Wednesday, December 18, 2013

From Ian:

Israel, Palestine, and Democracy
Democracy and demography have become the main arguments for creating a Jew-free Arab state in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s presence in the territories deprives Palestinians of their democratic rights, the argument goes, and if Israel does not give the Palestinians whatever territory they demand, it will have to choose between its democracy and its Jewishness.
The “democracy” argument has become the central justification of the diplomatic process, incessantly invoked by Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli peace envoy Tzipi Livni. What makes the democracy argument effective is that it plays on deep-seated Jewish sentiments. Israelis are a fundamentally liberal, democratic people who desperately do not wish to be put in the role of overlords.
The problem with the democracy argument is that it is entirely disconnected from reality. Israel does not rule the Palestinians. The status quo in no way impeaches Israel’s democratic identity.
Judea and Samaria Land Targeted in Coordinated Palestinian Effort, Israeli Officials Say
Senior Israeli Civil Authority officials warned Tuesday that Palestinian Arabs are engaging in a coordinated effort to take over Israeli-owned land in Judea and Samaria, and that senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials may be involved in the effort.
“Over the past two to three years, there’s been a battle for Area C,” said Director of Inspection Unit Marco Ben-Shabbat, according to Israel National News. “It’s not like what we saw before, with a single Palestinian building a private home illegally. It is much more organized.”
NGO: Government Burying Levy Report, Hounding Settlers
The Regavim movement, an NGO watchdog group for Jewish national property rights, accused the Israeli government Wednesday of ignoring the Levy Report, filed by a committee that was headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, which determined that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are legal. In the current state of affairs, Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs receive clear preference in Judea and Samaria land disputes, not having to prove land ownership, Regavim charged.
A One Way Run
I’m a runner. And I live in what Brown would call Palestine and what I refer to as Judea. I agree that it is a beautiful and challenging place to run.
But what Brown doesn’t seem to realize is that Israeli runners and hikers in this area also have concerns for their safety. Every time you lace up your sneakers or hiking boots, fatal attacks on hikers and joggers niggle in the back of your mind too.
Just a few weeks ago, the PA celebrated the release of Issa Abed Rabo. He became the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner by murdering Revital Seri and Ron Levy 1984. The two university students were hiking near a Cremisan monastery in southern Jerusalem when they encountered Rabo. He tied up Levy and Seri at gun point, placed bags over their heads, then killed the two.
Harriet Sherwood audaciously suggests that Palestinians have abandoned terror
Beyond the statistical evidence contradicting Sherwood’s specific claims, it’s hard to understand how anyone covering the region as long as she has could possibly come to the conclusion that Palestinians have in any way abandoned terrorism. In addition to the Palestinians’ glorification of terrorists, a comprehensive report on Arab public opinion by Pew Global in September demonstrated that “support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets is most widespread in the Palestinian territories“. A staggering 62% of Palestinian Muslims, per this poll, believe that such attacks “are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies”.
Though we’ve, on occasion, noted reports by Sherwood which suggest a modest amount of improvement in her coverage of the region, the amount of disinformation conveyed in those two sentences we cited (on Palestinian attitudes towards terror) again reminds us that her pro-Palestinian sympathies will trump a sincere commitment to accuracy almost every time.
BBC website replaces article on shooting of Israeli soldier with ‘last-first’ report
In other words, an editorial decision was taken to replace a serviceable report on an incident which was sparked by the deliberate shooting and killing of an Israeli soldier on Israeli territory with a headline which initially informed audiences only that “Israeli army shoots Lebanese soldiers”.
That report was expanded into yet another example of “last-first” reporting which, despite it being stated in the body of the article that the Lebanese authorities had not confirmed the incident,
Focus Turns to Growing Hezbollah Control Over Lebanese Army, After Deadly Cross-Border Killing of Israeli Solider
American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Michael Rubin had already noted as early as 2010 that it is “an open secret among Lebanese of all political stripes that Hezbollah has infiltrated the Lebanese Armed Forces,” an assessment that came in the wake of years in which Israeli military officials had warned over exactly such Hezbollah efforts. Analysts increasingly fear that the Iran-backed terror group is now seeking to provoke Israel into a conflict. Hezbollah’s brand as an anti-Israel group has been shattered by its participation in the Syrian conflict on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, and it may be looking to ignite a confrontation in order to begin rebuilding that image.
Yaalon: Lebanese Army Will Place Shooter on Trial
"This is a serious incident and the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army are responsible for this," he declared, adding that there had been a meeting on Monday between the liaison officers of the Lebanese army and the IDF, attended by members of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), during which the Lebanese army reported the findings of its investigation of the shooting incident.
"Apparently he was a rebellious soldier who made a decision on his own to leave his post, open fire at our military vehicle and unfortunately kill Master Sergeant Shlomi Cohen," Yaalon added.
Palestinian Leader Farouk Qaddumi: We Supported the Nazis in WWII

