Saturday, March 29, 2014

From Ian:

‘Israel offers to free 400 more prisoners if Abbas extends talks’
Israel has offered to release a new group of 400 Palestinian security prisoners, in addition to the fourth and final group of longtime terrorism convicts who were set to go free this
weekend, if the Palestinian Authority agrees to extend peace talks for another six months, The Times of Israel learned from Palestinian sources on Saturday night. The US, anxious to arrange for the continuation of the talks, backed the offer.
As of Saturday evening, however, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was insisting that the fourth group of longtime prisoners first be released before he would consider extending the talks beyond their current April 29 deadline.
Concerns at Wash U. Over Apparent Pro-Terror Activism by J Street U Campus Leaders
One of America’s elite universities became the focus of attention today as photos emerged showing students apparently engaging in support for international terrorism during the past year. The two students, identified as Fadi AbuNe’meh and Taka Yamaguchi, were apparently leading activists with the campus chapter of J Street U, an organization that describes itself, inter alia, as “pro-Peace.”
An especially vibrant part of the group’s peace activism, apparently, includes wearing T-Shirts that say “Resistance is Not Terrorism,” and sport a picture of Leila Khaled, a notorious PFLP terrorist who hijacked airplanes in 1969 and 1970, caressing an AK-47.
Caroline Glick: Interview on The Dennis Prager Show discussing The Israeli Solution
On Tuesday I had the opportunity to discuss The Israeli Solution on the Dennis Prager Show.
Anne Bayefsky: The UN "Human Rights" Council & Israel

“J-Streetophobia” and Shutting Down the Debate
This is what “Liberal Zionists” on the Jewish left have been demanding, they must be so pleased that someone finally took them seriously enough to reply, right? Wrong. As ever, rather than take on any of these accusations directly, they have simply gone for that tried and tested method of shutting down debate by demonizing anyone who criticizes their views. The most recent, and indeed most astonishing example of this comes from Bradley Burston writing in Haaretz. In his piece J-Streetophobia, and the U.S. Jewish right’s hatred for American Jews Burston argues that this documentary is a window into the minds of what he calls “the Jewish right,” exposing how this seething faction is driven by its resentment of the rest of the Jewish community. In fact most of the voices in this film seem broadly in line with the pro-Israel consensus.
What is perhaps most striking about this line of argument is the one-directional set of standards that it operates on. When Jewish liberals in America criticize, condemn, and yes at times demonize Israelis, they tell us they do it out of love. Yet when those with a more “hawkish” perspective have the temerity to try and pick holes in liberal arguments, well then it must obviously be motivated by hate. It’s not a particularly sophisticated worldview: liberals are innately nice and conservatives are by their very definition nasty.
BBC’s Knell amplifies PA narrative, mainstreams BDS on late-night BBC Radio 5
Besides erroneously presenting the BDS movement as “supporters of the Palestinians” rather than a politically motivated campaign to delegitimise and dismantle Israel, Knell mainstreams the so-called “cultural boycott”, promotes the partisan narrative of “Palestinian land” and fails to inform listeners of the existence of alternative views regarding “international law”, in clear breach of BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality.
Not for the first time by any means we see Yolande Knell acting as a mouthpiece for unadulterated amplification of the PA narrative in this radio interview. The type of terminology she chooses to use, her presentation of a morally equivalent view of terrorism and her mainstreaming of BDS are part and parcel of the promotion of that narrative.
Notably too, this interview joins numerous other BBC reports in failing to even try to clarify to BBC audiences the rationale behind the Israeli demand for recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and why the issue of that Palestinian – and wider Arab – recognition is crucial to the success of any agreement.
Boycott? PA Reports Increase in Imports from Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) really likes Israeli-made products and even prefers them over those of other countries, according to newly released statistics.
In fact, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported Friday, the PA has seen an increase in both importing from Israel and exporting to Israel.
According to the statistics, in January, the PA’s exports declined by 8.7 percent compared with the previous month, but its scope, which amounted to 68.6 million, was still larger by 10.1 percent compared to the same month last year.
Almost all the PA’s exports in January, 90.2 percent, were to Israel, the statistics found.
As for imports, the PA’s imports in January rose by 7.9 percent compared to December of 2013. Imports from Israel grew at a rate of 17.2%, while imports from other countries were down 16.4% compared to January of 2013.
A Fatal Flaw in the Palestinian Peace Process
First, the 1947 U.N. partition plan was rejected by the Palestinians and never implemented. Recognition of a Jewish state from the Palestinians is thus outstanding.
Second, Arafat did not accept Israel as a Jewish state in 1988; he merely summarized the text of the 1947 U.N. partition plan — a ploy that was rejected at the time as disingenuous by both Israel and the United States. In 2004, in the midst of a terrorist war against Israel waged at his direction, Arafat merely uttered these words, outside any diplomatic context, to two left-wing Israeli journalists — scarcely proof positive of a Copernican revolution in Palestinian thinking.
(Incidentally, the two Israeli journalists described Arafat’s 2004 statement at the time as being “the first time Arafat has said he recognizes the state’s Jewish character” — indicating that even these two proponents of the theory of an Arafat 2004 conversion didn’t think much of Arafat’s 1988 words, upon which Mr. Kerry now places such emphasis.)
