Report: Nasrallah to Place Hizbullah at Assad's Disposal - Yousef Diab (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Lebanon's Al-Joumhouria newspaper, quoting senior political sources, revealed that Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan "Nasrallah had offered [Syrian President] Assad two forms of assistance, firstly he offered elements of Hizbullah's special forces any time they are needed, even if they are required to be sent to open fronts to fight the revolutionaries."
"Secondly, Nasrallah invited the Syrian president to his personal residence, or even to meet inside the Iranian embassy in Beirut...but Assad has opted to remain in Syria because he still believes he is able to steer the ship with the help of some Russian political and military experts."
Syrian Nightmare for Israel - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
According to the CIA, the number of Syrian rebels is smaller than what is perceived in the West. In addition, the rebel leadership was massively infiltrated by radical Muslim Brotherhood elements.
Moreover, CIA agents have been able to report that some of the massacres in Syria in the past year were carried out by elements that were not activated by the Assad regime.
CIA officials warn: Not only will there be no new Syria, there is a chance it will be similar to the current Egyptian model or to the Iraqi model, where nobody knows who controls what.
The states which offer financial and military support to the rebels have no idea who they're supporting.
Meet the Islamist Militants Fighting Alongside Syria's Rebels - Rania Abouzeid (TIME)
There has been much speculation about whether or not Islamic radicals have gained a foothold in Syria. They have, albeit a small one.
While there are jihadists, both foreign and local, their presence should not be overstated.
But should the conflict spiral out of hand, their role may exponentially grow.
Al-Qaeda's War for Syria - Seth G. Jones (Wall Street Journal)
The U.S. and its allies should consider opening a second front in the Syrian war. There is a growing need to conduct a covert campaign against al-Qaeda and other extremist groups gaining a presence in the country.
Since last December, al-Qaeda has conducted two dozen attacks, primarily against Syrian security service targets. Virtually all have been suicide attacks and car bombings, and they have resulted in more than 200 deaths and 1,000 injuries.
The writer, associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, previously served as a senior adviser in U.S. Special Operations Command.
Syria's Kurds Stand Alone after Rejecting Rebels and Regime - Aymenn Al Tamimi (National-Abu Dhabi)
A semiautonomous Kurdish community in Syria, with some parallels to the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Iraq, is a growing possibility.
Leaders of Syrian Kurdish groups have made it clear they will not tolerate the spread of Syria's conflict into Kurdish-dominated areas.
With Syrian Kurds declining to choose between Assad and the opposition, the idea of a de facto Kurdish autonomous area in the Al Jazira area of northeast Syria becomes a possibility.
Note that the Kurdish areas of Turkey constitute at least 50% of the dreamed of Kurdistan.
Ankara would not welcome an independent Kurdish state just south of its border, believing that such a state would increase the possibility of a Kurdish revolt in Turkey's southeast.
The writer is an adjunct fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Watch Out!: Syria and Its Chemical Weapons (Economist-UK)
Syria has one of the world's biggest arsenals of chemical weapons.
According to intelligence-based reports, Syria has hundreds of tons of skin-blistering mustard gas and sarin, a lethal nerve agent. It also developed large stocks of VX, an even more deadly and persistent nerve agent than sarin.
Weaponization followed, with the manufacture of up to 200 chemical warheads for its Russian-supplied Scud-B and Scud-C missiles, as well as thousands of chemical free-fall bombs and artillery shells.
Intelligence sources believe that Syria has continued to replenish its arsenal (sarin and VX both have a limited shelf-life), spending as much as $2 billion a year on the program.
U.S.: New Bunker-Busting Bomb Ready to Use - Jeff Schogol (Air Force Times)
The U.S. Air Force's 30,000-pound behemoth bunker buster is ready to be used if needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Wednesday.
The Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers that protect chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
U.S., Lockheed Reach Deal on Israeli F-35s - Andrea Shalal-Esa (Reuters)
The Pentagon has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin Corp. on a $450 million program to enhance electronic warfare equipment on the F-35 fighter jet, and integrate Israeli-unique systems beginning in 2016.
