2 More Indicted in Foiled NYC Subway Bomb Plot

This blog previously reported that Afghan immigrant Najibullah Zazi plead guilty to charges connected to a New York subway bombing plot. The Associated Press now reports that 2 more Afghans have been indicted in the New York City bomb plot:

Two high school classmates of admitted terrorist plotter Najibullah Zazi were indicted Thursday in a foiled scheme to bomb New York City subways that a prosecutor said was directed by “al-Qaida leadership.”

Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin, both 25, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The three men were planning an attack on city subway lines last September under the direction of leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network that would have been similar to the 2005 London subway bombings that killed more than 50 people, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Knox said.

“The facts alleged in this indictment shed further light on the scope of this attempted attack…,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This attack would have been deadly”…

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay — who authorities say traveled to Pakistan with Zazi in 2008… faced charges in the alleged plot.

Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. His lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, said this week he didn’t know whether Zazi told prosecutors anything about his client but Zazi’s decision to plead guilty “obviously affects the overall prosecution.”

Ahmedzay has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI during the probe about places he visited during the 2008 trip.

Zazi’s uncle, father and a Queens imam face lesser charges in the case.

PA Still Stealing “Hundreds of Millions” in Financial Aid

It is well known that the Palestinian Authority has been a kleptocracy from the very beginning. And Hamas is no different; see, for example, Hamas Stealing Aid Supplies to Sell to Gazans. But still it helps to keep bringing to light the ongoing examples, as columnist and commentator Khaled Abu Toameh does when reporting that the PA is still stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid:

Donor countries have yet to respond to revelations by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh that some of Mahmoud Abbas’ close aides had siphoned off to private bank accounts hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for financial aid to the Palestinians.

Shabaneh expressed frustration over the way the international media has been handling his exposures: “Don’t the Americans, Europeans and Arabs care about their money that is being stolen?”

A former PA minister convinced Abbas and Arafat to give him about $5 million of international aid so that he could purchase land in Jerusalem “before Jews lay their hands on them.” Shabaneh’s investigations showed that the minister deposited most of the money in his private bank account and built a huge, luxurious villa on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Shabaneh also discovered that a former PA finance minister had deposited $8 million in his private bank account.

These are only a few… of the hundreds of cases Shabaneh dealt with when he was in his job, according to the former Palestinian intelligence official, who is now “wanted” by the Palestinian Authority on charges of “collaboration with the Israeli enemy.”

Shabaneh says that since Abbas appointed him as the chief corruption-buster in the Palestinian Authority six years ago, he has collected incriminating evidence against dozens of senior officials, in addition to the president’s two sons, Yasser and Tarek.

Abbas, meanwhile, has cut off Shabaneh’s salary to punish him for speaking out against corruption…

Actually, there is a bit of cosmic justice here. Many nations who helped foist the PA on Israel, all in the name of a very dubious peace. It therefore gives some pleasure to see those nations’ billions in financial aid to the PA being flushed down the drain.

Hamas Founder’s Son Worked for Shin Bet

A large part of Israel’s spectacular success in war and counter-terrorism is HUMINT — the Human Intelligence provided by people on the ground, as opposed to by technical means such as spy satellites. Only HUMINT can make possible an operation like the recent one where Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was eliminated. The West, which has recently found itself in serious trouble for over-reliance on technical sources of intelligence and failing to develop HUMINT resources in Muslim lands would be well-advised to follow Israel’s example.

Here is a breaking example of Israel’s almost unbelievable penetration into the very heart of the enemy camp: Haaretz reports that the son of a Hamas founder worked for Israel’s Shin Bet security service for over a decade.

The report notes:

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.

Yousef was considered the Shin Bet’s most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname “the Green Prince” – using the color of the Islamist group’s flag, and “prince” because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement’s founders.

Intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker).

His memoir, Son of Hamas, will be released next week in the U.S.

His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.

“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said the handler, named in Yousef’s book as Captain Loai…

“Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis,” he said. “Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does.”

UN Report Reveals Dual Standards Applied to Israel

Analyst David Bedein of Israel Resource Review writes that a January, 2010 “United Nations’ Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” clears allied coalition forces of culpability for civilian casualties in their war with Taliban in Afghanistan. Bedein notes that the UN report reveals its dual standards in assigning military culpability to Israel in the 2006 Lebanon War and in Operation Cast Lead in 2009:

The UN report explained that the Taliban frequently attacked coalition forces in densely populated areas and did not blame the United States army or its allies for deaths of civilians who were non combatants who live near the areas from where Taliban launched its attacks, using the civilian areas as a collective human shield.

The UN Afghanistan report stands in stark contrast to a recent report issued by a United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s investigative team, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, …which conducted an inquiry into Israel’s January 2009… military incursion into the Hamas- ruled Gaza Strip.

