Saturday, July 31, 2010

Newt Gingrich: Time for a New Strategy to Defeat Radical Islamists

(NEWSMax).Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the United States needs a new, bolder strategy to deal with the serious threats facing America from radical Islamists “who want to kill us.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Gingrich said America is at risk because “Our secular elites find it very hard to understand the power if religion, and find it very hard to take seriously [any] threats to America. They're always excusing, apologizing and explaining people who are our mortal enemies.

'Radical Islamists are people who want to impose on the rest of us sharia, which is a form of Medieval law, which would fundamentally end America as we know it. And there are fairly disturbing signs that some places, such as a recent court case in New Jersey, you see some judges beginning to succumb to this kind of reasoning. So I think we need a new strategy, a much bolder strategy and a much clearer sense of what we're fighting for and what's at stake.”

According to Gingrich, this new strategy should involve “a combination of political, economic, diplomatic, social, cultural, intellectual and military means. But all of them have to go together. You have to have a complete strategy that enables you to isolate and defeat radicals while empowering and modernizing those who are prepared to live in the modern world.”

Gingrich also said America's failures in national security are nothing less than a national scandal, deserving of an in-depth investigation at the highest levels.

“On the scandal side it starts with the fact that despite all the billions we've spent, all the reorganization, [creating] the director of national intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, we had no warning of the Christmas Day bomber on the airplane over Detroit until his bomb failed to go off and his pants began to smoke,” he said. “We had no warning of the car bomb in Times Square until the bomb failed to go off and a T-shirt vendor reported to the police that the car was smoking. So we should have a serious national inquiry into why, after nine years since 9/11, we're still so unable to identify and isolate people who want to kill us.”

But radical Islamists are not the only threat to America's peace and prosperity, Gingrich said.

“The only other major threat we have is, frankly, is getting our economy back online so we can create jobs and be the most innovative, productive economy in the world, so we can successfully compete with China and India,” he said. “If we're able to isolate and defeat the radical Islamists, and we're able to compete successfully with China and India, we probably have no major national security problem in the next 50 years.”

One of America's national security failures centers on how the battle versus terrorists was framed soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, said Gingrich, who believes that it was a mistake for the Bush administration to call its response a “war on terrorism.”

“I think if we had said early on that we were faced with a long struggle with radical Islamists and that this is a war that involves breaking their capacity to impose sharia on the rest of us, we'd be much better off today, we'd have a much better understanding of the challenges, we would've used different strategy in some places. But we'd also be much more direct and aggressive in trying to defend America from the imposition of this kind of radical dictatorship.”

Report: Obama sends Arabic written letter to Abbas urging an warning him to launch Direct peace talks with Israel

(Politico,Ma'ariv).President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urging that he agree to go into direct talks with the Israelis next month, and warning that if he doesn’t, relations with the United States would be affected, Arabic newspaper Al Hayat and Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv are reporting.

The White House declined to comment Saturday on the reports of an Obama letter or confirm its existence.

Ma'ariv sourced confirmation of the letter to the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saab Erekat, while Al Hayat cited in detail from what it said was a leaked draft of the letter.

Among the letter's 16 points, the papers said, Obama pledged that if Abbas agreed to go into direct talks, there would be an extension of a partial Israeli West Bank settlement freeze currently due to expire in September.

"It is time to go to direct negotiations with Israel," the letter states, according to Al Hayat. "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to move to direct negotiations in the wake of the meeting held with him."

The letter warns that if Abbas refuses to enter direct talks next month, it will have implications on the relationship between the United States and the Palestinian Authority, and undermine trust in Abbas, the papers states.

Obama promised in his letter that would support the Arab League , EU and Russia on Palestinians, if the talks would resume.

Earlier today, said Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and selling the Palestinian Authority newspaper Al - Quds Al - Arab, that "the United States squeeze us to open direct negotiations with Israel."

She said Washington are active heavy pressure on the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the Arab countries. "The United States threatened to isolate politically Authority if it refuses to open direct negotiations with Israel.. It reached the level of blackmail ",Ashrawi claimed.

"The truth is with all sincerity,That in all my history in the negotiations, I have never seen such pressures on the Palestinian side."

Points 15 and 16 concern Israeli obligations and future confidence-building steps, the paper states.

The U.S. may be sensitive about confirming the letter if it seems to reveal confidential understandings it reached with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning confidence-building steps under consideration to encourage direct talks, including a possible extension of the West Bank settlement freeze. One Washington Middle East hand told POLITICO that if Abbas agrees to direct talks before September 26th, Netanyahu has agreed that there will be no more settlement building after that.

Similarly, the U.S. seemed reluctant Saturday to be seen as overbearing in its pressure on Abbas to accept direct talks or face an Obama administration less committed to the peace process.

In an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz Saturday night, chief Palestinian negotiator Erekat described the latest Palestinian peace proposal to Israel relayed via U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell as the most far-reaching to date.

One could almost imagine an angry Obama White House calling Erekat to complain Saturday that he had reportedly confirmed the existence of an Obama letter whose details it was understood were supposed to remain confidential.

Erekat also denied to the paper reports that the Obama administration had threatened to penalize the PA if Abbas did not agree to enter direct talks with Israel over a final-status

Netanyahu to decide if Israel will yield to US pressure to accept UN Probe of flotilla incident

(Haaretz).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaning toward accepting the United Nations' proposal that it investigate the Gaza-flotilla affair.

This would make Netanyahu the first Israeli prime minister to agree to a UN investigation into an Israel Defense Forces operation.

The U.S. administration is pressuring Israel to accept the proposal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Netanyahu is expected to make a decision this week.

Initially Israel had hoped the Obama administration would help it quash Ban's initiative, but the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, proposed that Israel be pressured.

Senior diplomats familiar with the matter say Rice has described the establishment of a UN committee "critical to U.S. interests at the UN."

According to Ban's proposal, a review panel would examine the investigations that Israel and Turkey are carrying out.

The team would thus begin its work only after the investigations in each country are completed.

Heading the review panel would be former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, while his deputy would be outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

As Turkey's representative on the panel, Ankara mentioned the name of a senior diplomat who has served as director general of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Israel has not discussed who might represent it on the committee, whose establishment it has not yet agreed to.

A senior political source said Ban told Defense Minister Ehud Barak during their meeting on Friday at UN headquarters that he hopes to have Israel's answer by the weekend.

The source said the question of establishing a UN review panel was a key issue during the meeting.

Barak presented Israel's reservations regarding the committee's mandate and asked for clarifications on a number of issues.

The subject is expected to be discussed this week in the forum of seven senior ministers. It might also be brought before the cabinet.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Aluf Benn/ Haaretz; Netanyahu's diplomatic gain - A win for Bibi

(Aluf Benn- Haaretz).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a diplomatic gain yesterday: The Arab League authorized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold direct talks with Israel. Further efforts will be needed to reach an agreement on the framework of the negotiations, as well as their goals and conditions, but Netanyahu's repeated call for direct talks, which has been met with a persistent Palestinian refusal, is close to bearing fruit.

The turning point was Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, where U.S. President Barack Obama announced his support for direct negotiations. Obama's declaration put an end to the proximity talks, which had not produced results, and led to a campaign to pressure Abbas to end his opposition to dialogue with the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu has since visited Cairo and Amman, and the Arab League's decision yesterday suggests that Egypt's and Jordan's leaders decided to give the process a chance.

In politics, Netanyahu adheres to the principle "if they give, they'll get," and this gives rise to the question - what has he given Obama in return for direct talks? The details of the talks at the White House have not been leaked, but it appears Netanyahu is willing to extend the freeze on settlement construction, perhaps only outside the large settlement blocs, and transfer more territory in the West Bank to Palestinian civilian responsibility. The start of the talks will give Netanyahu cause to continue the freeze, against growing pressure from the Yesha Council of settlers and its supporters who want to expand settlement construction throughout the West Bank.

Netanyahu celebrated his victory over Abbas with a little shot at his bitter political rival, Haim Ramon, who, even when not in the government or Knesset, annoys the prime minister. Ayala Hasson reported on Israel Radio that three weeks ago Ramon met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and tried to convince him not to resume direct talks. President Shimon Peres' name was mentioned, as if Ramon had been sent on the mission, something Ramon denies.

