Israel and UN Double Standards...
My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)
Another fine piece by Khaled Abu Toameh...
The arrest this week of a Palestinian university professor by Palestinian Authority security forces serves as a reminder that the Palestinian state that Mahmoud Abbas is seeking will not be much different from most Arab dictatorships.
The 122 countries that have promised to vote in favor of a Palestinian state at the United Nations need to ask the Palestinian leadership whether the new state would be free and democratic and respect human rights and freedom of expression.
The Palestinians want a political system that resembles the one in Israel and other Western democracies. They do not want regimes like the ones in Syria, Libya, and many other Arab countries.
The fact that hundreds of Palestinians are being held in Palestinian-controlled jails without trial and are being subjected to various methods of torture shows that democracy and respect for human rights do not exist in the Palestinian Authority's lexicon.
The last thing the Palestinians want is a repressive regime that harasses political opponents and journalists, and throws people into prison without trial -- especially not at a time when Arab masses are demanding an end to dictatorships.
The Palestinians want their own Knesset, where any member of parliament could express his opinion without fear. They want a free media like the one in Israel, where journalists, columnists and editors feel free to write anything they want. They also want an independent judiciary system where judges do not receive intimidating phone calls in the middle of the night from the "president's office" or senior security officials.
These are all things that the Palestinian Authority has failed to provide its constituents. Members of the Palestinian parliament who are supposed to enjoy immunity have been intimidated by the Palestinian Authority, and journalists are afraid to report anything that might anger their leaders in Ramallah.
But who will ask/tell the Chinese to shut this down???
Chalk up another black mark against Iran’s regime… as if any more were needed. To dodge U.S. sanctions imposed in 2008 on its state-owned merchant shipping company and purveyor to Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL, Iran’s regime has been playing a global shell game. For the past three years IRISL has been camouflaging its ships by reflagging them, renaming them, and creating proliferating sets of shell companies to serve as their nominal owners, with Iran lurking behind them. Despite U.S. sanctions, ships blacklisted by the U.S. for their links to IRISL continue to ply the seas, while IRISL hides behind a morphing network of affiliates, shell companies, and related accretions.
For this activity, described by the U.S. Treasury as a web of “deceit,” Iran has favored a number of hubs, including Malta, Germany, and one of the world’s great port cities — Hong Kong. None of this activity is good, but there is something about Iran’s exploitation of Hong Kong that has been particularly appalling. Hong Kong’s great virtue is that it is a place friendly to business, a testament even today to the benefits of a free market. Say what you will about the shadowy side of China’s growing influence in Hong Kong since Britain turned over the Crown Colony in 1997 (and there is plenty to say), Hong Kong carries on as one of the marvels of the modern world, still a place of energy and enterprise.
Since 2008, Iran has battened onto Hong Kong’s system as a handy place to set up shell companies to try to disguise its connection to 19 IRISL-linked Hong Kong-flagged cargo ships, all blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury . Batches of these Hong Kong shell companies serving as nominal owners of these ships have been exposed by Treasury and added to its Iran sanctions blacklist. Last month, while in Hong Kong, I took a look at some of the documents connected with these 19 Hong Kong-flagged ships. I discovered that since Treasury’s most recent bout of related black-listings, in January, and a superb series of articles early this year on that theme in the South China Morning Post, these ships had come under new ownership by 19 new and obscure Hong Kong-registered companies — all sharing the same Hong Kong address. I went to that address, where the only physical sign of these companies consisted of rows of green file boxes, containing their corporate documents, shelved in the back room of a company that provides corporate secretarial services to a variety of clients.
The latest from Khaled Abu Toameh...
The Palestinians will continue to demand the right of return for millions of refugees to their original homes inside Israel even after the UN recognizes a Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.
Responding to legal experts’ claims that a Palestinian state could affect the status of the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians, Abbas told the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour: “The PLO represents all the Palestinians, not only those in the Palestinian territories and whose number is estimated at 4 million. The PLO represents all 8 million Palestinians in the world.”
He said that the PLO would continue to function until all Palestinian issues were resolved, including the case of the refugees. The PA, he added, is part of the PLO and not a separate body.
Abbas claimed that there were 5 million refugees.
“This case must be placed at the negotiating table and the difference between us and the Israelis is they don’t want to talk about this issue,” he said.
“We have told them that this issue must be discussed on the basis of international legitimacy.”
Crosses city, creed and sex...
It might be seven years later than the original schedule and take twice the time to arrive than that promised by its planners, but as of last Friday, Jerusalem finally has Israel's first light-rail network.
