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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Obsession With Israel - Palestinian Corruption and Humanitarian Aid



While Israel makes the headlines, children like Aisha Hassan are not even news. Go to http://www.FreeMiddleEast.com for Palestine, UN and other Middle Eastern analysis.





The Palestinian Authority is accused of corruption by many but receives more humanitarian aid per capita than any other country in the world. The billions of dollars that are meant for schools, hospitals and infrastructure have been spent on luxury villas, casinos and payments to terrorists.

PA Men Attack IDF During Funeral

Regional Arabs doing what they do best:
Palestinian Authority men attacked soldiers near Hevron on Saturday during the funeral of a young PA man who had been killed the day before while attacking Jewish hikers. The attackers targeted soldiers with large rocks and a firebomb.


The soldiers were not hurt. They responded with tear gas, dispersing the attackers.

The funeral was for 17-year-old Yusef Iklayl, who was killed in a shootout Friday. The shootout between PA Arabs and Jewish security guards began when a group of Arab men attacked the hikers as they toured near Hevron.

Police have arrested four of the Israeli men who took part in Friday's hike. The men are being held for questioning in connection with the incident.

The hikers say they were ambushed while walking in a valley near Hevron. Their attackers, a group of PA Arab teenagers and men, threw rocks and bombs and opened fire, they said.

The hikers fled while a handful of armed guards opened fire to cover their retreat.

The PA men later claimed that the group of hikers, which included children and the elderly, had launched an unprovoked attack on an Arab village and had killed Iklayl for no reason. A similar claim was made Thursday regarding the shooting of a PA man in Samaria; police later found that the PA claim was untrue, and that the PA man had been shot while attacking a lone hiker.

Despite the findings regarding the Thursday incident, the PA continues to accuse Israel of murder. “The Israeli government cannot evade its responsibility for these cold-blooded crimes,” PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib told reporters.

Israel silently watches the unfolding of two new fronts


Egypt, one of the only two Arab states to sign peace with Israel, is wobbling dangerously on the brink of revolutionary change with potentially spreading fallout. This week, Israel was dismayed to find itself looking suddenly at three latently hostile fronts about to spring up around its borders:  Lebanon, which has dropped into the Iranian orbit, followed by Egypt, which is heading for terra incognita, and the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian Hamas, offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, has gained altitude as a Middle East player from the rise of its less radical parent. 

Indeed Gaza's rulers, who are close to Iran, are puffing themselves up as a bridge between the Shiite Revolution of Iran and the Sunni-led revolution of Egypt.

In the five days of the Egyptian upheaval from Tuesday, Jan. 25, none of the Israeli Middle East experts and pundits interviewed in one broadcast after another pointed to the three most pertinent common factors of the regime changes overtaking Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt – all in the space of days.

1. Not a single protester or slogan-bearer summoned up the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as a factor in the most revolutionary transformations to overtake the region's countries in half a century.  The Palestinians issue was totally absent from street demonstrations and Iran's takeover of Lebanon - giving the lie to the decades-long claim by Western decision- and opinion-makers that the Israel-Palestinian conflict was the root-cause of instability in the Arab and Muslim worlds and if it were not settled, those worlds would turn against the West. The Palestinians were plainly far from the minds of this week's Arab demonstrators.

2.  The force most energized by the popular uprising in Egypt week turns out to be the extremist Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood - not only in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in Jordan. Its enhanced potency makes it a menace for Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the rival Fatah, and the Hashemite throne in Amman.

Flexing his new muscles, Hammam Saeed, head of the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan and a close ally of the Hamas's Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal, said this in Amman Saturday, Jan. 29: "Egypt's unrest will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States."

DEBKAfile's Middle East experts predict that however the Egyptian uprising turns out, and in whichever direction it is pushed and pulled by the United States, it will end in a new parliamentary election and a new civilian government in which the Muslim Brotherhood will be substantially represented. 

This government will not abrogate the 1979 peace treaty binding Israel and Egypt for 33 years – no Cairo administration will risk losing the substantial aid package from America – but its format will change. The intimacy of day-to-day cooperation on common security and other matters may well be disappear and Israeli political, military and intelligence figures will not longer be welcome in Cairo for consultations on common concerns as they are today.

The Palestinian leader Abbas may also find the welcome mat withdrawn, unless he is willing to succumb to Hamas and cede control of the West Bank to the Palestinian extremists. 

Both set s of visitors will be replaced by Hamas leaders from Damascus, Beirut and the Gaza Strip beating a path to the Egyptian capital.

3.   Over the weekend, more than one high Iranian official was patting himself on the back over the way the Egyptian upheaval was turning out – especially the Al Qods Brigades commander, Qhassem Soleimani, whom DEBKAfile's exclusive sources disclose has just been promoted to Major General, the second highest rank in Iran's armed forces.

For 15 years as Al Qods chief, he has overseen all of Iran's clandestine, sabotage and subversive operations in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, managed Hizballah's terrorist and spy cells active in West and East Africa, built up Hizballah as the leading military force on home ground in Lebanon, and developed the military prowess of the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip.

