Current Postings

January 28, 2015: Violence from the North

Yesterday, four rockets were launched from a Syrian-held position roughly seven kilometers inside of Syria; two of the rockets landed in the Israeli Golan Heights.  They landed in open areas and there were no casualties.  Military sources identified this as a joint effort of Hezbollah and Syrian forces; the IDF said that Syria would be held responsible for whatever happened inside of its territory.  Within hours, Israel responded with an artillery attack that yielded a direct hit on the source of the rockets.
 
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That was yesterday.  Today was much worse. This time the attack was from Lebanon, not Syria, and it claimed casualties.  Some five or six Kornet anti-tank missiles were launched in an ambush attack against military vehicles traveling on a road about two kilometers inside of Israel, in the village of Ghajar.  The launching site is estimated to have been four or five kilometers from the IDF vehicles.
 
A burnt vehicle is seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel's border with Lebanon
Credit: Reuters
 
Two IDF soldiers were killed: Staff Sergeant Dor Nini, 20, and Major Yochai Kalangel, 25 (on the left below).  
 
 

Credit: YNet

 
Reports are not consistent, but some additional seven soldiers were injured.
 
At the same time, there were mortar shells aimed at IDF bases in the area.
 
Israel responded with return fire into Lebanon, and declared the Lebanese responsible for what happens on their soil.  As was to be expected, the Lebanese are furious with Hezbollah for operating against Israel from their territory.
 
Hezbollah declared the attack to be retribution for the death of the “martyrs” in the convoy that Israel had hit.
 
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At this point in time, additional information is scarce.  I post now simply to get the word out (not sure how widely this will be covered); more will follow in a day or two.
 
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I cannot sign off, however, without noting that yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp of Auschwitz.  Survivors – fewer in number every year -assembled there for a major ceremony.  
 

Credit: Daily Mail
 
The message is that we dare not forget.  And that message carries enormous urgency today, as anti-Semitism in all its virulence is on the rise.
 
The difference for Jews now as versus 70 years ago is the existence of the State of Israel.  Our leaders here have a solemn obligation to defend Israel with great strength and determination.  Whether the world likes this or not is irrelevant.
 
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/28/january-28-2015-violence-from-the-north.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 03:30PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 26, 2015: A Corollary

Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, with regard to his speaking to Congress:
 
“In coming weeks, the powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state.

"As prime minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weaponry that will be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is global and I will go anywhere I am invited to make the State of Israel's case and defend its future and existence." (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/amid-row-over-invite-pm-says-hell-go-anywhere-to-speak-against-iran/

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Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, spoke yesterday as well, and he said (emphasis added):

The prime minister’s visit is “intended for one purpose: To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference.”

Thus, it is Netanyahu’s “most sacred duty to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.

“For Israel, a nuclear armed Iran would be a clear and present danger. Iran’s regime is both committed to Israel’s destruction and working toward Israel’s destruction.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-us-envoy-pms-planned-congress-speech-a-sacred-duty/
 

Ron Dermer (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Couldn’t be much clearer and unambiguous than this.

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And then we have Boehner’s response to the flap that has ensued following his invitation to the prime minister:

There’s nobody in the world who can [better] talk about the threat of radical terrorism — nobody can [better] talk about the threat the Iranians pose, not just to the Middle East and to Israel… but to the entire world — than Bibi (Benjamin) Netanyahu.”

Boehner went on to say he did not believe Obama was giving that threat the attention it deserved.

“The president didn’t spend but a few seconds (in his State of the Union address last week) talking about the threat, the terrorist threat that we as Americans face.

This problem is growing all over the world…the president is trying to act as though it’s not there, but it is there and it’s going to be a threat to our homeland if we don’t address it in a bigger way.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/boehner-we-gave-white-house-heads-up-on-netanyahu/

Boehner has further said, by the way, that he did not “blindside” the White House, as he has been accused of doing.  He gave Obama “heads up” before news about the invitation to Netanyahu hit the press.
 
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But so insane is the election fever here, that everything is subject to attack.  The following column by Uri Avnery written just two days ago is so shockingly perverse that I simply had to call attention to it:

“...Two Israeli drones have bombed (or missiled) a small Hezbollah convoy, a few miles beyond the border with Syria on the Golan heights. 12 people were killed. One was an Iranian general. One was a very young Hezbollah officer, the son of Imad Mughniyeh...

“The killing of the Iranian general was perhaps unintended....

“The intended victim of the attack was the 25-year old Jihad Mughniyeh, a junior Hezbollah officer whose only claim to fame was his family name.

“IMMEDIATELY AFTER the killing, the question arose: Why? Why now? Why at all?

“The Israeli-Syrian border (or, rather, cease-fire line) has been for decades the quietest border of Israel. No shooting. No incidents. Nothing.

“SO WHY did Israeli drones hit a small convoy of Assad's allies – Hezbollah and Iran? It is very unlikely that they had any aggressive intentions against Israel. Probably they were scouting the terrain in search of Syrian rebels.

“The Israeli government and the army did not explain. How could they, when they did not officially admit to the action? Even unofficially, there was no hint.

“But there is an elephant in the room: the Israeli elections.

“We are now in the middle of the election campaign. Was there, could there be, any connection between the election campaign and the attack?

“You bet!”

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1422014990/

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WHAT?!! We have here a prime example of the morally corrupt and totally perverse position of the far left.  How shameful this is. 

In terms of information, it is full of holes.  Jihad Mughniyeh’s claim to fame was NOT just his family name: he headed a terrorist cell directly funded by Iran that had already launched attacks. 

And to say that it was “very unlikely that they[the convoy] had any aggressive intentions against Israel. Probably they were scouting the terrain in search of Syrian rebels”?  Does he truly imagine that even though a general from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was present, there was no ill intent towards Israel?  That Iran sends out a general to scout for rebels?

Nor is it true that the border with Syria has been consistently quiet. That was once the case, but no longer is.

Gush Shalom – which ran Avnery’s article – promotes “peace” based on all of the Palestinian Arab demands, including “right of return,” which means this is a group that supports the destruction of Israel.  It is beyond the pale. Uri Avnery is a founding member.

And this is what our prime minister must contend with, on his far left flank, as he works to defend the State and keep her safe. 

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Now I turn to an article – “Israeli strike in Syria: A move in an unfinished game” - regarding that convoy in the Golan, written by the highly informed Jonathan Spyer (emphasis added):

”Firstly, the killings were a response to a clear attempt by the Iranians/Hezbollah to violate the very fragile status quo that pertains between these elements and Israel in Lebanon and Syria...

Some analysis of the strike has suggested that the mission of the men killed in the attack involved preparation for placing sophisticated Iranian missile systems on the Syrian part of the Golan. Other accounts suggested that the mission was part of readying this area for the launch of ground attacks across the border against Israeli targets, perhaps using proxies.

In either case, the mission was a clear attempt to change the arrangement of forces in the north, in such a way that could be expected to ensure an Israeli response...

The Iran/Hezbollah/Assad side has long threatened to develop the Golan as a front for possible ‘jihad duties’ against Israel. Both Syrian President Bashar Assad and Nasrallah, in the course of 2014, made unambiguous public statements threatening the opening of military activity against Israel in this area. Israel in turn has been very keen to make clear that such a move would constitute a violation of the status quo.

The strike on Sunday constituted a very kinetic further Israeli message intended to drive home this point.

What this means is that despite the death of a senior IRGC commander in the Israeli strike, the action by Israel should not be seen as a general casting aside of the rules of engagement by Jerusalem on the northern border – but rather an insistence on maintaining these rules, and a warning of the consequences to the other side of continued violation of them...”
 
http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/printarticle.aspx?id=388658
 
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In the above article, Spyer refers to the great unease the Lebanese have about what Hezbollah is doing:
 
”Responses by Lebanese political leaders and media to the event have been characterized by a sort of nervous, veiled request to Hezbollah not to bring down Israel’s wrath on Lebanon...”

The Israeli government, mindful of this situation, has speculated that the “retribution” from Hezbollah may come not via a frontal attack across the border from Lebanon into Israel, but rather via terrorism unleashed on Israelis abroad.
 
Thus, according to Al-Hayat, Israel has relayed a message to Hezbollah, delivered via indirect channels, that warns against such action: “Israel would hold Hezbollah responsible for any attack against its institutions and nationals [abroad], including areas known to be frequented by Israelis in far-off places around the globe.”

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Israel-sends-stern-warning-to-Hezbollah-Dont-dare-attack-our-targets-abroad-388948

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Coming full circle here...

We see that the Lebanese, who have not forgotten the damage they endured during Israel’s last war against Hezbollah, are not willing to support an attack on Israel by Hezbollah initiated from Lebanese soil.  And so the significance to Hezbollah (and to Iran, its sponsor) of establishing a base on the Golan for launching attacks on Israel from there becomes readily apparent. 

Thus the necessity for Israel to forcefully “discourage” any such plans.

In other words, we did good.  Do not allow yourself to be disabused of this understanding.

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We will end with a good news piece:

“A breakthrough discovery by researchers at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem will allow early detection and possible prevention of colon and uterine cancers. According to the study, a genetic mutation related to Lynch syndrome has been shown to increase the risk of these types of cancers. The discovery of the mutation among members of certain population groups allows for a quick identification of at-risk patients.”

