With the Mideast in Chaos, Israel Needs Defensible Borders

Stating (what should be) the obvious:

Israel was supposed to surrender land and defensible borders to its neighbors to buy peace. As those neighbors have descended or risk descending into war and chaos, the folly of trading strategic territory to placate unstable dictatorships has become even more clear. And as those dictatorships are replaced by terrorist organizations with their own armies and Iranian backing, defensible borders are as necessary as ever for Israel:

By the Numbers — Finally, Hard Numbers on the Extremism in the Muslim World

This is a must-see video which brings actual data on the opinions of Muslims around the world.

Large percentages believe in the death penalty for Muslim apostates, pursuing violent jihad, “honor” killings and/or implementation of Sharia law — totalling hundreds of millions of people.

Are all Muslims extremists? No! There are some moderate Muslims who are risking their lives to speak out against Muslim extremism, like this one:





Netanyahu 1, Obama 0

Or maybe it is Netayahu 4, Obama 0:

Bibi’s grand slam: Boxing in Obama on Iran’s nukes

On Tuesday, Bibi Netanyahu gave the speech of his life before a joint session of Congress — and he has Barack Obama to thank for it.

Yes, the very same Barack Obama who hates Bibi, the same Obama who was furious the speech was being given at all, walked the bases full for Netanyahu and served up the sucker pitch he hit for a grand slam.

While the response to the Speech of the Year has been somewhat divided based on party lines, there is no question Bibi came out the winner. President Obama, the far Left of the Democratic Party (including the House Minority Leader) and their protectors in the media are doing their best to respond, but it is clearly damage control.

First, while House Speaker John Boehner made the original invitation, 100% of the publicity for the event was provided by the vindictive Mr. Obama and his team, and the media firestorm that followed. (For you conspiracy theorists out there — maybe the Jews really do run the world??)

All the ruckus insured the maximum possible audience for the Prime Minister, who has been known for decades as one of the best public speakers anywhere. This was his 3rd (!!) speech to a joint session of Congress so he knew what to expect. He had to give the speech of his life, and he did.

No one expects the speech will change the President’s mind, but it will do the only 3 things that are in Bibi’s power to do to improve the chances of stopping Iran: 1) influence mainstream American opinion, 2) influence some centrist Democrats in Congress and 3) help get Bibi re-elected.

President Obama started the fight, as usual. He came out it looking petty, petulant, even childish.

Netanyahu, for once, asserted himself in return, but even then made sure to be as gracious as possible by thanking Obama for what he could at the beginning of his speech. He came out looking… Presidential. He gave a powerful but rational and truth-based appeal that certainly helped sway the uninformed and the open-minded.

There is no doubt who won this one.

Bibi nailed it.

Short and simple: Bibi nailed it:

Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a historic speech to Congress

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses both houses of Congress

A special thanks to President Obama — for making a silly, vindictive fuss over the event and therefore insuring the maximum possible audience for the speech.

Defying Obama was risky indeed for Netanyahu, but opposing a Netanyahu speech turns out to have been even more risky for the President as speechifying is Netanyahu’s top skill of all.

The speech will will almost surely help Netanyahu’s reelection hopes, will almost surely hurt Obama’s attempt to capitulate to the Iranians, and will be a minor body-blow against the Democrats in general and the anti-Israel crowd in particular.

Bibi 1, Obama 0.

The True Rift between Netanyahu and Obama

The true rift between Netanyahu and Obama is about policy, not politesse” (that and the fact that Obama hates Bibi’s guts).

From the article:

So here, again, are the facts: John Boehner invited Bibi to speak on an issue of national importance to both the United States and to Israel, and Bibi accepted. The White House was informed of the invitation in advance, as is proper. Democrats were not consulted. Tzipi Livni, Buji Herzog, Jonathan Greenblatt, and the editorial board of the New York Times were not consulted either. This is all according to custom and according to precedent.

Enough said. Someone IS spitting in someone’s face here, but Bibi is the one getting spit on.

Did the White House Lie about Netanyahu?

We at IRIS are still confused about the recent surreal brouhaha about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s accepting an invitation to speak to Congress.

What exactly WAS the big deal here?? Why was Bibi blamed — it was Speaker John Boehner’s fault. Bibi has to check with Obama if it is ok to address Congress? Boehner doesn’t have to check but Bibi does? Strange.

Now an interesting piece of information has come to light — it seems the Administration knew all along about the invitation and Bibi did NOT “go behind their backs”:

Did the Obama Administration lie about Netanyahu?