Soleimani feels triumphantly vindicated in his decision to build up Hamas as Hizballah No. 2 and furnish the Palestinian extremists in the Gaza Strip with the missiles and weapons systems required to make them a formidable military force.

The Al Qods Brigades chief now takes credit for Hamas's readiness for the enhanced role it has gained from the popular uprising in Egypt.

But Israel's strategic planners should be kicking themselves for failing to curb Iran's military expansion into Lebanon and the Gaza Strip before it developed. The consequence of their inaction is two new long potentially hostile borders to Israel's south. 

Foreign Ministry Upgrades Warnings to Israelis: Leave Egypt

Israel's Foreign Ministry sharpened its warnings to citizens Sunday evening, telling Israelis to cancel any plans to travel to Egypt. Those who are already in the country should leave, said the ministry.



Israelis who continue to stay should monitor developments and comply with orders of the authorities. They should especially observe the curfew -- from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez -- and avoid being out in the open, the ministry said.

At present, Cairo's airport is operating normally, according to the ministry. But the Israeli Embassy was closed on Sunday, and is not expected to reopen until the security situation in the capital stabilizes.

Israeli diplomats have been instructed to stay in their homes, which are located in a relatively wealthy neighborhood in Cairo, guarded by the Egyptian army.

With the exception of looting by rioters, the weekend passed quietly, according to ministry sources.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, informed its citizens in Egypt that the State Department was making arrangements for transportation "to safehaven locations in Europe" for those who wished to leave. The government, in fact, strongly advised U.S. citizens currently in Egypt to "considering leaving as soon as they can safely do so."
Despite calls by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Egyptian government to "allow peaceful protests," the warning by the Warden was more practical, and more grim.

"While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citiens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security," warned the Bureau of Consular Affairs. "The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse."

U.S. citizens who wished to take advantage of the transportation were advised the flights to evacuation points would begin on Monday. Americans wanting to leave were told to contact the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.

Egypt deploys troops along Gaza border


With Israeli permission, Egypt sets up troops to avoid terrorist infiltrations across Gazan border.

Egyptian security forces beefed up their presence along the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday in a bid to stop Hamas operatives from crossing between the two countries amid concerns that terror groups will take advantage of the anarchy in Egypt to launch attacks against that country and Israel.

Israeli defense officials said the troop increase was undertaken in coordination with the Defense Ministry because, under the peace treaty between the countries, Egypt is not allowed to deploy large numbers of soldiers along its border with Israel.

The deployment came amid reports that Egypt had also ordered Hamas to cease all its tunnel activities along the Philadelphi Corridor. On Sunday, a number of Hamas operatives, including the group’s commander for Khan Younis, escaped from a jail in Egypt and were believed to be making their way back to the Gaza Strip.

“The Egyptians are cracking down on Hamas,” a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday.

Throughout the day, the IDF and Defense Ministry held consultations regarding the continued unrest in Egypt. Senior Israeli politicians and officials were in touch with Egyptian government officials, and contact was established directly between Israel and Egypt’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman.

Israel’s concern is that the Muslim Brotherhood will use the ongoing demonstrations to garner public support and eventually take over Egypt. Israeli officials who were in touch with Egyptians on Sunday expressed confidence in Suleiman’s ability to take control of the military and prevent a regime change.

“This is the end of Hosni Mubarak’s presidency, but the situation could be brought under control by Suleiman,” the senior defense official said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Sunday to discuss the situation.

Israel and European Space Agency Sign Revolutionary Agreement

Signing Space Agreement
A first of its kind agreement on cooperation in Space Research and Exploration was signed between the Government of the State of Israel and the European Space Agency – ESA. The signing ceremony was held as part of the Sixth International Ilan Ramon Conference. Ilan Ramon was Israel's first astronaut and he was killed in the Columbia Shuttle explosion. His widow Rona attended the ceremony.



NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver attended the ceremony and related to the question of whether an Israel astronaut is something we should expect to see in the near future. Garver was also asked about U.S. Navy Captain Astronaut Mark E. Kelly, husband of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Israel National News TV was at the ceremony and brings you the following report:

“This is an additional step in joint research and development as a whole, and space research in particular, which is strengthening and intensifying with European countries. It shall permit the expansion of scientific and economic cooperation with this continent of significant countries,” said Dr. Tzvi Kaplan, Director-General of the Israel Space Agency.

“The agreement constitutes an international recognition of Israel's status as a space power,” said Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, who attended the signing.

The document noted that Israel and Europe will work together in certain fields in particular, among them space engineering and space exploration. Also included were space technologies, including nano-satellites, Earth Observation -- including monitoring environmental contamination and natural disasters -- and microgravity research.

In practical terms, the agreement will facilitate the exchange of scientists, engineers, and information between the two space agencies. It will also lead to joint conferences and increased communication.

