The American Kafir

2012/05/07

The Genocide that Obama Refuses to Prevent

Source Article Link: FrontPageMag

The Genocide that Obama Refuses to Prevent

By Daniel Greenfield

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Obama unveiled an “Atrocities Prevention Board” to, in his own words, “prevent and respond to mass atrocities”.  The “Atrocities Prevention Board” is notable mainly for what it is not and his speech was notable for the topic that it avoided. Genocide.

While Obama mentioned ‘atrocities’ twelve times in his speech, he only mentioned ‘genocide’ three times and one of those times he was quoting from the mission statement of the Holocaust Museum. The list of examples from his own policies contained only one example of genocide, the mass murder program carried out by the Sudanese government.

Tellingly Obama described this actual genocide as a ‘conflict’ rather than an atrocity and urged both sides to negotiate, a sharp contrast with his next three examples, in Cote D’Ivorie, in Libya and in Uganda, where he clearly placed the blame on three leaders and described military and pseudo-military actions that he had taken to end the violence.

President Omar al-Bashir, whom he urged in his speech to have the “courage” to negotiate and make peace, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. There is no comparison between the actions of Gaddafi or Gbago and those of Bashir. Yet Obama ignored actual genocide, and defiled the Holocaust Memorial Museum by using it as a stage for whitewashing one of the world’s worst ruling mass murderers.

Obama was equally unwilling to call out Iran’s mass murdering thugs, Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, by name. He briefly mentioned that his administration would continue to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but refused to make the connection to the events of the day.

“The uniform shout of the Iranian nation is forever ‘Death to Israel,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that, “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor on this region that should be cut off. And it definitely will be cut off.”

Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, the personal representative of the Supreme Leader, appeared on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television to boast that, “We have manufactured missiles that allow us, when necessary, to replace (sic) Israel in its entirety with a big holocaust.”

Israel holds the largest Jewish population in the world. The threat to destroy it is an open threat of genocide. But while Obama repeated his false claim that the entire population of the Libyan city of Benghazi had been at risk, motivating him to act, there was no acknowledgement that Israel does actually a face a threat of genocide.

At an event commemorating the attempted extermination the Jewish people, Obama spoke at length about the plight of the Syrian rebels, who are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose spiritual leader has praised Hitler for carrying out the Holocaust and called for the extermination of the Jews.

“The last punishment was carried out by Hitler…” Yusuf al-Qaradawi had said of the Holocaust. “This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”  And at the Holocaust Museum, all Obama could think of was how to put Qaradawi’s cronies into power in Syria, as he had already put them into power in Egypt.

There is no genocide in Syria. At best there are “atrocities”, a vague word that can mean just about anything. Nor is there any actual threat of genocide. Not in Syria or Libya or Egypt, or any of the other places that Obama intervened. The only place in the Middle East that lies under the shadow of genocide is the Jewish State.

There is no serious prospect that the majority of Arabs will be wiped off the face of the earth. Nor the majority of Persians or Turks. There is only one group in the Middle East whose extermination is called for in every Muslim capital, whose murder is preached in mosques, whose massacre is written in blood on the pages of Islamic scripture.

Mohammed began his rise to power with the persecution of the Jews. He ended it with the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians and his successors have perpetuated his crimes, generation after generation, teaching their children to hate and kill, grooming them with cartoons and songs to make genocide seem virtuous.

Today there are more Jews living in Germany than there are in the Muslim nations of the Middle East. There are more Jews living in Poland, where over 90 percent of the Jewish population was exterminated during the Holocaust, than there are in Iran. Within a generation the Muslim world was emptied of Jews more comprehensively than even Poland and the Ukraine had been after the Holocaust.

Not satisfied with an ethnic cleansing that Hitler could only envy, the Muslim world dreams of a final orgy of death, the genocidal vision so often quoted by its Imams and incorporated into the Hamas charter, “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him said, ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’”

You can read the rest of the article at FrontPageMag

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2012/05/02

Studying Antisemitism on Campus

Studying Antisemitism on Campus

by Phyllis Chesler
Jewish Ledger

http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/1085/studying-antisemitism-on-campus

A very gallant Dr. Charles Asher Small just delivered an important lecture at the 92nd St Y. in New York. Yes, this is the same Dr. Small who, in 2004, founded the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), which he housed at Yale University from 2006-2011—until the Yale Corporation decided that the Center’s work on Islamic Judeophobia and specifically on Iranian genocidal Judeophobia threatened Yale’s “scholarly commitments” in the region.

Who could make this up?

This was the first time that Dr. Small spoke about this publicly.

Dr. Small is Canadian and grew up in Montreal. He speaks in a restrained and reasonable way about outrages and injustices. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

I was privileged to have met him in 2003 and to have worked with him while he was at Yale. I have also written about his work and its tragic demise at Yale.

This time, Dr. Small named names.

But, he first wondered why Israel, which is blamed for every conceivable wrong, is also to blame for whatever problems American Jews are having in terms of communal identity or renewal. He wondered how different American Jews and Jewish leaders are today when compared to the American Jewish leaders in the 1920s and 1930s, as economic problems worsened and a virulent antisemitism arose. “Sound familiar?”, he asked.

Dr. Small noted that antisemitism is different from all the other ‘isms’ such as racism and sexism. “It is inherently genocidal,” he said. It was “genocidal during the religious era when Jews were the wrong religion” and were accused of holding back the Messianic age by both “refusing to convert to Christianity” and for having committed “deicide.” And it is genocidal today. But there is a taboo today at work that impedes any rational search for the truth.

Small went on to say that no one is examining radical Islamic ideology No one is questioning the dominant world view. Instead, everyone is into postmodernism, cultural relativism and politically correct non-judgementalism. He defined anyone who has been formerly colonized as being a victim whose customs and traditions cannot be judged.

Charles and I agree on this new and clever form of racism and paternalism. Universal rights for me and thee – but not for the female victims of honor killing, forced child marriage, female genital mutilation, and forced veiling. Religious rights for Muslims in the West, but the lethal persecution of Christians, Hindus, and Jews in “Muslim lands.”

Meanwhile, Charles’ Institute at Yale was vibrant, dynamic and thriving. About 3 and a half years ago, a philanthropist offered Charles and his Institute five million dollars if Yale would raise 15-20 million dollars. Dr. Small delivered a strategic business plan. The development office said it was “wonderful.”

But the environment changed when the current Iranian regime suddenly listed Yale as an “enemy of the revolution.” Small and his Institute were blamed by some for having gotten Yale in trouble, resulting in Yale’s telling Small to stop dealing with radical Islam, radical Islamic Judeophobia, and Iran. Absent his dealing with those topics, he was told, he could enjoy a long and happy career at Yale.

But Radical Political Islam, not Islam the religion, not the Muslim people, but Radical Political Islam, the genocidal movement, is a key part of the irrational hatred against Jews and Israel in today’s world. When Charles convened in August of 2010, the largest academic world conference on global antisemitism to have ever been held, Radical Political Islam was part of the discussion. It couldn’t be ignored. It was not the focal point of the conference. It wasn’t even mentioned by most of the speakers. But it was included in some presentations by a few of the 107 speakers from 23 countries who made up the program.

What was to come was signalled when the assembled conference attendees were welcomed rather sourly by associate Yale Provost, Frances Rosenbluth. Before a word was spoken or paper presented, she warned that the scholarship to be presented needed be constrained and she pre-emptively labeled outcomes when she said presenters were “not to engage in Islamophobia.”

A young Palestinian actively blogged throughout the conference and in real time characterized speakers as “racists” and “Islamophobes.” Instead of measured analysis, dialogue and prudent deliberation, his name calling reverberated across the internet kicking off a firestorm which resulted, three days later, in the newly appointed PLO “ambassador” in D.C. writing to Yale President Levin charging Yale with “racism.”

Here’s the thing. Tell the truth about Radical Political Islamism and you will be branded a racist. Dare expose the Muslim practice of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, religious intolerance, and gender apartheid and you will find yourself branded a “conservative racist” and therefore demonized.

It happened to me early on, between 2003-2005.

It has happened to every single truth teller ever since, including Dr. Charles Small.

Small and his colleagues were attacked irrationally. National Public Radio chimed in and a Yale Professor accused the Institute of being similar to Black Panthers. The chorus grew and Yale had its excuse to end its relationship with the Institute and Charles Small. In so doing, Yale confiscated the film of the conference, framed a report which it marked ‘confidential’ (something they’d never done before in this kind of circumstance) and didn’t allow Charles Small or any of his colleagues at Yale to see it. These actions could hold the record for abruptness and lack of considered process extended when compared to all other departures. Adding insult to injury, with several week’s notice, Yale asked Charles Small to leave.

But it is now a year later and this quiet talk to a hushed audience at the 92nd St. Y marked the beginning of a new chapter in the struggle to tell the truth and expose the deception that is going on behind the curtain in academia today. The whole episode at Yale was instructive and underlines the urgent need for an independent institution that studies antisemitism in real time, and not merely as an historical artifact and novelty. Antisemtism is as virulent, threatening and genocidal as it has ever been and the need for a Charles Small and an organization like ISGAP, that is not afraid to seek the truth, is more pressing than it has ever been. If not now, when.

2012/04/13

Israel Pays for Christian Acid Attack Victim’s Care

Filed under: Acid Attack, Christianity, Israel, Jihad, Muslim, Shari'a Law — - @ 10:16 am

H/T FrontPageMag

Yet another reason why the Jewish State is the moral center for the Middle East. Visit TheUnitedWest.org.

