The US Congress is out on summer break, and learning that all the talk about writing “respectful” letters to your Congressperson, expressing your feelings about certain legislation is at an end. Now the constituents show up at “town hall meetings” not to get the latest hog slop from a legislator who cares little what you think, but to yell in their faces and tell them to shape up or ship out! It’s refreshing from our perspective.
Obama is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, and one must wonder if not for the Secret Service guys if some of those types wouldn’t be handing him their sweater or ordering him to go get their car. He just doesn’t look old enough to be trashing the American way of life like he has been.
NOW KING OBIE WANTS CONTROL OF THE INTERNET!!
HE THINKS HE’S JOE STALIN! Actually I don’t know what he thinks, but I do believe with all my heart that he and the evil Emanuel are like Thelma and Louise politics-style. They are on a rampage to literally ruin our nation.
Will they continue to get away with it?
9/1/2009 - One Less Liberal; EDM on Conservatives; Justice's War on Heroes
TEDDY KENNEDY IS DEAD
Don’t look for any crocodile tears in this column. I remember that he was the worthless brother long ago and only looks good now by their absence.
He was a liar and a cheat, but unlike the current President, he stood up as a liberal, unabashed and unashamed, and never tried to hoodwink anyone. Credit for that, at least.
If you think I’m being mean and unkind, perhaps you should check in with Mary Jo Kopechne’s parents.
US NEWS WANTS TO KNOW WHO THE CONSERVATIVE LEADERS WILL BE
Here’s the article. At the end I’ll give you my thoughts on this question.
Sarah Palin and Jeb Bush Poised to Lead Town-Hallers
August 25, 2009
By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers (US News)
Some call it the next conservative revolution, but whatever we dub the antigovernment ire at tea parties and town halls, there so far appears to be no elected official leading the charge. "It's a faceless movement," says a former Bush adviser, who credited media bigs like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for whipping up the frenzy. So who's best positioned to lead the protesters into the next presidential election? Whispers asked a dozen GOP and conservative leaders to come up with a top 10 list. First, Rep. Ron Paul, popular among the town hallers. Then, Sarah Palin, whose 2008 crowds cheered her antitax message. Third, Newt Gingrich, the father of the 1994 conservative revolution. Next, populist Mike Huckabee. And fifth, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said to be the family's passionate conservative.
Note who's missing: Mitt Romney. The GOP analysts say that's because conservatives are wary of his program to reform healthcare in Massachusetts that some say resembles universal healthcare.
RON PAUL – He just hasn’t shown the ingredient necessary to bring in the big followings, though his sign posters did a great job in the last election. His posters were everywhere.
SARAH PALIN – Motivational, beautiful, and already a great crowd getter. But if she thinks she was a lightening rod in Alaska, if she were elected to the Presidency, the constant badgering and mockery by the state-run media would make Bush’s experience look like a walk in the park. Besides, we don’t think she has the gravitas to make it to Presidential levels – yet.
Newt Gingrich – The greatest conservative thinker and innovative thinker of today. He should be President, but like Dick Cheney, he is so conservative and so blunt that most so-called “country club” Republicans can’t handle him.
Mike Huckabee – I would like to see a Newt – Huckabee or Newt – Palin ticket. I like Huckabee. I’ve watched his TV show a few times when we got it in Jerusalem. I am not convinced he could hack it as President, but I like him generally. I think he would probably be a compromiser on social issues. Don’t get mad. Just my opinion.
Jeb Bush – Please. No more Bushes. I just am not impressed. I liked George on his first term, hated the spinelessness of his second.
Jim DeMint and Haley Barbour – Not on my watch. Wannabees.
Bobby Jindal – Louisiana is a long way from running America. I’ve seen interviews by him. He says all the right words, but my read is that Republicans – and this is certainly not racist – but some Republicans wanted a man of color to offset Obama. That is nonsense.
Eric Cantor – Upcoming. Fights well with others. Might be a reach, but doesn’t have that “gravitas” that the job demands. Palin before him.
Pat Toomey – Forget it. He couldn’t even beat Specter.
Mitt Romney – Pretty face. Great voice. Beautiful wife. Tremendous looking kids, who seem sharp and sociable. Next Camelot? Oh, yes, he’s a Mormon. And they are into that thing where they believe Jesus and Satan were brothers, you know. But aside from that, he’s got his own money, and if teamed with Palin, you might have a ticket.
Put Newt into the mix as a top advisor and you might really pull conservatives into the voting booths.
MY OPINION OF HOW WE GOT KING OBIE:
Too many conservatives stayed home last election. You can rant about ACORN and all those thugs, but the truth is that conservatives were just under-motivated. They didn’t – and still don’t – like McCain. Respect as a war hero doesn’t go but so far. McCain is a limp noodle politically. His good manners looks like compromise to me. On too many opportunities to speak up he left the stage.
THEY WOULDN’T DO THAT WOULD THEY?! YEP.
Watch the video at the link below and see that not only did they show the gun toter without showing that he was a black man, but then they crowed about him being racist! Stupid.
MSNBC: Gun-Toting Protesters are 'White' Racists... Black Guy with AR-15 Edited to Conceal his Race.
KRAUTHAMMER ON OBAMACARE.
It always is enlightening to read Charles.
August 28, 2009
Can Dems Rescue ObamaCare?
By Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON -- Obamacare Version 1.0 is dead. The 1,000-page monstrosity that emerged in various editions from Congress was done in by widespread national revulsion not just at its expense and intrusiveness but at the mendacity with which it is being sold. You don't need a Ph.D. to see that the promise to expand coverage and reduce costs is a crude deception, or that cutting $500 billion from Medicare without affecting care is a fiction.
But there is an exit strategy. And a politically clever one, if the Democrats are smart enough to seize it.
(1) Forget the public option. Whatever the merits, and they are few, it is political poison. It dies by the Liasson Logic, the unassailable observation by NPR's Mara Liasson that there are no liberal Democrats who will lose their seats if the public option is left out, while there are many moderate Democrats who could lose their seats if the public option is included.
(2) Jettison any reference to end-of-life counseling. People see (correctly) such Medicare-paid advice as subtle encouragement to voluntarily refuse treatment. People don't want government involvement in a process they consider the private province of patient, family and doctor. The Senate is already dropping it. The House must follow.
(3) Soft-pedal the idea of government committees determining "best practices." President Obama's Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research was sold as simply government helping doctors choose the best treatments. But there are dozens of medical journal review articles that do just that. The real purpose of FCCCERs is ultimately to establish official criteria for denying reimbursement to less favored (because presumably less effective) treatments -- precisely the triage done by the NICE committee in Britain, the Orwellian body that once blocked access to a certain expensive anti-blindness drug until you went blind in one eye.
(4) More generally, abandon the whole idea of Obamacare as cost-cutting. True, it was Obama's original rationale for creating a whole new entitlement at a time of a sinking economy and a bankrupt Treasury. But, as many universal-health care liberals complain, selling pain is poor salesmanship.
(5) Promise nothing but pleasure -- for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one -- Obamacare 2.0 -- promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.
What's not to like? If you have insurance, you'll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.
And here's what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage -- but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largesse -- subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.
It's the perfect finesse -- government health care by proxy. And because it's proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance -- something that enjoys considerable Republican support -- it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.
Isn't there a catch? Of course, there is. This scheme is the ultimate bait-and-switch. The pleasure comes now, the pain later. Government-subsidized universal and virtually unlimited coverage will vastly compound already out-of-control government spending on health care. The financial and budgetary consequences will be catastrophic.
However, they will not appear immediately. And when they do, the only solution will be rationing. That's when the liberals will give the FCCCER regulatory power and give you end-of-life counseling.
But by then, resistance will be feeble. Why? Because at that point the only remaining option will be to give up the benefits we will have become accustomed to. Once granted, guaranteed universal health care is not relinquished. Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.
This skinny kid with the floppy ears should be in the south side of Chicago organizing a picnic not in the White House digging America’s grave!
Please hurry 2010 so we can get some adults into the Congress and stop this madness!
OH YES, AND THANK YOU RAHM, FOR EXPOSING FOR THE WORLD TO SEE THAT THE AMERICAN POLITICAL LEFT IS MORE COMMUNIST THAN SOCIALIST.
White House projects bigger deficits, bigger debt
By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer TueAug25, 9:44amET
WASHINGTON – The federal government faces exploding deficits and mounting debt over the next decade, White House officials predicted Tuesday in a fiscal assessment far bleaker than what the Obama administration had estimated just a few months ago.
Figures released by the White House budget office foresee a cumulative $9 trillion deficit from 2010-2019, $2 trillion more than the administration estimated in May. Moreover, the figures show the public debt doubling by 2019 and reaching three-quarters the size of the entire national economy.
Obama economic adviser Christina Romer predicted unemployment could reach 10 percent this year and begin a slow decline next year. Still, she said, the average unemployment will be 9.3 in 2009 and 9.8 percent in 2010.
"This recession was simply worse than the information that we and other forecasters had back in last fall and early this winter," Romer said.
