Wednesday, July 28, 2010

JWR: The Strategic Foundations of the US-Israel Alliance By Caroline B. Glick.A MUST READ essay explaining why a strong Israel is essential for US national security. Its author is one of the foremost commentators on Middle East affairs. PLEASE FORWARD this column to anybody who feels the need to defend the only democracy in the Middle East

Israel's status as the US's most vital ally in the Middle East has been so widely recognized for so long that over the years, Israeli and American leaders alike have felt it unnecessary to explain what it is about the alliance that makes it so important for the US.

Today, as the Obama administration is openly distancing the US from Israel while giving the impression that Israel is a strategic impediment to the administration's attempts to strengthen its relations with the Arab world, recalling why Israel is the US's most important ally in the Middle East has become a matter of some urgency.

Much is made of the fact that Israel is a democracy. But we seldom consider why the fact that Israel is a representative democracy matters. The fact that Israel is a democracy means that its alliance with America reflects the will of the Israeli people. As such, it remains constant regardless of who is power in Jerusalem.

ARUTZ SHEVA: Getting Out the Israeli Vote in US Congressional Elections

With that in mind, the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) kicked-off of its “Get out the Vote” campaign among Americans living in Israel for the November 2010 U.S. Congressional elections. AIAC held a press conference in Jerusalem

AIAC Chairman Harvey Schwartz explained the initiative. "It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 potential American voters living in Israel. They have a right (and an obligation) to vote in – and can have a significant impact on -- the upcoming U.S. Congressional elections."

ARUTZ SHEVA: Waqf Bulldozers on Temple Mount May Be Destroying Jewish History

( Jewish residents report that Waqf works at the Dome of the Rock have restarted 'under cover', likelydestroying Jewish archaeological artifacts. 
Arnon Segal, a resident on the Beit Hoshen neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, told Arutz-7 that there have been changes in the area recently. "We are seven families who have lived here for four and a half years, and we have the privilege to watch over the Temple Mount from a unique angle. Unfortunately, the sights we have seen in the past two weeks have caused us great frustration."

Segal said that Waqf attempts to conceal the work but that it is not hard to see what is happening these days on the Temple Mount. "The Waqf works are constant, we see tractors going to and fro carrying earth. The work is taking place near the Dome of the Rock, exactly in the place between where our Holy Temple's courtyard and the Altar used to stand. The Waqf claims they are doing pavement work there, or so they advertise in the news sites, but in practice they surrounded themselves in white burlap and we see there is scaffolding. I suppose that for paving works there should be no need for scaffolding."

Segal expressed concern that the truth behind the work is a continuation of the Islamic movement's effort to destroy and erase the Jewish history of the Temple Mount. "There's probably something much more invasive here. You must understand that when you do pavement work in such a place near the Dome of the Rock, at the elevation where our Holy Temple once stood, you don't have to dig too deep to reach the ancient artifacts that have not been touched for years. They want to destroy the ancient evidence of Jewish history there, and this has already been done in the past. Many times archaeological remains were discovered in garbage piles and no one was arrested."

COOLJEW: Land of milk honey... and oil!

An Israeli oil exploration company on Thursday announced that it had found a huge amount of oil and gas during drilling below the city of Rosh Ha'ayin this week. Givot Olam Oil Exploration Limited Partnership said that more than 60 percent gas was measured in the drill, indicating the first such find in Israel. The company said it was too soon to determine what significance the find would bring to Israel, but added that it would become clear over the next few months of drilling whether it could be used for commercial purposes. Givat Olam began drilling at the Megged 5 well beneath Rosh Ha'ayin last June. Its shares rose 123 percent upon news of the find.

SERAPHIC SECRET: Welfare Witches Gone Wild

The so-called Palestinians have received, per capita, more humanitarian aid than any other group on the face of the planet.
We're talking billions upon billions of dollars.
And yet we're constantly bombarded with stories about poverty, disease and malnutrition.
All lies, in fact, blood libels against the Jewish State.
Where has the money gone?

