U.S. Sets March Deadline for Iran to Cooperate with IAEA (Reuters)
The U.S. effectively set a March deadline on Thursday for Iran to start cooperating in substance with a UN nuclear agency investigation.
U.S. diplomat Robert Wood told the governing board of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency:
"If by March Iran has not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA, the United States...would urge the board to consider reporting this lack of progress to the UN Security Council."
The Secret to Iranian Drone Technology? Just Add Photoshop - Alexander Abad-Santos (Atlantic)
Earlier this month, Iran's news agency provided a photo of a fancy new drone Iran said it developed that could take off and land vertically.
What they didn't tell us is that they used Photoshop on an aircraft taking off from the roof of Japan's Chiba University, which built it in 2008, with no connection to Iran.
Iron Dome Is a Game-Changer - Akiva Hamilton (Jerusalem Post)
The fifth Iron Dome anti-missile battery, deployed months early just outside Tel Aviv, features a significantly improved radar and software upgrades that turn the system into both a short-range and medium-range missile defense system.
Iron Dome's Tamir interceptors don't really cost $40,000 to $50,000 each to manufacture. The vast majority of the costs involve development and manufacturing setup. As the number of interceptors produced grows, costs drop and could reach around $5,000 per unit.
The Birth of Israel's Iron Dome - Charles Levinson and Adam Entous (Wall Street Journal)
Israel's Iron Dome rocket-defense system spent the past two weeks successfully blasting 421 Hamas rockets out of the sky.
The system limited Israeli casualties to six during the seven days of bombardment.
Despite initial Pentagon misgivings, President Barack Obama has given $275 million to the project since 2010.
For years, Pentagon experts dismissed Iron Dome as doomed to fail and urged Israel to instead try a cheaper U.S. approach. But an Israeli mathematician-general, along with a labor-organizer-turned-defense-minister, pushed the project through.
In 2004, then-Brig. Gen. Daniel Gold, who also has a Ph.D. in mathematics, was named director of the Ministry of Defense's Research and Development department, responsible for overseeing the development of new weapons systems.
In the summer of 2006, Hizbullah in Lebanon fired more than 4,200 rockets into northern Israel, killing 44 Israelis over 33 days.
Suddenly, stopping rockets was a government priority. In Nov. 2006, Gen. Gold directed Rafael to begin full-scale development of the Iron Dome project.
Does Morsi's Rise Mean Erdogan's Fall? - Joost Lagendijk (Zaman-Turkey)
Turkey is no longer seen as a regional power broker and finds itself shut out of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The main reason? Turkey's uncompromising stance on Israel and the Justice and Development Party leader's extremely harsh words on Israel, described by Erdogan as "a terrorist state" guilty of "ethnic cleansing."
It has made him popular on the Arab streets, and I guess it goes down well with many Turks as well. The result, however, is that Turkey has lost its seat at the negotiation table because it is no longer perceived as an honest broker in conflicts in which Israel is involved.
As Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, notes: "The Egyptians, Jordanians, Qatari, and even Saudi governments have a long history of engaging in very public criticism of Israel, but have always managed to keep lines of communication open to manage regional crises and look out for their interests. Not so the Turks who seemed to relish burning bridges with the Israelis."
Is anybody in Ankara ready to tell the prime minister that his inflammatory rhetoric has proven to be counterproductive and will take Turkey nowhere?
Exhuming Yasser Arafat - Jonathan Kay (National Post-Canada)
The body of PA leader Yasser Arafat was exhumed on Tuesday as part of a dubious campaign to determine his cause of death.
By the time he died in 2004, many Israelis simply didn't care that much about Arafat - who had become haggard, agitated, and increasingly irrelevant to Palestinian politics.
He had gambled and lost in the second intifada, and it is doubtful that Israel would have risked international censure and humiliation by killing this aging terrorist.
The sight of Arafat's exhumation provides an apt symbol of the backward-looking obsessions that define the Palestinian condition.
The Palestinian people he once led remain prisoners of their hatred of the Jewish state.
Why I Disagree with Arabic Media's Demonization of Israel - Ahmed Abdel-Raheem (Jerusalem Post)
Viewing Israel as a demon is dangerous and doesn't fit the facts very well.
