Archive for the ‘US’ Category

IDF troops attacked on board Mavi Marmara Israeli right-wing human rights group Shurath ha-Deen (aka Israel Law Center) sent an official letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, requesting the latter to start an investigation into US-based ‘Free Gaza’ movement. The group that led an assault on IDF soldier on board the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ last week, backs Gaza-based Hamas and harshly criticized Israel, with some comments bordering on anti-Semitism:

The Free Gaza organization is providing military assistance to Hamas by attempting to break the Israeli blockade while Hamas continues its attacks on Israeli civilians, Darshan-Leitner said. In doing so, it is taking part in attacking a state friendly to America – a violation of the U.S. Neutrality Act (18 U.S.C. 960).

The Neutrality Act states, “Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money for, or takes part in, any military or naval expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominion of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." ( Channel 7 News )

FREE GAZA IS known for its anti-Israel stand. As the group set sail for Gaza, it was asked to transfer a package to Israeli POW Gilad Shalit, in exchange for Shalit family’s official support for the sail. The group refused. Later, the group posted a set of testimonies of their website, calling them ‘Survivor testimonies’. According to the radical group, IDF soldiers used violence on all ships, although no evidence of such on vessels other than Mavi Marmara was produces. Moreover, all testimonies discard IDF-posted videos and pictures, illustrating heavily skewed picture. Among other things, the activists claimed the soldiers used live fire prior to landing on the ship and at the moment of touchdown itself. However, Free Gaza failed to explain why its activists are seen strolling on all decks of Mavi Marmara, if the ship was indeed under live fire.

On its Flickr photo stream, the group published most flattering images of themselves, picturing the activists caring for the injured soldiers. Missing from the stream are other pictures – where troops are seen injured, on the floor, with persons holding them at knifepoint. It is propaganda at its best.

Best testimony to Free Gaza’s fervent anti-Israel stance is the GPS map posted on its co-website, WitnessGaza:

GPS map posted on WitnessGaza.Com

Capture2 The map fully ignores Israel (as well as the West Bank and Gaza, for that matter), but details borders and cities in Jordan and Lebanon. The logo promoting the website is a blunt propaganda, showing IDF troops assaulting the ships (from Mi-26, surprisingly), with activists pulling the injured. Unsurprisingly, there’s no evidence of relentless beating the soldiers endured onboard.

 

In the meanwhile, Israel seems to enjoy support in the United States, an additional incentive for Eric Holder, who constantly takes flak over various issues and enjoys relatively little popularity among the American people.

In a most recent expression of such support, Democrat John Kerry countered critics’ accusations of Israel being a ‘liability’ for the US. Democrat Chuck Schumer sent a letter to US Secretary of State Clinton, asking the State Department to investigate linkage between organizations backing the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and various terror groups:

Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a key player in US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, said that "there are obviously tensions with respect to certain policies" but that Israel "has every right in the world to make certain that weapons are not being smuggled in after the thousands of rockets that have been fired on it from Gaza."

Schumer demanded that the adminisration examine whether IHH provided financial, logistic and material support to any organization included the State Department’s list of terror groups.
According to the senator, IHH funded terror organizations and send rebels to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. He also called for a probe into a French judge’s claim that IHH was involved in an attempt to bomb the Los Angeles Airport in late 1999. ( Ynet )

Fueling further backing of Israeli by Obama administration, recent Rasmussen poll shows only 19% of Americans believing Israel should bear blame for grave outcome of IDF’s Marmara boarding. 32% were not sure, while staggering 49% defended Israel’s actions.

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IDF's 'Flotilla 13' soldier attacked and dragged by the IHH Mere two days after Israeli Defense Forces boarded the ‘Freedom Flotilla’, where they were beaten, stabbed, clubbed and shot at, Turkish ‘Palestinian rights group’ IHH thanked Israel for the ‘publicity’:

"We thank Israel for its raid," said Omar Faruk, a member of the organization’s directorate. "We’ve become famous."

(Ynet)

I believe this quote precisely point to the insanity of the ‘activists’, who hail a victory in propaganda battle, over mourning their loss.

On the flip side, however, Israel has much to thank IHH for. As few times before, IHH’s attempt to murder IDF troops on board Mavi Marmara brought all Israelis together in their vehement support for the IDF and their country, save for Israeli Palestinians and most radical Left wingers.

I spoke to a woman today, who in the past shared with me she voted for the extremist MERETZ party. This faction is advocating conceding as much as possible to the Palestinians. Her stance, however, surprised me:

“I am Left wing and everything, but I understand we have to defend our country.”

Hers is an expression of feeling familiar to many Israelis today. With the international community viciously attacking the Jewish state and relentlessly denying it any opportunity to effectively defend itself, the Israelis feel at the brink. Many – amongst themselves – restore memories of the World War II, where peoples of Europe were slaughtered, and powerful nations stood on the sidelines.

But with fear comes strength. As during the 2008-9 operation Cast Lead, the 1982 Peace of Galilee and 1967 Six Days War, Israelis feel protective of their country and of their nation. Unlike any other people, for thousands of years Jews were the homeless person, deprived of own home. Today, more Israelis than ever stand on guard to defend homeland. And that is the greatest gift no one but the IHH – and the likes – could give the Jewish nation.

