Friday, December 09, 2016

  • Friday, December 09, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Hamas is celebrating its 29th anniversary today. It released this video showing its masked members going through Gaza streets in their many, many white Toyota pickup trucks.

video


Spokesman Abu Obeida said that this year, 22 Hamas members were killed during preparation of jihad activities - meaning work accidents and tunnel collapses.





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  • Friday, December 09, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
The Gamal Abdel Nasser Secondary School for Boys east of Gaza City was destroyed during Operation Protective Edge.

UNICEF and the UNDP have contributed to rebuilding the school up to modern standards, to be the first "child-friendly" school in Gaza. It will have lots of open space, larger classrooms, and new labs.

The cornerstone ceremony was held this week.




Let's look at what this school teaches, since the UN has two separate agencies that support it so much.

Here is a video taken at the school in 2013 where students celebrated a depiction of an attack on an Israeli position, kidnapping a soldier and with a student finally destroying it with an RPG:



In 2014, the school hosted a speech by Ramez al-Halabi, a terrorist who had been in Israeli prison for eleven years for his involvement in planning two suicide bombing attacks, one in Kfar Darom (probably this one, that killed American Alisa Flatow and seven others) and the other in Netzarim (probably this bicycle bombing that killed 3).


Here are some paramilitary drills of students at the school in 2014:



Now it can be rebuilt to teach the next generation of terrorists,

Thanks to the UNDP and UNICEF.





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  • Friday, December 09, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon


This is a harrowing, and ultimately uplifting, account of how a Jewish family and community in Shomron dealt with the arson fire that devastated it:


By: Rochelle Cohen, Neve Tzuf (Halamish):

Nobody is going to believe me when I tell them that having to flee with our community in the middle of the night, close the door on our house, convinced I would never see the house again, and leaving behind our firefighting son, and friends, and then returning to what is only a very partial and unlivable house, has been a positive experience, but that is the case. Why? let me share  with you a little.


I am Rochelle Cohen, though those of you who remember me will have known me as Rochelle Goldstein. I made Aliyah from Melbourne 27 years, ago, and while I never lived in Caulfield my parents, John and Judy Goldstein did move to Caulfield and loved being part of the community for about 20 years


My family and I have lived in Neve Tsuf, a medium sized yeshuv [village], for the last 20 years, since the birth of our eldest child, Yael, My husband Doron (Darren originally from Sydney), and I chose to live in a yeshuv as that is where we felt we would be best able to contribute to the ongoing building up of the country. We are a community of over 260 families, of all age groups, which is somewhat unusual and we found very attractive.

The founders of the yeshuv, who were the group hardest hit by the fire are in their 70's and 80's, and of course we have many young couples, many of whom are children and grandchildren of those already living there. Neve Tsuf is a beautiful place, surrounded by one of Israel's few natural forests, on top of a hill that overlooks the coastal plains, and we are about 20 minutes from Modi'in, where my mother and brother's family live.

But I have still not explained in any manner what happened the other night, or how on earth I could claim that it was a positive experience.

So, we ate Shabbat dinner at close friends. The husband of that family happens to be the head of the volunteer fire brigade, and my 18 year old son is a volunteer with them for a number of years, There was much lively discussion about the devastating fires all over the country, clearly arson, the handiwork of Arab terrorists that we deal with on a constant basis.

After dinner we went with our hosts to the Bar Mitzvah Oneg Shabbat [Friday night gathering], at our shul [synagogue] hall, of close mutual friends, which was lovely, and then we walked back to our home with one of the Bar Mitzvah guests, whom we were hosting. It was a really enjoyable evening, as when I came in the door we found all our children from the 20 year old to my youngest of 8 all busy in a very lively card game that may have involved shrieking and screaming, but a great deal of laughing too. Eventually we convinced them that we all needed to go to sleep and bade goodnight to our guest, climbing the stairs and preparing for bed. The girls, Shalhevet (15), Ateret-Adi (12) and little Efrat (8), all came in to say good night, and maybe squeeze in another half hour before they would be forced to go to bed, and then we declared our room off limits and sent them out.

I was just falling asleep when Ateret-Adi came back. "Imma" she said, "there is a lady down stairs who really wants to talk to you". Confused to wandered downstairs and she said to me that there were flames to be seen coming from the bottom of the hill in the forest adjacent to our house.

That was it. I turned and shrieked, "Fire, fire, everyone grab a jumper, shoes, and a coat, and let's go", and that's what we did.

I woke our poor sleeping guest, threw a coat on her, it was freezing that night. We had, at Eitan's insistence, packed a bag of just a few things, clean underwear and Tefillin. etc, that was by the front door, just in case, I handed the kids bags, checked the house. We knew the drill, disconnect the gas, kill the electricity, leave doors unlocked for the firemen, leave windows closed, count the kids, leave no one behind, and go. My firefighter had left so fast I had not even said goodbye, but that was alright, he did what needed to be done. He was a good boy, and donned his firefighting boots, not wearing his favourite new hiking boots, so they would not be ruined.

And out into the night we went. By the time we left the house, maybe two minutes after the initial screeching of FIRE the flames were getting close and huge. The kids were a little ahead of us and asked again which way to go. I said go to the Rimels, where we had eaten the night before, they are in the centre of the yeshuv, it will be safer. We are coming.

