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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem Post’

Why the EU Refuses to Classify Hezbollah as a Terror Org.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Lebanon-based Islamic organization Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous groups in the world. Recently, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah incited violence against American and European interests over the movie The Innocence of Muslims. And yet, the European Union refuses to follow America’s example and classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a move that would enable the E.U. to freeze the group’s assets in Europe.

Several people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the movie, which is perceived to be critical of Muhammad, the 7th century Arab warlord who founded Islam. Instead of calling for calm, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah called for prolonged protests: “The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts.”

Hezbollah is also involved in terrorist activities in Syria. During a meeting on September 7 in Paphos, Cyprus, the foreign ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union discussed the situation in Syria, including the position which the E.U. should take regarding Hezbollah. While Britain and the Netherlands urged other E.U. governments to join the United States in imposing sanctions on Hezbollah, they were unable to convince the other E.U. members. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said that Hezbollah should, further, be branded a terrorist organization; he was, however, was isolated with this stance.

This does not come as a surprise, considering the E.U.’s earlier refusal to condemn Hezbollah for terrorism. Last July, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the E.U. capital, Brussels, to persuade the E.U. to follow America’s example and classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Lieberman met resistance – a lot. He was attempting to isolate Hezbollah after the July 18 suicide bombing at the airport of the Bulgarian coastal resort of Burgas – an attack, and clearly a terrorist one – in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed.

According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, the terrorist attack was the work of Hezbollah, upon orders from Iran. Nevertheless, the Cypriot minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who currently holds the rotating E.U. presidency said that there is “no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism.” Hence, there was “no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations.” He emphasized that Hezbollah was an organization with a political as well as an armed wing and that it has representatives in the Lebanese parliament and government.

In 2008, the Netherlands declared Hezbollah and all its branches terrorist entities. Britain considers only its armed wing a terrorist group. Consequently, Hezbollah can operate freely all over Europe, except in the Netherlands. Apart from the Netherlands and the United States, only Canada, Australia and New Zealand have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The European Parliament did the same in a 2005 resolution, but as the latter was non-binding the E.U. has ignored it.

Jacob Campbell, a researcher at the British Institute for Middle Eastern Democracytold the Jerusalem Post: “Within just days of the Burgas bombing – almost undoubtedly perpetrated by Hezbollah – the Presidency of the E.U. Council explicitly ruled out the possibility of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, insisting that there is no ‘tangible evidence’ to link Hezbollah to terrorism. This ludicrous statement was made despite an earlier resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which cites ‘clear evidence’ of terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah. On this issue, as in so many others, Brussels appears to have its head buried firmly in the sand.”

France is one of the countries that oppose the efforts to blacklist Hezbollah. France, the former colonial power in Lebanon, wants to preserve its diplomatic influence in that country. In 2011, Najib Mikati, a Hezbollah-backed politician, became Prime Minister of Lebanon after Hezbollah toppled the previous government. Even deadly attacks by Hezbollah on French nationals have not persuaded the French government to designate the group as terrorist. Last year, Alain Juppé, the then Foreign Minister of France, accused Hezbollah of attacking French U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. However, with Hezbollah constituting part of the Lebanese establishment, the French are reluctant to act against it.

The German government, too, refuses to draw the obvious conclusion regarding Hezbollah, although the German domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesverfassungsschutz, has warned that Hezbollah has over 900 active members in Germany. In 2008, the German Interior Ministry restricted the reception of the programs of the Hezbollah television station Al-Manar in German hotels. Al-Manar is used by Hezbollah to recruit terrorists and communicate with sleeper cells around the globe.

Theory of Palestinian Centrality no Longer Viable

Monday, September 24th, 2012

While the entire Middle East explodes around us and the states which traditionally waged open war on us, such as Egypt, are in the process of returning to their aggressive postures (with a little help from an Obama-led bailout in Egypt’s case), there may be a silver lining for Israel: The theory of Palestinian centrality is no longer viable.

