BEFORE WE BEGIN, I REMIND YOU THAT WE GET MORE SERIOUS AS THE COLUMN PROGRESSES. DON’T JUST READ THE LAUGHS AND QUIT.
Seems all the US headlines are full of snow, snow and more… well, you guessed it.
My question is “Where is Algore?” He has sure kept his head down. Perhaps hibernating until the meltdown.
Oh… I forgot. Looks like a lot of the global warming nonsense is already in meltdown. Even the UN has admitted that it’s glacier melt was just a story told by mountain climbers.
You might enjoy some of the following:
2/10/2010 - US Politics; Syria; the Nuttiness of the PA; Hezbollah Plans
Earlier snowmelt? That would be nice.
Turns out the release was planned prepared ahead of the snowstorm, which shut federal agencies today and forced its senders to hold a press conference by telephone instead of at the National Press Club.
It’s not the first time inclement weather has put a chill on official efforts to tackle climate change. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to leave the Copenhagen summit early in December to get back to D.C. before the blizzard known as Snowpocalypse grounded all flights.
We know how this argument goes: Climate change-skeptics such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says that the weather conditions prove that “global warming” is a hoax; activists say that scientists are looking at longer-lasting weather patterns.
(From a Wall Street Journal piece)
FORGIVE ME FOR NOT BEING IN LOVE WITH CAMELOT II.
I wasn’t too excited about C I, actually.
RFK, Jr. has never been one to impress with his mental acuity, issued the following about global warming just in time to be a nincompoop!
RFK, Jr. 15 months ago: Global warming means no snow or cold in DC
By: David Freddoso
Online Opinion Editor
12/21/09 1:51 PM EST
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who flies around on private planes so as to tell larger numbers of people how they must live their lives in order to save the planet, wrote a column last year on the lack of winter weather in Washington, D.C.
In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers….
(Washington Examiner online)
AND WHILE WE ARE ON GREENER STUFF…
Think of it this way -
A clunker that travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg uses 800 gallons of gas a year.
A vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons a year.
So, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.
They claim 700,000 vehicles so that's 224 million gallons saved per year.
That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.
5 million barrels is about 5 hours worth of US consumption.
More importantly, 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars
So, the government paid $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million.
We spent $8.57 for every dollar saved.
I'm pretty sure they will do a great job with health care though...
MISS ME, YET?
I kid you not, it isn’t just a popular email. Well, not popular at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but the rest of us are laughing. Now in Minnesota – YES MINNESOTA! There is a full billboard showing a grinning W with that question.
THE REAL GUY! DICK CHENEY
Yes, I like Cheney. Sadly he’s backing the wrong Texan, but I like his unapologetic conservatism, and the fact he hasn’t been bashful about confronting the Obama socialist agenda.
Recently we came across this piece:
Dick Cheney is not the most popular of politicians, but when he offered a harsh assessment of the Obama Administration's approach to terrorism last May, his criticism stung—so much that the President gave a speech the same day that was widely seen as a direct response. Though neither man would admit it, eight months later political and security realities are forcing Mr. Obama's antiterror policies ever-closer to the former Vice President's.
In fact, the President's changes in antiterror policy have never been as dramatic as he or his critics have advertised. His supporters on the left have repeatedly howled when the Justice Department quietly went to court and offered the same legal arguments the Bush Administration made, among them that the President has the power to detain enemy combatants indefinitely without charge. He has also ramped up drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan.
However, the Administration has tried to break from its predecessors on several big antiterror issues, and it is on those that it is suffering the humiliation of having to walk back from its own righteous declarations. This is Dick Cheney's revenge.
Begin with Mr. Obama's executive order, two days after his inauguration, to shut the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year. The President issued this command before undertaking a study to determine how or even whether his goal was feasible. In his May speech, Mr. Obama declared, "The record is clear: Rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security."
Mr. Obama's deadline has come and gone, and Guantanamo remains open. In part this is the result of political opposition from Americans—including many Congressional Democrats—who understandably do not want terrorists in their backyards. Another problem is that European allies, while pressing for Guantanamo's closure, have been reluctant to accept more than a handful of detainees who are deemed suitable for release. The upshot is that Congress may never appropriate the money to close Gitmo, and Mr. Obama never mentioned the prison in his State of the Union address.
The Administration similarly has been backing away from its intention, announced in November, to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other enemy combatants in civilian court a few blocks from Ground Zero. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who at first endorsed the trials, has since reversed himself and urged the Administration to "do the right thing" and move the trials somewhere else, preferably to a military base.
The same day, New York's Senator Chuck Schumer asked officials to find another venue. Within hours, Mr. Obama ordered the Justice Department to do just that, and Mr. Schumer has since said any trial shouldn't be held anywhere in New York state. Meanwhile, bipartisan support is growing in Congress to block money from being spent on any civilian trial for KSM, anywhere.
The Administration seems to have thought no more deeply about the potential legal pitfalls of civilian trials than about the security and logistical problems. Mr. Obama himself responded to criticism by suggesting that what he had in mind was a series of show trials, in which the verdict and punishment were foreordained.
ERIC HOLDER - A FRIEND TO THE TERRORISTS
See the end of this column at Moore’s Musings for our thoughts on this.
NEW WHEELS FOR THE IDF
News was released that the IDF has just bought dozens of Polaris ATVs for risky “behind the lines” transport. The models they chose can haul two people and up to 700 pounds of gear, supplies or ammo.
As you may know, our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have been using them for some time. On a number of IDF bases you can see one kind of “mule” or another. That’s the ATV version of a pickup truck. Small, 4 wheels, and a small cargo area behind the seat. The Marines used some in Viet Nam.
Next we can expect to see the Special Ops dune buggies flying through the sands of the Middle East with squealing girl soldiers at the controls and shouting guys hanging on to the roll bars.
These special ops people just get to have way too much fun!