Well, not exactly a network: so far there is only one line, 14 kilometres from the Pisgat Ze'ev neighbourhood in the north-eastern corner of the capital, all the way through the town centre to Mount Herzl in the west, and there are no immediate plans for more lines. But why quibble? For the next three months, it's free of charge.
Thousands of Jerusalemites flocked to board the train on its first days, crowding the space-age-look, sleek and silent, silver carriages.
For now, the light-rail, operated by City-Pass, a partnership including the international Veolia corporation, is not a viable transport option.
The average journey, end-to-end, is over 70 minutes, much longer than the time it would take by bus, and certainly in a private car, but the operators promise to cut the travel time by half in three months, when glitches in the municipal traffic-light system are ironed out.
Each train can carry a maximum of 500 passengers but as more trains are added to the line and frequency improves, towards the end of the trial period, the near-crush scenes of the last few days are also supposed to be a passing memory.
Residents of all groups and creeds tried out the new ride this week and this is probably the least predictable aspect of the new train's future. Going from east to west, through Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods, and predominantly secular to strictly-Orthodox quarters, it is a multi-faith train that will test the city's sensitive fault-lines.
A very disturbing trend...
Islamic extremists are stepping up the creation of "no-go" areas in European cities that are off-limits to non-Muslims.
Many of the "no-go" zones function as microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law. Host-country authorities effectively have lost control in these areas and in many instances are unable to provide even basic public aid such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services.
The "no-go" areas are the by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to create parallel societies and remain segregated rather than become integrated into their European host nations.
In Britain, for example, a Muslim group called Muslims Against the Crusades has launched a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what it calls "Londonistan" – into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.
The Islamic Emirates Project names the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule.
In the Tower Hamlets area of East London (also known as the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets), for example, extremist Muslim preachers, called the Tower Hamlets Taliban, regularly issue death threats to women who refuse to wear Islamic veils. Neighborhood streets have been plastered with posters declaring "You are entering a Sharia controlled zone: Islamic rules enforced." And street advertising deemed offensive to Muslims is regularly vandalized or blacked out with spray paint.
In the Bury Park area of Luton, Muslims have been accused of "ethnic cleansing" by harassing non-Muslims to the point that many of them move out of Muslim neighborhoods. In the West Midlands, two Christian preachers have been accused of "hate crimes" for handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. In Leytonstone in east London, the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen heckled the former Home Secretary John Reid by saying: "How dare you come to a Muslim area."
In France, large swaths of Muslim neighborhoods are now considered "no-go" zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. A complete list of the ZUS can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.
Why is the Palestinian Authority silent on the rockets firing into Israel???
Amid preparations for statehood, Pales-tinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad remain inexplicably silent regarding the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas' militia against Israel on Aug. 18, which claimed eight lives.
This tongue-biting from the PA's top guns should concern world leaders, specifically United Nations members set to vote on the resolution for a Palestinian state next month.
Mr. Abbas, well capable of taking a strong stand of condemnation, decided to blatantly ignore the murder of innocent Israelis in the terror attack north of Eilat, hypocritically finding it his duty instead to condemn Israel for its retaliatory security measures conducted in Gaza.
If the PA, led by Mr. Abbas, is incapable of cracking down on deadly terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, how can it expect to lead a new nation?
A crackdown that is getting little notice...
From Réalité-EU, a timeline of repression:In 2008, the Iranian parliament approved a bill mandating that all male apostates be put to death and all female apostates be imprisoned for life. Anti-Christian activities also targeted traditionally protected Christian communities.
In March 2009, after receiving threats from the government, the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Tehran closed its doors. 
Today, most of Iran’s Christians meet out of sight of the authorities in “house churches”. 
In the early morning hours of December 26, 2010, the Iranian government arrested 25 Christians in Tehran and other locations. 
In January 2011, Iranian authorities arrested dozens of Christian converts from Islam. Tehran’s governor, Morteza Tamadon, confirmed the arrests and said that missionary evangelicals are a “cultural invasion of the enemy”. He described Christians as “hard-line” missionaries who have “inserted themselves into Islam like a parasite,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. 
This statement echoed a declaration of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who in October 2010 said that house churches are a threat to Iran’s national security. 
Those statements serve as the pretext for the Revolutionary Guard’s targeting of churches, their leaders and worshippers. 
In the past six months, the crackdown has led to the arrest of 285 Christians in 35 cities, according to Elam Ministries, an organization that serves Christians in Iran. 
Many of those Christians have spent weeks and even months in prison, often serving long periods in solitary confinement. They also have endured interrogations and psychological abuse. 
Yes, the Mossad wanted to harm Egyptian fertility...
