Friday, May 22, 2015

Just to Clarify. Who Can Attack Turkish Ships?

...President Erdogan's reaction to the attack on a civilian Turkish vessel by a foreign army was revealing. He said: "Things would have been different had the Turkish ship carried a Turkish flag." That would be Turkey's wrath on Libya, he simply meant, were the Tuna-1, owned by a Turkish company, not registered in the Cook Islands. By the way, what flag did the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara carry? Comoros. Still wondering why Turkey's voice was so loud after the Mavi Marmara incident? For Turkey's Islamists, "what was done" does not matter much. "Who did it" does.


The Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara, which took part in the
2010 "Gaza flotilla" that attempted to break Israel's navel blockade
 of Gaza. (Image source: "Free Gaza movement"/Flickr)
Burak Bekdil..
Gatestone Institute..
22 May '15..

"This is the first time in history that a foreign army has killed civilian Turks in peacetime!"

This is how government-friendly media justified Turkey's reaction to Israel when, in May 2010, the Israel Defense Forces raided the "Mavi Marmara," a ship in a Turkish-led flotilla off the Gazan coast, and killed nine pro-Palestine activists aboard.

Any reader could be tempted to believe that Turkey was preparing to go to war with Israel.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, then foreign minister, insisted that "This is Turkey's own 9/11."

Turkey asked the United Nations Security Council to summon an emergency meeting. It knocked on other doors too: NATO, the European Union (EU), the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan called to discuss the Mavi Marmara crisis with U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Erdogan's portrayal of the incident contained words such as "state terrorism," "an attack on world peace," "piracy," "thuggish state," and "massacre." He said that:

- Israel must definitely be punished,- Israel will pay a very heavy price for this,- Israel murdered innocent people at sea, and- [Addressing and threatening Israeli citizens:] Israel is openly exposing your security to great risk.

Since the incident, Turkey's relations with Israel never normalized. Neither country has an ambassador in the other's capital. Turkey has vowed to isolate Israel internationally until Israel has apologized, paid compensation to the families of the victims, and removed the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip (which a UN commission probing the Mavi Marmara incident later declared to be legal).

One might, initially, understand the Turkish ire. After all, a foreign country's military had targeted a civilian ship and killed people aboard, with or without good legal reason. After all, again, the vessel that was attacked was not a Turkish frigate intending to shell the Israeli coast. So, Turkey's justified anger presumably had nothing to do with the inherent anti-Semitism of its Islamist rulers. Really?

Ship to Gaza - The yearly flotilla farce to Gaza is upon us

...Another such holiday, akin to a pilgrimage, is the Freedom Flotilla. Every year since 2010 -- meaning that this year marks a five year anniversary -- the worshippers of Palestinianism go to the Mediterranean, but unlike others, who go to Club Med, these people swear by Gaza. Clearly, where the main attraction of a trip to the Mediterranean is typically the sandy beaches, the good weather and the great food, followers of Palestinianism are attracted by terror tunnels, Iranian made missiles and promises of ethnical cleansing of all Jews from the state of Israel. It is now that sweet time of the year again, when the most religious of the devotees get ready to board their vessels and set sail to Gaza.

Judith Bergman..
IsraelNationalNews.com..
22 May '15..

New religions add new holidays to their calendars these days. However, one religion keeps piling them on. Known as Palestinianism, and despite being relatively fresh on the historical scene compared to older world faiths, it has been gaining devotees at an amazing speed. Furthermore, it has fully understood that in order to galvanize followers and to gain new proselytes it needs to have holidays, which can serve as rallying points, strengthening that burning flame of faith.

One such holiday, which has become as regular as Christmas Eve, is Israel Apartheid Week, which commences worldwide every year around February and has done so since 2005. This festival has as its aim the “enrichment” of campuses with virulently anti-Semitic and vitriolic abuse of the State of Israel.