Israel wants peace with its neighbors, as evidenced by its 32-year-old peace treaty with Egypt. The demonization of Israel works against peace.
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said in a TV interview: "We Egyptians went into wars with Israel, but in the end we sat down together around the table and solved our problems. Importantly, only negotiations can bring peace to the region, as can be read in the book of history."
In other words, both sides need and want peace.
The writer is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student.
Holocaust Tracing Service Still Reuniting Families - David Crossland (Der Spiegel-Germany)
Wilhelm Thiem was two years old when an SS man pulled him from his mother's arms in 1942 in Lodz, Poland. He never saw her again. He has spent a lifetime wondering what became of his mother, who his father was, and whether he had any real relatives left.
Last month, Thiem, 72, received a letter from the International Tracing Service (ITS). "They told me I have an aunt in Lodz who's still alive and who knew me," Thiem said. "They also sent me my birth certificate and that of my mother. Now I know for sure for the first time when my birthday is."
The ITS is the world's biggest archive of original documents relating to the Holocaust. It still helps to reunite 30 to 50 families per year.
Archaeologists Discover Shipwrecks, Ancient Harbor on Coast of Israel (University of Rhode Island-BrightSurf.com)
A team of archaeologists from the University of Rhode Island, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the University of Louisville have discovered the remains of a fleet of early-19th century ships and ancient harbor structures from the Hellenistic period (third to first century BCE) at the city of Akko, one of the major ancient ports of the eastern Mediterranean.
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- UN Votes to Recognize Palestine as "Non-Member Observer State" - Colum Lynch and Joel Greenberg
The UN General Assembly voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, Thursday to recognize Palestine as a "non-member observer state," a status that falls well short of independence.
See also U.S. to UN: "This Resolution Does Not Establish that Palestine Is a State" - Amb. Susan E. Rice
Following the UN General Assembly vote on Thursday, U.S. UN Amb. Susan E. Rice said:
"Only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel....Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace. That is why the United States voted against it."
"The Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded. The United States therefore calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions."
"This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state....In many respects, the resolution prejudges the very issues it says are to be resolved through negotiation, particularly with respect to territory. At the same time, it virtually ignores other core questions such as security, which must be solved for any viable agreement to be achieved." (U.S. Mission to the UN)
See also Israel: Resolution Sets New Terms of Reference that Will Undermine Negotiations - Isabel Kershner
Israel says that the UN resolution enshrines the principle of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, a position rejected by the Israeli government, while upholding the Palestinian refugee claim for a right of return to the Israeli side of the lines.
"They got a state without end of conflict," a top Israeli official said. "This sets new terms of reference that will never allow negotiations to start." (New York Times)
See also Canadian Foreign Minister Accuses UN of Abandoning Principles by Recognizing Palestine - Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail-Canada)
See also below Observations: The Route to Palestinian Statehood Runs Through Jerusalem, Not New York - Amb. Ron Prosor (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: "UN Decision Changes Nothing"
Prime Minister Netanyahu's office responded to the UN General Assembly decision, saying:
"This is a meaningless decision that will not change anything on the ground. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that there will be no establishment of a Palestinian state without a settlement that ensures the security of Israel's citizens. He will not allow a base for Iranian terrorism to be established in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), in addition to those that have [already] been established in Gaza and Lebanon. The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations, without preconditions, and not in one-sided UN decisions. By going to the UN, the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel and Israel will act accordingly." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Israel's Birth Didn't Come at UN, Neither Will Palestine's - Herb Keinon
The Partition Plan adopted by the UN on Nov. 29, 1947, and rejected by the Arabs, did not give birth to the Jewish state. Jewish blood, sweat and tears during the War of Independence did that. Proclamations are one thing, and a living, breathing state is something else.
The recent battle with Gaza helped sway the world's democracies in PA President Mahmoud Abbas' direction.
The EU, which has bet on Abbas and the PA to the tune of billions of euros, cannot sit by and just watch him and the PA tumble. Calls to prop him up became deafening following the Gaza operation and the EU believes a diplomatic victory at the UN is just the thing.