ON THE 21st THE HEADLINES TRUMPETED “HAMAS ACCEPTS ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST!”
Curmudgeon that I am, I raised an eyebrow and waited for the next story on this. As usual I was right. It’s a burden I bear.
Seems a British rich man came to visit the Middle East and wanted to talk to some Hamas people. He spoke to Aziz Dwaik, the most senior Hamas man in the West Bank. That lofty was so sweet and kind to the gullible Brit. He assured him that Hamas would recognize Israel.
Then the Brit left for home.
Then the news had a new headline. FORGET IT!!! NO RECOGNITION BY HAMAS!!
What did you expect?
What’s going on? Most likely Mr. Dwaik expected Hamas to reel in some major donation if he acted civilized, which Hamas certainly is not. But if you study the Brits in general they are a socialist-minded, Jew-baiting, pro-Palestinian, pro-Muslim bunch. They now have almost 16,000 people who are considered terrorist threats on a watch list and they are changing their laws, not to make life less comfortable, but to agree with Shariah law.
The reason a clamor came so quickly to deny what Dwaik had said about recognizing Israel is that Hamas would have had to change their charter, explain to their lunatic brothers all over Gaza and the West Bank, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and most importantly in Teheran why they had lost their way. The last would have led to the drying up of millions of dollars in aid, weapons and graft from Iran. Can’t have that.
What about the rich millionaire from Britain? Most likely he went home thinking what a fine chap that fellow from Hamas was and wondering why the Israelis are so dead set against them.
OH, AND HERE’S ANOTHER FAIRY TALE
“Hamas "regrets any harm that may have befallen any Israeli civilian," according to a report from a committee set up by the Islamist group to examine UN war crimes allegations.
“Israel dismissed any apology for the three non-combatants hit by rockets from Gaza during Operation Cast Lead as disingenuous…” (J-Post.com)
From the same source came this… Foreign Ministry response: “Who are they trying to fool now?"
You may be wondering at all the smoke and mirrors. It is for the official record of the United Nations. Hamas needs to portray itself as mild-mannered and just another political party.
Never mind that they have themselves stopped the rocketing for now, but are aiding and abetting the other fringe terrorist groups in shooting rockets at Israeli civilians.
SOMETHING TO PRAY ABOUT!
If you’ve spent any time on these pages over the past six years, then you understand the challenges some of us have faced getting work visas, press cards, etc. in Israel.
Currently unless one works for a major news agency (which ours is not), and is a Christian the basic work visa is virtually impossible to obtain.
While we began our lives as Bureau Chief for two small radio networks in the US, we faced some trials at the GPO. I hasten to tell you that that sad history is behind us. Since we have proven ourselves to be legitimate working journalists, our press credentials (second class, but effective) are more easily come by. We have built genuine friendships with many of the staff in the Government Press Office, and truly understand some of their challenges in the operation of the Office.
With the religious party Shas ruling more and more of the government in Israel, and their rabid attitude toward any but their own group (including other religious parties, but especially any Christians) life is difficult in the area of visas, entrance into the country to work as a journalist, etc.
Then there are people who make it worse by claiming to be genuine journalists for whatever reason, but who are not.
I think that in light of the above you will find the following of interest:
GPO calls for journalist visa for foreign press
Jan. 21, 2010
Yaakov Lappin , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Government Press Office is pushing for the introduction of a US-style journalist visa for foreign reporters, as part of a bid to filter out political activists posing as media employees, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The GPO is concerned that foreign members of political nongovernmental organizations and political activists attempt to deceive immigration authorities by claiming that they are working as journalists.
"Some activists offer their services to foreign media outlets, and then claim they are journalists. A journalist visa would require foreign citizens who say they are journalists to demonstrate their qualifications, and to prove that they worked for a news agency before arriving in Israel," GPO Director Danny Seamen said.
While the idea has been proposed in the past, the GPO is more hopeful now of seeing the visa introduced after gaining support from Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov.
The idea faced opposition in the past from the legal department at the Interior Ministry, which said the visa had no grounding in law.
The GPO has argued that such a visa is in operation in the US, and is effective in regulating the arrival of foreign press staff.
BIG BROTHER IS US!
Is Tzipi Livni and the Kadima Party snake bit, or just foolish?
When I read the following article I laughed and laughed, though I did feel sorry for them.
Kadima debate cut short due to unintended webcast
Jan. 22, 2010
Gil Hoffman , THE JERUSALEM POST
Kadima MKs debated whether to advance their party's leadership race in a closed-door session for an hour and forty-five minutes on Thursday without realizing that a transcript of the session was being published online as they spoke.
The party's house committee discussed the divisive issue at Kadima's Petah Tikva headquarters until the committee chairman, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, was told that every word said in the room was on a Web site run by Kadima activists called Yallakadima. Hanegbi promptly ended the meeting and announced that the debate would continue on an undisclosed date. …
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: FATHER OF TERROR GROUPS
The Muslim Brotherhood has long been the father of terrorists in and out of Egypt. We think reading the article below will help you better understand many of our remarks when they make news.
Arab World: Meet the new head of the Muslim Brotherhood
Jan. 21, 2010
ZVI MAZEL , THE JERUSALEM POST
Last Saturday in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood announced that it had elected Muhammad Badee as its new supreme leader, a succession which comes at a critical time. A few months ago, Muhammad Mahdi Akef - who had ruled the organization for the past six years - stated that he would not seek another mandate, thus sparking a crisis of major proportions.
But the trouble had already been brewing for a while.
Akef has continually fomented outrage in Egypt with extremist pronouncements. Not only does he overtly support Hamas and Iran, a year ago he proclaimed that he would rather see a Malaysian Muslim as president of Egypt than an Egyptian Copt.
Furthermore, an increasingly large number of Brothers are clamoring for reforms within the group. When the old leader came to the conclusion that he could not bridge the gap between the hard-liners and the reformers, he decided it was finally time to step down.
