Monday, June 29, 2009

Israel has rights to West Bank and settlements

Heard a Law prof last night give brilliant analysis as to why Israel has best and only legal claim to the west Bank and the "settlements" are absolutely legal in International Law. (not that law matters to the world. for more see

He said insistence of the USA for Jews to not buy houses in the West Bank violates US Law against racism. 60 years after civil rights cases decided by the US Supreme Court, the US wants to hang a "NO JEWS ALLOWED" sign up.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Parashat Korah

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rev Wright

Rev. Jeremiah Wright sorry, but gets ripped by Jewish group ADL

June 11, 2009


The Rev. Jeremiah Wright apologized and said he "misspoke" and meant "Zionists" when he said earlier this week that "them Jews" were keeping him from talking to President Obama.

Wright, according to Sirius Radio, called into Mark Thompson’s daily show on the network to explain his comments to the Daily Press of Newport News, Va. Wright called in from the Hampton Ministers' Conference, an annual gathering of African-American ministers in Virginia.

Wright, who was Obama's pastor in Chicago, had told the Daily Press he hadn't spoken to Obama since he became president: "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."

Wright issued a statement Thursday that he was “disturbed and deeply saddened” that his comments were stirring discussion.

“I apologize for the way I framed my comments. I misspoke and I sincerely meant no harm or ill-will to the American Jewish community or the Obama administration,” Wright said. “I have great respect for the Jewish faith and the foundational (and central) part of our Judeo-Christian tradition.”

But Lonnie Nasatir of the Anti-Defamation League's Chicago office said Wright was expressing "classic anti-Semitism."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obama and Islam

> Brigitte Gabriel - Letter to President Obama.
> Dear Mr. President,
> You face difficult challenges in matters such as achieving peace in the
> Middle East and protecting America from the threat of radical Islam and
> terrorism. These are challenges that have vexed past presidents, going as
> far back as our second president, John Adams. I have no doubt you
> appreciate
> both the gravity of these challenges and the enormous obstacles that exist
> to solving them.
> I also have no doubt that you and your staff understood that, no matter
> what
> you said in your speech last Thursday in Cairo, there would be those who
> would take issue with you. That is always the case when attempting to
> solve
> problems that are as deep and emotionally-laden as these challenges are.
> I am assuming it is your sincere hope that the approach you have chosen to
> take, as evidenced by what I'm sure was a carefully crafted speech, will
> ultimately prove successful. However, it pains me to say this sir, but,
> while you said in your speech that you are a "student of history," it is
> abundantly clear that, in these matters, you do not know history and thus,
> as Santayana noted, you are doomed to repeat it. In doing so your efforts,
> however well-intentioned they may be, will not produce what you profess to
> hope they will produce.
> A wise man once said that if you start with the wrong assumptions, no
> matter
> how logical your reasoning is, you will end up with the wrong conclusion.
> With all due respect Mr. President, you are starting with certain
> assumptions that are unsupported by history and an objective study of the
> ideology of political Islam.
> You began in your speech by asserting that "tensions" exist between the
> United States and Muslims around the world, which, of course, is correct.
> Unfortunately, you then proceeded, incorrectly, to lay virtually all the
> blame for these tensions at the feet of America and the West. You blamed
> western colonialism, the Cold War, and even modernity and globalism.
> A student of American history, who is not trying to reconstruct it to fit
> a
> modern politically correct narrative, would state that tensions between
> America and Muslims began with the unprovoked, four-decades long assault
> by
> the Muslim Barbary pirates against American shipping in the late 18th and
> early 19th centuries. I find it telling that you mentioned the Treaty of
> Tripoli in your speech but ignored the circumstances that led to it. That
> treaty was but one of numerous attempts by the United States to achieve
> peace with the jihadists of the Barbary Coast who were attacking our
> shipping and killing and enslaving our citizens and our soldiers and who
> by
> their own admission were doing so to fulfill the call to jihad.
> These jihadists were not acting to protest American foreign policy, which
> was decidedly isolationist, and there was no state of Israel to scapegoat.
> They were doing what countless Islamic jihadists have done throughout
> history, acting upon the hundreds of passages in the Qur'an and the Hadith
> that call upon faithful Muslims to kill, conquer or subjugate the infidel.
> A student of world history would know that, for all the acknowledged evils
> of Western colonialism, these evils pale in comparison to the nearly 14
> centuries of Islamic colonialism that began in Arabia under the leadership
> of Mohammed. The student of history would know that Islamic forces
> eradicated all Jewish and Christian presence from Arabia after Mohammed's
> death, and then succeeded in conquering all of North Africa, most of the
> Middle East, much of Asia Minor, and significant portions of Europe and
> India, eventually creating an empire larger than Rome's was at its peak.
> The number of dead and enslaved during these many centuries of Islamic
> imperial conquest and colonialism have been estimated to total more than
> 300
> million. What's more, the wealth of many of the conquered nations and
> cultures was plundered by the Islamic conquerors, and millions of
> non-Muslims who did survive were forced to pay onerous taxes, such as the
> "jizya," a humiliation tax to the Islamic caliphs. Indeed, in some areas
> Christians and Jews were made to wear a receipt for the jizya around their
> neck as a mark of their dishonor.
> These facts have not been invented by Christian or Jewish historical
> revisionists, but were chronicled by Muslim eyewitnesses throughout the
> past
> 14 centuries and are available to be researched by any person seeking an
> objective understanding of how Islam spread throughout the world.
> You say in your speech that we must squarely face the tensions that exist
> between America and the Muslim world. That is a laudable notion with which
> I
> agree, but by casting Islam as the historical victim and the West (and by
> implication, America) as the aggressor, you do not face these tensions
> squarely, but alleviate the Muslim world from coming to grips with the
> jihadist ideology embedded in its holy books and acted upon for 1,400
> years.
> Even worse, you empower and embolden militant Islamists who regard your
> gestures as signs of weakness and capitulation.
> The issue is not that all Muslims are terrorists or radicals or
> extremists.
> We all know that the majority of Muslims are not. We also know that many
> peace-loving Muslims are victims of Islamist violence.
> The issue is this: what drives hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide
> to
> call for the death of Jews?
> What drives millions of Muslims to riot, destroy property, and take
> innocent
> lives in reaction to the Danish cartoons?
> What drives tens of thousands of Muslims to demand the execution of a
> British teacher whose only "crime" was allowing her students to name their
> teddy bears "Mohammed"?
> What drives countless Muslims worldwide to actively participate in, or
> fund,
> or provide nurture to terrorist organizations?
> What drives Muslims in mosques in America to proclaim and distribute
> materials that call for hatred of and the destruction of infidels?
> What drives entire Islamic countries to prohibit the building of a church
> or
> synagogue?
> To assume, as you apparently do, that what drives these actions is not an
> ideology embedded in the holy books of Islam, but rather other "root
> causes," most of which you lay at the feet of America and the West, is at
> best naïve and at worst dangerous.
> Lastly, I must address your statement that "Islam has a proud tradition of
> tolerance." Unfortunately, the examples you gave are the exception rather
> than the rule.
> Historically speaking, I seriously doubt the Egyptian Copts, the Lebanese
> Maronites, the Christians in Bethlehem, the Assyrians, the Hindus, the
> Jews,
> and many others who have been persecuted by Islamic violence and
> supremacism, would agree with your assertion.
> For instance, Christians and Jews became "Dhimmis," a second class group
> under Islam. Dhimmis were forced to wear distinctive clothing; it was
> Baghdad's Caliph Al-Mutawakkil, in the ninth century, who designated a
> yellow badge for Jews under Islam, which Hitler copied and duplicated in
> Nazi Germany nearly a thousand years later.
> I witnessed first-hand the "tolerance" of Islam when Islamists ravaged my
> country of birth, Lebanon, in the 1970's, leaving widespread death and
> destruction in their wake. I saw how they re-paid the tolerance that
> Lebanese Christians extended toward them. My experience is not an isolated
> one. When you make an unfounded assertion about the "proud tradition" of
> tolerance in Islam, you do a great disservice to the hundreds of millions
> of
> non-Muslims who have been killed, maimed, enslaved, conquered, subjugated
> or
> displaced in the cause of Islamic jihad.
> Mr. President, those of us like me who are ringing the alarm in America
> about the threat of radical Islam would like nothing better than to
> peacefully co-exist with the Muslim world.
> Most Americans would like nothing better than to peacefully co-exist with
> the Muslim world. The obstacle to achieving this does not lie with us in
> America and the West. It lies with the hundreds of millions of Muslims
> worldwide, including many of their spiritual leaders, who take seriously
> the
> repeated calls to jihad in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Who regard
> "infidels"
> as inferior and worthy of conquering, subjugating and forcibly converting.
> Who support "cultural jihad" as a means to subvert non-Muslim societies
> from
> within. Who take seriously the admonitions throughout the Qur'an and the
> Hadith to convert the world to Islam by force if necessary and bring it
> under the rule of Allah.
> Unless you are willing to courageously and honestly accept this, your
> aspirations for worldwide comity and peace in the Middle East are doomed
> to
> fail.
> Sincerely,
> Brigitte Gabriel