The latest agreement follows similar agreements between Israel and the French and Italian space agencies.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is composed of 18 countries in Europe that conduct joint collaboration in research and development of space science programs, with an annual budget of approximately 4 billion Euros. The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s forefront and prime executer of major space projects to shape and develop Europe’s space capabilities and ensure that investment in space continues, to promote and deliver benefits to the European people and the world. The joint collaboration between ESA and the EU is manifested in two joint projects, the “Galileo” project and the “GMES Project – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security” which has been established to accurate and timely information services to better manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

Germany Bans Anti-Israel Turkish Film - Israel, Germany Reach Out to Africa

Germany's film classification board has temporarily blocked the release of the Turkish movie “Valley of the Wolves Palestine,” a virulently anti-Israel film based on a controversial TV show. It has also given the movie an adult rating, meaning that even if it is allowed to be shown in the future, it will not be allowed to publicly advertise.


The ban in Germany could be a serious blow to the film, as the German market includes 3.5 million people of Turkish origin.

The movie had been scheduled for release on January 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. German MP Philipp Missfelder had termed the planned release date “beyond tasteless and insensitive to the feelings of the victims.”

In “Valley of the Wolves – Palestine” the Turkish hero of the film, Polat Alemdar, murders Israeli soldiers in revenge for the death of nine Turkish citizens who tried to forcibly break the IDF blockade of Hamas in May. The movie was filmedaboard the ship which the Turkish terror activists used in real life, the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey has accused Israel of deliberately murdering the IHH terror activists, despite the existence of IDF footage showing that soldiers only opened fire after they were violently attacked with knives and metal bars.

The Israeli villain in Valley of the Wolves Palestine, a fictional character named Moshe Ben Eliezer, “destroys villages, kills children, and imprisons anyone who helps Polat,” according to the film's synopsis. Previous installments of Valley of the Wolves have showed Israelis kidnapping babies and murdering innocent Arabs and Turks. “Valley of the Wolves – Iraq” showed a Jewish American doctor as an organ trafficker.

Writer Bahadir Ozdener told Turkish journalists that his aim was “to show that Israel and the United States are behind acts of terrorism.”

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Israel and Germany plan to team up to help developing nations. Representatives from both countries will meet Monday to sign a Declaration of Intent; the document will be signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel.

One shared project which Israel and Germany will initiate is the rehabilitation of Lake Victoria. The lake, the largest in Africa, is contaminated and is suffering the effects of pollution.

Ayalon said Sunday that reaching out to poorer countries is in Israel's interest, “Globally, we witness the instability of countries caused by socio-economic disparity. Aid projects with the objective of strengthening the socio-economic status of developing nations have become more important and urgent than ever."

"International aid is one of the most effective diplomatic tools," he continued, "and three-party aid strengthens Israel ’s relations with both the partner and with the recipient country, and allows for the distribution of Israeli technologies and strengthens the country’s socio-economic base.”



Israel has previously been involved in rescue efforts in Haiti, in AIDS prevention in Africa, in providing life-saving surgery to sick children from more than two dozen countries, and in training doctors from around the world to assist in their home countries. Much of Israel's humanitarian effort has been focused closer to home, where Israeli doctors treat tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority Arabs each year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to visit Israel on Monday afternoon, and to meet immediately with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In the evening, she and Netanyahu will hold a joint cabinet meeting, followed by a press conference.

The next day Merkel plans to have breakfast with Israeli business people, then to meet with MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima), head of the Opposition. Later in the day she will meet German volunteers in Jerusalem, and will meet with President Shimon Peres. In the afternoon, Tel Aviv University will present Merkel with an honorary doctorate.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cairo regime change could make IDF boost forces in South


Israel Concerned new government in Egypt would allow arms flow to Gaza, cut military dialogue; Muslim Brotherhood previously threatens to rip up Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty if in control.

Regime change in Egypt would force the IDF to reallocate resources and possibly increase its strength in the South, senior defense officials warned on Saturday.

Israel was closely following the demonstrations in Egypt and teams were assembled at Southern Command headquarters in Beersheba as well as at the Kirya military headquarters and Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to discuss possible scenarios and outcomes.

The 1979 peace treaty with Egypt has allowed the army to focus most of its forces and procurement efforts on the northern front – Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

“If a hostile regime takes over in Egypt, the IDF will need to restructure itself and would be pushed to the limit in its ability to deploy adequate resources on the various fronts,” one defense official said.

Israeli concerns regarding Egypt relate to several issues but focus on the long-term strategic effect Mubarak’s downfall would have on the country and the Muslim Brotherhood’s potential to take over the country. The Brotherhood has said that one of the first things it would do would be to rip up the peace treaty.

Israel is also concerned about the effect a regime change would have on Egypt’s border with Gaza, where security forces have recently been working more aggressively to stop arms smuggling to Hamas. While weaponry and explosives have still made their way to the Strip, the security forces have nonetheless been effective in curbing the flow.

“A change in power could change what happens on the border as well,” a senior defense official said.

On Saturday night, Channel 1 reported gunfire near the border with Gaza coming from Rafah.