The younger generation of members are yearning to shake the yoke of the old guard and democratize the movement, and have thus become increasingly restive. They had pinned their hopes on Akef's second in command, Muhammad Elsayed Habib, but he resigned in protest at the Akef's policies and subsequently lost his seat on the Guidance Council (the governing body) in December.
Their discontent was only aggravated during the subsequent elections. The elections themselves - both for the seats in the Guidance Council and for the post of supreme leader -stirred anger, as many believed that they had been rigged. However, since the Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, the vote was held in secrecy and was therefore not monitored. What is known is that Badee was elected by a two-thirds majority of the advisory council, and that his ascension spells trouble for reformists.
THE BROTHERHOOD is far from a democratic movement open to pluralistic views. It has remained faithful to the extremist religious doctrine of the man who founded it in Egypt in 1928, Hassan el-Banna, and of its greatest theologian, Sayed Qotob.
Qotob was far more controversial than Banna. He radicalized Banna's doctrine - which called for the restoration of the caliphate and the creation of one single nation for all Muslims under the sovereignty of Allah, with the Koran as the constitution and Shari'a as the legal system - by declaring that all Arab societies lived in jahalia (ignorance of the true Islam) as before the coming of Muhammad, and were therefore "infidels." The meaning of his statement was clear: that it was legitimate to fight such Arab societies in order to form the new caliphate. To make matters worse, he also formed the religious basis that justified attacking non-Muslim states to bring them into the fold of Islam.
This doctrine has been adopted today by all jihadist movements - al-Qaida included - and gives them the legitimacy they need to kill innocent civilians, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Badee, 67, is a professor of veterinary medicine. He is not only a staunch conservative, but he is also a devoted disciple of Qotob. The two were imprisoned together in the mid-1960s during one of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser's periodic attempts to clamp down on the organization. It should therefore come as no surprise that Badee belongs to the hard-core, extremist element of the movement.
His election sends a clear signal that the organization does not intend to move toward greater openness, and will instead reinforce its extremist positions. True, his first message as supreme leader was one of moderation. He spoke about the importance of unity within the organization; he emphasized that he is ready to work with all political forces in the country; and he even stressed that the Brotherhood is not the enemy of the Egyptian regime. However it is highly unlikely that a new leader elected by a majority of conservatives will change the course of the movement.
Veteran hard-liners now form the majority of the new Guidance Council elected in December; the reformists were soundly beaten. Habib and Abd Elmoneim Abu Alfoutouh, both well-known reformist figures in Egypt, were not reelected. In fact the only reformist to have gotten onto the council was Asam Elarian.
THE MUSLIM Brotherhood was banned by Nasser in 1954 after a failed assassination attempt. Sixty-thousand members were jailed in successive waves of arrest operations, and many leaders of the movement - Qotob included - were executed. Badee himself spent nine years in jail.
When president Anwar Sadat took control of Egypt, he set Badee free together with many of the other Brothers in the belief that they would help him fight against the Nasserites who opposed his policies. He did not, however, rescind the ban on the movement.
Denied an official existence, the organization found other ways to survive. The Brothers set up student unions, and launched a concerted effort to infiltrate and take over all professional unions in Egypt. They also founded a number of benevolent societies, giving much needed help to the poor. This was done in the name of their particular brand of religious extremism, and was a major factor in the growing influence of religion in Egypt during the past few decades.
Pressed by the US to grant greater democratic freedom, President Hosni Mubarak permitted the Brothers to take part in the 2005 elections as "independents." By the time he realized his mistake and put a stop to the practice, 88 Brothers had been elected to the parliament - 20 percent of the overall number of representatives - thus making the banned Brotherhood the most important parliamentary opposition force to Mubarak and his governing party.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an extremely vocal opposition, calling for the repeal of the peace treaty with Israel and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Akef said on a number of occasions that Israel should "disappear from the map."
Despite the group's presence in the government, Egypt is currently making an all out effort to curb its activities. Some 5,000 members are currently in jail, and 40 financial institutions which provided the movement with funds were closed down within the past two years.
THE YOUNGER generation of the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to make the organization more mainstream, and would like to take a more active part in politics. Increasingly, they are turning to the Internet, leading to their nickname as the "the blogger opposition." However, their activities have not been warmly received by the old guard, and recently a violent confrontation erupted between the two sides.
In an attempt to defuse the situation, the leaders of the movement insinuated that they might be willing to establish a political party - as opposed to remaining "independents" - and even circulated a tentative platform. Unfortunately, the platform offered no significant change as demanded by the reformists. Women and Copts were still to be banned from high office, and proposals for laws slated for the parliament were still expected to first be approved by a council of religious sages - a process similar to that in Iran. Since existing laws expressly forbid setting up a political party under religious lines, there is no chance that the Brotherhood could launch a party with the proposed platform. Furthermore, the vast majority of Egyptians are not ready to live under the rule of religious leaders.
Political commentators believe that Mubarak is satisfied with the hard line taken by the Brothers, since such a position will likely hurt the organization in the general elections due to be held in November. But the big question is whether the "youngsters" are going to bow down to the will of the elders, or whether they will keep up their fight. There was an attempt in the '90s by reformists to branch off and create their own party, but it did not succeed. Today the political arena has changed, and another try by moderate Brothers could very well appeal to a great number of Egyptians.
The writer was Israel's ambassador to Egypt and Sweden.
SYRIA MAKING PEACE WITH ISRAEL? NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME.
Let me give you some information from a recent article as to why:
“Bashar Assad understands the price he and the ruling Alawite minority would have to pay, in a country that is 74 percent Sunni, for a genuine peace with Israel. That is why in this week’s New Yorker, Assad frankly told Seymour Hersh that even if Syria regained the entire Golan, Israel, “cannot expect me to give them the peace they expect.”
