Tuesday, May 20, 2014

From Ian:

Jpost Editorial: Still on the map
Nevertheless, it is difficult to ignore the celebratory atmosphere that has taken over the nation since last night’s upset. Israel is once again “on the map,” to borrow from Tal Brody’s legendary statement after the 1977 victory over CSKA. President Shimon Peres called to congratulate Maccabi’s players, joking that they nearly gave him a heart attack. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Blatt to stay on as Maccabi’s coach. Thousands converged on Rabin Square to celebrate. Bars across the nation were packed. Shouts of joy pierced the air in nearly every neighborhood in Israel. Thousands who normally do not follow Israeli basketball rejoiced out of a sense of solidarity with their fellow sports fans.
While it is always pleasant to win, Israel is not in need of a basketball victory to serve as a reaffirmation that the Jewish state is “on the map” and is “staying on the map, not just in sports but in everything,” as Brody so memorably declared 37 years ago. Over the past 66 years Israel has made tremendous contributions to humanity in nearly every field, from science and technology to culture and sport. It has rejuvenated Jewish life and constructed a society with one of the highest standards of living in the world. And it has done this and more while facing formidable challenges.
If it takes a victory by an Israeli basketball team to remind us of all this and inject a dose of patriotism into the country’s citizens, then bring on some more victories.
Rabin Square turns yellow and blue to celebrate Maccabi
Showing remarkable resourcefulness on short notice, the Tel Aviv Municipality on Monday launched a full-fledged street party to celebrate Maccabi Tel Aviv’s clinching of the European Championship in Milan the night before. Revelers, clad in the team’s trademark blue-and-yellow and brandishing flags, vuvuzelas and their children on their shoulders, began flowing into Rabin Square at 7 p.m., just as the players themselves were arriving at City Hall for a reception with Mayor Ron Huldai.
By nightfall, the crowd had swelled into the thousands and was packed into not just Rabin Square but the surrounding boulevards of Ibn Gvirol and Sderot Chen. Police barricades had blocked the area to traffic and local vendors and restauranteurs had set up sidewalk stalls peddling beer, hot dogs and piping-hot pastries to keep the partygoers fueled.
Lebanon-to-Israel run ends with call for peace
Speaking at a reception at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, he said that when he crossed from Aqaba into Israel, he saw “the innovation of the Israeli people,” who have turned “deserts into oases.” In the Palestinian territories, too, he said, warnings of possible danger proved unwarranted, and he encountered only good will.
Later, speaking to The Times of Israel, Farmer singled out Haifa, Jaffa and Byblos, in Lebanon, as three particular “beacons of hope” where he said runners of all religions joined up and ran sections of his route along with him.
On a West Bank section of the run, however, a group of Israeli runners — organized jointly by the Yesha Council, an umbrella settlers’ group, and Regavim, a right-wing legal nonprofit — were asked to leave the run because the Palestinian contingent accompanying Farmer had fallen back and stopped running in protest at their participation.

The Ancient Jewish Connection to the Holy Land – 10 Major Pieces of Evidence
From the surprising findings of the first Israelite settlers to the Kingdoms of David and Solomon to the destruction of the Second Temple Against the endless pro-Palestinian denialist propaganda, we present but ten of the most prominent written findings which link the Jewish People to its land
“They argue that 2,000 years ago, they had a Temple here. I challenge this argument.” Thus PA Chairman Abu-Mazen, at the ‘International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem’ held in Qatar in 2012. Abbas represents a growing trend in the anti-Zionist world of attempting to deny and undermine the connection between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. Indeed, Abu-Mazen didn’t add anything to that other expert archaeologist Yasser Arafat said when he quipped: “they haven’t found a single stone which would prove the Temple was there.”
But Abu-Mazen and Yasser Arafat aren’t alone: a long list of Arab leaders and politically radical scholars from Israel and Europe, are making the same arguments at an increasing rate. When the lies run round the world, every so often we need to remind people of the obvious.
Poll: More Israeli Arabs Dump Palestinian Identity, Accept Jewish State
An Israeli news station has reported this morning on a poll conducted by Professor Sammy Smooha of Haifa University showing that the acceptance of Israel by Israeli Arabs increased markedly between 2012 and 2013.
