Friday, August 26, 2016

Can Russia be Israel’s ally? - by Vic Rosenthal

...Can Putin be trusted? No, of course not. Regardless of the propaganda flowing from his psychological warfare factories, he is not sentimental about Jews. The ex-KGB officer is not sentimental about anything. But I think he is smart enough to understand the potential stability that a strong Israel – the only nation in the Middle East that can at the same time be powerful without also being tempted to engage in aggression against its neighbors – would give to the eastern Mediterranean region, which incidentally contains large reserves of natural gas.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
25 August '16..

It’s hard to understand Vladimir Putin’s attitude toward Jews.

On the one hand, Putin-controlled media continues to pour out vulgar anti-Jewish memes, including a recent TV program in which Jews sunk the Titanic, blew up Chernobyl and took down the World Trade Center. And Russia has surprising connections and influence in European radical right-wing political parties like Hungary’s Jobbik, France’s National Front and more.

On the other hand, at the same time, Russia is hosting a conference of 500 European rabbis in order to discuss the problem of Jew hatred in Europe, and in January Putin even suggested that Jews fleeing Europe should go to Russia. Jews “should come here, to Russia. They left the Soviet Union; now they should come back,” he said.

On the one hand, there appear to be good relations between Putin and Israel’s PM Netanyahu. Arrangements in place to prevent accidental clashes between Israeli and Russian air forces operating in Syria seem to be working. It does not seem to be the case that Putin is preventing Israel from taking action against attempts to transfer game-changing weapons to Hezbollah.

On the other hand, Russia is supplying modern weapons to Iran, and it appears to be cooperating with the Iranian regime’s project to control the arc of land from its eastern border through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean, as well as opening a direct line through Anbar province in Iraq, via Jordan, to Israel’s midsection. This is not “good for the Jews.”

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Doable and Being Done. Decoupling Diplomacy from ‘Peace’ - by Evelyn Gordon

...When you add in the fact that Israel already has strong bases of support in the West – even in hostile Europe, as activist Ariel Bolstein discovered on a recent tour of British pubs – there’s no reason to think Israel’s relations with the West will remain hostage to the Palestinian issue forever. The real mistake would be for Israel to throw up its hands and insist no improvement is possible rather than preparing to take advantage of new opportunities if they arise. And that, based on its record, doesn’t seem like a mistake this government will make.

Evelyn Gordon..
Analysis from Israel..
27 August '16..
Link: http://evelyncgordon.com/decoupling-diplomacy-from-peace/..

In a world where entire countries are collapsing, it’s not surprising that the collapse of a decades-old diplomatic axiom has been largely ignored. This axiom holds that Israel’s international relations are dependent on the fate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Relations will improve if the government makes progress toward peace and worsen if the peace process stalemates. Yet Israel today, under a government widely (though wrongly) deemed its “most right-wing ever” and equally widely (though equally wrongly) blamed for the nonexistent peace process, has been expanding and deepening its diplomatic relationships at a dizzying pace, as the past week once again shows.

On Monday, on the way home from a visit to Guinea–a Muslim-majority country with which Israel resumed relations this summer after a 49-year hiatus–Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold stopped off in another African country with which Israel still has no formal ties. According to Haaretz, no Israeli diplomat has ever before been invited to this country. That same day, Kazakhstan’s defense minister came to Israel to meet with his Israeli counterpart prior to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned visit to this Muslim-majority country later this year. According to the Jerusalem Post, that will make Netanyahu the first sitting Israeli premier ever to visit Central Asia. And while Nigerian opposition has apparently stalled a bid by several African countries to invite Netanyahu to this year’s summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the president of Togo has announced that he will host a meeting between Netanyahu and ECOWAS leaders next spring, in yet another first. Nor are such developments unusual these days; just last month, I wrote a post listing several other such firsts.

Granted, the main impetus for this change has nothing to with Israel; rather, it’s the global upsurge in Islamist terror, which has spurred more and more countries to seek to benefit from Israel’s unhappily vast experience in combating such terror. Nevertheless, it’s no accident that these blossoming diplomatic ties are happening specifically under a “right-wing” government.

Netanyahu and his cabinet have been able to exploit this opening to the fullest precisely because they never bought the diplomatic axiom so beloved of the Israeli left. Had the government actually believed diplomatic success depended on progress in the peace process, it wouldn’t have invested much effort on trying to expand Israel’s ties with the traditionally pro-Palestinian non-Western world at a time when the peace process was stalemated because it would consider such efforts doomed to failure. And in fact, before Netanyahu took office in 2009, Israeli diplomacy did focus almost exclusively on the West.

