Saturday, August 30, 2008

The #1 jewish issue

I got an e-mail from Pillage Idiot the other day (I'm assuming he doesn't mind my quoting him)

On another subject, wait till the Jews start talking about Palin. Point 1: She's pro-life, which no liberal Jew can accept. Abortion, the ultimate Jewish issue.
He's prescient. What can I tell you? The NJDC termed the choice of Palin as "bizarre."
Moreover, on a broad range of issues— most strikingly on the issue of women’s reproductive freedom— she is totally out of step with Jewish public opinion.
Of course they also mention that she has no public record on Israel. Why the governor of Alaska should speak publicly about Israel is beyond me. And why silence more of a disqualification than attending a church that supports Hamas is similarly bewildering.

On a related matter, yes Gov. Palin is pro-life. And she isn't just preaching to others. It's what she practiced. As Don Surber wrote:
I thought her pregnancy and the birth of her child this year would dash her VP hopes. Her son has Down’s Syndrome, which she learned of during her pregnancy. She does not believe in the death penalty for retarded children.
In other words she lives by the principle she wishes to see others abide by.

One final note: Crablaw points out in a comment that there are charges that Palin supported Pat Buchanan in the Republican primary in 2000.

Apparently she was extending a courtesy to Buchanan, but she supported Steve Forbes in that campaign.

And indeed, another AP story from August 7, 1999 -- one month after the Buchanan trip to Wasilla -- states that joining state sen. Mike Miller of Fairbanks on the Forbes campaign's Alaska "leadership committee will be Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin, and former state GOP chairman Pete Hallgren, who will serve as co-chairs."
(via memeorandum)

And if she did support Buchanan, it would be a negative in my mind. But I still find Sen. Obama's associations a lot more troubling. And he's not running to become the understudy in the next administration. To quote Don Surber again:
Democrats nominated an inexperienced but cute senator who won’t just be a heartbeat from the presidency; he will be the heartbeat.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mahmoud Abbas, Master Of StandUp Comedy

Arafat II Mahmoud Abbas has had a lot of funny bits but this surpasses anything he's ever done.

Today, Abbas responded to Israeli PM Olmert's statement that Israel and the Palestinian are 'close to a deal except on Jerusalem' by saying that if Israel doesn't bend over for him on everything, including Jerusalem, he's going to call off negotiations.

I nearly fell over laughing.

Here's somebody who's authority barely extends past the door in his office in Ramallah not only representing himself as someone who can make a meaningful deal and trying to dictate conditions but threatening to pull out and drop everything if he doesn't get his way!

"We will negotiate until the end of the year, and then the president will review our options," [Abbas spokesmouth and top aide Rafik] Husseini said, adding that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's declaration this week that a peace deal on everything but Jerusalem could be reached by the end of the year was unacceptable.

"Without a deal on Jerusalem, there will not be a peace deal at all," he said.

Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said that as far as the Palestinians were concerned, Jerusalem was a "red line" that couldn't be crossed.

If I were the Israelis,I would tell Mr. Def Jam that we're taking him at his word, no deal means no deal and end this farce. After all, the Palestinians have not kept a single one of the basic commitments they've ever made since Oslo...yet they're still hanging on to the land they managed to squeeze out of Israel, the only country in the Middle East to ever give them any land of their own at all.

Even funnier is Abbas' assumption that any deal he might make with the Israelis is worth the paper it's printed on, given that Abbas has almost zero authority to make anything stick since Hamas isn't signing on to it.Of course the real joke is on Olmert, Livni and the current Israeli government.

Abbas may still draw an audience in the EU and the US State Department, but the Arabs are definitely getting sick and tired of the Palestinians' shabby act.

They've pretty much reneged on all those flowery pledges of cash to the Palestinians as a ba-ad investment, which actually makes them a lot smarter than I gave them credit for. Anyway,why should they shell out any of their oil billions when the stoopid infidels are so willing to do it for them? $1 billion in international aid had been disbursed to the PA in 6 months by us wacky Westerners, about 40% of it passed to Gaza by Abbas to fund Hamas in the Gaza Strip...who says terrorism doesn't pay? Yet the Palestinian Authority still complains that it is broke...what
a bunch of jokesters!

If the Israeli government was thinking straight, they'd call Abbas' bluff and end the comedy once and for all.

-Rob Miller. Crossposted at JoshuaPundit

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The folly of revisiting shebaa farms

Jonathan Spyer explains the untoward interest the West has in Shebaa Farms:

In the wake of the recent Doha agreement, the US is keen to bolster the position of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and the March 14 movement of which he is a part.

The Cedar Revolution, and the Saniora government which resulted from it, is considered by the US administration to be one of its most significant diplomatic achievements in the region.

Doha stipulated the creation of a new cabinet in Lebanon that would include opposition (i.e., Hizbullah and allied) representation. The US is evidently concerned about preserving the standing of Saniora and March 14 in the ongoing Lebanese political standoff.

This concern, it is understood, is shared by Sarkozy, who is considered a moving force behind the current initiative. The government of Israel is apparently willing to adopt a newly conciliatory stance on the Shaba farms in order to play its role within this process.

Rice, in Beirut, expressed her concern at Hizbullah's prominence in Lebanon and said that the administration intended to address the "real reasons and underlying causes" of this. When asked to define these, she said, according to a report in the Beirut Daily Star, that the issue of the Shaba farms must be resolved "within the context of [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701 rather than Resolution 425."

So how does this strengthen the March 14 forces?

The US administration wants to bolster Saniora and simultaneously remove the rationale for Hizbullah's continued bearing of arms. Hizbullah currently uses the Shaba farms as its central rallying cry; hence, the apparent idea is to induce Israel to cede the farms, probably to UN control. This, it is expected, will simultaneously remove Hizbullah's reason for maintaining its armed capacity - and enable Saniora to pose as the "liberator" of Shaba.

The idea is likely to backfire. First of all, while Hizbullah has declared itself opposed to the idea of placing the Shaba farms under UN jurisdiction, this will not prevent it from declaring any Israeli withdrawal as its own achievement, a delayed result of the shock and fear - and subsequent flexibility - induced in Israel by the 2006 war.

Israel, apparently wishes to be seen as aiding the forces of good. And that explains what perplexes Emanuele Ottolenghi:

That means there is nothing to negotiate on the matter–it is not for Lebanon to stake a claim on the Sheeba Farms and it is not for Israel to return the Sheeba Farms to Lebanon, given that according to the UN Israel has complied with Resolution 425 in full. It stands to no reason that Olmert should concede on this point. The Sheeba Farms issue has been settled for eight years, and reopening it means giving in on a pretext that Hezbollah has exploited far too long to justify its blatant violations of UN resolutions, Lebanese law, and the Taif agreements. So why is Olmert offering what Israel should keep?

Israel wants to be regarded as helping the West, so Olmert is willing to re-open this issue. Spyer explains why it won't work.

There were those after May 2000 who assumed that once Israel had abandoned the security zone, the former aspect of Hizbullah's identity would take precedence over the latter. This, of course did not take place. Should Shaba be ceded, Hizbullah already has a list of subsequent "grievances" against Israel that will be used to justify further "resistance."

Hezbollah will simply provide a new grievance against Israel to excuse its continued terror, just as it has done since 2000. The terror attacks that Israel absorbed from Hezbollah since 2000 and its blind eye towards Hezbollah's growing threat, essentially negated any benefit - moral or strategic - that it should have gained from withdrawing from Lebanon. It's a lesson that Hezbollah has learned well.

If Israel reopens the issue of Shebaa Farms now, in the future the world will then lean on Israel to satisfy each succeeding grievance, thereby ceding moral, legal and strategic ground to Hezbollah in the vain hope that these sacrifices would eliminate Hezbollah's raison d'etre and transform it into a legitimate political movement. But each concession will grant Hezbollah new legitimacy until Israel is forced once again to war with the terrorist group minus the advantages it ceded over the years.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Whether it has been other nations

Turkey's cabinet yesterday discussed steps to take against Israel, whose actions were condemned by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Sunday over its excessive use of force against Palestinians in Gaza.
“It is not possible for us to approve of the recent inhumane practice in Gaza. Children, civilians are being killed with disproportionate use of force,” Erdoğan said Sunday in a speech he delivered to his party's youth branches here.
“There is no humane or legal justification for the attacks in Gaza. We, the Turkish Republic, openly condemn Israel's attitude,” he said.

(h/t Daled Amos )


Rice called on Israel to "make a very strong effort to spare innocent life" in Gaza, but did not rescind her earlier position that walking away from negotiations would be a victory for those who oppose peace.

or editors

Yet the likelihood of achieving the two-state solution they have embraced diminishes with every rocket lobbed into Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza and with every Israeli military strike or squeeze on civilian life in Gaza.

Everyone seems to suggest that Israel be careful about civilians in Gaza even as it seeks to defend its own civilians.

And yet there's a record that shows exactly how careful Israel is with civilians (or, in one case, non-combatants)

Ynet reports

The Kerem Shalom terminal in the southern Gaza Strip was expected to reopen Tuesday after being closed for six weeks for security reasons.

Some 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the Palestinians were expected to pass through the terminal, while 60 additional trucks containing equipment and medications were to cross the border at the Suffa crossing.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was used as an alternative terminal after the Karni crossing in the northern Strip was shut down. The terminal was shut down, however, after the defense establishment received warnings on terror organization's plans to carry out attacks at the area, and after mortar shells were fired at the terminal while goods were passing through it.

On Tuesday, the IDF was instructed to reopen the crossing, allowing a limited number of trucks to enter Gaza while following the developments in the area on a daily basis.

Sixty trucks were expected to pass through the Suffa crossing with medications, as well as equipment and food from the United Nations and donations from Jordan and Turkey. In addition, 80 trucks carrying grains were to enter the Strip through the Karni crossing.

(h/t Elder of Ziyon who notes:

Meanwhile, three Qassams landed in Israel so far today, to correspond with the three crossings that goods will be shipped through.

I guess that's what they mean by a "proportionate response.")

Israel's MFA boasts that the Barzilai hospital that was nearly hit by a Grad missile has been treating premature Palesitinian babies.

The first Hamas missiles began raining down on Ashkelon on Saturday (1 March) shortly after 5 a.m. When the Hamas shelling of Ashkelon started, the twins, a boy and girl, were still in the NICU. One of the Grad rockets fell a mere 50 meters from the hospital entrance. All the premature babies in the NICU unit, including the two Palestinian babies, were transferred to the hospital's bomb shelter for fear that the hospital itself would receive a direct missile hit.

(h/t Israel at Level Ground )

And when an Egyptian helicopter crew got lost in Gaza, it was the IAF that escorted them to safety.

The pilot of an Egyptian helicopter lost in the fog found himself over the Gaza Strip and under fire from Hamas militants Monday until Israeli warplanes escorted his aircraft back across the border, Egyptian and Israeli security officials said. The red-and-white chopper strayed into the narrow coastal strip between Israel and Egypt shortly after Israeli forces withdrew from northern Gaza, concluding an offensive against rocket squads. Hamas mistook the Egyptian aircraft for an Apache attack helicopter used by Israel in airstrikes and tried to shoot it down, the militant group said. There were no reports of injury to the pilot or any passengers.

(h/t Yourish )

On the other side we see that Hamas is using mosques to hide weapons. (There is a history of Israel's enemies using the protection of holy places to wage war.)

Frankly given the disparity of how each side treats civilians the condemnations of and suggestions to Israel are insulting.

It isn't the collateral damage of Israel's defense that threatens peace. It is the impression of Israel's enemies that they can attack Israel with impunity - and as a bonus get Israel condemned - that undermines peace. Maybe if Israel's critics were a bit more forthcoming about everything Israel was doing it would reduce the incentives of Hamas to continue attacking. (That's probably a pipe dream.)