Another such holiday, akin to a pilgrimage, is the Freedom Flotilla. Every year since 2010 -- meaning that this year marks a five year anniversary -- the worshippers of Palestinianism go to the Mediterranean, but unlike others, who go to Club Med, these people swear by Gaza. Clearly, where the main attraction of a trip to the Mediterranean is typically the sandy beaches, the good weather and the great food, followers of Palestinianism are attracted by terror tunnels, Iranian made missiles and promises of ethnical cleansing of all Jews from the state of Israel.

It is now that sweet time of the year again, when the most religious of the devotees get ready to board their vessels and set sail to Gaza. This year the pilgrimage is called “Freedom Flotilla III” comprising several planned sea voyages, all aptly named “Ship to Gaza” from different ports in Europe, as well as Canada, Turkey, and South Africa according to the website of the organizers.

Some of the most devoted followers of Palestinianism are Scandinavians – a fact worth mentioning, since Scandinavia is one of the least traditionally religious places in the West, Palestinianism thus filling a notable void – and it should therefore come as no surprise that the first ship in the Freedom Flotilla III is from Sweden. Norway helped purchase the ship and has sent a few members from its own sizeable community of Palestinianists.

The trawler, named Marianne of Gothenburg, left its homeport on Thursday. It travelled first to Malmoe, that lovely city in the far south of Sweden, where Jews cannot wear a kippa in the streets out of fear for their personal security. Then it continued to Copenhagen, where it picked up a lonely female populist Danish parliamentarian, scrambling for Muslim votes before the upcoming parliamentary elections.

While Marianne of Gothenburg is the first boat in the Freedom Flotilla III to leave for Gaza, according to the website of Ship to Gaza Sweden, it is scheduled to stop at several ports on the way that will be announced later. One devotee observer posting on Facebook, but not travelling on the ship himself, wrote that the purpose of these stops is to “expose Israel’s occupation of Palestine”.

Before leaving the port of Copenhagen, the Ship to Gaza devotees tried to explain the purpose of their voyage to the Danish press. “The ship’s cargo consists of important things such as solar panels and midwife equipment… but the cargo is primarily symbolic…probably our most important cargo is our message. We are carrying international law and human rights,” said the ship’s Swedish communications coordinator Staffan Granér to the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. Another co-religionist, the Norwegian left wing politician from the party “Red”, Torstein Dahle, felt it pertinent to add his belief that the Israeli navy “shoots Palestinian fishermen and throws them into the sea”.

Faced with a question about Israel’s legitimate interest in screening ships for weapons shipments, the Palestinianists gathered in the port of Copenhagen became markedly evasive. “We are non-state actors and have no contact with Hamas. It is up to the Palestinians to decide, which government they wish to have” said Torstein Dahle. Notice the almost immediate denial of having anything to do with Hamas -- bringing to mind that old Shakespearean quote of “methinks the lady doth protest too much” -- and the convenient omission of the fact that there have been no “elections” in Gaza since 2006, when Hamas gained power. Not to mention that they did not answer the legitimate question posed by the Danish journalist.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has some explaining to do - Caroline Glick

...Israel has the ability to win the political war being waged against its very existence. But in order to win, our politicians and our public servants need to recognize that they too are responsible for our plight.

European High Representative for
Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini
holds a news conference during an
EU summit in Brussels.
(photo credit:REUTERS)
Caroline Glick..
Column One/JPost..
21 May '15..

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has some explaining to do.

During Mogherini’s visit this week she spoke loftily of Europe’s concern for peace and desire to play a role in establishing a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. And that was very nice.

But what is the EU doing to promote these admirable goals? How do the millions of euros the EU and its member states shovel annually into the coffers of NGOs who exist to delegitimize Israel advance these goals? The timing of Mogherini’s visit this week was propitious. She came the same week as “Nakba Day,” the day Israel’s enemies mourn its coming into existence 67 years ago.

