Syndicated News from Israel
Thu, 23 May 2013 18:55:37 GMT
Thu, 23 May 2013 21:03:04 GMT
"No Light Between the U.S. and Israel?Daily BeastA solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict (the term itself is biased, as it excludes ?the Palestinians?) was always founded on the notion that both sides needed a mediator and ?honest broker? that could push them toward a final agreement. When U.S ...
Fri, 24 May 2013 00:11:44 GMT
Thu, 23 May 2013 02:40:28 GMT
Thu, 23 May 2013 11:42:00 GMT
Fri, 24 May 2013 00:26:28 GMT
Thu, 23 May 2013 19:48:48 GMT
Netanyahu Tries to Bust Up Israel's Port MonopolyBusinessweekTwo years ago, Alon Hassan, the union chief at Israel's Ashdod port, wanted to invite work colleagues to his daughter's bat mitzvah. When he and his co-workers walked off the docks during a weekday, they nearly paralyzed one of the country's largest ...and more »
Thu, 23 May 2013 13:12:14 GMT
Fri, 24 May 2013 01:24:18 GMT
Fri, 24 May 2013 00:14:21 GMT
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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Israel
Monday, April 12th, 2004
: RCN Administrator
Special to the National Unity Coalition for Israel - February 12, 2004 -- theme song to Exodus)
I can still remember the first time I saw the movie Exodus. I was a young teenager and it was 1970. Israel had always existed for me, but I had never been there. I lived in Cleveland, Ohio.
Through this romantic movie I first began to understand that Israel had not always existed for the Jewish people. I had been studying the Bible since childhood and felt connected to the Land of Israel in a Biblical sense. But it was this film encounter with the creation of the State of Israel that enabled me to understand for the first time that modern Israel and Biblical Israel were one, that the Zionist pioneers of the 20th century were the heirs to Biblical heroes. Israel belonged to the Jewish people as a modern country because God meant it to be.
I moved to Israel in 1984 to take part in the fulfillment of prophecy. The very mountains where Abraham first entered the Land in Samaria, where he first heard God’s promises, were the mountains that beckoned me home. My husband and I built our home in Karnei Shomron, just a few miles west of Shechem, and, together with hundreds of other families, have watched our community grow from hundreds to thousands of Jews, settling the heartland of our ancient homeland. My five children have known no other home.
Many are the voices that are calling for the destruction of all that we have built and nourished. But 250,000 Jews are the human wall that will prevent this from happening. We built homes, schools, and synagogues, factories and shopping centers. Farmers made the desert bloom in the Jordan Valley and in the Gaza Strip. High-tech companies and colleges were established in the hills of Judea and Samaria. We came to areas that were largely empty of people, desolate wastelands that we turned into gardens and greenhouses.
For more than three years, we have suffered tragedy and loss as Arab terrorists have targeted us, on the roads and in our homes. My children have buried friends. My friends have buried children. And yet we have held on, young and old together.
This is our land. No one can take it away from us. No one, anywhere in the world, has any right to drive us from our land, to uproot our families and destroy our factories. We have repeatedly reached out our hand in peace to those of our neighbors who seek to live with us in peace. There is room for all of us to prosper.
But no one can take away our land. It is not right. It is not just. It is not Biblical.
Sondra Oster Baras
Sondra will be at the CFOIC table at the Israel Ministry of Tourism booth throughout the NRB. You are invited to stop by and meet her and find out more about the daily life and the faith of the people of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Monday, February 23rd, 2004
: RCN Administrator
World Court hears barrier case
Photo: Awad Awad/AFP
Palestinian Prime Minister Hamed Qureia takes part Monday in a demonstration against Israel’s West Bank barrier in the West Bank town of Abu Dis on the edges of Jerusalem.
The Hague — The Palestinians opened their case against Israel's West Bank barrier in the world court on Monday, a landmark hearing that brings Israel's policies before an international tribunal for the first time.
Nasser al-Kidwa, chief of the Palestinian delegation, the first to address the tribunal, argued against the barrier and in favour of the court's authority to render an opinion on its legality.
“This wall is not about security. It is about entrenching the occupation and the de facto annexation of large areas of the Palestinian land,” Mr. al-Kidwa told the tribunal.
The 15-judge International Court of Justice planned three days of hearings into the barrier starting Monday, with all of the participants expected to harshly criticize the fence. Israel, the United States and the European countries that oppose the court's intervention, refused to attend.
The hearing started a day after a Palestinian bomber killed eight Israelis and wounded dozens on a Jerusalem bus in a terrorist attack that Israeli officials said underscored the need for the barrier. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a splinter group of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, said it was responsible.
Much of the action was taking place outside the historic Peace Palace, where thousands of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists planned to demonstrate.
Israel, which says the barrier is meant only to stop terrorism, has submitted written arguments challenging the court's jurisdiction.
Palestinians deny that the barrier is to protect Israelis.
The court, the United Nations' highest judicial body, was asked by the General Assembly to issue an advisory opinion on the barrier. The court's decision is nonbinding, but its rulings are influential.
The Palestinians have high expectations for the case. They hope a ruling against Israel will lead to the removal of the barrier.
In its written arguments, Israel contended that the court has no authority over the matter. It says the dispute should be resolved through negotiations, and that taking the matter to court will undermine the international plan to end violence in the region — the so-called road map to peace.
Documents submitted by the United Nations to the court are “staggeringly totally silent on the subject of Palestinian terrorism,” an Israeli background paper said.
The Palestinians oppose the route of the barrier, which dips several kilometres into the West Bank at points. They say that when completed, the barrier will make it impossible for the Palestinians to establish an independent state.