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jews through out treasures every day

An woman mistakenly threw out a mattress with $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

The woman told Army Radio that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise on Monday and threw out the old one, only to discover that her mother had hidden her life savings inside. She was identified only as Anat, a resident of Tel Aviv.

When she went to look for the mattress it had already been taken by garbage men, she said. Subsequent searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.

The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published a picture of the woman searching through garbage at a dump in southern Israel.

Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told the radio station that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared "totally desperate." He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage arriving at the site every day.

He said he increased security at the site to keep would-be treasure hunters at bay.

For her part, Anat said it could be worse. "People have to take everything in proportion and thank God for the good and the bad," she said.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Video for this week's portion

Bizarre anti Israel left

Question on Messianic Jews

"hi i enjoy your videos on judaism however i don't agree with your view on messianic jew that they lose there status as a jew in humanistic judaism they don't believe in a god but enbrace there jewish culture as jews now i'm ethnicly a irish catholic because of my family roots but i'm not a practicing catholic but i don't lose my statius as a irish catholic i just don't agree with your views on that but great job on your videos"

ME: The flaw in your analogy is that Judaism is NOT an ethnicity. It is a people bound by our covenant with God, and that does not include Jesus.. thanks for the view

The settlements

Opinion » Op-Ed Contributors » Article

Jun 7, 2009 22:35 | Updated Jun 8, 2009 10:14
The settlements canard
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Article's topics: Barack Obama, Settlements, Palestinians, Hillary Clinton

Obama the Humble declares there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told Al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating." An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone - Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity.

Ma'aleh Adumim
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimksi
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions." What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them - not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that.

The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns - even before negotiations.

To what end? Over the last decade, the US government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements - and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.

Editorial: Why Obama is wrong on Israel and the Shoah
That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why turn towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?

This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the last decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 - and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.

Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations.

The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. It's farcical to suggest that the peace process is moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren - when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode - waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave - before he'll do anything to advance peace.

IN HIS MUCH-HERALDED "Muslim world" address in Cairo Thursday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations - Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1947, Yasser Arafat in 2000, Abbas in December 2008 - rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.

In the 16 years since the Oslo Accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders - Fatah and Hamas alike - built no schools, no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, no institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.

Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.

Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter.

Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.

- The Washington Post Writers Group


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Tragedy in Darfur

The people of Darfur face fear and intimidation every day, and violence and
rape continue unabated. But President Obama has yet to announce his
blueprint for bringing peace to that region.

President Obama needs to personally announce his
administration's plan for Sudan by the end of June.

By pushing President Obama to personally announce his administration's
plan for Sudan by the end of June, Senators Kerry and Lugar can issue a
strong, bipartisan call to make Sudan a top foreign policy priority for this
administration. By further signaling their intent to schedule a hearing
to immediately follow the White House announcement, Kerry and Lugar can
make sure that the plan is fully explained and understood in the U.S. and
abroad. Bloodshed and intimidation remain the norm in Darfur. Millions languish
in refugee camps, and, as the situation grows more combustible, innocents are
trapped in the middle. Just last week, the UN reported that Sudanese
planes dropped bombs close to a Darfuri refugee camp in Chad.
That's why the Save Darfur Coalition is trying to get 50,000 people to
send messages to Senators Kerry and Lugar by June 13, asking them to urge a
June presidential rollout of the Sudan plan and to schedule a hearing
immediately thereafter. Please send your letter today!

Friday, June 5, 2009

ask Jan Schakowsky Sun day night here

From Richard Beahr

you might want to ask her the following:
a. Do you think Obama needs to publicly scold Israel over settlements, when he has barely uttered a word to reprimand the PA for totally ignoring its road map commitments on dismantling terror groups, and incitement? What does it tell you about the state of the US Israel relationship that since his inauguration , Obama has made more demands of Israel than of any other country, and even North Korea a has come in for less rebuke?
b. Do you think that Iran will be more forthcoming on its nuclear program, if only Israel halted the natural growth of settlements near the green line? Do you think the issues are linked in the way the President says they are, or is it more - that Obama will not put any pressure on Iran until Israel bends to his will on settlements? Is it possible Obama knows he can not win on settlements, and so is looking for a public rupture with Israel, and an excuse for doing nothing to stop Iran?
c. Do you believe the exchange of letters between Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush at the time of the Gaza disengagement represent commitments or obligations by the two parties? Can you explain why no member of the Obama administration has been willing to acknowledge these letters as having any validity? Why would Prime Minister Netanyahu rely on any commitments by President Obama , if prior such commitments by an American President are ignored? Is this the change supporters of Israel should believe in?
d. Can you explain how halting all growth in settlements will lead to a resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict? Can Israel conclude a peace deal with the Palestinians when the PA doe not even control Gaza?How does the PA gain control of Gaza. Will Hamas and Hezbollah just go away if settlement growth ends?

