Saturday, January 23, 2010

Netanyahu demands Israeli presence in West Bank
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 20, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel must have a
presence in the West Bank to stop rockets from being imported even after a
peace agreement is achieved, the first time he has spelled out such a

He said the experience of rocket attacks from the Lebanese and Gaza borders
means Israel must be able to prevent such weapons from being brought into
any future Palestinian entity in the West Bank.

"We cannot afford to have that across from the center of our country," he
told foreign reporters Wednesday in Jerusalem.

"In the case of a future settlement with the Palestinians, this will require
an Israeli presence on the eastern side of a prospective Palestinian state,"
he said, without elaborating.

Until recent months, Netanyahu hesitated to refer to the concept of a
Palestinian state and has not outlined how much, if any, of the West Bank he
would be willing to give up.

"We are surrounded by an ever-growing arsenal of rockets placed in the
Iranian-supported enclaves to the north and to the south," he said,
referring to Lebanon and Gaza.

Under the current situation, Israel is in overall control of the West Bank
and its borders, though the Palestinian Authority patrols main population

Netanyahu outlined the defensive systems Israel is developing to knock down
incoming rockets, but he admitted that they are "prohibitively expensive."
He said that Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza get their rockets from
neighboring countries, and that must be stopped.

Palestinians want to create an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza
Strip and east Jerusalem with no Israeli presence, military or civilian.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has proposed that the Obama
administration negotiate the final borders of a Palestinian state with
Israel, a Palestinian official said Wednesday, as a US envoy headed to the
region for another attempt to restart Mideast peace talks.

Such a proxy arrangement could provide a way around the current deadlock
over reviving Israeli-Palestinian talks, which broke off more than a year
ago. Abbas said he won't return to the table without a complete Israeli
settlement freeze, something Netanyahu has refused to do.

As an alternative, US officials could replace Palestinian negotiators in
border talks with Israel, said an Abbas aide, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the content of internal
meetings. The US negotiators would be given clear parameters, the aide said.

Abbas made the proposal in recent meetings with Egyptian officials who
passed the idea along to Washington, the aide said. It was not clear how the
Americans reacted.

Officials at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which serves the West Bank, had
no comment.

Netanyahu did not refer to the proposal at his Wednesday news conference.

Abbas is expected to discuss his proposal with Obama's Mideast envoy, George
Mitchell, who was to arrive in Israel later Wednesday. Mitchell is to hold
separate talks with Netanyahu and Abbas on Thursday and Friday.

At the news conference, Netanyahu also appealed for tough international
sanctions against Iran. He said there is "wide acceptance" of Israel's view
that Iran poses a strategic threat because of its nuclear program.

"The question is, is there a willingness to act. We will soon find out," he

Netanyahu did not refer to the possibility that Israel or others might
attack Iran militarily. Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is
peaceful, but Israel, the US and others suspect that Iran is constructing
nuclear weapons.


Poll: Arabs Oppose Accepting Israel as a Jewish State
Reported: 16:58 PM - Jan/20/10

( Citizens in two leading Arab states say they will never accept Israel as a Jewish State.

According to a creditable private poll of Saudi citizens taken in November 2009, only 9% of urban Saudis said they would accept Israel "as a Jewish state," even "under the right conditions." Meanwhile only 26% of Egyptians said they could accept Israel as a Jewish state, this in spite of the fact that the poll was taken thirty years after the implementation of a formal Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.

Fundamentally Freund: Israel's finest hour indeed

Jan 20, 2010 20:57 | Updated Jan 21, 2010 18:16


If there is anyone who still doubts the ability of the State of Israel to accomplish great things, the events of the past week should lay those concerns to rest. From one end of the world to the other, the highest ideals of Judaism and Zionism were prominently on display, as Israel took part not in one - but two! - remarkable missions laden with meaning.

Across the ocean, amid the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince, three IDF rescue teams carefully searched through the ruins of the Haitian capital for survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake. Racing against the clock, these young Jews in uniform, accompanied by specially-trained canines, heroically sorted through mounds of debris and wreckage to pull the wounded to safety.

Over the weekend, the guardians in green extricated a 58-year-old man from beneath his flattened home, and on Monday, they saved the life of a student who had been trapped for six days under a shattered university building.

Following their exploits in the press, one could only marvel at the valor and courage of our soldiers, as they risked their lives to save those of others, in the process bringing honor to us all.

Meanwhile, the field hospital established by the IDF to treat victims of the disaster was quickly making a name for itself as the best-run and most fully-equipped operation in the area. Set up last Friday on a soccer field, the complex boasts 40 doctors and 24 nurses, as well as teams of paramedics, X-ray equipment and personnel, an emergency room, a children's ward, a maternity ward and even a pharmacy.

No other nation, including the US, has yet to establish anything remotely as advanced or comprehensive, despite the passage of more than a week since the quake hit.

No wonder the American television network CBS went so far as to call the IDF hospital the "Rolls-Royce of medicine in Haiti." Indeed, Israel's health team has been doing such a terrific job that even CNN (a.k.a. the consistently negative network) couldn't find anything critical to say, as their senior medical correspondent heaped praise on the IDF's work.

Though a vast gulf separates Israel from Haiti, with more than 10,500 kilometers of ocean lying between us, the Jewish people demonstrated that their extended hand can bridge any gap and traverse any chasm when it comes to saving lives.

BUT THE residents of the Caribbean island nation were not the only beneficiaries of Israel's humanity this week. Much closer to home, we were witness to the arrival of 82 members of the Falash Mura, descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity centuries ago.

Landing at Ben-Gurion Airport early Tuesday morning, the new immigrants were greeted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.

It was a scene that should fill every Jewish heart with pride, as the remnants of Ethiopian Jewry complete the millennial-old journey back to the land of their ancestors. Hundreds more are expected to arrive over the next few months, as the government finally moves towards fulfilling its previous promises to allow the remaining members of the community to make aliya.

And so, even as our foes noisily continue to assert that Zionism is racism, Israel stands alone in embracing a black African community and welcoming it into our midst.

So it was quite a week for Jewish heroism. Over the course of a few days, the State of Israel saved lives and saved Jews.

It was, in every respect, Israel's finest hour.

Will all this change how the world views us? I doubt it.

But let it at least change how we view ourselves. We so often get caught up in the negativity that seems to fill the news each day that we tend to overlook the beauty and splendor of this country and its achievements.

It is moments such as these when we need to stop what we are doing, cast a gaze towards the heavens, and proudly declare: Thank God for the State of Israel. Without it, the world would be a far less noble place.
In the case of the World against the State of Israel, where Israel is accused of inhumanitarian acts.... Presentation with audio:

A lie can travel halfway around the world
while the truth is putting its shoes on
                                        Mark Twain

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Resistance Strategy

"Resistance" was apparently headlined at a conference on resistance supported by the UN. It was held in Beirut and all the "resistors" such as Hassan Nasrallah of the Hezbollah were there. Ami Isseroff

The Resistance Strategy: The Middle East's Response to Calls for Peace and Moderation

By Barry Rubin

Have you heard from any of the Western mass media about the Resistance strategy of Middle East radicals? I'm sure you haven't. Yet without understanding this powerful and widely accepted worldview how could anyone possibly comprehend events in the region?

"Resistance" is the slogan used by Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah especially but also is used by Iran's regime, other Lebanese supporters of the Iran-Syria bloc, and assorted radicals throughout the region. While the word has echoes for any Western auditor of the French Resistance against the Nazis, this is not the origin of this Middle East usage.

Rather, it means on the one hand, Resistance to supposed U.S., European, and Israeli intentions to turn the Arabs into slaves and destroy Islam. It also signifies Resistance to Westernization and modernization. And then, too, of equal significance, it means Resistance to attempts to promote peace or even a peace process with Israel and moderation in general.

Most obviously, Resistance means rejection but it also implies the use of violence, to resist is to reject diplomatic solutions and to fight instead. No matter how many people die, how much destruction will hurt the societies of those resisting, how long bloody conflict will continue, and how remote the prospects for victory seem to be, this is the preferred option. In contrast, moderation, compromise, and negotiation are seen as cowardly and treasonous.

But those preaching Resistance also believe they will be victorious by dividing and wearing down their opponents. Indeed, they think—even though they are more wrong than not—that they are winning now. They think the West is weak and corrupt, while Israel is going to fall apart and give up. A lot of the arguments made and policies put forward in the West—apology, concession, misconception, self-criticism—feed this confidence and thus contribute to more violence and conflict.

In many ways, the Resistance philosophy is a close parallel to Arab thinking in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, a new version of what used to be proudly called Rejectionism by Arab regimes. Now, however, it is reformulated in a version to be palatable to Islamists as well as nationalists and semi-Marxists.

If there was a founding statement regarding the Resistance strategy it was the speech of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Syrian Journalists' Union on August 15, 2006. Assad said he was formulating his alternative to the "new Middle East" proposed by the West and Israel in which political peace would produce prosperity, democracy, and stability. "The world does not care about our interests, feelings and rights except when we are powerful," Assad stated. Otherwise, they would not do anything."

Instead, Assad offered the prospect of triumph through bloodshed. Why compromise if you believe you can achieve total victory, revolution, and wipe Israel off the map with armed struggle and the intimidation of the West? Why engage in the long, hard work of economic development when merely showing courage in battle and killing a few enemies fulfills one's dreams. Victory, said Bashar, requires recklessness.

Here's an example of a
recent statement of the Resistance concept. It comes from Hizballah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem, a man who often successfully conveys the false message to gullible Western journalists and "experts" that Hizballah is becoming moderate.

In a lecture to the Lebanese University's Faculty of Science—an interesting case of how the extremist fantasies of the Resistance philosophy is accepted even in academic and intellectual circles—Qassem called the Resistance option:

"The best choice for liberating the land….The [peace] settlement is an illusion that won't lead to any results, but rather would squander what is left of our land because Israel needs the peace process to annex lands and extend occupation."

Yet Resistance has much wider implications as well:

"The Resistance is not a local, regional, or international political tactic. It is not a part of deals among nations, and not a negotiation tool for political gains."

Thus, while Resistance is a good slogan for revolutionary Islamist groups it is also valuable in bringing together a wider base of supporters among the more militant Arab nationalists and ideological leftists as well. This is why it is perfect for the Syrian regime, which is part of the Iran-led Islamist alliance without being Islamist itself.

Another advantage is that it allows anyone who is relatively moderate—for example, the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia—as effeminate traitors following the path of defeat. That is why in his speech quoted above, Assad called those who didn't agree with him—explicitly mentioning the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia--were mere "half-men," midgets who lacked his courage, and even outright traitors.

Thus, too, the experience of the last half of the twentieth century is negated. Objectively, that history shows the Arabs and Muslims cannot defeat Israel and the West, thus it is better to make a compromise deal. Specifically, it claims that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resulting in a two-state solution will never lead to anything good and is at any rate unnecessary since the Palestinians can win total victory if they go on fighting for enough decades.

The Resistance strategy is the response of the regional radicals to the West's call for a "pragmatic" moderation. As so many leaders, officials, experts and journalists in the West claim that their enemies are eager to moderate and will make deals if they are only offered enough and given sufficient concessions, Resistance is the response these forces are giving. That's why the commonly heard Western arguments about the meaning of regional events and the proper policies to manage them are completely wrong and won't work.

Note: These issues are dealt with in more detail in the author's books The Tragedy of the Middle East and The Truth About Syria.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).
To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.