And so into the night my children herded each other along, comforting and holding. We began the same walk, but hammering on neighbour's doors as we went. My husband went back twice to our immediate neighbour, in their wooden house, trying to convince them to leave, they thought they still had time. They refused him twice, but must have gotten out because I know they are safe and the only remains of their home today are the front steps.

I caught up with my girls while Doron continued banging on doors. Collecting our friend and her family, where I had sent the children we realised that their well-located house away from the forest was no safe haven as the flames were coming up the street, so our we all went into the night, a seriously religious Yeshuv, all running in pyjamas, but so what. At that point the alarms were sounded, people told to evacuate towards the exit of the yeshuv, in cars, so the cars started moving.

Our cars were not an option as they were in the fire zone. My girls by this time found themselves carrying children and babies, not necessarily sure of whose children and babies they were. And then we piled them in ones and twos into passing cars, seat belts be damned, arranging to meet at the designated spot.

When we met up the order came, via our phones, to move to the next yeshuv, Ateret, about 10 minutes away. There was debate. Those with family not far decided to go there and some found friends of ours said they were going to his parents in Modi'in. Great, I said, here are Shalhevet and Ateret-Adi. Take them to my mother. I told them that while I had never sent them sitting on knees and unseatbelted in cars, I said this is the time when one danger our weighs the other. I kissed them and off into the night went my babies.

I grabbed my (not so) little baby, the 8 year old Efrat, Yael, the 20 year old, who was still carrying someone's baby, and we began looking for another car with space only wanting to go as far as Ateret, how could I go further knowing that Eitan was here, fighting fires? We found parents for the baby, returned her, a car with space and the girls and I hopped in. Doron declaring he could hardly leave with Eitan here.

As we approached Areret we turned back to look at our yeshuv. We live at the highest point of the yeshuv, immediately next to the water tower. And from our vantage point on the road we could clearly see the water tower as it was totally lit up by the flames licking it. At that point I turned to the girls and said you realise the house is gone, that's it and it does not matter. The only thing that matters is that Eitan and all the others come out safely.

And that was the point, I realised that was the only thing that mattered.

The people of Ateret wrote a new definition for hospitality, they were waiting for us, directing us to their homes, where beds were made up, or to the boy's yeshiva, for as the boys were not there for shabbat we had all there rooms. We decided to stay there together in case Eitan came looking for us.

Together sort of. Yael had things to do. She began by looking at me and the clothes I had pulled on. She said Imma, you usually have a pen and paper in the pocket of what you are wearing,I thought she wanted me to remove them, it was still shabbat after all. Give them to me, please, she said, I am going to go room to room and make lists of who is where so we can account for everyone.

And off into the night she went. Finding the lost members of families, making phone calls
to see no one was left behind. Searching with a local nurse for insulin for someone who needed it.

At some point Doron turned up,  and we took to comforting Efrat, friends, the families around. Patrolling the streets that gave us a vantage point of our own yeshuv, still lighting up the sky, and thinking about Eitan.

By morning I realised that Eitan was not coming so I told Efrat that we would move to her very close friend's house. And we did. Knocking gingerly on the door at 7:30 on shabbat morning, I found three other families from Neve Tsuf, camped out, but as soon as the mother of the house heard my voice she came running out of her bedroom saying where were you, we were waiting for you. And that is where we spent the day, Efrat's friend gave her shabbat clothes, in fact many of the second graders were wearing her clothes, and somehow our host family who were no expecting guests this shabbat fed all 26 of us with hugs smiles, and a wonderful lunch.

You may wonder about the Bar Mitzvah [the boy who turned 13] . He was called up in front of 2 yeshuvim [communities], and despite the tension, lack of sleep and disappointment, that poor boy was magnificent and read beautifully. The familes in Ateret arrived at shul with bags of lollies to pelt at him, the Rav presented him with the chumash [Bible/Torah] they give the local boys, and they put on a kiddush [literaly the blessing for the wine said Friday night and during the Sabbath day but also refers to a small party held after the services end] for everyone, before making sure that every last refugee had somewhere to eat and be. We had such a warm wonderful shabbat that if you forgot for a moment why we were there, I might have said it was one of the nicest shabbatot [Sabbaths]in a long time.

And as Shabbat went out Eitan called, and everything was alright. His voice meant that he was alive, he was unharmed everyone was safe. Yes, our house was burnt, not to the ground, we are one of the lucky ones, but the three children's room a charcoal shells. No roof, no anything. Slight black remnants of the beds my kids had been lying in only hours before, that's it.

But I have my husband, my children, my friends and neighbours, and nothing else matters.
The Arabs want to set us on fire, the children in their beds. For them, our houses were a bonus, their objective was to burn the entire community in their beds. They failed and we are stronger. There is fire burning in the hearts of Jews everywhere. From the first hour things started arriving. Clothes, house hold goods, help. People.

We are all on fire and nobody is going to put this fire out. The outpouring of love from everyone is unbelievable. Naturally my mother and brother and sister-in-law have done everything imaginable for us, but so have their friends, and friends of friends, and total strangers, and people I have never heard of. We had to ask to tell people no more, the shul hall is literally overflowing with sheets, towels, clothes, shoes, and more.