“Indeed, if Israel got the peace we expected, Assad’s de-facto truce with the Muslim Brotherhood would come undone. He’d have to expel Hamas leaders from Syria, a step the Brotherhood would find insufferable. A bad divorce with Teheran would ensue. Hizbullah would reorient Lebanon’s policies accordingly.
“In short, Assad would be going down the path taken by the late Anwar Sadat: carving out a separate peace with Israel while the Palestinian issue festered, albeit due to the Palestinians’ own intransigence.
“Naturally, if Assad got the Golan Heights on his terms, the legitimacy of his regime would be bolstered. But no Israeli government – not Yitzhak Rabin’s and not Binyamin Netanyahu’s – can come down from the Golan in return for a sham peace.
“Assad will not risk a real peace that would force Syria to rethink its ideological identity in the absence of the Zionist bogeyman. How could he justify continued authoritarian rule?
“Moreover, real peace would open Syria to progressive influences. The regime could come under pressure from now dormant liberal reformers. The 18,000 Druse and 2,000 Alawites on the Golan would be reunited with their co-religionists, but decades of life under the Zionists will have created social, economic and, yes, political expectations that could “contaminate” the larger Syrian polity.
“So a strong argument can be made that the last thing Assad really wants is peace with Israel….”
FOLLOWING THE ABOVE, THE FIERY FOREIGN MINISTER OF ISRAEL AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN came back at President Assad for saying that Israel wanted to have another war with Syria.
Lieberman is the point man for the Netanyahu coalition government when it comes to verbally slapping people like Assad in the face. Whereas his predecessor, Tzipi Livni was all rosewater and sweetness, Lieberman is a hand grenade with a loose pin.
At the least diplomatic attack against Israel he steps to a microphone and lets the miscreants have it.
As I was sitting in a high government official’s office last year discussing many of the familiar faces in the Netanyahu cabinet, I brought up Lieberman’s personal difficulties and his outspokenness. My friend laughed and said, “He’s our secret weapon.”
The meaning was clear. Bibi doesn’t have to show an angry side. He has Avigdor for that.
While I’m name dropping, I will share another moment with you. I was interviewing Giora Eiland, the former Chief of Staff of the IDF and later of PM Sharon. We were talking about peace talks, etc., and Mr. Eiland said, “Remember, it matters who bears any message.”
The thought has stayed with me as I watch diplomatic announcements, etc. Who is the messenger, and whom does he represent?
Back to Lieberman:“Speaking at an event at Bar-Ilan University, Lieberman warned Assad that in an event of war with Israel, "not only will you lose the war, you and your family will no longer be in power."
“The leaders in Syria care only about their power, Lieberman claimed, and therefore it is important that Damascus understands a war with Israel will drive Bashar Assad and the Assad family out of power.
"I tell Assad and [Syrian Foreign Minister Walid] al-Moallem clearly - what was said yesterday marked a dramatic change of game, a direct threat on the State of Israel. I think that a line was crossed, and this cannot be tolerated," the foreign minister said.
"We heard Defense Minister [Ehud] Barak's sincere call for peace with Syria, and we have now received Syria's answer. Whoever thinks territorial concessions will disconnect Damascus from the Axis of Evil is wrong," Lieberman asserted.
“The foreign minister went on to stress that he supports peace with Syria as long as the Golan Heights remain in Israel's hands.
"Syria must understand that it has to let go of the demand for the Golan, in the same way that it gave up on the Greater Syria dream," said Lieberman. (J-Post)
TO TAKE A SPOIL
Ezekiel 38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
One thing that never seems to dim is the Christian interest in the Last Days. Of course the entire Church Age is in essence part of the Last Days.
But preachers have for years struggled with the verse quoted above from the Book of Ezekiel. What on earth did Israel have that Russia could ever want? What was there to “spoil?”
Ports, land, industry, population, etc. Russia is neck-deep in it all. And of course now they have more oil and natural gas than Israel. But if you know anything about this world you also know that the status quo seldom remains the status quo. Russia’s fuel wealth does not mean the below-the-surface Communists who follow Mr. Putin are happy with what they have. There is no such thing as enough.
So now we have a Six Billion Dollar natural gas find off the coast of Haifa. Another rich find has been discovered off the coast of Gaza. Oil has been discovered in sufficient amounts in the Dead Sea area, along the Sharon coastline and other spots to now make interest peak. When gasoline was 79 cents a gallon it might not have paid to drill such places. Now that’s all changed.
One authority said that the Haifa discovery alone was sufficient to meet all of Israel’s needs for the next thirty-one years including growth factors.
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IN CURRENT NEWS:
DUMPING THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION
Our radio broadcast next week is about a Member of the Knesset who wants to look at the idea of aligning Jordan and the West Bank (minus the Jordan River valley area).
As you may know we have been promoting this idea of dumping the Oslo Accords, two-state nonsense for as long as it has been discussed. The Palestinians are not capable of leading a civilized national society, much less a nation in this world.
The Palestinian Authority was never really a governing body. It was the personal cash cow of first Yasser Arafat, and now of Mahmoud Abbas. Both still entertain the same band of crooks and cut throats, with a few newer faces rounding out the cabal.
I ran an article from “The Atlantic Monthly” by Kaplan that exposed the whole raw mess. If you would like a copy of it, send me an email and I’ll get back to you with it. It is gritty and stunning in its exposure.
The principle negotiator for the Palestinians, who has served both Arafat and Abbas says the two-state plan needs to be trashed.
Our acquaintance, Khaled Abu Toameh, one of the most gifted authorities on the Palestinians, and himself an Arab, has written about Saeb Erekat’s comments.
In the article below, we will add our own thoughts inside brackets [ ].
Erekat calls for ‘alternative to two-state solution’
BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA negotiator says Palestinians should consider declaring Oslo Accords "null and void."