The deal, to be finalized in coming weeks, marks a big step forward for Israel's $2.75 billion agreement to buy 19 F-35 jets, which includes options for up to 75 of the radar-evading fighters.
See also Israel to Upgrade Air Force with F-35 Advanced Aircraft - Hanan Greenberg (Al-Monitor)
Audience Applauds Violent Anti-Semitism on Egypt TV - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Egyptian actors fooled into thinking they were on an Israeli television show flew into violent rages and assaulted presenters on a candid camera-type program aired on Egypt's Al-Nahar channel on July 20, and made available by MEMRI.
One of the actors became irate after being led to believe he was speaking to Israelis, struck a female presenter across the face, sending her flying to the ground, and hurled chairs at staff.
View Video (MEMRI)
Israel's New Ambassador to Ethiopia Is Ethiopian-Born (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
President Shimon Peres met Tuesday with Zevadia Belaynesh, Israel's first Ethiopian-born ambassador, who will be departing shortly to head Israel's embassy in Addis Ababa.
Ambassador Belaynesh noted, "For me this is an enormous honor....I left Ethiopia as a girl and now I am returning as ambassador."
Disabled Youth Becomes IDF Officer - Reuven Weiss (Ynet News)
B. (21) was born with cerebral palsy and has partial paralysis in all four limbs. While he was officially exempt from military service, he insisted on joining the IDF, volunteering for the standard three-year service.
He was assigned to an intelligence unit where he was greatly valued. Last week, B. graduated from the IDF officers training course.
B. said, "You don't have to be an officer.... Everyone should contribute what he or she can. This is our country, and everyone who is still hesitating can take a look at me."
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- Iran Bolsters Retaliation Capability in Persian Gulf - Joby Warrick
Iran is rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines, U.S. and Middle Eastern analysts say. Increasingly accurate short-range missiles - combined with Iran's use of "swarm" tactics involving hundreds of heavily armed patrol boats - could strain the defensive capabilities of even the most modern U.S. ships, current and former military analysts say. (Washington Post)
- In Syria, Aleppo Mirrors Standoff in Damascus - Michael Peel
Syrian rebels armed with Kalashnikov rifles and dressed in a mixture of military and civilian clothes in the Salaheddin district of Aleppo were braced Thursday for a devastating attack by government troops, perching behind a fragile checkpoint of trash cans, rubble and a mutilated poster of President Bashar al-Assad.
As in Damascus last week, a rebel offensive has for the first time brought war to the heart of the city and challenged the myth of total government control - but, just as in the capital, Assad's forces are fighting back.
(Financial Times-UK-Washington Post)
Syrian Legislator Flees to Turkey, Warns of Government Onslaught on Aleppo
Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency said Friday that Ikhlas Badawi, a Syrian legislator from Aleppo, has fled to Turkey and warned that Syria was preparing for a massive offensive on cities where rebels are fighting government forces.
She said she defected in protest of the Syrian regime's "violence against the people."
See also Syria and Jordan Troops Clash on Border
A clash occurred between Syrian and Jordanian soldiers in the Tal Al Sihab region after Syrian forces opened fire on some 300 refugees attempting to flee into Jordan. The Syrians had targeted Jordanian forces by mistake.
Jordanian soldiers returned fire, igniting a fierce, 10-minute battle between the two sides. Jordanian government spokesman Smaih Maaytah said Syrian forces injured several refugees, including one child who died. Jordan has granted refuge to 150,000 Syrians since the start of the conflict.
- Egyptian President Meets Hamas' Gaza Leader - Tom Perry and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Gaza Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday in an official visit that signaled a big shift in Cairo's stance toward Hamas after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood head of state in Egypt. Mubarak never recognized the Hamas administration which has governed Gaza since 2007.