But the hall is also full of people, sorting, helping fixing, piling. People everywhere. Somebody arrived with a truck from the northern Galil and asked me who was in charge, I said just ask anybody under 18.

The yeshuv found me a rental, are fixing it up for us, brought in yeshiva boys and ulpana girls to pack up our home to keep what remains safe from further damage, carry out the furniture unharmed, clean the rental, find beds, and fridge and washing machine, etc to put there. We noticed a bus parked in front of our house, and when we walked inside, found a group of men from Baltimore working inside with their Rav.  And they won't let me work, claiming I have all the paper work to go through, they will go the slave work.

I ran round the yeshuv yesterday organising various matters and there were chain gangs everywhere of people. Young boys with ropes around them pulling up half burnt trees in places that tractors can't reach. The kids, by which I saw young ones from 13 or 14, and naturally through to the men in their 20's and 30's, clearing, lifting, cleaning, carrying, You would think that nobody has a job to go to, everyone is wearing a new hat and has a new area of responsibility, and their full time job is to rebuild and help.

The girls, small, adult, and everything in between are fixing, cleaning, packing, feeding, hand holding, did I leave anything out?

They are burning, Burning with the desire to help. Burning with the need to build, rebuild and be built, burning with sympathy and empathy. We are burning.

We know how the fire began. The same Arab who was caught throwing molotov cocktails at cars a few months ago drove around the outside of the yeshuv, forest lined, and lobbed molotov cocktails into the drought dry forest on a night a gale force winds. And once there was a spark the rest spread, as they say, like wild fire. But the government is always slow to declare this an act of terror from a legal perspective, so it is unclear who will be footing the bill for rebuilding and when.

One of my daughter's friends, whose house narrowly escaped being burnt, told her about her fears for her grandfather. Her grandfather, who used to live in the yeshuv, and is buried in the cemetery at the bottom foot of the forested hillside, survived the Nazis. Her fear was that he may have survived the crematoria but would be burnt by the Jew haters after his death.

Avigail Ben Nun, one of the founders of the yeshuv, now in her 80's, and homeless, escaped the Nazis walking from Belgium to Switzerland has declared that we we rebuild it all, bigger, better, more beautiful, and we will.

I still don't know how we will rebuild, but it will be done because the evil people have lit a fire in us that will not be extinguished, and when they thought to ignite and destroy, we will let the fire of unity and love and caring burn on. The personification of ahavat yisrael [love of Israel] and achva [love/unity that everybody that I have encountered since has convinced me that good must come from all of this. And it will, because together we will win.

Those same Arabs who want to push us into the sea, but have not yet worked out how, seem  to think that by setting fire to the country we will run for the sea, and be gone. But they are wrong, we will let the fires burn, our fires, the fires of rebuilding and the fires of caring. I am already planning the party when we make a chanukat bayit [dedication party/ceremony] in our built home, and all the wonderful caring people who have given us the strength to get there are not only invited but expected to turn up.






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Thursday, December 08, 2016

  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon


The story has been out for a couple of days, and no one really seems to care.

From Le Monde:

The British have spied on Israeli diplomacy both in Jerusalem and abroad. They have also targeted private firms in the defence sector, State agencies responsible for international cooperation and university research centres known for their excellence in scientific matters. These targets appear in the form of email addresses or telephone numbers in the interception reports of the GCHQ technicians, pleased to demonstrate that they had succeeded in identifying them in the flow of satellite telephone communications between the African continent and the rest of the world. At the end of each report, they state that the collection of this data can now become automatic.

In 2014, the Wall Street Journal showed that the NSA could both support its Israeli partner, the ISNU (Israeli Sigint National Unit or Unit 8200) and monitor the telephone calls of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahou. In 2013, the German daily Der Spiegel observed that in January 2009 the email addresses of the then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Minister for Defence, Ehud Barak, had both been spied on by the GCHQ.

According to our information, the spies cast their nets much more widely. Their aim is the State services and, in particular, its diplomats. Among this user account information we thus find the telephone number of the second in command of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry or the email addresses of the current ambassadors in Nairobi, Kenya, andAbuja, Nigeria. These capitals, considered to be strategic by the Israelis are also considered by the British to be their backyard since they are former colonies.

One of the defence firms under surveillance, Ophir Optronics, set up in 1976 in Israel, is known to be one of the outstanding firms in optic fibre and laser, two key elements in modern armaments and leading industries. Another email address, to which is appended the key word ‘Israeli UAV’ – the English acronym for drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) – is a reminder that the Israelis were amongst the forerunners in the production of planes and other pilot-less vehicles in the world. Along with the United States, they are the leading exporters of this expertise in civil and military fields and the British would, it seems, like to know all the secrets.

The surveillance of Israeli interests by the GCHQ has also extended to the MASHAV – the Israeli state agency responsible for international cooperation and development. Suspected by the British of playing a double game by supporting weak countries to consolidate the influence of Israel, this agency is established and operates all over the world. Finally, the British secret services have concentrated their attention on the work of certain advanced research centres in the top-level Hebrew University of Jerusalem They have also targeted the Racah Institute for Physics where theoretical and practical research is carried out in highly sensitive areas, in particular in nuclear physics.