[Instead of blaming Hamas for its systematic use of civilians as human shields when attacking Israel, the Goldstone report instead blamed Israel for the deaths of non-combatants when defending itself.]

In direct contrast to the Goldstone Report from the same United Nations, the UN holds the Taliban terrorists directly responsible for collateral deaths in Afghanistan, at the same time that the UN alleges that Israel engages in “intentional attacks against the civilian population and civilian objects,” even though Hamas terrorists openly use homes, schools, hospitals and mosques as their protective place of operation…

Significantly, more non-combatants have been injured or killed in Afghanistan by allied troops than by IDF forces in Gaza.

Former British commander in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp, told the BBC that he did “not think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more effort to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the [Israel Defense Forces] is doing… in Gaza.”

Using human shields and fighting from structures with non-combatant status such as mosques, schools and hospitals are both clear war crimes. Hamas does that for 2 reasons: 1) to make it harder for Israel (who apparently cares more for Arab civilians than the Hamas fighters hiding behind them) to fight Hamas, and 2) to get Israel blamed for causing the inevitable civilian deaths. As long as the UN, the media, and others continue to reward Hamas by playing along and blaming Israel for Hamas’ despicable behavior it is certain to continue.

Ehud Barak’s 2 Million Person Demographics Gap

Israel National News is reporting that recent statements concerning a “demographic threat” by defense minister Ehud Barak amount to “a dramatic error of a two million person gap.”

The IRIS blog has placed numerous posts through the years pointing to the glaring gaps between independent demographics studies and Israeli/PA census statistics. See: Jewish Demographic Momentum, Palestinian Demographic Dud Decelerates and Israel’s Demographic Situation Continues to Improve.

The key point behind all the numbers is that the Arab birthrate in the land of Israel and elsewhere has plummeted since 1967 due to the introduction of western sanitation and health care; it is now almost the same as the Jewish birthrate.

The Israel National News report states:

Labor party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier this month stated inflated figures on the number of Arabs in Israel in order to reach a conclusion that failure to reach a two-state solution would create “Apartheid,” according to defense industry official Chaim Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said that Barak’s figures of six million Arabs living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea artificially add two milion Arabs to the population figures.

Rosenberg is the head of Long-Term Planning at RAFAEL (Israel Defense Ministry’s Armament Development Authority). He wrote that a study published as recently as last year by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies concluded that there are only four million Arabs, distributed almost equally between Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and the rest of Israel…

The “demographic threat” is actually non-existent when compared with the census in 1948, when the Jewish State was re-established, the defense industry official stated. Rosenberg pointed out that Jews comprised only one-third of the population between the Jordan and the Mediterranean at that time. The “defiance of odds was responsible for the 1948 establishment of the Jewish State,” Rosenberg reminded readers.

“In 2010, there is a solid 67 percent Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel and Judea and Samaria” he added. “However, some Israeli politicians employ toxic demographic assets. They inflate the number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria in order to scare the Jewish State into a retreat from a most critical area, historically and security-wise.

“Current demographics bode well for the Jewish majority, which is expected to grow during the next 20 years…, while Arab/Muslim fertility throughout the Middle East has declined sharply. In addition, the Arab minority has experienced an accelerated net-emigration of 580,000 from Judea and Samaria since 1967.

Rosenberg and IRIS are not the first to cite huge gaps in census data used by the Israeli government in demographics analysis. Other similar reports appear here, here and here. News commentator Caroline Glick also provided this jaw-dropping piece on the delusion of Israeli government census data in January, 2007:

The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) presented a plan for Israel’s future called “The Fourth Way.”…

Since 1997, Israel’s leaders have based their policies towards the Palestinians on what was perceived as a madly ticking Palestinian demographic time bomb. The public was told that the Palestinian population in Jerusalem, Gaza, Judea and Samaria was rapidly expanding and that by 2015, Jews would lose our majority west of the Jordan River. If we didn’t hurry up and hand over Judea, Samaria and Gaza and partition Jerusalem, we would find ourselves forced to choose between a Jewish state and a democratic one.

The AIDRG took it upon itself to do what no Israeli governmental body had considered doing: It… started counting heads. It worked out that the doomsday scenario was based on a massive fabrication. In 1997, the PA published census figures that exaggerated its population figures in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem by nearly 50 percent. The PA double counted Arab Jerusalemites, included hundreds of thousands of emigrants to its population rolls, asserted mass immigration when in fact there has been net emigration from the PA since 1995. It exaggerated fertility rates and underplayed mortality rates. In all, the PA added approximately 1.4 million people who did not exist to its population rolls.

Rather than 3.8 million Palestinians, the team found there were likely no more, and perhaps less than 2.4 million Palestinians. Jews, who make up an 80 percent majority within sovereign Israel, make up a 59% majority of the population of Israel with Gaza and Judea and Samaria and a 67% majority of the population with Judea and Samaria without Gaza.