The concept of the “Nakba,” is an act of political war against the Jewish state. It was invented to deny Israel’s right to exist by propagating the libel that the state was born in sin. The explicit demand at the heart of the “Nakba” narrative is that Israel must be destroyed for justice to be achieved.

The EU generously funds groups that propagate this devastating slander.

Last week the NGO watchdog group NGO Monitor published a list of five EU-funded Israeli NGOs that advance the “Nakba” libel: Zochrot, Adallah, Baladna, 972 online magazine, and Combatants for Peace.

In recent weeks, “Breaking the Silence,” another EU-funded Israeli group made headlines with the publication of its anonymous soldier “testimonies,” relating to last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. The “testimonies” alleged that the IDF is a veritable war crimes machine comprised of blood thirsty war criminals.

To be sure, there is no connection between Breaking the Silence’s allegations and actual testimony. The “witnesses” that the group cites are unidentified. Breaking the Silence refuses to hand over their statements to IDF investigators.

But the kangaroo courts of public opinion in Europe and US university campuses are not impartial courts of law. They need no evidence to criminalize the Jewish state. Unsubstantiated, anonymous accounts provided by Israeli registered NGOs will do just fine.

Next month, representatives of Breaking the Silence will be the stars of a ten-day conference in Zurich sponsored by the Swiss Government and the Zurich municipal government. No doubt, the Swiss know what they are in for. Breaking the Silence is a European racket.

According to NGO Monitor reports, Breaking the Silence receives funding and instructions from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, the British government, the EU, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Reports of Mogherini’s meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and with President Reuven Rivlin made no mention of any protests our leaders may have voiced about Europe’s political war against Israel. Indeed, far from protesting the massive amounts of money Europe devotes to delegitimizing Israel, Netanyahu gave Mogherini the necessary pound of flesh by announcing his wholehearted commitment to Palestinian statehood. For his part, Rivlin assured her of Netanyahu’s sincerity. Netanyahu should be criticized for his timidity. But the primary fault for Israel’s flaccid response to Europe’s aggressive political warfare lies in other quarters.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dear Mr. Abbas: Here are 18 Concrete Steps To Transform Yourself Into an Angel of Peace

...On Saturday, May 16, Pope Francis gave Mr. Abbas a medallion representing the angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war,” and according to some (albeit conflicting) reports, the Pope urged Abbas: “May you be an angel of peace.” ZOA National President Morton Klein noted: “Mahmoud Abbas’ lifelong, continuing instigation of terror against Israelis, Jews and Christians would need to dramatically change in order for Abbas to become an ‘angel of peace,’ but I join the Pope in urging Abbas to do so.” ....ZOA is listing below a few of the many concrete steps that Abbas would need to take to make the colossal transformation from promoter of terrorism to man of peace:

ZOA Staff..
20 May '15..

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) urges Mahmoud Abbas a/k/a Abu Mazen to heed Pope Francis’ advice to become an angel of peace. Abbas obtained his PhD in Holocaust denial, financed the brutal massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, co-founded the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror group, and has continued to promote terror in his position as illegitimate President of the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian Authority terrorist Unity government. (Abbas’ elected term of office expired five years ago.) On Saturday, May 16, Pope Francis gave Mr. Abbas a medallion representing the angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war,” and according to some (albeit conflicting) reports, the Pope urged Abbas: “May you be an angel of peace.” ZOA National President Morton Klein noted:

“Mahmoud Abbas’ lifelong, continuing instigation of terror against Israelis, Jews and Christians would need to dramatically change in order for Abbas to become an ‘angel of peace,’ but I join the Pope in urging Abbas to do so.”

ZOA is listing below a few of the many concrete steps that Abbas would need to take to make the colossal transformation from promoter of terrorism to man of peace:

1. End the Fatah unity deal with the Hamas and remove all Hamas officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) government. (Hamas is a U.S. State Department designated terrorist organization, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of every Jew.)

