Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hezbollah media says Israelis going to Nepal only to save Israelis (UPDATE)

From Hezbollah's Al Manar:

A 6.7-magnitude aftershock struck earthquake-devastated Nepal on Sunday, the USGS said, with climbers reporting the tremor triggered more avalanches on Mount Everest as the overall death toll from a massive earthquake which devastated large parts of the country has passed 2,000.

The latest quake struck northeast of Kathmandu near the border with China at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), the US Geological Survey said.

A number of Israelis were wounded in Nepal, according to Zionist media outlets.

Ynet mentioned that the Zionist entity sent a number of doctors and paramedics as well as 240 soldiers for Kathmandu to participate in rescuing the Israelis.
What did YNet say?
A Magen David Adom delegation left Israel for Nepal on Sunday morning to help Israelis caught in the earthquake and assist locals after a powerful earthquake struck the region Saturday, triggering an avalanche on Mount Everest.
The terrorist paper was trying to make it sound like Israelis don't care about the other victims.

UPDATE: But lowlifes like HRW's Ken Roth and Max Blumenthal look at things differently:

International law experts praise Israeli actions in Gaza war

From Just Security:

A Legal and Operational Assessment of Israel’s Targeting Practices

By Michael Schmitt and John Merriam

Israel has long resisted publicly revealing its targeting methods and even some of its specific positions on the law of armed conflict (LOAC), fearing that doing so would provide an operational advantage to its adversaries and be exploited by often-critical interlocutors among states and in the international human rights community. This may be changing. Shortly after the conclusion of open hostilities, the IDF invited us to Israel to examine its targeting practices and application of the LOAC. We visited an operational IDF headquarters (the Gaza Division) and observed its targeting cells; reviewed the targeting procedures of both ground and air forces; studied the organization, training, and methodology of the Military Advocate General’s Corps; visited a Hamas attack tunnel; examined combat footage, including the publicly released footage here; and interviewed IDF officers — both legal advisers and operators — at various levels of command.
Our goal was not to assess the just-concluded campaign (Operation Protective Edge), but rather to delve into how the IDF conducts targeting in general from the perspective of individuals who have real-world targeting experience and LOAC expertise. The results of the research will be published in two related pieces, one for a military-policy audience, the other in an academic law journal.
Broadly speaking, we concluded that IDF positions on targeting law largely track those of the United States military. Moreover, even when they differ, the Israeli approach remains within the ambit of generally acceptable State practice. The IDF is served by a corps of highly competent and well-trained legal advisors who operate with a remarkable degree of autonomy, and its operations are subject to extensive judicial monitoring. While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation.

Michael Schmitt is the Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Law and Director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College.

John Merriam is a US Army Judge Advocate currently serving as the Associate Director of the Stockton Center at the US Naval War College.

The two larger papers are interesting in themselves. For example:
When civilians may be affected by an attack and it is militarily feasible to do so, the IDF undertakes extensive measures to warn them.69 Some, such as leaflet drops and general announcements to the civilian population, are common in conflicts. They typically announce that a particular area will be subject to attack and instruct the population where to go to avoid its effects. In many cases, the IDF contacts neighborhood leaders and asks them to encourage civilians to leave the area. The IDF also delivers very precise warnings of particular strikes. As described below, these include direct phone communications with civilians in the target area and so-called “knocks on the roof.” Human rights organizations criticized both of the latter techniques during the recent Israeli operation in Gaza, although the authors did not find the criticism well-grounded.70
Footnote 70 refers to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, effectively saying that their grasp of international law is flawed..


Although the Israeli positions on the LOAC principles and rules governing targeting are rather orthodox, the unique operational environment in which it finds itself clearly affects interpretation and application. As an example, given the propensity of Israel’s enemies to use human shields, it is unsurprising that Israel has taken the position that individuals voluntarily acting this manner are to be treated as direct participants in hostilities. In light of its enemies’ frequent failure to distinguish itself from the civilian population, it is equally unsurprising that Israel has embraced the principle of reasonableness with respect to target identification. Perhaps most noteworthy is the high value Israel places on the safety of its soldiers and its civilian population. Although impossible to quantify, these concerns undoubtedly influenced the perspective of Israeli commanders as they plan and execute military operations, perspectives that often come into play in the application of such LOAC concepts as proportionality.

