Jun 20 2010

Telling the truth with satire

You really need to check out this Powerline post, and watch the videos they linked here (don’t be impatient, the ad is short) and here.

Entertaining.  And educational.

Jun 02 2010

Is it a failure of Israel, or a failure of liberalism?

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Islam,Israel,media,middle east,national security,terrorismharmonicminer @ 8:07 am

This article at Powerlineblog is difficult to summarize. It is a post about an article by Noah Pollak which is reviewing another article by Peter Beinart. I think it’s well worth your time, however, because of the way it explains the disconnect between American liberal Jews, liberals in Israel, American liberalism in general, and the facts on the ground in Israel, which are becoming clearer and clearer to even liberal non-Arab Israelis.  This is a quote from the article by Noah Pollack, discussing Beinart’s article and perspective, all of which is being discussed at Powerline at the link above.

Operation Defensive Shield in 2003, the Hezbollah war, and the Hamas war should have been moments in which liberal Zionists stepped forward to say: Israel took the risks for peace that we demanded. Israel committed itself to a diplomatic process, offered a Palestinian state, and withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza. The terrorists who attack Israel will find no defenders among us. Instead, talk of war crimes filled the airwaves, investigations were demanded, arrest warrants for Israeli officials issued, and now Peter Beinart says that he must question Zionism because civilians were killed in Gaza. Carried away by his own moral indignation, he never asks two fundamental questions: who started the war, and why was it fought from civilian areas?. . . .

Because the history of the peace process repudiates so many of liberalism’s most cherished premises, liberalism is increasingly repudiating Israel, and doing so in a perfectly logical fashion: with people like Beinart now saying that Israel is not in fact an admirable country and that it deserves to be thrown out of the company of liberal nations. In this way, the failure of the liberal vision is transformed from being a verdict on liberalism to being a verdict on Israel. . . .

The distilled pleading of Beinart is merely a series of demands that Israelis refuse to learn from experience: how dare they allow any hostility to Arabs creep into their politics; how dare they vote for Avigdor Lieberman, a populist who plays to the less-than-perfectly liberal Russian immigrants; how dare they lose faith in the peace process and the liberal hopefulness that animated it. Most important: how dare they upset the comfortable ideological existence of American Jews, whose acceptability to their liberal peers depends in no small degree on their willingness to join in pillorying Israel over the failure of the peace process — a failure, alas, that is not Israel’s but liberalism’s.

This is just a sample. Click the link at the top and read the whole thing. Highly recommended.

Apr 23 2010

What peace process?

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Iran,Islam,Israel,Syriaharmonicminer @ 8:40 am

Poll: 91% against Obama imposing deal

A huge majority of Israelis would oppose an attempt by US President Barack Obama to impose a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, a poll sponsored by the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) organization found this week.

Leading American newspapers reported last week that Obama was considering trying to impose a settlement if efforts to begin indirect proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians proved unsuccessful. The option was discussed in a meeting with current and former advisers to the White House.

Asked whether they would support Obama imposing a plan dividing Jerusalem and removing the Jordan Valley from Israeli control, 91 percent of Israelis who expressed an opinion said no and 9% said yes, according to the poll of 503 Israelis, which was taken by Ma’agar Mohot on Sunday and Monday and had a 4.5% margin of error.

Eighty-one percent said it was improper for Obama to try to force such a plan on the two sides, while 19% of those who expressed an opinion said it was proper.

The poll asked whether it would create enduring peace or enduring conflict should Jerusalem be divided, with Jewish neighborhoods remaining part of Israel and Arab neighborhoods becoming part of a Palestinian state. Eighty-four percent said conflict and 16% said peace.

The numbers were similar for the Jordan Valley, where 90% opposed relinquishing Israeli control and 10% were in favor.

Meanwhile, a poll of Palestinians conducted on April 8-10 by the Center of Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University in Nablus asked Palestinians whether they would accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders with a land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem, and whether they would support or reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states.

