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March 30, 2012

MERF Appearance

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 am 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 MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

March 29, 2012

Analysis: US thwarting Israeli strike on Iran

Obama betraying Israel? US making deliberate effort to hinder Iran strike by leaking classified info, intelligence assessments, says Ron Ben-Yishai in special Ynet report
Ron Ben-Yishai

The United States is leaking information to the media in order to avert an Israeli strike in Iran: The US Administration recently shifted into high gear in its efforts to avert an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the end of the year. The flood of reports in the American media in recent weeks attests not only to the genuine US fear that Israel intends to realize its threats; moreover, it indicates that the Obama Administration has decided to take its gloves off.

Indeed, in recent weeks the Administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis-à-vis decision-makers and Israel’s public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran. This “surgical strike” is undertaken via reports in the American and British media, but the campaign’s aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF to carry out a strike, and what’s even graver, to erode the IDF’s capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties.

The first and most important American objective is to eliminate potential operational options available to the IDF and the State of Israel. I have no intention of detailing or even hinting to the options which the US government aims to eliminate by exposing them in the media. A large part of the reports stem from false information or disinformation, and there is no reason to reveal to the Iranians what’s real and what isn’t. However, it is blatantly clear that reports in the past week alone have caused Israel substantive diplomatic damage, and possibly even military and operational damage.

Another Administration objective is to convince the Israeli public that an Iran strike (including a US attack) will not achieve even the minimum required to justify it; that is, a delay of at least 3-5 years in Iran’s nuclear program. A lengthy postponement would of course justify the suffering on Israel’s home front, while a six-month delay – as argued by a US Congress report – does not justify the risks.


The six-month figure was meant for the Israeli public, so that it would press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to avoid a strike, whose futility the Americans are trying to prove in every way possible. At the same time, the campaign aims to erode the validity of demands voiced by many members of Congress and Senate – both Democrats and Republicans - who criticize the American president’s inaction.


The Congress report published Wednesday is maligned by several inaccuracies, in terms of both analysis and information. However, this makes no difference. The aim was to make headlines in the Israeli and Washington media, rather than an in-depth analysis, which isn’t possible as Congress researchers in Washington do not have access to all the relevant information, fortunately.


Congress in Iran’s service

The third objective of the recent publications is to scare the Israeli public via an apocalyptic account of possible retaliation by Iran and its “clients.” This effort also aims to press Israeli decision-makers not to act (including the mention in the Congress report of the accurate fact that Israel’s home front is not adequately prepared to sustain a blow.) Some observers would argue that these reports are not damaging, but rather, grant the Israeli threat validity, thereby serving Western representatives in upcoming negotiations with Iran. So what’s wrong with that?


The damage has to do with the revelation of secret information and assessments that would require an expensive, risky intelligence effort for the Iranians to acquire. Indeed, the Iranians already realize that the West and Israel possess plenty of up-to-date information on Iran’s nuclear project, including centrifuge workshops in Tehran homes. The Ayatollah regime can also predict possible attack routes and methods by Israel and the US.

However, any rookie intelligence officer knows that there is a huge difference between unconfirmed estimates and solid facts or IDF aims and capabilities. Any Iranian intelligence analyst who reads the latest US Congress report or the Foreign Policy report will find invaluable information there. The overwhelming majority of the information has already been published, yet instead of forcing the Iranians to piece together all the assessments themselves, the Congress report offers them everything in one place, including detailed analysis.


Fortunately, as noted, Congress researchers and those who leaked the information to them apparently have some trouble in terms of reading comprehension.


Betraying an ally

To sum up, the American publications caused the following damage:

Iran now has a decent picture of what Israel’s and America’s intelligence communities know about Tehran’s nuclear program and defense establishment, including its aerial defenses.

The Iranians now know about the indications that would be perceived by Washington and Jerusalem as a “nuclear breakthrough”. Hence, Iran can do a better job of concealment.

The reports make it more difficult to utilize certain operational options. These options, even if not considered thus far, could have been used by the US in the future, should Iran not thwart them via diplomatic and military means.


Needless to say, this is not how one should be treating an ally, even if this is a relationship between a superpower and a satellite state. The targeted assassination campaign currently undertaken by the US government also sharply contradicts President Obama’s declaration at the AIPAC Conference, whereby he and the US recognize Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself. One cannot utter these words and a moment later exposes Israel’s vulnerabilities and possible strike routes to its enemies.


Indeed, there is a difference between legitimate persuasion efforts and practical steps to thwart Israeli plans and eliminate them.


For a total of seven years, I served as Yedioth Ahronoth’s reporter in Washington, so I know very well that with a few exceptions, the US Administration knows how to prevent leaks to the media if it so wishes. This is the case even when dealing with former officials, and most certainly when dealing with current government officials. What we are seeing here is not a trickle of information, but rather, a powerful current, a true flood that leaves no doubt as to the existence of an orchestrated media campaign with clear aims.

There is another interesting aspect to this story from an American point of view: In 2002, when President George W. Bush sought to embark on war in Iraq, US intelligence agencies provided him with all the “evidence” that Saddam Hussein is developing large quantities of nuclear and chemical weapons. Following the war, when no traces of such weapons were discovered in Iraq, a Congress inquiry found that US intelligence officials were so eager to satisfy their president that they cut corners and relied on unsubstantiated information.


Given American media reports in recent days, one must wonder whether history is repeating itself. Could it be that the US intelligence community is providing President Obama with what he needs for political reasons – that is, information meant to curb an Israeli or American strike on Iran?

I pray that Bibi has the courage to do what we need to do, when we need to do it.

Who cares what an American President wants Israel to do if it places Israel at danger.

May G-D judge Obama fairly, for his evil towards Israel.

March 27, 2012

Yoni Is Back

I want to apologize for not posting for the last week.

I was in Africa, and developed computer problems that could not be solved in Africa.

March 19, 2012

Warning From History



'Jews around world under growing Islamic terror threat'
By YAAKOV KATZ
19/03/2012
Former Counterterrorism Bureau chief Nitzan Nuriel tells 'Post' that jihadist organizations seeking to attack Israeli, Jewish targets overseas, urges Israelis traveling abroad to take extra precautions, be more vigilant.

Israelis and Jews around the world are under a growing threat from Islamic terrorists and need to demand that local authorities provide better security, Former Counterterrorism Bureau chief Brig.-Gen.(res) Nitzan Nuriel said Monday, speaking to The Jerusalem Post hours after a gunman killed four people outside of a Jewish school in France.

Nuriel said that a coalition of jihadist organizations have made a decision to attack Israeli and Jewish targets wherever they may be without distinction. "They attack whoever they can and wherever security is lax," he said.

According to Nuriel, who stepped down from his post several months ago, terror groups are trying to deter Israel from taking action against them by carrying out these attacks overseas. He said it was possible that the attack against the school in France was not terror related, but he did draw a direct line between the recent spate of bombings plots in India Georgia, Thailand and Azerbaijan.

Nuriel urged Israelis who travel overseas to take extra precautions and to be more vigilant in the face of the terror threat.

"It makes no difference for the terrorist if the target is a representative of the Jewish Agency, an Israeli tourist or a local Jew," he stated.

Jews, learn the lesson of history.

BUY GUNS, you idiots.

Then get training so you know how to use them and how to fight.

History has warned you, so you have no excuse.

March 18, 2012

'Broad Israeli-PA cooperation continues despite tensions'

By HERB KEINON
18/03/2012
Foreign Ministry report details cooperation between Israel, PA in terms of medical treatment for Palestinians in Israel, security coordination, employment opportunities for Palestinians.

Nearly 200,000 West Bank Palestinian patients and those accompanying them were granted permits in 2011 for medical treatment in Israel, a 13 percent increase from 2010, according to a Foreign Ministry report.

The report, entitled "Measures Taken by Israel in Support of Developing the Palestinian Economy and Socio-Economic Structure," will be submitted Wednesday to the Palestinian donors' conference meeting in Brussels.

In addition, according to the report, some 21,500 Palestinian children from the West Bank were treated in Israeli hospitals last year, a 171% increase from the year before.

The 44-page report documents areas of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in a number of health, economic, and security spheres.

For instance, despite the stymied political process and the tense relationship between the government and the Palestinian Authority, in 2011 some 764 joint security meetings were held, a 5% increase over the year before.

The donors' conference, formally know as the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), will be chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and presided over by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

The AHLC was established in 1993 during the Oslo process heydays, and is the principal policy level coordinating mechanism for international aid to the Palestinians.

According to the report, "maintaining security and preventing terrorism is critical in order to promote stability and economic development on the ground." Despite improved security coordination and "relative calm," 2011 saw a 10% rise in overall terrorist incidents coming from the West Bank, and also an increase in the number of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks from eight people in 2010, to 10 in 2011.

By contrast, in 2002, at the height of the second intifada, some 452 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks.

According to the report, the Israel Security Agency "noted that during 2011, Hamas has been trying to rehabilitate its military infrastructure in the West Bank in order to carry out attacks against Israeli targets. The Hamas leadership abroad has provided funding, guidance and training for the establishment of terrorist infrastructure. Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been involved as well, attempting to move weaponry into the West Bank and providing funding for terrorist activities."

Not all the security cooperation, however, dealt with terrorism, and according to the report three study days - in cooperation with the EU - were held between Israeli and Palestinian police dealing with routine police work, such as evidence gathering and dealing with drug trafficking. Meetings were also held between the head of the Israeli police unit combating auto theft, and the investigations department in the Palestinian police dealing with "chop shops" where stolen cars are disassembled and their parts resold.

In the economic sphere the report pointed out that after three years of rapid economic growth in the West Bank, there was a slowdown in the first three quarters of 2011. Unemployment there runs at 17 %, with that rate at 20% among those with academic degrees.

By contrast, in the Gaza Strip the real GDP climbed by 25.8% in the first three quarters of 2011, due in large part to the Israel's policy of easing up on what is allowed in and out of Gaza.

The PA is also facing a fiscal crisis caused to a large extent - but not exclusively - by a shortfall in donor aid.

