Bank over the last 15 months -- $12
billion from governments and $2 billion from investors -- were unprecedented
by Palestinian standards, eclipsing the amount the Authority received in the
previous 14 years since the 1993 Oslo peace accords.

Combined, the pledges would be the equivalent of $3,500 for every man, woman
and child in the West Bank and Gaza, more than double per capita Palestinian
GDP. Half of Gaza's 1.5 million population live on less than $3 a day, by
Palestinian estimates.

It is unclear how much of the $4.5 billion in "new commitments", announced
at Monday's conference in Sharm to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after
Israel's devastating offensive, were really new, said Western diplomats who
took part.

Diplomats and analysts pointed to the large discrepancy between what the
Palestinian Authority asked for at Sharm -- $2.8 billion over two years --
and what was announced as an indication that the numbers were not realistic.

Palestinian Planning Minister Samir Abdallah dismissed doubts about the
dollar-amounts, telling Reuters "most of the pledges made in Sharm were new
commitments" and did not overlap with previous announcements.

Diplomats said the biggest cash offers on Monday came from a bloc of Gulf
Arab states with a particularly spotty track record of fulfilling
commitments to Abbas's West Bank-based government.

Some of them were reluctant to be seen as taking sides with the Authority's
Western-backed leader, who advocates peace with Israel, against Islamists
with appeal on the Arab street.

Breaking with Western donors, the Gulf bloc has opted to channel $1.65
billion through their own mechanism, angering some Authority officials.
Washington wants Abbas to accrue credit.

Mazen Sonnoqrot, former Palestinian economy minister turned businessman,
said some of the Arab funds may be withheld until Abbas and Hamas reconcile.
It is unclear if that will happen anytime soon because of internal
Palestinian divisions and U.S. demands that Hamas recognise Israel and
renounce violence.

Diplomats said some other donors in Sharm, including the European
Commission, largely re-pledged commitments initially made at a donors'
conference in Paris in December 2007.

In Paris, some $7.7 billion was pledged for the Palestinians to be spread
over three years. According to Authority estimates, about $2.4 billion of
that has been disbursed, much of it behind schedule, forcing Abbas's prime
minister, Salam Fayyad, to delay some salary payments and to scramble for
emergency financing.

"It is the same money," said a senior Western diplomat, whose government
made a sizeable pledge at the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. "It is getting


The Palestinians have always relied on donor assistance. But pledging
ballooned after then-U.S. President George W. Bush convened a November 2007
conference in Annapolis, Maryland to relaunch peace talks between Israel and
the Palestinians and to shore up Abbas after Hamas's Gaza takeover in June

Those talks have since stalled, Abbas's standing looks shaky, and Hamas's
grip on Gaza remains strong.

A senior diplomat who advises European powers on aiding the Palestinian
Authority said "proof" donor commitments were being overstated could be
found in the mismatch between the pledges and economic activity. Since the
Paris conference, Palestinian GDP has declined by more than 1 percent in per
capita terms.

"If those numbers were sincere you'd see an increase in the economy. The
truth is the aid is either non-existent or is being wasted on non-productive
investments," he said, pointing to donors who direct most of their funds to
development projects that can take years to complete because of Israeli

Like government pledges, it is unclear how many private sector investments
were really happening. Nablus Governor Jamal Muheisen, whose city hosted one
of the conferences in November, said he knew of none so far. Organiser Samir
Hulileh said some West Bank projects were advancing but more slowly than
Mouin Rabbani, a Middle East analyst based in Amman, said the surge in
post-Annapolis pledging was partly "a PR stunt to boost Abbas", but added:
"Even if a small proportion of the pledged funds does get through, this is
still a huge amount." (Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah,
Atef Sa'ad in Nablus, Wael al-Ahmed in Jenin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

March 05, 2009

Jerusalem: Bulldozer plows into police vehicle; terrorist killed

Tractor hammers into police squad car on Menachem Begin Boulevard in the capital; misses nearby bus. Two officers injured, attacker neutralized
Ronen Medzini

A tractor plowed into a police squad car on Menachem Begin Boulevard in Jerusalem on Thursday. The driver was apparently also trying to hit a nearby bus, but missed.

Two police officers were in the car when it was hit and both sustained mild injuries. Other police officers patrolling nearby shot the terrorist.

Magen David Adom emergency services were immediately dispatched to the area. The paramedics treated both the injured officers and the tractor driver, who reportedly sustained severe injuries.