The numbers on the two-state solution were 66.7% against, 28.3% in favor, and 5% who did not know or did not express an opinion. On the Jerusalem issue, 77.4 said they opposed such a plan, 20.8% were in favor, and 1.8% had no opinion or chose not to express it.

Read that last bit again.  The Palestinians will not accept a “peace plan” on even the least possible advantageous terms for Israel.

There cannot be peace without a peace partner.  Hamas and Fatah have done a sufficiently good job in indoctrinating the last three generations of Palestinians to hate Israel that now there is no chance for Palestinian public support of a plan that Israel could not agree to anyway.

The only “fast solution” to the problem is going to be a complete victory by one side or the other.

There is a slow solution, one that will take about 40 years, a timeline so long that no Western government can possibly keep its eye on the prize that long, although Muslim governments seem to have no problem conceiving and employing decades long strategies (which is exactly why we are where we are today).   That slow solution is fairly simple.

The world’s governments COULD simply cut off all aid to Palestine, if Palestine continues to teach hate in its schools and media, and continues to elect Hamas.  The world does not “owe” Palestine anything, anything at all.  If Palestine chooses to be run by a terrorist organization, so be it.  Then we could wait about 40 years for the current haters to die, and for the next generations to begin to wonder what the fuss was about.  And those people might then be peace partners.

Of course, the world’s governments would have to stand together in this, and, of course, Iran, Syria and China, at least, would be likely to do an end-run around any ban imposed by the rest.

And that illustrates the essential issue.  Far from the “conflict in the middle east” problem STEMMING from the Israel/Palestine issue, the exact reverse is true.  The Israel/Palestine issue EXISTS, still, because several nations see it as in their best interests to keep it from ever being solved.   This has been true since the creation of the modern Israel.

But you can’t make peace with people who, more than anything, want you dead.

When even experienced negotiators begin to see this, it’s time to take notice.

Apr 06 2010

Obama vs. Netanyahu: what you won’t read in the media

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Israel,middle east,Obama,Palestine,terrorismharmonicminer @ 8:03 am

Yoni The Blogger is a veteran of Israeli Special Forces. He can’t talk about much of what he used to do.  He is unapologetic in his defense of Israel, appropriately so.  He knows things about what goes on in Israel that seem rarely reported in US media.  Here is his take on the recent “summit” of Obama and Netanyahu.

Yoni the Blogger

We have seen the way President Obama treated Prime Minister Netanyahu during the recent visit.

It is clear that if Obama can’t push the Prime Minister into doing what he wants him to do, then Obama would like to force regime change in Israel.

Bibi must, make up his mind if he wants to be the Prime Minister.

I have my doubts.

Bibi upon return to Israel had the rules of engagement for our soldier tightened. Our soldiers if they are in a bullet proof vehicle can no longer shoot at Palestinians that are throwing molotov cocktails at them, it is now even prohibited to fire warning shots in the air at stone throwing Palestinians.

I have learned that IAF pilots stationed in the south are prohibited from travel alone from Tel Arad to Beer Sheva because of the Israeli citizen Beduin shooting at Jewish cars.

Let us not forget the multiple dozens of Buses that came from the north and south full of Israeli Arabs wanting to riot at the Temple Mount along side there Palestinian brothers.

So here is my advise to Bibi.

1. Declare that due to the financial situation in America, Israel is canceling the aid from America

2. Israel must start of PR campaign with ads on American TV showing the value of Israel to America

3. Declare an end to the peace process and annex Judea and Samaria

4. Behind closed doors tell American Military and CIA we will no longer going to give intel to America if the administration is anti Israel . George the first and Webster

5. Tell all Israeli citizens that if Palestinians throw stones at them it is a crime not to return fire. Allow more Jews to own guns

6. Order the IDF to remove all illegal Arab building in all parts of Israel

7. Lastly order the Chief of Staff of the IDF to hit Iran as soon as possible using any and all of the weapons at the disposal of the IDF as the situation warrants.

