Friday, February 16, 2018

From Ian:

Justice for Oxfam’s Anti-Israel Bigotry?
Minnie Driver has stepped down from her role as Oxfam​ Ambassador because of allegations that staff for the charity — in Haiti and other countries — paid vulnerable people for sex.

In 2014, Oxfam threw Scarlett Johansson under the bus because of her association with SodaStream, an Israeli company that employed hundreds of Palestinians and served as a bellwether for peaceful co-existence between Palestinians and Jews.

Johansson refused to be bullied, and likewise stepped down from her Oxfam position. I am proud to have worked directly with Scarlett’s people during that fiasco.

A bit of justice for Oxfam? Perhaps. But no justice for Haitians who were abused — or for Palestinians who lost jobs and friends they treasured.

Is Refusing Israeli Help Worth a Drought?
Akoob claims that maybe South Africa can learn from Israel while simultaneously boycotting Israel — simply by taking Israeli design specifications, but never interacting with Israeli scientists or engineers.

Again, Akoob gets it wrong: according to a whole range of scientists, experts, and engineers (as summarized in this report from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), there is simply no substitute for working together when it comes to water.

Based on all these misstatements of fact, Akoob concludes:

South Africa does not need the help of Israel to solve our drought.

And just to make her point, Rumana Akoob is — apparently — willing to bet the very safety of the South African people on her views.
Melanie Phillips: Poland unleashes its own inner demons
If Poland wants to demonstrate it really did have nothing to do with the Holocaust, it’s going a mighty strange way about it.

A new law passed by the Polish parliament criminalizing any suggestion that Poland was involved in the Holocaust has produced a crisis in Polish-Jewish relations described as the most serious since the fall of communism in 1989.

Poland is well known for its sensitivity to the false description of Nazi concentration camps on its soil as being “Polish camps.” But the new law goes much further.

It makes it a criminal offense for anyone to accuse Poland of being “responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich... or other crimes against peace and humanity or war crimes...”

This is in effect to criminalize telling the truth about Polish history. For there is ample evidence of Polish complicity in the extermination of the Jews.

Poles often shopped Jews to the Nazis; the historian and survivor Emanuel Ringelblum has noted that Polish police “played a most lamentable role in the extermination of the Jews of Poland... [and were] enthusiastic executors of all the German directives regarding the Jews.”

  • Friday, February 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

AFP (French) reports that a festival called "Stopover in Israel", in Lille, was canceled by the students who organized it as part of a university project.

It was meant to be a four day festival of Israeli culture, but anti-Israel activists came to demonstrate at the first cultural workshop on Wednesday evening, which was a photography exhibition and Hebrew lessons.

A few dozen people disrupted the first workshop.

Organized by an association composed of fifteen students from the Institute of Business Administration (IAE) of Lille, attached to the University of Lille 1, the festival was to offer, for four days, workshops to discover the Israeli culture, including cooking and music.

"The protesters told us that they were coming to demonstrate at all our activities. So we decided to stop. We do not want to create more controversy on this, " Gaëlle Robin, student in charge of press relations within the association, told AFP. "We were neutral, we said that there was nothing political or religious [...] Our project has been approved" by the institution, she added.

On Wednesday, a letter signed by two professors was sent to the president of the university asking for the cancellation of the festival. "Mr. President, to authorize a demonstration which, under cover of cultural openness, is an apology for this State [ Israel ] shocked us deeply," write Moussa Nait Abdelaziz and Abdellatif Imad. "Would we have agreed to hold a watered-down demonstration on South Africa during the days of Apartheid and Mandela in prison? "

The haters exercised their veto power with their threats, and the pro-Israel students caved without a fight.

Which means that the next time it will be even harder.

Will there be any pushback in France over a mob having veto power over basic free speech?

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From Ian:

US Senate Version of Taylor Force Act Leaves PA With No Room for Maneuver on Terrorist Payments
The US Senate is preparing to vote on the Taylor Force Act that links US financial assistance to the Palestinians with a verifiable end to the Palestinian Authority’s policy of “martyr payments” to convicted terrorists and their families – and the final version of the bill leaves the PA with little room to maneuver if it wants to continue receiving US aid.

