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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

4 Dead, 16 Wounded in Ft. Hood Shooting

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

At least four military personnel died and 16 others were wounded, some critically, in a shooting spree Wednesday about 4:30 p.m. local time at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas.

The base, located near Waco, was immediately sealed off and held on lock-down for nearly four hours, until the “all-clear” could be sounded.

The shooter, 34-year-old combat veteran Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed himself at the end of the shooting spree with a single shot. He used a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol he had recently purchased in the area, and had not registered at the base, officials said.

In November 2009, a military psychiatrist with Arabic ancestry proclaimed jihad against the United States at Fort Hood and went on a similar rampage, killing 13 people.

Military officials stressed that this time the cause seemed to be a personal dispute, unrelated to terrorism.

The gunman “walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from [the vehicle], got out of the vehicle, walked into another building, opened fire again and was engaged by local law enforcement here at Fort Hood,” according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke with reporters.

U.S. President Barack Obama also made an effort to play down the terror factor but acknowledged that something indeed had gone terribly wrong and needed to be dealt with.

In a statement following the shooting, Obama said, “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again. We’re following it closely. I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened… Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure the community of Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with a tough situation, but also any potential aftermath.”

Lopez was in the process of being evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which Lt. Gen. Milley described as “a lengthy process.” He added that the soldier – whom he did not identify at any time during his briefing — was also “undergoing behavioral health, psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety and a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues” at the time of the attack. He added that he also had a self-reported traumatic brain injury.

Lopez had served four months in Iraq during 2011. He remained on active duty and was subsequently assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command based at Fort Hood.

The tragedy ended when a female police officer drew her weapon, according to Lt. Gen. Milley, who said that in response, the armed soldier “put his hands up and then reached under his jacket. He pulled out the gun, and she engaged, and he put the weapon to his head.” He paused. “It was clearly heroic, what she did at that moment in time.”

His body was found in a parking lot near the First Medical Brigade area. Three of the victims died in local hospitals. Seven of the injured were admitted to nearby Scott & White Memorial Hospital. Three of the injured are in critical condition and being maintained on respirators. Five are listed in serious condition with gunshot wounds to abdomens, chest, necks and extremities, doctors told reporters. Other victims are being treated on base at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

“Experience has taught us many things here at Fort Hood,” Milley said. “The soldiers who have served so bravely through the last 13 years in Iraq are strong, and we will get through this.”

Minister Accompanying Netanyahu: Settlement Freeze Off the Table

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz, accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his trip to the U.S., told Israel Radio Tuesday morning that Israel’s position both regarding the peace negotiations with the Palestinians and the Iran question are receiving wall-to-wall support in Congress.

According to Stenitz, the leaders of the Senate and the House understand that the main hurdle before the peace process is the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own country, and their terrible incitement against Israel.

According to the Washington Post, after his conference with Obama, Netanyahu met with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Capitol Hill. Cantor said the Palestinians must “accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state” and “uniformly and aggressively” combat terrorism while confronting, not condoning, “incitement against the Jews.”

Steinitz added that the Palestinian demand for a freeze on settlement housing starts, as well as their insistence on prisoner release in exchange for extending the negotiations are simply not part of the discussion.

Leftist party Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On told Israel Radio that the settlement freeze would serve Israel’s interests more than it would the Palestinians’.

Labor MK Nachman Shai argues that the Ukrainian crisis is not diverting the world’s attention away from Israel and the peace negotiations, and is not improving Israel’s political situation.

But, despite MK Shai’s note to the contrary, AP reported that Secretary of State Kerry left Monday for the Ukrainian capital. The European Union’s foreign ministers, meantime, issued a Thursday deadline for Russia President Vladimir Putin to pull back his troops or face a rejection of visa liberalization and economic cooperation negotiations long in the works.

And the White House said Obama met for more than two hours Monday night with the National Security Council, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, to discuss what steps the United States can take with international partners to further isolate Russia and persuade it to de-escalate the situation.

So, for now, nobody is pushing the 2-state thing. Maybe wait until after the Russian occupation…

Robert Malley and the Shift to Appeasement

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Back in 2008 when Barack Obama first ran for president, one of the many signals he sent Jewish groups to reassure them of his good will toward Israel and his foreign-policy bona fides was to sever ties with Robert Malley, a Clinton-era National Security Council staffer best known for his stand blaming Israel rather than Yasir Arafat for the collapse of the 2000 Camp David peace summit.