There were immediate, and expected, reactions from the right, which blamed Ramon and the head of his Kadima party, opposition leader Tzipi Livni, of assisting the enemy - nothing less. Netanyahu hinted early this week that the opposition was trying to undermine the negotiations, and now the story broke.

Netanyahu is not original; he is rehashing an old trick of Ariel Sharon. In early 2004 Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about secret meetings. On one side was Peres, then the head of the Labor Party, the opposition and others in the "peace industry." On the other side was Ahmed Qureia, a leading figure in the Palestinian Authority.

When asked why there was no movement in the peace process, Sharon blamed the opposition. "Don't they know the Arabs talk?" Sharon told his aides, suggesting that intelligence had information about the meetings with the Israeli opposition.

U.S. 'encouraged' by Arab support for direct talks; Ball lands in Abbas's court

(Haaretz).The United States said Thursday it was "encouraged" by signs of Arab support for direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, after the Arab League declared earlier that it would support the Palestinians if they decided to enter into such face-to-face talks.
Arab League meeting in Cairo

"We're encouraged by what we've heard today coming out of Cairo," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, adding that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is hopeful the negotiations resume soon.

Crowley said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, acting on behalf of an Arab peace initiative, had sent a letter to Obama outlining ideas about how to move the process forward.

"We will, of course, be evaluating the ideas contained in that letter, and we'll be consulting further," Crowley said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday also welcomed the Arab League announcement. The prime minister declared that he would be willing to enter into "direct and honest peace talks" within days, adding that "by way of direct negotiations, a speedy peace agreement can be achieved."

Barak, currently in Washington for a series of meetings with top administration officials, said that "only direct negotiations can bring a peace agreement and a solution of two states for two peoples."

"Negotiations will require difficult and brave decisions from both sides," Barak added. "I hope that the Palestinians understand that."

Earlier Thursday, the Qatari prime minister announced the Arab League's decision, saying that the Arab League would support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if he decided to enter direct talks with Israel.

Asked whether the league would back direct talks, Jassim said: "Of course, there is agreement, but agreement over the principles of what will be discussed and the manner of the direct negotiations."

It would be up to Abbas to decide whether to hold talks, based on whatever conditions he sees fit, Jassim said.

Jassim added that he was "full of doubts" about Israel's seriousness regarding final status negotiations.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Israeli BB-C: When Netanyahu succeeds the Obsessive Israeli Media lashes out in personal attacks

(Jpost).Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must have had a horrible feeling of deja vu on Monday when Yohanan Locker, his military aide, told him that a Yasour helicopter carrying six IAF airmen had crashed in Romania.

He was prime minister in February 1997 when two Yasours collided over the northern community of She’ar Yashuv, killing 73 soldiers who were on their way to Lebanon in the worst accident in the country’s history.

The helicopter crash added to a growing list of the worst memories of Netanyahu’s first premiership that – much to the prime minister’s chagrin – he, and the rest of the country, have had to relive in his second.

First came the bitter struggles with an American administration, then another conversion crisis and now a helicopter crash. But nothing feels like deja vu more than the battles between Netanyahu and the media.

Ma’ariv’s front page on Wednesday offered a stark contrast that made Netanyahu look extremely irresponsible.

The overwhelming majority of the page was a black background with white words articulating the tragedy of the six airmen who died. Underneath was a brief black-on-white headline: “The party.”

The newspaper’s diplomatic correspondent, Ben Caspit, reported that as news came in about the crash, Netanyahu was hosting a birthday party for his 19-year-old son Yair at his official residence in Jerusalem.

The report questioned the prime minister’s judgment for not canceling the party and returning to the Prime Minister’s Office to deal with the situation.

Follow-up stories accused Netanyahu of treating the disaster nonchalantly and lying about when he had heard about the crash.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded that the guests were already at the party when Netanyahu was informed of the crash and that if he had left mysteriously, word would have spread quickly, and it could have caused nationwide hysteria.

Netanyahu’s associates said security officials had told Netanyahu not to tell anyone about the incident until the families of the victims were informed.

They stressed that the party was a modest affair, planned two months ago, and that the prime minister did not need to take immediate action beyond receiving the briefings he heard at his residence, which has an office fully equipped with secure telephones.

One official close to the prime minister did not flinch when faced with a comparison of Netanyahu’s behavior to that of US president George W. Bush on September 11, 2001, who continued reading a book called My Pet Goat to Florida kindergarteners even after he was informed that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. The official said that Bush did the right thing then and Netanyahu did the right now by keeping their cool.

“It happens all the time that a world leader receives information when he is in public,” Netanyahu’s strategic adviser Shaya Segal said. “What he is supposed to do in such situations is show a poker face and move on. He acted the way a prime minister should, and the people of Israel understand.”

Netanyahu’s associates called the negative coverage “obsessive hounding by people with a vested interest in harming the prime minister.”

Unlike in Monday’s Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting when Netanyahu accused anonymous elements on the left – later identified as Kadima council chairman Haim Ramon – of undermining efforts to initiate direct talks with the Palestinians, this time the anonymous people blamed were press, not politicians.

In fact, Kadima made a strategic decision not to react to the reports about Netanyahu’s party, because it believed the reports would be taken more seriously by the public and have a greater impact if they weren’t tainted by the usual political attacks.

Sources close to Netanyahu attributed Ma’ariv’s report to a personal vendetta of the reporter. They connected that report and a much smaller, more lowkey report in Yediot Aharonot the same day to frustration at the two newspapers with their drop in circulation in favor of Yisrael Hayom, a newspaper seen as pro- Netanayhu.

Netanyahu’s associates downplayed both his influence on Yisrael Hayom and his current problems with the press.

They said his relationship with the media had vastly improved since his last term and suggested that the rightleaning Yisrael Hayom could turn against Netanyahu if he makes concessions to the Palestinians.

But for now, the fact that Yisrael Hayom has surpassed both Yediot and Ma’ariv in circulation certainly makes it easier for Netanyahu to get out his side of a story in a way that he could not do when he was prime minister the first time.

Deputy FM Danny Ayalon in WSJ Op-Ed: The Flotilla Farce - Exposing World Hypocrisy when Israel is not involved

(DANNY AYALON-WSJ).A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a "crusade" against their Palestinian brothers.

While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the "prison camps" in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from "discrimination and marginalization" and are treated like "second class citizens" and "denied their full range of human rights."

Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.

In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are "united by a feeling of stark injustice."

This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded "humanitarian activists" are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.

Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and "human rights activist," was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the "situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

No one claims that the situation in Gaza is perfect. Since the bloody coup and occupation by Hamas of Gaza in 2007, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed, Israel has had no choice but to ensure that Hamas is not able to build up an Iranian port on the shores of the Mediterranean. Until Hamas meets the three standards laid out by the international community, namely renouncing violence, recognizing Israel's right to exist and abiding by previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will continue to be shunned by the international community.

While Israel's policy is to continue to see that all civilian needs are addressed, it can not allow Hamas to rearm and use Gaza as a base to attack Israel and beyond. For this reason, Israel initiated a blockade, fully legal under international law, to ensure that no items can be appropriated by Hamas to attack innocent civilians. Organizations that wish to join the U.N. and the Red Cross to deliver goods or aid to Gaza are welcome to do so through the Kerem Shalom crossing or even through Egyptian ports. Those that refuse and seek to break the legal blockade to boost Hamas are interested in provocation. If Israel allows these confrontational flotillas to successfully open up a shipping lane for arms smuggling for an Iranian proxy, then the region will suffer from continuous conflict. Actions that embolden the extremists will be at the cost of the moderates and this will pose a grave danger to moving the peace process forward.

The latest flotilla preparing to leave from Lebanon fully exposes not only the hypocrisy but the danger of these provocative vigilante flotillas. The Lebanese flotilla, whose organizers claim injustice while ignoring the dire human rights situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, amply demonstrate that these flotillas have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel.

Opposition Party Kadima council Chair Ramon advises PA negotiator Erekat not to enter Direct talks

(INN).Ex-Justice and Interior Minister Chaim Ramon advised top PA negotiator Saeb Erekat in a private conversation that it would not be worth the PA’s while to enter into direct talks with Israel - in direct contrast with the official Israeli position. MK Michael Ben-Ari says the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) must investigate the matter.

An unidentified man contacted Israel Radio, saying he overheard the conversation in the Jerusalem Colony Hotel dining room three weeks ago. From his detailed reenactment of the talk, it appears that he was able to record it, but he refused to confirm or deny this detail.