Israeli defense sources confirmed that the IDF was not currently built to counter a military threat from Egypt and would have to restructure its divisions and the air force to effectively meet the challenge.

Defense officials said there was concern that a new regime in Egypt would also cancel the joint dialogue that has dealt with key issues such as smuggling under the Philadelphi Corridor between Sinai and Gaza.

Comment: Recent unrest in Arab world is not about us


How the Egyptian revolution debunks the Israel-is-the-cause-of-Mideast-instability myth.

From an Israeli perspective, one of the most striking elements of the evolving revolution in Egypt, Tunisia and other parts of the Arab world is the degree to which all of this is not about us.

For the tens of thousands of protesters who took to Egypt’s streets over the weekend, defying the curfew and calling for the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel and the Palestinians were simply not on the agenda.

And the same was the case during the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia earlier this month, and in the demonstrations intermittently taking place in Jordan, Yemen, Algeria and Morocco. No cries of death to Israel, no signs to “lift the siege” of Gaza, no chants against housing projects in Ariel.

And to all those who would answer this by asking what kind of egotistical people would think that everything is about them, that they are the center of all regional developments, just consider what everyone from US President Barack Obama, to US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy have been saying for years: that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the main source of foment and ferment in the Middle East.

Remove that source of antagonism, this argument ran, move Israel out of the West Bank, stop building a new apartment complex in Gilo, and stability would be much easier to bring to the region.

Really? Truly? Let’s imagine that two years ago Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had accepted with open arms Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of a Palestinian state on nearly 95 percent of the land, with a land swap for the rest, half of Jerusalem and an international consortium in control of the “Holy Basin,” would Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia not have set himself on fire, would rivers of people not be marching now in Egypt against Mubarak’s autocratic regime?

It’s clear that the tidal wave of popular anger against the Arab world’s “moderate” regimes would be washing over those regimes regardless of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Why? Because Middle East instability is not about us – it is about them. It is about Arab unemployment, and Arab poverty, and Arab despair of a better future.

One of the axioms repeated ad nauseum over the years by pundits around the world is that Arab despair breeds the radicalism that breeds the terrorism, and that the source of that despair is the Palestinian issue. Take that issue away and there will be far less despair, and thus far less terrorism. Hogwash.

True, there is hopelessness in the Arab world – but the source is not the Arab masses concern about the Palestinians; the source is the Arab masses concern about their own lives, their own unemployment and their own lack of freedoms. Fix that and you get stability; ignore that, and you get revolution.

But everyone – led by the US under Obama and the EU – ignored that, fixating instead on the building of another house in Ramat Shlomo, another apartment unit in Efrat. How many times have international leaders bewailed the humanitarian situation in east Jerusalem and in Gaza? How many statements have been issued expressing righteous indignation and concern? And, by comparison, how much attention did these same leaders pay to the humanitarian situation in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco, Jordan and Algeria – in the “moderate” Arab states. And which situation, really, threatens the stability of the region?

The Middle East is now at a crossroads. There is a democratic moment fast approaching, but one looks at it with fear and trembling. The events in Tunisia and now in Egypt may indeed represent the Arab world’s first popular revolutions, but they are by far not the world’s first revolutions.

The fear and trembling is that what happened in France in 1789, in Russia in 1917 and in Iran in 1979 will repeat itself in Egypt and the Arab world in 2011. After the old was thumped out by the new in those countries, there was a brief moment when democratic forces arose – be it the National Constituent Assembly and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France, Alexander Kerensky in Russia, or Shapour Bakhtiar in Iran – only to be swept away by the radicals: Robespierre in Paris, the Bolsheviks in Moscow, Ayatollah Khomeini in Teheran.

In Egypt, too, democratic forces are on the march, but the radical extremists are lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce.

None of this, of course, gets Israel off the hook. The conflict with the Palestinians is real, it’s acute and huge efforts must be found to try and justly manage if not solve it. But this conflict also must be put in its proper perspective; it must not be magnified far beyond its true dimensions.

When WikiLeaks began publishing US diplomatic cables in November, the world got a good glance at the degree to which the Arab leaders themselves did not see Israel – but rather Iran – as their main threat and the primary source of regional instability.

Now on the streets of Cairo, Tunis and Saana, the world is getting a good glance at what the people see as the main threat – their own governments.

Neither the people, nor the leaders, are holding Israel and the Palestinians up as the main problem. Is the West listening? Is Obama?

Israel keeps diplomats in Egypt, but pulls out families - If Brotherhood takes over, IDF will face formidable enemy


Jerusalem remains completely mum on events; National Security Council urges all Israelis to leave.

With events in Egypt seemingly spiraling out of President Hosni Mubarak’s control, the Foreign Ministry on Saturday evacuated the family members of diplomatic personnel serving in the embassy in Cairo, but stopped well short of pulling out all diplomatic personnel.

A flight carrying the spouses and children of Israeli envoys arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, along with 40 Israeli citizens who were in Egypt on private business and wanted to return home.

