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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IDF strikes southern Lebanon after rockets launched into Israel

Source: Israel Hayom

No injuries reported, but one rocket causes minor damage • Early warning siren fails to sound • Homefront Defense Minister Matan Vilnai: Hezbollah may not be the culprit • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reconsiders cutting defense budget.

By Daniel Siryoti, Danny Brenner, Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies

Residents of the northern Galilee were awakened by the sound of explosions when at least three rockets fired from Lebanon struck the region on Monday night. There were no reported injuries, while one rocket caused minor property damage. The Israel Defense Forces said it had shelled the launch sites in retaliation.

Northern District police spokesman Chief Inspector Yehuda Maman issued a statement saying, "Around 1 a.m., explosions were heard in the Western Galilee. The IDF and Israel Police searched the area and determined that one rocket exploded near a town and two more rockets hit a moshav [an agricultural community] in the Western Galilee. One hit a chicken coop and the other didn't detonate."

The type of rockets involved has yet to be determined, Maman said. "Explosives experts have taken fragments from the rockets for analysis. It is still unclear whether the rockets were Katyushas [Hezbollah's mainstay-medium range rocket] or another type of rocket."

Northern District police combed the area throughout the night in search of more fallen rockets, after residents reported hearing additional loud explosions.

"Anyone who was sleeping was awakened by the blasts," said Galilee resident Shlomi Levy. "We heard at least four explosions, but strangely the early warning alarm didn't sound."

A senior police official told Israel Hayom that the early warning sirens were under the jurisdiction of the IDF's Homefront Command and that he believed the IDF was looking into why they did not sound.

In an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday, Homefront Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that though it was not clear who was responsible for the attack, "There are several possibilities."

"The events in Syria have led to a crisis among Hezbollah but it is not clear that they launched the rockets," Vilnai said. "We live in an unpredictable region -- we are surrounded by constant threats." He said he thought there was no link between the rocket fire and Monday's mysterious explosion in Iran. "You can connect anything to anything else,” he said. “We can't know if the recent events are related."

Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said that the Lebanese government and its military are solely responsible for what happens in southern Lebanon. "The question of who is behind the rocket fire is not yet known, but Hezbollah has no interest in an escalation," Meridor told Army Radio.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon on Tuesday said it would investigate the incident and try to locate the rockets' launching site. UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas has urged Israel and Lebanon to act with maximum restraint to prevent any escalation.

"This is a serious incident in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area," Cuevas said. Resolution 1701 ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah. "It is imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack, and we will spare no efforts to this end and work in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces,” he said. “Additional troops have been deployed on the ground and patrols have been intensified across our area of operations to prevent any further incidents.”

The flare-up comes at a time when the entire region is engulfed in violence and upheaval, with thousands killed in the regime's crackdown on protesters in Syria and after popular uprisings ousted longtime rulers in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The IDF said it did not expect Tuesday's incident to touch off a wider conflict with Lebanon. In a statement, however, it said it regarded the attack as "severe" and held the Lebanese government and army responsible for preventing rocket fire at Israel.

Army Radio said it was the eighth rocket attack since Israel's month-long war with Hezbollah guerrillas ended in August 2006. Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since the end of the fighting, but smaller militant organizations, some Palestinian and some linked to al-Qaida, have launched rockets on several occasions. None of the rocket attacks has caused serious casualties.

In August 2010, the Lebanese Army clashed with the IDF when the former opened fire on an IDF patrol on the Israeli side of the UNIFIL-monitored blue line between the two countries. The exchange of fire resulted in the deaths of a senior IDF officer, four Lebanese soldiers and a civilian reporter.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may reverse a planned NIS 3 billion ($793 million) cut to the Defense Ministry budget, despite the Finance Ministry's vehement opposition. The Finance Ministry has long pushed for tighter regulation of the defense budget. The planned budget cut was recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee, which aims to shift government spending priorities without breaching the national budget. The Trajtenberg Committee was formed in response to the summer's social justice protest movement against the hardships facing the middle class in Israel. The Knesset is scheduled to hold a meeting next week on the report compiled by the Trajtenberg Committee, bringing the budget cuts back into discussion.

Netanyahu remarked on the issue twice in as many days this week, hinting that everyone agreed that Israel needed to invest in its security. The prime minister's staff stated that Netanyahu refuses to deviate from the framework of the approved budget, and that the security of Israel's citizens is his utmost priority.

Speaking to Likud members on Monday, Netanyahu declared that he sees that issue as having three prongs "that define the key decisions we will have to make as a government": the global economic situation, Israel’s growing social demands, and the geopolitical shift in the region. "The only way to approach this three-way challenge is to exercise national responsibility and caution," he said. "The instability in the Middle East affects our defense budget. The implications of this instability must be considered together with all the other factors in efforts to maintain economic responsibility."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday at an Independence party meeting that while social justice was important, everyone understood Israel's urgent security needs. He voiced hope that the government would "act appropriately." 