According to the witness, who said another person was with him at the time, the conversation took place less than two feet away from him.

Ramon reportedly said clearly that he was sent to speak with Erekat by President Shimon Peres. “He said in these words: ‘I was sent by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres,’” the man, whose voice was electronically garbled during the broadcast, related.

The witness said, “It was perfectly clear throughout the conversation that Ramon was sent to advise the Palestinians how to conduct the proximity talks and that it would be pointless to enter the direct talks because in any event Netanyahu will not agree to grant anything to the PA.”

“For instance,” the witness recounted, “Erekat said that the previous prime minister [Ehud Olmert] offered to have 50,000 or 60,000 Arab refugees enter Israel, but the PA demands 100,000 or 200,000. Ramon said that if you [the PA] did not agree then to Olmert’s offer, there is no way that Bibi [Netanyahu] would agree to more. So Erekat said, ‘So what do you propose?’ and Ramon said, ‘Not to enter the direct talks; you won’t get anything anyway.’”

The witness also said that Ramon told Erekat that “if the PA wants more checkpoints to be removed, it must do X, Y and Z.” However, interviewer Ayala Hasson did not ask him to elaborate on what steps Ramon told Erekat must be done.


MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union)
“The Jewish section of the Shabak must be called in immediately, in order to arrest and interrogate all those who took part in acts of treachery, from the Oslo Agreements up until this latest act of undermining by Ramon [and] Peres…”

Chaim Ramon
Contacted while abroad from Israel Radio, Ramon first smashed down the phone, then agreed to give this response: “This is a case of distorted hearing. Some of the things never happened at all, and others are things that he thought he heard. I have been meeting for many years with various people in the PA; this is not new. What I say in my talks with them is what I say in the media as well.”

Saeb Erekat
He first said he is not willing to elaborate on his personal meetings, but later denied that Ramon had advised him not to enter direct talks: “It is all an absolute lie. I am against having one of you tell me what to do, whether it’s Chaim Ramon or someone else. The decision regarding direct talks is a Palestinian decision that has been known for a half-year already, unconnected to the meeting with Ramon.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

House Republicans Giving Green Light for Israeli Strike on Iran

(INN).Nearly one third of the Republican congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a resolution that would support Israel's right to use “all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran”, including military force.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Louie Gohmert [R-Texas] and 46 co-sponsors.

House Resolution 1553 “condemns the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its threats of ‘annihilating’ the United States and the State of Israel, for its continued support of international terrorism, and for its incitement of genocide of the Israeli people.”

It “supports using all means of persuading the Government of Iran to stop building and acquiring nuclear weapons” and pledges that the U.S. will ensure that Israel “continues to receive critical economic and military assistance, including missile defense capabilities, needed to address the threat of Iran.”

In addition, it “expresses support for Israel’s right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran, defend Israeli sovereignty, and protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within a reasonable time.”

Martin Indyk: Obama came to understand rather working with PM Netnayahu than working against him

(from interview on Haaretz with Natasha Mozgovaya).
Assuming Benjamin Netanyahu's government has no intention of extending the freeze on construction in the settlements in September, what impact might that have on direct talks?

I don't envy Netanyahu. The settlement freeze will be difficult for him to extend and difficult not to extend as well, especially if by then direct negotiations have begun. Then Israel will be responsible for blowing up the negotiations. And of course, if he does extend the settlement moratorium, he'll be assailed by the right wing, including members of his own party. It puts him between a rock and a hard place. I don't envy him in terms of how he will deal with this. But again - once the Palestinians are in direct negotiations, what Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] will particularly care about most - is to move quickly toward an agreement. I might be wrong, but I don't think that either Netanyahu or Abu Mazen - certainly not [U.S. President] Barak Obama, [U.S. Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton or [special envoy] George Mitchell - want to get waylaid again by an argument about settlements. I think they all want to focus on the main challenge which is to reach an agreement on what the borders of the Palestinian state will be. And then the settlement issue will be resolved as a result of that.

Dan Meridor recently proposed a kind of partial freeze - to continue building just in parts that are supposed to become Israeli territory after the agreement, plus East Jerusalem.

I don't know whether that will fly or not. It's an idea. It kind of goes back to an idea that [Ariel] Sharon and then [Ehud] Olmert tried to promote with the Bush administration. I can't make a judgment on whether it's going to work or not, but what's critical is that the parties now get into direct negotiations and through these direct negotiations start to establish the seriousness of each side. Netanyahu must be prepared to indicate how far he is willing to go, particularly on the territorial issue, in the proximity talks. If there is a sense of seriousness on both sides on the territorial issue, I think the settlement problem will be resolved.

Netanyahu's recent visit to Washington was described in some reports as a "restart" in relations by some and as a pre-midterm-elections gesture by others. Was it a success?

I think it was a success and I think people have been too cynical about this. Because it does look like Obama veered away from Israel in his first year and now he is veering back towards Israel in his second year. But I think that along the way, both President Obama and Netanyahu learned some important lessons, and this meeting was a reflection of what they learned. Obama, I think, came to understand that he can get a lot more through working with the Israeli prime-minister than working against him. And I think that Netanyahu came to understand that he needs, and can have, an American president at his side, if he is willing to be serious and to take the president into his confidence about what he is prepared to do in those negotiations. I think this meeting was a reflection of the fact that they both came to understand, each for his own reasons, that it's better to work with each other than against each other.

Do you think it's possible to reach an agreement with Netanyahu's current coalition?

Oh, I do. I long believed that this coalition will support him in going into negotiations and potentially coming out of negotiations with an agreement. I know that doesn't reflect conventional wisdom, but first of all, Netanyahu committed himself to this solution. Secondly, [Avigdor] Lieberman is prepared for a radical territorial compromise. My experience with Lieberman is that he is often underestimated because he often plays to his domestic audience. But it doesn't mean he won't support the agreement. His major requirement is separation, and that's what the agreement is about. And there is Shas, and for Shas, it's the matter of price. Its spiritual leader said peace is more important than territory. It doesn't mean it will be easy and there won't be drama and hysteria, but as long as he moves quickly and reaches an agreement before the next election time, he can bring an agreement.

Nile Gardiner/Telegraph: David Cameron must not follow Barack Obama’s failed foreign policy

( Nile Gardiner- The Telegraph).Listening to the Prime Minister’s remarks given yesterday in Ankara, I felt a distinct sense of déjà vu. It reminded me a great deal of Barack Obama’s controversial address to the Muslim world in Cairo in June last year, where he condemned the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank, which sparked a downward spiral of relations with America’s closest ally in the Middle East, which has yet to fully recover.

I fear the PM’s comments on Israel and Gaza could have a very similar long-term effect, with a significant deterioration of ties between London and Jerusalem. In international relations, a single throw away remark can wreak havoc upon the strongest of partnerships, carefully crafted over the course of decades but potentially undone in the space of a 30-minute speech. Here is what the PM said to his Turkish audience:

Let me be clear: the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable. And I have told Prime Minister Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.

Not only are the above remarks hugely unfair, but they are guaranteed to alienate Britain’s most valuable friend in the Middle East. The comments may have gone down well with an increasingly Islamist government in Ankara which is rapidly turning against the West, but they will seriously damage relations with Israel. They also fail to condemn the real source of Gaza’s problems – the reign of terror carried out by Hamas – a brutal terrorist organisation backed by Tehran and Damascus.

If the Prime Minister needs a guide to what he should avoid as a world leader he should look no further than the White House’s policy of constructive engagement or “smart diplomacy” as it used to be known. A key failing of Barack Obama’s foreign policy has been his willingness to offend or even undermine key US allies, in order to try to appease hostile regimes, strategic competitors, or even entire regional blocs of countries in the Islamic world or Latin America.
Prime examples have included the Obama administration’s strong arm tactics towards Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli settlements, the surrender to Moscow over missile defence and the throwing of the Poles and Czechs under the bus, the decision to side with ousted Marxists in Honduras, and support for Argentina in its calls for UN-brokered negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands. All of these actions have caused considerable tensions with America’s true friends, while delivering no tangible benefits whatsoever for Washington, except to project a lack of loyalty and considerable weakness.

British foreign policy must be based on core principles that include the maintenance of key alliances and a willingness to stand up to terrorism in all its forms as well as the state sponsors of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah. Israel is Britain’s closest friend in the Middle East, and the new government should do all it can to strengthen ties with the Israelis rather than undermine them, especially at such a dangerous time.