David Horowitz, writer, editor and an activists, recently visited the University of California San Diego, to speak during the ‘Israel Apartheid Week’. A female Muslim student, asking Horowitz a question, told him she supported Hezbollah’s statement that Jews should gather in Israel, so that they – Hezbollah – won’t have to hunt the Jews all over the world:

 

I know, it is a Religion of Peace.

Iran and Brazil - new best friends? In a trick worthy of better politicians, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed surprisingly quickly to Brazil’s offer of enriching uranium in Turkey:

The shipment of the low-grade uranium ostensibly would prevent the possibility that Iran could use the material to build a nuclear weapon. However, Germany and Britain remain unimpressed. Iran would continue to be able to produce high-grade uranium, and Turkey would return the low-grade uranium if it does not ship fuel rods within a year.

No announcement was made concerning what Turkey would do with the low-grade uranium, which would be stored under supervision of United Nations and Iranian authorities.

(Channel 7 News)

THE DEADLOCK SOLVED itself swiftly – so swiftly, in fact, that it smells real dirty. After all, Brazil stepped in as a mediator only a week ago, and managed to solve a situation stalled for a month?

Not so fast, though. While Brazil’s da Silva stepped up his efforts, Iran still claims the right to continue enrichment program, thus it is unclear whether Turkey would play any role at all. With Russians warning the deal unlikely to solve anything, the international community cannot really stop pushing Iran:

"One question is: will Iran itself enrich uranium? As far as I understand from officials of that state, such work will be continued. In this case, of course, those concerns that the international community had before could remain," [Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev said.

(Haaretz)

The Europeans put even sadder masks on, expressing outright disgust at Iran’s mockery of a deal:

The office of EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels said the deal "does not answer all of the concerns" raised by Tehran’s nuclear program.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry responded that no agreement could replace the draft inked between Iran and the IAEA last October in which Iran would transfer its enriched uranium to France and Russia, where it would be processed into nuclear fuel rods and returned back to Iran to fuel Tehran’s research reactor.

(Ynet)

The analysts go far beyond disgust, illustrating outright humiliation of the West and somewhat good political planning and execution by anti-US bloc of Iran, Brazil and the Thanksgiving Country:

Just think: Obama invited Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the White House and praised him wildly: Obama called himself "a great admirer of the progressive, forward-looking leadership that President Lula has shown." This is despite the fact that the Brazilian leader is as close to a Communist as you can get nowadays, has sunk his country into huge debts, and has been a major critic of the United States.

And then what does “Lula” do after being feted in the White House?

Naturally, he is trying to destroy U.S. efforts to raise and enforce sanctions on Iran. Lula has tried to save Iran from sanctions by putting together a phony diplomatic deal on Tehran’s terms. And guess who his partner is in trying to sabotage sanctions and help Tehran? Why that "moderate Muslim" regime in Turkey for which the Obama Administration has had so much praise!

Now Lula has just visited Tehran in person and proposed that Brazil should provide Iran with equipment and parts to modernize its oil production while Iran assists Brazil in deep-water drilling efforts in the Atlantic Ocean. Lula also said he would urge Brazilian companies to invest in Iranian refineries. There can be no doubt that Brazil will oppose sanctions in the UN.

(Rubin Report)

Other analysts go further, echoing warnings by Western countries that the deal, based on technicality, legitimizes Iran’s continued nuclear program and further stalling possibility of sanctions on Iran:

2. The deal legitimizes Iran’s right to enriched uranium of a higher grade, which can be converted in short order to fuel for a nuclear bomb. Tehran has now gained an international seal for going up to weapons grade.

3.  Given the close bonds unfolding between Turkey, Iran and Syria, no independent agency can expect a chance to monitor the transaction or find out the actual quantity of enriched uranium Tehran is in fact exporting to Turkey.

4.  The Six-Power group’s compromise proposition for the export of 1.200 kilograms of low-enriched Iranian uranium was put forward more than a year ago and left hanging. There is no telling how much enriched uranium Tehran has produced in the interim period. Therefore, the quantity Iran has agreed to send to Turkey may be a drop in the ocean. In any case, the deal leaves Tehran with all the necessary infrastructure for continuing to build up its stocks of enriched uranium – and at a higher grade.

(DebkaFile)

The ridiculousness of the situation portrayed best by the inability of the sole superpower to impose any kind of restraint on Iran. I could understand why President Obama feels he cannot single-handedly impose a blockade on Iran, as he outdoes himself distancing his policies from those of his predecessor. However, lack of US’ strong lead undermines any possibility of peaceful solution to the problem. The Europeans certainly will not take a lead and are likely to portray themselves as being forced into sanctions, as European governments attempt to contain rage of millions of Muslim immigrants as well as some neighbors. The United States – the one country that does not heavily depend on pacifying rioting Muslim youths – fails the test of time, as neither President Obama nor Secretary of State Clinton presented a clear stance and strategy for combating Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arsenal.