The story began with a correction at the bottom of a New York Times story on January 30. This was picked up immediately by Breitbart and since then has been getting a bit of coverage on pro-Israel blogs.

But the questions remain:

Is it really true that the White House bald-face lied about the timing just to snub Netanyahu?

If it is true, why didn’t Netanyahu just say so?

Why is this not getting more coverage, at least in conservative and pro-Israel circles?

As Bibi (but not Boehner??) continues to come under pressure to cancel the speech, will this piece of truth come out or be disproved?

[Hat tip: Moshe Burt]

Human Shields in Gaza

Do the people around the world who complain about “civilian casualties” in Gaza understand that it is a war crime to target civilians with missile attacks (which Hamas does) and also to hide behind civilian shields (which Hamas also does)?  Or to shoot rockets from “protected” locations like schools, hospitals and mosques (which Hamas also does)?

Do they understand that civilians and protected institutions lose their protected status according to the rules of war when they are unlawfully used for war activities?

Gazan “Missile Defence”

Do they realize that they are “useful idiots” playing into Hamas’ hands and encouraging Hamas leaders to continue to try to get their own people killed so they will get more sympathy?  Do they realize they are therefore insuring there will be more civilian casualties on both sides in the future?

Finally, does this say something, anything at all, about a group of people that voted Hamas into power and continues to play along with the Human shield game?  Anything?

Hat tip: Boldt Andreas

Dereliction of Duty

Here is yet another article on the abysmal record of Israel’s Foreign Ministry to present Israel’s case to the world:

For the failure or – perhaps more accurately – the virtual absence, of Israeli PD [public diplomacy — ed.] strategy goes beyond the problem of what it is not doing for Israel in presenting its case and promoting its image. No less damaging is what it allows others to do to Israel in undermining its case and perverting its image…

Continued impotence and incompetence in the (mis)conduct of Israel’s public diplomacy is becoming not only strategic threat to the country but is beginning to imperil Jewish communities abroad.

(Hat tip: Allyson Christy)

Well, yeah…  But this is unfortunately nothing new.  Israel army’s incomparable valor and skill on the battlefield has been juxtaposed to the incomparable incompetence of its official hasbara (PR) efforts for decades.   This incompetence has limited or even allowed the reversal of the country’s military victories on the ground over and over again.

However, while there may be some benefit in complaining about it in order to (yet again) bring the dire situation to people’s attention, know one thing: The situation is NOT going to change any time soon.  The problem is related to deeply-entrenched technicalities such as funding and staffing at the Foreign Ministry that, barring a miracle, could not be fixed quickly even if their was a will to do so.

So instead of (or at least in addition to) complaining, it is incumbent on all those that care about Israel to fill the void that Israel’s official representatives are not.

IDF Finds (Another) Sophisticated Terror Tunnel from Gaza

The IDF has discovered another terror tunnel from Gaza. This one is built to last, with concrete walls and ceiling, electricity and communication cables and energy-saving light bulbs:

Gaza Terror Tunnel Design
(Source: Ynet)

Unfortunately this shows the folly of “separation” and building walls to keep terrorists out. As was warned from the beginning, a wall can be passed, either under, over or through it. The separation barriers have slowed down terrorists but not stopped them. Stopping terrorists can only be accomplished by controlling fully the territories from which they originate and disrupting their infrastructure at all levels.

In the meantime, what does this say about Hamas, who is investing a tremendous amount of resources preparing for the “next round” of the conflict instead of helping their fellow Arabs?

You can see videos (in Hebrew) of the tunnels in the original Hebrew article here:


Hat tip: HS

Israeli Politicians Who Promised There would be No Missiles From Gaza

Missiles from Gaza? Again?

Once again we are reminded of the willful naivete that is such a major part of life and politics.

Here’s is a nice Who’s Who of people who assured us that Israel would not be attacked from Gaza once it retreated from there:

Rockets had already been falling on Israel from Gaza for years before the Disengagement. It was obvious that handing a huge victory to the terrorists would embolden them and encourage others to join them. How anyone in Israel could say otherwise is a mystery, even taking ideology into account.

Unfortunately, it is absurd to expect much contrition from people were so spectacularly wrong, in fact so spectacularly stupid, even though they were caught on video.

Bin Laden: Wishing the witch wasn’t dead…

Here are some thoughts on the premature death of Osama Bin Laden:

First, IRIS would like congratulate President Obama (we still hope he gets handily defeated in 2012), the US Military and Intelligence Services, and all the people from the present and past administrations that contributed to this wonderful event.