As we have since learned, an Israel that remains a Jewish state is precisely what the Palestinians do not accept. The Palestinian leadership from Mr. Abbas on down started being insistent on this point ever since they were quizzed about it years ago. As Mr. Abbas once put it, “I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish state, call it what you will.”
Phony Abbas, phony Obama, phony peace process
Spurred on by Washington's appeasers, Abbas has demanded even more one sided concessions. Having effectively torpedoed the talks, he is now offering to extend them but only under certain conditions.
According to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency, he wants Israel to release the remaining prisoners and also implement a freeze in settlement construction. All this despite the fact that the conflict will continue no matter what is agreed in the talks. Naturally, if Israel refuses, Abbas can tell a gullible world that a 'hard line' Netanyahu was to blame.
At the same time, he can keep intact the Palestinian narrative of victimhood and western perfidy which has kept his people trapped for so many decades.
Here's the final point. In a year's time when these talks are but a distant memory, who will the world blame for this continuing conflict -- the 'victim' Abbas or the 'intransigent' Netanyahu? Must we even ask?
PA: Israel Will Regret Not Releasing the Terrorists
Fatah official Hazem Abu Shanab told the PA-based Ma’an news agency that the release of the final group of terrorists would be pivotal in determining the future of Israeli-PA relations.
He added that the international community will be inclined to hold Israel responsible for hindering the peace process.
"The release of prisoners is a legitimate, lawful, and human right. Their freedom should not be linked to concessions regarding extending or continuing the diplomatic process," Abu Shanab told Ma'an. (h/t Jewess)
87% of Palestinians support UN bid if Israel doesn't release prisoners
Eighty-seven percent of Palestinians believe the Palestinian leadership should renew its UN statehood efforts if the fourth and final batch of prisoners are not freed, according to a poll published by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion on Saturday.
The prisoner release "is a prerequisite for any future progress of the negotiations," the center said, as the overwhelming majority of Palestinians consider it to be "the most crucial issue that must be treated in order to continue with the peace process." (h/t Jewess)
Israel kills two Syrian gunmen on Golan border
Israeli forces fired on two armed gunmen as they attempted to cross into the Golan Heights from Syria on Friday, the IDF said, reportedly killing both of them.
The suspects were trying to sabotage “operational infrastructure” along the border, a spokeswoman for the army said. Troops opened fire and confirmed hitting the two, she said.
The incident occurred near kibbutz Ein Zivan in the northern Golan.
The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones Hezbollah, weaponized robots, and a future that's already here
There is ample reason for concern. Over the past 18 months, drones piloted by Hezbollah—but almost certainly built and supplied by its patron, Iran—have penetrated Israeli airspace, coming unnervingly close to key infrastructure sites and major population centers. Soon, they may be joined by others sent by Hamas: In October, near the West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinian security personnel arrested a team of operatives preparing to launch a drone packed with explosives. The events have set off alarms within the Israeli Defense Forces, which last April released a statement declaring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be a serious threat to the country.
Hezbollah’s drones represent the next evolution of warfare-by-remote-control, when weaponized robotic planes give terrorist groups de facto air forces. As Matthew Levitt, director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, points out, each flight into Israel is at minimum a significant propaganda victory for the militia. “They gain more credibility anytime they compete with the mighty Israeli air force,” he says. “They love being able to say, ‘Israel is infiltrating our airspace, so we’ll infiltrate theirs, drone for drone.’ ” At the same time, Levitt adds, “If Israelis don’t feel like their government is in complete control of the airspace around the border, that’s something that could cause real panic.” But the stakes extend far beyond the psychological. Drones flown kamikaze style could easily match the casualties of a suicide bombing and be much harder to stop. Hezbollah’s unmanned aircraft could also improve its planning of future offensives by providing surveillance footage of Israeli border facilities and troop movements.
Barak: Terror Groups Will Soon Have Precision Missiles
Israel’s enemies – led by Hezbollah and Hamas – will possess precision guided missiles within five years, according to the country’s former prime minister, Ehud Barak.
“We will continue to see many more missiles, a lot more accuracy, and within five years the missile will reach a maximum level of accuracy that will allow them to choose which building in Israel to hit. These means will proliferate, and will be cheaper for terror organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza,” he added. “In the future we will see terrorism backed by science and technology.”
Official: Obama May Provide Syrian Rebels with Manpads
The Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria.
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for meetings with King Abdullah.
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid.
Report: Senators “Eviscerate” Administration Officials over Syria Claims
National Journal on Wednesday conveyed details of what the outlet described as an “explosive” hearing held that day by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which saw senators from both parties “eviscerate” Obama administration officials over what Sen. Bob Corker described as a “delusional” understanding of the Syrian conflict. Corker leveled the characterization at Tom Countryman, State’s Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, after Countryman suggested that the Bashar al-Assad regime has sustained “actual losses” due to a deal in which the regime committed to giving up its chemical weapons arsenal.