Thursday's vote was also a defeat for U.S. diplomacy. President Barack Obama explicitly asked Abbas not to go through with the move now.
Abbas flatly said no and that bald rebuke has to hurt. Will Obama take revenge on Abbas for poking his finger in the eyes of the U.S. president?
The UN Resolution on a Palestinian State
- The "Palestine" Vote at the UN - Elliott Abrams
The UN General Assembly vote on "non-member state" status for "Palestine" will do nothing for Palestinians. This is a foolish move by the PLO leadership but not necessarily a very consequential one. The U.S. and European nations should be advising Abbas to cool it. Every UN agency "Palestine" joins will quickly be bankrupt, for the U.S. will withdraw from each as we have withdrawn from UNESCO - and in most we pay 22% of the budget, a shortfall the PLO's champions have not offered to make up.
Moves in the International Criminal Court will gain Abbas one day's notice, but two can play the same game: Israel can ask why "Palestine" is committing acts of aggression against it week after week with rockets out of Gaza, which the PA claims as part of its sovereign territory.
(Council on Foreign Relations)
- The Palestinians at the UN and the International Criminal Court - Alan Baker
It is incorrect to assume that by upgrading their status in the UN to a non-member state, the Palestinians would necessarily be able to refer complaints against Israeli leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The General Assembly does not have the power or the authority to establish states. Any General Assembly resolution upgrading the Palestinian delegation would be no different from any other non-binding, recommendatory resolution of the General Assembly, and would have no legally binding status.
The 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court enables only genuine states to refer complaints to the court. In light of the clear lack of national unity and capability of governance and inability to fulfill international obligations of a state, it would be highly unlikely, even after an upgrade-resolution, that the Palestinians will be able to prove to the ICC that they are a genuine state.
Even if they do succeed in persuading the ICC Prosecutor to consider them as a state, there is no guarantee that such complaints would be accepted by the court, which, since its establishment in 1998, has barely dealt with two complaints against Ugandan and Sudanese officials. Amb. Alan Baker, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, is former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also The Legal Impossibility of Limited Palestinian Statehood at the UN - Jordan Sekulow and Matthew Clark (Washington Post)
See also Palestinian ICC Threat Is Overblown - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
- How Not to Create Palestine - Yossi Klein Halevi
There is only one way for the Palestinians to achieve statehood, and that is to convince a majority of Israelis that a Palestinian state would be a peaceful neighbor. The vote on Palestinian statehood at the UN will only reinforce the fear among Israelis that Palestinians intend to impose a solution that will leave Israel without peace or security.
In asserting that Israel hasn't been a credible negotiating partner, the Palestinian leadership is depending on the world's amnesia. Twice in the past decade, Israeli prime ministers - Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 - offered the Palestinians statehood.
No stateless people has rejected offers of statehood as often as the Palestinians. And no other national movement seeks to empower its people on the ruins of another people's state.
Instead of forcing Palestinian leaders to face reality and negotiate with Israel in good faith, the international community encourages Palestinian fantasies, such as Abbas' latest initiative at the UN.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
(Globe and Mail-Canada)
- Falling for Hamas' Media Manipulation - Michael Oren
Hamas' media strategy is to portray Israel's unparalleled efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza as indiscriminate firing at women and children, to pervert Israel's rightful acts of self-defense into war crimes. Its goals are to isolate Israel internationally, to tie its hands from striking back at those trying to kill our citizens and to delegitimize the Jewish State. Hamas knows that it cannot destroy us militarily but believes that it might do so through the media.
Media also emphasize the disparity between the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, as though Israel should be penalized for investing billions of dollars in civil-defense and early-warning systems and Hamas exonerated for investing in bombs rather than bomb shelters.
The imbalance is also of language. "Hamas health officials said 45 had been killed and 385 wounded," the New York Times' front page reported."Three Israeli civilians have died and 63 have been injured." The subtext is clear: Israel targets Palestinians, and Israelis merely die.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Washington Post)
- With Eye on Iran, Gaza Conflict Reassures Netanyahu - Crispian Balmer
Both on the diplomatic and military front, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will draw some comfort from his offensive against Gaza as he switches his gaze once more to his main strategic challenge - Iran.