To read Glick’s complete report on the gap in Israeli/Pa demographics statistics, click here.

The bottom line: the demographic argument used by the Left to push Israel towards territorial concessions is false. The policy implications of this fact are clear.

Afghan Pleads Guilty in New York Bomb Plot

The New York Times reports that an Afghan immigrant plead guilty to charges concerning a bombing plot in the New York subway:

The Afghan immigrant at the center of what the authorities described as one of the most serious threats to the United States since 9/11 pleaded guilty Monday to terrorism charges in what he said was a Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb in the New York subway.

Najibullah Zazi admitted that he came to New York last year… to kill himself and others on the subway using a homemade bomb.

He characterized the plot as a “martyrdom operation” that he was just days away from executing when he realized he was under government surveillance.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said… : “This attempted attack on our homeland was real, it was in motion and it would have been deadly.”

Zazi told the court he went with friends to Pakistan in August 2008 to join the Taliban in fighting the U.S. in Afghanistan.

While in Pakistan, he received training in making bombs, and was persuaded by Qaeda operatives to return to America to be a suicide bomber. They discussed possible targets, including the New York subway system.

British Officer: ‘UK Combat Doctrine Influenced by IDF’

The BBC reports that Colonel Richard Kemp, a top British military officer, noted that the ‘UK combat doctrine has been Influenced by IDF.’ The BBC report stated:

Col. Kemp said the advice he received from the Israeli armed forces on how to tackle Afghan suicide bombers had been invaluable, and formed the basis of official army guidelines used by soldiers on the ground there.

He added that UK soldiers did not have to deal with the same amount of criticism from the international community as does the IDF.

“When we go into battle we do not get the same knee-jerk, almost Pavlovian response from many, many elements of the international media and international groups, humanitarian groups and other international groups such as the United Nations which should know better… of utter automatic condemnation. We don’t have to put up with that.”

Col. Kemp, previously cited on the IRIS blog here and here, was reported to have spoken the above comments cited by the BBC while speaking out yet again for the Israel Defense Forces, this time at a UK Zionist Federation dinner on Sunday in London according to this report from The Jerusalem Post:

“I was a professional soldier for 30 years in the British army and it was my honor and privilege to work alongside the IDF on a number of occasions during that time,” he said.

“I found in my time that the British forces and British government had no stronger ally than Israel and the IDF.”

The former commander… said he wrote the British army’s doctrine on suicide bombing based on help he received from an Israeli army expert on the issue.

“I went to Afghanistan to take over the British forces in 2003 and it was the first time I found myself in a situation where we faced suicide bomb attacks.

“I found that no one in the British forces had worked out a means to try to tackle suicide bomb attacks and how to train our soldiers to handle that situation,” Kemp said.

“…I spoke to a friend at the Israeli embassy and asked if he could help. I thought he would have me meet the defense attache’ at the embassy, but within days a brigadier-general, the top expert the IDF had on suicide bombing, came from his base in the Golan to London specifically to spend about four hours giving me a full briefing on the subject.

“As a result I devised a policy that subsequently became the British forces’ doctrine for dealing with suicide bombing,” he said…

The colonel said that some of the challenges British forces face in Iraq and Afghanistan are comparable to the challenges Israel faces in Gaza and Lebanon…

Comparing the predicament of British forces currently fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan to what Israel is up against, he said, “They fight among the people, they use their own population as weapons of war and that was certainly true of Hamas in the Gaza conflict. They deliberately sacrificed their own people, deliberately did their best to lure Israeli forces to attack their civilian population, and the same thing happens in Afghanistan.

“Taliban forces use the same tactics of trying to draw our forces onto their civilian population that they pretend to protect.”

The colonel repeated his opinion that the IDF went to considerable lengths to protect human life during Operation Cast Lead.

During the Gaza conflict Kemp said… that the IDF was going out of its way to save Palestinian lives, while Hamas were deliberately using civilians as human shields. He also said the IDF was a world leader in humane warfare that seeks to protect civilian lives as much as possible.

“Israeli forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare,” Kemp told the UN Human Rights Council last year.

Eternal Arab Rule of Engagement: Blood Begets Blood

The Jerusalem Post’s columnist Sarah Honig discusses the Arab rule of engagement: blood begets blood contrasting it with Arab and world condemnation of Israeli self-defense:

Terrorist arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s son, Abdel-Rauf, stood teary-eyed before TV interviewers and lavished praise on his deceased father. He bragged that the late lamented, who was discovered dead in Dubai, “fought the Jews, hit the Jews, kidnapped and killed Israelis. He outfitted and dispatched suicide bombers.” That evidently made him an object for admiration, a source of honor and a claim to fame. Killing Jews is a noble objective, one to take pride in, to revere.