As the West faces a mounting threat from the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, Great Britain, the United States and Israel must be united in defeating the brutal ambitions of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There is a very real chance of a major confrontation in the coming months between the free world and the forces of Islamist tyranny that threaten the very destruction of Israel itself. Now is not a time for division within the alliance, but a moment for key allies to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of a grave menace to international security.

AIAC launch "Get out the Vote" among Americans in Israel - 'Our Campaign is Not Anti-Obama, Just Pro-American Israeli'

(INN).Every vote counts.With that in mind, the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) kicked-off of its “Get out the Vote” campaign among Americans living in Israel for the November 2010 U.S. Congressional elections. AIAC held a press conference in Jerusalem.

AIAC Chairman Harvey Schwartz explained the initiative. "It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 potential American voters living in Israel. They have a right (and an obligation) to vote in – and can have a significant impact on -- the upcoming U.S. Congressional elections."

The congressional elections are viewed by many in Israel and America as a possible turning point which could swing the American government away from the policies of Barack Obama, who many say is anti-Israel. Scwatz insisted, though, that the AIAC campaign was not levelled against Obama. "This is most definitely not an anti-Obama campgain," he said emphatically. "This is a pro-American Israeli campaign."

AIAC plans to conduct a major campaign to register as many American voters living in Israel as possible to exercise their right to participate in the U.S. electoral process. "In these critical times," said Schwatz, "it is incumbent upon all Americans to vote for their choice of elected officials – and that includes the Americans living in Israel as well."

Schwatz noted, that in the past, many American Israelis have not voted in U.S. Congressional elections for a number of reasons:

1. They do not know that, as American citizens living in Israel, they have the right to vote in U.S. Congressional elections;

2. Even if they know that American Olim can vote, they think that their personal status – for example – children born in Israel to American parents, or lone soldiers – does not permit them to vote;

3. They do not know how to participate in the absentee voting process; or

4. They think their vote will not count. (make a difference)

AIAC has identified various groups of Americans in Israel who have never been targeted before for this type of campaign. One example is American post-high school students who come to Israel to study for a year or two. Another example would be American students attending Israeli colleges, such as Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University. A third example is children born in Israel to American parents. Depending on state law, they may be eligible to vote in Congressional elections even if they have never set foot in the United States.

Geocratography Poll: 62% Israeli Jews oppose additional unilateral withdrawal

(via IMRA). Telephone poll of a representative sample of 500 adult Israeli Jews by Geocartography and broadcast on Israel Television Channel 1 on 27 July 2010 on a program marking 5 years from the Israeli retreat from the Gaza Strip.

Was the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip the right thing to do?
Yes 25% No 54%

Would you support another unilateral withdrawal?
Yes 21% No 62%

Did the disengagement strengthen or weaken Israel's deterrence?
Weakened 55% No impact 28% Strengthened 8%

Since the disengagement has your support for the settlers changed?
Increased 39% Reduced 14% No change 32%

Would there be a civil war if another unilateral withdrawal was carried out?
Yes 50% Maybe 18% No 21%

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cameron denounces Israeli blockade of 'Prison Camp" Gaza but forgets British crimes against our nation in the mandate years

"The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable, Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."
(British PM David Cameron July 27 '10)

According to the BBC, no British prime minister has ever spoken so harshly of Israel's handling of Gaza.

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to Britain, reacted quickly to the prime minister's remark, saying that Hamas is responsible for the misery in Gaza.

"The people of Gaza are the prisoners of the terrorist organization Hamas," Prosor said in a statement. "The situation in Gaza is the direct result of Hamas' rule and priorities."

The ambassador also raised the issue of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier taken hostage four years ago who is being held in Gaza.

"We know that the prime minister would also share our grave concerns about our own prisoner in the Gaza Strip, Gilad Shalit, who has been held hostage there for over four years, without receiving a single Red Cross visit," Prosor said.

Cameron denounces Israeli blockade of "Prison Camp" Gaza. that is ruled by a government that is not recognized by any Country as a Nation or the right of a State of their own but is relatively young, therefore he forgets British crimes against our nation that had its right of their promised Homeland in the mandate years.

Israel Forum brings down the fact as it is:
When Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria only 2 states recognized this illegal occupation: Pakistan and Britain. When we build homes to our people in Judea and Samaria e.g in our eternal homeland then the British call it "illegal settle in the west bank".

Not surprising cause the British nation is one of the most hypocrite and cruel in the world which responsible to many crimes, including against our nation and it's time to talk about it.

When the British conquered the land of Israel (as they did to many other lands in the world) in WW1 they decided to establish a Judean house in the land of Israel (Bayit Yehudi be eretz Yisrael) but then they changed their opinion and decided to establish an Arab house in order to please the Arabs.

It's time to take a look at some of the British atrocities against our nation:

- The British closed the land of Israel to Judeans who were escaping from the nazis and by that sentenced their fate to be murdered in the death camps.

- It's a well known fact that the British (and also the other allies, when Bush and Condoleezza Rice visited Israel last year they visited Yad Va Shem museum. Bush asked Condoleezza Rice why the allies didn't bomb the gas chambers and she replied that they couldn't identify them in the camps. Bush answered that he would give an order to identify them and to destroy them from the air. This conversation of them was published in the Israeli media) refused to attack the railways that led Judeans to the death camps although they knew very well to where they led, they flew over them and filmed them, they heard the witnesses who escaped from these camps, they refused also to bomb the gas chambers and the incinerators. Judean survivors say that they would prefer to be killed in this kind of bombing from the air in the price of stopping the genocide. The British (and also the other allies who participated in the bombings) wanted that the nazis will murder more Judeans.

Hundreds of Judean pilots served in the US Air Force and begged to allow them to attack the gas chambers in the death camps but they got refused.

- The British instigated the Arab enemy to carry out terror attacks against Judeans in Israel and prevented from Judeans to hold weapons for self defense against these terror attacks. For example, the Black Sabbath in which the British eliminated the Haganah as a defensive force in one Saturday.

- The British officer Roy Farran kidnaped a 16 years old Israeli boy in the name of Alexander Robovich and smashed his head with a rock. The Hebrew Wikipedia, which is much more detailed and accurate regarding Israeli issues than the English one, and also mentions things that the English one doesn't want to mention, tells that in year 2004 a credible report of Colonel Bernard Ferguson was discovered in which he (Ferguson) says that Roy Farran murdered the boy. The Hebrew Wikipedia tells that when Farran heard that his army is going to put him on trial for murder, he escaped to Syria but then was convinced to return and was kept in custody but then escaped to Jordan but again had to return and in the end was brought to justice and guess what? Because his soldiers, who witnessed him murdering the boy, refused to testify against him, the court found him innocent.

These facts must be remembered!

Netanyahu meets King abdullah to discuss the need to hold "Direct,effective and serious negotiations" on all issues

(Ynet).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday met with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman. Jordanian media reported that the two leaders discussed ways to move the peace process forward based on the two-state solution.

According to the report, the two also discussed moves which could lead to an optimistic atmosphere between Israel and the Palestinians in a bid to launch direct negotiations instead of the current proximity talks.

Abdullah reiterated his stand that only peace could bring security and stability to the Middle East, the reports said. He called on all parties not to engage in moves which could "harm the aspiration for two states, which is a basic condition for creating regional stability."

Nir Hefetz, head of the National Information Directorate, said the meeting between Netanyahu and Abdullah lasted about two hours. He said it was "thorough and focused on the need to advance peace, security and prosperity in the region.

"The two leaders discussed the need to hold direct, effective and serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on all issues, in order to reach a stable, safe and durable peace settlement of two states for two people."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that his secret meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II was "very good". He said ideas for cooperation in the field of transportation were raised in the meeting, and added that the Jordanian king has no reason to object to a railroad track that links Eilat, Aqaba and Ashdod.

"I told the king of Jordan that we are going to connect the State of Israel with a network of roads and trains, and that we are starting to build a valley train from Haifa to the Jordan Valley," Netanyahu said at the National Security College's graduation ceremony on Jerusalem.

"King Abdullah said, 'We are also building a train to the same area, lets connect.'". Netanyahu added, "We spoke of the southern railroad track between Eilat and Ashdod, and I said there's no reason this line shouldn't be an Eilat-Aqaba-Ashdod line."