2. Remove the PFLP (another U.S. State Department designated terrorist organization) from the Palestinian Authority government.

3. Stop rewarding Arab murderers of Jews, and the murderers’ families, with lifetime pension payments.

4. Stop honoring and calling vicious Arab Palestinian terrorists who murdered innocent Jewish civilians “martyrs” and “heroic brothers.”

5. Rescind the PA’s highest award, the “Star of Honor” recently given by Abbas to PLO terrorist Khalid Al-Wazir a/k/a Abu Jihad, who planned numerous terrorist attacks in which at least 125 Israelis were murdered, including the 1975 terrorist assault on Tel Aviv’s Savoy Hotel, and the 1978 coastal road massacre in which Fatah terrorists hijacked an Israeli civilian bus and slaughtered 37 passengers, including a dozen children. (Abbas should also rescind the numerous honors he bestowed upon this barbarous massacre’s leader, Dalal Al-Mughrabi, and upon other perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts.)

6. Recognize Israel as the Jewish State.

7. Stop deliberately hiring previously convicted terrorists as members of the PA “security” forces.

Good Question. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict vs. Cypriot status quo

...When I tried to understand why they washed their hands of the Cyprus conflict while being obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian one, their answer was no less amazing: “Because the conflict in Cyprus doesn’t produce instability.” Now, the Middle-East is the most unstable region in the world, with people killing each other, with countries imploding, and with Iran and ISIS filling the void. Yet the French can think of nothing more urgent than establishing a failed state in the midst of the only stable and successful country of this war zone.

Dr. Emmanuel Navon..
i24 News..
20 May '15..

The visit to Israel of Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is meant to revive the EU’s involvement in the so-called “Middle-East peace process.” “The status quo” is not an option, declared Mrs. Mogherini ahead of her visit. Among EU members, France is actively promoting a new Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The French initiative would define the former armistice line of 1949-1967 between Israel and Jordan as an international border between Israel and a Palestinian state; it would designate Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state; and it would call for “a fair solution” to the issue of Palestinian refugees. Such a resolution, if adopted, would in effect completely endorse the Palestinian position and sideline Israel’s, and it would constitute a grave departure from Security Council Resolution 242.

The former armistice line between Israel and Jordan never was, and was never meant to become, an international border. Resolution 242 does not demand an Israeli withdrawal to that armistice line in exchange for peace - only a withdrawal “from territories” in a way that would provide Israel and its neighbors with “secure and recognized boundaries.” The 1949 armistice line cannot possibly be considered a secure boundary, since it created a 15-kilometer narrow “waist” between Israel and Jordan, surrounding Jerusalem and overlooking Tel Aviv from mountainous heights. As for Jerusalem, it is not mentioned at all in Resolution 242.

Resolution 242 calls for “a just settlement of the refugee problem,” apparently making the proposed French resolution redundant. But the French proposal makes two radical changes regarding the refugee issue. First, it only refers to “Palestinian refugees.” What is meant by “refugees” in Resolution 242, however, is both the 600,000 Palestinian refugees from Israel and the 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. As the US ambassador to the UN in 1967, Judge Arthur Goldberg, explained after the adoption of 242, this resolution “refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.” Moreover, what 242 means by “refugees” are the actual Arab and Jewish refugees of the Arab-Israeli wars, not their descendants.

The Palestinians, however, claim that the status of refugee applies to all descendants of the 1948 refugees. Even though there is no legal ground and no historic precedent for such a claim, it has become accepted in today’s “newspeak” and, apparently, by French diplomats. Therefore, according to the Palestinians and to the French, a “fair solution” must be found not for the Jewish refugees, not for the actual Palestinian refugees, but for the descendants of the Palestinian refugees (which number about 5 million according to UNRWA).

Would It Be Wise for Israel to Take Obama’s Iran Payoff?