This discovery is being referred to as “of immense importance in the prevention and early treatment of cancer.”

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22167

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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/26/january-26-2015-a-corollary.html

 

Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 03:43PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 25, 2015: Priorities

There is a colossal danger to the world coming down the road:  A nuclear Iran.  It’s scary as hell because of the radical jihadist intentions of the Iranian mullahs. 
 
Right now the president of the United States and the Congress of the United States are at odds regarding how to respond to Iran.  Currently there is a “Joint Plan of Action” (JPOA) in place – an agreement between Iran and P5 + 1 (US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – those nations in negotiations with Iran). This is a temporary agreement, scheduled to end on June 30, 2015 (having been extended from its prior expiration date of November 24, 2014). 
 
JPOA outlines restrictions placed on Iran, and sanctions relief provided to Iran, for the course of negotiations regarding final understandings on Iran’s nuclear status.  It is theoretically the case that all negotiations are to be completed by that June deadline. 
 
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Obama, in his State of the Union address, pledged to veto any legislation that imposes sanctions on Iran – a statement which is a direct challenge to the Congress. The president claims that such sanctions would be destructive to negotiations.  What he has done is to misrepresent the position of Congress – for the legislation that is being advanced calls for additional sanctions ONLY IF and ONLY AFTER negotiations had failed.
 
The bill -  sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) - has bi-partisan support.  In fact, it was Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has voiced the most vociferous criticism of the administration position.  Addressing administration officials in the course of a hearing on Iran, he said:
 
“I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the administration...The more it sounds like talking points coming out of Tehran. And it heeds to the Iranian narrative of victimhood, when they are the ones with original sin: an illicit nuclear weapons program over the course of twenty years that they are unwilling to come clean on. I don't know why we feel compelled to make their case...They get to cheat in a series of ways, and we get to worry about their ‘perceptions.’”
 
You can see him making this statement in a video here:
 
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/01/21/dem_sen_menendez_obama_statements_on_iran_sound_like_talking_points_straight_out_of_tehran.html
 
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Against the background of this Congressional frustration with Obama, Speaker of the House Boehner invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.
 
Why Netanyahu?  It’s obvious.  He is the world leader, bar none, when it comes to speaking out on the dangers of a nuclear Iran and the importance of sanctions.  What an honor, that the Congress wants to hear what he has to say on the matter.  Israel is not a minor league player here.  How significant, that he should speak out.
 
But do commentators notice any of this? Nahh...
 
In the US, the charge is that Boehner is “using” Netanyahu to “get back at” Obama.  Here, the criticism is that Bibi is “using” Boehner to help him get re-elected (as he will get a boost in the elections from this talk before Congress).  What a furor has ensued.
 
In the course of all of these charges and counter-charges, forgotten is the possibility that Netanyahu might help keep Congress strong – perhaps even strong enough to over-ride a veto.  Overlooked is the fact that stopping Iran is the ikar – the heart of the matter. 
 
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The left here in Israel is accusing Bibi of “destroying” our relationship with Washington.  However, “Washington” also includes the Congress.
 
What is more, I have noticed that already the Obama administration is backtracking on this matter: The US has an “unshakable” alliance with Israel, the White House has declared. And on Meet the Press today, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that:
 
”Our relationship with Israel is many-faceted, deep and abiding.  It’s focused on a shared series of threats, but also on a shared series of values that one particular instance is not going to overwhelm.”
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/white-house-downplays-impact-of-netanyahu-speech-on-ties/
 
Well now... Can we please go back to talking about Iran and sanctions?
 
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From Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, I offer the following information:
 
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano spoke on Friday at the University of Indonesia.  His talk included this statement (emphasis in the original):
 
“As far as Iran is concerned, the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared to us by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. But we are not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
 
https://www.iaea.org/node/10995


The Obama administration has made two basic arguments about the success of the JPOA interim agreement.

The first is that Iran's program has been "halted" and its nuclear stockpile "reduced."  But this simply is not the case. The JPOA allows Iran to enrich to 3.5% purity, which is about 60% of the effort needed to get to weapons-grade levels, provided the new material is stored as oxide. They've used the last year to create at least one bomb's worth of enriched uranium and will use the rest of the extension to enrich enough for another one.

The second claim is that the JPOA provides "unprecedented" access/insight/monitoring/inspections into Iran's nuclear facilities.  But the statement above from the IAEA Director General makes it clear that this is not the case.
 
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On January 15, 2015, Iranian president Rouhani announced that Iran was building two new reactors.  The State Department clarified that this is not prohibited by any Security Council resolutions, and is not in violation of the JPOA agreement.
 
http://freebeacon.com/national-security/state-dept-iran-allowed-to-build-new-nuclear-reactors/
 
Clarified Omri Ceren:
 
The JPOA was supposed to freeze the Iranian program to prevent them from improving their position as talks proceeded. It failed. Instead the Iranians spent the last year building up their nuclear program - and their leverage - across all areas.
 
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Fervently do I wish that those who claim to be serious thinkers on the issues would get as excised over the dangers of Iran and the damage that Obama is doing to his own nation, Israel, and the world, as they do over imagined political intrigues.
 
Much more to come.
 
 I close here with Caroline Glick’s latest piece on this issue, “Iran, Obama, Boehner, and Netanyahu.”
 
“The role of an Israeli leader is to adopt the policies that protect Israel, even when they are unpopular at the White House. Far from being ostracized for those policies, such an Israeli leader will be supported, respected, and relied upon by those who share with him a concern for what truly matters.”
 
http://carolineglick.com/iran-obama-boehner-and-netanyahu/
 
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

 http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/26/january-25-2015-priorities.html

 

Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 03:35PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 22, 2015: Seeking Sparks of Light

I’m going to do something different today: Start with good news items.  We need to hear that good news, with all the clouds hanging over us. 
 
The first is the matter of Israeli-Japanese relations, which have blossomed astonishingly in the past year.  This is true in the areas of diplomatic relations, industrial and scientific technology and trade.  On Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived here for a three-day visit (which ultimately had to be cut short because of an ISIS hostage situation he had to contend with at home).  And it was on Sunday that Prime Minister Netanyahu, referring to the Islamization of Europe, spoke about the need to increase Asian markets. He spoke as well about the “historic opportunity” to join Israeli and Japanese capabilities for mutual benefit.
 
Abe brought with him 100 Japanese diplomatic and business leaders; he and Netanyahu attended a forum on science and business.
 
japan israel
Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Jpost
 
And so the essential lesson here is that we are not alone as a nation, and we should not imagine that the world begins and ends with Europe.
 
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And then we have the absolutely remarkable speech of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of just weeks ago.  It is possible that you have not heard about this, and I am, quite frankly, remiss for not having shared it sooner.  


C

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

 
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Egypt is an astonishment in any event.  When Mubarak was ousted in June 2012, and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Morsi became president, it seemed the handwriting was on the wall for Egypt, as the grip of the Brotherhood waxed ever tighter.  But then, in July 2013, the military took over, and a Brotherhood-hating al-Sisi subsequently morphed from general to president, surprising many and turning the tide in a manner that has been significant for Israel.  He has, for example, acted decisively in many spheres against Hamas – a Brotherhood spinoff - in Gaza.
 
On December 28, 2014, an extraordinarily courageous al-Sisi spoke in Al-Azhar University, in Cairo, to key Islamic clerics and academics.  He differentiated between core Islamic beliefs and an overlay of ideology or “thinking” that has been destructive.  His tone was calm and reasoned, not frenzied.  In part, he said (emphasis added):
 
“It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma (multinational community of Muslim believers) to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible!

“That thinking – I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’ – that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

“Is it possible that 1.6 billion [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants – that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible!…

“I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move…because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost – and it is being lost by our own hands."

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189700#.VMDybZv9nIU
 
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Here you have a MEMRI clip of his talk:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEhNarfrlec
 
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I also count as very good news the invitation that has now been extended to Prime Minister Netanyahu by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) to address the joint houses of Congress in February on the issues of Islamic extremism and Iran.  This is an expression of very solid support for Israel within Congress, and marks a readiness by America’s elected representatives to take seriously what our prime minister has to say about these issues.  
 
null

Credit: USA Today
 
Netanyahu promptly accepted. 
 
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Obama’s nose was seriously out of joint because of this invitation.  It was a breach of protocol, intoned White House press secretary Josh Earnst.  Protocol, he said, would require Israel to inform the president of potential plans to visit the country before proceeding with an acceptance. 
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/white-house-invite-to-netanyahu-a-breach-of-protocol/
 
But the key source of irritation, I would imagine, was the failure of Boehner to consult the president before proceeding with the invitation.  Obama was, quite simply, out of the loop.  It is, of course, very much to the point that this invitation followed on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union Address, which left many in Congress severely disgruntled.  And that Obama knows he will not be pleased with what Netanyahu will say.
 
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Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently promoted a position of strong sanctions against Iran, to use as leverage in negotiations.  This is a position that he will undoubtedly reiterate in Washington. 
 
