Israel Archives

A Change in Foreign Policy?

Jesse Jackson, not a spokesman for Obama but one who certainly believes he knows what’s coming, spoke about key foreign policy changes he sees in an Obama administration.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy – saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."

The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel’s interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

First, let’s talk about "first", as in the US "putting Israel’s interests first".  First in front of whom, ours?  Hasn’t been that was so far.  First in front of the myriad countries in the Middle East who have been attacking, or supporting attacks on, Israel?  Well sure, but our alliance with a well-functioning democracy — the best in the region — against aggressor nations and gangs is, I would think, a good thing. 

I guess the main question would be; which country or countries would get boosted?  The Palestinians?  The folks who vote in terrorist organizations to run their government and lob rockets virtually daily into civilian Israeli towns?  The ones who, while living in Israel, get the right to vote and all?  The ones who, when given land for peace, use that land for launching attacks?  Yeah, apparently them.

Jackson is especially critical of President Bush’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson says. "Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."

If we’d just wipe Israel off the map, like Hamas wants, we’d all be much safer.  Yeah, right.

Second, about those alliances allegedly needing reviving.  I think Jackson has believed the media reports that we went into Iraq "unilaterally".  A browsing of Wikipedia will dispel that misnomer.  Granted, the US has had the vast majority of troops there, but we had more to contribute.  Much like the widow’s mite, it’s not so much the absolute amount contributed as it is the sort of sacrifice it may be.  You’ll find listed a number of countries freed from Soviet domination when we won the Cold War.  You’ll find quite a diverse collection of nationalities, all in support of the US and its policy in Iraq. 

You won’t find France on there.  That’s because they decided to work with Iraq, under the table and subverting the sanctions, for their own economic gain.  When the shooting started, however, they slinked away and waited it out.  Yeah, that’s the kind of country I want in my alliance.  Revive us today, indeed, Obama.

So our foreign policy may indeed look quite different than it does today, but that’s not necessarily a better thing.  Since the Iraq war, many countries (including, just last night, Canada and, interestingly, France) have shifted to the right politically.  Zaptero’s Spain tried appeasing terrorism by pulling out of Iraq after a change in administrations, but the Madrid bombings happened anyway.  The world has nudged slightly toward the right, and where it hasn’t, in hopes of avoiding confrontation, it’s been hounded by the bad guys anyway. 

The world is beginning to see what George W. Bush saw, but unfortunately the United States apparently doesn’t.

NY Times Forgets Muhammad al-Dura

When that little boy was (supposedly) shot and killed in 2000 by Israeli security forces, the NY Times reported, and continued to return to, the issues as a seminal event in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This week, however, a judge in France (the footage belonged to France TV 2) has agreed that claims that the footage is a fraud are legitimate.  It’s not the same thing as saying the footage is a fraud, but the defendant had to overcome a huge hurdle.

This is a stunning victory because Mr. [Philippe] Karsenty had to prove to the French court that his claims that the film is a fraud are legitimate claims. Karsenty presented enough evidence for the French court to rule against a state operated entity and this is a big upset in France because this does not typically happen. The state almost never loses.

Karsenty had several experts come to his aid as technical witnesses that the whole thing did not add up but the French court also at last had a look at some more of the film that France 2 TV had steadfastly refused to show up until this point. It clearly showed Palestinian operatives staging a faux fight between themselves and the far off Israeli security forces. It revealed fake rescues of unharmed people, fake casualties and staged injuries. What the court saw was the creation of Palestinian propaganda. In other words, the "death" of Muhammad al-Dura was a staged lie, invented as theater by Palestinian operatives to use as anti-Jewish propaganda.

But the kicker is that this major discrediting of a lynchpin in the Palestinian’s reason for the Intifada has been dealt a serious blow.  Newsworthy, right?  But now, the Time seems to have forgotten the whole story.

Read the rest of this entry

Effect and Cause

…masquerading as "cause and effect".  Meryl Yourish notes that the Associated Press is making yet another truce-breaking mortar barrage by the Palestinians sound like Israel’s fault.