The grim administration projections came on a day of competing economic news. The Congressional Budget Office, which has predicted less economic growth than the White House in the past, was also scheduled to announce revised budget projections on Tuesday.
Obama himself may have drowned out the rising deficit news with the announcement Tuesday that he intends to nominate Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Bernanke news could neutralize any disturbance in the financial markets caused by the high deficit projections.
The deeper red ink and the gloomy unemployment forecast present President Barack Obama with an enormous challenge. The new numbers come as he prods Congress to enact a major overhaul of the health care system — one that could cost $1 trillion or more over 10 years. Obama has said he doesn't want the measure to add to the deficit, but lawmakers have been unable to agree on revenues that cover the cost.
What's more, the high unemployment could last well into the congressional election campaign next year, turning the contests into a referendum on Obama's economic policies.
Republicans were ready to pounce.
"The alarm bells on our nation's fiscal condition have now become a siren," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "If anyone had any doubts that this burden on future generations is unsustainable, they're gone — spending, borrowing and debt are out of control."
The revised estimates project that the economy will contract by 2.8 percent this year, more than twice what the White House predicted earlier this year. Romer projected that the economy would expand in 2010, but by 2 percent instead of the 3.2 percent growth the White House predicted in May. By 2011, Romer estimated, the economy would be humming at 3.6 percent growth.
Both Romer and budget director Peter Orszag said this year's contraction would have been far worse without money from the $787 billion economic stimulus package that Obama pushed through Congress as one of his first major acts as president.
At the same time, the continuing stresses on the economy have, in effect, increased the size of the stimulus package because the government will have to spend more in unemployment insurance and food stamps, Orszag said. He said the cost of the stimulus package — which spends most of its money in fiscal year 2010 — will grow by tens of billions of dollars above the original $787 billion.
For now, while the country tries to come out of a recession, neither spending cuts nor broad tax increases would be prudent deficit-fighting measures. But Obama is likely to face those choices once the economy shows signs of a steady recovery, and it could test his vow to only raise taxes on individuals making more than $200,000.
Still, 10-year budget projections can be "wildly inaccurate," said Stan Collender, a partner at Qorvis Communications and a former congressional budget official. Collender notes that there will be five congressional elections over the next 10 years and any number of foreign and domestic challenges that will make actual deficit figures very different from the estimates.
The Obama administration did tout one number in its budget review: The 2009 deficit was expected to be $1.58 trillion, $263 billion less than projected in May. That's largely because the White House removed a $250 billion item that it had inserted as a "place holder" in case banks needed another bailout.
Orszag, anticipating backlash over the deficit numbers, conceded that the long-term deficits are "higher than desirable." The annual negative balances amount to about 4 percent of the gross domestic product, a number that many economists say is unsustainable.
But Orszag also argued that overhaUling the health system would reduce health care costs and address the biggest contributor to higher deficits.
"I know there are going to be some who say that this report proves that we can't afford health reform," he said. "I think that has it backwards."
THANK GOD FOR CIA INTERROGATORS!
No I am not a hob-nailed boot guy. I am an American patriot. And our land has not been attacked since 9/11 in a major casualty way because of the information our interrogators gained from their prisoners.
In case you missed it, one showed up with an empty 45 and racked the slide a few times while a blindfolded prisoner was questioned. Another ran an electric drill. Neither touched the prisoner.
Personally I would not have cared if they had if it had saved American lives. I make no apology for that idea. This is not a tea party, it is war. These savages cut off heads for entertainment!
Now we learn that blowing cigar smoke at a terrorist was also done by interrogators. Why I’m about to get the vapors over that!
YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THIS:\
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
Blowing Smoke at Terrorists
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the 9-11 commission report, was the mastermind of the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Nashiri was also the target of an "unauthorized" CIA interrogation technique (that had not been legally vetted by the Justice Department) that is described in a May 7, 2004, CIA inspector general's report that was partially declassified by the Obama administration this week.
CIA officers blew smoke in Nashiri's face, according to the report, and they used cigars.
The IG's office described this smoke-blowing as one of several "unauthorized or undocumented techniques" it discovered had been used in isolated incidents by CIA employees interrogating high-level al-Qaida terrorists.
"An Agency (redacted phrase) interrogator admitted that, in December 2002, he and another (redacted phrase) smoked cigars and blew cigar smoke in al-Nashiri's face during the interrogation," said the IG report.
The IG, however, was unable to clearly establish that the smoke-blowing was intended to force Nashiri to cough up what he knew about al-Qaida's plans.
"The interrogator claimed they did this to 'cover the stench' in the room and to help keep the interrogators alert late at night," said the IG report. "This interrogator said he would not do this again based on 'perceived criticism.' Another agency interrogator admitted that he also smoked cigars during two sessions with al-Nashiri to mask the stench in the room. He claimed he did not deliberately force smoke into al-Nashiri's face." The interrogators learned their lesson: Don't blow smoke at terrorists.
In a more serious incident, a CIA interrogator reported that some unspecified interrogators told Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, that they would kill his children if America was attacked again.
"An experienced agency interrogator reported that the (redacted) interrogators threatened Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (redacted)," said the IG report. "According to this interrogator, the (redacted) interrogators said to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad that if anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children.' According to the interrogator, one of the (redacted) interrogators said (redacted)."
An obvious question: What is the word or phrase in this passage that has been redacted in three instances from immediately before the word "interrogators"? All we know for sure is the government thinks it should remain secret.
Presumably there's a good reason: national security.
Having survived his exposure to second-hand smoke, Nashiri was exposed to the most serious unauthorized interrogation technique documented by the IG.
"Sometime between 28 December 2002 and 1 January 2003, the debriefer used an unloaded semi-automatic handgun as a prop to frighten al-Nashiri into disclosing information," said the IG report.
"After discussing this plan with (redacted) the debriefer entered the cell where al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to al-Nashiri's head.
"On what was probably the same day," the report continued, "the debriefer used a power drill to frighten al-Nashiri. With (redacted) consent, the debriefer entered the detainee's cell and revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded. The debriefer did not touch al-Nashiri with the power drill."
Now, this truly idiotic behavior led the CIA's inspector general to conscientiously refer the case to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department — six years ago, immediately after it happened. The Justice Department declined to prosecute.
Other reported instances in which CIA interrogators used unauthorized techniques did not merit a separate IG investigation, according to the report. "These included the making of threats, blowing cigar smoke, employing certain stress positions, the use of a stiff brush on a detainee and stepping on a detainee's ankle shackles," said the report. "For all of the instances, the allegations were disputed or too ambiguous to reach any authoritative determination regarding the facts."
In the end, the IG dodged a definitive judgment on the productive value of the enhanced interrogation techniques that the Justice Department did approve for use by the CIA, saying that the "effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured."
But CIA interrogations of detainees, according to the report, did uncover plots against the U.S., including plans to "loosen spikes in an attempt to derail a train," "blow up several gas stations to create panic and havoc," "hijack and fly an airplane into the tallest building in California in a west coast (sic) version of the World Trade Center attack" and "cut the lines of suspension bridges in New York in an effort to make them collapse."
In the eight years since Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida has not managed to strike America again. As a reward for the CIA's part in this success, President Obama has now stripped the agency of its lead role in questioning terrorists and Attorney General Eric Holder has named a special prosecutor to investigate its interrogation practices.
ERIC HOLDER MAY NOT BE THE STUPIDEST ATTORNEY GENERAL IN HISTORY, BUT HE’S SURE KNOCKING ON THE DOOR.
I’M EVEN MORE HAPPY THAT WE WRITE NOVELS MAKING HEROES OUT OF THE PEOPLE WHO STAND BETWEEN US TERRORISTS. LIKE CHURCHILL, I SLEEP BETTER KNOWING THEY ARE ON DUTY.
The Justice Dept.'s War On Heroes
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
August 24, 2009
National Security: Appointing a prosecutor to harass CIA interrogators exposes this administration's priorities: The global war on terror takes a back seat to terrorizing some of America's most selfless warriors.
If you look closely, you can see insidious attempts to weaken Americans' post-9/11 resolve to win against Islamist terrorism, no matter what it cost or how long it took.
Pentagon staff members were informed a mere two months after President Obama's inauguration, for instance, that we were no longer engaged in a "global war on terror"; what America was now waging was an "overseas contingency operation."
Then in April, as the American Spectator's Matthew Vadum pointed out Monday, the president signed a law re-jiggering 9/11 into a "National Day of Service" that will demean the Pearl Harbor Day of the 21st century "into a celebration of ethanol, carbon emission controls, and radical community organizing."
This conditioning us out of the war-on-terror mentality seems to be bipartisan. Former Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary and Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, in a forthcoming book, claims that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pressured him to raise the national terror threat level preceding the 2004 elections.
It's hard enough to swallow that Ridge, a Bronze Star recipient and Vietnam vet with a well-cultivated reputation for toughness, would clam up for five years about a concerted attempt to manipulate him. But it becomes impossible to accept considering Ridge's interview with Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV just a year ago.