The Israeli military inflicted serious blows to Hamas' weapons arsenal, much of it sourced from Iran, and showed that it has cutting-edge technology for missile defense.
Israel's new Iron Dome interceptors knocked out 421 incoming rockets from Gaza, scoring an 84% success rate. "The Iron Dome has proved itself to be a game changer...and has undoubtedly lessened the threat of Hizbullah," which is estimated to have up to 60,000 rockets pointing at Israel,
said Yohanan Plesner, a member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "Almost 1,500 rockets have caused a relatively astounding level of low casualties."
There is little doubt in Israel that Iran suffered a diplomatic setback this week.
"It was very important for Iran to see a major rift between Israel and Egypt," said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian expert.
Israel managed to stave off a major split with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and opened a welcome window of dialogue.
Moreover, the cease-fire brokered by Morsi made clear that Hamas is very much in the Egyptian camp. (Reuters)
See also What Gaza Fighting Taught Israel about Possible War with Iran - Martin Fletcher (NBC News)
- Who Holds Hamas' Terrorism to Account? - Adel Al Toraifi
Khaled Mishal, head of the Hamas political bureau since 1996, boasted of his movement's resistance to Israeli attacks, and with a smile said that Israel is the one calling for a truce, not the people of Gaza. This is despite the fact that a hundred Palestinians have died and what remains of the dilapidated infrastructure there has been destroyed.
The fact is that Mishal and his party are not part of the change after the Arab Spring. His rhetoric and "resistance" logic, which is in fact terrorism in disguise, belong to a bygone era.
The leaders of "the resistance" have committed grave errors against regional peace, and have caused irresponsible destruction to the countries of the region. They have jeopardized the future of the Palestinians in order to serve the interests of malicious regimes. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
- Human Shields - An Ever-Present Dilemma - Amnon Rubinstein
The U.S., NATO and Israel are facing a major problem in their asymmetrical wars against non-armies and non-states. In Gaza, Afghanistan, Yemen and Waziristan, the use of human shields has become a major issue in international humanitarian law.
The law is clear: the use of human shields in any armed conflict is a war crime.
Civilians, including women and children, were killed in Gaza by Israeli aerial bombardment, but generally this was either the result of navigational errors or because civilians were caught in crossfire because of their presence at a purely military site.
A party attacked by human-shielded weapons is damned if it disregards the human shield and damned for its weakness by its suffering civilians if it doesn't. A state fighting an asymmetrical war against non-armies has a duty not to react disproportionately to attacks against its civilians, but also has the right under international law to defend these civilians (or soldiers) against enemy action. The writer is a professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and a former minister of education.
- Renew the Mideast Peace Process? Not Now - Chuck Freilich
Well before the Gaza operation, strategists and pundits were calling on President Obama to devote his second term to a renewed effort to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They are wrong.
The last thing the Middle East and the U.S. needs is another failed American-led peace process. And it would fail. Regional conditions are far less propitious than when Bill Clinton was in office.
Hamas, which was not in power back then, is a fundamentalist Islamist organization whose charter refers to Jews as donkeys and dogs and calls for Israel's destruction. It is not a partner for negotiations. The "moderate" president of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to negotiate for the last three years.
One aspect of American power is the perception that it can force the sides to reach agreement. Another aborted attempt would merely reinforce the Arab image of the U.S. as a weak, declining power, making it that much harder for the U.S. to play an effective role when the time is right.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict actually has little to do with the primary challenges facing the Mideast today - the Iranian nuclear program and the slaughter in Syria
- and resolving it will not significantly enhance other American interests in the region or its relations with Arab states. The writer is a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also The Peace Process Tooth Fairy - Aaron David Miller (Foreign Policy)
- Israel's View of the Syrian Crisis - Itamar Rabinovich
While Israel may have once preferred the Assad regime to remain in power rather than take its chances with an unknown successor, the increasing pressure on the Syrian regime has represented a blow to Iran and its allies. Thus, while recognizing that Israel has little to no influence on the course of events in Syria, Israel's leaders have largely reached a consensus that Assad's departure from power is preferable.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and chief negotiator with Syria, is a fellow of the Saban Center. (Saban Center for Middle East Policy-Brookings)
- Congressional Report Ties Middle East Terrorists to Mexican Drug Cartels - Matthew Boyle
A new congressional report from a House Homeland Security Subcommittee released this month ties Middle East terror organizations to Mexican drug cartels. "The presence of Hizbullah in Latin America is partially explained by the large Lebanese diaspora in South America," the report reads. "In general, Hizbullah enjoys support by many in the Lebanese world community in part because of the numerous social programs it provides in Lebanon that include schools, hospitals, utilities and welfare."