Israel Pays for Christian Acid Attack Victim’s Care

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2012/04/07

Egypt: ‘Islamocracy’ under Military Rule

Source JCPA

Egypt: ‘Islamocracy’ under Military Rule

By Jacques Neriah

A year after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt seems to be drifting into an unparalleled and unprecedented form of government and a unique political experiment in the Arab world: power and authority are being divided between Muslim fundamentalists led by the Muslim Brotherhood and their rivals in ideology, the Salafists. Both are partisans of an Islamocracy (meaning a combination of theocracy and democracy), with Field Marshall Mohammad Hussein Tantawi orchestrating the twenty or so members of the Army General Staff, acting as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as the supreme rulers of Egypt. The only remaining question is: to what extent will each of the contenders avoid stepping onto his neighbor’s turf? In other words, will the Islamists, as the main hijackers of the democracy movement in Egypt, accept that the military will remain the source of power and authority in their Islamocracy?

Indeed, the transition process of handing power from the military to the “democratically” elected civilian bodies seems to be stuck and has become the focus of friction between the SCAF and the Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the great winners of the parliamentary elections organized in 2011-2012. The military is not in a hurry to subordinate itself to the civilian authorities, while the Islamists, although eager to capture power as the legitimate winners of the democratic process, behave as if they are afraid to provoke the military. They fear a confrontation that could lead to widespread bloodshed, similar to Algeria in 1990 when Islamists won the first free elections in the young nation’s history, triggering a civil war with 20,000 casualties before Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned to power with army support.

As a result, the two sides in Egypt periodically check the extent of their authority and assess the limits to which they can act independently without provoking a reaction by the other side. From this perspective, it seems obvious that the episodes of violent confrontation that have occurred in Egypt in the process of political transition are not due to a lack of experience but rather are the result of a strategy on the part of the SCAF. According to Stephan Roll from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, this strategy has three additional components: gauging public opinion, obscuring decision-making processes, and playing the various political parties and movements off against one another. This strategy became evident in the debate over the design of the new Egyptian Constitution. In March 2011 the SCAF announced that a new constitution would be drafted by a constituent assembly. However, in late 2011 when it became clear that the Islamists would dominate the process after winning the elections, secular-oriented politicians pressed for the adoption of “supra-constitutional principles” that would guarantee the establishment of a democratic state with civilian rule. The SCAF tried to use those demands to its own benefit by introducing a document outlining principles of a revised constitution that granted the military even greater authority than it had possessed under the previous constitution: complete control over the defense budget and veto power over all decisions affecting the military. Massive protests convinced the SCAF to withdraw the motion.

On the other hand, since the beginning of the January 25 revolution against Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has avoided any direct confrontation with the SCAF. Members of the Brotherhood appear to repeatedly seek dialog with the SCAF. The Muslim Brotherhood strategy remains the same as it was under the previous regime: to change the system from within. The Muslim Brotherhood received 41 percent of the Egyptian vote, with 26 percent going to Muslim extremists known as Salafists, a jihadist movement that believes in “holy war” against the “crusaders,” i.e., Christians and Jews. In Arnaud de Borchgrave’s words, “what these two branches of Islam have in common is their idea of “free” elections – one-man, one-vote, one-time. After their expected victory, Egyptians can forget about another free election as far as anyone can peer into the future.”

Indeed, since the Brotherhood is focused on domestic policy, it should have no intrinsic problem accepting the fact that the military will decide on matters of national security and foreign policy, at least initially. This does not mean that motions in the National Assembly will not be raised and discussed and attempts will even be made to constantly undermine the authority of the SCAF. Recent months have provided sufficient proof that although the legislators in the National Assembly have debated and made decisions on crucial issues, the SCAF has either ignored these decisions or worse, adopted steps completely opposed to the decisions of the National Assembly.

Key Issues

a. The NGO Issue: The SCAF decided to release the American defendants in the court case involving pro-democracy NGOs (including the son of the U.S. Transport Secretary), who had been barred from leaving Egypt, after the State Department paid $300,000 bail for each of them. The judge appointed to deal with the case decided on the first day of hearings that the case would be adjourned for a few months. The SCAF is clearly indicating to American legislators that it is still to be considered a U.S. ally and that no limitations should be put on the $1.3 billion in U.S. aid that finances as much as 80 percent of Egyptian military procurement. This contrasts very clearly with the March 11 National Assembly vote to order an end to this aid, a reflection of tensions with the U.S. over the NGO activists charged with illegal activity.

b. Relations with Israel: Even though the atmosphere in Cairo today is not in favor of Israel (as it never really was in the past), the SCAF has given its approval for the continued presence of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo. The SCAF accepted Israel’s regrets for the killing of several Egyptian soldiers in the aftermath of a terrorist action on the road to Eilat in summer 2011. In March 2012, Egyptian intelligence head Murad Mowafi again brokered a cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. For the eleventh time, Egypt has repaired the gas pipeline with Israel and beefed up its troops in Sinai in its quest to “reconquer” this part of Egypt which had been left to al-Qaeda and Bedouin operatives.

c. The Challenge from Within: Following the departure of the American NGO defendants, Egypt’s parliament voted on March 10 to begin steps to withdraw confidence from the military-appointed government, a move that will pressure the SCAF to appoint a new cabinet led by the Muslim Brotherhood. A vote of no-confidence would take Egypt into new political waters and could set the stage for a confrontation if the SCAF refused to yield to the will of the National Assembly. It could also complicate negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a $3.2 billion loan the government of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri is seeking in order to stave off a looming financial crisis after more than a year of political and economic turmoil. The problem for the Egyptian government is that it could not afford to continue antagonizing Washington for too long. Egypt is rapidly running out of foreign exchange reserves. The financial shortfall was created both by the collapse in business and the tourist trade following the revolution, and also as the long-term consequence of an unsustainably high and growing level of public subsidies. The IMF loan is vital if the country is to prevent a severe financial crisis.

d. Domestic Repression: According to several sources, more than 12,000 civilians have been detained by military tribunals in the past year – more than in the Mubarak era that lasted over 30 years. One year after the president’s fall, not a single senior officer in any Egyptian security force has been convicted in the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising. Only recently did an Egyptian court rule as illegal the so-called “virginity tests” endured by hundreds of women who were arrested at rallies, demonstrations or protests. This procedure, performed by male doctors, was used as customary practice by the military.

e. The Trial of Former President Hosni Mubarak: The trial of the former president was slow to start after the revolution. Since he left office, Mubarak has spent no time in prison, instead remaining under 24-hour medical watch at advanced medical facilities. His defense lawyers have been allowed to call hundreds of witnesses, a process that could delay his trial indefinitely. And while Mubarak is granted all of the protections of due process, civilians facing much lesser charges are being tried rapidly in military tribunals. Lawyers, victims, and revolutionary groups have questioned the intentions of the SCAF or government prosecutors to deliver true justice.

To sum up, it seems that the military has managed to outmaneuver other forces in the country (Islamists, revolutionary youth, liberals, business elites, and even foreign governments) by creating conditions on the ground whereby everybody discreetly feels the military should play a role in safeguarding the political process, despite calls for its complete marginalization from political life. It is no coincidence that the only actual democracy Egyptians have ever experienced in five millennia was between 1946, the end of the British mandate, and 1952 when Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser and his “Free Officers” seized power and overthrew the monarchy. Egypt’s military held power for the next 60 years (18 years under Nasser, 12 with Anwar Sadat, and 30 with Hosni Mubarak) and it does not seem likely that Field Marshall Tantawi would be the last of Egypt’s military rulers. Nevertheless, unlike the past, there might be a situation of co-existence between the military and the growing power of Islam in Egyptian society. On this front the military can do very little. The external expressions of Islamocracy are widespread today in Egypt. It would be a fair assessment to say that they are here to last. But in no way does this have to be antagonistic to the actual military rule that still prevails in Egypt.

In today’s reality, a power-sharing arrangement between the SCAF and the Islamists seems very likely. One possible compromise would be to delineate specific areas as domains under the authority of the president-elect, with the establishment of a National Defense Council, much as the SCAF is today, to support him in these policy areas. Such a body is already provided for in the old constitution (Article 182), but it has only an advisory role. The executive roles adopted by the SCAF are pure improvisations because of the political vacuum created by the resignation of Mubarak. Such an alternative could appease the military but would limit the powers of the president and the Islamist-led National Assembly. In other words, it would be the continuation of the situation that prevails today in Egypt. Such an arrangement between the parties would hold as long as the specter of civil war remained present or as long as the Islamists continue to accept the supremacy in power of the military. Any detected weakness in the behavior of the military would be interpreted as a sign to end the de-facto arrangement.

About Jacques Neriah

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

2012/04/05

A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel

Filed under: Arab Nations, China, Israel — - @ 9:17 am

A fascinating read. W

Source JCPA

A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel

Vol. 12, No. 6    2 April 2012

  • In recent years, the world has witnessed China’s growing involvement in the international arena – whether through its veto in the UN Security Council, its military conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East, buying U.S. and EU debt, or its declaration that the South China Sea is an integral part of China.
  • In the minds of the Chinese, Jews retain a highly respected status as a people who have survived over the millennia against all odds and have attained achievements that belie their miniscule numbers. The Chinese take great pride in Shanghai’s status as one of the only cities in the world that accepted Jewish refugees during World War II.
  • In the 12th Five-Year Plan, published in 2011, China’s leadership announced a national intention to raise the country from being the world’s factory to becoming a leading innovator. This new focus led the Chinese to seek the potential contribution of Israel – the “Start-Up Nation.”
  • Interactions between China and Israel had risen significantly over the years but had remained largely “off the record,” due to the Arab nations’ strong influence on the PRC leadership’s public approach to Israel. In 2011 this began to change. Five formally acknowledged Israel Studies programs were established across China, and in September, China’s most powerful political body – the Communist Party – expressed a formal interest in Israel’s political echelons in a public fashion by participating in the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
  • Despite its close ties with the Arab world, China was caught completely off guard by the Arab Spring. They were devastated by the $20 billion in losses they suffered with the fall of Gaddafi, hammering home their lack of understanding of the Middle East. In their search for accurate and reliable information, leading academics began to seek out Israel, an island of stability whose geographic proximity to the Arab Spring offers unique access.

