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Member since: Sat Feb 4, 2012, 04:00 PM
Number of posts: 167

Journal Archives

Why we fight

It is natural for soldiers to continually wonder why they fight, but I spent last week with several Israeli soldiers who were in no doubt about their mission. University students, in their mid-20s and all active reservists, were recalling their battle experiences prior to a major speaking tour of campuses around the world.

Yair told me about being in a pitched battle with Hezbollah terrorists during the Second Lebanon War of 2006.

Hezbollah fighters do not wear uniform and operate specifically from civilian areas, where ordinary residents are essentially human shields. On this day, Hezbollah decided to make the situation more complicated. A truck arrived in the middle of the battle. Ten boys, about eight years of age, got out of the truck, armed with guns.

They had been driven into the conflict. In the middle of battle, Yair saw the moral depravity of the enemy and knew in that moment why he fights.


Peculiar proliferation of Palestine refugees

Of all the issues that drive the Arab-Israeli conflict, none is more central, malign, primal, enduring, emotional and complex than the status of those people known as Palestine refugees. The origins of this unique case, notes Nitza Nachmias of Tel Aviv University, goes back to Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Security Council’s mediator. Referring to those Arabs who fled the British mandate of Palestine, he argued in 1948 that the U.N. had a “responsibility for their relief” because it was a U.N. decision - the establishment of Israel - that had made them refugees. However inaccurate his view, it still remains alive and potent and helps explain why the U.N. devotes unique attention to Palestine refugees pending their own state.

True to Bernadotte’s legacy, the U.N. set up a range of special institutions exclusively for Palestine refugees. Of these, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), founded in 1949, stands out as the most important. It is both the only refugee organization to deal with a specific people (the United Nations High Commission for Refugees takes care of all non-Palestinian refugees) and the largest U.N. organization in terms of staff.

UNRWA seemingly defines its wards with great specificity: “Palestine refugees are people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” The ranks of these refugees (who initially included some Jews) have, of course, much diminished over the past 64 years. Accepting UNRWA’s (exaggerated) number of 750,000 original Palestine refugees, only a fraction of that number, about 150,000, remain alive.

UNRWA’s staff has taken three major steps over the years to expand the definition of Palestine refugees. First, and contrary to universal practice, it continued the refugee status of those who became citizens of an Arab state (Jordan in particular). Second, it made a little-noticed decision in 1965 that extended the definition of “Palestine refugee” to the descendants of those refugees who are male, a shift that permits Palestine refugees uniquely to pass their refugee status on to subsequent generations. The U.S. government, the agency’s largest donor, only mildly protested this momentous change. The U.N. General Assembly endorsed it in 1982, so now the definition of a Palestine refugee officially includes “descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children.” Third, UNRWA in 1967 added refugees from the Six-Day War to its rolls; today they constitute about a fifth of the Palestine refugee total.


The UN as Interlocutor = No Resolution. The best thing that the UN can do to achieve a lasting peace is to pack up its bag and stop meddling.

UN Security Council condemns terror attacks on Israeli diplomats

The United Nations Security Council strongly and unanimously condemned the recent attacks on Israeli representatives and diplomats in India and Georgia on Thursday night.

The condemnation is an unusual move on the part of the body, which last made similar condemnations in 2005.

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told Haaretz that “seven silent years have come to an end. It has been seven years since the Security Council has spoken out against terror attacks on Israel and its citizens.”

“The unanimous condemnation is a significant step for the fight against terror. I hope that the council will now take more active and operative steps to prevent similar attacks of this kind,” he added.


This is clearly a Man Bites Dog Story. The UN actually doing the right thing is extremely rare.

'Hezbollah's powerbase in w. Africa growing'

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor warned the UN Security Council Tuesday that Hezbollah's powerbase in western Africa is growing.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed concern over the growing ties between the Shiite terror group and local African crime organizations.

Ban said that the association was threatening the region and may find its way into Latin America and Europe.

Prosor told the Security Council that Israel could play a key role in the global fight against the infiltration of crime-backed terror activity into western Africa


What is refreshing is that Ban Ki-moon acknowledges the threat.

Hatred: Coming soon to a campus near you

With this ominous name and programs that thrive on ignorance and blind disregard for the facts, tens of thousands of college students are urged to rise up against Israel – painfully evoking the types of racist characterizations of the Jewish people which defined attitudes once heard in Europe in the middle of the last century. Warning: this year’s display will come to a campus near you before the end of February.

These campus initiatives were incubated in 2001 at the first Durban Conference, proclaiming: “no apartheid South Africa in the 20th century and no apartheid Israel in the 21st.”

This battle cry sparked the BDS movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish Israel, and it all evolved into an invective-loaded campaign that found a degree of favor on campuses coast to coast, not to mention among some labor unions, churches, media and cultural institutions. But it is based on a lie.