It runs directly counter to Obama’s position – stated once again in his State of the Union address this week - that he would veto any sanctions bill advanced by Congress because of the splendid progress he is making in negotiations.
 
http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/20/obama-pledges-to-veto-iran-sanctions-bill-in-state-of-the-union-address/
 
I hope to return to this deplorable situation for a closer examination.
 
But today, a report surfaced in Bloomberg News claiming that the Mossad disagrees with Netanyahu.  It indicated that Mossad officials advised US senators who were visiting Israel recently to hold off on further Iran sanctions, because they would hamper efforts to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program.
 
The appearance of this report – presumably authoritative – shortly before Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress had the immediate effect of undercutting him.
 
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Now the head of the Mossad has taken the unusual action of issuing a public denial of this report (emphasis added):
 
“Mossad Head Tamir Pardo met on January 19, 2015, with a delegation of US senators.  The meeting was held at the request of the senators and with the prime minister’s approval. At the meeting, the Head of the Mossad stressed the extraordinary effectiveness of the sanctions that have been placed on Iran for several years in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.
 
The Head of the Mossad noted that in negotiating with Iran, a policy of ‘carrots and sticks’ must be adopted, and there are not enough ‘sticks’ nowadsays.”
 
Additionally, according to the Mossad statement, Pardo “said specifically that the agreement that is being formed with Iran is bad and could lead to a regional arms race.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/190349#.VMEZ5Zv9nIU

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And so what is going on here? The Obama administration – furious about the invitation to Netanyahu and concerned about his message – was playing dirty.  Out-and-out lying, actually.  Presumably not anticipating that the Mossad would come forward and directly counter what was “leaked.”
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More apparent disinformation on another matter:

After the attack on the convoy in the Golan, which took out high level Hezbollah and Iranian personnel, Reuters came out with a story that a security source in Israel said the military had no idea that an Iranian general was being targeted -  that it was simply thought that some guerrillas were in the convoy. 
 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/20/us-mideast-crisis-israel-syria-idUSKBN0KT1HQ20150120
 
I, of course, do not know who the “source” was, but this seemed blatantly an attempt on someone’s part to partially defuse a volatile situation, or to downplay Israel’s accomplishment.  Whatever the case, this “report” was carried broadly. 
 
Now here I cite from Al-Arabiya, as reported in IMRA (emphasis added):
 
”[The attack] is also one of the biggest losses inflicted on Hezbollah by Israel in recent years... 

“Analysts, speaking to Al-Arabiya News, said the attack represented a major breach to Hezbollah’s security and a tactical misjudgment on the part of the Iranian-backed militant group.

’This was a colossal failure … because they [Hezbollah] put this number of senior figures in one spot and at the same observation point and at the same time,” Wehbe Katicha, a former Lebanese army general, told Al Arabiya News.

“’You rarely see armies committing such a mistake,’ he said.

“This is represents a weak point of Hezbollah because of this behavior,” he added.

“While not describing it as a failure, Dr. Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said the incident was a ‘major security breach’ to Hezbollah’s security apparatus.

’Hezbollah moves secretly and a number of ranking officials are even tighter. The fact is Israel had information from within,’ he said.”

 
http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=66152
 
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I started with the good news, and must end with bad:  There was a terror attack in Tel Aviv yesterday morning, when an Arab from Tulkarem, in Samaria, boarded a bus and attacked passengers and the driver with a knife, seriously injuring four.  We are grateful that no one was killed.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Three-stabbed-on-Tel-Aviv-bus-388417
 
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/22/january-22-2015-seeking-sparks-of-light.html

 

Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 04:48PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 19, 2015: Without Recourse

It should be, even in our less than perfect world, that international courts were bastions of ethical judgment and impartiality. OK, maybe that’s expecting too much.  Shall we say, just institutions that model some degree of ethical judgment and impartiality. But even this is expecting too much in today’s climate of severely distorted perceptions and values.
 
The court I have in mind, of course, is the International Criminal Court, which is just one more corrupt – and politically correct – international body.  As today’s JPost editorial has it: the court is unable to “differentiate between good and bad.” Ah, yes.
 
On Friday, Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced her decision to initiate a “preliminary probe” into alleged war crimes committed by Israel this past summer during the war in Gaza (Operation Protective Edge).  This is to determine whether prosecution is appropriate.
 
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In order to do this, she had to stretch credibility in several regards.  First, she had to determine that, for purposes of the Court, the Palestinian Authority was a state.  Never mind that the PA does not meet all the criteria of a state, the General Assembly – another upstanding institution – has accorded the PA status as an observer state. The ICC says that’s enough.
 
And then, she had to maintain the fiction that Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas – a terrorist organization, is part of that “Palestinian state.” This was necessary, because a state that accepts the ICC’s jurisdiction can only bring charges in crimes committed within its own borders.
 
Lastly, she had to overlook the fact that the IDF routinely does investigate charges regarding behavior in the field and pursues prosecution when this is deemed necessary.  The IDF – the most moral army in the world - is, in fact, super-scrupulous in this regard.  But the Court, you see, is only supposed to step in if such systems are not in place.
 
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International lawyer Alan Baker continues to say this will come to nothing, and that we only serve Abbas’s purposes when we become agitated about this situation.  So we will not be agitated.
 
Prime Minister Netanyahu called the Court decision “absurd,” which it is.  The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement that said, in part:
 
"We see here something truly tragic. The lofty goals of the ICC are being turned upside-down. The court was founded to prevent a repeat of history's worst crimes, foremost among them the genocide of six million Jews. Now the Palestinians are cynically manipulating the ICC to deny the Jewish state the right to defend itself against the very war crimes and the very terror that the court was established to prevent."  (Emphasis added)
 
http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Spokesman/Pages/spokehage170115.aspx
 
But the Court cannot be “manipulated” without its consent.  Bensouda could have ruled that the PA was not a state.  I see something very perverse in Palestinian Arab involvement with international organizations, which are prepared to voluntarily distort their essence or their mandates in an effort to be politically correct.  The PA is such a very minor player in the scheme of world affairs.  What gives it this power? 
 
The State Department, I must note, said, "We do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC."
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Actually, I shouldn’t say, as I did above, that we are “without recourse.”  This is true with regard to the international institutions where we might have expected some modicum of support.  But we certainly have recourse to our own sense of good and bad, and, most importantly, to the judgment of Heaven. 
 
There are, as well, nations that are with us.  I note in particular Canada – Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has just been here, lending words of support.
 
He told Netanyahu: “Canada doesn’t stand behind Israel; we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it...The great struggle of our generation is terrorism and far too often the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are on the front lines of that struggle.” (Emphasis added)
 
http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/canadian-foreign-minister-baird-shoulder-to-shoulder-with-israel/2015/01/19/
 
Can we clone him?  On his visit to Ramallah on Sunday, Arabs pelted his car with eggs because of his pro-Israel stance.
 
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Missiles fired from two helicopters struck at targets in the Syrian Golan yesterday, taking out either five or six members of Hezbollah.  Israel never officially acknowledges involvement in such attacks, but I would say that here we have an instance of our relying on our own resources with excellent judgment. 
 
Among those killed was Jihad Mughniyeh, son of Imad Mughniyeh, former Hezbollah operations chief whom we dispatched some time ago.  According to western intelligence sources, Jihad was head of a large-scale terrorist cell, with direct links to Iran, that had attacked Israel in the past. 
 
But there is more: According to various reports, also killed were six members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, including General Mohammad Allahdadi, formerly head of a Revolutionary Guard brigade.  The Iranians and the members of Hezbollah were part of one convoy. 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Six-Iranians-killed-in-Israeli-strike-in-Syria-including-Revolutionary-Guards-general-388210
 
The coming together of so many high level Hezbollah and Iranian fighters at one time, near the Israeli border, strongly suggests that a major operation was imminent. It might have included rockets, infiltrations into Israel, border bombings, anti-tank fire and more.  Just days ago, Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah threatened attacks on Israel.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The attack that smoothly took out Hezbollah and Iranian high level personnel suggests superb Israeli intelligence and an operation that was pinpoint.
 
As I see it, this not only eliminated an immediate danger (it was essential, given the intelligence!), it enhanced our deterrence power – always a good thing.  They know we are watching, and that we act in our own best interest with great skill.
 
There is no doubt about the fact that there was a message here for Iran, as well as for Hezbollah.
 
But the question now is what sort of retaliation we are likely to see.  It is considered unlikely that there will be a major attack that would escalate into war to our north.  But there is certainly a heightened risk of terror attacks – whether we are looking at infiltration into the north of Israel with attempts at kidnapping IDF soldiers, or attacking Israelis elsewhere in the world, as has been done before.
 
Whatever might be ahead, our forces are on high alert in the north now, with leaves cancelled and an Iron Dome installation moved northward.
 
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven, in a press briefing arranged via The Israel Project, outlined the sensitive situation that Israel now faces: Should, for example, an Israeli soldier be killed by Hezbollah, or should rockets be launched against civilians in our north, this would invite retaliation that might generate a significant escalation in fighting.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The situation of Hezbollah, operating in the Golan, directly across Israel’s border to the north, is exceedingly complex.  This area is no longer directly controlled by Assad.  Hezbollah, said General Ben Reuven, prefers acting against Israel from this theater rather than from its home base in Lebanon.  The Lebanese are not always happy with Hezbollah because of the violence unleashed on its population in response to Hezbollah actions.  However, Hezbollah still has a primary goal of supporting Assad, and does not want to invite an Israeli attack inside Syria that might result in weakening him.
 