Netanyahu said he spoke with the Jordanian king about promoting peace and security with the Palestinians and the entire region. "I very much appreciate Jordan's desire to move forward with these goals and its contribution to stability in the entire region," Netanyahu said. He also noted that the parities discussed the possibility of cooperation in the fields of economy and energy.

The Netanyahu-Abdullah meeting is of great importance particularly in light of the anti-Israel remarks voiced by the Jordanian king over the past year. Abdullah has said that Israel is as "isolated as North Korea", and has repeatedly expressed his concern that a "political vacuum" could lead to a regional war.

Netanyahu also addressed the importance of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. "The region where we live has a lot of instability and a lot of dangers. We had peace with Iran. For years we had ties with them, but this peace did not withstand the changes that took place within Iran."

He warned that caution should be used. "We must have peace agreements that include a solution to the threats against us, because we do not want to repeat what happened when we withdrew from Lebanon and got an Iranian military base in the north, and we do not want to have what happened in Gaza, where a southern Iranian enclave was created with increasing armament."

Netanyahu said that Israel must preserve its ability to defend itself in the frame of the new conditions to be created in the region.

British PM Cameron in Turkey denounces Israel's blockade on Gaza as a Prison camp; claims Flotilla raid was unacceptable

(The Telegraph).David Cameron Speaking in Ankara, denounced the attack on the flotilla as ''completely unacceptable'' and restated his call for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver a ''swift, transparent and rigorous'' inquiry.

But he also urged Turkey not to allow the incident to wreck its relationship with Israel.

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has severely limited the movement of people and goods since 2007, has sparked outrage in Turkey, which provided the organisers and the bulk of the participants for the flotilla.

Today Mr Cameron said: ''The situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions.

''Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.''And he added: ''The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable...And I have told PM Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous.''

The Prime Minister said he hoped that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians would take place within the coming weeks and urged Turkey to press the parties to come together by ''making the case for peace''.

He said: ''Turkey's relationships in the region, both with Israel and with the Arab world, are of incalculable value.No other country has the same potential to build understanding between Israel and the Arab world.

''I know that Gaza has led to real strains in Turkey's relationship with Israel...But Turkey is a friend of Israel,And I urge Turkey, and Israel, not to give up on that friendship.''

At a press conference alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Cameron stood by his comments on Gaza, which he said were "warranted" by the situation there.

Mr Cameron added: "I speak as someone who is a friend of Israel, who desperately wants a secure and safe and stable Israel after the two-state solution has come about.

"It is very important that people remember that Israel will only agree to the final status issues if it feels that at the end of that process it will have the security that it craves.

"That is why on the issue of Gaza, while pushing for humanitarian access and the end of the blockade, we always have to remember that there have been rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mitchell presses Abbas to move to direct talks with Netanyahu if he wants Obama's help

(WashingtonPost).A senior U.S. envoy warned the Palestinian president that he must move quickly to direct talks with Israel if he wants President Barack Obama's help in setting up a Palestinian state, according to an internal Palestinian document obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

The 36-page memo, sent to senior Palestinian officials, advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resist growing U.S. pressure, warning that rescinding his conditions for face-to-face negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be "political suicide."

Abbas has said he won't resume talks that broke off in December 2008 unless Netanyahu accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, with some alterations, and freezes all settlement building there.

Netanyahu refuses to commit to anything before the start of talks, but has said he will not give up east Jerusalem. On Monday, he strongly indicated that he would not extend a 10-month freeze on housing starts in West Bank settlements beyond September.

The Palestinian memo was distributed just before a crucial meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Thursday.

However, in recent days, the U.S. has stepped up pressure on Abbas to go to direct talks now.

In a July 17 meeting, Mitchell told Abbas that direct talks must begin soon in order to keep Obama engaged, according to the Palestinian memo, which summarized recent diplomatic efforts and was e-mailed to leaders of Abbas' Fatah movement.

Mitchell told Abbas that in the event of direct talks, the U.S. administration can push forcefully for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, according to the document. If Abbas refuses to negotiate, Obama may not be able to be of much help, get the settlement curb extended or prevent the demolition of Arab homes in east Jerusalem, the document said.

The envoy told Abbas he should seize the fleeting opportunity and not waste time, the memo said. He cautioned Abbas not to count on Netanyahu being replaced by another Israeli leader anytime soon, the document said.

In Washington, State Department officials would not confirm that the memo reflected Mitchell's exact words or talking points, but said that "this indeed illustrates where we are." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Erekat confirmed that U.S. officials told Abbas that "if he wants Obama to help, then he needs to go to direct talks."

Erekat denied that Abbas was warned by Mitchell of the possible downside of refusing to go to direct talks or told that Netanyahu could remain in office for several more years.

Ehud Barak interview to The Washington Post on Hizbullah,Iran,Peace process and Relations with the US

Excerpts of interview by Washington Post's Janine Zacharia, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Friday, July 23, 2010

WP: You arrive in Washington on Monday. What is the primary objective of your trip?

Barak: I will go to look into the situation, what can be done in order to give a momentum to the peace process, especially with the Palestinians, but without losing sight of other issues from regional security, to the Syrians but mainly the Palestinian issue. We have of course to see what's going on with our relationship with the American defense establishment. The administration is doing a lot to support Israel's qualitative military edge. At the same time there are considerations in Washington about moving forward with major deals with our neighbors and we want to make sure that we are in an understanding with the administration regarding to this issue as well and of course while I'm there we'll talk about other regional issues from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and, of course, Iran. I'll find an opportunity to meet with friends in the intelligence community and Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates, probably General Jones. While I'm in the United States I'll also meet with Ban Ki-moon and some other U.N. officials regarding remnants of the Goldstone report and what they plan regarding the [Gaza] flotilla, the review panel. Very busy schedule. Probably meet the press a little bit and some of the Congress leaders.

WP: What about the cost of relocating Jewish settlers back into Israel proper?

Barak: I think if we can get just loan guarantees for whatever will be needed for settlements that will suffice, but for security we might need an extra direct assistance. For the Palestinian side, it could be collected also from the European Union, from rich Arab, wealthy Arab countries. Some of them have sovereign funds of about a trillion dollars or more. I think that they can also give a shoulder to their Palestinian comrades.

I think that basically the situation right now is Israel is strong, self-confident and can afford taking the daring needed steps to put an end to the conflict and we have this kind of responsibility, should have our feet on the ground, and open eyed, with no illusions -- it's not North America, not Western Europe. This is a neighborhood where there is no mercy for the weak you know, or second opportunity for those who cannot defend themselves. But I think that we are strong enough and should be self-confident enough, to stretch our hand and be ready to make peace, keeping always our attention to the security arrangements.

WP: Does Prime Minister Netanyahu agree with you on the need for a bold peace initiative?

Barak: I think, you know, following the impact and the reports from his last visit to Washington, I think that he convinced the president that he is there. But of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We have to prove it in actions in the negotiations and as I mentioned we should never lose sight of the need for a regional security architecture for the whole region through multilateral arrangements, agreements, how to fight radical terror, how to protect security and assure stability and how to face external threats from players like Iran.

WP: Can Syria be weaned from Iran and if so what should the United States be doing to try to accomplish this?

Barak: I think that a breakthrough in the peace process with Syria achieving what I couldn't achieve with Bashar al Assad's father, with Hafez al Assad, could be a game-changer in the region. I think that it's strategically important. If, through making peace with us, Syria can normalize its relationship with the free world and open the way for economic recovery for securing civil society and development and taking them somehow at a certain point out of the radical axis that could be a game changer.

I think that it contributes to moderate Arab interests, to the interests of America in the region and of course to Israel. We know all what is at stake. I think that both sides understand what kind of decisions they will have to make in order to move forward. And I think that the right time -- I can't tell you when it will happen -- but the right time hopefully not too late -- we'll be able to tackle this issue as well.

We expect that a byproduct of any breakthrough with Syria will be also opportunity to make peace with Lebanon and putting an end to this abnormality of the Hezbollah militia, kind of state within a state, it's a militia that has members in parliament, and ministers in the government, they have veto power in the government and they have their own independent or probably Iranian proxy, or Iranian-inspired independent policies towards Israel and an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets.

WP: You have said Israel will hold the government of Lebanon responsible for any Hezbollah provocation. What does that mean?