A paper prepared by Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat on the status of the peace talks with Israel recommends that the Palestinians consider the possibility of abandoning the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution if the peace process does not move forward.
Another option that the Palestinians should consider, according to Erekat, is the re-evaluation of the Oslo Accords and “declaring them null and void, partially or completely, or applying them selectively in a manner consistent with Palestinian interests.”
[Notice the last phrase: “applying them selectively in a manner consistent with Palestinian interests.” This is exactly what they have always done. What it means literally is there is no “agreement,” there is only what we say that counts. EDM]
The paper recommends that the Palestinians link cooperation on issues that matter to Israel, such as security cooperation, with Israel upholding its obligations [to the peace process].
Erekat’s paper also recommends a “campaign of non-violent resistance, such as prohibition of Palestinians working in settlements and boycott of Israeli products.”
On the two-state solution, the document suggests that the Palestinians “develop credible alternatives to the traditional two-state solution, such as a one-state solution or a bi-national state,” and dissolve the PA.
[A one state solution means that the Palestinians live under Israel law, draw Israel welfare, socialized medicine and unemployment. They do not (cannot) serve in the IDF, they have no borders within Israel they cannot cross. Basically it reverts back to before 1993 when the Palestinian standard of living was – LISTEN – TEN TIMES BETTER THAN IT IS TODAY after seventeen years under their own PA leadership.
[The major problem Israel has with the one state solution is that the Palestinians would get the vote and in a democratic nation would soon out-populate the Jews and therefore turn the nation into an Arab country. Currently (aside from the Hassidic community) the birthrate is about 2 children. It is 6 minimum in the Palestinian home. EDM]
The paper, which is entitled “The Political Situation in Light of Developments with the US Administration and Israeli Government and Hamas’s continued Coup d’etat,” was written in December 2009.
The paper calls for unifying Palestinian messages and positions regarding the peace talks with Israel.
Its main points include the following directives:
• Final-status negotiations must be based on previously agreed terms of reference – international law, UN resolutions, including 242, 338, 1397, 1515 and 194, as well as the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
[In other words, (and this has long been the Palestinian position) anything that has ever been on the table by the Palestinians has to be accepted by Israel as an agreement, even though the talks stopped, perhaps just because of such items. EDM]
* Final-status talks must lead to ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the establishment of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.
[Erekat’s craziness here is that in essence, Israel surrenders everything that would have been under peace talks. They give back all land taken from Jordan in the June, 1967 Six Day War, including East Jerusalem, all the neighborhoods, and completely remove all Jews, including the IDF from the areas of Samaria and Judea. EDM]
* Final status talks must be resumed from the point where they ended in December 2008.
[See two comments previous. EDM]
* Israel must implement a comprehensive settlement freeze, including in east Jerusalem, and reopen Palestinian institutions in the city. Israel also must remove settlement outposts established since March 2001, lift the siege and closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and halt raids, arrests and assassinations and all activities that may jeopardize building mutual trust and confidence.
[This point says basically that the Palestinian Authority may operate offices (as was once the case in East Jerusalem at “Orient House”) in East Jerusalem. What most Westerners do not know is that currently the Israel Security Agency (Shabak or Shin Bet) knows there are around 1200 Palestinian security forces living in East Jerusalem.
[By the way, the killer of a settler in the West Bank just two days ago was a member of Abbas’ Security Police. EDM]
Erekat’s paper recommends that the Palestinians try to secure a UN Security Council resolution that recognizes the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, as well as a just and agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with Resolution 194.
COMING TO THE TABLE
George Mitchell, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and numerous offers by Prime Minister Netanyahu have all invited, cajoled and coerced Abbas to resume peace talks with Israel.
It is all a dog and pony show, as you probably know, but it makes the politicians look like they are doing something of value to the uninitiated.
Abbas got himself into a position of refusing to go to the talks because Obama said that Israel should stop absolutely all construction in “the West Bank.”
Abbas maintains that that includes Jerusalem and all others areas of Samaria and Judea.
Of course it’s nonsense, but that is how thing are played here.
Anyone in the know realizes that Obama doesn’t mean anything by what he says. It is just for audience appeal. There is show, but little substance. Poor Abbas. Now he’d like to sit down again if for no other reason than to keep the money pouring in, but he’s “up a tree,” as some wags have put it.
Abu Toameh thinks that a recent public poll of the Palestinians might help. According to the numbers most people want peace talks. Are you listening Abbas?
THE CROOKEDEST SHOW IN TOWN
A few years ago there was a mutual embarrassment program going on between Hamas and Fatah. Seems that both groups had managed to get hidden cameras into places where some of the leaders of each group slept.
Lo-and-behold, the videos showed them abusing young boys!
It was a real dust up since the Koran forbids such practice. Of course realists know it has long been a practice in Arab nations, but still it was a tremendous embarrassment for both sides.
Now, apparently there is another bad day – this time among the inner circle of Fatah, and especially of Mahmoud Abbas’ henchmen.
I’ll let you read the article for yourself.
‘Corruption will let Hamas take W. Bank'
BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Dramatic warning delivered by Abbas’s former corruption-buster Fahmi Shabaneh.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has surrounded himself with many of the corrupt officials who used to work for his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, and that’s why Hamas will one day take control of the West Bank, Fahmi Shabaneh, who was appointed by Abbas four years ago to root out corruption in the Palestinian Authority, told The Jerusalem Post.
In an exclusive interview, Shabaneh, who until recently was in charge of the Anti-Corruption Department in the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS), warned that what happened in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, when Hamas managed to overthrow the Fatah-controlled regime, is likely to recur in the West Bank.
“Had it not been for the presence of the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, Hamas would have done what they did in the Gaza Strip,” Shabaneh told the Post. “It’s hard to find people in the West Bank who support the Palestinian Authority. People are fed up with the financial corruption and mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority.”