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June 5, 2009


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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Weighs Lebanon Aid if Hizbullah Wins Vote - Arshad Mohammed (Reuters)
A victory by Hizbullah, viewed as a "terrorist organization" by Washington, in Sunday's election in Lebanon could lead to a reduction in what has been burgeoning U.S. assistance to the Lebanese armed forces in recent years.
The U.S. has given the Lebanese armed forces more than $500 million since 2005.
Pollsters expect the "March 8" alliance that includes Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizbullah to gain a slight edge in the election and to erase the governing Western-backed, anti-Syrian "March 14" coalition's slender majority.
The outcome could be a national unity government, albeit one in which Hizbullah has a stronger hand.
Given Washington's ban on funding groups that it deems "terrorist," a victory by Hizbullah would present the Obama administration with a judgment call on whether any government Hizbullah helped to form could keep getting U.S. funds.
See also Hizbullah Coalition May Win Lebanon Vote in Tilt Away from U.S. - Massoud A. Derhally (Bloomberg)


Petraeus: Hizbullah Will Have No Reason to Exist If Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Solved (Daily Star-Lebanon)
U.S. Central Command Chief General David Petraeus told Al-Hayat that the administration of President Obama considered Hizbullah a terrorist organization, adding that the party did not participate in fostering stability in Lebanon.
"Hizbullah's justifications for existence will become void if the Palestinian cause is resolved. Reaching an agreement over a peace process in the Middle East will eliminate several groups' justifications for existence," he said.


Expert: Iran Setting International Agenda - Paul Lungen (Canadian Jewish News)
The Iranian leadership certainly does seek Israel's destruction, but they "care if Israel destroys Tehran. They don't mind martyrdom, but why do that if everything is going so well?" said Ze'ev Maghen, chair of the department of Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Iranian leaders believe their influence is spreading throughout the Middle East - into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Hamas-controlled Gaza, he said. They believe they are succeeding in their long-term goals of regional hegemony and international influence.
"Iran's goal is not merely to attack Tel Aviv. Their goal is much grander. They want to eradicate Israel as a state, but that's only a first step." Eliminating Israel would remove what the Iranians see as a "Western outpost" and create a "beachhead into Europe," he said.
Maghen, who reads the Persian media, said Iranian newspapers are "laughing" at the United States, believing they have the upper hand.


Iran Signs $4.7B Gas Contract with China (Reuters)
Iran said it signed a $4.7 billion contract with a Chinese state firm Wednesday to develop a part of a major gas field, replacing French energy company Total which it had accused of delays.
With Western firms wary of investing in the Islamic state due to its nuclear row with the U.S., Tehran has increasingly been looking towards energy-hungry Asian countries for investment to help exploit its vast gas and oil reserves.


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Negotiating for the Other Side - Danielle Pletka (Washington Post)
In Cairo, President Obama underscored his desire to "move forward without preconditions" and negotiate with Iran "on the basis of mutual respect." So far, no takers from Tehran.
Whether it's Iran, North Korea or the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there has been little to show for years of jawboning.
Too often, U.S. negotiators have become unwitting advocates for their adversaries, getting so caught up in the negotiating process that they cannot countenance its collapse - or their own failure - even in the face of undeniable evidence that the discussions are not succeeding.
The writer is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.


British Boy Made Suicide Vests after Watching Radical Cleric on Internet - Duncan Gardham (Telegraph-UK)
Isa Ibrahim, 20, changed his name from Andrew Philip Michael Ibrahim and adopted the "extremist mindset" of Osama bin Laden, a British court heard this week.
When police raided his apartment in Bristol, they found the home-made explosive HMTD. Hanging on the back of the bedroom door was a homemade suicide vest.


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Indian Warship on Goodwill Visit to Israel (Hindustan Times-India)
India's front line warship, INS Brahmaputra, is on a four-day goodwill visit to Haifa to re-affirm old ties with Israel.
"It is not only in Israel but a part of it is also Israeli," said India's Ambassador to Israel, Navtej Sarna, referring to the Barak defense missile system on the warship.


Israeli Company Unveils Remotely Piloted Helicopter - Arie Egozi (Flightglobal)
The Israeli firm Steadicopter has unveiled its Black Eagle 50 mini-rotary unmanned air vehicle that can carry a 3 kg payload.
The UAV has an endurance of 3 hours, can reach an altitude of 9,000 ft., has a forward speed of 130km/h, and has a current range is 10 km, which can be increased to 150 km.
The company is working on a larger airframe capable of carrying a 10 kg. payload and flying for 4 hours.


New Museum of the Good Samaritan Opens in Israel - Oren Rosenfeld (Demotix)
The New Museum of the Good Samaritan, located along the Jerusalem-Jericho road, opened Thursday after extensive renovations.
The museum displays mainly mosaics and other artifacts inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan in the New Testament who performs a merciful deed.


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Useful Reference:

Text: President Obama at Cairo University - June 4, 2009 (White House)


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

Obama Urges Palestinian, Arab Gestures towards Israel
President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. had created the space and the atmosphere to restart Middle East peace talks, but urged Arab states and the Palestinians to make gestures toward Israel. After talks in Germany following a landmark speech in Egypt on Thursday to the Muslim world, Obama called on the key players in the region to make tough decisions, warning the U.S. couldn't make peace on its own. He said that he was "very sympathetic" to political pressures faced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his demand to stop settlement expansion on the West Bank. Obama said Arab states had to make "tough choices" on making concessions to Israel, and that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had made some progress "but not enough." (AFP/NASDAQ)
Some Muslims Seem Won Over by President's Speech - Howard Schneider
President Obama's choice of Egypt as the site of his address to the Muslim world endeared him to Egyptians, who are always proud to host a foreigner and show off their history. When he sprinkled his speech with words from the Koran and balanced support for Israel with a strong call for a Palestinian state, the deal was closed. The appreciation for the new approach from a U.S. president seemed widespread among Middle Eastern Muslims after the speech.
However, in Lebanon, a Hizbullah official dismissed the speech as a "sermon," while a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt characterized it as "public relations" with little substance. Ahmed Yousef, a spokesman for Hamas, told al-Jazeera that the address would not entice Hamas to recognize Israel. "What he said about Islam was great. What he said about Palestinian suffering and a Palestinian state is great," but "we have a lot of reservations." (Washington Post)
See also below Global Commentary: Obama Addresses the Muslim World
Supreme Leader of Iran: Muslim Nations "Hate America" - Thomas Erdbrink and William Branigin
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed President Obama's speech at Cairo University Thursday, saying that "beautiful speeches" could not remove the hatred felt in the Muslim world against America. "People of the Middle East, the Muslim region and North Africa...hate America from the bottom of their heart," he said. "Even if [Obama] delivers hundreds of speeches and talks very sweetly, there will not be a change in how the Islamic countries perceive the United States." Khamenei also denounced Israel as a "cancerous tumor in the heart" of the Islamic world. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

