Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
The price of occupation
Stephen Walt, FP, 10/14/2009
If you ever questioned whether Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was bad for the United States and for Israel too, you ought to ponder Turkey’s decision to suspend a multinational air-force exercise last weekend. Why? Because it’s a prime example of how pursuing the goal of “greater Israel” — which means retaining control of the West Bank and Gaza and preventing a true two-state solution — is undermining U.S. and Israeli interests…..
If you are interested in knowing why Muslim countries get fed up, read the following article in the Washington Times about how a group of congressmen are drumming out Muslim interns as “spies.” Read: “House GOP seeks Muslim ‘spy’ probe.” Paul Broun, Representative of Georgia, said of CAIR:
“If an organization that is connected to or supports terrorists is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related congressional offices, I think this needs to be made known,” Mr. Broun said.
If this kind of nonsense were said about Jewish interns placed by AIPAC in congressional offices …..
And, AIPAC representatives sit in on the writing of US foreign aid legislation, something that has been accepted as normal procedure for decades. Not a good time to be a Muslim in America.
Syrianair’s Fleet Reduced to Three Aircrafts (lead story of the Syria Report.)
The fleet of Syrian Arab Airlines has been reduced to three aircrafts after the US Government intervened to ground the engines of two of the planes that were under repair in Germany.
The Sad State of Turkish-Israeli Relations
Der Spiegel: By Daniel Steinvorth in Istanbul, 2009-10-19
Ankara’s New Foreign Policy The Sad State of Turkish-Israeli Relations By Daniel Steinvorth in Istanbul REUTERS New friendships: Ministers from Turkey and Syria lift up a barrier to celebrate the visa exemption …
Legislation: Thanks to POMED‘s The Weekly Wire.
On Wednesday (10/14), the House passed H.R. 1327, authorizing state and local governments to divest from companies who do business with Iran’s energy sector. The bill passed in a 414-6 roll call vote, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
Also on Wednesday (10/14), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced resolution H.Res. 833 “honoring the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” and commemorating the 10th anniversary of King Abdullah II’s ascension to the throne.
On Thursday (10/15), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 3832, which would place additional sanctions on refined petroleum imports to Iran and would require the Secretary of Defense to develop plans for military action against Iran’s nuclear program.
Also on Thursday (10/15), Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) introduced, with two co-sponsors, a resolution (H.Res. 840) condemning violations of religious freedom in the Middle East. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Chairman Berman (D-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a mark-up of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, but Rep. Berman calls unilateral sanctions a last resort. In addition, the Senate passed the Department of Energy’s proposed 2010 budget (H.R.3183), which includes a prohibition on government contracts with companies that sell fuel to Iran. The bill will now go to President Obama to be signed.
Despite these moves by Congress, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett argue ”there is not a serious sanctions ‘option’ for resolving the nuclear issue,” especially given that Russia and China are not likely to cooperate. David Kay agrees that sanctions will not work, so he instead prescribes an “overwhelming” military strike. In addition, Greg Bruno provides a general background of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
In support of regime change, Jonah Goldberg argues the “Regime is Iran’s disease; nukes are just a symptom.” Max Boot explains why the opinions of the Iranian diaspora should be included in the analysis, but always with some skepticism of their authoritativeness.
Israel’s Secret War on Hezbollah, Wall Street Journal, by Ronan Bergman
Iran’s proxy army in Lebanon will think twice before launching another round of missile attacks. ….
senior military officers in Israel’s Northern Command are confident that the embarrassing outcome of the last round will not be repeated.
“By all means, let the Hezbollah try,” one officer told me two weeks ago when I asked if he was concerned about the possibility of warfare. “The welcome party that we are preparing for them is one that they will remember for a very long time.” That sentiment is shared by many of his colleagues.
The recent explosions have highlighted the weakened geopolitical status of Hezbollah, a diminishment which no one could have foreseen at the end of the last war. In 2006, on both sides of the border—and elsewhere in the Middle East—Hezbollah was seen as having triumphed…..
In short, despite the fact that Hezbollah today is substantially stronger in purely military terms than it was three years ago, its political stature and its autonomy have been significantly reduced. It is clear that Nasrallah is cautious and he will weigh his options very carefully before embarking on any course of action that might lead to all-out war with Israel. There are some experts in Israel who believe that even Hezbollah’s retaliatory role in the Iranian game plan is currently in question.
Whether or not this is the case, all of this is being considered in Jerusalem as part of Israel’s calculations about whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Mr. Bergman, a correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is the author of the “The Secret War With Iran” (Free Press, 2008).
Abbas approval plummets after UN delay
Ma’an News Agency
October 19, 2009
President Mahmoud Abbas lost significant public support over his role in delaying international action on a United Nations report that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, a new opinion poll shows. The survey released on Sunday by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) indicates that if an election were held today, Abbas would receive just 16.8 percent of the vote, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh 16 percent. A similar percentage said they would vote for Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is currently in prison in Israel.
Abbas is a dead man – Netanyahu and Barak killed him
By Yossi Sarid
Tags: Israel News
Mahmoud Abbas might as well be considered a dead man; Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak have killed him. Following a brief and angry meeting, they left a cyanide pill for him on the table and exited the room. He still managed to make two or three trans-Atlantic telephone calls and in a moment of despair swallowed the Goldstone report, which he is now trying to regurgitate in Geneva.
To force the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, of all people, to withdraw his demand for a discussion of the report – that is an Israeli-American dictate tantamount to pressuring him to commit hara-kiri. Extortion through the use of threats has paid off, and once again there is no party to speak with, nor will there be in the near future. This is what happens when one turns a partner into a collaborator.
Top French officials weigh in on cabinet formation
“I have a special relationship with Syria… But it is mainly in the interest of Lebanon.”
Daily Star staff
“…. The secretary general of France’s Elysee Claude Gueant Palace said, in comments published on Sunday that positive ties between France and Syria were beneficial for Lebanon…..
Asked by the Saudi-owned (Al Hayat) newspaper about beliefs in Lebanon that he was close to Syria, Gueant said: “I visit Syria a lot because I have built up a relationship with the Syrians and we want preserve this important link. It is important for Lebanon and the region too. “I have a special relationship with Syria. But it is mainly in the interest of Lebanon.”
Gueant said Syria did not have “a major influence on Lebanese political life or … political figures as some claim.”
Asked if he thought a new war would erupt between Israel and Hizbullah with Syrian consent Gueant said: “I don’t see any sign that would make me believe that Syria wishes something like that to happen. I believe that peace and stability in Lebanon are in Syria’s interest.”
Russia says won’t let Goldstone Report reach Hague
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer – October 19, 2009
Russia has made it clear to Israel that it will oppose a Goldstone Report discussion at the United Nations Security Council or at the International Criminal Court in Hague, although its representatives voted in favor of adopting the report accusing the Jewish state of committing war crimes at the UN Human Rights Council, Foreign Ministry officials told Ynet on Sunday night.
Netanyahu: Israel and U.S. have resolved settlements row
Haaretz, by Barak Ravid – October 19, 2009
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last Thursday that talks between Israel and the United States over construction in the settlements on the West Bank had ended. “We solved the matter of the settlements with the Americans,” Netanyahu told his Spanish counterpart. “I cannot say more than that. If you are interested in hearing more details, ask in Washington,” added Netanyahu.
Obama’s mettle is about to be tested
The Guardian, by Simon Tisdall – (Opinion) October 19, 2009
It’s getting harder each day for the Obama administration to maintain the illusion of progress in Middle East peacemaking….. After his embarrassingly unproductive summit with Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in New York last month, Obama instructed his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, right, to personally deliver a progress report by mid-October. They are expected to meet after Mitchell’s latest talks. But what can she honestly tell him? … Egyptian efforts to reconcile the rival Palestinian factions appear, meanwhile, to have stalled, partly due to US meddling….. Mitchell had told Egypt that the proposed deal would harm the peace process. His objection appears rooted in the US and Israel’s ideological refusal to deal, however loosely, with Hamas…… There can be little doubt that Netanyahu’s bullish confidence stems from the perception on the Israeli right that after a tense few months, he has “seen off” Obama and his naive peacemaking notions. US diplomats warn of a serious mistake. Obama is “a man of steel”, a senior official said – he would not give up on Middle East peace….
Conference in Damascus: Syria Trust for Development
The Syria Trust for Development is pleased to announce and invite you to submit papers or case studies on development interventions and related applied / policy-oriented research to
The First International Development Conference of Syria 2010
Emerging Role of Civil Society in Development
to be held in Damascus, Syria from 23-25 January, 2010.
The conference aims to raise awareness of the development challenges facing Syria and the region, discuss policy alternatives, and develop the capacity of the emerging development sector in Syria and the region. Moreover, we hope that the conference will provide an excellent opportunity for the development community to engage, network, and exchange experiences.
Please find attached a detailed call for papers / case studies that includes additional information about the conference and submission procedures. Conference registration information will be posted shortly at: www.syriatrust.org.
Please help us circulate this announcement to other individuals / institutions who might be interested. For additional information or questions about the conference or submission procedures, please contact me directly or contact the conference organizing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Research, P.O.Box 2783 Damascus, Syria, Tel: +963 11 612 5026
Many thanks, Nader Kabbani, Ph.D.
Israeli drive to prevent Jewish girls dating Arabs
Jonathan Cook, September 25. 2009 UAE
NAZARETH // A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue” them.
The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is the latest in a series of separate – and little discussed – initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and marriage.
In a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.
Hostility to intimate relationships developing across Israel’s ethnic divide is shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to the state’s Jewishness. One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007, found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should be equated with “national treason”.
Since the state’s founding in 1948, analysts have noted, a series of legal and administrative measures have been taken by Israel to limit the possibilities of close links developing between Jewish and Arab citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population.
Largely segregated communities and separate education systems mean that there are few opportunities for young Arabs and Jews to become familiarised with each other. Even in the handful of “mixed cities”, Arab residents are usually confined to separate neighbourhoods.
In addition, civil marriage is banned in Israel, meaning that in the small number of cases where Jews and Arabs want to wed, they can do so only by leaving the country for a ceremony abroad. The marriage is recognised on the couple’s return.
Dr Yuval Yonay, a sociologist at Haifa University, said the number of interracial marriages was “too small to be studied”. “Separation between Jews and Arabs is so ingrained in Israeli society, it is surprising that anyone manages to escape these central controls.”
The team in Petah Tikva, a Jewish city of 200,000 residents, was created in direct response to news that two Jewish girls, aged 17 and 19, were accompanying a group of young Arab men when they allegedly beat a Jewish man, Leonard Karp, to death last month on a Tel Aviv beach. The older girl was from Petah Tikva.
The girls’ involvement with the Arab youths has revived general concern that a once-firm taboo against interracial dating is beginning to erode among some young people.
In sentiments widely shared, Mr Hakak, a spokesman for Petah Tikva municipality, said “Russian girls”, young Jewish women whose parents arrived in Israel over the past two decades, since the former Soviet Union collapsed, were particularly vulnerable to the attention of Arab men.
Dr Yonay said Russian women were less closed to the idea of relationships with Arab men because they “did not undergo the religious and Zionist education” to which more established Israeli Jews were subject.
Mr Hakak said the municipality had created a hotline that parents and friends of the Jewish women could use to inform on them.
“We can’t tell the girls what to do but we can send a psychologist to their home to offer them and their parents advice,” he said.
Motti Zaft, the deputy mayor, told the Ynet website that the municipality was also cracking down on city homeowners who illegally subdivide apartments to rent them cheaply to single Arab men looking for work in the Tel Aviv area. He estimated that several hundred Arab men had moved into the city as a result.
Petah Tikva’s hostility to Arab men mixing with local Jewish women is shared by other communities. In Pisgat Zeev, a settlement of 40,000 Jews, some 35 Jewish men are reported to belong to a patrol known as “Fire for Judaism” that tries to stop interracial dating.
Unusually for a settlement, Pisgat Zeev has attracted a tiny but growing population of Arab families, both from East Jerusalem and from inside Israel. Because Pisgat Zeev sits within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, Arabs with Israeli residency rights can live there as long as Jewish settlers are willing to rent to them.
One member, who identified himself as Moshe to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, said: “Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Zeev have gone into [Palestinian] villages [in the West Bank]. And most of them aren’t heard from after that.”
He denied that violence or threats were used against Arab men. Last year, the municipality of Kiryat Gat, a town of 50,000 Jews in southern Israel, launched a programme in schools to warn Jewish girls of the dangers of dating local Bedouin men. The girls were shown a video titled Sleeping with the Enemy, which describes mixed couples as an “unnatural phenomenon”.
Haim Shalom, head of the municipality’s welfare department, is filmed saying: “The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab.” …. Safed’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, told a local newspaper that the “seducing” of Jewish girls was “another form of war” by Arab men.
Both Kiryat Gat and Safed’s campaigns were supported by a religious organisation called Yad L’achim, which runs an anti-assimilation team publicly dedicated to “saving” Jewish women. According to its website, the organisation receives more than 100 calls a month about Jewish women living with Arab men, both in Israel and the West Bank. It launches “military-like rescues [of the women] from hostile Arab villages” in co-ordination with the police and army.
“The Jewish soul is a precious, all-too-rare resource, and we are not prepared to give up on even a single one,” says the website.
Rattling the Cage: Our exclusive right to self-defense
Oct. 7, 2009
Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST
Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza. We’ve honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s performance at the UN, we’re delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:
How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!
Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive. The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie – who’s going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel, for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?
The right to self-defense – perfect.
But I’d like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?