So when we Israelis point to Mabhouh’s gory record, it isn’t just our biased say-so…. His own son concedes this, indeed he crows about it as the paramount tribute he can pay his father.

And it isn’t a mournful son’s subjective or self-serving aggrandizement either. Hamas issued an official statement celebrating its latest shahid (martyr). Prominent in the Hamas-compiled catalog of Mabhouh glories are the 1989 abduction- murders of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.

By the boastful admission of both his kin and organization, Mabhouh’s hands were bloodstained. Hence, by the Arabs’ own rules of engagement, he was liable for reprisal. The principal code governing these rules is dam butlab dam (blood begets blood).

Because of this core premise Hamas now vows to wreak the most horrific vengeance on Israel, actual proof of Israeli culpability for Mabhouh’s demise being entirely immaterial. All Israelis are therefore fair game. This is the elementary protocol of the blood feud.

But here’s where we encounter our enemies’ cynical lopsided logic. By their own rules – assuming for argument’s sake that we submit ourselves to them – we should be perceived just as entitled as they to hunt down and kill whoever killed our own. Yet our retribution is condemned a priori as illegitimate. The right to avenge Mabhouh’s death is unchallenged, whereas the right to avenge Mabhouh’s victims is categorically denied. What is valid, in fact a sacred duty for one side, is intolerable and entirely villainous for the other.

…All Muslims… remember that “the Jews are the Jews! The Jews are the Jews! Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. The Prophet said that if two Jews would be alone with a Muslim, they would think only of killing him… The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them…’” There is a whole loathsome lot more, but the basis is clear: the murder of Jews is divinely decreed.

In other words, Mabhouh acted morally. Those who opposed him are immoral. By this precept Jews must die and have no right to resist. That is their lot. Not only do they possess no right to avenge, they possess no right to self-defense, to fight at all. Their very existence is a provocation, a casus belli.

THIS IS key to understanding today’s Mideast. As in yesteryear, so in the 21st century it’s axiomatic that Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews – and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways – but the Jews’ attempts to deflect such blows are evil, outrageous and deserving of merciless punishment.

Failure to admit how selective Arab rules of warfare are precludes making sense of anything in our region

Leftist Journalist: Israel’s Struggle is ‘Struggle of the World’

Spaniard Pilar Rahola writes, as a leftist journalist, that Israel’s struggle is ‘The Struggle of the World’:

Why don’t we see demonstrations in London, Paris, and Barcelona against Islamic dictatorships? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

In every pro-Palestinian European forum…. they are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan. They are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.

In my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. President Zapatero…. places the blame on Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.

Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization…. They kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. And yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.

I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti-Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

The writer is a Spanish journalist, writer, and former member of the Spanish parliament.

Arab Myth About “Sacred ’67 Borders'” Exposed

Once again, the Arabs have stated openly that getting back the territories they lost in the 6-Day War of 1967 would not be enough; they want all of Israel: Al-Qassam Brigades Information Office: The false sacredness of the 1967 border:

…The Obama administration urged both sides to move straight into discussions about a future Palestinian state “based on the 1967 borders.”

This is based on the common, but false notion that the 4 June 1967 demarcation line separating Israel from the West Bank (then administered as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), is the legitimate border of Israel and should therefore be the one along which the conflict is settled.

This assumption is wrong; the 1967 border has no legitimacy and should not be taken for granted.

Until… June 1967 — Arabs had been calling for the abolition of the “illegal Zionist entity” planted by colonial powers like a dagger in the heart of the Arab nation.

Report: 5 Muslim Soldiers Nabbed in Military Poison Probe

The New York Post reports that five Muslim soldiers were nabbed in a food poisoning probe at a US military base:

Five individuals were arrested amid a probe into food poisoning at Fort Jackson U.S. military base, Fox News reported on Thursday (EST).

Sources told Fox the five men were detained in December over allegations that they attempted to poison the food supply at the South Carolina base.

They were all part of the base’s Arabic translation training program, referred to in the Army as “Lima 09”.

“Each of them uses Arabic as his first language,” one source told Fox News.

In an earlier report, before the arrests emerged, a military source told Fox News the suspects were Muslims.

CBN News reported that the five arrested men were Islamic and cited a source who said they may have been in contact with five Washington, DC Muslims, who were arrested in December after authorities uncovered their plans to travel to Pakistan to wage jihad against the U.S.

However, it was unclear whether the men were still in custody.

An ongoing probe into the alleged Fort Jackson plot began two months ago, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division spokesman Chris Grey told Fox News…

The investigation has surfaced in the wake of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas last November, which killed 12 people and wounded 31 others.