"The fiscal crisis is especially acute because much of the West Bank economy still depends on the public sector and on construction projects, both still heavily financed by foreign aid," the report stated. "It also serves as an alarming warning sign for the stability of the Palestinian economy."

Calling into question the PA's fiscal management, and its readiness for statehood, the report said that there were "deviations in the Palestinian 2011 budget," as the Palestinians spent more on development expenditures than was available.

"The public finance management system's role in the current crisis may undermine its track record as a system that meets the requirements of a well-functioning state," the report stated.

According to the report, the number of Palestinians employed in Israel and by Israeli employers in the West Bank continues to rise.

In 20111 some 31,414 Palestinians worked in Israel. This, however, is just a small percentage of the number that used to work in Israel before various waves of terrorism. For instance, until a wave of Palestinian knife attacks on Israel in early 1993, an estimated 140,000 Palestinian day laborers worked inside the Green Line.

The tax that Israel collects at the ports and then transfers to the PA reached NIS 5 billion this year, an increase of almost 6% from the year before. This is money that generally makes headlines when it is held up by Israel, as was done in November when Jerusalem delayed the transfer of these funds after the PA won membership into UNESCO.

According to the report, Israeli purchases from the PA constituted about 90 percent of all Palestinian exports. Overall trade with the PA (goods and services) totaled $4.3 billion, with Israel buying $815 million from the PA, and selling $3.49 billion.

Why are we doing this when?

Rockets and mortars fly out of Gaza.

Female soldiers are being stabbed nearly to death while riding the light rail in Jerusalem.

We are the biggest wimps in the world.

Either we are friends in which case we have zero terrorism or we are enemies and we go to a real old fashion war.

March 16, 2012

Only Begin and Meridor Would Tenaciously Oppose an Attack on Iran

Only Begin and Meridor Would Tenaciously Oppose an Attack on Iran
The fire in the south has yet to end, and Netanyahu returned to discuss the
Iranian threat. An interim conclusion of the fighting in the south: we won
in points. The next combat round will take place soon, and will be at a
higher level

Amir Rapaport 16/3/2012
http://www.israeldefense.com/?CategoryID=483&ArticleID=1045

The latest escalation round in the Gaza Strip has yet to come to a true
conclusion, and the Prime Minister has already returned to discussing the
real issue in the Israeli Knesset: the Iranian threat.

A week after the important meeting with US President Barack Obama, in which
Netanyahu “only” received a yellow card rather than a red one, with regards
to a potential Israeli strike on Iran, and the Prime Minister has already
started to work on public opinion (Israeli and Iranian) with a Knesset
speech. Does this mean that an attack will necessarily take place? No. It’s
doubtful that Netanyahu himself knows. A decision has yet to be made for or
against an attack. What is certain is that if Netanyahu and Minister of
Defense, Ehud Barak, decide to attack, they'll be able to pass a decision
through the cabinet without significant difficulty. With the exception of
ministers Benny Begin and Dan Meridor, a tenacious objection against an
Israeli strike on Iran is not expected.

We Won, in Points

Until a decision is made, we can ask: who won the latest round of fighting?
The answer: Israel, but in points.

Israel won this round because it determined the rules of the game, and even
the weather (it was no coincidence that the assassination of the
secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, which triggered the
fire last Friday, took place at the start of a brief bright window of
opportunity in a fairly cold and cloudy winter). Israel also took advantage
of the fact that Hamas was in a state of distress – from its perspective,
the timing for starting a war against Israel was far from ideal. The
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is attempting to portray itself as the winner of
the past week, but that’s a blatant lie. At the bottom line, the
organization tried to force Israel to commit to refrain from carrying out
additional assassinations, in exchange for a ceasefire, yet did not get such
a commitment.

The heads of the Egyptian military also came out well this week, after
having proved that their capability to force measures upon Hamas and the
rest of the Gaza Strip organizations is fairly high.

The question is, when will the next round of fighting take place? The
answer: fairly soon. The ceasefire achieved this week is far from reflecting
a balanced situation, or one of a decisive blow to the other side (a fact,
as it was violated with the fire of a lone Grad rocket towards Netivot, the
night after it went into effect, and with the fire towards Be’er Sheva on
Wednesday evening). Southern children did not go to school once more, and
the IDF has already resumed attacks in the Strip (this time in less ideal
weather).

The next round of fighting (if it hasn’t already begun) will not be similar
to the past week. In extreme scenarios, it could start after the abduction
of an Israeli soldier or citizen, who would take Gilad Shalit's place in
captivity (the Palestinians have many reasons to try to replicate the
success of Shalit's abduction, and they are continuously trying to do so).

Israel, on the other hand, can also enter the Gaza Strip the next time, even
with the goal of toppling the Hamas regime. A fact: the IDF successfully
carried out Operation Defensive Shield in the Judea and Samaria regions
precisely a decade ago. This option is also in the toolbox of the political
and military echelons.

Iron Dome: Taking Advantage of the Opportunity

The great media hero of the past week was the Iron Dome system. The defense
establishment is hoping to leverage the public sympathy in order to “take
advantage” of the situation and gain more resources from Netanyahu, beyond
the continuous defense budget allocated for the system.

In a paradoxical manner, Israel has only invested 900 million NIS out of its
own resources to fund the research and development of the system and to
acquire the initial two batteries. Five additional batteries (four normal
batteries and another training battery, which can also be used for
operational purposes) are fully funded by the US taxpayer, at a cost of $205
million.

Israel is not allocating budgets for the funding of additional batteries,
even though the needs stipulate that 13 batteries are needed for a war
scenario in multiple sectors. Considerable doubt also surrounds the question
of whether the existing budgets are sufficient in order to produce a
sufficient amount of interceptors. In any case, the Iron Dome system is
already assured one thing: the Israel Defense Prize before the next
independence day. It's impossible to imagine a situation in which the
system's developers would not be rewarded the prize, even though the names
of the winners have yet to be published.

In addition, a few words about the anonymous heroes of the past week, the
essential weapon systems in the Gaza fighting, which did not receive praise
from the Prime Minister and countless newspaper articles; these are IAI’s
multi-branched radar system, which can provide a precise image of rocket
launches at any given moment, so that they can be attacked; and there is
Elbit System’s Hermes 450 UAV, which worked overtime.

Elbit

During a meeting with analysts for the publication of Elbit System’s 2011
annual report, Yossi Ackerman, Elbit's CEO, said on Wednesday that he's
sorry that the company is not involved in the prestigious project. He was
then corrected by one of the company's engineers who reminded that the
company is developing a sensor within the system.

Even without any actual involvement in the Iron Dome, Elbit's hands are
present in nearly all of the IDF’s combat sectors. Ackerman noted that Elbit
had a rough year, but he’s predicting increased sales in 2012.

An interesting point regarding Ackerman’s words: He claims that there’s no
doubt that the work on the Merkava and Namer APC project will be renewed
full steam after the inspection of the issue by the Ministries of Defense
and Treasury will be concluded (as was initially revealed on the
IsraelDefense website, a considerable portion of the project’s orders were
recently halted).

Another thing: Elbit Systems has not yet felt the effects of the defense
establishment’s decision – to prefer the Italian-produced aircraft over the
South Korean-produced aircraft as the next IAF trainer – with regards to the
important South Korean market. Elements in additional defense industries
also note that two weeks after the defense establishment’s decision,
relations with South Korea continued as normal. Does this mean that the
South Korean procurement orders from Israel will continue? This is
uncertain.

The fact that the US forces are expected to leave South Korea in 2015 plays
towards the Israeli defense industry’s favor. The local military personnel
must prepare for the new situation, and they are pertinently examining the
Israeli weapon systems.

New Head of the Planning Branch

Another event that happened this week: Brigadier General Nimrod Shefer, the
Israel Air Force (IAF) chief of staff, was chosen, as expected, to be the
next head of the Planning Branch. Shefer will replace Major General Amir
Eshel, who will be appointed as the next Air Force commander in May.

Unlike Eshel and Ido Nechushtan, the current Air Force commander is a
near-certain candidate for the future role of Air Force Commander. However,
even though he serves as head of the Planning Branch, Shefer's path to the
bureau of Air Force Commander is not assured after Eshel’s departure. He
will face stiff competition, at least against Brigadier General Amikam
Norkin, who was appointed as head of the IAF Air Group this week.

Looking at his current role, Shefer will face an especially difficult
assignment: prepare a new five-year plan for the IDF. "Halamish,” the plan
that Eshel worked on during most of his term, was supposed to enter into
effect in 2012. However, its implementation was postponed by a year, due to
cuts in the defense budget and the dramatic changes that occurred in the
Middle East.

Shefer’s assignment, lead “Halamish” so that it remains in effect until
2013-2018, is especially difficult. In previous periods, the IDF could
determine priorities in the force buildup. This time, there’s the need to
prepare for a coming war on all possible fronts: in the north against Syria
and Hezbollah, against Iran, and against Hamas in Gaza.

Above all else, the force in the south needs to be strengthened, given the
strategic warning over the possibility that the peace agreement with Egypt
might collapse due to the revolution that occurred there. The sooner this
happens, the better (in truth, the IDF has already started strengthening the
forces it is designating for the southern front).

March 15, 2012

Difficult. Daring. Doable.

Never underestimate the capabilities of the IDF. It has achieved the impossible before • If it took Iran 20 years to get their nuclear program to where it is today, who is to say it can recover in a year? Yes, we can strike Iran. And yes, we can succeed.
Amos Regev

We shouldn't be arrogant, but we shouldn't underestimate our own capabilities either.

Here is a well-known Israeli scene: A vehicle gets stuck on the uphill road to Jerusalem, the driver stands on the shoulder of the road, the hood of the car is open and a cloud of smoke rises from the engine into the man’s sweating face. Another vehicle pulls up behind the disabled car and an obese man approaches the forlorn driver and bends down to view the overheated engine. “Let me do this, leave it to me,” the supposed savior says, full of good will. “I know what to do, I was a mechanic in the armored corps.” This usually doesn’t end well.

