Israel prepares for action against Iran

The US’s delusional optimism about achieving a deal with Iran

There have been some interesting developments in Israel’s security sector which gives rise to opinions that Israel is preparing for action against Iran.

The evident reason for Israel’s preparations is the US’s headlong rush to a nuclear deal with Iran, irrespective of the program’s dimensions. First we hear the bumbling fool John Kerry freely admit:

Iran was likely about two months away from being able to produce enough material for one nuclear bomb, though would not necessarily have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Then we hear more (Via War Sclerotic), about the US’s desperation to achieve a deal, any deal, with Iran. As Debka reports:

Iran and the six world powers embarked Tuesday, April 8, on two days of negotiations in Vienna for a final and comprehensive nuclear accord, with both the US and Iran resolved start drafting the document for resolving the long-running dispute in mid-May. debkafile reports that in its haste for progress, the Obama administration has set aside consideration of the Iranian nuclear program’s military dimensions. As a senior Israeli security official put it: “The Americans are ready to take Tehran’s assurance that its program is purely peaceful at face value.”

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday, April 7 in a brief comment that what concerns Israel is that the negotiations have not so far addressed Iran’s nuclear weapons program or delivery systems – a reference its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

[...]

His comment also paled compared with the sharp exchanges between Israel’s defense chiefs and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs, during his three-day visit last week. Those exchanges brought to the surface the profound US-Israeli differences on the state of Iran’s nuclear program and the scope of its threat. When he visited Riyadh on March 28, President Barack Obama tried to reassure Saudi King Abdullah that “the United States would not accept a bad nuclear deal with Iran.”

Gen. Dempsey too sought to allay Israel’s fears about the final nuclear accord under discussion between the six world powers and Iran.

Neither Riyadh nor Jerusalem was convinced. They agreed to couch their rift with Washington diplomatically as “tactical differences.” But the Saudis and Israelis also agreed to continue working together on the Iranian nuclear question.

No sooner had Obama departed Riyadh and Dempsey Jerusalem, than a US spokesman issued an upbeat  statement that no second interim nuclear accord would be necessary after the one signed last November, and there was no bar to getting down to drafting the final accord document and have it ready for signing by July 20.

This optimism seemed to have no visible rationale, but the Iranians saw their chance of a fast deal for major sanctions relief.

American delusional optimism saw no problem even with Russia’s malign influence over the proceedings:

Washington also brushed aside the warning heard form Russia’s senior negotiator Sergey Ryabkov that Moscow might “take the path of counter-measures” on Iran if pushed too far on Ukraine. On arrival in Vienna, he said stiffly that Russia not involved in the Iran talks “to please the Americans or Iranians” but because it “meets the national interest” to find a solution. But, he added, Russia has no special expectations from this round of talks.

The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine cast a heavy cloud over the Vienna meeting. But Washington refused to be put off its diplomatic stroke by this impasse, or even the mammoth $50 billion barter deal  Moscow and Iran are near closing for Iran to sell Russian 550,000 barrels of oil per day in lieu of various Russian goods, including foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals.

Against this very worrying background of America’s going for appearance over substance, ignoring the harsh realities of the Middle East, it is reassuring to know that Israel has just launched a new spy satellite, the Ofek 10:

The Defense Ministry and Israeli Aircraft Industries launched a spy satellite into orbit from Palmahim Air Base on Wednesday night.

The satellite, called Ofek 10, uses radar systems for observation.

It was carried into space by a Shavit (“Comet”) launch vehicle.

It soon entered orbit, and is scheduled to undergo a series of checks to ensure that key functions are working correctly.

The SAR (Synthetic aperture radar) satellite has advanced day and night photography capabilities, and will work in all weather conditions, the Defense Ministry said.

The launch was jointly carried out by IAI and the Defense Ministry’s Space Administration, which is a part of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.

Debkafile asserts that the timing of the satellite launch was no coincidence – it was in response to the Americans’ refusal to deal with Iran’s acceleration of its nuclear program.

Also this week, the Israel Air Force welcomed the arrival of a new ‘Samson’ C-130J Super Hercules squadron:

The C-130J Super Hercules enhances the IAF’s long-range capabilities which include airborne supply, transportation of troops and cargo, aerial refueling for helicopters and planes, electronic warfare, maritime patrol and special operations.

Over the past year, squadron members have trained in Italy and in the United States in order to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the aircraft and its capabilities.

This is the first ‘Samson’ C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to join the newly established ‘Samson’ squadron. More are scheduled to arrive in July 2014 and over the course of 2015.

The Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, spoke at the ceremony: “Today we mark a new peak in the IDF’s capabilities. Over its 50 years of service, Hercules planes took part in military aid missions, civilian, and humanitarian operations. The “Samson” aircraft joining the IAF today is an innovative and revolutionary addition to our forces. This type of aircraft gives the IDF extended operational flexibility and strengthens our long range capabilities, making us more accurate and powerful than ever. The progressive systems the “Samson” aircraft is equipped with will allow us to execute more complex operations than in the past- we will be able to operate faster, in all weather conditions, in greater distance, in lower altitude and in maximum discretion.”