According to the theory, the main Arab/Muslim/Middle Eastern claim against the United States and the reason for violence in the region is the lack of justice for the Palestinians. If a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority can be reached and a Palestinian state established all of the hatred will melt away and the region will be at peace.

In an interview I conducted with Elliot Abrams for the Jerusalem Post, for example, Abrams recounted how immediately after the 9-11 attacks, officials in the State Department proposed to President Bush that he pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, on the grounds that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the main source of Arab hatred for the United States.

(Abrams said Bush rejected this argument, but not that long after 9-11, Bush adopted the Road Map for Peace).

Another example is the Iraq Study Group report, which was commissioned by President Bush to find solutions to the violence in Iraq. One of the report’s key recommendations was pursuing Israeli-Arab peace.

The theory of Palestinian centrality has been put forward by many in the diplomatic field, probably because  this is what their Arab counterparts are telling them.

For example, in July 2008 then-Senator-and-candidate Barack Obama explained to NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press why Jordan’s King Abdullah was correct in asserting that Iran was not the number one threat to peace but that “the lack of peace [between Israel and the Palestinians] is the major threat.”

Obama said as follows:

[O]ne thing I want to pick up on, because I think King, King Abdullah is as savvy a analyst of the region and player in the region as, as there is, one of the points that he made and I think a lot of people made, is that we’ve got to have an overarching strategy recognizing that all these issues are connected.  If we can solve the Israeli/Palestinian process, then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf states to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan.

It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region.  If we’ve gotten an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon.

In other words, because of Palestinian centrality an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is the silver bullet to all the problems of the Middle East.

(Side note: Brokaw asked Obama if he told Abudulla that as president he “would appoint a presidential envoy who would report only to you to work exclusively on the issues of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Obama said ” I told him something approximating that.” Obama also told former President JimmyCarter that he wouldn’t wait a month to make a peace agreement a top priority. Two days after being sworn in as President, Obama appointed George Mitchell as a special envoy and pressured Israel for the next two years).

But as Barry Rubin noted in his article today on the JewishPress.com:

Remember the old argument that the Arab-Israel or Israel-Palestinian conflict was the centerpiece of the region; all the Arabs cared about, and what they judged the West by? Now there are a dozen other issues more important to the extent that this cannot even be hidden by the Western mass media and “experts.”

With Muslims attacking American U.S. embassies in the Middle East and rioting all over the world over an obscure youtube video, and various Muslim factions vying for power, the State Department, the E.U., etc., can no longer seriously contend that regional volatility and violence is related to Israel – either Western support Israel or the fact that a Palestinian state has not been established or that Israeli-Palestinian/Arab peace accords have not been signed.

No Red Lines: Another US Rejection of Israel’s Security Concerns on Iran

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Over the last two weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been repeatedly calling for the U.S. and the international community to set “clear red lines” for Iran. Just this weekend, for example, he made this demand no less than three separate times.

It seems that Netanyahu is practically begging for the U.S. to give Israel an out from having to strike Iran on its own;  some kind of guarantee that if it doesn’t the U.S. will or at least some deterrent factor which will cause Iran to slow down its nuclear program.

Otherwise, it seems, Israel will have no choice but to strike, something the U.S. does not look favorably upon.

This morning’s news seemed to bear good tidings for Netanyahu’s “clear red lines” campaign. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last night, Netanyahu said that the U.S. and Israel were currently discussing the issue of red lines.

(The host asked: “Who do you think would follow Canada with some kind of red line?” Netanyahu answered: “Well, we’re discussing this right now with the United States.” Here’s the video.)

The implication being that such red lines might be set, and Israel could thereby avoid or at least push off the agonizing decision of whether, when and how to strike Iran’s nuclear program.

The Jerusalem Post ran with the story, providing the following lead headline this morning: “PM: Israel discussing red lines for Iran with US.” But by 9:30 the Post replaced the lead headline with an almost opposite report from Bloomberg News: “Clinton: US ‘not setting deadlines’ for Iran.”