Right now, with some 200,000 Syrians dead in the civil war, there seems to be a standoff, with neither side achieving victory.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I end – for now - with a good news story that is both moving and astounding:
 
Michael Mittwoch, 92, and his wife Marion, 90, fled the Nazis in Germany.  They came to Israel, where they participated in the founding of Kibbutz Lavi in the north.
 
Now they have just celebrated the birth of their 100th (this is not a typo) great-grandchild.
 
Michael and Marion Mittwochs, center, surrounded by family and holding their 100th great-granchild. (Photo: Elad Gershgoren) 
Credit: Elad Gershgoren
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4615185,00.html
 
This is not just  a wonderfully uplifting story, it demonstrates something: We are a people who move past adversity to life, a testament to hope.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/20/january-19-2015-without-recourse.html

 

Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 04:13PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 14, 2015: Recurring Nightmare

How many times do we have to witness the funerals of innocent Jews cut down in their prime by terrorists? 
 
Sadly, a rhetorical question.  We’ve already witnessed it too many times.  And we know with a reasonable certainty that we are going to witness this yet again.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Yesterday, the four Jews who had been killed last Friday in the kosher market in Paris – Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen, Philippe Braham, and Francois-Michel Saada - were brought to Israel for burial.  All of Tunisian heritage, they were brought first to B’nai Brak, to the Kisse Rahamim Yeshiva, which is headed by Rabbi Meir Mazuz – spiritual head of the Tunisian community in Israel.
 
MK Eli Yishai, also of Tunisian heritage, was among those who spoke.  Referring to the fear people in Israel felt last Friday, before they knew the ultimate fate of the four, he observed (emphasis added):
 
This is what it is to be Jewish, one nation, one blood, one fate...The pain is enormous...but the souls of the martyrs are so high...they merit to be interred in the Land of Israel, for which our ancestors yearned for thousands of years.
 
Pray to our Father in Heaven, who will say, ‘enough’ to our suffering.”

~~~~~~~~~~
 
The bodies were then brought for interment in the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem.  During the services, each was wrapped in a blue and white tallit, and positioned next to a burning torch.
 

 

Credit: rte

Thousands attended the funeral.  “This is not how we wanted you to come home, to the State of Israel,” lamented President Ruby Rivlin.  “We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.”

Here, among the mourners, a relative of Yoav Hattab:

 

Credit: TimesofIsrael

~~~~~~~~~~

 
I want to circle back now, to a closer look at the events in Paris that occurred this past Sunday and Monday, and to some of the responses to those events:
 
There has been a great deal written about the fact that France was not eager to have Netanyahu present at the march.  Although details vary, the essential events seem to be clear.
 
Netanyahu had not intended to come, but, on learning that Lieberman and Bennett would be there, changed his mind.
 
Descriptions of precisely how disgruntled French President Hollande was on learning of this decision, and how rude the French were to our prime minister, vary with the sources.  Some recount deep and genuine rudeness, others claim that Hollande made his peace with the situation and was reasonably courteous.
 
There are stories about intentions to put Netanyahu on a second bus, and not the one with primary world leaders, and of his having to wait outside that first bus before he could enter.
 
What we were able to see was that Netanyahu was placed in the second row, as the march began through the streets of Paris, and that he adroitly moved himself into the first row. He did this by reaching over to introduce himself to Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, the president of Mali, and then remaining at his side.
 

Image: French President Francois Hollande (3rd L) is surrounded by head of states (From L to R : Benyamin Netanyahu of Istarel, Ibrahim Boubakar Keita of Mali, Angela Merkel of Germany, EU Coucil President Donald Tusk and Palestinian Mahmud Abbas) as they

Credit: AFP
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I would say that the place of Netanyahu – the prime minister of Israel - at the front of the march should have been a given, for the simple reason that the intent, at least in theory, was to show solidarity with victims of terrorism, including four Jews whose lives had been taken precisely because they were Jews.
 
But of course, it was not that simple.  It never is.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Reportedly, the reluctance of Hollande to have Netanyahu present had to do with not wanting to create a focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, which would have been a distraction.  But what did the French do, when learning that Netanyahu was coming?  They invited Abbas, who apparently had intended to stay away.  This strongly suggests a desire on the part of the French not to appear “biased” in favor of Israel, which is something else, is it not?  That first line of the march, walked by heads of state, was no place for Abbas, no how.  Hollande even met with Abbas privately that evening, to ensure that the message was clear.  Please remember, France voted in the Security Council for the creation of a Palestinian state just two weeks ago.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In several respects, Netanyahu was a thorn in the side of the French.  First, because he kept reminding those who were paying attention that terrorism is terrorism, and that it should not be imagined that terrorism in Israel is somehow different or “lesser” (because, so the distorted rationale goes, it is fueled by the “occupation”).  That terrorism has to be fought equally wherever it is, and that when that fight is mounted, Israel must be a part of it.
 
Nor is he afraid to name the enemy.
 
And then there is the welcome he extended to French Jews, to come home to Israel.  Irks the French who are ever so eager now to show how they will protect “their” Jews.  The army has been brought out to protect Jewish institutions.
 
My observation: the million plus in the streets of Paris on Sunday did not exhibit the same degree of solidarity with the murdered cartoonists and the murdered Jews.  Most of it was “Je suis Charlie,” with considerably fewer signs evident declaring “Je suis Juif.”  The issue was freedom of speech more than it was freedom from venomous anti-Semitism. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
It was, it seems to me, enormously important to the Jews of France that the head of the State of Israel came out to stand with them.  They are bewildered now.  Frightened. Angry.  And his presence gave them something positive.
 
After the march, Netanyahu spoke at the Grand Synagogue of Paris.
 
Here you have his very fine speech:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge8h8XCeaGs&feature=youtu.be
 
The next day, he visited Hyper Cacher, the market where the Jews were shot down.  There he said (emphasis added):
 
“A direct line leads between the attacks of extremist Islam around the world to the attack that took place here at a kosher supermarket in the heart of Paris. I expect all of the leaders, with whom we marched in the streets of Paris yesterday, to fight terrorism wherever it is, also when it is directed against Israel and Jews.”
 
http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/12/netanyahu-visits-site-of-kosher-supermarket-attack-in-paris/
 
Yes, I can well imagine how eager the French government was for him to go home.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The head of Europol, the European police organization, yesterday said there are as many as 5,000 European jihadis fighting in Syria [and Iraq].  This constitutes a huge security problem for Europe, which he says, suffers a “capability gap” in terms of dealing with the situation.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Up-to-5000-European-jihadis-fighting-in-Syria-pose-great-risk-for-Europe-Europol-chief-says-387637
 
These Muslim radicals with European citizenship, who go to fight with the Islamists, are further radicalized in Syria and Iraq – they are taught terrorist techniques, provided with weapons, and recruited to cause havoc on their return to Europe.
 
Neither France nor the other nations of Europe are likely to get serious about combatting this. They have neither the will nor the procedures in place. Confronting this with seriousness would mean, at a bare minimum, tracking those who have left to join the Islamists, putting legislation in place that blocks their return, and establishing stringent enforcement policies and systems.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The French Police have revealed that the guns used in the terror attacks last week came from outside of France.  The size of the cachet of weapons that was uncovered suggests an organized network.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/police-arms-for-paris-attacks-came-from-abroad/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
From the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center we learn that the terrorists who created mayhem in Paris were connected with Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  And that France has the largest number of nationals who have gone to fight with them.
 
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20757
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
David Horovitz, editor of Times of Israel, considers the situation in “The death-cult ideology that France prefers not to name “ (emphasis added):
 
”...This time, too, [Hollande] pledged unity and vigilance in the battles against racism and anti-Semitism. What he didn’t explicitly promise, then or now, however, was to tackle violent Islamic extremism. On Friday, indeed, he asserted in an address to the nation that ‘these terrorists and fanatics have nothing to do with the Islamic religion.’


“It would be nice to think that they didn’t. But it is their perverted interpretation of obligation to that religion that they invoke in carrying out their acts of terror and fanaticism.

Islamist jihad cannot and will not be defeated if it is not honestly acknowledged. The enemies of freedom will not be picked out at border crossings, tracked on the internet, targeted, thwarted and ultimately marginalized if insistent self-defeating political correctness means those enemies are not even named.
 
Does anybody seriously believe, for instance, that France is about to launch a crackdown on Islamist groupings at its higher-education institutions, or devote serious resources to investigating potential incitement at local mosques? Are France and the rest of Europe about to introduce passenger profiling at EU entry points, in the way that Israel does? Is the EU set to sanction Turkey for facilitating the flow of radicalized European Muslims to and from the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq?

“Not terribly likely, is it, when the French president declares that ‘these terrorists and fanatics have nothing to do with the Islamic religion’? Not terribly likely, is it, when the French president, reportedly, didn’t want his day of dignified identification with the victims of terrorism spoiled by the presence of those, like Netanyahu, who might distract from the solemn harmony and focus furious attention, instead, on the specific cause, that great big elephant stuck in among the masses in central Paris: Islamic extremism?