That said, there is still a lot to be learned. The following comments are meant to be purely constructive, and are not to be taken as complaints or accusations. While Bin Laden’s demise is a wonderful thing that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement.

So here goes:

* Dancing in the streets: Sorry, this just seems wrong or at least bad policy. When Muslims celebrate successful terror attacks that shows how bloodthirsty and yes, evil, they are. One can say that this is different because an evil killer got what he deserved. But the Muslims will have a hard time understanding the difference, especially as they apply the concept of collective guilt to whomever they don’t like, even civilians. So at the least this sends the wrong message, that it is ok to celebrate when someone gets killed. At the worst it is barbaric.

In Israel, even when really nasty people like Sheikh Yassin and Yahya Ayyash, “the engineer” were eliminated there was no partying.

On the other hand, psychological momentum is very important in war and this really does throw it back in the enemy’s faces. The Americans might as well say it outright: You drew first blood, but we got you back. Who’s dancing now?

* Left-wingers beating their chests: It is a pleasure to see the peaceful Left crooning over the manhood of their guy who just had someone killed instead of bringing him to trial. What happened to due process? I am not complaining, just wondering how we can expand the list of bad guys that the Left are willing to kill instead of coddle…

* Swooning over Obama: The Leftists are just falling over themselves again about their hero. So cool despite the heavy burdens he bears (doesn’t hurt his golf game a bit apparently)! So gutsy a move! Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has any president made such a bold move! The news has been so bad for so long, but it’s alright again. He has got the magic back. They are back in love.

Gimme a break. Carter authorized the same kind of move during the hostage crisis in Iran, it just failed. Reagan stood up to the Soviets and invaded Granada and Panama. Both Bushes initiated actual wars. President Obama certainly deserves credit for some good decisions and good luck but that’s all.

One wonders how this man has such power to send tingles up the legs of the Left. Just like with his alleged supreme oratory skills (as long as there is a teleprompter). I never understood what the big deal was. He is a decent speaker but let’s not overdo it. Is the Left exercising the soft racism of low expectations here?

* Obama’s jump in the polls: Sure President Obama’s polling numbers will go up, and deservedly so. Long-term, not just short-term. He has shown a different face than he has before on foreign affairs. Eliminating Bin Laden doesn’t erase the bowing to foreign leaders, the apologies about American greatness, the capitulating to the Russians, the dropping the ball on Iran, or the throwing of allies like Great Britain, Poland and Israel under the bus. It doesn’t even come close to offsetting those mistakes. But it does create a more complicated picture, one where he can no longer be painted as someone who is ALWAYS a sissy who can’t defend American interests. Let’s hope he continues the new approach now that he sees how popular it is.

* Democracy at work: Can anyone believe that Obama’s self-interest wasn’t at work here, at least a little bit? The man of peace had a fugitive tracked and gunned down instead of arrested and read his rights. Surely the public’s desire to get Bin Laden played a part in his decisions. That is wonderful. That’s democracy — the people get their will done (some of the time) even between elections.

* Huge mistake to publicize it so soon: Why, why, why? The president just couldn’t contain himself. Couldn’t he have waited until the Intelligence services had a chance to go over all the goodies they acquired from Bin Laden’s lair before blabbing about what happened? Now every Al Quada creep in Bin Laden’s rolodex knows that the US has information on him and will act accordingly. A major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.

It could be that the president figured that the news would leak fast anyway so he might as well be the one to spread the word for maximum credit. Understandable, but sad.

* Why not capture him? Take it a step further: Why kill Bin Laden at all? He should have been captured alive no matter what the cost, brought to one of those secret CIA facilities overseas, and treated the most severe… um… enhanced interrogation techniques known to man. I am sure our Russian quasi-allies could have helped out a bit with that. How about the Chinese? They know a thing or two about tor… er.. EITs.

The man was a treasure trove of intelligence information and every last bit of it should have been wrung out of him. BEFORE his capture was announced.

Yes, capturing him would have complicated things. Gitmo, miranda rights, trial in the US, giving a murderer a platform to spout his views. But these were not insurmountable issues. Again, a major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.

* Don’t expect it to be “ok” for Israel to do the same now: If Israel would do the same thing tomorrow President Obama and the rest of the world would still condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms. Just like happened when Israel was conducting targeted assassinations during the Second Intifada. Even though those assassinated were just as evil as Bin Laden, even as the Americans were doing the exact same thing to less evil men, they still condemned Israel. And that when George W. Bush was president. He is a 100 times more pro-Israel than his successor.