Named in memory of the former American army officer stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016, the Taylor Force Act passed the House of Representatives by unanimous consent in December 2017. At the time, some supporters of the legislation expressed concern about exemptions that were introduced for certain infrastructure projects in the PA, as well as a “sunset clause” that would require the Act to be renewed six years from now.

The Senate version of the legislation, however, contains no sunset clause and only one exemption – for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a grouping of six hospitals that operates independently of the PA and receives a portion of the annual $75 million the US spends on providing power and specialized medical services to Palestinians.

Notably, the legislation contains stringent reporting requirements from the US State Department in ascertaining whether the PA has taken credible steps to end the “martyr payments” – dubbed by critics as “pay-to-slay”– along with any laws legitimizing these payments. Crucially, the secretary of state is instructed to present an annual unclassified report to Congress on several key matters emerging from the legislation.
Caroline Glick: Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and the post-Oslo era
In many ways, the situation today recalls the situation in 1992. In 1992, the US was sponsoring peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors in Washington. Without informing the Americans, after taking office in 1992, the government of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres began carrying out secret talks with the PLO under the auspices of the Norwegian government in Oslo.

After the first Oslo deal was concluded in August 1993, Rabin sent Peres and then-Foreign Ministry legal adviser Joel Singer to the US to brief then-secretary of state Warren Christopher on the agreement. Rabin hoped Christopher would agree to present the deal as an American peace plan. Rabin believed that the Israeli public would be more supportive of a deal with an American imprimatur.

In a 1997 interview with Middle East Quarterly, Singer described the meeting with Christopher. Singer recalled that as Christopher read the agreement for the first time, a shocked look came over his face. “His lower jaw dropped, and for the first and last time in my life, I saw Warren Christopher smile.”

But Christopher rejected Rabin’s request, all the same.

“Secretaries of state are not supposed to lie,” he told Peres and Singer.

Just as the Clinton administration was not willing to take the lead on a new strategic trajectory that placed Israel and the PLO on equal footing, so the Trump administration is not willing to initiate a new post-Oslo Middle East.

That is Israel’s job today just as it was Israel’s job in 1993.

A close reading of Netanyahu’s statement to the Likud Knesset faction makes clear that he understands this basic truth. And a close reading of the statements and counter-statements from Jerusalem and Washington following his briefing to the Likud Knesset faction indicates that if and when Netanyahu embarks on a new course, like Bill Clinton and Warren Christopher in 1993, Trump and his advisers will not stand in his way.
Caroline Glick: It's All Politics: Why Netanyahu Is Likely to Beat the Rap and Keep Leading Israel
Foreign observers may have a hard time squaring Benjamin Netanyahu’s international stature as a statesman with his suddenly vulnerable position at home.

Abroad, both those that hate the Israeli prime minister and those that admire him view him as a successful leader. His diplomatic skills have transformed Israel from an international pariah, at the mercy of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the international left, to a rising star on the international scene.

Economically, Netanyahu is credited worldwide with shepherding Israel from a sclerotic socialist backwater in the early 1990s into a first world economy and a global leader in innovation and technological advancement.

In the context of these extraordinary achievements, and as Israel faces mounting security challenges from Iran in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza — challenges amplified last Saturday with the violent clashes between Iran and the Syrian military and Israel — the police’s sudden announcement that they recommend indicting Netanyahu for bribery seems incongruous.

But as Tip O’Neill, the late, long-serving Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, famously said, “all politics is local.”

This truth was borne out in spades on Tuesday night in Israel, when the Israeli police announced that they are recommending that Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indict Netanyahu on two counts of bribery and two counts of breach of trust in two separate investigations.

The reason these events are happening is because Netanyahu is hated by Israel’s entrenched elites, who benefited most from the way things used to be. And they would like very much to unseat him and replace him with someone who would change the direction of Israel’s foreign, defense and economic policies.

  • Friday, February 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Ma'an reports:

 The Dar al-Kallah University of Arts and Culture, in cooperation with the Yasser Arafat Museum, opened on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Palestinian popular uprising (1987-1993) a photographic exhibition "Intifada" by photographer Keith Dannemiller. .

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Al-Rahab  thanked the Museum of Yasser Arafat and its organizers, in particular Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa and Mohammad Halaiqa, as well as Dr. Rehab Nazzal from the staff of Dar Al-Kalma University.