New Super Hercules jet for the IAF

Here are more interesting details about this aircraft:

The IAF purchased the long version of the Hercules C-130J from Lockheed- Martin which allows for an improved carrying capacity: instead of 64  paratroopers the short version can carry, the Hercules C-130J can accommodate in its cargo hold 94 paratroopers and their equipment. Alternatively, the cargo hold can accommodate four military SUVs instead of three, or transport 128 soldiers.

More importantly, the range of flight for the “Samson” is nearly 4,000 km, allowing the IAF to neutralize all threats, both near and far.

[...]

The 4,000 km range of the new Super Hercules jet

Now that the “Samson” has arrived in Israel, many more computer systems designed by Israel will be added to the plane. These Israeli systems will assist the “Samson” in its jobs of transportation of troops, rescue, and efficient and safe supply.

The mid-air refueling ability of IAF aircraft will be easier than ever before with the coming of the “Samson.” “The ‘Samson’ has the ability to fly closer to other aircraft in order to supply gasoline, making much easier this delicate operation,” said Colonel A.

With its great holding capacity and technological innovation, this new giant of the skies will bring a major strategic advantage, which will strengthen the IDF’s ability to carry out its mission of protecting Israel’s borders and citizens.

It is slightly ironic to note that the aircraft was purchased from the United States. Therefore an American product will be assisting Israel in combatting the very country, Iran, which the United States themselves are so reluctant to confront.

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Good News Friday

This past week has been a rather difficult one for Israel, and yet, as always, we can find plenty of good news to brighten our Shabbat, so here is my latest Good News Friday installment.

The first item will be a must for everyone who owns a smartphone – The StoreDot charger that charges a phone in 30 seconds!

The company produces “nanodots” derived from bio-organic material that, due to their size, have increased electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance, enabling batteries to be charged in minutes.

The multifunctional nanodots are chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules that change the rules of mobile device capabilities. The nanocrystals are made from peptides – short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. StoreDot’s bio-organic devices, such as smartphone displays, provide much more efficient power consumption, and are eco-friendly. While other nanodot and quantum-dot technologies currently in use are heavy metal based and often toxic, StoreDot nanodots are biocompatible.

Based in Ramat Gan, StoreDot bio-organic innovators are developing and commercializing peptide-based technology based on their discovery of self-assembled nanodots of biological origin. The company aims to develop cost-effective, nature-inspired, environmentally friendly technology.

Watch the charger in action:

What an incredible invention! I can just picture the lines outside the store the minute the charger becomes commercially available. And the fact that they’re “green” too is all the more impressive. Kol hakavod to the innovators at StoreDot. I hope they enjoy huge success.

One dead jellyfish – one potential diaper?

Another Israeli technological innovation is turning jellyfish into paper towels!

Cine’al Ltd., an Israeli nanotechnology start-up, is developing technology to turn jellyfish into “super-absorbers,” making the much-disdained sea creature suitable for use in diapers, tampons, medical sponges, even paper towels.

[...]

Unlike most sea creatures, jellyfish are mostly useless. Some species are eaten in the Far East and mucin, a chemical extracted from the creatures, is used in drug delivery systems. For the most part, they’re useless, even dangerous, pests, as jellyfish swarm not only near beaches, but near intake pipes as well, often clogging them up. This happened last November in Sweden, when jellyfish got into the pipes and clogged up the water intake systems of a nuclear power generator in Sweden, forcing it to shut down.

Cine’al sees a potential use for the scourge. Hydromash, the dry, flexible, strong material Cine’al is developing, is made from jellyfish and is allegedly several times more absorbent than the “quicker picker-upper” paper towels from the popular TV commercials.

“Right now, these items are made of synthetics, which take hundreds and thousands of years to break down,” said Ofer Du-Nour, chairman and president of Cine’al and head of investment firm Capital Nano. The latter invests in early-stage nanotechnology companies that are based on research emerging from Israeli universities.

[...]

The result is a product that absorbs several times its volume, bio-degrades in less than 30 days and can compete with SAP on price, Du-Nour said. It’s perfectly safe, he added, and offers a potential to clear up landfills and clear the oceans of the endless swarms of jellyfish, which can now be seen as commodities worth harvesting instead of pests.

Just thinking about it makes me feel sick but if they can get rid of those revolting creatures, more power to them!  As CEO Du-Nour says:

“There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers in landfills. Cine’al may have the ultimate answer to both those issues.”



Kol Hakavod to Cine’al and Du-Nour for having the imagination to even think of using jellyfish for such an enterprising innovation. Once again, we find Israelis at the forefront of improving the environment.  I’m sure we all wish them every success.

Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, winner of the 2014 season of ‘Master Chef’ on April 5, 2014 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

My next item is from a different field altogether. Putting the lie to accusations of apartheid, the winner of Israel’s Master Chef competition is an Israeli Arab woman who is also a highly-qualified microbiologist and mother of three.

When Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, a 33-year-old Israeli Arab, clinched the title of Master Chef on Saturday night, it was all part of a plan. The mother of three, a trained microbiologist with a PhD and a thriving scientific career, has for years been looking for a way to leverage her love of cooking and her passion for peace into a school where Jews and Arabs can cook alongside each other and literally taste a better future for this country. A native of the Israeli Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, she says she entered the Master Chef competition to make that dream a reality.

[...]

Where did you learn to cook?