Israel's Reaction to President Obama's Speech in Cairo
The government of Israel expresses its hope that this important speech in Cairo will indeed lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world and Israel. We share President Obama's hope that the American effort heralds the beginning of a new era that will bring about an end to the conflict and lead to Arab recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, living in peace and security in the Middle East. Israel is committed to peace and will make every effort to expand the circle of peace while protecting its interests, especially its national security. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
U.S. Seeks to Ease Tensions with Israel - Barak Ravid
Senior White House officials told Ha'aretz Thursday that "there is no crisis in our relationship with Israel, and we will succeed in reaching understandings on the matter of settlements." "We must emphasize that the president has made clear to the Arab and Muslim world that the bond between the U.S. and Israel is powerful and will not be broken," an official said.
Following his address in Cairo, Obama told journalists in response to a question regarding the settlements: "It's only been five months for me, Netanyahu has only been in office for two months, we've been waiting 60 years. So maybe we should try out a few more months before everybody starts looking at doomsday scenarios....Expecting a break between the U.S. and Israel is something that people should not anticipate."
"The Israelis have difficult decisions to make," he continued. "As I said in my speech, these settlements are an impediment to peace. That's not to deny the fact that there are people who are living in these settlements, there is a momentum to some of these settlements, and turning the back on those settlements involves very tough choices. That's why I said that America cannot do this for the parties." (Ha'aretz)
See also U.S. Official: We Can Reach Deal on West Bank Settlements - Herb Keinon
Washington feels "an arrangement that works" can be hammered out with Israel on the settlement issue, a senior administration official told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday, indicating the U.S. recognizes some wiggle room in defining a "settlement freeze." "There's a professional, constructive dialogue on this issue," the official said. "We have differences, but believe we can find an arrangement that works." "We're working this through, consistent with the relationship between strong allies," he said. U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell will arrive in Israel on Tuesday to continue discussing the matter. (Jerusalem Post)
Three Dead in PA Police Raid on Hamas in West Bank
Palestinian police killed two Hamas militants on Thursday after the men opened fire at security forces who had surrounded their underground hideout, Palestinian officials said. One officer was also killed in the operation, part of an intensifying crackdown on Islamic militants in the West Bank town of Kalkilya. The Hamas gunmen had been wanted by Israel for several years, and one of the dead men was wearing an explosives vest. The raid was the second attack on a Hamas hideout in Kalkilya by PA security forces this week. (AP/Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Obama Addresses the Muslim World

President Obama Speaks to the World's Muslims - Robert Satloff
For many Muslims, the medium was the message: that a president would come to a major Muslim capital to address Muslims directly and that this president, with his compelling personal biography, would make a special effort to talk to Muslim youth - these are likely to be the most lasting impressions. The fundamental message was a call for partnership - the idea that U.S. goals and the objectives of Muslims around the world are not only congruent but also realizable by active and close cooperation.
The speech was notable for its often manufactured parallelism between blemishes in Muslim societies and blemishes in America and the West. This parallelism was perhaps most artificial in the president's discussion of the contours of the Arab-Israeli conflict. While no impartial observer can dispute the hardship of Palestinian life, it runs counter to history to suggest that Palestinians have "suffered in pursuit of a homeland," when, since 1937, Palestinian leaders have rejected no fewer than six proposals to achieve just that goal. Similarly, the president's statement about Palestinians who "wait in refugee camps...for a life of peace and security" says as much about Arab governments' indifference to their fate as the inability to reach a diplomatic solution with Israel.
Cairo marks President Obama's fifth major message to the world's Muslims - following his inaugural address, early al-Arabiya television interview, Iranian New Year greetings, and speech to the Turkish parliament. No one can contest the fact that he has fulfilled a personal commitment to make "engagement" with Muslims a high priority. If there is any meaning to the phrase "mutual interest and mutual respect," America can now rightfully expect to hear and see what Muslims leaders and peoples say and do in response. The writer is the executive director of The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The Cairo Appeal - Editorial
President Obama's address in Cairo offered an eloquent case for American values and global objectives - and it looked to be a skillful use of public diplomacy in a region where America's efforts to explain itself have often been weak. Mr. Obama uttered verses from the Koran, spoke about the success of U.S. Muslims, debunked extremists' claims and defended the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr. Obama's challenge will be to prevent Arab leaders from diverting the broad engagement he proposed into the narrow alley of the Mideast "peace process." Though the president warned against using the issue "to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems," some were already at it: "Arabs are waiting for pressure to be exerted on Israel," said Iraq's government spokesman. Mr. Obama's initiative will fail if Israel's compliance with U.S. demands becomes the stick by which Muslims measure the "new beginning" he offered. (Washington Post)
See also The Cairo Speech - Editorial (New York Times)
Obama in Cairo - Max Boot
Should Obama have summarized the real - as opposed to the air-brushed - history? Probably not. His point wasn't to settle historical accounts but to put the best face forward to the Muslim world. I thought he did an effective job of making America's case to the Muslim world. No question: He is a more effective salesman than his predecessor was. Which doesn't mean that his audience will buy the message. (Commentary)
Muslims Respond to Obama's Cairo Speech - Michael Slackman
Muslim listeners said they were struck by how skillfully Obama appropriated religious, cultural and historical references, including four quotations from the Koran and used Arabic greetings. "He spoke really like an enlightened leader from the region, more than like a foreigner," said Mustafa Hamarneh, the former director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. (New York Times)
Using New Language, President Shows Understanding for Both Sides in Middle East - Glenn Kessler and Jacqueline L. Salmon
There was no mention of "terrorists" or "terrorism," just "violent extremists." In an Arab capital, he spoke of America's "unbreakable" bond with Israel and condemned anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, an apparent repudiation of the anti-Israeli rhetoric that periodically emanates from Iran. Yet he also seemed to draw an equivalence between Jewish and Palestinian suffering. The president said: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." Not since Jimmy Carter has a U.S. president in his own voice declared the settlements to be illegal, but Obama tiptoed very close to the line. Obama deftly referred to a "Jewish homeland," slightly different from Israel's demands that it be considered a Jewish state. (Washington Post)
Obama's Age of Moral Equivalence - Jonathan Tobin
To be Barack Obama is to be, as he says, a person who can see all issues from all sides. But the problem with the Arab-Israeli conflict is not that both sides won't listen to each other or give peace a chance. That might have been a good point to make prior to the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993 when Israel recognized the legitimacy of Palestinian aspirations and began the process of handing over large portions of the area reserved by the League of Nations for the creation of a Jewish National Home for the creation of a Palestinian equivalent. But Israel offered these same Palestinians a state in virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza as well as part of Jerusalem in 2000 and again in negotiations conducted by the government of Ehud Olmert just last year. So, the problem is not that the Israelis don't want the two-state solution that Obama endorsed in Cairo. Rather, it is, as Mahmoud Abbas said in Washington only a week ago, that the Palestinians aren't interested in negotiating with Israel.
Even more obnoxious is his comparison of the Palestinians' plight to that of African-Americans in the U.S. before the civil rights era. Israelis have not enslaved Palestinians. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians rests on the latter's unwillingness to come to terms with the former's existence. The plight of Palestinians in Gaza is terrible, but it is a direct result of their own decision to choose war over peace, not a lack of understanding on the part of the Jews. (Commentary)
Do Obama's Words Reveal His Middle East Sympathies? - Peter Wallsten
With his speech in Cairo, Obama is laying bare more of his sympathies and inclinations in the volatile area of Middle East politics. Obama spoke, for example, of Palestinian "resistance" - a word that can cast Israel as an illegitimate occupier. Moreover, in his defense of Israel's legitimacy, Obama cited the Holocaust and centuries of anti-Semitism, but not the belief of some Jews that their claim to the land is rooted in the Bible and reaches back thousands of years.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Obama's remark that Jewish aspirations for a homeland were "rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied" was incorrect and "legitimizes the Arabs who say Israel has no place there." Several Jewish leaders described Obama's stance toward Iran's nuclear ambitions as too soft. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Obama in Cairo - Melanie Phillips (Spectator-UK)
Other Issues