“Three and a half million people took to the street of France on Sunday in a show of solidarity for the latest fatalities of a ruthless ideology. But they couldn’t bring themselves to call that death-cult by its name.

Do the last few days of Islamist murder in France constitute a watershed moment for one of the Diaspora’s largest communities? The beginning of the end? I rather think so.

A watershed moment in the Western battle against Islamic extremism? I fear not.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-death-cult-ideology-that-france-prefers-not-to-name/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And let’s close with some good news (which we badly need):
 
[] Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people – as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
 
[] In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the US (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).
 
[] Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the US.
 
http://www.israel21c.org/did-you-know-israel-facts/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/14/january-14-2015-recurring-nightmare.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 05:07PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 11, 2015: Crisis

No way to be upbeat today, even with the outpouring of protest from people grieved and furious about the terrorist killings in France.

Late Friday – before Shabbat - four French Jews were killed in a kosher market in Paris by an associate of the terrorists who attacked at Charlie Hebdo.  Apparently he intended to take hostages, to trade for the release of his associates.  In the end, four were shot dead and others were hidden in the market refrigerator by Lassana Bathily, a “Malian Muslim” employee [from Mali or of Mali extraction] and then rescued.
 
The four killed were Yoav Hattab, 21; Yohan Cohen, 22; Philippe Braham, 40; and Francois-Michel Saada, about 60.  
 
 

Credit: Elder of Ziyon
 
~~~~~~~~~~

Hattab, who was studying in France, was the son of the chief rabbi of Tunis.

Leah Elyakim, of Israel, met him just weeks ago when he visited here for the first time.  It had been difficult for him make his way here sooner, coming from Tunis.
"He learned Hebrew, he knew everything about Israeli history, more than any of us," she remembered.

“Every day we traveled, we walked around with an Israeli flag on his back. He said Israel was the only place he would walk freely with a Star of David or an Israeli flag.  In France he never could have.”

"His dream was to move to Israel and serve in the army. [He had been] "so depressed when he had to return to France. He told me, 'when I get to Paris, I'll have to hide the flag.'"

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189773#.VLJd-Jv9nIU

So he hid the Israeli flag, but shopped at a kosher market in Paris, and that did it.

Make no mistake: These four were killed because they were Jews.

There is talk now about bringing them to Israel for burial.  I consider this enormously appropriate because of the statement this makes.

~~~~~~~~~~

A dear friend of mine, who lives in Paris with her family (and will likely see this), wrote to me last night:

Sadly this is just the beginning - finally the authorities have admitted its just a matter of when!!”

Important, this honest recognition: There are Islamist cells throughout France and it will happen again.  And again.  There are now reports that terrorist sleeper cells have been activated.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4613629,00.html

And there is evidence of links the terrorists may have had to either Al-Qaeda or Islamic State.

~~~~~~~~~~                      

French aliyah (immigration into Israel) has grown a great deal in recent years.  In 2014, 7,000 French Jews came, twice the number that had come the previous year.  Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, has reported that there were 50,000 inquiries about aliyah from French Jews in 2014. With the current attack, the actual aliyah is likely to increase significantly.  Numerous Israeli officials, beginning with our prime minister, are encouraging this.

Last night, Netanyahu spoke out to French Jews:

"The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state."
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22707

~~~~~~~~~~

Some French officials are disturbed by the prospect of a major Jewish emigration from France.  (There are some 500,000 Jews in France – the largest Jewish community remaining in Europe.)

Of particular note is the statement by the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valis, reported by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic:
 
“The choice was made by the French Revolution in 1789 to recognize Jews as full citizens.  To understand what the idea of the republic is about, you have to understand the central role played by the emancipation of the Jews. It is a founding principle.  If 100,000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore. But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/french-prime-minister-warns-if-jews-flee-the-republic-will-be-judged-a-failure/384410/

I found this fascinating.  They are saying they will send the army, if necessary, to protect the Jewish institutions of France.

But my response is that they should have thought about this sooner. The French Republic is about to be judged a failure not just because it has not protected the community of Jews it had emancipated long ago, but because it has not been true to its principles in a host of spheres.  Because there are enclaves of Muslims (“no-go zones governed by Sharia law) right in Paris and other locales, where the French police will not enter.  And because essential freedoms presumably guarded by the French nation have been sacrificed.

~~~~~~~~~~

Says Alex Fishman, writing in YNet (emphasis added):

“As long as Jews were the only ones getting killed, France avoided dealing with the Islamic terror. The red lights which should have been triggered several years ago didn't even flash for a second.

France has opened its arms to Islamic terror. And the bigger the failure, the larger and grander the mourning rallies. This is a rule invented by politicians to cover up their own failures....
”The French security services' failure in the past week was colossal and shameful, and indeed, France and all of Europe are being swept away accordingly in mass mourning rallies and protests of millions. (See below on this.)

“But there is not a single protest or speech which can cover up the bitter truth: The Western European countries' security services in general – and France's security services in particular – are not prepared in any way for dealing with the radical Islamic terror. Not professionally, not legally and definitely not mentally...

Suddenly it turns out that all those red lights which should have been triggered several years ago, when the Islamic terror killed Jews, did not even flash for a second. The French security services insisted on not touching the Islamic terror, professionally and fundamentally.

“There is no legislation in France which makes it possible to deal with the hundreds of people who left France to fight along with the radical Islamic movements. There is no legislation which defines Islamic terror as a problem, and therefore there are no agents in the problematic mosques.

“The French intelligence services have zero ability to do something with the information they receive from foreign intelligence agencies about dangerous Muslims who have returned to France. And so the terrorists had no problem travelling on a train in France with Kalashnikovs in their bags. There was not a chance in the world that someone would stop them...

“Who would have thought that the French people, who invented the modern intelligence, would reach such a low point. When France wants its intelligence to be extraordinary, it is. But it just didn't want, for political reasons, to deal with the Islamic terror...”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4613823,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

There are politically correct concerns being voiced about a backlash against innocent Muslims – Islamophobia, they call it – as a result of the terror attacks.  With regard to this, I share the observations of Lawrence A. Franklin writing in Gatestone (emphasis added):

“A seemingly required inclusion in most reports on the recent mass murder in Paris was the rhetorical question posed by reporters has been: "Will these events invite a wave of anti-Muslim incidents"? Since these Islam-inspired murders, however, there have been only a few anti-Muslim actions -- all against property.

Under-reported, however, was how rapidly the assault against Charlie Hebdo migrated into an anti-Jewish mini-pogrom in the heart of Paris. What did shoppers in a kosher market, four of whom were slaughtered, have to do with the cartoon images of Mohammad? Nothing. But the assault on the HyperCacher Jewish kosher supermarket has a lot to do with the true nature of Islamic militancy.

“It seems the drawings in Charlie Hebdo offended some true believers of Islam, but the mere existence of Jews also offends them...

“In reaction to the murders in Paris, the French capital's Grand Synagogue was closed for the first time since World War II. In fact, synagogues all over Paris were closed. There were no Shabbat services this Saturday, the Jewish day of rest...In light of all the expressed concern about possible anti-Muslim incidents, claims on television, such as on CNN, that ‘Muslims are the most persecuted people,’ seemed jarring and wrong.

The Grand Mosque in Paris, like mosques all over the capital, was open for business on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer. Moreover, there was little discernible increased security around the Grand Mosque. It seems French security authorities were less worried about attacks directed at Muslim institutions than were America's media commentators. Perhaps they should have spent just a little time reporting on the anti-Jewish rioting that took place in the heavily Muslim neighborhood of Trappes, a suburb of Paris?”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5025/paris-mosque-synagogue

~~~~~~~~~~

It is well understood that Obama embraces the same politically correct perspective, which translates into a policy protective of Muslims. I will note here that it has made the rounds of several blogger sites that Obama’s press secretary said that, in light of the terror attacks in Paris, fighting Islamophobia would be given a priority by the president.  However, I have not been able to locate a primary source for this.  Thus, while I have no trouble believing that this would reflect Obama’s position, I cannot verify this statement.

What I can share here, however, is a piece by eminent anti-terrorist Steve Emerson, regarding the refusal to use the word “Islam” in association with terrorism:

“The first comments came from Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, who refused to even call the massacre an act of terrorism, but made sure to add the now typical non-sequitor which...routinely follows Islamic terrorist attacks, that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ and therefore no [one] should associate the "extremists" in Paris with Islam.

“Then President Obama issued his own statement, but in keeping with his administration's 6 year old prohibition on using the term ‘Islamic terrorism,’ he simply referred to the attack as ‘terrorism’ -- a vanilla term conspicuously devoid of any descriptive term explaining the motivation behind the attack.”

There’s more. See it here:

http://www.investigativeproject.org/4721/will-we-ever-learn-obama-white-house-cant-admit

~~~~~~~~~~

Emerson reports that in 2012, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said, referring to the very same Charlie Hebdo Magazine that was attacked last week:

“We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory."

So much for defending freedom of speech.

~~~~~~~~~~

I mention this here not only to expose the appeasement of the Obama administration, but to point out where true courage in “telling it straight” can be found now: Amongst the cartoonists.  And I want to spotlight one particular cartoonist, Yaakov Kirschen, originator of “Dry Bones.” 