Malley’s position as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign was a major liability for a candidate desperate to reassure Jewish Democrats that he could be relied on to maintain the alliance with Israel. But when it became known in May 2008 that Malley had met with Hamas terrorists, the Obama campaign severed ties with him.

It turned out that those who worried that Malley’s presence in the Obama foreign-policy shop was a sign of future trouble with the Jewish state were right. Despite his campaign promises and the fact that he failed to give an inveterate Israel-basher like Malley a job in his administration, Obama spent most of his first term picking fights with Israel before a reelection-year charm offensive.

But now well into his second term, the president is finally rewarding Malley for falling on his sword for him during his first campaign. It was announced last week that Malley is heading back to the White House to serve as a senior director at the National Security Council where he will be tasked with managing relations between the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies.

While we are told the administration is making an effort to bolster its traditional ties to the region, Malley’s appointment sends a very different signal, especially to Israel.

At a time when Saudi Arabia and other allies in the region are worried that the U.S. has turned its back on them as part of the president’s misguided pursuit of détente with Iran, the president has called back to service one of the foremost defenders of appeasement of terror.

Though Malley is merely one more member of a second-term team that is increasingly hostile to Israel, his joining the NSC removes any remaining doubt about where American foreign policy is heading.

At the time he was working for the Obama campaign, his defenders, including a gaggle of high-ranking Clinton foreign-policy officials, denounced Malley’s critics for what they claimed were unfair personal attacks. But the problem with Malley was never so much about his motives or his father’s role as a supporter of the Egyptian Communist Party and the Nasser regime as it was his own beliefs and policies.

By claiming as he did in an infamous article in The New York Review of Books in August 2001 that the Camp David summit’s failure was Israel’s fault rather than that of Arafat, Malley demonstrated extraordinary bias as well as a willingness to revise recent history to fit his personal agenda.

Malley absolved Arafat from blame for refusing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem. In doing so he not only flatly contradicted the testimony of President Clinton and other U.S. officials present, but his justification of Arafat’s indefensible behavior also served to rationalize the Palestinian terror offensive that followed their rejection of peace.

In the years since then, Malley has remained a virulent critic of Israel and an advocate for recognition and acceptance of the Hamas terrorists who rule Gaza as well as engagement with Iran and other rejectionist states.

All this should have been enough to keep him out of any administration that professed friendship for Israel. But by putting him in charge of relations with the Gulf states, Obama is also demonstrating that he is determined to continue a policy of downgrading relations with traditional allies in favor of better relations with Iran and other radicals.

Determined to Get Kerry a Nobel, Obama Planning to Squeeze Netanyahu

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The man who brought peace to Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Syria (did I forget anything? Yes – Turkey!), our own President Obama, is about to throw his weight into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the NY Times reports this morning.

When he welcomes Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, tye White House leaked to the Times, Obama will press him to embrace the Secretary of State John Kerry framework for a “conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” which is being drafted as we speak. Then, a few weeks later, Obama will meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, “to make the same pitch.”

By the end of April, if all goes according to plan, both sides will have a road map (didn’t we already have one of those?). In April the self-imposed 9-month time limit will expire, and in a television-driven political world, a date is a date, ergo the big gun.

“Now is a very timely opportunity for him to get involved,” a senior official told the Times, setting up the newest great expectation in a tone that didn’t convey much conviction: If the two sides agree to the framework, which would set out general terms on issues like Israel’s security and the borders of a future Palestinian state, the negotiations could be extended, with a new target of completing a treaty by the end of 2014.

Of course, should things not work out as expected, we could always come up with new shticks, rename the whole thing, possibly divide the topics of discussion into columns A and B and pick targets Chinese restaurant fashion, slap a new target date on it and go on with the show. The idea is to keep having a peace process—never mind the peace.

If they keep doing this through the 2016 presidential election, there’s a good chance Kerry could still get the Nobel Peace Prize even if he doesn’t get anything accomplished peacewise. After all, Obama got it just for being black and promising – couldn’t Kerry take one for being tall and lanky? Good teeth? No?

It is far from clear, notes the Times, that Mr. Obama can pull off what has so far eluded his secretary of state. Here’s another thing that’s been eluding the Americans – over the past several weeks, the Arabs and the Jews haven’t been meeting face to face. They talk to Kerry and to his special envoy, Martin S. Indyk, and that’s it. It means, “analysts say,” that there’s been no movement on anything.