Notice the order of the events in the paragraphs. Israel closed the crossings, and THEN the Palestinians fired rockets. The AP is framing the situation as an Israeli cause—”refusing” to open the crossings—and a Palestinian effect—firing rockets and mortars. As if those are the natural progression. What the AP is no longer doing is calling the rocket fire a violation of the truce. The Israeli refusal to open the crossings is following the terms of the truce, which the AP knows full well, having published many articles detailing the truce. First, the attacks were supposed to stop. Then Israel would send more goods into Gaza. If three days went by without an attack, more goods would go in. Since the Palestinians are violating the truce, Israel is doing exactly as was agreed, and not sending in more goods or opening the crossings. But the AP is not reporting this honestly. The news service is trying to make its readers think that Israel is violating the truce by “refusing” to open the crossings.

Meryl has been taking aim, almost daily, at the misleading and biased reporting by the AP on this topic for quite some time.  It’s a target-rich environment.

[tags]Israel,Palestinians,Gaza,Hamas,liberal media bias[/tags]

How Representative of the Palestinians is Hamas?

The diplomatic line typically goes, “Our argument is not with the people of [insert country here], but with their government.” In most cases, this is a true statement. However, a recent poll shows that in the Palestinian Territories, it may not apply.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The majority of people in the Palestinian Territories are against the militant group Hamas recognizing the legitimacy of Israel as a state, according to a poll by Arab World for Research & Development. 63 per cent of respondents living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip share this opinion.

In explaining the results of the January, 2006 elections that put Hamas on top in the Palestinian Legislative Council, TV pundits I watched explained this as more of a rejection by the Palestinian people of Fatah’s corruption than of their having made common cause with Hamas’ agenda.

Yeah, well, maybe not.

(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish.)

[tags]Israel,Middle East,Fatah,Hamas[/tags]

Appeasers and Activists

Yesterday was a big news day with two unrelated events occurring that will each have an impact on this fall’s elections. While on the surface the two may seem unrelated both spell trouble for Democrats.

President Bush, speaking at The Knesset in Israel, used the opportunity to launch an unmerited attack against Senator Barack Obama. At least, that’s what Senator Obama, aided and abetted by the left-leaning media, would like voters to believe. Here’s the paragraph that got Democrats’ collective undies in a bunch from the transcript of the speech: Read the rest of this entry

Jimmy Carter Could Not Be Reached For Comment

A woman in southern Israel was killed by a Qassam rocket today.

A 70-year-old Israeli woman was killed early Monday evening from a Palestinian Qassam rocket which crashed into the backyard of a residential home in Yesha – a small community belonging to the Eshkol Regional Council.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.  Someone ring up Jimmy Carter and see if we can’t get him to stay a while in Yesha in the interest of the promotion of peace.  Worked in Sderot (for as long as he was there). 

Hat tip and other events of the day in Israel from Meryl Yourish.

UPDATE: Another post on by Soccerdad, notes that Carter was reached for comment.  Unfortunately, it was "content free".

[tags]Middle East,Israel,Islamic Jihad,Jimmy Carter[/tags]

The Obstacle to Peace

Meryl Yourish lays it on the line.  Jimmy Carter and Hamas get together and talk about peace, but basically that’s it.  No actions, no changes, nothing. 

Here are the plain facts: Hamas offered nothing new. Hamas did not agree to recognize Israel in any way, shape or form. Hamas did not give any proof that Gilad Shalit is still alive. Hamas did not say they would agree to visitation for Shalit—which would be within keeping of international law, something that Carter never seems to notice—nor did Hamas make any concessions, changes, or teeny, tiny moves towards a middle ground with Israel. Hamas did not even bother to stop firing rockets while Carter was there, except during the time he was physically in Sderot. Doubtless they went by the schedule the Carter center reps sent ahead of time. Can’t be dropping rockets and having sniper fire hit the most visible tool Hamas has ever had the fortune to come across. And Hamas tried three times in the last week to invade Israel and murder and kidnap Israelis, the last time the day after Carter spoke with Hamas leaders.

Israel has forcibly removed its citizens from disputed regions and has never — never — targeted civilians.  So when sizing up the situation, Carter can, of course, come up with only one conclusion regarding who is at fault when it comes to keeping peace from breaking out in the Middle East.