At his West Bank headquarters, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat urged his people “to make their voices heard” against the barrier. Protest marches were scheduled later Monday, and schools were to let out early so students could participate.
Mr. al-Kidwa argued that the barrier would leave half the West Bank Palestinians “within isolated, noncontiguous, walled enclaves.”
Israel has completed about one-quarter of the barrier, a complex of trenches, walls, razor wire and trenches that could stretch up to 725 kilometres when finished. It says the barrier is for security, and officials have pointed to Sunday's suicide bombing as proof of the need for the structure.
Mr. al-Kidwa condemned suicide bombings and attacks against civilians on both sides of the conflict, but said Israel ultimately is responsible. “This phenomenon is the result of Israeli policies and measures, including the relentless colonization of our land.”
While Israel is not formally participating, it is clearly concerned about the case. It sent a small team of legal experts to monitor the proceedings and helped mobilize the demonstrations outside the building.
Nahum Barnea, one of Israel's leading columnists, questioned the Israeli strategy.
“What appears as a lost battle over the stupid route of a fence and occupation whose time has passed has become a charged campaign over one issue: terror,” he wrote in Monday's Yediot Ahronot daily.
Like many other matters at the United Nations, the case seems to be dividing major Western countries and poorer developing nations. Although the United States and the Europeans have criticized the route of the barrier, they agree with Israel that the court is not the proper forum for the dispute. Most participants during this week's hearings are from Muslim countries.
Fearing clashes outside the building, city officials in the Hague slotted separate times for the protests. Parked nearby the Peace Palace will be the mangled shell of an Israeli bus, blown up on Jan. 29 by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem who killed 11 people.
Pro-Israeli activists gathered around the shell to protest the court hearing and relatives of victims of suicide bombings planned to display posters of their loved ones.
Miriam de Leeuw, of a Dutch Zionist group, called the World Court hearing “Palestinian propaganda” and said “without terror, there would be no wall.”
Pro-Palestinian activists planned to show how the barrier has disrupted their lives, separating them from jobs, farmland and relatives.
In December, the UN General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice to give its opinion on the legality of the barrier. Although the General Assembly asked for an “urgent” decision, it could take months. On average, the judges need about a year to thrash out their views.
Sunday, February 1st, 2004
: RCN Administrator
Commentary - February 1, 2004 -- It was not an event that any of the big newspapers saw fit to cover, but this past December, a draft United Nations resolution condemning anti-Semitism was quietly withdrawn by Ireland, its sponsor in the General Assembly. In a complicated exchange, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen had promised the measure to his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom, but in the end Cowen refused to carry out his side of the bargain, pointing to a lack of consensus on the issue. (Several Arab and Muslim states had objections.) Thus went by the boards what would have been the first-ever General Assembly resolution dealing directly with the problem of anti-Semitism.
Thursday, January 29th, 2004
: RCN Administrator
Explosion rocks Jerusalem
Jerusalem — A suicide bomber blew up a bus near the prime minister's residence Thursday, killing 10 bystanders and wounding at least 50 in the deadliest terrorist attack in four months.
The extremist al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a splinter group of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization, later issued a statement taking responsibility for the bombing, which dealt a further setback to stalled peace efforts and coincided with a German-brokered prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. Israel said the exchange was going ahead as planned.
The bombing occurred just before 9 a.m. in the Rehavia district of downtown Jerusalem, some 15 metres from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's official residence. Mr. Sharon was not home at the time.
The green bus was charred, with wires dangling everywhere. One side of the bus had been blown out and the back half of the roof was blown off. Police said the explosion went off in the middle or back of the crowded bus and was so powerful that body parts flew into nearby houses.
A bus passenger, Svetlana Minchiker, said she was talking on her cell phone when she felt the blast.
"I thought my telephone had exploded," she said, holding up her blood-stained hands. "As my feelings slowly returned to me, I managed to ... crawl through the window."
Eli Beer, a paramedic, said victims had been scattered over a wide area.
"There were a lot of heavy injuries, a lot of the people who were injured were in bad condition, a lot of people had missing limbs," he said.
Bret Stephens, editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post, was near the scene at the time of the blast. "There was glass everywhere, human remains everywhere, shoes, feet, pieces of guts. There were pieces of body everywhere," he said.
The explosion also sent a chunk of the bus roof onto the roof of a nearby two-storey building. Religious rescue workers were gathering body parts in accordance with Jewish law.
Police investigators with sniffer dogs searched the bus. Paramedics were taking away the wounded on stretchers. Others were treated at the scene. People, dazed and crying, wandered around the area.
"It was a very serious attack on a bus packed with passengers," Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy said at the scene. "According to what we know at the moment ... we're talking about a suicide bomber."
The last attack in Israel was a suicide bombing at a bus stop outside of Tel Aviv on Dec. 25 that killed four people. Israeli officials said the weeks of calm preceding the bombing were a result of Israeli security measures, not a reduction in violence on the Palestinian side.
The blast came a time of renewed efforts to bring about a cease-fire. Earlier this week, senior Egyptian officials had tried to win a pledge from Palestinian militants to halt attacks on Israelis.
Two senior State Department officials, David Satterfield and John Wolf, were meeting with Israel's defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, at the time of the blast, Israel Radio said.
The U.S.-backed peace proposal, the so-called road map, has been stalled almost since its inception in June.
Palestinian Authority officials condemned the bombing, while also denouncing the deaths of nine Palestinians on Wednesday during fighting with Israeli troops in Gaza. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia appealed "to all parties to stop this bloody series of violence," declare a cease-fire and resume the road map.
Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a Hamas leader in Gaza, stopped short of claiming responsibility on behalf of his group, which has carried out dozens of suicide terror bombings.
Mr. Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, said the attack underscores the need for the security barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.
Israel says the structure, which dips deep into the West Bank, is needed to keep suicide bombers out of Israel. But Palestinians have accused Israel of seizing their land. With Palestinian backing, a case challenging the legality of the barrier is to go before the World Court in the Netherlands next month.
Mr. Gissin said Israel believes the court has no authority over the matter. "No one has the right to question us and bring us to court on how to defend ourselves," he said.
Thursday's bombing was the deadliest since a female suicide bomber killed 21 people at a seaside restaurant in Haifa on Oct. 4.
Monday, July 28th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
As you read the following article, Christians need to remember the Temple Mount that Arafat wants to close off to all but Muslims, is the very Temple that our Lord Jesus Christ taught and ministered in. He used it as a symbol of his own body that would be resurrected after three days. The Apostle Paul used it as symbol of our bodies that contains the Holy Spirit of God. This action by Arafat must be seen as an indicator of what would happen to Christian and Jewish holy sites and symbols, if controlled by the Palestinians.
Dr. James Hutchens
Chaplain (Brigadier General) US Army (Ret.)
President, Christians for Israel USA
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat warned of "grave consequences" Tuesday if Israel continues to allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount.
Muslem guards at the Temple Mount tried Tuesday to stop groups of Jews from performing religious rituals there, Palestinian sources said. Police then removed the Jews from the Temple Mount to prevent further contacts between them and the guards.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, on a visit to Egypt and Jordan before he embarks on his trip to Washington, called the Israeli act "provocative" during a press conference with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa in Cairo.
Mussa echoed the feeling and said he received a call from Arafat warning of the gravity of this step. He called the developments "very dangerous" and "an insult to Moslems everywhere."
The police have recently broadened the visits they coordinate to the Temple Mount and now sometimes allow religious Jews wearing religious skullcaps to enter the plaza area, which the Waqf Muslim religious trust closed to non-Muslims after the riots following then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon's visit there in September 2000. Palestinians say the visit sparked the Al-Aqsa Intifada, named for the mosque on the mount.
The new relaxation in the rules is a gradual process meant to reinstate the status quo before the Sharon visit. However, police will not allow group Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and will not allow known members of the various Temple Mount groups that call for the reconstruction of the Temple and demolition of the mosques to visit the site. Officially, both sides deny there is any quiet understanding between police and the Waqf about restoring tourist visits.
Waqf director Adnan Husseini said Tuesday that the Waqf will continue its policy of not allowing non-Moslems into the compound.
Arafat's senior advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Arafat summoned members of the diplomatic corps in Jerusalem for a meeting at his Ramallah compound to brief them on the gravity of the situation..
Arafat asked the diplomats to inform their governments of the seriousness of this situation and to intervene to "contain the consequences of this crime and prevent its repetition," warning that it could "explode the situation once again," said Abu Rudeineh.
For more information call toll free 1-877-200-7249 or visit our website: www.c4iusa.org
Copyright © 2003 Christians for Israel USA.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
: RCN Administrator
The Jerusalem Post -- I don’t know about you, but with each passing day, I find it more and more difficult to listen to the news.
I can feel my pulse begin to quicken as the announcer on the radio declares Israel’s intention to withdraw in response to Palestinian terror. Disbelief gives way to a swelling sense of fury, as the weakness of our leadership grows ever more apparent.
Have they learned nothing from the past? Hundreds of innocents are dead, and thousands of others were injured, thanks to their shortsightedness and stupidity. Drunk with arrogance, they sought to tear this land, and this people, apart, empowering our enemies in their reckless pursuit of an illusory daydream.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Editorial -- At long last the police yesterday managed to uphold the law and demolish the foundations for a particularly gigantic mosque whose illicit construction was under way directly in front of Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation, one of Christendom's holiest sites.
The demolition was planned like a military operation, for fear that it would inflame tempers and breed extremist ferment. Some Israeli Arabs are already agitated over the trial of leaders of the Islamic Movement's northern branch for funneling funds to Hamas, and Wakf equivocation over visits by Jews to Temple Mount - albeit in small groups and without fanfare.