Channel 10/Nana reported (Hebrew) that the poll’s surprising results bucked conventional wisdom:
"The research shows that between 2012 and 2013 there was an increase in the percentage of Israeli Arabs recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and Israel’s right to maintain a Jewish majority. Similarly, the percentage of Arabs who define themselves as “Israeli Arabs” without a Palestinian identity has increased."
Israeli UN envoy: UNRWA fuels ‘fiction’ of Palestinian ‘right of return’
“UNRWA fuels false promises and gives grievance to dangerous myths,” Prosor said. “We have heard time and time again that settlements are the major hurdle to peace. In these halls, no one will admit that the real obstacle is the so-called ‘claim to return.’”
The right of return, Prosor reiterated, would “flood Israel with millions of refugees, and drown the Jewish state by sheer numbers.”
Right of return, he said, is actually a euphemism for the destruction of Israel.
UNRWA is responsible for helping fuel this “fiction” of the right of return to Palestinian children through their textbooks and schools.
“I reaffirm Israel’s support for UNRWA’s humanitarian mission – and I emphasize humanitarian mission,” he said. “We have worked together to provide essential services, education and promote gender equality. Despite our success, our work is overshadowed by the disparity in the UN’s treatment of refugees.”
Bulgaria vows to bring Burgas bombers to justice soon
“We’re thankful to the Israeli side for their support and help to the police during the investigation on this terrorist act,” Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said. “I perceive that soon we will be able to bring to justice those who are to be blamed for this terrorist act.”
Speaking through an interpreter at an event organized by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, Oresharski said he hoped to broaden security cooperation with Israel and that he fully supports Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s initiative to create “a regional group” to respond to terror attacks and other such crises in the future.
On Monday, Oresharski visited relatives of the Israeli victims of the July 18, 2012, bus bombing in the Eastern Bulgarian resort town of Burgas, which killed six people, including five Israeli tourists. During the meeting, he said there was “progress” in the investigation into the attack, but did not elaborate.
NATO – Turkey out, Israel in
While Turkey’s role as the “southern flank” of NATO was important during the Cold War, and although its geo-strategic positioning and status as the only “Muslim” state in NATO add a modicum of value to the organization, NATO should revisit the idea of Turkey as a member state, and consider Israel as a viable alternative. If Israel’s primary threat is Iran and the militarization of its nuclear program, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated, NATO membership would be an invaluable asset in deterring its Persian foe and strengthening the U.S. hand in the current negotiations.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies are no longer aligned with the foundational principles upon which NATO was established, namely; free institutions, adherence to democratic principles, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Erdogan has clamped down on basic freedoms within Turkey in an effort to centralize power and prevent an ongoing corruption investigation. He has blamed various external “lobbies,” including the West and Israel, of plotting to dethrone him from power. These baseless accusations have served as a pretext for Erdogan to consolidate power by taking drastic authoritarian measures such as banning Youtube and Twitter, sacking police and removing prosecutors, initiating laws neutralizing the judiciary, and threatening his political opponents.
PMW: Pope to visit PA Mufti who preached Jews are enemies of Allah destined to be exterminated by Muslims
In the course of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority next week, as a matter of protocol, Pope Francis, the most senior figure in the Catholic Church, is scheduled to meet with Israel's two chief rabbis as well as the most senior religious figure in the PA, the Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. What Pope Francis may not be aware of is that the Mufti has an ongoing record of vicious Antisemitic hate speech, which has been condemned internationally. In 2012, the Mufti preached that it is Muslim destiny to kill the Jews. On a different occasion, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he taught that Jews were "enemies of Allah," and in another speech he said that the souls of suicide bombers "tell us to follow in their path."
In his 2012 speech at a Fatah celebration in East Jerusalem, the Mufti linked the extermination of Jews to "Palestine," and claimed that Israelis know this religious war, "Jihad," is coming and are trying to protect themselves by planting a special tree that will hide them from Muslims when they come to kill them.
PMW: PA Foreign Ministry libel: Israel plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque
"Secretary-General of the [PA's] Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places Hanna Issa... noted that lately, ongoing calls have been made by the extreme right to enlist a large number of settlers to assault the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to perform their Talmudic rituals in it (PA euphemism for Jews praying). He emphasized that '... The aim of these attacks is to build the alleged Temple on the ruins of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the expropriation of the sovereignty of these holy sites from the Arabs and Muslims.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 23, 2014]
Palestinians Unite to Preserve Corruption
Thus, while many Palestinian sympathizers have been lauding the unity agreement, it must be recognized that as much as it is an effort to allow the two factions to join forces to thwart peace, it also will help stop any movement toward reform and economic development. The point here is that the price of this unity is not only a situation where an unreconstructed Hamas that will not renounce violence or its war on Israel will ensure that peace never happens. It also means that the same international community that has been bilked for billions that wound up in the pockets of PA leaders and their families will now be expected to perform the same service for Hamas’s large payroll.