Ehud Barak’s Contrasting Remarks on Beit El

Jerusalem Post columnist Sarah Honig writes relating to contrasting remarks made by Ehud Barak regarding the town of Beit El; one statement in May, 1998 as a prime minister candidate, and the other recently at the Herzliya Conference as defense minister in the government led by Likud prime minister Netanyahu:

“From here in Beit El to the people of Beit El and to all the citizens of the State of Israel: My party and I have clear red lines. We will remain in Beit El forever…. A united Jerusalem must remain under full and unequivocal Israeli sovereignty…. Under no circumstances will we return to the 1967 lines and there will be no foreign army west of the Jordan River.”

There was more: “I came here to see how the settlements have developed. It is heartening to see that there is so much growth and progress. There are beautiful projects here – the beauty isn’t only in the projects but is connected to the soul, to the soul of Israeli society.”

As The Jerusalem Post’s then-political correspondent, I was there on May 12, 1998. I heard Beit El residents suggesting – not entirely in jest – that they find a home for their visitor inside the settlement. As predictable, Peace Now excoriated him, issuing a statement that expressed “shock and dismay” at his heresy.

….At the recent Herzliya Conference [Barak] sternly warned that “lack of a solution to the problem of border demarcation within historic Eretz Yisrael – and not an Iranian bomb – is the most serious threat to Israel’s future.” In other words, failure to cede to Ramallah’s flimsy make-believe regime whatever it wishes – Beit El included – is a greater threat to Israel than Iranian nukes. No less…

Considering the deal he belatedly deems indispensable, there’s no way Beit El can stay Israeli…

The above pro-settler blandishments along with their subsequent precise reversals were both uttered – with equal confidence and seeming conviction – by the same Ehud Barak. He’s ever-adept at making whatever noises suit his purposes at any given juncture. When he strove to win the premiership, it suited him to woo the silent majority which, he accurately diagnosed, was hawkishly inclined.

Nowadays his chilling chides are also sounded for expedient motives. Our defense minister warns his own government (thereby subliminally accusing it of obstructionism) against the dire consequences of noncompliance with enemy demands.

It’s in Barak’s misguided interest to do so. He is fast losing support in what’s left of his waning party. Instead of pulling it bravely back to the activist political center, where Labor’s greatest strength resided historically, he seeks to mollify his left-wing internal opposition. To hold on to the remainder of its dubious support, he tries to posture as an ultra-dove….

Does Barak believe his own words?

Knesset Bill Compels Registration of Foreign Funded NGOs

The Jerusalem Post reports that a Knesset bill compelling registration of NGOs funded by foreign states has received backing from the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.

The report states:

NGOs that receive funding from a “foreign political entity” would have to register with the Political Party Registrar and declare in all public appearances that they represent an organization that receives funding from such an entity, according to a bill sponsored by Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin…

…Its aim is to “increase the transparency and to correct lacunas in the law regarding the funding of political activity in Israel by foreign political entities.”

The bill defines “political activity” as “activity aimed at influencing public opinion in Israel or one of the branches of government in Israel regarding any element of Israel’s domestic or foreign policy.”

The legislation is part of a campaign against Israeli human rights non-profit organizations that receive funding from foreign states and the European Union for their activities.

One of the apparent side-benefits of such legislation, should it become law, would be to provide transparency regarding possible funding from foreign states for organizations such as the New Israel Fund.

The report continues:

According to the bill, no organization in Israel would be allowed to receive money from a foreign political entity unless it registers with the Registrar of Political Parties. The registrar would be responsible for the registry completely independent of his registry of political parties…

Each time the organization receives funding from a foreign country, it would inform the registrar and provide details regarding the identity of the donor, the sum donated, its purpose, and the commitments made by the recipients to the donors.

Any organization that receives financial support from a foreign country would make note of this fact in any document it writes that involves political activity. Any member of such an organization would have to declare the fact that he receives financial support from a foreign country whenever he makes a speech having anything to do with the subject for which he received the money.

All the senior members of the NGO who meet the criteria of the bill and do not register would be liable to one year in jail.

Global Warming: Why we are skeptical

Here is a simple exercise which will help the Global Warming crowd understand why there is such powerful skepticism to their almost-religious faith in the existence of anthropological global warming:

There is a 2-word solution to 100% of the issues related to global warming. What is it?

Nuclear Energy.

Now think of your reaction to that 2-word solution and you can understand why there is so much skepticism related to the concept of man-made Global Warming.

Why? Because nuclear energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 100%, will remove the dependence on foreign (and domestic) oil and gas by 100%, can be ramped up much more quickly than any of the “green” energy options, and will never “run out”.

As a side benefit, this would put out of business all the dictators and other thugs that stay in power due to their oil while the rest of the world democratizes. And the “developing” countries could benefit from all the new nuclear energy technologies improve the lot of their peoples instead of begging for those suspicious “carbon credit” transfer payments from less unsuccessful countries in the West.