Apparently, the U.S. Secretary of State also gave an interview yesterday on the same topic, spoiling any positive implications Israelis could glean from the fact that such discussions were taking place.  Clinton was asked whether the U.S. will set any “sharper red lines” for Iran and answered, “We’re not setting deadlines” for Iran and said that negotiations are the best way to resolve the situation.

This is yet another public rejection by the U.S. of Israel’s position on Iran’s nuclear program. It comes shortly after the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that he and the U.S. by extension, “don’t want to seem complicit if they [Israel] choose to strike.”

If only this were some public facade meant to utterly confuse the Iranians as the U.S. secretly prepared to fulfill its responsibility as leader of the free world and protect its own interests by striking Iran.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that the Obama administration is still clinging to the naive belief that if America is respected enough and patient enough, and puts enough distance between itself and Israel, the international community will line up behind it (or in front of it, according to the “lead from behind” strategy”), and Iran will willingly give up the one thing that will make it immune from foreign intervention and give it the chance to create that “new international order” the Ayatolla was talking about.

This approach has failed.

The 120 countries and the U.N. Secretary General who participated in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran proved that the international community is not lined up behind the U.S. and that Iran is not diplomatically isolated.

The negotiations between the Permanent Members of the Security Council and Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran dragged on and on, went no where and all the while Iran sped up its nuclear program, doubling the number of centrifuges at its nuclear facility buried in a mountain near Qom.

Sanctions might have had time to work had Obama had gotten moving with them at the start of his presidency instead of chasing the holy grail of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord (starting even before Israel held its own elections by dispatching George Mitchell to Israel) and apologizing to the Muslim world with his “address on a new beginning” at Cairo University in which he recognized Iran’s “right to access” nuclear energy.

Aside from more time for sanctions, for the soft-power approach to work, it also would have needed to be backed up by the threat of hard power: a credible military threat, something Israel has long demanded. To be credible that threat would have to have some trigger point, e.g., those “clear red lines” that Netanyahu is begging for but which Clinton said yesterday the U.S. would not set.

To Unite the Nat’l Religious Camp, U.S.-Born Candidates Offer Themselves as a Sacrifice

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

As the prospects for a merger between the two National Religious parties – the Jewish Home and the National Union – fall apart, the American-born candidate team, Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel have said they would be willing to sacrifice their own potential spot on the Knesset list for the sake of unifying the national-religious camp.

“Our primary goal has never been to make it into the Knesset” but instead uniting the national-religious camp, the two said in a statement released to the press today.

Therefore they will not “endorse a leadership candidate that refuses to support unity between the factions within the religious Zionist camp”

In an e-mail statement they went further, cryptically stating that their support for unity may cost them a spot in the Knesset, but stating that it is “a price we are willing to pay.”

What’s the Hold up to Unity?

The unmentioned hold up to the potential merger referenced by Abramowitz and Gimpel is likely newcomer Naftali Bennett, who, according Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post, said in a private meeting last week that if he were elected to the leadership of the Jewish Home, he would not allow three of the four Knesset Members of the National Union to run with the Jewish Home.

This would make it extremely unlikely that the National Union would agree to join with the Jewish home during the general elections.  It would essentially mean agreeing to disappear to make way for the Jewish Home, even though they currently have four Knesset seats to the Jewish Home’s three.

Unsurprisingly, the National Union’s Knesset Members did not react well to the alleged statements.

Bennett’s campaign told The Jewish Press over the phone today that no such statements were ever made.

Bennett, who is competing for party leadership against current party chairman Minister of Science Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz and MK Z’vulon Orlev, posted a statement on his facebook page today stating that “To remove all doubt, I support and urge the unity of the camp and to unite with the National Union party. I will work towards it with all my might. I won’t bar a single person. Period.”

The origin of the prospects for merger of the Jewish Home and National Union began earlier this year. When shortly after Pesach it seemed that early elections were imminent, the parties signed an agreement to run as a united list.

Since early elections didn’t occur, the agreement no longer applies. Nevertheless, there are many who want the joint list, including National Union Chairman MK Yaacov Katz.