"Morsi's heart is with Hamas but his mind is elsewhere," said Hany al-Masri, a Palestinian political commentator. "He will give them as much as he can but he won't be able to give them much because his powers are restricted." "He will be very cautious," said Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid, an Egyptian analyst. "The intelligence and the military will have their say on this." (Reuters)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel to UN: Iranian Terrorism a Plague that Threatens Innocent People Worldwide - Haim Waxman
Statement to the UN Security Council by Amb. Haim Waxman, Israel's
Deputy Permanent Representative, July 25, 2012: "18 years ago, a bomb ripped through the Argentinian Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. 85 people were killed. Hundreds were injured. The Islamic Republic of Iran...was responsible for this act, along with its proxy Hizbullah.
Last week, a suicide bomber exploded on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria. Six were killed, including a pregnant woman. More than 30 were injured. The victims were mostly young people on vacation. Again, Iran and Hizbullah were responsible."
"In recent months, Israelis were targeted in terrorist attacks and attempted attacks in India, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Kenya, Turkey and, most recently, in Cyprus. Iran and Hizbullah were responsible for each and every one of these...plots [that] span five continents and at least 24 countries."
"The Iranian campaign of terrorism is a plague that threatens not only Israelis and Jews, but innocent people all over the globe. The time has come for the world to put an end to this campaign of terror, once and for all."
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- PA Thanks IOC for Refusing Munich Victims Memorial - Khaled Abu Toameh
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge thanking him for refusing to hold a minute of silence at Friday's opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Games, the PA's official news agency, WAFA, reported.
A senior Israeli government official responded: "If the leadership of the PA is not willing to disassociate itself from its terrorist past, and is unwilling to see the Munich massacre as a brutal act of terrorism, then in Israeli eyes there will be big questions regarding their true commitment to peace and reconciliation." Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon noted on Facebook: "Palestinian Authority media refer to the Munich terrorists as 'stars' whose path should be followed." (Jerusalem Post)
- BP to Supply Israel with LNG
BP said Tuesday it will supply Israel Electric Corporation with two cargos a month of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A source with knowledge of the deal said it will deliver from Dec. 2012 until May 2013 to plug a short-term gap after Egypt terminated a 20-year gas supply deal in April.
BP will deliver the gas to Israel's floating LNG import terminal, due to be completed in November. The liquefied fuel will be turned back into gas on-board a floating storage and re-gasification unit, and injected into sub-sea pipelines headed for Israel's gas grid. Israel's new Tamar offshore gas field will only come on line around April 2013.
Remembering the Munich Massacre
- Remembering the Munich Massacre at the London Olympics - Irwin Cotler
The refusal of the IOC to observe a moment of silence on the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre - the slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes for no other reason than that they were Israelis and Jews - is as offensive as it is incomprehensible.
This steadfast reluctance not only ignores - but mocks - the calls for a moment of silence by government leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird; by various parliaments including resolutions by the U.S. Congress as well as the Canadian, Australian, German and Italian Parliaments; and the sustained international public campaign and anguished civil societies appeals.
It is not hard to infer that not only were the athletes killed because they were Israeli and Jewish, but that the moment of silence is being denied them also because they are Israeli and Jewish. The writer as former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
- Shamefully, IOC Can't Spare a Minute to Mark 1972 Munich Terrorism - Bill Plaschke
They're not asking for much, these two elderly women who lost their husbands to the worst crime in Olympic history.
They're asking for a single minute to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Games.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, reportedly told Ankie Spitzer, wife of slain fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, that in this matter, his hands were tied.
"Your hands are tied?" Spitzer replied. "My husband's hands were tied. So were his feet." (Los Angeles Times)
- Hamas Rising - Jonathan Schanzer
While Iranian economic assistance to Hamas has dwindled, the Iranian weapons pipeline still appears to be robust.
Furthermore, in Gaza, Hamas is riding high on the beneficence of two of the Middle East's emerging Sunni powerhouses.
In February, Hamas announced a $250 million deal with Qatar for reconstruction projects. Doha is also providing funds for sports and housing projects. And Qatar appears to be the new global headquarters of the Hamas politburo after Damascus.