I am not holding my breath for Bibi to do any of this because he has folded every time the going got tough.

It is clear that, among US presidents, Obama is rivaled only by Jimmy Carter in his disdain for Israel.  I expect that Israel is simply counting the days till the 2012 elections, and hoping for the best.

Mar 26 2010

Gosh, Pat, I didn’t know you were such an Obama fan

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Israel,jihad,middle east,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:00 am

Netanyahu’s Hollow Victory? Pat Buchanan’s apparent hatred of Israel continues to masquerade as “conservative” foreign policy prescriptions.

“The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”

With this defiant declaration, to a thunderous ovation at AIPAC, Benjamin Netanyahu informed the United States that East Jerusalem, taken from Jordan in the Six Day War, is not occupied land. It is Israeli land and Israel’s forever, and no Palestinian state will share Jerusalem. Israel alone decides what is built, and where, in the Holy City.

With his declaration and refusal to walk back the decision to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, which blew up the Biden mission, “Bibi” goes home a winner over Barack Obama.

But it is a temporary triumph and hollow victory — over Israel’s indispensable ally. For the clash revealed that the perceived vital interests of Israel now collide with vital U.S. interest in the Middle East.

Memo to Mr. Buchanan: land taken in wars of self-defense is legitimately kept. That is the time honored historical fact.  Live with it.  Jordan will certainly have to.  So will the “Palestinians,” who COULD easily have been resettled in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, et. al., after the failure of those nations to destroy Israel in war.  (Of course, those people have been denied the opportunity to live elsewhere, because each of those nations had something to gain from keeping the hatred of Israel alive…  or so they thought.   In any case, none of them wanted the war to be over until Israel was destroyed.)  If Jordan had not attacked Israel, along with many others, Israel would not be building settlements in Jerusalem today. Everyone will have to live with the consequences of their decisions, including those made decades ago by different governments.

But there is nothing illegitimate, nothing at all, about Israel keeping the land it won while defending itself (almost unsuccessfully so) in wars not of its making.

Memo to the rest of Israel’s neighbors: if you want to keep the land you have now, don’t attack again.

Memo to Obama:  Israel’s support in the USA is broad and deep.  You might want to remember that.  The honeymoon is over.  You might want to remember that, too. 

Nov 28 2009

Abbas: Obama isn’t putting enough pressure on Israel

Abbas accuses Obama of doing ‘nothing’ for peace in the Middle East

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused US President Barack Obama of doing “nothing” to achieve peace in the Middle East. Speaking to Argentinian newspaper Clarin, Abbas said he hoped that Obama would “take a more important role in the future.”

He went on to say that the Palestinian people were awaiting US pressure on Israel, “so that it respects international law and takes up the Road Map,” stressing that the peace process could not be restarted without a halt to settlement construction.

When asked what he was willing to concede for peace, Abbas told Clarin that the Palestinian people had “already made concessions.”

He opined that the current government, with Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister and Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, “is not seeking peace,” though he said that 73 percent of Israelis were in favor of peace.

What Abbas wants, of course, is for Obama to be tougher on his (putatively) only friend in the Middle East, Israel, than he is on actual opponents, like Iran, Syria or Hisbullah.

If we needed any reminder of the fact, this illustrates the basic dynamic of all Middle East peace negotiations.  Israel, which has always been the attacked party, must give up land and options that were legitimately earned in acts of national self-defense from Arab aggression, self-defense against incredible odds.  In the meantime, Palestine doesn’t have to give up anything, including the intent to see the end of Israel as a Jewish nation.