But Netanyahu and certain other key cabinet ministers (most notably former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman) have toiled for years to improve ties with non-Western countries. Thus when changing geopolitical circumstances provided an opportunity, they were fully prepared to seize it, with a skill that won admiration even from diehard critics like Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Palestinian Authority has never acted seriously against the terrorists, and never will - by Stephen Flatow

...Let's be grateful Israel's security forces have once again pre-empted the terrorists. But at the same time, let's learn an important lesson from this latest episode: the Palestinian Authority has never acted seriously against the terrorists, and never will. The PA regards the terrorists as "martyrs" and "heroes," and it says so every day in its newspapers, radio shows, and television programs. It allows them to operate freely, and sometimes even directly assists them. This week's photograph proves it yet again.

Stephen M. Flatow..
JNS.org..
24 August '16..

It's one of the most disturbing photos from Israel that I've seen in years.

I'm referring to this week's image of the hundreds of Palestinian terrorist weapons captured in Israeli raids. It was enough to send shivers down one's spine. And it revealed more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than all the panel discussions, research papers, and expert analyses with which we are always being bombarded.

Friends of Israel often complain about what they say is the Israeli Foreign Ministry's inadequate effort to make Israel's case to the international community. And those complaints are not entirely without merit. But somebody in the foreign ministry's "hasbara" division deserves credit for coming up with a simple, yet incredibly effective way of demonstrating what Israel is up against: show their weapons.

Telling the world that hundreds of terrorists have been arrested, or thousands of weapons captured is mind-numbing. They're just numbers. The public yawns and turns the page. But recall what the Israelis did after capturing in Jan. 2002 the Karine A, the Palestinian ship seized by Israeli commandos. They didn't just issue a press release about the 50 tons of arms, or the 700,000 rounds of ammunition on board. They actually spread the weapons out, on the ground, for the photographers and television cameras. And they reached as far as the eye--and the lens--could see.

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Reframing and politicising an animal welfare story at BBC News - by Hadar Sela

...Clearly telling BBC audiences the story of the relocation of abused animals from the Khan Younis zoo was of much less interest to Yolande Knell than the opportunistic promotion of her long apparent political agenda.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
25 August '16..

A filmed report which appeared on the BBC News website’s homepage as well as on its ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on August 24th revisited the location of a previous BBC report from April 2012.

Back then, the report titled “Gaza zoo resorts to displaying stuffed animals” told audiences that:

“A zoo owner in Gaza has had to resort to displaying stuffed animals, because of a shortage of live ones.

Mohamed Owaida from the Khan Younis Zoo says it is proving too costly to feed his living animals, and he can not always get live specimens through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.”

Around the same time, the Times of Israel also produced a report about that zoo.

“Flies swarm around some of the 10 animals that have been embalmed so far. The makeshift cages housing the exhibits — fashioned from fencing salvaged from Jewish settlements that Israel dismantled in 2005 — are littered with empty soda cans and other trash.

An emaciated-looking stuffed lion, its coat patchy and mangy, lies on an exhibit cobbled together from crates and shipping pallets. A monkey had missing limbs. A porcupine had a hole in its head.

The zoo’s 65 live animals, which include ostriches, monkeys, turtles, deer, a llama, a lion and a tiger, don’t fare much better. During a recent visit, children poked chocolate, potato chips and bread through the wire. There’s no zookeeper on the premises. Gaza has no government body that oversees zoos, and medical treatment is done by consulting over the phone with zoo veterinarians in Egypt.[…]

Owner Mohammed Awaida said he opened the “South Forest Park” in 2007, only to lose a number of animals during Israel’s military offensive against Hamas that began in December 2008. During the three-week offensive, launched in response to rocket attacks on Israel, Awaida said he could not reach the zoo, and many animals died of neglect and starvation.”

Earlier this year the international animal charity ‘Four Paws’ began trying to save the remaining animals in Khan Younis.

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Surprise? Reuters Headline Describes Palestinian Attacker As "Driver"

...The disappearance of the post might seem strange. But then again, it sure would look bad if Baker's own bureau repeatedly publishes headlines of the type that he himself said were "horrible." And it does look bad. But might look equally bad for a journalist to surreptitiously delete his own tweets.