Eldad to Abdullah II: Jordan is Palestine or Exile

Source: Arutz Sheva

MK Eldad continued trading barbs with Abdullah II saying if Jordan isn't Palestine the Hashemite monarchy will fall

By Gavriel Queenann

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee delayed a discussion entitled "Jordan is Palestine" citing the "sensitivity of the issue," according to MK Aryeh Eldad.

Eldad, who called for the discussion, said "the discussion is relevant and more urgent than ever. The shocks and upheavals in the Middle East will not pass Jordan by."

A long-time proponent of defining Jordan as the 'Palestinian state' over creating such an entity in Israel's biblical heartland, Eldad has pressed the government to abandon the bilateral track instituted by the Oslo Accords and pursue a separate diplomatic track with Jordan.

Earlier this year King Abdullah II of Jordan rejected the long-held formula of the Hashemite monarchy that "Jordan is Palestine," saying "The so-called 'substitute homeland' exists only in the minds of the weak."

Abdullah, responding to comments by Eldad, told reporters "the Jordanian option is an illusion. Jordan is Jordan, and Palestine is Palestine."

Analysts say, despite Jordan's couching its opposition to the Jordan is Palestine formula in terms of support for the current bilateral peace track and “protecting the interests of Palestinians,” that Amman's motives are likely rooted in its own demographic and security concerns.

Last week Abdullah said, "“A Fatah-Hamas joint platform of action, which may put an end to any prospect of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, would be viewed with great concern in Amman. The absence of any negotiations may drift into violent friction between Israel and the Palestinians with dire consequences for all concerned, Jordan included."

Eldad earlier responded to Abdullah’s statements, saying "Abdullah knows full well that there is no other justification for Jordan and he is overwhelmed with fear of the masses in Amman today to do what they did Mubarak and Gaddafi."

MK Eldad today recommended, "It is better Abdullah announce today that Jordan is the national homeland for the Palestinians – or else seek asylum in London."

Sources close to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee told Arutz Sheva the government is concerned raising the issue for discussion at this time would sour already strained relations with Amman. 
Jordanian flag equals so-called "Palestinian" flag

UN envoy: Difference between Israel and Arabs – treatment of refugees

Source: ynet news

Speaking at the United Nations on the occasion of the Partition Plan's 64th anniversary, Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said: "The difference between the two distinct populations was – and still is – that Israel absorbed the refugees into our society. Our neighbors did not."

"Refugee camps in Israel gave birth to thriving towns and cities. Refugee camps in Arab Countries gave birth to more Palestinian refugees," he said. (Yitzhak Benhorin, Washington)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Israel Moves to Stabilise Egypt Treaty

By MARK WEISS in Jerusalem
ISRAEL IS working with the United States to shore up its peace treaty with Egypt amid growing concern that the Egyptian election may bring to power an Islamic regime hostile to the Jewish state.
Speaking yesterday to the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defence committee, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed alarm over current trends in the Arab world.
“We are witnessing an Islamist wave washing over the Arab world after decades of stable military rule,” he said. “We are facing uncertain times. One cannot estimate how long it will take until things stabilise. We must act responsibly and carefully. This is not the time for rash actions.”
Mr Netanyahu said the “Islamist wave” was “not good for us”, and added that “the stability we have known will change in the coming years – whether it is the US withdrawal from Iraq or Libya’s weapons cache. It’s going to be a bigger challenge for Israel. It reflects directly on our security needs.”
Egypt became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Under the agreement, signed between Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, with the mediation of US president Jimmy Carter, Israel returned the Sinai peninsula, captured during the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli war, in return for full diplomatic relations. The peace treaty has been the cornerstone of Israel’s regional policy ever since, and the Egyptian border, until recently, was Israel’s quietest front.
Mr Netanyahu also confirmed he had ordered a delay to the demolition of a temporary wooden bridge connecting the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s old city. Both Egypt and Jordan had warned Israel that the demolition of the link between sites holy to Judaism and Islam could stir tensions.
“The situation is sensitive. It was my assessment that given the demonstrations in Cairo it was not the right time,” Mr Netanyahu explained, although he denied he was bowing to Arab pressure.
The Jerusalem municipality ordered the demolition of the bridge after city engineers deemed it a fire risk. Muslim radicals claimed Israel’s real intention was to replace it with a stronger structure to allow Israeli troops and settlers easy access to the Al-Aqsa mosque. The ramp was meant to be temporary when built in 2004 but fears of Muslim protests prevented construction of a permanent structure.