So why is nuclear a dirty word?

I’ll tell you why. Because the same people that today are whining about global warming come from the exact same camp that killed the growth of the nuclear power industry in the ’70s. In fact, had the environmentalist left not giving nuclear power such a bad name we would have never even had a issue with global warming today for them to whine about. By today (nuclear) electricity would have been almost free and almost unlimited and we would all be driving electric cars and heating our homes, offices, water and food exclusively with electricity.

Sure, nuclear power has potential problems. Don’t you think technical or common sense solutions could have been found to these problems long ago? Dangers of meltdowns or terrorist attacks? Bury the reactor cores a few miles underground. Nuclear waste? Fence off a place in Kansas 100 miles wide by 100 miles long and bury the stuff a few miles down in a huge, water-proof hole in the middle. That would be enough space to store 100% of the world’s nuclear waste (and its garbage too) for decades.

Don’t think for a second that there are no environmental issues with solar and wind energy. What could be cleaner than hydro-electricity? But today dams are “bad” too because they destroy the natural environment behind the dam and interfere with fish migration. As soon as wind power takes off those same environmentalists that pushed it as “green” will be back to crush it because too many birds will be getting killed in the turbines. Just wait. How about those huge solar farms planned for the desert? The environmentalists are already starting to complain about desert habitats being destroyed.

Being adults means making choices. We can choose a logical path to permanent energy independence and deal with or find solutions to the consequences, or we can complain about the downside of every alternative and every problem created by not accepting those alternatives.

Remember — nuclear energy creates “local” problems dealing with the radioactivity. That is far better and easier to deal with than the whole world boiling, don’t you think?

So the next time you talk with a “warmer” try suggesting nuclear energy as the obvious solution. If you get a knee-jerk reaction of a religious fanatic you can explain that that kind of reaction is a big part of what drives the global warming skepticism in the rest of us.

Australian Court Sentences Muslims for Terrorist Plot

The New York Times reports that an Australian court has sentenced five Muslim men to prison for a terrorist plot against the Australian government.

The Times report states:

An Australian court on Monday sentenced five Muslim men to prison terms of 23 to 28 years for conspiracy to commit acts of terror…. The court ordered that the names of the men not be released.

Prosecutors said they had stockpiled dangerous chemicals, firearms and ammunition as part of a plan to wage Islamist jihad against the Australian government.

Justice Anthony Whealy of the Supreme Court of New South Wales said the men were driven by “intolerant, inflexible religious conviction.”

A report by The Australian describes the demeanor of the convicted terrorists upon hearing their sentences:

Moments after judge Anthony Whealy ordered the five… terrorists to serve lengthy jail sentences, the men looked calmly around the courtroom and smirked, confirming that none had any remorse for plotting violent jihad on Australian soil.

…The judge said the men seemed to “wear their imprisonment like some kind of badge of honor,” seeing it as “a test of their faith and a burden willingly borne as a duty arising from their fundamentalist religious conviction.”

The Times report continues:

The suspects had been arrested in 2005 after months of surveillance, wiretaps and searches of their homes, police officials said. The police found bomb-making guides and radical Islamist literature that was said to endorse mass murder and martyrdom as part of jihad…

The judge said Monday that some of the seized material glorified Osama bin Laden and included graphic images of violence involving hostages…

One of the men had trained at a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group based in Pakistan, has been blamed by the United States and India for a number of bold terror attacks, including the rampage by gunmen through Mumbai, India, in November 2008 in which more than 160 people were killed.

Terror Attack in India Kills 9, Wounds 57

Associated Press reports on Saturday’s terror attack in India which killed 9 and wounded 57 in at a bakery in the city of Pune. The report notes:

The explosion…, caused by a bomb left in an unattended bag, was the first major terrorist attack in India since the 2008 Mumbai massacre.

It ripped open the German Bakery in… Pune, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Mumbai. Thick patches of blood and severed limbs littered the popular hangout, which is close to a meditation retreat and a Jewish center officials say were previously scouted by a terrorist suspect now detained in the U.S.

Israel National News reports that the were no Israeli casualties resulting from the attack.

The AP report continues:

Dozens of relatives waited at the city morgue to take home the bodies of victims as authorities performed autopsies…

Hindu nationalist leaders blamed the attack on Pakistan and demanded the government call off next week’s peace talks, the first between the nuclear-armed neighbors since the Mumbai siege.

“India’s initiative to hold peace talks with Pakistan is misconceived and adventurous,” said Arun Jaitley, a top leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

He said India shouldn’t restart peace talks until Pakistan stops allowing terrorists to base themselves there and punishes those involved in the Mumbai attacks. “Terrorism and talks can’t coexist,” Jaitley said…

The bombing was the first major terrorist strike in India since 10 Pakistan-based gunmen rampaged through hotels and a train station in the financial hub of Mumbai for 60 hours in November 2008, killing 166 people.