In that setting, Ridge affirmed there was "never even a hint" of "pressure to raise the alert level for some reason that had nothing to do with the actual threats out there." If Ridge ever runs for president, as some expect, the tape of that damning interview is certain to come back to haunt him.
If Ridge would have us believe that protecting the homeland is as much about politics as preserving life, current Attorney General Eric Holder apparently wants us to believe it's about criminality.
At the persistent urging of the American Civil Liberties Union, Holder is appointing a prosecutor to investigate nearly a dozen cases of CIA interrogation of terrorist detainees, it was revealed Monday. Justice Department lawyer John Durham has reportedly already spent two years using a Virginia grand jury to trip up CIA officials regarding the destruction of videotapes of such interrogations — attempts which insiders say are proving fruitless.
Also on Monday came word that future interrogations will be handled by a new "High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group," or "HIG," to be overseen by the president's National Security Council rather than any of the government's intelligence agencies.
The apparent purpose is to avoid practices like sleep deprivation, the playing of loud music, and of course "waterboarding." Such enhanced interrogation techniques were examined in a CIA inspector general's report from 2004 that the Obama Administration released under legal pressure, also on Monday.
Among the report's allegations are that accused U.S.S. Cole bombing conspirator Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was threatened with a power drill. Perhaps the new "HIG" can test the effectiveness of fluffy pillows on getting high-ranking al-Qaida operatives to talk.
We have Clinton-appointed Manhattan federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein, obviously a keen friend of the ACLU, to thank for exposing these and other secret anti-terrorist measures, including the public release of Abu Ghraib videos and photos in 2005.
But the Obama administration is hardly resisting the trend to criminalize anti-terrorist activities.
As Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona and other GOP senators wrote to Holder last Wednesday, launching an inquisition against CIA interrogators could "tarnish the careers, reputations, and lives of intelligence community professionals" and thus "chill future intelligence activities."
As their letter warns, "the intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift." Those fears are, sadly, all too reasonable.
As the president and his family vacations on Martha's Vineyard, he may wish to give some extra thought to how our enemies will perceive this collective shift in our national security priorities.
SPEAKING OF CADS AND WORSE…
Certainly Ehud Olmert is not the first Israeli Prime Minister to deserve being indicted, but he is the first to whom the reality has arrived. He’s been indicted on three corruption-related affairs.
As I read the article recounting his sins, I was struck by the cheapness of how he was bought. He should have studied the American politicians before he decided to sell out. Those guys in DC know how to really pull in the gigantic hauls and not get caught.
Three crimes? He went cheap. He did it on foolish deals and he got caught. That isn’t the indictment, but it could have been.
We are up to our chin in crooked politicians, and this indictment is long overdue.
Olmert becomes 1st PM to be indicted
Aug. 31, 2009
Dan Izenberg , THE JERUSALEM POST
A day after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz filed an indictment against former prime minister Ehud Olmert in three corruption-related affairs, the ex-premier's lawyer, Navot Tel-Tzur, predicted that the case would be "an embarrassment to prosecutors."
Speaking to Israel Radio on Monday morning, Tel-Tzur said the defense team was "somewhat relieved" to get a chance to refute the charges in a court of law, an opportunity it would not have been afforded in a hearing before Mazuz, since Olmert's aide, Rachel Raz-Risbi, had already been indicted in the Rishon Tours affair.
Tel-Tzur dismissed the fraud charges against the former prime minister, saying that "there are no victims of fraud, nor proofs of fraud."
Concerning US financial backer Moshe Talansky, Tel-Tzur noted that in his pre-trial testimony, "he was nearly declared a hostile witness."
Criminal law expert Professor Emanuel Gross, however, told the station that while the indictment is clearly unusually harsh, "both in scope and in severity," the prosecution would not have taken the former premier to court had they not been convinced they had a firmly based case.
"The prosecution has 'done its homework.' Otherwise it wouldn't have taken Olmert to court," Gross said.
The professor also predicted that if Olmert is convicted "of the incredibly corrupt crimes with which he has been charged, I don't see how the court can avoid sentencing him to a long prison term."
Olmert's close aide for several decades, Shula Zaken, was also cited in the indictment, which covers four separate investigations - the so-called Rishon Tours affair; Olmert's relations with his close friend, attorney Uri Messer, and Talansky; his alleged deceptions of the State Comptroller's Office; and Zaken's alleged wiretapping of Olmert's conversations.
The indictment was filed in Jerusalem District Court after Olmert's battery of lawyers, headed by Eli Zohar, waived their right to a hearing before Mazuz.
Olmert's spokesman, Amir Dan, issued a statement after the indictment was filed declaring that "after they forced a prime minister to step down in the middle of his term, it is obvious that the attorney-general and the state attorney do not have, and never had, any choice but to file an indictment against Olmert. The court, on the other hand, is free of extraneous considerations. Olmert is convinced that in court, he can and will prove his innocence once and for all.
"It is important to remember that the Cremieux Street and Bank Leumi affairs started off with big headlines that lasted for years, and ended up in nothing. That is what will happen to these affairs as well."
The indictment is 60 pages long and includes a 10-page index detailing 17 trips Olmert took between the years 2002 and 2005 in which he charged the state and donors more than the flight tickets cost. The indictment states that Olmert also double-billed for hotel and transfer costs, but these are not included in the charges.
It also lists 280 witnesses for the prosecution and was signed by State Attorney Moshe Lador, Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel and prosecutor Uri Korev.
In the Rishon Tours affair, Olmert is charged with obtaining something by deceit under aggravated circumstances, false entry into the documents of a corporate body, fraud and breach of faith, and concealing income by deceit.
Zaken is charged with obtaining something by deceit under aggravated circumstances, false entry into the documents of a corporate body, and fraud and breach of faith.
According to the charge sheet, Olmert and Zaken "exploited Olmert's status and the high public offices he held to conduct systematic and prolonged activity to obtain financial benefits for Olmert in various ways and from various sources, including by deceiving organizations, public institutions, the state and government officials."
In addition to defrauding the state, Olmert, Zaken and another Olmert aide, Raz-Risbi, allegedly cheated philanthropic and public organizations, including Akim - The Association for the Rehabilitation of the Mentally Handicapped, Israel Bonds, Yad Vashem, the Wiesenthal Center, the March of Life, the World Jewish Congress and others. Raz-Risbi has been charged separately in the Rishon Tours affair.
The indictment contains a chart listing 17 trips that Olmert allegedly made on behalf of more than one organization, sometimes with his wife and other times with security guards, in which Raz-Risbi, at his orders, supposedly charged the organizations more than what the trip actually cost.
Altogether, Olmert over-charged the state and these organizations by $92,000, according to the charge sheet. The money was allegedly kept in a secret account by the Rishon Tours tourist agency and members of Olmert's family used it for their private trips. The family trips added up to $100,000. Instead of Olmert making up the difference from his own pocket, Rishon Tours allegedly siphoned off the money from other clients without their knowledge.
In some cases, Olmert made up a false travel itinerary to charge more money, according to the prosecution.
Olmert also deceived the Finance Ministry by using Rishon Tours, even though it was not on the list of authorized travel agencies that could be used by government officials. He allegedly arranged with two travel agencies that were on the list to serve as "front men," while the actual purchases were carried out, illegally, by Rishon Tours.
Regarding the Talansky and Messer affairs, Olmert is charged with fraud and breach of faith and receiving something by deceit in aggravated circumstances. Zaken is charged with one count of fraud and breach of faith for her role in these affairs and in the Rishon Tours case.
According to the indictment, Olmert received $600,000 from Talansky between 1997 and 2005 and did not report this income. The sum included a transfer of NIS 104,500 from Talansky to Olmert's private bank account in June 1997, $300,000 to cover Olmert's debts from his election campaign for mayor of Jerusalem in 1998, gifts of $110,000 and €25,000 in 1999 and $30,000 in campaign donations.
In addition, the state charged that Talansky gave Olmert $100,000 in cash delivered by Talansky in envelopes to Olmert or Zaken in Israel or to Olmert in the US.
In return, Olmert allegedly intervened on Talansky's behalf to arrange appointments for him with businessmen, including with Sheldon Adelson and Yitzhak Teshuva.
According to the indictment, Uri Messer kept a secret cash fund for Olmert which amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the money came from Talansky. Others, unknown to the state, also gave Olmert money. Zaken transferred the funds to Messer and kept tabs on the deposits. From time to time, Olmert would ask for some of the money. At one point, the fund amounted to $350,000. At first it was kept in a safe in Messer's office. Later it was transferred to a bank.
For this and other reasons, Olmert and Messer were involved in a relationship in which Olmert was indebted to Messer for his help.
Thus, the indictment maintained, Olmert should have kept a distance from Messer in his capacity as a minister.
But, according to the charge sheet, he did not do so. While serving as industry and commerce minister, Olmert had overall responsibility for the Investment Center, established to encourage investments in Israel. In that capacity, he actively intervened in the requests of businessmen represented by Messer for government grants. Two of the cases in which he granted the requests of Messer's clients, against the opinion of the professionals in the ministry, involved Silicat Dimona Inc. and Shemen Industries Ltd.