“Leave it to me,” U.S. President Barack Obama tells Israel, regarding the overheating Iranian issue. “I know what to do,” Obama says, but he was not even a mechanic in the armored corps. And it is not at all certain that he is filled with goodwill. This too may not end well ...

“I am not bluffing,” the president said to the audience at the AIPAC conference two weeks ago, and for one moment it seemed as if Uncle Sam would take care of the Iranian problem for us, while we sit in the bleachers and cheer him on. But the very next day, he did an about-face: back to more talks with the Iranians.

“This is the last chance,” says the government which only a moment ago was praised for its announcement of an end to “containment.” And so the days of “prevention” have arrived.

Distinguished commentator Charles Krauthammer was disgusted. “So what is Obama’s real objective?” he wrote in his Washington Post column last week. Krauthammer quoted an administration official who told his newspaper “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.”

“Revealing and shocking,” wrote Krauthammer. On one hand, there is an extreme terrorist country that will shortly acquire nuclear weapons and has declared as its aim the destruction of Israel. On the other hand, there is the president, whose only aim is to reach the November elections favorably, without wars, crises or high gasoline prices. The main goal for him is not to ruin his chances of being reelected, says Krauthammer. And he sums up the situation as follows: “A fair-minded observer might judge that Israel’s desire to not go gently into the darkness carries higher moral urgency than the political future of one man, even if he is president of the United States.”

The question of what to do about Iran’s nuclear program has risen to the top of the international community’s agenda, and unfortunately, the most turbulent and emotional debate in the Israeli media as well. All the dams have been breached, and even our national canon - that of destruction, exile, Holocaust and revival - has been ridiculed. How does history benefit and harm life, a prominent philosopher once asked, and he may have enjoyed seeing the pirouette-on-a-pinhead performed by former security officials, experts, writers and “intellectuals” who are trying to prove that black is white, two plus two does not equal four, the rational Iranians are not building a bomb, and if they are building one - they won’t use it, and if they use it - it won’t be against us, and in more general terms - it doesn’t concern us, and he who believes we are in danger of being destroyed, is certainly mistaken.

History does play a role in the present as well, and it is good that is does. Every nation has its history, its narrative, its canon. In our case, the Holocaust plays a central role. “In every generation [there are those who seek our destruction]” is not just a verse from the Passover Haggadah - it is a historical truth. Not very pleasant, but true. And it is also true today. Ask the folks in Gaza and the West Bank, Tehran and Beirut. You don’t want to believe them? That’s your problem. When will you start believing? When it is too late? And in the meantime, should we do nothing, as author David Grossman suggests?

“Passive appeasement is what shaped the worldview of Britain’s elitist leaders in the 1930s. Public opinion was that of ‘no more war’ and a refusal to rearm and a naive belief in collective security left their impression on the Left ... They may have condemned Nazi actions, but their revulsion at arms dealers and militarism was so great that they refused even a minimal rearmament (of Britain), and by so doing, proved they did not understand the uniqueness of Nazi evil.” This is what highly acclaimed British historian Michael Burleigh wrote in his book “Moral Combat," describing the atmosphere of British appeasement in the face of the ever-growing danger from Nazi Germany.

Intelligence units do not read minds

Yet again a comparison between the Nazi regime and the regime in Tehran? Certainly. For the simple reason that it is the truth. True, two historical situations are never identical, but people play a role in every historical situation. And the cases are quite similar. Fact: the Bible, Greek tragedies, Shakespeare’s plays and the great artistic works, are all relevant to people today as they were when they first appeared. Perhaps history is not repeating itself, but people, under similar circumstances, do react similarly. Popular uprisings in city squares existed prior to the age of Twitter and Facebook. Wars were fought before tanks and pilotless aircraft were invented. And genocide happened before gas chambers were invented. With the advent of nuclear weapons, it just became easier to perpetrate.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamists is a danger to Israel. They live history. In their view, the Crusader invasion is a recent event, and as they see it, we, not to our credit, are also considered cursed Crusaders. They live this myth and are working to hasten the messiah - theirs. Give them nuclear weapons and they will use them. This is what they say. Whoever thinks this is simply "for internal propaganda purposes," may he revel in his belief. But just as a reminder, a short while before the attack on the World Trade Center, an explicit threat was posted on al-Qaida’s Web page saying the organization was about to carry out an attack that would shock the world. U.S. intelligence agencies - the most sophisticated in the world - ignored the threat. The results are known to all.

The topic of intelligence is altogether problematic. In 2007, a U.S. national intelligence estimate [NIE] claimed that Iran had frozen its nuclear program in 2003. In Tehran, they burst out laughing. They probably read the best-seller “Legacy of Ashes” which describes all the failures of U.S. intelligence agencies. Even today - as senior officials in Washington admitted in a local news report - it is doubtful that American intelligence agencies will know exactly when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decides to assemble a bomb. They have satellites, eavesdropping systems, computers and radar - the most advanced technologies. But they still cannot read the Ayatollahs’ minds.

It is also not certain that the Americans are capable of acting in the most effective way. If we put aside Bin Laden’s assassination - a perfect targeted assassination after a decade of work - the U.S. military, unfortunately, has not been victorious all that much recently. Saddam Hussein’s army was relatively easy to defeat in two campaigns. But terror brought about America's abandonment of Iraq, and terror is also about to bring about the departure of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as well. After the “Yes, we can” of the last U.S. presidential elections, a new phrase is taking root in the U.S. these days - “It is not doable,” which is mainly being associated with the situation in Afghanistan. Is this what Obama - commander in chief of the U.S. army - needs, another unsuccessful war in the Middle East?

Tough decisions under uncertain conditions

Leadership is manifested in one’s ability to make difficult decisions in the midst of uncertain circumstances and ambiguity. Such decisions have been made in Israel in the past. In 1948, then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion decided to declare the establishment of the state despite many warnings of imminent Arab military invasions. In 1967, Israel’s leadership decided to go to war - which later became known as the Six-Day War - despite the stranglehold placed on the country courtesy of the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies. In 1981, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin decided to strike Iraq’s nuclear plant in Osirak, despite the fact that almost every expert and military commander advised him against doing so. Gambles? “Leadership is sometimes left with no choice but to take critical decisions which are essentially ‘fuzzy gambles’ for the whole pot, in that there may be no way of calculating the likelihood of success,” Professor Yehezkel Dror wrote this week. “If the number of those killed in a future war will be far greater than the number of those killed in a war today, it is imperative to act today.”

Had Allied forces invaded the Rheine district in 1936 to block one of Hitler’s earliest moves, many would have probably perished in the ensuing battles. But the price would have been relatively miniscule compared with the price they were forced to pay three years later. It is not pleasant to “think about the unthinkable” as strategist and author Herman Kahn titled his classic book, but the numbers issue is indeed a significant calculation. An Iranian nuclear bomb may cause tremendous damage to Israel. “Israel is a single-bomb country,” former Iranian President Ali Rafsanjani once said, referring to the possibility of destroying Israel with just one nuclear bomb. But if Iran’s nuclear program is dealt a strong blow or completely destroyed, Iran’s second-strike capability is limited. According to reports, they have only a few hundred surface-to-surface ballistic missiles that can reach Israel. Some of their missiles will be destroyed in an aerial assault. Others will encounter the Arrow anti-missile defense system, which is no less efficient than the Iron Dome. Only a few Iranian missiles will reach their destination, similar to Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles launched against Israel during the First Gulf War. Israel was struck by 40 missiles during that war, but the damage was bearable.

Will Hezbollah and Hamas - Iran’s forward bases - join the war and launch 40 or 50 thousand rockets at their Zionist enemy? Not for certain. They know they have something to lose in doing so - their rule and their lives. And in any case we must take into consideration that if their intention is to retaliate if Israel decides to attack Iran, they may also do so if it is the U.S. who decides to attack Iran. In 1991, Israel did not join the coalition of forces that invaded Iraq, even though Saddam’s missiles landed in our country. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the Knesset on Wednesday, we can only imagine the brazenness of the terrorist groups if their patron (Iran) covers them with a nuclear umbrella. We can assume that once the Iranian issue is resolved, Hezbollah and Hamas will be weakened.

It would be very convenient for all of us if the Iranian crisis just disappears with a wave of a magic wand. But the problem is not going anywhere and is only getting worse each day. That is why we must solve it. And we can solve it. Some people say an attack on Iran will “set the Middle East ablaze.” Others say an attack on Iran would shock the Middle East, but after an initial spike in oil prices, will not trigger a dramatic change. It would simply solve the problem, they say, just as the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear plant destroyed Iraq’s nuclear program once and for all. If it took Iran 20 years to get to where they are today in their nuclear program, who is to say that they will recover from a military strike in a year or two?

We should never underestimate the capabilities of Israel’s defense establishment, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israel Air Force. We should not be arrogant either. We paid a price for our arrogance in the Yom Kippur War, and in other military campaigns as well. But we must also not be cowards. Passivity can also exact a heavy price. A combination of means, methods and motivation is a winning formula. The Israel Air Force has already done the impossible, more than once. A New York Times report two weeks ago emphasized the complexity of an attack on Iran. The report mentioned the distance, the anti-aircraft batteries and the large number of targets we would have to face. “They would need to send 100 planes,” the writer warned. But someone forgot that in World War II some operations involved 1,000 planes (according to reports, Israel does not have that many planes ...). Since then, though, the technologies in the aircraft themselves, in navigation, electronic warfare, laser-guided weapons launched at targets from a distance, and pilotless aircraft have been able to compensate for a lack in quantity.

And above all, there is motivation. People my age will not forget the feeling we had on the eve of the Six-Day War, when everyone felt that we were on the brink of our greatest challenge, and we all worked together as one and faced the danger together. We will also not forget the Yom Kippur War, when after the sirens sounded we all ran home from the synagogues, filling the streets with human waves, and hurrying to put on our army boots and uniforms. Who can forget the feeling we had in 1976 when we heard of the successful mission in Entebbe? And even this past week, there was no fear or trauma in the shelters in the south. There were only reporters running around trying to get someone to say “Yes, for sure, it’s frightening. We can’t live like this any longer.”