Obstacles to Peace - Gary Rosenblatt
Given recent highly public and blunt statements about the need for Israel to halt all settlement activity, the Obama administration is going to be pressuring the Jerusalem government in the coming months. More disturbing is that the Palestinians get a pass on their commitment to stop terror while the pressure is brought to bear on Israel on the details of a settlement freeze.
Most disturbing is the willful blindness to two key facts. One is that the Palestinian Authority has virtually no Palestinian authority. Even if Abbas wanted to make peace with Israel, it would be meaningless because Hamas, the Iranian-backed terror group, controls Gaza and has its designs on the West Bank as well. But the diplomats, having no solution to this dilemma, choose to focus on bolstering Abbas, as if that would make a real difference.
The even more basic fact that no one wants to confront is that Palestinian determination to destroy the Jewish state precedes 1967 and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. To this day, no Palestinian leader has stated clearly that there is legitimacy to a Jewish state in the region. Though Netanyahu and every other Israeli political leader calls for living in peace with the Palestinians, no mention is made of the other half of the equation. (New York Jewish Week)
Holy Land Defendants Got What They Deserved - Editorial
The heavy sentences handed down in the Holy Land Foundation trial sent an unmistakable message to anyone contemplating financial gifts to terrorist organizations. Anyone who helps fund groups that make bombs to blow people up deserves stiff punishment. What's still lacking in this case is any statement of contrition by the five defendants that they did anything wrong. Their crime: to collect money that helped Hamas kill, maim and fulfill its goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth. These acts deserve condemnation. Having refused to admit wrongdoing and renounce the bloodshed they helped foment, the defendants will spend the next 15 to 65 years in prison contemplating the "good" they've done for their cause. (Dallas Morning News)
See also Hamas Condemns U.S. Charity Members' Prison Terms - Albert Aji (AP)
Taking Back the Narrative - Gerald M. Steinberg
Following the failure of the 1948 invasion to destroy the nascent Jewish state, Arab leaders began a massive effort to rewrite these events. The process was repeated in 1967, when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser's moves to wipe Israel off the map were turned into a "war of occupation." The narrative war, which has conquered Europe and is moving to North America, begins with the false history that portrays Israel as a Jewish "colonization project" forced on the Arabs by European anti-Semitism and guilt after the Holocaust. The violent Arab rejection of the original "two states for two peoples" proposal, and the continued refusal to accept a Jewish state, regardless of borders, has been removed from these histories.
In the narrative, the Palestinians are always innocent victims - by definition. Refugees from wars initiated by the Arabs are provided by an international support system with massive budgets that reinforce the narrative. The Arab version eliminates 3,000 years of Jewish history. (Jerusalem Post)
Weekend Features

Israeli-American Intelligence Contractor Killed in Afghanistan - E.B. Solomont
U.S. Army Lt. Col. (res.) Shawn Pine, 51, who also served in the IDF, was killed by a roadside bomb in Kabul last month while working as a contractor training Afghan army soldiers. The blast also killed another Jewish officer, Lt. Roslyn Schulte, 25. Pine moved to Israel with his family at age 17 and served in the Golani Brigade. Following his discharge, he graduated from Georgetown University and earned a master's in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas. In 2001 the U.S. Army stripped Pine of his security clearance because of his dual citizenship. Six months later, after an appeal, the clearance was reinstated. In recent years, Pine wrote extensively on military policies of Middle Eastern nations and Israel. In 2003, he wrote in the Nativ journal that Egypt's military expenditures were closer to $14 billion than the $2.7 billion being officially reported. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Egypt's Defense Expenditures - Shawn Pine (Nativ)
Extent of Nazi Camps Far Greater than Realized - Monica Hesse
A decade ago, researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum decided to create an encyclopedia of concentration camps. They assumed the finished work would be massive, featuring 5,000 to 7,000 camps and ghettos. Their ultimate count of more than 20,000 camps is far more than most scholars had known existed and might reshape public understanding of the scope of the Holocaust itself. "Instead of thinking of main death camps, people are going to understand that this was a continent-wide phenomenon," said Steven Katz, director of Boston University's Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.
"In most towns, there was some sort of prison, or holding area or place where people were victimized," says Paul Shapiro, director of the museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. "Think about what this means. For anyone who thinks this took place out of sight of the average person, this shatters that mythology. There was one Auschwitz. There was one Treblinka. But there were 20,000 other camps spread through the rest of Europe....What we are seeing in this project is that all of Europe was a camp." (Washington Post)
They Never Mention Jews Who Fled Arab Countries - Daniel Dagan
A few years ago, when I covered a visit to Cairo by former German president Johannes Rau, I stood in the reception line to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at his Cairo palace. After a routine handshake and a word of greeting in Arabic, I took him by surprise with the comment that I used to play on the property as a child. He didn't believe me, so I showed him my birth certificate - in Arabic: "Born at 1 Ibrahim Street, Heliopolis, Cairo." The headquarters of his regime used to be called the Heliopolis Palace Hotel and was considered the most beautiful residence in Africa. When I was a child living in the neighborhood, I played there often, as the manager was a friend of our family. To Rau standing next to him, Mubarak said: "Thank you for bringing an Egyptian brother with you."
When Mubarak and other Arab and Muslim leaders address the problem of refugees forced to leave their homes as a consequence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they fail to mention the one million Jews who fled Arab countries and sought a new home in Israel. Israel has been portrayed as a project of Western immigrants who seized a foreign country in the Orient. Yet I am an Israeli, I come from the Orient, and they never mention me. Considering the plight of nearly half the Jewish population in Israel who are refugees from Arab or Muslim countries and their descendants is an indispensable part of any debate on promoting accommodation between Muslims and Jews or Arabs and Israelis. The writer is the Berlin correspondent of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. (Jerusalem Post)
When Egypt Was in Gaza - Eliezer Whartman
When I first visited the Gaza Strip after the Six-Day War, I encountered a territory that had been run directly by the Egyptian army for 19 years. The secret police probed everywhere. No one was immune from sudden arrest and unlimited imprisonment without trial. The jails were always full and torture was common. There was official censorship of the press and mail, and telephone lines were regularly tapped. For 19 years, the inhabitants of Gaza were prohibited from leaving their homes from 9 p.m. until dawn on pain of death.
The Egyptians seized property at will, while refugees were prohibited from owning land. Thousands of young refugees were forcibly conscripted into the Egyptian army. Many were sent to fight Gamal Abdel Nasser's war in Yemen. Three-quarters of the able-bodied were unemployed. Medical and social services were almost nonexistent. The majority of Arabs outside the town of Gaza were left to rot, without sewage, running water, electricity or roads. (Jerusalem Post)

The Settlements Myth - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating." An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone - Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity.
What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001.
Why expel people from their homes and turn their towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly. This idea is not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the U.S. in 2004 - and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a resolution of Congress.
It is perverse to make "natural growth" the center point of the peace process at a time when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode - waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave - before he'll do anything to advance peace.
In his address in Cairo, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.
In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

another view

another view
"An African-American President with Muslim roots stands before the Muslim world and defends the right of Jews to a nation of their own in their ancestral homeland, and then denounces in vociferous terms the evil of Holocaust denial,"

Obama's speech

Obama's speech positive and negative

The Positive
By MARK S. SMITH, Associated Press Writer Mark S. Smith, Associated Press Writer – 56 mins ago
CAIRO – Quoting from the Quran for emphasis, President Barack Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims" Thursday and said together, they could confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the timeless search for peace in the Middle East.

"This cycle of suspicion and discord must end," Obama said in a widely anticipated speech in one of the world's largest Muslim countries, an address designed to reframe relations after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The White House said Obama's speech contained no new policy proposals on the Middle East. He said American ties with Israel are unbreakable, yet issued a firm, evenhanded call to the Jewish state and Palestinians alike to live up to their international obligations.