I started joining my grandma when I was four years old. I used to sit on the counter in the kitchen and just get involved and watch my grandma really closely. I learned all the basics of Arabic cooking from her. And then my mom, she was much more modern, she used to buy all these cookbooks and I started reading them. She exposed me to other cuisines by buying these books, and a lot of times she would translate them for me because my Hebrew wasn’t yet all that good.

And then I took my own personality into the food. I am bold, I don’t care, I will do things and I have the guts to make twists with food. I’m not afraid to make changes.

[...]

Were you worried that being a minority, you would be discriminated against?

It’s a very fair competition. If I didn’t know how to cook, I am sure that I would have gone home in the very early stages. This is a cooking show and the judges are actually tasting and criticizing the food. They give you a chance to prove yourself and if you’re talented enough, you can win. It’s a very fair competition.

[...]

Now that you’ve won and can plan your cooking school, what will it be like?

I have always believed deeply, as have my husband and family, that the only way to have a better future for our children in this country is to teach them to live together. The inspiration for the school was my son’s school [The Hand in Hand school where Jewish and Arab children study together in bilingual classrooms], and I was always really inspired by the community there. At celebrations of different holidays, parents come, bring their food, and exchange recipes. I thought it was a very nice idea to do that in a school for cooking.

I want the school to be in a mixed area, and it will teach different cuisines. People can share a curiosity for learning and for food, and they will sit together and work in pairs, and as they cook you’ll have a chance of creating friendships between people.

It’s a scientific fact that food causes joy. So there will be a good atmosphere there, and it will be an easy way to create friendships between different kinds of people.

What wonderful news both for Mrs. Atamna-Ismaeel and for Israeli society. Would that all Israel’s Arab citizens feel similarly about living in peace with and Israel.   Kol hakavod to Nof Atamna-Ismaeel on her win and kol hakavod for her plans for her future.

Tourists at the Kotel (Western Wall) in the Old City of Jerusalem

My next item brings us the excellent news that a top tourist site, Trip Advisor, has placed Jerusalem as no. 4 on its list of its 10 “destinations on the rise”:

TripAdvisor put the capital in fourth place in a list of the “top ten destinations on the rise” worldwide.

The announcement came as Israel’s Tourism Ministry announced record-breaking numbers of tourists in the country for the first quarter of 2014.

Among the reasons listed by TripAdvisor to visit the city are its “profound cultural and historical significance.”

“The year 2014 began with the momentum of a record-breaking year for incoming tourism in 2013,” said Tourism Minister Uzi Landau.

Some 302,000 visitors came to Israel during March and 776,000 tourists arrived since the beginning of the year, an increase of 3% over the same period in 2013. The first quarter figures have steadily increased over the past three years, the ministry noted.

The Tourism Ministry reported in January that 2013 saw a record number of tourists coming to the country, and that Jerusalem was the most-visited city.

According to the figures a record 3.54 million tourists entered the country in 2013, half a percent more than in 2012.

Jerusalem saw 75% of tourists passing through it during their trips to Israel. The most-visited site was the Western Wall, with 68% of tourists stopping there.

What a fantastic boost to Jerusalem and Israel’s tourism figures, which will be sure to promote Israel’s standing in the world as well.  Let the boycotters eat dust! The tourists keep flooding in!

I want to thank reader Reality for the last 3 links in this week’s installment.

photoTo finish this week’s edition I want to wish my dear hubby Mazal Tov on his 60th birthday. Many happy returns עד מאה ועשרים (until 120). I can’t believe I’m married to an almost pensioner! :-)  We had an impromptu party at our house a couple of days ago with all our children – but without the grandchildren since it’s a minute before Pesach and the house is upside down.

I also want to wish our son and his family בשעה טובה on finally moving into their new house in their Shomron community. The house has been over 2 years in the building, courtesy of Obama and his cursed freeze, but now it’s finished. May they live many long, happy and fruitful years in their beautiful house, and as the Jewish tradition of bringing bread (or Matza since it’s nearly Pesach), salt and candles to a new house illustrates, may they always have food, money and light in their house.

And with all that good news, may we all have a good rest so that we come back refreshed, ready to tackle the last-minute Pesach preparations.

Shabbat shalom everyone!

Posted in Family, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Blaming Israel leads to BDS

3148a-blamefarceI hadn’t intended to write an extra post on this subject but several links came to my attention which you might find interesting.

It seems that the Americans were taken aback by Israel’s fierce rejection of Kerry’s blame and are trying to walk it back, (via War Sclerotic) though without much success:

If on Tuesday officials in the Prime Minister’s Office were still trying to play down comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry by saying he had not unequivocally placed the onus on Israel for the crisis in the peace talks with the Palestinians, on Wednesday the tone was different.

First it was a senior Prime Minister’s Office official who told The New York Times that Kerry’s statements “will both hurt the negotiations and harden Palestinian positions.”

[...]

Kerry, said the Prime Minister’s Office official, “knows that it was the Palestinians who said no to continued direct talks with Israel in November; who said no to his proposed framework for final status talks; who said no to even discussing recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people; who said no to a meeting with Kerry himself; and who said no to an extension of the talks.”

[...] “In the understandings reached prior to the talks, Israel did not commit to any limitation on construction. Therefore, the Palestinian claim …. is contrary to the facts. Both the American negotiating team and the Palestinians know full well that Israel made no such commitment.”