One of the police officers and the terrorist were taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. The other police officer was taken to the capital's Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The tractor driver was later pronounced dead.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Nissan Shaham recapped the event: "At approximately 1:10 pm we received a report of a terror attack taking place at Menachem Begin Boulevard. A Jerusalem Highway Patrol car was first to arrive at the scene and saw the bulldozer attempt to crush the police car and then lift it up.

"The officers shot the terrorist and neutralized him. Seconds later, a cab driver who pulled over fired as well, as did another police officer who arrived at the scene, and a force volunteer. The driver was critically injured, taken off the tractor and rushed to a nearby hospital, where he later died of his wounds. We found an open Quran book in the driver's compartment."

Shaham also said that following the event, the police have compiled a list of all bulldozer owners and licensed drivers in the capital's area, adding that the driver's identity has yet to be ascertained. "This is not the kind of attack we can anticipate to thwart in advance," he said.

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen later added that "this event ended as well as it could have, with only two injured officers. In the next few hours we will be able to say where the terrorist came from."

Meanwhile, Gaza's Hamas rulers praised Thursday's bulldozer attack in Jerusalem as a "natural response" to Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in Arab east Jerusalem and to the Jewish state's offensive in the Gaza Strip: "The operation in Jerusalem was a natural response to aggression against our people. The Zionist enemy should realize that they alone bear the responsibility for displacing our people in Jerusalem and for the killings in Gaza and the West Bank," said Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas official.

Third of its kind

Three schoolgirls who witnessed the events were treated for shock. "This was nothing short of a miracle," Haim Weingarten of Zaka (Disaster Victim Identification), told Ynet. "The terrorist was apparently aiming for the bus, but a power pole that had fallen on the road stopped it."

"I was about 100 yard away from (the attack) and I could see this tractor run amuck. It looked like it would also hit a bus that was in the intersection. Then it seemed to turn and go after the police car," eyewitness Sunny Benyamini told Ynet.

"I saw the (police) car go backwards and forwards and then the policemen shot at the tractor. It came to a stop and many people around it jumped on it and overpowered the driver," he said.

MDA Director-General Eli Bin confirmed that two police officers were treated at the scene and rushed to a nearby hospital. "The security forces and the emergency teams operated in an exemplary fashion," he added.

Thursday's tractor attack is the third of its kind in the capital: July of 2008 saw two such attacks – the first resulting in three people dead and 30 injured and the second resulting in 18 people injured. In both cases, the assailant was a resident of east Jerusalem.

Roi Mandel and Daniel Edelson contributed to this report

March 04, 2009

Abbas Ups Payments to Jailed Terrorists

Adar 8, 5769, 04 March 09 11:37
by Maayana Miskin

(IsraelNN.com) Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the PA office in charge of prisoners to send additional money for the month of February to inmates in Israel, according to PA-based news sources. The announcement came one day after the United States pledged $600 million in aid for the PA and $300 million more in reconstruction aid for Gaza over the next two years.

Each of the roughly 4,500 PA-affiliated prisoners in Israel will receive an additional $190 (NIS 760) for the month of February, in addition to their usual monthly stipend.

Over 90 percent of the PA prisoners in Israel were arrested for terrorist offenses. Another several hundred are in jail for criminal activity, including drug offenses, theft and violent assault.

PA prisoners, including several thousand convicted terrorists, usually receive $238 (NIS 950) each month. Prisoners who are married or have children receive additional money.

In total, the PA spends roughly $1.1 million in prisoner payments each month, and hundreds of thousands more in stipends for terrorist prisoners with wives and children.

The PA raised money from the U.S. and other countries this week in order to cover its own operating costs, in addition to funding reconstruction in Gaza following IDF battles with local terrorists.

Some analysts have noted that international aid to the PA goes largely towards employing an unusually large number of public sector workers, allowing the PA to pay off loyalists instead of improving the economy.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel to let more aid into Gaza in gesture to Clinton

Last update - 03:43 05/03/2009

By Nir Hasson, Barak Ravid, Avi Issacharoff, and The Associated Press

Israel will increase the range of goods permitted into the Gaza Strip as a gesture to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who concluded her visit to the region Wednesday. In recent weeks, Israel has prevented such products as jam, pasta and paper from reaching the besieged coastal territory.

"We want humanitarian aid to get into Gaza in sufficient amounts to alleviate the suffering of the people," Clinton said, but stopped short of calling for a full opening of the crossings.

Last week, Haaretz reported that U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell had complained about Israel's policy of limiting goods sent into Gaza, saying it was "unacceptable to the U.S."