Prediction:  Obama will be no more successful than any of his predecessors at convincing Palestinians that their best interests lie in normalizing relations with Israel, with reporting and fighting against the terrorists in their number, and with going about the business of building a functioning economy, without the ridiculous and unachievable destruction of Israel.  Palestinians have exactly the same opportunity now that Israel had 60 years ago, to build something out of nothing in the desert.  Further, they have a potential partner, Israel, which would help, if Palestinians could control their hatred of the Jews.  I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, Obama brings a student council president level of understanding to a negotiation where world class diplomats have tried and failed.  I won’t blame him for failing.  I will blame him if he manages to cripple Israel while he is busy failing to engineer an unlikely peace.

Sep 01 2009

Our most embarrassing ex-President

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Israelharmonicminer @ 9:53 am

IN the Jerusalem Post, there is a review of Jimmy Carter’s latest screed unveiling his “peace plan” for the region, and the ignorance or duplicity that underlies it. Jimmy Carter: we can have peace (without you) in the Holy Land

COULD IT be that Jimmy Carter’s ideals are formulated by the number of zeros before the decimal on the contributions to the Carter Center by oil-rich Gulf States? These same states do not now, nor will they ever, allow Jews to worship freely within their borders no matter how much land Israel relinquishes. It is then surprising and hypocritical to call Israel an “apartheid state” and to infer that the region’s only democratic country is an obstacle to peace – thus the only solution to the Middle East conflict is through intervention.Carter’s final plea is for President Barack Obama to “shape a comprehensive peace effort between Israel and the Palestinians…then use persuasion and enticements to reach these reasonable goals with the full backing of other members of the International Quartet and the Arab nations.”

It is likely he would call on The Elders for their expertise. The best thing President Obama could do is completely ignore Jimmy Carter and his plan.

Read the whole thing. It details Carter’s falsehoods in describing the facts on the ground and his relationship with the players.  The man is a buffoon and a liar, and a useful idiot for the Saudis, who bankroll him.

I wonder if Obama will condemn Carter for “bearing false witness.”


Aug 19 2009

The penalty for “honor killing” in Islamic nations: about like that for spitting on the sidewalk

Category: arab,Fatah,Hamas,Islam,Israelharmonicminer @ 9:13 am

The sentences for so called “honor killings” in Islamic nations are so light, when they are imposed at all, as to be an insult to the value of human life. In this case, a Gazan father killed his 27 yr old daughter by beating her to death with a chain over 40 minutes,  for using a cell phone to talk to a man.

In such killings, a woman’s life is taken by male relatives who suspect her of inappropriate conduct. Such killings are still widespread in the Middle East, where a woman’s perceived misconduct can hurt the standing of a family and where tradition says the “stain” can only be removed by shedding her blood.

Traditionally, assailants have received light sentences, but the killing of Najjar shocked even activists used to detailing such crimes.

Mezan and the PCHR said that Najjar’s father used an iron chain to beat her, while also kicking and punching her for about 40 minutes until she died of a fatal blow to the head, said Mezan and the PCHR.

“It’s shocking,” said Samir Zakout of Mezan. “But it’s not surprising because killers know they won’t be punished harshly.”

In the West Bank and Gaza, “honor killing” assailants serve between six months and three years in prison, said Mona Shawa of PCHR.

In Jordan, officials said Wednesday they have set up special tribunals to deal with honor killings, hoping to speed up trials.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch reported Wednesday that the Syrian government abolished a law that waived punishment for some honor killings and now allows judges to sentence perpetrators to at least two years jail.

This is simply beyond sad and horrifying. And it is a measure of how very far the world view of Islam is from that of the West.

However, do not expect “justice week” at your local university to have “honor killing” as a topic.  They’ll be too busy bashing Israel for defending itself.  Or maybe being concerned about global warming or something really important like that. 