This is a paradox which illustrates the nature of the relationship between allies, even those who are very close. The GCHQ was cooperating very closely with Israel in 2009, at the very time when Israel launched a new attack against Hamas in the Gaza Strip; at the same time, the GCHQ stepped up its espionage operations on the Hebrew State. In its top-secret internal newsletters, the GCHQ congratulates itself on its good relations with the ISNU, the Israeli technical secret service. One can actually read that the British have spied on email addresses and telephone numbers at the request of the Israelis: ‘They thanked us on many occasions.’

Only when Israel is accused of spying on allies do people get upset.



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From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Recent Activities of NGOs Receiving Core Funding from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Secretariat is a joint funding mechanism of Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and, until recently, Norway. The Secretariat is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm. The Secretariat has been providing $6 million in 2013-2017 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in BDS campaigns (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and other forms of demonization. Some of these NGOs have also promoted antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to terror.
The following document summarizes the recent activities of Secretariat-supported NGOs:
B’Tselem (Received $710,000 between 2014-2016)
14 October: Hagai El-Ad, head of B’Tselem, spoke at a highly publicized Arria-formula UN Security Council session, where he described Israel as committing “invisible, bureaucratic, daily violence” against Palestinians that occurs from “cradle to grave.”
Defense for Children – Palestine (DCI-P) (Received $738,000 between 2014-2016)
31 October: Released an article claiming that the Gaza wars “propel child labor for Palestinian kids” due to “Israel’s blockade and repeated military offenses.” In its repeated demonization of Israel, DCI-P referred to the Gaza blockade which, they alleged, “perpetuates and worsens an entirely man-made humanitarian and economic crisis,” entirely removing the context of terrorism.
17 November: In a meeting with the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine, held with Addameer (see above), DCI-P “urged the European Union during a meeting on Thursday to pressure Israeli authorities to end ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” In accusing Israel of violations, Khaled Quzmar, general director of DCI-P, erased Palestinian stabbing and other terror attacks against Israeli civilians that were perpetrated by minors.

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (Received $710,000 between 2014 and 2016)
31 October: Director Raji Sourani spoke at an event sponsored by the World Council of Churches. Sourani asserted that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was “illegal” and “criminal,” and that the Palestinians are living “in one of the biggest manmade disasters.”
22 November: Sourani was quoted in the press release promoting the 145-page communication to the ICC falsely claimed that “The siege on Gaza is unprecedented and is a form of collective punishment. The aim of the closure and the occupation is to de-develop Gaza, to strip Palestinians of their dignity and send Gazan society back to the Middle Ages.”
Keith Ellison’s Views on Israel Reflect the Democrats’ True Colors
Haim Saban is wrong when he says Minnesota’s US Rep. Keith Ellison is unqualified to head the Democratic National Committee. Ellison’s anti-Israel and antisemitic lineages do not disqualify him from the position. They more than qualify him.
It is Ellison, not Saban — the Israeli-American mega-donor to both the Democratic Party and pro-Israel causes — who represents the Democrats’ true colors. The party has been abandoning support for the Jewish state for well over a decade. Recent studies by Brookings, Gallup and Pew reveal a growing gap of support for Israel between Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Israel — an issue that should never be partisan — is strongly supported by Republicans and independents. Democrats? Not so much.
When there are anti-Israel demonstrations and antisemitic activities on our college campuses, it is not the Young Republicans declaring allegiance to the US-designated terrorist group Hamas. Progressives are chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This call for the destruction of Israel and murder of the Jewish people comes from Leftist groups, not Christian organizations.
Democrats generate more sackcloth and ashes over a Jew building an extra bathroom in eastern Jerusalem than an Iranian building a nuclear device in Tehran. This is the party that remains silent over the murder of gays in Iran and inhumane treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, while condemning Israel when they defend their citizens from rocket attacks launched from Gaza.
Crazy About Keith Ellison
In one of the comments that the ADL said was disqualifying, Ellison described the Jewish state as having a stranglehold on U.S. foreign policy.
“The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people,” Ellison said in 2010. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic?”
Ellison is no stranger to making controversial statements.
Back in 2010, the same year of his comment on Israel, Ellison called Arizona’s immigration laws “fascist” and “racist.”
He also compared anti-terrorism surveillance policies to Japanese internment during World War II.
In 2013, Ellison said the National Rifle Association supports people who “traffic in death” and the following year said he wished the Democratic Party would come out against the Second Amendment.
Ellison is running against South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison, who spent the last eight years as a lobbyist for the Podesta Group, and New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley to head the DNC.
Crazy About Keith Ellison SUPERcuts!


  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
At Middle East Quarterly, Richard Landes wrote an excellent overview of how Edward Said's outsized influence on Middle East studies has blinded the West to reality.