...if reports are correct, the Israeli government is preparing to make the best of an awful situation by accepting a massive military assistance package from the U.S. in exchange for what an unnamed senior administration official describes as “some quiet from the Israelis.” While it can be argued that expediency demands that Netanyahu seek to get what help from the Americans that he can, with the outcome of the nuclear negotiations still hanging in the balance, this isn’t the moment for the Israelis to go into the tank for Obama on Iran.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
20 May '15..

For months, President Obama has been trying to find a way to silence Israeli objections to a nuclear deal with Iran. Up until now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been adamant in his opposition to what he and many Americans feel is an effort to appease the Islamist regime that will have catastrophic consequences for the security of both the United States and Israel. But, if reports are correct, the Israeli government is preparing to make the best of an awful situation by accepting a massive military assistance package from the U.S. in exchange for what an unnamed senior administration official describes as “some quiet from the Israelis.” While it can be argued that expediency demands that Netanyahu seek to get what help from the Americans that he can, with the outcome of the nuclear negotiations still hanging in the balance, this isn’t the moment for the Israelis to go into the tank for Obama on Iran.

As the Israeli press is reporting, the Americans are prepared to pay what the administration official called, “a hefty price” for Israel’s silence in the upcoming months as a nuclear agreement is debated in Congress. That price will supposedly include up to 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets and anti-missile batteries. Given the importance of maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge over potential Arab and Iranian foes, it’s a tempting offer. Especially alluring for the Israelis is the prospect of more Iron Dome batteries as well as funding for more short-range David’s Sling batteries and the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense.

If, as seems likely, there is nothing Israel can do to prevent the U.S. from appeasing Iran and signing a weak deal that may not even guarantee rigorous inspections, then perhaps the only rational alternative is to accept a bribe from the administration for their silence. The same reasoning led some Arab countries to attend a summit here last week which, though boycotted by the kings of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, resulted in a U.S. promise about selling them more advanced military hardware. Even if it was accompanied by a weak guarantee of their security that impressed no one, let alone Iranians, the Arabs were not so proud that they turned down U.S. assistance.

Moreover, it can be argued that if Israel doesn’t accept Obama’s bribe now, the offer may be off the table once the nuclear agreement is a done deal. The U.S. has been openly threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations once the nuclear deal is put to bed. It’s not likely that they’ll be as forthcoming in the next year and a half. Given the ongoing threat of another war with Hezbollah or Hamas, anything that can help augment the Jewish state’s anti-missile defense arsenal is vital.

But even though the outcome of the Iran talks seems like a foreordained conclusion now, Netanyahu would be foolish to throw in the towel on the nuclear question. There are four key reasons why this is so.

The first is that no matter how much of a done deal the Iran negotiations seem, there is still no guarantee that the Iranians won’t ultimately pull out of them. Given the sweet deal that Obama has given them that would make no sense. The president hopes to create a new entente with Tehran but predicting Iran’s behavior is never easy. It is always possible that the Iranians will torpedo the talks in the hopes of getting an even sweeter offer from an administration that is desperate for detente with the Islamist regime. Until proven otherwise, the Israelis should not do anything that would be seen as a seal of approval for even more far-reaching Western concessions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good Question. Can AFP say "Egyptian blockade"?

...in another striking double standard, AFP provides a reason for the Egyptian closing of the border ("Cairo struggles with a growing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula"), but gives no reason for the relatively limited Israeli restrictions. In the interest of consistency, shouldn't AFP note that Jerusalem struggles with thousands upon thousands of rockets fired at it from a territory from which it withdrew in 2005 and which is now ruled by a designated terror organization whose charter seeks the Jewish state's destruction?

Tamar Sternthal..
CAMERA Snapshots..
20 May '15..






Can the Agence France Presse news agency say "Egyptian blockade"? In the article today, "Gazans reach beyond blockade through start-up," the "Israeli blockade" of the Gaza Strip looms large.