In the authors’ opinion, use of lawfare by Israel’s enemies likewise shapes, whether consciously or not, Israel’s interpretation and application of the LOAC. In particular, Israel has adopted an inclusive approach to the entitlement to protected status, particularly civilian status. Examples include Israel’s positions on doubt, its treatment of involuntary shields as civilians who are not directly participating and its view that individuals who ignore warnings retain their civilian status. Although these positions might seem counterintuitive for a State that faces foes who exploit protected status for military and other gain, such positions are well suited to counter the enemy’s reliance on lawfare. In this regard, Israel’s LOAC interpretations actually enhance its operational and strategic level position despite any tactical loss. Along the same lines, in many cases, the IDF imposes policy restrictions which go above and beyond the requirements of LOAC.
Israel's actions were quite lawful under any sane interpretation of the Laws of Armed Conflict. Amnesty and HRW twist international law in ways that make it impossible for any modern army to fight.

04/26 Links: San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone; Israel rushes aid to earthquake-struck Nepal

From Ian:

San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone
Ninety five years ago, prime ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries from Europe and America gathered in the Italian Riviera. Journalists from around the world reported on the upcoming San Remo Peace Conference and the great expectations the international community placed on this event, just a year after the Paris Peace Conference had settled the political map of Europe at the end of World War One.
On Sunday, April 25, 1920, after hectic deliberation, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the U.S. acting as an observer) adopted the San Remo Resolution -- a 500 word document which defined the future political landscape of the Middle East out of the defunct Ottoman Empire.
This Resolution led to the granting of three Mandates, as defined in Article 22 of the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations. The future states of Syria-Lebanon and Iraq emerged from two of these Mandates and became exclusively Arab countries. But in the third Mandate, the Supreme Council recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country” while safeguarding the “civil and religious rights” of the non-Jewish population.
Subsequently, the British limited the Jewish Homeland in Palestine to the area west of the Jordan River and allowed eastern Palestine to be gradually administered by the Hashemites. The territorial expansion to the east eventually gave birth to the Kingdom of Transjordan, later renamed Jordan in 1950.
The importance of the San Remo Conference with regard to Palestine cannot be overstated:
A Dybbuk in the White House
In Jewish folklore a dead malcontent may return to possess the living. The troubled soul is known as a “dybbuk’, and it runs amok making mischief. Writers and people of stage and screen have invoked the fiend to aggravate family wrangles to the point of madness.
Yet for all its wicked antics the dybbuk wants nothing more sinister than to settle a score. It may upturn some lives in the ghetto, but not the balance of world power. And no dybbuk, until now, toyed with the President of America.
Love or hate Obama’s par-cooked nuclear deal, there’s no doubting the architect’s turn-up of the old order. Iran, hitherto America’s number one foe, is to be, in the world’s number one hotspot, America’s number one ally.
A detente, in other words, is brewing between the world’s powerhouse and the world’s sour pickle jar. The President’s resolve to bring war-mongering mullahs in from the cold is life-changing.
Debate his grip on reality; fret at the madness of trusting Iran to abide by unverifiable terms; believe that the terms will inhibit or pave the way to nuclear breakout; extol Obama’s indefatigable self-belief or cut at his mulish naïveté, it all pales beside one dominating horror. Effectively a president of America has decamped to the enemy.
JCPA: The Power Struggle for Leadership of the Palestinian Authority
The conflict between Abbas and Dahlan, who for years had been a favorite of Abbas, erupted in 2011 and escalated to the point that Dahlan was expelled from Fatah and tried in absentia.
Since then there have been various attempts at mediation. Even Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi tried, but Abbas rebuffed his appeal to mend fences with Dahlan.
The Ramallah court’s ruling prompted a wave of rumors about new, behind-the-scenes mediation efforts.
Such efforts appear to depend on whether the PA will appeal the court’s ruling. Fatah officials who are close to Dahlan confirm that reconciliation efforts have resumed, taking account of Dahlan’s growing power in Gaza and in the refugee camps in Lebanon.
Recent months have also seen a spike in Dahlan’s power in the refugee camps and general area of Jenin and Nablus, leading to armed clashes between his supporters in the Balata camp (adjacent to Nablus) and Abbas’ followers in the Nablus area.