Olmert has also been charged with receiving something by deceit in aggravated circumstances, for providing false information and concealing facts from the State Comptroller's Office, while Zaken was charged with illegal wiretapping and fraud and breach of faith for allegedly eavesdropping on Olmert's phone conversations.
In the Jewish world even secular Jews who are atheists or agnostics still have a bit of knee-jerk awe of rabbis. We see it in how they speak of them, even when they are furious over some action or remark or judgment.
Still, the opinion piece by Peretz Rodman struck us as full or fury at men of whom much more was expected.
While you may not really understand the focus point, the news in Israel has been full of money wrangling about whose rabbis get the money for their congregations. The religious (read that Hassidic) groups hold tremendous sway in Israel. It is more evident in Jerusalem than anywhere else, but their reach covers the land.
The hopeless irrelevance of the state rabbinate
Aug. 30, 2009
peretz rodman , THE JERUSALEM POST
What would happen if our minister of transportation and road safety were to suggest that drivers who prefer, say, French cars should build their own parking lots and be banned from publicly funded lots? What if our minister of national infrastructures were to propose that people who use electricity to watch certain television channels should be required to provide electric power for themselves without access to the nation's electric grid? Would anyone take such suggestions to be anything but ludicrous and insulting?
Religious Affairs Minister Ya'acov Margi has made just such a suggestion. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post last week, he suggested that Masorti/Conservative and Reform congregations be barred from access to public funds that subsidize the construction of buildings for religious institutions such as synagogues.
The anti-democratic nature of his proposal is obvious, even blunt. And that is entirely intentional. As political and religious leaders of haredi Orthodoxy realize that increasing numbers of Israeli Jews are seeking religious alternatives to Orthodox Judaism, they become more and more strident in their denunciation of those alternatives. Seeing the competition grow stronger, they seek to squelch it as they always have: through the political power they wield.
In this, they have consistently failed, and the public is better off after each failure. The Supreme Court has clearly and consistently ruled, over the past several decades, that the official state rabbinate's monopoly on Jewish religious life in the eyes of the state is operative in only two areas: personal status law (marriage and divorce) and kashrut. The haredi population itself does an end run around the state rabbinate's kashrut monopoly with its own badatz supervisory bodies. The rest of the country does the same for marriages by choosing to wed abroad or by other means, sometimes adding a Jewish wedding in Israel conducted by a non-Orthodox rabbi.
THE HOPELESS irrelevance of the official state rabbinate to the lives of virtually every Israeli Jew is so obvious as to have become a national embarrassment. The refusal of the present leadership of that rabbinate to accept even conversions conducted by most Orthodox rabbinic courts outside Israel (not to mention its obvious denial of status to non-Orthodox converts) has moved the state rabbinate outside even the Orthodox mainstream around the world.
The same forces that have insisted on back-of-the-bus seating for women on some public bus lines are those that now control the Jewish religious apparatus of the state. Is it any wonder, then, that so few of us turn to the officially-appointed and publicly-salaried rabbis of our neighborhoods, cities and regions for any sort of assistance or guidance, even in the realms in which they supposedly have a monopoly? How many even know who those rabbis are?
Non-Orthodox Jews with a commitment to tradition, whether part of existing denominations or members of the many grassroots ad hoc communities that have sprung up around the country, do not seek a "separation of synagogue and state." (The phrase itself is painfully inelegant and inexact, in any case.)
Like most Jewish Israelis, we do not find it odd or objectionable that the State of Israel would provide support for expressions of Jewish religious life of all sorts: institutions of Torah study, synagogues, mikvaot (ritual baths), publications and others. All we expect as citizens and taxpayers is that all expressions of Jewish religious life be eligible for state support.
This is not a new problem. In the three and a half decades since I first came to live here, the ineffectiveness of the state rabbinate in building respect for the Jewish spiritual legacy has been bemoaned in countless articles, interviews, broadcasts and conversations. Only the virtual deadlock between Left and Right over Israel's urgent geopolitical questions has given the religious parties in our legislature the power to stave off action by a majority in the Knesset to disestablish the state-funded Orthodox rabbinate.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs disappeared briefly under the Likud-Shinui-Kadima governments of the decade soon ending, but that was merely an administrative sleight-of-hand and was swiftly reversed. (See www.dat.gov.il to learn what the ministry is up to.)
APPARENTLY, THIS aspect of our civic affairs, like so many others, is "on hold" indefinitely. But as with other misery-producing institutions whose existence long seemed permanent - the Soviet Union and its satellite states come to mind - their internal contradictions and obvious failures will eventually cause them to crumble.
In fact, we seem to be able to congratulate the state rabbinate itself and its cheerleaders among the Orthodox political parties for doing all they can to hasten its demise.
We all drive the cars we choose and park them in public lots. We all watch what we want on television and draw our power from the national grid. Why can't all the synagogues we pray in get public funding to the same degree as those favored by the obscurantist rabbis whom Ottoman law, absurdly still in effect here, put in charge of our marriages and divorces?
The fairness of that request is so obvious that its eventual success seems assured.
The writer is past president of the Masorti/Conservative Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and acting chairman of the Masorti Movement's public affairs committee. He lives in Jerusalem.
ISRAEL SHABBAT FARE:
One of the delights of Friday afternoon in Talpiot, the south-Jerusalem suburb, is a trip to the mall where tables are filled to overflowing with tasty dishes.
A friend in North Carolina loves the recipes and articles about Israeli cooking that we put in the column from time to time.
And lots of folks are interested in how we like the food in Israel. We do like it. The fruits and veggies are field-fresh, the bread is fragrant and delicious, and we enjoy the meats. I like lamb and mutton, but Wanda is not much on it.
And we have access to American-type fare as well, so we eat well. Lots more spices, garlic and the like, but it is good.
Tourists are funny. They eat at their hotel on breakfast and dinner buffets that usually include some potato, usually roasted, or fried. Rice comes with seasoning, a fried fish that is usually served soggy, or in some kind of sad sauce. Then there is roast beef, and perhaps even roast chicken.
The beef is pretty good. Raised in the Golan, it is healthy, well cooked and in dark gravy. In the old days, the beef was – I’m sure – dairy cows. It was stringy, tasted terrible, and poorly prepared. That is no longer the case in most tourist hotels.
In addition to the meat, there are endless salad courses. They are fresh, tasty, and healthy. Cheeses, fruits and puddings are always on the buffet, as well as the poorest selection of Israeli breads. They are usually not fresh, though they are tasty nonetheless.
For great bread in Israel one must get to restaurants where Israelis dine. THEN the breads are to die for!
When the tourists hit Jerusalem, I always hear, “Where is the closest American food?” I laugh, because they won’t recognize the Colonel’s chicken. The Pizza Hut has great pizza, but it is nothing like in America. Kosher. No meat. Just veggies and cheese with sauce. We like it, but it ain’t a meat lover’s pan.
We take some friends to the Focaccia Bar Restaurant where they can get tremendous food, regardless of what they order. The hamburgers are big, juicy, and as close as one can get to the finest in America. Calamari (my favorite), pizza that is good – and with meat on it (non-kosher, of course). Or for kosher that is great, there’s Rimon’s in the Mamilla or on Ben Yehuda. Spaggittim also in Mamilla or near the GPO on Hillel. Aroma has good coffee, and for pastries, just walk up or down Jaffe Road.
(Can you tell I’m hungry?)
'Eishet hayil' cooks for Shabbat
Aug. 27, 2009
FAYE LEVY , THE JERUSALEM POST
As I was buying fresh figs a few days ago, I could almost hear my mother, Pauline Kahn Luria, saying, "Let's have them on Shabbat!" The end of August would have been her 93rd birthday, and thoughts of her accompany me especially when I go to stores where we shopped together for Shabbat.
For my mother Shabbat was always the highlight of the week. She kept anything new or special for making Shabbat more festive and organized the week around this sacred day. On Tuesday she planned the menus, on Wednesday and Thursday she shopped, cleaned and began cooking, and on Friday she completed the cooking. Then she relaxed and enjoyed the day of rest. Over the next day or two of the following week she made good things with the leftovers, and we savored the rest of the Shabbat cake - if there was any left.
I appreciated my mother's cheerful enthusiasm for Shabbat and the value of making life into a cycle of celebrations to look forward to. During the reciting of the poem Eishet Hayil - Woman of Valor - on Friday evenings before the Kiddush, I thought of her. It was such a joy for me when she was featured in the book, 20th Century Women of Valor, featuring 22 special Jerusalem women (by Ruth Goldenberg, published in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1999).
Goldenberg wrote that she chose this number to correspond to the 22 stanzas of the poem, Eishet Hayil, written by King Solomon. She described how impressed she was by my 83-year-old mother's passion for dancing and by her many activities: walking four or five miles almost every day, helping her neighbors during the Gulf War by making sure they wore gas masks and playing with the children in the shelters to keep them occupied, volunteering as a tourist guide at Jerusalem hotels and working hard to raise money for a hospital.