Many other diplomats, including the Norwegian Foreign Minister and a number of counterparts from the European Union, also urged Israel to drop the measure.

"Even though the pasta issue was solved last week, this entire episode has made us look ridiculous in the eyes of the world," a senior Jerusalem source said yesterday. "It's too bad we have to wait for pressure from Europe and the U.S., and we couldn't rescind the measure on our own."

Before her departure, Clinton visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah, where she promised vigorous and personal involvement in stalled Mideast peace efforts and criticized Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem as unhelpful. Clinton also displayed strong public support for Abbas.

"The Palestinian Authority is the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people," she told a news conference, standing next to Abbas.

Talking to reporters after meeting Clinton, Abbas criticized Iran, one of Hamas' main backers. He charged that Iran is trying to deepen the Palestinian divide and said Iran needs to take care of its own issues and not intervene in Palestinian affairs.

In recent days, Israel has issued orders for the demolition of dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, saying the homes were built illegally.

Palestinians say they cannot receive proper building permits from Israeli authorities, and the planned demolitions are a means to assert Israel's control over the disputed city.

"Clearly, this kind of activity is unhelpful," Clinton said, adding that she would raise it with the Israeli government as well as municipal officials in Jerusalem. She said such actions violate the road map, a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Clinton spoke shortly after Israel issued a new order to demolish five residential buildings containing 55 apartments, said Hatem Abdul Qader, a Palestinian official on Jerusalem affairs.

"It's an open demographic war," he said. "He said lawyers have challenged the orders, halting demolitions until March 10."

Stephan Miller, a spokesman for city hall, said the buildings under demolition notice were empty and had been built illegally.

Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat charged that Palestinians had fed Clinton misinformation and that they were taking advantage of her visit to push their agenda. He said that the buildings were built on area that the municipality had set aside as open spaces and parks.

On Wednesday Haaretz published a letter signed by 23 Israel Prize laureates including A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, Nathan Zach, Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, Shulamit Aloni and Lia van Leer, protesting Barkat's intention to demolish illegally-built buildings in East Jerusalem.

March 03, 2009

Joint Statements By Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Statement

Good evening.

I welcome the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hilary
Rodham Clinton, on her first visit to Israel in her new position.

The Secretary of State has an excellent familiarity with the State of Israel
and the entire Middle East, one which goes back many years, and I am certain
that she will know how to utilize all the experience and knowledge she
acquired through the years as a leading Senator in order to represent the
United States' interests and those of the entire free world, and to advance
stability and quiet in the region - because this is a goal we all share.

The friendship between the United States and Israel is close and long lived.
Throughout my entire tenure, our two countries nurtured and strengthened
this friendship. I am certain that President Obama, and the Secretary of
State, will work in cooperation with any Israeli government, and will remain
committed to the well-being and security of Israel as a Jewish state.

I expect that our discussion will undoubtedly deal with the bilateral
relations between our countries, as well as regional issues. The Secretary
of State has arrived here at the Prime Minister's Residence after a day of
discussions with the President of the State of Israel and with my
colleagues, and I am certain that she heard about our concerns and hopes
from all of them.

I will share our increasing concern about the Iranian threat with her. The
position of Israel, as I have already outlined, is that Israel cannot
tolerate a nuclear Iran, and I heard President Obama and the Secretary of
State that they resolutely object to a nuclear Iran. We will discuss ways in
which we can ensure this.

With regard to our hopes, I will share with the Secretary of State the
position my Government has taken to advance peace between us and the
Palestinians, and together we will discuss ways to advance peace in the
region as part of the two-state solution. This is the only solution - there
is no doubt - and it reflects absolutely Israel's supreme strategic interest
as well as the interest of the Palestinian people.

I will update the Secretary of State with regard to the peace negotiations
we conducted with Syria through the Turkish mediation, and together we will
discuss ways in which we can extricate as many countries in the region from
extremism in order to weaken the strength and influence of those countries
which support terror and of terrorist organizations in the region. I will
certainly update her with regard to the situation in Southern Israel and
about our intention to continue defending ourselves from any terrorist
aggressions on the part of the Hamas and other terrorist organizations,
which, unfortunately, rules in the Gaza Strip. In fact, they continue almost
on a daily basis to shoot at innocent Israelis living in the southern part
of Israel, and this is of course something that is totally unacceptable and
intolerable to us and to everyone who lives in the State of Israel.