China’s Growing International Involvement

Historically China was inward looking, for over 1200 years seeking no role in the international theater. The world’s most populous nation was preoccupied with its own culture, history, and survival.

Driven by the pressing goal to feed and provide basic resources to their people, the Chinese leadership ventured outside their territory beginning in the early 1980s. While this trend grew, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) kept its head down and focused on building its economy and pulling itself out of the turmoil and desolation created by the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Within 25 years, this Asian nation transformed itself into an economic power and China has bestowed new responsibilities on the nation’s government. In recent years, the world has witnessed China’s growing involvement in the international arena – whether through its veto in the UN Security Council,1 the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden2 and contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East, buying U.S. and EU debt,3 or its declaration that the South China Sea is an integral part of China.4

Israel-China Relations

Though the Israeli government extended recognition to China on January 9, 1950, it took until January 1992 for the two nations to establish formal diplomatic relations.5 Subsequent to an August 1950 resolution by the Arab League forbidding any Arab country from acknowledging China, the 1955 Bandung Conference was held which excluded Israel and forged a bond between China and the Arab world.6 Nevertheless, as China came to recognize Israel’s potential to contribute to its economic and military modernization goals, clandestine military exchanges between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the PLA slowly developed. They began with an initial contact made at the Paris Air Show in 1975. By the early 1980s, Israeli technology in the fields of agriculture, solar energy, information and communications technology, and construction made their way to Asia’s largest nation.7

Sino-Israel relations took a turn for the worse, however, when Israel adhered to a U.S. mandate to renege on a major sale in 1999 of the Phalcon, a sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft that would allow the Chinese to gather intelligence at a distance,8 and again in 2004, when Israel began repairs and upgrades on the Harpy drones, laser-guided unmanned aircraft Israel had sold to China in 1994. Israel eventually succumbed to U.S. pressure, backing out of its earlier agreements with the PRC.9

Economic Synergies Form Common Ground

While political relations deteriorated significantly, Israel continued to contribute to agricultural and water technology advancement in China.10 Over time and with great effort by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business interaction was soon revived and growth was nurtured. The value of total bilateral imports and exports reached $7.65 billion in 2010, nearly 150 times their 1992 value.11 In the minds of the Chinese, Jews retain a highly respected status as a people who have survived over the millennia against all odds and have attained achievements that belie their miniscule numbers. China is a nation with no indigenous anti-Semitism. The Chinese continue to see Jews and themselves as two ancient civilizations, with shared values in, among others, family, education, and hard work. The Chinese continue to take great pride in Shanghai’s status as one of the only cities in the world that accepted Jewish refugees during World War II.12

Beyond cultural affinities, key occurrences in the past few years have engendered a noticeable warming in China-Israel relations. In the economic arena, the 2008 subprime debacle drew the economies of the West into recession, causing Israeli businesses to look east in a more comprehensive and serious fashion. In 2010, Foxconn,13 the leading manufacturer of such products as the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360, with 13 factories across China, suffered suicides by a number of its employees said to be protesting oppressive pressure in the workplace. China’s leadership responded by making innovation a priority in the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan, published in 2011. The ruling Communist Party announced a national intention to raise the country from being the world’s factory to becoming a leading innovator. This new focus led the Chinese to seek the potential contribution of Israel – the “Start-Up Nation.”14

With Wealth Comes Responsibility

Economic factors influenced political ones. During 2010, China was internationally recognized as having the second largest economy in the world, following the U.S.A. This led to growing self-confidence by China’s leadership and the nation as a whole. One manifestation of its new self-image was the political echelon’s public acknowledgment of a growing interest in relations with Israel. Interactions between the two countries had risen significantly over the previous years but had remained largely “off the record.” For example, prior to this transformation in attitude, China’s provincial leaders and other officials and diplomats could visit Israel to advance business, finance, technology, and science exchanges. However, few could formally meet with Israel’s political sector or deal with Israel regarding geopolitics. This stemmed in part from the Arab nations’ strong influence on the PRC leadership’s public approach to Israel.

Signs of change were subtle but convincing. SIGNAL (Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership) experienced the transformation firsthand through our research in mid-2010 investigating China’s interest in high-level academic interchanges with Israel. We learned that there were 10 Jewish Studies centers across China, all established over the past 20 years. However, there was not a single Israel Studies program. This was a symptom of China’s official attitude towards Israel – the study of Judaism and Jewish history is non-political and non-offensive to the Arab world. Studying Israel, however, would indicate an official sanctioning of the Jewish nation as an academic focus.

When SIGNAL proposed the idea of establishing Israel Studies Programs at Chinese universities in mid-2010, a university in Southwest China responded with great interest. The director of their Jewish Studies Institute wanted to re-name the center “Israel Studies.” However, she was advised by more experienced and politically connected scholars that just making such a request could shut down the center. If there was interest in Israel Studies, it should be done quietly, without any formal acknowledgment. In 2011, SIGNAL established five formally acknowledged Israel Studies programs across China. Less than one year into the program, the same university that was advised to avoid the word “Israel” submitted a request to China’s Ministry of Education to form an Israel Studies center. It was now possible to obtain official government funding for a program bearing the name “Israel.”

Academia Bridging the Gap

Another example of change in China’s official approach to Israel was the staging of the first-ever China-Israel Strategic Studies conference. Never before had scholars from China and Israel come together to address geopolitical issues of mutual concern. SIGNAL’s due diligence in mid-2010 indicated that high-level and influential Chinese academics and experts would not come to Israel for such an event, nor would they host one in China. The alternative was to hold the event at a leading university in the U.S.A. – capitalizing on China’s strong interest in improving U.S.-China relations. However, in late 2010 there was a glimmer of change in China’s public recognition of Israel. China’s Communist Party invited the Likud “foreign minister” to visit.

Since Israel’s political parties do not have foreign ministers, the ruling Likud Party sent MK Yuli Edelstein. Perhaps more significant was the Communist Party’s invitation to Edelstein to participate in a “think tank conference” joining the Likud Party think tank with the Communist Party think tank. While China’s Communist Party did not realize that Israel’s political parties do not have affiliated think tanks, the salient point was that the party publicly invited Israel’s ruling party to take part in an Israel-China academic event focusing on issues of political interest. The significance of this development lay in China’s most powerful political body expressing formal interest in Israel’s political echelons in a public fashion. Due to this transformation in attitude, in September 2011, SIGNAL held the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, co-hosted by the Center for Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) and in conjunction with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Lauder School of Government.

2011 proved to be a banner year for warming China-Israel relations. Official visits between the two governments grew in both number and rank, capped with visits by General Chen Bingde and Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. But for all the governmental and academic exchanges taking place, on close examination it becomes clear that China’s leadership continues to lack a basic understanding of Israel and the region. The minimal information they and their academic advisors do have is primarily sourced via their 50-year-old network of affiliations throughout the Arab world and Iran. Israel and China share no such network of trusted associations built over years of studying in each other’s universities, touring each other’s countrysides, or interacting extensively within shared diplomatic frameworks.

“Arab Spring” Stirs Mid-East Policy

Despite their close ties with the Arab world, China’s government and ruling party were caught completely off guard by the Arab Spring. They were in virtual shock to discover that 65,000 of their citizens were working in Libya when the evacuation of foreigners from that country began, and were devastated by the $20 billion in losses they suffered with the fall of Gaddafi,15 hammering home their lack of understanding of the Middle East. In response, China’s leaders directed their academic advisors to find new avenues for investigation. In their search for accurate and reliable information as well as analysis and interpretation, leading academics from Beijing and Shanghai began to seek out Israel. They learned that Israel is an island of stability, while its geographic proximity to the Arab Spring offers unique access without being drawn into the fray.

Perhaps due in part to the Arab Spring, the ambassadors of the 22 Arab nations have been putting increasing pressure on China to take action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is often the case in China, policy advice on such matters is sourced to the nation’s leading academic community. The Middle East Research Center at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) developed a new model for diplomatic involvement in the Middle East and North Africa. In response to the Arab community’s complaint that China sits on its proverbial hands, showing indifference to the region, the Center coined the new program, “Constructive Participation.” “Constructive Participation,” which aims to be the new paradigm for Chinese public diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, infers China’s gradual shift away from its traditional “non-interference” policy towards a strategy in which government, businesses, and NGOs seek to contribute to the development of the region.

The Middle East Center’s pilot trip brought a 30-person delegation of business leaders and scholars to Israel and the PA on February 26-29, 2012. The CEOs, presidents, and general managers comprised the largest group of high-level business people ever to come to Israel and the PA for the sole purpose of investment. The scholars accompanying them aimed to promote economic stability while collecting empirical information on the region in order to carry out “Constructive Participation.”

China’s economic achievements have created a new reality for the world’s most populous nation. Demands and expectations internally and externally will continue to grow and to some extent, China will be seeking out Israel, its scholars, and experts as a trusted source of information and greater understanding in order to meet the responsibilities brought by its economic success.