The "Linkage" Falsehood and the Riyadh-Cairo Axis (Mike Lumish)

cairo egyptThe primary political fault-line in the Muslim Middle East today is the Iran coalition versus what Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Middle East Forum, calls the Riyadh-Cairo axis.

Spyer argues that the United States left a power vacuum in the region that is being filled by Shia Iran and thereby threatening the Sunni Arab states.  This is not an original idea, but I am beginning to suspect that it is an exceedingly important one.

The absence of United States leadership is forcing an emergency alliance among the main Sunni states for the purpose of countering the Iranian coalition advancement, where it can.

Where it can, maybe, is Yemen and it is in Yemen that we are seeing Saudi push-back against the Iranian Houthi proxies.

Spyer writes:
Iran appears to be rebuilding its links to Hamas and, therefore, to the Islamist half of the Palestinian national movement. But the Ramallah Palestinian Authority is backed by Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf Arabs and the West.
It is this latter coalition that Spyer refers to as the "Riyadh-Cairo axis."

So, consider this:

We are in a situation where the EU, the US, and the UN demand of Israel that it ethnically-cleanse Jews from Judea - or, at least, force them to stop building housing for themselves and their children - allegedly in order to facilitate a negotiated conclusion of hostilities with the local Arabs.

They have also insisted upon "linkage," which is the idea that stability throughout the region depends on the willingness of the Jews in Israel to make peace with the Palestinian-Arabs... but not the other way around.  According to this notion, the other conflicts are related - ideologically or otherwise - to the Arab-Israel conflict and until that conflict is resolved these other related conflicts will fester in violent ways all around the world.

For example, Secretary of State John Kerry, at a reception in honor of Eid al-Adha, had this to say:
As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
Needless to say, when Jewish Israelis are thought to send Jihadis into spasms of psychotic, genocidal violence elsewhere in the world - for daring to defend themselves - it is emphatically not in the strategic interests of the Western nations, who prefer their Arabs calm and their Jews quiet.

What this suggests is that unless Israel does what it is told by the EU and the US, they can blame Israel not just for failing to bring peace to themselves and their own children, but for stubbornly refusing to help bring peace to the rest of the Middle East.  Furthermore, given that Islamists in Europe have taken increasingly to the harassment and killing of Jewish people and non-Muslims, we are finding Israeli Jews sometimes blamed for the murderous behavior of Jihadis in Europe.

However, if what Spyer says is true - and it is - what we are also witnessing, among the Palestinian-Arabs, is not merely a split between a vicious Islamist dictatorship in Hamas contending with a vicious semi-secular dictatorship in the Palestinian Authority.

It is also a brutal contest between Iran's proxy in Gaza and the Riyadh-Cairo proxy in Judea and Samaria.

As above, so below.

The larger contest wrecking the Middle East is reflected in the smaller contest wrecking the Palestinian-Arab polity... and, needless to say, they all blame it on the Jews.

Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthis in Yemen who are aligned with Iran.  The Yemen conflict is, therefore, a proxy fight between segments of the Saudi coalition and the Iranian coalition on land largely belonging to neither.

The Islamic State, a Sunni faction not aligned with the Riyadh-Cairo axis, is fighting Shia militias in Iraq that are directed by Iran.  In Iraq we are seeing what looks to be Iran's bid to take over as much of the country as possible, which is why they are fighting the Islamic State for control.

What this means is that things are considerably more complex than we may have realized when we thought of the split among Palestinian-Arabs as being just that, a split among Palestinian-Arabs.

More and more it is looking like that split is a reflection of the larger dominant divisions throughout the Muslim Middle East and if that is the case the likelihood for reconciliation between the factions is considerably less than we may have realized.

Of course, from an Israeli perspective, they cannot make peace with a unity government that contains Hamas, nor can they make peace with a divided Palestinian-Arab polity if the other half is still seeking to murder Jews.

And what all of this means is that the notion of "linkage" is upside-down and backwards.

Peace throughout the region will not come from a resolution of the conflict between the Jewish-Israelis and the Palestinian-Arabs.  So long as the Muslim world is ripping itself to pieces along religious and sectarian lines, Israel will be used as a scapegoat by all sides, including the western-left.