PA TV children's show depicts world without Israel

During the Israeli-Palestinian Proximity Talks, Palestinian Authority TV has chosen to rebroadcast a children's program presenting a map that teaches children that Israel does not exist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An Intolerable Mistake on Hallowed Ground. Sarah Palin's Facebook Post

Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg responded to my comments about the planned mosque at Ground Zero by suggesting that a decision not to allow the building of a mosque at that sacred place would somehow violate American principles of tolerance and openness.

No one is disputing that America stands for – and should stand for – religious tolerance. It is a foundation of our republic. This is not an issue of religious tolerance but of common moral sense. To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks. Just days after 9/11, the spiritual leader of the organization that wants to build the mosque, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, suggested that blame be placed on the innocents when he stated that the “United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” and that “in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.” Rauf refuses to recognize that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of our ally, Israel, and refuses to provide information about the sources of funding for the $100 million mosque. Rauf also plays a key role in a group behind the flotilla designed to provoke Israel in its justifiable blockade of Gaza. These are just a few of the points Americans are realizing as New York considers the proposed mosque just a stone’s throw away from 9/11’s sacred ground.

I agree with the sister of one of the 9/11 victims (and a New York resident) who said: “This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists. I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened.” 

Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground. This is nothing close to “religious intolerance,” it’s just common decency.

- Sarah Palin

*Note: The original post of this statement (on July 20, 2010) was somehow unintentionally deleted by mistake or technical glitch.

First Female Arab Combat Soldier in IDF is Proud to Serve Israel 26 July 2010 , 09:18 “I know I am part of the Jewish state’s army and therefore when we speak about that, I listen and learn. I got used to it and I respect it''. Photo: IDF Spokesperson Share| More Articles To Understand and Pass On All Articles Cpl. Elinor Joseph, the first female Arab combat soldier in the IDF:“This will always be my home”

Soldier Elinor Jozef

“Look at the beret,” says Elinor, smiling from ear to ear, showing off the bright green beret that she earned after completing the trek which is part of her combat training in the Karakal Battalion.  Her excitement is accompanied by a new historical precedent, since Elinor is the first Arab female combat soldier in IDF history.
Cpl. Elinor Joseph was born and raised in an integrated neighborhood of Jews and Arabs in Haifa, but attended a school in which all her classmates were Arab. She later moved to Wadi Nisnas, an Arab neighborhood where she currently lives. Despite the fact that she would always wear her father’s IDF dog-tag around her neck from when he served in the Paratrooper’s Unit, she never thought she would enlist. “I wanted to go abroad to study medicine and never come back,” she said. To her father it was clear that she would enlist in the IDF, as most citizens in Israel do. This was something that worried her very much. “I was scared to lose my friends because they objected to it. They told me they wouldn’t speak to me. I was left alone.”

Yerushalayim ( english version )

Arab-Israeli conflict: The Mike Wallace Interview - Abba Eban 1958

Abba Eban on peace, 1973 Remarks of Abba Eban at the Geneva Peace Conference, December 21 1973

Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished Prime Minister, Foreign Ministers, Gentlemen. There has never been an Arab-Israel peace conference before. Instead there have been many wars, for which the price has been paid in thousands of lives and in a region’s long agony. Today at last a new opportunity is born. No wonder that this Conference opens under the burden of an immense expectation. Millions of people across the world are hoping that we shall somehow succeed to break the cycle of violence, to give a new purpose and direction to Middle East history, and to bring a halt to the spreading contagion of force.

Horrifying video - Genital Mutilation in the UK of Female Muslim children

JPOST: Pro-Israel shoppers defy Ahava products boycott call; Best sales weekend Maryland store has ever seen

WASHINGTON – A call to boycott Israeli-made Ahava products in a Maryland beauty supply store backfired last week when pro- Israel activists countered by purchasing the shop’s entire Ahava inventory.