At the same time, he said the same principle must apply in reverse. "Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire."

But Obama said the actions of violent extremist Muslims are "irreconcilable with the rights of human beings," and quoted the Quran to make his point: "be conscious of God and always speak the truth ..."

"Islam is not part of the problem in combatting violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace," he said.

"Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist," he said of the organization the United States deems as terrorist.

"The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people," Obama said.

Obama also said the Arab nations should no longer use the conflict with Israel to distract their own people from other problems.

the negative

"At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" on the West Bank and outskirts of Jerusalem, he said. "It is time for these settlements to stop."

-He omitted that Israel is an ally of America (one it was a
good thing to be an ally of America)
-He did not refer to
Hamas as a terror organization,
-He uttered that complete naive stupidity of a world without nuclear weapons (which would be a world of
medieval horror as evil would win out over good) .
Obama continues down the same path of
pandering to evil regimes and talking instead of acting
-He basically East Jerusalem is to be internationalized (he actually said
Jerusalem but I give him the benefit of the doubt that he meant East
Jerusalem). "As for Jerusalem itself, he said it should be a "secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims ..." it ios t=right now-Internationalization will destroy this!!!

-His stand on settlements- many Israelis agree
with him but he needs to insist that Hamas stops its violence and recognize
Israel before he insists that Israel stop expansion of existing settlements.
-it wouldn't hurt for him to acknowledge the freedom of religion in
Israel and the protection of Christian and Moslem holy sites and the fact that
Saudi Arabia doesn't permit the practice of any religion except Islam.

-Evenhandedness in his
speech destroyed any moral or ethical considerations of Israel's
"no-choice but defense" of the Jewish People.
-His Evenhandedness
destroyed the notion that Israel was made up of refugees but the
Palestinians are victimized to this day by Israel (only because
Palestinians and Hamas use violence).
-His Evenhandedness of the tragedy
of the Holocaust with Palestinian suffering made Jewish culture in
Germany irrelevant without citing the intent of the Arabs to destroy
Israel. If Palestinians were in Nazi Germany they would have been
exterminated; imagine the Nazis pulling out of the territories in which
Palestinians lived.
-Evenhandedness got Obama to declare today that Iran
has legitimacy in pursuing nuclear development to power its oil rich
country despite the fact that it has been proven that they are pursuing
nuclear weapons.
-Israel is in the middle of simulated missile
attacks in Israel right now, and the president is telling us that Iran is
not a major threat to the world.
-The quote by Obama about destroying one life or saving one life, etc. may be in the Koran as Obama stated but it was the Rabbis of the Talmud who said=
it first.
-He praised the Moslems for
Nobel Prizes and major contributions to culture. He never mentioned that
slave trade exists today with some Moslem nations. He never mentioned
that Jews and Christians are dhimmis - second-class citizens in Moslem
-Israel at this moment has been bombed by Obama because the
real ticking bomb of Iran has not been addressed.
-Here was Obama's chance
to put IRAN on the agenda of the world, and he BOMBED. Thank God Israel
has the BOMB and God forbid we will have to use it to defend our Jewish
existence in the Jewish state if necessary.
-He said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul and
all your might" is found in Christian Scripture." try It is found in the Hebrew bible

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Foolish pressure


June 3, 2009


* Growing Concern in Congress Over Obama Pressure on Israel on Settlements - Ben Smith

The administration's escalating pressure on Israel to freeze all settlement growth has begun to stir concern among Israel's numerous allies in both parties on Capitol Hill. "My concern is that we are applying pressure to the wrong party in this dispute," said Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.). "I think it would serve America's interest better if we were pressuring the Iranians to eliminate the potential of a nuclear threat from Iran, and less time pressuring our allies and the only democracy in the Middle East to stop the natural growth of their settlements." Even a key defender of Obama's Mideast policy, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), is seeking to narrow the administration's definition of "settlement."
Other Democrats raised similar concerns. While few will defend illegal Jewish outposts on land they hope will be part of a Palestinian state, they question putting public pressure on Israel while paying less public attention to Palestinian terrorism and other Arab states' hostility to Israel. "There's a line between articulating U.S. policy and seeming to be pressuring a democracy on what are their domestic policies, and the president is tiptoeing right up to that line," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). "I would have liked to hear the president talk more about the Palestinian obligation to cut down on terrorism." "I don't think anybody wants to dictate to an ally what they have to do in their own national security interests," said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who said he thinks there's "room for compromise."
"It's misguided. Behind that pressure is the assumption that somehow resolving the so-called settlements will somehow lead to the ultimate goal" of disarming Iran, said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House minority whip. "A backward assumption is being made that if we deal with the Israel-Palestine question, somehow all the problems in the Middle East will be solved." The pro-Israel lobby AIPAC last week got the signatures of 329 members of Congress, including key figures in both parties, on a letter calling on the administration to work "closely and privately" with Israel - in contrast to the current public pressure. (Politico)
* Arab States Cool to Obama Pleas for Peace Gesture - Michael Slackman
President Obama starts his Middle East tour on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to press the Arab nations to offer a gesture to the Israelis to entice them to accelerate the peace process. But when he meets in Riyadh with King Abdullah, he should be prepared for a polite but firm refusal, Saudi officials and political experts say. "What do you expect the Arabs to give without getting anything in advance?" said Mohammad Abdullah al-Zulfa, a member of the Saudi Shura Council. (New York Times)
* Israeli Foreign Minister Meets Putin in Russia
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Tuesday in Russia with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "The first Russian-speaking foreign minister of the Jewish state has set developing relations with Russia as one of his priorities. Moscow is treating him in kind," the Russian daily Kommersant said. (AFP)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

* Israel: We Accepted Roadmap and Adopted Disengagement from Gaza - Based on Understandings with U.S. Over Settlements - Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger
Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said Tuesday that, "over the past decade, important understandings were reached on the issues of settlements, understandings that Israel abided by. While Israel committed itself not to build new settlements and to address the unauthorized outposts, there was an effort to allow for normal life in existing communities, especially those in the large settlement blocs that will definitely stay part of Israel in any final-status agreement." "On the basis of these understandings, the government accepted the Roadmap in 2003, and adopted the disengagement plan in 2005," the officials said.
Dov Weisglass, former Prime Minister Sharon's advisor who was involved in reaching these understandings with the U.S., wrote in Yediot Ahronot Tuesday that there was "no doubt" that the Bush administration recognized Israel's right to build within the construction lines of the settlements, on condition that no new settlements would be established, that there would be no expropriation of Palestinian land for the settlements, and that no budgets would be allocated for encouraging settlement. (Jerusalem Post)
* Israel Ready to Resume Negotiations with Palestinians Immediately - Yitzhak Benhorin
Israel is willing to resume diplomatic and economic negotiations with the Palestinians immediately, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday in New York. "I told the UN secretary-general that the current government is committed to a diplomatic and economic dialogue with the Palestinians," Shalom said following the meeting. (Ynet News)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