* * *

Notes

1. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/russia-china-veto-un-security-council-resolution-on-syria-1.411033

2. http://maritimeindia.org/article/military-operations-other-war-pla-navys-role-peaceful-development-china

3. http://www.iss.europa.eu/publications/detail/article/how-the-debt-crisis-can-advance-sino-european-relations/

4. http://peoplesreview.com.np/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7897:explosion-in-the-south-china-sea&catid=40:view-point&Itemid=59

5. E. Zev Suffot, “Israel’s China Policy 1950-1992,” Israel Affairs 7 (2000): 103; Zhang Shuguang, “Constructing ‘Peaceful Coexistence: China’s Diplomacy Toward the Geneva and Bandung Conferences, 1954-1955,” Cold War History 7.4 (2007): 514.

6. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-09/07/c_131112714.htm

7. John Burns, “Israel and China Quietly Form Trade Bonds,” New York Times, July 22, 1985.

8. http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp473.htm

9. http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2004/12/29/Israels-China-US-weapons-dilemma/UPI-26081104355028/

10. http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/foreign-view/2011-03/628938.html

11. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-03/03/content_12106851.htm

12. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5488614

13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn%20-%20cite_note-wsj-5

14. Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (2009).

15. http://chonzfashion.hubpages.com/hub/Chinas-investment-in-Libya-is-more-than-20-billion-and-the-amount-of-loss-is-difficult-to-estimate

*     *     *

About Carice Witte

Carice Witte, SIGNAL’s founder and executive director, is a graduate of Yale University in East Asian Studies with a focus on China and has served as President of the Yale Club of Israel for the past eight years. After a 20-year entrepreneurial career in Israeli high tech and international real estate, Witte merged a commitment to Israel, respect for China, and belief that academia can provide a key to discovering creative approaches leading to much needed solutions by establishing SIGNAL, Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (中以学术交流促进协会), to enhance strategic, diplomatic, cultural, and economic relationships between China and Israel through academia.

2012/03/29

State Department Refuses to Say Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital

Source Arutz Sheva

State Department Refuses to Say Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital

U.S. State Department spokeswoman refuses to say outright that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital during daily press briefing.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday refused to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, according to a report by The Weekly Standard.

The report said the exchange took place at the daily State Department press briefing. The questions Nuland was asked were regarding a Washington Free Beacon story that highlighted the State Department’s refusal to list Jerusalem as part of Israel.

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Earlier in the week, the Washington Free Beacon had shown an official State Department communication which labeled Jerusalem and Israel as separate entities.

The official press release stated that “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel.”

After the Washington Free Beacon reported on this, the communication was altered to read, “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.”

On Wednesday, a reporter asked Nuland about this, saying, “Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the department about the travel of your boss. Is it the State Department’s position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?”

Nuland said in response, according to the State Department transcript, “Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed. The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances. We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for — our — Kathy Stevens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it’s a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.”

The reporter did not let up and asked Nuland whether it was the view of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, to which Nuland responded, “We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.”

The reporter then asked, “Does that — does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?” and Nuland responded, “Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through negotiations.”

Q: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Is that correct or not?

Nuland: I have just spoken to this issue — and I have nothing further to say on it.

Later on during the briefing, the same reporter asked once again, “I want to clarify something, perhaps give you an ‘out’ on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your — is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think — or is it just East Jerusalem?”

The irritated Nuland, according to The Weekly Standard, then responded, “Matt, I don’t have anything further to what I’ve said 17 times on that subject. OK?”

The issue of Jerusalem being recognized by the U.S. as Israel’s capital has been at the forefront for many years. It is centered on whether Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The U.S. Congress defined Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1955, passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995, (PDF copy of the Full Text and Summary are below) to have the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999, The act called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5) and the House (374–37), but not implemented by the State Department and the Executive branch.

Attorney Harvey Schwartz, Chair of the American Israeli Action Coalition, explained in an interview with Arutz Sheva several months ago, “United States policy has been consistent since 1948 that Israel is not sovereign over Jerusalem. Rather, the question of Jerusalem’s sovereignty is to be determined, ultimately, by resolution between the parties. That’s been consistent U.S. policy.”

The question of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is central to the Menachem Zivotofsky v. Hillary Clinton case. The case involves Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem and whose parents requested that the place of birth on his U.S. passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad be listed as Israel.

The State Department refused the request, leading the Zivotofskys to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court returned the decision on the issue to the lower court.

In their decision, the justices wrote, “Congress enacted a statue providing that Americans born in Jerusalem may elect to have “Israel” listed as the place of birth on their passports. The State Department declined to follow that law, citing its longstanding policy of not taking a position on the political status of Jerusalem. When sued by an American who invoked that statute, the Secretary of State argued that the courts lacked authority to decide the case because it presented a political question. The Court of Appeals so held.

“We disagree. The courts are fully capable of determining whether this statute may be given effect, or instead must be struck down in light of authority conferred on the Executive by the Constitution.”

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Crude “Solidarity Movement” Poster Exploits Rape

Filed under: anti-Semitism, “Solidarity Movement”, Israel, Vulgarity — - @ 12:05 pm

Source NGO Monitor

Crude “Solidarity Movement” Poster Exploits Rape

Pretense of human rights used for demonization

Update: According to a statement issued by Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity on March 14, 2012 and published on the JTA website, the group claimed that the Vaseline rape poster was on their Facebook page for approximately 30 minutes, and the poster depicting the rape of a woman was accessible only on the poster designer’s private Facebook page.

The title of both posters, “Migron Amok,” is a crude play on words referencing the 1970s pornographic film, “Deep Throat” (the word Migron, a West Bank settlement, is similar to the Hebrew word for throat, garon).  The text on both posters read:

“If they were residents of Haifa, Beer Sheva or Ashdod they would be in jail. But they are settlers. So shut up, bend down, swallow, you probably know that you want it.”

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the “rape” posters, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz published an exposé on sexual harassment within “leftist organizations.”  The story explains that the poster, featuring a jar of Vaseline and inflammatory rape rhetoric, “angered activists, almost as much as the incidents of sexual harassment.” The exposé also includes a letter sent from an activist to her friends at Anarchists Against the Wall, “in which she wrote of the incidents of sexual harassment she had experienced in Kfar a-Dik, a West Bank village where the organization holds protests in support of the Palestinians from time to time.”

Ha’aretz obtained other testimonies that tell “of a wider phenomenon of sexual harassment and assault of Israeli and foreign protesters in the West Bank. In the past two years, at least six incidents were recorded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem: two in Sheikh Jarrah, four more in the Mount Hebron area, in Masra, in Kfar a-Dik, and an alleged case of attempted rape in Umm Salmona, near Bethlehem, that was revealed in Haaretz.”

NGO Monitor originally reported on this story in August 2010 following a July 14, 2010 article in Ha’aretz.  The human rights NGO community in Israel has generally ignored this problem because they view it as a distraction from their political activism.  

In addition to the Ha’aretz story, numerous activists have spoken out against the exploitation of rape in both posters, as seen here, here, and here.

JERUSALEM – A poster published on the official Facebook page of the political advocacy NGO known as the “Solidarity Movement” depicts a woman being raped, as a metaphor for Israel allegedly being “raped” by “settlers.” This image is highly offensive and represents the antithesis of tolerance, dialogue and human rights, according to Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

“The poster is a vitriolic, offensive, and highly distorted depiction of Israeli society and the legal process,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “By publishing this, the Solidarity Movement has completely dropped the pretense of promoting human rights and tolerance. This is not the first time that an NGO claiming a human rights agenda has exploited a crude rape image as part of the wider political assault against Israel.”

The poster depicts a woman forcefully pinned down with her mouth held open, with the poster title a takeoff of the film “Deep Throat.” The text, referring to the controversy over the Migron settlement, proclaims: “If they were residents of Haifa, Beer Sheva or Ashdod they would be in jail. But they are settlers. So shut up, bend down, swallow, you probably know that you want it.”

“Since its inception as the Sheikh Jarah Solidarity Movement, (named after a Jerusalem neighborhood characterized by intense property disputes) this NGO has become increasingly inflammatory in its rhetoric and activities,” Steinberg added. “Sara Benninga, a leader of the group, has accused Israel of ‘fascism’ and ‘ethnic discrimination against its residents,’ and protesters at rallies hold up signs declaring ‘Apartheid is here.’ [Note: A webpage with the “Apartheid is here” poster was later removed from the Solidarity website.] Such language fundamentally contradicts the declared principles of one of its main donors, the New Israel Fund, and demonstrates the urgent need for foundations and governments to closely monitor and hold grantees accountable.”

Adds Steinberg: “Individuals and organizations that claim to promote human rights and liberal values in the context of a broader conversation have a moral obligation to condemn this, and ensure that their funding does not enable such flagrant abuses. Indeed, some Solidarity members have spoken out, but not enough.”  The image on the rape poster, which appeared on the official Solidarity Movement Facebook page, was changed (though the language remained the same) after criticism by some members.  The original and new version can be viewed here and below:

2012/03/28

European-government funded NGOs lobby for latest UNHRC investigation

Source NGO Monitor

European-government funded NGOs lobby for latest UNHRC investigation

Summary

On March 22, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution calling for “an independent international fact-finding mission, appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” This was one of five resolutions at the 19th UNHRC Session focused on allegations of Israeli violations (more than any other country); Israel is also the only country targeted by a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC. In response to this consistent violation of the universal human rights framework, the Israeli government announced an end to all contacts with the UNHRC.