It is only when Muslims make peace with themselves that they will ever allow peace with the Jews.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

Jordanian BDS group releases video of IDF "spin the bottle" blood libel

From the Jordan Times last week:

Members of the Jordanian National Campaign to Thwart the Gas Deal with the Zionist Entity are planning to organise a motorcade from the capital to Karak on Friday in recognition of its residents’ decision not to sell “Zionist products”.

Participants in the motorcade will gather outside the Professional Associations Complex in Shmeisani at 9:30am and leave at 10am.

Upon their arrival, they will hold an event outside the complex’s branch in Karak, according to Hisham Bustani, the coordinator of the campaign.

Bustani said stores in the city, 140km south of Amman, do not carry Israeli products.

“Owners of grocery stores and vegetable markets do not sell Zionist products,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone on Thursday.

He said the campaign wanted to highlight this achievement and encourage other cities to follow in Karak’s footsteps.

“The campaign focuses on the gas deal, because if it happens, all Jordanians will have effectively normalised ties with the Zionist enemy because no one can avoid using gas, but people can avoid buying vegetables or any other commodity,” Bustani added.

The Facebook page of the group shows what the action looked like:

But what I found interesting was this other video on that same page.

It shows Israeli soldiers, speaking terrible Hebrew, playing a "spin the bottle/truth or dare" game with a wine bottle filled with presumably human blood, playing off of classic antisemitic themes.

The soldiers use the game to decide when to arbitrarily turn off Jordan's power, which is what the group claims Israel would do if Jordan goes through with its planned deal to buy gas from Israel.

At the end it says "If the gas deal with the Zionist entity goes forward, then the Jordanian government gives the enemy the dangerous weapon of energy: giving him the capability to turn off electricity at the push of a button."

Just more proof that BDS is the same as antisemitism.

(h/t Missing Peace, Ibn Boutros)

Outrage: Putin invites Abbas to celebrate Russian victory over Palestinian Nazi heroes

From Egyptian paper Al Mesryoon:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an invitation from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to participate in the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of Russia's victory over the Nazis next month, according to the Ambassador of Palestine to Russia, Faid Mustafa.

Mustafa said the official Voice of Palestine radio that "President Abbas received an invitation from Putin to participate in the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the victory over the Nazis next month," saying that it reflects the depth of Russian-Palestinian relationship.

He went on to say that "about 30 leaders from countries around the world will take part in this event, and the Palestinian President will have the opportunity to present the case of the Palestinian people before the international crowd, and emphasize that the great victory over Nazism wass not enough to found a Palestinian state under colonialism."

Russia and a number of former Soviet republics, celebrate the victory on the ninth of May each year, the anniversary of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II.
Abbas' political forebears were enthusiastic supporters of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

Abbas has publicly praised the infamous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin Husayni, who collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate all Jews in Europe - and the Arab world.
We must also recall the outstanding [early] leadership of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Palestine-Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, who sponsored the struggle from the beginning, and sponsored the struggle and displacement for the cause and died away from his home.
Abbas has also referred to Husayni as a "martyr." 

Even today, Arab media justifies Husaynis' role in the Holocaust.

This invitation  shows the breathtaking cynicism and historical inversion  on the parts of both Putin and Abbas.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time chooses Netanyahu in "Time 100" - and then trashes him

Every year, Time magazine publishes its list of the 100 most influential people.

There were very few negative articles describing those chosen. Vladimir Putin was described this way:

No leader arouses more fascination around the world, because his actions speak a language of defiance that so many of his people want to hear, lifting him to levels of popularity that other leaders can only envy. How long can he remain aloft? Don’t bet against him quite yet.​

  Kim Jong Un was one of the very few whose description was negative.

Benjamin Netanyahu was the other.

Time asked Ehud Barak, his political opponent from Labor, to describe him. After saying how difficult the job is, Barak wrote:
[O]ver time, while thoughtful and an avid reader of history, he developed a mind-set at once pessimistic, passive and anxious. Benjamin Netanyahu seems to avoid any initiative....

[H]e can fail to seize opportunities, and on the Palestinian question he grossly ignores the slippery slope awaiting Israel in the form of a one-state solution.

To leave his mark Netanyahu must swiftly heal wounds opened by his campaign, mend the working relationship with President Obama, fight hard—mainly behind closed doors—for a tougher policy, and even, if needed, an attack against Iran and boldly engage the region’s moderates against terror, radicalism and Iranian hegemony. Daring actions are needed. Not just words.