Though the article twice mentions the "Israeli blockade" of Gaza, under which hundreds of trucks containing all kinds of products pass every week, not once does it contain the phrase "Egyptian blockade," though for most of the last seven months nothing at all passed through the Gaza-Egypt border crossing.

Thus, the second paragraph of the article states that the Gaza Strip "has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006." Further along, the article asserts that Gaza "is effectively ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement and cut off from the rest of the world by the Israeli blockade." The article adds:

Programmer Mohammed al-Banna, 27, says working in technology offered him a sense of freedom because it is the 'the only area' where Israel cannot cut Gazans off from the outside world.

Of the sweeping Egyptian blockade, the AFP says only half-way into the story:

Until last year, Palestinians were able to leave the Rafah crossing with Egypt, but since October the frontier has been closed as Cairo struggles with a growing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

Why, then, doesn't the second paragraph note that the Gaza Strip "is under an Egyptian and Israeli blockade"? Why doesn't it later report that the territory is "cut off from the rest of the world by the Egyptian and the Israeli blockade"?

Clearly, the total Egyptian blockade has isolated the Gaza Strip far more than the Israeli blockade, under which goods and people do cross. The Egyptian blockade, therefore, should figure much more prominently in the story than the so-called Israeli blockade.

How a BBC World Service News bulletin misled on Jerusalem Day

...Were the BBC to expand its news gathering beyond one Israeli newspaper of a specific political stripe and beyond inadequately introduced representatives of political NGOs of a particular genre, the accuracy and impartiality of its reports on events in Israel would of course be vastly improved. However, as this example of a supposedly factual item in a news bulletin once more indicates, the BBC’s reliance upon sources promoting a distinct political view defines, restricts and shapes the objectivity and accuracy of information passed on to audiences worldwide.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
20 May '15..

Those who happened to be listening to the BBC World Service at 2 a.m. GMT on May 18th will have heard the following item in the news bulletin (from 03:40, available for a limited period of time only) read by Fiona MacDonald.World Service

“Israeli police have clashed with Palestinians protesting against a march by Jewish nationalists to mark Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. Palestinians threw stones as Israelis bearing flags marched through the predominantly Muslim old walled city. A Palestinian activist, Ahmad SubLaban, said the march was a provocation.

[voiceover] During the march the Old City gets closed and its residents are forbidden from entering or leaving. They say that day for them feels like a prison, keeping them inside their houses. They’re forbidden to go in and out of the Old City. They’re also attacked; some of their properties are destroyed. The shopkeepers are forced to close their stores.”

The Israeli prime minister said Jerusalem would always be the capital for the Jewish people alone.”

MacDonald is of course describing Jerusalem Day or Yom Yerushalayim – the national holiday marking the reunification of the city after nineteen years of division due to the occupation by Jordan between 1948 and 1967. That context is glaringly absent from her distorted description of the purpose of the event.

Among the numerous events taking place on May 17th to mark the occasion was the traditional march to the Western Wall, which for geographical reasons obviously has to pass through what MacDonald bizarrely finds necessary to describe as “the predominantly Muslim old walled city”.

Not unrelated to the content and style of this news item is the fact that this year, two political NGOs unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court in an attempt to prevent the march (now in its thirtieth year) from passing through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. One of the political NGOs which filed the rejected petition was the foreign funded Ir Amim.

One of Ir Amim’s employees is Ahmad SubLaban – apparently the same inadequately introduced man given a platform by the BBC World Service from which to promote political propaganda.

(Read Full Article)

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Novel Idea? Judge Palestinians By the Same Standard as the Israelis?