When the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington found out that the pro-Palestinian group Sabeel DC had organized a protest and boycott call at Ulta in Silver Spring last Saturday, the organization sent out an action alert urging supporters to visit the store and buy Ahava.

“They cleaned the shelves out. It was the best Ahava sales weekend the store has ever seen. They had to order an expedited shipment” afterward, said Arielle Farber, director of Israel and International Affairs for the Community Relations Council. “The greater Washington community is not going to stand for this campaign to delegitimize Israel.”

Rona Kramer, a Maryland state senator, was among those answering the Community Relations Council call. When she heard of the boycott, she though “it’s a good opportunity for the community to show its support for Israel.”

NEWSWEEK: Don’t Boycott Israel The very idea is repellent.

Jack Guez / AFP-Getty Images
If you follow the news closely enough, you might have caught a small item recently noting that Meg Ryan had canceled a scheduled appearance at a film festival in Jerusalem to protest Israeli policy. This was significant not because anyone should care what the nose-crinkling movie star thinks about the Mideast but precisely because no one does. Ryan, a conventional Hollywood Democrat, is a barometer of celebrity politics. Her sort of sheeplike, liberal opinion once reflexively favored Israel. Now it’s dabbling in the repellent idea of shunning the entire country.
Support for the Israeli cultural boycott has been growing in surprising places lately.

FORBES: Freedom's Edge; Iran's Mini-Empire At The U.N. Despite sanctions, Iran continues to exploit the U.N. itself.

The United Nations has just created a new "entity" on women's rights, called U.N. Women. Elections to its governing board are now being organized. How long before Iran wins a seat?
If the question sounds absurd, the realities at the U.N. are even more mind-bending. The most recent high-profile outrage on this score was Iran gaining a seat in April on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women. But that's the least of it. The reality is that Iran, despite being under four sets of binding sanctions resolutions by the U.N. Security Council, has learned to manipulate the institution in ways that make a mockery not only of the U.N. itself, but also of U.S. claims of diplomatic competence.

NYT: Europe Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

BRUSSELS — The European Union intensified the economic isolation of Iran over its nuclear program by ordering its toughest economic sanctions yet against the Iranian government on Monday. European energy companies and insurers affected by the new controls promised to comply.
Although European companies will still be allowed to import oil and gas from Iran, the sanctions go beyond those in the fourth round imposed by the United Nations last month. The European move follows the imposition of additional sanctions by the United States.
Meant as punishment for Iran’s refusal to halt its enrichment of uranium, the measures appeared to prompt a flurry of diplomatic activity, with Iran saying it was ready to return to talks on a nuclear fuel swap. But it was unclear whether the offer was anything more than another in a series of maneuvers by Tehran to buy more time. Western nations suspect Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon; the country insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and that sanctions will not persuade it to change course.

Shir La'ma'alot - Yosef Karduner (Tehilim 121)

Shir La'ma'alot - Yosef Karduner (Tehilim 121)
Uploaded by david2507. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

צה"ל, צבא הגנה לישראל

Fear Not! Al Tira Avdi Yaakov (scenes of the IDF)

Israel Matzav: Oliver Stone's sick world


Oliver Stone gave aninterview to the Sunday Times of London, which was published over the weekend (don't even try clicking that link unless you have a subscription), in which he claimed that the 'Jewish dominated media' prevents Adolf Hitler from being portrayed 'in context.' Alana Goodman has a summary of the interview here.

Stone said that, "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed]."

The Sunday Times interviewer then asked why there was such a focus on the Holocaust.

"The Jewish domination of the media," responded Stone. "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."

The director, who recently met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, also slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as "horrible."

"Iran isn't necessarily the good guy," said Stone. "[B]ut we don't know the full story!"

The Scarface screenwriter had even more encouraging words for socialist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who Stone called "a brave, blunt, earthy" man. The director has recently been promoting his Chavez-praising documentary called "South of the Border."

When the interviewer pointed out that Chavez has had a less-than-stellar record on human rights, Stone immediately dismissed the criticism.