* Avoiding a U.S.-Israel Confrontation - Abraham Foxman
The last thing either the U.S. or Israel needs is an unnecessary conflict. For America, a rift with Israel will not impress the moderate Arabs despite their rhetoric, because what is on their mind is the Iranian and Islamic extremism threat. U.S. displeasure with Israel will send a message of U.S. diversion from and even weakness on the central strategic issue threatening the region. Moreover, the notion that Israeli steps stopping natural growth in the settlement blocs will turn the Muslim world around is an illusion. Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered to dismantle 80% of the settlements, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismantled all the settlements in Gaza. Yet none of these significant steps regarding settlements produced any moderation or concessions on the Arab or Palestinian side. The writer is national director of the Anti-Defamation League. (CBS News)
* With Support for Abbas, Is Obama Betting on Wrong Horse? - Leslie Susser
As the U.S. presses for progress in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, President Obama is redoubling Washington's efforts to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas. The thinking is that with strong American backing Abbas will be able to carry the Palestinian street and deliver a workable peace deal with Israel. But some analysts question whether Abbas has the clout to cut a deal that will be accepted by most Palestinians. They reckon Obama is betting on the wrong horse.
Some argue that Obama is making a huge blunder in trying to construct an ambitious new Middle Eastern peace edifice with a Palestinian partner who cannot deliver, due to Abbas' political weakness. It's not only a question of Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank; Fatah itself is deeply divided both between veterans and the young guard, and on key issues. Whereas Abbas is for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and a small group of leading businessmen argue that first there should be a long period of institution-building to ensure that the state is not established on a foundation of corruption. The upshot of all these divisions, says Menachem Klein, an expert on Palestinian affairs at Bar-Ilan University, is that Abbas and the Fayyad government have little support in Fatah or on the Palestinian street. (JTA)
* A New Red Line for Iran - Graham Allison
Over the past eight years, the U.S. has insisted that Iran would never be allowed to develop the capability to enrich uranium, as that could be used to build a nuclear bomb. Three unanimous UN Security Council resolutions demanded that Iran "suspend all enrichment-related activities." Technically, mastery of enrichment is the brightest red line short of nuclear weapons. Sadly, the strategy pursued to prevent Iran from crossing that red line failed. Iran has demonstrably mastered the capability to manufacture and operate centrifuges to enrich uranium, and has already produced more than a ton of low-enriched uranium - an amount sufficient, after further enrichment, to make its first nuclear bomb.
The best hope for defining a new meaningful red line is to enshrine the Iranian supreme leader's affirmations that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons in a solemn international agreement that commits Russia and China to join the U.S. in specific, devastating penalties for violation of that pledge. The writer is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. (Washington Post)


What Obama Will Tell the Arabs and Muslims in Cairo - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)

* During a telephone interview Tuesday with President Obama about his speech to Arabs and Muslims in Cairo on Thursday, he said a key part of his message will be: "Stop saying one thing behind closed doors and saying something else publicly." He then explained: "There are a lot of Arab countries more concerned about Iran developing a nuclear weapon than the 'threat' from Israel, but won't admit it."
* There are a lot of Israelis "who recognize that their current path is unsustainable, and they need to make some tough choices on settlements to achieve a two-state solution - that is in their long-term interest - but not enough folks are willing to recognize that publicly."
* There are a lot of Palestinians who "recognize that the constant incitement and negative rhetoric with respect to Israel" has not delivered a single "benefit to their people and had they taken a more constructive approach and sought the moral high ground" they would be much better off today - but they won't say it aloud.
* "There are a lot of Arab states that have not been particularly helpful to the Palestinian cause beyond a bunch of demagoguery," and when it comes to "ponying up" money to actually help the Palestinian people, they are "not forthcoming."
* "What I do believe is that if we are engaged in speaking directly to the Arab street, and they are persuaded that we are operating in a straightforward manner, then, at the margins, both they and their leadership are more inclined and able to work with us."
* Part of America's "battle against terrorist extremists involves changing the hearts and minds of the people they recruit from," he added. "And if there are a bunch of 22- and 25-year-old men and women in Cairo or in Lahore who listen to a speech by me or other Americans and say: 'I don't agree with everything they are saying, but they seem to know who I am or they seem to want to promote economic development or tolerance or inclusiveness,' then they are maybe a little less likely to be tempted by a terrorist recruiter."

See also Obama's Muslim Speech - Madeleine K. Albright (New York Times)
See also Obama and the Freedom Agenda - Paul Wolfowitz (Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Worst President since Carter

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will try to repair U.S. ties to the Islamic world this week in a speech from the Middle East that aides say will reach out to Muslims but deal with tough issues like the peace process and violent extremism.
Obama, who departs for the region on Tuesday, will use his address to try to repair some of the damage to America's image caused by the Iraq war, U.S. treatment of military detainees and the lack of progress in Mideast peace talks."

Will Obama will be the worst president for Israel since Jimmy Carter, and maybe much more dangerous?

And whose fault is the "lack of progress in Mideast peace? Obama obvuisly means the Palestinians but ask any Arab nation which is the biggest problem and they will tell you Iran. Only Obama does not understand that. and on that issue- Israel gave away the conquered Sinai for peace with Egypt, made a treaty with Jordan, pulled out of Gaza only to get daily missiles, and Barak offered 96% of the West Bank to Arafat who started Intafada 2 in response. Hamas Hezbollah and Iran have made it clear the only progress towards Middle East peace it will envisions is a destroyed Israel.
Every day seemingly this president puts more and more pressure on Israel. He will obviously do nothing about Iran getting nukes, and evidently sees Israel as the one holding up the Palestinian state, even though Abbas can't even control downtown ramallah, let alone make a deal for Palestinians.

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June 2, 2009


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In-Depth Issues:

Military Intelligence: Iran Will Have Enough Uranium for Bomb This Year - Rebecca Anna Stoil (Jerusalem Post)
By the end of the summer, Teheran could have enough low-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of IDF Military Intelligence's research division, warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
However, the low-enriched uranium would have to be processed into highly-enriched weapons-grade material before it could be used for a bomb.
Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the committee last month that "Iran is intentionally advancing its nuclear development in such a way so as not to cross any nuclear red lines, by enriching low-grade uranium that is not sufficient for weapons development, but that can quickly be adapted to weapons-grade uranium in such a short period of time that the process can't be sabotaged."
Baidatz also downplayed the potential impact of Iran's June 12 elections, arguing that both of the leading candidates - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hossein Mousavi - are equally problematic regarding Israel.


IMF Blames Arab Donors for Palestinian Cash Crisis (AP/Ha'aretz)
The Palestinian Authority faces a serious cash crisis after receiving only half of the aid money it needs to function every month, the International Monetary Fund said Monday, blaming delinquent Arab donors.
The PA needs $120 million in aid monthly but is receiving only $66 million. European countries and the U.S. have largely fulfilled their aid pledges, economists said, while Arab countries have sent only a quarter of the amount they promised.


Ayatollah Khamenei: The Real Power in Iran - Mehdi Khalaji (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
On June 3, Iran will mark the twentieth anniversary of Ali Khamenei's appointment as the leader of Iran. While international attention is focused on the June 12 presidential elections, the winner of that contest will remain subordinate to Khamenei in power and importance.
Khamenei has attained his powerful position by taking control of key government agencies and building a robust bureaucracy under his direction.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been converted into an economic-political-military-intelligence conglomeration responsible only to Khamenei.
He is also head of all three branches of the government, the state media, and is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, including the police. Khamenei has the final say on foreign policy issues.