"The opening of the Intifada exhibition, which is organized at the University Call House in Bethlehem, stems from the importance attached by the Yasser Arafat Museum to strengthening the partnership with the Palestinian cultural and educational institutions to achieve integration among them to promote Palestinian culture and national identity."
It's funny that for a people who claim to have a 5000 year old history, they consider so much of their culture to be how they celebrate violence against Israel.

Here's Palestinian culture and national identity, from that photographer.

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  • Friday, February 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

From GDN Online:

A multi-million dollar camel was found dead, sending shockwaves on social media, according to Almarsd.

Video recordings and pictures of the dromedary lying dead in a desert area of Saudi Arabia were widely circulated online.

Owned by the Al Dawaser tribe, Kazama made headlines recently fetching a record SAR35 million ($9,330,000).
Social media users composed poems and music to express their sadness. Others criticised the big media fuss and said that the price was inflated.

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  • Friday, February 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
I just saw a report put out last month by AIDA, an umbrella organization of 70 NGOs in the territories, including Oxfam and Amnesty..

The first page of their summary report shows how dishonest NGOs are.

They have to dig very deep to try to make the actual GDP per capita of the territories to look bad. In fact, the statistic has been steadily getting better and better:

There's a lot more that is deceptive in just this one page, but one thing is clear: these NGOs know that they must cook the books to make things look bad, or else their own fundraising abilities go to pot.

My exhaustive description of how these guys are beneath contempt can be seen here.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Factually Inaccurate and Legally Flawed: HRW’s 2017 Report

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a powerful NGO, with a massive budget, close links to Western governments, and significant influence in international institutions. Its publications reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise, as well as a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel.

HRW’s review of “Israel and Palestine: Events of 2017” (a chapter in HRW’s 2017 annual report), reflects these same methodological flaws, resulting in a highly skewed representation of Israeli domestic and international law.

The following systematically analyzes the various claims made by HRW in its report. The factual and legal arguments presented demonstrate that NGO is not advocating for universal human rights, but is instead focused on delegitimizing Israel.

“Tensions around the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound in July-August 2017 triggered an escalation in violence. Israeli security forces used lethal force against demonstrators and against suspected attackers in the West Bank and at the Gaza border.”

NGO Monitor Analysis
Shamelessly, HRW fails to note that the “tensions around the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound” were sparked by a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount – in which three Palestinian terrorists shot and killed two Israeli police officers. The ensuing “tensions” were a direct result of incitement by the PA, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations. For instance, following the terror attack, on its official Facebook page, Fatah glorified the terrorists, stating that “We must guard the flowers of the Martyrs (quote from poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish -Ed.) And we must live as we wish.”

“Israel maintained onerous restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including checkpoints and the separation barrier, a combination of wall and fence in the West Bank that Israel said it built for security reasons.”
NGO Monitor Analysis

HRW’s statement minimizes and questions Israel’s security concerns. Doing so is a typical component of HRW’s reporting on Israel, which routinely erases Palestinian incitement and terror attacks (see example above). HRW’s practice may also stem from the fact that several of the Palestinian NGO with which it consults are linked to the PFLP terrorist organization. HRW negates the fact that the security fence and checkpoints were established in response to a wave of suicide bombings and shooting attacks that took the lives of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians in the early 2000s. The subsequent reduction in the number of terror attacks is testament to the effectiveness of these measures.
Hamas newspaper publishes interview on 'human rights'
The Felesteen newspaper, which is affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization, on Wednesday published an interview with Omar Shaker, director of the Palestine and Israel department of Human Rights Watch.

Felesteen regularly publishes content that supports actions of “Palestinian resistance” which are defined by Israel, the United States and the European Union as acts of terrorism, including stabbings, ramming and suicide attacks, and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Hamas is blacklisted by the West as a terrorist organization.

Shaker noted in the interview that under international law, “settlements in the West Bank” are “not only violations (of international law) but war crimes." He called for an end to the “settlement”, "collective punishment" such as imposing a closure on towns and villages, setting up roadblocks and demolishing houses.

"In essence, the settlers live on Palestinian land," he charged.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza has nothing to do with Israel's security, Shaker claimed, but rather stems from political considerations, since Israel "wants to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza."

"Israel controls the borders and the sea and the air, meaning it is responsible for almost everything in Gaza, entry and exit of people, and the entry and exit of goods. Israel prevents exit from Gaza except in exceptional cases," he said.