Turkey's Islamist government has also embraced Hamas, both economically and diplomatically. Yet it is in Ankara's interest to keep direct assistance shrouded in secrecy. Hamas has also enjoyed a red-carpet welcome in Tunisia, where the Islamist al-Nahda party has taken the reins of power.
The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in Egypt's presidential elections has energized Hamas. Hamas, unlike the PA, has never needed Western handouts. Since its inception in 1987, the group has operated entirely on regional cash. Its platform of resistance to Israel enjoys wide appeal in the new Sunni regional order.
The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Arab Spring Punctures Two-State Solution - Amir Taheri
The Arab Spring has punctured many ideas about Middle Eastern politics - including the "two-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The "two-state" formula was always based on two questionable assumptions: 1) that Palestinians regarded themselves as a nation in a world of nation-states and wished to create a state of their own; 2) that creating a Palestinian state was something that Israel acting alone could magically make happen.
The Arab Spring has seriously shaken the first assumption by revitalizing pan-Islamism, with the ultimate goal of restoring the caliphate. The pan-Islamist movement has never been interested in the creation of a Palestinian state.
In fact, in 1947-48 pan-Islamists repeatedly asserted that their goal was not the creation of a Palestinian state, but the liberation of Muslim territory occupied by the "infidel." They didn't want a Palestinian state; they wanted the destruction of the Jewish state.
Last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spelled out the pan-Islamist position when he announced he would lead a delegation to Cairo to invite Egypt's new president, Mohammad Morsi, to give a boost to "the struggle to revive the caliphate." (New York Post)
See also Arab Spring: A Blessing for Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
Thanks to the "Arab Spring," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has, for the first time ever, entered the Presidential Palace in Cairo.
Until recently, Mashaal and other Hamas leaders were considered personae non gratae in both Jordan and Egypt. The rising power of Hamas makes any talk about a peace process sound like a joke.
- Stumbling Toward the Gates of Damascus - David Ignatius
The reality, whether the Russians like it or not, is that the Syrian opposition is stumbling its way toward the gates of Damascus. Major Syrian figures are defecting, and more are said to be on the way. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies are divvying up the pieces of an increasingly potent covert action program - with the Saudis and Qataris providing money and weapons, America providing communications and logistics (a.k.a. command and control) and the Turks, Jordanians, Israelis and Emiratis providing intelligence support on the ground.
Even as the opposition pushes Assad toward the door, officials should worry about what comes next. U.S. officials reckon that well over 100 al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters are active in Syria, and that the numbers are growing as the fighting intensifies. A jihadist state that provides a new foothold for al-Qaeda would be a disaster for the region. Preventing this outcome should unite every player. (Washington Post)
- Who Will Rule Egypt? - Zvi Mazel
Mohamed Morsi, the newly elected Egyptian president from the Muslim Brotherhood, is waging an all-out war against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has severely curtailed his executive prerogatives. Though the generals did transfer power to the president in an impressive ceremony, they don't intend to let him rule alone and are mustering their considerable political and economic forces to fight what they see as an Islamic takeover of the country.
Even before the results of the election had been announced, the Muslim Brothers lost their stronghold in parliament, where they and the Salafis held three-quarters of the seats. Then SCAF published a constitutional declaration granting the generals not only legislative powers but effective control on drafting the constitution, preparing the budget and all military matters.
Morsi retains the right to name the prime minister and the ministers; he can issue presidential decrees; and that's about it.
This is an intolerable situation for the Brotherhood after 84 years of bitter fighting. They will not easily accept the stripping away of their hard-won gains; while they are currently trying to get the courts on their side, they are ready to use force if necessary. The writer, a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.
- Decline in Hizbullah's Status in Lebanon - E. B. Picali
There has been a tangible decline lately in Hizbullah's political and public standing in Lebanon. This is evident, for example, in attacks by Ahmad Al-Asir, a Salafi sheikh from Sidon, against the organization and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah; in the decision of Michel Aoun, Hizbullah's political ally for the past six years, to revoke political understandings with Hizbullah; in the May 22, 2012, abduction of 11 Lebanese Shi'ites in Syria, who, according to some reports, were senior Hizbullah members; and in criticism by Hizbullah's own supporters over its handling of social and economic affairs in the government and parliament.