04/25 Links: Israel hits Hezbollah in Syria; Young Arabs: Israel Isn’t Arab World’s Major Problem

From Ian:

3 cops struck by car on Mt. of Olives in suspected attack
Three Israeli police officers were injured Saturday evening when struck by a car on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem in what authorities suspect may have been a deliberate attack.
Magen David Adom paramedics said they treated a 20-year-old woman for moderate injuries, and a man and woman for minor injuries sustained after being struck by the vehicle. The three were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
Police fired on the vehicle as it sped away. It was later found abandoned, and security forces were searching for the driver.
Emergency responders were forced to flee the scene after rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s car was also reportedly pelted by stones as he drove to the scene.
Palestinian stabs Israeli soldier in Hebron, is shot dead
A Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer in the West Bank city of Hebron Saturday, inflicting moderate injuries. The alleged attacker, aged 20, was shot and wounded, and died of his injuries on the way to a hospital in Jerusalem.
Police said the officer, 19, was stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and chest at an army checkpoint near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. A second soldier shot the attacker.
Palestinian media named the suspected attacker as Assad al-Salayma. An AFP correspondent said Israeli soldiers were preventing Palestinians gaining access to the area where the Tomb of the Patriarchs, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, is located.
Magen David Adom paramedics treated the injured soldier and evacuated him to Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Hospital in stable but moderate condition, Ynet reported.
Saturday afternoon’s incident was the second of its kind within less than 24 hours in which Palestinian men attacked Israeli security personnel in the West Bank and were killed.
Israel reportedly hits Hezbollah, Assad targets in Syria
Israel reportedly hit several targets belonging to Hezbollah and the Syrian army in a series of air attacks Saturday morning in the Kalamun area on the border between Syria and Lebanon.
According to a report in the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya, a first Israeli Air Force strike took place Wednesday, allegedly targeting two sites believed to have been Syrian army missile depots.
On Saturday, according to a report in al-Jazeera, the Syrian targets were divisions 155 and 65 of the Assad army, in charge of “strategic weapons.” Al-Arabiya reported that the targets were Scud missile depots housed in the military bases.
Several explosions were heard in the areas of Kteife, Yabrud and a village in Kalamun, according to al-Jazeera on Saturday.
The area is known as a Syrian military site housing weapons depots and installations.
There was no official word from Hezbollah or the Syrian government on the alleged attacks.
Young Arabs Agree: Israel Isn’t Arab World’s Major Problem
One of the most positive strategic developments for Israel of the past few years has been its marked improvement in relations with significant parts of the Arab world. Three years ago, for instance, the most cockeyed optimist wouldn’t have predicted a letter like Israel received this week from a senior official of the Free Syrian Army, who congratulated it on its 67th anniversary and voiced hope that next year, Israel’s Independence Day would be celebrated at an Israeli embassy in Damascus.
Yet many analysts have cautioned that even if Arab leaders were quietly cooperating with Israel for reasons of realpolitik, anti-Israel hostility in the “Arab street” hadn’t abated. So a new poll showing that this, too, is changing came as a lovely Independence Day gift.
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, which has been conducted annually for the last seven years, polls 3,500 Arabs aged 18 to 24 from 16 Arab countries in face-to-face interviews. One of the standard questions is “What do you believe is the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East?”
This year, defying a long tradition of blaming all the Arab world’s problems on Israel, only 23 percent of respondents cited the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the region’s main obstacle. In fact, the conflict came in fourth, trailing ISIS (37 percent), terrorism (32 percent) and unemployment (29 percent). Given that respondents were evidently allowed to choose more than one of the 15 options (the total adds up to 235 percent rather than 100), it’s even more noteworthy that only 23 percent thought the conflict worth mentioning.

