By Ted Belman
Over three years ago I came across a new demographic study by AIDRG which argues that for the foreseeable future Jews would outnumber Arabs in Israel, Judea and Samaria by a ratio of 2:1. This fact gave rise to the suggestion that Israel should favour a Jewish One-State Plan. I became an immediate convert and wrote Israel, From the Mediterranean to the Jordan. I made the acquaintance of Mike Wise, Yoram Ettinger and Bennett Zimmerman who were the driving forces behind it.
Over the years the study has been strengthened and the plans for the Jewish state developed. HaTikva was formed with this goal in mind.
By Ted Belman
In February, Obama made a speech in Cleveland to the Jewish community in which he said,
“I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, then you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”
This of course, was meant to suggest he is anti-Likud but not anti-Israel.
Netanyahu got the message. Since he became the head of the Likud Party, Netanyahu has communicated the message that he is someone Obama can do business with. He has also assured Israelis that he is not a rightwinger but someone who intends to form a coalition with Kadimah and perhaps even have Ehud Barak, that fearless non-fighter with the Arabs, as his Minister of Defense.
… But if the lack of outrage over the Islamic terrorist assault on Mumbai, India last month was any indication, everything has changed back.
The obfuscation that characterized much of the early reporting on Mumbai is partially to blame. Watching a number of television reporters go through visible pains not to use the word “terrorist” to describe a four-day reign of terror that would eventually kill more than 170 people and injure hundreds was a surreal spectacle. Initial articles described “militants,” “gunmen,” and “extremists,” but rarely terrorists, and rarer still, Islamic terrorists. So-called experts prattled on vaguely about the perpetrators’ motivations, as if the ideology fueling a group called the Deccan Mujahedeen was a complete and utter mystery. (“Deccan” refers to a historic Islamic claim on the Deccan Plateau, the territory which stretches between Mumbai and Hyderabad, while “mujahedeen” are Muslim fighters engaged in jihad.) Links to the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba added further confirmation and yet still, many of the talking heads remained stubbornly ambiguous. Indeed, the attack was largely presented as if it were occurring in a vacuum. …
Cross-posted at netwmd.com and IsraPundit
ISRAELI COURT ORDERS PEACE NOW TO APOLOGIZE & PAY DAMAGES FOR LIE THAT JEWISH TOWN BUILT ON PALESTINIAN LAND
The extremist Peace Now organization in Israel has been compelled by a court order to publicly apologize and pay monetary damages to the residents of the Jewish community of Revava in Samaria for lying and publishing false statements that the town had been on Palestinian-owned land.
Peace Now and activists Hagit Ofran and Dror Atkis lied in claiming in a report titled ‘A sin leads to another sin,’ that most Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria were built on land stolen from local Arabs. Among other things, the report said 71.15 percent of the land on which Revava was built was stolen from Arabs. The Fund for Redeeming the Land, which legally owns 100 percent of the territory on which Revava is built, demanded that Peace Now correct its false report regarding Revava and issue an apology. The group refused to apologize, as did the authors of the report. The authors agreed to only partially correct the mistaken claim regarding Revava, changing the report to say 22 percent of the land was stolen, not 71 percent.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Tom Trento, Director of the Florida Security Council, a state-based organization that assists the general public in properly preparing for and responding to the threat of Radical Islam.
FP: Your thoughts on the attitude of Jewish and Christian clergy in dealing with this crisis?
Trento: But for a handful of courageous Jewish and Christian clergy, Jewish and Christian leaders have been silent or worse yet, complicit with Muslim extremists, thus expediting the eventual destruction of America.
By Ted Belman
In the posts just below this one, both Eiland and Beilin recommend full disengagement from Gaza which means opening it up to the sea and to Egypt. Beilin is from the extreme left (Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative) and Eiland is only somewhat to the left. But that is no reason to reject this idea out of hand.
As for the rocket attacks, Beilin writes,
Should Qassams and Grad rockets be fired from the Gaza Strip despite the above, we will always reserve the military option, and the IDF would always be able to reoccupy this crowded and problematic place, even if this comes with a heavy price.
Yossi Beilin, YNET
Israel’s inexplicable capitulation to President George W. Bush’s caprice to include the Hamas movement in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, in complete contradiction to the Oslo Accords, just as the puzzling decision to withdraw from Gaza without an agreement, thereby boosting Hamas, brought us to the current situation in the Strip.