...But even if you want to be cynical about Shalom’s commitment to the process, it bears asking why the same people who think him insufficiently devoted to peace have no problem accepting and even praising Palestinians who do far worse. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat has regularly denounced Israel and engaged in libelous attacks on it while always denying it the right to be a Jewish state. His boss, PA leader Abbas, embraces and honors terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands, and has also incited Palestinians to attack Jews in order to compete with Hamas for popularity with a public that links bloodshed with political legitimacy. There has never been a Palestinian negotiating team that hasn’t stated positions that are far more extreme than anything Shalom ever said, yet never are they denounced as obstacles to peace.


Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
19 May '15..

Less than a week after his new government was sworn in, European and American critics are once again lambasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His appointment of Interior Minister Sylvan Shalom as the head of the country’s negotiating team in potential talks with the Palestinians is being panned as emblematic of the coalition’s inability to make peace. Shalom is a hawkish member of Likud and has in the past stated his opposition to a Palestinian state. Coming a day after Netanyahu reaffirmed the country’s commitment to opposing the redivision of Jerusalem on the 48th anniversary of its unification during the Six Day War, the naming of, as far his critics are concerned, the misnamed Shalom seemed to solidify the government’s international image as opposed to peace. But there are two problems with this point of view. One is that both Netanyahu and Shalom have committed themselves to negotiate in good faith. The other is that whatever one might think of the Israelis, it’s fair to ask why foreign critics don’t judge Palestinian negotiators by the same standard applied to Israelis.

There’s little doubt that the Obama administration has no expectation that the Netanyahu government will give them what they want in terms of concessions to entice the Palestinians back to the table. The State Department dismissed Shalom’s appointment with what Foreign Policy termed “a shrug” as if to indicate that the president and Secretary of State John Kerry don’t really care who Netanyahu designates for the job of negotiator.

Like most members of his party, Shalom has been a skeptic about the peace process. He has said he will vigorously pursue a deal with the Palestinians and has a reputation as a pragmatist. But some people are suggesting, as the Times of Israel pointed out, that his true mission is to sabotage the talks. That is hardly likely since Netanyahu has never closed the door to negotiations in any of his previous three terms in office. No matter his positions on the shape of a potential deal, the prime minister views the continuation of talks as being in his best interests in terms of both domestic politics and the country’s foreign policy.

But while others are lamenting the comparison between Shalom and his predecessor in this role, Tzipi Livni, it should be pointed out that having an ardent advocate of a two-state solution leading the Israeli delegation at the talks didn’t make a bit of difference. The Palestinians blew up the talks last year when Fatah signed a unity pact with Hamas and decided to pursue recognition at the United Nations in an end run around the peace process. Though a bitter critic and rival of Netanyahu, Livni confessed that it was not the prime minister who torpedoed Kerry’s initiative. Rather, she said, it was Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas who showed once again that he was incapable of making peace even if he wanted to do so.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When CNN’s Journalism Goes to the Dogs

...So where’s the “incident” that CNN refers to? On the basis that Jews as well as tourists are allowed to visit the Temple Mount compound at set hours, is this really an “incident?” And who are these unnamed “sources inside the mosque?”.
...This we do not know. Much like the sum of CNN’s abysmal excuse for a piece of journalism. Unfortunately, the damage isn’t contained to CNN and has spread to other news sites that have reproduced the content based on a clearly misguided level of trust in CNN.

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
18 May '15..





Just what is going on at CNN? According to a report:

The official Palestianian news agency is reporting that Israeli settlers have chopped down and seized about 800 Palestinian-owned olive trees near the town of Shuyukh, east of Hebron.

The report, by WAFA, the Palestine News & Information Agency, cited “a local source,” whom it did not identify. Israel has yet to comment on the report.

The source, described by WAFA as “a local activist,” told the agency that residents of the Israeli settlements of Bani Kadim and Asfar broke into an olive orchard near the town and chopped down the trees, which belonged to people who lived in the area.

It’s one thing when a mainstream media outlet quotes anonymous sources and unverifiable “eyewitnesses” as we see all to often in reporting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s even worse when a news organization such as CNN relies on unverified reports from a Palestinian news agency such as WAFA.