UN Resolution 181 - The Partition Plan

Back to the home page!
 Myths and Facts

A "Green Light" for Jewish Statehood - A 'Dead' Blueprint for Peace
November 29, 1947

By Eli E. Hertz

In 1947 the British put the future of western Palestine into the hands of the United Nations, the successor organization to the League of Nations which had established the Mandate for Palestine. A UN Commission recommended partitioning what was left of the original Mandate - western Palestine - into two new states, one Jewish and one Arab [Not a Palestinian state]. Jerusalem and its surrounding villages were to be temporarily classified as an international zone belonging to neither polity.
What resulted was Resolution 181 [known as the 1947 Partition Plan], a non-binding recommendation to partition Palestine, whose implementation hinged on acceptance by both parties - Arabs and Jews. The resolution was adopted on November 29, 1947 in the General Assembly by a vote of 33-12, with 10 abstentions. Among the supporters were the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as other nations including France and Australia. The Arab nations, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia denounced the plan on the General Assembly floor and voted as a bloc against Resolution 181 promising to defy its implementation by force.
The resolution recognized the need for immediate Jewish statehood (and a parallel Arab state), but the 'blueprint' for peace became a moot issue when the Arabs refused to accept it. Subsequently, de facto [In Latin: realities] on the ground in the wake of Arab aggression (and Israel's survival) became the basis for UN efforts to bring peace. Resolution 181 then lost its validity and relevance.

Aware of Arabs' past aggression, Resolution 181, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

"Determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution." [italics by author]

The ones who sought to alter by force the settlement envisioned in Resolution 181 were the Arabs who threatened bloodshed if the United Nations was to adopt the Resolution:
"The [British] Government of Palestine fear that strife in Palestine will be greatly intensified when the Mandate is terminated, and that the international status of the United Nations Commission will mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations. Thus, the Commission will be faced with the problem of how to avert certain bloodshed on a very much wider scale than prevails at present. ... The Arabs have made it quite clear and have told the Palestine government that they do not propose to co-operate or to assist the Commission, and that, far from it, they propose to attack and impede its work in every possible way. We have no reason to suppose that they do not mean what they say." [italics by author]

Arabs' intentions and deeds did not fare better after Resolution 181 was adopted:
"Taking into consideration that the Provisional Government of Israel has indicated its acceptance in principle of a prolongation of the truce in Palestine; that the States members of the Arab League have rejected successive appeals of the United Nations Mediator, and of the Security Council in its resolution 53 (1948) of 7 July 1948, for the prolongation of the truce in Palestine; and that there has consequently developed a renewal of hostilities in Palestine."

The conclusion:
"Having constituted a Special Committee and instructed it to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine, and to prepare proposals for the solution of the problem, and

Having received and examined the report of the Special Committee (document A/364). ... Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future Government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out below; ..." [italics by author].

In the late 1990s, more than 50 years after Resolution 181 was rejected by the Arab world, Arab leaders suddenly recommended to the General Assembly that UN Resolution 181 be resurrected as the basis for a peace agreement. There is no foundation for such a notion.
Resolution 181 was the last of a series of recommendations that had been drawn up over the years by the Mandator and by international commissions, plans designed to reach an historic compromise between Arabs and Jews in western Palestine. The first was in 1922 when Great Britain unilaterally partitioned Palestine. This did not satisfy the Arabs who wanted the entire country to be Arab. Resolution 181 followed such proposals as the Peel Commission (1937); the Woodhead Commission (1938); two 1946 proposals that championed a bi-national state; one proposed by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in April 1946 based on a single state with equal powers for Jews and Arabs; the Morrison-Grady Plan raised in July 1946 which recommended a federal state with two provinces - one Jewish, one Arab. Every scheme since 1922 was rejected by the Arab side, including decidedly pro-Arab ones because these plans recognized Jews as a nation and gave Jewish citizens of Mandate Palestine political representation.

Arabs Rejected the "Unbalanced" Partition Plan
The UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) uses the term "unbalanced" in describing the reason for Arab rejectionism of Resolution 181. This description hardly fits reality. Seventy-seven percent of the landmass of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth Arab state - Trans-Jordan (today Jordan).
In a statement by Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, the representative of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), he had that to say about fairness, balance, and justice:
"According to David Lloyd George, then British Prime Minister, the Balfour Declaration implied that the whole of Palestine, including Transjordan, should ultimately become a Jewish state. Transjordan had, nevertheless, been severed from Palestine in 1922 and had subsequently been set up as an Arab kingdom. Now a second Arab state was to be carved out of the remainder of Palestine, with the result that the Jewish National Home would represent less than one eighth of the territory originally set aside for it. Such a sacrifice should not be asked of the Jewish people."

Referring to the Arab States established as independent countries since the First World War, he said:
"17,000,000 Arabs now occupied an area of 1,290,000 square miles, including all the principal Arab and Moslem centres, while Palestine, after the loss of Transjordan, was only 10,000 square miles; yet the majority plan proposed to reduce it by one half. UNSCOP proposed to eliminate Western Galilee from the Jewish State; that was an injustice and a grievous handicap to the development of the Jewish State." [italics by author].