Katz is one of the three MKs whom Bennett reportedly said he would not allow to run with the Jewish Home. The others were MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michal Ben-Ari. Bennett would reportedly be alright with MK Uri Ariel, the remaining National Union member.

The three on Bennett’s blacklist are considered to have bombastic political temperaments, unwilling to censor themselves, and Ben Ari and Katz in particular make a point of sticking it their opponents.

Ben Ari, for example, brought illegal African immigrants to swimming pools in posh areas of Tel Aviv. During the debate over his proposed “Arrangement Law” Katz said that anyone voting against the bill had “a heart of stone.”

But according to a political strategist who wished to remain anonymous, Bennett is not concerned with the party’s image, but making room on the list for his own political allies.

“Bennett has made many colossal errors,” the strategist said, “the biggest of which is that he has too many people that endorsed him – too many people he owes favors to.”

For Israeli politicians, who are chosen not in general elections, but by internal party mechanisms – often, but not always, primary elections, the real contest is securing a realistic, if not high spot on their party’s list.

If for example, a party gets 12 seats in the Knesset (10 percent of the vote), unlucky candidate number 13, will not get into the Knesset, no matter how popular he may be among the general public. The higher the candidate is on the list, the more likely he is to get into the Knesset and the more likely he is to be named a minister in the government if his party joins the coalition.

Jewish Terrorists!?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012


I hope it isn’t true. But I suspect that it is. This is not the first time there has been settler violence against innocent Arabs in Israel. From the Jerusalem Post:

On Thursday at about 5:30 p.m., six members of the family were seriously wounded when their taxi, driven by a family member near the settlement of Bat Ayin south of Jerusalem, was hit by a Molotov cocktail in an attack that police suspect was perpetrated by Jewish extremists.

Jewish Extremists?! These are not extremists. These are terrorists. If it is shown that this horrendous acts was carried out by Jewish settlers in some sort of retaliation for Palestinian terrorism then they ought to have the book thrown at them.  This is no less than attempted murder. It is depraved. It is cruel. There is no excuse for it.

These people are no better than the arsonists of who set fires during the ’68 riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King . Then Mayor Richrad J. Daley gave police the green light to police to shoot to kill anyone seen attempting arson.

People who throw firebombs into cars are murderers. There is no justification for targeting innocent people. These terrorists ought to be treated accordingly. That no one died yet from that act is a miracle.

What makes me so angry is that many of these settler types are from the extreme right wing of religious Zionism. They think their acts are somehow religiously justified.

Making matters worse is that there are many mainstream Orthodox Jews who sympathize with these people. While not condoning it – they will say they understand it. They will point to things like the Fogel massacre and ask, can you blame them for wanting revenge? Can you blame them when the government refuses to back them up in their settlement enterprises?  Arab terrorism has caused so many Jewish deaths. Many of these people have lost loved ones or have loved ones that have been seriously and permanently injured because of Arab terrorism. So they are striking back at them in the same way they have been struck. Can you really blame them?

My answer is very simple: Yes! I do blame them. Revenge killings of innocent people is pure murder. Period.

And it does absolutely nothing to better their situation. If anything their situation will be worsened by it. As will the situation for the State of Israel. Even so called moderate Palestinians can now say, “Jews have their terrorists too!” And they will be right. How can we ever claim the moral high ground and justify our security fences if we do the same things they do?  Those who have been using moral equivalency arguments that compare what we do to what they do will now be justified in that claim.

If it turns out as suspected, that the arsonists are settler extremists, then I would – as I said – throw the book at them. Maximum sentences for all of them.

I would further feel it my obligation to stop these people at the core. It would be priority number one to dismantle every single settlement that harbors this world view and lives in close proximity to Arab villages! I would subsequently monitor all their actions round the clock. And send them to jail for the slightest infraction of the law that allowed for a jail sentence. No mercy. Because if they aren’t stopped, they could very well end up bringing about the downfall of the Jewish State and bring about the biggest tragedy since the Holocaust.