Gilead Ini..
CAMERA Snaphots..
24 August '16..

The Israeli army today reported that a Palestinian attacker was killed after he stabbed a soldier.

But a Reuters headline about the attack suggests the man was killed while doing no more than driving his car: "Israeli soldier shoots dead Palestinian driver in West Bank: army."


By contrast, here's how Reuters described an incident in Belgium earlier this month in which an attacker was killed after slashing police officers:

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The Poll that Headlines Got Wrong. Two State Solution is Most Sincerely Dead

...The "two state solution" isn't a final solution. It’s clearly a step towards something else. Hint: They oppose a demilitarized state 81.6%:16.0% !!


Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
24 August '16..
Link: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=71312

The headlines covering a poll of Palestinians and Israelis this week claimed that there is still slightly more support for the "two-state solution" than opposition.

But if you spend 60 seconds actually reading the poll results you will understand that the Palestinian street is dead set against the two-state solution.

Let's walk through some key results of the Joint Poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah, in partnership with and support from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and with funding from the European Union (EU).

Let's focus on the results for Palestinians from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem interviewed between June 2 and 4, 2016.

When questioned regarding support for a two state solution, there was indeed a 50.9%:47.6% majority for a two state solution.

But most - 58.3% - oppose dropping further claims against Israel or considering the conflict over if a two-state solution is implemented.

The "two state solution" isn't a final solution. It’s clearly a step towards something else.

Hint: They oppose a demilitarized state 81.6%:16.0% !!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Israel is not involved, assaults on freedom of the media and expression do not interest them

One might wonder if the human rights groups neglect these abuses because of their continued obsession with destroying Israel.

Ahmed Said (left) and Mahmoud Abu Awwad (right)
are two journalists living in the Gaza Strip who
were recently arrested by Hamas security forces.
Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
23 August '16..

Palestinian journalists are at the top of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas hit-list in the crackdown occurring alongside preparations for the Palestinian local and municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.

The crackdown is part of an ongoing campaign by the two rival parties to silence critics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Neither Hamas nor the PA tolerates a free and independent media -- especially on the eve of a crucial election that could have far-reaching political implications in the Palestinian arena.

A Hamas victory in the upcoming elections would be catastrophic for President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. Such an electoral outcome would be tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in their policies and performance.

Hamas, for its part, is investing a huge amount of resources in the election campaign, in hopes that the results would further boost its standing among Palestinians. Hamas fears that a defeat would undermine its power in the Gaza Strip and pave the way for its collapse.

As the election campaign heats up, it is clear that Hamas and the PA agree on one thing: intensifying their repressive measures against Palestinian journalists.

This media crackdown is essentially ignored by international human rights organizations. Why? One reason is that when Israel is not involved, assaults on freedom of the media and expression do not interest them.

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When UNRWA was against moving Palestinians into normal homes - by Elder of Ziyon

...There was, of course, a postscript. The UN condemned Israel for improving the lives of hundreds of Palestinians and for trying to get them out of these crime-ridden, crowded camps. Many times.

Elder of Ziyon..
23 August '16..








We've spoken about this before, but here is a 1977 LA Times article that shows how much UNRWA (and the PLO) were against Israel moving Arabs into decent housing.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? - by David Collier

...Simply writing a piece slamming Haaretz for picking on Israeli policy isn’t really a worthwhile exercise today. We have long since passed the point of Haaretz being recognised as anything but a bitter media outlet drowning in its own extreme agenda. It no longer has a relevant readership inside Israel at all, and if it were not for the global fanbase of Israel’s rabid haters, Haaretz would long ago have either sunk completely or began to swim in another direction. Yet the question remains, how far gone are they?

David Collier..
Beyond the Great Divide..
23 August '16..

Truth is I had placed myself on a month long self-imposed exile from all my research into the anti-Zionist camp. I reasoned I needed a holiday, a break from the venom, the hatred and the antisemitism.

The theory had been that if I replace Electronic Intifada with the Israel press and Counterpunch with Jewish media in the US or UK, I would be able to switch off and relax. In hindsight it was a mistake to think it would be a detoxifying experience. After just two weeks I basically end up asking the question. With friends like these – who actually needs enemies?

Let me begin with a point of clarification. I do not as a rule, attack the politics of the Israeli left. It isn’t that I agree with them – I don’t. In part I understand their anxiety, their moral conflict, but my response to all those who simply wish to ‘end the occupation’, is always to ask a simple question – “how?”