Netanyahu has thus far refrained from directly opposing Kerry’s position, but when he spoke on Wednesday at a conference of Likud activists about the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt ahead of the Passover holiday next week, it was difficult not to read between the lines.

“What is the significance of independence?” he asked the crowd. “It is the ability to stand for yourself, it is the ability to say yes and the ability to say no. A slave — cannot say no. But an independent person and an independent nation can stand up for themselves, and this is what we are doing. We are standing up for ourselves with determination and wisdom.”

Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) on Wednesday also addressed the matter at the 3rd Annual International Cyber Security Conference at Tel Aviv University.

[...]

Meanwhile, Kerry met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) in Washington on Wednesday.

“I do not blame Israel for the negotiation crisis with the Palestinians,” he told Lieberman, “I only described the unfolding of events and the natural difficulties involved in managing such a complex and sensitive negotiation.”

[...]

Regardless, Israel has signaled that it will not come to terms with the recent Palestinian conduct

[...]

At IDF District Coordination and Liaison Headquarters soldiers prepared a “punishment package” as a possible response to the PA’s application to U.N. bodies. These measures, which have not yet been implemented, include restricting movement and revoking VIP documentation for senior PA officials, and freezing economic projects.

Another punitive Israeli step under consideration was to deduct up to $75 million in tax revenue transfers to the Palestinians and use it to repay debts to the Israel Electric Corporation, Delek Corporation and Israeli hospitals.

[...]

Habayit Hayehudi leader and Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett sent a letter to Netanyahu on Wednesday, calling on him to end talks with Abbas and to annex the settlement blocs.

And yet, the talks about the talks still go on! Anything to keep the Americans happy and off our backs I suppose.

NYT Mideast BiasGil Troy in the JPost talks about the evil of the banality of blaming Israel, where he also addresses the New York Times hit job on Netanyahu-supporter, Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson:

John Kerry’s peace process crusade has triggered moral vertigo in a region where false moral equivalence enables Palestinian extremism. Desperate to scare Israel into compromise, convinced that democratic Israel can be bullied more easily than the fractured, autocratic Palestinians, Kerry and company have targeted Israeli wariness more than Palestinian intransigence.

In that spirit, last week, The New York Times ran a cloying, overly-sentimentalized article about a freed Palestinian murderer trying to rebuild his life. This week, its foreign policy columnist Thomas Friedman outrageously compared Sheldon Adelson, a Republican billionaire who happens to disagree with Freidman, with Ali Khameini, the Iranian ayatollah who would happily kill Friedman. A half-century ago Hannah Arendt said Adolf Eichmann’s plodding, fill-in-the-dots bureaucratic amorality reflected the “banality of evil.”

Today we are seeing the evil of banality. Genuine bad follows when otherwise good people join the conventional pile-on that overly faults Israel while excusing Palestinians.

[...]

Despite being treated as a Palestinian “hero,” poor “Mr. Salah” reported of his crime: “I wasn’t planning it… I didn’t intend to kill him.”

Did the New York Times call Osama bin-Laden and his al-Qaida thugs people “demonized as terrorists by Americans and lionized as freedom fighters by Muslims?” Did any features follow poor “Mr. bin-Laden” on the lam, unable even to patronize his favorite hummus place?

[...]

While this Times article was morally obtuse, Thomas Friedman’s column was obscene. Called “Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend,” its tagline was “How Sheldon Adelson and Iran are both trying to destroy Israel.”

Really? Adelson is “trying” to destroy Israel? Adelson, an American patriot exercising his right of free speech, is an “ally” of the Tehran terrorists who squelch free speech?

[...]

Similarly, I distinguish between the Boycott Israel crowd’s anti-Israel intent and the Blame Israel First crowd’s anti-Israel effects. The Boycotters diabolically mask harsh animus against the Jewish people with human rights rhetoric. Most Blame Israel Firsters are simply sloppily following a Western trend that excuses Palestinian sins.

Nevertheless, treating Israel as the problem is convenient albeit false, as PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s actions in sabotaging the peace process this week confirmed. But with his people cast as the innocent Jesus to the dastardly collective Jew, Abbas knows he can appear blameless.

I’m not sure why anyone would still regard the New York Times as anything other than a source of bad fiction.

Michael Lumish at Jews Down Under hits the nail on the head when he says “Kerry blames Israel, right on schedule”:

Months ago I made the following predictions and hard-posted them on the upper-right side of Israel Thrives under the name Non-Peace Process:

1) The US and the EU demand negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

2) The parties agree to talk and then the PA, the US, and the EU demand various concessions from Israel for the great privilege of sitting down with the PA’s foremost undertaker.

3) Israel fails to meet all the concessions, thus causing the PA to flee negotiations, which they never had any intention of concluding to begin with.

4) The PA and the EU and the Obama administration place the blame for failure at Jewish feet.

5) The EU and various European countries announce additional sanctions, thereby essentially joining the anti-Semitic anti-Zionist BDS movement.

6) Arabs seek to murder Jews.

We are now in stage four of the process, which if it unfolds as predicted, will lead to significant violence against Israeli Jews by Israeli and local Arabs.

[...]

… it was at the moment that Jews were enduring serious violence against us that western “liberals” chose to affirm their moral narcissism, and righteous superiority, by blaming us for that violence.

[...]