Difficult, daring and doable

There is a huge difference between the recent “bout” we experienced with Islamic Jihad in Gaza and a possible strike on Iran. This wasn’t a “test-run” for a war with Iran. But it did prove that we are capable of initiating a justified campaign with the aim of thwarting terrorist activity and preventing massive attacks, and preparing ourselves properly for the inevitable retaliation. We can destroy most of the rockets and missiles that will be launched against us. We can also destroy most enemy targets with precision strikes. Our systems have proven that they work together as a system should, with one part backing up the other. Someone in the media called it “The most difficult confrontation we have had since Operation Cast Lead.” Excuse me? As of Wednesday, no Israeli was killed, and there was minimal damage to homes and properties. On the other side, 20 terrorists were killed, few citizens were injured, and very little damage was reported.

Iran is a different story, though, of more immense proportions. If there is to be a strike on Iran, no amateur ‘armchair strategist’ will be running the operation. Only our very best people will be involved in conducting the strike. Only the cream of the crop. Our finest sons and daughters. Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, these are state of Israel’s spearheads. With the Americans or without them, it will be difficult; it will be daring; but it is doable.

Amos Regev is Editor-in-Chief of Israel Hayom.
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=3525

Potable water system wins Intel competition


By JUDY SIEGEL
03/14/2012 05:47
Pair of Netanya high school pupils developed a system using solar rays to disinfect and clean water supplies.
Avishai Katko and Maya Braun By Sasson Tiram

A pair of Netanya high school pupils who developed a system using solar rays to disinfect and clean water supplies so they are suitable for drinking won the Intel-Israel 15th Annual Young Scientists Competition on Tuesday.

Avishai Katko and Maya Braun of Sharett High School found a way to expose polluted water to ultraviolet light using renewable energy at low cost. The device, if produced commercially, could be used in any home, the pupils said.

The system is modular, mobile and suitable for use in places with a severe shortage of potable water that also enjoy sunlight most of the year.

The competition was held at Jerusalem’s Bloomfield Science Museum, and the award ceremony was held at the Knesset. President Shimon Peres will receive the top winners privately at his temporary residence, as the President’s Residence is being renovated.

MK Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) and Intel-Israel president Maxine Fassberg were present to award the scholarship prizes.

Each of the teenagers will receive from Intel-Israel a NIS 12,000 university scholarship and represent the country in Intel’s worldwide Young Scientist Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania later this year.

Four pupils received second place: Hanimov of the Shapira religious school in Netanya for her work on a physics project dealing with the “Magnum Effect” in small airborne vehicles; Amit Kahana of the High School for the Arts and Sciences in Jerusalem for his psychology project on psychosomatics and free choice; Hadas Inbar of the Galilee School in Kfar Saba for her work on gold nanoparticles for biological uses; and Amit Shafran of the same Jerusalem school for his historical work on the Cairo Geniza.

One second-place pair will represent Israel in the Intel-ICEF competition also to be held in Pittsburgh, while the other will go to the European Young Scientists Competition in Slovakia. Each of the four will receive an NIS 8,000 university scholarship.

In third place were Or Sagi of the Kiryat Hinuch School in Emek Hefer for his computer project on using magnetic bacteria for digital memory; and Alfaruk Abu Elhasan of the Interdisciplinary School for Excellence in Hura for his physics project on water in an environment of pores. These two will receive NIS 6,000 scholarships.


Magnetic bacteria, what???????????

With kids like this Israel has a great future.

March 14, 2012

Israel Unveils New Bunker Buster


Hones ‘Credible’ Military Option for Iran
Mar. 11, 2012 - 12:55PM By BARBARA OPALL-ROME
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120311/DEFREG04/303110001/Israel-Unveils-New-Bunker-Buster

The MPR-500, built by Israel Military Industries, can penetrate
double-reinforced concrete walls or floors without breaking apart. (Israel
Military Industries)

TEL AVIV — Israel last week unveiled an improved precision, bunker-burrowing
weapon, the latest in a series of operational upgrades aimed at honing what
one official here labeled “a very credible military option” against the
Iranian nuclear threat.

Built by state-owned Israel Military Industries (IMI), the 500-pound MPR-500
is an electro-optical or laser-guided projectile that can penetrate
double-reinforced concrete walls or floors without breaking apart. It is
designed as an upgrade to the U.S. Mk82, thousands of which are in Israel
Air Force stocks, and can use Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits or
Paveway for guidance.

In an operational test video released March 6, the MPR-500 is seen
penetrating four reinforced concrete walls, with fragmentation from the
explosion limited to a radius of less than three meters.

“The lethality, precision ... and relatively low weight enables its use
against multiple targets in a single pass; an element that increases the
operational effectiveness of attack,” according to IMI.

The MPR-500 bridges an operational gap between the 250-pound U.S. GBU-39
small-diameter bomb — 1,000 of which were approved for sale to Israel — and
the 5,000-pound GBU-28.

In parallel, the Air Force is planning to enlarge its Boeing 707-based
aerial refueling tanker fleet.

Once deployed, the expanded tanker fleet will be capable of providing nearly
2 million pounds of fuel, allowing dozens of Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighters
to carry more weapons for long-range strategic bombing missions.

The Israeli daily Ma’ariv newspaper reported March 8 that Washington had
offered to augment Israel’s aerial refueling and limited bunker-busting
capabilities on condition that Israel refrain from waging an independent
attack on Iran this year. An Israeli security source denied that report,
insisting there was no “quid pro quo” linkage between the timing of future
Israeli operations and additional capabilities that may be forthcoming from
Washington.

A U.S. government source confirmed that additional GBU-28s were a subject of
bilateral talks. However, he insisted that beyond the 100 GBU-28s authorized
for Israel in 2005 and another 50 approved in 2007, there have been no new
notifications to Congress regarding potential sales.

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, is expected to
discuss options for enhancing Israel’s so-called qualitative military edge
in meetings with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin
Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, scheduled next week in
Washington.

Very Credible Option

Despite continued disagreement in Israel about the need for near-term
unilateral action against Iran, the security official here insisted that
Israel will have “a very credible option” should Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu order such an attack.

“If we have to act militarily, we will do so well beyond expectations in
Washington and especially in Tehran,” the official here said.

Speaking in Washington March 6, Netanyahu evoked analogies from the
Holocaust when he told a gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC): “Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our
very survival. Never again. That is why Israel must always have the ability
to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”

In an interview after respective AIPAC addresses by Netanyahu and U.S.
President Barack Obama, the Israeli security official praised Obama’s firm
determination to act, militarily if necessary, to prevent a nuclear Iran. He
also hailed Obama’s affirmation of Israel’s sovereign right to act in its
self-defense.

But the official cited the differing sense of urgency driving potential
operational timelines in Washington and Tel Aviv.

“The Americans want to wait until they have evidence of Iran’s decision to
assemble a bomb. But we say that’s part of Iran’s strategy. We say Iran will
continue to enrich uranium, harden its facilities and add redundancies that
will allow it to break out or sneak out with nuclear weaponization,” the
official said.

He added, “At that time, for us at least, it will be too late.”

In a March 6 White House press conference, Obama insisted sanctions against
Iran were starting to have an effect.

“And so this notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the next week
or two weeks, or month or two months, is not borne out by the facts,” he
said.

However, Obama also said, “Israel is a sovereign nation that has to make its
own decisions about how best to preserve its security. And as I said over
the last several days, I am deeply mindful of the historical precedents that
weigh on any prime minister of Israel when they think about the potential
threats to Israel and the Jewish homeland.”

In a closed briefing at the Institute for National Security Studies here, a
former senior defense official said both countries would act according to
their essential interests.

“At the end of the day, there is an understanding in both leaderships that
there is a point where you go by yourself,” the former official said.

He also described Israel’s military option as credible, adding, “Just to
remind you that the Israelis surprised the world in the past with
capabilities that nobody [knew] that they could do.”

In 1981, Israel attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor and in 2007 is widely
believed to have destroyed a suspected nuclear site in Syria.

Retired Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, is
among several leading security experts here disputing Netanyahu’s view that
Iran is a threat to Israel’s existence.

“Terminology is important,” Halutz told participants at last month’s annual
Herzliya Conference. “Iran is a severe threat; not an existential threat ...
and one shouldn’t use this as an excuse to attack Iran.”

According to Halutz, a normally passionate advocate for strategic air power,
“The military option should be last, and it should be led by others.”

He added, “We need to squeeze every last drop out of other ways before
entertaining military options.”

March 13, 2012

Will The Real Obama, Please Stand Up

Egypt’s parliament wants Israel’s ambassador out, peace cancelled

Islamist-dominated lower house unanimously votes to expel Israeli envoy in Cairo and to halt gas exports to Israel • Move is largely symbolic as only ruling military council can decide foreign policy, but signals a seismic change.
The Associated Press

Egypt's Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri speaks during a working session of the Egyptian parliament in Cairo on Feb. 26. [Archive]

CAIRO — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state.

The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power.

The vote was taken by a show of hands on a report by the chamber’s Arab affairs committee that declared Egypt would “never” be a friend, partner or ally of Israel. The report described Israel as the nation’s “number one enemy” and endorsed what it called Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.”

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the vote by the People’s Assembly, the Egyptian parliament’s lower house.

Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The treaty came six years after the two Middle East neighbors fought the last of their four wars. However, the accord produced a “cold” peace, and most Egyptians still view Israel as their nation’s enemy.

There have been bouts of tension in relations between the two neighbors, mostly over Israel’s perceived reluctance to proceed in good faith with peace talks with the Palestinians, but leaders of the two nations have consistently kept open channels of communication.

The parliamentary report also called for the recall of Egypt’s ambassador in Israel and a revision of Egypt’s nuclear power policy in view of the widespread suspicion that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of its own.

“Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation,” the report said. “It will deal with that entity as an enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review all its relations and accords with that enemy.”

Monday’s vote by parliament could serve as an indication of what may lie ahead. The Islamists who dominate the 508-seat chamber, as well as the largely powerless upper house, would like to see the president’s wide executive powers curtailed in the country’s next constitution, while boosting those of the legislature. If they have their way, statements like Monday’s could impact relations with Israel.