Arab's Aggression Before and After the Adoption of Resolution 181
Following passage of Resolution 181 by the General Assembly, Arab countries took the dais to reiterate their absolute rejection of the recommendation and intention to render implementation of Resolution 181 a moot question by the use of force. These examples from the transcript of the General Assembly plenary meeting on November 29, 1947 speak for themselves:
"Mr. JAMALI (Iraq): ... We believe that the decision which we have now taken ... undermines peace, justice and democracy. In the name of my Government, I wish to state that it feels that this decision is antidemocratic, illegal, impractical and contrary to the Charter ... Therefore, in the name of my Government, I wish to put on record that Iraq does not recognize the validity of this decision, will reserve freedom of action towards its implementation, and holds those who were influential in passing it against the free conscience of mankind responsible for the consequences."

"Amir. ARSLAN (Syria): ... Gentlemen, the Charter is dead. But it did not die a natural death; it was murdered, and you all know who is guilty. My country will never recognize such a decision [Partition]. It will never agree to be responsible for it. Let the consequences be on the heads of others, not on ours."

"H. R. H. Prince Seif El ISLAM ABDULLAH (Yemen): The Yemen delegation has stated previously that the partition plan is contrary to justice and to the Charter of the United Nations. Therefore, the Government of Yemen does not consider itself bound by such a decision ... and will reserve its freedom of action towards the implementation of this decision."

The Partition Plan was met not only by verbal rejection on the Arab side but also by concrete, bellicose steps to block its implementation and destroy the Jewish polity by force of arms, a goal the Arabs publicly declared even before Resolution 181 was brought to a vote.
Arabs not only rejected the compromise and took action to prevent establishment of a Jewish state but also blocked establishment of an Arab state under the partition plan not just before the Israel War of Independence, but also after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967), rendering the recommendation 'a still birth.'
The UN itself recognized that Resolution 181 had not been accepted by the Arab side, rendering it a dead issue: On January 29, 1948, the First Monthly Progress Report of the UN-appointed Palestine Commission charged with helping put Resolution 181 into effect was submitted to the Security Council (A/AC.21/7). Implementation of Resolution 181 hinged not only on the five member states appointed to represent the UN (Bolivia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Panama, Philippines) and Great Britain, but first and foremost on the participation of the two sides who were invited to appoint representatives. The Commission then reported:
"The invitation extended by the [181] resolution was promptly accepted by the Government of the United Kingdom and by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, both of which designated representatives to assist the commission. ... As regards the Arab Higher Committee, the following telegraphic response was received by the Secretary-General on 19 January:


The UN Palestine Commission's February 16, 1948 report (A/AC.21/9) to the Security Council noted that Arab-led hostilities were an effort
"To prevent the implementation of the [General] Assembly's plan of partition, and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory."

On May 17, 1948 - after the invasion began, the Palestine Commission designed to implement 181 adjourned sine die [Latin: without determining a date] after the General Assembly appointed a United Nations Mediator in Palestine, which relieves the United Nations Palestine Commission from the further exercise of its responsibilities.
Some thought the Partition Plan could be revived, but by the end of the war, Resolution 181 had become a moot issue as realities on the ground made the establishment of an armistice-line (the "Green Line") - a temporary ceasefire line expected to be followed by peace treaties - the most constructive path to solving the conflict.
A July 30, 1949 working paper of the UN Secretariat entitled The Future of Arab Palestine and the Question of Partition noted further that:
"The Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan so that any comment of theirs did not specifically concern the status of the Arab section of Palestine under partition but rather rejected the scheme in its entirety."

By the time armistice agreements were reached in 1949 between Israel and its immediate Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Trans-Jordan) with the assistance of UN Mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche, Resolution 181 had become irrelevant, and the armistice agreements addressed new realities created by the war. Over subsequent years, the UN simply abandoned the recommendations of Resolution 181, as its ideas were drained of all relevance by events. Moreover, the Arabs continued to reject 181 after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967) which Jordan invaded in the course of the war and annexed illegally.
Attempts by Palestinians to 'roll back the clock' and resuscitate Resolution 181 more than six decades after they rejected it 'as if nothing had happened' are a baseless ploy designed to use Resolution 181 as leverage to bring about a greater Israeli withdrawal from parts of western Palestine and to gain a broader base from which to continue to attack an Israel with even less defendable borders. Both Palestinians and their Arab brethren in neighboring countries rendered the plan null and void by their own subsequent aggressive actions.
Professor Stone wrote about this 'novelty of resurrection' in 1981 when he analyzed a similar attempt by pro-Palestinian 'experts' at the UN to rewrite the history of the conflict (their writings were termed "Studies"). Stone called it "revival of the dead"
"To attempt to show ... that Resolution 181(II) 'remains' in force in 1981 is thus an undertaking even more miraculous than would be the revival of the dead. It is an attempt to give life to an entity that the Arab states had themselves aborted before it came to maturity and birth. To propose that Resolution 181(II) can be treated as if it has binding force in 1981, [E.H., the year the book was written] for the benefit of the same Arab states, who by their aggression destroyed it ab initio, [In Latin: From the beginning] also violates 'general principles of law,' such as those requiring claimants to equity to come 'with clean hands,' and forbidding a party who has unlawfully repudiated a transaction from holding the other party to terms that suit the later expediencies of the repudiating party. [italics by author].