Israel will still have to do what she needs to to protect herself. Despite the condemnations that are still sure to come.

* Bonus: Pakistan. Everyone is asking a lot of questions about Pakistan. Can’t wait to learn the answers. And hopefully to watch something be done about them.


So there you have it. A great and wonderful thing has been done, and again congratulations to all those who participated. The world is a better place. But let’s keep it in perspective and learn from it so that it can be done even better the next time around.

The True Face of Terrorism

Last Friday night, Palestinian terrorists broke into the home of the Fogel Israeli family in the settlement of Itamar in Samaria and murdered 5 family members. The victims included parents and three children aged 11, 4, and 3 months. (!)

I regret to say that I have been in Israel long enough that this simply registered as bad news. Even after my daughter rode home from school on the same Egged bus as the crying family on its way to funeral.

Not anymore.

If you, like me, need a better sense of what actually was involved in this brutal, inhuman act of cruelty, watch this video:

The True Face of Terrorism


BEFORE you watch:

In this video you WILL see pictures of bloody, murdered children and who knows what else because I could only watch it for about 10 seconds before I had to close it. I can only imagine what was in the rest of the video.

I post this link with great reluctance and I did NOT embed the video on this page because I am morally opposed to people viewing this kind of thing. But 10-20 seconds of this video should be enough to change the worldview of any person with a pulse and a shred of decency. If the idea of a murdered 4-year-old and a murdered baby doesn’t sicken and enrage you or someone you know, maybe you should watch. If you can take it.

Is it really possible for a human being to commit such an act of barbarity? Apparently it is. And this is the kind of enemy that Israel faces every day. These are the people with whom we are told that we must make peace.

Palestinian society glorifies this kind of deed at every level, from the top to the bottom. Do such people deserve a country of their own? Would you give them a state in your own back yard? A state adjoining all of the major population centers of YOUR country? Why should Israel?

Why Israel will Benefit from the Turmoil in Egypt

Here is quite a surprising quote from the normally-enlightening Caroline Glick, from the not-so-subtlely-titled Clueless in Washington:

When given the opportunity, the crowds on the street are not shy about showing what motivates them. They attack Mubarak and his new Vice President Omar Suleiman as American puppets and Zionist agents. The US, protesters told CNN’s Nick Robertson, is controlled by Israel. They hate and want to destroy Israel. That is why they hate Mubarak and Suleiman.

What all of this makes clear is that if the regime falls, the successor regime will not be a liberal democracy. Mubarak’s military authoritarianism will be replaced by Islamic totalitarianism. The US’s greatest Arab ally will become its greatest enemy. Israel’s peace partner will again become its gravest foe.

Understanding this, Israeli officials and commentators have been nearly unanimous in their negative responses to what is happening in Egypt. The IDF, the national security council, all intelligence agencies and the government as well as the media have all agreed that Israel’s entire regional approach will have to change dramatically in the event that Egypt’s regime is overthrown.

None of the scenarios under discussion are positive.


Let’s dissect that a bit.

First of all, it is clear that the Egyptians hate Mubarak because he is a repressive dictator, not because he is a stooge of the US or Israel. It is hard to believe that Glick wrote what she did.

Second, there ARE potential positive outcomes here.

For the US, a more democratic regime which is not dominated by Islamics would definitely be an improvement over the current dictatorship.

On the other hand, I have seen commentators that I trust who assert that this is unlikely given that the Moslem Brotherhood is the only well-organized opposition group, and they are highly-motivated and probably quite ruthless. There is a good chance that they will wind up on top when this is all finished and that would obviously be bad for US interests.

The Obama administration manages to come out on the wrong side of every upheaval, from Honduras to Iran, and now seems intent on doing the same in Egypt. As Glick notes, this is not due to “cluelessness” (as the title of her article implies) but rather due to ideological blinders:

It is this anti-colonialist paradigm, with its foundational assumption that that the US has no right to criticize non-Westerners that has informed the Obama administration’s foreign policy. It was the anti-colonialist paradigm that caused Obama not to support the pro-Western protesters seeking the overthrow of the Iranian regime in the wake of the stolen 2009 presidential elections.

And it is this anti-colonialist paradigm that has guided Obama’s courtship of the Syrian, Turkish and Iranian regimes and his unwillingness to lift a hand to help the March 14 movement in Lebanon….

Anti-colonialists by definition must always support the most anti-Western forces as “authentic.” In light of Mubarak’s 30-year alliance with the US, it makes sense that Obama’s instincts would place the US president on the side of the protesters.