The report, prepared by subcommittee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), argues: "United in their dedication to the destruction of Israel, Iran has helped Hizbullah grow from a small group of untrained guerrillas into what is arguably the most highly trained, organized and equipped terrorist organization in the world. In return, Hizbullah has served as an ideal proxy for Iranian military force - particularly against Israel - which affords Iran plausible deniability diplomatically. Hence wherever Hizbullah is entrenched, Iran will be as well and vice-versa." (Daily Caller)
- In Sinai: The Uprising of the Bedouin - Nicolas Pelham
Rapid population growth has turned Sinai's indigenous population of Bedouin people into a power to contend with, particularly in the corner of North Sinai where Egypt, Israel, and Gaza meet. Today, several of their twenty tribes are tens of thousands strong.
To dilute their growth, Cairo's leaders have relocated hundreds of thousands of Egyptians to Sinai from the Nile Valley, with their different Arabic dialect, culture, and historical background. The newcomers administer the territory, exploit its raw materials, and run a southern Riviera along its coasts.
Together, Sinai's Bedouin and Hamas dug - sometimes with Egyptian government collusion - hundreds of tunnels under their common border. By 2009, the smuggling enterprise had become North Sinai's prime source of revenue. Fancy villas, with roofs fashioned as pagodas and garages for Lexuses, testify to the extent of their success.
When Egyptians rose up against Mubarak's rule in Jan. 2011, armed Bedouin tribesmen turned on the Egyptian security apparatus, ransacking their bases and chasing them from the peninsula, enjoying their first taste of autonomy. Two years on, the Bedouin have acquired real power across the peninsula. In recent weeks small bands of militants have charged the multinational base at Al Goura, shot at Egyptian helicopters, killed an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid, and routed Egypt's poorly trained troops in their armored cars. Salafi successes on the battlefield are drawing younger Bedouin to their cause. (New York Review of Books)
Weekend Features: Israel Under Rocket Fire
- Israel's South Holds On, But How Much More Must We Take? - Faye Bittker
For the past year or two, missiles have come raining down on southern Israel every few months.
We, the residents of southern Israel who live within a 60-mile radius of Gaza, learned to drive with our car windows open so that we could hear sirens while on the open road. We taught our children how to fall asleep again once they were moved into the safe room in the middle of the night. We developed a whole slew of coping mechanisms including "dressing for missiles" - no heels or straight skirts allowed.
We got to make jokes about how children of the Negev Desert are more familiar with the sound of falling Grad missiles than actual rain. We became old war heroes, exchanging stories of close calls from the missiles of 2009 versus those of 2010 and '11. But as time has gone on, our kids are showing signs of severe stress. Our blood pressure goes up as we count off the locations where missiles have fallen, sometimes when we were only a few hundred meters away.
The unified, resilient front is still there, but it is being propped up by a million people living under threat of missile fire. As I sit here at home, listening to the booms of the endless barrage of missiles falling over Beersheba, I want to make myself heard. Missiles are not something that we have to learn to live with.
(San Francisco Jewish Weekly)
- What I Saw During Operation Pillar of Defense - 2nd Lt. Nira Lee
I participated in last week's Operation "Pillar of Defense" as an officer in the IDF.
When I moved to Israel and enlisted, I joined a unit called the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is devoted to civilian and humanitarian issues.
My job is International Liaison Officer in the Gaza office.
There were IDF officers who stayed up all night under a hail of rockets, brainstorming ways to import medical supplies and food to the people of Gaza. I can tell you it is true because I did it every night.