Shabaneh said that many Palestinians in the West Bank have lost hope that the PA would one day be reformed. “The Palestinian Authority is very corrupt and needs to be overhauled,” he said.
Shabaneh cited several specific cases of alleged corruption within Fatah and the PA in the course of the interview, including asserting that Fatah personnel stole much of a $3.2 million donation given by the US to Fatah ahead of the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, won by Hamas, which had been intended to improve Fatah’s image and boost its chances of winning.
Shabaneh, a resident of east Jerusalem who worked as a lawyer before joining the GIS as its legal adviser after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, said he was forced to quit his anti-corruption job several months ago after exposing a sex scandal involving one of Abbas’s top aides in Ramallah in 2009.
Video footage and other documents presented to the Post by Shabaneh show the aide lying naked in bed after being lured to an apartment in Ramallah by an east Jerusalem woman.
The footage shows Shabaneh and other armed security agents storming the bedroom, much to the surprise of the Abbas aide who is heard uttering: “Thank God it’s you and not the Israelis.”
Shabaneh said in the interview, the first of its kind with a high-ranking PA security official, that he and his men had been operating on instructions from their boss, Gen. Tawfik Tirawi, the former head of the GIS. Tirwai, for his part, denied that he had authorized Shabaneh to spy on the Abbas aide.
The top aide, who is one of the closest advisers to Abbas, was caught on tape making derogatory remarks against Abbas and Arafat. “President Abbas has no charisma” and is “not in control,” he was quoted as saying. The aide was also caught on tape denouncing Arafat as one of the biggest dajjals (swindlers).
After the revelations, which were brought to Abbas’s attention and were embarrassing for the PA president, Shabaneh was removed from his anti-corruption post and reassigned as head of the GIS’s internal security force. More recently, he was promoted to overall commander of the GIS in the area.
Shortly afterwards, however, Shabaneh was arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of recruiting east Jerusalem residents to the GIS, spying on Israel, chasing suspected “collaborators” and Arabs involved in real estate deals with Jews, and threatening and blackmailing the senior Abbas aide.
Shabaneh has since been released from prison and most of the charges against him dropped. Today he remains under house arrest and is banned from entering the West Bank. The only charge he faces today is membership in a Palestinian military organization – a charge he claims is absurd given the fact that about 1,200 residents of east Jerusalem serve in the various security branches of the PA.
Shabaneh said that he had no doubt that his arrest by Israel was carried out at the request of “someone high in Abbas’s office to punish me for fighting corruption and exposing sex scandals involving not only the senior aide, but many other officials as well.”
He said that the decision to arrest him and prosecute him was also absurd because was always aware of his work and status in the PA security forces and never did anything to him.
“For many years I worked as legal adviser to the General Intelligence Apparatus and no one ever asked me anything,” Shabaneh noted. “When I was commander of the force in the area the Israelis even used to coordinate a lot with us.”
Shabaneh insisted that the decision to pursue corrupt officials in Abbas’s inner circle was part of the PA president’s declared policy to combat financial corruption. “In his pre-election platform, President Abbas promised to end financial corruption and implement major reforms, but he hasn’t done much since then,” he said. “Unfortunately, Abbas has surrounded himself with many of the thieves and officials who were involved in theft of public funds and who became icons of financial corruption.”
Shabaneh said that as head of the anti-corruption unit he and his men succeeded in exposing dozens of cases involving senior officials who had stolen public funds but were never held accountable.
“Some of the most senior Palestinian officials didn’t have even $3,000 in their pocket when they arrived [after the signing of the Oslo Accords],” Shabaneh said. “Yet we discovered that some of them had tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in their bank accounts.
Until today we didn’t hear about one official who was brought to trial for stealing money from the PA, although we had transferred many of the cases to the Palestinian prosecutor-general.”
Questioned as to why he had decided to go public now, Shabaneh said: “I’m not criticizing the Palestinian Authority simply because I like to criticize, but because I want to see a state of law, one with no room for corruption. I was offered $100,000 not to expose the last sex scandal, but I chose not to accept the bribe. I’m the one who resigned after my arrest, because after all that I’ve seen I no longer believe that Abbas’s authority can be reformed.
Asked whether PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is working to establish good government, Shabaneh said: “Salam Fayyad is a good man and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s really working to build professional institutions and good government, but the corrupt Fatah people around Abbas are doing their utmost to thwart his efforts.”
He added: “Even Abbas tried in the beginning, but the corrupt officials working with him didn’t allow him to make progress.”
Shabaneh also said he had managed to track down some of the financial aid that went missing during and after the period of Arafat’s death.
“I discovered, for example, that several senior officials had taken millions of dollars from the Palestinian leadership under the pretext that they wanted to purchase land that would otherwise be confiscated by Israel,” he said.
“Our investigations revealed that many of the purported land deals were fictitious transactions and we even forced one official to return more than $800,000. We had another case where a senior Fatah official and his brother pocketed about $2.5m. which they took from Arafat under the pretext that they wanted to purchase land in the West Bank before Israel lays its hand on it.
Asked whether he believed outside donors should stop channeling funds to Abbas, he said his advice to the donor countries “is to follow up on their donations to examine how and where the money is being spent. We caught some officials who stole about $700,000 from the donors to study the atmosphere in . Why do we need to spend such a huge amount of money on something trivial like this when many people are suffering and have nothing to eat or feed their children?”
Was he serious about Hamas taking over the ? “Yes, no question about that,” he said. “It will happen one day if the state of corruption and anarchy continue in the West Bank .
“Why do you think Hamas kicked us out of the Gaza Strip? Because the people there were fed up with the corruption and bad government of Fatah. What do you think the people in the Gaza Strip used to think when they saw a colonel in the Palestinian Authority driving in a big motorcade and surrounded by dozens of bodyguards and assistants?”
Did he see no chance that Fatah would reform? “As long as the same corrupt guys are running the show we shouldn’t expect real changes,” said Shabaneh.