"The internet's fully free [in Venezuela]," said Stone. "You can say what the hell you like. Compare it with all the other countries: Mexico, Guatemala, above all Colombia, which is a joke."

While Stone has not been as blunt about his views on Jews and the Holocaust in the past, he has been outspoken in his fondness for Chavez and his disagreements with the U.S.'s policy on Iran.
When you give serious consideration to the paranoid world views of the likes of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, you end up with an Oliver Stone making openly anti-Semitic comments and being published in the World's mainstream news media.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Arab-American Psychologist, Wafa Sultan on Al Jazeera TV, Clashes with Egyptian Islamist Tal'at Rmeih

There is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century

U.S. strike on Iran likelier than ever, former CIA chief says: Michael Hayden says Iran intends to reach the point where it's just below having a nuclear weapon, adding that such a step would be as destabilizing to the region as the 'real thing.' By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the U.S. does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program.

Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, said that during his tenure "a strike was way down the list of options." But he tells CNN's State of the Union that such action now "seems inexorable."

More Against All Odds

Against All Odds

Gingrich Slams Islam - Religious Double Standard on Ground Zero Mosque

Gingrich Slams Islam - Religious Double
Standard on Ground Zero Mosque
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to "symbolize interfaith cooperation" when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for "religious toleration" are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.

And they lecture us about tolerance.

The new, improved Obama By CAROLINE GLICK Just when you thought he was shifting gears he pulls out a zinger.

You have to hand it to US President Barack Obama. He is relentless. Just when you thought he was shifting gears – easing up on Israel and turning his attention to Iran’s nuclear weapons program – he pulls out a zinger.

His recent courtship of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu led some Israelis and supporters of Israel in the US to believe the administration had seen the light. After 18 months, we were told Obama finally realized that contrary to what he had thought, Palestinian statehood is not the most urgent issue in the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is.

Rav Eliyahu’s Secret

Since Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu passed away some six weeks ago, more and more memories of him have emerged. In a book that was published in time for his shloshim, his son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzefat, revealed that his father was laid to rest with a file full of piskei din obliging Moshiach to reveal himself already and redeem the Jewish nation.

In fact, soon after Rabbi Eliyahu passed away, his family discovered that he was a member of a special Beis Din of mekubalim that convened once a year to declare that the time for Moshiach has arrived. The Rosh Beis Din, Rabbi Yeshua Ben Shushan, revealed this secret to the family and asked that this tzaddik be laid to rest with the rulings of this Beis Din so that they could be passed on to the Beis Din Shel Maalah to facilitate the arrival of Moshiach.

Miami Boys Choir - Moshiach

Oliver Stone: 'Jewish-Dominated Media' Prevents Hitler from Being Portrayed 'in Context'

Director Oliver Stone belittled the Holocaust during a shocking interview with the Sunday Times today, claiming that America's focus on the Jewish massacre was a product of the "Jewish domination of the media."
The director also defended Hitler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and railed against the "powerful lobby" of Jews in America.

Stone said that his upcoming Showtime documentary series "Secret History of America," seeks to put Hitler and Communist dictator Joseph Stalin "in context."

"Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support," Stone told reporter Camilla Long during the interview, which can be found behind the paywall on the Sunday Times' website.

Palestinian Corruption and Humanitarian Aid

Mort Zuckerman: For Israel, a Two-State Proposal Starts With Security Until Israel’s security is assured, the two-state solution is not a solution at all, but a dramatic escalation of risk

Will the world applaud Israel's just-announced decision to restrict its military forces by imposing even more stringent rules to avoid accidental civilian casualties? Don't bet on it. The world remained silent as Israel endured hundreds of Palestinian suicide bombers, stabbings, drive-by shootings, and kidnappings. No censure or demands for a cease-fire impeded Hezbollah in the north and Hamas from the south as they rained thousands of missiles on almost 40 percent of the Israeli population.

On the contrary. The common response of a world professedly eager for peace was to criticize Israel's measures of self-defense in setting up checkpoints and building a security fence along the West Bank. For six years, rockets from Gaza forced a major portion of Israel's southern population to sleep in bomb shelters. When Israel entered Gaza, after repeatedly warning Hamas to desist, the outcry revealed that the capacity of Israel's critics for hypocrisy is infinite. Every Israeli effort at self-defense is treated as aggression.

The multiple injustices of these years, compounded by the abysmal performance of the media in separating truth from propaganda, have produced a political transformation in Israel that the administration of President Obama has accelerated. Israelis have lost trust in the possibility of peaceful coexistence. They have observed that every effort to make peace breeds new aggression. They have realized, with understandable bitterness, that every defensive military operation that leaves the aggressor still in control of the attack base results only in the enemy being better prepared the next time.

It is not on the world's agenda to dream of doing anything, even to make a murmur of protest, when the Hamas leadership in Gaza continues to smuggle in rockets capable of threatening Tel Aviv. Rockets with a range increasing to as much as 60 kilometers can be fired from a mobile launcher fitted on the back of a truck, or from a stationary launcher hidden in a building, as was Hezbollah's in Lebanon.

How do the Israelis, without absolute control of the territory, prevent Hamas from turning into the Palestinian version of Hezbollah? Iran has supplied Hezbollah with more than 40,000 rockets, many of them long-range, such as Scud and M-600 missiles. The Israelis know that the gun or rocket that is hung on the wall in the first act will be fired in the third. They simply cannot tolerate living alongside an entity owning a terrorist infrastructure and hosting hostile military forces.

When the Israelis consider evacuating their military forces from the West Bank for the sake of a "two-state solution," they fear leaving another base for terrorism. If Hamas takes over the West Bank from the Palestine Liberation Organization, as it did Gaza, then it and other al Qaeda-type groups may well have access to the overlooks of Jerusalem's suburbs and Tel Aviv's beaches. The Israelis cannot forget that the last time Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received control of an area—namely Gaza in 2005—PLO forces ran away and left it to Hamas. Currently Israel's military freedom of operation in the West Bank allows the Israel Defense Forces to reach every place where prohibited arms are manufactured or hidden. Thus they have prevented terrorists there from manufacturing and launching them at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, not to mention intercepting innumerable suicide bombers.

The nightmare scenario for Israel is that the West Bank becomes another failed Palestinian state. The West Bank is as near as 8 to 12 miles from the Mediterranean. Any sustained rocket assaults from the West Bank would seriously threaten Israel's interior. What's more, there is the critical advantage of the West Bank's ridge line. From the higher terrain, even a Palestinian teenager with such simple weaponry as a Kassam rocket could hit Israel's main airport and major cities, making the defense of Israel impossible.

I have stood on that ridge. It is hard to explain to Americans how close everything is. That is why any Middle East settlement would require a fully demilitarized Palestinian entity and a method for Israel to verify that. International forces cannot be relied on for demilitarization. They have historically been unsuccessful where one party is ready to ignore the fulfillment of its international responsibilities. This has been especially so in the Middle East where the peacekeepers have been killed, breaking the political will of states who contribute.

Perhaps it would be different if the Israelis had confidence that the current U.S. administration would make up in security for whatever Israel might cede in territory. They were given that assurance when they took the risk of leaving Gaza in 2005. Then there was a written commitment by President George W. Bush that the United States would not expect Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and that any future settlement would reflect Israel's right to secure, recognized, and defensible borders. (So too did President Obama pledge support for this same right, in these same words, in a public speech when he was campaigning for presidency.)

Yet the Obama administration disavowed this commitment—with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that Bush's pledge "did not become part of the official position of the United States government." This ignores the fact that recognized boundaries "and defensible borders" were enshrined in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 after the 1967 war and that Bush unequivocally provided a presidential guarantee to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in exchange for Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. "The United States," Bush said, "reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combinations of threats." The Bush letter was approved by both houses of Congress—and yet it has been repudiated by this administration.

The scene is even more menacing if we consider the regional scenario of a Palestinian state inspired by Iran and Islamic radicalism. Iran is getting close to obtaining nuclear abilities and already has ballistic missiles that can menace Israel as well as its Arab neighbors. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard serves as a strategic umbrella for radical groups that move across the Middle East, including Shiite militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Israeli experience in Lebanon is a case study of the dangers. After the 2006 war, Israel withdrew and 10,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops came into southern Lebanon, authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. With what effect? Hezbollah has rearmed at a rapid pace, accumulating more than 40,000 rockets and missiles that, according to recent reports, have now moved down to the southern part of Lebanon without any Hezbollah operatives being arrested. U.N. forces have simply been ineffective, even when the Lebanese government wanted the U.N. to curb Hezbollah.

A sovereign Palestinian state that refuses to accept an international force is bad enough. Worse yet is that, in practice, organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas can render any international force ineffective. This is what occurred when European monitors were placed at Gaza's Rafah crossing. The monitors fled their positions as soon as internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah heated up after the Hamas victory in the 2006 elections. The monitors themselves fell victim to local Palestinian kidnappings. When the Palestinian president says he will not accept Israeli forces but might accept an international presence, his statement might seem reasonable or negotiable. In truth, it has about as much value as the "peace in our time" document that Neville Chamberlain waved on his return to London after meeting Adolf Hitler. Bottom line: The only successful security forces that Israel can rely upon are its own. Israelis feel they have read the book in Gaza and don't want to see the movie in the West Bank.

Paradoxically, the presence of U.N. forces creates an obstacle to Israel's ability to defend itself, by itself. Look at what happened to the force that was dispatched to Lebanon in August 1982. The U.N. mission was made up of units from Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, but in October 1983 both the French paratrooper barracks and the U.S. Marine headquarters were attacked by Shiite suicide bombers, killing a few hundred French and American service members. Within a year, both forces withdrew from Lebanon, reflecting the reality that foreign forces will quickly leave the theater when attacked. The states that volunteer them soon lose political support for keeping them there.

Let's not forget the Oslo Accord and its 1995 interim agreement. The PLO failed to honor the agreement. In fact, Yasser Arafat, Abbas's predecessor as PLO leader, supplied competing security organizations with thousands of weapons that were prohibited in the agreements he had signed. Again contrary to the Oslo agreement, the PLO gave its national security apparatus all the trappings of an army, which it was not permitted to have. Then in 2000, in the second intifada, it launched a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians.

Israel must prepare for the possibility that even after agreements are signed, and a demilitarized Palestinian state is established, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad would act in contravention and an international force would likely not take action. Iranian-backed rocket assaults against Israel would place its coastal plain in range and make Israel uninhabitable. And if U.N. forces were present on Palestinian territory, the Israeli army couldn't open fire against the enemy without first verifying the location of the U.N. personnel. It would thus be even more difficult for Israel to act against terrorists.

There is an old saying: "Nobody ever washes a rental car." Only Israel would have the will to defend itself. When you think about the failure of NATO forces in Afghanistan, you have to wonder about the efficacy of NATO troops in this theater.

Israel knows that a threat will evolve when hostile intentions join with aggressive capabilities. Given that it has been virtually impossible to alter hostile intentions, with the split between Abbas's Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza—the latter allowing non-state actors to emerge—classic principles of deterrence and punishment are far less effective. There is no unified government to exert control over people, weapons, and terrorist groups.

Israel has prudently maintained its uncompromising policy of disarming the terrorist infrastructure within and along its borders. But Israel's success in this relies on high-quality, precise military intelligence, along with full freedom of operation to enter Palestinian city centers and villages to locate and destroy bomb-producing factories. This is the only way that Israel can deal with the asymmetrical threat of terrorist groups able to attack Israel at will.

Until this same kind of security is assured, the two-state solution is not a solution at all, but a dramatic escalation of risk.

Watching for Ripple Effects as Sanctions Nip at Iran

A small but intriguing news nugget emerged from the world of international shipping this week, one saying something much larger about the effort to economically isolate Iran because of its nuclear program.

The owner of a large tanker, which was to carry gasoline from a Turkish refinery to Iran, stopped the ship from sailing as scheduled. The uncertainties of doing business with Iran these days, and the potential penalties under international sanctions for firms that do so, apparently created too much doubt about the wisdom of completing the transaction.

Just one deal in an ocean of global commerce, to be sure, but also a sign of how sanctions imposed on Iran in a United Nations Security Council resolution six weeks ago appear to have some real bite.

Given the spotty (to be generous) record of economic sanctions, the latest ones were passed amid general skepticism that they could have much impact. Iran itself was dismissive of them. But there is evidence that the sanctions—followed as they were by additional measures the Obama administration imposed on its own, as well as a new U.S. law aimed at penalizing international investment in Iran's energy businesses—may be causing some meaningful problems.

The sanctions' bite figures to get a bit deeper Monday, when the European Union announces its own set of additional sanctions, aimed in particular at cutting off financing and trade with Iran's transportation and energy sectors.

Most intriguing, the economic strictures may be feeding broader economic headaches that have prompted a strike and expressions of general discontent by Iran's politically powerful bazaar merchants. Unrest among the bazaaris—set off by a giant tax increase proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—opens a new front of protest beyond the one that emerged after last summer's disputed presidential election.

It's still hard to know how much difference sanctions can make in the long run. The range of potential effects is exceptionally broad, from simply annoying the regime, to creating real costs and difficulties in keeping Iran's economy running, to creating enough pain to spark domestic unrest, to the ideal goal of prompting Tehran to alter its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies contend that the Iranians aim to develop weapons, while Tehran insists its program is purely for civilian purposes.

Right now the impact lies on the annoyance/real cost end of the spectrum, and nowhere near the goal of forcing a change in nuclear strategy. There is also no guarantee the pressure will be maintained. For instance, Russia, while honoring the letter of the sanctions resolution, has signaled in recent days that it will continue some arms and fuel sales to Iran, effectively lowering the pressure.

Still, the sanctions may at least be illustrating that there is an economic penalty for Iran's continued enrichment of uranium. More important, they have the potential to directly slow Iran's nuclear program by shutting off the flow of international financing and technology needed to keep elements of it moving ahead.

If nothing else, that prospect seems to have eased—just a little—Israel's fears that it needs to resort to a military strike to really crimp Iran's ambitions.

"What we're trying to do is make it clear to the Iranians that there's a cost to continuing down this road," said one Obama administration aide deeply involved in the sanctions effort. "It sharpens the choice for these guys. One way to relieve the pressure is to make a different [nuclear] policy choice."

The sanctions are designed so that their real impact doesn't lie in anything American or European governments can do directly to Iran. Rather, officials say, their effect rests more on how the provisions threatening fines or denial of lucrative Western government contracts for doing business with Iran can prompt firms to cut ties on their own.

And indeed, in recent days BP PLC has cut some sales of jet fuel to Iran's national airline, and Lloyd's of London has declined to insure shipments of petroleum products to Iran. In addition, the engineering arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, one specific target of the new U.N. sanctions, announced that it was withdrawing from projects in a big Iranian natural-gas field.

In addition, as the Journal reported this week, German officials have begun investigating an Iranian-owned bank in Hamburg for allegedly supporting Tehran's nuclear program.

Inside Iran, the effects of this squeeze will prove most profound if they have a ripple effect extending into the political sphere. Mr. Ahmadinejad, spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and their Revolutionary Guard allies already face discontent from young and intellectual Iranians disillusioned by last year's election, and from a traditional clerical establishment that considers the president an unfit upstart.

If economic discomfort creates a third front of opposition among the nation's merchants, the pain of sanctions would spread well beyond the regime's checkbook.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at

Poll: Israel 8th Happiest Country, Ahead of U.S. - Francesca Levy (Forbes)

Israel tied for 8th place with Australia, Switzerland, and Canada in a Gallup World Poll survey of 155 countries that measures well-being. Denmark, Finland and Norway led the list, the U.S. tied with Austria for 14th place, while the highest ranking Arab country, the United Arab Emirates, was 20th. Israel's neighbors ranked as follows: Egypt (115 tied), Syria (115 tied), Jordan (52), and Lebanon (73).

Goldstone committee head denies bias; German jurist Christian Tomuschat says he won't step down.

BERLIN – The chairman of the UN committee responsible for following up on the findings of the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead acknowledged on Saturday that he had helped prepare an advisory opinion analyzing legal aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the 1990s, but said he could not recall whether he had done this work on behalf of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

In any case, said German jurist Christian Tomuschat, the legal work had been objective, should not be regarded as “a blemish” and did not constitute a reason for him to step down from the Goldstone follow- up panel.

The Jerusalem Post had asked Tomuschat to comment on information it received over the weekend to the effect that he and four other international jurists prepared a brief for Arafat in 1996 concerning the international law aspects of the peace process, which suggested that Arafat should bring his case to the UN General Assembly, which could then refer it to the International Court of Justice.

The fact that Tomuschat had worked directly for one of the relevant parties should have been disclosed to Israel when his appointment to the Goldstone follow-up committee was made, but this was not done, according to the information received by the Post.

The panel was appointed last month by the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, and is about to start its work, with a view to publishing a report in October.

Tomuschat’s appointment had already attracted criticism from pro-Israel legal watchdogs because of his characterization of Israel’s policy of targeted killings as akin to “state terrorism.”

Furthermore, the Post learned over the weekend, Tomuschat has already made plain his conviction that states are incapable of effectively conducting investigations into alleged excesses by their military forces. His established stance on this issue is relevant because the mandate of the panel includes examining whether the Israeli judicial system is capable of properly investigating the alleged IDF excesses documented in the Goldstone Report.

Tomuschat set out this assessment in a study titled “The Individual Threatened by the Fight Against Terrorism?” In that study, published in 2002, he wrote: “In such instances, there is little hope that the judicial system of the state concerned will conduct effective investigations and punish the responsible agents. Nowhere have excesses committed by security forces been adequately punished.”

In the same study, he also wrote that “If a state strikes blindly against presumed terrorists and their environment, accepting that together with the suspects other civilians lose their lives, it uses the same tactics as the terrorists themselves. In this perspective, many actions carried out by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territories would also have to be scrutinized very carefully.

“Normally,” he went on, “states see themselves as guardians of human rights. However, by ordering the systematic commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity they themselves deserve the same blame as those targeted by them.”

Tomuschat said on Saturday that he had done nothing that should require him to resign from the committee, that he was “not biased” against Israel, and that he had been in Israel many times and had participated in legal forums there.

Israel is acutely concerned about the Goldstone follow-up committee, whose mandate includes examining the efficiency, independence and professionalism of Israel’s court system and its adherence to internationally accepted standards.

It fears the unprecedented UN investigation into the effectiveness of both the Israeli civilian and military hierarchies, by a committee whose motives and preconceptions it acutely mistrusts, could undermine the credibility of the Israeli judiciary internationally and leave Israel vulnerable to censure in international legal forums.

Critics of the panel, and its membership, have asserted that it is incapable of performing its work fairly because all three of its members are affiliated with the International Commission of Jurists, which “has had a long history of anti-Israel bias going back to Jenin [after the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in 2002],” according to Gerald Steinberg of the NGO Monitor human rights watchdog. “Involving ICJ officials in an UN-related commission is another illustration of the link between the UN [Human Rights] Council and ideological NGOs,” he said earlier this month.

The other two committee members are Malaysian Param Cumaraswamy and American Mary Davis.

Tomuschat, in a 2007 interview in which he discussed Israel’s killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004, said, “Targeted killings are as ruthless as the attacks of terrorists.”

Asked if Israel’s targeted killings constituted “state terrorism,” Tomuschat said, “It is very much in that direction.”