The parliament’s vote could also give the generals who succeeded Mubarak an added incentive to keep the office of the president as the nation’s most powerful institution and ensure that Egypt’s next leader is beholden to the military.

The ruling military council is led by Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. Many of its members are veterans of Egypt’s last war with Israel in 1973, but they also have worked to maintain the peace since 1979.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls just under half of the seats in the powerful People’s Assembly, wants a president with an Islamist background.

Welcome to the Arab Spring.

President Obama, do you think the Middle East is better or worse for your turning your back on a thug?

A thug, sometimes just might be what is needed to keep the peace, but you sir are either an idiot or the most dangerous man to hold the office of President of the USA.

Your action have put Israel at risk, and I think we are less than 2 years away from war with Egypt.

G-D help the world, if Americans are stupid enough to give you a second term.

March 12, 2012

Egypt may reject US aid

Updated: Sunday, 11 Mar 2012, 6:43 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 11 Mar 2012, 1:24 PM EDT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament called on Sunday for a vote on stopping U.S. aid, but it is unlikely that such a move would oblige the nation's military rulers to ask Washington to halt $1.5 billion in American aid this year.

The move by the People's Assembly was sparked by the March 1 departure of six American defendants in a case of 43 employees of nonprofit groups accused of using illegal foreign funds to foment unrest in Egypt. The 43 include 16 Americans, nine of whom were already outside the country when the case was referred to trial. One opted to stay behind and face the trial.

The rest of the 43 are mostly Egyptians, Jordanians, Palestinians and Germans.

The U.S. threatened to cut off aid to Egypt over the issue, but the departure of the six partially eased the crisis, the worst between the two allies in 30 years.

Even if the 508-seat chamber voted to reject U.S. aid, such a move could amount to a symbolic gesture given the wide powers enjoyed by the generals, who collectively act as the presidency, and the likelihood of them approving it in the name of national interest.

The exit of the American defendants, however, kicked off a storm in Egypt, prompting many to accuse the ruling generals of bowing to U.S. pressure and intervening in the work of the judiciary. Egypt's military has benefited the most from the nation's close ties with the United States. It is due to get $1.3 billion in aid this year. U.S. economic assistance for 2012 is about $250 million.

In Sunday's session, lawmakers complained the U.S. had no respect for Egypt's sovereignty and called for a vote on a no-confidence motion in the military-backed government. The move against the government came after four Cabinet ministers briefed the chamber on the case. Lawmakers constantly interrupted their testimonies.

Several lawmakers later said it was the generals and not the government that must be questioned about the nation's "humiliation" by the United States over the case. The generals have said they had nothing to do with the Americans' departure and that the entire affair was in the hands of the judiciary. However, the judge who presided over the trial's opening hearing on Feb. 26 excused himself late last month, citing uneasiness.

Judge Mahmoud Mohammed Shoukri later said in comments to the media that he quit to protest political meddling in the case, which is now being tried by another court, also in Cairo.

"I wish members of the U.S. Congress could listen to you now to realize that this is the parliament of the revolution which does not allow a breach of the nation's sovereignty or interference in its affairs," Parliament Speaker Saad el-Katatni, an Islamist from the chamber's largest party, told lawmakers.

Suggesting that a crisis was looming between the legislature and the Cabinet, el-Katatni adjourned the session until Monday after a two-hour break. He said Cabinet ministers scheduled to answer lawmakers' questions failed to show up.

"It seems that the government is pushing for a crisis with parliament," el-Katatni said.

If only Israel would do so, but in a positive way.

Something like, "As of today Israel will refuse all aid from America. Israel thanks the American people for your generous help through the years. However you need to get your debit under control, so please keep the money".

http://www.wtnh.com/dpps/news/international/egypt-may-reject-us-aid_4100082

Red Lines

'Rockets burying chance of Gaza-W. Bank corridor'
By HERB KEINON
12/03/2012
Liberman says Iran is the "oxygen" for terrorist groups in Gaza, that without it their ability to survive would be in doubt.

The Palestinians can forget about any territorial link between Gaza and the West Bank, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday on the fourth day of continuous rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Lieberman, speaking at a ceremony marking 20 years since the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people, said the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip that has gone on intermittently not only for a few days, but for the last 10 years, has buried the idea of a "safe passage" from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

"As long as Hamas is in control of the Gaza Strip there is no chance that we will agree to a safe passage, or unsafe passage, or elevated passage, or underground passage, or any passage whatsoever," Liberman said. "The Palestinians have condemned themselves to detachment right now that looks like it will continue for generations."

The idea of a link between the West Bank and Gaza was first documented in the Gaza-Jericho Agreement from 1994 when a "safe passage" between the two areas was discussed, and later during the Taba negotiations in January 2001 when one of the few things the sides agreed upon was a passage from the north of Gaza to the Hebron region.

Israel's concern is that the types of rockets and missiles being fired on Israel today from Gaza would be transported via any kind of Gaza-West Bank link to Judea and Samaria.

Lieberman said that just as Iran, via Hezbollah, was responsible for the Buenos Aires bombing in 1992, and the bombing two years later of the Jewish center building in the Argentinean capital, Iran is responsible for today's terror as well.

The foreign minister said Iran was the "oxygen" for all terrorist organizations in Gaza firing on Israel, and without that "oxygen" their ability to survive would be in doubt.

Are you kidding me, an Israeli official that still talks at all about safe passage from Gaza to Judea?

Israel likes to talk about red lines, well I have my red lines.

1. Jerusalem, give away any part of Jerusalem, you have crossed my red line.

2. Give up any part of Judea and Samaria, you have crossed my red line.

3. Give up the Golan, you have crossed my red line.

These red lines, will make me think long and hard about Israel and my relationship with the country.

4. Create safe passage Gaza to Judea, and I am done with Israel.

March 11, 2012


Charles Krauthammer March 11, 2012 12:11 am
http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2012/032012/03112012/687517/printer_friendly

WASHINGTON

--It's Lucy and the football, Iran-style. After ostensibly tough talk about
preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced to
yet another round of talks with the mullahs.

This, 14 months after the last group-of-six negotiations collapsed in
Istanbul because of blatant Iranian stalling and unseriousness. Nonetheless,
the new negotiations will be both without precondition and preceded by yet
more talks to decide such trivialities as venue.

These negotiations don't just gain time for a nuclear program about whose
military intent the IAEA is issuing alarming warnings. They make it
extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can),
lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic
solution.

If the administration were serious about achievement rather than appearance,
it would have warned that this was the last chance for Iran to come clean
and would have demanded a short timeline. After all, President Obama
insisted on deadlines for the Iraq withdrawal, the Afghan surge, and
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Why leave these crucial talks open-ended
when the nuclear clock is ticking?

This re-engagement comes immediately after Obama's campaign-year posturing
about Iran's nukes. Sunday in front of AIPAC, he warned that "Iran's leaders
should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States." This just two
days after he'd said (to the Atlantic) of possible U.S. military action, "I
don't bluff." Yet on Tuesday he returns to the very engagement policy that
he admits had previously failed.

Won't sanctions make a difference this time, however? Sanctions are indeed
hurting Iran economically. But when Obama's own director of national
intelligence was asked by the Senate intelligence committee whether
sanctions had any effect on the course of Iran's nuclear program, the answer
was simple: No. None whatsoever.

Obama garnered much AIPAC applause by saying that his is not a containment
policy but a prevention policy. But what has he prevented? Keeping a
coalition of six together is not success. Holding talks is not success.
Imposing sanctions is not success.

Success is halting and reversing the program. Yet Iran is tripling its
uranium output, moving enrichment facilities deep under a mountain near Qom,
and impeding IAEA inspections of weaponization facilities.

So what is Obama's real objective? "We're trying to make the decision to
attack as hard as possible for Israel," an administration official told the
Washington Post in the most revealing White House admission since "leading
from behind."

Revealing and shocking. The world's greatest exporter of terror (according
to the State Department), the systematic killer of Americans in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the self-declared enemy that invented "Death to America Day" is
approaching nuclear capability--and the focus of U.S. policy is to prevent a
democratic ally threatened with annihilation from pre-empting the threat?

Indeed it is. The new open-ended negotiations with Iran fit well with this
strategy of tying Israel down. As does Obama's "I have Israel's back"
reassurance, designed to persuade Israel and its supporters to pull back and
outsource to Obama what for Israel are life-and-death decisions.

Yet 48 hours later, Obama tells a news conference that this phrase is just a
historical reference to supporting such allies as Britain and
Japan--contradicting the intended impression he'd given AIPAC that he was
offering special protection to an ally under threat of physical
annihilation.

To AIPAC he declares that "no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear
weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe
Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's
destruction" and affirms "Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions
to meet its security needs."

And then he pursues policies--open-ended negotiations, deceptive promises of
tough U.S. backing for Israel, boasts about the efficacy of sanctions, grave
warnings about "war talk"--meant, as his own official admitted, to stop
Israel from exercising precisely that sovereign right to self-protection.

Yet beyond these obvious contradictions and walk-backs lies a transcendent
logic: As with the Keystone pipeline postponement, as with the debt-ceiling
extension, as with the Afghan withdrawal schedule, Obama wants to get past
Nov. 6 without any untoward action that might threaten his re-election.

For Israel, however, the stakes are somewhat higher: the very existence of a
vibrant nation and its 6 million Jews. The asymmetry is stark. A fair-minded
observer might judge that Israel's desire to not go gently into the darkness
carries higher moral urgency than the political future of one man, even if
he is president of the United States.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group.

Rockets, & PR

Air force pounds Gaza terrorists as rockets slam southern Israel

IAF hits 13 rocket crews in precision strikes, killing 16 terrorists • Iron Dome system achieves 90% success rate after intercepting 33 rockets • More than 130 rockets fired at Israeli civilians since Friday • Schools in south closed • Egypt mediating cease-fire.
Lilach Shoval, Gadi Golan, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

More than 130 rockets, including at least 25 long-range Grads, were fired into southern Israel from Gaza over the weekend in the deadliest flare-up between Israel and Palestinian terrorists this year. In precision strikes, the Israel Air Force hit 13 rocket crews as they were attempting to launch, killing 16 Palestinian terrorists. With similar precision, the Iron Dome anti-missile system has shot down more than 33 enemy rockets since Friday night, an almost 90 percent success rate.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai said on Sunday afternoon that in the last 48 hours, about 130 rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israeli towns. Twelve rockets were fired at southern Israel on Sunday morning, mostly at the Ashdod and Beersheba regions. Seven of these rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he would be pushing to make the production and deployment of anti-rocket systems a national priority project. Barak said he wanted the systems produced and deployed faster, including to the North.