Typically, those hurling these charges against Israel hope their audiences are ignorant of the facts. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were not allowed to use white hospitals, they could not attend white universities and they could not participate in the South African parliament. Visit Hadassah Medical Center today, or any other health facility in Israel, and see Jewish and Arab doctors caring for Jewish and Arab patients. Witness for yourself at Hebrew University or any institution of higher learning as Jewish and Arab professors teach students of different backgrounds. Go to the Knesset, and observe the debates involving both Jewish and Arab parliamentarians


Palestinian television still glorifies terror attacks against Israel

At certain moments, while watching a scene from a program broadcast by Palestinian television on October 25 of last year, it is difficult to believe that this is the official television channel of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, and not that of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad.

And yet, the program in question features a "field report" by Palestinian television from Tulkarem, in order to relate the wonders of the master terrorist Abbas a-Said, who is jailed in Israel and was sentenced to 35 life sentences.

This is a man who was considered at the beginning of the previous decade the head of the military wing of Hamas in the town, and responsible for two of the harshest suicide bombings Israel has ever known, including the attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya and on the night of the Passover Seder in 2002.

The reporter, who works at a program dedicated to the families of prisoners, did not spare the superlatives: "We are outside the home of the warrior hero, the commander, the lion of the prison, Abbas a-Said."


Egyptians claim Israeli goods cause disease, infertility

An Egyptian Health Ministry official said that chemicals smuggled from Israel are infecting his country's poultry with dangerous viruses, Ynet has learned Monday.

Osama Selim, the head of Egypt's veterinary authority, has called on the People's Assembly to press the local poultry growers' association to fight the use of illegally imported vaccinations and blood serum, which he claimed are exposing the poultry to disease and threaten public health. He added that he does not rule out the possibility of a biological war with the Jewish state.

Dr. Suhair Hassan, a preventive veterinary medicine official, told the assembly's Health Committee on Sunday that a study conducted at some 200 farms found that 75% percent of poultry were treated with Israeli products, which often cause them to contract viral diseases and the bird flu. In some cases the chemicals lowered egg production or caused the animals to die.

A member of the Sawarka Bedouin tribe, Muhammad al-Mani'i, who was interviewed on the show, also accused Israel of manufacturing "toxic" jeans that cause infertility. He claimed the Jewish state sells them to Arab countries reduce population growth.


One article, two blood libel memes.

The Iranian Threat to New York City

On Monday, Israeli embassy workers in the capital cities of India and Georgia were targeted in terrorist attacks that Israeli officials believe were planned and carried out by Iran and its client, the militant group Hezbollah. The bomb in Tbilisi was defused, but the bomb in New Delhi, planted in an embassy worker's car, exploded and injured at least two.

Iran's next target could well be on American soil. In Senate testimony last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that Iranian officials "are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."

As evidence, Mr. Clapper cited an alleged plot foiled last October in which a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iranian descent, directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, hired a member of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. The plan involved blowing up a Washington, D.C., restaurant—potentially killing hundreds of Americans in the process.

Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community—whether wittingly or not—as facilitators. Most notable are the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina, which killed 29 and 85 people, respectively. The New York City Police Department, where I work as director of Intelligence Analysis, sent a team to Argentina to study the modus operandi of those attacks and to meet with Argentine security officials who worked the investigations. Coupled with open source information, this is what the NYPD learned


BBC tells its staff: don’t call Qatada extremist

In order to avoid making a “value judgment”, the corporation’s managers have ruled that he can only be described as “radical”.

Journalists were also cautioned against using images suggesting the preacher is overweight.

A judge ruled this week that the Muslim preacher, once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, should be released from a British jail, angering ministers and MPs.

Adding to the row, Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, yesterday insisted that Qatada “has not committed any crime” and said his release has nothing to do with the European Court of Human Rights.


Is it any wonder that George Orwell found so much inspiration for his books from his stint at the BBC? Talk about doublespeak.

Haaretz exclusive: Organizer of Gaza flotilla sought assistance from Assad's office

The organizer of one of the flotillas to the Gaza Strip sought assistance from the office of Syrian President Bashar Assad, requesting it facilitates their departure from the Syrian port at Latakia.

Ths request came to light through the disclosure of emailed correspondence between former British MP George Galloway, who heads an organization called Viva Palestina, and Bouthaina Shaaban, who serves as media adviser to Assad.

The correspondence, which was obtained by Haaretz, was leaked following an attack by the hacker group Anonymous.

Galloway, who is identified with the extreme left in Britain, served as a member of the British parliament until May 2010. A former member of the Labour Party, he was thrown out in 2003 in the wake of his attacks against party chairman and then-prime minister Tony Blair, and his opposition to the war in Iraq.


Birds of a feather
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