The verse Goldenberg chose for my mother goes: "She invests herself with strength, And performs her tasks with vigor." My mother also put her strength and vigor into cooking. We loved her delicious blintzes, matza balls and other Ashkenazi specialties. Every day we ate home-cooked, wholesome food, but Friday night's and Saturday afternoon's meals were special - they were multicourse menus served elegantly on my mother's best china and polished silverware, with an appetizer or two and of course, a homemade dessert.
Chopped liver was our favorite starter. I've had tasty liver kebabs at Israeli shipudiot (grilled-meat restaurants) and rich chicken liver pâté in Paris, but my mother's recipe, with plenty of well-browned onions and hard-boiled eggs, is still the way I like liver best.
The Shabbat dish I loved most, even more than the cake, was noodle kugel. My mother baked the usual sweet kind, but her specialty was a wonderful kugel with sauteed onions and mushrooms. For me this has remained the paradigm of noodle kugels and the best partner for the Shabbat roast chicken. I'm so glad my mother taught me how to make them.
It was my mother's education in Jewish cooking and values that enabled me to receive an Eishet Hayil award for contributing to Jewish culture from the school where my parents sent my brother Tzvi Kahn and me for nine years, the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington, D.C.
CHOPPED LIVER WITH A MIDDLE EASTERN TOUCH
This is a variation I make of my mother's chopped liver recipe to enhance the appetizer's nutritional profile. To prepare it my mother's way, omit the roasted eggplant. Serve it in a shallow bowl, garnished with olives and parsley sprigs if you like, and accompanied by fresh bread; ours was halla, but not the sweet kind.
• 1 medium eggplant (400 gr. to 500 gr.)
• 3 or 4 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil
• 500 gr. chicken livers
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 hard-boiled eggs, or 1 hard-boiled egg and the whites of 3 or 4 more
Preheat oven to 200º. Pierce eggplant a few times with a fork to prevent it bursting. Bake eggplant on a large baking sheet lined with foil for 30 minutes. Turn eggplant over and bake 30 minutes or until very tender when pricked with a fork. Peel eggplant, drain any juices in a colander and cut in a few pieces.
Preheat broiler with rack about 7.5 cm. from heat source. Rinse livers and pat dry on paper towels; cut off any green spots. Put livers on foil in broiler and sprinkle with salt. Broil 3 minutes per side, salting second side after turning, or until cooked through and color is no longer pink; cut to check. Discard juices from foil. Cool livers slightly. Cut in half.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, or until very tender and deep brown. Add livers, salt and pepper and saute briefly over low heat, stirring, to blend flavors.
Grind onions, liver, eggplant and eggs in batches in a food processor until fairly fine but not completely pureed. Season to taste with salt and pepper; be generous with the seasoning. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
NOODLE KUGEL WITH MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS
My mother taught me to prepare several versions of this kugel. For serving it with fish instead of meat, you can saute the onions in butter and stir 1⁄2 cup sour cream into the noodle mixture before baking.
• 225 gr. medium egg noodles
• 5 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil
• 1 or 2 large onions, minced
• 225 gr. mushrooms, halved and cut in thick slices
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 3⁄4 tsp. paprika (optional)
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 175º. Cook noodles uncovered in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes or until nearly tender but firmer than usual, since they will be baked. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute about 12 minutes or until very tender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika and saute about 12 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and onions are browned.
Add mushroom mixture, eggs and parsley to noodles and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Oil a 6-cup baking dish and add noodle mixture. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon oil, then with remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika.
Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes or until set. Serve from baking dish. Makes 4 to 5 side-dish servings.
Faye Levy is the author of 1,000 Jewish Recipes.
RIOTS! BETTER THAN A WEEK AT TIBERIAS FOR THE HASSIDS
In Israel the Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) are a mixed lot. Some are the friendliest, most gracious folks you ever met. Others are like they were bitten by a rabid skunk.
They bear tremendous power in the cities and the state government. And the lowest element are vicious against any authority but their personal rabbi. They have been rioting for about two months against the Mayor of Jerusalem because he opened a parking lot near the Jaffe Gate. It is not in the midst of Haredi neighborhoods, doesn’t impact them at all, but they seem to be using it as a form of Shabbat recreational activity. They have set garbage dumpsters afire, attacked the mayor’s vehicle when he was inside, and burned one police car.
They have rioted to keep the police from arresting (or holding) people who murdered their own infants more than once. They take the nation’s welfare checks, money for all kinds of provisions, but don’t want any “interference” from any but their own.
It is a shameful way to live.
When will haredi protests in Jerusalem end?
Police refer to violent weekend in capital as 'a step up,' mayor and haredim holding steadfastly to their opinion in regards to opening of parking lot, but expert says there is a chance for calm after High Holidays
The haredi community's protests over the opening of a parking lot in Jerusalem on Shabbat continued this weekend, and as things look now, there is no end in sight. The past two days were particularly violent – a young ultra-Orthodox man was run over by a car, six policemen were lightly injured and about 16 demonstrators were arrested.
Haredi sources have vowed to "continue the protests until Nir Barkat capitulates and closes the parking lot," but one of the Jerusalem mayor's associates told Ynet on Saturday night that "the parking lot will remain open, and violence will definitely not change this."
A source in the Jerusalem Police told Ynet that the recent incidents were "a step up – in terms of the violence, the number of people and the attempts to block roads and block the Karta parking lot, which did not succeed."
According to the official, despite the recent incidents, the police have no plans to instruct the mayor to shut down the parking lot.
The police are still looking for a driver suspected of running over a haredi protestor who lied down under his car on Friday evening. The investigators have footage of the incident, but it is unclear whether the driver saw the young man on the road when he pressed the gas pedal.
Almost three months have passed since the mayor announced the opening of the parking lot on Saturdays, and the conflict appears to be developing into one of the most serious crises between seculars and ultra-Orthodox in the capital.
Sources close to Mayor Barkat say he has no plans to go back on his decision. "The mayor stands behind the decision and is committed to the public's safety and to the police's demand to open the Karta parking lot," one of the associates said. "It should be noted that since the parking lot has been opened, some 500 cars park there every Shabbat, and the route to Jaffa Gate – which serves as an emergency route – remains vacant."
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
So for how long will the haredim take to the streets? If you ask them, time is not a factor.
"The war over Bar-Ilan Road took three years," Rabbi Yosef Rosenfeld, head of the Committee for Sanctity of Shabbat, told Ynet. "It won't end until the parking lot is closed.
"There will be ups and downs, and the mayor may be stubborn, but we are even more stubborn and nothing will help. The mayor must close the parking lot on Shabbat, but if he wants the city to go up in flames for years – go ahead," Rosenfeld warned.
Donations' significant contribution
Academicians familiar with the haredi world are also finding it difficult to estimate when the violent protests will end. Dr. Hadas Hanani, a researcher of the haredi society, believes the real reason for the protest's timing is economic.
"I think that the reason for holding protests at this time is the donations they have to raise ahead of the High Holidays," she told Ynet. "This is the period when they look for donations abroad, preparing booklets and leaflets with explanations on why it is important not to leave families hungry during the holidays."
According to Hanani, Saturday's protests are a significant part of the donation raiding efforts. "They show that they are bravely protecting Shabbat, presenting secular newspaper reports and pictures. It really serves them, it gives them 'meat' when they come to donors and tell them, 'We are facing the seculars, the municipality, the police, and everyone."
Hanani believes the protests will likely end after the holidays. "It will probably calm down slowly. They'll find a patent in the form of an agreement with the municipality, or have the rabbis say that the demonstrations desecrate Shabbat.
"After all, we are talking about a public which obeys rabbis, and if they tell them to stop – it will stop. Naturally, it can also continue if they come up with reasons. There may also be reasons we are unaware of, like power struggles within the haredi groups and different leaders. There could be 1,000 reasons."
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report (ynetnews.com)
EGYPT: MIDDLE EAST POWER or PAST POTENTATE?
Middle East watchers in the US are often confused or at best frustrated by the intricacies of how Egypt operates.
Let’s see if I can help. First is the rule that you do not accept any statement at face value. Back in the 50s Nasser said he had all kinds of mystical weapons to smash Israel with. It didn’t happen. Israel took the Sinai away from them, then gave it back under an agreement forced upon them. (See Shimon Peres bio for more.)
Ditto in the 60s when the Six Day War proved that Israel was a strong hand here.
Under Mubarak, the Islamic father of al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood has been funded, ignored, locked up, challenged, watched as seditionists, and feared by the government. Recently, they helped Hezbollah attempt a coup and a couple of dozen of them are locked up.
Amrica and Russia, the British and French have all taken turns aiding, fearing and working with the government.
Now Obama is trying his hand at it. The following article makes for good reading.
Analysis: Mubarak, Obama and the US-Cairo thaw
Aug. 29, 2009
Zvi Mazel , THE JERUSALEM POST
During Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's visit to the US capital earlier this month, comments and media reports focused on the possible restarting of the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians. Little was said on the other issues, which is what the two leaders intended.
However, the main purpose of the visit had been to achieve a thaw between Egypt and the United States after an estrangement of some years which had become an embarrassment to both countries.
It had started with former US president George W. Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's well-meaning efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East.