Nevertheless, no major confrontation erupted
Monday, June 30th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
VOL4., ISSUE 49 -- Israeli Government Funneling Money To Outposts: A private Israeli television station reported Friday that the Israeli government is funneling money into the establishment of illegal settlements in the West Bank, as well as paying to dismantle them. Under the Road Map, Israel is obligated to dismantle all settlement outposts established since March 2001. According to the report, the funds for setting up a number of illegal outposts have been channeled through a branch of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency. The money, which comes from the agriculture budget, was passed on by the agency to a body representing the settlers in the occupied territories, the members of which then use the funds as they see fit. Some of the money was put towards establishing illegal outposts such as Adei Ad, located between Ramallah and Nablus. Government sources denied knowing that the money was being used for illegal settlement activity, saying they only learned of the phenomenon after they were approached by the Defense Ministry.Â The issue is slated to be debated in the Knesset tomorrow. Knesset Member Avshalom Vilan said, "It is absurd" if the government of Israel is, with one hand transferring money to set up the outposts, and with the other paying money to get rid of them. If that is not the state acting at the height of stupidity, I don't know what is." (AFP, 6/27/03)
Millions To Evacuate One Settlement: NIS 2.5 million "this is the amount that the evacuation of Givat Yitzhar cost the Israel Defense Force and police. This amount includes, among other things, the cost of personnel, food, transportation, and use of IDF and police vehicles, as well as the financial damage caused by demonstrators to the army vehicles, especially the bulldozers. During the evacuation, the tires of some 15 military vehicles were punctured, the windshields of bulldozers were painted over, and some of the machines" oil lines were cut. "The IDF was forced to bring combat soldiers for the evacuation, who were taken off security duty to come to Yitzhar,â€? a senior military source said.Â The police also removed large forces from duty for the operation. 1,200 members of the security forces took part in the operation, including 700 soldiers and over 500 police officers. (Mariv, 6/24/03)
Israelis Support Hudna, Bush Involvement: Israel Radio's website said that a survey conducted by the Magar Mochot Institute on June 24-25 found that 73% of Israelis support a ceasefire with the Palestinians (also known as a hudna), while 23% don't back such a move.Â Further, 46% of respondents believe that the evacuation of illegal outposts that is being carried out by Ariel Sharon is just an act, and only 38% of respondents think it's the real deal.Â About two-thirds of respondents (65%) back the intensive involvement of the President George Bush in the Israeli-Palestinian political process, while just 30% object.Â Meanwhile, 64% do not support the pronouncement of the Union of Rabbis that the Road Map stands in contrast to the opinion of the Torah, and 71% do not support the decision of the Union of Rabbis that states no Israeli government has the authority to declare the establishment of a Palestinian state and to evacuate outposts or towns.Â Just 19% support the Union of Rabbis in both instances. (Israel Radio website, 6/26/03)
Into The Valley: The Israeli Defense Ministry and the IDF have begun planning the route of the separation fence for dozens of kilometers in the Jordan Valley, meant to circumscribe the Palestinian [areas] from the east.Â Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced three months ago that he intends to build a western fence that leaves the Jordan Valley outside Palestinian territory. Sharon said that the fence will be 700 kilometers in length, and now, in response to his declaration, the Defense Ministry and the IDF's building unit have begun to plan the first 40 kilometers, from Bezek River in the southern Beit Shean Valley to Tirza.Â In addition, the Defense Ministry and the IDF have prepared aerial photographs and analysis for the next section: from Tirza to the settlement of Maale Ephraim near the Trans-Samaria Highway. The fence at this point is supposed to separate the Jordan Valley communities and adjacent settlements from Palestinian territory. Sources in the defense establishment say that preparations have been made for approval of the final route, which is supposed to receive government backing. The IDF has also begun to learn the operational significance of building the fence along the Jordan Valley. One assessment is that the Palestinians will have a difficult time committing terror attacks inside the Green Line and will turn their fire toward the settlements and security troops. The intention to build a security fence in the Jordan Valley aroused criticism in the political establishment, including in the cabinet, who said that this way, almost no territory will be left for the Palestinians.Â U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice also criticized the planned route of the separation fence in her weekend meeting with Sharon, saying that the U.S. sees it as highly problematic since the Palestinians think Israel is using the fence to determine political borders and annex Palestinian territory. (Mariv, 6/23/03 & Haaretz, 6/30/03)
The Envelope, Please: Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon his outline of the "Enveloping Jerusalem" plan, a separation fence around the city. According to the outline, Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem will also be included within the fenced-in area. The Palestinian residents who are to be "annexed" to Israel will receive special permits allowing them to cross into Palestinian Authority territory. In addition, it was decided to put up two fences on the eastern side of Jerusalem, an internal fence that would pass along the city's municipal border and an external fence that would extend eastward to the settlements of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. The fence is intended to protect the Jewish settlements and perhaps to serve as an additional stage in the plan to unite Maale Adumim with Jerusalem. Sharon decided a year and a half ago that the "Enveloping Jerusalem" plan would include Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev, and Givon, together with the Palestinian neighborhoods of Abu Dis, Azariya, Anata, Hizma, and Beit Iksa. Sharon retracted his decision after security officials expressed their reservations about it. (Maariv, 6/29/03)