J Street Opposed at University of Pennsylvania

As the New Israel Fund faces Knesset sub-committee investigation for allegations regarding funding of organizations who contributed to the Goldstone Report, J Street, another organization known by many for its efforts to force Israel to hand over Judea and Samaria, felt heat in the United States.

Israel National News reports that attempts to build support for Washington lobby J Street met heavy opposition at University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel.

The report notes:

J Street, the Washington lobby with strong connections to the Obama administration, held an event at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, February 4th… The organization, which advocates strong American pressure to force an Israeli surrender of Judea and Samaria…, created a stir in the Jewish media and blogsphere for two weeks with the planned visit of director Jeremy Ben-Ami to the University’s Hillel building.

Z Street, a local pro-Israel organization initially attempted to pressure the University to withdraw its invitation to J Street’s Ben-Ami but when Hillel responded with claims that it was merely renting space to the powerful Washington lobby, Z Street settled for a room in the Hillel building to hold a simultaneous pro-Israel event. The group brought Mitchell Bard, who attracted most of the students concerned with events in the Middle East, and left J Street an audience comprised mainly of elderly Jews from the Philadelphia area.

Roz Rothstein of the California based pro-Israel StandWithUs organization, traveled… to attend the J Street event and confronted Ben-Ami with her concerns about his activities…. “First, how does J Street justify pressuring the democratically elected government of another country to change its policies through lobbying elected officials in the United States? Second, how can people living in the safety of the United States make policy decisions for another country, possibly endangering its citizens? I tried to find out what Ben-Ami thought. I asked him the questions that were on my mind but did not get answers.”

Brian Finkel, founding president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Zionist Freedom Alliance chapter, organized student activists to stand by the entrance to J Street’s event handing out flyers revealing information about the influential Washington lobby, including the massive donations it accepts from people with clear and public anti-Israel agendas.

“J Street asked Hillel staff for permission to use the main auditorium in the Penn Hillel building for a local launch and national webcast to its followers. Permission was granted, but without any consultation with Hillel students. This unilateral action by Hillel staff was met with tremendous anger and frustration from students, whose voices and opinions were entirely ignored in the process. ZFA decided to give those students a voice.”

Finkel, who previously served as Hillel’s Israel chair, described J Street as “an extremist Washington group that lobbies the United States government to impose policies on Israel.” On Wednesday evening, Finkel brought Dan Pollak, Director of Government Relations for the ZOA in Washington, to speak about why J Street poses a danger to the State of Israel. The event drew students and Philadelphia community members alike, prompting a lively debate about J Street’s true motives.

During the period that the Z Street sponsored Mitchell Bard event attracted students away from Ben-Ami’s presentation, the ZFA distributed flyers explaining why the school’s pro-Israel students were opposed to – and ashamed of – J Street’s presence at their Hillel. The flyers included many anti-Israel statements made by J Street leaders and showcased how J Street seeks to undermine Israel’s sovereignty and security by imposing its political agenda on an independent state…. After handing out all of their material…, the Zionist students entered the event but were prevented from asking questions.

ZFA told… that their protest was not only directed at J Street but also at the Hillel staff who, in their view, pushes an extremist political agenda. In recent years the Penn Hillel has brought fringe groups to campus such as Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence, each of whom receive generous funding from European governments hostile to the Jewish state.

One should note that the abovementioned organizations: Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence are among those mentioned in the Im Tirzu report as alledged recipients of NIF funding that gave testimony which appears in the Goldstone Report.

The Israeel National News report continues:

“Its time for us to take back our Hillel and give students a voice again,” Finkel said. “Hillel exists so that Jewish students can have a safe haven on campus. It is hard enough to advocate for Israel on campus without your own Hillel giving space to dangerous and manipulative anti-Israel groups like J Street…. What right do American extremists like J Street have to impose their will on a foreign country?”

This just goes to show that pro-Israel activists can do the right thing, even against a highly-funded organization like J Street.

Analysis: Iran Moves Closer to Nuclear Bomb

The Washington Post reports that Iran notified the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Monday that it intends to begin producing higher-grade enriched uranium. The announcement signals that Iran is moving closer to building a nuclear bomb.

The report notes that:

…Producing higher-grade enriched uranium marks a new and potentially dangerous turn in Tehran’s confrontation with the West over its nuclear ambitions.

….It means that Iran will be a significant step closer to possessing the raw material needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Indeed, Iran does not have the expertise to build the specialized fuel rods needed for the research reactor — only France and Argentina are expert at it — so the main consequence of Iran’s decision appears to be moving up the enrichment ladder. If Iran tried to fuel the reactor itself, absent international assistance, it would be risky to the reactor and for public safety, according to David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

Albright said 70 percent of the work toward reaching weapons-grade uranium took place when Iran enriched uranium gas to 3.5 percent. Enriching it further to the 19.75 percent needed for the reactor is an additional “15 to 20 percent of the way there”.