Says Kirschen:

“I don’t think that the political or religious leadership in the West is up to the job. I think they are cowardly.  I think they are fearful and that’s what we got.

“I think what we have now, is that bizarrely, cartoonists are the front-line soldiers in the war to defend freedom of speech...I think cartoonists have become advocates and activists.”

http://www.jpost.com/International/Cartoonists-The-unlikely-front-line-soldiers-387312

Kirschen is involved in a cartooning project to fight anti-Semitism and apathy regarding persecution of Middle East Christians.

You might want to lend support.  See http://www.drybonesblog.blogspot.co.il/

~~~~~~~~~~

As I close today, hundreds of thousands, if not a million, people are winding up their march in Paris, a silent protest against terror.  Among the leaders present are Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; Israeli Ministers Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman are also in attendance.

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Credit: Jewish News UK

Something heartening about seeing such a turnout against terror.  You want to believe it says something positive. But for me this has been seriously marred by the revolting presence of Mahmoud Abbas, who was not ashamed to show his face, as if he were also against terror.

A good show. But let’s see what, if anything at all serious, follows.

~~~~~~~~~~

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/1/11/january-11-2015-crisis.html

 

Posted on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 01:25PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 8, 2015: Always More

I begin here with a correction:  When I last shared news of the electoral campaign, I mentioned irregularities in the Likud primary. And I spoke about the fact that one candidate demanded a recount and came close to securing a reasonable slot on the list as a result.  This was Tzipi Hotovely, pictured below.  My brain was not working when I wrote, however, and I typed “Tzipi Livni” instead. Many readers caught this.  I appreciate it, because it means my readers are paying attention.  But I also appreciate that just about every single reader who wrote to me indicated that he/she knew it was an error and that I meant Hotovely.

 

Credit: kikar

~~~~~~~~~~

And then a tribute to a very special lady, Joan Peters Caro, who passed away yesterday. Joan was a courageous journalist, devoted to truth, who wrote “From Time Immemorial,” which documented poorly understood facts about the Jewish and Arab demography in the land in the years prior to and right after the founding of the modern State of Israel.  Scrupulously researched, it is considered an indispensable resource by many who care about Israel as the Jewish state. 

 

Credit: Levitt

~~~~~~~~~~

Coming back to Tzipi Livni just briefly...Arutz Sheva says she claimed yesterday that she and Herzog would make Israel “popular” again – something she maintains Netanyahu could not do. 

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189633#.VK7ipZv9nIU

This position, which I find deplorable, goes a long way to demonstrating what is wrong with the left.

It is several years ago, when she was foreign minister, that she gave a talk at a conference I attended.  She explained that we “had to” give away Judea and Samaria in order to make the world happy, as this was important.  I got up and walked out.  Would do the same today, of course.

Our positions must be based on what is best for us, and we must stand up strongly for our rights, whether this makes the world “happy” or not.

What is more, her claim that Netanyahu is responsible for the “increasing isolation” that Israel is enduring is just plain wrong.  The UN and the EU are horrendously one-sided, but around the world we are forging new relationships with some states, and strengthening our relationships with others. Read about our growing ties with India, for example, or Japan. And the very quiet cooperation with the more moderate Arab states (something that would have been impossible not so long ago). We are not increasingly isolated.

~~~~~~~~~~                                              

On the other hand, I was not exactly ecstatic about a statement made by Netanyahu on Tuesday, either:

He says he is still in favor of a “two-state” solution, as he espoused it in his Bar Ilan speech of 2009, but the Palestinian Arabs have rendered this impossible:

“I don’t think withdrawing settlers is practical at the moment.”
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/Netanyahu-says-unlikely-settlements-will-be-dismantled-if-elected-to-fourth-term-386887

~~~~~~~~~~

I know exactly what is happening, as it is fairly obvious on the face of it: Kerry is telling Netanyahu he will support Israel in international forums. But, as the US opposes unilateral actions by the PA because negotiations are the way for the Palestinian Arabs to secure a state, Israel must be willing to consider coming back to the table to negotiate that state.

And so, our prime minister is playing both sides.  Yes, sure I’m for that state, he says for public consumption, but look, the PA has made it impossible for us to proceed.

He’s certainly correct, that the PA has made negotiating impossible. This is what makes the position of leftists who call for us to negotiate a state now so ridiculous. But, it is time for our head of state to say that a Palestinian state is not the way to go, in any event, because of Jewish rights in the land.  He should not be going on record, once again, for that “two state solution.”

~~~~~~~~~~

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Tuesday that the Palestinian Arabs will formally become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1.  What is more, the court's registrar said yesterday that jurisdiction would date back to June 13, 2014.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/07/us-palestinians-israel-un-idUSKBN0KG1JV20150107

This is something I do not understand: retroactive jurisdiction. Bringing jurisdiction back to the middle of June means possibly giving the PA the opportunity to level charges against Israel for her actions in the Gaza war. (There are still issues regarding jurisdiction of place – as Hamas and not the PA is in control in Gaza.)  

~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, the State Department has declared that the US does not believe Palestine qualifies as a sovereign state and doesn't recognize it as such and does not believe that it is eligible to accede to the Rome statute."

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22659

~~~~~~~~~~

International lawyer Alan Baker, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, agrees with the US position.  He says that the Secretary General should have refused to accept the request of the PA because the Rome statute limits membership to states, and explains why “Palestine” is not a sovereign state.

Says Baker:

“...the acceptance by the Secretary General of the Palestinian request is legally flawed and was determined under false pretenses – ‘false’ because there exists no sovereign Palestinian state, and ‘pretenses’ because of the pretension by the Secretary General as if such a state exists when he is fully aware that there is no legal basis for this.”

http://jcpa.org/un-approves-pa-icc/

~~~~~~~~~~

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) yesterday introduced a bill that would immediately stop all US aid to the PA, until such time as the PA withdrew its application to the ICC. The bill is entitled, “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/08/rand-paul-launches-senate-bill-to-defund-palestinian-authority/

Love it!  Let’s see how many Republicans stand up now.

 

Credit: US Senate

~~~~~~~~~~

There is no one reading this who is not aware of the horrendous Islamist massacre that took place at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and I doubt there is anyone reading this who is not horrified and whose heart does not go out to those killed and their families.

The news reports yesterday spoke of the many tens of thousands who crowded the streets in Paris and elsewhere in France, as well as in other countries, showing solidarity with those slain (“Je suis Charlie”).  It is in this report that I found just a little glimmer of hope: out on the streets, not in their homes, staring at the TV and clucking. Is the world just possibly beginning to wake up?

~~~~~~~~~~

Last I wrote, I spoke of the major snow storm predicted.  I even included a lovely picture of snow falling. But a slight rise in temperatures changed that scenario here in Jerusalem. Chilling to the bone cold, but not cold enough. We had fierce weather, but it was pouring rain, and hail, and sleet. They’re talking about snow for tomorrow.  We’ll see...

 

Credit: rvbloggers

~~~~~~~~~~

 
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

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Posted on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 04:59PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 6, 2015: Frenetic Pace

Where to begin in these days of turmoil, both at home and abroad? 
 
I think I’ll start at home, with the weather.  A major winter storm is due to start here within hours.  It is predicted that the north, Jerusalem, and high places in Judea and Samaria will see considerable snow between now and Friday.  In other places there will be torrential rain, hail, thunderstorms and flooding.  
 

 

Credit: gopicpix

 
As long as I don’t lose my electric power, I’ll keep writing.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
From snow, to heavier issues regarding the Palestinian Authority:
 
The US State Department has criticized Israel’s declared intention to withhold collected taxes from the PA because of Abbas’s application for membership in the ICC. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki delivered one of her typical, vastly irritating statements: “We’re opposed to any actions that raise tensions. Obviously this is one that raises tensions.”
 
Translation: “Yes, I know the PA did something deplorable, but be nice. We don’t want to make them angry now, do we?”
 
Well, actually, yes, I think we do.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I had alluded recently to the fact that while we are about to withhold PA tax money, the PA owes the Israel Electric Company enormous sums of money.  And now, lo and behold, the Israel Electric Company seems to have come to its senses.  Or, perhaps more accurately, I should say that they’ve been given a tacit nod from the government that allows them to take a necessary and sensible position. 
 
Israel Electric Company CEO Eli Glickman has now sent a letter to Israel’s security chiefs, letting them know that there may be a certain amount of “unrest” in PA-controlled areas because a decision has been made to limit the supply of electricity in those areas.  That is because the PA and the Palestinian-Arab controlled Jerusalem District Electric Company owe the Electric Company 1.7 billion shekels (well over $400 million). The PA buys the electricity from IEC and then sells it to PA-controlled municipalities.
 
Glickman has written that, "the debt imposes a heavy burden on the company's cash flow...” and IEC “as a supplier of an essential service that is committed to all its customers, is obligated to begin working in the coming days to collect [outstanding funds]” either by limiting supply of electricity or refusing to connect new customers.
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4611713,00.html
 
At last!
 