There is no simple “textbook answer” here. The Gaza lull saves lives. Hamas’ military buildup does not justify an Israeli return to the alleyways of Jabaliya and a guerilla war that could exact a very high price for victory. We are seeing significant military buildup beyond our borders, among states and hostile organizations, yet our objective needs to be the prevention of these weapons from being turned against us, rather than a war because the very existence of these weapons.
Giora Eiland, YNET
there are quite a few situations where our interests match those of our worst enemies, while a conflict of interest emerges between us and our greatest ally.
Three years ago, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council. The main question at the time was whether Hamas would be allowed to participate in the elections. Who wanted Hamas to take part? The group itself, and the United States. Who objected? Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We therefore saw the emergence of strange coalitions.
A more pressing issue has to do with the situation in Gaza. Hamas is apparently willing to accept a ceasefire, but it conditions it, among other things, on the opening of the Rafah Crossing. The crossing connects the Gaza Strip to Egypt, and is located at a site where there is no Israeli presence in any case.
by Bill Levinson (originally posted in December 2006)
Hanukkah is often called “the Jewish Christmas” because it takes place at about the same time of year. There is in fact a very strong connection between the two holidays; had it not been for the events that Hanukkah commemorates, there would be no Christmas. Hanukkah is about standing up to those who menace one’s home, family, or way of life as opposed to singing “Kumbaya” with them.
JERUSALEM – Bernie Madoff’s stunning US$50-billion alleged ripoff of investors has cut a huge, devastating swathe through the ranks of the super-wealthy of New York, Hollywood and Palm Beach, some of whom have had their entire fortunes wiped out or seriously compromised.
Among those individuals whose charities were said to have lost millions in Mr. Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme were Steven Spielberg, the film director, Mortimer Zuckerman, the Montreal-born publisher and real estate developer, and Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate author, activist and Holocaust survivor, whose foundation helps Ethiopian Jews in Israel.
But the alleged colossal swindle, which was first reported to U. S. regulators by Mr. Madoff’s own sons earlier this month, has also caused deep tremors 10,000 kilometres away in Israel, where Jewish organizations are dependent on earnings from funds that were heavily invested for decades by U. S.-based Jewish charities with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.
CAN Syria be the cornerstone of a new Middle East? Washington is abuzz with talk of a “strategic realignment” that would split Syria from Iran and upend the status quo in the Middle East. This must be a pleasing prospect to the incoming Obama administration: visionary, and in stark contrast to the Bush administration’s reflexive hostility to Syria. But is it a real possibility, or foreign policy alchemy?
On its face, the notion seems crazy. Syria has been nothing but trouble for years — funneling killers into Iraq to oppose coalition forces, assassinating its opponents in Lebanon, arming Hezbollah to attack Israel, and starting a nuclear weapons program with help from North Korea. Nor does Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, seem cut out for the role of a 21st-century Anwar Sadat. Insecure in his own palace, erratic in his statements and crude in his stewardship, Mr. Assad seems more likely to be the victim of a coup than a champion of peace.
“The choice is between Lebanon as a beach and Lebanon as a bunker. Lebanon could either become an extension of Europe in the Middle East or a bridgehead for Iran on the Mediterranean.”
RIVAL powers are pouring vast sums of money into Lebanon in the hope of influencing the outcome of the general election to be held sometime this spring.
There are no exact figures concerning these efforts to buy the election. But observers of the Lebanese scene claim that hundreds of millions of dollars have been pumped into the economy, producing an enviable growth rate of around 7 percent this year.
The Khomeinist regime in Tehran has emerged as the “big spender,” showering its various agents, clients and allies with “more money than they could use,” says a former Lebanese army officer. Indeed, “the Iranians have decided to buy enough votes to secure a majority in the next parliament and form the future government.”
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
To stay in power, dictatorships make their subjects feel dependent on their rulers. To this end they must (1) concentrate decision-making in their own hands; (2) dominate the economy; (3) control the mass media; (4) breed mutual distrust among their subjects to make them incapable of joint action; (5) break their spirit by arousing fear of war.
Contrast the preceding with the situation in Israel, reputedly a democracy.
(1) Decision-making in Israel is concentrated ostensibly in the Cabinet but actually in the Prime Minister. The PM can take unilateral actions the Cabinet dares not veto lest new elections result and terminate the posts and powers of cabinet ministers. This is why no Labor-led, no Likud-led, and no Kadima-led government has ever been toppled by a vote of no confidence. This means that the Cabinet pretty much controls how their colleagues vote in the Knesset. Furthermore, since members of the Knesset, hence MKs appointed to the Cabinet, are not accountable to the voters in constituency elections, they can ignore public opinion with impunity.