Once the uranium is enriched above 20 percent, it is considered highly enriched uranium. The uranium would need to be enriched further, to 60 percent and then to 90 percent, before it could be used for a weapon. “The last two steps are not that big a deal,” Albright said. They could be accomplished, he said, at a relatively small facility within months.

U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair told the House intelligence committee last week that “Iran has the scientific, the technical, the industrial capacity to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years and eventually to produce a nuclear weapon. The central issue is a political decision by Iran to do so.”

The Iranian government took the dramatic action just one week after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to open the door to new negotiations on fueling the research reactor. The IAEA, along with Russia, France and the United States, had offered to provide reactor fuel by using the bulk of the low-enriched uranium produced by Iran, but the negotiations broke down late last year. The countries made the gesture in hopes of reducing Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium — and because the fuel would be returned in metal alloy rods that could not be turned into weapons material.

What will it take for someone to stand up and stop Iran from getting the bomb?

Report: New Israel Fund Gives Money to Anti-Zionist NGOs

The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick provides background behind student movement Im Tirzu’s much-publicized report showing that a number of anti-Zionist NGOs were funded by the leftist New Israel Fund. The report, together with a petition of support for the report from a host of senior military reserve generals has prompted announcement of an investigation of NIF by a Knesset sub-committee.

Glick notes:

Im Tirzu published a detailed report demonstrating that 16 anti-Zionist NGOs funded by the post-Zionist New Israel Fund worked hand in glove with the UN Human Rights Council and Richard Goldstone to bring about the establishment of the Goldstone committee and give credibility to its allegations that Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. According to the Im Tirtzu report, 92 percent of Israeli allegations that Israel committed war crimes in its campaign against Hamas came from these 16 NIF-funded organizations.

Im Tirtzu’s report was prominently covered by Ma’ariv last weekend. The media coverage provoked calls in the Knesset this week to investigate the NIF and its operational arms in Israel, both through regular committee hearings and perhaps through a parliamentary investigative panel.

These calls are extraordinary because they represent the first time in a decade that the legitimacy of these NGOs has been seriously scrutinized.

Israel National News reports that leading the reserve general signatores on the petition are:

former Head of the National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland; former Head of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog; former Head of Ground Forces Command, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yiftach Ron-Tal; former Head of the National Security Council and Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan…

Glick continues:

What is most encouraging about the aftershocks of the Im Tirtzu report is that the Left’s attempts to demonize it have so far failed. Indeed, the loudest voices calling for an investigation of NIF and its sponsored organizations have been MKs from Kadima.

THE HARSH truth is that the main cause of Israel’s poor performance in Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War was the Olmert government’s ideological dependence on the far left and its central contention that it is Israel’s presence in contested areas rather than our enemies’ commitment to Israel’s destruction that causes wars. Owing to their allegiance to this falsehood, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni were unable to prosecute the wars to victory militarily, justify the limited steps they did take to defend Israel diplomatically, or discredit the rising chorus of Israeli NGOs arguing that Israel had no right to defend itself politically.

Since Cast Lead, however, two important things have happened. First Kadima was replaced by the Likud. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rightly recognized the Goldstone Report as a strategic attack against Israel. If Israel has no right to defend itself; if its moves to do constitute war crimes, then Israel cannot fight, cannot win and will be destroyed. Rather than give credence to the report, Netanyahu has made discrediting it one his primary aims in office. And to counteract its force, among other things, for the first time since the start of the Oslo peace process with the PLO, Israel’s government is asserting the Jewish people’s right to Judea and Samaria.

If the government seizes the opportunity to weaken these subversive groups, not only will it be making it clear that the political open season on Israel is over. It will be clearing the way for any future war to end not only in military victory, but in political victory for Israel as well.

Peres Compares Fayyad to Ben Gurion

Last Tuesday’s session of the highly-regarded Herzliya conference featured Israel’s president Shimon Peres’ speech where he lauded PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, praising him for his efforts to establish a Palestinian state.

Peres hailed Fayyad comparing him to David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

Ynet notes:

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been compared to David Ben-Gurion more than once due to his pragmatic policy, which has been manifested in his plan to establish a Palestinian state within two years.

Weeks before he was showered with lavish praise by Peres, Fayyad led a group who tossed products manufactured in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria into a fire and authorized funding for families of terrorists who launch attacks against Israeli civilains and soldiers alike.

Fayyad made demands for a complete freeze of Jewish construction “in settlements, and in eastern Jerusalem” during his Herzliya speech and declared that PA would establish a state in mid-2011.