As with the 2009 UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (led by Judge Richard Goldstone), the 2002 pseudo-investigation on the basis of the “Jenin massacre” myth, and many other examples, this resolution reflects the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the powerful Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This alliance was also responsible for the infamous UN Durban Conference, in which the NGO Forum adopted a strategy for the “complete isolation of Israel” using false allegations of “war crimes” and pseudo-investigations, and the one-sided 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Israel’s security barrier.

Before the latest UNHRC session, the Ramallah-based Al Haq, funded by Norway, Ireland, and the NDC mechanism (joint funding from Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) submitted a written statement on behalf of 11 Palestinian NGOs, lobbying for “a UN Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the widespread and systematic nature of Israel’s policies and practices that lead to the forcible transfer of the protected Palestinian population.” These NGOs include European-funded Palestinian activist groups, Al-Dameer, Al-Mezan , BADIL, and Defence for Children International-Palestine Section.

Additionally, during the session, NGOs – Al-Haq, BADIL, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (also on behalf of Palestinian Centre for Human Rights), and Nord-Sud XXI (North-South XXI) – made oral statements in support of the anti-Israel resolutions, using demonizing rhetoric and advancing a one-sided and biased agenda.  These NGO statements ignore or contradict the Oslo framework, jointly negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, which regulates the administration of the West Bank. European governments and the EU played a significant role in establishing and preserving the Oslo framework.

Reflecting the lobbying and language in NGO statements, the UNHRC resolution condemned Israel for: “the wall”; “expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads”; “Israel’s announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the settlements located in the Jordan Valley”; and “The Israeli decision to establish and operate a tramway between West Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev.”

As a result of this and similar campaigns, these NGOs and their European government sponsors share in the responsibility for the exploitation of the UNHRC as a framework for political warfare and discrimination against Israel.

Excerpts from NGO oral and written statements:

Al-Haq, Al Mezan, BADIL, DCI-PS, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and others, joint written statement, February 23, 2012:

  • “We urge (s) this Council to form a UN Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the widespread and systematic nature of Israel’s policies and practices that lead to the forcible transfer of the protected Palestinian population.”
  •  “[We] urge the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons to conduct a visit to the OPT without delay and to report on his findings to the Council.”

Al Haq representing 11 Palestinian NGOs, oral statement, March 19, 2002:

  • “The international community cannot continue to ignore Israel’s practices of apartheid, as they are part and parcel of the denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. We call upon this council to recognize that Palestinians in the OPT are subject to practices of apartheid and to establish a fact finding mission to examine Israel’s violations and to indicate how best to ensure respect for international law.”
  • “These abuses are part of a systematic practice of apartheid, which has seen the noose grow tighter and tighter around the neck of the Palestinian people.”

BADIL, written statement, February 27-March 23, 2012:

  • “Israel’s discriminatory land laws constitute a pillar of its colonial apartheid system.”
  • “In order to achieve this aim, Israel has implemented various land and planning laws. These laws were formulated with two general policies in mind: (a) the ‘confiscation and colonization’ of the vast majority of Palestinian owned land; and (b) the ‘concentration and containment’ of the Palestinian population within small pockets of land, which are dispersed and fragmented across the OPT and within Israel.”
  • Quoting a B’Tselem publication: “Israeli space has been highly dynamic, but the changes have been mainly in one direction: Jews expand their territorial control by a variety of means including on-going settlement, while Arabs have been contained within an unchanged geography.”

BADIL, oral statement, February 27- March 23, 2012:

  • “This [the killing of 28 Palestinians and 75 injured during recent fighting in Gaza] confirms that Israel fails to take sufficient precautions to avoid the loss of civilian life…they represent Israel’s ongoing strategy to debilitate and devastate the Palestinian population in Gaza. These frequent attacks are an intensified effort to intimidate and traumatize the Palestinians living there.”
  • We therefore urge the Human Rights Council to draw urgent attention to Israel’s continued impunity and its ongoing aggression against Gaza.”

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), oral statement, March 22, 2012:

  • “PCHR AND IADL note that the collective punishment of the prisoners, and the imprisoned population of the Gaza strip, graphically illustrates the consequences of the impunity extended to Israel and responsible Israeli officials.”

EAFORD (International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), written statement, February 16, 2012:

  • “The international community wants both sides to have a better future, but could the Israeli leadership ever respect the resolutions of the United Nations and Security Council as long as it can rely on United States veto power which so far has encouraged Israel to ignore its responsibility and trample on international law? How many more Palestinians need to be made homeless before the wolf is no longer entrusted with the hen house? [sic]”
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Israel sees new advantage in Iron Dome anti-missile system

Filed under: Iran, Iron Dome, Israel, Missile Defense, National Security, Obama — - @ 9:14 am

Source McClatchy

Israel sees new advantage in Iron Dome anti-missile system

By Sheera Frenkel |

ASHKELON, Israel — Israel’s newest weapon sits squarely along the border of this southern Israeli town. The Iron Dome, a rocket interception system built by Israel, guards many of the cities that lie within the range of rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The system, considered among the most advanced in the world, fires a missile to intercept incoming rockets after it gauges whether a rocket will fall in an area where it can cause damage. It is, according to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a “game changer.”

When violence flared along the Israel-Gaza border earlier this month, the effectiveness of the Iron Dome was tested, and Israeli officials couldn’t have been more pleased.

Of the approximately 250 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, 166 entered Israel’s airspace, officials said. Of those, 74 would have struck civilian areas or buildings. The Iron Dome system intercepted 56 before they could land, a success rate of 75 percent. Israeli officials argue, however, that the Iron Dome also identified rockets that were headed for open areas, such as fields, and let them land harmlessly. Factoring those in, Israeli military officials argue that only 18 of the 166 landed anywhere on target, giving the system a success rate of nearly 90 percent.

Israeli military officers and politicians said the success of the system gave Israel “diplomatic maneuverability” that it didn’t have previously.

Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz described the Iron Dome’s impact as a “serious and historical military change.”

Gantz said the ability to protect Israeli population centers from rocket attacks removed one of the key factors that the military had always seen as a limitation on its operations: what the likelihood was of reprisals.

Now, Gantz added, the Israeli military can operate relatively undeterred without concern about rocket attacks. The barrage of rockets earlier this month was triggered by the targeted killing in a drone strike of Zuhair al Qaissi, a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committee, an umbrella group that includes militants from various Palestinian factions.

Iron Dome is just the beginning, Gantz said. While it focuses on smaller rockets with a relatively short range, such as those from the Gaza Strip, Israel is installing other systems that are intended to stop larger missiles, fired from farther away.

David’s Sling, a system built in conjunction with the U.S. military, is designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Another system, the Arrow, also developed with the United States, would intercept ballistic missiles fired from hundreds of miles away.

Israeli military officials said they hoped the systems would deter militants from firing rockets.

“If they know we have the ability to stop their rockets from hitting their targets, they might abandon this method,” said one Israel Defense Forces officer, who spoke to reporters recently on the condition of anonymity. “In the long run we can hope for this.”

Already though, the impact on Israeli residents of the south has been felt. Writing in The Jerusalem Post, military analyst Yaakov Katz said that, “Israel’s political leadership is under less pressure from the public that is under the rocket fire. As a result, neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Defense Minister Ehud Barak feel a need to escalate the operation.”

Meira Cohanim, a 56-year-old resident of Ashkelon, said she felt comforted that the military was trying to intercept missiles from Gaza, even if the system wasn’t 100 percent effective.

“Before, you had this feeling that the rockets were just pounding away,” she said. “And they would land wherever they did and your home was hit or it wasn’t. Now there is a feeling that something might be changing; we might be protected.”

Iron Dome, she said, might give the Israel Defense Forces more leeway to operate in Gaza, but she hoped that it wouldn’t mean another war.

“The people in Gaza don’t have Iron Dome or even bomb shelters. I know some people here think it’s good for us to attack them, but there are innocents and children there, too,” she said. “I hope Iron Dome brings peace, not one-sided war.”

(Frenkel is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

Pentagon presses Congress for more Iron Dome systems

Source The Hill

Pentagon presses Congress for more Iron Dome systems

By Carlo Munoz –

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is pushing for congressional funding to ship more Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel.

“The Department of Defense has been in conversations with … Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement released Tuesday.

DOD had set aside more than $200 million to help Israel purchase and field the Iron Dome system in fiscal 2012. Israel already has three Iron Dome systems deployed in the country.

They have been key in deterring counter short-range rocket and mortar attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, according to Little.

The system “has played a critical role in Israel’s security,” successfully intercepting 80 percent of the 300 rockets and mortars fired into southern Israel earlier this month, Little said.

The Pentagon’s vote of confidence has spurred on advocates on Capitol Hill, who are pressing for additional sales of the weapons system.

“I am pleased that the President now acknowledges the need to increase funding to counter a deadly threat, and I look forward to working together to identify the additional resources necessary to help defend our Israeli friends,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a Tuesday statement.

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), a member of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, said he will push for more Iron Dome funding, noting the weapon has been “remarkably successful in saving lives and preventing all-out war.”

“Iron Dome helps give Israel the ability to protect its civilians while giving its leaders the strategic space and time to take the appropriate action to root out terrorists and carefully plan their next steps,” Rothmansaid in a statement issued Tuesday.

“Iron Dome is a game changer,” said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.). “The threats Israel faces from incoming, indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks are countered by this cutting edge anti-missile system. Iron Dome is fundamentally shifting political, diplomatic and military realities on the ground.”