Israeli citizen Ofir Harrari, recently accused by Egypt of spying for Israel, was allegedly involved in a complicated scheme intended to harm Egyptian reproduction abilities, Egypt's official state paper Al-Ahram has claimed.
Harrari, accused by Egypt of being an agent of the Mossad, is set be tried in absentia on charges of "spying for a foreign country with the purpose of harming Egyptian national interest," news agency MENA reported on Sunday.
"According to the public prosecutor's office's investigation, 'Mossad agent Ofir Harrari' instructed Jordanian Ibrahim abu-Zaid to set up a company in Egypt which would exclusively import an Israeli hair product, for both men and women, which causes infertility. This in order to completely destroy Egyptian reproduction abilities," Al-Ahram states.
Glavin does it again and writes a zinger on Afghanistan and the United States. What makes this article so astounding is the response from Michael Walzer - who uses a conservative argument against Glavin. Gee, he wrings his hand on budgetary matters much like Ron Paul would!
OBAMA’S INAUGURAL language was active and direct: “You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” It only took a few months for Obama to change his phrasing to the passive tense: the Taliban “must be defeated.” By his December 2009 West Point speech, Obama no longer talked about defeating the Taliban. The point was now merely to “diminish” the Taliban and deny them the ability to overthrow the government in Kabul. For good measure, Obama also let the Taliban know just how long it would take them to outlast the coming storm: eighteen months.Please read the whole piece and response from Walzer and the rejoinder from Glavin. If you want principled arguments on Afghanistan, then just look up Terry Glavin.
Along the way, the Obama administration jettisoned Afghan democracy as the point of it all. It’s no longer required; something like a functioning state of some kind will do. In his June 22 speech, Obama was clear. “The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: no safe-haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland, or our allies.” All well and good for America and its allies, but for Afghans? “America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban.”
Reconciliation with the Taliban, then, is now what victory in Afghanistan is supposed to look like. That is the lofty ideal for which the United States expects Afghans to risk their lives and tolerate all those NATO bombs accidentally falling on civilians. It’s the thing America’s NATO partners are expected to continue to send their soldiers to die for in Afghanistan.
There’s nothing like lowering your standards to make them easier to uphold. It didn’t help that in his June 22 speech, Obama cited the usual qualifiers about how talks with the Taliban should be Afghan-led, and that the Taliban should be expected to disavow al Qaeda, abandon violence, and respect the Afghan constitution. For one thing, those used to be the American pre-conditions to any talks. By last February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated clearly that these were no longer conditions of any kind, but rather “necessary outcomes” of a deal with the Taliban. For another thing, everyone knows it’s all lipstick and high heels anyway. Before Obama’s speech, American diplomats had already met directly with Taliban emissaries at least three times, in Munich last November, in Qatar in February, and again in Munich, in May.
Who needs to travel? They can go to one of the many famous Universities in Gaza...
Gaza’s rulers have barred travel by a group of teenagers who were awarded scholarships to study in the United States, a Palestinian rights group says.
If confirmed, the move represents a trend toward authoritarianism on the part of the militant Hamas leadership in the isolated Palestinian territory, according to Khaled Elgindy, visiting scholar at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
“I think it is significant… it's part of a pattern that Hamas is engaging in that has really intensified in the last several months, where they have become increasingly insecure."
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said the eight students, ages 15 to 17, were awarded scholarships from the YES program run by AMIDEAST, a U.S. independent nonprofit that does some work on State Department grants. Chosen on academic merit, the teens were slated to study one year in the United States, they said.
But the Minister of Education has denied permission to leave the country for “social and cultural reasons” according to the rights group, which said it had been involved in intensive efforts to get the students approval from the government.
Why complain about students when professors are teaching this!
Term 1 - September to December 2011
CCFI 502 (3 credits) Cyborgs, Rhizomes & Margins: A Cross-cultural Conversation in Education
Thursdays, 4:30 to 7:30 pm
Dr. Pat O'Riley (EDCP)
Drawing on a range of transdisciplinary and cross-cultural theoretical perspectives, this course examines the complicities, complexities, and potentialities of the dominant technology narratives in education in a time of neo-colonialism, global capitalism and global warming. Students have an opportunity to critically reflect on the shape these technology discourses might take when intersected with social justice, civil society, Indigenous and environmental voices and agencies. What are the power/knowledge dynamics of the emerging geo/cyber/politics, respacialization, and limitless new frontiers of empire and technological capabilities? Making affiliations with the work of Donna Haraway, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Jody Berland, Vandana Shiva and other nomadic/ rhizomatic thinkers and activists, this course is a space for reimagining and remapping potential shapes, text(ure)s, and actions for a radicalized/rhizomatic technology conversation in education.