It is very long, but here is the section on how the West didn't understand - and still refuses to understand - the dynamics behind the Oslo process of the 1990s:



Few debacles better illustrate the folly of ignoring honor-shame dynamics than the Oslo "peace process," which based its logic on the principle of an exchange of "land for peace": Israel cedes land to the Palestinians (most of the West Bank and Gaza) to create an independent state; the Palestinians bury the hatchet of war since they're getting what they allegedly want, without the need for war.

Thus the accords banked on a Palestinian shift from their charter-defined commitment to regaining Arab and Muslim honor by wiping out the shame that is Israel, to a readiness to accept Israel's legitimate existence. Such a shift depended on their understanding that this promissory concession to Israel would bring what Palestinians "yearn for," namely the freedom to govern themselves in peace and dignity. A win-win so obvious, that, as Gavin Esler of the BBC opined, "it could be solved with an email."[32]
What the Oslo architects and their Western supporters so completely underestimated was the hold that his native honor-world held over Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat. This lack of insight not only dominated thinking in Western circles (not put at risk by such a gamble), but even Israeli political and intelligence circles, who had much to lose:
[I]t is clear that it was not only Israel's political leadership that was held hostage by the chimerical conception that an era of peace with the Palestinian Authority had begun: M[ilitary] I[ntelligence] and the Shin Bet security service had trouble liberating themselves from the same feeling. The intelligence officials were not always willing to let facts disturb a rosy perception of reality.[33]
Just because Western and Israeli analysts failed to pay attention, however, does not mean the laws of honor-shame ceased to operate. After the ceremonious signing of the deal on the White House lawn, PLO chairman Arafat found himself the target of immense hostility from his Arab and Muslim honor-group for having brought shame upon himself, his people, upon all Arabs and all Muslims. When he arrived in Gaza in July 1994, Hamas denounced him roundly: "His visit is shameful and humiliating, as it occurs in the shadow of occupation and in the shadow of Arafat's humiliating submission before the enemy government and its will. It is impossible to present a defeat as victory."[34] Edward Said, proud member of the Palestinian National Council, the PLO's semi-parliament, echoed the language of Hamas: the compromises involved a humiliating and "degrading ... act of obeisance ... a capitulation" that produced a state of "supine abjectness ... submitting shamefully to Israel."[35]Thus did the "post-colonial" intellectual speak the zero-sum, tribal language of Arab and Muslim honor-shame, attacking negotiation as dishonorable; this was the very language Westerners avoided discussing lest they "Orientalize the Orient."
To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a humiliating concession.
And yet Arafat used the same honor-shame language in Arabic, from the moment the accords were signed and the Nobel Prize granted.[36] Six months after returning from Tunisia in July 1994, to what had, as a result of the accords, become Palestinian-controlled territory, Arafat defended his policy to fellow Muslims in South Africa, not by speaking of the "peace of the brave,"[37] but rather by invoking Muhammad's Treaty of Hudaybiya, signed in weakness, broken in strength. To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a (necessarily) humiliating concession; a plan for honorable war not for ignominious peace.[38] In cultures where, for honor's sake, "what was taken by force must be retaken by force," any negotiations are shameful and cowardly.[39]

By and large, Western journalists and policymakers, including the "peace camp" in Israel, and even intelligence services, ignored Arafat's repeated invocations of Hudaybiya.[40] Advocates of peace viewed them as antics designed to appease public opinion (itself a thing worth pondering) and remained confident that, in the end, the more mature call of the international community would sway Arafat to the side of positive-sum reason. Practitioners of "peace journalism" in Israel, for example, consciously avoided such discouraging news items in general and the meaning of Hudaybiya in particular.[41] In his 800-page memoir on the Oslo failure, Dennis Ross, the U.S. Middle East envoy most deeply involved in negotiations with the Palestinian leadership, has not a word to say about the Hudaybiya controversy, despite how consistent it was with his own assessment of Arafat's problematic behavior, his "failure to prepare his people for the compromises necessary for peace."[42] Worse. Arafat's sin was not of omission, but of commission: He systematically prepared his people for war right under the noses of the Israelis and the West.

Rather than consider the implications of this counter-evidence, those supporting the process attacked anyone who drew attention to them. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a so-called Muslim civil rights organization with ties to the same Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is a branch, led the attack in the name of protecting the Prophet Muhammad's reputation. Daniel Pipes wrote repeatedly about the Johannesburg mosque speech, the meaning of the Treaty of Hudaybiya, and the trouble Westerners found themselves in when they brought up the subject. Despite being studiously fair to the Muslim prophet on historical grounds, Pipes provoked furious condemnation and an early accusation of "Islamophobia."[43]

The outcry essentially forbade critics from examining evidence relevant to their pressing concerns. Instead, peace enthusiasts viewed Arafat and the Palestinian leadership as full-fledged modern players who wanted their own nation and their freedom, and whom one could trust to keep commitments. Most thought that Arafat would, when the opportunity presented itself, choose the imperfect, positive-sum, win-win, over the zero-sum, all-or-nothing, win-lose. They "believed" in the Palestinian leadership and shamed anyone who dared to suggest the Palestinians still clung tightly to atavistic revenge. Thus, even as Jerusalem and Washington prepared for a grand finale to the peace process at Camp David in the summer of 2000; even as Israel's media prepared their people for peace, Arafat's media prepared Palestinians for war.[44] And none of the key decision-makers paid any attention.