If you ever sold cars for a living, or watched any sitcom or movie about selling cars, you know that the time to bring in the owner is after it’s been established that the customer really wants the car, he just needs to discuss terms. You bring in the boss, right away he knocks of two grand off the list price, everybody’s smiling – and you close. But to bring the boss in before both sides are buying anything, anything at all, that has desperation written all over it.

Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator who is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told the Times that bringing the president in at this stage is admission of defeat on Kerry’s part. “What is it going to take to get to a comprehensive deal if the president has to do heavy lifting?”

It means Kerry has little credibility left with either side. And the Jews hate him for the boycott threats, which he has since been backtracking from so fiercely, you worry he’d hit his head on the end of the pool.

Pollard Pardon? Not Now

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison for some years in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.

I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit). I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

Obama on Foxman: ‘Abe Is Irreplaceable’

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

President Obama praised Abraham Foxman as “irreplaceable” after the Anti-Defamation League announced the planned retirement of its longtime leader.

“For decades, Abe Foxman has been a tireless voice against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all of its forms, always calling us to reject hatred and embrace our common humanity,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Tuesday.

The ADL announced Monday that Foxman would retire as its national director in July 2015. Foxman has led the ADL for 27 years.

“Michelle and I wish him well as he prepares to leave the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League — an organization that he built, and led with such passion and persistence,” Obama said in his statement. “Abe is irreplaceable, but the causes that he has dedicated his life to will continue to inspire people in the United States, Israel, and around the world.”

After he steps down, Foxman will serve as a part-time consultant to ADL and sit on the organization’s national commission and national executive committee, the organization said.

Founded in 1913, the ADL fights against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and on behalf of civil rights.

Obama Turns on Israel

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Barack Obama’s March 2013 trip to Israel had a too-good-to-be-true feel about it. While barely pressuring on Israel, he instructed Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations and admonished them to “recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” It felt out of character, suggesting a price to be paid later.

Well, that price has now, eight months later, been revealed and it has two components. If I might paraphrase the U.S. position: “First, sit by quietly as we reach an accord with Tehran that freezes but does not dismantle its nuclear buildup. Second, stop the illegitimate residential construction on the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority will, with American acquiescence, start a third intifada.”

Israeli responses to the two demands have been stark, blunt unlike anything in memory. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the prospective Iran deal as a “monumental mistake” and after meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry warned:

I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. And the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very, bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.

Economy and Commerce Minister Naftali Bennett was even more direct, even raising the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb destroying New York City:

These critical days in November will be remembered for years to come. The Free World stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges. Years from now, when an Islamic terrorist blows up a suitcase in New York, or when Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments.

Like in a boxing match, Iran’s regime is currently on the floor. The count is just seconds away from 10. Now is the time to step up the pressure and force Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Not to let it up. It would be dangerous to lift the sanctions and accept a deal which allows Iran to retain its entire uranium-production line. It would be dangerous because Iran would, a year, two or three from now, just turn everything back on and obtain a nuclear weapon before the world can do anything to stop it. It is not enough to shut off the centrifuges. They need to be completely dismantled. We call upon the West to avoid signing a Bad Deal.

Israel’s responsibility is to ensure the security of its citizens and that is exactly what we will do. We will never outsource our security.

On the Palestinian issue, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon took the lead:

There is no need to fear threats of whether there will or won’t be a third intifada. We have been in an open and ongoing conflict [with the Palestinians], which as far as the Palestinians are concerned does not end in 1967 lines. There is Sheikh Munis, [their name for] Tel Aviv, Majdal, [their name for] Ashkelon. We got out of the Gaza Strip and they continue to attack us. They raise their youth to believe that Haifa and Acre are Palestinian ports and more. There is no sign of compromise here. … We will have to be smart, and not fear threats of whether there will or won’t be a third intifada.

I wrote before the last presidential election that “Israel’s troubles will really begin” should Obama win second term. At Obama’s second inauguration, I predicted that he, “freed from re-election constraints, can finally express his early anti-Zionist views after a decade of political positioning. Watch for a markedly worse tone from the second Obama administration toward the third Netanyahu government.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes/obama-turns-on-israel/2013/11/11/

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