The weakening in Hizbullah's standing has been caused by the decline in Syria's status in Lebanon; by the growing power of Sunni-Islamist forces throughout the Arab world; and by Hizbullah's unwavering support for Assad, whom many Lebanese regard as a tyrant oppressing and butchering his people.
- Iran's "Terrorism by Proxy" Strategy - Afshon Ostovar
Despite their rhetorical enunciations of confidence, Iran's leaders understand their country is steadily losing influence across the Middle East.
Iran cannot directly attack U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf without risking an open war with the U.S. Enter Hizbullah. Terrorism by proxy affords Iran the only retaliatory option that does not necessarily bring it to the brink of war. The writer is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.
- Like it or Not, Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital - Michael J. Totten
White House press secretary Jim Carney refused to publicly name the capital of Israel Wednesday. This is all really quite silly.
It's a fact - not an opinion - that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Anyone who insists otherwise is in denial.
You may wish Tel Aviv was its capital. You may even wish a united Al Quds was the capital of the Arab state of Palestine. But those things can only be true in an alternate universe or in the future. In this universe, in 2012, Israel exists and Jerusalem is its capital. Only one of Israel's national government buildings - the ministry of defense - is in Tel Aviv. All the others are in Jerusalem.
Carney doesn't want Arab governments to have a conniption fit.
The problem is that he is enabling delusional rejectionists. Letting self-destructive beliefs and behavior go unchecked always makes the problem worse in the long run.
(World Affairs Journal)
- Aurora Is Not Fort Hood - Marc A. Thiessen
The Aurora shooting was a senseless act of violence; Fort Hood was a terrorist attack.
Army Maj. Nidal Hasan's motive was the same motive that led 19 evil men to fly airplanes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001: He wanted to wage jihad against the United States.
Hasan followed a clear and focused ideology - Islamic radicalism - that is evil but not insane. He studied this ideology, and he committed mass murder in its name. He conspired with an enemy commander - Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -
and then killed to advance the enemy's vision and objectives. (Washington Post)
- Reinvigorating the Discussion of Israel's Rights in the West Bank - Avi Bell
The Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria (the "Levy report") has drawn criticism for its inclusion of a section concerning the lawfulness of Israeli settlement activity. But the report's argument is surprisingly modest in substance; it does little more than endorse the traditional official Israeli position that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to the West Bank, and in any event does not bar Israeli settlements.
Some have argued that by asserting its legal rights, Israel will signal that it is unwilling to entertain "land for peace" compromises. This seems a doubtful thesis. Israel has asserted its legal rights to Jerusalem for decades, but yet repeatedly offered compromises on its rights in the city. What the Levy report has done is to reinvigorate the discussion of the legitimacy of Israel's position under international law after many years in which Israel has been silent about its legal rights. The writer is a professor in the Rackman Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University and the University
of San Diego School of Law.
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- Eyewitness: Evacuating Israeli Terror Victims from Bulgaria - Dr. Gabi Barbash
After the bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, the medical response of the local hospital to a complex situation it had never before encountered was outstanding. The staff correctly evaluated the clinical situation of each casualty, and orchestrated the immediate evacuation of the three most severely injured to hospitals in the capital city of Sofia, thus almost certainly saving their lives. In Israel, the rapid recruitment of a group of paramedics and senior trauma and intensive care physicians enabled the dispatch of a medical delegation to Bulgaria five hours after the bomb exploded.
At the entrance to the Burgas Airport terminal, we were met by a group of 80 Israelis who choose to cancel their vacation and fly back to Israel. Our deplaning was greeted by their heartwarming applause.
The language barrier turned out to be more difficult than we had expected. Almost no one spoke English. The situation was saved by a young woman who was fluent in English: She met us at the hospital entrance and offered her help.
Her name was Kalina Krumova, 27, the youngest member of the Bulgarian parliament. She was a native of Burgas and hurried there from Sofia to provide any assistance she could as soon as she had heard about the terrorist attack.