Intense pressure was brought to bear on the Egyptian president to convince him to do something about human rights and to hold free and transparent elections.
Mubarak gave in against his better judgment. The November 2005 elections brought 88 opposition members - closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood - into the parliament. That was a fifth of the total number of representatives and it would have been more if the government had not taken some last minute (and highly undemocratic) measures to stop the trend.
Even the Bush administration took fright at this undesirable result.
It was too late: Congress had already cut American help to Egypt by $100 million and allotted $50m. to Egyptian NGOs fighting for human rights.
Since then a deeply offended Mubarak had refrained from visiting the United States. The strategic dialogue between the two countries went on, however, since it is of paramount importance for both, and included such issues as containing Iran, fighting terror, and the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Then Obama was elected and everything changed. He came to Cairo in June to deliver his message of reconciliation to the Muslim world, had talks with Mubarak at the G-8 meeting in Italy last month and warmly invited him to a much publicized visit to Washington.
The old leader met all the important players, from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to National Security Adviser James Jones and CIA director Leon Panetta. Mubarak also found time for a meeting with representatives of Jewish organizations to explain his policy towards Israel, a time honored tradition.
Following his talks with Obama, Mubarak declared that his Cairo speech had removed all doubts concerning the new American policy towards the Muslim world, thus giving Obama Egypt's seal of approval and putting an end to the coolness between the two countries.
After all, in Cairo the American president had given low priority to human rights issues, and the message had been well received by Arab leaders and particularly by Mubarak.
Arab media sources did report that the rais had discussed with his hosts in Washington some of the most pressing issues affecting the Middle East: Iran's aggressive policy and the situation in Sudan and in Somalia, which are perceived as a threat to the stability of the region as a whole, but more specifically of Egypt.
Also discussed was the war on global terror and the latest developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Egypt was wary of Obama's stated intention of opening a dialogue with Iran, because it would weaken the position of the Gulf States and of the moderate Arabs.
Cooperation between the intelligence services of Egypt and the United States was also emphasized, as a means to help Cairo since it is a prime target of terrorist organizations. However, the subject is all important to America as well since US and other countries' warships transit the Suez Canal on their way to the Persian Gulf.
Much had been made of the fact that an Israeli submarine and two missile boats had gone through the Canal the month before, in a clear attempt to illustrate the ongoing dialogue among the US, Egypt and Israel concerning the Iranian threat.
At the same time, in an effort to defuse potential negative reactions in Arab public opinion, Egypt was at pains to stress that it would not allow foreign troops or missiles on its soil. While clearly positioning itself at the head of the moderate Arab camp against Iran, Egypt still sends mixed signals. That's the way things are done in the Middle East.
From Arab sources one can infer that the situation inside Egypt and the social and economic reforms needed were discussed at length, as well as the way the country is gearing itself towards the general elections in 2010 and the presidential election scheduled for 2011.
According to the recently released findings of the United Nations Development Program, 41 percent of Egyptians live below a poverty line set at $2 a day, 12% suffer from Hepatitis C, and 40% are illiterate. Unemployment has reached 25%. These are the critical issues as far as Mubarak is concerned. He is well aware of the fact that holding elections as things stand could open the door to mass demonstrations. The past two years have seen a number of strikes - a previously unprecedented occurrence - and the government had to raise salaries.
To fund that step, subsidies of basic foodstuffs were slashed and their price went up accordingly. Most badly hit was bread, and this led to a new crisis. Army bakeries had to be pressed into service to produce bread at government approved prices. Whatever reforms Mubarak promised Obama, it is therefore highly doubtful that he can deliver, and there is little hope for a bettering of the economic situation.
To all intent and purposes, election campaigning has already started. Popular opposition movement "Kefaya" (Enough!) is already calling for a boycott of the forthcoming elections since, it says, "they can't possibly be free," and is trying to convince opposition parties to join. On the other hand, the Egyptian government is working hard to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood, which it sees as the main opposition force. Hundreds of its militants, including a number of leaders, have been arrested.
Hosni Mubarak turned 81 this year. He has been in power for 28 years. Though he is not known as suffering from significant health problems, one can see that the man is tired. The untimely death of his favorite grandson has taken its toll. He is therefore unlikely to seek reelection in 2011.
He might even resign earlier in order to hold presidential elections closely after the parliamentary elections. The seasoned leader wants to leave the country in safe hands and not risk an open election which might lead to the surprise victory of an untried politician or worse of a Muslim Brother. Such an outcome would probably provoke an army intervention and total chaos, not only in Egypt but throughout the Middle East.
This is why Mubarak, while denying having such an intention, seems to be grooming his 47-year-old son Gamal for the job. He made him deputy secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party and the head of its political commission.
In 2007, the elder Mubarak initiated an amendment to the constitution making it possible for Gamal to be the sole candidate of the party while making it more difficult for independent or opposition candidates to run.
At the same time, the name of Omar Suleiman, head of the intelligence services who holds ministerial rank, is often put forward by the media as a possible successor.
As things stand today there is no legal way he could be a candidate, since he does not have any position in the party institutions.
The fact that Gamal Mubarak came with his father to Washington is worthy of notice. It was probably intended to give him some much needed experience as well as to get him to know and be known by policy=makers in the American capital.
The younger Mubarak also launched an Internet dialogue with an Egyptian youth... as did Barak Obama at the beginning of his own campaign. By "coincidence," a well-known Egyptian singer launched a song asking, "Why should he not rule? Why should he not take the reins... Gamal Mubarak, president, son of president, don't listen to gossip on inheriting the power..."
Protests organized by the Coptic minority and Muslim opposition elements in front of the White House under the aegis of Saad Eddin Ibrahim failed miserably and barely made it into the news.
As we have seen, the media focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Prior to his arrival, Mubarak had stated time and time again that he was against normalization between Arab states and Israel as long as the peace negotiations had not been completed, adding that there should be a freeze on construction in the settlements, though he stressed that negotiations were the main point.
He also said that Arabs were weary of the endless Palestinian issue but that without a solution more violence would occur.
Obama took pain to praise Israel for taking down illegal outposts and eliminating a number of road blocks in the West Bank. He stressed the need for a courageous leadership not only in Israel and on the Palestinian side but also in Arab countries.
The two presidents are in agreement on the urgency of the issue, though well aware of the impossibility of making progress as long as Hamas rules half of the Palestinian population. They are also aware of the fact that Israel will never accept an imposed solution, not from the American president nor from Arab countries in the guise of the "Arab initiative."
Mubarak did say that Obama would present a new initiative at the UN General Assembly in September, but this was denied by a State Department spokesman. There is no doubt, however, that the American president will address the issue on that occasion.
Mubarak has no illusions about the likelihood of Palestinians and Israelis reaching an agreement under present circumstances.
Egypt has launched an all-out effort to bring about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, but has little to show after a year. Still, demonstrating that it is a main player on issues affecting its own security is of paramount importance for Cairo.
Egypt is also trying to mediate between Israel and Hamas on the issue of Gilad Schalit, but lack of results has led it to agree to let a German mediator have a go.
The problem is that radical forces in the region, such as Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas, no long accept long-established understandings. They exhibit an irrational stubbornness even at the price of causing great suffering to civilian populations such as in Gaza.
Egypt had to increase its control over the border, and indeed has managed to greatly diminish the flow of contraband weapons into the Strip.
To sum up, it was indeed an important visit even if little has transpired of the contents of the talks. Egypt after all is not only the largest Arab country, with the largest Arab army; it is also a much needed US ally.
Obama who now understands much better the difficult situation of his visitor, will probably tone down his criticism in order not to further destabilize the country. He also developed warmer relations with the aging leader. Altogether, a very positive development.
The writer was Israel's ambassador to Egypt.
THE UNBUILT BARRIER
The security barrier in Israel is an ugly scab. So say many people, including this writer. The difference is that many of them want it torn down and I want it finished. For the Olmert time it was said that the money was spent on other things. We now know it was because he wanted to please President Bush.
Now Bibi may or may not work on it for the same reason with Obama. That which is finished has reduced terrorist bombings about 85%. What’s not to like about it?!
Photo by Ernie Moore
Will Israel not build barrier for Obama?
Aug. 26, 2009
Tovah Lazaroff , THE JERUSALEM POST
The US could demand Israel stop work on the security barrier in the West Bank as part of its call for a freeze in settlement activity, security expert Col. (res.) Shaul Arieli speculated as he spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Sources in the Prime Minister's Office disagreed, saying work on the barrier, which is designed to prevent terrorist attacks, was not part of their talks with the US.
But it is immediately obvious to anyone looking at a map of the planned 805-km. barrier route that the 295 km. that have yet to be built are largely made up of loops around the settlement blocs of Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and the Ariel/Kedumim area.
There are no plans at this time to complete the barrier in those blocs.
Such construction would, in a de facto, unilateral fashion, define the size of these blocs.
The issue of what constitutes a "settlement bloc" is part of the ongoing talks between the US and Israel, and would be part of any final-status negotiations with the Palestinians.