Does aid do more harm than good?
What a scandal for our times. Oxfam, that upholder of modern-day virtue, unassailable in its righteousness, buried for seven years that its aid workers exploited young girls. The men abused their power to have sex with desperate victims of the Haiti earthquake — the very people they were supposed to protect.

Michelle Russell of the Charity Commission is clear about the deception. ‘We were categorically told by Oxfam; there were no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries. We are very angry and cross about this.’

Nor was this a one-off. Helen Evans, the charity’s global head of safeguarding, begged senior staff, ministers and the Department for International Development to act. She had uncovered sexual abuse allegations both abroad — three in one day — and in Oxfam’s charity shops. Nothing was done.

This is the same Oxfam that recently blamed capitalism for world poverty and set up deck chairs in Trafalgar square to protest against corruption and tax havens. Now the virtue signallers are hoisted on the shard of their own fallibility. Compared with the emerging sins of our aid agencies, tax havens look almost benign.

Sadly Oxfam is not alone. Andrew Macleod, former chief operator of the UN Emerging Coordination Centre, contends paedophiles and ‘-predatory’ sex abusers use the halo of charity work to get close to desperate women and children. ‘You have the impunity to do whatever you want. It is endemic across the aid industry and across the world.’ He warns the infiltration of the aid industry by paedophiles is on the scale of the Catholic church — if not bigger. The difficult truth is that ‘child rape crimes are being inadvertently funded in part by the United Kingdom taxpayer’.
Oxfam sex abuser of underage relief victims briefed Mia Farrow in Chad

  • Thursday, February 15, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
MEMRI translates a December report in Egyptian daily Youm7:

The unilateral American recognition [of Jerusalem as Israel's capital], which ignored the warnings of the international community about its implications, was not sudden. Rather, it was part of the Zionist plot that the Jews of Europe started to weave, like a spider's web, in the year 1901, by means of the document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which includes 24 protocols. [These protocols comprise a plan] to take over the world by appointing [the Jews'] henchmen to sensitive positions among decision-makers, and by establishing lobby groups – [collectively] known as the Zionist lobby – that tyrannically control the fates of the nations.

The rabbinic council of the Jews developed the protocols with the goal of destroying the Christian hegemony in the world. Thus, after the [First Zionist] Congress – which took place in Basel, Switzerland, and was organized in 1897 by Theodor Herzl, the leader of the Zionist movement – the group of European rabbis amended the Protocols with the objective of establishing a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine.

...By means of this [Seventh] Protocol, Israel succeeded in weakening the capabilities of these countries' armies, while the Egyptian army managed to stand firm against this diabolical plot.

Following the revolution that broke out in March 2011, Syria, which is one of the countries in conflict with Israel, was worn down by the war between the Syrian army and terror organizations such as ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda. The same applies to Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. After about seven years of "Arab Spring" – which drove out [the population of] Syria, destroyed Libya, and wiped out Yemen – and more than 100 years after [publication of] The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Zionist lobby put pressure on the American president to make the perverted decision [about Jerusalem], which has been defined as Balfour Declaration II.
In January, another Egyptian paper, Al Bawabh  News, serialized the "Protocols" and described how the Jews are using them to take over the world. 

In case you think they are only describing "Zionists," here is how they illustrated one of their articles.

Also last month, another Egyptian news site Elmwatin (The Citizen) surveyed the events of the region and concluded that "we will find that it is an attempt to implement the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and to consolidate Israel's old dream, from the ocean to the Gulf."

Their illustration for the article:

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

Now a few words about my home town, Fresno California, butt of countless jokes and YouTubes full of mostly derogatory references to it from films and TV shows made in sophisticated Los Angeles. With a population of about 525,000, it boasts a California State University campus and several other major educational institutions. It is the center of one of the most productive agricultural areas in the US, which produces more than half of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the US.

Reliable estimates of the Jewish population are hard to come by, but probably there are fewer than 1000 Jewish families there. Jews arrived there in the 19th century and made their living in farming, lumbering and ranching, and of course commerce. After WWII, a number of Jewish GIs who had been stationed at Hammer Field (now Fresno Yosemite International Airport) married local girls and stayed on. There are a few Israelis working in agricultural technology. But for whatever reason, a large Jewish community never developed.