The editor of Standpoint looks at The Guardian...
In a signed article last week, the Guardian's foreign leader writer, David Hearst, looked forward to "a one-state solution in which Jewish citizens lose an in-built majority". While insisting that such a unitary Palestinian state would be a secular and democratic one, where Jews, Christians and Muslims would all be equal, Hearst left no doubt about what kind of consummation was, in his view, devoutly to be wished: "The end of Zionism, no less."
I wonder whether, when he wrote these sinister words, Hearst felt even the slightest pang of conscience. Having written leaders myself for The Times and the Telegraph for two decades, I know the sense of responsibility one feels as the representative of a great organ of the free world.
The Guardian, too, was once such an organ. There was a time when the Guardian and its liberal British readers would not have countenanced such malevolence. That time is past. Other Guardian journalists share Hearst's contempt for Israel.
Over the years, the Guardian has made itself into Europe's principal conduit for the propaganda war against Israel. Because it is also the house magazine of the BBC, it wields influence far beyond its own readership. Even the bloodbath in Syria cannot distract the paper from its obsession with Israel.
When they call for "the end of Zionism", when they exult at the prospect of the United Nations General Assembly recognising Palestinian statehood as if Israel did not exist, do writers like Hearst recall another UN resolution some 36 years ago?
In November 1975, on the 37th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the General Assembly condemned Zionism as "racism". The then US ambassador, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, denounced "this infamous act". Now the vultures are gathering again in New York, anticipating the UN's betrayal of the Balfour Declaration. That declaration, still binding under international law, entitled the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland in perpetuity. How can that promise be compatible with UN recognition of an irredentist Palestinian regime that includes Hamas? Will Barack Obama denounce this threat to Israel's legitimacy?
It is largely due to the West's cowardice that the Palestinians now reject the notion of a permanent two-state solution: the majority currently sees it as merely a first stage towards supplanting Israel. An authoritative poll published last month shows that 84 per cent of Palestinians agree that "Over time Palestinians must work to get back all of the land [in Israel] for a Palestinian state". Only seven per cent accept that "Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people".
As for Jerusalem: just three per cent of Palestinians are ready to share the city, while 92 per cent demand it exclusively as the capital of a Palestinian state. This Arab refusal to acknowledge the Jewish claim to Judaism's holiest place is endorsed by international bodies such as UNESCO, which has been campaigning against Israeli archaeological excavations in Jerusalem since 1974.
UNESCO has lent credence to bogus Arab claims that biblical sites have no connection with the ancient Jews but are either the work of Muslims or "indigenous Canaanites", from whom modern Arab Palestinians claim descent. This week, Jews commemorated the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and the First Temple by the Babylonians. The Jewish connection with Jerusalem is historically continuous, religiously constitutive and politically legitimate. But the link would inevitably be broken in the Palestinian state envisaged by Hearst.
How do we know this? Because no Arab state since 1948 has been tolerant of Jewish minorities, let alone granted them equal rights. Generations of Palestinians have been indoctrinated to hate Jews, largely at the expense of European taxpayers. Even in the best of all possible worlds, a unitary Palestinian state would treat Jews as former colonial occupiers, because that is how they and their fellow Muslims, encouraged by the Guardian, have depicted them for generations.
And what reason do Israelis have to be Panglossian? Palestinian celebrations in response to acts of terror, such as the hideous massacre of the Fogel family last March, speak volumes. Through the Department for International Development, British taxpayers subsidise the Palestinian cult of eliminationist antisemitism.
Besides, no European has the right to demand that Jews should risk genocide twice in a lifetime. At his trial 50 years ago, Adolf Eichmann explained his role in the Holocaust: "I received orders to proceed… against the guest of the host people." Gideon Hausner, the prosecutor, asked him: "So the 'guest' people is the Jewish People and the 'host' are the Germans. Right?" Eichmann answered: "Yes."
Why should Jews alone among the nations be forced to live as "guests" at the mercy of "hosts"? David Hearst's call for the "end of Zionism" has an echo of the "Final Solution", die Endlösung. It is code for the annihilation of Israel. The Guardian may gloat over its "solution", but those of us who admire the endurance of the Jewish people and the only Jewish state can simply look on in dismay.
By fanning sectarian strife...
“I’m full of anger and sadness when I think of Egypt,” emails a protester from Syria’s capital of Damascus, who asked to be referred to as Rana to protect her identity. Months earlier, when I met her during my stay in Damascus, Rana was full of vigor and excitement when talking about how the budding Syrian revolution could mirror Egypt’s. “The protests are growing. Everyone, no matter if they are Muslim or Christian, Sunni or Shi’ite, is uniting to topple this killer system peacefully,” she said at the time.