Berman, a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has pushed a number of pro-Israeli measures, including an extension of an Israeli loan guarantee program and further sanctions against Iran, along with more funding for Iron Dome systems.

Most recently, he introduced a bill to allow additional sales of the Iron Dome system to Israel. Co-sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the “Iron Dome Support Act” has garnered 21 additional co-sponsors since its introduction on March 21.

2012/03/26

Egypt working to prevent Iran attacks on Israeli targets, sources say

Filed under: Egypt, Iran, Israel, MIddle East, National Security, Nuclear — - @ 5:33 pm

Source Harretz

Egypt working to prevent Iran attacks on Israeli targets, sources say

A high-ranking official in Jerusalem said last week that Iranian military experts have been active on Israel’s southern border, as well as in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.By Avi Issacharoff

Egyptian security forces thwarted an attempt by Iran to blow up an Israeli ship in the Suez Canal, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported on Saturday.

The attack was being planned by two Egyptians who were recently arrested and interrogated, the prosecution in Egypt’s state security court reportedly claimed.

An investigation allegedly revealed that the men, Suleiman Razek Abdul-Razek and Salameh Ahmed Salameh, had received their instructions from Iranian agents. They reportedly asked a third person, Mohammed Zakri, to carry out the attack in exchange for 50 million Egyptian pounds.

The two men denied any involvement.

Hezbollah terror cells in Egypt – including the Suez Canal – have been found to be planning terror attacks in the past. Israeli officials have recently warned that Iran is setting up terror infrastructure on Egyptian soil to prepare for an operation.

Sources said on Saturday that they have no information to support the Egyptian newspaper’s report. However, they attribute importance to the very fact that the claim was published. Although a few months ago Egypt allowed Iranian destroyers though the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean – the ships docked at a Syrian port – it prohibited Iranians from striking Israeli targets in its territory; Egypt also threatened to prosecute anyone who was found to be attacking Israeli targets in coordination with the Iranians, according to a report.

A high-ranking official in Jerusalem said last week that Iranian military experts have been active in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

“We can see signs that Iran is building a terror infrastructure throughout Sinai,” he said. The official added that although Israel has responded to every Egyptian request to beef up its forces in Sinai, no significant Egyptian operation has taken place in Sinai since the Egyptian revolution last year.

Several terror groups are now at large in Sinai, the source claimed: local Bedouin, who are adopting the ideology of the Global Jihad; groups supported by Iran who are trying to recruit and train militants not only in Sinai but throughout Egypt; and Palestinian organizations. Joining them are Global Jihad militants from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the official said, adding that Israel and Egypt share a common interest in combating these terrorist elements. The official said the Iranians are urging and directing Palestinians to carry out attacks, and that they have tried to encourage Hamas to do so as well.

“It must be remembered that a host of Palestinian organizations are using Sinai to carry out attacks,” the official said, adding that since ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s fall, Libya has become a huge arms depot, where weapons are transferred to Egypt and then the Gaza Strip.

Iranian intelligence has been increasingly involved in events on Israel’s southern border, both in Gaza and Sinai. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week directly accused Iran for the escalation on the Gaza border two weeks ago.

Most Jewish Israelis say Iran strike less risky than nuclear threat

Filed under: Iran, Israel, Nuclear — - @ 5:21 pm

Source Haaretz

Poll conducted by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs finds 60% believe that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar

Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a new survey shows.

The poll, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, showed that 65 percent of those asked agreed with the claim that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed with this claim, with nine percent saying they weren’t sure.

The poll questioned 505 Jewish Israelis, representing five different populations: secular, traditional, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Russian immigrants. When breaking down the response into sectors, 72 percent of the religious Zionist respondents agreed with the statement, compared to 65-66 percent of the secular and traditional respondents. Men were also more likely to support the statement than women, with 73 percent of the men questioned preferring an attack on Iran, as opposed to 56 percent of the women.

Most of those polled (60 percent) agreed that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 37 percent that did not agree. In this instance, too, the religious respondents were much more decisive, as were male ones, with 70 percent of the men agreeing that military reaction was the only way, compared to 50 percent of the women who agreed.

This gender gap raises the question of whether the more moderate women’s viewpoint would be taken into account by the security cabinet, which would have to decide whether to actually attack. There are no women in that cabinet; Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat is an observer but has no vote.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned believe the Israeli home front will suffer equally whether Israel attacks Iran or the United States does, compared to 29 percent who disagreed with that statement. Sixty-four percent expressed confidence that the Israel Defense Forces could significantly damage Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 29 percent who disagreed. The religious and traditional respondents were much more supportive of the IDF than the other population groups (secular, Russians and ultra-Orthodox ).

U.S. Policy on Preventive Military Action against Iran

Filed under: AIPAC, Barack Hussein Obama, Iran, Israel, Laws, National Security — - @ 5:13 pm
Source JCPA
by  Dore Gold

Published March 2012

Vol. 12, No. 3    25 March 2012

U.S. Policy on Preventive Military Action against Iran

Dore Gold

  • During his March 4 AIPAC speech, President Barack Obama came closer than ever before to declaring that, should sanctions fail, he was prepared to use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Did this mean that the Obama administration is indeed prepared to launch a preventive strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future?
  • If that is the case, this would represent a sharp break from the position of many of the critics of the 2003 Iraq War who rejected the legal right of the U.S. to undertake such attacks.They includedhighly respectedscholars like Harold Koh, the Dean of Yale Law School, who would become the legal adviser to the State Department under Obama.Koh wrote in the Stanford Law Review in 2003 that the Iraq War “was illegal under international law.” These legal questions from the Iraq War are likely to have an impact on how the Obama administration treats the Iranian issue.
  • Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who headed the CIA in the 1990s,has noted that by the time the U.S. may know whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, it might be too late to take any action. “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.”
  • Historically, past U.S. governments have used force without any UN authorization: from Kennedy’s naval quarantine around Cuba to Reagan’s air attack on Libya to Clinton’s missile strikes on the El-Shifa chemical plant in Sudan which was suspected of being a weapons factory. The same is true of NATO’s war against Serbia over Kosovo. None of these attacks involved an imminent threat of attack on the U.S.

During his March 4 AIPAC speech, President Barack Obama came closer than ever before to declaring that, should sanctions fail, he was prepared to use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He explicitly rejected the idea that the U.S. should base its approach in the future on deterring a nuclear Iran, stressing that his policy was preventing a nuclear Iran instead: “Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”1

Obama then listed the efforts his administration had undertaken against Iran, at the end of which he said: “and yes a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.” He repeated, “I will take not options off the table,” adding, “and I mean what I say.” There was no explicit guarantee that the U.S. would attack Iran if Tehran reached the point of assembling a weapon. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta further clarified the administration’s policy two days after Obama spoke: “Military action is the last alternative if all else fails, but make no mistake: When all else fails, we will act.”

Did this mean that the Obama administration is indeed prepared to launch a preventive strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future? If that is the case, this would represent a sharp break from the position of many of the critics of the 2003 Iraq War who rejected the legal right of the U.S. to undertake such attacks.

Is Preemption Legal?

These critics were mostly found in the halls of American academia and a number of leading law schools, which had been Barack Obama’s milieu before he entered politics. They included highly respected scholars like Harold Koh, the Dean of Yale Law School, who would become the legal adviser to the State Department under Obama. Koh wrote in the Stanford Law Review in 2003 that the Iraq War “was illegal under international law.”2 These legal questions from the Iraq War are likely to have an impact on how the Obama administration treats the Iranian issue.

In the shadow of 9/11, it was the 2002 Bush Doctrine that asserted most forcefully the U.S. right to engage in preventive attacks when it spoke about “taking the battle to the enemy…to confront the worst threats before they emerge” [emphasis added]. In contrast, the famous Article 51 of the UN Charter asserts an “inherent right of self-defense if armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.” As a result of this language, there has been a school of thought in the legal community that insists that the use of force is only permitted after an armed attack has actually occurred.

But the legal implications of the language of Article 51 are not so clear-cut. In fact, there has been a second school of thought which recognized the right of preemption in armed conflict, which is sometimes called “anticipatory self-defense,” on the basis of customary international law.3 Historically, the right of preemption was recognized as far back as the nineteenth century, when Secretary of State Daniel Webster detailed the preconditions for preemptive strikes after the British attacked an American steamer, the Caroline, along the U.S.-Canadian border.4

According to this second school of thought, the right of preemption that existed in international customary law was not superseded by the strict language of Article 51 of the UN Charter. For example, Sir Humphrey Waldock, who would become President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, delivered a lecture in 1952 in which he stated: “it would be a travesty of the purposes of the Charter to compel a defending State to allow its assailant to deliver the first and perhaps fatal blow.”5 Israel’s attack in the 1967 Six-Day War demonstrated again the legitimacy of preemption when it appears that war is about to break out.

The Bush Doctrine

Bush took this a step further, past preemption to prevention, by saying that America was not going to wait until the last minute before acting, but rather would neutralize threats well before they became imminent. His National Security Strategy document argued: “We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries.”6

Within two years, Bush’s ideas were forcefully rejected, especially in liberal circles, as U.S. forces became bogged down in the Iraqi insurgency. The New York Times published an editorial in September 2004 entitled: “Preventive War: A Failed Doctrine.” Along with Harold Koh, Prof. Michael Doyle from Columbia University convened a seminar in 2008 under the prestigious Carnegie Council, which he opened by saying, “talking about preventive self-defense today, in the wake of the Iraq fiasco, is something like interviewing the passengers in the lifeboats of the Titanic about their views on ocean travel.”7 It seemed that the U.S. was not again going to take military action so quickly against a rogue state developing nuclear weapons, as in the case of Iraq.