As the convoy of ambulances from the hospital in Sofia drove to the airport, large groups of Bulgarian citizens lined the roads as if they came to salute the Israelis. It was later reported that many Bulgarians came to the hospital and offered to donate blood for the Israeli casualties. Bulgaria was one of the very few countries that resisted the deportation of Jews during World War II.
At the airport, the wounded boarded two enormous Israel Air Force Hercules airplanes, surrounded by the Air Force's elite 699 Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit teams. The Bulgarians were surprised at the lengths to which the State of Israel will go to aid its citizens hit by terrorism. The planes were in the air with 34 wounded Israelis less than 24 hours from the moment they were injured, and in Israeli hands on their way home.
Dr. Gabi Barbash, the CEO of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, headed the Israeli medical delegation to Burgas.
- The War on Anti-Semitism Is Not Over - French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande spoke on the 70th anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup (a Nazi-decreed raid and mass arrest in Paris by the French police in 1942):
"Seventy years ago, on 16 July 1942, early in the morning, 13,152 men, women and children were arrested in their homes. Childless couples and single people were interned in Drancy....The others were taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver. Piled together for five days in inhuman conditions, they were taken from there to the camps of Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande."
"A clear directive had been given by the Vichy administration: 'The children must not leave in the same convoys as the parents.' So, after heart-rending separations, they departed - the parents on one side, the children on the other - for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the deportees of Drancy had preceded them by a few days.
There, they were murdered. Solely for being Jews."
"This crime took place here, in our capital, in our streets, the courtyards of our buildings, our stairways, our school playgrounds.
It was to pave the way for other roundups, in Marseille and throughout France....76,000 French Jews were deported to the death camps. Only 2,500 returned.... My presence this morning bears witness to France's determination to protect the memory of her lost children and honor these souls who died but have no graves."
"The truth is that French police - on the basis of the lists they had themselves drawn up - undertook to arrest the thousands of innocent people trapped on 16 July 1942. And that the French gendarmerie escorted them to the internment camps.
The truth is that no German soldiers - not a single one - were mobilized at any stage of the operation.
The truth is that this crime was committed in France, by France."
"Honor was saved by the Righteous, by all those who were able to rise up against barbarism, by those anonymous heroes who hid a neighbor here, helped another there and risked their lives to save those of innocent people. By all those French people who enabled three-quarters of France's Jews to survive."
(French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Born on the Fourth of June - Bret Stephens (Commentary)
- The 4th of June 1967 was the day before the Six-Day War broke out between Israel and the Arab countries surrounding it. Israel - deploying 275,000 troops, 200 combat planes, and 1,100 tanks - faced off against combined Arab armies that fielded nearly twice as many troops, more than four times as many planes, and nearly five times as many tanks.
- On the 4th of June, the commander of the Egyptian army, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer, told Ahmad Shukeiri, the founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization, "Soon we'll be able to take the initiative and rid ourselves of Israel once and for all."
- On the 4th of June, Israel had not received emergency military aid promised by the United States; nor had the U.S. mounted a promised international armada to break Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran; nor had Israel gotten any relief from France, which just then decided to turn on the Jewish state with an arms embargo; nor had it gotten any diplomatic relief at the UN, which had instantly capitulated to Egyptian demands to withdraw peacekeepers from the Sinai.
- Despite warnings from the Soviet Union and the United States, on the 4th of June, Israel chose to strike - and strike first. "They will condemn us," Yigal Allon, the labor minister, told his cabinet colleagues. "And we will survive."
- All of this should sound familiar to us today - the threat to Israel's existence, the muddle of U.S. policy, the global opposition to Israel, Israel's fear of being blamed for starting a war.
- Israel was not founded to serve as another vehicle for showcasing Jewish victimhood, but for ending it. Statecraft cannot be conducted as a beauty pageant, and the "benefit" of being seen as the righteous victim should count for nothing against the moral imperative of ensuring one's survival.
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