But, as a bloody summer draws out, Rana is worried that President Bashar Al Assad’s brutal tactics are fueling an increasingly disturbing sectarian spin on the current unrest. “There is now sectarian resentment in the coastal towns where different sects live together, some with the regime and some against it,” Rana wrote in her latest email to me. Indeed, by labeling the opposition movement a Sunni-led terrorist revolt and allowing members of his own sect to loot and pillage Sunni towns, Assad is fanning the flames of sectarian hatred—and some protesters, despite their initially peaceful, pluralistic intentions, are starting to buy in as well.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Peretz....
The Arabs of Palestine have always nurtured a strategy to avoid negotiating a peace deal with the Israelis; and it is that they won’t negotiate at all unless Israel meets so many Palestinian preconditions that the map from which they and their Arab neighbors launched their wars would be completely restored in advance of talks. Poof: There was no Six Day War in 1967 and there was no Yom Kippur War in 1973. Forget both of these and smaller battles in between and after. Then, OK, let’s meet and see where we can go from here or actually there. Which, as Barack Obama didn’t quite have the nerve to say but certainly meant, is the armistice lines of 1949—yes, that’s exactly what he intended and almost said.Read the whole thing..
So, 63 years after, the president wants to enshrine the momentary configuration of where the fighting happened to stop as the formal and operative borders between the State of Israel and Palestine, notwithstanding that there are now two putative Palestines (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) governed by two enemy regimes and that there is another one waiting to be birthed in Jordan. (Look, I like the Hashemites, sort of. But they don’t have long for this world. You believe in Arab Spring? Then why shouldn’t roses also bloom in Amman?)
It’s true that Obama’s scheme allows for a reciprocal transfer of real estate between Israel and the not quite nascent Palestine. But, given the fuss his administration has made even about Jewish land going back three millennia, like the City of David as if it had been a water hole or a mere parking lot for chariots, you have a sense of the utter ahistoricity of the president’s perspectives on these matters. The fact is that Jews and Arabs will not live neighborly lives once it is clear that Palestinian half-rule does not mean the restoration of the Mandelbaum Gate and the Jews excluded from their deepest history and their most sacred sites. (I know that many liberals and especially Jewish liberals don’t cotton to the idea of Jewish sacred sites and think it downright primitive. Ah, but a Muslim shrine! Well, you know the difference, of course you do.)
They've called upon their friends, the Khomeinist thugs, for help....
The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals, crossed the border into Turkey last week after being ordered to shoot to kill, bringing with him sickening details of increasingly desperate measures to end five months of demonstrations. He said he had beaten prisoners and fired on protesters in Damascus. At times during the past two months he was aware of Iranian troops – confirmed by senior officers – alongside his team in the Syrian capital.
"We knew they were from Iran because we were not allowed to speak to them and they were kept well away from us," he told The Daily Telegraph in Yayladagi, the nearest town to the refugee camp where he now lives. "When we had operated with the Syrian army we would always mix with them and chat." His account confirms other reports that Syria has turned to its closest ally for help in putting down the protests directed at the Assad family's 41 years in power.
Of course, their evidence already leads to Hezbollah and nothing happened there...
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is investigating Iran’s possible involvement in the Feb. 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others, the German Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday.
The report said that there is evidence that link Iran with the murder of Hariri.
The four men named in the indictment issued by the STL are members of Hizbullah and the tribunal is “following evidence that lead to Iran.”
The magazine said that the four suspects traveled to Iran in 2004 and during their stay, they went through military training in “Khomeini’s training camp” near the city of Qom.
It added: “The training supervisors built sets similar to the crime scene” of Hariri’s murder.
Der Spiegel said that “al-Quds brigades” that is considered the revolutionary guards right hand, supervised the entire operation.
“Syrian intelligence officials also participated” in the training, the magazine reported.
No Jews allowed in a future Palestine...
For the PA, the desire to remove the Jews stems more from ideology than pragmatism. Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders bemoan the security precautions that Israel has been forced to put in place in order to prevent another wave of Arab terror as humiliating. But it is the mere presence of Jews living anywhere in the country that is the real source of Arab humiliation. Palestinian nationalism grew up in the last century purely as a reaction to the influx of Jewish immigrants. Thus expunging every vestige of the Jewish presence is inextricably tied up in the enterprise of Palestinian sovereignty and it is no surprise that it has become a priority for the PA.