I work closely with representatives of the international community, and although our perspectives may differ, we maintain relationships of mutual respect born of a common goal; I am here to help them succeed in their work improving the quality of life in Gaza. I learned over the past ten days that the true test comes with crisis. At exactly the point where most militaries would use the heat of war to throw out the rulebook, we worked harder than ever to provide assistance wherever and whenever possible.
The world talks about "disproportionate" numbers of casualties as the measure of what is right and wrong - as if not enough Israelis were killed by Hamas.
I spend many hours with the UN, ICRC, and NGO officers reviewing maps to help identify, and avoid, striking civilian sites. One of our pilots who saw a rocket aimed at Israel aborted his mission when he saw children nearby - putting his own civilians at risk to save Gazans.
Every day, I coordinate goods with a young Gazan woman who works for an international aid organization. Last month we forged a bond when we had to run for cover together when Hamas targeted the Kerem Shalom Crossing - attacking the very aid provided to its own people. (American Thinker)
- Studying Abroad in a War Zone, Americans in Israel Are Shaken But Undeterred - Ben Sales
15 air-raid sirens in total rang out in Beersheba on Nov. 14, on the first night of Israel's operation aimed at ending Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. The sirens repeatedly woke Shoshana
Leshaw, a junior at Queens College in New York, and the 25 other study-abroad students at Ben-Gurion University, who were among the thousands of young Americans who come to Israel each year to study or work.
Students said they never feared for their physical safety; they had been trained on how to react in the event of a missile strike. But many said that living in cities targeted by missiles gave them a new appreciation of the realities of life in Israel, and some found themselves quickly copying the casual approach to war that Israelis have cultivated over decades of living under military threat from their neighbors. (JTA)
- Where Is Condemnation of Hamas Terror? - Arsen Ostrovsky
In Israel more than one million people are in bomb shelters, seeking cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
A further 3 1/2 million live directly in the line of fire.
I'm angry that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was unable to unequivocally condemn the Palestinian rocket attacks without implying a moral equivalence between Israel taking defensive action against the terror attacks and Hamas deliberately targeting innocent civilians.
I'm angry that while human rights organizations do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians, the human rights of Israelis are seemingly not important enough for them. I'm angry that schools in southern Israel have been closed for an entire week because of the rocket attacks, while countless children have barely known a day of peace in their lives, running from one bomb shelter to another. In the course of writing this article, I have had to run - twice - to a bomb shelter.
The writer is an international human rights lawyer who grew up in Australia and lives in Israel.
- Sheltered in Jerusalem - Gil Troy
We convinced ourselves that Jerusalem was not only protected geographically from Gaza, but that these Islamic fundamentalist fanatics would not risk hitting the Al Aqsa Mosque or neighboring Arab villages, despite their desire to target us. So for us, the air raid siren heralded a new experience.
The Palestinians, who now control their destiny in Gaza, made that strip of land the world's largest launching pad for Kassam rockets, pounding Israelis who live within Israel's internationally recognized, uncontested, post-1948 borders. The writer is professor of history at McGill University. (Daily Beast)
The Route to Palestinian Statehood Runs Through Jerusalem, Not New York - Amb. Ron Prosor (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor told the UN General Assembly on Thursday:
- I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world's one and only Jewish state - a state built in the Jewish people's ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart. We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace.
- President Anwar Sadat famously stood in the Egyptian parliament in Cairo 35 years ago and stated that he would go "to the ends of the earth" to make peace with Israel. The People of Israel wait for a Palestinian leader that is willing to follow in the path of President Sadat.
- The world waits for President Abbas to speak the truth that peace can only be achieved through negotiations by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. It waits for him to tell them that peace must also address Israel's security needs and end the conflict once and for all. When Israel faced an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace.
- Three months ago, Israel's Prime Minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas. He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two states for two peoples. I have never heard President Abbas say the phrase "two states for two peoples" because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people - what this very body recognized 65 years ago.
- This resolution violates a fundamental binding commitment that all outstanding issues in the peace process would only be resolved in direct negotiations.
This resolution sends a message that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye to peace agreements. For the people of Israel, it raises a simple question: why continue to make painful sacrifices for peace, in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side will not honor?
- There is only one route to Palestinian statehood and that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The truth is that Israel wants peace, and the Palestinians are avoiding peace.
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