There is a Reform Temple with about 300 families, a now-tiny Conservative synagogue, and a Chabad house. The Jewish Federation of Central California is based there. There is no local source for kosher meat, with the exception of poultry products sporadically carried by Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

I wasn’t born there, but it was the place I spent the greatest part of my life, the place I met my wife shortly before making aliyah, and the place I to which I returned in 1988 after almost a decade in Israel. Probably because I knew in my heart (and because my wife and kids never stopped reminding me) that I should have stayed in Israel, I became active in Jewish and Zionist affairs, such as they were. I spent 26 years there, always in touch with what was happening in Israel and with my kids, who moved back as soon as they were old enough to become “lone soldiers” in the IDF.

I did my best to counteract the always-growing stream of propaganda aimed to demonize and delegitimize Israel, as it flowed from the media, the local “peace” organizations and a few anti-Israel activists at the university who regularly organized offensive films and speakers. In 2007, the university received a large grant from an Iranian-connected organization and established a Middle East Studies Department. Like virtually all such departments, it related to Israel only as a foreign body in the Muslim Middle East (you can read here about how I got kicked out of a conference held by that department).

During and after the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and the mini-wars in Gaza, there were anti-Israel demonstrations at an important intersection in town, organized at first by the “peace” groups. Led by activists associated with the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, more and more Muslims began taking part, sometimes leading to near-confrontations with greatly outnumbered pro-Israel demonstrators.

All this time I struggled to try to get positive coverage of Israel in the local media, which were mostly ignorant about the issues or hostile. And I tried to develop Zionist consciousness in the Jewish community.

I almost completely failed at the latter task. Although there was a small nucleus of pro-Israel people (some of whom were transplants from Israel), the larger community was apathetic. As time went by, more and more of them seemed to be actively anti-Israel, especially after the election of Barak Obama, whom the Jewish community supported heavily.

In particular, the Reform temple became less and less hospitable to pro-Israel presentations. A new rabbi took over in 2011, and on several occasions he decided that speakers or films that presented a Zionist point of view would be “divisive,” and did not permit events to be held at the temple.

He particularly emphasized interfaith activities, but the other faith groups included only the Islamic Center and liberal denominations. He is quite proud of his “friendship” with the Imam of the Islamic Center, and appeared together with him on TV to denounce alleged “Islamophobia,” but he did not reach out to Fresno’s large Evangelical community – who, by the way, had been extremely supportive of pro-Israel activities, even hosting speakers for us that the rabbi had rejected as divisive!

The Jewish Federation remained helpful, although I could see beads of sweat breaking out on foreheads when I suggested sponsoring an event that some donors might find a little too pro-Israel for comfort. But one constant was that every year the Federation and the synagogues all got together to organize an Israel Independence Day event, held at the Reform Temple, the largest facility available.

Although I haven’t been back to the US in three and a half years, I’m in contact with my old friends there. And what they told me this year was shocking.

It seems that the theme suggested by the chairperson from the Federation was “A Free People in Our Land,” from Israel’s anthem “Hatikva.” But this was unacceptable to the Reform rabbi. He reportedly said that many in Israel were not free, most importantly himself as a “second class” Jew who is “not free” to practice his religion in Israel. This is absurd, since he can walk into any one of numerous Reform synagogues in Israel and practice his religion.

But worse, he added that “A Free People in Our Land” would “upset” his interfaith group – I presume they would not like the implication that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people – and that it would lead to a “huge outcry” in Fresno and possibly protests at the gate of the Temple! And he, as the leader of the Jewish community, would be blamed.

Rather than let him take his Temple and go home, it was decided that the theme would be “People in Our Land,” thus converting a proud Zionist statement into a celebration of multi-cultural kumbaya.

The idea of observing Israel’s Independence Day without mentioning freedom or suggesting that the land belongs to the Jewish people is certainly original. This particular rabbi was always on the liberal end of the spectrum, but I can’t imagine him saying something like this even a few years ago. This illustrates the danger of the “interfaith engagement” that the rabbi made such an important element in his job. He seems to have abdicated his own volition as a Jew to a group that is implacably hostile to the Jewish state. He has let them dictate what Jews are allowed to say about the Jewish state.