“Before the 2006 parliamentary election, the Americans gave Fatah $3.2m. to improve the party’s image and boost its chances of winning. But the Fatah people even stole most of the money that was intended to help them improve their image and reputation. These corrupt officials know no limits. They even used to forge Arafat’s signature to obtain money by fraud,” he said.
IN CASE YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THERE IS A NORTHERN ENEMY:
EXCLUSIVE: US intelligence finds 5,000 Hizballah trained to seize Galilee towns
DEBKAfile Special Expose February 1, 2010, 9:19 AM (GMT+02:00)
Jones was not talking out of the top of his head, but on the strength of solid US intelligence gathered over months on detailed war plans Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas have drawn up to send five Hizballah brigades sweeping across the border to seize five sectors of Galilee, while also organizing a massive Israeli-Arab uprising against the Jewish state.
Hamas would open a second front in the south and in the east. Syria is expected to step in at some stage.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards instructors at especially established training facilities near Tehran are already well advanced in training a cadre of 5,000 Hizballah fighters in special operations and urban combat tactics to standards equivalent to those current in similar US and Israeli military forces.
At the outset of the course, the group was split up into five battalions, each given a specific northern Israeli sector for capture with details of its topography and population for close study.
This unit will break through the Naqura-Rosh Haniqra border pass and sweep south along seven kilometers to seize Nahariya, the Israeli Mediterranean city of 55,000 - or parts thereof.
UN peacekeepers have their headquarters at Naqura, the other side of Rosh Haniqra, and Israel defenses there are lax, so no military or geographic obstacles to this Hizballah drive are anticipated. This battalion will capture a large number of Israeli hostages for use as live shields against an Israeli counter-attack
A small group of 150 fighters, trained by Revolutionary Guards marines, will also try and reach the coast by swift boats. They are already standing by in Lebanon.
This unit is assigned to capture the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, 300 meters southeast of the Naqura border pass and home to 6,500 inhabitants. Holding this town and its environs will give Hizballah control of a key road hub and stand in the path of Israeli reinforcements heading for Nahariya through routes 89 and 899 from key Israeli bases in the Galilee and Upper Galilee regions to the east. (See map).
Driving further south than any other Hizballah unit, this battalion must reach the three Israeli-Arab villages of B'ina, Deir al-Asad and Majd el-Krum, which are located north of the town of Carmiel and alongside Israel's Route 85 which connects Acre on the Mediterranean with Safad in the central Galilee mountains.
Iranian war planners want Hizballah to control the three Israeli-Arab locations for two advantages:
One: As a commanding position for stirring up the disaffected Israeli-Arab villages and towns of Lower Galilee and Wadi Ara to the south into a full-blown uprising. The incoming combat force will be backed up by clandestine Hizballah cells which for some years have established, armed and funded the underground "Galilee Liberation Battalions” in Sakhnin, Araba and Deir Hana, by means of drug smugglers.
Hizballah's West Bank cells have been active for some time in the Wadi Ara region, through which National Route 65 connects central Israel to the North.
Two: To gain fire control of Acre-Safed Route 85 from positions in occupied Arab villages and so have a shield ready for the Hizballah units holding Nahariya and Shlomi, and seriously impede the passage of Israeli forces from bases in the center of the country to relieve these northern towns. The Israeli Air Force will be constrained from attacking the areas held by Hizballah by the presence of large civilian populations.
This battalion will push southeast into the Kadesh Valley, on the rim of which the Makia and Yiftah kibbutzim and Makia moshav are clustered. Capture of these locations would afford Hizballah fire coverage of Israel's northernmost Galilee Panhandle.
5th Battalion: Hizballah's Strategic Reserve.
Rocket attacks from Lebanon will focus on disabling Israel's strategic military sites, such as air force bases, missile bases, its nuclear facilities and naval bases. Targeting Israeli population centers is a lower Iranian priority.
Syria's initial involvement will be limited to cover by artillery or air for Hizballah operations. But if the fighting escalates or drags on, Hizballah will invite Syrian back-up forces to go into Lebanon; Damascus will open Front No. 4 against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
The Tehran-Hizballah war strategy is all but ready for any contingency. The obvious trigger would be an Israeli military operation against Iran's nuclear facilities, but once all the elements are in place, they could be activated by any other pretext conjured up in Tehran or Damascus.
In recent weeks, both Hizballah and its Syrian allies have mobilized their forces while telling the Arab world that the Jewish state is about to attack Lebanon.
Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah is straining at the leash to attack Israel however the crisis over Iran's nuclear program turns out.
Sunday, January 17, he said: "I promise you, in view of all the threats you hear today… that should a new war with the Zionists erupt, we [the Lebanese resistance movement] will crush the enemy, come out victorious, and change the face of the region.
"God willing, Israel, the occupation, hegemony, and arrogance are in the process of disappearing!"
Nasrallah was not alone in anticipating a troubled year for the Middle East.
The above clearly-defined plan has a few glitches. First of all, 5,000 men are not going to hiccup, much less move weapons and supplies along with themselves without Israel knowing it before they get the 6-8 miles inside the border. By the time they get into a mountain pass, “fast movers” (Israeli jets) will be anointing them with napalm.
We know this terrain very well. It is very rugged and mountainous. And there are Arab towns aplenty. But most are civilians with no military training who would only serve as human shields for Hezbollah.
Secondly, if Syria decided to come across the Golan they have a little problem. The massive amount of Tank Battalions stationed in the Golan Heights. We have watched their live fire tactical exercises both in the dark and during daylight hours. Syria’s forces would be so destroyed that it would be pitiful. Again. There are stations that can hear a Syrian tank start its engine to charge the batteries, much less a division headed toward the border.
We aren’t saying that Debka is wrong about the plans. But plans are one thing. Execution of a plan to invade Israel is quite another. Don’t lose a lot of sleep about this one.