My son veteran of an IDF special unit, was this last shabbat in Beerseba and hated getting rocketed.

He has been through 2 suicide bombings and spent years chasing some of the worse terrorist.

So it is not like he coward or a wimp.

Israel needs to start a PR campaign through social media showing what we have to put up with in an attempt to change public opinion.

March 09, 2012

MERF Appearance

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 am 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 MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

President Obama's Pastor endorses Global March to Jerusalem

From the official list of American personalities endorsing the "Global March
to Jerusalem"
http://gm2j.com/main/american-personalities/

1. Medea Benjamin is an American political activist, best known for
co-founding Code Pink and, along with her husband, activist and author Kevin
Danaher, fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. Benjamin also was a
Green Party candidate in 2000 for the United States Senate.

2. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, American rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement

3. Dr. Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton
University

4. Ann Wright, former United States Army colonel

5. Clayborne Carson, Professor & Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research
and Education Institute, Stanford University

6. David Hartsough, Co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce

7. Edward Peck, Retired US Ambassador and career US Diplomat

8. Dr. Hatem Bazian, Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies,
University of California, Berkeley

9. Joe Meadors, Veteran and Survivor of the 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS
Liberty

10. Marcy Winograd, Los Angeles teacher, peace activist and former candidate
for the U.S. House of Representatives

11. Roger Leisner, Radio Free Maine

12. Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian-American author and Founder of Playgrounds
for Palestine

13. Samuel F. Hart, U.S. Ambassador, ret.

14. Benjamin Monnet, World Assembly Member, USA/Korea

15. Dr.Amir M. Maasoumi Ann Wright, former United States Army colonel
Benjamin Monnet,World Assembly Member, USA/Korea

16. CornellWest, American philosopher, author, and civil rights activist

17. Rev.Dr. Dorsey Blake, Former Dean of Faculty, Starr King School for the
Ministry

18. ProfessorFrancis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law

19. Rev.Dr. Jeremiah Wright

20. Dr.Judith Butler, American philosopher and Professor, University of
California, Berkeley

21. MedeaBenjiman, Anti-war organizer and activist

Indian Convoy Starts March towards Jerusalem


News number: 9012151691 18:51 | 2012-03-09
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9012151691

TEHRAN (FNA)- An Indian convoy started its journey towards Jerusalem in a
bid to join a civil resistance movement for the freedom of the Holy Quds,
dubbed as Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ).

In a farewell ceremony that was held at the Rajghat, which is the final
resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the 54 member Indian delegation was
felicitated by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan (Member of Parliament and President Lok
Janshakti Party)

The delegates were also welcomed by Mr. Zuhair Hamdallah (2nd Consul,
Palestine Embassy) and Shri Mani Shanker Aiyar (Member of Parliament).

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan congratulated the delegates for their commitment for
the cause of Palestine, as it embodied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Ram
Manohar Lohia and Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

He stated that this movement would serve to create awareness about the cause
of Palestine in India and across the world.

The freedom of struggle of Palestine he said was interwoven into our very
freedom struggle.

Shri Paswan finally said that his party would now lead a convoy of Indians
to Jerusalem. He also promised to raise the issue in parliament & take up
the matter with the government of India.

Mr Zuhair Hamdallah, a veteran of the Palestinian freedom struggle, with
tears in his eyes extended his heart support to the Indian effort.

He called for a greater role for the Indian people and government in their
traditional and historical support for Palestine.

He stated that all the Palestinian and Arab people respect Mahatma Gandhi
and his unique contribution of civil-disobedience and non-violent resistance
to the world.

The delegates come from all the four corners of India and represent the
diverse, plural and secular ethos of India. Each of the delegates explained
the reasons for their participation in the convoy.

The Indian convoy will cross over to Pakistan across the Wagah border on the
10th of March. Prior to that they will be felicitated in Amritsar with
programmes held at the Golden Temple and the Jalianwala Baug.

In Karachi, the Indian delegates will also be joined with delegates from
Indonesia and Malaysia. The convoy, which has been organized by the Asian
Peoples' Solidarity for Palestine (APSP), will then travel to Iran, Turkey
and then by ship, to Beirut.

Finally on the 30th of March, with hundreds of thousands of people and
delegations from the majority of the nations of the world, they will march
to the borders of Palestine, demanding an end to the Judaization of
Jerusalem and Freedom for Palestine.

March 08, 2012

Light To The Nations

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Iran,Obama, Purim 2012

Khamenei welcomes Obama's remarks against strike

Iran's supreme leader lauds US president's call for diplomacy instead of war on Iran's nuclear program, but blasts sanctions
News Agencies

Iran's state TV is reported Thursday that the country's supreme leader has welcomed comments by US President Barack Obama pushing diplomacy and not war as a solution to Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The report quoted the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as lauding a recent statement by the US president, saying he saw a "window of opportunity" to use diplomacy to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran.

"This talk is good talk and shows a departure from illusion," Khamenei's website quoted the leader as telling clerics from the Assembly of Experts.

Khamenei immediately qualified his rare praise of the American leader, expressing regret that Obama has reaffirmed his commitment to bolstering sanctions against Iran over its atom program.

"This part of his statements shows that (the US) maintains illusions in this regard," Khamenei told the senior clerics.

He added the West's sanctions on the Islamic Republic would fail.

The US and its allies suspect Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.

Obama Tuesday said diplomacy can still resolve the nuclear crisis and accused his Republican critics of "beating the drums of war."

So do you need any more evidence of how bad Obama is?

I believe, Obama wants Iran to have nukes.

Israel needs to hit Iran and keep hitting Iran for as long as it takes.

Come on Jews, learn the lesson of Purim and defend yourselves.

March 07, 2012

jail.jpg

mens section.jpg

basketball.jpg


First look at infiltrators holding facility

Clinics, playground, classrooms and even basketball court are just some of the features the Defense Ministry plans on including in southern facility

Yoav Zitun
Published: 03.07.12, 14:49 / Israel News

Construction on the infiltrators holding facility has yet to even break ground but detailed technical specifications put together by the Defense Ministry already include a simulation that gives an initial picture of how the facility in southern Israel will look.


The facility, which will be able to hold thousands of illegal infiltrators who cross the border between Israel and Egypt, is set to be built on the ruins of the old Ketziot military base. Bulldozers and trucks have already begun to clear away any remnants of the base.

Each of the facility's residents will be allocated four and a half square meters of living space in a way that will enable them to put a desk, table or couch. The facility, which will span 185 acres (750 dunams), will also have an office specifically for the infiltrators' lawyers and room for hearings that will be held on site.

The facility will also include clinics, emergency care centers, dental care and specialist clinics. Dining rooms, a kiosk, classrooms, after hours recreational club and even a library – they are all included in the plans along with a prayer room, playground and sports facilities like basketball court.

Due to the facility's proximity to the Gaza Strip it will also include fortified spaces for rocket attacks. The facility will be enclosed by a fence with security cameras throughout, and upon completion will be put under the operational authority maintenance of the Prison Service.

In the first stage, the facility will be able to inhabit 3,000 people and upon completion, the numbers will reach 11,000. The facility will be constructed in a manner which will enable easy dismantling for other uses. The infiltrators will be held in the facility until a decision on whether to send them back to their countries of origin is reached.
"We examined many different countries in Europe like Holland, Italy and Germany in order to plan how to construct the facility in a manner fitting with the residents' lifestyles," Defense Ministry official Bezalel Treiber told Ynet.

Are we really that stupid?

Holland, Italy, Germany, are these really the places to look to for plans on how to build a jail for Africans.

Look to Ghana, Botswana, Kenya.

This place will be better than anything these africans have ever seen or dreamed of.

This facility, will cause a flood of Africans to try to enter Israel.

We really are, stupid.

March 06, 2012

Knesset censures Tibi over speech lauding Palestinian martyrs

Arab MK, who praised suicide bombers at a Palestinian rally two months ago, faces disciplinary measure for allegedly inciting violence • Punishment draws ire from right-wing politicians, who say he should be “thrown behind bars.”

Mati Tuchfeld and Israel Hayom Staff

The Knesset Ethics Committee decided Monday to reprimand Arab MK Ahmad Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) for allegedly inciting violence almost two months ago during a Palestinian Authority event. The decision was made despite the objection of right-wing lawmaker, who had asked for a tougher sanction.

The disciplinary measure, officially called a Severe Censure, was proposed by right-wing lawmakers who were outraged by the fiery speech Tibi delivered during a Palestinian Martyrs’ Day rally in Ramallah on Jan. 7 in which he appeared to be condoning suicide bombers.

“Blessed be those thousands of martyrs in Palestine and at home and abroad, blessed be your martyrs and our martyrs inside the Green Line [Israeli-controlled areas prior to the 1967 Six-Day War],” Tibi told a cheering crowd. “We are paying a heavy toll in the struggle for our homeland and lands, and the death of the martyrs in the name of this cause is our highest price paid.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud) took issue with the committee’s decision, saying it does not go far enough. “An MK who praises murderers, who creates tailwind for the terrorists and encourages domestic terrorism against the state ... must be expelled from the Knesset, put on trial for his radical incitement to terrorism, and thrown behind bars.”

Danon went on to say that by a opting for a censure, “the Israeli parliament disgraced itself and effectively granted legitimacy to all the Israel-haters, Tibi included, to continue with their actions against the state.”

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) accused Arab legislators of hurting their own constituency. “The way some Arab MKs have been conducting themselves damages first and foremost Israeli Arab citizens while creating a wedge in Israeli society that pits Jews against Arabs.”