The well-meaning “Jewish leader” who, while actually powerless, serves as a tool for the gentile regime and facilitates their control of the Jewish population is a well-known figure in Diaspora history. Such individuals sometimes were merely targets for contempt, but other times – such as during the Holocaust – played more sinister roles.

This is a classic Diaspora story, and actually serves as a lesson in Zionism. The Jewish people need a sovereign state because they need to live somewhere that they can actually be a free people, where they don’t have to worry about what an “Interfaith Alliance” of ultra-liberal Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics and other non-Jews think about the theme of their Independence Day event.

A very few members of my former community tried to stand up against this abysmal failure to protect Jewish honor and dignity, but without success. Most don’t see the problem. So it will be a celebration of “People in Our Land.” I am embarrassed for them, and saddened by what happened to the community that I lived in and cared about for so long.

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From Ian:

PMW: Why is the PA lying to its own children?
During an interview on official PA TV in 2013, Mahmoud Abbas was asked about his family history and how they became refugees. In his spontaneous answer documented by Palestinian Media Watch, he did not say that Israel expelled the Arabs of Safed, but, just the opposite. He admitted that the Arab residents of Safed left of their own accord "in a disorderly way."

The reason Abbas cites for the Arab unprompted exodus is also significant. He admitted that the Arabs of Hebron and Safad committed massacres (pronunciation in Arabic: Madhbaha) against their Jewish neighbors in 1929. The Arabs of Safed, Abbas explained, "were afraid that the Jews would take revenge for the massacre [of Jews] in 1929."

However, a children's program recently broadcast on PA TV, taught that "Mahmoud Abbas' family was forced to leave," because the "occupation gangs," the euphemism for the new State of Israel, "ruled" the country and stole "from him, his family, and his friends all of their dreams, their homes, and their lands."

Interestingly, Mahmoud Abbas when speaking at the UN (Sept. 26, 2013) likewise falsified his history claiming to have been "thrown into exile:"

Excerpt from Abbas' speech at the UN, Sept. 26, 2013:
"I am personally one of the victims of the Nakba (i.e., 'the catastrophe,' Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel), among the hundreds of thousands of my people uprooted in 1948 from our beautiful world and thrown into exile." [Official PA news agency WAFA, English website, Sept. 26, 2013]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented numerous testimonies from Palestinian refugees, Arab officials, and the official PA media, explaining that the Arab exit from the new state of Israel was the result of demands of Arab leaders, the Jordanian army, the Arab Liberation Army, and Arab regimes, as well as fear of revenge, as in the case of Mahmoud Abbas.

Iran Is Playing With Fire in Syria
With the Syrian rebels on the run and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gaining momentum, Iran is seeking to rewrite the “rules of the game” governing Israel’s actions in Syria. Last weekend’s clashes on Israel’s northern border occurred within this context. An Iranian drone breached Israeli airspace, Israel retaliated by bombing multiple targets deep in Syrian territory, and Syria then shot down an Israeli fighter jet.

Before last Saturday, Israel had established an expectation that its strikes on Iranian-Hezbollah weapons convoys and production facilities in Syria would not be met with an effective military response; Syria and Hezbollah couldn’t afford war with Israel, nor did they have the capabilities to seriously retaliate. This state of affairs was obviously disruptive for Iranian designs in the region and a bitter pill for the Assad regime to swallow.

By launching a sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicle into Israeli airspace on Saturday, Iran set off a chain reaction, which led the Israeli Air Force to strike Iranian and Assad regime positions in Syria, including the Iranian command center from which the drone was being remotely piloted. This gave the Assad regime an opportunity to set a new precedent by firing on Israeli jets over Israeli territory, downing an Israeli F-16, and provoking further Israeli Air Force strikes on Syrian targets.

Because it was the first time in over three decades that an Israeli jet was brought down by enemy fire, the immediate response by some analysts was to declare that the conflict in the region had entered a “new strategic phase.” The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said, “The era of hit and run is over,” in reference to Israeli airstrikes on Syrian soil. Even the Israeli news site Walla made the foreboding prediction that this was a sign of ominous things to come along Israel’s northern front.