Unfortunately, rather than calling out the Palestinians for this trick, the European Union has announced it will continue aid to the PA. Just as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu predicted, unity will mean that Hamas and its terrorist cadres will operate behind a façade of PA bureaucrats while not only fomenting violence but also getting paid by the West for it.
This development should signal U.S. lawmakers that it is high time for them to push to enforce the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 that mandates a cutoff of U.S. aid to the Palestinians if Hamas is brought into the PA fold. Any further delays in doing so due to the Obama administration’s futile efforts to revive a peace process that was already dead the day Fatah and Hamas joined hands will only lead to American taxpayers paying a portion of the tab for all those no-show and no-work Palestinian jobholders.
Hamas Threatens Genocide Against Immigrants in Cartoon
On Monday, Palestine, the official daily newspaper of Hamas circulated in Gaza and certain parts of the Palestinian Authority, published a genocide-themed cartoon threatening new immigrants to Israel.
The cartoon, captioned "Israel is preparing to accept waves of Jewish immigration from France and Ukraine," features a number of anti-Semitic stereotypes. In it, hooked-nosed and bearded Jews march toward Israel, with their wives and children in tow; Israel is portrayed as a grave.
The epitaph reads: "the invaders' graves."
Egypt Wants to Revoke Hamas Leader's Citizenship
According to Major General Hussein Ridi, Assistant Interior Minister for Passports and Citizenship, a proposal to revoke the citizenship of al-Zahar and 11 members of his family has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
The reason for the request, he told Al Arabiya, is proof that al-Zahar and his family are members of an organization that has been working “to undermine Egypt’s economic and social system.”
Egyptian Christians Throw Weight Behind Sisi
A controversial character because of his clampdown on Islamists, El-Sisi promised that if elected he will safeguard his country’s peace treaty with Israel. He also called on Hamas to recognize Israel.
Islamists have repeatedly targeted Egypt’s Copts in recent years, leaving hundreds dead and wounded.
The state’s new constitution that effectively paved the way to El-Sisi’s run for office also enshrined the Copts’ citizenship rights. In welcoming the constitutional change, Coptic Pope Tawadros II was somewhat understated when referring to the slaughter of his people.
Egyptian Official Denies Saying Hamas Should Recognize Israel
However, he added, “I believe that Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the state of Israel together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal of the occupied territory.”
On Monday, Moussa’s spokesman clarified that some of the signatories to the 2002 initiative do not recognize Israel and that there's no association between the two.
The spokesman also stated that Moussa reiterates his calls for Hamas to accept the 2002 Arab initiative, as Arab states and institutions have done.
Report: Jordan redeploys military along border with Syria
The Jordanian military is redeploying its forces along the Hashemite Kingdom’s lengthy border with Syria in light of the deteriorating security situation on the frontier, the London-based Arab-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported on Monday.
The newspaper quotes Jordanian sources as saying that the military high command has ordered all of its officers who are normally stationed along the frontier with Syria to cut short their vacations.
Last month, Jordanian state television reported that Jordan's air force hit and destroyed military vehicles trying to cross from Syria.
'Hezbollah's Arsenal Similar to any National Army's
The IDF's Head of Operations, Major General Yoav Har-Even, spoke Tuesday at the "Combat Conference" and addressed the challenges of manning Israel's army in a highly dynamic environment.
Har-Even said that in terms of military strategy, the IDF builds deterrence - and determination.
"We will have to make an operative decision and begin making greater achievements," Har-Even said. "Our gains depend on volume and force." He stressed that the IDF is prepared for war - primarily against enemy organizations that threaten the State of Israel's safety - and is ready to deal with the prospect of fighting terrorist organizations operating throughout urban landscapes.
The most significant change in the battlefield, the Operations Head noted, lies in the fact that Israel is an "island of stability" and the fact that the countries bordering Israel suffer from low governance.