Friday, April 24, 2015

04/24 Links Pt2: Israel ranked 11th happiest country in the world; Falk justifies Hamas terror

From Ian:

Israel ranked 11th happiest country in the world
The annual World Happiness Report published on Thursday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2014 for the second year in a row.
Switzerland was the happiest country on earth in 2014, followed closely by Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Rounding out the top 10 are Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. The United States trailed behind, coming in at number 15.
The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 158 countries by happiness levels using variables such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. The report also includes extra factors such as social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices, and perceived absence of corruption.
When the publication first launched in 2012, Israel was ranked at number 14 our of 156 countries.
The goal of the report is to guide progress toward social, economic and environmental development.
Why Progressives Should Celebrate Israel’s 67th Birthday
Israel has a lot of problems, but its functioning democracy and liberal heritage means they can be fixed. Those on the Left should help it.
Israel turns 67 today. The “old” Israel of the Kibbutz, the farming commune, and the Histadrut, the almighty labor union, the Israel of plucky pioneers and Holocaust survivor-socialists, used to be the Left’s darling, toasted at the Socialist International. If Israel was once unduly romanticized, with no flaws acknowledged, Israel today is unduly demonized, with few virtues recognized by too many critics. Can progressives transcend the politics of the moment today and toast Israel’s historic, liberal, achievements?
Lately, liberals have mourned that “Bibi Netanyahu’s Israel” is no longer their “grandfather’s Israel.” Overlooking such ridiculous reductionism defining 8.35 million free Jewish and Arab citizens by one leader who only earned 1 in 4 votes, let’s admit: nostalgia is a mind-numbing drug. Israel of the 1950s was a tougher, unhappier place, filled with refugees traumatized by the European Holocaust and the Arab expulsion of 800,000 Jews. Until 1966, Israelis Arabs lived under military rule without the democratic rights they exercise today; demonstrated in March when 63.5 percent of eligible Israeli Arabs voted. Unlike today, there was no Palestinian Authority, and, Israel’s consensus did not acknowledge the Palestinians as a people with legitimate rights.
Nevertheless, Israel then was the model developing democracy, epitomizing the best of the post-World War II Asian and African nations. In an age of national liberation, with each new country on its own peculiar nation-building path, the Jewish people’s resurgence through the State of Israel stood out. The story predated the Holocaust, reaching back millennia to the Bible, then jumpstarted in the 1800s when Zionism, meaning Jewish nationalism, was one of many national movements forming, churning, yearning for statehood.
Richard Falk defends Palestinian resort to violence, praises Hamas for pursuing “peaceful co-existence,” attacks UN Watch for “defamatory campaign”
Former U.N. investigator Richard Falk hails Hamas’ “spirit of resistance,” justifies the Palestinian use of violence, says Hamas aims for “long-term peaceful co-existence,” and attacks UN Watch for ruining his 6-year term as Special Rapporteur on Palestine.
“I was very much attacked in a kind of defamatory way by UN Watch and other very extreme Zionist organizations. Wherever I went, anywhere in the world, they would try to prevent me from speaking, mounted a defamatory campaign, called me an antisemite, a leading antisemite. The Wiesenthal Center in LA listed me as the third most dangerous antisemite in the world, which made feel I must be doing something right, in this role…”
Richard Falk defends Palestinian violence, praises "peaceful" Hamas, attacks UN Watch

Sorry, Saudi pilots, no free Bentleys for you

From AFP:
A billionaire Saudi prince has purportedly deleted a controversial tweet in which he offered 100 luxury Bentley cars to air force pilots who took part in Saudi-led operations over Yemen.

The tweet cannot be found on the official account of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, @Alwaleed_Talal which has more than three million followers.

He chairs Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co, which has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels, Citigroup and media giant News Corporation.

A purported image of his message circulated on the Internet after Twitter users said it was removed from his account.

The message congratulated the Saudi government "on the success" of the initial 27-day air campaign against Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen, and on the start of a new phase which began on Wednesday.

"In appreciation of the 100 Saudi pilots taking part, it honours me to present them with 100 Bentley cars," the message said, sparking criticism from other Twitter users.

Some accused him of being a "show off," while one said a gift of 100 warplanes "would have been more patriotic".

Alwaleed's office did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Remembering Dima Levitas

Received via email:

We, as a family want to tell you about our loved one, Dmitri Levitas, who died in Operation Protective Edge.

We came to Israel in 1990 from Tashkent, when Dima was 2 years old. Two weeks after we came, the Gulf War started. Soon after, we moved to a kibbutz in the Golan Heights. Dima did not know Hebrew, so he was silent for three months until he started talking again.