They are wrong. The loss of one Israeli jet should not be exaggerated; it is not a watershed moment that will alter the strategic balance in the Middle East. After all, the Syrians and Russians have lost numerous aircraft over the course of the civil war in Syria (including recently), and that has hardly ushered in an era in which they do not control the skies over their respective areas of influence.
Looking ahead: Longer term prospects for an Israel-Iran nuclear war
ABSTRACT: With Prime Minister Netanyahu just reaffirming that Israel will strike both Iranian and Syrian targets as needed - most recently, after an Iranian drone briefly entered Israeli airspace, and an IAF F-161 plane was shot down - Israeli defense planners must also plan assiduously for more catastrophic future engagements. At some more-or-less determinable point, even an outright use of nuclear weapons against or by Iran might not be out of the question. In this regard, Israel's ritually traditional and legally correct reaffirmation of its legitimate rights to reprisal could sometime need to be augmented,inter alia, by substantially more far-reaching acts of "anticipatory" self-defense.

"For By Wise Counsel, Thou Shalt Make Thy War." Proverbs, 24,6

For the moment, of course, an Israel-Iran nuclear war is logically out of the question, and thereby not meaningfully subject to any tangible calculations. After all, Iran is not yet an operational nuclear power, and there is literally no point in presuming any useful possibilities for systematic or genuinely scientific investigation. Nonetheless, in prospectively existential matters, prudence can (and should) take assorted innovative forms, and the July 14, 2015 Vienna Pact (JCPOA) concerning Iranian nuclear weapons will not constrain Tehran indefinitely.[1]

Inevitably, therefore, Jerusalem will have to plan accordingly, including at least residual preparations for a still-suitable but plausibly limited preemption option.

This assessment is pertinent because, at this already late date, launching any tactically comprehensive preemption against pertinent Iranian weapons and infrastructures is likely no longer achievable. In this connection, even back in 2003, when my own Project Daniel Group had offered a very early report on Iranian nuclearization to then-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, Iranian targets were already more daunting than was Iraq's Osiraq reactor on June 7, 1981.[2]

It was Saturday morning. I woke up to the sound of the Red Alert siren app ringing, announcing in-coming missiles somewhere in Israel.

Where? I knew it wasn’t in Haifa (yet) because the municipal siren wasn’t screaming outside but elsewhere in Israel, people were running to their bomb shelters.

In the north or in the south?

Missiles in the south, would be Hamas showing off. Missiles in the north might be the indication that the war everyone knows is coming, the war where many Israelis are expected to die, entire Israeli towns might need to be evacuated, the war with Iran, has arrived.   

The Red Alert app was warning of missiles in the north.

I sighed, lying in bed, hoping I wouldn’t hear the municipal siren go off, warning of missiles on Haifa. I didn’t feel well and the idea of having to get up and run to the bomb shelter (which because our house is old, is outside) was not appealing, to say the least.  

When that war comes, missiles on Haifa will be a given. It’s not a question of “if,” it’s only a question of “when”.

Then there was an enormous BOOM.

What was that?! It wasn’t the sound of a missile slamming near-by. I’ve heard that sound before. It wasn’t the sonic boom of fighter jets overhead (I’m used to that sound). This was something else, something very, very wrong.

Sick with uncertainty, it was not long before I discovered that an IAF F16 had been shot down. What I had heard was the plane slamming into the ground some 18 kilometers from my home.

Oh my God.

I don’t think people who live outside Israel can understand the depth of horror…  I have a hard time coherently articulating the meaning of this single event. The plane is precious, the pilots flying it even more so. It’s not about the cost of the plane or the enormous investment in the pilots themselves (although that is part of the equation). It’s about life – that of the pilots and the lives of all of the people they are tasked to defend.

The IAF rules the skies of the Middle East. Nothing on earth or in the heavens should be able to bring an IAF jet to the ground but the will of those who are flying it.

Can anyone who has not lived here understand? Ours are not Rambo-Hollywood fighters, faceless tough strangers sent to do a mission we don’t understand. Our soldiers are our children, our husbands and brothers, daughters and sisters. They are us and we love each and every one of them – including those we have never met, including those who would not be our company of choice in a normal situation.

IAF pilots have an added special position. Their training necessitates physical and mental capabilities few can attain. Throughout Israeli history the IAF has executed miraculous successes: saving Israel from annihilation during the Six Day war, flying to Entebbe, destroying the Iraqi nuclear reactor… time and time again the IAF has been there to rescue the nation.       

It’s been almost four decades since an Israeli fighter jet has been downed by our enemies.