Rebbes Rebel, Part I: Last Monday, hundreds of hardline rabbis in the Union of Rabbis denounced the Road Map to Middle East peace and urged Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to hand over biblical land in the West Bank and Gaza for a Palestinian state, saying such a step would violate Jewish law. "No one in the world, from drawers of water and hewers of stone to prime ministers, has the right to give up one grain of the land of Israel," said former Sephardi chief rabbi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu . "The Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the land of Israel. There is holiness in every single grain."We speak on behalf of the Jewish people past, present, and future. It is forbidden to give land away,â€? said Shalom Gold of Jerusalemâ€™s Har Nof congregation.Â Former Ashkenazi chief rabbi Rabbi Avraham Shapira said that handing over territories is a â€œparticularly grave transgression.â€?Â Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh added, â€œThe government has decided on alien sovereignty over the land of Israel and the earth is burning beneath our feet.Â We are defending with our bodies against the great danger every single moment and we have no rear lines.Â I call upon the great rear line to arise and come to life, from Metulla to the Negev.Â The trust must be reawakened.Â And meanwhile we shall remain on the hilltops, as a spearhead with no rear lines.â€? (Haâ€™aretz, 6/24/03)
Rebbes Rebel, Part II: Responsible members of the Israeli political establishment were not amused with the rebbe rebellion.Â Labor Knesset Member Avraham Burg, son of the late National Religious Party chief Yosef Burg and himself Orthodox, requested Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein to attend a discussion in the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee about the rabbinical rulings.Â Burg attacked the rabbis as â€œrebels and incitersâ€? and said they must be dealt with as such.Â â€œThe State of Israel belongs to the Jews, and God does not intervene in political matters,â€? Burg said in comments quoted on Israel Radio.Â He said the ruling forbidding the handing-over of land was a form of â€œinvitation to assassination,â€? of which, he noted, the rabbis would be guilty.Â Rabbis have urged settlers occupying the hilltop redoubts to resist passively.Â But there have been scuffles with security personnel as well as injuriesâ€”reminiscent to many of the infighting that took place in the weeks prior to the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an ultranationalist religious Jew.Â Â The Rabin assassination was also preceded by rabbinical rulings that suggested Rabin should be targeted for killing as a result of his pursuit of a land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians.Â The Shin Bet security service believes there is now an increased threat of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon being harmed by right-wing Israeli extremists.Â Burg called on Rubinstein to â€œimmediately stop turning a blind eye to the rabbisâ€™ activities, which are liable to make the blood of soldiers and political leaders free game, as has already happened.â€?Â Labor whip Knesset Member Dalia Itzik called on Rubinstein to indict rabbis on the public payroll who are part of the forum that made the inflammatory statements.Â Â Â Knesset Member Ran Cohen also called for charges to be pressed against the rabbis.Â They cannot be on the public payroll and at the same time be involved in subversive activities, Cohen said. (Haâ€™aretz, 6/24-25/03)
Bad To The Bone, Part I: Commenting in Maâ€™ariv about the outpost evacuation at Givat Yitzhar, Hemi Shalev wrote, â€œThe evacuation of the outpost at Givat Yitzhar looked good on the cameras of TV networks worldwide, and gave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon valuable brownie points in the U.S. administration.Â This was a PR event, a well-directed one, in which all of the sides played their parts perfectly: Sharon kept his promises, the army carried out orders, and the settlers cried bloody murder and put up fitting resistance.Â At the end of the play, as the curtain fell, everyone went home to wait for the next installment.Â This is, of course, a geometrical sequence.Â For every outpost evacuated, the settlers will establish ten more, and these will immediately be added to the list of â€˜unauthorizedâ€™ outposts that must be evacuated as soon as possible.Â The dramatic scenes of â€˜brother against brotherâ€™ will be played on an endless loop, with sky-high ratings, and everyone will leave happy.Â This guarantees that everyone will focus solely on the meaningless things and ignore the main point.Â Because the immediate, cardinal, and critical problem that faces Israel is not to be found on those isolated hilltops with a generator or a trailer, but in the large settlements from which they sprouted.Â The settlements pose an impassible obstacle in the long term, preventing the establishment of a contiguous, viable Palestinian entity, but they are also the main obstacle to solutions in the short term.Â Every time an attack takes place on this side of the Green Line, politicians, analysts, and local council heads cry, â€˜Why isnâ€™t there a fence?â€™ while the answer is clear to everyone: there is no fence because there are settlements, and if there were no settlements, there would have been a fence long ago.â€? (Maâ€™ariv, 6/23/03)
Bad To The Bone, Part II: Hemi Shalev continued, â€œBecause the government does not even believe itself when it says that the separation fence is only a security tool that does not mark any border.Â That is the reason that Sharon is not capable of ordering the construction of the fence along the Green Line, because that would mean leaving settlements â€˜outside the fenceâ€™ and on the other side of the future border.Â On the other hand, and for the same reason, neither can Sharon include the settlements inside the fence, because then the move would rightly be seen as unilateral annexation of large slices of Judea and Samaria, and as a deliberate blow to the political process.Â That is how the settlements got stuck like a bone in the throat, not only in the throat of a peace agreement that still cannot be seen on the horizon, but also in the throat of interim agreements meant to protect the citizens of Israel.Â In this way the public is now eating what Ariel Sharon himself cooked more than 20 years ago, when he served as agriculture minister in the first Likud government.Â Unlike the settlement policies of the Labor government that rule until 1977, aimed at guarding well-defined â€˜security zones,â€™ Sharonâ€™s goal was to create an irreversible situation in which no Israeli government would be able to withdraw from any territory in Judea and Samariaâ€∫Sharon scattered the settlements in strategic points, lengthwise and widthwise, and set the Israeli presence in the territories deep in the ground, with stakes of iron, in hardened concrete.Â He thought of everything, except of a possibility that would certainly have seemed fantastic to him: the possibility that the day would come when he would be the one who would want to leave, at least partially, only to discover that it is impossible, because it is already too late.â€? (Maâ€™ariv, 6/23/03)
Oops!â€∫I Did It Again: â€œIn 30% of the targeted killings executed using Air Force helicopters, the IDF hit innocent civilians,â€? admitted IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz in Tel Aviv last week.Â â€œNever, except in one instance (in which Salah Shehade was assassinated) was an order given to hit anyone except the target himself.Â In the case of Shehade, the decision was made to carry out the assassination despite the fact that his wife was by his side.â€?Â In crowded urban areas, the chances of hitting innocent people is higher.Â A senior Air Force official said that after firing, the Air Force control center monitors events on the ground, and if it transpires that in the course of the action it is necessary to stop it, this is done by officers at the control center.Â For example, the officer said that in a recent assassination in Gaza, officers in the control center noticed that there were many Palestinians crowded within the area.Â Since the missile had been fired at its target, officers ordered the pilots to divert the missile from its course to an open area.Â Unluckily, the missile that was diverted hit a building near the area where the people were crowded and caused the death of three innocent Palestinians. (Yedioth Ahronoth, 6/25/03)
Gas Deal On Front Burner: Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yossi Paritzky and Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad discussed Israelâ€™s purchase of natural gas from fields offshore from Gaza, jointly owned by British Gas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).Â Fayyad told Paritzky that the PA was prepared to accept Israelâ€™s demand for examining the PAâ€™s involvement in the deal.Â Fayyad added that the PA would provide complete transparency on all financial aspects of the natural gas project.Â Â Â For its part, last week, British Gas disclosed the security arrangements for supplying natural gas from the PA to Israel.Â British Gas Israel general manager John Field told the Knesset that his companyâ€™s Gaza offshore natural gas fields were the safest natural gas source for Israel.Â He said British Gas will retain full control over the flow of gas from the field, from the Ashkelon control center.Â Field added that the PAâ€™s revenue from natural gas sales were likely to partially replace aid money currently transferred to the PA, and would not actually increase the money available to it.Â â€œThe sale of gas to Israel will only increase Israeli control over where the money goes,â€? Field said.Â â€œThe PA also regards as important a guaranteed source of gas for operating its Gaza power station and for other future projects in power production and water desalination.â€?Â (Globes, 6/23-24/03)
Heard It Through The Grapevine: Israel will be able to triple its duty-free wine exports to the EU to 3,000 tons as of September.Â Israel and the EU will conclude an agreement to boost Israelâ€™s duty-free wine quota to the EU in a few weeks, and Israel will simultaneously raise its quota for duty-fee EU wine exports to Israel from zero to 2,000 tons a year.Â Israel Desk Officer at the EU Commission Loic Lallemand Zeller said that the EU had proposed increasing Israelâ€™s duty-free quota to 5,000 tons a year, but Israel declined.Â Israeli Ambassador to the EU Oded Eran explained that the offer meant also increasing EU duty-free wine exports.Â Israelâ€™s opposition to the deal was based on the large agricultural subsidies in many European countries, including subsidies for vineyards that greatly reduce the price for their wines.Â Israel is concerned that low-priced vino could flood its market.Â Another reason why it would not be worthwhile for Israel to expand its quota is that Golan Heights Wineryâ€™s vineyards are beyond the Green Line.Â The company is therefore ineligible for the EU duty exemption, which does not apply to Israeli goods produced beyond the Green Line.Â The EU plans to impose a 4-8% levy on Israeli goods produced in the territories.Â Israeli-EU trade totaled 16 billion euros last year, including 5.6 billion euros in Israeli exports and 10.5 billion euros in imports.Â The EU estimates that goods made beyond the Green Line account for 100-200 million euros a year of Israeli exports. (Globes, 6/23/03)
Accord Of The Flies: Israel and Jordan are cooperating in a war against the flies that seriously annoy residents of the Jordan Valley on both sides of the border.Â There was recently a meeting between representatives of the two countries to discuss the issue.Â The Jordanians reported on a spraying operation they are conducting, while the Israelis presented the â€œClean Jordan Valleyâ€? plan, which calls for agricultural waste to be removed in an orderly fashion.Â In related news, Israel and Jordan agreed to create more industrial zones where businesses from the two states work together to produce goods to sell in the U.S.Â An agreement signed at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) added two more Qualified Industrial Zones to the half dozen that have been created since Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, and it expanded one of the existing zones.Â Also at the WEF, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yossi Paritzky refused to sign a â€œdeclaration of principlesâ€? regarding the Red-Dead Canal project (linking the Red Sea and the Dead Sea) because it referred to the rights of the Palestinians and their demands for territory and water; for this reason, the document was not presented at the conference.Â Jordanâ€™s infrastructure minister told conferees that the project would cost around three billion dollars, and that the governments want World Bank funding to make it a reality.Â But a World Bank representative said there is no money in its pockets for the canal.Â Perhaps itâ€™s just as well.Â A new study from the Israel Geological Institute shows that should the canal be built, the waters of the Dead Sea would be covered with white gypsum, underneath which bacteria would color the water green and red, and the sea would emit a strong smell of rotten eggs. (Yedioth Ahronoth, 6/23-24/03 & AP, 6/23/03)
Peace OfÂ My Heart: Early morning.Â Nasser kisses his wife Marina goodbye.Â He also parts from her parents, Luda Â and Misha, and goes to work.Â This is not a scene from a movie, nor a play or an excerpt from a literary work.Â This is a slice of Israeli reality taking place in the city of Tira, near Kfar Saba.Â According to the heads of Arab communities in the area, there are close to two hundred Jewish-Arab couples living precisely this way, happily and peacefully.Â At least 190 Jewish women are married to Arab men, and dozens of additional unmarried Jewish women live with Arabs.Â The message that all the women try to convey is captured by Stella, who is married to a local resident.Â â€œWe respect the Muslim religion and they respect the Jewish religion.Â There is no coercion or pressure here, only love and tolerance.Â Let the leaders come and see how people live here in Tira,â€? she says. (Maâ€™ariv, 6/25/03)
Wednesday, June 25th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Having waded through mountains of anti-Jewish, anti-Christian hate mail after last week’s column, I listened to President Bush’s Chamberlain-like recitation of his three state solution for the Middle East to pacify the fictional Palestinians: a Palestinian state in Jordan (which already exists), a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (which must never exist), and a Palestinian state inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders (which will exist if the evil New World Order men get their way). So where would the NWO put the Israelis? Exactly the same place as Adolf Hitler put the Jewish people, while promising he would be satisfied with the Sudetenland.
Anyone who has visited my web page and read my biography knows that I list "arguing with rabbis" as one of my main hobbies. Yet, much as I theologically disagree with their refusal to recognize Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, I absolutely know this: when God makes a promise, He keeps it, and anyone who tries to get in His way is doomed to fail.
Those who claim that God did not promise Israel to the Jews are mistaken. Britain may not have been promised to the British, nor Norway to the Norwegians, nor any other location on earth promised to any other people, but there is one single exception: God did promise Israel to the Jews:
* All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. (Genesis 13:15)
* I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever. (Exodus 32:13)
* You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey. (Leviticus 20:24)
* Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. (Numbers 33:53)
* The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever. (Joshua 14:9)
* They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. (Ezekiel 37:25)
* I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God. (Amos 9:15)
The word "forever" is a translation of the Hebrew word "Olam", meaning "the infinite", "for all time" or "forever and ever". It is impossible to be a believing Christian and not accept the Bible’s authority and veracity. As Republican Senator James Inhofe said on the floor of the US Senate on March 4, 2002: "This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true."
When President Bush met with the Israeli Prime Minister and other regional leaders this week in Aqaba, he made the grave errors of plotting to go against God’s word and promises, and of restating his belief that Islam is a religion of peace.
Nobody enjoys candid, truthful words more than I do. I enjoyed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s recent remarks on China: "The People’s Republic of China is a backward, corrupt anachronism run by decrepit tyrants: old apparatchiks clinging to their dying regime. The notion that these oppressive and dangerous men could convince the United States that their murderous ideology should be imposed on a free and independent Taiwan is absurd. And refusing to say so, for fear of upsetting Beijing, is not tact: it is infantilism." You speak the truth, sir! The people of Taiwan are our friends and we must stop betraying them. Let American policy follow your wise, truthful words. Loyalty and truth matter!
Many readers know that I run a non-profit foundation (http://www.americanrenewal.org). Recently a wealthy lady offered to send a much-needed donation, but made it conditional on my willingness to betray the trust of a mutual friend of many years. I declined to betray my friend, and she didn’t send the money, but I know God will provide anyway. Loyalty and truth matter!
Frankly, President Bush shouldn’t care if he loses the Arab vote in Michigan next year. God will ensure his reelection with victories elsewhere. Mr. President, if you honor God, God will honor you. Loyalty and truth matter!
Likewise, it doesn’t matter what the UN, the media, the Jew-haters or anyone else has to say. We should care only about what God says, and if He says that Israel is His land, then it is so. God also said that, notwithstanding the less-than-perfect behavior of the Jewish people from time to time, it is still His land and they are still His people. That’s the doctrine of forgiveness in action.
President Bush is too intelligent to believe that Islam is a religion of peace. Buddhism and Taoism might be religions of peace, but Islam, in its present stage of development, is not. It’s time for the President to do some plain, truthful speaking and to act loyally towards Israel, America’s only true ally in the Middle East.
Another area in which President Bush needs to speak candidly is with regard to the so-called Palestinians. He is apparently receiving appallingly bad advice. According to official State Department documents, President Bush promised to convene the summit which has just taken place, only on condition that, by June 2003:
1. The Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence
2. Palestinians draft a Palestinian constitution, and hold free, fair and open elections.
3. The Palestinian leadership issues an unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calls for an immediate and unconditional end to armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere.
4. Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
5. Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.
Those are the words of the US Government. Did the Palestinians meet any of those requirements? Not one. But they obtained their summit anyway.
The President may have simply made a mistake. Alternatively, this may be part of a greater plan which we do not yet know, under which the so-called Palestinians are returned to their homelands, Jordan and Egypt, or transferred to a new state of their own in part of Iraq or some other Arab country.
As I wrote in March 2002, the myth propagated by the mainstream media/CFR/US and UK governments is that Israel is occupying the Palestinians’ land, when the truth is precisely the opposite. I have nothing against those Arabs who falsely call themselves Palestinians. They just need to leave Israel and return to their countries of origin.
Let us pray that President Bush will be guided by God and by biblically-sound, godly men, and not by the State Department or by pressure from the pro-Arab British Foreign Office.
Above all, let us pray that he does not cause the United States to be subjected to God’s wrath for obstructing His plan and His will. God says: "Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained." (1 Samuel 2:30) Or, in plain Texan words the President will easily recognize and take to heart: Don’t mess with God. ‡ Steve Myers Å~ Editor
Monday, June 16th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
The survival of the state of Israel is too important to be subordinated to Washington power games. -- Copyright © 2003 The American Conservative
President Bush’s decision to advance the Road Map to Middle East Peace with his re-election campaign looming demonstrates no small amount of courage. Traditionally, presidents avoid even the mildest suggestion of pressuring Israel except in the first year or two of their terms. After that, until safely re-elected, they avoid the Middle East like the plague.
The reasons for this timidity are obvious. The very idea of proposing a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is treated by many in the pro-Israel community as tantamount to opposing Israel. Those of us in Washington (I worked on Capitol Hill for 15 years) are particularly accustomed to a way of thinking in which support for the status quo ”i.e., erecting roadblocks to thwart the peace process”is considered "pro-Israel, while offering ideas on how Israel can achieve both peace and security through territorial compromise is considered politically crazy and fundamentally "anti-Israel."
Any senator or representative who consistently supports resolutions praising Israeli policies and bashing Palestinians "without offering any realistic proposal to achieve peace” is hailed as a stalwart friend of Israel. No matter if the legislator in question devotes not five minutes of his year to thinking about Israel’s situation. All he needs is a legislative assistant who puts him on the "right" resolutions, and he will be a hero to pro-Israel activists. But those who strongly support U.S. efforts to promote an agreement, who give serious attention to Israel’s plight and how to remedy it, become known as "weak on Israel" or "not a friend." That, as every House and Senate member knows, is not good for one’s political health.
Of course, that is how the Washington power game works. The only difference is that, for some of us, the survival of the state of Israel, a state whose existence many of us regard as miraculous, is simply too important to become part of Washington games.
And it is a Washington game. After all, it isn’t played in Israel.
In Israel, Right, Left, and center openly fight for or against government policies. Newspapers and other media outlets do not fear being criticized as anti-Israel. There is no CAMERA (Committee for Middle East Accuracy) monitoring the Israeli media to make sure it toes what it calls a pro-Israel line but what is actually the anti-peace line.
Of course, by definition, Israelis cannot be called "anti-Israel," especially by American Jews. It is their lives that are on the line. Virtually all of them ”male and female, hawk and dove”serve or have served in the Israeli military. And, according to the polls, some 68 percent of them want out of the occupied territories in exchange for peace.
Here in America, the lack of dissent about what is right for Israel could ultimately give Israel’s own democracy a bad name. Our Congress tiptoes around the subject, treating all policies of the Israeli government with a respect bordering on reverence. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, knows no such restraints. Prime Ministers are called liars, traitors, sellouts, and thugs. Knesset members call each other, or Israeli policies they oppose, Fascist, Bolshevik, or worse. But let some undergraduate or teaching assistant at Dartmouth or the University of Michigan mouth off about the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and that is something else. As for a member of Congress, forget about it!
The irony, of course, is that the best favor anyone can do for Israel is to help it get back to negotiations. That is because the safest and most prosperous period in Israel’s history was when the Oslo peace process was in effect. Its worst period ever has been the 32 months since Oslo’s collapse. One would never know that from the official pronouncements of most of the organizations claiming to speak for American Jews. They routinely label the Oslo period disastrous for Israel, ignoring the facts” facts that tell an entirely different story.
Although Oslo took almost four years for full implementation, it had largely succeeded by the fall of 1997. By then, with the assistance of the CIA, Israeli-Palestinian security co-operation had essentially eliminated terrorism. In fact, between September 1997 and the collapse of Oslo in the late fall of 2000, just seven people were killed by terrorists in Israel. This was not because Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not try to launch attacks; it is because the Palestinian Authority engaged in a virtual civil war with the terrorists to thwart those attacks and tipped the Israelis off in advance of them.
As a result, Israel, in the period just prior to Oslo’s end, was safer than at any period in its history. Tourism was at an all-time high. Unemployment was remarkably low. The economy was bursting with foreign investment. And the international community, including Arab states, was building economic and diplomatic links to the Jewish state.
Comparing today’s situation to the Oslo period is almost gratuitous. Deaths from acts of terror since the collapse of Oslo have reached 787 in 32 months (versus those seven in the previous three years). The economy is so bad that Israel is seeking loan guarantees from the United States to help stave off disaster. Unemployment is at 11 percent. Foreign investment has dried up. The tourist industry has collapsed. Jerusalem, which had blossomed during the Oslo years, has a depressed feel and look that is reminiscent of the pre-1967 period, when it was a divided city. (In fact, it is almost as divided today as it was then, with few Israelis venturing into the Arab areas and vice versa.) In short, the last 32 months have been disastrous for Israel.
As of this writing, one glimmer of hope remains. It is President Bush’s road map for Middle East peace. The road map was drafted by the so-called Quartet (the United States, European Union, Russia, and United Nations) but, once embraced by Bush, it became his. In point of fact, the Quartet’s draft was designed to implement Bush’s vision for Mideast peace as enunciated in Bush’s major speech of June 24, 2002, in which he stated that the United States’s goal is â€œtwo states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."
The road map was designed to avoid the pitfalls of earlier U.S. efforts, such as the plans drafted by former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) and CIA Director George Tenet. Both those attempts to achieve peace floundered when Prime Minister Sharon declared that Israel would not fulfill its obligations until the Palestinians fulfilled theirs. The Palestinians said the opposite.
The Bush road map gets around this problem by dumping sequential compliance in favor of parallel moves that happen concurrently. Palestinians must end anti-Israel violence, while at the same time Israelis must pull back from areas reoccupied during the intifada and freeze settlements. Instead of waiting for Sharon to deem Palestinian efforts to combat terror sufficient for a reciprocal measure, the sponsors of the road map assume that role for themselves (and specifically for the United States). Neither side can refuse to meet its obligations by claiming that the other has not acted.
As for Phase 2 of the road map, the establishment of a provisional and, ultimately, a permanent Palestinian state in a few years, these steps will only occur if the two sides remain in full compliance with the road map’s provisions at each stage of the way. There is no prescribed solution. The plan is entirely "performance driven." If one or the other side fails to perform, the road map will be tossed in the back seat and forgotten, and it is the United States that will determine who is or is not performing.
The bottom line is that Israel has nothing to fear from the road map. On the contrary, it is the only available way out of the horrific status quo for both sides. It will succeed if President Bush sticks to his guns. But will he?
One can only hope. But no one should doubt the opposition Bush will face if he persists. So far, the signs look good. And, as those who opposed his tax cuts and the war with Iraq know, this president is nigh unstoppable when he believes in the cause. His cause this time is the long-term survival of Israel and, of course, America’s interests in the Muslim world. My guess is that Bush will stay the course. If he does, he will help redefine just what is considered pro-Israel and what will be understood as perpetuating a status quo that is disastrous for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for our own country."