Today, before leaving for a meeting with French President Sarkozy, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully declared his support for a united Jerusalem and called for a radically different approach to the Arab-Israel dispute.
Netanyahu was repeating in public what he told European Ambassadors the day before. He made it clear that if elected Prime Minister he will support taking off the table the core issues of Jerusalem and land swaps because Israel does not have a negotiating partner. He said that he will concentrate on helping the Palestinians to build their economy and build a civil society.
This approach is at odds with his main rival Tzipi Livni. Livni praised a United Nations resolution that supports continuing the dead end negotiations endorsed by the international community.
Netanyahu’s stance is a sharp change from the status quo. It appears Israel’s voters will have a clear choice in the coming General Election.
If you can understand why Hamas is ending its ceasefire with Israel, you can comprehend Middle East politics. And if you can’t, you can’t.
From of a Western moderate pragmatist standpoint o, Hamas’s decision makes no sense for several reasons:
– Hamas cannot defeat Israel militarily. Thus, fighting won’t improve Hamas’s strategic situation or bring victory.
– Israeli counterattacks will cause both injuries and material damage in the Gaza Strip, inflicting big costs on Hamas’s domain and subject.
– Returning to warfare will ensure Hamas remains politically isolated and blocks international recognition or aid that would help its cause or end economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip.
– Going back to fighting makes certain that the Gaza Strip faces continued, even heightened, reductions in the material let in, thus ensuring more Palestinian suffering there.
Yet Hamas is seemingly making three additional mistakes regarding timing.
Bibi sent this Op-Ed to the Chicago Tribune because it is in Obama’s home state. Read between the lines. It is an attempt to talk the language of the left to make himself more acceptable to Obama and his camp.
By Benjamin Netanyahu, Chicago Tribune
December 14, 2008
The dream of peace, anchored in the vision of our prophets, has given hope to the Jewish people for over three millenniums and to Israelis for the past 60 years.
For nearly three decades, that dream seemed impossible. Then, suddenly, the Likud Party’s Menachem Begin signed a peace agreement with Egypt. Fifteen years later, Labor’s Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan. For a time, it looked as if the dream would be fulfilled. [If Begin could do it, so can Bibi.}
By Ted Belman
The latest poll from Maariv has Likud and Kadimah in a dead heat. I asked a Likud insider about this and he discounted it as coming from the left. He reminded me about how the polls has Livni ten points ahead of Mofaz when they were in fact in a dead heat. He had other things to say.
– Likud will get from 31 to 39 mandates in the upcoming election.
– Bibi is putting forward his plans for a bottom up process instead of the top down one now in place. This change has been rejected by all world leaders. I asked if it was another way to put off negotiations and he said “yes” and that Likud didn’t want to be in your face so to speak. It must talk the talk.
– Bibi considers the economic meltdown the major issue to campaign on, so his states talk of economic development.
By Ted Belman
Steve Rosen who is now blogging for Mid East Forum, recently answered some questions on Rosner’s Domain.
Using your experience and familiarity with Washington’s foreign policy elite, how would you describe the new Obama team and what kind of policy do you expect it to pursue?
I don’t think they are going to find the opportunities for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking promising, much as they are ready to commit American resources to broker an agreement. They will learn, if they do not already know, that stepped-up American engagement is not a magic wand or the missing ingredient that will somehow transform the situation. Hamas’ control of Gaza, its foothold in the West Bank, the radicalism of the “outside” Palestinians, the stockpiles of Kassams, the Iranian role – all this and more will still be there. Abu Mazen represents a minority of all Palestinians, and does not have the credibility to obligate the PLO to concessions that many Palestinians would depict as a sellout. The Obama Administration will pursue a peace process to strengthen Abu Mazen and to meet the minimum needs of regional allies like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Europeans. But this will reflect a strategy of conflict management rather than a naïve belief that the situation is ripe for conflict resolution.
Barry Rubin, GLORIA
Israel isn’t going to be the center of the world for the Obama administration and that’s a good, if ego-disappointing, thing. Both the pro-Israeli right’s paranoia and the wishful thinking of the anti-Israeli left in the United States (and, in the latter category, Europe plus the Middle East as well), are operating out of expectations rather than the actual situation.
What can be safely assumed is something along the following lines:
The Obama administration will put the main emphasis on domestic issues rather than foreign policy. It faces humongous problems at home and has gigantic ambitions to change America, for better or worse.
Pursuant to Chapter VI of the UN Charter
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the branch of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization for military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council Resolutions.