Barak: It means that unlike what happened in 2006 where under request from the administration, [Secretary of State] Condoleezza [Rice] called at the time [Prime Minister] Olmert and asked him not to touch the precious government of Siniora, and we didn't. I think that they're responsible for what happens and if it happens that Hezbollah will shoot into Tel Aviv, we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher of some rocket in all Lebanon. We'll see the government of Lebanon responsible for what happens, and for what happens within its government, its body politic, and its arsenal of munitions. And we will see it as a legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to the Hezbollah. And somehow, we are not looking for it. I am not threatening. We are not interested in such a deterioration. But being surrounded by so many proxies that operate not just under immediate threat under them, but probably activated by other players for external reasons, we cannot accept this abnormality and I believe that no other sovereign would have accepted it.

WP: What is the main difference now between the United States and Israel regarding Iran?

Barak: I think that the diagnosis became quite similar unlike the situation with the old, what was it NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] kind of document of several years ago when there was a difference. I think that observation of realities is coming closer, not just with the United States, basically with the European leading countries and more and more even the Russians and others understand that the Iranians are determined to reach nuclear capability. They are ready to dance in every arena. They are ready to defy and deceive and to cheat and to make diplomatic gestures and to renew them. It doesn't matter. They are determined to reach nuclear military capability and now it's still time for sanctions but do not be there forever and nothing short of much tighter sanctions could be if ever to convince them to stop it.

So we see about the diagnosis it's the same. Probably there are differences about what could be done about it, how should it be done, and what are the timeframe within which certain steps could be taken and beyond certain point cannot be taken because they are moving, they are accumulating more and more lowly enriched uranium and started only into medium enriched uranium.You know there are still two other stages but when they accumulate more and more material and more and more sites and more and more [are] dispersing it over more and more areas we should be observing all the aspects. We still believe that it's still time for sanctions but it will not be there forever. We recommended to friends and to colleagues all around the world not to remove any option from the table and we mean it.

WP: Do you think the United States is prepared to use military force if sanctions don't work?

Barak: I can't answer this question. I don't know. I think that the administration is serious about the nature of the threat, not just to Israel. It's a threat to any conceivable world order. We should understand a nuclear Iran means an inevitable new nuclear arms race in the Middle East that...It will intimidate Arab neighbors all around them, it will give a huge tailwind to the al-Qaeda, the Houtis in Yemen, the Somalis, Islamic Jihad, Lashkar-e-Taiba [in Pakistan], all these conglomerates of terrorist groups and it will start basically the countdown to a crude nuclear device in the hands of some terrorist groups. Even if such a countdown is going to take 10 years or 15 years, we are already too late to deploy for it. Just to think of the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf under a hegemonic Iran, kind of flows under the permission of the Iranians. That's something quite disturbing and I think that they are developing ground-to-ground missiles that now reaches Eastern Europe and some parts of Russia and some of the previous Soviet Union's Asian kind of members but in five years it might reach Western Europe.

WP: Can you elaborate more on the differences between the United States and Israel on Iran? Is it how much more time to give sanctions? When to bomb Iran?

Barak: I listened very carefully to the president's speech in Oslo when he got this Nobel Peace Prize. You couldn't miss the fact that it was extremely deliberate wording. And you see there something that few gatherings of Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies heard, of the need in this tough world to be ready to consider the use of force when all other options are genuinely exhausted. And it resonated in my ears with a speech that he gave many years ago before the start of the Iraqi war. War might be a necessity, cruel, tough thing you should do your best to avoid, but never lose sight of reality.

So I would not make predictions about what the administration could do if everything else won't work. I think that there [are] developments. If I watch to the extent I can see there is a change in the administration approach to this issue. It's not just change of phrases, they used to say 'it's unacceptable' and now they say 'we are determined' to prevent. I think that there is underlying basis; there are other things that are going on in this regard. It's not just making the rhetoric. I would not expect the president [to make] decisions in advance. But I think that the realities are coming to mind. You cannot ignore them. It's not the only threat when you look from our point of view. It's like you having nuclear, military effort somewhere in Cuba or Venezuela, that's the way we look at it. We think about it in much more concrete and immediate terms. You have also Afghanistan which has not yet been solved, Pakistan which could melt down at any moment which is a real strategic geopolitical nightmare. But I think Iran will still be a major test to the leadership of the free world in the coming years because if Iran can turn nuclear it's nothing to compare with the Soviet Union or China or even with India or Pakistan. It's an extremely radical state, somewhat messianic, which sponsors terror on a wide scale in many corners of the world. Think of it if Cuba would have developed a nuclear [arsenal]. And say explicitly they are going to destroy Florida or I don't know [the District of Columbia] has no right to exist. With our experience, our history, we take things seriously.

WP: Israel's patience seems to be dwindling regarding Iran.

Barak: I think that basically it's still time for sanctions. I think it's not a matter of years. It's not many years before we have to see. We believe in effective, doesn't matter how you call the sanctions, whether you call them crippling or paralyzing, or I don't know, lethal. I don't know. It should be effective, it should work. I don't see it working as of now. There were certain price to be paid for the coalition that imposed it...It has to include practically everything and we are not there yet and probably we cannot be there. Probably at a certain point we should realize that sanctions cannot work.

WP: What about the Palestinians?

Barak: We feel that we have to go from this somewhat artificial proximity talks into direct talks but of course once you are in direct talks we have to be able to put on the table the real issue and discuss all core issues.

The Israeli public elected a Knesset by which a government has been creating which is a right-wing government, (I represent the) center, left of center. I strongly believe that we have to establish or to strengthen our deep relationship with the United States within the context of a wider strategy of the free world in this region to face the real threats which are the radical terror, nuclear proliferation and rogue states, especially Iran and to be able to do it in a daring way. I believe, I believe -- it's not the formal position of the government -- that we should be ready to put on the table a plan which contains all the elements, namely realizing that there is a compelling imperative for us to have a two state solution be agreed upon and implemented before it's too late because between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean there live 11 million people if there is only one sovereign called Israel reigning over this region it will become inevitably even non-Jewish or non-democratic because if they cannot vote...if they can vote it's bi-national.

WP: Why are you sitting in a government with people who do not share your point of view on this?

Barak: I think we have to be able to delineate a border inside Eretz Yisroel in a way based on security and demographic considerations, where on inner side there is a solid Jewish majority for generations to come, on the other side demilitarized but viable independent Palestinian state economically, territorially politically, whatever. I think there is still an obstacle in Gaza, because they have about one half of their people and certain piece of ground and only access to the Mediterranean is there. It should be still solved within the Palestinian arena in a certain way. I believe that the Palestinian Authority should somehow resume its authority over Gaza.

WP: How? Should the Palestinian Authority do that?

Barak: I don't want to pretend to become omnipotent. It's important we should help the Palestinians' bottom-up effort and we are doing it to the extent we can't.

Barak: We should be able to concentrate on the settlement blocs, to establish security arrangements that will answer the previously mentioned considerations. We have to be able to bring back the isolated settlements into the settlement blocs or into Israel per se. We should find a way to deal with the Palestinian refugees issues in a way that [they] will be settled in a Palestinian state and to put [a] reasonable solution for Jerusalem that will keep our capital of course and somehow respect the heavily condensed or heavily dense Palestinians neighborhoods. And I think that it is possible. If we find during a direct negotiation that we cannot implement immediately all of it immediately probably we have to settle down for something like the second phase of the road map but it's up to both sides. We cannot impose it on the other side. So I basically believe that that's what we need to do. Now it's not a fully agreed upon policy within our government.

WP: Why is what you say relevant when the other major players in Netanyahu's government oppose what you say on this?

Barak: I think first of all that people are changing. If I compare the situation to Camp David 10 years ago, it's exactly 10 years ago, I was prime minister, at the time people like Ehud Olmert, future prime minister then mayor of Jerusalem, or Tzippi Livni was totally against it. Now they support it. I can tell you there is a drift, a gradual drift toward understanding thatit's urgent to reach a two-state solution among a wide silent majority in Israel.

The fact that [the] right wing won the election doesn't mean that the people doesn't understand what I've just said. It just means that they prefer to give the keys or the steering wheel for the negotiations not to some extreme leftist who seems to some people here to be utopian and probably not always cautious enough about security arrangements. But basically once we are in negotiations, I believe that the majority, great majority of voters for Likud, for Israel Beitenu of [Avigdor] Lieberman, and clearly for Kadima believe as I am, probably not happy to realize it, but understand that's the only solution. So I think the real need is to bring both sides into the room and start negotiations, overcome the Palestinian hesitation and probably overcome our own kind of considerations and moving into it because by waiting another decade or another half a generation will not change it, just will deepen the abnormalities or complicate the solution.