Conference on Annexing Judea and Samaria Draws Big Names, Big Turnout

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Hundreds of Israelis from across Israel gathered in Hebron last Thursday to participate in the Conference for the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and to hear a growing cadre of politicians, experts, and opinion-makers discuss their perspective on how to realize this goal.

The Conference, the second of its kind organized by Women in Green, saw a speaker list that appears to reflect a sense that annexation of Judea and Samaria is an increasingly viable option. Beyond the attendance of the expected nationalist politicians – like government minister and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, National Union MK Uri Ariel, and Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely – also appearing were Caroline Glick, a senior editor at the Jerusalem Post; Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli ambassador to Washington; and Eran Bar-Tal, the economic editor of the Makor Rishon newspaper, among many others.

Long dismissed as a revisionist fantasy of the extreme nationalist camp, the idea of annexation is gaining traction in mainstream society, as more and more Israelis question the wisdom and validity of the ‘two state solution’ paradigm. The commission and release of the Levy Report appears to be one such manifestation of this shift.

At the Conference, which was held in the hall adjoining the Machpelah Cave, each speaker offered their own perspectives on annexation. Minister Hershkovitz insisted on the application of Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and not only over the communities of Area C. In what appeared to be a jab at the annexation plan put forward by Naftali Bennett – who is running against Hershkowitz for chairmanship of Habayit Hayehudi – Hershkowitz said that the application of sovereignty over anything less than all of Judea and Samaria will be interpreted by the other side as an admission of surrender over certain parts of the area. Glick agreed with Hershkowitz, saying that “the cost will be the same cost, so it would be a shame to pay it for half the job….”

Bar-Tal, speaking from an economic perspective, dismissed the scare tactics of the left regarding the economic repercussions of annexation, and stated that in fact annexation would strengthen Israel’s economy.

Yitzhak Bam of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel analyzed the legal reality in Judea and Samaria, and – in concurrence with the Levy Report – stated that the issue of the application of sovereignty is not a legal question, but purely political, since there is no other sovereign authority that demands the return of the territory to it, and, in practice, there is a sort of “sovereignty vacuum” in Judea and Samaria.

But perhaps most stirring was the video message by Israel Prize laureate and former MK Geulah Cohen, who told of her parliamentary struggle to annex east Jerusalem, which began as a private initiative, and -after her tireless efforts- was finally passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980.

Nadia Matar, who along with Yehudit Katsover organized the Conference, said: “We were greatly inspired by Geula. She talked about the denunciations she endured during that process. At the time people mocked her, just like they’re mocking us now.

“‘The sky didn’t fall’ when the law was passed,’ ” Matar recounted Cohen saying, “despite the propaganda employed by those opposed to the annexation.”

Cohen related how Teddy Kollek, then-mayor of Jerusalem, warned her that there would be an avalanche of international condemnation and isolation. Yes, foreign governments moved their embassies out of Jerusalem, she said, but if that’s the cost of asserting sovereignty over the Land of Israel, its a worthwhile cost.

Katsover and Matar said that that they plan on capitalizing on the momentum by enlisting more public figures and citizens to bear on the Knesset to advance the law for sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“Just like we now express surprise that Israel did not have sovereignty over east jerusalem and the Golan Heights, so our children will express surprise that once we did not have sovereignty over Judea and Samaria,” Matar said.


Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: Situation in Sinai

Friday, June 22nd, 2012


Yishai is joined by Yaakov Katz, military correspondent for the Jerusalem Post along with Israel correspondent for Jane’s Defense Weekly. They discuss tension that has been created since the Arab Spring between Israel and Egypt in the Sinai and how the region has become a hotbed for terror activity, along with drug and weapon smuggling. Specific problems between the Sinai and Israel are discussed along with potential solutions for these problems. The segment and this week’s show wraps up with Yishai talking about a faux sovereignty controlling in the Sinai and how we should ‘take off the masks’ in the Middle East in order to see the truth.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/jewish-press-radio-with-yishai-fleisher-situation-in-sinai/2012/06/22/

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