Aug 07 2009

Jihad interrupted

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Islam,Israel,middle east,national security,Palestineharmonicminer @ 9:03 am

One of our very best reporters, Michael Totten, reports that Culture War Replaces Missile War

Hezbollah launched thousands of Katyusha rockets into Northern Israel and forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee south toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. South Lebanon was punished much more thoroughly than Northern Israel, but the Palestinians in Gaza nevertheless took Hezbollah’s Baghdad Bob–style boasts of “divine victory” seriously. Hamas ramped up its own rocket war until fed-up Israelis gave Gaza the South Lebanon treatment this past December and January.

Hamas is a bit slower to learn than was Hezbollah, but seven long months after the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, the rockets out of Gaza have finally stopped. Israelis will no longer put up with indiscriminate attacks on their houses and schools. Many Palestinians in Gaza have likewise had their fill of Hamas’s self-destructive campaign of “resistance.”

The New York Times reports that Hamas has decided to wage a “culture war” instead of a rocket war because, as one leader put it, “the fighters needed a break and the people needed a break.”

Movies, plays, art exhibitions, and poems are Hamas’s new weapons. Hamas supporters, though, aren’t the only Palestinians in Gaza using art as a weapon. Said al-Bettar skewers Hamas every night at Gaza City’s Shawa cultural center in his popular play The Women of Gaza and the Patience of Job. “We were the victims of a big lie,” he says about the doctrine of armed “resistance.”

The Israeli intelligence official I spoke to deserves some credit for predicting the replacement of terrorist war with missile war. Hamas and Islamic Jihad had already fired rockets at Israel, but they hadn’t fired many, and neither the recent Gaza war nor the Second Lebanon War had yet started.

Since then a pattern has emerged that should be obvious to anybody with eyes to see, whether they’re an intelligence official or not. After Israeli soldiers withdraw from occupied territory, Israeli civilians are shot at with rockets from inside that territory. Another pattern has just been made clear. After Israelis shoot back, the rockets stop flying.

It has been years since Hezbollah has dared to fire rockets at Israel or start anything else on the border. Hamas no longer dares to fire rockets at Israel either.

Israelis remain under pressure to withdraw from the West Bank. They almost certainly will withdraw from most of the West Bank eventually. Few, though, are in the mood to do so right now since they were shot at from Gaza and Lebanon after they withdrew from those places. They see the pattern even if others don’t.

It’s possible, of course, that West Bank Palestinians will never fire a significant number of rockets, if any, at Israel. They seem more sensible in general than Gazans. Hamas leaders in Gaza also talk to Hamas leaders in Ramallah, Nablus, and Hebron. I think it’s safe to say that the West Bank isn’t hearing any “divine victory” nonsense from Gaza right now.

Then again, Gazans proved themselves incapable of learning from Hezbollah’s mistakes. And the New York Times says Hamas wants to acquire longer-range missiles. So who knows?

This much, though, is all but certain: if a rocket war erupts between Israel and the West Bank, Israelis will respond as they did in Gaza and Lebanon. The jury is still out on whether the Arab world has learned the recent relevant lessons, but there shouldn’t be any doubt that Israelis have. Rocket war doesn’t work, but the military solution to rocket war does.

This phrase, “The jury is still out on whether the Arab world has learned the recent relevant lessons,” is the core of the matter. Islamic warriors have always had the notion that somehow they were blessed by Allah and absolutely guaranteed to win at some point, as long as they just didn’t give up.  Islamic military teaching allows for “peace treaties,” of a sort, but makes it clear that, when fighting the infidel, they are to be used only to rest, rearm, and get ready to go at it again.

For my part, I am glad that Hamas is making bad plays instead of bombs, if indeed that is the case.  But what I know is that Islamic war fighters have a LONG memory.  They take the long view.  They are willing to wait a generation or more for the right time to strike.

And there’s this:  “Gazans proved themselves incapable of learning from Hezbollah’s mistakes.”  In Islamic understanding, proof of whether Allah was with you in war is simple, and has nothing whatsoever to do with some kind of Augustinian-style concept of just war.  The proof is if you win.  If you don’t win, Allah was not with you.  Simple.  So Gazans could not learn from Hezbollah’s mistakes for a simple reason: they assumed that Allah was not with Hezbollah (Iranian proxies) but would be with the Gazans.  Think of Sunnis figuring that, of course, Allah would not bless the efforts of those misguided Shiites.