Egypt Arrests Terrorist Involved in August 2012 Border Attack
Egypt's military has arrested a jihadist suspected of involvement in an ambush that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the border with Israel last year, an army spokesman said Tuesday, according to AFP.
Silmi Mohammed Masbah was arrested Monday in Sinai and is allegedly a member of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group operating in the restive peninsula, said military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali.
Prince Charles: 'Muslims Persecuting Christians'
The Prince of Wales visited the Egyptian Coptic Church in Stevenage, north of London, and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in west London. In talking with church leaders, accompanied by Prince Ghazi of Jordan, Charles heard tales of massive persecution following the 2011 "Arab Spring."
"For 20 years I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding," Charles said in a speech later at Clarence House, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbiship of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi, reports BBC.
Terra Incognita: Syria’s rattlesnakes commit suicide
The Syrian Civil War is similar: An ostensibly democratic fight against a tyrannical regime is being undermined by ideological Islamist extremism. Western governments are cutting off aid, as they did to Spain’s Republic, and Syrian President Bashar Assad is drawing on foreign soldiers, as Franco did. As in Spain, brigades of “international volunteers” are coming to fight.
It is unfortunate, for those who thought Syria might emerge better from this, that the rattlesnakes took over the war and are in the process of killing themselves. It is most horrific for the refugees suffering through the winter. They are being let down by extremists who are more interested in beheading each other, beating each other with iron bars and accusing one another of not being good Muslims.
The Israeli intelligence officer who really knows what the Iranians are talking about
In north Tel Aviv, at IDF Military Intelligence headquarters, one young, Iranian-born Israeli officer, who spent his days interpreting raw intelligence on the Persian desk, could only laugh. After all, that very quote, lifted from Ayatollah Khomeini, had been carefully painted by the regime on the side of the Jewish elementary school he attended in northern Tehran. “It’s the reason I’m sitting here,” he said in an interview.
Major M., who today serves as deputy commander of one of the units in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, has spent the majority of his service combating Israel’s top security threat, Iran. He is a small part of a significant and seemingly quite successful shift within the Israeli intelligence community, which, after years of following the Arab world, was forced to re-order its priority list and focus on an altogether different foe. Adapting to this shift is quite difficult, said one former Military Intelligence officer.
With Geneva, Military Force Only Remaining Option to Stop Iranian Nukes
In other words, at best, we have lost a year — if not two or three — to bring the regime around to the hard choice of abandoning its nuclear weapons program. Given Iran’s ability to become a ‘break-out’ nuclear power in a matter of mere months, we no longer have a year to spare.
Perhaps a credible threat of U.S. military action even now might suffice: the only time Iran halted its nuclear program was during 2003-5, when the U.S.-led coalition dismantled Saddam Hussein’s regime. (Recall this was also the time that Libya voluntarily relinquished its nuclear program). Clearly demonstrated U.S. willingness to use force produced results.
It will be extremely hard now for President Obama to credibly threaten military action: if he failed to honor his red line and take military action when Syria actually murdered thousands with chemical weapons, Iran is unlikely to take seriously any red line he might lay down now on building nuclear weapons. Yet he should do so without delay. But even if he does, there is now probably no way Iran can be prevented from going nuclear, except through military action.
Iran FM Signals Intent to Restart Negotiations, After Analysis Predicts Tehran Bluffing Over Talks Suspension
Analysts who assessed that the Iranians need the financial relief provided by Geneva – and are bluffing when they threaten to walk away from the so-called Joint Plan of Action (JPA) – will be better positioned to suggest they were largely correct. Iranian negotiators had abruptly halted talks after the Treasury Department last week announced new enforcement measures against entitled in violation of still-existing sanctions against Iran, asserting that the move violated the “spirit” of the JPA. It is not clear why the Iranians believed that gestures toward the spirit of the JPA would have diplomatic of public purchase, inasmuch as Tehran has in recent weeks committed to enriching uranium, bolstering its plutonium production complex, and testing ballistic missiles – all actions which it insists are permitted under the letter of the JPA.
Saudi Arabia Prince Shakes Hands With Former Israeli Diplomat, Slams U.S. Mideast Policy
Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia reportedly met with Israeli officials at the World Policy Conference in Monaco on Sunday.
According to Maariv, al-Faisal publicly shook hands with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich and also held a discussion with MK Meir Sheetrit. The report added that Sheetrit invited al-Faisal to speak to the Israeli Knesset.
During his remarks at the conference, al-Faisal was critical of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy.
Senior Saudi diplomat slams Iran nuclear deal, says Kingdom may be forced to act alone
Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Britain, expressed his frustration at the West's lack of interference in Syria and the United States' new deal with Iran.
He wrote that Saudi Arabia has enormous responsibilities in the region and the world, both economically and politically, and they cannot stand by as Western countries cooperate with Iran and hesitate to use force in Syria.
Iranian Analyst: Without Deal, Obama to Kiss Khamenei's Hand to Prevent Israel's Annihilation

Iran Reveals New Details of Shoulder-Fired Missiles
According to the report, Iran’s military places great emphasis on shoulder-fired missile launchers because of the ease of carrying the weapon in the field and because most of Iran’s anti-aircraft artillery are fixed units and lack firepower.
U.S. officials are concerned about the Iranian portable missile because of Tehran’s close ties to international terrorist groups, notably Hezbollah.
Iran has supplied Hezbollah with a range of rockets and missiles.
Israel has recently conducted several airstrikes in the region in an effort to prevent the spread of Iranian weapons from reaching Hezbollah.
Turkish PM says territories of Balkan countries belong to Turkey
Greece rose to its feet as it reacted to comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Turkish territory included the Greek part of Thrace, parts of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonian Utrinski Vesnik announced.
“Thrace is Thessaloniki but at the same time it is Komotini and Xanthi,” Mr Erdogan said during a speech delivered as part of the campaign for next year’s local elections.
Turkey leads the way for states suppressing media
As of December 1, there are 211 reporters, editors and bloggers imprisoned by state governments, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in its 2013 report. That number is down from 2012′s record high of 232, but still represents the second-highest figure by a fairly large margin. Before 2012, the highest recorded number of journalists behind bars worldwide was 185 in 1996.
Turkey headed the list for the second year in a row despite reducing the number of journalists imprisoned in the country from 49 last year to 40. However, of those released, some are awaiting trial and could still find themselves back behind bars.

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