The inability to understand the dynamics of maintaining honor (through fighting Israel) and avoiding shame (brought on by compromising with Israel) doomed Oslo to failure from the start. People involved, who thought that they were "so close" and that if only Israel had given more, it would have worked, got played.[45] For the Palestinian decision-makers, it was never close. Even a successful deal would have led to more war. Indeed, according to that logic, the better the deal for the Palestinians—i.e., the "weaker" the Israelis—the more aggression will accompany its implementation.[46]




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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column



If I’ve learned anything in my relatively comfortable and placid life it is that despite my good luck, evil is real. Sometimes it grows and sometimes declines. Today it’s gathering strength.

Hezbollah came into being in 1985, as a response to the Lebanese Civil War, Western interventions, and the Israeli invasion and its aftermath. Its stated goals were the elimination of Western influence, the assertion of Islamic (Shiite) dominance over Lebanon, and the destruction of Israel, which its founders saw as a tool of the West and an ally of Lebanese Christians. 

Its attitude toward Israel is shown by this snippet from an “open letter” published by its founders in a Lebanese newspaper:




The month-long Second Lebanon War in 2006 was fought by an IDF grown complacent from years of occupation duty and a leadership team (PM Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz) who were only marginally competent. While Hezbollah suffered heavy losses and much Lebanese infrastructure was destroyed, Israel was unable to stop the heavy rocket fire on the northern part of the country, which continued until a UN-brokered cease-fire came into effect. 120 IDF soldiers and 43 Israeli civilians were killed, and as many as a half-million Israelis were displaced as a result of Hezbollah rocket attacks. Israel tried to destroy Hezbollah’s leadership both from the air and by commando operations, and failed to do so. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was negotiated by Livni to end the fighting, proved worthless in preventing Hezbollah from rearming and rebuilding military infrastructure. Wikipedia called the result a “stalemate,” and I agree.

By 2016, Hezbollah has achieved most of its goals. It now completely controls Lebanon for all intents and purposes. It has not destroyed Israel, and after its bloody skirmish with the IDF ten years ago, it seems to have decided that it will wait until its chance of success is much greater. Over the years it has lost most of its autonomy to its Iranian patron. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the way it has been used to fight – and suffer many casualties – on behalf of Iranian interests in Syria.

Militarily, Hezbollah seems to grow stronger as time goes on, despite its losses in 2006 and more recently in Syria. In the 2006 war, it fired about 4,000 rockets into Israel, mostly inaccurate short-range Katyusha or Grad rockets with a range of about 30 km. Although it possessed some longer-range rockets, they were destroyed by IAF bombardment before they could be launched. Hezbollah had about 13,000 rockets at the beginning of the war. 

Today, thanks to Iran, it is estimated that Hezbollah has at least ten times as many rockets, many of them capable of longer ranges and/or larger payloads, and some with guidance systems that make it possible to hit a precise target, like a military base or industrial installation. Hezbollah has also made plans for incursions into Israel to kidnap civilians or even to hold territory, possibly by way of tunnels like those constructed by Hamas. If Hezbollah is allowed to actualize its plans, the destruction wrought in Israel will be worse  by far than in any previous war.

War is terrible no matter how it is fought, but Iran has planned our next one with a particularly diabolical twist: as the map preceding this post shows, it has embedded rocket launchers and other military infrastructure in civilian residential areas. A 2013 report describes an Iranian-funded program to enlist residents of southern Lebanon as human shields:

…the Shiite terror group launched a major social/real-estate project that bolstered its political standing: It purchased lands on the outskirts of the villages, built homes on these lands and offered them to poor Shiite families at bargain prices (to rent or buy), one the condition that at least one rocket launcher would be placed in one of the house's rooms or in the basement, along with a number of rockets, which will be fired at predetermined targets in Israel when the order is given.

In addition, Hezbollah has set up camouflaged defense positions in villages which contain advanced Russian-made anti-tank missiles it had received from Syria. Hezbollah gunmen have planted large explosive devices along the access roads, and inside the villages structures that were purchased by the organization were converted into arms caches.

In this manner some 180 Shiite villages and small towns situated between the Zahrani River and the border with Israel have been converted into fighting zones in which Hezbollah is preparing – above and below ground – for the next conflict with Israel. Hezbollah has some 65,000 [now more than twice that number -- vr] rockets and missiles at its disposal.

The deliberate use of civilians as shields is a war crime, prohibited by the Geneva Convention. But according to the rules of war, an action that causes casualties among civilians is not considered ‘disproportional’ if the force used was necessary to achieve a military objective. In other words, if a Lebanese family is killed because there is a missile launcher firing from its garage, Hezbollah has committed a war crime, and Israel has not.

Israel has warned Hezbollah and the Lebanese government on numerous occasions over the past several years – most recently when it declassified and released the map above on Tuesday. Officials from the Prime Minister on down have made it clear that a rocket attack will be met with overwhelming force targeting the launchers and other infrastructure, regardless of where it is located. The IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff recently said that the next war would do “devastating damage” to Lebanon. They have correctly stated that both morally and legally, Hezbollah will be responsible for civilians that are hurt or killed as a result.