Foreign Ministry official said there were currently no plans to evacuate the Israeli diplomats themselves, including Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, and that there was no threat to their security.

“There is no need to flee,” one official said. “This is not an option. There are no attacks on our envoys, or on other embassies. The other embassies are also not evacuating their personnel.”

The decision to return the families of diplomats was taken at one of three consultations on the situation in Egypt that were held at the Foreign Ministry on Friday and Saturday.

During those consultations, information coming in from Egypt was evaluated, assessments were made, and then they were passed on to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the government.

Israel, unlike the US and the EU, has made no official comment on the situation inside Egypt, and – both because it does not want to be seen as meddling in any way, and because of the sensitivity of the matter and the massive ramifications the events in Egypt are likely to have on Israel’s strategic situation in the region – is unlikely to do so in the near future.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday night had no comment whatsoever on the events.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory recommending that Israelis refrain from “nonessential” travel to Egypt, including to Sinai. Israelis already in Egypt were advised to monitor the situation, abide by the instruction of local authorities and stay away from “open areas.” The National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged Israelis to return home.

Senior security officials said that there were a few dozen Israelis currently known to be in Egypt and the Foreign Ministry was working to contact families here to urge their relatives to return home.

“This is not a time to be there,” a senior security official said. “Egypt is currently not a safe place.”

According to the official, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the Tourism Ministry were in touch with travel agencies, in an effort to cancel organized tours to Egypt this week.

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Analysis: This year is turning into critical one for Israel, which is becoming more isolated in the ME. Turkey is gone and Egypt appears to be on way.

The collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt is not yet about Israel but soon will be, depending on his successor.

If the Muslim Brotherhood grabs the reins in the massive Arab country, Israel will face an enemy with one of the largest and strongest militaries around, built on some of the most advanced American-made platforms.

The impact on Israel will be immediate – the IDF will need to undergo major structural changes, new units will need to be created and forces in the South will likely need to be beefed up. Since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the IDF has not had to worry about two fronts at once. Until now.

The appointment of Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman as the vice president in Egypt is a reassuring sign for Israel.

Suleiman has played a key role in Israeli- Egyptian relations over the years and is considered in charge of the “Israeli Dossier” His office has been responsible for coordinating efforts to stop smuggling via tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor with Gaza and he is considered something of a moderate in comparison to outgoing Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi.

In a cable published recently by WikiLeaks, Suleiman told the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2009 that Egypt was stopping Iranian money from making its way through the country to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A new regime in Egypt could change all of that, and the transfer of Iranian funds to Hamas would be the least of Israel’s concerns.

Due to the peace with Egypt and Jordan as well as the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the IDF has spent the last decade focused on the internal Palestinian threat, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. Israel’s military buildup was performed accordingly, including procurement plans regarding the number of tanks, armored personnel carriers and fighter jets acquired.

“With its current assets, the IDF will currently find it very difficult to be able to deal with two live fronts at once,” a senior defense official admitted recently.

In the meantime, in Israel the hope is that Mubarak survives the calls for his downfall and that the appointment of Suleiman as well as the dismissal of the government succeeds in easing the demonstrations on the streets.

At the moment, assessments in Israeli intelligence circles are that Mubarak will survive. The demonstrations throughout Egypt, while large and growing, do not have an organized leadership behind them, and fearing a violent crackdown, the Muslim Brotherhood is staying underground.

The question, though, is what happens the “day after” Mubarak? Who will succeed him and what role will the Muslim Brotherhood play? Israel’s concerns though are not isolated to Egypt. One former senior Mossad official said on Saturday that Israel needed to be more concerned with a potential revolution in Jordan.

“In Egypt, Israel has Sinai as a major buffer zone,” the official said. “This is not the case in Jordan, where there is a massive Palestinian population that could directly threaten Israel through the West Bank.”

This year is turning into a critical one for Israel, which is finding itself increasingly isolated within the Middle East. Turkey is gone and Egypt appears to be on the way.

Iranian, Jordanian Oppositions, Israeli Arab MK Back Protests


Opposition movements in Jordan and Iran, an Israeli Arab Knesset Member and the Iranian government are encouraging anti-government protesters in Egypt. Anarchy spreads.

Prisoners, set free by Egyptian police to help them brutally suppress street rallies, were joined by other criminals and went on a rampage Saturday, looting hundreds of stores and homes in wealthy areas of Cairo.


Several areas of the country bordered on anarchy as Muslim extremists set up roadblocks and vied for control in different regions.

The prospect of a downfall of the Mubarak regime at the hands of a “peoples’ revolution” has sent shivers through Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia, all of whom fear the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as a dominant force in Egypt.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi encouraged the anti-Mubarak movement, stating on his website Saturday, "Our nation respects and salutes the huge revolution by the brave Tunisian people and the rightful uprising of the Egyptian and Yemeni people.”

Iranian Muslim clerics also have taken a stand against Mubarak. "An Islamic Middle East is taking shape," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said in a Friday sermon. "A new Middle East is emerging based on Islam ... based on religious democracy."