“In light of all this no one should be surprised when people float ideas promoting disengagement from Arab-Israeli communities as part of a political settlement, because the behavior exhibited by MK Tibi and his cohorts feeds right into these ideas,” Schneller added. He went on to accuse Tibi and fellow Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (National Democratic Assembly) of being “the real obstacle for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after delivering his speech, and in the wake of the backlash it had generated, Tibi posted a video on YouTube explaining his remarks. “The Israelis connected the death of martyrs to that of terrorists,” he said. “They do not differentiate between a martyr who died defending his land from occupation and a murderous terrorist who was instructed to kill.”

This is not the first time Tibi has made controversial comments on tape. In video footage from a similar PA event held last year, he can be seen saying, “The martyr is a symbol of the Palestinian homeland ... there is nothing greater than martyrdom in the name of releasing Palestinian land from occupation.”

In that earlier video, Tibi goes on to tell the crowd that both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians from the West Bank who sacrifice themselves as martyrs should be honored and revered. His words are met with cheers and applause. “Blessed be those thousands of martyrs in Palestine and within the lands of 1948,” Tibi says, “who are willing to release occupied lands using their own blood and bring about freedom. Those martyrs that the Israeli occupiers regard as murderous terrorists are sacred people who died in the name of their homeland, and there is nothing more praiseworthy.”

This is nothing more than a bad joke.

The time has long past, arrest Tibi and other Arab MK's for treason.

If convicted, they should receive the death penalty. With their bodies dumped in the same spot, we dumped Eichmann.

But of course, Israel will not do anything close to this and we wonder why these Arab members of Knesset feel free to commit treason.

March 05, 2012

'Israel's positions accepted with understanding'


By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER AND HERB KEINON
05/03/2012
Prime minister tells US president that for Iran, there is no difference between "Little Satan" Israel and "Big Satan" America; US still believes there is "a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution"

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emerged from his meeting with US President Barack Obama Monday saying that Israel’s position on Iran was “accepted with understanding” in the White House. But the two sides emphasized different approaches on resolving the issue in public remarks beforehand.

Obama said that he felt there was still time for diplomacy to end Iran’s nuclear march, though he reiterated that all options remain on the table, while Netanyahu stressed that Israel reserved the right to defend itself, by itself.

“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Netanyahu said sitting alongside Obama before their closed-door consultations. “Israel has the right, the sovereign right, to make its own decisions.”

Leading into a meeting expected to focus overwhelmingly on Iran, the Obama administration had sent repeated signals that it did not want to see Israel take military action at this point. The two allies have also differed on what might trigger a strike and how to approach negotiations with Tehran.

Though the two leaders stressed the partnership between their countries Monday, differences over Iran were on display in the carefully crafted statements delivered in the Oval Office.

Netanyahu said that Israel’s very purpose was to restore to the Jewish people control over their destiny and that he as prime minister would “ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate.”

The statements that were made before the meeting are understood to have reflected the themes of what was discussed inside as well, with Netanyahu reiterating Israel’s right to self-defense. It was made clear, however, that no decision has yet been made on whether or not to launch an attack on Iran.

In addition, sources said Netanyahu did not ask for Obama’s red lines on Iran or give an ultimatum about when Israel might attack despite such speculation ahead of the parley.

At the same time, Netanyahu joined the countries together in the eyes of Iran, implying that the US and Israel shared the same threats and interests when it came to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Referencing the Iranian rhetoric calling the US the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan,” Netanyahu said that “for them, we are you and you are us.”

And he added the Iranians were correct in that linkage: “Israel and America stand together.”

However, the assessment in Jerusalem is that though the countries are well-coordinated on Iran, they have different capabilities, perspectives and levels of how they would be harmed by a nuclear weapon.

Obama also underscored the strong bond between the countries in his comments during their nine-minute press appearance ahead of their meeting, in which no questions were allowed.

“Our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid,” Obama said, echoing his remarks from his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday night. “The United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security.”

He also repeated that his policy was not containment but preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and that “when I say all options are at the table, I mean it.”

But Obama also said that diplomacy was still an option, and he chose this statement to point to American and Israeli unity, though Netanyahu never mentioned diplomacy in his public remarks.

“Both the prime minister and I prefer to resolve this diplomatically,” Obama said.

“We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution.”

Obama offered assurances that the two countries would continue to be in “constant and close consultation” during what he expected would be “a series of difficult months.”

He also noted that the tough climate in the Middle East complicated prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, but that it continued to be an important effort.

“It is a very difficult thing to do in light of the context right now, but I know that the prime minister remains committed to trying to achieve that,” he said.

This meeting was the first one between Netanyahu and Obama in which the Palestinian issue was not the central point of discussion, though it did come up in the roughly 90-minute lunch held by the two sides and their staffs following the first part of the encounter, a twohour discussion that included both countries’ national security advisers. The lunch also touched on Syria, Turkey, Egypt and other regional developments, and Netanyahu at one point raised the issue of the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

President Shimon Peres, also in Washington for the AIPAC conference, asked Obama to release Pollard when they met Sunday as well, Peres’s office said Monday.

Obama began his comments immediately after the press was ushered into the Oval Office. Both parties’ remarks were to-the-point and businesslike, free of the banter and small talk that sometimes opens such meetings between leaders.

Netanyahu looked intently at Obama, seated to his left, and never took his eyes off him while the president spoke. Obama did the same during Netanyahu’s remarks and nodded slightly when Netanyahu referred to Israel’s right to defend itself by itself.

At the end of the statements, when it was difficult for someone not trained in understanding body language to interpret the meaning of their posture, they shook hands, with the picture of George Washington on the wall looking down at them.

US and Israeli officials observed the press event from the back of the Oval Office, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. The Israeli contingent included Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Oren and several Netanyahu aides.

At the beginning of his comments, Netanyahu thanked the president for the “warm hospitality” shown to him and his staff.

The White House has been accused of not showing proper hospitality to the prime minister at some of the other eight meetings between the two leaders, but on this occasion Netanyahu is being hosted at the official White House guest house, Blair House, and aides described a friendly and cordial lunch that included the wife of Netanyahu adviser Yochanan Locker being honored on her birthday.

In a symbolic gesture, Netanyahu presented Obama with a gift of a megila reciting the Jewish escape from destruction at the hands of a Persian tyrant, just two days before the Purim holiday commemorating that episode.

Netanyahu said that Israel’s positions “were received with understanding” in the White House following the meeting.

During his White House remarks, Netanyahu also praised Obama’s “strong speech” at AIPAC on Sunday.

Netanyahu will speak to the 13,000-plus conference-goers late Monday evening after a meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

March 04, 2012

'World's failure to stop Syria shows it can’t protect Israel'

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman urges international community to intervene in Syria, says Israel will provide aid if asked but will not act alone • Rescued Sunday Times reporter Paul Conroy says, “It’s not a war, it’s a massacre” • China reiterates call on Syrian government to stop the violence, launch dialogue.
Daniel Siryoti and News Agencies

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday urged the international community to intervene immediately in Syria to end the bloodshed that has plagued the war-torn country for nearly a year.

“Such images of death are only seen in Hollywood movies,” Lieberman told Army Radio. “They must be stopped immediately.”

Lieberman went on to say that political considerations must be put aside. “First and foremost, we are human beings before we are politicians, leaders, analysts and journalists,” he said. “What is happening there today, in the 21st century, is unbearable and we must help.” Lieberman also said that Israel would provide humanitarian aid to Syria if asked, but would not act alone.

Speaking to Israel Radio on Sunday, Lieberman said the international community’s failure to stop the violence in Syria showed that it could not keep Israel safe.

Lieberman said the inability of international leaders and aid workers to alleviate the “systematic murder of innocent civilians” in Syria “challenges all the promises of the international community that it is responsible for our security.”

“The question arises that if the entire world cannot end the terrible massacre, the bloodshed, what is the value of all the promises of the world community to Israel that they will guarantee our security?” he asked.

Lieberman’s remarks come as the U.S. tries to persuade Israel to rely on global economic sanctions and diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions before resorting to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.

Israel is concerned Iran is developing nuclear weapons that could be used against it and views the program as an existential threat. Iran denies the claim and says it seeks nuclear reactors only for energy and medical research.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Interior Ministry announced on Saturday that the Syrian Army had cleared armed insurgents out of Homs, one of the flashpoints of anti-government demonstrations. The war-torn city has been under siege for around a month and details of what has transpired there in recent weeks are beginning to come to light.

Paul Conroy, a Sunday Times reporter who was wounded during the Syrian bombardment of Homs that killed two other Western journalists on Feb. 22, described on Saturday the horrors he witnessed before being rescued. “It’s not a war, it’s a massacre, an indiscriminate massacre of men, women and children,” Conroy told Sky News. “There is no electricity ... It’s more than a catastrophe. It’s snowing there now, [and] people can’t light fires.” He said the world would look back on the Syrian massacre with shame and wonder why no one acted.

Sources in Syria reported on Saturday that the bodies of journalist Marie Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik had been transferred to Western diplomats. On Friday, the Red Cross confirmed that their remains had been handed over by Syrian authorities and on Saturday they were handed over to the French ambassador and a Polish diplomat in Damascus.

Meanwhile, China on Saturday called on the Syrian regime to end all violence, especially against civilians. China urged the Syrian government and rebels to “launch an inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions” under the mediation of the newly appointed U.N.-Arab League envoy on the Syria crisis, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“The Syrian government and all parties concerned should immediately, fully and unconditionally cease all acts of violence, particularly violence against innocent civilians,” said a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement carried by Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

However, despite the Syrian allies’ warnings, the violence continues unabated. Syrian forces launched a fresh assault on Homs on Saturday as the Red Cross pressed forward with efforts to deliver badly needed aid to thousands of people stranded in a besieged neighborhood, despite warnings from regime troops of land mines and booby traps.

Two days after they fought their way into the rebel stronghold of Baba Amr, government forces shelled several other neighborhoods of the city, the country’s third largest with about 1 million people. They included districts where many of Baba Amr’s residents had fled, activists said.