But emotional appeals are powerful, especially when it is claimed that children are being hurt. In 2006, Hezbollah made use of humanitarian concerns – both real and fabricated (fascinating link!) – to sway opinion against Israel. Even Condoleezza Rice was influenced to call for a cease-fire by the bombing of a building in which civilians including children were killed (although it’s likely that the number of casualties was inflated and heart-rending photos were faked). 

This technique, also used by Hamas, will certainly be repeated. During the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, US Secretary of State John Kerry sarcastically referred to a “pinpoint operation” after 13 IDF soldiers and 62 Palestinians were killed in the battle of Shuja'iyya, where civilians were warned to evacuate but did not do so because of Hamas threats. President Obama also reacted to a widely-criticized attack on a UN school in Jabaliya and even held up shipments of arms to Israel as a result. 

The use of human shields is therefore an effective political and psychological weapon, either because officials and the public are actually affected by emotional appeals or find it convenient to use them as justifications for the actions that they would like to take anyway. 

But today Hezbollah is entirely different from Hamas. Tehran has built it into an existential threat. If war breaks out we will have to unleash as quickly as possible the most powerful conventional weapons at our disposal against the rocket launchers. Look at the map! Perhaps such an attack would kill tens of thousands in Lebanon. But there’s no alternative. Israel is a tiny country with a concentrated population. We can’t absorb hundreds of missiles an hour, especially accurate ones with heavy payloads. We can’t afford to wait, not even a few minutes, once it starts. 

Incidentally, if Hezbollah and Iran want to reap the benefit of the human shield strategy, then now is the time to do it. I suspect that Trump and his advisors would be less biased against Israel than the present administration, and therefore less likely to interfere with Israel’s response. Our enemies probably agree with me, and this means war is more likely in the next two months than at a later time. Maybe that’s why our officials have made the effort just now to ensure that Iran and Hezbollah understand the consequences of their possible actions.

It only makes sense to threaten Iran as well. The regime would be happy to sacrifice Lebanon and its people to destroy Israel, and the regime is pulling the strings, not Nasrallah. There need to be consequences for Iranian leaders too.

Evil is growing stronger and good is retreating. Deterrence may put off the reckoning for a time, but unless something completely unforeseen happens, the day will come when our PM will have to give the order to save one nation by destroying another. I’m glad I’m not the one to do it.






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From Ian:

Netanyahu: Push for UK Apology for Balfour Declaration Reveals Conflict Is Not About Land or Palestinian Statehood
A campaign to get the United Kingdom to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration is “very revealing about the true source” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish state’s prime minister said on Tuesday.
“The Balfour Declaration recognized this land as a home for the Jewish people, which obviously had consequences later on down the line,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the 2016 Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem. “But if the Palestinians, 100 years later, are challenging even the idea that the Jewish people have a home here, you know that they are not really gung-ho on…a nation-state for the Jewish people.”
“It’s not about territories, even though that’s an issue,” he continued. “It’s not about settlements, even though that’s an issue. But it’s not ‘the’ issue. It’s not even about a Palestinian state…it was offered again and again and again. It was never and is still not about a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the Jewish state and the fact that there’s a challenge to the Balfour Declaration 100 years later tells you that we haven’t come very far.”
In his UN General Assembly address in September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injustice this declaration created and to act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, including by the recognition of the state of Palestine. This is the least Great Britain can do.”

PMW: US Senator pledges to cut all aid to PA, in response to PMW findings
US Senator Lindsey Graham (Chairman Senate's Foreign Operations Subcommittee), has introduced legislation to cut all funding to the Palestinian Authority, according to yesterday's Jerusalem Post. This action follows other international outrage in response to PMW's report The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud, released earlier this year. PMW exposed that the PA tried to deceive international donors by making public statements that it had stopped paying salaries to terrorist prisoners, whereas in fact the PA continues to do so through the PLO.
Jerusalem Post:
"The United States Senate will aggressively promote legislation next month aimed at cutting funding... [Sen. Lindsey] Graham told the Jerusalem Post that as chairman of the Senate's Foreign Operations Subcommittee, he will work to cut US aid to the PA for continuing to pay stipends to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists." (Click to view PMW Report exposing this)
"Under PA law, if you get convicted in Israeli court of being a terrorist, they give you a military rank based on how long you've been in jail," Graham said. "The longer you're in jail, the higher rank you get."
Will Trump and Netanyahu Make the America-Israel Relationship Great Again?
Though some Americans may not want to hear it, the election of Donald Trump has changed Israel's strategic situation dramatically for the better. The Israelis have been relatively quiet about their enthusiasm for the Trump administration - partly because the American public is still so dramatically split on the election. One senior Israeli official likened Trump's security picks to a "dream team" of pro-Israel U.S. policymakers.
Most important to Israel, according to the same official, is Iran. "We haven't changed our view of the nuclear deal with Iran or Iran's malevolent role in the region. But the incoming administration sees both the nuclear deal and the danger posed by Iran very differently than the outgoing administration. They believe that this deal and Iran's aggression and support for terror is not only bad for Israel and the region. They think it is bad for America." Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, told me in Jerusalem, "The Iranian nuclear program is the biggest threat Israel has ever faced....The deal guarantees that the Iranians will have the capability to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons in 15 years." Most important, he said, "Trump says he wants to make America great again. And a strong America is good for Israel."