Please do note that service will be reduced, not curtailed.  And I am quite certain that nothing has been initiated that would affect service during the predicted storm.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
It must be pointed out that the failure of the PA to pay this bill is not an indication of a simple lack of funds, but rather of a highly inappropriate utilization of funds.  There is, for example, the matter of “salaries” paid to the terrorists in Israeli jails (with the amount of the salaries higher for those who committed more heinous crimes). 
 
And then, of course, there is the enormous corruption in the PA, so that, while the Palestinian Arabs receive the highest amount per capita in international funding of any group, a good deal of that money seems to “disappear.”
 
Please see, “The  10 year klepto-dictatorship of Mahmoud Abbas”:
 
“Like any dictator, [Abbas is] corrupt. His predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was accused of embezzling billions of dollars of money meant for the Palestinian people, with US officials estimating the man’s personal nest egg at between one and three billion dollars. In line with his role model, after whom he named his own son, Abbas has continued this ignominious tradition.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/No-Holds-Barred-The-10-year-klepto-dictatorship-of-Mahmoud-Abbas-386752
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
What must be asked, however, is why the Israeli government is not simply turning over to the Electric Company the money that is being withheld, so that a good part of the money owed by the PA for electricity would be covered. 
 
The fact that this is not the case suggests that the government knows now that the money is being held only temporarily as a gesture, and that ultimately it will be given to the PA.  Or that there is at least the possibility of this decision being made, in response to international pressure.    
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The PA application for membership in the ICC does not require the US to act – beyond, perhaps, closing a PLO office temporarily.  But, according to recently passed US legislation, no funding may be provided to the PA if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”
 
Both Israel and members of Congress are watching the situation closely.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-ask-congress-to-stop-funding-pa/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
When reports came out very recently indicating that non-governmental Israeli organizations might be the ones to pursue charges against the PA in courts outside of Israel, my thoughts went immediately to Shurat Hadin.  And here you are:
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Shurat-Hadin-readies-war-crimes-complaints-against-Palestinians-386670
 
“Shurat Hadin said it would be sending copies of the ready-to- file complaints to Abbas, Mashaal, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and many others so that they could see directly what they will face if they go beyond signing the Rome Statute and take the final step of filing war crimes complaints against Israelis.”
 
They’re fantastic.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
International lawyer Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has now drafted “Ten Points Regarding the Fundamental Breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords.”
 
http://jcpa.org/ten-points-breach-palestinians-oslo-accords/
 
 

Credit: inthelastofdays

 
It is the considered legal opinion of Ambassador Baker that (emphasis added):
 
In “petitioning the UN, the International Criminal Court and international organizations to recognize them and accept them as a full member state, and by their unification with the Hamas terror organization, the Palestinians have knowingly and deliberately bypassed their contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation. 
 
“This, together with their attempts to delegitimize Israel among the international community and their attempted actions against Israel’s leaders, has served to frustrate any possibility of realization of the Oslo Accords, and as such the Palestinians are in material breach of their contractual obligations.”
 
“...according to the accepted and universally recognized laws of contracts and international agreements, a fundamental breach enables the injured party to declare the agreement void and is freed from any further obligations pursuant to the agreement or contract. Therefore the fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians is indicative of their conscious decision to undermine them and prevent any possibility of their implementation. As such they have rendered the Accords void...Israel has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid and to act unilaterally in order to protect its essential legal and security interests.”
 
A very important legal opinion. But fairly meaningless if Israel does not act accordingly.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Matters have not been exactly peaceful here in the political sphere, aka the “political circus.”  A few highlights:
 
There were some irregularities discovered in the voting in the Likud primary, which were challenged by Tzipi Hotovely.  After some re-counting was done, she found herself just 55 votes shy of taking the (realistic) 20th slot from Avi Dichter. She says she is not giving up yet.  There have been some other readjustments of slot assignments according to the recount.  But I will not report on details until it is all final.
 
Netanyahu made a statement regarding campaign plans for the Likud that involved some future legislation that would change electoral procedures.  But this is campaign talk.  If and when such legislation is proposed, I will write about it.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
For some many days the Herzog-Livni duo, according to the polls, was either slightly ahead of Likud or neck and neck with it.  Now polls are showing Likud pulling ahead.  Predictions are that a right-wing religious coalition might be composed of as many as 69 mandates. 
 
At present, neither the newly founded party of Michael Ben-Ari nor that of Eli Yishai is shown to make the cut-off (3.75% of the vote) for getting into the Knesset. 
 
Shas is, unsurprisingly, showing at only a fraction of its current strength.  A similar drop in mandates is showing for Yisrael Beitenu (Lieberman) and Yesh Atid (Lapid). 
 
A word about Lapid here: He has admitted on IDF radio that he went into the Finance Ministry, “a bit power drunk...we should have listened to advice more." He sure was power drunk, and he did damage in the process. Perhaps he thinks making this confession will square him with the voters, but I do not.
 
Moshe Feiglin has announced that he is leaving Likud.  His plans are a bit vague. Either he’ll start a new party (we need another party, yes?), in which case he recognizes that he will not be in the Knesset next time around. Or he’ll join with another nationalist party now, in hopes of securing a realistic place on a list.  Ben-Ari has invited him; it is not clear to me at all if Feiglin has sufficient voter influence to bring Ben-Ari’s party into the Knesset.
 
New people are joining parties at a rapid clip – including from the broadcasting world and the entertainment world.  Let’s see who makes the cut once lists are announced.  Up-coming soon is the Habayit Hayehudi primary; not every party determines its list via primary.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I close with this upbeat opinion piece by Guy Bechor: “The Arab oil era is over.”
 
“As the Gulf states are left with no money to spend and are experiencing internal shocks, the era of destructive Arab power is coming to an end; the Israeli mind and innovation era, on the other hand, is just beginning.
 
“The most dramatic news in 2014 almost went unnoticed: The United States lifted the restrictions on American oil exports, and as of the first day of the new year it has begun exporting oil to the world.
 
“No one believed this would happen so fast, but the US is already the world's biggest oil manufacturer, bigger than Saudi Arabia, thanks to the oil shale technology which changed the world of energy...
 
“As the year 2015 begins, we are facing a new world: A world of a revolution of information, mind, personal strength, innovation and inventions. And in this world, Israel is a real princess...
 
“Israel is becoming a close friend of countries which were distant in the past but are close today, like India, Japan, China and South Korea. They too understand that those who are not innovative and lack a creative mind will just not be. And in this field, Israel has a lot to offer them, just like they have a lot to offer in return.”  
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4611200,00.html
 
As I hear the wind howling outside my window, I am able to smile.
 
~~~~~~~~~~

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 05:40PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

January 4, 2015

Mahmoud Abbas would certainly like us to think it is a crisis.  He wants us cringing in fear.  But he’s going to be disappointed on this score:

On Wednesday, Abbas made a show of filling out membership forms for a variety of international organizations. But filling out forms is not applying.

On Friday night, that step was taken, when Riyad Mansour, Palestinian Arab envoy to the UN – acting on behalf of the “State of Palestine” - submitted to the Secretariat of the UN in New York applications to join some 20 international treaties.  Key among these was the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. (The Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the ICC.)

A UN spokesman confirmed receipt of the documents and said they were being reviewed. 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.635071

~~~~~~~~~~

The process of joining the ICC requires 90 days from the time the application is submitted.  But Abbas didn’t even wait for the ink to dry on the application he filed before moving forward.  On Thursday morning the PA filed a request with the Dutch Embassy (the court is in the Hague, in Holland – the Dutch have a consulate in Ramallah) requesting that Israel be investigated for alleged war crimes committed during the 50 days of the Gaza war this summer.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-files-war-crimes-complaint-against-israel-at-icc/

I see this as grandstanding and not a move that has legal legitimacy at all. But what we’re seeing is that Abbas, who hesitated for some time in filing with the ICC, seems ready to go full steam ahead now, and is talking about leveling every charge he can come up with against Israel, including retroactively.  I even read about the idea the Palestinian Arabs have that they can charge Israel with “war crimes” because of the “settlements.”

~~~~~~~~~~

The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals (not states) for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It is able to exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met. The process is not simple or automatic.  In point of fact, it is exceedingly doubtful that what Abbas is attempting to do will yield anything resembling the results he says he wishes to achieve.

The ICC will not take seriously any petition registered by the PA for investigating Israeli officials until “the State of Palestine” is recognized as a member of the Court.

It is Fatou Bensouda, of Gambia, Chief Prosecutor at the ICC, who has responsibility to make this initial determination.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Should she, after initial consultations, decide that Palestine is a state, qualified to lodge complaints, she must then determine whether these complains merit investigation.  If she does determine so, she would begin with a preliminary investigation.  But this in no way guarantees that a full criminal investigation would follow.

Says international law professor Robbie Sabel, of Hebrew University:

“I assume that they will start a preliminary examination.  But the prosecution will soon find that it’s an entirely political issue, and unless Israel goes mad and decides to start committing mass atrocities, which it won’t, the prosecutor will be reluctant to proceed with an actual criminal investigation.”

Determination of a basis for a full investigation depends on many factors, including complex issues of jurisdiction and gravity.

Generally, charges can only be brought for alleged crimes committed in territory over which a state has jurisdiction after that state has joined the Court.  The charges against Israel for events that occurred last summer would be questionable.  The fact that these charges involve Gaza further complicates the matter, because it may be determined that Hamas and not a “Palestinian state” is in charge there. 

Then there is the question of whether charges could be brought against Israel for “settlements,” as Israel is not a member of the court and the court only has jurisdiction over crimes committed within the territory of members of the court.

And there is the fact that the court, according to the Rome Statute, the jurisdiction of the court is limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole...unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.” 

http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestine-at-the-icc-a-headache-israel-might-be-able-to-live-with/

Even in the unlikely event that Abbas were to succeed in achieving a full criminal investigation against key Israeli figures, there would be no final result for years because of the complexity of the process.