The Syrian regime has said it is fighting “armed gangs” in Baba Amr, which has become a symbol of the nearly year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian rule. The revolt has killed more than 7,500 people, according to the U.N. Seven hundred people were reportedly killed in February alone.

Meanwhile, the Israel Hayom interview with a senior Free Syrian Army officer, who said Assad’s fate depends in part on Israel, has been picked up by Arab media outlets, with London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi quoting it. The sentiments expressed by the officer appeared to resonate at a mass protest in Daraa on Saturday, where one banner said: “America will not interfere seriously unless Israel wants it.”

March 02, 2012

MERF Appearance

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 2pm EDT, 11 am 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 MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

Why remember the Amalekites?

Weekly Torah Portion: We read Zachor before Purim and remember the Amalekites because this repeated memory is a reminder of the potential evil inherent in humanity in general, and in haters of Israel in particular.

Rabbi David Stav

This week at synagogue we will take two scrolls out of the Holy Ark. The first will open to the book of Exodus, in which we will read the weekly portion Tetzaveh (“Command”), which continues the description of how to build the tabernacle, focusing mostly on clothing requirements for priests. After this, we will read the Torah portion of Zachor (“Remember”) from the book of Deuteronomy. We read this portion on the Shabbat before Purim, to remember the evil of Amalek, as well as Haman’s plot to destroy the Jewish people.

Zachor is a small portion containing just a few verses. They appear toward the end of Moses’ great speech before his death. The portion commands us to, “Remember what Amalek did unto thee” (Deut. 25:17) and afterward tells us how they “smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear” (Deut. 25:18). It ends with the unforgettable line: “Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget” (Deut. 25:19).

Our sages understood that this is an important line to read publicly once a year, because if we do not, these instructions might be lost from our memories. It is essentially the only time in the Torah that the Jewish people are directly commanded to read from the Torah. Even women tend to come to the synagogue to hear this passage read.

I always wondered why it is so important for us to remember the past; why is it so essential to know that, once upon a time, the Amalekites wanted to destroy us after we left Egypt? In the globalized modern world, in which everyone is everyone’s friend (at least on Facebook), is it not more appropriate to get the next generation ready for a bright and shiny future, if only we learn to develop the proper education and technology? Why not walk in the way of President Shimon Peres, who is credited with saying that we should not dwell on the past but rather learn from history and focus on the future.

Is this preoccupation with the past really unnecessary? Logic says we should remember our enemies from the past to defend ourselves against the same enemy in the future. But the problem is that for thousands of years, we have had no idea who the Amalekites really were. If this is the case, what good is it to remember someone if you have no clue who they are or where they live?

It turns out that there is something within us, in humans in general and perhaps especially among Jews: a wonderful tendency to believe in human goodness and to suppress warning signs. This is in contrast to other animals whose senses warn them of danger and they either flee or fight, without any choice in the matter. We, on the other hand, even after experiencing numerous warning signals need to evaluate and interpret the intentions of the enemy (like the low chances of conflict predicted on the eve of the Yom Kippur War, though there was dangerous intelligence regarding the Egyptians).

There is ample room for interpretation, not to mention ideology. Most European Jews could not believe that an enlightened people like the Germans, whose homeland was the cradle of modern culture, could produce an army of henchmen. Could it be that in a place where they play Mozart and Beethoven, babies would be hurled against walls? In a place where more than half a million people belonged to animal rights groups, no one believed they could put Jews in gas chambers?

As it turns out, it can happen. Those who do not remember it do not understand the complexity of humanity. Humans can be filled with mercy and tenderness, but they can sink to the depths of brutality. “They smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear.” Our enemies are not eager to confront the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. They will always choose a weak target.

The primary tool a person has to analyze the emerging signs in front of him is memory. Remembering Amalek is, first and foremost, a reminder of the potential evil inherent in humanity in general, and in haters of Israel in particular.

In these days when Iran is threatening our very existence, our duty to remember resounds ever more powerfully. Don’t be captivated by those who say “it can’t happen,” “they don’t really mean it” and “the world won’t let it happen (just as they aren’t letting the Syrians massacre their people).” Remember: Anything can happen.

Parashat Zachor is always read on the Shabbat before Purim due to the tradition that says Haman was a descendant of the Amalekites. Yet the joy of the salvation of the Jewish people is liable to distract us from the dangers.

Therefore, before we primp and dress up in costumes, we ought to turn our attention to historical memory, so that the day after Purim, we will be ready to deal with the next Amalekite.

Today in my humble view we are faced with multiple holders of the title of Amalek.

In first place, because of their acts if terror are the Palestinians. But even more important is the fact, that the hatred of Am Israel by the Palestinians carries them to an act that even the Nazi's didn't do.

They want to commit suicide, in order to murder Jews.

Next in Second place is Iran, for what they desire to do.

The destruction of Jews, the Jewish state of Israel, and to hurt the holy land of Israel by using nuclear weapons on it.

May G-D give us the wisdom and strength to know how to eliminate this generations version of Amalek.

March 01, 2012

Sad Day

Ex-Minister Benizri claims Israel 'most anti-Semitic state'

After release from prison, former Cabinet member says 'incitement campaign' against haredi public reminiscent of anti-Jewish propaganda during Holocaust

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 03.01.12, 22:16 / Israel News

Former Shas Minister Shlomo Benizri, who was released from the Maasiyahu Prison Thursday morning, said Israel was the most anti-Semitic country in the world due to what he referred to as its "incitement campaign against the haredi community."

According to Benizri, ultra-Orthodox are being attacked on a daily basis in the media with "expressions that were used against Jews in the Holocaust."

Benizri served two and a half years of a four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit a crime, accepting bribes, breach of trust, and obstruction of justice.

The Israel Prison Service released Benizri as part of a broader release of 600 prisoners it said is meant to ease prison overcrowding and improve living conditions for inmates.

In an interview with haredi radio station Kol Barama, Benizri said the mental anguish he had suffered for being "wrongfully imprisoned" was greater than that of former Hamas captive Gilad Shalit.

"I understood his pain and frustration – only mine were greater," the former minister said. "His pain is related to terrorists, but my pain is great as well."

During the interview, Benizri also criticized what he called an anti-haredi campaign in the media: "Almost every other item is about haredim, calling them 'parasites.' This term was used against Jews in the Holocaust. They say 'all the money goes to the haredim.'"

You are a disgrace.

You abuse the trust the Jews of Israel placed in you, and instead wanted to make money from your position.

Now you say stupid things rather than admit you were guilty.

I voted for Shas, and at one time thought Shas was the best political party in Israel.

That it was feeding low income children and bringing families back to Torah.

In the end the pressure to act like all the rest of the corrupt thieves in the Knesset was too much.

But you didn't understand that if you acted like them, they would destroy you.

A sad day.

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, 670 rockets and 404 mortar shells have been fired into Israel

Yes, the 670 rockets and 404 mortar shells fired into Israel were a
violation of the "ceasefire", but the almost exclusive focus on the
"ceasefire" is a fundamental flaw in the Israeli approach.

Why "fundamental flaw"?

Because it essentially accepts the principle that the Palestinians can do
whatever they desire to increase the range, accuracy and payload of the
"cocked gun" they have aimed at our collective temples - as long as they
don't pull the trigger.

And they have most certainly increased the range, accuracy and payload of
the "cocked gun" well beyond any Israeli's imagination.

So what?

It is a terrible precedent for the future.

After all, we and the West maintain that a necessary condition for a
Palestinian state is that it be demilitarized.

But if today our policymakers essentially say that our problem is with the
weapons the Palestinians in Gaza fire at us and not with what they have,
what message does this send about our true position regarding the
enforcement of the condition that a Palestinian state be demilitarized?

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

Palestinian ceasefire violations since the end of Operation Cast Lead
MFA 29 Feb 2012
Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, 670 rockets and 404 mortar shells have
been fired into Israel.
For details:
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Palestinian_ceasefire_violations_since_end_Operation_Cast_Lead.htm

'Missiles on Israel preferable to nuclear Iran'

Former top Israeli official predicts Iran's reaction to Israeli strike will cause thousands of casualties, but '40 rockets are better than nuclear Iran'
Benjamin Tovias

The mathematics of war: A missile salvo on the greater Tel Aviv area, thousand of rockets fired at northern Israel, terror attacks against Israeli targets overseas, scores of Israeli casualties and countless others in bomb shelters – that is how a former top Israeli official described Iran's possible reaction to an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.

According to a Thursday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the former official – speaking anonymously with the New York Times – detailed the formula by which Israel assessed the magnitude of Tehran's response: "1991 + 2006 + Buenos Aires, times three-to-five."

In other words: The combined result of Saddam Hussein's missile attack on Israel in 1991, Hezbollah's missiles attacks on Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the terror attacks in Argentina's capital in the early 1990s – times three.

These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of Israelis and Jews and the damage to the Israeli economy amounted to billions of dollars.

"Forty missiles fired at Israel are no small matter – but it's better that a nuclear Iran," he said.

The New York Times said that the assessment is based on the premise that while Iran would aspire to meet any strike with force, it would prefer not to ignite a regional war.

US defense experts, however, qualified the statement, saying the West's ability to accurately predict Iran's moves was limited.

Washington, the report said, believes that a strike on the Islamic Republic would result in a missile barrage on Israel; but it also believes that Iran would try to somehow disguise its connection to such a counter-attack, possibly by promoting terror attacks on nations who support Israel.

The Americans also believe it is likely Iran will use any such strike as a pretext to close off the Strait of Hormuz.

US defense sources said that Tehran is likely to try and avoid a direct attack on American interests, because the regime knows that an American military strike will inflict significant damage.

Washington does, however, think Iran will opt for an indirect assault against its interests worldwide, or against oil production facilities in the Persian Gulf.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Obama Administration is unlikely to change its stance on Iran.

The White House believes that the US must stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but that does not meet it is ready to declare that the US will impede Iran's desire for "nuclear capabilities."

A proposal to that effect has already been brought before Congress, and is widely backed by AIPAC.

US President Barack Obama is set to speak at the next AIPAC conventions in Washington, where he is expected to detail the US' "red lines" on Iran.

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