What makes this demand so outrageous is the fact that any Israeli who would call for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel is rightly branded as an extremist whose views are out of touch with the democratic values of the nation. Yet few in the West think there is anything odd about the fact that the Palestinians vision of a two-state solution is to have one state with both Jews and Arabs and one Arab state where all Jews have been thrown out. Nor have they figured out that the Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state is linked to their desire to throw all Jews out of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Even in the unlikely event that the Palestinians would ever be willing to sign a treaty recognizing the legitimacy of Israel within any borders, Abbas’ terms makes it difficult to envision the end of the conflict.
Now, here is a real obstacle to peace...
Iran will fund a multi-million-dollar army base on Syria's coast to funnel military equipment to the beleaguered regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Friday. The report comes amid growing diplomatic pressure against Damascus' violent suppressing of a five-month popular uprising, from neighboring Turkey as well as the United States.
Quoting Western intelligence reports, the Telegraph said the deal to build a base near Latakia was struck in June between Muhammad Nasif Kheirbek - Syria's deputy vice-president for security affairs and a close Assad ally - and Ghasem Suleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
These housing starts are not an obstacle to peace...
While no American government has ever recognized Israeli sovereignty over any part of the ancient capital, it is equally true never before had an American president made an issue of the building of homes in the existing Jewish neighborhoods begun in the immediate aftermath of the reunification of the city in 1967. Though settlement building in the West Bank has been a constant source of tension, and projects such as the one at Har Homa outside these Jewish sections of the city (although it was on vacant, Jewish-owned land) were disputed by Washington, housing in places like Ramat Sharon had never been a bone of contention.
That’s because even administrations deemed less than friendly to Israel always took it as a given these neighborhoods must be treated differently from West Bank settlements. There was no chance they would ever be surrendered in a peace settlement. That stance was reinforced in 2004 when President George W. Bush sent then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a letter specifying any deal with the Palestinians must take into account control of Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem were no longer on the table.
But all that changed under Barack Obama. It was Obama’s personal condemnation of the creation of new apartments in these existing Jewish parts of the city that has made their future a matter of dispute and encouraged Palestinians to hold onto false hopes that one day the Jewish residents of these homes will be forcibly evicted. This foolish decision to raise the stakes on Jerusalem has forced the Palestinian leadership to ramp up their already unrealistic demands on the issue and therefore made peace an even more remote possibility.
While news accounts of decisions about housing starts in Jerusalem routinely refer to them as obstacles to peace, it bears repeating this assertion is absolutely false. Because everyone knows (as they have always known), neither Ramot Sharon nor any other of the existing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem will ever be given up, it doesn’t matter how many homes are built there. The number of new apartments created there doesn’t matter any more than the vast number of new homes built in Arab neighborhoods in the city.
These homes are a red herring that have no bearing on the future of the peace process. It was Barack Obama who made Ramat Shlomo and the right of Jews to build and live in the rest of Jerusalem into the bitter and pointless controversy it has now become.
Fun, fun, fun in Gaza...
1. In June-August 2011, as they do every year, the Hamas administration and military wing ran summer camps in the Gaza Strip. Registration for the summer camps was held mostly in mosques. The slogans for the Hamas summer camps this time were “Victory through youth” and “Camps of return” (Felesteen al-Yoom, June 12, 2011; Chinese News Agency, June 19, 2011). Tens of thousands of children and adolescents from elementary school age to high school age took part in the summer activities. As in previous years, in addition to social activities the camps also offered Quran lessons, indoctrination with Hamas’ political ideology, and paramilitary training.
2. Hamas and other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip regard the summer camps as a means for inculcating their ideological values and nurturing the next generation of operatives and supporters. The core values are radical Islam, “the liberation of Palestine”, jihad and death for the sake of Allah, and other messages drawn from Hamas’ ideology and strategy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (e.g., support for the “right of return”, demand to free all Palestinian (terrorist) prisoners, the “liberation” of Palestine from Israel, and indoctrination of hatred against Israel and the Jewish people). The summer camps are often visited by top Hamas officials who help spread the political messages among the youngsters.
3. This year as well UNRWA operated an alternative summer camp system that hosted 250,000 Gaza Strip children (far more than the Hamas summer camps). The UNRWA summer camps emphasize social activity and promotion of such universal values as peace and coexistence, without the political-religious indoctrination and paramilitary training prevalent in Hamas’ camps. Consequently, these summer camps were once again harassed by radical Islamic elements that consider them competitors for the hearts and minds of the younger generation; also, UNRWA’s summer camps are accused of “corrupting” Palestinian children and adolescents.
I wish this was on the evening news...
A medical team from Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart has successfully performed the first ever pediatric open heart surgery in Mwanza Tanzania and on the youngest child in Tanzania.