So the Gazans had to find out for themselves, the hard way, that Allah wasn’t blessing their war either.  Not this year, at least.

But two things to remember:

1)  Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas have given up forever.   Their entire world view simply does not make room for permanent peace and adjustment to new conditions.  Jihad is forever.  It’s just delayed, sometimes.  Jihad interrupted.

2)  Iran and other Islamic powers, by virtue of their continued existence, will learn nothing from the defeat of any OTHER Islamic power.  I’m not talking about “secular” Islamic states, which use Islam to mollify a believing populace, but are themselves essentially cynical in their pursuit of power, such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, or even Syria.  Syria and Libya can both be seen to have pulled back from the brink of what they perceived as their own possible destruction.  And even Syria is still trying to make trouble occasionally….  but carefully, carefully.  The big problems are Iran, and possibly Pakistan (if the extremists succeed in a takeover…  Pakistan is a really hard one to figure out), as well as Saudi Arabia (which funds more terrorism-at-a-distance than anyone, directly and indirectly).

Do you get from this that the immediate threat is Iran?  If you do, you’re probably right.  And the point:  Iran’s ruling mullahs will learn nothing from the defeat of any other Islamic entity.

The longer term threat, even if we deal successfully with Iran (or Israel does it for us) has to be Pakistan, or, worse yet, an alliance of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.  An axis like that, controlled by Wahabist fundamentalists, would have money and LOTS of nukes.  That means that we MUST win in Afghanistan, defined as removing the pressure on Pakistan from Islamic extremists.  If Pakistan stays controlled by cynical, relatively secular powers, we win.  If Pakistan is taken over by a wave of Islamic extremism (as opposed to the expanding middle class now growing in the cities), we’ll have a huge problem, in the form of as many as 70 nuclear weapons in the hands of whackos with direct terrorist ties.

So stabilizing Afghanistan is our goal, and will be our contribution to Pakistani stability.

Given that Obama has abdicated any responsibility to deal with iran, we’d better hope that Israel does, and soon.  There are, of course, people who disagree.  (Being anti-Israel creates strange bedfellows, doesn’t it?)  I find it likely, however, that Israel’s intelligence estimates on the real state of the Iranian nuclear bomb program are better than anyone else’s.  And they have a stake in the accuracy of those estimates that is shared by no one else.

Jun 17 2009

Caroline Glick’s assessment of Obama vs. Netanyahu, and other things

Category: Fatah,freedom,Hamas,Iran,Israel,North Korea,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:38 am

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick says that Obama’s statements on Israel/Palestine, North Korea and Iran are irrational because they ignore facts on the gound:

Netanyahu’s speech was an eloquent, rational and at times impassioned defense of Israel. For Israeli ears, after years of former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s continuous assaults on Israeli rights, and their strident defenses of capitulation to the Palestinians and the Syrians, Netanyahu’s address was a breath of fresh air. But it is hard to see how it could have possibly had any lasting impact on Obama or his advisers.

To be moved by rational argument, a person has to be open to rational discourse. And what we have witnessed over the past week with the Obama administration’s reactions to both North Korea’s nuclear brinksmanship and Iran’s sham elections is that its foreign policy is not informed by rationality but by the president’s morally relative, post-modern ideology. In this anti-intellectual and anti-rational climate, Netanyahu’s speech has little chance of making a lasting impact on the White House.

Of course, there is hardly such a thing as a “fact” to the more extreme post-modern moral relativists, and certainly no such thing as “right and wrong,” except when it comes to carbon cap and trade, of course.

Read the whole thing, where Ms. Glick very clearly makes her case.

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