The semi-official Fars News Agency reported that the Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami said, "This is what comes of hegemonic systems dependant on foreign [states] that start a dictatorial movement n their country. He stated that the protest movement in Egypt is a "manifestation of the [Iran's] Islamic Revolution in the Middle East region and the world of Islam."

Israeli Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsur expressed “full support: for the protesters in Egypt." He added, " The Arab police states have given their peoples no other option but to take to the streets for a people’s revolution to topple the suppressing regimes and to free themselves from the control of dictators.”

The leader of the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Saeed, led a rally in Amman and ridiculed the United States and U.S. President Barack Obama, saying they “must be losing sleep over the popular revolt in Egypt. Now, Obama must understand that the people have woken up and are ready to unseat the tyrant leaders who remained in power because of U.S. backing.”

U.S. President Barack Obama faces a new challenge in dealing with the riots in Egypt, which receives massive military aid from the United States but has been roundly criticized for violations of human rights and freedoms.
"Who knows where this is going? Should things not hold in Egypt, or should this catch fire in other Middle Eastern states, people really are going to watch how he handles the first major new foreign crisis on his watch," Ryan C. Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to several Middle Eastern countries, told the Los Angeles Times.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk told the newspaper, “The end result could be an ally that we depended on to protect American interests and stability in this volatile region will be toppled, and then a very unstable situation in Egypt will spread across the region, and that can do great damage to our interests.”

However, he also observed, "Clinging to Mubarak, when it's clear that he's lost his legitimacy among the Egyptian people and ends up using force and a great deal of bloodshed to retain his power, could produce the very instability we're trying to avoid.”

David Schenker, a Mideast specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, bluntly stated that he fears that the Muslim Brotherhood will overrun Egypt and destroy the peace treaty with Israel.

Israel has maintained an official silence on the growing crisis in Egypt, but officials have stated anonymously that despite the “cold peace” with Egypt, Israel enjoys a quiet southern border.

"If there is a regime change Israel will have to reassess its strategy to protect its border from one of the most modern militaries in the region,” one senior official told the Associated Press.

Saudi Arabia, which fears a revolution from Muslim extremists in its own country, expressed support for Mubarak. King Abdullah called Mubarak and said, 'Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,'" according to the government press agency.

Yaalon: Hizbullah Operating in Gaza

Hizbullah agents have infiltrated Gaza and are teaching local terrorist groups more advanced tactics, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon warned Thursday. The Lebanon-based terrorist group even has a special unit that deals with terrorists in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, he said.


The Hizbullah presence in Gaza began after Israel's withdrawal in the 2005 “Disengagement,” he said.

Yaalon, a former IDF Chief of Staff, said Hizbullah agents could enter Gaza “like the Iranian rockets are coming to Gaza.” Rockets are smuggled into Gaza from Egypt via a system of tunnels under the border.

Terrorists can move from Lebanon to Sudan, then to Egypt, and from there to Gaza, he said.

Hamas denied Hizbullah involvement in Gaza. “All the factions in Gaza are Palestinians,” said spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Previously Israel has revealed that Hizbullah funds terrorist groups in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and helps train terrorists from those regions who make their way to Syria.

Hamas in Gaza in particular has used Hizbullah's strategy in recent years as opportunities to infiltrate Israel dwindle. Instead of focusing on suicide bombings as it once did, the group began putting its energy into rocket attacks on civilians – Hizbullah's favored form of attack during the Second Lebanon War.

Huckabee Visits Israel as He Tops Polls in Two Primaries


Unofficial Republican party presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a solid supporter of Israel, is en route for his 15th visit. He has said he probably will wait until summer before announcing whether or not he will run for president in 2012.

"Headed to Israel with family and friends. Looking forward to my 15th trip there," Huckabee's tweet read on Saturday, as polls show him topping the polls in West Virginia and North Carolina.

Huckabee recently spoke at the annual Beit El yeshiva dinner in New York and often has said that if the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza want a state, they can choose from among several Arab nations.

Huckabee’s visit this week will take him to the Knesset, where the Immigration and Absorption Committee will make a rare exception and host him at a meeting. He also will visit Jewish communities in united Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

His trip follows a recent visit by another GOP-Tea party contender, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Huckabee will be accompanied by actor Jon Voight, who can be seen and heard in the following video backing Huckabee and condemn including U.S. President Barack Obama for “raping” the nation of the United States.



Two polls show Huckabee leading in West Virginia with 28 percent of the projected vote, three percent ahead of Sarah Palin, and more than 10 percent ahead of Romney and Newt Gingrich.
In North Carolina, he leads with a nine-point advantage.

Only in Israel by Efraim Kishon -- Neighborhood Bully by Bob Dylan,


-Israel is a country surrounded on all sides by enemies, but the people's headaches are caused by the neighbors upstairs.

-Israel is the only country in the world where the coffee is already so good that Starbucks went bankrupt trying to break into the local market.

-Israel is the only country in the world whose soldiers eat three sets of salads a day, none of which contain any lettuce (which is not really a food), and where olives ARE a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini.

-Israel is the only country in the world where one is unlikely to dig a cellar without hitting ancient archaeological artifacts.

-Israel is the only country in the world where the leading writers in the country take buses.

-Israel is the only country in the world that has a National Book Week, during which almost everyone attends a book fair and buys books.

-Israel is a country where the same drivers who cuss you and flip you the bird will immediately pull over and offer you all forms of help if you look like you need it.

-Israel is the only country in the world with bus drivers and taxi drivers who read Spinoza and Maimonides.

-Israel is the only country in the world where no one cares what rules say when an important goal can be achieved by bending them.

-Israel is the only country in the world where reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children.

-Israel is the only country in the world where "small talk" consists of loud, angry debate over politics and religion.

-Israel is the only country in the world where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah as they leave with their loot.

-Israel is one of the few countries in the world that truly likes and admires the United States .

-Israel is the only country in the world where everyone on a flight gets to know one another before the plane lands. In many cases, they also get to know the pilot and all about his health or marital problems.

-Israel is the only country in the world where no one has a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.

-Israel is the only country in the world where people cuss using dirty words in Russian or Arabic because Hebrew has never developed them.

-Israel is the only country in the world where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.

-Israel is the only country in the world where everyone strikes up conversations while waiting in lines.

-Israel is the only country in the world where people call an attaché case a "James Bond" and the "@" sign is called a "strudel".

-Israel is the only country in the world where people read English, write Hebrew, and joke in Yiddish.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Neighborhood Bully
By Bob Dylan, 1983 (on “Infidels” album)

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have
thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door gets
kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully. 



The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man,
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel
bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of,
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would
weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under noone’s command.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest of books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into
wealth,
Took disease and sickness and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’ they say. He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the
moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Woman Suicide Bomber - Remembering a past attempt (2005)



From  an interview with Member of the Knesset, Dr. Arieh Eldad, in the New English Review:

Eldad:
I was instrumental in establishing  the Israeli National Skin Bank, which
is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every
day needs as well as for war  time or mass casualty situations. This skin bank
is hosted at the   Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where  

I was the chairman of plastic surgery.

This is how I was asked to  supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza, who
was hospitalized in   Soroka Hospital in Beersheba after her family burned  her.
Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women  are
suspected of having an affair. We supplied all the needed  Homografts for
her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend  and colleague 

Prof. Lior Rosenberg, and discharged to return to Gaza.

She was invited for regular  follow up visits to the outpatient clinic in
Beersheba . One day  she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide
belt. She meant  to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the
hospital where they  saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if
she did  that, they would forgive her.

This is only one example of the war  between Jews and Muslims in the 
Land
of Israel. It  is not a territorial conflict. This is a  civilizational conflict.

Roger L.  Simon

Police detain 20 involved in clash at Hirbat Safa

Regional Arabs doing what they do best:


Settlers, Palestinians clash in Gush Etzion; as a result teen, 17, shot, critically injured; Israeli hikers say Palestinians opened fire at them.

Judea and Samaria police detained 20 individuals involved in the clashes between Palestinians and Bat Ayin settlers near the village of Hirbat Safa in Gush Etzion where a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot and critically injured Friday.





The detainees, who come from different areas, were in the vicinity of the clashes and police were taking their statements.

Initial reports said a group of Israelis hiking near the village of Hirbat Safa and Beit Ummar came under fire and returned fire of their own.

As a result of the incident, Palestinian sources reported about 150 Bat Ayin residents arrived at the village of Hirbat Safa where clashes erupted and an additional Palestinian was lightly injured from rock throwing.

No hikers were reported injured.

IDF and police forces arrived to the scene and began investigating the incident. The IDF said that the hike was not coordinated in advance with the military.

The group of hikers was investigated and questioned by authorities.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer reacted to the incident and called on police to gather settlers' weapons.

"The police must collect the majority of the firearms possessed by settlers and act strictly against every citizen who is trigger-happy and kills Palestinians for no reason," Oppenheimer said.

Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel also offered his take on the events, saying that Jews are allowed to protect themselves.

"I call on the public not to be deterred and to continue to travel throughout Israel," Marzel said. "The Arabs need to take into account that the Jews are not suckers and are allowed to protect themselves against those who want who want to deprive them of life."

On Thursday, a Palestinian teen from the West Bank village of Iraq Burin was killed after he threatened a pedestrian with a rock, the Judea and Samaria Police said.

The police said that they did not know the identity of the pedestrian, but that they were exploring the possibility that he was Israeli, and maybe a settler.

The man was walking in the area of Iraq Burin when he was surrounded by a group of Palestinians who began throwing rocks at him, according to an initial police investigation.

One of the Palestinians, a teenager, then moved toward him with a rock in hand, police reported.

The man tried to force the Palestinian teenager to step back, the police said. When that failed the man took out a gun and shot at the teen. 

'Hamas officials travel to Syria to discuss Schalit'

Arabs making fun of Gilad Schalit

"Al-Hayat" report says delegation will bring up suggestions made by German negotiator Gerard Conrad; Schalit bicycle rally head in Gilboa.

Five senior Hamas officials will head to Damascus, Syria on Sunday to discuss kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit with the Hamas leadership, according to a report by the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat on Friday.
 







The Hamas officials, including Mahmoud A-Zahar and Halil El-Haya, hail from the Gaza Strip and Denmark. They reportedly plan to bring up suggestions made by German negotiator Gerard Conrad.

Conrad will visit Gaza once Hamas has answers from Damascus, according to Palestinian sources.

"We will discuss his [Conrad's] new suggestions as the negotiator is expected to visit Gaza soon and receive answers from us regarding his suggestions," a Hamas official told Al-Hayat. "Only after we return from Damascus will we provide him with our answers."

According to the report, the Hamas delegation will also discuss the political situation in the West Bank and Gaza, in light of the Al-Jazeera TV network's leak of secret Palestinian documents regarding peace negotiations with Israel.
In a related matter, hundreds of Jewish and Arab residents of the Gilboa region embarked on a bicycle rally Friday morning in a call to release Schalit.

Following the demonstration, a march will take place, ultimately ending with a support rally.

Schalit relatives took part in the demonstration

Hamas: PA leadership should be ‘isolated and besieged'


Thousands march in Gaza with Abbas effigies wrapped in Israeli flags, protesting Israeli-Palestinian coordination.

Hamas on Wednesday urged Palestinians to “isolate” the Palestinian Authority leadership in light of this week’s revelations by Al-Jazeera.

Hamas said the secret documents that were revealed by Al-Jazeera were “extremely dangerous” and provided evidence of the PA’s involvement in the assassination of Palestinians and its role in Operation Cast Lead two years ago.

Hamas was responding to claims by Al-Jazeera that the PA, in the context of security coordination with Israel, was involved in the assassination of a top Fatah gunman in the Gaza Strip in 2005.

“This dangerous information affirms that we are facing a team that has allied itself with the occupation against its own people,” Hamas said in a statement. “We urge Palestinians everywhere to reject this security and political coordination, and to work toward isolating and besieging this despicable group.”

Hamas plans a series of mass protests in the Gaza Strip in the coming days to denounce the PA in the wake of the Al- Jazeera revelations.

Representatives of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas, held an emergency meeting in Gaza City to discuss the repercussions of the Al-Jazeera claims.

The groups said in a statement after the meeting that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his team do not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians.

Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas, said the groups agreed that the leaked documents were “very serious.” He said that many Palestinians have been shocked by the revelations.

The groups also called on the PA to stop security coordination with Israel, he said.

Yahya Musa, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, condemned the PA leaders in the West Bank as a bunch of gangsters.

“Palestine is not for sale,” Musa said during an anti-PA demonstration in Khan Yunis.

“The Palestinians deserve a better leadership than the one sitting in the West Bank.”

On Wednesday evening, several thousand Palestinians marched in two Gaza towns.

In one, they hoisted effigies of Abbas and other Palestinian negotiators draped with Israeli flags and chanted, “Go home, traitors.” In the other, they held up photos of Abbas with his face crossed out.

In Ramallah, Abbas chaired a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee to discuss the latest developments surrounding the “Palestine Papers” leaks.

The committee strongly condemned Al-Jazeera for waging a “smear campaign” against the PA leadership.

The committee said that this campaign coincided with Israel’s “hostility” toward the PA leadership because of the latter’s refusal to succumb to pressure to make concessions.

Accusing Al-Jazeera of forgery and taking the documents out of context, the PLO committee described the revelations as a theater.

The PLO leaders called on the Quartet members, who are scheduled to meet next month in Munich, to support the Palestinians’ efforts to obtain a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements as “illegitimate.”

Meanwhile, Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the PA government in the West Bank, denied that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had ever expressed support for the continued blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Al-Jazeera claimed on Tuesday that Fayyad had told Quartet envoy Tony Blair that he was opposed to the reopening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

Khatib accused Al-Jazeera of distorting the facts and misleading its viewers with the aim of undermining the PA and the PLO.

Former PA interior minister Nasr Youssef denied that he had played any role in the assassination of Hassan al- Madhoun, a senior Fatah activist wanted by Israel for a series of terrorist attacks.

Al-Jazeera claimed that Youssef and then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz had discussed the possibility of assassinating Madhoun in 2005.

Youssef said that he had actually warned the fugitive that Israel was planning to kill him. He added that Madhoun was recruited to the PA’s Presidential Guard to protect him.

However, Madhoun left the job after a few days, a fact that paved the way for his assassination by Israel, Youssef said.

“Israel never asked us to kill anyone,” the former PA minister said. “They only asked us to arrest people. Israel never tells anyone when it’s going to assassinate someone and the Israelis don’t need information from us to learn about the movements of anyone.”