Resolution 181 had been tossed into the waste bin of history, along with the Partition Plans that preceded it.
Israel's Independence is not a Result of a Partial Implementation of the Partition Plan
Resolution 181 has no legal ramifications - that is, Resolution 181 recognized the Jewish right to statehood, but its validity as a potentially legal and binding document was never consummated. Like the proposals that preceded it, Resolution 181's validity hinged on acceptance by both parties of the General Assembly's recommendation.
Cambridge Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice, a renowned expert on international law, clarified that from a legal standpoint, the 1947 UN Partition Resolution had no legislative character to vest territorial rights in either Jews or Arabs. In a monograph relating to one of the most complex aspects of the territorial issue, the status of Jerusalem, Judge, Sir Lauterpacht wrote that any binding force the Partition Plan would have had to arise from the principle pacta sunt servanda, [In Latin: treaties must be honored - the first principle of international law] that is, from agreement of the parties at variance to the proposed plan. In the case of Israel, Judge, Sir Lauterpacht explains:
"The coming into existence of Israel does not depend legally upon the Resolution. The right of a State to exist flows from its factual existence-especially when that existence is pro­longed shows every sign of continuance and is recognised by the generality of nations."

Reviewing Lauterpacht's arguments, Professor Stone, a distinguished authority on the Law of Nations, added that Israel's "legitimacy" or the "legal foundation" for its birth does not reside with the United Nations' Partition Plan, which as a consequence of Arab actions became a dead issue. Professor Stone concluded:
"The State of Israel is thus not legally derived from the partition plan, but rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control."

For the article including notes and map, please go to:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Egypt's Gas Pipeline Blown Up for the Ninth Time

Source: Arutz Sheva

Hours before polls open in Egypt, saboteurs attack - for the ninth time - the gas pipeline to Jordan and Israel.

By Elad Benari

Saboteurs blew up Egypt’s gas pipeline to Jordan and Israel early on Monday morning, just hours before the country holds its first election since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.

Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that the explosion struck the pipeline west of El-Arish in Sinai. They said there was a second consecutive blast, about 100 meters away.

Security sources told Reuters the explosions were detonated from a distance and that tracks from two vehicles were found in the area. Security forces and fire trucks raced to the scene.

It was the ninth attack on the pipeline this year, the eighth attack having taken place only last Friday.

Friday’s explosion did not disrupt the flow of gas because the pipeline was undergoing routine maintenance work, and there was no gas in the pipe at the time of the explosion. It is unknown what damage, if any, was caused by Monday’s explosion.

The Egyptian government said this month it would tighten security measures along the pipeline by installing alarm devices and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen.

Israel depends on Egyptian gas for its power stations, and it will take at least another two years before the gas fields off the Israeli coast can begin supplying Israel with gas.

Controversy Down Under: Australian Jews Shocked by NIF Speaker

Source: Arutz Sheva

Former Haaretz editor David Landau, NIF guest speaker, shocks Aussie audiences by praising anti-Zionist NGO's and criticizing IDF.

New Israel Fund (NIF) and its guest speaker former Haaretz Editor David Landau have combined to create communal controversy among Australia's Jewish population over the past two weeks.

A recently formed group Australians For A Secure Israel (AFASI) first raised alam bells when its President - Danny Ginges - wrote to Australia's only dedicated on-line newspaper J-Wire to alert readers to beware of NIF's fundraising appeal which is meant to compete with and denigrate Israel's JNF:

"One of NIF Australia’s goals for 2011/12 is raising funds for The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF), to which Australians are being asked to contribute $22,000. This NIF grantee is following the footsteps of other NIF grantees by taking issue with Israel and its Zionist agenda, specifically lambasting the JNF to multiple UN committees whose goals seem to be the delegitimisation and censure of Israel. One only has to look at the NCF website to see the prominent position given to ‘UN & Reports’. In those reports you will find statements that virulently attack the JNF and its activities being carried out legally in the Negev."

Landau's visit to Australia took place in the same week 650 people had attended a JNFgala fund raising function addressed by former Jerusalem Post Editor David Horowitz. The guests also watched a videotaped message from Israel's President Shimon Peres in which he praised the work of JNF stating:

"You changed the colour of our face. From pink and brown, the colour of the desert, Israel became green, the colour of the garden and became a wonder in the eyes of the whole world and changed this history of our people. You planted trees You built centres of water,. you carried out other enterprises which are unique in our history.  You can be proud historically We are the smallest country which reached highest degree of hope and peace. Each of you has a share in this enterprise of overcoming the call of desert and introducing the call of hope.  The nature of achievements…a gift for prosperity. Thank you for what you did. Please continue the same way. Penny to penny, person to person,  day to day and let’s show both our fathers and our children  that the fate of our people and the fate of our country is in their hands. God bless you"

Landau's well publicized views accusing Israel of sliding towards McCarthyism and racism, calling on America to rape Israel and on Israelis to boycott the Knesset didn't prevent the roof body of New South Wales Jewry - the Board of Deputies - hosting Landau at a luncheon. This action turned out to be an embarrassment when Landau addressed an NIF breakfast meeting just two days later to publicly declare something that happened 25 years ago that he had "not even told his wife":

"Landau said that he himself had “never raised a hand against an unarmed handcuffed man…but he had witnessed an event following the advent of the Intifada which had not given him peace to the present day and I have been silent about it until today. He did not go into detail but said he witnessed “an act of bestiality” perpetrated by family men. The situation drew out of “decent honorable people” the worst of them."