What we are witnessing are the relatively early stages of the Obama administration’s process of blaming Israel for the failure of negotiations.  It was obvious, given the history of the regional Arabs, and the inherent anti-Jewish racism embedded within Islam, that they would never agree to Jewish autonomy on historically Jewish land.

So, now, as predicted, Kerry is blaming the failure of talks primarily on Israeli Jews.  He does so because his boss does so for ideological reasons and they are both now sending an inevitable message to the Europeans – if not explicitly, then implicitly – to get on with BDS.

BDS - Big, Dumb, Stupid

BDS – Bigoted, Disgusting, Stupid

Both Gil Troy and Michael Lumish talk about the centrality of BDS to the Palestinian cause. An interesting item in Honest Reporting quotes Larry Derfner, the extreme leftist journalist who was fired from the Jerusalem Post, who admits that the whole point of BDS is to act as a war of attrition against Israel rather than cause any actual boycotts:

Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Boycotts and BDS, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kerry lied to blame Israel for the peace talks failure

3148a-blamefarce

Add Kerry to the picture for a true portrayal of the situation

Not only the Palestinians know how to lie. It turns out that our “honest broker”, Hizzoner John F. Kerry, is an accomplished liar too.

As Israel feared all along, Kerry put the blame for the breakdown in the “peace” talks between Israel and the Palestinians firmly on Israel, using the well-worn excuse of “settlement-building” for the failure rather than the Palestinians’ blatant violation of the terms of these negotiations, not to mention the Oslo Accords (RIP) by applying to 15 UN organizations.

Tova Lazaroff in the Jerusalem Post (h/t Arlene Kushner) describes how Kerry played the audience by putting dramatic pauses exactly where he wanted to stress Israel’s fault: (emphases are mine.)

It wasn’t what US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday, but how he said it, that generated headlines from Jerusalem to New York blaming Israel for exploding a deal to extend the peace talks.

‘Poof, that was sort of the moment,’ he said.

It was a narrative exclamation, and pause, strong enough to be heard round the world.

It fell, like a slow drumbeat, on one of the most sensitive issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines, in Jerusalem and in West Bank settlements.

A well-crafted message from the State Department holding both Israelis and Palestinians culpable for the crisis in the peace process did little to mitigate the impact.

On the surface of it, Kerry said all the politically correct things as he testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington.

[...]But it was his description for the lawmakers of how events in the last week unraveled that drew everyone’s attention.

[...]

For Israel the latest drama began when Palestinians stopped participating in direct negotiations sometime after the December release of a third round of prisoners. Freeing Palestinians involved in past terror attacks had been a strategy designed to ensure the continuity of face-to-face talks over nine months.

When direct talks broke down temporarily, well in advance of the April 29 deadline, it made Israel hesitate to go through with the fourth and final release of 26 prisoners scheduled for March 29 until it knew it would be worth the price. Israel asked the Palestinians to extend the talks by another nine months.

For the Palestinians the price for the scheduled March 29 release had already been paid over the past months of negotiations.

When Israel hesitated to free the prisoners without a guarantee for another nine months of talks, Palestinians saw it as a breaking point in a process that already seemed fruitless, given Israel’s continued settlement building over the months of negotiations.

They took unilateral steps to ratify 15 international treaties and conventions as a protest move.

For Israel those 15 applications crossed a redline, and it canceled the fourth release of prisoners, thereby creating a point of no return for the Palestinians.

But while Kerry said the 15 applications were not helpful, he didn’t pause in that part of the narrative, nor did he state that this was the point of no return.

He described matter-of-factly what happened after the March 29 release was delayed, as both sides tried to conclude a deal to keep the talks going for another nine months.

“Unfortunately, the prisoners weren’t released on Saturday, when they were suppose to be released,” Kerry said.

“A day went by. Day two went by. Day three went by,” Kerry said. He moved his arms to underscore his words.

“And then in the afternoon, when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof,” Kerry said, as he spread his arms wide and paused. It was a move that accentuated the drama.

Kerry then finished his sentence: “That was sort of the moment,” he said, as he brought his hands down.

[...]

He might have paused and placed weight on the moment, as any good storyteller would, just because factually that is what happened. He believed the two sides were closing in on a deal, and then Israel announced the publication of 700 tenders for the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo over the Green Line. And then the talks broke off. Or, he could have meant to subtly point a finger at Israel.

No matter what his intent, his words hit a nerve, because he spoke of “settlement” building and then the break down of talks.

[...]

The Israeli Right, in turn, and its supporters abroad heard what in their view is an aspersion that they reject – that settlement building is a stumbling block to peace. To them, it was an aspersion made worse, in this instance, because the “settlement” Kerry spoke of is Gilo, a Jerusalem neighborhood, which most Israelis who support a two-state solution already see as an integral part of the state.

The absence of a two-state solution affects core issues of the conflict such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security.

Kerry was quick to point out Tuesday that the gaps on these core issues have narrowed, and that those gaps did not cause last week’s crisis in the negotiations.

The argument that created the crisis, he said, was all about process, not about the core issues. But then he himself in his testimony, in one simple line, made settlement building the core problem.

Arlene Kushner adds several salient points to the argument:

First, Israel had not committed to freezing building under the terms of the current negotiations, nor is there anything in the Oslo Accords that would prohibit this.  Israel was in the process of offering a partial freeze when things fell apart, but had already clarified that the partial freeze would not include Jerusalem.