As a boy, he was very friendly and happy, all the kids in the kibbutz loved him like he was their own brother. From childhood, he was very loyal and committed to his friends. He was a good and gentle boy who never got into trouble. His calm, relaxed character matched the nature that he loved so much. When he was 10 years old, we moved to Jerusalem. He studied in Rene Kasen School. This very fine school is known for the highest number of graduates who die in battles. Dima was musically talented and played the saxophone in a jazz band. He also had a drawing skill and loved sports. He was very curious to learn new and interesting things. He loved little children and animals. He had a lot of charisma and grace that people were drawn to. He was respectful and very polite towards others. He always had a smile on his face that lit the room.

As he turned 18 years old, he decided to be a combat soldier and was inducted to the mythological 7 division in the Armored Corps. It is the first division in the Armored Corps that was founded in 1948. He loved the army and his job as a commander. He believed in defending our country that the Jewish people have the right to live here. Her believed in giving back to the country, doing the best he can for it. He had strong moral principles, he believed in the rightness of the IDF's values. The thing he loved the most were his soldiers, he looked after them, giving personal attention to every one of them. As a soldier and commander, you could see how this gentle person also had a silent power, the strength and courage to fight and lead others.

In February 2009, he went into Gaza in Operation Oferet Yezuka and five days before the end, he got injured in his leg. As soon as he got better, he went back to the Army.

While still serving in the army, he finished a first degree in political science. He discovered that besides his great love for the armored forces, he possessed a love for learning.

In a short time, he was promoted to Commander of a tank company, in a rank of Captain. He served a total of 7 years in the IDF. On the 19th of July, he went into the Gaza Strip and on the 22nd at 7:00, he led the company ahead into Sajeiah, where he was killed by armored sniper terrorist shooting.

We want all the Jewish people to remember and perpetuate Dima. So his memory will stay forever.

More here.

04/24 Links Pt1: Obama's Iran Obsession Has Sunk the Democrats; Biden: F-35's for Israel by 2016

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Vote for Iran's New Ally: Hamas
Hamas has apparently now realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas." Iran also, it seems, has sent Hamas millions of dollars over the past few months. Hamas shares "the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel," and to that end, wants to undermine and destroy anyone who recognizes Israel.
To avoid this, the Palestinian Authority must first stop its ongoing campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel. This campaign is being waged through the media, mosques and public rhetoric.
The Palestinian Authority must also maintain security coordination with Israel. The coordination is vital to the PA itself, not just Israel. Without Israel's help, the PA will not be able to prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank.
Finally, to stop the Palestinians from rallying around Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in general — and Fatah in particular — need to embark on comprehensive reforms. Above all, they need to stop blocking the emergence of new leadership, and get rid of all the icons of corruption and bad government.
Unless the PA does these three things, Hamas's popularity among Palestinians will continue to rise, bringing the Islamist movement closer to taking over the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority is shooting itself in the foot.
Caroline Glick: The new government’s greatest tasks
In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US’s 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.
After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, “when it matters,” Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines – lines that are indefensible.
Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.
Mordechai Kedar: Obama, Ayatollahs and the History Books
President Obama has to decide whether to enter the history books as the leader in whose period of office, the road to Iran's turning into a nuclear power was paved, just as the history books will always accuse Jimmy Carter of helping Khomeini seize control over Iran. In contrast, Obama can choose to enter the history books as the president who prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in which case his place is like that of Jack Kennedy, who stood up to Cuba in 1962 and confiscated their Russian rockets.
Both presidents – Carter and Kennedy – were Democrats. An American president does not have to be a Republican in order to stand firm and present a resolute view of the dangers threatening the US and the world. All he has to do is use the power that, through great expenditure and effort, the US has amassed in order to prevent a war that will drag the world into a nuclear cataclysm brought on by Ayatollahs who believe that Allah's hand prevents them from making mistakes.
The angel of history must have been joking when he allowed the 2002 Nobel Prize for Peace to be awarded to Jimmy Carter, "for his efforts to find peaceful solutions to international disputes, promoting democracy and human rights, economic and social development."
It might be interesting to know what the prize committee thought of Carter's efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran, when he allowed Khoumeni to gain control of the country.
The angel's laugh will be even louder if President Obama – who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 – will turn out to be the president that allowed the Ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons.