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October 15, 2010

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Report: Libya Builds New Offices for Israeli-Arab Group (Jerusalem Post)
    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is paying for the construction of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee's new offices, the Israeli-Arab newspaper Bokra reported Thursday.
    Israeli-Arab officials visited Libya in April and met with Gaddafi. Committee Chairman Muhammad Zidan has reportedly been in contact with Libya's ambassador in Jordan since the trip.
    See also The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee (Reut Institute)
    The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, established in 1982 and comprised of Arab MKs, Israeli-Arab local council heads and NGOs, is an independent political organization whose aim is to coordinate the political actions of various Israeli-Arab bodies.
    The committee is not an elected or an executive body and Israel does not recognize it as an official or representative Israeli-Arab organization.
    Despite this, the committee holds informal contacts with government ministries, and its statements are published in the media.

Israel Approves New East Jerusalem Homes (AP-Washington Post)
    Israel's government says it has approved the construction of 238 homes in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, ending an unofficial freeze on new building there for nearly a year.
    Israeli officials said they discussed the construction in the neighborhoods of Ramot and Pisgat Zeev with the U.S. administration and cut the number of planned units to temper American displeasure.

The Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America (Anti-Defamation League)
    In the last decade, hundreds of groups around the country have renewed and increased their efforts to castigate and condemn Israel through a variety of campaigns, initiatives and events.
    Israel's detractors use a plethora of weapons to assault Israel's legitimacy. They hold Israel to a different standard than other countries, condemning it for implementing policies to protect its citizens.
    These accusations are rarely mitigated by acknowledgement of Israel's right to protect its citizens from the constant threat of Palestinian terrorism.
    The ten most influential anti-Israel groups in the U.S. today stand out in that they are able to organize a significant number of events, have a national reach, use particularly vitriolic language against Israel and its supporters, attract people to their cause and affect the mainstream discussion about Israel.
    See also The List of Anti-Israel Groups (ADL)

The PA Economy: A House of Cards - David Rosenberg (Jerusalem Post)
    The International Monetary Fund estimates that the West Bank's economy will probably grow 8% this year. The real reason the West Bank is booming is because of Western largesse - some $5.5 billion in three years, or an average of $456 per person per year.
    The lion's share of that money is going to fund the PA's budget deficit. It pays for too many teachers, government clerks, policemen and the like, not for new roads, schools or other investments that would develop infrastructure and provide the basis for long-term economic growth.
    It's essentially a big make-work scheme aimed at buying social and political peace.
    The kind of things that would represent real economic growth, like private sector investment in new factories, improvements in farming or new services, isn't happening much at all because the West Bank remains a lousy place to do business.
    Whether or not the West Bank gains independence, when the donor dollars dry up, the danger will reemerge.

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Columbia U. Launches Center for Palestine Studies - Samantha Jean-Baptiste (Columbia Spectator)
    Columbia launched the first-ever Center for Palestine Studies in the U.S. on Thursday as part of its Middle East Institute.
    The center was also created in honor of former professor Edward Said, who taught at Columbia for 40 years.
    See also "My Beautiful Old House" and Other Fabrications by Edward Said - Justus Reid Weiner (Commentary)

Israeli Jews, Arabs Outlive Americans (UPI)
    Israeli Jews live approximately 81 years and Israeli Arabs live 79 years, while the average American life expectancy is 78 years, says Professor Dov Chernichovsky of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
    "Life expectancy in the U.S. grew by four years since 1980...but for Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, the gain was more than seven years."

Israeli Chutzpah a Hot Commodity in China - Tal Reshef (Ynet News)
    During Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer's recent visit to China, the city of Shenzhen declared it regards Israel as a country with which it would like to explore technological cooperation, after initiating a seminar calling on Chinese companies to invest in Israel.
    A hi-tech fair in Tianjin this year showcased the Israeli flag, the only foreign flag to appear in the event's website.
    The Chinese culture is a culture of modesty that does not encourage forwardness and boldness. This leads to conservatism, and lack of imagination and original thinking.
    That is where Israel comes in. Israel, with its low level of discipline and high measure of individuality, is a perfect hotbed for innovation.

Indian Naval Chief Pays Homage to Fallen Indian Soldiers in Israel (Press Trust of India)
    India's Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma Wednesday visited the memorial of Indian soldiers who fell in the liberation of Haifa during World War I, and paid tribute by laying a wreath.
    Nearly 900 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in this region during World War I and were cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel.
    Two brave Indian Cavalry Regiments helped liberate the city in 1918 following a dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, part of the Allied Forces sweeping northward through Palestine in what is seen as the last great cavalry campaign in history.

Israel Sees Record Year for Tourism (Jerusalem Post)
    Since the beginning of the year, nearly 2.5 million tourists have visited Israel - an increase of 27% over the same period in 2009 and 9% over 2008, Israel's record tourism year to date, the Tourism Ministry said Tuesday.

Watching the Pro-Israel Academic Watchers - Leslie Wagner (Jewish Political Studies Review)
    Three academic watch organizations were founded in 2002. The largest is the U.S.-based Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, which is run by the academic community itself.
    Campus Watch, also U.S.-based, is part of the Middle East Forum and focuses on the anti-Israel biases of Middle East courses and the academics who teach them.
    In the UK, Academic Friends of Israel has dealt with counteracting academic boycott attempts.
    Subsequently established organizations include Engage, also in the UK, which has concentrated on anti-Israel attitudes of academics; and in Israel, Israel Academia Monitor and IsraCampus, which highlight anti-Israel biases and actions of Israeli academics.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Ahmadinejad in Lebanon Targets Israel - Alia Ibrahim and Joel Greenberg
    In a fiery speech in Bint Jbeil, two miles from Lebanon's border with Israel, on Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised a cheering crowd that the "Zionists will disappear" and that "occupied Palestine will be liberated," as a pair of Israeli helicopters flew along the border within sight of the stadium where he was speaking. "Today the Zionist occupiers have no choice but to surrender to reality and return to their homes and countries of origin," he said.
        Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, said, "Iran's domination of Lebanon, through its proxy Hizbullah, has prevented Lebanon from being a partner in peace and turned Lebanon into an Iranian satellite and a hub of regional terror and instability."  (Washington Post)
        See also Looking Over Israel's Northern Border at Iran - Donald Macintyre
    When looking over the fence [from Israel to Lebanon], you don't see symbols of an independent Lebanese state, but flags of Hizbullah and Iran, which are tightening their grip on the south of the country. Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's military-political branch, said Ahmadinejad's visit "illustrates the Iranian trend to take control over southern Lebanon especially," adding: "It is very important to prevent that." Hizbullah was "an entity which is eating Lebanon like cancer eats the body" and it was a "tragedy" that Lebanon's leadership was allowing "a man who is not Arab and an extremist leader to destroy Lebanon from the inside."  (Independent-UK)
        See also Ahmadinejad Calls for 9/11 Investigation - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S.: European Terror Plot Still Active - Paisley Dodds
    A European terrorist plot is still enough of a threat for the U.S. to keep its current travel advisory, the U.S. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin said Thursday in London. "We didn't tell anyone not to travel here (Europe)," he said. "But we really do believe that if you give people some ideas on how to behave - what to do in their traveling - they will be more aware of their surroundings and take precautions, and will therefore be more secure."  (AP)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu Responds to Ahmadinejad's Threats in Lebanon - Dudi Cohen
    Prime Minister Netanyahu commented on Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, in which he said that "the Zionists will not last long." "We've heard cursing and abomination from the Lebanon border today. The best answer to these blasphemies was given here 62 years ago," Netanyahu said. "We shall continue building and creating our country and will be prepared to defend it."  (Ynet News)
  • Israel Willing to Resume Peace Talks Immediately Without Preconditions - Attila Somfalvi
    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin on Wednesday: "The Israeli people want peace, but the other party must show good faith as well." Israel's government "has made plenty of goodwill gestures to enable negotiations with the Palestinians. We are willing to resume talks immediately, with no preconditions, but the Palestinian must reciprocate."  (Ynet News)
  • Israel Air Force Completes 4-Day Exercise with Greek Air Force - Yaakov Lappin
    Eight Israeli combat helicopters - four Blackhawks and four Apaches - completed a four-day joint exercise with the Hellenic Air Force in Greece this week, which included navigating around high mountains. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel-Greece Ties in Bloom - Herb Keinon
    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas is expected in Jerusalem on Monday, a week after the minister of state in the Greek Prime Minister's Office, Haris Pamboukis, came to Israel to "map out fields of cooperation" between the two countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Greece in August, a month after his Greek counterpart George Papandreou came to Israel.
        The recent sharp deterioration in ties with Turkey has led to a significant warming of Israel's ties with traditional Turkish rivals in the region, such as Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece. Among the issues reportedly discussed with Pamboukis was the possibility of building an underwater pipeline from Israel to Greece, through which Israel could export natural gas to Europe. Turkey was in the past considered the logical partner for this pipeline. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State

  • An End to Israel's Invisibility - Michael B. Oren
    Nearly 63 years after the UN recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland, the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. Why should it matter? Because mutual acceptance is essential if both peoples are to live side by side in two states in genuine and lasting peace.
        So much of Palestinian identity as a people has coalesced around denying that same status to Jews. Reconciling with the Jewish state means that the two-state solution is not a two-stage solution leading, as many Palestinians hope, to Israel's dissolution. Recognition of Israel as the Jewish state would prove that the Palestinians are serious about peace. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the United States. (New York Times)
  • Palestinian Leaders Denying Reality, Delaying Peace - David Harris
    In 2007, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat declared: "No state in the world connects its national identity to its religious identity." Perhaps Mr. Erekat could explain why we have countries whose formal names include the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islam is also the official religion in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
        Israel has made a giant leap in recognizing Palestinian nationhood and the need for a Palestinian state, with all the risks it entails for Israel's security, as a territorial answer to the needs of the Palestinian people. Now the Palestinians need to reciprocate, and the sooner the better, if the current peace process is to have a chance of success. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (Huffington Post)
        See also Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State - Raphael Israeli
    All the countries of the Middle East stress their Arab nationalism (even without mentioning democracy as part of their identity) without batting an eyelid. Paragraph 20 of the Palestinian National Charter, which has never been amended or annulled, states that the Jews are not a nation and therefore are not entitled to a state. It is interesting that thousands of Arabs from Jordan and Sudan come here to request political asylum in our "repressive" country, but no one is in a hurry to seek refuge in Syria or Libya. The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel as a Project of Nation-Building - Daniel Gordis
    The fundamental impetus at the core of Israeli society is building. More than a country, the Jewish state is a project of nation-building. This is the state of the "watchtower and stockade," those desperate attempts in the face of British opposition to build small outposts that were the beginnings of Jewish resettlement of the Land of Israel.
        The real issue is whether the world will acknowledge, almost a century after the Balfour Declaration, that the Jews, like other peoples, have a right to a homeland. Sadly, on that issue, there is much less international consensus than there used to be. The writer is senior vice president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)

    Ahmadinejad in Lebanon

  • Israel Comes Face to Face with the Man Who Would Wipe It Off the Map - Robert Fisk
    Watching Ahmadinejad, you got the feeling that he really believed all this flannel, that the fawning and pampering and ecstasy might have gone to his head. Was this not, after all, the same Ahmadinejad who claimed that a ghostly halo hung over his head when he first addressed the United Nations? The Shias of the southern suburbs of Beirut and of southern Lebanon - and the Hizbullah, who are trained, paid and armed by his country - showed their adoration at every turn. A story - which I am told is true - goes that Ahmadinejad called Nasrallah during the 2006 Hizbullah war with Israel and promised to pay for the rebuilding of all Beirut if Nasrallah wanted to fire rockets at Tel Aviv. Nasrallah chose not to. (Independent-UK)
  • Ahmadinejad Wants the Charges Dropped Against Hizbullah - or Else - Con Coughlin
    What better way to distract attention from Iran's deepening economic crisis - the direct result of Ahmadinejad's intransigence over the nuclear program - than to stage a high-profile visit to about the only place in the world where he can truly be guaranteed a popular welcome. During the past three decades, Iran has invested billions of dollars in Hizbullah. The fact that Hizbullah is now Lebanon's main political party, and a leading member of the coalition government, shows how far Iran's pet militia has come during the past 25 years. Its leadership also shares Iran's nihilistic attitude towards the feisty little Jewish state located on the other side of Lebanon's southern border.
        But it is Hizbullah's continued involvement in terrorism that is the real motivation behind Ahmadinejad's visit. Details of the UN tribunal's findings leaked to the Beirut press suggest that, apart from Hizbullah mastermind Imad Mugniyeh, the investigators have uncovered evidence that links as many as 50 senior Hizbullah officials to the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Diplomatic sources in Beirut tell me that Saad Hariri, the current prime minister and son of the murdered politician, has offered Hizbullah leader Nasrallah a deal whereby the assassination is blamed entirely on Mugniyeh, who is no longer in a position to face criminal prosecution. But Nasrallah, who regards Mugniyeh as a "martyr" to Hizbullah's cause, has refused.
        By parading through Shia-dominated southern Lebanon, Ahmadinejad was sending an uncompromising message to Hariri's government to drop the charges against Hizbullah or face the consequences. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Did Ahmadinejad's Visit to Lebanon Help or Hurt Hizbullah? - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    It is far from clear whether Ahmadinejad's visit helped or hurt his Hizbullah proxy. Everyone in the country knows that Hizbullah operates under Tehran's auspices and serves as the long arm of Iran against Israel, but the group had tried to hide this as much as possible and present itself as a patriotic Lebanese organization. Now, there is nothing left to hide: The Iranian president behaved as if he owned southern Lebanon, as well as Dahiya, a Hizbullah-dominated district of Beirut. And this caused all the Lebanese factions considerable embarrassment. In other words, the Iranian leader's crude statements may boomerang and undermine Hizbullah's standing among the Lebanese public. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ahmadinejad at the Lebanese-Israeli Border - Martin Peretz
    The debacle started when the world's self-appointed enforcers of what they imagined as peace put the squeeze on Israel as it fought Hizbullah in the summer of 2006. It is true that the fighting was not going as well as it might have for the Jewish state. But by the time everybody was in the panicky spirit to intervene for a truce, the Israel Defense Forces had actually turned the tides of battle against the Shi'a militia whose casualties were more Lebanese than Israelis. Security Council resolution 1701 stopped the fighting, but did not stop the transfer of arms from Syria and Iran to the martyr-terrorists commanded by Hassan Nasrallah.
        Iran now has three frontiers with Israel. The line with Gaza, patrolled by Hamas. The line with Syria proper. And the line with Lebanon which is not Lebanon at all, but Hizbullah-land. (New Republic)

    Peace Process

  • The Peace Process is Back: Prepare for War - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Just as life seemed to be returning to normal in the West Bank and Gaza and Israelis and Palestinians were for the first time in many years beginning to talk about security and economic cooperation, the U.S. administration stepped in to demand that the "peace process" be resumed. Now that Israelis and Palestinians are being forced to discuss sensitive issues that each side would have preferred to avoid at this stage, their officials have stepped up rhetorical attacks on each other. It would have been better had Obama and Clinton waited a little longer with the peace talks and, in the meantime, encouraged Israelis and Palestinians to continue with their efforts to calm the situation. The harder the U.S. pushes, the closer the two sides move toward another confrontation. (Hudson Institute New York)
  • Palestinians: Don't Miss Another Opportunity - Robert K. Lifton
    The Obama Administration, the Quartet, and many Israelis, including Mr. Netanyahu, are urging Mr. Abbas to find a way to continue the negotiations. As one who has consistently supported a peace process, and a two-state solution, I strongly support that position. If the Palestinians are ever to achieve a state of their own they must be flexible in their approach. For too many years, we have watched Palestinian leaders from Yasser Arafat to Mahmuod Abbas make decisions that assured failure to achieve their own objectives.
        In the final analysis, it is in the best interests of the Palestinian people that the negotiations with Israel continue. That is the only way they have of realizing their hopes for a state of their own. Their success will not stand or fall on the specific amount of land they control but on the talents, drive and commitment of their people. The writer served as President of the American Jewish Congress, President of the Israel Policy Forum, and Co-Chair of the International Board of the Middle East Project of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Huffington Post)
  • Grandstanding and Ambivalence by Abbas Holding Up Progress on Peace - Kenneth Bandler
    It is annoyingly predictable. When progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace emerges, Mahmoud Abbas issues demands and threats, while world leaders scramble to appease him. This is the third time in 2010 alone that he has played this game.
        The solution to reviving the direct talks, for the second time in less than two months, lies not with Israel but with Abbas, whose grandstanding and ambivalence hinders progress and harms the very people whom he serves. And the surest way to change Abbas is for the U.S. and other world leaders to stop playing his game, making every effort to appease him, but, instead, firmly remind the Palestinians that the only sound path to peace and a state will be found when they engage Israel in direct talks. The writer is the American Jewish Committee's Director of Communications. (Fox News)
        See also Memo to Abbas: Jews Also Have a Right to a Homeland - Rabbi Abraham Cooper (Huffington Post)

    Other Issues

  • Free Iran - Emanuele Ottolenghi
    The recent decision by the Obama administration to sanction some of the Iranian regime's worst human-rights abusers is a welcome step in the right direction. The EU, meanwhile, hasn't even decided yet whether to consider at all human rights sanctions against Iran. Western politicians must raise specific cases of dissidents and imprisoned opposition figures, demand their swift release, and exact a price for noncompliance.
        For example, those governments that still have an embassy in Tehran could downgrade diplomatic relations with Tehran by withdrawing ambassadors if their demands are not met. Certainly, visiting Iranian officials no longer deserve the red-carpet treatment or platforms to spread their propaganda. And Western leaders could more aggressively apply existing human-rights legislation to curtail exports of technology that could be used for repressing Iran's population.
        Western governments and NGOs should also bestow human-rights prizes on Iranian dissidents and honor the memory of those Iranians the regime murdered for their opposition to Islamist oppression. The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of the forthcoming book Iran: The Looming Crisis (Profile Books 2010). (Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • Why Israel Won't Abandon the Settlers - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is attempting to legalize two houses in a tiny West Bank settlement called Hayovel that were built without government permission and face possible demolition. The houses were built by two war heroes. Major Eliraz Peretz fell in a skirmish on the Israeli-Gaza border a half year ago; Israelis were especially touched by his story because his older brother died in Lebanon 12 years ago. The second hero, Major Ro'i Klein, was killed in Lebanon in 2006 after leaping onto a grenade to save his men. Fallen soldiers have a sacrosanct status in Israel. Demolishing the houses that Peretz and Klein built for their families seems to Israelis, whatever their politics, an unbearable act of ingratitude.
        Increasingly, Israel's military elite is coming from West Bank settlements and, more broadly, from within the religious Zionist community that produced the settlement movement. Perhaps 40% of combat officers are now religious Zionists (not to be confused with ultra-orthodox Haredim), nearly three times their percentage in the general population. The newly appointed deputy chief of staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, is a religious Zionist.
        The "settler" has assumed a near demonic image around the world, but most settlers are part of the mainstream. Crucially, few Israelis regard settlers as interlopers on another people's land. The political wisdom of the settlement project is intensely debated, but only a fringe denies the historic right of Jews to live in what was the biblical heartland of Israel. If the international community wants to understand why the Israeli public doesn't share its antipathy toward the settlers or its urgency to uproot settlements, a good place to begin is with Mr. Barak's effort to legalize two houses on a West Bank hilltop. The writer is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Standing Up to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement - Eric Lee
    Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, told the Zionist Federation of Australia conference in Melbourne on Sunday: "We must explain that the BDS movement, as it relates to the Palestinian struggle, is not really a home-grown initiative. Today's international anti-Israel boycott movement is largely an initiative imposed on the Palestinian body politic by outside agitators who run so-called solidarity groups. These solidarity groups have little or no institutional connections or support from within the territories - especially not the West Bank....We need to be smart, nuanced, understand the strategy of the international BDSers - and act to suck the wind out of their effort."  (TULIP-Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine)
        See also A Counterproductive Call to Boycott Israel's Universities - Todd Gitlin and Nissim Calderon (New Republic)

    Weekend Features

  • Israel's Defenders Need to Attack - Melanie Phillips
    Last weekend CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, held a conference in Boston on the "war by other means," the global campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel. Wall Street Journal columnist (and former Jerusalem Post editor) Bret Stephens said much pro-Israel advocacy isn't very smart because it is conducted from a permanent defensive crouch rather than an offensive position which sticks the accusations into Israel's attackers.
        So, for example, friends of Israel fret endlessly about whether or not Bibi will extend the moratorium on new building in Jewish communities in the disputed territories, rather than ask the much more germane question of what the Palestinians are offering as an equivalent concession. The answer, said Stephens, is that they say they will keep the lid on terrorism. So their great concession is to stop killing Jews. Which illustrates that while the issue in contention for Israel is land, that for the Palestinians is mass murder.
        Many self-professed "friends" of Israel position themselves on the ground that defines the conflict as being about the boundaries of two states, Israel and Palestine. Hence the almost exclusive focus on the settlements and the territories. This is demonstrably absurd. The only obstacle to peace is the Palestinians' continued and open refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and thus their continued objective to wage a war of extermination against it. That is why, when the bulk of the territories was offered to them in 2000, their response was to start blowing up Israelis in buses and pizza parlors; that is why, when Jewish settlers were removed from Gaza, their response was to fire thousands of rockets at Israeli towns; and that is why "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians will never accept Israel as a Jewish state.
        As Stephens rightly observed, Israel's defenders should be moving the conversation on to the subject of the ill treatment of the Palestinians by the rest of the Arab world - and towards each other. I would ask those who obsess about removing the settlers from the disputed territories why they promote an agenda of racist ethnic cleansing designed to remove every Jew from a putative state of Palestine, while Israel, whose Arab minority enjoys full civil rights, is excoriated for "apartheid."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Israeli Soldiers Share War Ordeals - Natalie Bonilla
    On Wednesday, Orit and Jonathan, two Israel Defense Force soldiers, shared some of their life-changing experiences in the Israeli army with a group of Cal State Fullerton students. Jonathan, an American citizen, served as an infantry officer for five years. Orit, a medic, was called on to treat a captured Arab prisoner, Halel Jaradat, who had sent his sister Hanadi to blow herself up in a restaurant in Haifa in 2003, killing 21 people. "I was trained not to discriminate against race, nationality or moral standards," Orit said. "I was trying to give him medical aid merely according to the wounds and medical needs, nothing else; I knew I had to treat him."  (Daily Titan-Cal State Fullerton)
  • Checkpoint Duty - Tamara Shavit
    Corp. Noy Berkovich, 19, is a soldier in the Taoz battalion, part of the unit responsible for checkpoints in the Military Police. Every day she checks thousands of vehicles and people, part of an army effort to eradicate the wave of attacks which marked daily life in Israel at the beginning of the decade. During training she was taught about security checks, different checkpoints, about interactions with those passing through the checkpoints. What's stressed the most is technique: how to check if an ID is fake, what to check in vehicles, how to check people. There is also a short course in Arabic.
        "Every time we catch weapon smugglers, we are reminded once again that the threat exists. That what we are doing here we have to do. In the end, there is no other choice," she conclude. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Observations:

    The Aim Is to Make Israel a Pariah - Rupert Murdoch (Commentary)

    From a speech to the Anti-Defamation League in New York on Wednesday:

    • We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews. For the first decades after Israel's founding, this war was conventional in nature. The goal was straightforward: to use military force to overrun Israel.
    • Then came phase two: terrorism. Terrorists targeted Israelis both at home and abroad - from the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich to the second intifada. The terrorists continue to target Jews across the world.
    • Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by delegitimizing it. The aim is to make Israel a pariah.
    • The result is the curious situation we have today: Israel becomes increasingly ostracized, while Iran - a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel's destruction - pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and without apparent fear of rebuke.
    • Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spell out the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel. In Europe, Jewish populations increasingly find themselves targeted by people who share that goal. Violence and extremism are encouraged when the world sees Israel's greatest ally distancing herself from the Jewish state.
    • Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel. My view is the opposite. Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities more certain. The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure - not when Washington feels distant.

          See also Murdoch on Anti-Semitism - Editorial (New York Sun)

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