PATRIOTS ON GUARD
The US has admitted to posting Patriot missile batteries in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as keeping two ships in the Persian Gulf which can shoot down Iranian missiles.
This is all part of the show of force to make Iran nervous. They bluster and blather, but when it comes to shooting off more than their mouth, there are American Patriot units on guard. These are in addition to the ones on duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Israel.
The Iranians are surrounded and they know it. Traditional arms are one thing. Nukes are quite another. Stay tuned on that.
FOUR THINGS NETANYAHU NEEDS TO STRIKE IRAN
That headline came from – of all places – Haaretz’ website this week. The writer summed it up with these items:
* Evidence of a clear and present danger to Israel, not just bluster. (See the Mossad for its ability to provide that.)
* Complete assurance that the IDF can do the job adequately.
* Domestic support from the Israel population
* The consent of President Barak Obama.
On this last item, you might note as we mentioned early in this column that Obama has learned that it is one thing to crow in a campaign and another to have the responsibility of the President on one’s shoulders.
Obama has not leaned on Bibi as was once thought he would. Rather he seems to have come to the conclusion that the Palestinian leaders are inept, self-serving and a corrupt, broken reed, not to be trusted.
With regard to Israel’s attacking Iran, I think in a peaceful setting all the above four items are correct. But…
Should the Mossad show that Iran is indeed planning to nuke (or even seriously fire missiles at Israel) I believe the Netanyahu government will know it has to stand alone and take out the threat. That may mean missile sites, Qom and other nuclear facilities, or all the above. It won’t be Obama that decides that.
More likely, our President will dither, act upset, and secretly thank the Israelis for doing what he simple could not get the fortitude to do himself.
The Washington Examiner did a great editorial this week.
LIES, LIBERALISM AND SOCIALIST LEADERSHIP:
Eric Holder, meet Eric Holder
February 5, 2010
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, (Alex Brandon/AP)
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder said he alone made the decision to charge Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in federal civilian court instead of trying him as a terrorist before a military tribunal. Holder said he did so "with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government." That statement flatly contradicts the sworn statement of retired Adm. Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, who told a Senate committee last week that he "was not consulted" in the matter. Blair has since claimed his sworn statement was "misconstrued," but that seems unlikely with such a simple declarative statement. Either Blair was or was not consulted. Putting Holder and Blair under oath before the same panel simultaneously would perhaps produce some interesting rhetorical parsing.
The more important issue, however, is the attorney general's dissimulation on an issue of critical importance to the United States government's ability to protect the American people and ultimately win the war on terrorism. In his letter, Holder argued that "the decision to address Mr. Abdulmutallab's actions through our criminal justice system has not, and will not, compromise our ability to obtain information needed to detect and prevent future attacks."
To grasp how deeply illogical that statement truly is, we need look no further than Eric Holder circa 2002. There, thanks to the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes, we find the future attorney general telling CNN's Paula Zahn that government interrogators would have a tough time getting John Walker Lindh to talk: "Well, I mean, it's hard to interrogate him at this point now that he has a lawyer and now that he is here in the United States. But to the extent that we can get information from him, I think we should." Lindh was the first American citizen captured while fighting in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban against U.S. forces.
The point of providing counsel to defendants in the American civil court system is to insure that they know all of their rights, including the right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement officials. It may frustrate prosecutors but no damage is done to national security when defendants accused of robbing liquor stores or passing bad checks clam up. But multitudes of innocent people very well may die when our toughest, most knowledgeable interrogators are kept away from an accused terrorist. Clearly, Holder 2002 was much wiser than Holder 2010, and more able to help keep Americans safe.
(WASHINGTON EXAMINER ONLINE)
We have witnessed ineptness at every executive and legislative level in national government. Not just under President Obama, but also under the Bush Administration.
On Bush’s part, he began well, but then failed to heed Dick Cheney’s input and began to want to be considered by Europe as a distinguished statesman, and to be liked by everyone.
Trying to please us all, he pleased none of us. The media excoriated him as a lightweight, and so he proved to be. Witness the terrible decisions to socialize the capitalist system in his last months.
Obama came to the office with his recycled hippies from the sixties. They brought all their baggage of greener, Marxism, and professorial ineptitude.
In Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano it was even worse. These two are supposed to protect our nation from internal and external enemies.
By refusing to even admit that we are neck deep in a terrorist war, they have harmed us in too many ways to even begin to enumerate.
Giving terrorists the same legal rights as our own citizens is in itself criminal!
Now Obama is trying to get out of holding a civilian trial, not just in New York, but any civilian venue. It looks like his Democratic Congress will rescue him by refusing to allocate any funds for such a stupid move and of getting himself out of that position.
Put them in Gitmo, hold a tribunal, and then put them up against the wall and shoot until the squad gets tired of reloading!
Israel’s inane practice of capturing terrorists and then exchanging a thousand or so for one or two Israeli soldiers is inexcusable. The last time they tried it with Hezbollah, you might recall, they got their two soldiers back – in boxes.
Supposedly they didn’t know that it would be that way until the trade was being done. Believe what you will. Another Ehud Olmert stumble.
The President has to decide – without a committee – who is going to lead. Is he going to take the nation into even more socialism and ruin it or is he, like Bill Clinton decide that he wants to back off from his recklessness and lead from the middle.
If he chooses that, then he may make it. If not, then expect more losses in the polls as those who follow him off the cliff are defeated in one election after another until there are none left.
Right now most of the Dems are acting like Sarah Palin speaks for no one (the rest of the Republicans having retired from the field). That’s good. Let them continue to dismiss the “Tea Party” crowd as tiny, ineffectual and a bunch of crackers.
The elections will continue to demonstrate that there are lots of real Americans out across the fruited plain who want one thing from their government. Sanity and to be left alone.
This is Ernie Moore
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