  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last month I pointed out that Palestinians and ISIS have another thing in common - the desire to destroy ancient heritage sites that they consider to be in conflict with their beliefs. I gave many examples of how important Jewish historic sites have been attacked, damaged and destroyed over the years by Arabs including under Palestinian Authority control.

Here's another example of a direct attack on Jewish heritage from last week:
A marble pillar belonging to the 2,000-years-old Herodium palace was smashed in the Sebastia National Park in the capital of ancient Samaria.

This is not the first time that biblical treasures have been vandalized. Indeed, graffiti was sprayed at the site denouncing Judaism and Christianity, while Christian monuments were defiled, antiquities were robbed, and seats in a Roman amphitheater were damaged.

The giant archeological site, which was located in the ancient capital of Israel, was founded, according to the book King of Kings, by King Omri in 880 BCE.

The incident is the second time vandalism has occurred within three months at the archeological site against antiquities directly connected with Israeli heritage.
(h/t Yisrael Medad)




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  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
This has been a bad week for Hamas.

Over the weekend, four bodies were found after Egypt flooded a tunnel. A Hamas member was killed after he was electrocuted in a tunnel.

On Monday, a Hamas member blew himself up with a grenade.

And yesterday, two more Hamas members were killed in a tunnel collapse.

It looks like they were good buddies.


Hamas says that they were "martyred" while inside a "resistance tunnel." (Actually, the supposedly impartial Ma'an also calls it a "resistance tunnel.") The tunnel was in Gaza City, meaning that it wasn't a smuggling tunnel that many pretend are necessary for Gazans to live, but a military bunker.

Ma'an says that others are missing in the tunnel as well, and Palestine Today says that a third body was found but not yet identified.







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  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

As people continue to react to the NYT magazine piece on Shuafat - written, as it turns out, by Rachel Kushner, an author  sponsored by Breaking the Silence to write anti-Israel articles for a book to come out next year for the 50th anniversary of "occupation" - there is another angle besides the one I wrote abut earlier this week about the violent beginnings of the camp.

Part of the reason that Shuafat is so crowded is because thousands of Arabs who aren't even considered refugees by UNRWA are squatting there.

From UNRWA:

Today, approximately 12,500 Palestine refugees are registered as living in Shu'fat camp. However, UNRWA estimates that the actual number of residents in the camp is around 24,000.

Shu'fat camp was illegally annexed by Israel after the 1967 hostilities when Israel unilaterally established new municipal boundaries for Jerusalem. Camp residents still hold Jerusalem IDs and, unlike West Bank ID holders, are allowed to reside in Jerusalem. Because the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has a policy of revoking Jerusalem IDs from Palestinians who do not have their ‘centre of life’ in Jerusalem, the camp has become a popular place of residence for Palestinians (non-refugees) with Jerusalem IDs who might not otherwise afford the high living costs of Jerusalem.

As usual, UNRWA is not telling the entire story even here.

Israel has tried, for decades, to solve the problem in a way that the camp residents could continue to hold on to their Jerusalem IDs!

According to this article at the official Shuafat website, since the mid 1970s, Israeli authorities have tried to get camp residents to move to other, less crowded areas of Jerusalem, especially the Arab neighborhood of Wadi el-Joz., "but the residents of the camp have categorically refused the Israeli offer," claiming that it would somehow impact their "right of return."

In fact, it would mean that they would have to pay rent instead of getting free housing from UNRWA. That's the real reason.

The same article says that more than half the residents of the camp are not "refugees." They are squatters taking advantage of the lawlessness of the area.

UNRWA should take responsibility for expelling the residents who are not registered with them, but of course UNRWA hasn't done that for sixty years - Arabs have been moving into UNRWA camps since the 1950s to take advantage of free services and UNRWA has never done anything about it after some half-hearted attempts in the 1950s.'

The bottom line is that Israel has tried to fix the problems of Shuafat for a long time, and UNRWA has let them fester, to follow the Palestinian master plan of keeping "refugee camps" forever as a propaganda weapon against Israel.

And Rachel Kushner and the New York Times happily follow that lead.

(h/t Irene)




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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
From J-Street:
It’s almost too outrageous to believe: An umbrella group that claims to represent the American Jewish community plans to host its 2016 Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel.

Trump's campaign rhetoric and policy positions are an affront to some of the most core values of American Jews. To hold a Hanukkah party under the Trump banner is shocking in its wrong-headedness. 
Yes, this is the same J-Street who hosts BDS supporters like Mustafa Barghouti at its conference.  The same J-Street  where a member of its advisory council openly advocates Israel's destruction - to applause! - at a J-Street conference. The same J-Street that twists itself up into pretzels to downplay the very real history of support for antisemitism from a member of Congress, saying merely that his statements are "inartful." The same J-Street that eagerly gives forums to those who want to ethnically cleanse Jews.

All of that is perfectly fine.

But visiting a hotel that happens to have the name "Trump" on it is "too outrageous to believe."




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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