The entire country is following the medical condition of the injured pilots. We don’t know their names, there are no images of their faces or interviews with their families on the news (pilot identities are classified). It doesn’t matter. We don’t care less because we don’t know them and we will all breathe easier when we know they are ok.

Today Israel’s enemies grow bold. With enablers that are willing to look the other way (or actively assist) for financial gain (or pure Antisemitism) Iran is a breath away from a full-blown war that will affect much more than “just” Israel.

Since Saturday, there was an attempted lynch of two Israeli soldiers who accidently drove into Jenin. They miraculously escaped with their lives. The female soldier who was attacked, keeps crying and describing over and over to those who visit her in the hospital how the bloodthirsty mob deliberately attacked her, mostly her and not the male soldier she was with. 

Last night there was a car accident that killed two IDF soldiers. Car accidents happen all the time but when soldiers are involved, it is worse. If soldiers have to die it should be in defense of the country, not because of an accident. For a purpose, not by mistake.

So why am I writing this? Maybe because there are still people who think that Israel wants American help, American soldiers - we don’t, we just don’t want to be prevented from doing what needs to be done to protect ourselves. Maybe because even many of those who care about Israel don’t really understand the Israeli experience. Maybe my words can provide a little bit of insight. Maybe understanding us better can evoke a little more compassion.


We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Thursday, February 15, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jordan Times has an article of Pravda caliber in its fawning praise for the King, and the previous monarch as well. By Hasan Abu Nimah:
His Majesty King Abdullah II is in his 19th year of glorious reign; distinguished years that have witnessed exemplary leadership abilities, skillful political expertise, widely recognised wisdom and seasoned diplomatic prowess resulting in momentous accomplishments in the midst of the most troubling times and escalating crises.

Nineteen years ago this month, Jordan commemorated a most significant milestone in its history. On February 7, 1999, His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal departed this world, leaving behind an eminent legacy and monumental achievements.

The late monarch ascended the throne at the young age of 17 following the abdication of his father King Talal in 1952. At that time, Jordan was a nascent country having only won its independence six years earlier. It was still recovering from the first Arab — Israeli war, in which the Jordanian army played a significant role in saving the West Bank and East Jerusalem from the same fate that befell 78 per cent of the historical land of Palestine that was seized by the Zionist occupiers in that disastrous war.

During his 47-year reign in a highly turbulent region that scarcely witnessed peace or stability, the protection of the country was safeguarded through King Hussein’s unique leadership; steering the ship in a perpetual storm to the shores of safety. It was nothing short of miraculous that Jordan managed to endure the heavy impact of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and the influx of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees into Jordan; the Suez war; the toppling of the Hashemite regime in Iraq when Jordan and Iraq had just formed a unity between them; the rabid air war directed against Jordan from Arab countries which were inciting against stable traditional monarchies in favour of military coups; the 1967 war and the loss of the West Bank and Jerusalem with huge swathes of Egyptian and Syrian territories; the 1970 internal war in Jordan whereby a vicious conspiracy was targeting the regime; the Gulf war of 1980 between Iraq and Iran; and the second Gulf war following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991.

King Hussein’s diplomacy was not only focused on Jordanian issues which would have been manageable. Jordan was immensely affected by all regional troubles being situated at the epicentre of each and every Middle Eastern crisis, and as such all issues landed on the King’s doorstep.

When King Abdullah ascended the throne on that historic day for Jordan, he immediately took up where his departing father left off, thus continuing the honourable legacy.

The transfer of authority, smooth and orderly as it was, even during a time of national mourning for the loss of a beloved grand national symbol and a caring father figure, was perfectly compatible with the line of succession.

At the age of 38 King Abdullah stepped in with unshakeable confidence, clear vision, unwavering resolve and boundless energy for tackling the tasks ahead in an era equally unstable and volatile as during the reign of his late father.
Besides the hilariously over the top prose, there are two interesting omissions in the brief history of King Hussein's reign.

One is that it described the violent Palestinian uprising in 1970 as a "vicious conspiracy" without mentioning that the main instigator was the PLO - and that Jordanian forces killed thousands of Palestinians during the Black September uprising.

And the other is that the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan isn't mentioned.

Jordan is too embarrassed to admit that it once considered Palestinians to be mortal enemies, and that it ever made peace with Israel.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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