The Ma'aleh Adumim section of the barrier, in particular, would include work in the hotly contested E-1 area, which the Palestinians say would destroy the territorial contiguity of their future state.
The very idea that US pressure has prevented the barrier's construction around his city of 33,800 people has drawn sharp protest from Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel, who believes its absence leaves his city vulnerable to terror attacks.
"It's economics, not diplomacy, that is the problem," he told the Post. "Ma'aleh Adumim is within the consensus." Kashriel added that he expected it would be retained by Israel under any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.
This government, he said, would not take any steps that would endanger the city's status and place the future of its thousands of residents in limbo.
But Jerusalem attorney Shlomo Lecker, who represented Palestinians from the towns of Suahra e-Sharkiya and Abu Dis during their four-year legal battle against a 24-km. section of the 74-km. Ma'aleh Adumim loop, said politics had everything to do with the route.
Initially, Lecker said, the route had taken in a much larger swath of Palestinian land than was needed for security purposes.
In August last year, the state agreed that the route should be shortened in that area to leave some 4,000 dunams (400 hectares) outside the security barrier.
In April, as part of the ongoing case involving two joint petitions, the state mentioned in a statement to the High Court of Justice that recently it had issued land-seizure orders in the area of Ma'aleh Adumim in preparation for work on the barrier.
In June, the state suddenly shifted its stance toward the barrier, Lecker said.
It told the court in another memo that due to budgetary restrictions and other considerations, it did not intend to build the Ma'aleh Adumim loop at this time.
After receiving this response, the court on August 11 took the unusual step of "erasing" the petition.
It added, however, that should the state want to build a barrier in this area, it had to provide the petitioners with 45 days' notice, at which point they could refile their petition.
"What," pondered Lecker, "could have changed from April to June to push the state to change its plans regarding the Ma'aleh Adumim barrier loop?"
Lecker said he believes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came under pressure during his May visit to Washington to stop work on the barrier in the Ma'aleh Adumim area.
But Arieli, of the Council for Peace and Security, said former US president George Bush had also opposed construction of the barrier inside the West Bank.
The international community has argued that if Israel wants to build a barrier to protect its citizens, it should do so along the entire Green Line.
According to figures provided by the United Nations, 85 percent of the barrier's planned route is inside the West Bank and only 15% is on the pre-1967 armistice line.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that it was illegal for Israel to build the barrier in the West Bank.
Israel has insisted it has the right to protect its citizens. But in practice the bulk of the 510 km. of the barrier that has been completed still runs fairly close to the Green Line.
For five years, from 2002 when the initial route was approved until November 2007, measurable progress continued on the barrier in spite of the scores of petitions to the High Court challenging the route.
Then in November 2007, just about the time the Annapolis initiative jump-started peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, work on the barrier slowed almost to a halt, said Arieli.
Little has been done since, he said. Work is under way on only two sections, Na'alin and Deir Naballa. Nothing has been done yet on the Ariel loop. In Gush Etzion, save for one section near the Efrat settlement, the Defense Ministry has been waiting for more than two years to receive a ruling from the High Court that would allow it to proceed, said Arieli.
He noted that three of the four largest settlement cities - Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Betar Illit - are not currently protected by the barrier.
Both he and security sources list three clear reasons why the work has slowed down: petitions to the High Court, lack of funds in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War and the lull in suicide bombings that has allowed the Israeli public to forget that the barrier is a tool against terror.
But Arieli and Lecker also believe American pressure has played a clear role.
Security sources have rejected this last theory. There has been a shift, they said, in the strategy for securing the Ma'aleh Adumim area and it has been determined that it is now a priority to work on the gap in the fence in the South Hebron Hills.
In the last year, security sources said, work has focused on closing the holes in the barrier around Jerusalem.
But they hinted broadly that there has been a shift in planning and that routes such as the Ma'aleh Adumim loop that appeared reasonable when they were designed are no longer feasible in the current diplomatic climate.
Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.
THAT’S PA POLICE, NOT JUST POLICE
And so now we learn that the Palestinian police has been directing traffic in the northern part of the city! Nice.
PA Police Active in Northern Jerusalem
Elul 5, 5769, 25 August 09 07:00
by Hillel Fendel
(Israelnationalnews.com) PA police directed traffic in northern Jerusalem neighborhoods three times this past month – in violation of Israeli law and the Oslo Accords. A World Net Daily (WND) report documents other violations of Jerusalem’s sovereignty by the Palestinian Authority, indicating to some that the division of Jerusalem has already begun.
WND’s Aaron Klein reports that at least three witnesses said they saw PA police directing traffic during one or more of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s visits to Beit Hanina this month. Beit Hanina is a neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, under exclusive Israeli sovereignty, populated almost totally by Arabs. On each of his visits, Abbas’s convoy passed through neighboring French Hill, an almost entirely Jewish neighborhood.
One man driving through French Hill last week while Abbas' convoy passed told WND he was stopped by uniformed PA police, who asked him to wait until the motorcade passed. Two others said they witnessed uniformed PA police direct traffic in Beit Hanina earlier this month during Abbas' two previous visits there.
Israeli law and the Oslo Accords state that the PA is not allowed to operate in Jerusalem.
Shmulik Ben-Ruby, spokesman for the Jerusalem Police, strongly denied any knowledge of the above report. "We don't know anything about it," he said. "The PA police are not allowed to operate in eastern Jerusalem."
Despite the above, Ben-Ruby admitted that there are occasions when the PA police do operate in Jerusalem: "If there are fights between some local families,” he told WND, “sometimes we involve the PA police to make peace between the families. Yes, the PA police can operate in these neighborhoods in coordination with the IDF and Border Police." … (Arutz Sheva)
FIRST THE POLICE AND NOW A PA JUDGE!
There was never a doubt about the history of Jews in Jerusalem until Yasser Arafat began to tell the lie. Over and over, even lecturing then President Bill Clinton about it. To his credit, Clinton called Arafat on it and told him that it was not so.
Now we have a PA judge spouting the same lies. Look for archeological artifacts that make the judge look more a fool.
PA judge: Jews have no history in Jerusalem
Aug. 27, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Palestinian Authority's chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, said on Wednesday that there was no evidence to back up claims that Jews had ever lived in Jerusalem or that the Temple ever existed.
Tamimi claimed that Israeli archeologists had "admitted" that Jerusalem was never inhabited by Jews.
Tamimi's announcement came in response to statements made earlier this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that Jerusalem "is not a settlement," and that "the Jews built it 3,000 years ago."
"Netanyahu's claims are baseless and untrue," said Tamimi, the highest religious authority in the PA. "Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and it always has been so."
Tamimi claimed that all excavation work conducted by Israel after 1967 have "failed to prove that Jews had a history or presence in Jerusalem or that their ostensible temple had ever existed."
He condemned Netanyahu and "all Jewish rabbis and extremist organizations" as liars because of their assertion that Jerusalem was a Jewish city.
Tamimi accused Israel of distorting the facts and forging history "with the aim of erasing the Arab and Islamic character of Jerusalem." He also accused Israel of launching an "ethnic cleansing" campaign to squeeze Arabs out of the city. …
LEBANON: ISLAMIC TERRORISTS HEZBOLLAH WILL JOIN THE GOVERNMENT
Hezbollah has rabies. They were responsible for the destruction of much of Lebanon’s infrastructure by placing their weaponry, offices, etc. in Lebanese homes, offices and even hospitals during the 2006 war with Israel. Now the government will include them.
The next war may eradicate more of the same places Iran just spent big money rebuilding since 2006.
WILL THERE BE ANOTHER WAR? Next Question!
Hariri: Hizbullah will join next gov't
Aug. 26, 2009
Jpost.com staff and ap , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hizbullah will be part of the next Lebanese government "whether Israel likes it or not," Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Sa'ad Hariri was quoted as saying Wednesday.
"The national unity government will include the [ruling] March 14 alliance, and I also want to assure the Israeli enemy that Hizbullah will be in this government whether it likes it or not because Lebanon's interests require all parties be involved in this cabinet," AFP quoted Hariri as saying.
Speaking during a Ramadan meal on Tuesday night, Hariri reiterated his determination to "include all factions" in the government.
Hariri's comments followed a warning by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month that Lebanon would be blamed for any strikes on Israel if it allowed the guerrilla group to join the government.
"If Hizbullah joins the government, it will be clear that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any attack coming from its territory against Israel," Netanyahu had said.
Hariri, the leader of the parliament majority, has been struggling for two months to cobble together a national unity government following the June 7 elections in which his Western-backed coalition retained a majority in the 128-seat legislature and fended off a strong challenge from Hizbullah and its allies.
So far, Hariri has managed to agree in talks with Lebanese factions that the 30-member Cabinet will have 15 ministers from his coalition, while Hizbullah and its allies would have 10, and the remaining five seats would be appointed by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, likely from independent candidates.
This formula would guarantee the president the tipping vote, denying both Hariri's side an absolute majority and Hizbullah and its allies the strength to veto government decisions.
But Hariri's attempts to form the Cabinet were stymied by Christian leader Michel Aoun's demand for the Interior Ministry and also his insistence that his son-in-law remain on as telecommunications minister. Hariri was reported to have rejected these demands. Aoun is a key ally of Hizbullah.