Gilo is over the ‘67 line, but it stands on what had been Jewishly owned property even prior to 1967.

The Arabs refer to it as being in “East” Jerusalem, but in point of fact it is in Jerusalem’s south (or more accurately south west).

Sometimes Gilo is referred to as a “settlement” – which is what Kerry just did: it’s more dramatic than talking about a part of Jerusalem.  Gilo, however, is solidly within the municipal borders of Jerusalem.  It is a Jewish neighborhood with over 40,000 residents that no one believes would ever become part of a Palestinian state even if one were – Heaven forbid – to be established.

The furor over this is nothing but posturing.

Indeed, an unnamed official from the Prime Minister’s office confirms that Israel never agreed to a construction freeze as a precondition for the talks:

However, the PMO official insisted that in the preconditions for peace talks, “Israel did not commit to any limitation on construction. Therefore, the Palestinian claim that building in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, was a violation of the understandings is contrary to the facts,” he said. “Both the American negotiating team and the Palestinians know full well that Israel made no such commitment.”

In contrast, by turning to the international agencies, the Palestinians “violated their fundamental commitments,” he maintained.

Building in Gilo, Jerusalem

Arlene Kushner also refers to Jonathan Tobin’s column in Commentary Magazine where he asks “why did Kerry lie about Israeli blame?“:

… Kerry knows very well that the negotiations were doomed once the Palestinians refused to sign on to the framework for future talks he suggested even though it centered them on the 1967 lines that they demand as the basis for borders. Why? Because Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas wouldn’t say the two little words —“Jewish state”—that would make it clear he intended to end the conflict. Since the talks began last year after Abbas insisted on the release of terrorist murderers in order to get them back to the table, the Palestinians haven’t budged an inch on a single issue.

Thus, to blame the collapse on the decision to build apartments in Gilo—a 40-year-old Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem that would not change hands even in the event a peace treaty were ever signed and where Israel has never promised to stop building—is, to put it mildly, a mendacious effort to shift blame away from the side that seized the first pretext to flee talks onto the one that has made concessions in order to get the Palestinians to sit at the table. But why would Kerry utter such a blatant falsehood about the process he has championed?

The answer is simple. Kerry doesn’t want to blame the Palestinians for walking out because to do so would be a tacit admission that his critics were right when they suggested last year that he was embarking on a fool’s errand.

[...]

Since Kerry hopes to entice the Palestinians back to the talks at some point, blaming Israel also gives him leverage to demand more concessions from the Jewish state to bribe Abbas to negotiate. Being honest about the Palestinian stance would not only undermine the basis for the talks but also make it harder to justify the administration’s continued insistence on pressuring the Israelis rather than seek to force Abbas to alter his intransigent positions.

Seen in that light, Kerry probably thinks no harm can come from blaming the Israelis who have always been the convenient whipping boys of the peace process no matter what the circumstances. But he’s wrong about that too. Just as the Clinton administration did inestimable damage to the credibility of the peace process and set the stage for another round of violence by whitewashing Yasir Arafat’s support for terrorism and incitement to hatred in the 1990s, so, too, do Kerry’s efforts to portray Abbas as the victim rather than the author of this fiasco undermine his efforts for peace.

So long as the Palestinians pay no price for their refusal to give up unrealistic demands for a Jewish retreat from Jerusalem as well as the “right of return” for the 1948 refugees and their descendants and a refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the conflict, peace is impossible no matter what the Netanyahu government does. Appeasing them with lies about Israel, like the efforts of some to absolve Arafat and Abbas for saying no to peace in 2000, 2001, and 2008, only makes it easier for the PA to go on saying no. Whether they are doing so in the hope of extorting more concessions from Israel or because, as is more likely, they have no intention of making peace on any terms, the result is the same.

Happily for Israel, Netanyahu seems to have discovered some backbone, and in the wake of the Palestinian rejectionism and violation of the terms of the peace talks, he has suspended all state contact with the PA:

“In response to the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks… Israel government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts,” an official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The order did not ban contact between the Defense Ministry and the PA, which would have hampered security cooperation in the West Bank, according to Israel news site Ynet on Wednesday. Peace negotiations are also unaffected, the site reported.

Low-level cooperation in the field will also continue, a senior Israeli official said, according to the Haaretz daily.

[...]

Cutting off ministerial contact is one of a series of low-level sanctions Israel is reportedly pursuing against the PA in response to the crisis in peace talks, according to press reports. Other measures being considered include canceling permits for the Palestinian telecommunications company al-Watanya and withholding tax revenues.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said that unilateral moves would be met with the same, alluding to Abbas’s decision last week to apply for membership to 15 international treaty organizations, some of which are tied to the United Nations.

Some other steps being considered by Israel are:

“We’re thinking of deducting from the PA’s budget the money they spend on terrorists and their families,” the senior official told The Times of Israel. “This step would be less dramatic than cutting entirely our monthly tax payments to the PA, but it would be step that would be in place.”

[...]

Adopting a different tactic, Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday to annex portions of the West Bank.

In a letter to Netanyahu, Bennett requested “to have a session as soon as possible on an alternative plan (Plan B) to begin the process of applying Israeli sovereignty on areas in Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control.”