Hezbollah Blasted for Seeking to Lock Lebanese Presidency in a Vacuum
Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel had warned last week that “not electing a president prior to May 25 is a dangerous thing,” after Lebanese President Michel Suleiman blasted the Hezbollah-allied March 8 for endangering “the continuity of the [Lebanese] entity” by preventing moves aimed at bolstering political stability.
Nawwaf al-Moussawi, a member of parliament from Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, declared on Sunday that any presidential candidate would have to support “the resistance,” a euphemism for Hezbollah’s military activities and its heavily armed state-within-a-state across Lebanon:
Obama's not on our team
Coupled with the delusional belief of the White House and State Department that a deal with Iran need not limit its "right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes," Hagel's statement is no more than meaningless lip service.
Furthermore, if Sunday's unconfirmed report in the Jerusalem-based military intelligence website DEBKAfile is even remotely accurate, "America's commitment to a strong and secure Israel" is not worth the hot air it takes for Hagel to utter it.
According to the report, which was picked up by the Iranian-run Fars News Agency, the U.S. told Iran that demands for the restriction of its arsenal would not apply to the Shahab-3 ballistic missile. The report also claims that Netanyahu and Ya'alon were not happy when informed of this by Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
Official: Iranian FM “Laughed and Ignored” U.S. Queries on Ballistic Missiles
Despite apparently reducing illicit purchases that breach U.N. sanctions, Iran is pursuing development of ballistic missiles…posing an acute challenge to six powers negotiating with Tehran to rein in its nuclear program. On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described as “stupid and idiotic” Western expectations for his country to curb its missile development. He decreed mass production of ballistic weapons, striking a defiant tone just before nuclear talks resumed on Wednesday in Vienna…Tehran’s often repeated view that missiles should not be part of the nuclear talks appears to enjoy the support of Russia, one of the six global powers. But a senior U.S. official made clear this week that Tehran’s ballistic capabilities must be addressed in the negotiations since U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran “among many other things, do say that any missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon must be dealt with.”
Menendez Threatens to Scuttle Key Pro-Israel Bill
Menendez is seeking to stop a vote on a new measure authored by Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) that would give Congress the authority to reject any agreement signed between the Obama administration and Iran regarding its nuclear program.
Corker’s measure is being offered as an amendment to the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, a key pro-Israel initiative that would designate Israel as a “major strategic partner” of the United States and boost military and intelligence ties between the nations.
The Iran measure seeks to prevent a scenario in which the Obama administration bypasses Congress, much like it did before signing the interim nuclear accord that significantly rolled back sanctions on Iran.
The mysterious origins of Iran's animated anti-Israel films
During former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rule, the government started promoting cultural productions – including poems, paintings, novels, and animated films – with the theme of annihilating Israel. Ahmadinejad created international scandals by denying the Holocaust and saying that Israel should be “wiped off the map”. Rohani has a very different style: he wished the Jewish people of the world a happy Rosh Hashana, and his foreign minister, in a tweet to former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, reassured her that “the man who [denied the Holocaust] is now gone”.
However, the president does not hold all the power in Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is a hardliner, has the power to make numerous appointments. He notably controls the Revolutionary Guard, a powerful branch of the army. This may explain the seeming contradiction between Rohani’s more measured approach toward Israel and the fact that these cartoons keep being produced. In one recently-released cartoon, titled “The message of Rachel Corrie” (a young American who was run over by an Israeli tank [bulldozer] in Gaza in 2003), the word “Holocaust” is even trampled underfoot.
It is unclear exactly who is behind these high-budget films, which are broadcast on online TV stations with hardliner tendencies. There have been about a dozen produced so far, varying in quality; in most of them, Israel has attacked Iran but is now on the verge of complete invasion or annihilation by Iran. However, those with knowledge of Iran’s film world have some theories.
Elliott Abrams: Baha’i Leaders in Iran Mark Six Years in Prison
Today, May 14, marks six years in prison for the seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. Their biographies can be found here, and they are citizens whose only crime is their religion.
They were arrested in 2008 and in 2010 were sentenced to terms of 20 years in prison for non-existent crimes against the state, nonsense like spreading “corruption” and engaging in espionage.
The persecution of Baha’i in Iran is not a new story, although the viciousness of the persecution is worsening. Here for example are comments made last year in Geneva at a side event during the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion,Heiner Bielefeldt:
Naftali Bennett: Inside Iran's Nuclear Weapons Plan

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