Opposition politics is always easy, it’s just naysaying and grandstanding. It is difficult to think of a better example of this than the position of the far left in Israel. The naïve belief that all that is wrong is embedded in the ‘occupation’, the flimflam argument put forward by those who think that somehow, the conflict would end (or be less harmful) if Israel would just ‘play nice’. So if you ever want to see true confusion, take a supporter of Meretz (Israel), Yachad (UK), J-Street (US) and ask them how exactly they intend to ‘end the occupation’. What does it all look like a day after?

For the most part these movements are astroturf organisations, the expensive playthings of fools with too much money. However, my research focuses on anti-Zionists, not Zionists with whom I have disagreements. So I leave them alone when they leave me alone. However, at times like this our paths do cross, and over the last few weeks I experienced two incidents of what I can only refer to as ‘press rage’ (I would define ‘press rage’ as the point where I begin to throw random heavy items having read an article I took extreme exception to).

The first article was in Haaretz. I made the mistake of reading an online Haaretz piece penned by Gideon Levy. The second was a hatchet job in Jewish News that directly affects me and attacks my own political position. The article in the Jewish News also has far reaching implications and creates an impossible environment for Zionists in the UK. This piece is a response to those attacks on Zionism. Let me deal first with Haaretz.

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The first BBC English language report on missile fire since the beginning of 2016 - by Hadar Sela

...The corporation’s public purposes remit commits it to “giving insight into the way people live in other countries” and building “understanding of international issues”. The BBC apparently believes that on this particular issue it can meet those obligations by producing one belated report in eight months which includes a generalised portrayal of ‘periodic’ missile fire rather than providing audiences with the readily available concrete statistical information.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
23 August '16..

Well over 24 hours after the incident took place, a day after colleagues at BBC Arabic published two articles on the story and following the appearance of this post, the BBC News website finally informed its English-speaking audiences that a missile had been fired by “Palestinian militants” in the Gaza Strip at an Israeli town.

Titled “Israel launches Gaza strikes after rocket attack on Sderot“, in its fourth paragraph the report from August 22nd tells readers that:Sderot attack art

“Earlier, a rocket launched in Gaza landed near a house in the Israeli town of Sderot without causing any injuries.”

It continues:

“Israel and militants in Gaza led by Hamas, which dominates the coastal territory, fought a 50-day war in the summer of 2014.

Since then, a ceasefire has largely held, but some small jihadist groups have defied the agreement and periodically fired rockets at Israel.”

Does that portrayal provide BBC audiences with an understanding of the rate of missile fire from the Gaza Strip since the end of the 2014 conflict? The facts behind the BBC’s claim that the ceasefire which came into force in August 2014 “has largely held” are as follows (an attack represents one incident rather than the number of missiles fired. Short falling missiles which were fired towards Israel but landed inside the Gaza Strip are not included):

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Perhaps the Palestinians will yet thank Israel for their skirting the Arab catastrophe - by Moshe Arens

...The rhetoric of Palestinian leaders like Abbas in Ramallah and Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza might lead you to believe that nothing can be worse than Israeli “occupation,” but it’s not likely that all Palestinians believe that. Maybe some even consider the establishment of the State of Israel a blessing in disguise.

Aleppo May 2016
Moshe Arens..
moshearens.com..
15 August '16..
Link: http://moshearens.com/2016/08/15/the-palestinians-can-thank-israel-for-their-skirting-the-arab-catastrophe/

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which pledged His Majesty’s Government’s support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Arthur James Balfour has a well-deserved place in history, not only because he signed the famous letter addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, but also because he served as Britain’s prime minister between 1902 and 1905, and as Britain’s foreign secretary between 1916 and 1919.

As for Abbas, he might have remained completely unknown had it not been for the Balfour Declaration. The Palestinians as a national entity, recognized internationally and as such by themselves, would probably not have existed had it not been for the Balfour Declaration. They were not recognized as such at the time, either by the Turks or the British.

The Balfour Declaration refers to “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” Thirty years later, in November 1947, the UN partition declaration called for the establishment of a Jewish and an Arab state in a divided Palestine. The non-Jewish population in Palestine was considered by the international community, and by themselves as well, not a distinct nationality but part of the Arab nation.