How very sad that the Left is so often drawn to those who most want to destroy the West.

That said, Israel’s interests are somewhat different than those of the US in this case.

It is in Israel’s interests that Egypt be either pacified or weakened.

Like the US, Israel probably would benefit from a more democratic regime in Egypt, assuming that the Islamics didn’t wind up running the show. Israel fears Egypt could one day join another war against her. In a dictatorship, the decision to go to war ultimately rides on the whims of one man, and there is little doubt that Mubarak or any of his likely successors would gladly go to war against Israel in the right circumstances. Democracies however are less likely to go to war, and an Egyptian democracy would lower the risk of war even if the average Egyptian hates Israel. A democratic Egypt will be more pacified and therefore that benefits Israel.

And if the Islamics take over, Egypt will be weakened.

Mubarak successfully played the bad-cop-worse-cop game with the US for decades — support me, he said, or else you will get the Islamic fanatics instead. The Americans turned a blind eye to, and even tacitly supported, his oppression, and gave him money and weapons which could easily be used against Israel.

This is the same game that Arafat played — support me, or you will get the Hamas — and it is shocking that the Israeli Right that rightly opposed Arafat should now support Mubarak. Israel should have opposed both Arafat and the Hamas, just like it should have and still should oppose both Mubarak and the Moslem Brotherhood.

If the Moslem Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, in the short term Israel will gain yet another fundamentalist neighbor and that will not be pleasant. But that neighbor will immediately lose the knee-jerk support of its current patron, the US. When the financial aid drops to zero, and when the cool weapon systems and spare parts stop pouring in, Egypt’s power will begin to melt away. Just as happened in Iran after the Shah fell. It is unlikely that the Shah’s Iran would have lost a war with the much-smaller Iraq like Khomeini’s Iran did not long after the revolution.

Therefore Israel’s worst-case scenario is probably the present one.

Israel should do whatever it can to insure that Mubarak is replaced by some kind of democratic regime, with the Islamics kept out. But should the Islamics come to power Israel should maximize the natural instincts of the US to withdraw its support from and actively oppose such a regime. The fall of Egypt as power in the Middle East is likely to follow forthwith.

Yet another Israeli technology breakthrough

Here is the latest technology breakthrough engineered in Israel:

Intel’s Sandy Bridge revolution engineered in Haifa

“It was clear to all of us that the new thing we developed at Haifa was something completely different,” said Shlomit Weiss, the architect of Sandy Bridge architect, whose development she oversaw at Intel Israel Ltd. over the past four years. Sandy Bridge is the business card that Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) is developing for next-generation PCs, which are designed to operate in a market in which consumers are demanding greater computer performance.

[Hat tip: JR]

Will there come a time when Israeli brainpower is more valuable to world, and perceived as such, than Arab oil? Will electric cars and/or Israel’s massive recent natural gas finds reduce the Arab edge?

Ultimately, society progresses due to ideas, not resources. But when push-comes-to-shove, the world can always wait a bit longer for new technologies to emerge whereas most countries can’t last long without imported oil.

It certainly would be nice if Israelis could provide brainpower-based services that would be as necessary on a day-to-day basis as gas for the car but such a scenario is hard to envision. Israel is at the forefront of solar energy development, but it will take decades, at least, before alternative energies can supply more than a small fraction of the world’s massive energy needs.

The best bet might be the electric car, which would receive its power from non-oil-generated electricity. Might electric cars, made viable on a massive scale by Israeli Shai Agassi’s car charge and battery switch revolution, powered by electricity generated by (Israeli!) natural gas, and with their range extended by solar panels on their roofs, be the first nail on the coffin of the oil weapon?

Dennis Prager Sums up the Middle East

Dennis Prager sums up the “Middle East problem” in 5 minutes:

Let’s sum up those 6 minutes in one sentence:

Israel wants peace with the other side; the other side does not want Israel to exist and is willing to fight to achieve what they want.

Some might disagree on how to define “the other side”, but it is clear that there IS another side that does not want peace, that they have enough influence that there can be no peace, and that they are not going to magically disappear.

The nice thing about summing up the problem so succinctly is that it makes it clear why the many attempts at peace that have failed, failed: Peace fails to materialize when one side doesn’t want it. They might say they want peace, if only they can have land or a state, but if they don’t really mean it then there will be no peace.

When people, or at least Israelis, fully understand that the other side doesn’t want peace, regardless of what they might say, we can stop wasting time and lives on failed peace processes that bring less peace instead of more.