Why Landau had remained silent for so long and had not revealed the identities of those alleged to have taken part in this incident to the relevant authorities at the the time was unexplained. Why he chose to break his silence in Australia and not to his wife first remains a mystery.

Landau also praised the NIF Funded organization Breaking the Silence which has been roundly criticised in Israel for receiving funding from overseas governments to pursue its political agenda outside Israel in what many regard as being anti-Zioinist.

He said the present Israeli government was waging war on today’s NGOs and Breaking the Silence is threatened with extinction. Landau said “there is legislation afoot aimed at Breaking the Silence”. He said the group has two sources for funds…the NIF and the British and Dutch governments but the new legislation would block the international funding. This, he added, will impact on the New Israel Fund itself.
Landau said he was bewildered to find the New Israel Fund “under attack” in Sydney and that Breaking the Silence was “vilified and ostracised”. He said that Breaking the Silence are “the conscience of our people”. He said “you are either a person with moral fibre and an ethical code and a Jewish backbone or you’re not”. He said there is no better place to put your investment in a Jewish future"

Landau's defence of Breaking The Silence (BtS) and his allegations of IDF behavior brought forth a spirited reply from Dr Ron Weiser, the Honorary Life president of the State Zionist Council of new South Wales, who wrote:

BtS misrepresents itself as promoting human rights in Israel, but this small group focuses on European and North American audiences, repeating unsupported accusations of war crimes, as quoted in the discredited Goldstone report.

In March this year BtS hosted an exhibit in Sweden. BtS spokesperson Itamar Shaipra stated “We are the oppressors, we are the ones that are violating human rights on a daily basis. We are creating the terror against us, basically”

There is a general pattern with BtS claims, sensational unsupported allegations with names and documentation being extremely vague, headlines that damage Israel and the IDF, followed much later by reality.

Let’s be very clear. Any abuse of power is to be condemned, especially if it involves the deliberate mistreatment of other human beings.

Israel has a long and proud track record in dealing strongly and effectively with any such incidents that have occurred on rare occasions, in complete contravention of Israeli law and policy.

People who claim to have witnessed such incidents abrogate their duty and moral responsibility by not reporting them in a timely manner and to the proper authorities.

Coming to Australia and making unsubstantiated sensationalised claims about supposed incidents that are alleged to have taken place years previously and were never reported, should be treated with the scepticism they deserve.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Danny Lamm this week was prompted to enter the controversy saying he was sorry that former Ha’aretz editor-in-chief David Landau had been given an opportunity to speak to Jewish audiences.
“Some of his statements are statements that can be used to delegitimise Israel, for example a boycott of the Knesset and the statements that his 'idea of a wet dream is the rape of Israel',” Lamm said.

“These are obscene comments and this is unacceptable stuff.”

“The ECAJ would not have hosted him." - an oblique reference to Landau's luncheon date with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

“I am sorry that he is here and I’m sorry that he has been given the opportunity to speak to our audiences,” Lamm said.

NSW Board of Deputies President Yair Miller attempted to justify the Board's invitation to Landau by stating:

 “The board of deputies is the communal roof body, and as a mature, open-minded organisation it makes available a range of views to its membership,” he said. We expect that our members will engage with and challenge views that they find controversial.

The Landau lunch, which was a private function, conducted under Chatham House rules, had a guest list restricted to elected deputies, and gave our members this opportunity.”

Given  this disaster, said an Australian activists, one can possibly anticipate the Board of Deputies inviting Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal as a future luncheon guest.

Most of the criticism posted against Landau and the NIF in the many blog postsappearing on J-Wire was directed at its funding of organizations with anti-Zionist objectives such as Breaking The Silence, the Negev Coexistence Forum and Mossawa. Those posting called on NIF to review its financial support of such organisations.

An open letter to The Boss - Bruce Springsteen

Source: Jerusalem Post

By David Brinn

Israel is the Bruce Springsteen of the Middle East – living every day to its fullest and always striving for a better future.

Dear Bruce, 

The rumors have been running rampant ever since the biggest daily paper in Israel, Yediot Aharonot, earlier this month inaccurately published a headline – “Springsteen on the way to Israel.”

Of course, anyone who then read the story learned that, while indeed promoter Shuki Weiss had made an offer to you to perform here next summer, “it’s too early to announce any good news.” So much for burst expectations.