It was the establishment of Israel, and the following Arab wars waged against Israel, that gave rise to a separate Palestinian national consciousness and in time international recognition of a Palestinian nation. Abbas has no reason to sue Britain, which by its declaration and the subsequent establishment of Israel also gave birth to the Palestinian nation that he purports to lead. If anything, he should recognize Britain’s contribution to Palestinian nationhood.

What would have been the fate of the Arab population living in Palestine at the time of the Balfour Declaration had Britain not pledged its support to the Zionist enterprise and if Israel had not been established 31 years later? We can only speculate, though one would expect that their fate would have been intertwined with the fate of the Arab populations in the Middle East in the years after World War I until the present time, and no doubt would have been affected by it.

Actually, Palestinians want to keep the conflict going until their ultimate victory - by Elder of Ziyon

...This is the fundamental fact missing from most analysis of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Palestinians do not want a real, permanent peace, only to grab what they can to stage the next phase of their goal to destroy Israel. Most polls are written by people who do not even want to accept that as a possibility, so the question is not asked and the headlines can be written based on the very specific, yet ultimately inadequate, questions that were asked.

Elder of Ziyon..
22 August '16..








The news media spins it this way: (from AP)

Slim majority of Israelis, Palestinians still favor peace deal
A new poll of Israelis and Palestinians released on Monday found that a slim majority on both sides still favor a peace settlement establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, despite years of conflict and deadlock in negotiations.

The results of the joint poll may provide some small signs of encouragement when peace prospects appear bleak. The last round of negotiations broke down two years ago, and a resumption of talks, much less progress between the sides, at this point seems unlikely.

The poll found that 51 percent of Palestinians and 59 percent of Israelis still support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But the reality is shown to be different once you look at the actual questions.

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Truly Eyeless in Gaza - by Michael Danby

Isn’t it ironic that aid from a Christian charity, or at least their reckless support for Palestinians in Gaza, is used for attack tunnels against Israel, the only place Christians feel safe from persecution in the entire Middle East.

Michael Danby..
Times of Israel..
22 August '16..
Link: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/world-vision-eyeless-in-gaza/

The Reverend Tim Costello is the very image of the muscular, “socially concerned” Church Man. For all his righteous self-confidence he and World Vision have long suffered from a lack of imagination as to good and evil in the Middle East. It should surprise no one that World Vision’s director in Gaza, Mohamed Halabi has been accused of being a double agent for Hamas and indicted in an Israeli court for diverting the bulk of World Vision aid for the Palestinians to that notorious terrorist group. The internal Israeli security service, Shin Bet has a very detailed list of charges against Halabi. Isn’t it ironic that aid from a Christian charity, or at least their reckless support for Palestinians in Gaza, is used for attack tunnels against Israel, the only place Christians feel safe from persecution in the entire Middle East. Only in Israel, in all of the Middle East is the number of Christians increasing as the fighting Jihadist program has chased most of the ancient Christian communities out of the Arab World.

World Vision, a Christian charity “doing good” amongst the heathen Palestinian Muslims, is in fact not an aid organisation, it is constituted as a church. Irony of irony that a church would unwittingly support a Jihadist organisation like Hamas. Hamas’s military organisation has long been designated by the Australian Parliament as a terrorist organisation, as it is in most Western Countries.

Rev Costello is not a neophyte when it comes to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and has a long record of getting things wrong on this volatile area. Some years ago he wrote a commentary for Melbourne’s Age which ignored suicide bombings and condemned Israel for building a security fence.

As my friend Professor Gerald Steinberg argued in the Wall Street Journal “For years, World Vision promoted the Palestinian cause, developed alliances and provided funds to some of the nongovernmental organizations active in demonizing Israel and promoting boycotts. In publications designed to bring in donations, the brutality of Palestinian terrorism is erased while images of victimization are highlighted. Children are depicted as harassed by “soldiers and settlers,” and “suffer from lack of adequate education facilities” due to “demolitions,” as World Vision’s website puts it. Palestinian corruption is whitewashed, as is the fact that Israel has been out of Gaza for more than a decade.”

Germany too has decided to bar financing World Vision. Volker Beck the German Green Party MP and head of the German- Israel Parliamentary Group said: “World Vision massively damages the trust necessary for aid work for the people in Gaza,” adding that “Hamas is a terrorist organization, which should not be financed with tax-payer funds.”

Now World Vision have as the result of this scandal suspended its operations in Gaza. Wise thing to do.