There were two main legal arguments repeatedly voiced against preventive military actions by the U.S. First, the threat they were seeking to neutralize was not imminent, as in the case of a preemptive strike, but rather was still undergoing a process of formation. Alan Dershowitz explained in his 2006 book, Preemption, that there was a consensus that such preventive attacks against non-imminent threats were very problematic under international law. But should preemption and prevention be treated so differently, considering that the real difference between them is how far away the threat they are addressing appears on a timeline?

Today, moreover, there is a growing problem with waiting until the last minute for an imminent threat. In the conventional battlefield, imminent threats are visible. There are classical signs that intelligence services can pick up weeks before a war, like reserve mobilization and the movement of forces from their normal bases to the front with their ammunition stocks. In any event, if state practice since World War II is carefully examined, states have been prepared to take preventive military action against non-imminent threats when facing the prospect of an eventual change in the balance of power.

Will the U.S. Intelligence Community Give a Warning in Time?

But in the push-button era of missiles, it is much harder to know that an enemy is preparing an imminent attack, in which case a preemptive strike might be considered. Moreover, the risks of waiting until those preparations become evident are much too great with nuclear weapons. For that reason, there have been efforts underway to update international law.

Up to this point, President Obama has not been prepared to take preventive action against Iran precisely because he believes he has plenty of time. He told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a recent interview: “Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt.”

But is Obama’s sense of confidence warranted regarding the ability of the intelligence services to warn him in time? Two years ago, Robert M. Gates, then the secretary of defense, was discussing the Iranian nuclear program and he asked himself: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.”8

Gates fully understood the limits of intelligence; in the 1990s he headed the CIA. The import of what Gates was saying is that by the time the U.S. may know whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, it might be too late to take any action. The intelligence issue feeds into the legal analysis of the Iranian question, for if the administration understands U.S. intelligence agencies as saying that there is still a great deal of time before Iran completes an operational atomic weapon, then the Iranian threat is not imminent and the chances that Obama will take action are not very great.

Can the U.S. Act Unilaterally?

The second legal argument against the doctrine of preventive operations from the Bush era is that they were unilateral, without the backing of the UN Security Council. The Obama administration’s official National Security Strategy allows for American unilateralism. But in reality the situation is more complicated, as in the case of Libya, in which the U.S. still relied on a UN mandate with NATO support. Critics of the administration noted that President Obama delayed the air war against Gaddafi’s forces until he had UN Security Council approval.9

Legal scholars who are now grappling with ways to advance the legitimacy of preventive strikes often insist that the evidence against rogue states be first presented to the UN Security Council, despite the well- known delays that the UN machinery has demonstrated in repeated crises. It should be stated that historically, past U.S. governments have used force without any UN authorization: from Kennedy’s naval quarantine around Cuba to Reagan’s air attack on Libya to Clinton’s missile strikes on the El-Shifa chemical plant in Sudan which was suspected of being a weapons factory. The same is true of NATO’s war against Serbia over Kosovo. None of these attacks, moreover, involved an imminent threat of attack on the U.S.

At this point, the Obama administration is not so willing to shed the requirement of UN authorization. During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, Secretary of Defense Panetta stated that in the case of Syria, before the U.S. could get militarily involved, “our goal would be to seek international permission.” Certainly, the Syrian people who are under siege would prefer not to have their rescue dependent on the goodwill of Russia and China in the Security Council. By the same reasoning, would effective action against Iran be made dependent on an international consensus at the UN that does not even exist on sanctions?

Undoubtedly, the Obama administration’s declarations indicate that it has shed much of its reluctance to consider preventive military action, especially in the context of counter-terrorist operations, even if the threat is not imminent. For example, as Peter Berkowitz of Stanford University points out, John Brennnan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, stated during a September 2011 speech at Harvard Law School that “a more flexible understanding of ‘imminence'” was needed.10 Attorney General Eric Holder made the same point in a major speech on March 5, 2012, with respect to targeted strikes against individual terrorists.11 These remarks were significant, given the strong opposition that used to be expressed against any military action against non-imminent threats, such as preventive strikes.

Looking at the administration’s rhetoric, it appears that U.S. military policy is clearly undergoing a transition. But how far it has come is difficult to establish. The rhetorical shifts that are evident are noteworthy, for they reflect a change of attitude. But the new approach being sounded comes up against strong predispositions against any preventive military operations in the specific context of nuclear proliferation, in the aftermath of the Iraq War.12 In practice, it appears that even if it becomes clear that sanctions have had no impact on Iranian decision-making with respect to nuclear weapons, it will still take a very long time before the decision is taken to use U.S. force to halt Iran.

*     *     *

Notes

1 Text of President Barak Obama’s Speech at Aipac, Associated Press, March 4, 2012.

2 Harold Hongju Koh, “On American Exceptionalism,” Stanford Law Review, Volume 55, May 2003, p. 1523. Koh objected to the Bush administration’s reliance on previous UN Security Council resolutions, as opposed to a new resolution, but he said at least that this argument was better that “unmoored claims of ‘preemptive self-defense,'” which he clearly did not accept.

3 Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 733.

4 In December 1837 there was an armed revolt in Canada against the British, during which the insurgents were receiving supplies on the American side of the border. The Caroline was a U.S. steamer that was being used for reinforcing the insurgents. A British-commanded team boarded the ship, setting it on fire, and casting it adrift until it went over Niagara Falls. In Britain, Lord Palmerston regarded it as an act of self-defense. Secretary of State Daniel Webster rejected the British claim, but argued in a letter to the British minister in Washington in 1841 that there were conditions under which the use of force would have been justified. This became part of customary international law.

5 Cited by Ambassador Yehuda Blum, “Israel’s Statement Before the Security Council Concerning Its Actions Regarding the Osirak Reactor, June 12 1981,” in John Norton Moore (ed.), The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Volume IV: The Difficult Search for Peace (1975-1988) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 993.

6 Anthony Clark Arend, “International Law and the Preemptive Use of Force,” Washington Quarterly, Spring 2003, p. 96.

7 Michael W. Doyle, Harold H. Koh, Joanne J. Myers, “Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict,” Public Affairs Program, Carnegie Council, September 23, 2008.

8 David E. Sanger, “On Iran, Questions of Detection and Response Divide U.S. and Israel,” New York Times, March 6, 2012.

9 John Yoo, “An Unavoidable Challenge,” National Review, January 3, 2012.

10 Peter Berkowitz, “Would a Military Strike Against Iran Be Legal?” Real Clear Politics, March 2, 2012.

11 U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, March 5, 2012.

12 See comment by Harold Koh in Michael W. Doyle, Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), p. 101.

*    *    *

Ambassador Dore Gold is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is the author of the best-selling books: The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, 2007), and The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009).

2012/03/24

The Global March to Jerusalem: Part of the International Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

Filed under: Israel, Jerusalem, Progressives — - @ 6:05 pm
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Israel Warns Neighbors Over March to Jerusalem

Source Link: Arutz Sheva

Israel Warns Neighbors Over March to Jerusalem

Israel warns neighbors that it will forcefully respond to attempted breaches of its borders during the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’.

By Elad Benari, Canada

Jerusalem

As activists are planning to lead a Global March to Jerusalem next Friday, Israel has warned neighboring countries that it would forcefully respond to attempted breaches of its borders.

The Global March to Jerusalem initiative aims at getting over one million Arabs and their supporters to attempt to infiltrate Israel’s borders on March 30th. A spokesman for the march said last week the initiative “demand[s] freedom for Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.”

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) has presented information that Iran is behind the initiative and openly supports it. The march has also been endorsed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was U.S. President Barack Obama’s pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Diplomatic sources told the London-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Friday that Israel has sent messages to the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, the Hamas government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority regarding the planned march.

The report said that in the messages Israel made it clear that anyone who will come near its borders would be considered an infiltrator and the IDF will act against him with full force.

Israel also reportedly demanded that Arab countries not allow an escalation of the tension in the region through marches toward its borders.

Channel 10 News, which cited the Asharq Alawsat report, said that the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment on the report.

Earlier this week, radio host Aaron Klein of WABC radio in New York offered $50,000 to an organizer of the Global March to Jerusalem, if he could name one city in the Middle East, outside of Israel, that has more freedom than Jerusalem. The activist was unable to do so.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

2012/03/19

Islamic Jihad seeks ‘balance of terror’ with Israel

Article Link YNet News

Islamic Jihad seeks ‘balance of terror’ with Israel

Group’s military wing leader Abu Ibrahim says ‘our rockets are not meant to kill Israelis, but to make them suffer as we do’; claims group in possession of weapons that could hit beyond Ashdod

Gaza militant group Islamic Jihad seeks to create a “balance of terror” with Israel, a senior member of its military wing has told AFP in an exclusive interview.

Speaking shortly after a truce ended a four-day flare-up in violence between Gaza terror groups and Israel, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigade hailed the fact that it forced “a million Israelis to hide in shelters.”

The leader, who goes by the nom-de-guerre of Abu Ibrahim, also warned that the Brigades possesses long-range weapons that could hit Tel Aviv and could be used in its next conflict with the Jewish state.

“What we seek with our rockets is not to kill Israelis, but to maintain a balance of terror,” he told AFP during the interview, conducted at a secret location, flanked by armed bodyguards.

“The fact that a million Israelis were stuck inside shelters and suffered as our people do is more important for us than deaths.”

‘PRC operates with full freedom’

The latest violence between Israel and Gaza militants began on March 9, when the Israeli Air Force assassinated the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) group.