Netanyahu: Palestinians evading direct talks; Israel willing to begin direct peace talks 'as early as next week'

(ynet, Haaretz).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, "There is an obvious Palestinian attempt to evade direct negotiations." At the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting Netanyahu said, "As far as we are concerned, we are ready to start direct negotiations as early as next week."

"There is an obvious Palestinian attempt to avoid this move. If anyone had any doubts about our willingness, these doubts have disappeared. The Palestinians are trying to get out of direct talks and are trying to garner the Arab League's support."

He added that the Palestinians "continue to try to weave the reasons why they do not want to enter direct negotiations: At first they said it was the borders and the freeze. But we prepared ourselves and are ready to begin direct talks next week. These are the same issues that were raised with the American president. He knows that we are ready and willing to enter negotiations."

The prime minister also suggested that the attempt to sabotage the move to direct talks was not only conducted by the Palestinians, saying there are "parties who are not enthusiastic both internationally and in Israel," perhaps hinting at leading opposition party Kadima.

"Unfortunately, not all those parties are found outside Israel, and I'm not referring to my colleagues from the right-wing parties of the coalition." He refused to elaborate, but did say that "if you invite me to the subcommittee, things will get very interesting."

Regarding future security arrangements, Netanyahu said that the "arrangements reached with the Palestinians must be such as to withstand any changes in the political and security Middle East map."

"The Palestinians must hold firm even if an eastern front develops, as was the case, for example, before the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime," Netanyahu said, reiterating that any security arrangements with the Palestinians must "stand the test of time."

"We won't compromise security,and that's why the U.S. administration has been notified of our security needs."

On the subject of the West Bank settlement construction freeze, the prime minister said he had not intention to extend the 10-month moratorium, saying "the slowdown was limited in time: It has not changed and that's how it will be."

Commenting on his meeting with US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said it was "blunt" and that the two spokes "Openly, heart-to-heart."

"President Obama announced that we are reading and willing to start negotiations. These talks will certainly be difficult, but are preferable. Only direct negotiations will we be able to raise the issues of our security demands and interests."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Former CIA Chief Takes Hard Line on Iran: US Military action against Iran "seems inexorable"

(WSJ).—A former Central Intelligence Agency director on Sunday said that bombing Iran's nuclear facilities "might not be the worst" option for the U.S., as the country continues to push ahead with its nuclear programs despite heavy international sanctions.

Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA from 2006 to 2009, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that when he was in government, a military strike against Iran "was way down on our list." Now, "in my personal thinking—I need to emphasize that—I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes," he said.

Iran has said that its nuclear program is aimed at peaceful purposes including generating energy for civilian use, but the country has blocked international experts from inspecting its facilities.

The U.S. and others in the international community have sought to pressure Iran with sanctions.

President Barack Obama earlier this month signed into law sanctions that would impose tough penalties on any international firms that do business with Iranian banks, energy firms and the businesses of Tehran's elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Mr. Hayden said such moves appeared to be having a limited effect. "Iran doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the sanctions," he said. "We engage. They continue to move forward. We vote for sanctions. They continue to move forward. We try to deter, to dissuade. They continue to move forward."

Left to its own devices, he predicted, Iran "will get itself to that step right below a nuclear weapon, that permanent breakout stage, so the needle isn't quite in the red for the international community."

He said that that stage would be as destabilizing as Tehran's actually having a weapon.


Pipes: To Get Obama To Act, Netanyahu Should Threaten To Nuke Iran

In a recent interview with the right-wing Christian Zionist Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, neoconservative pundit Daniel Pipes shared his view that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should threaten to use nuclear weapons against Iran as a means of “applying pressure” on the United States.

“I think it’s realistic for the Israelis to attack and do real damage,” Pipes said. “Now, what constitutes success, I’m not exactly sure. There are many, many questions“:
PIPES: If I were [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, I would say to [U.S. President Barack] Obama, “Why don’t you take out the Iranian nukes? Or else we will And we will not do it by trying to fly planes across Turkey and Syria or Jordan or Saudi Arabia. We will do it from submarine-based, tactical nuclear weapons. You don’t want that; we don’t want that; but that’s the way we can do this job for sure. You do it your way so we don’t have to escalate to that.” That would be a way of applying pressure. There are so many details which I’m not privy to. But that would be my kind of approach if I were the Israelis.

Howard Berman, chairman of the House's Foreign Affairs Committee Talking points for Democrats hailing Obama's support of Israel

(JTA) -- Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) distributed talking points to fellow Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives stressing support for Israel by President Obama and Democrats.

Thursday’s memo declared that Obama and the House Democrats’ support for Israel are both unprecedented. Berman is chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is Jewish.

“I think you will find [this document] useful to make the case that House Democrats and the President are as good if not better than any Congress or Administration that has come before,” Berman said in an email to Democrats in Congress.

Republicans bidding for the Jewish vote in November's midterm elections are trying to tie Democratic Party candidates to Obama, in the wake of months of tension over Israel's settlement policies. The two governments say they have now put the tensions behind them.

The approximately two dozen talking points emphasized that Obama has stressed the need for Palestinians to recognize the Jewish character of the state and that he has made Iran a top priority in every meeting with world leaders. They drew attention to Obama’s commitment to providing Israel with financial and military aid.

The statement listed the bills and resolutions passed in the House since October 2009 regarding Israel. Among these was a resolution in January 2009 stating that Israel has a right to defend herself, and a bill sanctioning Iran in June.

Below the jump, Berman's short note to his colleagues, and the talking points.

The Democratic-Led Congress and President Obama Provide Unprecedented Support for Israel

President Obama

• More than any of his predecessors, this President has repeatedly talked about the importance of the Palestinians’ recognizing the – quote -- “Jewish” state of Israel.

• President Obama is leading the global push to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The President has stated that it is “unacceptable” for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapons capability. Recently, thanks to the Obama Administration’s hard work, the United Nations Security Council passed a fourth round of sanctions (UNSCR 1929), the strongest yet -- a remarkable diplomatic achievement. UNSCR 1929 brought Russia and China on board for UN sanctions on Iranian arms purchases; Iran’s banking, finance, shipping, and energy sectors; and designations of the IRGC and other proliferation-related entities.

• President Obama has spent more time trying to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions than any other foreign policy issue and it’s something he raises as his top priority in virtually every conversation with world leaders.

• President Obama and Democrats in Congress have provided Israel with every single penny of foreign assistance appropriations that Israel has asked for. In 2007, the United States and Israel signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that calls for the U.S. to provide $30 billion in security assistance over the following 10 years. President Barack Obama has strongly supported the 2007 agreement. As part of his fiscal year 2010 budget, the President requested $2.775 billion in aid to Israel, which completely fulfills the second year of the MOU. This year the President asked for $3 billion in aid to Israel, and the Congress will make certain the President’s request is fulfilled.

• Under President Obama, Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, or QME, is being reestablished, after having been neglected for too many years, and the U.S. and Israel have achieved new levels of close security cooperation. Later this year, the Pentagon is likely to sell Israel an initial batch of 25 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, and other sensitive technology.

• Prime Minister Netanyahu noted on July 7, 2010, that: “The alliance between Israel and the US is stable and strong. It has the support of the American administration and people. My visit to the US last week gave tangible expression to strength and durability of this unbreakable bond. In my meeting with the US President, we had a comprehensive and excellent discussion in which we covered a broad range of issues.”

• The Obama Administration has demonstrated its hard-nosed support of Israel at international forums and its uncompromising and effective opposition to efforts to de-legitimize Israel. For example, the Administration has led a global effort to prevent the Goldstone Report from gaining traction or credibility within the international community. That ill-conceived, biased report still has life in the UN system, and the Administration is fighting it tooth-and-nail.

• The Obama Administration is opposing attempts to launch a politically-tainted international investigation into Israel’s self-defensive measures in stopping the Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza. The Administration has stood behind its ally Israel in supporting Israel’s own investigation.