Laurencia Simon is four years old, the daughter of two farmers, and lives in a mud hut without electricity or running water. Two years ago she was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. Due to a lack of infrastructure, finance and training, doctors in Tanzania are unable to perform open heart surgery on such young children and so they were unable to help her. After hearing an announcement on the radio she and her mother settled into a three hour bus ride to Mwanza as they knew the only hope for Laurencia’s very serious heart condition was to receive care from the Save a Child’s Heart medical team.
“For the past two years, Laurencia has been too sick to go to school,” says Laurencia’s mother Paulina Bujiku, 27 yrs old. “We’ve been coming to the Bugando medical center once a month. But what Laurencia needs is an operation. Thanks to Save a Child’s Heart she’s about to get it. I’m scared, but I have faith.”
After a long surgery on Friday, Laurencia is recovering well.
“It required incredible team work to create an operating room that could meet our needs,” says Dr. Lior Sasson, Chief Surgeon Save a Child’s Heart and Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Wolfson Medical Center. “But we did it- we created an environment where we could carefully and conscientiously perform open heart surgery and we saved the life of little Laurencia. What can I say- I feel incredibly proud.”
Save a Child’s Heart doctors and staff worked in collaboration with the staff at the Bugando hospital in Mwanza Tanzania and Kasbian Nuriel Chirich, Honorary Consul to Israel in Tanzania, to prepare for this moment. And all the hard work paid off, as children with heart disease came from across Tanzania to be examined by the Save a Child’s Heart team of doctors.
“There are about 200 sick Tanzanian children who will be examined by the Save a Child’s Heart team,” says Dr. Akiva Tamir, Chief cardiologist at Save a Child’s Heart and the head of the Pediatric Cardiology Unit at Wolfson Medical Centre. “I am checking over 20 children every day and we all are committed to doing whatever it takes to help them and save their lives.”
The younger Assad emulates the elder...
Syrians who have defied President Bashar Assad flee to the safety of Jordan with tales of torture and death at the hands of the dictator in Damascus.
Even a 65-year-old carpet merchant got no mercy when he was arrested for demonstrating against the regime.
“My heart bleeds for what I have witnessed,” said Abu Shams, when asked about conditions in Syria’s notorious prisons.
He said police beat him with heavy sticks before releasing him. As he made his way to Jordan, he slept at night “between the trees.”
“We have suffered more than 40 years of dictatorship in this criminal system,” he said. “Freedom has a price, and we will not stop.”
Many Syrians interviewed by The Washington Times told similar stories of abuse after they were detained during peaceful protests that began in March. Mr. Assad has unleashed the military in a brutal crackdown on protests throughout the country, killing at least 1,700 people.
In Syria on Monday, Mr. Assad continued his assault on the eastern town of Deir el-Zour, a day after his security forces killed 42 people there. The army also killed three people at a funeral in the town of Daraa, human rights activists said.
Arab nations applied more diplomatic pressure, as Kuwait and Bahrain on Monday followed Saudi Arabia and withdrew their ambassadors to protest the ongoing violence. Saudi King Abdullah pulled his ambassador out of Damascus on Sunday, denouncing the “bloodshed” in Syria.
On the Jordanian-Syrian border, Ibrahim al-Jahamani, 24, said he was picked up by police after walking with a friend in Daraa, which has been a flash point of protests against Mr. Assad.
Police fatally shot his friend and tortured Mr. al-Jahamani in a Damascus jail for several weeks.
“They beat my head, legs, hands and back. My nose was broken. The scars are still visible,” he said pointing to the marks.
“We were naked and barefoot. The torture was daily and systematic. They used to tie us with chains. Others were held in a crosslike position. Some were hanged upside down and continuously beaten,” he said, dark eyes flashing.
Some of its latest activities...
Evidence for Hizballah's criminal and terrorist activities in the Western hemisphere continues to build. The implications for the U.S., for Israel, and for Jews globally are ominous. Why, then, is so little attention paid?
• In early July, two men were arrested in Bucharest and two more in the Maldive Islands in a U.S.-orchestrated sting operation. Their purpose: purchasing surface-to-air missiles and other munitions for Hizballah and the Taliban in exchange for hundreds of kilos of heroin. And whence the heroin? In 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department added the Hizballah-linked Lebanese businessman Ayman Joumma to its list of known drug smugglers and money launderers. He and others are accused of laundering up to $200 million per month through Lebanon, West Africa, Colombia, and Panama. Today, Hizballah's role in drug smuggling is expanding, especially as Iranian funding for the organization has dropped.