 On the other hand, the story didn’t appear out of thin air. That same week, your own website announced that you would be taking the E Street Band out on a European tour in the spring and summer, the first since your longtime sax man and sidekick Clarence Clemons passed away in June.

Those two items – put together – are reason enough to fill the hearts of the many Springsteen fans in Israel with the prospect that there is indeed a chance that – 39 years after the release of your remarkable debut album that introduced you to the world as a once-in a- generation talent – you’ll finally be making your Israel debut.

However, it’s certainly not a sure thing. Over the last 11 years since you brought the E Street Band back together, there have been numerous tours of Europe without an Israel date. Is it going to happen again?

Confirmed dates are beginning to appear on your website – a few in Italy and some in England, solid and predictable destinations that you faithfully return to each time you reach this side of the world. In all likelihood, dates in Stockholm, Lisbon and Barcelona will soon be on the docket as well.

It’s always a matter of scheduling, routing and logistics, and it’s clear to everyone – including yourself and your management – that deciding to perform in Israel includes considerably more baggage than doing a show in, say, Copenhagen. And it’s not only the equipment shipping, the distance, and whether the Israeli promoter can supply the right kind of bottled water you might require.

If negotiations work out, and you do sign a contract to appear in Israel, you’re also signing on for something bigger than just showing up and performing one of your soul-stirring, uplifting shows.

In short, it will be difficult for someone of your stature to come here without having to deal with the “Israeli-Palestinian issue.” Whether it will involve making some kind of grand gesture – like Leonard Cohen’s coexistence fund – or a more modest endeavor, like Paul McCartney’s visit to a Palestinian music school or Elton John’s defiant “nobody’s gonna stop me” speech from the stage – remains to be seen.

And let’s not forget the headaches that await you with the “boycott Israel” campaign folks who will be jamming your website and management with pleas, threats and calls to avoid playing in “apartheid” Israel.

But knowing how you’ve stood on your principles in the past – from dueling with US presidential candidate Ronald Reagan over his inverting your anti-war “Born in the USA” into a patriotic call to arms, to your boldly unflinching identification as an overtly heterosexual rocker with the victims of AIDS – it’s clear that you would find the honorable way to steer through the potential land mines of Middle East polemics.

Your music and career have always been about grand gestures and small moments: the triumph of human spirit and battling against adversity, the celebration of life and freedom amid the realization of what the costs of such triumphs are.

Those are the same qualities that Israel embodies – nobody knows about struggling with adversity and overcoming insurmountable obstacles better than we do, just as nobody has captured the concept of bittersweet joy as often as we have. That’s why Israel is the Bruce Springsteen of the Middle East – living every day to its fullest and always striving for a future that will bring salvation and tranquility.

Bruce, you can be assured that the extra effort required to perform in Israel will be worthwhile – just ask Sir Paul, Madonna, Sir Elton or any number of world class artists who have had their eyes opened about the country and its people.

I remember the last time I saw you in concert – in Boston in 1978, as you introduced your then-new album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, about desperate people refusing to give up. You performed as if your life depended on it. At the end of show, before the encore, you thanked us and concluded by saying something like “Nobody wins unless everybody wins!” 

Those are words to bring back now – a Bruce Springsteen show in Israel in 2012 will be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Bruce, it’s time to finally see the promised land that you’ve been writing about all these years. Our door is wide open, but like you told us long ago, the ride ain’t free.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

‘Quiet War’ Resumes: One Kassam, Two IDF Responses

Source: Arutz Sheva

Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza attacked the western Negev with a Kassam Saturday, and the IDF hit two terrorist sites. No injuries.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Hamas resumed its “quiet war” against Israel Saturday and fired a Kassam rocket on the Eshkol region, south of Ashkelon. The IDF responded in the middle of the night, hitting two terrorist sites.

No injuries were reported on either side, but the IDF caused damage in what the military said were “direct hits” from aircraft.

The status quo “tit-for-tat” policy remains intact, although IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz warned two weeks ago, “The recent rounds of escalation and the harm to both the lives and daily routine of residents of the south is leading to the IDF being asked to undertake a significant offensive in the Gaza Strip.”

After the retaliation on terror targets in central and southern Gaza, the IDF issued its standard statement, “The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate with strength and determination against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

Despite Gantz’s sharp warning earlier this month, he added that the military will not let itself be dragged into a large-scale counter-offensive without careful planning.

“If we don’t have a choice, we’ll know how to operate in Gaza," he said at a Golani combat base.

Iran Threatens to Attack Turkey and Israel if Attacked

Source: Arutz Sheva

Iran threatens to attack both in Turkey and in Israel if the Jewish state attacks its nuclear facilities.

By Elad Benari

Iran has threatened to target NATO’s missile defense installations in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic, The Associated Press reported.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division, made the threat on Saturday, saying the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what he described as an increase in threats from the U.S. and Israel.

“Should we be threatened, we will target NATO’s missile defense shield in Turkey and then hit the next targets,” Hazijzadeh was quoted as having told the Mehr news agency.