Syria Says Israel and Turkey Collaborating to Support Rebels
Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Al-Ja’afari, on Friday accused the governments of Turkey and Israel of a "public alliance of supporting terrorism" in his country, the Turkish Cihan news agency reports.
“Terrorists” is the word that the Syrian regime uses to describe the rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Angry Iranians urge their government: Be more like Israel
Iranians angered by what they perceive as their government’s indifference to the fate of a border guard kidnapped and killed by Pakistani militants this week took to social media over the weekend to urge the administration of President Hassan Rouhani to take a page out of Israel’s playbook.
According to The Times of London, Iranian nationals posted messages on Facebook and Twitter seemingly envious of the country which their government derisively calls “the Zionist entity” and “a cancer,” particularly over the manner in which the Israeli government secured the release of one of its captured soldiers, Gilad Schalit, after he fell into Hamas captivity in 2006.
“Keep saying ‘Death to Israel’ but they freed 1,027 Palestinians in return for the release of one of their own,” an Iranian is quoted by the Times as writing on his Facebook account.
House Lawmakers Preparing Terror-Related Sanctions against Iran
Al-Monitor on Thursday reported that top House lawmakers are in the early stages of drafting terror-related sanctions – the outlet described any legislation as “a work in progress” – that would target Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors due to the group’s global terror activities and its fighting on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
“I think it’s important to make the point that it’s not all hugs and kisses. Hezbollah could not exist without the support of Iran,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told Al-Monitor. He said Congress cannot allow Iran to “blackmail” the United States through terrorist proxies.
“Hezbollah continues to be a terrorist organization; it has turned the tide of the civil war in Syria in favor of Assad,” he said. “And to me, it’s one of the ironies, I guess, of the fact that at a time when we’re sitting and negotiating with Iran over their nuclear program, they continue to do mischief with terrorist groups like Hezbollah. It irks me.”
Erdogan’s fight against a shadow enemy
Embroiled in political turmoil, Turkey’s leader has declared war on a shadowy enemy, a Muslim cleric he accuses of running a parallel “deep state” from faraway rural Pennsylvania.
Out on the campaign trail ahead of Sunday’s local elections, there are few doubts about who Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in mind when he vows to “liquidate” his foes.
His declared nemesis is the moustachioed 73-year-old imam Fethullah Gulen, an estranged former ally turned alleged puppet-master plotting the strongman’s downfall.
EU Official: Turkish YouTube Ban “Desperate and Depressing”
The restrictions on YouTube come roughly a week after a globally ridiculed, largely failed, and legally overturned decree banning access to Twitter, and Ars noted that it appears that Turkey’s telecommunications authority had initially implemented both bans similarly, by changing the Domain Name Service listings for the targeted sites.
Ankara had subsequently escalated how it prevented access to Twitter – specifically by instituting a block to the microblogging platform’s IP addresses – and Ars suggested that the Turkish government will eventually get around to similarly restricting YouTube.
Turkish court backs Twitter but site still blocked
Turkey last week suspended access to Twitter, which has been a conduit for links to recordings suggesting government corruption. It then blocked access to YouTube following the leak of an audio recording of a government security meeting.
Twitter announced late Friday that a Turkish court had ruled in its favor, calling the decision a “win for freedom of expression.” The former minister’s lawyer confirmed the ruling on Saturday, adding that it would be appealed.
British man arrested for anti-Semitic slurs at soccer match
The man, 57, a fan of the Southampton Saints, made the remarks Sunday during a Premier League match against the host Tottenham Hotspurs, which has many Jewish supporters who sometimes call themselves the “Yid army.” However, the term often is used derogatorily by opposing fans.
The arrested man used a much more loaded anti-Semitic term, according to Haaretz.
‘Vile’ Scam Targeting Holocaust Survivors Surfaces in Canada
A suspected fraudster has been targeting Canadian Holocaust survivors with a scam that has been described as “vile,” Canada’s National Post reported on Thursday.
Letters delivered in Alberta and Ontario ask for the recipients’ personal information in order to facilitate the transfer of funds, telling them they are entitled to a share of $75 million from the “Holocaust Claims Processing Office.” The communique says the restitution will be transferred to a “secure numbered account” and asks for 60 percent of the money as a “fee.”
Scammers typically push victims to pay “fees” in advance falsely promising to deliver even greater funds at a later stage, according to the National Post.
Turkey Back on Israel’s Travel Circuit as Countries Mend Ties
The number of Israelis taking the 90-minute flight to Turkey surged 50 percent in February to 7,600 from a year earlier, the Turkish government reported March 25, as the countries work to mend a rupture over a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish ship.
“What’s sparking it is the political and diplomatic calm, all the business about the flotilla and the boycott stopped,” Noam Ron, director of marketing at the Tel Aviv-based ISSTA travel agency, said in a phone interview.
S&P: Israel now a ‘high-income’ country
Israel’s economy is doing well enough that the country can now be considered “high-income,” according to ratings company Standard and Poor’s (S&P) in its latest evaluation of the country’s fiscal state.
In its ratings statement, S&P said that with a per capita annual income of over $38,000, “we now view Israel as a high-income economy, with trend growth at the higher end of its peer income group.”

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