• The Obama Administration refused to participate in the Durban-Two conference on racism last year strictly because of its intention to single out Israel unfairly. That must have been a very difficult decision for a newly-inaugurated African-American President, but President Obama stood impressively firm.

• The Obama Administration played a critical role in achieving a unanimous, 31-0, vote at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, to ensure Israel’s accession to one of the world’s most exclusive economic associations . Thanks to the Administration’s help in bringing Israel into the OECD, Israel will be able to advance its economy to unprecedented levels.

• President Obama’s famous Cairo speech marked an Arab world first: an unprecedentedly strong affirmation of the – quote – “unshakeable” bond between the U.S. and Israel and an unprecedentedly frank discussion of the Holocaust, in the heart of a region rife with Holocaust denial. As Ambassador Michael Oren said of the Cairo speech: “This is a President who has gone to Cairo, has made a speech in which, for the first time in history, an American leader introduced the idea of Israel’s legitimacy to the heart of the Arab World.”

• In the first eighteen months of the Obama Administration, there have been numerous separate high-level visits of US officials to Israel. The visitors include Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor James Jones, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. This type of high-level attention is reserved for only the closest allies.

• The United States and Israel recently completed their largest-ever joint military exercise. The three-week Juniper Cobra 10 air defense exercise involved deployment of a thousand U.S. troops, from all four branches of service, alongside an equal number of Israel Defense Forces personnel, taking part in simulated war games intended to ensure the two countries can jointly respond to a crisis. The Juniper Cobra exercises involved the use of the long-range X-band radar, the most advanced system in the world for warning of missile-launches.

• The Obama Administration has integrated U.S. missile defense technology into Israel's expanding anti-missile shield. This is something that no other American President has done, and it is a move of immense strategic importance that has largely been overlooked by the Jewish community and by the foreign-affairs community at-large. The Administration also will continue to fund development of the Arrow-3, the most advanced variant of Israel's long-range, high-altitude system for countering Iranian ballistic missiles.

• President Obama asked Congress for $205 million to support Israel’s deployment of the Iron Dome rocket defense system, which will reduce the threat from Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s short-range rockets. The $205 million requested by the Administration, and quickly authorized by the House of Representatives (H.R. 5327 “United States-Israel Rocket and Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act” - introduced by Rep Nye (D-VA)), is in addition to the $3 billion budgetary request the Administration had already made for security assistance for Israel.

• In October 2009 the Turkish government withdrew landing rights from Israel in Turkey and refused to allow Israel to participate in a NATO exercise. In protest, the Obama Administration withdrew US forces from the exercise.

• The Obama Administration has reaffirmed sanctions against Syria and strongly condemned Syria’s transfer of Scud missiles and other arms to Hezbollah. Israeli Defense Minister Barak is regularly in Washington, DC, to meet with President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates to discuss the close US-Israel coordination on military and intelligence issues concerning Syria, Iran, and other threats.

House Democrats

• In June 2010, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2194, The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, a bill introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA). Signed into law by President Obama July 1, the new measure introduces an array of tough new economic sanctions and penalties aimed at persuading Iran to end its nuclear weapons program. Targets of the Act range from business entities involved in refined petroleum sales to Iran or support for Iran’s domestic refining efforts to international banking institutions involved with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s illicit nuclear program or its support for terrorism. The bill augments the sanctions regime envisioned in the earlier versions of the Act passed by the House and the Senate in December 2009 by supplementing the energy sanctions in those versions with an additional, powerful set of banking prohibitions. It also plugs an important gap in our sanctions regime by sanctioning companies that sell Iran goods or services that help it develop its energy sector.

• In January 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.34 which recognizes Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirms the United States' strong support for Israel, and supports the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. H.Res.34 was introduced by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

• In June 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2410, the “Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal years 2010 and 2011”. This bill, introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), authorizes appropriations to Israel; amends the Arms-Export Control Act to authorize the President to export spare and replacement parts or components of defense items to Israel; amends the Arms Export Control Act to require the Administration to certify that an arms sale to another Middle Eastern country does not threaten Israel's qualitative military edge (QME); authorizes appropriations for co-development of missile defense projects with Israel, including the Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome systems; and expresses the sense of Congress that Israel has the inalienable right to defend itself in the face of an imminent nuclear or military threat from Iran as well as from terrorist organizations and the countries that harbor them.

• In October 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R.1327, the “Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009”. This bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), authorizes state and local governments to divest their portfolios of companies that invest in Iran. It is now a part of the new Iran sanctions law (H.R. 2194).

• In October 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2647, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. This bill, introduced by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) Israel is one of the strongest allies of the United States; (2) the United States remains vigorously committed to supporting Israel's welfare, security, and survival; (3) Israel and the United States face common enemies; and (4) the United States should continue to provide Israel the critical security assistance it needs to address existential threats.

'There's A Double Standard When It Comes To Israel': The Jewish Press interview with NY GOP senatorial candidate Jay Townsend

The November midterm elections may well alter the political face of this country. Opponents of Obama administration policies have galvanized their forces and are eager to make their voices heard to the American electorate.

One of those people is Jay Townsend, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from New York who will be seeking to unseat incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer.

The Jewish Press: You started your career as a political consultant. What made you decide to throw your own hat into the ring?

I was very inspired last January when the people of Massachusetts elected Scott Brown to fill the Senate seat that had long been held by Ted Kennedy, a liberal Democrat. Massachusetts voters were outraged by the prospect of the health-care reform bill that was looming in the Senate and wanted a candidate who vowed to vote against it.

I called GOP party leaders in New York and asked if we had anyone who could or would challenge Sen. Chuck Schumer - a fervent supporter of the health-care reform legislation and the Obama agenda. The president's plans for "change" in America scare me and many others to death and I decided to become a candidate.

Concerning the Obama administration's position on the burgeoning Iranian nuclear threat, do you think the latest round of economic sanctions will prove fruitful and what path do you believe the U.S. should take on this?

I don't think that we're serious about enforcing these sanctions. We must come to the realization that we have enemies in the world and we have to stop pretending we can negotiate with these enemies. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only understands brute strength. Clearly, the nuclear threat emanating from Iran is indeed imminent. The imposition of sanctions on Iran will only prove to be another feckless attempt at stopping the nuclear threat unless we convince other countries to participate fully.

We should try and enlist the help of the European Union, Japan and state owned banks and we must make the sanctions systematic. Basically, my argument with the Obama administration is that you cannot be patient with a tyrant and that is what Ahmadinejad is. He is never going to like us and we had better get accustomed to that.

There has been a dramatic shift in U.S. policy toward Israel, with the administration pressuring Israel to relinquish parts of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state along with the settlements in Judea and Samaria. Do you think the creation of a Palestinian state is in America's best interest and would you support an Israeli strike on Iran as former UN Ambassador John Bolton has suggested?

Israel is our closest and best ally and deserves to be treated as such. I felt Obama used the first year of his presidency to rub Israel's nose in the dirt. Senator Schumer refused to voice his opposition to this. Look, if President Bush had done to Israel what Obama is doing, Schumer would have vociferously protested.

I don't believe Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. That is patently ridiculous. I don't believe the creation of a Palestinian state will bring peace to this war-torn region and I vehemently oppose the creation of a state that would represent an existential threat to Israel's security. I would certainly support Israel's right to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat; that would be in America's best interest as well.

Over the last six months, Senator Schumer has held press conferences on such inane issues as airline baggage fees, the increase of salt in cheeseburgers, sunscreen and Facebook but he won't utter a word of protest regarding the president's treatment of Israel. Senators can make noise and they are indeed in a unique position to make such noise and I plan to do just that.

The demonization of Israel is growing at alarming proportions not only on our college campuses but also throughout the world, especially in Europe. What would you do in the Senate to help stop this phenomenon and how would you work to support Israel's position vis-a-vis the U.S.?

I believe our support for Israel cannot be limited to uttering platitudes. It is America's best interest to ensure that Israel possesses access to the best military technology available. The prime minister of Israel's responsibility and obligation is to the safety, welfare and health of his nation and its citizens and he should not be excoriated for doing so.

Israel should never be held to a standard we wouldn't hold ourselves to. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Israel demanded that the U.S. negotiate with leaders of countries that deny our right to exist? That would never be tolerated, so why should Israel be expected to tolerate that kind of nonsense? There's a double standard when it comes to Israel and Schumer knows this. Why is he afraid to call his president on the carpet for doing this? Why doesn't he finally stand up for the constituency that elected him?