Madam Secretary of State,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you in your new position -
your courage, your commitment, your international experience and the brave
friendship you have demonstrated for the State of Israel throughout the
years will certainly find expression in your new role and assist in your
success. I am totally convinced that you will continue to advance and
strengthen the relations between Israel and with the greatest friend we have
in the whole world - the United States of America. Welcome
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's Remarks Statement

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and it is indeed a personal delight for
me to be here this evening. I thank you for the generous offer of
hospitality. As you pointed out when I came in, I have been to this home
before, and it always reminds me of many years of friendship and people
whose lives have intersected with mine. I am grateful for this opportunity
to return as my country's Secretary of State, on behalf of President Obama,
and to have the opportunity you just briefly outlined to discuss the range
of issues that are of concern to Israel and the United States.

I've had a wonderful day. As the Prime Minister pointed out, it started
with an old friend, Shimon Peres. Then I was honored to go to Yad Vashem to
see some of the new parts of the museum and memorial, and to pay tribute
there to the six million lives lost in the Holocaust and to lay a wreath and
pay respect to the eternal flame.

The United States and Israel face a number of serious challenges, and it was
important for me to be here and to be with my delegation, including Middle
East Envoy, Senator Mitchell, who's been here before and will be back
numerous times in the future; to engage in in-depth discussions with Israel's
leaders on these matters of grave mutual concern.

But I also enjoyed the opportunity to have a discussion with a group of
women entrepreneurs just a short while ago at the hotel, who are being
featured in a little video made for a contest that the United States State
Department is running, seeking interesting projects around the world. There
were so many hundreds of them submitted, and this project from Israel which
discusses a supportive community that helps women become entrepreneurs,
particularly immigrant women - women from the former Soviet Union, women
from Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Because as we discuss the critical issues of our time, it's also important
to remember why we do this - and it is to provide the people who both the
Prime Minister and I are privileged to represent with a chance to fulfill
their own dreams, to live lives in safety and security, and to be given the
opportunity to fulfill their own G-d-given potential.

So when we sometimes discuss these serious matters of terrorism and
extremism, of the threat posed by Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, we can't
disconnect it from what we are attempting to do, to make sure that the
people of Israel have a chance to live and flourish in a safe and secure
environment, and as the Prime Minister said, to seek a way that they can
live next to their Palestinian neighbors in a safe and secure environment.

So I am very grateful, once again, to be here in Israel and pledging not
only my personal commitment, but that of my country, to the fundamental and
unshakable bond that joins us to Israel's security and to our enduring bonds
of friendship.

Thank you so much Prime Minister.

March 02, 2009

Yemeni court fines man $250,000 for fatal shooting of local Jew

Last update - 11:05 02/03/2009

By The Associated Press

A Yemeni court has ruled that a Muslim on trial for killing a Yemeni Jew is mentally incompetent and ordered he to pay a fine for the fatal shooting.

The slaying of Jewish teacher Moshe Yaish Nahari last December in Omran, north of the capital, San'a, raised fears of anti-Semitic attacks across the country.

Nahari was shot to death in a market in the city of Rida, after the alleged murderer called on him to convert to Islam.

Nahari has four sisters living in Israel, who left for Yemen as soon as they heard of the tragedy.

Monday's ruling says the defendant - Abdel Aziz Yehia Hamoud al-Abdi, a retired pilot in the Yemeni air force - is mentally unstable. It orders he pay a fine of 50.5 million riyals, or about $250,000.

Lawyer Khaled al-Anisi representing the slain teacher says the court showed prejudice and warned the light ruling opened doors to attacks that could lead to the eviction of the Jewish community from Yemen.

Egypt: $4.4B raised for Gaza reconstruction

During Sharm el-Sheik Gaza aid conference, where donors pledged $4.4 billion, Clinton says Obama administration has no illusions when it comes to Tehran's willingness to negotiate atom work, Obama will push fr two-state solution

News agencies
Latest Update: 03.02.09, 18:54 / Israel News

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in the Middle East for her first official visit Monday, expressed doubt that Iran would respond to the Obama administration's expressions of interest in engaging Tehran on nuclear and other issues, a senior State Department official said.

Clinton was in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheik to attend an international conference to raise money for the war-torn Gaza Strip, where donors pledged $4.4 billion in new funds, according to Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

He added that other nations recommitted themselves to funds they promised in the past but never delivered, bringing the total to $5.2 billion in pledges. Aboul Gheit said the figure is "beyond of our expectations."

So the world rewards terrorism.

Rockets still fly on a daily basis out of Gaza, does the world stand shoulder to shoulder against the terrorist.
No they stand shoulder to shoulder with the terrorist against the victims.

But since the victims of the rockets and terror are Jews, let's finish the job Hitler started.

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