Muslim Convert Kills Soldier Outside Arkansas Recruiting Office - Steve Barnes and James Dao (New York Times)
Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 23, opened fire at two soldiers standing outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock on Monday, killing one private and wounding another.
Muhammad, who had converted to Islam as a teenager, told police investigators he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Obama: U.S. Needs to Be "Honest" with Israel - Michele Norris and Steve Inskeep
In an interview Monday, President Obama said: "I don't think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel. I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace. And that's going to require, from my view, a two-state solution that is going to require that each side - the Israelis and Palestinians - meet their obligations. I've said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements, including natural growth, is part of those obligations. I've said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that, I think, understandably makes the Israelis so concerned, that those obligations have to be met."
"Part of being a good friend is being honest. And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory in the region, is profoundly negative - not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests." (National Public Radio)
See also Obama Plays Down Dispute with Israel over Settlements - Alan Cowell and Helene Cooper
President Obama on Tuesday played down a dispute with Israel over his demand for a suspension of further Jewish settlement in the West Bank but reiterated his call for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Referring to the debate about settlements in an interview with the BBC, Obama said the "conversation" with Israel was at an early stage. "Diplomacy is always a matter of a long, hard slog. It's never a matter of quick results." (New York Times)
Tony Blair: Hamas Must Renounce Violence to Enter Peace Talks - Ian Black
Hamas cannot be part of any Middle East peace talks until it renounces violence, Tony Blair told the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Monday. Blair, marking nearly two years since being appointed Middle East envoy for the Quartet, said: "The essential thing is to make the shift from saying 'we reserve the right to use violence' to a position that says 'we will have peaceful resistance only and be part of political negotiations.' It's better that Hamas be part of this process, but they've got to be prepared to agree to that. I hope they do because this issue would be a lot easier to deal with if everyone was around the table."
"If they want to become part of this they have to stop being ambiguous," he said. "If they give a 'yes, but' answer it's not really any good. If there was a definite change of mind to embrace peaceful resistance, to go the Gandhi route, it would totally change the dynamics of this situation overnight." (Guardian-UK)
Israel Begins Its Biggest Civil Defense Drill - Steve Weizman
Israel began the biggest civil defense drill in its history on Sunday, putting soldiers, emergency crews and civilians through rehearsals for the possibility of war at a time of rising tensions with Iran. The five-day drill, code-named Turning Point III, will include simulated rocket and missile attacks on Israeli cities, including preparations for a nonconventional strike. Air-raid sirens sounded across the country on Tuesday and for the first time, all Israeli civilians practiced taking cover in shelters when the sirens went off.
During the 2006 war in Lebanon, Hizbullah fired 4,000 rockets into Israel. "Our enemies long ago showed they believe that the home front is our Achilles heel," said Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai. "We are drilling there to prove that it is not." (AP)
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U.S. Will Continue to Support Israel at UN - Yuval Azoulay
The U.S. will maintain its support of Israel at the UN, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said Monday after the New York Times reported that the Obama administration was considering reducing U.S. support to force Israel to halt all construction in West Bank settlements. "We've long worked to ensure that Israel is treated fairly at the United Nations. That will continue," Wood said. Talk of possible sanctions prompted one senior Israeli official to say: "The Netanyahu government is acting the same as its predecessors. The one who has changed policy is the American administration. The new administration is trying to get out of understandings achieved under the Bush administration." (Ha'aretz)
Netanyahu: U.S. Stance on Settlements "Unreasonable" - Hilary Leila Krieger and Herb Keinon
On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu characterized the U.S. demands to freeze all building east of the "green line" as "unreasonable," telling the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: "It is likely that we are not going to reach an agreement with the Americans" regarding settlement construction. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel to UN: Probe Hamas Rockets, Not Israel "War Crimes"
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York that the UN should investigate why militant rocket fire has yet to stop after eight years, rather than question Israel's military activities during the Gaza war. UN human rights investigators began work on Monday to try to determine whether war crimes were committed during the Gaza war last January. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the Israeli government believed the four-member committee had been told "to find Israel guilty even before the investigation begins." (Ha'aretz)
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Memo to President Obama - Jim Hoagland
Cling to one thought as you work on your greatly anticipated speech to the Muslim world Thursday in Cairo, Mr. President: There is no American solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that you can heroically deliver from on high. Peace must be built from the bottom up by the warring sides. It would be pleasing to your hosts to suggest a made-in-the-USA plan for the Middle East. Some of your aides believe this is a special moment that can end the region's Sixty Years' War if you intervene forcefully enough. But that neglects history and the internal logic of the conflict.
Your own face-off with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks ago suggested that you hoped to bring a West Bank settlement freeze to the Cairo masses and a global Muslim audience this week. Netanyahu pushed back by ruling out unilateral gestures, insisting that Israel, the Palestinians and moderate Arab states move simultaneously. The settlements cannot be treated in isolation or used as trophies with which to win Arab favor. (Washington Post)
What's the Rush for a Palestinian State? - Marty Peretz
"In the West Bank we have a good reality....We are having a good life," Mahmoud Abbas, the putative president of putative Palestine, told Washington Post journalist Jackson Diehl. Then what's the rush? And what's the panic? If the Palestinians are content with their situation in the West Bank, as Abbas says they are, they also have little incentive to make any compromises. This just about knocks the wind out of Obama's whole Palestinian state initiative. (New Republic)
Paradigm Shift - Editorial
U.S. policymakers have always opposed Israel's presence beyond the "green line." Still, there's no denying the disturbing change in tone emanating from Washington, which is elevating the settlements issue to an importance which is disproportionate. It's being accompanied by a paradigm shift: pressing Israel while coddling the Palestinians. Final borders need to be negotiated. And when they are, all settlements on the "wrong" side of the line will be dismantled - just as they were when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. It would therefore be reasonable, in the interim, for Washington not to make an issue of modest levels of natural growth in these communities.
At the same time, a freeze within the strategic settlement blocs, including Jerusalem, that Israel intends to retain in any agreement is simply not on the agenda. When American decision-makers denigrate painful Israeli sacrifices - including disengagement; when they disregard the commitments of their predecessors, they are not fostering peace. Rather, they're giving mainstream Israelis cause to fear making further sacrifices. (Jerusalem Post)

North Korea-Iran Cooperation on Nuclear Weapons - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

Iran's military and R&D links to North Korea go back more than 20 years, when Iran purchased 100 Scud-B missiles for use in the Iran-Iraq war. Since then, Iranians have reportedly been present at a succession of North Korean missile tests. North Korea also seems to have off-shored its missile testing to Iran after it declared a "moratorium" on its own tests in the late 1990s.
In a 2008 paper published by the Korea Economic Institute, Dr. Christina Lin of Jane's Information Group noted that "Increased visits to Iran by DPRK [North Korea] nuclear specialists in 2003 reportedly led to a DPRK-Iran agreement for the DPRK to either initiate or accelerate work with Iranians to develop nuclear warheads that could be fitted on the DPRK No-dong missiles that the DPRK and Iran were jointly developing. Thus, despite the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stating that Iran in 2003 had halted weaponization of its nuclear program, this was the time that Iran outsourced to the DPRK for proxy development of nuclear warheads."
According to a 2003 report in the Los Angeles Times, "So many North Koreans are working on nuclear and missile projects in Iran that a resort on the Caspian coast is set aside for their exclusive use."
North Korea's second bomb test last week might also have been Iran's first. If so, the only thing between Iran and a bomb is a long-range cargo plane.