• Also on the increase are attempts to purchase weapons and funding within the U.S. Weapons cases were uncovered in Philadelphia and New York City in 2009. Three Yemeni men in Rochester were convicted of illegally transferring money to Hizballah in 2009, and cigarette smuggling rings that raised millions of dollars were busted in North Carolina in 2002 and New York in 2003. An Ohio couple, Hor and Amera Akl, pled guilty in 2011 to charges of conspiracy to support Hizballah, including through insurance fraud.
• In July, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against Faouzi Ayoub, formerly of Dearborn, Michigan, accusing him of using a forged U.S. passport in 2000 to travel to Israel at the direction of Hizballah to attempt a terrorist attack. Now on the FBI's most wanted list, he was arrested by Israel in 2001 and exchanged in 2004 along with 436 other prisoners for kidnapped Israeli drug smuggler Elhanan Tannenbaum.
• Again in July, Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, testified before Congress about Hizballah's operations in Latin America. These activities include drug smuggling, money laundering, and proselytizing, as well as radicalizing the region's large Muslim population. Hizballah has long been implicated in the Iranian bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Jewish community center there in 1994. Noriega also documented Iranian and Hizballah connections to the Chavez regime in Venezuela, including the weapons ship Francop, which was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos in 2009 carrying munitions for Hizballah to Syria.
• Also in July, the hacker group LulzSec released a confidential report by the Tucson police department pointing to the 2010 arrest in Mexico of Jameel Nasr, allegedly tasked with creating a Hizballah network in that country. The report noted the recent introduction of vehicle-born improvised explosive devices (a Hizballah trademark), by Mexican drug gangs. Border agents across the American Southwest continue to arrest illegal immigrants deemed "Other Than Mexicans," some of whom sport tattoos of Hizballah symbols.
The Palestinians are not ready for statehood...
Unlike the two Palestinian entities that already exist, either of which could be recognized as a Palestinian state because they seem to fulfill the legal requirements, the Palestinian entity that a General Assembly majority will recognize as a state this September does not actually exist on Earth. It is imaginary and aspirational, not real. And it does not meet the legal requirements.
First, it will have two rival presidents pursuing incompatible policies. Mahmoud Abbas is presenting himself as the president of the Palestine that is pressing the claim in the U.N. General Assembly, but he is not considered to be the president anymore by Hamas, the largest political party in the putative state. And Hamas has Palestine's own laws on its side in this dispute. Abbas was elected in 2005 to serve until January 2009, so his term has expired. In 2009, he unilaterally extended his term for another year until January 2010 (an extension that also has expired), but that extension did not adhere to Article 65 of the Palestinian constitution, the Basic Law. Hamas, which controls a majority in the now defunct Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), opposed the extension. According to Article 65 of the Basic Law, the legally empowered president of Palestine, since January 2009, has been PLC Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik, a deputy representing Hamas. Palestine's ruling party, Hamas, considers Dweik, not Abbas, to be the legal president of Palestine, and it has a strong case.
Second, the Palestine that the General Assembly will recognize also will have two rival prime ministers pursuing incompatible policies. Hamas denies that Abbas has the authority to appoint Salam Fayyad as prime minister, because Abbas is not legally the president of Palestine under Article 65 and because Fayyad has not been empowered as prime minister by the Palestinian Legislative Council as required by Article 66 of the Basic Law. Neither his first appointment, on June 15, 2007, nor his reappointment on May 19, 2009, was confirmed by the PLC as required. Hamas, which controls the majority in the PLC, considers the legal prime minister of the Palestinian Authority to continue to be Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas. Haniyeh was empowered by the PLC to be prime minister of Palestine in February 2006. Abbas dismissed Haniyeh from the office on June 14, 2007, after the Gaza coup, but Haniyeh counters that this decree violated articles 45, 78, and 83 and that he continues to exercise prime ministerial authority under Article 83. The PLC also continues to recognize Haniyeh's authority as prime minister. Here again, Hamas has the law on its side.
Third, this putative state of "Palestine" will also have a legislature that never meets. Elected on Jan. 25, 2006, for a term of four years, the PLC has enacted no laws, passed on no ministers, and conducted no meetings since 2007. Instead, Abbas says, "It is my right as a president to legislate laws and decisions that are called decrees. These decrees are legal, as long as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is not able to convene."
Courage is being shown daily in Syria...
Around the world people still talk about Tiananmen Square as a signal event, when hundred of Chinese protestors were mowed down by the army. But the Syrian uprising, going on five months now, is one Tiananmen after another, with the opposition girding itself in the knowledge of what it is facing. Like Tiananmen, this is an astonishing human event; it is courage in the face of terror.