Naftali Bennett has the right idea and the right attitude in response to Kerry’s false and objectionable comments:

Responding to Kerry’s statements that construction in East Jerusalem led to the current impasse Tuesday, Bennett said “Israel will never apologize for building in Jerusalem.”

“For many years people have tried to prevent us from living in the eternal capital of the Jewish people. This won’t happen. Building in Jerusalem is not a ‘puff’ [sic], building in Jerusalem is Zionism,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook.

The lesson we need to learn is that if we stand up for our rights, we won’t be trampled on.  It’s a lesson that we, or rather our leaders, need to internalize and then implement.  If we don’t demand – and take – our rights, no one will do it for us.

Posted in International relations, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Palestinian Lies, Propaganda and Delegitimization

Propaganda – same lies, different day

We are all well aware by now that the Palestinian narrative is nothing but that – a narrative, and a fictional one at that. You will therefore not be surprised to learn that Palestinian condemnations of terror attacks are also nothing but a pack of lies, as we are told by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat’s former bodyguard:

As Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat’s public condemnations of terror attacks against Israeli civilians were lies born of Egyptian pressure, his ex-bodyguard said.

In an interview with BBC Arabic last week, newly translated by media watchdog group MEMRI, Muhammad Al-Daya said that Arafat “would condemn the bombing in his own special way, saying: ‘I am against the killing of civilians.’ But that wasn’t true.”

The denouncements were not issued of Arafat’s own volition, Al-Daya explained, but were rather the result of badgering by the then-Egyptian president.

“This would happen due to pressure, especially by President Hosni Mubarak,” he said. “Mubarak would call Arafat and say to him: ‘Denounce it, or they will screw you.’ Arafat would say to Mubarak: ‘Mr. President, we have martyrs. The [Israelis] have destroyed us. They have massacred us.’ But Mubarak would say to him: ‘Denounce it, or they will screw you.’”

These lies were in no way opposed to Islamic law, Al-Daya continued.

“Islam allows you to lie in three cases: In order to reconcile two people,” he said. “If your wife is ugly, you are allowed to tell her she is the most beautiful woman alive. The third case is politics. You are allowed to lie in politics.”

What a convenient religion. No wonder they are gaining so many converts. You can lie about anything and get a free pass.  But do you expect anyone in the State Department, the UN or the EU to make allowances towards Israel based on their pathological lying? I would not advise you to hold your breath.

The ‘Black September’ hijacked planes being blown up by the PFLP at an abandoned air force base, in 1970

Someone else who proves that a Palestinian’s words mean what they want them to mean, rather than their proper meaning, is the Black September terrorist hijacker  Leila Khaled who in an interview quite openly pushed for taking the deadly intifada to “a new level”.  How it could have been any worse is a mystery to me but read her vile words:

The leader of the 1970 ‘Black September’ airline hijacking, Leila Khaled, who has become a global terror icon, said the failure of the violent Intifada, called as a reprisal against Israel at the end of the 2000 peace process, was only because its leaders were “not brave enough” to take their violence to the next level.

In an interview flagged by blogger Elder of Ziyon on Tuesday, Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was asked , “what does peaceful and non-violent resistance means for someone like yourself, who chose armed resistance as a mean for liberation?”

She responded: “Resistance takes more than one face. It can be all kinds of resistance. Non violent and violent. I am ok with those who choose non-violence. We are not going to liberate our country by armed struggle only. Other kinds of resistance are necessary. The political one, diplomatic one, the non violent one. We need to use whatever we have got.”

“We chose armed struggle. We did not achieve our goals. Then the Intifada broke out and the whole world took us seriously. We gained the support of people all over the world. Still, we did not reach our goals because the leadership was not brave enough at that time to escalate the Intifada, to take it to another level.”

Khaled led the 1970 midair hijacking of El Al Flight 219, on which her accomplice, Patrick Arguello, killed a passenger and was ultimately shot to death by Israeli Sky Marshals. Khaled and Arguello brought handguns and grenades onto the flight, brandishing both as they attempted to break into the captain’s quarters. Rather than give in to their demands, the Israeli captain sent the Boeing 707 into a nosedive, forcing the two terrorists, who were standing, to lose their balance, allowing the crew and passengers to subdue them. Khaled was arrested, but then released in a prisoner exchange for the 310 civilian hostages kidnapped by her fellow PFLP members, who had hijacked four other planes they landed at air strips in Jordan, and in Cairo. As a show of strength, they subsequently blew up the three empty jets.

Elder of Ziyon described the interview as shameless. The interviewer, he said, “has not the slightest discomfort when Khaled says that blowing up buses and restaurants was not enough for her.”

“But at least we learned one thing from the terrorist Khaled,” the blogger wrote. “When ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ say ‘popular resistance’ it does not necessarily mean ‘non-violent resistance.’”

Palestinian swimming pools in the West Bank. See more such images at Camera

The habit of lying for political gain continues in the form of lawfare and BDS. The latest weapon with which the anti-Israelis hope to delegitimize Israel is the Myth of the Thirsty Palestinian, which is thoroughly analysed and debunked by Akiva Bigman of the Mida news site, writing in the Tower.  It’s a fairly lengthy article from which I’ll only post a small excerpt. Read it all and save it for use against the lying propagandists:

According to critics of Israel, the Jewish state selfishly exploits the area’s water supplies and denies access to the local population. In doing so, the critics say, Israel is not only abandoning its responsibilities to the West Bank Palestinians, but ruthlessly and illegally abusing the natural resources of the occupied territory. This idea has become extremely widespread in the international media, and was recently voiced from the Knesset plenum by the President of the European Parliament, Herman Schultz, causing a minor scandal in Israel and abroad.