~~~~~~~~~~

According to Alan Baker, international lawyer and director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, this entire action seems to be a PR bluff that Abbas hopes will pressure the US into agreeing to a Security Council Resolution.  Might be.  PA officials are already making noise about calling for another vote at the Security Council.  As there are now new temporary members of the Council, more predisposed to supporting a “Palestinian state” unilaterally established, the US would have to veto to block it.

~~~~~~~~~~
 
My guess, however, is that Abbas is severely overplaying his hand, if he thinks he can pressure the US.  The State Department has registered great irritation with Abbas over this behavior, and there are members of Congress calling for penalties (withholding of funding) because of the ICC gambit.

~~~~~~~~~~

The question is whether Abbas is really seeking a SC resolution that “creates” a state. There are yet other ways of looking at the situation.  And so I share here an article by Yishai Schwartz in the New Republic that seems to me an astute analysis of Abbas’s gambit. Things are not always what they seem to be on the surface, and where Abbas is concerned it’s best to seek the devious motivation.  (Emphasis added)

“...on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally requested membership in the International Criminal Court. Coming in the middle of Israeli elections, these actions—which are sure to infuriate Israelis and strengthen the Israeli right—seem rather self-defeating, and Americans committed to Mideast peace are bewildered...
 
The New York Times editorial board warned that ‘Mr. Abbas’s actions will almost certainly make the situation worse, setting back the cause of statehood even farther. By taking this tack before the Israeli elections, which are set for March 17, he has given Israeli hard-liners new ammunition to attack the Palestinians and reject new peace talks.’

“Underlying these responses is the assumption that Palestinian leadership...would prefer to negotiate with [Netanyahu’s] more conciliatory alternatives, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. It is this assumption that creates the apparent conflict between Palestinian priorities (a negotiated settlement with Israel) and actions (weakening Israeli doves in the middle of election season). This assumption is faulty. Palestinians likely view Netanyahu’s opponents as wolves in sheep’s clothing; Herzog and Livni appear reasonable to the world but are unlikely to offer anything that Palestinians consider acceptable. In the absence of a prospective agreement, negotiations are about optics of blame rather than substance—and in that world, Netanyahu is Palestinians’ best option.

“Imagine for a moment that a sudden surge brings the Israeli center-left to power. From the statements and past actions of figures like Livni and Herzog, we have a fairly good sense of what to expect: respectful and earnest negotiations that culminate in an offer similar to—and likely less generous than—those offers made by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. These offers were both, of course, rejected as inadequate for Palestinian needs. And in the years since, the position of the Palestinian leadership—on refugees, on Jerusalem, on borders—has only hardened and gained more international legitimacy. The gap between the parties has only widened from a decade ago, but even then the truth was clear: The most that Israelis will offer is less than the least Palestinians will accept.

“Abbas knows this...he must...recognize that politically, a right-wing Israeli government is a diplomatic triumph. International support for Palestinians plummets when Israel is led by leftist leaders who make concrete offers...[that the PA is going to refuse]...”

 
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120684/palestinian-moves-un-icc-will-help-netanyahu-israeli-elections

~~~~~~~~~~


As to Israel’s response to Abbas’s ICC membership application, it is, as would be expected, furious. 
 
The announcement has already been made that Israel has frozen the transfer of about $125 million from tax funds collected for the PA.
 
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4610793,00.html

The PA is screaming “theft,” but it owes the Israeli Electric Company a fortune.

~~~~~~~~~~

In addition, Israel is “weighing the possibilities for large-scale prosecution in the United States and elsewhere” of PA officials including Abbas.

These cases might be put forward via “non-governmental agencies and legal groups that can file lawsuits abroad,” rather than via the Israeli government.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-mulls-icc-lawsuits-against-top-palestinian-officials/
 
~~~~~~~~~~

At the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting this morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that:

The Palestinian Authority is "opting for a confrontation with the state of Israel" and "we will not sit idly by. We will not allow them to drag IDF soldiers and commanders to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
 
"...it is the heads of the Palestinian Authority, who struck an alliance with the Hamas war criminals, who should be held accountable.


"The IDF will continue to defend Israel with determination and force, and just as they defend us, we will defend them with the same determination and force."

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22571

Appropriately said.  However, if Netanyahu has received advice that the PA efforts at the ICC will likely come to nothing, there is, as well, a bit of grandstanding in this statement – with regard to not allowing them to drag IDF soldiers to the ICC, etc.  Grandstanding, as in, it’s an election time and the nation must know that I am strong.

~~~~~~~~~~

This leads me directly into a brief discussion of what I have termed the political circus...

Actually, I realized a while ago that while this metaphor is catchy – with its image of multiple activities going on at once, with someone on a high wire and a second person seeking to control lions, while a third is balancing balls in the air – it delivers the wrong message. For a circus suggests fun activity, and I don’t notice many – with the possible exception of Naftali Bennett - who are having fun where this election campaign is concerned.  Quite the contrary.   It is an amorphous and somewhat ambiguous affair, with far far too many tensions.

The Likud has held its primary – to determine its list for the elections - and I conceded readily enough that I am disappointed in the results, which were less solidly nationalist/right wing than I had hoped they would be.

As was to be expected, Netanyahu soundly trounced challenger Danny Danon to head the list; Danon is number 10 on the list.  Following Netanyahu in the top 15 slots are Gilad Erdan – not someone to get excited about, then Yuli Edelstein, Yisrael Katz and Miri Regev – all quite good.  But in slot six, a weak Silvan Shalom, followed by Moshe Ya’alon, who has been a severe disappointment.  Number eight is a top notch Ze’ev Elkin, with a weak Tzachbi Hanegbi following.  Yariv Levin and Ofir Akunis – slots 12 and 15 – are both top notch, with Yuval Steinitz and Gila Gamliel both OK but not enormously strong.  Avi Dichter, in slot 20, is not good news.

Should Likud garner 24 mandates, then the passionately Zionistic Ayub Kara would get back into the Knesset, and I would love to see that.

Missing is Tzipi Hotovely, who had been a fiery MK with some good instincts.  And Moshe Feiglin, whose ouster, it is being strongly suggested, involved machinations behind the scenes.

  
Final Likud list

Credit: YNet

There is no “Wow!” for this list, no matter how delighted Netanyahu declared himself to be.                             

~~~~~~~~~~

I spoke above about the fact that Bennett may be having fun.  He “starred” in a couple of entertaining recruitment videos for Habayit Hayehudi. 

The recruitment has now ended, but a vigorous drive increased the number belonging to the party, which will have an effect on the primary for this party, yet to come. Bennett seems to be stretching to make the party as inclusive as he can.  (See below.)  The slogan that has been adopted is that the party is for “those who love the people of Israel, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu, is all over the place, and coping with significant corruption charges – not against him but rather several members of his party.  Painful. Shameful.

Eli Yishai, who did make a nationalist statement a while ago, has not yet clearly defined the nature of his party.  While Shas, from which he withdrew, is imploding.  Head Arieh Deri – embarrassed by a video in which deceased religious head Rav Ovadiah Yosef severely criticized him – submitted a resignation, but has since hinted he will continue to lead the party.

And the Herzog-Livni duo?  As far as I am concerned, the less said about them the better.  Perhaps it is here that the circus metaphor most aptly fits, because I see them as clowns.  Their positions, their criticisms of the government, do not seem truly serious at all.  But – go know! – according to the polls, there is a segment of the population that would vote for them.

Enough said for one go-round.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ahmed Tibi, an MK who heads the United Arab list – Ta’al is loyal to the Palestinian Authority, even though he holds Israeli citizenship.  This is commonly known.  He once served as an advisor to Arafat.  Yesterday he led a procession to the Temple Mount and raised a Palestinian flag there, declaring, “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is Arab and the capital of Palestine and the Al-Aksa mosque is a place of Muslim prayer.”

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/MK-Tibi-raises-Palestinian-flag-on-Temple-Mount-386578

Are we crazy, that loyalty to the State is not required of those who sit in her Knesset?   With this, we are charged with being apartheid.

Ironically, the Israeli Arabs seem to have the very worst representing them in political parties.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is a flip side to this story here, with Anett Haskia, an Arab Muslim Israeli whom Tibi calls a traitor.

Her three children have served in the IDF and she is encouraging Arab Israeli youth to do national service to give back to their country.  She calls the Arab Israeli MKs a “fifth column bent on Israel’s destruction.”  And she is running for the Habayit Hayehudi list. 

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/I-am-not-a-traitor-386456

Interesting, to say the least. Refreshing.

~~~~~~~~~~
 
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

 
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Posted on Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 02:47PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint
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