Israel and the United States. And he says this even as Hamas launches more rockets, and threatens more attacks. Way to go, Jimmy. I think you need a new title. I think we’re going to call you America’s No. 1 Schmuck.

Hey, perhaps it’s Carter himself who is the biggest obstacle to peace.  If he would just take up residence in Sderot, imagine how much more peaceful it would be there.

Celebrating a massacre

A gunman walks into a seminary library and murders 8 people.

The act is celebrated (photo per FoxNews).


The victims were Jewish. The gunman is claimed by Hamas. And the celebrants are Palestinians.

You do the math.

*Now* They Want to Negotiate

Where were you fellas for the past 2 years?

Former US president Jimmy Carter and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan wish to arrive in Israel in the coming months in order to help negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Army Radio reported.

(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish, where she lists a number of other new stories worth your time.)

Kinda’ gives you a peek into their heads. A ceasefire is to get combatants to stop firing. But apparently hundreds of Qassam rockets aren’t considered “firing” to these guys. Or, more likely, it’s only “firing” if Israel is doing it.

And this is revealing as well.

According to the report, Israel is opposed to the initiative, but officials said that Jerusalem would be well advised to try and channel the visit into a positive track so as not to damage the country’s image in the media.

Don’t know who these officials might be, but it’s interesting to note that Carter and Annan are just shills, knowingly or not, for the Hamas PR machine. Are these the kinds of naive negotiators we need in the Middle East? (Hint: No.)

I know I’ve been on this kick the past few days, but this sort of foolishness and outright bias doesn’t seem to get enough notice generally.

[tags]Israel,Hamas,Jimmy Carter Kofi Annan,Middle East[/tags]

UN Rises From Its Slumber

…to, of course condemn Israel.  But first, some background.

ASHKELON, Israel (AP) – Residents of this beachside city are still coming to terms with being on the front lines of Israel’s battle against Hamas militants.

A dozen long-range rockets slammed into Ashkelon over the weekend, marking a significant turning point in the conflict and compelling Israel to strike back hard.

"Until yesterday, I never would have believed that I would see the things I saw," said Rachel Shimoni, 66, as she stood amid shards of glass, blown out of the front window of her clothing store. "All of a sudden, the reality has changed."

Palestinian militants fire rockets nearly daily at Sderot and other Israeli border towns near Gaza. But by reaching Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people about 11 miles north of Gaza, Hamas raised the stakes considerably. It is one of the largest cities in southern Israel, home to Mediterranean beaches, a college and strategic installations like an electric plant and a water purification plant.

Gaza militants have managed to hit the outskirts of Ashkelon in rare instances in the past, but the latest fighting was the first time they’ve been able to do it on a regular basis.

The intent is clear; Sderot is small potatoes, so with the help of Iranian rockets, the Palestinians have upped the ante and can now fire at a larger population center. 

Rockets have been raining down in souther Israel for 2 years, and when does the UN start the loud condemnations?  On the very day when Israel returns fire.

GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using "excessive" force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

Addressing an emergency session of the Security Council in New York after four days of fighting in which 96 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians,

And, oh yeah, …

Ban also called on Gaza’s Islamist militants to stop firing rockets.

But that call didn’t come until Israel defended itself.  Odd, that.  But now, what should this august body do?

Diplomats said the Security Council was unlikely to adopt a Libyan resolution that condemns Israel’s killing of civilians but makes no mention of the Palestinian rocket fire.

Can you say "blind spot"?

The United States, Israel’s closest ally and a veto-wielding member of the Council, made clear its understanding of the Israeli position, while regretting loss of life on both sides.

"There is a clear distinction between terrorist rocket attacks that target civilians and action in self-defense," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

European diplomats said they believed the world body should at least make some comment on bloodshed which some say jeopardizes the new U.S.-backed peace talks between Israel and Abbas, who holds sway now only in the occupied West Bank.

The UN once again demonstrates the term "self-parody" as they consider the possibility that they should make some comments on the bloodshed, again, after 2 years of rocket fire from Gaza.  Good morning, fellas, hope the noise of the bombs didn’t disturb your slumber.

And speaking of self-parody…

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "If Israeli aggression continues, it will bury the peace process."

Yes, well, it depends on your definition of "peace".  For the Arab world, and apparently for the UN as well, "peace" simply means bombing Israel with impunity.  It is this sort of inaction and selective action that has convinced me that the UN is utterly broken. 

[tags]Israel,Gaza,Middle East,Sderot,Ashkelon,Palestinians,United Nations,Hamas,Iran,Ban Ki-moon,Gordon Johndroe,Mahmoud Abbas,Saeb Erekat[/tags]

The Longsuffering of Israel

That’s all they can stands, they can’t stands no more.  (Apologies to Popeye.)

ASHKELON, Israel – Israel’s deputy defense minister warned on Friday of a disaster in the Gaza Strip after Israel activated an air raid system to protect a major city from increasingly threatening Palestinian rocket barrages.

As Israeli troops, tanks and aircraft went after Palestinian rocket operations, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio that Israel had "no other choice" but to launch a massive military operation in Gaza.

For over 2 years, ever since the good-faith move out of Gaza by the Israelis, the Palestinians have been flinging rockets from Gaza into southern Israel almost daily, mostly at Sderot.  But now, thanks to the ever-insistently-"peaceful" Iranians, the attacks are getting worse.

Israel evacuated its troops and settlers from Gaza in late 2005, but the rocket fire has persisted and this week became more ominous as Iranian-made rockets slammed into a major city.

Communities right over the Gaza border have taken the overwhelming brunt of the rocket attacks from Gaza, but militants firing longer-range Iranian rockets struck hit the town of Ashkelon several times on Thursday. One sliced through the roof of an apartment building and three floors below, and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.

The world gasps in shock whenever Israel retaliates in defense of their own people, aiming at military targets, but yawns in apathy when the Palestinians indiscriminately chuck explosives at civilians.  And at the UN, it’s all Israel’s fault.

Maybe, but only because they didn’t retaliate earlier.  Letting the bully continue to act out, without consequence, doesn’t stop the bullying.

[tags]Israel,Middle East,Gaza,Palestinians,Hamas[/tags]

Repentance and Nation

Recently, in a short exchange, the subject of national apology resurfaced, especially in the light of Australia’s move to apologize for its treatment of the aborigine population. However, on some reflection I think the idea of national apology is wrong and actually counter-productive. I was briefly looking for entertainment opportunities for my wife and I to take in in the upcoming weeks and this arose as a possibility. The remark embedded in the blurb:

This concise but wide-ranging documentary examines the subject through compelling stories from around the globe, including the families of six young men killed by the British Army in Northern Ireland, an Amish community overcoming the mass murder of five of its schoolchildren, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel seeking an official apology from Germany for the Holocaust, … [emphasis added]

Now let me suggest two events and consider of the following which do you think would mean more to the world-wide Jewish population:

  1. Angela Merkel reads an apology ratified by the Bundestag and Bundesrat offering regret for the Holocaust. A piece of modern art-work is commissioned to be executed by some marginally transgressive modernist artist.
  2. In a ground-swell movement of German people individually embark on a pilgrimage to visit Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Once there these pilgrims plant near or on the site a rue flower, read a poem selected by the movement, tour the site, and shed some tears. Imagine this movement sweeps over a significant percentage of the German people. Millions visit each year for decades or even for generations.

My point is to ask which of these is actually the more meaningful? A statement by a figurehead (or figureheads) or the actual feelings and demonstration of repentance by the people as individuals? I’d offer that the latter would hold far more meaning and that the former would be (should be, by comparison) almost meaningless.

Charity, when practiced by the state, tends to counter and diminish our individual impulse to charity. It is a common notion that personal participation in food kitchens, pantries, or shelters for the homeless is not required, as that is what taxes, in part, are paid to do for us. Similarly apology for evils done by the state replace or diminish the need or impulse for repentance by the individual. For the actual harm done by the state was not executed by any thing called a “state”, but by individuals. And it is individuals who must repent. Germany as Germany does not need to apologize for the Holocaust. Germans do, not Germany. Solzhenitsyn wrote that the line between good and evil is drawn through every human heart. And it is every human heart that needs to repent for things done, not those heartless state organs.

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