Thus Israel is left with a tough choice. Feeling it is out of friends, it mulls the option to attack; nevertheless, it is the route Netanyahu’s unlikely to take as he clearly understands the repercussions of such a move. While Israel – and other intelligence agencies around the world – attempted to sabotage Iran’s program, they achieved only scarce success.

This leaves Israel with two options, neither of them perfect: step up anti-ballistic defense R&D and step up Mossad’s sabotage. Neither will bear necessary fruit. Israel’s tough stance will force Netanyahu and his generals to think of new strategies – and seek new friends.

Ignore this Quran. It has nothing to do with Islam. As US President Barack Obama’s reach-a-Muslim plan thrusts forward, some Muslims hail the effort, by pointing out that Muslim terrorists are just like any other, non-existent non-Muslim terrorists:

Osman Mirghani, the deputy editor-in-chief of ‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat,’ which is owned by a Saudi Arabian company and published in London, wrote an op-ed last week under the headline "Why Didn’t Obama Mention Islam?." The Obama administration has broken from the Bush government’s policy of using the term “Islamic terrorism” in official documents and "no longer [is] responding to extremist voices" that call for targeting home countries of terrorists, he explained.

He said the president is carrying out his pledge in his “reaching out to Muslims speech” at Cairo University in June 2008. Regarding Obama’s statements on the botched Times Square bombing, the editor praised President Obama for not once referring to prime suspect Faisal Shahzad’s being Muslim and for not “mentioning Islam in discussing the terrorist operation."

(Channel 7 News)

OBAMA’S ACTIONS ARE good news for Arabs – and bad news for everyone else. No, not because all Muslims are terrorists – but because most terrorists are Muslim. United States President should recognize the connection between Islam and terror – not to discriminate against a group, but to make the group confront itself. There will be no end to terror, unless peaceful Muslim communities around the world recognize the cancer within themselves and act against it.

In a completely unrelated news, two Israelis were shot at by terrorists near West Bank settlement of Ofrah. The religion of the assailants is unclear:

Two Israelis, a man and a woman, were lightly wounded near the Police Junction near Ofra Friday evening, in a shooting attack apparently carried out by Arab terrorists. The two entered Ofra in their car after being hurt by flying glass as a result of shots fired at the car. They received medical attention on the spot.

According to PA news agency Ma’an, a Fatah terrorist faction took responsibility for the attack. A statement by the “Al Aqsa Martyrs” said that the shooting was a protest against the opening of talks between Israel and the PA, and also to exact revenge for the shooting of a PA Arab youth whose body was found near Ramallah Friday morning.

(Channel 7 News)

‘Al Aqsa Martyrs’. No connection to Islam whatsoever.

Pushing both sides. Obama. Undoubtedly, the Americans may renew optimism now, as they say Israeli PM Netanyahu caved on Jerusalem construction:

Crowley says both sides have taken some steps to create an atmosphere conducive to successful talks, including an Israeli pledge of no construction in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo for two years and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ statement that he will work against incitement of "any sort."

"They are both trying to move forward in difficult circumstances and we commend them for that," the State Department said.

(Ynet)

As soon as the news will become public in Israel, it is safe to say Netanyahu would lose a few points. After all, he took a strong stance, saying only several days ago that the construction in Jerusalem would not be halted. Yet, this seems to be exactly what he did.

The move is understandable: with heavy pressure from the Americans and the will to throw the rock back into Abbas’ court, Netanyahu decided to make the move which would “uncover” Abbas’ real face. Israeli PM does not want to be the one seen as reason for talks’ failure, thus he had to backtrack on his promises in order to score points with the Americans. The tactic could prove itself useful, in fact, if it would leave Abbas under Obama’s stern eye, expected to go for concessions.

Abbas can do little, in fact, as one of the first things Netanyahu would demand is recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. With Abbas unable to do so, Netanyahu’s advisers believe, the talks would fail, but Israel would not be the chief reason for the failure.

GBU-28 Bunker Buster Barry Rubin, of Global Research in International Affairs, says that while the Obama administration put quite some political pressure on Israel, it never transformed into actual moratorium on military equipment:

As proof, for example, take the article by Barbara Opall-Rome in Defense News, May 3, 2010, "U.S. Backs Israeli Munitions Upgrades." She writes of "ever-expanding bilateral security ties unharmed by the unusually high-profile political rift" that took place temporarily.

In fact, the United States is equipping Israel with GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs for its F-15I fighter-bombers and this will be followed by the same system on F-16I planes. These 250-pound bombs are called bunker busters because they are smart bombs that will go through more than six feet of reinforced concrete.

In addition, Israel has equipped F-15Is to carry the 5,000-pound-class GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrator, designed to burrow 100 feet into earth or 20 feet into concrete.

(GLORIA Center through Israel Behind the News)

WHILE THE POLITICAL confrontation somewhat subsided, Obama understands it cannot simply stop supplying Israel with weapons. The reason is far from being friendly, as Israel’s critics usually say. The reason for the supply is power: as long as the United States allows Israel to purchase US-manufactured military goods, it both supplies its own manufacturers with money – thus keeping the business – and prevents Israel from seeking new military friends, particularly in Asia.