Hariri's efforts were further complicated when a key ally, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt, earlier this month bolted out of the Western-backed coalition, to go independent.
SOME GOOD NEWS
Palestinian women knit Jewish skullcaps
Creating colorful cap keeps hundreds of women busy in villages like Deir Abu Meshal, which have been making religious headgear for their Jewish neighbors for some 40 years
Of all the cottage industries you might expect to find in the West Bank, the crocheting of Jewish skullcaps by Palestinian hands seems one of the oddest.
But creating the colorful cap, known in Hebrew as a "kippah", keeps hundreds of women busy in villages like Deir Abu Meshal, which have been making the religious headgear for their Jewish neighbors for some 40 years.
Almost every house in the village of 3,000 west of Ramallah makes the little caps. It's a social event as well as a helpful cash-earner. Women bring their wool and needles to each other's home to crochet and chat.
"We make qors (the Arab name for kippah translates as 'disc') while having a gossip," said Umm Ali. "We meet each other and we make money at the same time," added the mother of three, whose husband is unemployed.
The women make around five caps a day, worth about 12 shekels ($3) each.
"Women here can't sit down without knitting. We've gotten used to it," jokes Ruqaya Barghouthi.
Six Palestinian skullcap dealers distribute the wool, needles and the models to women in this village and 10 neighboring villages.
The finished articles are collected each week and shipped to Israeli retailers. The skullcaps are also exported to the United States.
"The kippah business is what makes my shop busy. Women buy stuff from the kippah money they earn," said Riyad Ata, whose grocery store serves as a collection point for finished caps from some 100 women.
Observant Jews wear a kippah, which means dome in Hebrew, to cover the head in acknowledgement of the supreme God.
The women of Deir Abu Meshal, known for its traditional dress embroidery, say that to them it's merely a business.
They say they have no qualms about furnishing skullcaps for the people of the occupying power or the Jewish settler, who may be living on Palestinian land.
They say the work is convenient: they don't have to travel.
"Without this knitting business, people here would be very poor," said Nema Khamis, 50, who passed on her skills to her five daughters and daughter-in-law.
Palestinian weavers used to make the traditional keffiyeh, the chequered Arab headscarf that late leader Yasser Arafat made a national Palestinian symbol. But much of that business has now gone to China, where costs are lower. (ynetnews.com)
Today we are including part of a couple of articles with our comments:
THE DIFFERENCE IN PMs
Analysis: The harder they fall
Aug. 31, 2009
Gil Hoffman , THE JERUSALEM POST
Thanks to former premier Ehud Olmert, for the first time in Israel's history, a prime minister, current or past, or has been indicted.
Olmert always wanted to make history, and now he has.
His entry in the history books will certainly look a lot different than he had hoped. Rather than falling on the sword of peace as he had wanted, he fell on the sword of political corruption.
The investigations led to his July 30, 2008, resignation and the subsequent election, in which, though Tzipi Livni was chosen to succeed him as the head of Kadima, and Binyamin Netanyahu ended up at the helm of the country.
Imagine if Olmert had been coddled like a citron by the press like his predecessor, prime minister Ariel Sharon, and the investigations that led to Sunday's indictment and other probes that led nowhere never saw the light of day. …
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav and former PM Olmert are both under indictment. Katsav’s trial is for attempted rape and molestation of one of his secretaries, and Olmert’s indictments are all about money.
MONEY, SEX AND POWER
There are tons of pages written about these three, and Israel is not without lots of its characters who fall from one, two or all three.
I WARN YOU that in Israel the easiest way to get rid of a politician is to begin a media and enemy groundswell against him by “leaking” rumors about his misdeeds.
When Bibi was previously the PM there was a lot of that, even to the point of saying that his wife was spending too much “of his own money” and not government funds.
They accused Nancy Reagan of that when she fixed up the White House. (Though nothing was said when the Clintons ripped the china off the 747.)
It took two years after Bibi resigned in disgust for the investigators to admit in print that there was nothing to the rumors.
With Katsav, who knows? With Olmert, some of those who bribed him have already squealed, so there is little doubt.
To us, it is disgusting, whether in the US or Israel public leaders are so crooked.
Sen. Harry Reid has fallen to threatening the largest newspaper in Nevada this week.
Too many of these birds think they are God’s gift to the people, rather than elected officials working and supposed to be serving the people.
Will Olmert do time? That is certainly uncertain. He hasn’t exactly won a lot of friends with his arrogance down through the years. Haim Ramon, his pal, was indicted and convicted for “French kissing” a woman in his office and left government. We were in city hall not long ago and bumped into him. He’s back, cheerful and friendly.Lot’s of recycling in Israel. We wish there were more patriots both in the US and Israel.
If Jews have to stop building homes, Arabs should be asked to do the same
Benjamin Netanyahu takes pride in “institutionalizing the concept of reciprocity.” Indeed, one of his fundamental first term achievements as prime minister was stopping the process of “giving something for nothing” - to educate Israelis and Palestinians alike to the concept of reciprocity and to clarify to a disinclined Clinton administration that the term also applies to the Middle East peace process. However, if recent reports concerning backchannel diplomacy are accurate, it seems that Netanyahu may have forgotten an important page from the book he himself wrote.
Headlines drum-rolling the scheduled meetings between Netanyahu and Senator George Mitchell imply that a tacit agreement has already been reached concerning a unilateral freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. The planned freeze is supposed to be limited in duration, until a final agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. This seems strange. Obama wants Jews to refrain from building in areas that may jeopardize the final border to be drawn between Israel and its neighbors. Yet Obama has not made such demands from the other side. If Jews are expected to stop building, Arabs should be expected to do the same.
The first step in resetting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is not a freeze on Jewish settlements, but rather, a basic and candid declaration of both sides to recognize one another. Netanyahu has already declared his willingness to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel. In response, Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his demands for the “right of return” of Arabs to Israel proper and for Jerusalem to be the Palestinian capital, while refusing to recognize the existence of the Jewish state. That is not reciprocity – that is ridiculous.
Israel considers Judea and Samaria part of the historic Jewish homeland just as the Palestinians view the West Bank as part of the future Palestinian state. That premise is problematic since the West Bank and Judea and Samaria are the same place. Jews have a right to live in Judea and Samaria. We know that from the bible, history lessons and indisputable archeological finds. Hence, no one should have been surprised when Israel’s deputy prime minister reminded us of that.
Nor should anyone be surprised that over a million Arabs living in the West Bank regard it as their home. The question is whether Arab rights to build in a village called Ras Atia near the Israeli town of Rosh Ha’ayin outweigh Jewish rights to build in ancient Shilo not far from Nablus. Do Arab building rights in Na’alin, near Modi’in, outweigh Jewish building rights in Bet El, near Ramallah? Not if reciprocity is to be taken into consideration.
For the sake of reciprocity, if Jews are asked to stop building homes, Arabs should be required to do the same; limiting Jews while giving Arabs a free hand is not reciprocity – its racism.
IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHOSE OX GETS GORED!
Israel was a poor, untested, nation of excapees from Hitler’s death camps. The evacuation of Jews from Europe was at first a good idea, then not so popular.
The Balfour Declaration gave the proposed land all of Jordan and Israel. Then the White Paper gave Jordan to the Hashemites under King Abdullah for WWII service to the Brits.
Then the UN gave a checkerboard mess to the Arabs and the Jews depending on where their population centers were. The War of Independence changed the map again, when Israel impossibly won (God’s hand).
Wars since have redrawn the lines again and again in the past sixty years.
I have said it before, but don’t miss it. I am a Greater Israel fan, but as a realist I believe that the Arabs need a place to live and the Jews need a place to live.
It pains me to say so, but in light of how most of the Israeli-Arabs behave, I believe they should be forced to move to the Palestinian Authority state once genuine borders are established. THAT’S ASSUMING they ever are.
Perhaps it won’t ever happen. For the sake of most of the peaceable Arabs I wish it would, but with real leaders, not just cads, cutthroats and crooks at the top.
Bibi’s idea of no more building being permitted to the Arabs in the West Bank as long as they object to Israeli construction is a stroke of genius!
Don’t expect it to go anywhere in the UN or White House, for that matter, but it is a great knee slapper.
RAHM EMANUEL – TRAITOR
He’s a traitor to Israel and a traitor to America. Don’t take my word for it. Just do some searches on the internet and read how he holds the chopping axe for Obama.
My dear wife underwent skin cancer surgery on Monday. The doctor is certain he got it all, and there should be no down side to her treatment. A few stitches and she’ll soon be good as new, though today it is hard to convince her, since the pain is off the wall. Wonder why? Just take your finger and flip the end of your nose. Now you understand.
Thanks to all who lift us up in prayer. We so appreciate your being in our corner. Your friendship, prayers, and support are blessings beyond words.
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
This article can also be read at http://
This Week In Israel is written for those with a real interest in Israel and what affects that nation. Written from a position of love and concern for the people, we want to educate, at times entertain, and keep you up to speed.