Turkey agreed in September to have the NATO anti-defense missile shield installed in its territory, prompting criticism from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the defense system was meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks.

Hajizadeh said the United States also plans to install similar stations in Arab states and was quoted as saying, “Based on orders from the exalted commander in chief, we will respond to threats with threats.”

Another senior Guard commander, Yadollah Javani, threatened that Tehran will target Israel’s nuclear facilities if the Jewish state attacks Iran.

“If Israel fires a missile at our nuclear facilities or vital installations, it should know that Israel’s nuclear centers will be the target of our missiles,” the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Tensions have been rising between Iran and the West since the release of a report earlier this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which said that Tehran was suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose was the development of nuclear arms.

There have been speculations whether Israel will attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. Former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom said this week that Israel cannot afford not to attack Iran.

“As steep as the price for hitting Iran may be, a military strike on Iran will be less painful than the cost of living with an Iranian nuclear weapons threat,” Yatom said at a conference. “The backlash from a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites will not be as bad for Israel as will an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. I don't think that those predicting apocalyptic repercussions of a strike on Tehran are correct, and even if they are, Israel can't afford to wonder if Tehran will go crazy and bomb us.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carrying a Big Stick

Source: ynet news

Op-ed: The more we talk about striking Iran, the less room we have for acting against Tehran

By Danny Danon

For over a decade now, Israeli leaders have consistently, and repeatedly, warned anyone who would listen about the dangers of a nuclear Iranian regime. Perhaps, however, our biggest mistake has been to warn too much, and to put too much stake in possible action from our friends and allies around the world.

Ironically, it has become clear that these vocal warnings have created the opposite of our desired effect and lessened the likelihood that we can employ military might to defend our country. History has taught us that it is best not to telegraph our plans, especially if we plan on using military action when necessary to protect the citizens of Israel.

By this point, we’ve all been endlessly bombarded with the message that Israel and the Western world should be extremely alarmed by the prospect of a nuclear Iran. Despite the years that have gone by, and the ever-shifting political scenery of the Middle East, Iran’s ambitions have remained the same. It is now obvious to all that the Iranian leadership harbors dreams of grandeur and hopes to revisit the glory days of the Persian Empire – this time as a world-dominating nuclear power.

Most people are aware of Iran’s nuclear program and the threat it poses to not only Israel, but to Europe and the United States as well. On the other hand, those following the development of the Iranian threat over the years know all too well that the efforts to date by the international community to stop or slow the development of this program have not achieved the desired results.

The so called "crippling sanctions" have barely inflicted a paper cut on the Ayatollahs and the famous Stuxnet virus that may or may not have originated in Israel, along with a similar virus that is said to have struck Iran this month, have only mildly succeeded in setting back Iran's sinister ambitions.

Official statements hurt us
There is some good news within this ominous forecast – we have faced such threats before and we now how to best combat them. In 1981, and again in 2007 (according to foreign news reports), Israel faced the prospect of a well-trained enemy military months or a just a few years away from a nuclear weapon. Both in Osirak in Iraq and in Al-Kibar in Syria the Israeli government understood that it could not rely on foreign diplomatic or military action to neutralize a potential existential threat to the Jewish State.

Speculation aside, the big question remains. What use is talking about the actions that Israel may or may not take with regards to Iran’s nuclear reactor? If what many believe will be an inevitable attack on Iran’s nuclear facility does occur, the biggest difference between that operation and the ones on Osirak and Al-Kibar will be the absence of the element of surprise.

In both prior instances, the attacks were carried out in complete secrecy and came as an absolute shock to the target. There were no TV news headlines on the topic in the months leading up to the attack and you did not read newspaper articles about UN consultations on possible sanctions and IAEA reports. What you did see, however, was complete media silence on the matter from the Israeli government.

This is a far cry from what we are seeing today. Each morning's newspaper and evening's news broadcast are full of officials and pundits discussing every possible detail of a hypothetical attack from what type of ammunition the IDF may use to the number of casualties our home front will need to endure. While we can not blame the media in a country that honors freedom of the press, many of our appointed officials seem to have lost all sense of responsibility and are unwittingly hampering our ability to act if needed.

As each day passes, and the world toils in speculation regarding what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists is a harmless and peaceful nuclear facility, Israel must not take the same “wait and see” approach. We cannot afford to sit silently for long. Though there are inherent and obvious risks, when it comes to matters of its own safety and security, the Jewish people have already paid too great a price for not taking a wicked man at his word to annihilate our people.

It is vitally important that we understand that the more we talk about Iran, the less room we have for acting against Iran. Many are aware of the famous axiom by US President Theodore Roosevelt that it is best to "speak softly and carry a big stick." In dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, it would be wise for our leaders to take this one step further and not speak at all, while at the same time preparing to use the “big stick'” of the Israel Defense Forces.

Member of Knesset Danny Danon is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Chairman of the Word Likud