As Elder of Ziyon rightly points out:

‘Palestine’ is Just a Civil War Waiting to Happen

...That the violence has remained relatively low-level despite the intensity of this hatred is due to one thing only: Israel. Hamas’s main fighting strength is concentrated in Gaza, while Fatah’s is concentrated in the West Bank, and these territories are currently separated by an impassible barrier – some 37 kilometers of Israeli territory.


Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
18 May '15..

As Jonathan Tobin correctly noted earlier today, the possibility that Pope Francis didn’t really call Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “an angel of peace” doesn’t change the fact that the Vatican definitely did recognize the “State of Palestine.” That’s a setback to the cause of peace for many reasons, which Jonathan detailed in an excellent post last week. But I’d like to go into more depth on one point he raised: the question of which “Palestine” the Church is recognizing. Because “Palestine” isn’t merely split between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza by a quirk of geography; it’s a civil war waiting to happen.

Just last week, for instance, Hamas blamed Fatah for a series of recent bombings in Gaza and arrested 12 Fatah members as suspects. Last November, Hamas reportedly bombed the homes and vehicles of several senior Fatah officials in Gaza, as well as the site of a planned Fatah rally to mark the anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death; as a result, Fatah canceled both the rally and a planned visit to Gaza by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Last month, PA ministers who did visit Gaza left in a huff after Hamas placed them under house arrest in their hotel. The previous month, Abbas and one of his senior advisors separately urged Arab states to bomb Hamas out of Gaza.

Both sides routinely arrest each other’s members, and then accuse each other of torturing the detainees (usually accurately in both cases). Both also routinely accuse each other of collaborating with Israel – the worst crime in the Palestinian lexicon. Needless to say, none of this contributes to Hamas-Fatah brotherly love.

Indeed, the parties are so busy feuding with each other that they can’t provide for their people’s most basic needs, like reconstructing Gaza after last summer’s war with Israel. The reconstruction has made almost no progress in the eight months since the war ended, and astoundingly, everyone except Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth agrees that this is the fault of the feuding Palestinian governments rather than Israel. That, for instance, is the stated view of the Arab League, which is usually quick to blame Israel for anything. And it’s also the stated view of the European Union, which is generally equally quick to blame Israel for everything.

(Video) Rightful Owners of the Temple Mount - Jerusalem Day, 2015

...renowned Torah scholar Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder and president of the Temple Institute, was himself an IDF paratrooper who fought for the liberation of the Temple Mount on this very day, 48 years ago. The rabbi addressed the enthusiastic crowd and spoke of his experiences as a soldier in this very spot on that fateful day. Rabbi Ariel recalled his fallen comrades who gave their lives for the return of the Temple Mount to the Jewish people, and encouraged the assembled to continue in the heroes' footsteps by demonstrating Jewish presence and rightful ownership of the Mount.


The Temple Institute..
17 May '15..

The holiday known as 'Jerusalem Day' is observed in Israel every year on the Hebrew date of Iyar 28 - the day corresponding with June 7th, 1967 on which the city of Jerusalem was liberated and united by the paratrooper brigade of the Israel Defense Forces in the Six Day War.

48 years later to the day, on May 17th, 2015, a crowd numbering 1,000 Jews converged at the gate of the Temple Mount, eager to ascend the mountain in joyous acknowledgment of the miraculous return of the city to Jewish sovereignty and in fulfillment of the Biblical commandment to revere the place of the Holy Temple. Most of all, they came to pray at the holy site.



The discriminatory practices and self-styled, anti-democratic 'rules' of the police prevented Jewish prayer, but once again fully allowed the demonic incitement of crowds of Muslim thugs and mercenaries who dogged every step of the Jewish pilgrims on the Mount and generally did their best to cause the Jews misery. And while the Jewish worshipers waited on line in the sun for as long as three hours for a chance to ascend even briefly on this special day, many were turned away in disappointment.