In response, militants led by the Al-Quds Brigades fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel over the course of four days, bringing life in much of the region to a standstill.

Around 250 rockets were fired from Gaza, according to Israel, with around 60 of them intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The rockets hit throughout southern Israel, with some reaching around 40 kilometers (24 miles) inside the country. One struck just north of Gedera, which is only about 25 kilometers from the center of Tel Aviv, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the Jewish state’s population of 7.84 million.

Abu Ibrahim warned that the Brigades had weapons that could hit beyond the town of Ashdod, which lies some 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Gaza.

“If the occupation targets any leader of any Palestinian group whatsoever or any citizen, the Brigades will respond with force and expand the reach of the response beyond Ashdod,” he said.

The group possessed “thousands” of rockets and had expanded its arsenal by exploiting “the opportunities offered by the (Arab) revolutions, particularly the fall of the Egyptian regime,” he added.

Still, he said, “it is not easy to transport sophisticated weapons into Gaza,” adding that 70% of its rockets “are made locally by a specialized section.”

“We now have guided missiles similar to Grads and we used them during the last conflict.”

Continue Reading The Entire Article at YNet News

Related stories:

2012/03/13

Israel Only Place in Mideast Christians Aren’t Endangered

Source Article Link: Israeli National News

Israel Only Place in Mideast Christians Aren’t Endangered

Ambassador Oren: As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, Christians are forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries.

Israel has become the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, Ambassador to the United State Michael Oren wrote in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

“As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries,” Ambassador Oren stated, comparing the expulsion of Jews in the twentieth century with the Arab countries’ current treatment of their Christian minorities.

Oren explained that the population of Christians in the Middle East has significantly decreased, dropping from 20 percent a century ago to less than 5 percent today, with the numbers still diminishing.

“In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer,” Oren explained.

He noted that while Christians are granted full rights and privileges within Israel’s borders, the treatment they receive by the ‘Palestinian’ population is quite different, noting that  “[s]ince the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled.”

“Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors,” Oren said. He then went on to give the example of Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, who was murdered and whose “store [was] reduced to ashes.

“The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%,” Oren affirmed.

“Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court,” he continued.

While the ambassador explained that the Christian minority may, occasionally, encounter intolerance, Israel remains committed to its Declaration of Independence, which pledges to “ensure the complete equality of all its citizens irrespective of religion” and guarantees free access to all Christian holy places.

The Arab countries in the Middle East, however, do not seek to uphold any such rights and the hatred of Christians is only “ignored or encouraged.”

“The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude. Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive,” Oren wrote.

2012/03/12

PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS FORCE 500,000 ISRAELIS INTO BOMB SHELTERS

Filed under: Gaza, Iran, Iron Dome, Israel, Missile Defense — - @ 4:24 pm

Source Link: Joel Rosenbergs Blog

PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS FORCE 500,000 ISRAELIS INTO BOMB SHELTERS: Worst violence in 6 months

Here are the latest developments the Palestinian rocket offensive against Israel, in what is being described as the worst violence on Israel’s southern border in six months:

* More than 150 rockets and missiles have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel in the last 3 days.

* On Sunday alone, about 50 rockets were fired at Israel.

* Israeli schools in the south have been closed, keeping more than 200,000 school children at home.

* The Israeli Air Force has been bombing Hamas rocket launchers and weapons warehouses, and has eliminated four top terror leaders.

* CNN reports that “eight Israelis have been wounded and 500,000 have been forced into shelters.”

* CNN reports that among the Palestinians in Gaza, ”at least 21 people have been killed in strikes since Friday, while at least 75 people have been wounded.”

* The good news is that “the Iron Dome system has intercepted 90 percent of missile attacks on urban centers during the latest rocket bombardment from Gaza,” reports Israeli channel 7. “The expensive systems were inaugurated last year amid controversy over its worth. A primitive Kassam rocket costs terrorists only a few hundred dollars while each Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs $50,000. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Saturday night, ‘We will continue to improve home front defense including by means of additional Iron Dome systems, the effectiveness of which was shown again over the weekend.”

Continue Reading it all at Joel Rosenbergs Blog and Read this article as well MORE THAN 200 ROCKETS FIRED AT ISRAEL: No let up yet in Palestinian offensive against the Jewish State.

Front Page Magazine has this article Game Changer: Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Below is from my archive on SCRIBD explaining the Iron Dome.

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2011/12/13

Gingrich Gets It Right

Source Article Link: FrontPageMag

Gingrich Gets It Right

by David Horowitz

In an interview on Saturday, Newt Gingrich put some reality into the surreal discussion of the Middle East conflict and (as he put it) the delusional nature of the current “peace process.” The Palestinians are indeed an “invented people” — invented by the Nasser dictatorship and KGB by the way — and the Hitlerian lie that Israel occupies one square inch of “Arab” let alone “Palestinian” land needs to be buried for any clarity on what the conflict is about, let alone progress towards peace.

Of course there is no peace in the Middle East and there can be no peace so long as the Muslim Arabs want to kill the Jews and destroy the Jewish state. That is the explicit goal of the enemies of Israel in the terrorist entities of Gaza and the West Bank, and also of Israel’s principal enemy the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Newt Gingrich’s gutsy statements — if he will hold to them — could change the nature of the debate not only about how to deal with the Islamic terrorists of the Middle East but with the Islamic jihad itself. For the campaign to destroy Israel is at bottom a campaign to restore the Muslim (not Arab) ummah — as it was under the Turkish empire and the caliphate.

According to CNN, a Palestinian spokesman called Gingrich’s observation that the Palestinians are “an invented people” quote “the most racist I’ve ever seen.” This just shows what brazen liars Palestinian spokesmen are. Everything that Gingrich said was obvious fact. For nearly 2,000 years “Palestine” referred to region not a people — just as “New England” refers to a region not a people. In 1948 the Arabs of the Palestine region were not talking about a Palestinian state and were not referring to themselves as Palestinians. That came in 1964 with the creation of the PLO, engineered by the KGB and the Jew-hating dictator of Egypt, Gamel Abdel Nasser​. Even then the PLO charter (which is still available on the web) (A copy is provided below also a copy of the Palestinian The PLO’s “Phased Plan”) did not call for the liberation of the West Bank or Gaza (annexed by Jordan and Egypt respectively) but for the destruction of the Jewish state. Jew hatred is what has driven the conflict in the Middle East which is more precisely described as a genocidal war against the Jews.



David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine,Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.”



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2011/12/12

Hillary, Israel is not Iran

Hillary, Israel is not Iran

By GILAD ERDAN

Israel is not Iran or Saudi Arabia. Perhaps it would be better to begin where the real problems are.

Hillary, our dear friend. A few days ago, you expressed your deep concern about harm to the status of women in Israel, which you said reminds you of the events in Iran. The truth is you surprised us. Really.

We did not think that in the midst of a range of international disputes, along with the reversal of the Arab Spring that now turns out to be winter, Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and other real and tangible threats, you would still manage to find time to deal with the status of women.

But we certainly agree with you – the status of women and women’s rights is a universal and important subject.

In Israel, we do have problems, as you pointed out in your address to the Saban Forum – problems such as women’s seating arrangements in some buses or women singing to religious soldiers.

These issues certainly keep us awake at night, and we appreciate the fact you share our concerns. Although the extent of these phenomena is very limited, we are trying to find a way to resolve them, and the government of Israel, out of a deep commitment to the status of women, will act to prevent any violation of equality between women and men.

(In our country, by the way, a woman serves as the president of the Supreme Court, a woman is the head of the opposition, a woman serves as a major-general in the army, and I could give you many more examples.) Each of the sectors in Israel – men and women, religious and secular, Jews and Arabs, and others – has representatives in the Knesset, courts, academia, media and all the mechanisms of society.

Because of this, we are really upset that there are several bus lines in which women are required to sit in the back, and we will do all in our power to stop this phenomenon.

We are pleased to know that you, our close friend, are also worried. We are pleased, because we understand that if you are concerned about the status of women in Israel, you are much more concerned about status of women in other countries friendly to the United States, such as Saudi Arabia, for example.

After all, if you’re concerned about the sitting arrangements on the buses in Israel, you must be even more worried about the fact that in Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive at all, not a bus and not a private car.

I am certain that you’re worried that in Arab countries such as Egypt or Qatar, men can marry several women and divorce them without any reason, leaving them without any rights, without custody for their children and certainly without alimony.

I’m also certain that you’re worried that in Muslim countries such as Indonesia or Pakistan, women are executed on charges of adultery.

But, somehow, I do not recall that you have expressed your concern about it or have taken any steps to stop it. Am I wrong? I know that you, Hillary, as one of the most powerful women in the world, attach great importance to the subject of women’s rights, devoting your time to promote this issue despite your busy schedule.

I guess you’re also very concerned about domestic issues in the US relating to human rights, such as the new law in Arizona that was signed by the governor, permitting the police to arrest anyone who might look like an illegal immigrant, which could encourage racial discrimination.

So to make it easier on you, I want to tell you that you should not be so worried about the status of women in Israel.

As I mentioned, there are other places in which the issues of women’s rights, or the rights of minorities or homosexuals, are much more painful. In Israel, unlike in other places and just like in the US, we are taking care of equality between men and women, and we don’t need help. We even get a little offended when we are the targets of moralistic preachings on this subject.

Israel is not Iran or Saudi Arabia. Perhaps it would be better to begin where the real problems are.

(This article was translated by Moria Dashevsky.) The writer is minister of environmental protection.

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