As with all attacks on Israel, the truth is much more complicated and, to a great extent, precisely the opposite of what the critics claim. When one examines the relevant data, it becomes clear that, under Israeli rule, the Palestinian water supply has become larger, more technologically sophisticated, of higher quality, and much easier to access; almost entirely due to Israeli efforts.

The truth is, most of the claims made against Israel on this issue are nothing but empty propaganda. They are based on claims that are simply untrue and/or based on a lack of basic knowledge of the topography of Israel and the West Bank. The latter in particular often creates total confusion in regard to everything connected to the legal issues surrounding West Bank water sources, and especially its important underground aquifers.

To avoid such confusion, this article is largely based on statistics published by the Israeli Water Authority, and research by Professor Haim Gvirtzman, a hydrologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Hopefully, it will give a much more accurate picture of one of the most contentious disputes in the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[...]

In terms of per capita consumption, there has also been substantial improvement. In 1967, per capita consumption stood at 93,000 liters per year. In 2006, it stood at 129,000 liters per year, close to the average in Israel proper—170,000 liters per year.

Even after the Oslo Accords, Israel continued its involvement in the Palestinian water system. According to the Accords, Israel is required to supply 31 million cubic meters per year to the Palestinians. It seems, however, that Israel has exceeded this by a considerable degree. According to statistics published by the Israeli Water Authority in 2012, Israel has added no less than 53.3 million cubic meters per year to the Palestinian water supply.

Read the rest of the statistics which clearly prove Israel’s case.  Bigman concludes:

The issue of water rights, supplies, and infrastructure, is perhaps the most glaring example of illegitimate criticism. On this issue, fact and context have been entirely dispensed with in order to make Israel look as bad as possible. In fact, as has been demonstrated above, Israel’s record on water issues is a good one; it has consistently acted within its rights and according to accepted legal conventions. Moreover, it is clear that the Palestinians’ record is a bad one; and it is they, not Israel, who have failed to live up to their obligations under international law.

[...]

That Israel is so consistently blamed for this problem is especially problematic because it makes it less likely that the Palestinians will deal with it themselves. As shown above, the Palestinians have the ability to both live up to their obligations under international law and solve their existing water problems in doing so. The money, technology, and knowledge they need all exist and are available to them from both foreign and Israeli sources. That the Palestinians have either chosen not to avail themselves of such aid or cannot do so effectively due to internal problems is tragic, but it is not the fault of the State of Israel.

A similar finding was reached in the thesis of Lauro Burkart, the Swiss graduate of the Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva, who concluded that the Palestinians use the water issue as a political weapon:

The facts disseminated by the Palestinians, international organizations and donors about the root causes of the water scarcity in the West Bank are incorrect.

Burkart writes: ‘It is not the Israeli occupation policy but the Palestinian political resistance against joint management and cooperation that is responsible for the relatively slow development of the Palestinian water sector and the deteriorating human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories’ and ‘There is convincing evidence of mismanagement within the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).’

Again, I recommend you read the entire article.

In fact I wrote about the subject of Palestinian water theft and false accusations of Israeli water theft back in 2012. I mentioned an article by the pro-Israel activist organization CoHaV who wrote a water report which is still recommended reading today.

This all leaves us the huge problem of having to explain ourselves and defend ourselves in the international courtroom against completely fabricated charges. With the ears of a willing world happily attuned to the Palestinians’ lies, what should or can Israel do? Is ignoring them all an option?

Posted in Defence and Military, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Doing what’s good for Israel – Naftali Bennett’s stability initiative

Naftali Bennett

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (from the Bayit Yehudi party)  is proving to be an inventive and pro-active lawmaker and minister who has come up with several interesting ideas for improving Israel’s domestic problems as well as its international status.

He now addresses the question everyone is asking after the failure of the “peace” talks: What Now? – and he provides an answer to his not-so rhetorical question – managing the conflict rather than solving it.

Quoting from his Facebook page:

Now that it is clear to everyone that Abbas does not want peace, we must ask: What do we do now?

The truth is there is no magic solution, and we’ll all have to learn to live with the conflict and manage it.
**
I believe that Israel should set a goal: Apply Israeli law to the Israeli settlements and territories in Judea and Samaria, while providing an independent administrative authority for the Arabs in the PA territory.

Two years ago we launched our Stability Initiative program, which becomes more relevant by the day.
**
Even though we are only 12 seats in a coalition of 67, we need to push and push towards our goal.
**

I’m not sure this plan is 100% foolproof but it is certainly 100% better than any of the stupid Kerry Plans, Oslo Accords, Wye River Agreements and any of the other lopsided agreements that Israel has signed with the Palestinians, most of the conditions of which the Palestinians have not fulfilled, all while demanding that Israel keeps to the last letter.

This plan deserves a proper hearing in the Knesset at the very least, if not a nationwide referendum.

What do you think?

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments