Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Newly Formed Arab Council Decries BDS

Video Of The Week - Arab-Israelis Combat BDS - https://tinyurl.com/vtsoc4m

From “Jewish Journal” By Jenni Frazer, Nov 26, 2019 
On a cold Tuesday morning, in an anonymous west London hotel, a little bit of history was made.

It’s not unusual to see veiled or head-scarved women in this area, or prosperous men gathering in the Millennium Gloucester hotel’s lobby, all obviously Middle Eastern in origin. But it is almost certainly the first time that the men and women from the Arab world, gathering in this hotel, had such striking things to say about their countries’ fractured relationships with Israel and Jews — not least condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movements — and how to go about mending these broken bridges.

Each of the participants had been invited by the incentive of the U.S.-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), whose board of directors is headed by veteran Middle East peace negotiator Dennis Ross. The CPC describes itself as “a group of Americans who believe that security and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa require a peace between peoples.” 

No Israelis were present because some of the delegates could have been subjected to prosecution in their home countries for the “crime” of normalizing relations. It is clearly  a civil initiative in which no government had a hand, but the views expressed are bound to resonate throughout the Middle East.

Without a doubt, many of those present were taking a real risk in attending the conference. Two important religious figures, Hassen Chalghoumi, a Paris-based Tunisian cleric, and Lebanese imam Saleh Hamed, each had faced serious personal security issues, including death threats, in order to attend.

Others — who work in arts or media — are frequently at odds with the public pronouncements taken by their governments. The views expressed — and the reason for the invitations — have been aired in private and behind closed doors for the past several years. What made this conference so different was that for the first time, the radical opinions were being expressed in public.

Two opening presentations electrified the listeners: one from the urbane Muhammed Anwar el-Sadat, nephew of the late president who signed the first peace treaty with Israel; and the other, a passionate address by former Kuwaiti information minister  Sami Abdul-Latif Al-Nisf, outlining the “mistakes” made by the Arab world in dealing with the Jewish state.

Sadat’s analysis does not let Israel off the hook in the way it is perceived by Egyptian citizens. He cited what he calls human rights infractions and continuing sporadic violence against Palestinians, saying, “It is fair to conclude that most Egyptians resent Israel, doubt its credibility and find it hard to trust. Not all of these attitudes are fair-minded and based on actual Israeli misdeeds, but enough are to credit the sentiment.”

However, he added in a passage rarely heard anywhere except in Israel, that “the revived tendency toward demonizing Israelis and Jews in general in Egypt” needs to look at the role of the Egyptian media. 

Sadat said, “Television shows and newspapers of all persuasions continuously depict Jews as inherently evil. Using their influence, Egyptian media, backed by the government, have installed fear and paranoia in the heads of the population, and have driven a wedge between the populations of the two countries.” 

The presentation by Kuwait’s Al-Nisf, was a coruscating litany of “mistakes” committed by the Arab world in its dealings with Israel. The former minister, who lives in Kuwait City, gave a no-holds-barred presentation. Many of his targets overturned what have been conventional arguments in the Arab world for years as to why the Israel-Palestinian conflict had not been resolved.

Al-Nisf, whose chocolate-brown, flat leather cap seemed to lend extra vehemence to his speech, had plenty to condemn. It was, he said, “a mistake to insist on Israel’s being a racist apartheid state when it clearly is not. At the beginning of their immigration to Palestine, Jews did not treat Arabs as whites treated the indigenous peoples of America, South Africa and Rhodesia. There have never been segregated public facilities in Israel, nor any question of basic democratic rights being denied to Arab citizens of Israel. Enough of this ridiculous charade.” 
Palestinians, he said, had made “a huge mistake” in focusing “labor activity on the dissemination of hate speech instead of investing in professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers and teachers.”

He warned: “It is better to raise peaceful and educated Arab generations that have no problem with Israel, and who may even prefer to study in Israeli universities and get treatment in Israeli hospitals, than it is to raise hateful, frustrated people who will wreak violence and harm in their own societies.” 

The Arab world, he said, “cannot achieve the regional integration we need unless we first put aside the Arab-Israeli conflict, and we cannot do that until we stop thinking about it in a zero-sum mode. This would be no favor to ‘the Jews.’ This would be a favor to ourselves.”
Palestinian peace activist and academic Mohammed Dajani, who shocked the Arab world by taking a group of his students from Al-Quds University to Auschwitz in 2014 — and lost his job as a result — was once a member of Fatah who went to study in the United States. “Even in America, I avoided Jews” and was “totally against any interaction with Jews,” he said. But he dramatically changed his mind when his father was treated in an Israeli hospital for cancer. He was not treated as an Arab or a Muslim, he said, but “as a patient” at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.” 

As more and more contributors spoke of their personal relations with Jews — and a large number regretted the loss of Jews in different Arab countries and called for their return — Dajani suggested that such personal recollections should be collected and published “throughout the Arab world.” 

To benefit their countries, they said they wanted to “break the barrier of boycotting within the region — in particular, the Arab boycott of Israelis — which hindered partnership in technology, medicine, infrastructure, business, economy and the expanse of human aspiration.”

The boycott, they said, “also stymied hopes for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Prevented from engaging either of the two peoples directly, Arabs were unable to cultivate ties that could have enabled us to foster conciliation and compromise on both sides. In sum, the boycott increased the suffering of our societies and weakened our capacities.”


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Road to an Iranian Attack on Israel

Video Of The Week -Second 'Son of Hamas Leader ' Defects https://tinyurl.com/rpyn2mz
 From BESA, By Prof. Eytan Gilboa 15-11-2019

The full article - https://tinyurl.com/rcu76fl

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli political and military leaders have warned against the possibility of a major military confrontation with Iran, which wants to deter Israel from disrupting its attempts to build military bases in Syria and Iraq and to construct factories in which Hezbollah can convert its huge arsenal of rockets into accurate missiles. This threat is more acute in light of the American failure to respond to recent Iranian provocations in the Gulf. Israel should adopt an aggressive new strategic approach to meet this threat, in coordination with the US and in consultation with Russia.

Military and strategic experts argue that an Iranian military attack on Israel is just a matter of time. American strategic weakness, as reflected in its failure to respond to a series of Iranian provocations in the Gulf, could provide an opportunity for an Iranian attack. The main purpose of such an attack would be to deter Israel from its relentless strikes on the military infrastructure Iran is attempting to build in Syria and more recently in Iraq.
Iran has attacked oil tankers and Saudi oil facilities and shot down an expensive American intelligence drone over international waters. It is building facilities to convert Hezbollah’s huge arsenal of rockets into more accurate and more deadly weapons. It is trying to add a third military front against Israel in Syria and Iraq (the other two are Lebanon and Gaza), and is using the terror organization Islamic Jihad in Gaza to attack Israeli towns and villages in order to sabotage the Egyptian effort to achieve calm there.
Iran is also systematically violating the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was signed by European powers as well as the US.
On November 6, 2019, Iran began to fuel over 1,044 centrifuges with uranium gas at the Fordow nuclear facility. The purpose is to enrich uranium at 20%. For peaceful purposes, uranium only needs to be enriched at 3-5%, and indeed the nuclear deal allows Iran to enrich only up to 3.67%.
It is obvious that Iran would not attack Israel directly from its own territory. It is much more likely to use its proxies in the region. Fortunately, Iran lost some of the element of surprise against Israel as it already used precision-guided cruise missiles against Saudi Arabia.
Israel is preparing defensive and offensive answers to the prospect of an Iranian cruise missile and drone strike. An Israeli strategy should include several key components. First it should reveal Iran’s plan. Then it should threaten direct and massive retaliation and make clear that Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza will pay a heavy price if attacks on Israel originate on their soil.
In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel distinguished between Lebanon and Hezbollah. This distinction did not really apply then, and it certainly does not apply now. If Israel comes under attack from Lebanese territory, it will attack all of Lebanon in response—the Lebanese army as well as Hezbollah. The same is true for Syria. Israel is trying to persuade Syrian president Basher Assad and Russia that if Israel comes under attack from Syria, it is Assad who will pay the price and his regime will be endangered.
Israel should inform Russia of potential Israeli action after any attack by Iran, especially from Syrian territory. Russia hasn’t been happy about exchanges of fire between Israel and Iranian forces attempting to build a base in Syria. Russia has not protested Israeli military actions in Syria and is concerned about the survival of the Assad regime should an Iranian attack originate from there.
Iran’s military leaders often threaten to annihilate Israel or at least destroy Tel Aviv. In view of the growing probability of a direct military confrontation between the two states, Israelis would do well to remember Elie Wiesel’s words: “Better to believe the threats of our enemies than the promises of our friends.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why the status quo is the least bad option for Palestinians

Video Of The Week - Israel Is Not an “Occupier” - https://tinyurl.com/rf5a5m2

Even among people who recognize that Israeli-Palestinian peace is currently impossible, a growing number think that Israel must nevertheless quit the West Bank. Israel has a right to defend itself, their argument goes, but not by controlling another people for decades. Instead, it should withdraw to the “internationally recognized border” and protect itself from there, like other countries do.
Forget for a moment that the “internationally recognized border” is an arrant fiction. Forget as well that Israel remains in the West Bank precisely because defending itself from the 1949 armistice lines (the above mentioned fictional border) hasn’t worked very well in either the West Bank—from which Israel partially withdrew in the 1990s before returning the following decade—or the Gaza Strip.
That still leaves another uncomfortable fact: As long as genuine peace remains impossible, Israeli control of the West Bank, despite the undeniable hardships it causes Palestinians, remains the least bad alternative for the Palestinians themselves. As evidence, just compare the Israeli-controlled West Bank to Gaza, which has been free of both settlers and soldiers since August 2005. By almost any parameter, life in the former is far better.
Take, for instance, casualties. According to B’Tselem’s statistics, Israeli security forces killed 5,706 Palestinians in Gaza from September 2005 through August 2019. That’s almost eight times the 756 killed by Israeli security personnel and settlers combined in the West Bank during this period (no Gazans were killed by settlers since there are no settlers there).
Nor is this surprising. Israel’s control of the West Bank means that suspected terrorists can often be arrested rather than killed, though shootouts (with attendant collateral damage) do occur. But in Gaza, where Israel has no troops, it can’t arrest terrorists. Thus the only way to fight terror is through military action, which naturally produces many more casualties among both combatants and civilians.
Seemingly more surprising is that the number of Palestinians killed by other Palestinians is also much higher in Gaza. According to B’Tselem, there have been 520 such deaths in Gaza since September 2005, more than 20 times the number in the West Bank (25). But this isn’t surprising either because the same terrorists who kill Israelis often turn on Palestinians from rival organizations. Thus Israel’s arrest of terrorists in the West Bank has the side effect of reducing internecine Palestinian violence there.
No less dramatic is the economic difference between the territories. The first-quarter unemployment rate in Gaza was 46 percent, almost triple the West Bank’s rate of 16 percent. One contributing factor is that while one-sixth of employed West Bankers work in Israel or the settlements, almost no Gazans do. Moreover, Gaza’s median daily wage was just 42 shekels ($12), less than half the West Bank median of 100 shekels ($28) and less than a fifth of the median earned by Palestinians in Israel and the settlements at 250 shekels ($71.50). Thus it’s no surprise that fully three-quarters of Gazans wish Israel would provide them with more jobs.
These two factors, combined with fewer wars and greater access to the Israeli market, have also helped boost the West Bank’s per capita gross domestic product to three times Gaza’s ($1,025 versus $343 in the second quarter). And, of course, Gaza has astronomically higher poverty rates: In 2017, the last year for which the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics published poverty data, Gaza’s poverty rate of 53 percent was more than triple the West Bank’s 14 percent.
But while Israel is a major cause of these differences, it isn’t the only one. So would its departure really turn the West Bank into another Gaza? Unfortunately, the answer is yes—for many of the same reasons that Gaza looks like it does today.
First, the most likely scenario is that Hamas would take over the West Bank just as it took over Gaza. That’s the Israeli defense establishment’s assessment, and it’s also Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s assessment, which is precisely why he has continued security cooperation with Israel despite its unpopularity among the Palestinian public. Ever since Hamas ousted him from Gaza in a one-week civil war in 2007, Abbas has recognized both that the Islamist organization is the greatest threat to his rule and that the Israel Defense Forces are his main protection against it.
Yet even if Hamas didn’t take power, an Israeli pullout would almost certainly produce a significant upsurge of terror from the West Bank. First, as noted, the IDF does most of the counterterrorism work, and there’s no evidence that P.A. forces would be capable of suppressing Hamas without Israel’s help.
Second, while Abbas does fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he has shown little interest in fighting non-Islamist terrorists, including elements of his own Fatah party and smaller groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Moreover, many of his likely successors in Fatah are even more supportive of terror than the 83-year-old Abbas (who both funds and incites it). Thus without the IDF, terror from non-Islamist groups would also rise.
Israel would obviously treat escalating terror from the West Bank no differently than it treats terror from Gaza. That means periodic military operations, with all the attendant casualties. It also means restrictions on dual-use imports, exports to Israel, Palestinians working in Israel, use of Israeli ports and airports, etc., which would have the same devastating effect on the West Bank’s economy as they have had on Gaza.
Granted, a post-pullout West Bank could presumably develop greater economic ties with other countries. But its only other neighbor, Jordan, is a poor substitute for Israel, which currently buys 80 percent of the P.A.’s exports. With an economy one-ninth the size of Israel’s and an unemployment rate of 19 percent, Jordan simply lacks the capacity to absorb the quantity of Palestinian exports and workers that Israel does.
In short, an Israeli pullout from the West Bank under current conditions would lead to much higher Palestinian casualties and a devastated Palestinian economy, just as the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza did. As unsatisfying as the status quo is, it’s hard to see how turning the West Bank into a second Gaza would be an improvement.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

This Will Never Be On The News

Video Of The Week-Israeli Team Donates shoes to Kenya’s Lacrosse Team-https://tinyurl.com/taodgrv

 Israel’s Women’s Lacrosse Team recently gave the world an inspiring lesson in sportsmanship.

The team recently competed in the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championship in Peterborough, Canada. In the playoffs against Kenya’s national team, Israel won handily, 13-4. But instead of rejoicing in their victory, the Israeli players left the game disturbed. They realized that they’d enjoyed an unfair advantage: while the Israeli players wore state of the art sports shoes with cleats, their Kenyan opponents wore plain old gym shoes.

After the game, three of the young Israeli players called their parents asking if they could help pay for new shoes for the Kenyan players. Without proper cleats, the Kenyan players found themselves sliding in the muddy parts of the field. One Israeli player, Ella Duvdevani, in particular was in a position to help. Her father Michael owns a ped-orthic clinic in the US. He was concerned about long-lasting damage the Kenyan players might be doing to their feet by playing in improper shoes.

That night, Michael Duvdevani called the team’s coaches, committee members and some other parents, and soon the parents of the Israeli players were all pitching in to buy new shoes for the Kenyan team. They asked the Kenyan coach for a list of each player’s shoe size and asked them to keep the gesture secret overnight.

It wasn’t easy to find so many specialty shoes at such short notice. The Israeli team turned to a specialty store which stayed open much of the night in order to source the shoes and fill the order quickly. By the following morning, the Israelis had bought shoes for each member of the Kenyan team. The next day, the Israeli team surprised their Kenyan friends on the field; each team member gave a bag containing a brand new pair of shoes to their Kenyan counterparts. It was an emotional moment, with the Israeli and Kenyan players hugging and crying together.

The bond they formed was lasting. Lielle Assayag, Israel’s goalie, said, “This is what I’ll remember in 20 years: my friends. My old ones and my new ones.”

The athletes didn’t seek publicity but Kenya Lacrosse posted a video on Twitter of the Israeli women delivering the new shoes to the Kenyan team on the field the day after they played. “Yesterday we played @Israel_Lacrosse and had no cleats...after supporting their game today, Israel surprised the whole Team on the sideline with brand new cleats!” Kenya’s team announced.

Even though Kenya’s Women’s Lacrosse Team only has a few hundred followers, the moving video went viral. Within days, hundreds of thousands of people had watched it.

After donning their new cleats, Kenya went on to win their second game in the championship, beating Belgium 16-9. “1 came in cleats today = 1 win!” they Tweeted, adding “You can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.”

That comment resonates with Hillel's statement in Ethics of the Fathers, “In a place where there are no leaders, strive to be a leader” (Pirkei Avot 2:6). We each have to make a difference wherever we find ourselves. As the Israeli Women’s Lacrosse Team just showed, sometimes even a small gesture can make a huge difference in the lives of others.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

“Islamic Jihad Leader Ticking Time Bomb”

Video Of The Week - Ashkelon Hospital Evacuates Neonatal Intensive Care https://tinyurl.com/yhgpceej
 From Israelunwired-By Avi Abelowhttps://tinyurl.com/yjw6h362

Abu Al-Ata, a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group since 1990, has been very active recent years, directly ordering attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, including rocket attacks, mortar bombs, sniper attacks and other means. He was the major force in trying to disrupt the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza.
Baha Abu al-Ata, the senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, was killed in a targeted attack by the IDF in Gaza in the early morning (November 12).
Abu Al-Ata reported to Palestinian Islamic Jihad by Secretary-General Ziad al-Nahala, who operates out of Beirut. Nahala is linked to the leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.
Abu al-Ata instigated most of the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip this year, including:
• the massive rocket attack in which 690 rockets were fired at Israel between May 3-6, 2019 (between Holocaust Remembrance Day to Memorial Day);
• the rocket attack on Sderot during the Sderot Festival, an outdoor event with hundreds in attendance, on August 25, 2019;
• the most recent rocket barrage at the city of Sderot and the surrounding communities, on November 1, 2019.
Abu al-Ata was currently planning imminent attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. These planned attacks included preparing squads for infiltration of Israel, sniper attacks, booby-trapped drones, and rocket fire at various range. As such, he had become a “ticking bomb” and a legitimate target.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Israel Blocks Terrorists, Palestinians Block Critics

Video Of The Week - False Charges that Israel Is Racist - https://tinyurl.com/y53mxxup

From “Gatestone Institute” -by Bassam Tawil 30-10-2019
For the full Article go to - https://tinyurl.com/yyqqg9gn

On the one hand, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemn Facebook for "surrendering to Israeli pressure" and taking action against those who incite terrorism and hate speech. On the other hand, the same PA leaders keep pressuring Facebook to silence Palestinians who demand an end to financial and administrative corruption in the PA.

"[E]very time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis. Facebook still chooses to do nothing to stop it." — Itamar Marcus, Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2019.

What Abbas and his senior officials apparently fear is that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon and other Arab countries may reach the West Bank. They appear nervous that their critics and political rivals will use social media to encourage Palestinians to revolt against corruption and tyranny.

For these leaders, when they turn to Facebook to clamp down on criticism and voices calling for reform and democracy, that is good government. However, when Israel tries to silence those who seek to spill more Jewish blood -- well, that is criminal.
While Facebook has been deleting pages of individuals and groups promoting terrorism, violence and hate speech, particularly against Israel, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are now seeking to block dozens of websites and social media pages for a different reason: to prevent them from criticizing and exposing corruption cases related to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his senior officials in the West Bank.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Death Of ISIS Leader Baghdadi

Video Of The Week - Death Of ISIS Leader - https://tinyurl.com/y6nvm2lc

From JP, BY HERB KEINON 27-10-2019

“For us Israelis the threat from ISIS is secondary,” Amos Yadlin said. “We would like to see the US act in a similar way against Soleimani, and Nasrallah."

 The purported US killing of shadowy Islamic State leader  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an “impressive” US intelligence and operational feat, but it is important to remember that Iran – not ISIS – is the main threat in the Middle East, a top Israeli security analyst said on Sunday.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of military intelligence who today heads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, wrote in a Twitter thread that ISIS ceased being a territorial entity two years ago when it lost Mosul and Raqqa.

 “For us Israelis, the threat from ISIS is secondary,” he said. “We would like to see the US act in a similar way against [Iranian Quds force commander Qassem] Soleimani, and [Hezbollah head Hassan] Nasrallah.”

Yadlin noted that
the  US is fighting militarily in the Middle East only against ISIS and not Iran, which he said is the most significant threat to Israel and its allies.

ISIS does not have a nuclear program, ballistic missiles, or a project to develop precision weapons, Yadlin said. He added that the US campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran – without a military component to the harsh economic sanctions – “does not achieve its goals,” he said.

Quoting Leon Trotsky, who once said that “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you,” Yadlin said that the US is likely to be harmed by its withdrawal from the Middle East.

Yadlin said that a resurgent ISIS, Iranian hegemony in the region, and high oil prices will seriously harm America’s national security.

Yadlin said that while the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria will not immediately or directly harm Israel – because of Israel’s capacity to deal with Iran – the increase in Iran’s self confidence and its understanding that the US has been deterred in the region could bring an Iranian-Israeli confrontation closer.

Yadlin, who last month came out against an Israel-US security pact – saying its costs outweigh its benefits – wrote that within the context of the informal alliance that exists now between the two countries, it is important for Israel to retain US support in the UN Security Council and that it would be a good idea to consider strengthening Israel as America’s leading, reliable and strongest ally in the Middle East, especially at a time when the US is leaving the region.

Yadlin also wrote that the action against Baghdadi was “very important for Trump, who is under bipartisan criticism for his actions and recent failures: the lack of a response to Iranian military action, and the abandonment of the Kurds.”