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:

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.

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.

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.

Syria, Hezbollah and the Next Mideast War?

In light of the recent disclosure by Israeli president Shimon Peres that Syria has shipped Scud missiles to Hezbollah, Wall Street columnist Bret Stephens considers recent actions by Syria, Hezbollah and how they could ignite the Next Mideast War:

In the matter of Syria’s alleged shipments of Scud missiles to Hezbollah, it bears noting how often the fate of the Middle East has turned on seemingly trivial or nearly imperceptible events…

Why would Syria risk war with Israel by transferring the sorts of weapons it doubtlessly knows could provoke a sharp Israeli reprisal?

It is no secret that since Israel’s summer 2006 war with Hezbollah, Syria has helped to rearm its Lebanese ally with as many as 50,000 rockets and missiles, many of them hidden-at the unwitting recommendation of last year’s Goldstone Report-in homes, hospitals and schools. But the transfer of Scuds, which can be tipped with chemical or biological weapons, poses a threat to Israel of a different order of magnitude.

The prosaic answer is that Syrian President Bashar Assad has a reckless streak. He was reckless in allowing Syria to become a way station for Iraq-bound jihadists, reckless in (almost certainly) ordering the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, reckless in attempting to build a covert nuclear facility, and reckless in pursuing a no-wriggle-room alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.

Then again, Mr. Assad has never had to pay the ultimate political price for those gambles…. Another destructive war over Lebanon might just be sufficient to topple Beirut’s fragile pro-Western governing coalition, enhance Hezbollah’s prestige, and perhaps give Damascus the cover it needs to re-enter Lebanon militarily by posing, as it so often has in the past, as a force for “stability”…

What does the Obama administration do? So far, it hasn’t helped matters by giving the impression of a clear wedge between Israel and the U.S. Nor has the administration’s assiduous courtship of Damascus done anything other than embolden Mr. Assad’s taste for adventure.

In 1967, a series of seemingly minor events, tactical misjudgments, and particularly an Arab perception that the West would not honor its international commitments or come to Israel’s defense triggered a war the consequences of which have defined the Middle East ever since. We are adrift in those same waters today.

77 Fatah Men Off Wanted List: Reward for PA?

Theater of the absurd: Israel has stopped hunting some terrorists as a reward for (allegedly) getting help stopping terror:

Correspondent Khalid Abu Toameh reports in The Jerusalem Post that 77 Fatah men were taken off Israel’s wanted list as reward to the PA. [This is not a parody.]

Israel has decided to stop pursuing dozens of… members of Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday.

Israeli security officials recently handed the Palestinian Authority a list that included the names of 77 Fatah operatives who were no longer wanted by Israel, the sources said.

Most of the men are members of the armed group of Fatah, which was responsible for a series of attacks on Israelis during the second intifada, the sources said.

They said that 10 of them had been fully pardoned, which means they would be able to move around freely and even travel abroad.

Some of the Fatah men were told that they would have to remain inside their homes during the night, while others were instructed to sleep at PA security installations.

A list with the names of all the pardoned Fatah operatives was posted by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. Most of the men are from Ramallah and Nablus.

The decision to stop chasing the Fatah men was not the first of its kind. In recent years, dozens of Fatah gunmen who agreed to hand over their weapons to the PA and renounce violence were also granted clemency. Some of them later resumed their activities and were either killed or arrested by the IDF.

The latest Israeli move is seen as a reward for the PA leadership for its increased security coordination with Israel

What is so absurd about this is that those 77 terrorists were almost surely worth much more than whatever alleged cooperation was given by the Palestinian Authority to Israel. Should the PA have turned them over to Israel if they were really cooperating? And shouldn’t they have turned down this “reward” if they were really interested in helping stop terror against Israel?

Soldiers Speak Out Against Media Slander of IDF

An Op-Ed column in The Jerusalem Post reports about Israeli soldiers who are speaking out against media slander of the IDF during a tour of North America:

Conspicuously missing in the narrative of Israel’s recent battles against terrorists is the story of those who actually fought in them; the everyday soldier, with no political agenda, just a conviction in the morality of his army and the personal experience to back that up. But that is no longer the case. Groups of Israeli soldiers, young combat reservists are currently touring North America as part of the “Israeli Soldiers Speak Out’” campaign.

Those who have recently served see that the picture the media presents is skewed from the reality they know. They feel a deep sense of injustice when this happens, given that they have risked their own lives and lost friends while doing their utmost to protect Palestinian civilians….

Their personal battlefield experience challenges members of the audience to put themselves in their shoes and to question what they would do in similar scenarios.

Audiences will meet Inon, an officer who was fighting Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when his unit came across an elderly Lebanese woman in an area where the IDF had warned citizens to leave while they carried out their operation. Seeing the lady was crying out, apparently in pain, they approached her with an army medic. As they got closer, they realized she was wired with explosives… a human bomb.

Also taking part in the tour is Avi, who cut his honeymoon short to rejoin his paratroopers brigade in the military operation against Hamas in Gaza last year. As he fought intense, pitched battles against Hamas gunmen, he saw the streets covered with leaflets. The terrorists had been warned by the IDF that they were coming, thus denying Avi and his colleagues the element of surprise. But a prerequisite for a moral army is wanting to give civilians a chance to flee the battle zone.

THESE STORIES are not documented in the many recent anti-Israel reports, which have ranged from the libelous to the ludicrous. Israel was being bombarded by rockets for the better part of a decade before acting against the Hamas rocket-launchers in Gaza. Yet, before the dust had cleared from the battlefield, the frenzied media – fuelled by politically motivated NGOs – was full of reports and allegations: of reckless bombardment by the IDF, misuse of weapons, organ harvesting.. the list goes on.

And these slanders have been re-reported as fact in much of the Arab (and Western) media…. Web-based technology gives hideous anti-Israel lies a platform that has no borders. Israel’s enemies know this, as Spanish politician Pilar Rahola recently commented… “they [Islamic terrorists] seek to kill us with cellphones connected to the Middle Ages”.

These reports mention Israel in the same breath as Hamas, who fight in civilian clothing, take their own people as human shields and have used every trick in the book to blur and subvert the rules of war. Radical sympathizers are quick to turn a blind eye to this and explain away their rockets as “crude”, when in reality these terrorist forces are better armed than the majority of the armies of… the UN.

Review of Hamas Media: Hamas Targeted Israeli Population Centers

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy has issued a review showing that Hamas targeted Israeli population centers:

Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that it did not attack civilian targets in Israel during the December 2008 to January 2009 Gaza conflict. But a review of the organization’s own media… shows that Hamas knowingly and repeatedly fired on Israeli population centers in southern Israel.

They [Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians] are approved and applauded within Hamas’ internal publications and its propaganda aimed at Arab audiences. For example, in one Arabic article on the Kassam Brigades website, the group discusses rocket operations during the al-Furqan battle and cites the heroism of the Kassam Brigades personnel who conducted the attacks…

During the Gaza conflict, Hamas launched some 600 rockets against… a broad swath of southern Israel. Targets included the major cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheba (combined population 850,000), as well as numerous smaller towns and settlements.

In addition, an estimated 400 Kassam-type rockets were fired at Israeli targets closer to Gaza, including “usurped” Sderot. On the same page on its website, Hamas claims to have fired a total of 213 Grads during the conflict; in other words, nearly 70 percent were aimed at civilian population centers… The highest number of Grad strikes claimed against a military target was 26 at the “Ofakim military base.”

Hamas boasted that more than one million Israelis live within range of its rockets.

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.”

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

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.

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?